“I’ll do your hair, too.”
With a friendly tone, the maid led Sera to a chair.
“I don’t think that’s necessary…”
Sera said it would only trouble the maid, but she just shook her head.
“Please don’t feel too pressured.
I’m doing this because I want to.
It was really difficult to work at the Star Palace until you came, Lady Popo.
It was after the Lady came that we were all able to say that we’re happy working here.”
The maid styled Sera’s hair with a skillful touch.
Her hair was finely braided in an instant, making her look elegant.
Sera looked at herself at the mirror with an awkward smile.
She was a little excited that she got to dress up in this colorful room in the imperial palace, and she was given the opportunity to wear a beautiful dress.
Perhaps that’s why her cheeks in the mirror were still pink.
‘Social statuses are cruel.’
When she recognized her place once again, Sera felt a little disappointed for a moment, but she soon smiled.
Sera bowed her head to express her gratitude, then she went out to the garden of the Star Palace where the party was being held.
* * *
‘Did His Majesty say it should be this kind of atmosphere… He definitely said it’ll be just a small tea party…’
Coming out of the Star Palace, Sera was taken aback by the scenery that unfolded before her, rendered speechless.
In the late spring garden, the bright sun’s rays were warmly descending.
There was no room to walk through because there were so many people.
It’s an understatement to say that this was a small tea party.
All the noble attendees were even wearing all kinds of fancy dresses and tailcoats.
‘It would be difficult to approach Their Highnesses Rosé and Ferre at this rate.’
From afar, Sera watched as Rosé and Ferre excitedly bounced in the seats of the main stars of the day.
The twins were in the middle of the garden, with a large table of luxurious gift boxes beside them and so many people in front of them.
It was a bit surprising to see, but there were also quite a few adult attendees as well as children around the same age as the twins.
Surprised by the voice calling out to her from behind, Sera turned around to see Raphael.
Perhaps paying more attention to his appearance today, he was wearing a coat with shinier buttons than usual.
“Ah, Lord Raphael.
It’s been a while since we saw each other.”
Sera curtsied towards Raphael and greeted him.
“We’ve both been so busy while preparing for the party.
Anyway, there’s a lot of attendees here who you know, right, Miss Sera”
Raphael looked around and asked who were the ones that she knew.
Since it’s been pointed out, she realized that there were many familiar faces.
Since the children she was teaching before were from high-ranking noble households, they wouldn’t be left out from this event.
“Now that you mention it, there’s a lot who are here.”
There were many families she knew here, starting with the family of Marquis Bennett, including the families of Count Adriel and Count Aurix.
They were the ones who stood out at first glance, so there should be more familiar faces later.
Amongst the sea of people, none other than Duke Bethmann caught Sera’s attention.
She hoped that he didn’t notice her in turn.
He was stuck to His Majesty’s side right now, so it couldn’t be helped that he stood out.
Even from a distance, Sera could hear his impassioned voice even though she couldn’t actually hear it, and she could imagine how said all kinds of words to weasel himself into His Majesty’s good graces.
It was from far away, but when Sera saw Duke Bethmann’s gray face for the first time in a long while, she recalled the unpleasant stench of cigarettes from him.
Goosebumps rose up her whole body.
Sera tried to shake off the terrible memories while hugging herself tightly with both arms.
‘I didn’t know we’d meet here like this.
Sera vowed to never run into Duke Bethmann somehow because she just might hit him.
She clenched her hands into fists while clenching her hands over the hem of her dress.
Soon after, her grip loosened.
“You don’t seem to like Duke Bethmann, Miss Sera.”
He asked as he observed the grimace on Sera’s face.
Raphael, in turn, frowned.
“How did you know”
Was it obvious Sera asked in surprise, blinking her blue eyes.
“Duke Bethmann is notorious in high society.
Except, his domain has many mines with magic ores, so everyone just quietly lets him off.
It’s for the interest of profit, and deferment because of his peerage.”
“Well, he did something beyond my imagination.”
“Did something happen while you were tutoring Duke Bethmann’s son”
“Um… I was going to teach him.”
“The Duke tried to lay his hands on me.”
Raphael looked at Sera with a sympathetic look.
Duke Bethmann was notorious for his grubby hands, so it wasn’t impossible to guess what Sera would have suffered under if she had started tutoring the duke’s son.
“It wasn’t anything big, so I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Not anything big”
Raphael seemed to be wondering what it was, but Sera roughly cut off the conversation there, smiling.
Surely, he’d pass out from shock.
“But there are more attendees than expected, right I thought there’d only be a few people because it’s a small afternoon tea party… Is it supposed to be like this”
At her question, Raphael smiled awkwardly.
“It’s been a while since an event had taken place in the palace, so it became a bit bigger compared to what’s originally planned.
Since high society has been calm for a while now, it’s a good way to set people abuzz.”
“But there are a lot of people my age who’ve attended, too.”
What Sera wanted to ask was the gender ratio of the party’s attendees—it was particularly skewed to one side.
Especially compared to the children of Rosé and Ferre’s age, there were far too many young women!
“Everyone’s trying to be connected to His Majesty somehow, that’s probably why many nobles brought young ladies with them.”