‘So this is why they dressed me up like this.’
People intentionally dressed to the nines and accessorized glamorously even though this was just a tea party.
They all had a mission to somehow catch the emperor’s eye.
Sera looked around, observing the dolled up noble young ladies, and they seemed to range from 16 or 17 to around Sera’s age.
Sadly however, the mission they were carrying out with much enthusiasm didn’t seem to be working out well for them.
Today’s event was Rosé and Ferre’s birthday celebration, so people were divided into two groups, the adults and the children.
The young ladies who hadn’t reached their coming-of-age yet were near Rosé and Ferre because they weren’t officially adults yet.
And the young ladies who had the intention to talk to His Majesty somehow seemed to be returning without achieving their goals.
They all looked desponded, as though they already knew the outcome.
In addition, the young ladies didn’t know what to do with the gaggle of children under the age of ten like Rosé and Ferre.
While they were dressed uncomfortably with lots of decorations, it was inevitable that their clothes were bound to become dirty.
There were many kids whose faces had become like pandas as they ate their chocolate cakes.
Some kids stole food from their friends seated next to them, some kids were flinging their food everywhere, and some kids were whining for toys.
The maids and attendants behind them seemed to be overwhelmed because there were too many children here.
“I think I need to go.”
As though everyone there was waiting for her to come, Sera left Raphael’s side after curtsying towards him briefly.
* * *
“Sera, you’re so pretty!”
After spying Sera’s face amongst the throng of people around them, Rosé and Ferre jumped off their chairs and ran to her like Pororo¹.
They saw that she was dressed up beautifully in the gift they gave her, and this made them smile happily.
“You’re wearing the gift we gave you!”
“Hyung picked it so it’s pretty!”
“Sera works so hard every day, so Heli Oppa prepared the gift with us!”
“Thank you very much.
I really like it, too.”
Rosé and Ferre were enthusiastically chattering on about the gift, so Sera wondered how they endured keeping silent about it until now.
‘Maybe this is why they left my side without any sign of regret earlier’
With a gaze full of affection, Sera smiled broadly as she looked at Rosé and Ferre, who buried their faces in the width of her dress.
When she leaned down and patted the two, they raised their heads at the same time.
But at that moment, children around them called her name, their voices ringing throughout the air.
In this fancy tea party, the shouting children stopped talking amongst themselves and jumped from their seats, waving their hands as they looked at Sera as though they hadn’t seen her in years.
Some couldn’t wait and just ran forward.
“Teacher! I missed you!”
The first one who ran forward was Edward.
Running like a bulldozer, Edward headed straight into Sera’s arms as she caught him.
At this, Ferre’s eyes glinted sharply towards Edward.
“Young Master Edward, long time no see!”
Sera’s eyes crinkled up and she greeted him happily.
Edward wiped his nose, straightened his back, and politely bowed again, pretending to be a well-behaved child.
Sera patted Edwards head, glad to know that he still remembered what he taught her.
As her hands continued to stroke his brown hair, Ferre and Rosé’s eyes glinted once again.
As if Edward was stealing her away.
“Sera is mine.”
Sera is ours.”
Ferre responded to Rosé’s words and hugged Sera’s arm tightly.
Looking at them, Sera was surprised by what Rosé and Ferre suddenly said.
‘You can’t say that,’ she said, yet the moment she frowned slightly at the twins, they also looked away.
Their legs were trembling slightly, as if they knew they did something wrong.
“To… Today is our birthday, so we’ll hold Sera’s hands.”
Ferre chewed on his lower lip after whispering in a small voice.
Seeing the obvious jealousy, Sera smiled because he was being so cute.
However, it was going to be difficult to come out unscathed from this.
There were three kids here, but she had only two hands.
It’s clear that everyone would complain if she told them that they could instead hold each other’s hands, so Sera pulled out one trick.
“My hands are so precious that only good children can hold them.
Who are the ones who can take these places”
As soon as they heard these words, Rosé, Ferre and Edward’s eyes got bigger.
They soon ran to the table quickly, regardless of who went there first.
Sitting down as they panted, the children waited for Sera, their eyes sparkling like they were puppies waiting to be pampered.
‘You guys are really so cute.’
Sera walked slowly with lithe steps, watching them with a happy smile.
At the big table, not only were Rosé, Ferre and Edward sitting there, but Clara and Elijah.² Elijah was Duke Bethmann’s son, who Sera met only once.
Nearby, the tired faces of the young ladies and the imperial palace’s servants, who suffered from taking care of the children, could be seen.
Two young ladies looked as if their souls had escaped from their bodies, with their heads bowed down and their ears covered.
The children’s voices seemed to be too much for them.
‘I need to settle this.’
Sighing once, Sera waved cheerfully as she approached the children’s table, greeting them.
“Long time no see, everyone! Have you all been doing well”
“Yes, Teacher! Is Teacher doing well, too”
“Of course I am.
It’s really nice to see the young masters and young ladies like this after a long time.
How did you all grow this much”
Sera showered each child a compliment and took out some caramel candies from her small handbag.
Everyone gathered around her, each reaching up with their two small, chubby hands as though they were already used to this.
When she dropped one caramel candy each to their cute hands, they instantly popped them into their mouths as though they were adorable sparrows.
As the sweet caramel melted in their mouths, all the children who were screaming and yelling like little chicks became silent.
When it’s noisy, it’s best to give something sweet to occupy their mouths.
Then, at that moment.
“Miss Sera, it’s been a while.”
¹ Pororo, a little blue penguin, is a famous cartoon character in Korea.
² Previously translated as Alizée.