There was only one reason why he’d want to meet Sera secretly.
A juvenile young woman dared to hit him three months ago.
More than that, she had hit him with a thick, 500-page hardcover book right on his face, which resulted in a broken nose.
A broken nose was inevitably difficult to treat naturally, even with the help of medicine.
As he was afraid of the rumors speculating the cause of his injury, the duke had to bring in his personal doctor surreptitiously.
He poured a large amount of money into his treatment.
In turn, his wife had vaguely guessed what happened, and so she had criticized him.
He never thought that he’d ever be subjected to such humiliation.
And for that reason, he decided to take revenge on Sera Popo.
As he was wealthy and had a high status in society, he could easily take care of a poor, no-name girl who was merely self-made and had no parents behind her.
Until he heard something absurd.
“You didn’t know, Duke Miss Sera is now teaching Their Highnesses in the Imperial Palace.”
It was frustrating.
At that moment, his plans to make her pay all as soon as possible went up in smoke.
No matter how threatening the duke was on his own, the imperial family was an exception to this.
If he were to take revenge on Sera Popo while she was still going in and out of the palace, he’d only be left having to deal with something annoying.
That’s why, for the time being, he was forced to let her be.
But this didn’t mean that he had given up on his plans for revenge—he waited for the opportune day to meet Sera Popo, even if it was just by chance.
And like fate, this chance did come.
The twin prince and princess’ birthday party.
It was finally the day of his revenge, the day he’d get to meet Sera Popo.
And that day was today.
He’d be able to pay Sera Popo back for the humiliation she had caused him to go through.
Even so, it didn’t work out as he wanted in the start.
The emperor, who was much younger than the duke, had even opposed the business that the duke had proposed.
He also cited reasons why.
The duke tried to gain the emperor’s favor for his own self-interest, but the emperor continued to reject all his plans.
The emperor smiled all throughout without even changing his expression.
Then Saruvia, the daughter of Duke Cross, appeared shortly after.
Even though she was about the same age as his own daughter, she was still desirable in his eyes.
Because the duke held less importance compared to a mage, the young lady took the place next to the emperor, leaving the duke with no place to stand.
Furthermore, he heard that his son Elijah, who he raised so preciously, had been bitten by Princess Roseline…
Seeing the red teeth marks on his son’s arm bristled his wrath.
It was enough to make him dizzy in anger.
‘That kid should be inflicted the same wound as my son! To hell with her being an imperial family member!’
Though even as he was a terrifying man himself, the imperial family really was still different.
They were at a position that was the same as the sky, and it was at a height that no one could dare touch.
Taking out the flask of liquor that he brought in secretly, Duke Bethmann took a swig to overcome his discomfort.
He needed a target so that he could relieve his anger.
And the person who fit the bill was Sera Popo.
He got lucky.
At the rear side of the party which he accidentally entered, he found Sera Popo and Their Highnesses like fate.
He wouldn’t be able to touch the prince and princess, so he prayed with all his might that Sera Popo would be left alone!
Did God heed his desperate prayer
Sera stayed behind without knowing that he was there watching her.
‘A God-given opportunity!’
Duke Bethmann had been hiding behind a tree, but he soon revealed his presence.
Sera Popo, who belatedly noticed him, was left shocked as he approached her.
He had promised to himself that he would get back at her.
The moment he saw Sera Popo, he felt that it’s a shame he couldn’t have a taste of her body last time—she had a pretty face and a pliant body.
It was interesting to see her look him in the eye and try to talk to him.
And the dress that she was wearing today—she looked prettier now compared to when he met her during Elijah’s consultation.
The hard liquor with a strong smell, which he gulped down earlier, clouded his judgment.
* * *
With a firm expression, the emperor arrived.
The bustling atmosphere quickly died down as though cold water had been poured over everyone.
All the children were either standing still or being held in their parents’ arms.
The noblewomen, who were each holding their children, lowered their gazes with anxiety, thinking over what they had said just now, if there was any mistake they had uttered.
An unbearable silence dawned upon the splendidly decorated garden.
Even the young children noticed that the atmosphere was unusual, and so they waited silently in their mothers’ arms.
“I understand that you all have become uncomfortable due to the mishap just now.”
His low, calm voice broke the silence.
Everyone there looked towards the owner of the voice, towards Helios.
“The reason for this mishap is still unknown, so please refrain from making excessive speculations about Roseline, Ferreritan and Young Lord Elijah.”
His voice sounded much more intense than how he usually spoke.
Noticing the disquiet and heavy expression on Helios’ face, the nobles drew in their breaths.
With a straight posture and without any objections from others, Helios turned around.
He was about to call his younger siblings and ask what had happened.
But at that moment, one person among the young noble ladies stepped forward.
It was Duke Bethmann’s daughter, Lucille Bethmann.
Helios’ steps were halted and he looked back at her.
All eyes were on Ducal Princess Lucille and Helios.
“My younger brother, Elijah, had been bitten by Her Highness Rosé.
I don’t believe you’re trying to brush this matter aside, are you, Your Majesty”
Lucille asked as she looked straight at him with gray eyes that were just like her father’s.
Seeing Lucille’s bold behavior, several noblewomen were already rebuking her.
Where on earth would you see a mere daughter of a duke so proudly walk up to the emperor like that In a way, Lucille was committing an impudent act by ignoring proper etiquette between their ranks.
Please take care of my brother’s injuries.”
It was extraordinary, how audaciously Lucille was acting right now.
Everyone turned red because it was difficult to watch her be like this.
Of course, everyone watching knew what she was thinking and why she was being so forward.
She must be relying on the generous emperor’s kindness.
For this reason, there was a blind belief that Helios wouldn’t punish her even if she did something so rude.
Lucille must be holding onto this even when anyone with common sense would know that she was being entirely disrespectful.
With this foolish behavior of acting before thinking and not the other way around, Lucille was exactly the same as her father.
Seeing this, everyone clicked their tongues.