Setting down a chessboard and a bottle of wine on the table, Aushuvel smiled at Helios.
There was a heavy gaze behind the emperor’s eyes.
“Did something happen with Sera, Heli”
He skillfully poured some wine for his cousin and held the glass out to him.
“What do you mean”
“I ran into her a while ago, but she looked so distracted.
She didn’t even notice me as she passed by.”
While pouring a glass for himself as well, Aushuvel asked lightly as he recalled what happened earlier when he encountered Sera Popo in the hallway.
She was obviously thinking very hard about something.
Since she passed by him with her head down, she didn’t even see that he was waving at her, greeting her cheerfully.
Aushuvel was absolutely certain that it had something to do with Helios.
“I thought it would be related to you, but maybe it isn’t”
Though he tilted his head to the side to show his perplexity, Aushuvel was smirking.
On the chessboard, which he brought for today’s meeting, he moved the white horse.
“I asked if she could continue being the twins’ tutor.
I also asked if we could extend the contract for one more year, but truthfully, I wanted to offer a longer time period.”
After sipping some wine, Helios’ voice was unusually calm.
His eyes were, as always, curved languidly into crescent moons, but it’s impossible for him to erase all traces of his worries.
“And Sera said she couldn’t do it”
“She asked for more time to think.
But she didn’t look happy when she heard my suggestion, and… it’s bothering me.
To be honest, I don’t think she’ll say yes.”
“If so, what do you think is the reason”
“Well, I’m not quite sure.”
Helios smiled weakly and moved the black horse.
Watching him silently, Aushuvel sighed and took a sip of wine himself.
The answer was right there, but it seemed like his dear cousin hadn’t the slightest clue.
That particular reason.
It’s simple, really.
‘She’s perfectly aware of her position, so she can’t even imagine she’d be able to be together with him, that’s why she’d rather end it here than continue liking him—and rather than stand sorrowfully in the sidelines while watching him get engaged or married.’
Tsk. Aushuvel inwardly clicked his tongue.
His eyes full of pity soon turned to his cousin.
Based on all his actions so far, Aushuvel was certain that it must be love.
And Helios himself didn’t know about his own feelings.
Helios got so jealous of Aushuvel the other night, too, so what Helios was feeling surely wasn’t just anything light or casual.
But the question was this: should Aushuvel help Helios realize his feelings
It was a question that couldn’t be answered easily.
Helios was an emperor who had such huge responsibilities on his shoulders, and there was a lot at stake on just his marriage alone.
“Heli, wanna make a bet”
Aushuvel asked as he took one of Helios’ pawns.
“A bet All of a sudden”
“We always made bets when we were younger, remember If you win, I’ll tell you something important.”
“You rarely ever won against me anyway, Aushuvel.”
Helios shook his head, thinking that it was ridiculous to make a wager.
Every time they met, they always played chess like this, but Aushuvel won very few times.
And it’s not like Aushuvel didn’t know that either.
For him to suggest a bet out of the blue… Helios was a little suspicious.
“Still, you never know, Heli.”
As the wine bottle’s contents decreased, the game reached its final stages.
And the winner was, of course…
The winner was Helios.
Aushuvel’s king was flicked over.
Admitting his defeat, Aushuvel leaned away from the chessboard and drank the rest of the wine.
“It’s a landslide victory this time, too.
Why won’t you just let me win once”
“Because you always get impatient towards the end.
In almost all of our games, you were so close to winning, but you always let your guard down towards the end.”
“Ah, you can read my mind well, but you don’t know how my heart feels, Heli.”
Aushuvel smiled casually, sitting back crookedly against his chair.
He didn’t notice earlier because he was so focused on the game, but it seemed the alcohol had finally gotten to him.
Would’ve been better if Helios was even a little tipsy, too.
Unlike the haphazard Aushuvel whose posture was too relaxed now, Helios didn’t look even a little intoxicated.
“So, what’s the important thing you’re going to tell me”
Seeing Aushuvel slightly freeze up, Helios smirked as he told his cousin to hurry up and talk.
On the other hand, Helios’ smile also made it apparent that he knew this was something related to Sera Popo.
Aushuvel was smirking relaxedly just now, but his expression soon changed.
“You can read other people’s feelings well enough, but you don’t seem to know your own.”
“What do you mean”
“It’s just, you know.
You look like you’re holding back too much.
Like this, kinda.”
“Aren’t you being too vague”
Helios asked, but in response, Aushuvel just shrugged as if it was no big deal.
If he was the one who called ‘checkmate’, he might have been more inclined to tell it to him straight.
Resting his chin on one hand, Aushuvel let out a sigh that carried the faint scent of wine.
Then, he smiled.
“Let’s see if you can figure it out once I leave for the Vaugh Kingdom soon.”
Aushuvel took out another bottle of wine.
“Let’s drink one more bottle, shall we, Heli”
He filled the empty glasses and shouted a toast to Helios. Clink.
Their glasses continued to be filled for a long time after that.