Helios leaned forward slightly.
This was because Sera was much shorter than him.
As he came closer, the body heat he could feel was palpable.
His fingertips, which were slowly, carefully reaching towards the lock of hair which he wanted to brush to the side, slipped a little and touched her forehead.
With her round eyes wide open, Sera froze on the spot.
As his eyes lingered on her blue eyes and rosy cheeks, the silence between them was suddenly shattered as they heard Raphael’s cry from a distance.
Sera and Helios immediately moved away from each other, as if their proximity just now was a lie.
They were less than a step away from each other only a second ago, but now, the distance between them was as wide as an ocean.
Even before the awkward atmosphere could come to pass, Raphael stared at Helios and Sera’s nervousness, though the aide himself had a stiff expression.
“There’s something I must tell you both.”
“Yes, what’s going on”
Sera was a little scared that something might have happened.
Raphael kept looking around their surroundings as if to see if there was anyone else around.
“What’s wrong, Raphael”
Helios also gave the other man a wary look.
Sera was frightened by the sudden change in the atmosphere.
Noticing that she was scared, Helios closed the distance between them again and stood near her.
“I heard that a speculative article will be published tomorrow.”
“Someone in the palace has started flapping their lips.
Miss Popo, do you remember anyone strange at the Star Palace recently Someone who’s been asking around about your relationship with His Majesty.”
“No, not at all…”
Sera shook her head and said that she’s never encountered anyone like that.
“Anything you mentioned at all”
“…The only thing I talk about with the servants in the Star Palace is regarding Their Highnesses.
Like their meals, their snacks, their bedtime…”
“What on earth is this about, Raphael”
Agonizing over what Helios would say about this, Raphael grimaced and spoke with a heavy expression.
“It’s just… According to the tip I received, it seems like word is going around that Your Majesty is secretly dating someone working in the palace, and I thought that it might be Miss Sera… It’s not accurate, but we’ll find out when the article comes out.”
Sera let out a deep sigh.
When she’s working here and in close contact with the twin highnesses, it’s no surprise that she’d be involved in some love scandal with the emperor.
After all, in her past life, the paparazzi worked hard to reveal the love stories of celebrities, and it’s no different here.
This was an empire that had everything, and of course that included some tabloids or newspapers that covered anything and all that there was about the imperial family.
“Just in case, I believe you should go home right away, Miss Popo.
I’ll contact you separately when we learn more about the article.”
“Yes, of course, Your Majesty.”
Helios and Raphael escorted Sera to her carriage.
As they were in a hurry, they walked quickly without saying anything between them.
Before she knew it, Helios was already opening the carriage door for her.
“A problem arose because I’ve been keeping you here until late.
I’m sorry you had to get involved in such a difficult situation.”
“No, Your Majesty.
A lot of reporters write about false things anyway.”
Sera smiled and said she was fine, but even with that, Helios had a much darker expression than ever before.
“I hope everything will turn out fine, but… I think it would be better to be careful for the time being.
Miss Popo, when is the next schedule for your class”
“It’s on Monday.”
“In case a crowd of reporters come, I’ll send Jean to escort you.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty.”
“You’re welcome, Miss Popo.
Get home safe.”
Helios smiled anxiously, and then closed the carriage door.
The sound of a whip tore through the air along with the horses’ cries.
Leaning against the carriage as it started forward, she looked through the window, where she caught a faint glimpse of Helios.
His expression was still dark.
And it wasn’t long until that anxiety proved true.
* * *
“Hyuuung, I’m all done.”
“Heeeli Oppa, me too, I’m done!”
Setting down the colored pencils that were in their small hands, Ferre and Rosé held out one large notebook each to show to Helios.
As he was reading comfortably with his chin resting on one hand, Helios closed his book with a snap.
It was time to check.
“You’re all done”
“Yeah! Oppa, I thought my arm was gonna fall off.”
“It was really hard.”
His younger siblings pouted their lips as they grumbled, making them look like baby sparrows.
As if to express just how difficult it was for them, the twins shook their arms and hands.
Helios was at a loss for words and even almost let out a puff of laughter as he watched the twins massage each other’s arms.
Chuckling, he spoke with affection.
“It seems like it.
But isn’t this the homework that’s due tomorrow Were you going to hide it I heard that Miss Popo gave this assignment to you last week.”
Of course, he also forgot about it because he was busy, but he couldn’t say that to his younger siblings.
He then said, ‘I was just waiting to see when you were going to show me your homework,’ though it didn’t look like he was being pricked by guilt.
“But… We were gonna do that, but Oppa also knows that on the days Sera doesn’t come, we’re also veeery busy.
We have to read a book, and…”
Helios raised an eyebrow.
As Rosé said, he did know what their schedule was like during the days that Sera didn’t come, but was that an appropriate excuse
With his arms folded together, Helios stared at Rosé.
Feeling the stinging stare, Rosé tilted her head to the side and looked elsewhere.
I’ve really, really been busy though.”
Rosé muttered under her breath.
As if she suddenly felt very diligent, she began to organize the colored pencils that were scattered on Helios’ desk and put them all in a large cylindrical pencil case one by one.
You know, actually, Rosé just told me that we shouldn’t do it because she was too lazy to do it.
She doesn’t like drawing.
She said that Hyung won’t know if we don’t tell you, and Sera sometimes forgets about the homework she gives.
So if we don’t say anything, we can get away with it…”