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    Translated by Yonnee
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    Helios was so surprised by the sight that he let out a short burst of laughter without realizing it. But then, he quickly composed himself and averted his gaze.

    Sera pouted without saying anything. More than anyone else, she knew how she looked right now. And in front of her was His Majesty, who shined brightly unlike her dirty appearance. It was a picture-perfect scene of the disparity between a prince and a pauper.

    “Ah. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to laugh.”

    Helios slowly lifted his gaze again and said this to her with apologetic eyes. Hearing his gentle, low tone and seeing his firm expression, it seemed like a sincere apology.

    “It’s alright, Your Majesty.”

    Sera replied as she avoided the Emperor’s gaze. Those eyes were bad for her heart.

    “Don’t just stand there, come sit.”

    Helios gestured towards the seat in front of him. Until now, Sera was standing stiffly like a piece of wood, so she approached the seat slowly.

    Sera sat down carefully, the scraping of the chair quite loud.

    “So what happened today for you to turn out like this?”

    Helios asked in a friendly voice that was like a spring breeze. At the same time, Sera unintentionally felt her heart pounding as his gaze was directed right at her.

    It was a natural physiological reaction in front of a handsome man.

    “I don’t look presentable, right?”

    Sera laughed ruefully. Her shoulders shook as she laughed, and in the end Jean’s coat, which was only draped over her, fell to the floor.

    “Oh, I’m sorry, Your Majesty. Let me pick it up.”

    The moment she reached down to pick it up, Helios had also leaned over to carefully place a hand on her arm.

    “It’s alright, I’ll pick it up for you.”

    Even though he was only stopping her from picking up the coat, he spoke with a sweet voice, as if he was talking to a lover.

    ‘If His Majesty has a lover, I’m sure she’ll be nervous all the time.’

    If he treated everyone like this, wouldn’t there be a string of hearts being led on? Sera thought this as she watched him get up from his seat. This seemed to be the reason why the Emperor’s daily life was such a hot topic in tabloid newspapers that could be found being sold everywhere.

    His long legs strode elegantly and his steps were silent. Approaching from behind Sera, he paused for a while. He saw that her appearance was as much of a mess in front as it was in the back.

    ‘My younger siblings are responsible for this.’

    Even if she moved only a little, flour would be dislodged and would flutter around her. The chair she was sitting on was already covered with white flour in several places. Meanwhile, her glossy black hair was wet and matted, and her slender shoulders looked smaller.

    ‘You put a lot of consideration into entering the Imperial Palace, but now that I see how your light pink dress was stained to this degree, I don’t know if I should say you’re too diligent, or if I should just say thank you for watching my younger siblings well…’

    Helios leaned down and reached for Jean’s coat on the ground.

    “Your Majesty, you really didn’t have to…”

    “It’s fine.”

    When she shook the coat casually, white powder fluttered in the air. Then, he placed the coat over Sera’s shoulders. After covering her exposed shoulders, he gave a look of satisfaction.

    He didn’t know the details on what happened, but he felt responsible for it because it was obvious that his younger siblings had done this. He was both sorry and grateful.

    And perhaps… That’s why he didn’t even think it through before he said these words.

    “Do you want to wash up first?”

    “Pardon? Your Majesty?”

    Then he returned to his seat, but Sera was just left shocked. Her round eyes, which were already big in the first place, widened into saucers. Shocked by the unexpected suggestion, Sera could only blink.

    “There’s a bathroom here. Would you like to wash up?”

    The low, friendly tone echoed loudly inside the quiet office. What ensued next was an awkward tension between the two.

    “Pardon? Here inside?”

    “There’s a bathroom here. Why don’t you bathe there?”

    “So Your Majesty is saying that I should use your bathroom?”

    Her soft pink lips had opened gently and asked back. The color of her lips were already indistinguishable from the color of her flushed cheeks. Surprised and embarrassed, Sera’s entire face was the color of a ripe peach.

    “This… I made you misunderstand. I meant that there are many empty rooms and bathrooms here at the Central Palace. I’ll call for the maids, so why don’t you wash up first?”

    As if he knew nothing, Helios smiled kindly and said this in a hushed voice. Before Sera could snap out of her shock, Helios knocked on his desk twice. Raphael came as the office doors opened.

    “You called, sire?”

    “Please lead Miss Popo to a place where she can wash up. I can’t let her leave like this on the first day.”

    “What do you mean, wash up, Your Majesty?”

    It was only then that Raphael glanced at Sera. And what she saw behind his gaze was clearly ridicule. Of course she was a mess. He saw her when she came in!

    ‘These people are just really…!’

    Sera bowed her head in shame.

     


     

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