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    Translated by Yonnee
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    “No thank you! I’m really okay. I can wash by myself—please let me wash by myself!”

    Sera cried out in a tearful voice. But despite her pleas, three maids flocked around her and brought her into a bathroom of the Central Palace, almost as if dragging her there.

    “But His Majesty told us to give the Miss a bath…”

    “No, I’m rather uncomfortable. Please let me do this by myself.”

    Almost pushing the maids’ shoulders, Sera barely kicked them out the bathroom.

    Of course, washing alone was normal in her previous life, and she didn’t even have any memories of going into a bathhouse since she was young. It was such a burdensome thing to expose one’s bare body to another person, and she had never been comfortable with it.

    Glancing over to the door with a hint of anxiety, she dipped into the bathtub that was large enough for three adult men to sit in. Opaque clouds of steam rolled up from the tub that was already full of hot water.

    As she was sufficiently warmed up, immersed in the water, she slowly raised her head and thought of what just happened.

    Sera covered her face with both hands. Her face was extremely warm. She couldn’t tell whether it was from the water or if it was because she was so embarrassed.

    “Oh my gosh, Sera Popo. You must have gone crazy.”

    She turned on the faucet in a hurry and sprayed her face with cold water. Now, she felt like the heat was cooling down, just as she was feeling more calm.

    “Sera Popo, come on, get a grip. How could you misunderstand that?!”

    Sera kicked the bottom of the tub with her submerged legs. She was so ashamed that she wanted to hide herself immediately.

    It was a real misunderstanding. She thought that he meant that she should take a bath at the Emperor’s bathroom when he told her—with an innocent face—that she should wash up first.

    And what she replied was, ‘So Your Majesty is saying that I should use your bathroom?’ Argh!

    The more she thought about it, the more embarrassed she got. She couldn’t even think about talking about it to someone, but she knew how delusional she sounded.

    Sera slightly slapped her face with both hands.

    ‘No matter how many romance novels you’ve read, how could you think that you’ll use the Emperor’s bathroom? Did you think the Emperor fell in love with you, huh? For him to extend such a favor, huh?!’

    As she looked back, she thought it was ridiculous, too. She laughed inwardly, her guffaws ringing loudly in her head.

    It was ridiculous. She had read her fair share of transmigration novels, but no matter how much she thought about it, novels were novels and reality was reality.

    The Emperor wasn’t some neighborhood friend. He just felt so bad for his siblings’ tutor that he let her wash here at the palace… But then she went too far.

    ‘Let’s get it together, Sera Popo. You had 27 years in your previous life and 23 years in your present life. You’ve lived without a lover for 50 years just like that, so stop it with these ridiculous delusions.’

    It was foolish to misinterpret His Majesty’s actions. Besides, she didn’t want to believe it, but when the Emperor told her to wash up…

    ‘Just how bad did I smell?’

    She sniffed near her arm, but she could only smell her own natural faint scent and the fragrance of luxurious roses.

    ‘Since I’m already in the tub like this, I’m not sure… I did run around with the twin highnesses all day long while I was wet, so it wouldn’t be strange if I really did smell.’

    Once again, she poured water all over her body. If she smelled unpleasant to herself, then it would be all the more so if other people caught a whiff.

    Leaning resignedly against one side of the bathtub, Sera told herself, ‘Let’s stop thinking about self-deprecating things.’ She sank down the water with the surface just below her nose.

    As she laid back, she felt today’s fatigue being relieved all at once. At that, she felt drowsy.

    “Haa… This is really nice.”

    Like the children she taught, she made bubbles as she looked around the bathroom that was lacquered with gold. Given her place in society, it was a room that wouldn’t ever suit her in her life.

    “This is some kind of miracle, too.”

    She was currently using a bathroom inside the Imperial Palace. Not only that, but it was also in the Central Palace. It would have normally been impossible for her to even set foot inside the palace.

     

    * * *

     

    Helios smiled unconsciously as he recalled Sera’s bright red face.

    ‘I didn’t mean to…’

    He never thought that Sera Popo would misunderstand what he said. He knew that he spoke cheerfully and clearly, but he didn’t think that she’d interpret that as allowing her to use the Emperor’s bathroom.

    Crinkling his eyes upwards as he smiled, he shook his head.

    Of course, she was as shocked as a bunny. When she said, ’Pardon? Your Majesty?’ he should have caught on that she had misunderstood, so he was also somewhat at fault here.

    ‘But seeing that face makes me want to tease you.’

    It was the same a few days ago, but he really thought she was a person who revealed all her thoughts on her face. Her being flustered like that reminded him of Rosé and Ferre, so it was cute and fun. Even so, he didn’t want to reveal his own thoughts so easily.

    So he deliberately said, ‘a bathroom here’ in such a vague manner to make her misunderstand once more. But he didn’t expect her to outright say what she thought.

    Helios kept smiling as he recalled Sera, who widened her blue eyes so adorably as she bit her pink lips slightly.

    While he was lost in thought for a while, Sera had returned to his office after washing up.

    “I’m grateful for Your Majesty’s consideration in letting me wash up. Thanks to you, I feel more refreshed now.”

    After Sera had curtsied, she sat across from him once more. As he saw Sera who looked more like herself now after being refreshed like that, he thought that it was a good idea that he suggested she wash up.

    Her cheeks were still burning. Her wet hair looked darker because it was still somewhat damp. Because of the contrast with her porcelain complexion, she looked much younger than her age.

    ‘Did she say she’s 23 years old?’

    He tried to recall Sera’s age. Perhaps because her makeup was removed, but she looked reliable even if she looked more like a teenager.

    “It seems like you went through a lot today because of my siblings. Can I ask what happened for you to appear that way earlier?”

     


     

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