Ever since that day, the Star Palace had regained the same tranquility that it had before.
After hearing from Sera that it would be so much better to smile more than to cry for the rest of the month, Rosé and Ferre still sometimes expressed their sadness, but they never cried or complained as much as before.
So, Sera and the children made the best out of their time together. And as he usually did, at night, Helios would come to the Star Palace.
“Heli Oppa, what did you say!”
Rosé and Ferre reacted strongly to what Helios said just now. We’re they sleepy just now…?
With how abruptly they jumped up, they didn’t even notice that their stuffed bunny and stuffed monkey had fallen from their arms.
As Helios was sitting at one edge of the bed, Helios let out a chuckle at the sight of his younger siblings.
He picked up the stuffed animals and brought them back to their embraces, and the children’s eyes followed his movements with excitement and anticipation.
“Heli Oppa, what did you say? Can you say that again please?”
Rosé urged her older brother to answer quickly.
“The hunting competition will be next week, and you two can attend this year.”
Helios repeated what he said with a gentle voice. Then, he turned to Sera with a bit of an apologetic expression.
“So, I think that I should ask a favor from you as well, Miss Popo.”
“I need someone to stay with Rosé and Ferre. If you don’t mind, would it be alright if I ask you to stay with the twins on that day?”
“Yes, Your Majesty. Of course.”
Sera readily accepted Helios’ request. After all, she decided to make a lot of memories with Rosé and Ferre, so this was a good opportunity for that.
As they waited for her answer with bated breath, the moment Sera answered, Rosé and Ferre celebrated in an instant.
“Wow! Sera’s going, too, Ferre!”
“Hunting competition! Hunting! Hunting! With Sera!”
It seemed like their excitement couldn’t be contained, and so they jumped up and out of the bed.
The twins, with their pink cheeks, hugged Sera and Helios at once.
“Sera! We’re going to the hunting competition! Me and Ferre and Sera together!”
“Sera! We’re gonna watch the hunting competition together! I really, really love it!”
“Is it Sera’s first time, too?”
“Sera is going to stay with us, right?”
“Yes, it’s my first time going to the hunting competition as well. Are you both really happy?”
Sera smiled, gently patting the children’s backs.
Rosé and Ferre both nodded, their eyes sparkling as they were in her arms.
“Yeah! Oppa said we can’t go last year because we’re just six years old. Me and Ferre asked Oppa why he’s the only one going. We cried a lot and got upset a lot, but Oppa still said no. Because we’re too young.”
“But we’re happy now! Me and Rosé can finally go.”
“Sera, there’s many animals in the forest, right? We’ll see bunnies and squirrels, right?”
“I wanna see a big deer. A deer!”
“I don’t wanna see a deer, I wanna see cute animals. A baby fox! A baby weasel!”
Rosé and Ferre told Sera about their own expectations in the hunting competition.
Even then, as if it wasn’t enough, the twins held each other’s hands and giggled together.
Listening to Rosé and Ferre babble, Sera admired their cuteness—however, she also felt a bit troubled.
The twins seemed to be under the impression that the hunting competition would be a way for them to meet many different animals.
However, as it’s literally implied with its name, the hunting competition was an event where, usually during summer, nobles would ride their horses and hunt wild animals.
It was the biggest sport amongst the nobility, but at the root of it all was, after all, the death of the animals.
The winner would be the one who’d hunt the largest animal, and of course, all the animals that would come back would have already passed away.
So, the good news was that the children would be able to meet the cute animals that they were dreaming to see. The bad news was that they’d be shocked to see what condition they’re in.
“So Your Majesty hasn’t…”
Feeling conflicted, Helios nodded when Sera trailed off.
“That’s the case, yes. I don’t think my younger siblings realize what kind of event it is. I think they’re going to cry once they see it in real life.”
A despondent smile proved his heavy heart.
Gently, Helios brought the children back to their bed and tucked them in.
Rosé and Ferre seemed to be in the mood to talk more about the hunting competition, but the way Helios firmly tucked them in made them unconsciously close their eyes.
Perhaps tired in their own way, the twins fell asleep easily.
And, leaving behind the sound of their even breaths, Sera and Helios left the Star Palace.
Sera was with Helios again today because she couldn’t dissuade Helios’ consideration this time again. He saw her off and escorted her to her carriage.
Sera looked worriedly at Helios, who was about to close the carriage door for her.
His expression was still dark, and it was obvious that he was worrying about his younger siblings, who would have to see the reality of the hunting competition soon.
“Is the hunt bothering you, Your Majesty?”
Releasing the door that he had closed already for a while back, Helios glanced towards Sera. His long fingers rubbed over his eyelids.
“I really can’t win against you, Miss Popo.”
Smiling awkwardly, he let out a sigh.
“At the end of the day, there’s so many things that Rosé and Ferre shouldn’t be seeing during that event. That’s why children under the age of seven aren’t allowed to watch the hunting competition.”
“That’s right… Their Highnesses are completely mistaken right now…”
“Rosé and Ferre might burst into tears just catching sight of the game that would be brought back.”
“That’s undeniable, yes.”
Sera sincerely agreed with Helios, her sympathy for him evident in her saddened eyes.
Rosé and Ferre might get shocked and disheartened by the cruel side of the event.
“Is there another way, Your Majesty?”
He might have already thought of other ways to go about this, so Sera carefully asked just in case.
“It’s a traditional event, so the Imperial Family has to attend. Me as well, I’ll have to participate in the hunt.”
“Your Majesty will be hunting?”
Sera seemed a little surprised to hear this, and she asked back reflexively. With how gentle Helios was, it was difficult to imagine him killing anything.
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