“Yes. It couldn’t be helped because it was the Emperor’s request. I couldn’t even say goodbye to Edward properly. I apologize, Marchioness.”
Sera’s smile was full of regret. She was worried that Marchioness Bennett might feel offended because of the sudden suspension of Edward’s classes. But fortunately, there weren’t any signs of that.
Rather, the Marchioness seemed to have expected this to happen.
“No, no. It was His Majesty’s request, so of course! If you had refused, I would have persuaded you instead, Miss Sera. You go ahead and teach the Twin Highnesses. We’re all on your side.”
The other noblewomen nodded along with her. And they didn’t forget to shake their fans twice as a sign that they sympathized with His Majesty.
‘Sure. It’s possible with that face. But he’s not a womanizer or anything, right? In that magazine…’
Sera hurriedly removed from her mind the contents of the magazine that adolescents shouldn’t even read. Anyway, she had met the Emperor once already, so she understood why the noblewomen and Marchioness Bennett were siding with the Emperor.
“But this is troubling. There are rumors going around in the Imperial Palace that the antics of His and Her Highnesses are really no joke.”
The person who said this was holding a yellow fan next to the Marchioness.
“I heard some of it, too. I came along with my husband when he visited the palace, and I saw with my own eyes how they had slung mud all over the place and made a mess.”
“Really? I heard something else—that Her Highness Rosé would always make sure to kick out all the tutors that have been invited to the palace. They put needles on their chairs or push them into ponds. Anyway, it must really be no joke.”
“Right? I heard that more than a dozen tutors have already been invited yet sent away. They say that even though His Majesty suffered a lot, he wouldn’t give up on finding a tutor for the Twin Highnesses.”
“Indeed. But isn’t there a reason why the famed Marquis Vygotsky, Count Froebel and Count Piaget refused one after another?”
Sera pricked her ears, listening intently to the noblewomen’s stories. Putting needles on chairs, they said.
‘Her Highness Rosaline and His Highness Ferreritan were a much more troublesome pair than I thought. Was I blinded by money too much?’
Anxiety sprouted in her heart.
‘What if they don’t fall for the tricks up my sleeves easily like the other kids?’
Marchioness Bennett was the first to notice that Sera’s expression started to become gloomy. She approached Sera and gently patted her shoulder.
“You’ll do great, Miss Sera. Edward also made as many as ten tutors give up. So you shouldn’t worry and just go and capture the hearts of Their Highnesses Rosé and Ferre.”
At the support given to her, Sera smiled.
In time, the snacks she ordered were neatly packed and given to her. When she was about to leave the store, the noblewomen there eagerly asked for Sera to teach their children as well.
“Miss Sera, please don’t forget about our Edward when you’re in the palace.”
“Miss Sera, can’t you come and teach my child as well?”
“Teacher Sera, I want to leave my daughters in your hands. Can’t you teach them, too?”
“Teacher Sera, I have three children. Can’t you teach them? I can even drop them off at your place instead.”
After going back home, Sera prepared even more extensively to teach the twin highnesses. Being the perfectionist that she was, Sera wasn’t someone who’d stay still after hearing a troubling conversation like that between the noblewomen.
On the day of her entrance to the palace, Sera felt that her luggage had become twice as heavy. Fortunately, a colorful carriage—that she would have never gotten to ride if not for this opportunity—arrived in front of her house.
‘I’ve prepared a preliminary game to get their guards down, packed the chocolate I bought yesterday, got the textbooks I’d need to teach them, and of course stamps and stickers… I didn’t miss anything, right?’
Sera couldn’t hide her nervousness as she watched her bags being brought into the carriage that came to pick her up.
* * *
As she alighted the carriage when she arrived at the palace, a familiar face was there waiting for her. It was the same man who visited her last weekend, and he had a sword by his side.
The man, who had brown eyes and short brown hair, welcomed her with a bright smile.
“The trip wasn’t too difficult for you, I hope?”
“Not at all. There weren’t any inconveniences thanks to the carriage that His Majesty has graciously sent.”
“That’s a relief. I couldn’t even introduce myself last time. It’s late, but my name is Jean Bronte, and I am His Majesty’s escort knight. His Majesty sent me here to assist you, Miss Sera.”
“Thank you very much. Sir, as you already know, I’m Sera Popo.”
“Yes, Miss Popo.”
“Just call me Sera. That’s what everyone addresses me by.”
Sera smiled brightly at the knight. As her pink lips curved up, his face became red all of a sudden.
‘Hey, even I’m getting embarrassed here.’
“Ahem… Let’s head inside first. His Highness Ferre and Her Highness Rosé are already waiting at the study. The attendants shall bring your luggage there separately.”
“There’s a dedicated room as their study?”
Sera, as she opened her eyes widely, asked this in surprise.
“Yes. His Majesty ordered for it to be renovated in a hurry.”
Sera usually taught her students at their mansions’ library or drawing room. This was the first time she heard in Adelio that there was a dedicated ‘study’, even though it was commonplace in Korea…
‘Is the Emperor a strict person who involves himself with his siblings’ education, just like the main characters in Sky C*stle?
However, as she got closer to the Star Palace of Adelio, her expectations were shattered.
The Star Palace was famous for being a beautiful place made of yellow bricks, and it was where red roses bloomed. The Emperor from several generations in the past built a separate palace for his children a long time ago, and since then, the young children of the Imperial Family have lived here until they reached their teens.
‘But why is it so shabby?’
Where are the many beautiful roses? No matter who looked at this place, it really didn’t feel like the garden was managed at all. And in some places, the grass was torn and sparse, while even the soil was dug up in a mess.
Even the path Sera was walking on was overflowing with mud, and so Sera’s white shoes were instantly stained.
“Perhaps there’s an ongoing renovation here in the garden?”
Sera walked carefully as though she was crossing an obstacle course so that her shoes wouldn’t get more mud on them.
“No, this is… It was caused by the Twin Highnesses not being able to build a sandcastle with their mana. The Imperial gardener is on a wage strike because of this, so it doesn’t seem like it’s been sorted out yet. Is there a lot of mud on you?”
Jean glanced in her direction and looked at Sera’s clothes and shoes.
“It’s alright. I can wipe it off later.”
Sera appeased him and said it wasn’t a big deal, continuing to take in the sight around her. Apart from the mess, it was still a very spacious, colorful palace.
Following Jean, Sera entered the Star Palace. After passing through several rooms, the intricate blue doors of the twins’ study appeared before her.
Meeting the children she’d teach was always nerve-wracking. Sera clutched the skirt of her dress, her hands forming into fists.
“Their Highnesses are waiting inside.”
After nodding twice, Sera pulled open the heavy doors vigorously.
But… huh? Why couldn’t she open the door?
She tried to pry it open once more, then suddenly, bright sunlight welcomed Sera.
“Your. Highness. Rosé! Your. Highness. Ferre!”
Two octaves higher than her usual tone, Sera greeted them with the world’s most refreshing voice.
But all that answered her in return was silence.
There’s no one inside. Only her luggage was inside the room to welcome her.
Her gut feeling wouldn’t lie to her.
‘Those guys… They ran away!’
Comments for chapter "Chapter 20"
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