‘Oh, I made a mistake.’
Sera looked down at her finger that was pressing the wrong key.
On the blank key was her pale finger, which was in contact with Helios’s finger.
She had barely touched him, but her heart was beating as hard as the melody’s rhythm just now.
Helios’s gaze, like hers, lingered on their fingertips that were touching.
All the senses in her body were concentrated on that single point of contact with him. She could feel herself heating up.
‘It feels kind of warm here.’
No longer able to bear the racing palpitations within her chest, Sera jumped out of her seat.
“What’s wrong, Miss Popo?”
Helios called out to her, slightly flustered by her sudden actions. She had turned around and said nothing in return. She couldn’t bear to look at him now.
‘If I look back now…’
Ba-thump, ba-thump, ba-thump…
Her trembling heart would be caught.
In the absence of her answer, Helios also stood up. Going around the chair, he took a step towards Sera.
As her gaze was fixed to the ground, she saw him draw nearer towards her, barely stopping herself from gasping.
Contrary to her desire to raise her head quickly, her eyes could not escape the marble floor.
Instead, Helios leaned down and made eye contact with her. His eyes, deep like the glimmering night sky, looked at her seriously.
“Do you feel ill? Or, does the bite hurt right now?”
His voice full of concern was low and heavy, still affected by the curse.
Sera barely managed to open her lips, squeezing out those two words from her trembling lips like a sigh.
Helios could have backed down when he heard her say that she was alright, but rather, he just brought his face closer to her.
He scanned Sera’s complexion with grave eyes, and at that moment, pulled the piano bench near and led her to sit down there again.
There was no chance for her to escape.
“You don’t look fine at all. Just in case, I think it would be better to have a thorough check whether side effects have been left from the curse.”
Without her answer, Helios immediately dropped on one knee. Then, he carefully placed one of Sera’s feet over his thigh.
He checked Sera’s slender ankle, not caring about her shoe dirtying his pants.
Even though there was not a single trace of the curse left on her pale skin, Helios frowned as if he was recalling the snake last time.
Even though it wouldn’t leave any effect, he initiated a warm, golden wave of sacred power from his fingertips, little by little. His hand touched the exposed ankle.
“Um, please, you don’t have to do this.”
Sera felt exceedingly embarrassed that her leg was on him, but she couldn’t pull out from his grasp.
It must just be an illusion that her foot felt hot.
“This can’t go on. It looks fine, but I believe it would be better to call the mage right now.”
“You don’t have to go that far, Your Majesty. I truly am fine.”
“No, Miss Popo. You seem to have a fever—your complexion is much too red.”
He was worrying excessively.
She felt elated by his tender and caring attitude towards her, but today, she felt a bit upset that he wouldn’t listen to her words.
He had shown concern for her like this more than once before, but each and every time, only Sera would be left wavering in the end.
That’s why she couldn’t school her features properly.
Helios’s actions kept making her misunderstand, kept making her hold expectations, kept making her want to cross the line… But inevitably, she would be left with only disappointment.
‘Between two people who aren’t even in a relationship, why should he be so concerned about checking whether I’m ill or not? His Majesty is always like this, so I…!’
She felt a sting in her heart.
As he looked up at her as though asking for her permission, Sera turned her head away.
“It’s not like that, Your Majesty.”
There was a hint of resentment in her tone, as if all the emotions she’s had for a long time were coming out.
Somewhat surprised, Helios’s eyes went wide. However, this expression soon disappeared as he faced her calmly.
“But we can never know. It wasn’t an ordinary snake. I’m just worried about you, Miss Popo.”
He was good at consoling his younger siblings, and so he comforted Sera in the same friendly but serious tone.
It was quite the jarring sight to see the most powerful man in the whole empire appeasing a noble lady of a fallen household.
Not only that, but also getting down on one knee in front of her while having a slight disagreement.
Sera knew well enough that it was a ridiculous situation, and that it was absurd for her to be so sulky.
She also understood that, from his perspective, it was rather strange for her to refuse his thoughtfulness.
She was clearly aware of how rude she was being to someone who’s given her nothing but kindness. However, whenever this happened, she just…
“Your Majesty keeps making me misunderstand.”
She felt wronged. It was unfair.
At this, Helios was visibly flustered.
His pupils trembled. It seemed as though he never expected to hear such a thing from her.
After a long time, he answered back.
“…What do you mean, making you misunderstand…”
No, did he really not know?
However, seeing that he still looked clueless after Sera directly confronted him about it, it seemed to her like the idea really never crossed his mind.
Everything he had done for her was just him being considerate—as was his nature.
Everything that happened until now was just her imagination.
For the first time in her life, Sera was genuinely upset by him.
‘Certainly. If he knew how I felt, he wouldn’t have treated me like this. I’m sure he would have drawn the line long before.’
It was an obvious fact, but there was nothing she could do about the wave of despair washing over her.
She pretended to be smart, pretended to be wise—pretended that she would not be hurt.
Unlike the outward confidence she had in herself, deep inside her, she was terribly uncertain.
In the back of her mind, she must have held expectations that he might share the same feelings as her.
“No, Your Majesty. It’s nothing. For me to say such a thing is just…”
But before she could continue her words with a resigned smile, she felt the sense of unfairness, which she had been pushing down all this time, coming undone.
‘How would you react if I tell you the truth?’
Want to read more? Up to  advanced chapters are available on Patreon:
For update pings, novel discussions and/or to send mistake reports, join our discord server~!
Comments for chapter "Chapter 203"
Advanced chapters on this site can be unlocked with bells, but don’t worry! You are not obligated to unlock them—you may do so only if you want to read ahead. The chapters will eventually become free according to the update schedule of each novel.