How to Hide the Emperor's Child - Chapter 123
Sir Seibel’s adoptive father, Count Ecklen, the Minister of Military Affairs.
Astelle had invited him to the Empress Palace a long time ago, but in the meantime, things kept going wrong, so there was no time to formally meet him.
They exchanged only formal greetings at the banquet.
Looks like he won’t be able to attend today’s event as well.
Perhaps it has to do with asking Kaizen for an audience.
‘I hope it’s not something dangerous.’
Not long after becoming empress, troublesome incidents continued to occur.
She hopes she can live more peacefully from now on.
“Why did Ecklen ask the Emperor for an audience at a time like this?”
The Marquis, who was next to Astelle, asked with a slightly worried look.
It was worth worrying about.
Unless it’s urgent, there’s no need to rush to ask to meet the emperor during a peaceful palace event.
“I do not know. My father said it had to do with the troubles in the North.”
The northern lord who had rebelled was suppressed by the emperor, but there seemed to be some problems even after the rebellion was thwarted.
Astelle only hoped that the problem would not be so serious that Kaizen had to go directly.
“Come to think of it, I invited Count Ecklen to the empress palace, but I still haven’t met him because things kept happening. I will take the opportunity this time and call him.”
The Marquis looked at Astelle with a slightly uncomfortable look.
When he made eye contact with Astelle, he looked away without saying anything.
Again, he showed this reaction.
Every time her grandfather spoke about him, he expressed his uncomfortable feelings.
Astelle asked again, not missing a chance.
“Why do you hate him so much?”
“I don’t hate him.”
He seems to hate him though. Seeing him feel so uncomfortable, Count Ecklen must have done him a very big mistake.
Or maybe it was the Marquis who did.
Astelle wondered if it was one of the two.
Fortunately, Theor lost interest in their conversation and went out to play in the garden.
Astelle pondered for a moment and then looked up at her maternal grandfather.
“When I met the Count before, he talked about my mother. Don’t tell me he had a problem with my mother, did he?”
At that moment, the Marquis turned to her in surprise.
Seeing her maternal grandfather startled, Astelle was also perplexed.
“He said he was friends with my mother.”
“Friends he said?”
“Well…… they were close. They were best friends until your mother got married.”
This time Astelle was surprised.
They were close friends until her mother got married.
The words of her maternal grandfather were implying that her mother’s marriage had not been smooth.
Astelle asked, perplexed.
“You’re not saying my mother was in a relationship with him, are you?”
“Nonsense! How do you see your mother?”
“I don’t remember her.”
“Still, that is impossible.”
“Why? Because of his low status?”
Count Ecklen was also a nobleman, but at that time, he must have come from an unnamed knight family in the countryside, so he was no match for the daughter of the Marquis.
“They were pretty close.”
The Marquis was compelled to admit it.
“But she chose your father.”
“Then there is no problem, right?”
Even if it was a close relationship before marriage, it was her father, the Duke of Reston, who eventually proposed to her mother.
And her mother accepted his proposal.
Where is the problem?
“Then why are you feeling uncomfortable?”
If there’s no problem, why does he always feel so uncomfortable when it comes to him?
Even her father was sensitive about it.
“Please tell me straight. That way I can make it clear how I will behave toward the Count.”
Astelle spoke in a strong tone.
Her maternal grandfather always avoided this.
Astelle didn’t think she would have a chance if she didn’t take this opportunity properly.
With that thought in mind, she tried to push, but a familiar person appeared at the entrance of the pavilion.
“Your Majesty the Empress.”
Seibel, in a knight uniform, entered the pavilion and bowed politely to Astelle.
“What’s going on?”
“I came here to greet you after hearing that you are here.”
“I apologize for not being able to greet you properly at the last banquet.”
“Don’t worry about it. It was because of work.”
Seibel also greeted the Marquis.
The Marquis simply nodded his head without saying anything.
Now it looks like her maternal grandfather is also uncomfortable with this young knight commander, the adopted son of Count Ecklen.
Astelle vowed to ask what was going on when she returned to the empress palace this evening.
“How’s your father?”
“He said he would visit you soon and apologized for not being able to formally greet you, Your Majesty.”
“No need to apologize. It’s just there was no right time.”
“Thank you for your understanding, Your Majesty. I will see you soon with my father.”
“Yes. Please tell him that he is welcome at any time.”
Seibel observed Astelle’s benevolent smile attentively.
Astelle maintained her flawless, elegant and dignified attitude as always, but today somehow felt a little different.
From the first time Seibel saw her, he had a crush on this dignified woman.
When he heard that she had been expelled from the Imperial Palace as soon as she became Empress, he felt sad and sympathetic as well.
“The Empress framed Lady Florin to expel the Croychen family from the capital.”
Vellian said so and asked him to meet Naen in the empress palace.
He also asked him to approach the Empress naturally and build a friendship with her.
“The Empress couldn’t have done that.”
“……what do you know about the Empress?”
Vellian asked back as if it was nonsense. But Seibel did not bother to tell him about his stepfather and the deceased duchess.
Instead of explaining everything, he flatly refused.
“Even if what you say is true, I will not do the spying.”
Kaizen walked quickly down the garden path.
He was on his way back after leaving Astelle in the pavilion.
He wanted to return early but was late because the conversation with the Count of Ecklen had gotten long.
He walked so quickly to get back to the pavilion that he ignored all of the nobles rushing to greet him in the middle.
As he passed the flowerbed in the garden, he saw the pavilion in the distance.
He could see Astelle through the wide-open window. And next to her was Seibel.
‘Why is that guy with her again?’
I was away for a while, but in that brief moment, that guy appeared again.
Astelle was talking with Seibel inside the pavilion.
The moment he saw that, his anger rose again.
Why is that guy approaching Astelle so often?
Even if he was Theor’s teacher, this was too much.
Kaizen managed to contain his anger and walked toward the pavilion.
Two people who were talking found him and stood up.
“Astelle. You must have been waiting for me. Sorry, I’m late.”
Astelle replied indifferently, “Don’t worry, Your Majesty. I was having a short talk with Sir Seibel who came to say hello.”
The tone was blunt, but there was a mix of criticisms saying that he only came to say hello, so don’t be angry like the last time.
Kaizen said nothing.
Because every time he sees Seibel and Astelle together, he gets annoyed for no reason.
Kaizen turned to Seibel, suppressing his anger and forcing a smile.
“You put a lot of work into teaching the prince, but I haven’t even praised you yet.”
He wanted to quip “Do you have so much free time?”, but he had no choice but to say it as a benevolent emperor.
Seibel bowed his head in embarrassment.
“Please take good care of the prince from now on.”
Astelle was looking at him with a little surprise.
Kaizen avoided her gaze.
Count Ecklen had brought news of signs of rebellion in the North.
I should send Seibel to the North at this point.
I have to appoint someone else as Theor’s teacher.
An old scholar might be a good choice.
Astelle returned to the empress palace in the evening after the garden party was over.
It was near midnight when she met her maternal grandfather again.
While Kaizen was in Theor’s room, Astelle saw the opportunity and went to her maternal grandfather’s study.
Her maternal grandfather was reading a book with the light on by the window.
“Now tell me about my mother.”
Astelle said it bluntly.
“Are you here at this hour to ask that? Where’s the emperor?”
“He is with Theor.”
The Marquis stared blankly at Astelle for a long time and sighed.
“What else can I explain? It’s like what you guessed.”
The Marquis continued the conversation lamentably.
Count Ecklen, who was then the Marquis’ lieutenant, was said to have been very close to Astelle’s mother, Jacqueline.
A lieutenant visits his superior’s mansion every day to help him with his work.
Of course, he has no choice but to meet often with his superior’s family.
A young daughter of a great aristocrat and a young lieutenant are in the perfect environment to become lovers.
“It seemed that the two of them were in love. I was very anxious, so I tried to send him to another unit. As you know…… At that time, such a relationship was unacceptable.”
That’s true. It was like that back then.
The daughter of a noble family and the son of a country knight could never marry.
“Then it turned out that he had made a big mistake during the battle….., so I drove him away.”
Astelle listened quietly.
She could understand why her maternal grandfather was so uncomfortable even just hearing his name.
“But it wasn’t his fault, was it?”
“……it was later revealed that it wasn’t.”