How to Hide the Emperor's Child - Chapter 161
Astelle tried to remember if she had heard anything about Naen, but nothing crossed her mind. She had been too busy the past few days to care about the Croychens.
“Naen…… What happened to the Croychens?” Astelle asked, thinking about Florin she had met before.
She wondered how that little lady was doing.
“Marquis of Croychen visited your father often lately.”
“Yeah, I’ve already heard about it from my father.”
Duke Reston had slowly brought influential nobles to his side. One of them was Marquis Croychen, who helped him in this poisoning plot.
Duke Reston and Marquis Croychen.
I remember being very surprised to hear that because it was an unexpected combination.
“Was he arrested too?”
It was the Marquis who helped the Duke. Was the connection between the two revealed during the investigation and he was also brought to the Imperial Palace?
But I haven’t heard of anything like that.
“No, I heard that Marquis Croychen is sick and dying.”
“He is in critical condition.”
“Living in an unfamiliar place must be difficult for him.”
The Croichens are said to have been living in the old castle after being expelled from the capital.
If only they had just gone to the quiet countryside, they wouldn’t have had to live so hard. Instead, the Marquis insisted on living near the capital, so they ended up living in the crumbling fortress.
“He was seriously ill that the Emperor gave the order to leave him alone. According to the investigation, the Marquis did not seem to have any unusual behavior except that he had met your father several times.”
I think it’s good for Naen too.
If Marquis Croychen were to be executed, Naen’s position would be even worse.
It would be difficult for her to continue working in the Empress Palace.
“His other daughters were also investigated, but fortunately nothing happened.”
“They were also investigated? Why?”
It was understandable that Marquis Croychen had teamed up with her father, but were his daughters involved as well?
“I heard they also met your father.”
“Florin and Marianne? For what?”
Her grandfather had a puzzled face.
“Your father tried to marry the daughter of the Croychen family.”
“What did my father try to do?” Astelle raised her voice subconsciously.
All three daughters of the Croychen family are much younger than her. But her father tried to marry one of them? The eldest daughter, Marianne, was even barely past her adulthood.
The complex emotions she felt when she heard the news of her father’s death slowly evaporated.
“He’s my father, but he’s a terrible person.”
Her grandfather remained silent with a look of agreement.
She didn’t want to curse her dead father anymore, but her disgust surged.
She knew very well what her father had in mind. Fritz betrayed him, so he must have tried to have children by taking a new wife.
What a ridiculous idea.
Their conversation was interrupted by a brief knock.
The attendant of the Imperial Palace entered, with two people carrying heavy-looking boxes behind him.
“Your Majesty the Empress.”
“What’s going on?”
“His Majesty the Emperor has sent you a gift to console your loss.”
Since the empress’ biological father died, it was natural for the emperor to send condolences and gifts.
Astelle belatedly realized that she had to play the role of the mourning daughter.
She was fortunately dressed in mourning clothes, but she was not sad at all and was having tea time with her grandfather.
Astelle quickly nodded, pretending to be sad.
“I am very grateful for the kindness of His Majesty the Emperor. Even my deceased father would be grateful.”
Her grandfather sitting next to her gently shook his head, but she silently ignored it and accepted the emperor’s gift.
What’s in the box is a necklace and earrings with pearls, diamonds, and obsidian.
All of them are gems suitable for use in mourning situations, given the tradition that mourning women are only allowed to wear white, black, or silver jewelry.
The jewels Astelle had now were all luxurious ones boasting splendid colors. It seems that the emperor sent these things in advance with that in mind.
As a gift from the emperor, only the colors are delicate, but all of them are of the highest quality. It seems that pearls and diamonds can be used even when not in mourning.
After the attendant and servants returned, her grandfather muttered, “You really got along well.”
“Don’t make fun of me.”
Astelle closed the box and sighed calmly.
“I’m not. I mean, it looks good, though. It’s better than staying in a bad relationship.”
Astelle smiled bitterly at her grandfather’s words.
It was an undeniable truth that as she got closer to Kaizen, she found a peaceful daily life.
“I don’t know how to explain all this to Theor later.”
Kaizen, his father, left Astelle and remarried her after learning of Theor’s existence. The duke, his maternal grandfather, nearly killed his father, the emperor. In the end, the emperor killed the duke.
Astelle was worried about how Theor would react when he heard such a complicated story.
Marquis of Carlenberg reassured her. “Don’t worry too much. Theor is smart, so he will understand.”
“Is that so?”
He added with a slightly troubled look, “He will probably have a few complicated thoughts for the emperor though.”
Astelle sighed and agreed. “I hope they don’t get along badly in the future.”
It would be nice if he could understand and accept what happened before he was born. Still, it was something for Theor to decide.
Marquis Carlenberg said again, comforting Astelle. “If the Emperor loves him as he does now, everything will be fine.”
* * *
Fritz got off the carriage and entered the mansion through the front gate.
The setting sun cast a long shadow under the mansion’s walls.
It’s only been a week since he returned to the Reston mansion after deliberately avoiding his father and staying in his official residence.
Fritz heard the news of his father this morning.
Astelle seemed relieved by her father’s death, but Fritz was different. He felt relieved, but at the same time, he still felt guilty.
When he arrived at the Reston mansion, everyone came out to greet him. Fritz gave brief instructions to the servants and entered the study.
The old butler, who had been in charge of the mansion since his father’s generation, followed him.
“There are many requests to attend the late duke’s funeral.”
It was a little surprising that so many people wanted to come to his father’s funeral.
Since it was a funeral for the previous duke, it was reasonable to hold it grandly.
But now, the situation in the capital is complicated, and his father’s death has also implicitly aroused public suspicion.
Most of the people who were close to his father were taken to the imperial palace and interrogated.
There can’t be many people who want to condolences in such a situation.
When Fritz looked at him with an incomprehensible expression, the old butler added an explanation hesitantly. “Most of them want to attend with their families.”
“Well, most of them want to come with Lady…….”
Only then did Fritz understand the situation.
Fritz himself succeeded the duke, but he is still not married.
Until now, there was no hostess, so social gatherings were rarely held here.
Fritz himself was so engrossed in his work that he never went to any other social gatherings.
So, it seems that some nobles would like to visit the new duke and introduce his daughter under the pretext of condolences.
“How should I deal with it, duke?”
“Choose only those who are close to the Reston family and invite them in moderation,” Fritz replied coldly.
This is indeed such a world, but isn’t that too much?
“There is a gift sent to you from Latex, duke.”
Fritz couldn’t figure out who it was at first.
He finally remembered it after thinking for a while about whether there was a family with that name.
He knew that when he went to talk to her a while ago.
It’s an unusual surname. Latex is a leafy vegetable with a sweet and refreshing taste.
Fritz also liked that vegetable very much from a young age.
At that time, Gretel laughed and said to him, “It’s okay, you can laugh.”
‘Isn’t it funny that a pharmacist’s surname resembles the name of a vegetable?’
But Fritz didn’t laugh.
He just thought it was nice to see her smile.
Recalling the memories of that time, Fritz turned to the butler again.
He asked, “What gift did Miss Gretel send?”
“It was a box of tea leaves and a bouquet of flowers.”
It was understandable if she sent tea leaves as a gift. When they had met before, he had been served tea which was apparently a special herbal tea she made herself.
When Gretel saw that he liked the tea, she said she would send it as a gift for him.
But what’s the flower?
“It was a white heather flower.”
“As far as I know, this flower is sent as a consolation in the East…….”
In the East, he heard that it is a flower of consolation for those who have experienced a sad event.
Probably, when she heard the news of his father’s death, she sent a consolation flower along with herbal tea.
‘She has a sensitive personality.’
She looked a bit disheveled on the outside, but she was surprisingly attentive.
Indeed, it is impossible to grow herbs and make elaborate medicines if you are a disheveled person.
“I’ll have to pay her back. Prepare an invitation.”
Fritz decided to invite Gretel to the Reston mansion.
It’s no big deal to invite her for a while to say thank you. Also, it would be better to ask Astelle later what she likes.