How to Hide the Emperor's Child - Chapter 23
‘Well, it’s not poisonous anyway.’
The old pharmacist disguised as a maid thought so simply.
“There are no poisonous or dangerous kinds of medicinal herbs that hurt people either.”
Suddenly she was ordered to look at the medicines that belonged to someone in the emperor’s party, so she was nervous about what a huge conspiracy was hiding.
She wondered if there was even a traitor who was trying to poison the emperor, but the person was a calm-looking young lady caring for a child.
She was calm, graceful, and seemed to have a very noble status.
She looked kind and friendly, even caring for a child.
No matter how much she looked at, she didn’t seem to be able to hide the suspicious medicines.
“I’ve done my job, so I’ll stop and go back.”
The old pharmacist finished reporting and went down the stairs.
It was even more heartbreaking to see him say that.
Astelle concealed her cluttered mood and smiled friendly.
Theor looked up at Astelle with flawless blue eyes.
Astelle tenderly wrapped Theor’s soft cheeks with her hands.
“Have you ever read fairy tales with magic beads? The farmer got the beads, but it was so precious that he made it a secret. Do you remember?”
It was an old fairy tale stuck in the corner of her grandfather’s old mansion.
It was an ordinary fairy tale book featuring a prince, a princess, and a witch.
It was a story about a farmer getting magic beads and an adventure unfolding following the secret entangled in the beads.
Theor liked the book.
As expected, as the story of the fairy tale came out, Theor responded with joy.
“Yes, it disappeared when other people knew it.”
“Okay. It was very special and precious, so you have to hide it secretly. Your red eyes like that.”
There was pure curiosity in the blue eyes looking up at her.
Astelle stared at Theor’s cute face tenderly and gave an explanation.
“Red eyes are also very special. So you can’t show or tell other people.”
“Then, is His Majesty will be okay?”
“Yes, it’s okay because His Majesty is the emperor, but we must keep it a secret.”
Theor seemed to some extent convinced when she gave an example with a fairy tale.
Teor re-energized and nodded his head.
“That’s why it’s a secret.”
Astelle used this opportunity.
The same thing could happen again like in the hunting lodge.
It seemed like it would be better to tell him clearly at this point.
White steam rose from the inside of the wooden bathtub.
The bathroom filled with moisture was warm.
A bath made of grayish-white stone was prepared with hot water where warm steam rises.
In the warm water, there was a faint scent of medicinal herbs.
It was hot water with herbal decoction to relax the mind.
As soon as Theor opened the bathrobe, he went into the tub and played in the water.
“Do you like taking a bath?”
“Yes. It’s warm.”
Astelle approached Theor, who was playing in the bathtub.
“It’s time to drip in the medicine, let’s do it first and take a bath.”
Astelle lifted her hand and put her finger behind the hairpin.
A glass bottle was caught in the hair that had been firmly fixed with a butterfly hairpin.
As she slowly grabbed it out, a small glass bottle of blue potion appeared between the pale platinum-colored hair.
‘If I didn’t notice it quickly, I might have been caught.’
When the maid handed the teacup, Astelle was fortunate to be able to see the maid’s fingertips.
It was a fleeting moment, but Astelle clearly saw the maid’s wrinkled fingers.
There was a speck of dark blue dirt on the tip of her fingernails.
Astelle had seen something like that several times.
Gretel, a pharmacist who helped Astelle, always had glue on the tip of her nails.
“Since I dig and trim medicinal herbs every day, the juice of medicinal herbs seeps into my nails and does not get erased well.”
An old servant who worked in the castle could not touch the dangerous grass and applied glue to protect her fingers.
Even though the villagers were hired on a temporary basis due to a lack of labor, it was impossible for a farmer who worked and touched vegetables to be brought to the castle where the emperor was as a maid.
‘There is another hint.’
The silver plum blossoms.
When she looked at the silver plum blossoms in the dried-up garden, it was clear that fever was growing around this area.
Nevertheless, there are no fever patients in this village yet.
There is only one reason if the patient does not appear in such an underdeveloped rural village during the period of illness.
‘It means there is a pharmacist in this village.’
Maybe that woman was a pharmacist in this village.
She came in disguised as a maid, and she would be ordered to look at Astelle’s luggage bag and her medicine box.
For the same reason, she was given a bedroom with a separate bathroom and only served by one old maid.
If it is a private bathroom, she can ask the maid to take a bath at any time or wash the child first and Astelle herself can bathe later.
Even in the castle where she stayed before, she always washed Theor first and then bathed herself.
However, if the maid said it was difficult to prepare water because it was a public bath, she would have no choice but to bathe together with Theor.
She couldn’t ask the old maid to prepare the bath water twice.
Astelle clicked her tongue.
‘She did her best.’
It would be easier to check her luggage if the two of them went to the bathroom together.
Because she had to take off all her clothes to get into the bathroom.
While taking a bath, the maid can check both her luggage and their clothes in detail.
‘In that part, it’s better than the young lady before, Marianne. Much more unpleasant in some ways, but……’
She didn’t even have to worry about who was ordered it.
Marianne, who had searched Astelle’s medicine box before, was still imprisoned in the Maern Castle’s prison.
Now, the only person in the emperor’s party to order this kind of thing was Vellian, the emperor’s aide.
‘Doing something obvious like this……’
Well, that person has been like that since the first time she met him.
He tried to trick Astelle with an obvious lie saying that there could be a revolt in the South.
‘Anyway, I don’t like him.’
It’s understandable why he did this kind of thing.
He must have noticed something suspicious when he saw Astelle rushing to the hunting lodge on a rainy day.
That’s why Astelle feels uncomfortable with people who are quick to notice and have lots of doubts.
Astelle noticed the identity of the maid before and deliberately made Theor come out holding teddy bear.
It’s easy to hide things inside the fluffy cotton doll.
It was because she thought that if Theor brought the teddy bear, the maid’s attention would be on it.
As expected, the old maid was interested in the teddy bear, so she did not pay attention to Astelle’s hair.
‘I need to be more careful in the future.’
Astelle grabbed the vial in her hand.
In the cool glass bottle, the blue medicine shook slowly like waves.
‘If that pharmacist caught this medicine……’
She may not be able to figure out what exactly it is, but an experienced pharmacist may notice that it contains color-changing ingredients.
It makes a headache just thinking about it.
‘I was lucky this time.’
But there is no guarantee that you will be lucky next time.
‘There are only a few days left now. I have to keep my mind upright and spend the rest of the time well.’
“Theor, let’s drip in the medicine first and take a bath.”
Theor approached Astelle quietly.
Astelle drip in the medicine in Theor’s eyes.
Theor, who was raising his head quietly asked, looking closely at the medicine bottle Astelle was carrying.
“Will my eyes turn red if I don’t drip in the medicine?”
“Yes, but you can’t tell anyone, you know?”
Theor, who only listened quietly, asked suddenly, “Why can’t I tell anyone? Is it bad if it my eyes red?”
Astelle looked at Theor with amazement.
Theor was hanging from the rim of the bathtub and looked up at Astelle quietly.
Blue eyes like jewels were innocently twinkling.
With that innocent look, Astelle missed the moment to answer.
Theor asked again in an innocent voice toward Astelle, who stood silently.
“His Majesty’s eyes are red too. Why can’t I have red eyes?”
Astelle was speechless.
It felt like her heart froze in an instant
Theor didn’t know the details, but he understood that he had to change the color of his eyes in front of others.
He always did that, so he thought it was natural, and he followed it.
It was the first time he asked the reason.
As the child growed up, he naturally felt doubts about his surroundings.
Astelle thought that he wouldn’t listen quietly forever.
Astelle was expecting that the day would come someday when Theor was older and asked why he had to hide his eyes.
‘I knew that a day like this would come.’
In preparation for such a situation, she practiced what she would say to the child many times in her mind, but nevertheless, when it came to reality, she couldn’t hide her bitter and cluttered mood.
This was because she cannot answer honestly yet.
When Astelle just looked at him without an answer, Theor dropped his head and stirred the water in the bathtub.
“Am I not allowed to know?”