How to Hide the Emperor's Child - Chapter 28
While looking for medicinal herbs for a while, Kaizen called Astelle again.
“I think I found it here.”
Astelle ran to Kaizen again.
What Kaizen was holding was a small white flower.
It was similar to the flower Astelle was looking for, but the spout was a little longer and the petals were too small.
Kaizen lowered his hand when he saw Astelle’s pale green eyes look disappointed.
“……is it not? Again?”
“It is not.”
Disappointment and embarrassment struck Kaizen’s face.
Astelle comforted Kaizen, “It is because there are many similar flowers.”
Vellian came with both hands full of Gurren grass and approached, watching Kaizen standing silently.
“Well, Your Majesty, I can help—”
“No need,” Kaizen refused emphatically.
Vellian manages to find the potion Astelle asked for, and Kaizen looks annoyed that he keeps looking for the wrong potion.
‘Well, I’ve been in and out of the forest a lot, but this is my first time looking for medicinal herbs.’
As he failed one after another, Kaizen became even more annoyed.
He seemed to have a black shadow only around him.
Vellian handed the herbs he brought to Astelle’s basket.
Kaizen, who had been searching through the grass for a long time, asked with a low sigh and complaining, “When did you learn this?”
“There is a pharmacist living near my grandfather’s mansion. Somehow I got to know and learned to make medicine.”
“Why did you learn that?”
Astelle replied with a glance asking why he asked for such a natural thing.
“Well, there are a young child and an elderly grandfather in the mansion.”
Even a simple cold can be fatal to a young child and an elderly.
Of course, the most vulnerable to disease are the elderly.
Theor and the Marquis are both very healthy, but Astelle hoped they would never get sick.
In her spare time, she learned to make herbs and potions from Gretel.
Apart from the eye color-changing potion, she had to make other medicines in case anyone gets sick while Gretel was away.
Gretel praised Astelle for being talented when she made medicines.
“Because of your meticulous personality, you learn quickly. You certainly seem to have talents too.”
Gretel praised her and said that she could accept her as her student if she wanted, but Astelle politely refused.
There was not enough time.
Instead, she learned to grow and planted medicinal herbs in the garden.
“I used to make a living by selling herbs every year.”
Astelle replied without much meaning, but Kaizen became confused again when he heard her words.
‘Was it so hard to make a living?’
Kaizen walked on the grasses.
Even though he had been to the forest, this was the first time he had passed through the bushes like this.
Everywhere he went, there was a smell of moist dirt and grass.
He now looked up at the sky.
Reddish sun setting in a light purple sky.
There was Astelle three or four steps ahead.
Dressed in a plain dress, Astelle was holding a basket and picking up an unknown herb.
Suddenly Kaizen thought of the old days.
‘It turns out that I was in the forest with Astelle like this before.’
Astelle in her memory was always a beautifully decorated doll figure.
The background was always a place like an imperial palace or a banquet hall of a gorgeous mansion.
However, he had only entered the forest with Astelle once.
It was an old memory, like a page in a dusty book.
Kaizen shook off the dust that had accumulated in his memory that he had forgotten.
“I remember the old days,” Kaizen said in a calm tone.
Astelle turned her gaze to him.
Kaizen looked at her and continued, “We went hunting together on my birthday in the forest. Do you remember?”
Astelle clearly remembered it.
“Are you referring to the time when I went into the lake trying to save Your Majesty?”
It was a cold voice, but it was right.
“……yes, that day.”
Astelle said nothing more.
There was no emotion in her dry voice.
‘Well, it wasn’t a good memory.’
Kaizen silently recalled the memories of that day.
It was winter at that time.
It was when Kaizen went hunting in the forest a little far from the capital on his18th birthday.
Usually, women were not taken to the hunting grounds, but on that day the Crown Prince’s fiancee, Astelle, attended the hunt on the orders of the emperor.
His birthday, which was supposed to be fun, was uncomfortable from the start because of Astelle.
However, his father, the emperor, sent her with him, so he couldn’t even refuse.
At the time, Kaizen was indifferent but was pretending to be a polite fiance.
Even without the emperor’s request, he would not be able to ignore Astelle, the daughter of Duke Reston.
He was forced to stay in the nearby castle for about a day before the hunt started, but that night misfortune struck.
It started to snow at night.
The snowflakes fell one by one before dawn came and the whole area turned white.
As soon as the day dawned, Kaizen put on his coat and walked out.
The castle’s backyard was connected with a wide forest.
He rode the horse with the party and went out through the door.
Against the backdrop of the bluish dawn sky, a dark shaded forest could be seen above the snowy field.
In the middle of the forest, there was a crowd. An old man told a legend about the lake in the forest.
Legend has it that if you go there and pray for your love to come true, the spirit of the forest will grant your wish.
The man who was explaining the forest legend stopped speaking at Kaizen’s voice.
Kaizen looked around the snow-covered forest road and was laughing at him.
“That’s ridiculous to say that a lake makes your wish come true.”
Kaizen laughed at someone who seriously spoke of such a ridiculous legend.
On the other hand, Astelle, who listened to his explanation, seemed to like the story.
“Still, it’s a beautiful story.”
She wore a luxurious indigo hunting suit and a fur coat, and Astelle on a horse was as beautiful as the goddess of the forest.
However, no matter how beautiful Astelle was, she meant nothing to Kaizen back then.
Kaizen replied bluntly, “I didn’t know my fiancee liked such superstitions.”
“Still, this forest is very beautiful. It’s morning, so the air is refreshing. It would be nice if there was a forest like this near the capital.”
“Yes, this forest is beautiful. Maybe it’s because there aren’t many people going in and out. If people easily go to and fro, it’s annoying.”
Kaizen turned his horsehead to her side and continued, “Especially if people who don’t even know how to hunt go in and out of the forest at will, that’s even more annoying.”
Kaizen didn’t want to talk to Astelle anymore, so he went deep into the forest leaving her behind.
Kaizen loved hunting very much. But he preferred to go out of the imperial palace and run through the forest rather than hunting itself.
Because he was able to take off his pretense and act as he pleased at that time.
Kaizen has been riding in the forest for a long time.
He didn’t see Astelle again for the hours he rode and went further into the forest.
He didn’t know if Astelle liked this hunt or if she had ever hunted.
How long has he been gone around?
It was the first time when he came to the center of the forest.
There was a snow-covered board among the dense trees.
Kaizen turned the direction towards it.
But the moment he stepped on the snowfield, he suddenly had an unexpected situation.
As soon as he stepped, the floor collapsed.
As the ice broke, cold water sprang up. The cold water swallowed him like a deep bog.
Kaizen quickly sank to the bottom.
Frozen water stabbed him all over his body.
Kaizen desperately reached out to hold on to the edge.
However, his thick coat of fur clung heavily to his whole body, and his body slowly sank.
At that time, a voice was heard from above.
Someone reached out to him. Kaizen managed to hold the hand.
The owner of the voice grabbed him and pulled him up.
It was when Kaizen grabbed the edge and barely climbed to the surface.
The ice next to it cracked and this time the person who caught Kaizen fell into the water.
Kaizen, who barely climbed up the ice, realized that it was Astelle who pulled him up.
This time, he reached out to Astelle.
Astelle, who had been struggling for a long time, took Kaizen’s hand.