How to Hide the Emperor's Child - Chapter 37
It was Kaizen who invited Astelle first.
Astelle silently looked up at Kaizen who was bewildered.
“I’m sorry, Your Majesty. If you invited me just out of courtesy, I won’t attend the ball if that’s what you want.”
“I didn’t mean that.”
At that moment, the confusion disappears from his sculptural face.
Instead, familiar irritation and anger were revealed.
“Do you think I’m going to do such a pretense to you? If you don’t want to come, tell me not to come. Why did you……”
The angry voice gradually lost its strength and was cut off.
A feeling of embarrassment fluttered like waves in his red eyes like fresh blood.
Astelle said nothing.
For more than a decade of being engaged, Astelle has attended every ball, dinner, and soiree as Kaizen’s partner.
She stood by his side countless times in countless banquet halls and ballrooms.
Kaizen has always followed social customs.
On the day of the prom, he reached out his hand and asked Astelle to be his partner.
Astelle, drunk with a friendly smile and courteous request, held his hand with a happy heart every time.
Was there sincerity even just once?
Astelle knew without even asking.
All that affection was just smoke that will soon go away.
Every time he smiled and held out his hand, he probably hid his displeasure, hoping Astelle would reject his hand.
Kaizen seemed to recall the memories of that time now.
Bitter remorse was revealed on his handsome face.
The lips that looked like they were drawn with a brush, opened several times as if to say something, but in the end, nothing came out.
A heavy silence fell in the hallway.
The memories of the old days that came like an uninvited guest separated the two of them in silence.
It was Astelle who broke the silence first.
“I’ll go to the ball if it’s okay with you.”
Kaizen’s startled eyes turned to Astelle.
She had no desire to participate in an event like a ball.
But she realized that an opportunity she hadn’t thought of had arrived.
‘The ball can be a great opportunity.’
If it is a ball, there will be a lot of people around.
Lots of people mean lots of eyes.
Astelle, as the world sees her, was the poor former empress, whom the emperor threw away in one day.
‘It’s because I want to send Grandpa and Theor back home first.’
So she picked a ballroom with as many people as possible to make sure she got permission from the emperor.
Kaizen, unaware of her intentions, seemed to be surprised again by her promise to attend.
He looked straight at Astelle for a moment, then averted his eyes.
“……yes, thank you for attending.”
It was a greeting from the landlord after seeing the guests at the ball.
Having said that, she felt as if this place was a ballroom.
Astelle bowed her knee slightly in return.
“It is an honor, Your Majesty.”
“Don’t make fun of me.”
It was then that she came to her senses and an unpleasant reply came, “It’s just weird that you say no every time and then suddenly accept.”
It was an openly sarcastic tone.
‘That’s because you always asked for useless things.’
Astelle wanted to refute that, but instead, she answered calmly, “It’s not like that I always want to say no. If it’s an acceptable offer, I’ll take it.”
“So you’re saying there was a problem with my offer?”
She almost asked ‘Are you asking because you didn’t know that?’
But Astelle’s answer was interrupted by Theor’s bright voice.
From the other side of the hallway, Theor, hugging the teddy bear, found the two and ran to them.
Blynn, a large hound, was following Theor.
“Theor, you must not run in the hallway. It’s dangerous.”
Theor held onto the hem of Astelle’s skirt and heaving as he answered, “I won’t do that anymore.”
“You may fall, so be careful.”
Blynn, who arrived next, looked back at Kaizen and Astelle and waved its tail.
Theor, who was holding Astelle’s skirt, greeted Kaizen as well.
“Hello, Your Majesty.”
Kaizen stroked Theor’s hair like a puppy, then ruffled his hair.
Theor closed his eyes and grinned.
As Kaizen finished stroking, Theor raised his head and asked innocently, “Your Majesty, why are you here?”
Kaizen looked around this place once.
“I was begging your aunt to come to the ball.”
‘Beg? I don’t think it was an earnest request enough to say that.’
“Aunt, are you going to the ball?”
Theor smiled cutely.
A dimple was pierced on the white cheeks.
“Can I come with you?”
“I want to go to the ball too.”
Kaizen asked with a smile, “Do you know what a ball is?”
“Yes. I saw it in a children’s book. It’s dancing in pretty clothes.”
“You know it well.”
Well, there are a lot of prom stories in children’s books.
Young Theor might be interested.
Because Theor had never seen a ball before.
Astelle quickly appeased Theor before Kaizen uttered nonsense.
“You can’t, Theor. I’ll take you later when you get older.”
At those words, Theor quickly lowered his head.
Theor waved the teddy bear’s arm and mumbled, “I also want to go to the ball.”
After thinking for a while about how to appease the child, Kaizen sat down with one knee, made eye level with Theor, and said with a smile, “I can’t take you to the ball. Would you like to take a tour of this garden instead?”
“Really? Um…… can I go to the garden?
“Who said you couldn’t?”
Kaizen asked curiously, and then he turned his gaze in another direction.
Astelle avoided his gaze.
Since coming here, Astelle has allowed Theor to play in this annex only.
It was because she was worried that the same thing that happened in the last hunting lodge would be repeated.
Astelle didn’t say anything, but Kaizen clicked his tongue briefly as if it was understandable.
“The garden here is large and gorgeous. Let’s go out together, I will guide you.”
Theor looked back at Astelle with bright eyes.
“Can I go to the garden?”
If it’s near the annex, there’s no danger. So it’s okay to take him out for a while.
Of course, there was no intention of letting Theor go alone with Kaizen.
Astelle smiled and took Theor’s hand, “Okay. Let’s go take a look together.”
For a moment, a sign of satisfaction seemed to pass over Kaizen’s lips.
Astelle looked back at him.
But she must have seen it wrong, no emotion was revealed on his indifferent face.
There were two ways from the west annex to the center of the palace.
One was a path connected by a flat corridor, and the other was a path that passed through the garden.
Astelle walked along the garden path with Theor.
Blynn, the hound also walked alongside Theor.
Kaizen was next to him a step away.
The bright sunny garden was very beautiful.
There were several small side paths in the middle of the garden path, and if you go into the side paths, you will find a flower garden or a greenhouse.
After walking for a while, they went into the side road in the middle.
There was a small tea room.
“What place is this?”
“It’s a tea room. It’s a place to drink tea.”
It was an octagonal tea room with eight light blue columns supporting the roof.
The light green jasper floors glisten in the sunlight.
Next to the tea room was a large acacia tree.
Branches reaching high into the sky cast pure white petals on the blue roof of the tea room.
Every time the wind blew, the fresh scent of acacia permeated the warm sunlight.
“Wow…… it’s beautiful.”
Theor lifted his heels and stretched his hands high to the sky to catch the drooping acacia blossoms.
The white flowers swaying in the sky barely reached Theor’s hand.
Theor raised both his hands and jumped to catch the flower.
It was cute and funny.
Kaizen who was beside him, smiled slightly.
Astelle lifted Theor up so that he could touch the acacia flower.
“There are thorns, so be careful.”
After looking at the tea room, they went out again to the middle garden path and walked for a while.
As he passed the small pond, Theor pointed a finger at the green building by the pond.
“There’s a strange house over there.”
“It’s not a house, it’s a pavilion.”
“What is the pavilion for?”
There was a large pavilion in the garden.
Most of it was used as a restroom or tea room, but it was made like an exhibition room.
“Hmm. It’s an exhibition room made for a resting place after visiting the pond. Shall we go there?”
“Yes. I want to go.”
Since it is used as an exhibition room, she thought the door would be locked, but it was surprisingly easy to open.