How to Hide the Emperor's Child - Chapter 73
What kind of life has Astelle been living for the past six years?
After getting a divorce, being expelled from the imperial palace, abandoned by her family, and wandering alone, how did she end up having a child?
Questions poured in endlessly, but regret and sadness preceded the questions.
A princess, a former empress, abandoned by her family, gave birth to and raised a child alone in poverty.
Kaizen couldn’t even imagine how Astelle had to endure the whole process.
It was too much of an ordeal for a woman who grew up to be a princess all her life.
No, it would be difficult for any woman to bear it.
And it was Kaizen himself who started and provided the cause of it all.
The undeniable truth tormented him terribly and made him endlessly angry.
“Your Majesty, I’m going in.”
The door opened with a careful knock.
It was Vellian.
Vellian entered the office and shook his head as if tired of looking at the pile of papers on the desk.
“Have you not slept all night?”
“I just finished it all.”
Kaizen answered without looking back.
He couldn’t sleep all night as he was finishing up the paperwork.
It was because of a lot of work being delayed.
But while he was holding on to work, his heart was still full of pain.
“As you said, I sent someone to find out.”
Vellian continued, “He came to a while ago……and he said he found a midwife.”
A moment of silence passed.
Vellian said in a voice as cautious as possible, “As expected. The person who gave birth to the Young Master Theor is Lady Astelle.”
The subordinate hurried to the old midwife to investigate Theor’s birth.
The midwife who received the baby was an old woman who looked to be in her seventies.
The old midwife remembered exactly that five years ago, she was called to the mansion of the marquis in the eastern countryside and assisted with delivery.
Even though she had a little trouble remembering the mansion’s structure and the baby’s gender and appearance, she said she heard a mother who was suffering from birth clearly calling the marquis her grandfather.
She added that the mother looked like a very noble lady.
After the work was done, the old marquis even gave her a lot of money to keep that work a secret.
Vellian was really afraid that Kaizen would be very angry.
The emperor had been crazy about Astelle for some time.
He was so crazy that he covered secretly the work of the Duke of Reston, who had plotted the assassination.
But, Astelle have a child with another man.
‘Theor, who was introduced as her nephew, is actually her son.’
Vellian himself was shocked when he found out about that fact. He couldn’t even imagine how angry the emperor was.
If he made even the slightest mistake in this situation, his head seemed to fall off.
After finishing the report, Vellian hurriedly bowed his head.
He was terrified as his gaze was fixed on the floor, but after waiting for a while, Kaizen still didn’t respond.
As he waited and carefully lifted his head, he heard Kaizen’s voice.
“What about the maid who was said to have given birth to Theor? Did you find her?”
Vellian’s gaze fell back to the floor.
“That, that…… The maid who gave birth to Young Master Theor has already disappeared.”
Sharp red eyes turned to him.
Vellian hurriedly lowered his head again.
“I’m sorry…… Your Majesty.”
“Are you sure it was not that Astelle hid her?”
“Yes, it is not……”
Vellian swallowed dry saliva.
It would have been much better if Astelle hid the maid.
‘Oh, I really don’t want to say this.’
Vellian answered with a trembling voice, “A man from the Croychen family took her.”
Everything was done step by step in order.
First, Theor’s room was moved to a small annex attached to the mansion’s garden.
Astelle told the maids that she would like to keep the child in a sunny annex.
Theor is recovering, so it would be better to be near a garden where he can run and play.
Hannah complained to the other maids.
Theor insisted on going to a separate annex close to the garden, so she had no choice but to move.
She didn’t forget to complain that it was hard to move the luggage even though there was not much time left before she left.
Everyone believed in the explanations of the two without much doubt.
For example, the young master said that he would go to an annex with trees and ponds nearby, and the annex looked okay, so Astelle allowed it.
There was no room for doubt.
It also didn’t seem in the slightest odd that Theor was staying with his favorite grandfather.
“Grandpa must leave first.”
Sitting opposite her grandfather in the annex, Astelle made a plan in earnest.
She said, “I’m going on a picnic tomorrow afternoon.”
“Okay. Then I……”
“Yes, Grandpa, don’t come back to the mansion, but stay near the gate.”
The marquis will leave the mansion and stay near the gate to wait.
In the middle of the night, Hannah would secretly take Theor there.
Theor and the marquis would leave the city gates as soon as dawn broke and head east.
It was a simple plan.
‘There’s no problem with the emperor’s permission anyway.’
Theor’s departure from the capital was set two days before the ball.
Astelle and Hannah organized Theor’s luggage and moved it to the separate annex.
“Why do I have to change rooms?”
Theor watched the two of them organize his belongings, hugging the teddy bear, and approached Hannah.
Hannah, carrying the luggage, sat down with her knees bent and answered with a warm gaze,
“I think Young Master will like the annex. The annex is really beautiful. There is a large zelkova tree next to it, so you can go up to the roof and touch the leaves and bird nests.”
“Really? Are there baby birds?”
When the animal story came out, blue eyes shone brightly.
A smile appeared on Hannah’s face as she was explaining to Theor.
“Yes, of course. And there is a small pond in front of the garden, and there are also frogs in the pond. Don’t you want to go see them?”
“Yes! I want to go see the frogs.”
When Hannah was affectionately persuading him, Theor was excited and nodded his head.
Astelle, who was organizing Theor’s clothes, swallowed a bitter smile at the child’s innocent appearance.
The bedroom in the separate annex was smaller than in the main building, but it got plenty of sunlight and was comfortable.
When the curtains were opened, golden light poured in from the glass windows that filled the walls.
Theor’s toys were piled up in front of the fireplace.
Dolls made of soft fluffy fur, and elaborate military ships and fortresses that look like the real thing.
Soldier dolls the size of a finger are gathered in a circle.
Theor took a seat between them and played with the teddy bear while the two of them were packing up.
While Hannah went to organize the luggage, Astelle knelt down next to Theor.
She hugged Theor, who was obsessed with his toys.
Soft black hair touched her cheek.
The milky smell wafted from the white skin.
Astelle put her lips to Theor’s forehead.
Even though it was only a brief farewell, she felt sad.
It must be because she had never taken him out of her arms before.
For the past five years, Astelle has always kept Theor in her sight.
“Theor, you have to leave here with your grandfather in a few days.”
Theor, who escaped from Astelle’s arms, raised his sullen face.
“Will we go home?”
“Yes, but I can’t go with you two.”
The only toy not in the luggage bag, Levin the teddy bear, was in Theor’s hands.
Theor, who was fiddling with the teddy bear, asked in surprise, “Why is it just me and Grandpa?”
“I have to stay in the capital because I have work to do.”
“Is it important?”
“It’s very important.”
Astelle will stay in this mansion for two days, hiding Theor and the marquis’ departure.
Kaizen ordered Astelle to attend the ball.
But he didn’t tell her to bring Theor too.
He had allowed Theor to return home a few days ago, after which no orders were issued regarding Theor’s whereabouts.
Astelle was going to follow Kaizen’s orders thoroughly.
She will spend time at the mansion as if nothing happened and attend the ball as ordered.
By then, Theor was already on his way home.
Theor said sadly, “I also wanted to stay in the capital more.”
Astelle smiled and said, “When we go back home, let’s make Blynn’s house in the garden. And a theater company will come. Then……”
“Yeah! I want to go see a play!”
The word of a play energized Theor again.
Astelle smiled and hugged Theor again.
Although she was calmed by the familiar warmth, her heart ached at the reality that her child had to leave her in a few days.
The day before departure, as scheduled, they went for a picnic in the capital city’s park.
The party was Astelle, Theor, the marquis, and Hannah.
The marquis got off at the downtown area near the park.
The remaining three were scheduled to return after spending time looking around the park.
“Where is Grandpa going?”
Theor leaned out of the carriage window worriedly.
The marquis stroked Theor’s head before leaving.
“Don’t worry. We’ll see each other again tomorrow night.”
“Yes. We’ll meet at night and go home together.”
Astelle exchanged glances with her grandfather.
The marquis decided to wait in the prearranged place near the gate.
Hannah will take Theor there at night.
The marquis also gave Astelle consolation, “Don’t worry too much. Everything will be fine.”
The carriage set off again.