How to Hide the Emperor's Child - Chapter 94
This wasn’t the first time she had heard the name.
He was a man who was a middle-ranking official even when Astelle lived as a Crown Princess.
Astelle remembers he was also quite close with the Reston family.
‘It seems that the great nobles who have fallen have now risen to the rank of minister.’
“Yes, long time no see. I heard that you were busy renovating the Empress’s Palace. I bet you’ll be busy preparing for a national wedding as well.”
The Minister of Home Affairs was happy when Astelle recognized his effort and continued the conversation.
“Yes, that’s right. I’m preparing for the wedding without any hiccups, so you don’t have to worry about it. I would like to congratulate you in advance because you will soon become the Empress—”
Astelle cut off his words in a polite but cold manner.
“I just brought the prince at the orders of His Majesty. The congratulations will be accepted after the wedding.”
She didn’t want to receive congratulations from the minister already because she hadn’t become the empress yet.
In particular, she had no desire to build friendships with people who move around like migratory birds according to the power landscape.
“Yes, that’s right. Then I will greet you again later.”
The Minister of Home Affairs said goodbye to Astelle with a disappointed expression. Then Astelle went to the temple terrace to avoid people.
She took a moment to breathe in the fresh air, admiring the garden in front of the terrace.
It was tiring to go to the temple immediately after moving into the imperial palace and to be a spectacle for people.
She needs time to cool her head, even for a moment.
“It’s nice to greet you here again, Lady Astelle.”
She turned around and saw a familiar person.
It was Seibel’s father, Count Ecklen.
“I’m seeing you at the temple again, Count.”
“Please speak comfortably.”
As the Count came out to the terrace, he continued, “I am not worthy of receiving this courtesy from Your Majesty the Empress.”
“I am not yet the Empress.”
The Count looked around the temple. Through the glass door, there is Theor with Kaizen.
“The prince is mature even at a young age.”
Theor stood quietly, looking up at the people talking to him.
He seemed a little confused because there were so many people, but he didn’t look scared.
The Count looked at Theor with great respect and continued, “The prince’s calm personality seems to resemble you, Lady Astelle.”
“He must resemble His Majesty.”
Kaizen was not a calm person, but Astelle said so out of courtesy.
In this situation, it was polite to say humbly that he resembled the emperor.
Moreover, this man was the emperor’s man.
The Count smiled as if he had read Astelle’s thoughts.
He also seemed to think that Kaizen and calm did not go well together.
“You really resemble your mother a lot, Lady Astelle.”
“Do you know my mother?”
As soon as she asked the question, she thought that he knew her mother well, of course, since he was her maternal grandfather’s lieutenant.
Count Ecklen looked at her for a moment and then answered, “Yes, we were friends.”
“You were my mother’s friend?”
Astelle thought it would be a relationship between a young lieutenant and the daughter of a superior.
She was surprised to hear the word ‘friend’.
In an instant, a deep regret passed through the Count’s eyes, as if recalling the past.
“It’s a bit impolite to say that I was your mother’s friend. We were close because we were the same age.”
The Count spoke as if it was nothing. But it sounded like a pretty close relationship.
‘I’ve never heard of this before.’
My maternal grandfather never said such a thing.
Why didn’t he say he was close to my mother?
It felt a little odd.
Astelle smiled, hiding her confusion.
“Count, if it’s okay with you, would you like to visit the Empress’s Palace?”
“Of course. I’d like to have tea with you. I want to hear more about my mother.”
Astelle spoke as if she only had that request, but in truth, it was not just that.
Currently, there is no one Astelle can trust in the Imperial Palace.
Fortunately, this man was the only person she had a relationship with.
Since this man was the minister of the military, it would be good to befriend him at this time.
Besides, he had a relationship with her maternal grandfather, and the Count himself was also favorable to Astelle.
Astelle invited the Count to the Empress’s Palace with that intention.
“Thank you, Lady Astelle. I will see you soon.”
The Count happily accepted the invitation.
The bloodline test at the temple ended without any problems. From that day on, new maids were added to the palace where Astelle lived.
“His Majesty has sent us to serve the prince.”
According to the principle, Theor, who was recognized as a prince, had to receive his own palace and stay there.
However, since he is still young, he decided to stay here until he adapts to the Imperial Palace.
“Nice to meet you. Hannah will tell you what to be careful about.”
The head of the maids bowed to Astelle.
Astelle tilted her head and whispered to Hannah after the maids had left.
“See if they can be trusted.”
All the maids of Empress Dowager were selected and brought in by Hannah.
The maids sent by Kaizen also must have been chosen with care, but still, Astelle shouldn’t let her guard down.
‘Those who will be with Theor should be chosen carefully.’
Theor’s safety was what Astelle paid the most attention to when entering the Empress Palace.
It was for the safety of the child that she decided to take care of him here for the time being.
Astelle paid a lot of attention to the structure of the palace.
Theor’s residence was placed on the innermost side, with Astelle’s residence on the other side and her maternal grandfather’s room on the other side.
The maids wandered all day along both passages, and guard soldiers guarding the palace stood up at novices day and night in the garden.
People’s eyes could always reach around Theor.
Theor ran to the terrace to find Astelle.
“Theor? I thought you were hanging out with grandpa.”
Red eyes like ruby looked at Astelle with curiosity and affection.
After returning to the capital, Theor no longer drips color-changing medicine in his eyes.
Theor seemed to prefer the freedom to call Astelle his mother instead of having to go through the hassle of dripping medicine in his eyes every day.
Whenever he had a chance, he called Astelle his mother, and followed her.
“I think grandpa is sleeping now.”
Theor hung on the armrests of Astelle’s chair.
“Mom, how long do we have to be here?”
“You don’t like being here?”
“No, it’s not like that.”
It still seems unfamiliar here.
The three of them lived together for many years, and it was difficult to adapt to such a large palace.
Hannah sat down on her knees next to Theor, carefully said, “Prince, would you like a small castle in the garden?”
“Castle? Can you build a real castle?”
“Of course. I will ask the servants to make a nice castle out of wood.”
Hannah added, looking at Astelle.
“In the past, there was such a castle in the Crown Prince’s Palace. It was a playground for His Highness the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess.”
Hannah is talking about a small castle in the garden of the Crown Prince’s palace when Astelle was young.
It was a small castle built by Empress Dowager for young Kaizen.
“Please make one here, too!”
“Please draw the castle you want. I will make it the same.”
Excited, Theor took Hannah’s hand and went to the study.
Astelle looked at that sight and smiled bitterly.
Theor’s eyes were the same red as Kaizen’s because he didn’t take the medicine.
When they stood side by side in the temple with the same hair color and eyes, they really looked like father and son.
A maid opened the door and brought a letter.
“Lady Astelle, the Viscountess Milott, along with the other noble ladies, has asked an audience.”
“The noble ladies?”
The content of the letter was a request to visit the Empress’s Palace and greet Astelle.
The names of the participants were all ladies of middle-class nobles.
Among them was the Marchioness of Croychen, Florin’s mother.
Perhaps because of the orders of her husband, who was the minister of state, she was caught between these ladies.
‘It means you want to keep an eye on me because I’ll be the empress soon.’
In fact, Astelle wanted to tell them not to come. However, she would soon become empress, she couldn’t ignore the noble ladies of the society.
“Okay. Tell them to visit me in the afternoon.”
A few hours later, the noble ladies came to Astelle.
When Astelle went to the drawing-room, there were about ten noble ladies gathered, and they all bowed their heads towards her.
There were faces she knew and faces she didn’t.
Among them, the eldest lady hesitated and stepped forward.
She seems to be the Viscountess who wrote the letter.
“Lady Astelle. Thank you for allowing us to attend. Before the wedding, we came to greet you in advance.”
Among them, none had a close relationship with Astelle.
That’s why they couldn’t come separately but come together.
“Thank you for visiting. Come this way. The tea will be ready.”
“Thank you, Lady Astelle.”
Next to the drawing-room was a reception room for receiving guests.
As soon as Astelle asked to bring tea, the maids served tea and dessert.
As soon as they put down the teacup, the ladies took turns congratulating Astelle.
“Congratulations, Lady Astelle.”
Astelle listened to the endless congratulation. But there is only one noble lady who has not opened her mouth.
She was the Marchioness of Croychen.
The Marchioness of Croychen, who was sitting farthest from Astelle, was forced to open her mouth after the others began to pay attention to her.
“Well, me too—”
Astelle cut her words coldly.
“You slandered Theor as an illegitimate child.”
Astelle looked straight at the Marchioness and continued, “If you want to come here and congratulate me, you have to apologize first.”
Silence filled the reception room in an instant.
The Marchioness stared at Astelle with a blazing gaze.
She didn’t seem willing to apologize, even formally.
She got up in a hurry.
“I will go back.”
The Marchioness rose from her seat, and no one followed her.
Just by looking at that, Astelle could tell the position of the Marchioness in society right now.
On the other hand, Astelle, the only prince’s mother, was in such a firm position in the Imperial Palace.
Astelle said indifferently, “Please remember, I don’t want to see the Marchioness here in the future.”