Huge thanks to Amie for the support! (4/4)
After finishing their meal, the two families moved rooms to have tea. The adults sat around the table drinking tea, while the children played across the room.
“What does His Majesty think about the road project?”
Frederick allusively asked Gerrard. The Anata family had requested permission from the Imperial Family to construct a road connecting the Capital and the Anata duchy. In the northern part of the country, where supplies were scarce, the lives of the residents would be more abundant if there was a paved road that led directly to the Capital.
“I don’t dare to assume what is in His Majesty’s mind, but he seemed to be still thinking about it.”
Gerard replied with a polite smile.
‘Who doesn’t know that you’re a close associate of the Emperor?’
Although Frederick seemed to be nodding, he inwardly cursed Gerard. However, that was the best answer Gerard could give. He couldn’t carelessly convey the Imperial Family’s position of his own will.
And it was also true that the Emperor was worried. Even though the north’s supplies were insufficient, it was also beneficial for the Capital if a road was built because the northern region was rich with minerals.
However, the problem was the treason that could occur. The Knights of Anata were well-trained troops, as they protected the northern border. If such an army wanted to advance on the Capital along the well-paved road, there was no way to stop them.
Even if the Archduke in the north had no intention of committing treason, he couldn’t be sure about the future. The Emperor’s worries were bound to deepen.
“Why don’t the Imperial Family and the Anata family divide the concession agreement 6 : 4? Do you think that’s enough for His Majesty to make up his mind?”
The battle related to the concession agreement between the Imperial Family and Anata went on. At first, Frederick insisted on 5 : 5, then he carefully expressed his will to yield.
“That’s good news for His Majesty.”
Gerard drank his tea with a serene expression, not showing any agitation. However, it was obviously clear that Owen, the Emperor, would be pleased to hear the news. Conditions were conditions, but he would like the fact that Anata took initiative.
At that moment, there was a clap that cut off the brutal political conversation between the heads of the families.
“Anyway, it would be nice if a road could be built! Then I can go to the Capital more often to see you guys, right?”
Leila said while glancing at Chloe as if asking for her consent. Chloe couldn’t readily answer Leila’s question. She couldn’t tell whether Leila was saying that to support her husband’s opinion or just talking about her feelings.
“Well, sometimes you need a proper distance, too.”
So Chloe gave a dubious answer. This was her answer to the road project, but also the relationship between herself and Leila.
It was that moment.
A cry broke out among the children whom they thought were playing well. There was Rennesia, who was splayed on the ground and had paint on her clothes, and Abel, who was glaring at Renee.
Abel seemed to have pushed Renee.
Abel looked at his mother and father with tearful eyes.
“I hate you!”
He ran out of the drawing room. No one could tell who he was talking to.
Adults think children don’t know, but in fact, children know everything. Even Abel. The child knew that whenever his mother talked about his father, her expression turned sad.
“Mother, who’s stronger between father and the Grand Duchess?”
“Uh… Well? They had similar skills nine years ago, but I don’t know now.”
Chloe was soon lost in thought after she answered Abel’s question. Nine years ago, Gerard and Leila used to have frequent fights.
Gerard won most of the matches by a fine margin. Then he smiled brighter than the sun at Leila, who was furiously angry.
Chloe couldn’t manage her expression while trying to remember if he had ever laughed like that with her.
Abel noticed his mother’s anxious and sorrowful expression.
Chloe thought that she was hiding it well from Abel, but in reality, she wasn’t. Abel couldn’t help but notice that his mother was strange because she looked so different from usual.
Since yesterday, his mother looked like she would cry whenever she heard about his father.
Abel had never experienced such a situation before because the Blanchett couple had never fought.
He didn’t want his mother to cry. He didn’t want his mother to be sad. He wanted his mother to be happy. He wanted to protect his mother from suffering. He promised his father that.
‘But… What should I do if mother is sad because of father?’
Abel’s little head couldn’t answer the question.
The child had found out one thing. The fact that his mother and father might not be very close.
“I’ll leave first because I have something to do.”
Frederick always attended dinner, but he went back to the study to do his piled-up work after the meal. However, he had to do something before he left.
Before he went back, Frederick kissed Leila on the forehead. He would kiss Leila on the forehead, cheek and lips every time they were about to separate.
“Derick, even if you’re not done with your work today, come to our room early. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Then Leila hugged Frederick.
Abel, who had never seen such affectionate expressions between a couple, was shocked. He felt that way even more because he had never seen anything like that done by his parents.
His mother and father respected and cared for each other, but they didn’t exchange affection like the Anata couple.
That’s why he thought kissing was only for children by adults. His parents did it to him, but he had never seen them do it to each other.
And he also found out for the first time that a couple could call each other by nicknames without hesitation. He thought it was etiquette to call each other by status, such as my Lady and honey.
Abel, whose parents usually called each other by formal names, thought Frederick and Leila’s behavior was a little strange. However, on the other hand, he thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see his parents do that as well. It’s just, for some reason… it felt nice.
The child met a strange man whose eyes lingered on his mother.
“Young Master, I’m Herace Moore, the Knight Commander of Anata and the man who has an unrequited love for the Marchioness.”
Abel glared at the man. His mother was married to his father. What was this strange man saying?
He wanted to speak more, but he couldn’t because of his mother who hurriedly stopped him.
“No, Sir. Don’t listen to this man…!”
However, he had to say this. Abel spoke as he stuck out his head from behind his mother’s legs, which were closed as if to protect him.
“But mother only likes me and father!”
“Haha, that’s why I gave up.”
Herace laughed loudly. However, Abel couldn’t completely remove the vigilance from his eyes.
However, Abel’s vigilance gradually lessened after Herace taught him skating diligently. When they came out to skate again after lunch, there was a little vigilance remaining in Abel.
“Now that the young Master is good at it, shall we have a match with the young Lady?”
“Good idea! Good idea!”
“But I just learned this today…”
Abel also wanted to play, but for some reason, he felt like he was going to lose, so he was reluctant to proceed with the match. The quick-witted Herace noticed what Abel was thinking.
“Well, since it’s the first time for the young Master, why don’t you start three steps ahead? With the consent of our pretty, cute, and wonderful young Lady! What do you think, my Lady? Will it be fine for you?”
Herace asked Renee, praising her excessively. Renee smiled and nodded, as if she was content with Herace’s words.
“Then, young Master, please stand here.”
Herace drew a line using his skating blade.
“Young Lady, please stand here.”
He called Abel to stand three steps ahead of Renee and drew the same line for her.
“Can you see young Master Noah raising his hand? The first who turns around at young Master Noah and reaches the starting line where the young Lady is standing now will be declared as winner, are you fine with it?”
He said, pointing to Noah standing with a Knight of Anata in the distance.
“Then, on the count of ‘One, two, three!’, you may start.”
However, Herace didn’t shout, ‘One, two, three!’ smoothly.
It was time for Renee and Abel to get ready to run.
“Two and a half, Two and a half of half.”
“Oh, what are you doing?!”
The two children, who were relaxed at first, whined when Herace dragged out the start for no reason.
Sending a sign that indicated he understood, Herace suddenly shouted ‘three’.
Abel stuttered at the sudden signal. Meanwhile, Renee, who was good at skating, immediately caught up with Abel.
‘Such a weird man! I’m going to lose like this.’
However, Abel was smiling brightly despite his thoughts. It was fun. He should do it more!
However, instead of Herace who greeted the children after they reached the finish line, there stood another knight.
“Where’s Sir Herace?”
“He left because he had something to do.”
Abel nodded at the knight’s words and retracted his concern for Herace. More than that, the important thing was to play with Renee again.
However, Abel soon saw an uncomfortable sight.
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