We had a truly happy time in Attica.
Leaving the noisy capital, we chose to focus more on each other. It goes without saying how excellent the choice was.
One day, about a year after our second wedding anniversary.
It was nice to see the warm weather. I took a walk around the neighborhood with Kaelus.
“The potato crop has increased, so everyone likes it.”
“It went well to trade Attica’s forest products for Illion’s crops. Both territories were satisfied.”
When I returned home talking with him, I received an urgent call from imperial city.
“Who is it?”
“Hmm. Heli sent it.”
Reading the letter, Kaelus’ face darkened.
“The emperor’s condition is not very good.”
He was like a father to him. He often referred to Kaelus as his “second son” in public.
I clasped his hand.
“Let’s go to imperial city. You could really regret it if you hesitate.”
“Yeah, I should.”
The road prepared us for a hasty departure to the capital. I had to move quickly, so I packed my clothes with the least amount of luggage and personnel.
It’s been a long time since we left the land of snow and ice and headed south. At the time of coming to Attica, the road, which took almost a week, was shortened to three days this time.
At last we reached the duchy of the capital. However, far from relieving the fatigue, Kaelus and I rushed to the palace without having time to greet the servants who had kept the house.
There were already a considerable number of aristocrats gathered in the Lion Palace. When we appeared, there were sighs and buzzes here and there.
Countess Erinnis greeted me with a handkerchief wiping tears.
“Duchess Hestia! Duke Kaelus!”
It was not a situation to greet peacefully, so I briefly asked about the state of the emperor.
“What happened to his majesty?”
“He’s been debilitating, but his condition has suddenly deteriorated over the past few days. The courtiers are all stuck, but he really needs to prepare himself this time.”
Kaelus’ face turned almost earthy.
“I must go to see his majesty right away, Hess.”
“Yes, I’m coming with you.”
We hurried to the emperor’s bedroom. I reached the bedroom door, past a corridor heavily guarded by guards.
“Tell him Kaelus, the lord of Illion, and Hestia, the lady of Attica, to see him.”
The chief bowed deeply, and after being polite, he hurried inside.
“Come on in.”
Kaelus exchanged glances with me for a moment, and then stepped carefully so that there was no sound of footsteps.
I could see the bed in which the emperor was lying.
The white-faced Diana looked at us and rose silently. an expression on the verge of tears The sea-colored eyes were already filled with tears.
Kaelus approached the emperor without giving her an eye.
Perhaps he had just come to his senses in his voice, the emperor confirmed him with his dim eyes.
A weak hand shook on the quilt. Kaelus managed to notice it and clasped his hand tightly.
I think we need to move out for the two of them now.
But that tactless Diana is always the problem. She was standing next to the bed as if he were stuck with a handkerchief and only shedding tears.
It can’t be helped. It’s been a while since we saw each other, but you and I must be destined to bump into each other every time we see.
I boldly talked to him.
“Your highness the crown princess. Why don’t we go out for a while?”
Her fine eyebrows were slightly distorted. But when I looked at her with force in my eyes, she nodded gently.
I kissed Kaelus lightly.
“Kael, see you later”
He nodded in silence.
Coming out, Diana and I looked away in silence from each other.
Judging from her attitude, I don’t think she’s properly reflecting on herself yet as Helios said.
Do you still need more time? It’s hard to change a person in a few years.
Still, let’s take a peek to see how much she has taken steps to reflect on herself.
“It’s been a long time since I saw you, your grace.”
“…Yes. Long time no see.”
It’s cold. This is the end of the progress check.
I should have pushed her to abdication, but Kaelus broke down. For a moment, old resentment rises.
But while I was spending time with Kaelus and Attica, I changed my mind a lot.
He was absolutely right. It was much more important to think only about what we would make us happy among ourselves, regardless of what others did. It’s actually overwhelming to just care about that.
So I decided not to take Diana’s reaction to heart.
She made a sudden noise next to me, and I turned my head in surprise.
Helios was approaching at a rapid pace, perhaps hearing our news.
“The great sun of the empire…”
“Hestia. Is Kaelus inside?”
The habit of cutting off the cumbersome etiquette is still there. I answered quickly.
“Yes, his majesty has left his seat for a quiet conversation with my husband.”
“I see. Whoo…”
Helios sighed with great relief.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Hmm? Ah, I…… I was glad you guys came before it was too late.”
I honestly don’t know what to say to Helios, who smiles bitterly. What should I say to the person who has his dying father in front of him?
It is a pity that life experience is far short at times like this.
In the end, after thinking and thinking, I barely gave him this word.
“His Majesty will wake up.”
Although the expression is corny, I hope my apologetic heart can be conveyed.
Fortunately, Helios took my consolation.
“I hope so, too. Thank you, Hestia.”
Then the door opened and the palace chief appeared. Helios and Diana, who were standing in front of him, turned their heads in surprise.
“Your highness the crown prince. His majesty is calling.”
“I got it.”
When he went inside, Diana and I were left alone in the hallway again.
The awkwardness that came again. I just have to think of Diana as a person who doesn’t exist.
I don’t have the heart to make up with her. Of course, I didn’t just do nice things when I confronted her. But just as she doesn’t want to apologize, I don’t really reflect on my actions either.
Yes, I can’t force Diana to reflect on herself when I don’t reflect on myself.
It’s just that until she realizes what’s wrong with her, Kaelus and I have to live with our own happiness.
To be honest, it takes energy to hate constantly.
When I spent a long time alone in various thoughts.
As the tightly closed door opened, Kaelus and Helios reappeared.
I quickly approached my favorite.
Kaelus looked very tired.
Then Helios said to us, “I’ll call the two of you soon. Until then, stay in imperial city for now.”
“Yes, your highness.”
I answered on behalf of Kael.
Helios turned his back and disappeared down the hall.
Diana looked at us for a moment, and then silently returned to the emperor.
I held the cold hands of Kaelus.
“We’re going back, too.”
He took my hand and walked weakly.
After a long time, we laid together on the bed of the duke’s mansion.
Kaelus opened his mouth with a heavy face.
When Kaelus blurted the end of his words, I waited silently for the words to follow.
“… He wanted me to remain in the capital.”
Only then did I realize why he had such a dark look on his face.
You must have feared that I would be troubled by confrontation with Diana in the noisy capital. In particular, I think I caused a suicide disturbance in front of my favorite. Maybe he’s afraid of life in the capital.
However, to turn a blind eye to this and go back to Attica to make us happy, I am concerned about the emperor’s request, which is like a will.
I asked cautiously.
“What do you want me to do?”
He shook his head as if he didn’t know.
Nevertheless, I can clearly feel his heart shaking. Can I help you with your decision?
“Kael, I promised I’d follow you wherever you went. Whether it’s Attica or the capital, now I’m happy wherever I am with you.”
“If you don’t know what to do, stay in the capital for the rest of your life. We can think about what to do later.”
In fact, I still don’t care much about anyone other than Kaelus. Whatever happens to the emperor or not, it’s enough as long as I’m happy with my favorite.
But I don’t want to burden him in return for my happiness.
Moreover, the emperor does not have much time left. To ease Kaelus’s mind, that much is willing to yield.
“Let’s do that, Kael.”
I urged him once again.
After a long sigh, Kaelus nodded slowly.
“Thank you, Hestia. If you don’t mind, I’ll probably stay in the capital a little longer. I’m very sorry to just reject his majesty’s words.”
“Yes, I feel the same way.”
This extended our capital schedule a little bit.
The next day, Helios brought Kaelus and I to the palace.
“You must have been very surprised to hear the news out of the blue. But thank you for coming quickly.”
He poured tea in front of Kaelus and coffee in front of me.
Raising the teacup, Kaelus asked.
“Is there a reason why his majesty got worse so quickly?”
“According to the court doctor, a person who has been bedridden for a long time can be affected by a very minor cause in an instant.”
Helios replied with a complex look.
The emperor was less than fifty years old, even for his parents’ generation. However, due to his long illness, he looked much older on the outside.
In this world where modern medicine is not developed, the average life expectancy is extremely short, around the age of three to forty. Perhaps that’s why people think the emperor is enduring for a sick person.
Kaelus spoke slowly.
“Yesterday, his Majesty asked me to remain in the capital.”
Helios shook his head in silence.
“So I discussed it with Hess yesterday, and I decided to stay in the imperial city for a while.”
Looking at his expression, Helios somehow seemed to have more to say.
I poked at it.
“Your Highness, you must have something to say.”
“What’s interesting is that you, the duchess, read my mind strangely well.”
He replied with a false smile.
“…I’ll tell you the truth. I want you to come back to the capital, not for the time being.”
Kaelus frowned, but for now he was silent.
“I’m at my limit on my own. It used to be a burden when you were out of state for months to relax, but now the gap is bigger than that.”
Helios said to me this time.
“Duchess, I think you’d prefer Attica to this capital. But this country really needs Kael.”
Then, Kaelus opened his mouth with a voice dripping with cold air ahead of me.
“Don’t force my wife to answer, Heli.”
“Oh, I’m not forcing you, I’m begging you.”
Helios also responded without losing.
I sipped my coffee calmly.
“…To be honest, I don’t care.”
“Hess, you don’t have to.”
My favorite’s words gave me a gentle smile.
“No, I’m telling you. The most important thing to me is that you don’t owe me anything. We’ve had enough of our honeymoon, so we’ll have to get back to where we belong.”
Helios grinned at the right time.
“Thank you, Hestia.”
But Kaelus had no intention of going that far.
“No, there’s something we need to talk about before we can stay in this capital.”
“How’s Diana doing these days?”
At his sharp question, Helios and I were momentarily quiet.
Kaelus’ eyes cooled even more.
“I went to Attica with Hestia because I wanted to keep Hestia out of your problems with Diana.”
Helios spoke in an awkward voice.
“If it’s Diana….”
A bitter smile.
“We’ve been married for more than three years. We got married a day earlier than your wife.”
Kaelus and I waited in silence for his words.
“We’re regaining our relationship little by little. Now we can have breakfast together. I’ve been accompanied by Diana as my partner in public.”
It is natural for couples, but it was certainly a great development when I recall that the relationship was the worst.
“Diana is much softer than before. Among the ladies of the Lily Palace, there are much more aristocrats. Of course it won’t be enough in the eyes of the duchess, but I want you to know that she’s still trying.”
“Did she stop criticizing my wife?”
When Kaelus asked stiffly, Helios affirmed.
“She’s officially silent. Not only for Hestia, but also for the nobles.”
“Well, that’s a bit too bad.”
Helios chuckled at my words.
“The duchess certainly has more leeway. I didn’t expect you to say such a generous thing.”
I gently held Kaelus’ hand.
“You don’t have to worry about me. I’m really fine.”
Purple eyes still full of worries.
I smiled silently.
“I’ve already monopolized you enough. It’s time to send it back to the people of the empire.”
“In addition, his majesty will be alive longer. In the meantime, shouldn’t we stay in the capital as his majesty said? But who knows how many years it will be?”
Helios smiled quietly at my words.
After many sighs and agonizing, Kaelus said yes with difficulty.
“…Okay. I’ll go back to state affairs.”
“Thank you, Kael.”
“Thanks to his majesty’s request and my wife’s persuasion.”
Despite my feisty favorite’s words, Helios replied with a bright look.
“Of course. I won’t forget.”
On the day he decided to stay on the capital altogether, Kaelus contacted the remaining people in Attica. He was told to meticulously take care of his household and return to the emperor.
I wrote a separate letter to Madam Harmonia. I asked her to report on the situation of the territory in the future because the circumstances of the imperial city were not favorable.
There was another thing to do. Having returned to the capital, I should have had a welcoming ceremony in society.
I called the butler and the lady-in-waiting to discuss it.
“I should have a tea party at the duchy.”
“Feel free to tell us. We’ll help you as much as we can.”
As expected, trustworthy people. This is why I can work courageously even if I am clumsy.
It’s a social event that I’m in a hurry to prepare, but I’ve also made some progress with my own experience.
First of all, I sent invitations to several people I had frequently interacted with, including Countess Erinnis. And they quickly airlifted the top-of-the-line teas even if they gave them more money. Of course, I asked the tailor, Tekima, for the costume.
Less than a week after that, I was able to throw a perfectly prepared tea party.
Kaelus was there for the first time in a long time. I spoke humbly before the guests.
“The smperor is in critical condition, so I avoided the splendor a little. It’s a simple party, but please be generous.”
Erinnis was all smiles.
“Even parties are very cautious these days. We fully understand if the duchess is not so modest.”
The atmosphere continued to flow amicably. Above all, with Kaelus together, people could not help but get excited about the rare sight.
“You two look really good. Attica is also Attica, but I can clearly feel that you two are happy.”
I agreed with someone.
“I think it’s a good thing I came here after cooling my head off in the territory.”
Without Kaelus, the topic of conversation about Diana would certainly have come out here. However, even though they are in front of him, who explicitly opposed the abdication of the crown princess, no one can bring it up.
In fact, I already know that there was a lot of talk in society about why we left the imperial city. So to speak, speculation that Kaelus dragged me out of the capital to protect his first love, Diana.
Therefore, if we show ourselves together like this today, we will be able to completely calm down the speculation in the world.
I smiled satisfactorily and put a piece of cake in my mouth.
By the way.
Ugh. What kind of cake is so disgusting?
Kaelus, who saw my face distorted, asked quickly.
“What’s wrong, Hess?”
I made a mistake there. There is a fear that the duchy’s cook may be falsely accused. I have to be more careful because I know he’s a faithful person.
“I think I have a slight upset stomach. I feel a little sick.”
But one of the guests threw it out of the blue.
“Are you pregnant?”
When I heard that, Kaelus and I were frozen.
“Didn’t the doctor say something different?” asked Erinnis, forcing herself to hold back her laughter.
“Oh… I haven’t been able to see a doctor for the last few days because I’ve been busy……”
Come to think of it, it’s a little past the time to get my period. I thought it was because of the lack of stamina on the way from Attica to the capital!
Erinnis couldn’t take it anymore and laughed aloud.
“You shouldn’t be doing this, Duchess! Well, we’re going to leave quickly, so go see a doctor. Hohohoho.”
In the end, that’s how the party ended.
The duchy’s doctor was called in like a thunderbolt. I was examined by a doctor, with Kaelus watching with hawk eyes.
“Are you really pregnant?”
The doctor grinned.
“It’s weak, but it’s the pulse of a pregnant woman. Congratulations, ma’am, my lord.”
Oh, my God. Really?
I burst into tears without realizing it. I can’t believe I’m finally having a baby in just over two years since I became a real couple with my favorite!
Once it exploded like that, it was hard to stop. I was hugged by Kaelus and wept.
“Oh, my God! The baby is really…!”
As much as I waited anxiously, I couldn’t express my emotion in words.
Kaelus hugged me tightly and kissed me.
“Congratulations, Hess, and thank you.”
His voice, too, was teary.
“I’m most glad my child was born through you. Children are precious, but you’re the one I love the most.”
“Thank you, Kael.….”
Isn’t it a truly happy ending? The ordinary me who fell in love with my favorite finally bears the fruit of my favorite’s love.
I saved my abandoned favorite.
And my dearest,
Who saved me from being abandoned in this world.
<For My Derelict Favorite> end
TN: That’s the end folks! Now there’s only the epilogue and five side stories left. Stay tuned for the epilogue which will be split into two since it’s so long.