The Male Lead Knelt Before Me
Vol. 16: What I wished for
Early in the morning, I boarded the carriage to the castle. In fact, I had no reason to go to the Imperial Palace so early in the morning.
However, because of the promise I made to the Archduke and his wife, I decided it would be best if I went to the Imperial Palace with Caleb.
Caleb has to go to the Royal Knights every morning, so he goes to the Imperial Palace.
‘There are a few things I need to double-check quickly.’
I took a look at the bag.
In the bag was Vivian’s necklace that Veloka had given me.
It was the first thing that came to mind when I returned to the Duke’s residence last night and remembered the promise I made to the Archduke and his wife.
‘I heard the real Elena had the necklace since she was a baby, right?’
According to Veloka’s testimony, the necklace looked exactly like the necklace Elena cherished to the point of calling it a guardian necklace.
‘The Archduke and his wife might be familiar with that necklace.’
If it was given by the Archduke couple.
And if the necklace was some kind of special token they left for their baby.
Maybe today I’ll discover the truth about my wonder.
Of course, even if the necklace had not been left as a special token, my suspicion would remain a strong assumption in the absence of evidence.
The carriage that had brought me to the Imperial Palace came to a halt as I was drowning in worry.
I sent Caleb to the Royal Knight’s quarter after appeasing him because he kept asking if I could really go see the Archduke couple alone, and then I went to the palace where the Archduke couple stayed.
I expected to have to wait, but because I arrived early in the morning, I was able to meet the Archduchess right away.
The Archduchess greeted me enthusiastically.
She even brought out a chair for me to sit in.
As I sat down, I noticed that one person was missing.
What happened to the Archduke?
I assumed they’d be together.
“What are you looking for?”
“I couldn’t see His Highness the Archduke, ah.”
I paused for a moment as I continued to speak casually.
People are aware that I am the daughter of an Archduke couple, regardless of my circumstances.
I don’t think it’s appropriate to keep addressing him as ‘His Highness the Archduke’……
“Call us whenever it is convenient for you.”
I’m not sure if she was aware of my concern, but the Archduchess spoke first.
“Call me whatever you want, your highness, mother and father. We understand that changing how you address us right away is difficult for you.”
I was grateful for her words, but they also felt burdensome.
Because, despite what she had said, I was certain that the Archduchess had preferred that I address her as mother rather than by her title.
But is that acceptable?
That’s what everyone knows, and I’m not sure if I’m physically their daughter, but I’m not their real daughter.
I felt sorry for them, but I believe it would be more appropriate if I addressed them by their title.
I felt apprehensive about opening my mouth and making a sound.
Because of the disappointment that filled the Archduchess’s face.
I couldn’t say anything after seeing that.
I opened my mouth again after a long pause.
“…… I’ll call him father. Mother, too.”
The Archduchess’s face lit up at this.
On the contrary, I was stuffy on the inside.
It’s as if something heavy has been placed on my chest.
‘Do I really have to do this? Should I just tell her the truth?’
It came to me unexpectedly, but the remaining reason quelled my desire.
“But why are you looking for your father?”
“I assumed you were together, but I couldn’t see him. Where has he gone?”
“He spent some time with Elord. He stated that he had something to discuss with him. ”
I could remember the emperor’s name after tilting my head for a while.
I’d heard they were close, but I never imagined they were close enough to call each other by name.
“But he’ll be right back. He promised to finish it quickly because he doesn’t know when you’ll arrive.”
It was a word that confirmed Archduke’s feelings for me simply by listening to it.
All I could do was awkwardly smile.
We decided to have tea time in the glass garden because the weather was nice.
The Archduchess instructed the servant to inform the Archduke to look for us in the glass garden.
‘When should I bring up the necklace? Should I bring it up right now? Or in the garden?’
On the one hand, I wanted to check it out right away, but on the other hand, I didn’t. I’m not sure why.
It was a time when I was lost in thought as we made our way to the glass garden.
“Are those the escorts your fiancé had assigned to you?”
When I looked back, I noticed a line of escorts following me.
Those were the duke’s knights that Caleb had previously assigned to me.
“Yes, they are all Duke Egon knights.”
“With so many knights attached to you, he must be very worried about you.”
Well, he does worry too much about me, but at least he did it to try to protect me……
I thought I was used to it by this point, but I felt awkward whenever anyone paid attention to it.
“I believe it’s because I was previously threatened.”
“Can I ask you the detail?”
The Archduchess’s tone was solemn in her inquiry.
I wanted to retract what I had said, but it had already been spat out.
Now I had to explain everything that had happened.
Starting with the threat of bullies, to being kidnapped on the street after becoming a Kitara, to being pushed into the water at the Emperor’s birthday banquet.
After talking about incident after incident, it was time to talk about Caleb.
“……I see. After hearing your story, I can see why the Duke does that. Since we lost you, we’ve also increased our escort.”
In retrospect, how did the Archduke and his wife end up losing Elena?
I was suddenly intrigued by the topic and attempted to inquire.
However, the Archduchess was faster.
“Especially when your brother was born, it was the climax.”
Furthermore, the content was new enough that I wanted to ask the second child.
“A younger brother? Do I have a younger brother?”
“Oh, I forgot to inform you. Bentley, your younger brother, is four years younger than you. He’s a lovely young man with a brilliant wit.”
Oh? This is surprising.
I assumed Elena was the only child because they had been looking for her for 20 years.
“Did he come too?”
“We are the only ones who have arrived in the empire. He wanted to accompany us, but we needed someone to stay and take care of the situation.”
Someone should stay because traveling to and from the Principality takes time.
“Are you disappointed that he isn’t accompanying us?”
“No, I simply inquired out of curiosity.”
“I didn’t intend to inquire about him in the first place.
Rather, if he had come together, I would have been in big trouble.
Because I was already exhausted from dealing with the Archduke and his wife.
Furthermore, I thought it was a relief to be free of the burden of being their “only” daughter.
Should I say it feels like I’ve lifted a heavy burden?
Although I won’t be able to completely remove the load.
“Every time I saw Bentley, I thought of you. I’m wondering if you’re still alive, if you’re growing well, and if I’ll ever see you again……”
“It’s still surreal. I had no idea I’d come across you in this way.”
The Archduchess reached out to me.
The Archduchess’s hand stopped in the air before it could reach mine.
She paused, her fingertips slightly closed.
When I see her hesitating, my heart aches.
“You can comfortably hold me.”
It was the moment I reached out and grabbed her hand.
The Archduchess came to a halt.
Even before I asked why she had stopped, the Archduchess covered her mouth with her hands.
Humph, a cry that she couldn’t hold in came out.
The Archduchess’s eyes turned bright red. As if she was about to cry.
“Are you okay?”
Where is the handkerchief? I think I put it in my bag.
Archduchess shook her head and said she was fine as soon as I hurriedly opened my bag.
Then she smiled as if she was losing her sad emotions and urged me to go to the garden.
I said wow without realizing it when I arrived at the glass garden because I was amazed.
After looking at the rather desolate and empty branches, I was surprised to see the garden full of flowers because of the season.
“What a lovely place.”
“Right? I came here and started to enjoy it, so I wanted to show you this place. Let’s have some tea over there.”
The Archduchess indicated a table in the garden’s center.
I sat down, opened my mouth, and touched the tea cup brought by the maid.
“Well, I was just curious. “How did you lose me?”
For a brief moment, the archduchess’s face was filled with sadness.
“I should not have inquired. I apologize.”
“You shouldn’t feel bad. Of course, I anticipated your interest. However, remembering that day makes me uneasy.”
The archduchess gently bit her lip and grabbed her other arm, pressing it against the table. Her tremor could be felt through the table.
“You don’t have to tell me if you’re finding it hard.”
“Not at all. I can’t keep obsessing over the past indefinitely. After all, I’ve already found you.”
It seemed that it was hard for her to say……
I was thinking while feeling the table shake, but the Archduchess opened her mouth.
“That was when you were born.”
The Archduchess started her story.
Elena, she claimed, was a hard-won child after several failed attempts to conceive after the Archduchess married.
As a result, the Archduke and his wife named the baby “Nivea,” which means “precious treasure,” without hesitation.
The Archduke couple treated the baby with affection because she was a precious child who had been earned through hard work.
The nanny and maid’s assistance was unavoidable because they couldn’t care for the child all day.
Then there was an issue.
Elena was kidnapped and ran away by one of the maidservants.
Of course, the castle had been turned inside out.
The Archduke and his wife directed the knight to pursue the maid who kidnapped Elena. However, they were unable to locate the maid.
The maid returned a few days later and demanded money, citing Elena’s location and safety.
The sum was large enough to be equivalent to the tax collected from the large estate for three months, but the Archduke and his wife handed over the money thinking of Elena’s safety.
Only then did the maid admit where she had hidden the baby, and the Archduke dashed off to find Elena.
Elena, however, was not present.
The enraged Archduke confronted the maid, who complained of injustice.
She claimed to have placed Elena there on purpose.
A new fact was revealed after several interrogations.
The fact that she discussed my situation with her lover soon after the maid committed the crime.
The Archduke and his wife immediately directed the knights to track down the maid’s lover.
After days of searching, the knights discovered the man at the bottom of a mountain.
A man who has already ‘died.’
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