A Stepmother’s Marchen - Chapter 48
“Your Royal Highness, Lady Neuwanstein.”
“Oh, Lady Nurembert, long time no see.”
While I greeted Duchess Nurembert, Theobalt apologized and left. As he did so, he gave me a meaningful look, which seemed to mean to meet him later.
“Thank you for the gift,” said the Duchess, with a sad look of courtesy. I thought for a moment about how to explain the appointment I made at the time and eventually said something else.
“I’m glad you received it. But I can’t see your son yet.”
It was a question I asked without much thought, but the weak duchess’s response was unusual.
Looking at the sad look on her face, chewing her lips and clasping her hands together. Some might think that I sent a declaration of war as a Christmas gift.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Nora couldn’t make it today because he had some work to do.”
What on earth was the reason for the only son of the Nurembert family and the nephew of the empress to not attend the Christmas banquet? I wondered if it had been like this in the past as I couldn’t remember.
At that time, I didn’t have time to look into other people’s affairs because I was concerned about my own. Only..
“Are you sick?”
“No, I’m not. Thank you for asking. And, madam…”
“Please forget what I asked you the other day. I wasn’t thinking straight.”
I stared at Heide’s pale face for a moment, and then, unconsciously, I asked, “Did the Duke scold you?”
“No, that didn’t happen… it’s just that madam is young, and might get burdened.”
Well, I guess what the Duke of Steel said was right. As I watched the slender woman continue to stutter with a squeezing voice, my heart felt stuffy.
Why didn’t she just tell her husband about it? Moreover, based on what the Duke had said earlier, it didn’t seem that Nora was even ill…… . he wasn’t beaten by his father and fell ill, right?? Hey, no way, no way, the Duke wasn’t like that…
“Oh, my God.”
“Oh, look at them.”
“They’re so cute…”
I and the Duchess turned to the small murmur that spread out of the blue. It went without saying that the next moment I burst into laughter.
Christmas vocals sung by choirs had already come to an end and a lively waltz was flowing.
In the middle of the still secluded dance floor, the twins, Leon and Rachel, stood hand in hand and danced. They were still clumsy, but considering their age, they were perfect.
“Leon, be careful! Rachel’s aiming for the back of your foot.”
“Why did you hit me?!”
It was needless to say that I slapped Elias on the back because he was determined to ruin his little cute siblings’ mood.
“Is your mouth going to grow thorns if you don’t ruin the good atmosphere?”
“What’s so good about that atmosphere? They look so clumsy.”
“Then why don’t you go teach them?”
“Why me? It’s up to my eldest son!”
At Elias’s clever act, Jeremy followed suit without a moment’s hesitation, “I’m going to be a knight. I have no talent or interest in dancing. In that sense, Shuri, why don’t you go? Of course, if you have a partner…”
“Lady Neuwanstein, would you give me the honor of dancing with you at this Christmas banquet?”
Whatever nonsense Jeremy was about to say next, it was horribly cut off by Theobalt, who suddenly approached and reached out to me.
I smiled at the two boy’s faces that quickly turned ugly, and gently held the crown prince’s hand and headed to the dance floor. Before I knew it, many men and women were joining the dance line.
“Unexpectedly, you’re very skilled.”
“Is that a compliment? Your Highness is good too.”
“Ahaha, don’t make fun of me. I’ve been practicing a lot.”
After a short and exciting song, I was thirsty and tried to step down for a drink, but Theobalt held my hand and led me. It was a passage leading to the outside of the banquet hall.
Because there were so many eyes, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t speak and quietly followed.
“Where are we going…”
“What I said earlier. I want to show you that place.”
His private library? Was he very spontaneous or should I say that he didn’t know how to give up?
Anyway, I thought it was just a tour and I might have a book to bring to Leon, our little intellectual, so I obediently followed Theobalt to his private library.
There was no way to reject such a thing as he was the crown prince.
However, when I reached the Crown Prince’s private library, I was completely blown away.
Oh, my God, it was a greenhouse garden made by plowing the terrace, with so many bookshelves poking up the ceiling in a glass-to-ceiling room.
It was a place to enjoy reading leisurely while enjoying a garden full of spring grass flowers that could not be seen in this season. I would see why this immature crown prince was so desperate to show me this place.
“Do you like it?”
Theobalt, who was smiling awkwardly while I was admiring the place, asked carefully.
“It’s a beautiful place. I might end up reading all day here.”
“You got it right. It’s better indoors than outdoors. What kind of books do you usually enjoy reading?”
“Well, it’s mainly history and politics, but sometimes…”
Theobalt, who was approaching the front of a huge bookcase, was suddenly cut off by a loud noise.
What is this? Who else is here besides us…?
“Oh, my goodness. You surprised me. Did you come to find that old book again?”
The main culprit behind the noise was a figure that wasn’t expected at all, Cardinal Richelieu.
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