Author: alyalia

Right, it was all my fault. It was he who had hurt the empress’s heart, and it was also he who should soothe those wounds. No matter how long it took, he had to be patient.

 

As he turned around with mixed feelings, someone approached him.

 

“It’s been a while since I saw you, Your Majesty.”

 

“Hmm?”

 

Who is it? The emperor didn’t recognize the person standing before him for a long time. He then eventually realized who that person was and gasped in surprise. “Mozar…”

 

He had changed so much. Mozar, who was always intimidated when he faced him, proudly straightened his shoulders. He even had a subtle smile on his lips.

 

“I didn’t recognize you. You’ve changed a lot.”

 

“Are you here to see mother?”

 

“Ah, that’s…”

 

The moment the emperor wondered what to answer, a gentle voice came from behind. “My son, Mozar. Welcome.”

 

* * *

My son?

 

It was an absurd statement that was beyond embarrassing. When has the empress ever called Mozar affectionately? He swore that never happened.

 

The empress passed by him as if she didn’t even see him. He watched with a puzzled expression as the empress held Mozar’s hand and stroked his head with one hand. Goosebumps ran down his spine at the strange phenomenon he couldn’t handle.

 

“Let’s go in. The wind is cold.”

 

Mozar smiled awkwardly at the empress’s words. He was also embarrassed by the change of the empress, but he didn’t dislike it. In fact, he felt good about it. That was the reason why he didn’t hesitate to travel long distances and visit every season.

 

Around this time a year ago, Mozar’s adoptive father, Grand Duke Federut, sent him to the empress, saying, “A person’s relationship with their mother is more important than anything else.’ At that time, Mozar, who reluctantly came to visit, was greatly shaken by the sight of his mother crying towards him.

 

After Duke Krow’s execution, the empress gave up everything and became an ordinary mother. With sloppy knitting skills, she knitted a scarf for her son, and Mozar wore that scarf like his own skin all winter. It was a hideous scarf; even the Grand Duke Federut, who had a keen eye for clothing, was disgusted by it, but he didn’t care.

 

“Thanks to the scarf Mother gave me, I’m not cold at all.”

 

The empress was greatly delighted when Mozar spoke with a blush on his cheeks.

 

“Thank you. For some reason, Jeina never said anything about it.”

 

Jeina, the empress’s exclusive maid, got the scarf, a gift from the empress, and kept it away deep in her closet. She said it would be difficult to wear it.

 

The empress, who was leading Mozar by the hand and entering the mansion, paused for a moment and spoke without looking back. “I have to spend time with my son today, so please come back tomorrow.”

 

The emperor’s eyes grew bigger. Finally, the permission was granted.

 

The emperor looked at their backs without saying a word. The sight of her walking away while holding her son’s hand looked so peaceful. She was crushed by a heavy burden before, losing not only her child but also herself, and it was only after she let go of everything that she regained her true self.

 

“Thank you.”

 

And I’m sorry.

 

* * *

At that time, in the Grand Duchy Federut.

 

“Did Mozar arrive safely?” Heirin Federut, Arianne’s biological mother, the grand princess, looked out the window with an anxious look and asked the grand duke.

 

“Where do you think that brat was going to? Stop worrying.”

 

How many times has she asked this? Grand Duke Federut scolded her with a face showing that he was fed up with this.

 

Grand Princess Heirin began to pour all her attention and enthusiasm she hadn’t been able to give her daughter for a long time on Mozar as if she were compensating. She became obsessed with him to the point where it felt like it was so excessive.

 

“I’m worried because he’s a child who doesn’t know anything about the world.”

 

“He knows more than you.”

 

“…I see.”

 

Who worries about whom when you live in a castle for more than half of your life? Grand Duke Federut clicked his tongue.

 

He glanced briefly at his daughter, who sat with her head lowered and nonchalantly uttered a short sentence. “I met Arianne at a noble meeting yesterday.”

 

“Really? How was she? If she catches a cold—”

 

When Grand Princess Heirin asked with a worried face, Grand Duke Federut snorted. “Ha. That brat got cold? Even a cold wouldn’t dare to mess with that spiteful brat.”

 

“Father…”

 

As Heirin frowned, the grand duke went one step further and began to vent his anger. “What did she think of this old man! Every time I see her, she calls me either Grand Duke or His Excellency. I’m embarrassed to be seen like that by others!”

 

As he hadn’t been able to do it so far, he tried to support her both materially and emotionally like a grandfather. Still, she somehow treated him worse than others. In particular, when he saw him being cold to him and being kind to Duke Hood, he felt jealous inside.

 

What do you like about that little guy with a big belly? Where else can you find such an oldman at my age with a strong body? Right, Duke Kaien has a nice body, but he was even greater when he was young.

 

The wounds of abandonment from childhood don’t heal easily. Still, he entrenched his self-centered thinking and hardly noticed anyone but himself.

 

“But Father can see Arianne.”

 

“…”

 

Hearing Heirin’s pitiful words, Grand Duke Federut kept his mouth shut and vented his anger inside.

 

Over the past year, the grand duchy sent countless letters and gifts to Arianne and asked for reconciliation. Still, she returned all of the letters and gifts. Even when he met her at the noble meeting, she never made eye contact with him except for business-related conversations.

 

When he decided to approach her first, Arianne would raise her eyebrows and scoff coldly. It was as if she was subtly picking up a fight with him. Despite being much younger than him, he was overwhelmed by his granddaughter’s spirit for some reason. Yesterday, he couldn’t even say a word and returned home. That made him so angry.

 

Spiteful brat! Does she take her anger out on her grandfather instead of her mother?

 

Her daughter admitted that she had done something wrong. However, isn’t she being too harsh on him, her grandfather, when he was also a victim? He was annoyed and now even more annoyed.

 

The Grand Duke still had no idea what the problem was.

 

“She’s my daughter, but… she looks a lot like Father.”

 

Heirin saw her father turn bright red as he couldn’t control his anger. At this, Grand Duke Federut’s eyebrows rose upward.

 

“What? How can that spiteful brat look like me?”

 

Heirin burst out laughing. “From what I heard, she was just like Father. If she holds a grudge against someone, she will be merciless and unforgiving, which will last for a long time.”

 

“Who the hell saying that? What kind of person dares insult me?”

 

“Mozar said that. He had never seen someone as scary as Arianne in his life. But he said Father was exactly like that.”

 

Cough. That brat really said useless things…”

 

Whenever he heard an unpleasant remark, he got upset. However, when someone mentioned that his granddaughter resembled him, he couldn’t hide the slight upward curve of his lips.

 

“She grew up really well,” said Heirin self-helpfully.

 

Although she was very proud of the fact that the child she had abandoned grew up well without a mother and became a big shot in this era, she suddenly felt sad.

 

Why didn’t I bring her out then? It was a question she had asked and blamed herself thousands of times.

 

She left her young daughter behind in her desire to punish Count Bornes. But in reality, her daughter and herself were the ones to receive punishment.

 

She, who had no idea about the world, expected Count Bornes to come to Grand Duchy, saying he had done something wrong. But he wasn’t the type of person to do that, and only later did she find out that he didn’t have any slightest interest in her as he had already achieved his goal.

 

She had to bring her daughter, even if it was belated, but she couldn’t even afford to take care of herself. Her delicate heart turned ill, and she withered away.

 

“Yes. She really grew up well.”

 

Alone, unfortunately.

 

The grand duke closed his eyes and leaned his head against the chair, feeling confused in his mind. At that time, he couldn’t stop his daughter from returning after that incident, so he locked her in her room. It was a way to protect his daughter from the gaze and contempt outside the grand duchy.

 

He was worried about his granddaughter, but that man was still a human being, so he thought that man would treat her well. When the grand duke found that man wasn’t a human being but a bastard, he later regretted his mistake, but everything had already happened.

 

He knew that he was in no position to be proud as her grandfather. However, he thought it would be okay to compensate now. Judging from his granddaughter’s attitude, it seemed like it wouldn’t be easy.  

 

They say time is medicine. But do I have that much time? He was anxious about his life with little time left, but it wasn’t something he could push through. For now, he’ll just have to do as much as he can.

 

What if I’m not forgiven by my granddaughter in the end? All I have to do is understand and care for her with all my heart until the day she dies. Thinking like that, his heart actually became lighter. And the fact that he was still of use made him feel better.

 

It was thanks to the emperor who gave his child to him, who was about to die. Mozar, whom he adopted as his adoptive son, was clumsy but sincere and seemed delicate yet strong. Maybe it was because he was thirsty for learning, but he felt like he was growing by absorbing knowledge like a sponge. There were a lot of things that needed to be taught in order to raise the successor to lead this grand duchy in the future.

 

“I must have looked very funny. I can’t believe the emperor is putting this old man through this much trouble.”

 

Grand Princess Heirin looked at him with a gentle smile as he muttered an insincere sound.

 

She knew fully that she was incapable of being a successor, and it was heartbreaking that her family had no choice but to shut down like this. Still, a successor appeared like luck to her. The emperor didn’t say it openly, but it seemed like Arianne had influenced him on it.

 

Do they think it will be a big deal if they reveal their true feelings? Really, how similar they are.

 

Looking at his grumbling father with a face not offended at all, Heirin recalled Arianne. Then she prayed.

 

I hope that one day we can sit face to face and look at each other. 

 

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