Stepmothers Are Not Always Evil Chapter 33
A cute little girl rushed into the drawing room and hugged the Empress in her arms.
Oh my, you’re Adela who fell in love with our Escal and harassed the heroine.
I smiled at the girl with the ribbon bigger than her face.
The Empress looked at me and scolded the princess.
“Adela, while I was talking to the guest, did someone say you could come in without knocking?”
“It’s okay, Your Majesty.”
I waved my hand and greeted the princess first.
“Hello, Princess. This is Lenia Anthemion.”
Adela snorted and turned her head.
With a blink of an eye, Adela stuck out her tongue and ran out of the drawing room.
She is such an arrogant little girl.
Of course, Her Majesty did not scold her daughter for disappearing or apologize to me.
“Please understand. Our Adela is shy, so she hides her face a bit.”
A child who barged in at the first meeting is shy?
“… it’s okay. A child could do that.”
As I tried to say something I didn’t mean to, my facial muscles began to twitch.
“Oh, isn’t Duke Anthemion’s child the same age as Adela?”
“Yes, Escal is also six years old this year.”
“He’s already that big. I heard from the Grand Duke that he looks exactly like his mother…?”
The Empress secretly extended her tail and looked at my expression.
It’s a masterpiece trying to scratch my insides by mentioning Charlet Melks.
But I didn’t hit as hard as it was.
It is natural for a child to resemble the mother who gave birth to them.
I closed my eyes and opened my mouth, pretending not to notice.
“Yes. It’s a bit of a stretch to say things like this, but our Escal is very mature and unique for his age. He’s kind, quick-witted, and polite. When I hear how much Viscount Espenser praises Escal for his excellent ability to learn, I can’t help myself. Not long ago, he wrote a letter for my husband’s birthday, and Helios was moved to tears by how well a six-year-old child could write him…”
“Come on, wait a minute. Duchess of Anthemion.”
“Oh, I know enough that he’s a very good kid.”
The Empress cut off my words and said,
I still have a lot to be proud of.
As I closed my mouth with regret, the Empress changed the topic.
“If you are such a clever child, you should pay more attention to his education.”
“Yes. Actually, I was going to teach him until I sent him to the academy, but he was so smart that I couldn’t handle it. So I invited a tutor, who was the most talented educator in the Empire…”
“Viscount Espenser. I heard it before.”
“Yes, that’s right. It’s him.”
When I answered with a grin, the Empress gave me a tired expression.
“It seems that you are very passionate about education.”
“No. I just do what everyone else is doing.”
I waved my hand in a humble manner.
The Empress rolled her eyes as if she had something up to tell me.
“The Duke’s child is so good that I specially qualify him for membership in the Honor Society.”
“Mary, do you know what the Honor Society is?”
“How can I know when madam doesn’t know either?”
Mary grunted as she brushed off the blankets she had laid out.
That’s it. How would Mary know what I didn’t know?
I was flipping through a book with a boring title, [The Empire’s Education System] and closed it.
I searched all the books in the library, but there was no book that stated what the Honor Society was.
Considering that Helios doesn’t know too well, it doesn’t seem like a great tradition.
There’s only one person to ask about this.
I got up and went out to the terrace.
By the way, Viscount Espenser was on the way out of class.
“Viscount Espenser, can I have a moment?”
“What can I do for you?”
“I want to ask you for some advice.”
Viscount Espenser’s forehead was heavily wrinkled.
It wasn’t a welcome look, but I had an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I will lend you three books a week from the library of this mansion.”
“… Let’s go to the living room.”
Look at this.
Sitting in the drawing room with Viscount Espenser, I immediately brought up the topic.
“What is Honor Society?”
“Why are you asking that?”
“The Empress has invited Escal to the Honor Society.”
Viscount Espenser’s eyebrows narrowed noticeably.
Based on the reaction, it doesn’t seem like a very good suggestion.
“Should I reject it?”
“Reject… I think you can’t do that.”
Viscount Espenser shook his head.
Seeing this person saying that made me more and more skeptical.
“What exactly is that?”
“To put it simply, you can think of it as a social gathering for children from prestigious families.”
It’s like a secret meeting of the children of wealthy families.
“I guess it’s not a very desirable meeting for you, is it?”
“Rather than undesirable… It’s not going to be a very pleasant place.”
“Don’t you know because you have met Her Majesty the Empress?”
Viscount Espenser asked if I didn’t notice that too.
“No way, there won’t be only people like Her Majesty the Empress, right?”
“I would like to say that the Empress is quite modest compared to other noble ladies.”
Indeed, a social empress will save face, but other ladies won’t think about it.
And considering the behavior of the youngest princess… Escal will have a hard time.
“So, what do you think? Would it be better not to go?”
“If it were me, I would go.”
It was a short and bold answer.
Considering that they will sign up ‘specially’, it is unlikely that the meeting will be open to anyone.
It’s a place where only the children of the aristocratic family gather, so Escal will be able to meet children of a similar level.
It was also a good opportunity to build a network of people thinking about when Escal would officially become the heir to Duke Anthemion in the future.
Although I’m worried that Escal will be hurt by the mischievous children.
… Can I take good care of it?
The Viscount said to me who could not readily make up my mind.
“But if I were madam, I would seriously consider it.”
“What is the difference between me and the Viscount?”
“When young master Escalium attends the Honor Society, people will think of young master Escalium as the official heir of the Duke of Anthemion.”
“That’s normal even if you don’t attend the meeting, right?”
“It is now, but if madam has a child and the question of succession arises, it may be in trouble.”
What does this mean?
If Escal attends the Honor Society and is imprinted as the heir of the Anthemion family, does that mean that it will be difficult to push the child I gave birth as heir?
I hardened my expression, grasping the inner meaning of the Viscount.
“You are an unnecessary worry, Viscount. I have no intention of having a child, and even if I have a child, I have no intention of leaving Escal and letting that child take over her Duke’s line.”
I know exactly what Lenia Evelyn in the original did to Escal in order to pass on the title to her own child, and what the end was in return for that, but what am I going to do with such a foolish choice?
“The rule of the empire is to inherit to the eldest son. Helios’ eldest son is Escal, and that doesn’t change no matter how many children I have.”
Upon hearing my answer, Viscount Espenser bowed his head.
“I think I made a mistake. Excuse me.”
“It’s okay. I know what you said because you thought about it.”
I waved my hand lightly.
Viscount Espenser said politely.
“If madam decides to attend, I will think about how to teach Escal to behave on that spot.”
“I look forward to it.”
After joining the Honor Society was decided, Escal and I got a little busier.
Escal focused on his studies under Viscount Espenser’s guidance, and I was too busy learning social etiquette myself.
But again, the busiest person was Helios.
In charge of the investigation of the Baron Rockefeller case, he devoted himself to the investigation day and night.
He often stayed up all night in the office, and was often unable to come home for several days.
There was no time to close his eyes, so of course he often skipped meals.
It was the same today when I returned home after three days.
While having dinner with Escal, I heard that Helios had returned, so I stopped eating and headed to the office.
At that moment, Merlin was leaving the office with a tray.
“Merlin, is Helios inside?”
“How about the meal?”
“He said he won’t eat it….”
“Give me that.”
I took the tray from Merlin and knocked on the door.
“Helios, I’m going in.”
Helios, who was standing by the window, turned his head when I opened the door without waiting for an answer.
The expression on his face wasn’t very bright.
I put the tray down on the desk and walked over to him.
“Are you going to work again as soon as you arrive? Merlin said you refused to eat.”
“I have no idea.”
“You have a lot of work, but you have to eat well. …Why, what’s wrong?”
Looking into his gloomy expression and asking, Helios struggled to open his mouth.
“Baron Rockefeller is dead.”