Stepmothers Are Not Always Evil Chapter 46
At Helios’ words, Baron Hazel’s forehead twitched.
It was a very tempting offer to decline it, but Baron Hazel shook his head.
“I will decline.”
“I have no intention of accepting so much help from another, and I don’t have any information to tell you.”
With a firm rejection, I desperately cling to him.
“I found my kid’s shoes near Daleswood.”
“You know better, Baron, don’t you? How many days can a child survive in that forest?”
When I thought of Escal, emotions surged again.
My vision blurred and I wiped away the tears, and Baron Hazel looked at me with confused eyes.
But that was it.
“I’m very sorry, but I don’t think there’s anything I can do to help.”
“Baron, then, even if there were no suspicious people around the area—”
“Calm down, Lena.”
Helios lowered his head, stopping my emotions from bursting out.
“I understand. We’ve been rude.”
“It’s okay. That’s the heart of a parent who has lost a child. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of any help.”
“No it’s not.”
Helios politely waved his hand.
After talking, Baron Hazel gave a brief greeting and left us.
I can’t let it go like this.
Baron Hazel is the only clue as to where Escal is going. I looked at the Baron’s back and asked.
“Baron, why do you need the magic stone?”
“It’s a personal matter.”
Baron Hazel answered in a disapproving voice.
Seeing him evade the answer, I was convinced that the Baron was looking for the magic stone.
“Tiaris Hazel, is it because of your granddaughter?”
“… How do you know my granddaughter?”
Baron Hazel’s eyes became sharp.
He had a murderous look in his eyes, as if he was convinced that we had done his background check.
And when I met his eyes, I could be sure.
‘It’s the same as the original.’
Baron Hazel has only one reason to go looking for the Magic Stone.
To cure Tiaris’ disease.
‘In the original story, a monster that Escal accidentally defeated could cure Tiaris’ disease by dropping a magic crystal.’
That’s a long time in the future, when Eskar is thirteen.
‘If the story goes the way it’s written, Tiaris will be sick until then.’
For that reason, it was clear that Baron Hazel was on the hunt for the Magic Stone.
A magic stone is an ore that has accumulated magical power, and it is a beautiful and precious gem that changes color depending on the temperature.
Because of magical power, the area was always infested with monsters, so they had to risk their life to mine it.
So, naturally, the price had to go up to the ceiling.
In addition, there was only one known magic stone mine in the Duke of Eaton’s estate.
It also meant that the Duke of Eaton was controlling the price of magic stones in circulation.
Of course, this wasn’t much of a problem since it was a luxury item, not a necessity, but for those who sought it for purposes other than luxury, like Baron Hazel, the situation was different.
“I asked how you knew about my granddaughter.”
“While investigating the Duke of Eaton, I stumbled upon the Baron’s story.”
Helios looked at me with puzzled eyes as if it was the first time he had heard of it.
I ignored him, pulled a pouch out of my dress pocket and held it to the Baron.
“What is this?”
“It means apologies for taking away your precious time, Please accept this.”
“Buy something delicious for the child.”
Baron Hazel’s hesitant hand forced the pouch into the palm of his hand, and the Baron without a word moved on again.
“I will go first.”
I stared at the back of the Baron as he left the inn.
A knight disguised as an inn guest quietly approached.
“Sir, I will follow him.”
“Be careful not to get caught, and if you think he’s noticed, just come back.”
As the commanded knight disappeared like the wind, Helios looked at me.
There were a lot of things he wanted to ask, but nothing I could say.
“Let’s go too.”
I turned my back on him and took the first step.
I had just left the inn and was about to get on the carriage, but an aide rushed to me.
“What’s going on?”
“Marquis Melks made an accusation against you!”
Upon hearing the news, Helios and I rushed to the Imperial Palace.
Before we could even say our business, the servant led us to the audience room.
“Your majesty! Punish Duke Anthemion!”
As soon as I entered the hallway leading to the audience, I heard the voice of Marquis Melks.
“It’s all Duke Anthemion’s tactics! The Duke and his wife are deliberately abandoning the child and pretending to find it!”
“Marquis Melks, you’d better refrain from making unproven remarks.”
“Your Majesty, think about it. What mother doesn’t even know the child is gone and has tea time? In addition, it doesn’t make sense to say that Escalium hasn’t been found yet due to the intelligence of Duke Anthemion. This was clearly planned.”
“Your Majesty, I will go in for a moment.”
Helios opened the auditorium door without hesitation.
Normally, he would be punished for being rude, but now he didn’t have time to think about it.
It was the same with the Emperor, who didn’t mind it.
“Oh, come in, Duke.”
Helios steps forward to the Emperor and knelt down. I also bowed my back side by side with him.
“I apologize for coming in without permission. After hearing the story, the Marquis of Melks was trying to frame me and my wife by force, so I came here to explain.”
“What explain? You come here to close my mouth for fear of revealing your guilt!”
“Keep your voice down, Marquis Melks. It’s for Your Majesty’s safety.”
The Emperor coughed in vain as if he had agreed with Helios’ words.
His wrinkled face now resembled that of a civil servant plagued by malcontent.
But Marquis Melks was persistent.
“It is embarrassing to tell you, Your Majesty, but the Duke of Anthemion has not recognized Escalium as his own son since my daughter was alive.”
“As soon as my daughter died, he took her in and raised my grandson with a stepmother, and not long ago, he blackmailed me into taking custody of my grandson.”
The Marquis de Melques exclaimed, his voice rising like that of a genuinely wronged man.
“But since this happened as soon as he took custody away from me, how can I not suspect him, and I beg Your Majesty to look into it and make clear the guilt of the Duke of Anthemion.”
Having finished his accusation, Marquis Melks stepped forward and glared at Helios with hatred in his eyes.
I was almost convinced by the bravado with which he made his ridiculous claims.
The Emperor said with a troubled expression.
“Duke Anthemion, if you have something to say, do it.”
“I apologize for making a fuss about my family business. Your majesty.”
“No. I don’t mind.”
The Emperor, who knew how desperately we were looking for Escal, waved his hand.
Helios spoke calmly.
“As a parent who has lost a child, I don’t know what to say when I hear this, but I don’t think Marquis Melks should blame us.”
“What does that mean?”
Helios took a deep breath and looked at Marquis Melks. And with a determined face, he said to the Emperor.
“I made a contract with Marquis Melks in exchange for Escal custody.”
“What kind of contract?”
“It was a contract to remove the name of Marquis Melks from a ledger obtained from Baron Rockefeller’s vault.”
Everyone in the audience was astonished by Helios’ bombshell remarks.
Not only the Marquis of Melks, but the Emperor and myself as well.
“Ah, Duke Anthemion. Now that’s… Do you know what I mean?”
“If you punish me, I will gladly accept it.”
It was an unforgivable felony for a man entrusted with the investigation of Baron Rockefeller’s case to make a deal with someone who was involved in the case.
Still, Helios was blunt.
Dead or alive, he would never fall for Marquis Melks’s tricks.
Marquis Melks shouted with a blank expression on his face.
“Yo-Your Majesty! That is not true.”
“Does it mean that Duke Anthemion is lying?”
“That’s right! The Duke is trying to frame me…”
“Then why did the Marquis give up custody?”
The Emperor sharply questioned Marquis Melks.
“It is because I think that it is right for parents to raise their child….”
“Didn’t you say that a while ago, you were threatened by the Duke of Anthemion and that you lost custody?”
“Your Majesty, that’s not what’s important….”
“Marquis Melks, didn’t the Marquis claim to me that the Dukes of Anthemion and the Duchess of Anthemion were stealing the child and doing their plan? That’s the reason why they took custody from the Marquis.”
The cornered Marquis Melks broke into a cold sweat.
Marquis Melks’ misjudgment was based on the illusion that the Emperor was on his side.
The Emperor may be indecisive, but he is not without political sense. It is a simple matter to calculate whose hand is more favorable.
The Emperor, who had been waiting for an answer with a slow gaze, asked again.
“But what did the Marquis make a deal with Baron Rockefeller?”
“What? That’s all a frame-up by the Duke of Anthemion! I, for one, had no dealings with Baron Rockefeller…”
“I have the letters and ledgers between the two of them in my office, Your Majesty, and if you wish to see it, I will have them brought it to you now.”
The face of Marquis Melks turned to contemplation.