Stepmothers Are Not Always Evil Chapter 52
The Duke of Eaton’s trial was set for this Sunday.
The trial was to be held publicly in the main square, open to anyone interested in the case.
Helios was present at the trial as the case’s investigator and the most important witness, and I decided to observe the trial as a witness to the Dillua Academy incident.
I got ready early and left the mansion with Escal.
There was someone I had to meet before the trial.
“Tell the Grand Duchess that I and Escal are here.”
The butler of the Grand Duke’s house asked for permission and entered the mansion.
After waiting for a while, the butler returned.
“Please, come in.”
Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as last time.
“Let’s go, Escal.”
I took Escal’s hand and entered the Grand Duke mansion. The place where we arrived under the guidance of the butler was a room.
As Grand Duchess Crawford was getting ready to go out, she turned her head in disapproval.
“What are you doing here?”
“Excuse me, Grand Duchess….”
“After everything that’s happened, you haven’t even shown your nose at me, and now you come to me? Am I the kind of person you only come to when you need me?
“I have nothing to tell you.”
“That was the way it was.”
Grand Duchess Crawford spoke coldly and looked at Escal.
Escal, hanging from the hem of my dress, looked up at the Grand Duchess with his eyes closed.
“Tsk, what is this child’s face?”
“A mother, who is not able to take care of her child, makes him suffer so much? What will people say about this?”
“If the child was gone, you should have called me right away. So, wouldn’t even my soldiers mobilize to find the child? Does a child come back because someone who doesn’t know the system is grunting alone?”
“I think I’m causing too much trouble with my personal affairs…”
“Your child is missing and you’re making a nuisance of yourself!”
A cry like frost flew in.
I had nothing to say, so I kept my mouth shut.
Instead, Escal, who was paying attention, hesitated.
“Do-don’t be mad at my mother.”
“Mo-Mom did nothing wrong. I was just… idiot…”
Escal cried in defense of me.
Embarrassment washed over the Grand Duchess’s face.
I don’t know if she was surprised by Escal’s rebuttal or by the word ‘mom’.
“What did you say now?”
“It’s my fault, so please scold me, not Mom.”
There was warmth in the eyes of Grand Duchess Crawford, who had been cold.
The Grand Duchess, who burst out laughing as if she couldn’t stop it, stroked Escal’s head.
“You have a good son.”
The softer tone revealed that her anger had been relieved.
Grand Duchess Crawford said sternly.
“If this happens one more time, I don’t think I’ll ever see you again.”
“I will keep that in mind.”
We headed with Grand Duchess Crawford to the main square where the trial was held.
The central square was filled with people and there was no room for footsteps.
Even though the imperial knights were guarding, the momentum of the angry crowd was terrifying.
“Welcome, Grand Duchess and Duchess. I will guide you to your seat.”
The servant in charge led us to the front seats of the audience.
I sat down and smiled as I watched Helios waiting for the trial in the witness stand.
“Did you prepare well?”
Grand Duchess Crawford asked me.
“I was told there was nothing wrong with proving guilt.”
“Good luck. As a sinner is a sinner, if you don’t do it thoroughly, the Duke will be in trouble.”
Perhaps because the Empress’s younger brother was involved, the Grand Duchess seemed concerned about Helios.
“The evidence is solid and it will be difficult to get out.”
“It should be. Perhaps Your Majesty should make an example of this.”
Instead of replying to Grand Duchess Crawford’s complaint, I just nodded.
There was still some time until the trial, but the packed courtroom was a good indication of the level of interest in this case.
The lady sitting far away spoke to me.
Upon closer inspection, I was familiar with the woman I met at the Honor Society.
“Have you found your son?”
As if they didn’t know that Escal had returned, the nobles including her were looking at Escal with wide eyes.
“Yes, I found him.”
“Oh my, when did… Anyway, congratulations. That’s wonderful.”
There is nothing good to say
After giving a short answer, I turned around and the woman returned to her seat.
Soon after, the sound of the ladies was heard behind me.
After trying to pretend not to know, Grand Duchess Crawford looked back and shouted.
“Why are there so many things that other people like to talk about?”
“You’re right. It’s a shame you’re so sensitive to useless information when you’ve had nothing to do with what happened today.”
Countess Walford, who was sitting next to me, chimed in.
“Tsk, you need to get very angry over that to come to your senses.”
The room became quiet at the Grand Duchess Crawford comment.
I spoke to Escal as if I had not heard anything.
“Escal, shall we have something delicious for dinner tonight?”
“Think about what you want to eat.”
As I patted Escal’s head as he answered boldly, I glanced at the people.
I hoped this wouldn’t be a bad turn to Duke Anthemion.
“The Emperor is coming!”
As the time for the trial drew near, the Emperor’s carriage arrived with a loud trumpet sound.
The Emperor and the Empress got off the carriage and sat on the throne behind the judge’s seat.
Even from a distance, the Empress’s expression was completely hardened.
After the two were seated, Count Grenier, who was in charge of the trial, raised his voice.
“Bring the sinner!”
The guards dragged the Duke of Eton from the convoy carriage and into the center of the courtroom.
Shrouded in a robe and with his hands bound, the Duke of Eton glared murderously into the audience.
“I will start the trial.”
Count Turner, the chief judge of the Imperial family, tapped his gavel, signaling the start of the trial. The tumultuous courtroom fell silent in an instant.
Count Turner opened the paper.
“The accused will state his name and occupation..”
“… Anthony Warland Eaton, head of the Duke of Eaton.”
“The accused has been in league with Baron Rockefeller to buy and sell children, and to sacrifice them for the purpose of mining the magic stones.”
“And when that was about to be discovered, you tried to cover it up by ordering to murder the Baron Rockefeller, do you admit it?”
Count Turner recited his sins in a clear voice
In fact, the Duke of Eaton’s crimes were too numerous to list, but it was impossible to cover all of them here, so the most serious cases were selected and brought to trial.
“Anthony Eaton, I asked if you admit your sins.”
The Duke of Eaton, who had consistently denied guilt throughout the interrogation, remained silent and said nothing.
Count Turner turned his head to the witness stand, as if he knew it.
“Duke Anthemion, come forward.”
Helios, who was waiting in the witness stand, came out in the middle of the courtroom.
“I call upon you to testify. Duke Anthemion.”
Helios spoke slowly.
“It was about three months ago. When my wife heard that the children attending Dillua Academy had gone missing, she visited the academy and witnessed the soldiers tying them up.”
As soon as Helios stopped speaking, the cries of parents who lost their children at Dillua Academy filled the courtroom.
“I immediately contacted the security forces and searched the academy and found the secret ledger of Baron Rockefeller.”
“Upon examination of the ledger, it was determined that Baron Rockefeller’s crimes were far greater than he had been accused of, and while conducting an investigation against him, he was suddenly attacked and killed.”
“I tracked down the culprit based on the evidence dropped at the scene and found that the Duke of Eaton was involved. Then the Duke of Eaton took a vengeance on me and kidnapped my son.”
Helios paused for a moment and looked away.
People’s attention was focused on Escal at once. I hugged Escal as if protecting him, blocking their gaze.
Count Turner tapped the wand again to silence the commotion.
Helios continued his testimony.
“I happened to stop by the Duke of Eaton’s estate to find my son’s whereabouts, and there I learned of the crime the Duke of Eaton had committed.”
He held up the evidence in the envelope.
Seeing the children’s torn clothes and shoes, the crowd spit out swear words.
Even among the aristocrats who were unaware of the detailed situation, a soft sigh could be heard.
“The horrors of the scene are indescribable, and I will not speak of them here, but as an investigator in this case and the father of a child, I believe the accused should be severely punished, and I ask for your wise judgment.”
“You have been heard, Duke Anthemion. Please return to your seat.”
When Helios finished his testimony and returned to the witness stand, Count Turner asked the Duke of Eaton.
“The accused, do you have anything to say?”
The Duke of Eaton looked at Helios with a gaze that wanted to kill him.
His guilt was clear, and there was no chance of turning the table by making excuses on this occasion.
The Duke of Eaton, knowing that treading on the crowd’s emotions to escape punishment could cause harm to the Empress, he only looked at Helios with wrathful eyes, but didn’t open his mouth.
Count Turner said, waiting for an answer.
“Then I’ll assume you’ve admitted your guilt and give a verdict.”
Count Turner’s gaze turned to the Emperor seated behind the courtroom.