Furthermore, if Ezekiel turned away from their child, the situation would become more complicated.
She hated to even imagine it, but the child from her womb could be associated as the blood of sinners.
As was the case with Charles, the son of Princess Ulysse and Herace’s former fiancé.
Treason was terrifying.
If caught, not only one’s self but also the most precious people around that person would be imprisoned and put through hell.
So, no one easily dreamt of it.
“He’s really mean.
Ugh… The Master doesn’t even look at you or hug you… What’s the big deal with an illegitimate child!”
“… Anna, you shouldn’t be saying things like that.”
Herace comforted Anna who cried on her lap, and quietly endured what had befallen her.
If Ezekiel said so, then it shall be that way.
She had no power nor justification to stop him.
Suddenly, she wanted to see her child again.
Maybe it was because the child in her womb had come out to the world, but she felt empty.
Would this misery and loneliness be a little less if she held that small body? Herace looked at the door where the child was, and quietly closed her eyes.
Ezekiel named his first son Miguel, whom Charlotte had birthed.
It was a name with the explicit meaning of predestined glory.
Of course, Miguel was not fully named as the successor.
However, despite being an illegitimate child with a mistress for a mother, the child was given an Induction Ceremony by Knights under the glorious name.
People were whispering about the child’s excessively good treatment, but they all closed their mouths in front of the Duke and the child, who looked just like him.
“Although his mother is of humble origin, the child who resembles the duke is Master Miguel.”
“It’s rare to have such a hair color… And in the future, Duke Serpence may become known for their silver hair, not red.”
“The Duke was also affectionate to the one who resembles him.
Hah, even I would be more interested in the child who resembled me more than the one who doesn’t look like me at all.”
[T/N: What kind of people are you?!]
Unlike Herace’s son, who resembled her, Miguel was like his father, Ezekiel.
He had Ezekiel’s silver hair and eyes that shone like gold.
When Ezekiel held Miguel, everyone said that they looked exactly alike.
“Your name is Erzen.”
In this situation, Herace’s child was given a common name, Erzen.
Even the people in the castle looked at Herace with sympathy.
The name was received a week after he was born and was thrown at them just like that.
But not everyone felt sorry for her.
“Now, that’s good, she’s the daughter of a traitor.”
“It seems like yesterday when she was so proud of being loved by the Duke, but justice is alive after all.”
Some of the people who were looking forward to the fall of Herace flashed their eyes to drive her out as the Duke’s affection had cooled.
They openly talked about her, the blood of a family that collapsed due to treason, saying that she was unfit to be the Duchess Serpence.
If it were in the past, Ezekiel would have taken the lead in cutting their tongues and slicing their throats, but he was silent on the rumors as if he had let people know his changed mind.
Day by day, less people attacked Herace.
Although Charlotte had given birth to a child, she did not go to the annex and just stayed with Miguel in the room next to the Duke’s study.
Ezekiel made a room for both of them.
Charlotte strutted around the castle.
Unlike before, the people politely bowed to her.
She was no longer a mistress of humble origins.
She was the Duke’s favored lover, who bore the son closest to being the heir.
As if confirming Ezekiel’s preference for Charlotte, three nannies were hired to help raise Miguel.
But Erzen only had one nanny.
Herace was delighted that she had more time to care of her own child, but the people around her saw it differently.
They thought that Ezekiel was disrespecting Herace, and gradually became cold-hearted as if to obey their Master’s wishes.
Still, Herace was fine.
Neither her husband’s footsteps, which did not reach her room, nor the ignorance of the people could take her happiness away from her.
As if unaware of the worsening situation, she smiled a lot more than before.
All thanks to the presence of her son Erzen.
“Erzen, my baby…”
“My lady is so… Do you really like the Master that much?”
“Yes, he’s so pretty.
How did I get to have a child like this?”
“Since he resembles the Lady, I would say that there’s nothing to worry about.
His eyes are so big and his skin is fair and smooth… Except for the star-shaped mole on the side, he was born with flawless skin.”
“It’s pretty, too.
Our Erzen was born with a star’s kiss.”
“It’s not a big deal, but we need to have it checked.
Grandpa Luther, the gardener, said that some of the unusually shaped moles are harmful.”
“Really? Come to think of it, Anna, where have I seen this kind of mole?…”
“This shape? Where?”
“Well… I don’t remember at the moment.
We’ll have to call a doctor later to see if it’s okay.
Can you tell him to stop by our room?”
“Yes, I’ll tell him to stop by.”
Herace devoted all her heart to her son.
Just looking at Erzen’s face made her happy.
In a room that was cut off from people, Herace spent all day with her son and learned many things from his nanny.
From changing a baby’s diaper to a comfortable hugging position.
Every single learning experience could not have been more pleasant.
“My baby, Erzen.
All I need is you.”
Herace lost track of time.
She was able to tolerate the weakened state of her body after giving birth since she was always happy, from morning to night.
But the joy of having a child was so intoxicating that Herace didn’t notice the threat approaching.
It was just two months after Erzen was born.
On a calm afternoon, someone found her while she was breastfeeding her son.
Herace, startled by the open door that seemed to have been broken, hid Erzen in her arms, not even thinking of fixing her shirt that was lifted.
Erzen burst into tears at his mother’s sudden action.
It was her husband whom she had been trying to forget.
The man must have been so angry, he had a vicious expression.
He glared at Herace, and ordered in a low voice.
“Everyone get out.”
Ezekiel, who sent out the others, scanned the room.
His wife’s room, where he hadn’t come for a long time, had noticeably changed.
The sunniest room in the castle was as cozy as Herace’s character, but there was something monotonous about it.
It was always warm and clean.
Ezekiel always felt that way when he entered Herace’s room.
But today was different.
His wife’s room did not look like what he was accustomed to.
The room was messy compared to the time it was neatly organized.
It was littered with baby items and small toys were rolling on the floor.
Not only that, there was a small cradle next to the bed the couple was using, and a small mat spread out on the left side of the bed where he used to lie.
With the changed atmosphere that was scratching on his nerves, Ezekiel’s judgment became twisted when he saw the thing that dared to take his place.
[T/N: Really Ezekiel? Really? Jealous of your own child?]
He knew who the owner of the mat was without asking.
A cloth that was too small for an adult was for the child.
Ezekiel’s gaze turned to the child in Herace’s arms.
The child, almost buried in his wife’s chest, seemed to have been very startled, and was crying uncontrollably.
His wife was busy soothing the crying child without even turning her head towards him.
Herace patted Erzen’s back and stroked the child’s head incessantly.
With her slender hands, she gently stroked her child and sweetly kissed him on the forehead.
But at that sight, Ezekiel looked terrifying.
Ezekiel gloomily called his wife.
Herace’s gaze briefly turned to him then went away.
She focused on her child as if the child was more important than her husband who called for her.
Erzen giggled at his mother’s soothing and slowly stopped crying.
It was time for her to carefully wipe Erzen’s face.
Ezekiel, unable to stand the silence, approached her.
As she was comforting her child, Herace lifted her eyes and spoke to the man, in a cold voice, “Erzen was surprised.”
Even with her cold tone, Ezekiel’s stare did not falter.
He looked down at Herace tenaciously.
As his stare continued, Herace noticed that her top was ruffled.
She struggled to tidy up her clothes, holding Erzen in one of her arms.
“…… He’s a weak child.
It’s not good to cry.”
Embarrassed, Herace replied in a more relaxed voice.
She glanced over her husband carefully as she tugged at the cloth that was wrapping her child.
When Erzen saw his father for the first time, his eyes blinked a couple of times.
Ezekiel was clearly captured in his blue eyes that looked just like Herace’s.
Herace smiled softly towards her docile son and brought her finger to her child’s lips.
The appearance of the smiling mother was warm enough to make anyone smile.
Erzen must have wanted to see his father too…”
Herace, who played with Erzen, said with a relaxed expression.
There was a bit of regret in her words, but that was natural for Herace.
Ezekiel looked for Miguel, his first child, quite often, but he didn’t even look for Erzen, let alone go see him.
Every time she heard from others that Miguel was hugged by Ezekiel, Herace was deeply saddened.
Although their mothers were different, Erzen is also his child.
As Herace demanded, he pushed Erzen towards Ezekiel.
“Give him a hug.
Erzen is a good boy, so he will be calm in your arms.”
“Put it away.”
The cold words betrayed Herace’s expectations.
Ezekiel pushed Erzen away as if he was a useless object.
The child rejected by his father flinched, then burst into tears again.
The astonished Herace took her son into her arms and made an angry face.
“What are you doing!”
It was awkward seeing her furrowed eyebrows.
Herace rarely got angry.
But the child’s father was expressionless even after doing something so cruel.
He spoke calmly and reached out to Erzen while looking at his wife.
“So? You must have misunderstood something Herace, but I’m not here to see the child.”
Ezekiel snatched Erzen away from Herace’s arms.
There was no affection nor consideration in the way he treated the child.
It was as if he was dealing with something troublesome.
“What, what are you doing!”
A confused Herace reached out to get her son back, but Ezekiel easily avoided her.
Erzen, shaken from side to side in his father’s arms, cried with all his might.
At her child’s cries, Herace’s face turned pale.
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