The Emperor’s Child: A Hidden Illness Revealed

The emperor, Kaizen, deeply engrossed in his thoughts, gazed at the map sprawled out on his desk. His mind wandered to the underdeveloped village that he now ruled. The lack of medical supplies troubled him. The empire had suffered due to a lack of proper governance in the past, but Kaizen was determined to change that.

After years of quelling rebellions and purging the nobles, Kaizen had finally achieved complete control over the empire. Now, he could focus on his internal affairs. As part of this endeavor, he embarked on a personal tour of the imperial land, inspecting every area to ensure the prosperity of the empire.

But amidst his grand plans, a concern lingered in his mind. “Where is Astelle now?” he asked his servant, his voice filled with worry.

Guided by the servant, Kaizen made his way to the western annex. The place was cramped and outdated, a stark contrast to the grandeur he desired for Astelle. Determined to provide her with better accommodations, he approached her room.

However, as soon as he knocked on the door, it swung open. Surprised, he found Astelle in a white chemise gown, her radiant golden hair still damp from a bath. Kaizen halted, unable to speak, momentarily entranced by her beauty.

“I thought it was a maid,” Astelle said, quickly realizing her mistake. She adjusted her gown to cover her exposed nape and explained the reason for her illness. “I think I have a fever.”

Kaizen’s eyes widened in shock. “You have a fever? How serious is it?” he inquired, his concern evident.

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Astelle reassured him, “It’s not severe. The fever is in its early stages, and I only have a few spots.” She showed him the red marks on her arm, explaining that it was most likely the Eastern fever.

Having heard enough, Kaizen interrupted her, expressing his frustration. “I know how Eastern fever progresses,” he said, his tone laced with impatience. Yet, his concern remained palpable.

Astelle couldn’t help but wonder why Kaizen seemed guilty or blamed himself for her illness. She knew he wasn’t that kind of person. However, before she could dwell on it, Kaizen approached her with an air of determination.

Just as he moved closer, a clear voice suddenly interrupted their encounter. “Hello, Your Majesty.” It was Theor, Astelle’s young nephew who had been playing on the bed in the room. Theor greeted Kaizen and informed him about his aunt’s condition.

Reassured by Theor’s words, Kaizen gently stroked the boy’s damp hair. He then turned his attention back to Astelle, voicing his concern. “Why were you alone with a child when you’re unwell? You should have called for a doctor immediately.”

Embarrassed, Astelle explained that she had just returned from the bath and was about to change when Kaizen arrived. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Kaizen ordered a doctor to be summoned.

Soon, Vellian, the doctor who accompanied the party, arrived along with Lyndon, who had come to report something to the emperor. Together, they gathered in Astelle’s room.

Vellian was taken aback upon learning about Astelle’s illness. Avoiding her gaze, he seemed surprised by the news. After examining her, the doctor informed them that Astelle had contracted the Eastern fever. Fortunately, it was not highly contagious or severe, and with rest and medication, she would recover quickly.

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Relieved by the doctor’s diagnosis, Kaizen turned to Vellian, issuing orders to inform the manager and arrange for more maids and servants. He planned to move Astelle to the main building where she could receive better care.

However, Astelle had a different request. She wished to stay in her current room and personally concoct a remedy to ensure the illness remained discreet. She believed that an Innes fever was spreading in the area, though she had only guessed based on the withering silver plum blossoms.

Kaizen questioned her source of information, his suspicion evident. But Astelle clarified that it was merely a guess on her part, explaining the signs she had observed. Though she omitted his overreaction to the word “fever,” Astelle’s explanation resonated with Kaizen.

In that moment, a bond formed between them, a shared concern for the empire’s welfare and the need to protect its people. And so, they embarked on a journey together, battling not only the sickness that plagued Astelle but also the hidden dangers that lurked within their realm.

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