Published at 29th of October 2020 06:32:54 PM
Chapter 12: Mother and Child
"I met Prince Louis . I think he looks a lot like when you were born . Ah, but all babies are pretty, so I guess the only thing I see is a resemblance to you in a pretty way . "
After a long time, my mother invited me to visit the Queen Mother's Palace, and she boasted about her grandchild in a good mood during all the dinner .
"I'm going to tell you all about Queen Kasha and Louis!" she said .
"I heard that mother visited the prince the day before yesterday, at his mother's palace . "
"Oh my, yes . And did you hear that the prince was playing into my lap for a long time? Ho ho ho, he didn't learn to be shy yet, and is very clever! . . . Even in his grandmother's lap he--"
"Come on . That is much detail . "
Among the new recruits for Louis, there were also a few Harold's informers mixed in .
The purpose of this is to ensure the safety of the prince's surroundings and to keep an eye on the back palace, to prevent inter-intelligence from the outside world .
As it stands now, it's like a spy sent by Harold, but that wasn't his original intention .
"I see you weren't able to visit the prince . . . for a few months, isn't it?"
It's hard to tell how much she knows about the situation in the palace, her mother's expression rarely changes, and now she's very excited and yet quite calm .
"Princess Kasha was ill in bed, if I go there, that will only stress her more"
The maidservant who entered Queen Kasha's palace also advised him to not do that .
She said that the cause of Queen Kasha's disease was diagnosed to be a nervous fatigue caused by the previous situations .
She also recommended this because everybody in the Kasha's palace is very united, they all care a lot for their princess, specially the Petranian maids .
Also reported that if someone enters the Palace loathing His Majesty, the person in question would receive the immediate acceptance of all her servants .
( . . . I can see how much her servants dislike me . )
"Well then . . . Yes, it's better for you to refrain from visiting them . "
The way his mother said it was cold, but Harold knew that he had no choice but to accept that kind of reply .
"However if you insist so much . . . You can go with me! Coming with me or formally calling the prince to His Majesty's presence to check his health . . . Yes, that would be a father-king good decision . If you say so when requesting it, there should be less opposition from Queen Kasha's side . "
In hindsight, he regretted that it was indeed Harold's fault that the Queen Kasha were so agitated for many days .
"Princess Kasha has started recovering again, but she lost so much weight . . . Oh, poor thing . "
"I know, I know! I won't try to take Louis away from his birth mother again . "
(Certainly, I was distracted by the birth of my son and lacked composure . )
At that time, Louis was so cute that Harold couldn't believe his eyes .
But there're more things he has to take care of now, in order to hand over this throne in a stable position to his own son, who he thought was never going to be born, Harold has to take all the actions he can, over the next decades .
He thought it would be better for the baby to be raised by the rightful queen, that is true, as a way to stabilize his position .
Harold's affection for Louis had nothing to do with who his birth mother is, or the fact that he has Petranian blood, which was something unprecedented in the royal family .
The problem that was he slightly failed to consider the feelings and thoughts of the people involved .
--I am sure that if she wants to take good care of him . She will take pity on this child and have compassion for the dirty blood that flows through his veins .
Queen Kasha's grief-stricken cry brought Harold back to himself as if he were waking up from a dream .
(She couldn't have known that!)
The true feelings of the rightful Queen Margarita, that spilled out after her last miscarriage, were only known by Harold .
--I wanted to save you!
If one understands how Harold and Louis are seen by the Princess Margarita, it's easy to imagine the fears of her mother and those around him, and their opposition to give him to her .
" . . . Mother . "
"What is it?"
"Princess Kasha must have had very little contact with Margarita . Still, she seems to have understood Margarita way of thinking much earlier than I did . I wonder why . "
His mother looked a little dumbfounded, and then said to Harold .
"Of course, Princess Kasha is a very intelligent person . She is too mature for her age, and she is a sensitive young lady who is accustomed to taking care of herself in a royal palace where everything is against her, and she does not make mistakes in important matters that she should be aware of . . . . Also . . . When it comes to Margarita, Harold, you are a little . . . too slow . "
His mother was already aware that her advices were falling on deaf ears, however she continued .
"Margarita is devout of Prospero's beliefs, and besides, all her relatives feel very proud of their royal origins, I'm talking about her relatives here and in her homeland . They're too proud of their 'aristocratic blue blood' . I'm sure you already know that . Margarita was raised that way, those values won't change . It's something that is part of her nature now . . . Forever . "
"Margarita came to this country when she was nine years old . She grew up with me . She spent much more time in this country than her motherland!"
(I knew it was going to result like this . . . Well, I'll say it to him anyway, it's inevitable, and he'll discover it sooner or later)
Harold also believed the same doctrine as his wife, until a few years ago .
(As my only partner in my life, I thought we would love and support each other for the rest of our lives . )
Although he converted for political reasons, but the basis of his thinking was not something that could be changed easily .
"Harold . . . you set out in a new era, seeing the reality of your country as a national leader . But has Margarita ever seen the same view as you?"
"Giving up on her would also make it easier on that other poor girl . She can't live up clinging to your reckless expectations . "
Harold is stunned by the sheer magnitude of what his mother is saying .
"Who will be the partner that will help you to rebuild this country, for this own country's sake--?"
Harold stood up as a thunder and his chair fell to the floor .
The silverware, over the table, also fell to the floor, making a deafening metallic sound .
Both his mother and the servants were silent as if they had been hit with cold water .
Only Harold's ragged breathing remained .
"Did the Kasha's clan fill your pockets that much?"
There was no way Harold didn't know why his mother had suddenly started siding with Kasha .
He had guessed that money was involved to some extent, but it was certainly not good for the prince to be under siege in the royal palace, and Harold had no intention of stopping his mother from watching over the prince .
However, if there was enough power at play to make this mother say this much, as expected, Harold couldn't let Kasha's little trickery go unnoticed .
"Harold . Sit down . "
"Mother, answer my question!"
"Sit down . "
His mother was not at all offended and remained calm, urging Harold to take a seat and making sure the servants bring a new set of dishes .
As if his Harold's anger doesn't exist, she keeps silence and Harold knew she won't talk to him until he sits, so he did .
"I don't need you to insinuate anything about financial support from the Kasha's clan . The country's treasury would be nearly empty without the income from the Petra region in the south . Their support is a plus added to the tax base .
Reason why you, the king, pledged the queen's throne to them . Are you using a donation as the shield for your previous actions? You're right about that, but you are wrong about the reason and destination of the donation .
In order to maintain our authority over our neighbors, we need a strong military force, and I was willing to accept the donation for that purpose . I didn't do it to fill my own pockets .
What's the use of an old woman with nothing but mourning clothes filling her pockets after all this time?
The destination of the money, something you can quickly check if you didn't already, was to contact my birth family, the one I left forty years ago, and to interact with the royalty and aristocracy of other countries to keep me informed .
All the exchanges and information networks I've built up without even using the treasury's wealth have benefited you and this nation!"
(Although there were many holes in my mother's story, I feel like she is right in the big picture)
Harold always ended up losing the arguments battle with her mother .
This time, however, his mother gave up .
She refrained from going any further, she knew the conversation was going to end up like this, since the day he rejected her idea of divorcing the Queen Margarita to give her post to Berta instead .
"First of all, it isn't that much that you can say it's a great donation, and that alone wasn't what impulsed me to take this decisions . I have met the Queen Berta and I like her . She will be a good mother to guide Prince Louis . You are mistaken if you think that financial support alone can buy the Queen Mother's voice"
It's not as convincing as it sounds from the mouth of someone who has actually been bought off, but the Queen Mother is a woman who, for a time after the former king's death, stood at the center of political affairs as Harold's regent .
Although she has long since fallen away from the power, her gaze is still something no one dare to confront .
"I am sufficiently aware of my mother's fondness for the Princess of Kasha . "
Unwilling to continue eating, Harold stood up to leave the Queen Mother's Palace with a suitable resignation speech .
"Yes . Queen Kasha was the only one who brought flowers for her on the anniversary of Jane's death . "
She whispered at Harold's back, who left quickly .
(Jane . . . )
It was the name of the Queen Mother trusted maidservant, his birth mother, who died shortly after giving birth to Harold .