“… It’s over.”
Anastasia, unable to take her eyes off the night sky for several minutes, slowly turned her head to look at Wilhelm.
The firecrackers went off, but the aftermath was still there, gently beating Anastasia’s heart.
“Shall we go now?”
Anastasia laughed at Wilhelm’s sad voice and asked jokingly.
“Shall we not go back?”
Wilhelm looked at Anastasia with those words.
It was obviously meant as a joke, but he seemed to take it seriously, so Anastasia was taken aback for a moment.
“Come to think of it.”
Wilhelm thought for a moment and opened his mouth.
“There’s the Hermus mansion close to here.”
The Hermus mansion was the place where Wilhelm was given the title of Duke of Hermus as soon as he became an adult and left the palace.
After his accession, the title was returned to the imperial family, but the mansion was inevitably used as a villa.
“Shall we go there?”
“That… … .”
Anastasia, who had been habitually rejecting him, soon changed her mind.
‘… No. For today, I just decided to do what I want.’
Her heart wanted her to stay with him longer, as long as possible. Anastasia nodded her head.
Wilhelm looked at Anastasia with a surprised expression as if he had heard an unexpected answer, and Anastasia smiled sincerely.
“I’ve been wanting to go to Hermus mansion.”
Before her return, she occasionally went on vacation there.
As the memory of that time came to mind, her heart suddenly fluttered.
“Then get on the carriage…”
“If it’s okay, how about riding a horse?”
“Yeah. It’s pretty cool to ride a horse from here to Hermus’s house. You’ll like it.”
“But I can’t ride a horse.”
“You can ride with me.”
Wilhelm shrugged his shoulders indifferently as if he wasn’t worried, and Anastasia nodded her head as if she didn’t care.
No, she thought it would be better. It was more romantic for them to spend their last time alone together.
After a while, Wilhelm, who had brought the horse, asked Anastasia.
“Is it your first time riding?”
Anastasia nodded, and Wilhelm smiled helplessly.
“Don’t be too scared. Just hold on to the reins after you get on.”
As soon as the answer was over, Wilhelm grabbed Anastasia by the waist and lifted her as high as possible.
Surprised Anastasia was stiff and at a loss, and Wilhelm made eye contact and smiled at her expression of fear.
“Come on, get on.”
Anastasia climbed cautiously onto the saddle, and Wilhelm climbed lightly behind her after she had settled completely on the horse.
Anastasia looked forward with a nervous face at his presence from behind.
“Now, hold on to this…”
Wilhelm, who told her one by one, reassuring Anastasia with a low and soft voice.
“You don’t have to worry about falling off. I’ll hold onto you.”
“Where are you… Oops!”
Wilhelm started the horse before the question was over, and at the same time, his unbridled left arm naturally embraced her waist.
Anastasia looked back in bewilderment, and he asked with a smile.
“It’s okay, right?”
It’s so… so close.
Anastasia hurriedly turned her head with a red face.
It was the first time for him to come so close from behind, so Anastasia’s heart was beating like a storm before she knew it.
Then the new horse left the city and entered the open field, and a cool wind quickly brushed Anastasia’s body.
The light of the moon fell like a fairy tale on a dark field with nothing.
There was nothing much to see, but Anastasia focused more on the feeling and smell of the moment.
The arms that were held tightly around her and the cool scent from behind made her feel alive at this moment.
Wilhelm called her name from behind, as the horse was speeding up.
“Are you okay? Your heart is beating too fast.”
…Oh, my God.
Anastasia’s heart began to beat faster this time with tension. She made a rough excuse.
“I guess it’s because the horse is running fast.”
“Really? Then I’ll have to slow down a little more…”
“Oh, no! It’s alright.”
Anastasia looked back at Wilhelm in a hurry.
His face was clearly visible even in the dark, so Anastasia laughed sharply, holding her breath for a moment.
“I love this moment.”
It seemed that only she and him were left in this world.
She wished the moment would last forever. Oracle or whatever, just don’t think about anything… The time when they could look at each other.
“So please don’t stop and keep moving.”
At the moment Anastasia smiled brightly after talking, a stronger wind blew and her golden hair flew like a wave.
With a brilliant smile resembling the moonlight, her scent inevitably pushed into his lungs and eroded his whole body.
The moment felt beautiful like a piece of fairy tale, so Wilhelm couldn’t help but smile.
It was a strange feeling. Because his life was always difficult, and he thought that not a single piece of a fairytale would ever come. It used to be, it wasn’t now, and it would never be.
But, when he was with her…
‘I think time changes.’
Wilhelm looked up at Anastasia, thinking.
‘In a good way that I never dared to dream.’
It felt better than he thought. To the extent that he feel desperately obsessed with not wanting to lose this joy he once realized.
‘Don’t lose it.’
With that thought, his arms that held Anastasia became even stronger.
The warmth from her heated his heart as if it had been dipped in a furnace.
His horse began to run faster and faster, and his heart began to beat faster in proportion.
The horse ran for a long time and arrived at the Duke Hermus’ residence.
“Welcome, Your Majesty, Your Majesty. May Goddess Rosenia’s protection reach you two.”
The Duchy of Hermus currently resided and was managed by Baron Orson.
Although he seemed quite surprised by the sudden visit of the emperor and his wife, he calmly guided them to the mansion.
“Nothing has changed.”
“Everything has been managed in the same way as your Majesty.”
Baron Orson added in a polite voice.
“Oh, of course, the room where the Empress will be staying is well maintained…”
“You don’t have to bother.”
Wilhelm cut off his words and smiled at Anastasia.
“It’s one night, so it’s okay to use the couple’s bedroom. Isn’t that right, Empress?”
“Wouldn’t that be simpler?”
Anastasia looked at Wilhelm, who asked calmly, with a puzzled expression.
No, this person… … Since when had he been so careless about this kind of thing?
Wilhelm’s words continued while Anastasia, embarrassed, was unable to say anything.
“Then shall we go to our room?”
“I, Your Majesty. Wait a moment…”
“The room is over there.”
Wilhelm led Anastasia calmly, wrapping his arms around her shoulders, and Anastasia asked in an absurd voice.
“Really with me… … Are you going to share the same bedroom?”
“Is there anything we can’t do? We are a couple.”
“Tell me if you have any problems.”
Wilhelm said in a relaxed voice.
“Whatever it is, I will get rid of it.”
“There is nothing like that. but…”
“Aren’t you a little uncomfortable?”
“What’s wrong with sleeping with my wife?”
“… You’ve never slept with me.”
“Well said. We can sleep together starting today. Even after returning to the palace, from now on.”
“Don’t you think there’s something wrong with that statement just now?”
Wilhelm said with a serious expression.
“We’re married, so sleeping together in the same bed shouldn’t be uncomfortable.”
Allowing him to do whatever new wanted… it was supposed to be one day. It shouldn’t be longer.
When Anastasia was embarrassed, Wilhelm looked at her and grinned, and cupped Anastasia’s cheeks and made her look at him. Anastasia looked at Wilhelm with her eyes wide open.
“Okay. Just for today. Then it’s okay?”
Just for today…
As Anastasia nodded her head, Wilhelm’s smile widened only then.
And yet still-
“… Your Majesty.”
He stood holding Anastasia’s cheek. Even after the shy Anastasia said.
“Are you going to keep doing this?”
“Yes. It might be cold.”
“It will be summer soon.”
“It’s cold here because it’s a stone mansion.”
“No, it’s hot. Please leave me alone.”
Since when did he become such a sly person? She laughed out loud without realizing it.
Anastasia placed her hand on Wilhelm’s to free herself from him.
Wilhelm’s hand felt stiff at the touch for a moment, and Anastasia flinched and looked at Wilhelm.
Wilhelm said, looking directly into Anastasia’s eyes.
“It’s warm. Because I am doing this.”
“Wait a minute. I’m cold.”
Knowing that cold was a lie, Anastasia couldn’t take her hand off him.
Was it because of his gaze that wouldn’t off her? Unmoving as if caught up in it, she just looked at him the same way.
For such a long time, the two just stared at each other without saying a word.
“… Are you a little colder now?”
Anastasia, embarrassed of the long silence, eventually asked after quietly pulling away.
“I think it would be warmer to go into the room.”
“Yes, that would be nice.”
Wilhelm, who equally withdrew his hand from Anastasia, wrapped his arms around her shoulder this time and said in a voice that seemed only to be heard by her.
“Let’s go in.”
The whisper was so sweet that Anastasia was briefly engulfed in a subtle emotion that she could not say anything.
The couple’s bedroom was not as big as she thought it would be.
Anastasia was very concerned about whether she would be able to spend the night with Wilhelm safely in the narrow space.
‘… Fortunately, the bed is not small.’
It was when Anastasia was looking at the bed with a confused expression.
“Are you tired?”
As soon as she heard Wilhelm’s voice next to her and turned her head, Anastasia had to face a rather embarrassing moment.