Colton had a younger brother who was a year old. He was a rare noble in the medical profession.
Working on patient care and medical research at the same time, he recently complained to Colton with a gloomy expression.
“One of my patients died of illness this time.”
Since the patient’s story was a little uncomfortable, Colton wondered but asked what was going on.
“He had Amatis’ disease, so he came to the hospital and died without using his hands properly.”
“Amatis’ disease? You’re researching these days?”
“Yeah. It’s a terrible thing. It’s a disease that was discovered and symptoms only show up after the patient’s body is completely destroyed after deceiving itself.”
“I can’t help but think that it will only be discovered at the end of the year.”
“Yeah, you bleed and die in a few months. I don’t know the cure for that disease. No matter how much research I do, I can’t even understand the cause properly.”
The younger brother poured a drink into his mouth.
Colton’s face turned pale. Still as hard as stone, Colton looked at Anastasia with trembling eyes.
Frustrated, Anastasia hurriedly wiped her hands with her handkerchief that had vomited blood. Then, she looked at him and said.
“Eh, You were surprised, right?”
“It’s nothing. You don’t have to worry about it. It’s just…”
However, she couldn’t easily say anything because she knew she had nothing to excuse it.
There was a sense of frustration on her face, and at that moment, Colton thought of one more thing.
“I’m scared. What’s the cause of the disease?”
“It’s not accurate, but we think stress and pressure are important.”
Yes, stress was the root of all diseases.
Colton’s face turned a little paler. Don’t tell him…
‘Because of this…’
He wondered if she had been under a lot of stress. Colton, who was asking himself, immediately realized how foolish he had thought and laughed.
‘Of course she has been under a lot of stress, you idiot.’
For the past three years, she had believed that she was a woman of the oracle and would continue to live as an Empress and oversee the palace.
‘How much pressure that must have been.’
As the political community split in half and insisted on her disposal, it would have been difficult to ask for a divorce first.
No matter how much the Emperor was on her side, she knew it would be difficult to hold out until the end because the oracle was strong.
‘How did you feel…?’
He was among those who supported Anastasia’s deposition. Colton felt nauseous for a moment and covered his mouth without realizing it.
He definitely thought this was a choice for everyone, so he decided on his position…
While the woman in front of him was put in the incident that had put her under more pressure than he could not even fathom, and even had an incurable disease, he suffered unbearably.
“… Your Majesty.”
“You are mistaken, Sir.”
Anastasia hastily cleared up the misunderstanding.
“Of course, I know that things can seem strange right now. But really… It’s nothing. You don’t have to worry about it.”
Colton’s gaze at the gibberish Anastasia spoke became more dim.
Anastasia said she would leave tonight, saying there would be no point in holding out here for two months.
However, at some point she had shown a strong sense of responsibility, and that she was leaving tonight despite the diplomatic disrespect, no matter how hard he thought about it.
In the end, Colton, who had thought that far, bit his lip to suppress the sudden cry.
Was she trying to leave by herself and end her life in some remote place? So quietly, without bothering anyone.
“Sir, you’re listening to me, aren’t you…?”
As Colton’s expression became more and more strange, Anastasia, who eventually became anxious, asked to confirm.
“Trust me. It’s really no big deal. Now or later. You can’t tell His Majesty. Got it?”
Colton looked at Anastasia with wet eyes before he knew it. Anastasia, who was afraid that he would tell the Emperor about the disease, panicked.
‘Until the end… Are you trying to hide your condition in case His Majesty is worried?’
Colton had always thought that Anastasia could not love his lord.
It was because she had always refused Wilhelm, and her attitude remained unchanged even after her behavior improved.
However, to go against Wilhelm’s attempts to stop her from trying to divorce him in order to keep him from political trouble, or to leave the palace and die to avoid his concerns made Colton seriously reconsider his thoughts.
‘Maybe… Her Majesty may have been hiding her true feelings for a long time.’
He didn’t know what the reason was, but there was no reason to rush away like this, rather than trying to stay in the palace until the end under the pretext of bloodletting without loving him.
“Sir Colton, promise me.”
Anastasia asked him in a now irritated voice.
“You won’t tell anyone what I just saw, not to mention His Majesty. Yes?”
“… Your Majesty.”
Alas, this was such a cruel request to him.
Colton looked at Anastasia, barely holding back the agony from showing on his face.
Anastasia’s expression, who was still more worried that Wilhelm would know than her condition, was calm, not suitable for the situation.
“How… How can you be so carefree?”
“It’s just… It’s really nothing. Sir, it’s true.”
However, no matter how much she said so, it was not the least bit convincing. Colton bit his lip hard.
“Please promise me. It’s my last request.”
“… The last.”
Upon hearing that, Colton ended up shedding a tear.
When she saw that, she was embarrassed and tried to hand him the handkerchief that Anastasia was holding in a hurry, but belatedly realized that it was horribly covered with her blood.
Colton stared at the hideous handkerchief she was trying to hand to him and opened his mouth.
“Others, don’t know yet?”
As Anastasia nodded silently, Colton clenched his teeth.
Since when, how on earth has she been deceiving everyone so far…
He was curious, but he had a hunch that she wouldn’t answer.
At Colton’s words, Anastasia stared at him with her eyes wide open.
“Is that something that shouldn’t be discovered?”
It was true. Anastasia hesitated and handed Colton a different handkerchief. Her fingers looked a little shaky.
“… Thank you.”
Her voice was clearly trembling. Colton couldn’t even guess how many handkerchiefs she’d been hiding alone.
“Don’t worry. Secret…”
Colton closed and opened his eyes with a miserable expression.
“I’ll keep it a secret.”
There was no cure for Amatis’ disease anyway. She’d be dead in a few months.
The idea that he contributed to it bothered him, even though he made a self-explanation that he had no choice.
‘His Majesty will be in pain if he finds out about this.’
He seemed to care about the Empress a lot these days.
So there was nothing good to tell him. Perhaps a good-natured man would do more to self-blame than himself.
He’d struggle with guilt for leaving her alone without noticing the Empress’ disease.
From the other side, Anastasia let out a sigh of relief. She said in a voice that she knew he would.
“I thought the wise lord would believe me.”
The words seemed to stab him, saying, ‘I knew you would act like that,’ and Colton eventually bowed his head.
After Colton left, Anastasia was immersed in the finishing touches before she left.
She wrote two letters and gave them to her father. One was a letter for him, and the other was to be delivered to Lewis.
She had come to see Lewis for the last time before she left, but she did not tell him that she was leaving that night.
Because she knew very well that if Lewis knew, he would stop her from leaving, and would even tell Wilhelm.
Finally, after completing the handover of the Vislante mission preparations, Anastasia was perfectly prepared to leave.
She secretly called Selene and told her of her own resolve.
“I am leaving tonight.”
Selene looked at Anastasia with her eyes wide-open in surprise.
“Would you like to go with me? I am only talking to you.”
Her other maids are from a prominent aristocratic family, so they won’t have any problems even if she leaves.
But Selene was different. Although she lost her memory and her exact identity is unknown, everyone firmly believed that she was a commoner.
Because she could read the new and Rosenberg language, Selene would be in a difficult situation if Anastasia was not confident in her knowledge.
It was not a pleasant thing to not be able to take responsibility for the person you collected in that way.
It was lonely going out alone, and it would be nice to have a comrade in this and that way.
“Yes, Your Majesty. I will follow Your Majesty’s footsteps.”
Selene nodded her head with her determined look.
“I’ll pack my things quietly so that others won’t notice.”
That was it. Selene neither held her back nor stopped her, nor did she ask why.
Thankful for her loyalty, Anastasia just smiled.
It was finally night.
Anastasia wrote a letter to each of her own maids, including Mrs. Rochester.
It was the content of conveying her gratitude for the past and her regret for the circumstances in which she had no choice but to leave.
Putting them all in her drawer, Anastasia lied to Mrs. Rochester that she was tired and that she would go to bed early.
Mrs. Rochester believed it without a doubt, and Anastasia went into her bed, even wearing her cloak.
And after a little time, when she judged that Mrs. Rochester’s interest had completely diverged from that side, she rose again.
Anastasia disguised herself with the clothes she had prepared for herself and then secretly attempted to escape through the secret passageway in her room. She had arranged to meet Selene outside.
As she stepped outside, the cold night air enveloped Anastasia’s body. Soon after, Selene found her and waved her hand.
Anastasia took Selene’s hand and wrapped her rope tightly around her, and escaped out of the palace through her secret passage.
‘Hi, Wilhelm. Be happy.’
Anastasia looked back at the distant Imperial Palace and left her final goodbyes.
‘I loved you, a lot…’
She would love him forever, but no one would ever know that.
Finally, she was completely out of the Imperial Palace.