“The sign of the Goddess has reappeared on Your Majesty’s shoulder!”
Anastasia stiffened for a moment when she heard the screams that sounded like a drizzle. What was Selene saying now? She couldn’t understand it.
“Oh, would you like to see for yourself?”
And Selene pushed her hand mirror to Anastasia. Anastasia took her mirror upside down and reflected it to herself.
Suddenly, an embarrassed moan escaped Anastasia’s mouth.
The rose-shaped dot that had disappeared over her own shoulder reappeared.
Anastasia held her mirror for a while, immobilized. This situation was completely unbelievable.
“Why all of a sudden…”
“Not all of a sudden.”
At Selene’s words, Anastasia looked at her with an expression asking what that meant.
“That is… In fact, something similar happened a few days ago.”
“Is it something similar?”
“I was changing Your Majesty’s clothes, when the sign of the Goddess appeared briefly.”
“What? But why didn’t you tell me?”
“It just disappeared again. I didn’t say it on purpose, because I didn’t want to make you upset for nothing…”
Selene ended her speech in a voice as bewildered as Anastasia.
“Now that I see it, I think that was a foreshadowing of what will happen today.”
Her speechless Anastasia was silent. Her breathtaking stillness filled her room.
Selene, who looked at Anastasia, asked.
“Now… What are you going to do?”
“… What can I do?”
Anastasia struggled to open her mouth in a calm voice.
“Let’s wait and see. Maybe it will disappear as quickly as it did a few days ago.”
But there was no such thing. For several days, Anastasia’s rose sign was still sitting on her shoulder.
At this point, Anastasia had no choice but to admit the situation.
After several days of quieting her confused head, Anastasia came to a conclusion.
“I have to go to the temple.”
Anastasia had no idea if she could get an answer to this situation.
No matter how much she thought about it, she could not fathom the intention of the Goddess for the sign that the Goddess had collected so that the original work would flow in the right order to appear again.
So she had no choice but to ask her directly. Anastasia went straight to the temple of Belrose.
“I am glad that you come often.”
Upon entering the temple, Priest Kanuto welcomed Anastasia.
He was an elderly priest with white hair, and was the head of the priests of Belrose.
Anastasia greeted him with a faint smile.
She must have been a suspicious person who suddenly appeared in the rural town of Belrose.
But she was always warmly welcomed and cared for without asking anything, and he was the most trusted and reliable in Belrose.
So she thought that maybe, she could get help from him to find an answer to this situation.
“How was the grape jam we served last time? Are you here for that?”
“The grape jam is very tasty, but that is not why I visited the temple today.”
Priest Kanuto looked at Anastasia questioningly.
“Actually, there is something I want to ask Goddess Rosenia honestly.”
“Is that so?”
“If I ask, will she answer me?”
Anastasia asked with a frown.
“I long for her answer.”
“Of course. Because the Goddess has always answered our earnest calls.”
Priest Kanuto nodded his head with a questionable expression on his face.
“I will provide a place where you can pray alone. Come this way.”
So Anastasia was assigned a private room. Even Selene left, while Anastasia stood alone in front of the statue.
The statue was just looking down at Anastasia with her benevolent face.
Anastasia was the first to greet her statue, then knelt down and put her hands together.
“Mother of all life that lives and breathes on this earth, Rosenberg’s great lord, Rosenia……”
Anastasia kept her posture and, forgetting the passing of time, raised her prayers to the Goddess.
How did she break all her ties with Wilhelm and give the sign of the Goddess again to her who fled here.
How she wanted her to behave, what the hell was she going to do with this situation.
She sought and sought her answer with an earnest heart. Since she gave her a sign, she felt that she must also give her a direction for the future.
How many hours had passed like that? As her stamina gradually decreased, Anastasia was about to start to feel fatigue.
At the holy voice that caught her ears, Anastasia felt herself awaken for a moment.
Anastasia looked around in amazement. But the door was closed and there was only her in the space.
Then the voice she heard now…
“Go back and find your place.”
A sacred voice followed. Anastasia stared at the Goddess in front of her eyes with trembling eyes.
“You are the only daughter I truly love.”
Her heart was pounding.
Anastasia’s heart began to beat violently.
Mrs. Rochester was being adorned by the maids with a gloomy look on her face.
Elegant topaz jewels were draped over her body with necklaces and earrings, but the brilliance of those shimmering jewels was not enough to cover Madame Rochester’s sorrow.
‘Originally, Her Majesty the Empress should brighten up today’s seat…’
Today was the day the envoys arrived from Vislante.
Originally, Anastasia was supposed to entertain them, but her sudden disappearance naturally transferred the role to Mrs. Rochester.
But if it was up to that point, it wouldn’t have been so buoyant inside.
‘Lady Hazel has to take over her Majesty’s role…!’
Anastasia’s prolonged absence raised the expectation that Avelin would naturally become the Empress.
In response to such expectations, Avelin also steadily received the Empress’ lessons, and she even took on the role of the Empress on her behalf to some extent. The reception of today’s envoys was a part of that.
Mrs. Rochester was annoyed that Avelin was nibbling on Anastasia’s seat in this way.
Even though she didn’t have to attend because she was still immature in court etiquette, Avelin didn’t listen to her.
“Wouldn’t it be better if I did it too?”
She sickened her stomach with an innocent smile as she said that.
If she attended today’s envoy reception, she would naturally be able to reveal her presence as the next Empress to foreign envoys. Perhaps that is the reason why she was inevitably going to attend.
‘Let’s calm down. I just need to behave well. That way, the seat will not be compromised when Her Majesty returns.’
It was only for her that Mrs. Rochester could hold out.
Like Wilhelm, she believed that Anastasia would return one day.
After all, it was nothing more than a wish, but Mrs. Rochester had a strange hunch that it would be.
‘I hope my hunch is right…’
Mrs. Rochester headed to the grand banquet hall of the Palace of Leas, where the reception of the envoys would take place with a desperate desire.
“Oh, Mrs. Rochester.”
Avelin was there first. She greeted her with a bright smile.
“Are you here? I looked around and it was perfectly prepared. Thank you for your hard work.”
Mrs. Rochester’s face was twisted as she saw Aveline acting as if she had already become a superior match.
But instead of expressing it, she smiled gracefully and opened her mouth.
“Thanks to Her Majesty’s thorough preparation.”
Avelin’s expression quickly hardened at the words, and Mrs. Rochester was delighted to see it.
“… I know. Originally, the Empress should have led today as well.”
Avelin smiled and replied casually again.
“I don’t know when she’ll reappear, so the concerns of the people of the empire are enormous.”
“I’m sure she’ll show up soon.”
“Do you have any grounds for thinking so?”
“Well, the Emperor loves the Empress very much.”
Mrs. Rochester deliberately stabbed Avelin in the most vulnerable area.
“I don’t think she’ll be able to turn away from that heart until the end.”
“… I hope Mrs. Rochester’s wishes are true.”
It was the moment Avelin responded with a face that still never lost her smile.
“The sun of the empire, His Majesty the Emperor enters.”
Everyone in the banquet hall hurriedly prepared their greetings at the loud cry of the attendant announcing Wilhelm’s entrance.
Soon Wilhelm, dressed in an olive-colored robe, appeared in front of everyone.
As always, he walked to his seat in a stately manner, exuding the dignity that only those sitting on the throne could have.
“Greetings to the radiant master of Rosenberg, the sun of the empire.”
“Everyone get up.”
Wilhelm, who sat in his seat, opened his mouth with a slightly tired expression.
Everyone got up from their seats, and Avelin naturally went to her seat. Right next to Wilhelm, it was originally the seat where the Empress was supposed to sit.
She was watching Mrs. Rochester with a burning sensation inside her.
“Why is the lady sitting here?”
A sharp voice was heard. Avelin paused and looked at Wilhelm.
Cold eyes stared right through her, and Avelin got up from her seat with a terrified look on her face.