Anastasia’s slap on Melina’s face quickly spread like rumors.
Unlike last time, this time, it was inevitable because there were too many eyes.
“Well done, Your Majesty. Whew, I feel so refreshed! I’m sorry I didn’t see it in person.”
“If I had known this would happen, I would have followed Her Majesty the Empress. What a sight to see like Lady Selene!”
“It’s too bad, Your Majesty. Can you hit her one more time when she’s here next time?”
The ladies of the Imperial Palace were all ecstatic to hear the news.
Mrs. Rochester also told Anastasia that she had done well, and she asked her not to think of showing mercy to her traitor.
‘As expected, there’s no mercy for a woman who covets her friend’s husband.’
That’s why Anastasia deliberately didn’t stop the rumors about Melina on the first day of her entrance.
Melina’s reputation was already plummeting from the moment Melina entered the palace as Wilhelm’s lady-in-waiting.
It was in contrast to the four maidens who had nothing to do with her.
“Melina couldn’t have betrayed me without knowing this…’
If so, it can only be explained that she was confident of seducing Wilhelm.
‘But that’s too reckless a choice to make.‘
Even if it was servile and disgraceful, it was much safer and more harmless to kneel down to her and maintain the prestige of being an empress’s childhood friend.
Rather than risking your life to be a lady-in-waiting for an emperor when it was uncertain whether you would succeed.
‘It’s a little awkward. The other four. Even if they don’t become Wilhelm’s mistress, they won’t lose anything other than getting along with our family, but Melina…’
Why did you gamble like that? Like a woman possessed by something.
But Anastasia soon stopped thinking.
‘Never mind. It’s over now, so I don’t have to think about it any more.’
No matter what the catastrophe was, it had nothing to do with her now.
Anastasia quickly erased the thoughts of Melina and got back to work.
The preparations for Anastasia’s upcoming birthday party were in the final stages, so she couldn’t afford to think about Melina anymore.
“The flowers are withering.”
At that, Colton looked back at Wilhelm.
He saw him staring at a vase full of roses.
Wilhelm murmured in a displeased voice.
“The petals are rotting more and more.”
Colton replied as if it was nothing strange.
“It is a flower with a stem that has already been cut. It will probably crumble and look ugly in a few days.”
“Is there no way to revive it?”
“No, I don’t think so. If you were a goddess of Rosenia, you might be able to do it.”
“Should I clean it up now?” asked Colton, who shrugged his shoulders.
“No, it’s a waste.”
“But the rose…… You hate it.”
Colton asked in a bewildered voice.
“Are you okay with it now?”
“I still don’t like it.”
Wilhelm replied as if it made sense.
Colton then put on an expression on his face that asked why he cared so much.
“But it’s a waste.”
The answer left Colton speechless. As expected, it was strange.
In the first place, he had received the rose he hated from Anastasia and kept it, but now he was showing a strange attachment to that rose.
Of course he kept denying it, but in Colton’s view it was attached.
“You care a lot about that rose. You would have told me to throw it away.”
Perhaps the words hit the nail on the head, and Wilhelm made an expression of embarrassment for a moment and soon made an excuse.
“I’m not going to throw it away.”
“Really? Did you change your mind?”
“It’s a symbol of the goddess.”
Wilhelm continued after coughing.
Could the descendants of the goddess treat the symbol of the goddess recklessly? That’s blasphemy… is it not?
“Oh, come to think of it.”
After listening to Wilhelm, Colton opened his mouth as if he had thought of something.
“I should have seen to it, but I almost forgot.”
“Is something wrong?”
“The roses in the garden of the goddess.”
The Goddess’s Garden was a legendary garden where Goddess Rosenia planted, cared for, and cared for red roses herself when she stayed in Rosenberg.
Therefore, its symbolism was great, and the Imperial Palace also cooperated with the temple to manage it with special care. To the point of blooming red roses all year round.
By the way…
“It’s all withered.”
At the words, Wilhelm, who was tapping the rose petals in the vase, paused.
“No, I must correct it. It’s all about to wither.”
“… What do you mean by this?” asked Wilhelm in a low voice.
“There’s never been a problem before.”
“That’s why the gardeners’ report was delayed further. Suddenly, the amount of bugs has increased, but at first, he didn’t think it was a big deal. But everything he did didn’t reduce the number of bugs…”
“So? Do you want to wait until the bugs eat all the roses?”
“No. I was just going to call the temple for help.”
When Wilhelm called Colton in a low voice, Colton flinched and shivered.
“You don’t know how serious this is, do you?”
“……No way. I’ll do my best.”
“Not your best effort, but the best results.”
At Wilhelm’s bitter eyes, Colton swallowed dry saliva without realizing it.
Needless to say, the Garden of the Goddess was no different than a living holy thing.
There was a belief that the empire would be strong only if the garden was strong, and that’s why the Imperial Palace had been taking special care of it.
“If it was known that there’s a problem with the goddess’s garden…”
It could soon be interpreted as the wrath of the goddess.
There were people who wanted to spread such conspiracy theories after Lyell was struck by lightning in the dry sky at the last sacrifice of the goddess.
“At that time, the empress saved the high priest with a kiss of life, and it didn’t become a big problem, but…’
If this incident overlapped, people’s doubts would inevitably grow.
Perhaps the goddess was angered by the current emperor.
“We’re cracking down on the spread of rumors, but…”
“You can’t stop people from talking forever.”
Wilhelm still instructed Colton in a low voice.
“We must restore it to its original state. No matter what.”
But even after that, the number of bugs that appeared in the goddess’s garden had barely decreased.
Rather, the number of them increased exponentially due to fast breeding, and the humans were facing limitations just by catching them.
In addition, as the number of people who witnessed the insect-infested garden naturally increased one by one, this eventually became known to the community.
Whenever people gathered, they were nervous, talking about this problem.
“It is said that the garden of the goddess is infested with insects and all the roses are dying. Isn’t this the first time this has happened?”
“It’s not auspicious. I was worried about the lightning that fell into the dry sky at the last goddess’ rite…”
“Perhaps the present emperor has taken the wrath of her goddess… Why, there were rumors like that even at the beginning of his accession.”
“Well, I don’t think so.”
Then when someone raised another opinion in a skeptical voice, everyone’s eyes were on it.
“What do you know? Well, aren’t you staying in the central palace these days?….”
“I don’t think it’s the Emperor, I think the Empress angered the Goddess.”
Everyone reacted embarrassingly to the unexpected opinion.
“But why? Her Majesty was chosen by the Goddess to become an Empress.”
“And she regretted your old mistakes, and these days she’s been rejuvenated…”
“That’s not the point. Trust is not eternal.”
Melina said in a confident voice.
“The Empress now can’t give birth to a heir. So the Goddess might have changed her mind.”
In fact, there was no clear indication of Anastasia’s infertility.
However, they only guessed that there was a high possibility because news of the fetus was not heard even after two years of marriage.
However, it was only a hypothesis, and Melina used a strange ending to talk about Anastasia’s infertility as if it were a fact.
The fact that she was an old friend of Anastasia raised the credibility of her remarks.
Because Melina was involved in various social gatherings and spread rumors, the opinion that Anastasia’s infertility angered the Goddess and caused all these misfortunes began to become popular.
The speed at which the rumors spread was accelerated by Anastasia’s failure to respond immediately.
Everything was going as Melina had intended from the beginning.
“This will make it easier to abdicate.’
In the first place, trust was the biggest reason for not being able to depose Anastasia.
If public opinion spread that the Empress had been abandoned by the Goddess, it was no longer impossible to depose the Empress.
The four maidens who entered the palace with her also shared their will with Melina.
An alliance could only be formed briefly to expel the public enemy, Empress Anastasia.
As the friendship continued to grow, Melina was more excited to show her face to the social gathering.
For the aristocrats, the situation was worrisome, but it felt interesting and stimulating, and they did not mind Melina.
Melina, who gained confidence as her presence grew, now boldly thought about holding a tea party at the support of the Central Palace.
‘It’s one of the privileges of the court lady, so there’s nothing wrong with it.’
Melina held her tea party at her patronage, where she invited the young girls who supported her, including the other four central court maids.
“Thank you for inviting me, Lady Lutent. This is the first time we have a tea gathering at the patronage of the Emperor.”
“Me too. Her Majesty the Empress does not hold tea gatherings here.”
“Is the Goddess’ garden still intact?”
“From what I heard, yes. The gardener said that the bugs didn’t go away at all. The garden could dry out and die.”
“It’s such a big deal. She must act quickly…”
“But if the wrath of the goddess made the garden that way, wouldn’t there be only one way?”
“Is there a problem with the Empress?”
“That’s all I can think of. The wrapper looks pretty, and even if you were surprised at first, if it was a terrible thing when you unpacked it, you’d be furious.*”
*TN: talking about the goddess picking Anastasia and liking her but being angry at what she received in return
Melina sighed pretending to be worried and then asked the people around her.
“You think so too, don’t you?”
However, until a while ago, the expressions of people who were laughing back at her suddenly changed strangely.
All of them were stiff and unable to open their mouths easily.
“Everyone? What’s wrong?”
Melina wondered and turned to where the end of people’s gaze was headed.
And I was shocked to meet an unexpected person.
“The, the, Empress…!”
Surprised, Melina stuttered and instinctively tried to go back to old days.
“I greet the moon of the empire…”
But Melina’s words didn’t end properly.
It was because Anastasia raised her hand and slapped Melina’s cheek.