Anastasia was stunned by the unexpected situation and was frozen on the spot.
As she belatedly came to her senses and tried to get out of his arms, a murky voice came out.
Hearing the voice choked with relief, Anastasia paused without realizing it.
Wilhelm repeated with more strength in his arms.
“Thanks, Empress. Thanks to you…”
“Thanks to you…”
She felt like she knew what he was going to say.
Anastasia felt bitter but still did nothing.
She wanted to reach out and hug him the same way, but she couldn’t.
“It was to restore my reputation.”
Instead, she quietly opened her mouth and comforted him with those words.
“Miss Lutent turned the blame on me anyway.”
It was the only time she was grateful to Melina.
Originally, it would have been rumored that the Goddess’ anger was directed at the Emperor.
But with Melina ranting about her infertility, Wilhelm was relatively free from the blame for this problem.
“So even if you hadn’t solved the problem, there wouldn’t have been an unsavory rumor targeting you.”
If that happened, she would have turned the blame on her no matter what he did.*
*TN: she would’ve made the rumors about her so Wilhelm wouldn’t get the blame
Swallowing the words she couldn’t bear to say, Anastasia concluded plainly.
“You’ve been through a lot.”
He had already suffered from unsavory rumors since the beginning of his ascension.
Therefore, she could know how much he suffered from the incident without having to hear it.
“…you would have taken all the blame for me.”
It was a long time before Wilhelm released her arm and looked at her.
It was a grateful look, but on the other hand, there was a sense of remorse like that.
“You could have been deposed after being falsely accused of being the Goddess’ wrath.”
“Why are you so calm?” When you were accused, and now…”
“I was confident that I could solve the problem.”
Anastasia replied casually with a faint smile.
“I was just enjoying reading a book about gardening.”
“I was lucky.”
When I heard that, Wilhelm looked at Anastasia like he was speechless.
Anastasia made eye contact with Wilhelm with a faint smile, and Wilhelm couldn’t stand it as she pretended to be insignificant.
After a long time he opened his mouth as if he had nothing more to say on the subject.
Anastasia, who answered brightly, soon changed the subject with a mysterious smile.
“Well, now that you’ve heard about the bet, you know what I’m going to do.”
“I don’t know that much.” asked Wilhelm in an interested voice.
“What kind of punishment are you going to give to the young lady?”
“Well, rather than a punishment.”
Anastasia replied with a smile.
“Let’s make sure everyone knows that she’s wrong.”
Melina Lutent had been keeping a low profile for days.
At first, Melina expected Wilhelm to release her.
Even if he had no good feelings for her, she thought he would deliberately subvert the order of the empress to show his authority.
But the expectation was completely off the mark.
“His Majesty has told you to pay the price for forgetting the first day’s warning.”
When she protested against Colton, who she had barely met, that answer came back.
The first day’s warning. The words Melina couldn’t forget.
“Don’t you dare stand up to the empress. It means not to tarnish the prestige of the central palace by walking around with a slap on the face.”
But in the end, she was slapped again that time.
“Damn it, damn it!”
Anger broke out and she couldn’t control herself. Melina picked up the glass vase in front of her and slammed it to the floor with all her might.
With a sharp sound, fragments of glass splattered and splattered in all directions.
She could feel the maids next to her looking at her with surprised eyes, but Melina picked up another vase on the table and threw it back on the floor.
An unpleasant noise ensued. The flowers in the vase were crumpled.
The sight made me feel better.
‘That will soon be the Empress.’
When the Goddess’ Garden dies, not only the temple but also the nobles will find someone to blame.
Public opinion makes an empress of course.
“So you just have to wait a little longer.”
It was when Melina was gritting her teeth and burning in revenge.
A group of people stormed into the room with the sound of the door opening.
“Hello, Miss Lutent.”
It was Selene. Melina’s expression hardened when she saw the hateful face.
“I’m here to fulfill Her Majesty’s orders.”
With only a brief word left, Selene winked at the maids following her.
In an instant the maids surrounded Melina and took off her dress.
Melina, of course, resisted the sudden disaster.
“What are you doing? Who do you think I am? How dare you touch me!”
As she continued to get angry, someone muzzled Melina’s mouth.
It was a little quiet then, but the resistance was still strong.
Selene’s maids managed to take off Melina’s dress and took off all the accessories she was wearing, leaving her completely shabby.
When her movement was limited, Melina stared at Selene with bloodshot eyes.
But Selene approached Melina without caring.
‘I’m not scared anymore.’
At first, it was Selene, who was intimidated by everyone.
However, because Anastasia firmly educated her to be proud as the Empress’s maid, Melina overcame the bad memories of her last slap and put something on Melina’s neck.
“It’s done. Let’s go.”
Melina was forcibly taken away by the maids of the Empress’ court. There was a gag in her mouth, so it was meaningless to speak.
And after a while, Selene finally released the gag from Melina’s mouth, but then she said that Melina couldn’t make any noise at all.
“Now…what are you going to do?”
Instead, she stared at Selene with trembling eyes and protested quietly.
“What are you doing?”
Melina was tied tightly to a wooden stake in front of the castle gate with a wooden sign reading “Crime of Blasphemy to the Imperial Family” in front and the back”
Everyone passing by looked at Melina with interest.
As people gathered around and the murmur grew louder, Melina felt so humiliated that she wanted to bite her tongue and die.
She never dreamed that she would be treated like this, her who was born as a noble.
“What does it say? Does anyone know the letters?”
“Hwang, the royal family…the crime of blasphemy…I think it says blasphemy.”
“You must have committed a terrible crime!”
It was at this time that people started chattering and speculating about what Melina had committed.
The heavily closed gate opened and someone came out.
It was Colton who came right in front of the stake where Melina was tied up with high spirits.
Melina was astonished to see a familiar face.
“His Majesty’s order is to make all of Rosenberg clear about the sins of the Marquess Melina Lutent and correct the false rumors that have been circulating.”
Colton, who said so, unfolded the Emperor’s edict and began to recite Melina’s sins.
“Melina Lutent actively spread rumors that the Goddess was angry because the Empress could not conceive a son and that the garden was filled with insects. Melina Lutten is publicly punished for contempt of the imperial family and blasphemy, citing malicious slander against the empress with the status of the court lady, and the fact that the contents of the slander were completely false. Also, as of now, Melina Lutent is being deprived of her lady-in-waiting position.”
Melina screamed as if she was falsely accused.
“Everyone is being fooled. If the Goddess is not angry with the Empress who can’t give birth, why is the garden of the goddess suddenly infested with bugs? How can you explain that!”
“But the bugs have disappeared again since Her Majesty took care of them.”
Melina, who listened to Colton, looked as if she had been hit hard in the back.
“The Empress looked after the garden herself and came up with a solution. Thanks to her, the garden is completely back to its original state.”
“If the Empress really bought the wrath of the Goddess, would the Goddess Rosenia let her solve the problem?”
Colton sneered, laughing at Melina, who was speechless with a dazed face.
“The public punishment will be carried out until tonight. Then.”
Colton, who left the last word, turned around and entered the gate without hesitation, and Selene and the maids of the Empress who were watching soon followed Colton.
Melina, who was left alone, couldn’t accept the situation with her face missing, and only muttered that it couldn’t be.
“Tsk tsk, you made a mistake with your own mouth. You should be humiliated”
“She was a very mean woman. Wasn’t she even the Empress’ childhood friend?”
“You wicked, filthy traitor!”
People began to spit at Melina, blaming her, and although there were soldiers standing around Melina, they did not restrain them.
In the first place, it was included in the public punishment to bear the criticism of the imperialists.
Melina trembled for hours with anger and contempt as she was hit by the flying saliva.
Then she couldn’t overcome the extreme shame she felt for the first time in her life and eventually lost her mind.