‘Did I dance with Wilhelm at the birthday party last year?’
Oh, she should have asked that before she went with him!
However, it was too late to regret it.
Anastasia was already dancing in the middle of the banquet hall with Wilhelm.
“Oh, aren’t they the Emperor and Empress?”
“That’s right! It’s been a while since I saw the two dancing together.”
“And the Emperor’s refusal to bring in a paramour… Do you think your relationship is better than before?”
People naturally began to talk about her and Wilhelm. She could hear very well what they were saying even though they were quite far away.
Anastasia was disturbed to see those who deduced the relationship between herself and Wilhelm to be on the good side.
‘Should I have encouraged a paramour to come in then?’
It was something she couldn’t bear to say, so she put the choice on Wilhelm, but she regretted doing so if she knew the situation would be like this.
‘Even with the paramour issue, what the hell are you up to today…’
Anastasia turned to Wilhelm, who still had an unidentifiable expression.
Then she immediately met eyes with Wilhelm and was surprised.
‘Were you staring at me until now…?’
When she thought so, her heart began to beat uncontrollably fast.
But soon she calmly settled down and opened her mouth.
“Did you have anything to say to me?”
“You asked me to dance all of a sudden. It’s not like you…”
Wilhelm opened his mouth after making a thoughtful expression for a moment.
“Something to say… Well, I don’t think there’s anything in particular.”
It was a simple answer. Anastasia narrowed the gap between her eyebrows.
“It’s your birthday, so I thought I should dance with you at least once. You have to think about other people’s opinions as well.
“Yeah, we didn’t dance together last year.”
She knew it. She should have asked the ladies in advance.
Anastasia once again regretted not asking that question. It was a belated regret, however.
“But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dance this year. Don’t you think so?”
“That’s true, but…”
“You didn’t want to.”
When Wilhelm pinpointed it, Anastasia nodded.
“If it weren’t for my father’s eyes, I would have refused.”
Hearing that, Wilhelm immediately made an absurd expression on his face.
And he spoke with a displeased expression after being silent for a while as if he had lost his words.
“You don’t like me that much?”
It was a voice that was genuinely curious.
“It was only recently that rumors of your infertility were circulating in the social world. As for paramour issues, normally, when something like this happens, you would try harder to improve the relationship with me.”
“I have a feeling that somehow you’re welcoming such a bad situation. I guess it doesn’t matter.”
He got it right. …he’s so sharp.
“Or do you hate me enough to endure all that?”
Anastasia was thinking a lot about how to respond when she decided to gloss over it.
“As you said, it doesn’t matter. No matter what others say.”
She decided to add to it and show a little arrogance and selfishness.
Anastasia added with a shrug.
“You won’t be able to depose me anyway.”
Hearing this, Wilhelm bit his mouth like a man at a loss for words.
Anastasia sighed inwardly. For a woman from the oracle to be arrogant like that, it would definitely break the facade that she had built so far.
It was a long time later that the voice was heard again.
“You’re right. I can’t depose you.”
That somehow sounded more like to Wilhelm himself than to Anastasia. It had a strange nuance.
“That means we have to live together forever.”
Wilhelm, who finished speaking, pulled up the corners of his mouth slightly.
Anastasia was slightly embarrassed and somewhat disturbed to see it.
He came to a good conclusion, but in the end the conclusion was wrong.
The Goddess didn’t choose her, so she couldn’t spend the rest of her life with him… There was no nothing to live for.
“It’s true that I hated you. …I don’t really like you now.”*
*TN: he’s saying he only dislikes her now as opposed to hating her
“That’s a relief. It’s the same for me.”
Perhaps offended by Anastasia’s reply, Wilhelm, who narrowed his brows, opened his mouth again after a short silence.
“But I think we still need to show people how friendly couples are like.”
“As I said, we have to live together until we die.”
Until she died…
Anastasia, who naturally recalled her last memory before returning to the time, bit her lips without realizing it.
“It’s not a good image to see the Emperor and his wife at odds.”
“It’s not such a good thing both internally or externally. Even if we don’t love each other, there’s no need to show discord.”
“At first, I didn’t think it would be like that.”
Here, Wilhelm paused in his speech.
“Now it seems you want to change. I also want to work hard.”
Anastasia dissuaded him with a slight tremor.
“Don’t try, Your Majesty. I don’t want that kind of thing. It’s just comfortable as it is.”
“What does it mean?”
“Just live as if I’m a stranger…”
Let’s live like that and break up.
Swallowing the words she couldn’t bear to say, Anastasia pulled her emotions together and continued.
“I like to stay as usual. The only thing that changed me was the thought that I had not been able to properly fulfill my duties as an Empress…”
“Something is terribly wrong with that.”
Wilhelm interrupted Anastasia in a dry voice.
Anastasia looked at Wilhelm, trembling.
It was the same expressionless eyes as the first time, but strangely colder.
“The duty of the Empress you speak of.”
Predicting what he was going to say next, Anastasia’s heart began to beat fast as if it was running.
“That includes marital relations.”
“You’re not talking because you really don’t know, right?”
With the words, Wilhelm pulled Anastasia’s waist toward him.
As the distance closed immediately after the strange question, the embarrassed Anastasia couldn’t smile and blinked once.
From a breathtaking distance, where their lips could touch if he leaned his upper body a little, Wilhelm stared at Anastasia with an expression that showed that he didn’t know what the hell was going on in her mind.
Although he was expressionless all the time, Anastasia felt an unknown heat in his eyes and was nervous.
At one point in the strange silence between the two, Wilhelm finally bowed his head to Anastasia.
It was just that moment.
Colton rushed to the side of the two, shouting urgently.
Anastasia first came to her senses and fell from Wilhelm, and Wilhelm casually turned his head toward Colton.
“What’s going on?”
“I’m sorry. But it’s too urgent…”
Colton reported after hurriedly arranging his panting breath.
“Cysteine Palace is on fire.”
Cysteine Palace was a rare wooden structure among palaces in the Imperial Palace. Therefore, it was very vulnerable to fire.
The bigger problem was that there was the Goddess’ Garden nearby. Wilhelm’s expression became serious.
“We’re trying our best to contain it, but it was discovered after quite a while…”
“I’ll have to go right away.”
Wilhelm said so and then looked back at Anastasia.
He looked very worried, perhaps surprised by the unexpected news, and made eye contact with her.
“Stay here. One has to keep their place.”
Anastasia tried to say ‘Be careful’ without realizing it, but she suddenly came to her senses and answered briefly.
“…I see, Your Majesty.”
After a brief glance at her figure, Wilhelm soon left the banquet hall.
“Oh, did you just hear that? There’s a fire at Cysteine Palace.”
“Isn’t the Goddess’ Garden near there? I’m afraid…”
“What if something happens to the Goddess’ Garden?”
When people heard of the fire, they saw Wilhelm’s back and began to buzz in a chaotic atmosphere.
It happened to be related to the Goddess’ Garden, so people’s attention increased.
‘We can’t ruin the party like this.’
Anastasia quickly rolled her head and made a quick adaptation.
“Thank you to everyone who attended my birthday party today. I’m so happy to hear all these birthday wishes from so many people.”
At Anastasia’s voice, those who were talking in anxiety quickly turned their attention.
Anastasia continued with a smile.
“So I’m thinking of holding an auction as a fun event.”
Anastasia climbed onto the platform so that everyone could see her.
Then she removed the necklace from her neck and had the ladies take out the hair ornament.
The colorful hair fell down the waist, creating an elegant atmosphere.
When she put down her bracelet, ring, fan and earrings she was holding, the eyes of the people watching began to burn with passion.
‘I didn’t expect to hold an auction like this all of a sudden.’
But how fortunate it is that there is a means to lighten the mood.
She didn’t know it was going to be so useful that the maids gave her accessories today, saying that she needed to look as gorgeous as possible.
Anastasia opened her mouth with a nonchalant smile as if even it had been planned.
“Well, shall we get started?”
When the Empress’s auction, which was difficult to attend even for money, was held on the spot, people stopped talking and all eyes were on Anastasia.
But only one of the countless people snuck out of the banquet hall, taking advantage of the tumultuous opportunity.