“Wow, the weather has gotten pretty warm now!”
Selene, who pulled back the curtains and opened the window, exclaimed with exasperation.
“The winter is really over now. It’s spring.”
“Tomorrow is already the spring party.”
Anastasia replied with a smile.
Socialism, which had a break throughout the winter, resumed with a spring party.
‘That means she only has three months to show up.’
The thought gave her a sense of relief.
‘When I first came back, I didn’t know how to endure a year.’
Somehow nine months passed by. Of course, nothing happened in the meantime, but…
‘But things are going well in the direction I wanted them to be.’
Above all, the biggest reap was that she didn’t have many exchanges with Wilhelm.
She hadn’t met him since the last unexpected kiss. It was possible because there was no party.
Even the last meeting, which ended awkwardly thanks to that time, was now almost erased from her mind.
In the meantime, Anastasia held several more auctions to secure enough funds to establish the school.
The site was set up in a place with good transportation and low land prices, and construction was currently underway.
Everything was going well.
The next day, Anastasia, who had been suffering from internal palace work all morning, had to be tormented by the ladies in the afternoon preparing for the party.
“It’s the first official party in months! Your Majesty must shine and be more beautiful than anyone else.”
“That’s right. Your Majesty’s appearance today will probably be the hottest trend this spring.”
“I can’t give you any slack considering your powerful influence on society.”
The ladies-in-waiting even looked solemn at first glance.
Anastasia could not understand whether she should like or dislike the attitudes of the ladies-in-waiting, who had changed drastically from nine months ago.
The hours of dress-up barely ended when Anastasia collapsed from exhaustion even before going to the party.
‘Phew, every time I go to a party, it’s torture…’
Anastasia was barely sitting with a tired face.
“What’s wrong with everyone’s expressions?”
They were all speechless with their big eyes, covering their mouths.
It was when Anastasia, who felt strange, was about to ask why.
A lady-in-waiting opened her mouth in a voice that was about to cry.
“You’re so beautiful!”
“You’re a spring fairy! God, am I allowed to see such a rare sight for free?”
“I must suggest to the Emperor that the meaning of spring should be changed to the Empress.”
Soon, a series of familiar exclamations burst out. There’s no one else here… It was a relief.
As expected, she couldn’t get used to these silly praises no matter how much she listened to them…
“Your Majesty the Empress.”
Then Mrs. Rochester approached Anastasia with a serious look on her face.
“What’s the matter, Mrs. Rochester?”
“You’d better not go to the flower garden today.”
“You have to be considerate so that other people won’t be surprised.”
“I thought you were a beautiful flower. How surprised would I be to see you moving and talking?”
“As expected, Mrs. Rochester is right.”
“Right. It would be better not to go for a walk in for today.”
Oh, she didn’t expect Mrs. Rochester to join them…
Anastasia eventually lost her words and just smiled awkwardly.
Anastasia thought the compliments of the ladies were almost flattery, but today she looked beautiful as if she had humanized spring.
It really looked like a flower with a light pink fabric and a richly embroidered frill with pink roses.
Since it was an off-shoulder dress, pink roses were harmoniously placed on the prominent chest, so it seemed to be buried in a bunch of roses.
On top of that, the tiara, earrings, and necklace decorated with pink diamond like roses, which made Anastasia the perfect goddess of spring.
Naturally, Anastasia’s fashion that day quickly became a hot topic among those attending the spring party.
“Your Majesty looks like a pink rose today.”
“The goddess of Rosenia is said to be like a red rose, but Her Majesty is like her sister today.”
“Of course. The goddess chose the empress herself. Oh, I really want those earrings I wonder if she’ll put that up for auction.…?”
All the people who approached Anastasia and greeted her were busy praising her beauty.
Anastasia kept the party hall occupied, hearing the same compliments hundreds of times, only with different packaging.*
*TN: they all meant the same but used different wording
‘But why can’t I see Wilhelm?’
Anastasia looked around the party hall with a questionable look on her face.
As spring parties marked the start of the social season, it was customary for both the Emperor and the Empress to attend. …even if they don’t dance together.
It was when Anastasia called Selene and instructed her to go to the Central Palace.
“The great sun of the empire, His Majesty, enters.”
Wilhelm appeared as the door for only the Emperor and Empress opened.
Conscious of the spring party, he dressed in a white tailoring suit, giving off an elegant and luxurious atmosphere like a dignified white horse.
Anastasia couldn’t take her eyes off Wilhelm’s imposing appearance, but when she saw him approaching her, she came to her senses in surprise.
At that moment, Wilhelm finally came right in front of Anastasia.
Anastasia bowed quickly.
“Greetings to His Majesty, the noble Lord of Rosenberg.”
“Long time no see, Empress.”
He received her greetings in a strange way.
“It’s been a long time.”
“Yes, it’s just one season.”
“How have you been?”
“I have been well and safe thanks to Your Majesty.”
Nothing special came and went.
Anastasia was pleased with the perfectly ceremonial conversation.
Now that Wilhelm had made his appearance, he may go back with a rough excuse.
Thinking so, it was time to say goodbye to Wilhelm.
“Why don’t you dance with me?”
He had unexpectedly requested a dance.
Anastasia looked at Wilhelm with a panicked face.
The expressionless face was as difficult to read inside as ever.
Anastasia’s lips rattled for a few seconds and refused.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not feeling very well right now, so I was going in.”
“Your complexion looks really good for you being sick.”
“Are you avoiding me?”
“Then we’ll just dance to one song. I don’t want to hold on for long, either.”
Wilhelm reached out to Anastasia as if he would not listen to any refusal. Anastasia looked at the hand, struggling to hide her embarrassment.
‘But I have to say no.’
It was the moment when Anastasia opened her lips again.
“Your Majesty, too. Please take his hand.”
“Yes, Her Majesty must be embarrassed.”
“If you two dance together today, it would be spectacular. Please dance for us.”
The ladies around Anastasia pushed her back.
Anastasia’s body tilted forward, and Wilhelm stably wrapped around and held Anastasia’s waist.
Anastasia, who was suddenly in Wilhelm’s arms, groaned embarrassingly, and Wilhelm looked quite surprised like he didn’t know the situation would be like this.
But soon he stopped Anastasia casually and asked.
“Then you won’t say no?”
She could have refused more cheekily if she didn’t have the eyes around her…
Anastasia sighed inwardly and eventually held Wilhelm’s hand.
Wilhelm moved to the center of the banquet hall with an invisible smile on his lips.
Then the music started, and Anastasia moved her feet, leaving her thoughts out of her head as much as she could.
She thought she would dance just once and return to the Empress’ Palace.
Seeing that Wilhelm was silent, he seemed to have had suggested dancing to her just conscious of the gaze of others, just as he said before.
She was staring blankly at the Rosenberg flag-shaped brooch on his chest, and she heard a voice.
“How have you been?”
Anastasia looked up at him with a startled look.
His deep eyes were on her.