“Are you just going to leave?”
Wilhelm, who was immediately confused by Anastasia’s question, paused and looked at her.
Why was she suddenly holding him?
Unknown expectations stuck him in a different reaction than usual.
“Prince Louis… You’re not going to see him?”
It wasn’t long before he realized that it wasn’t the reason he thought it was, so he felt a little empty.
It was a fact that he didn’t even notice.
If he had noticed, he would be horrified once again that it wasn’t like him.
Fortunately or unfortunately. Louis’ presence from Anastasia’s mouth was so powerful that Wilhelm could not afford to care about the unconscious thoughts.
Anastasia did not force him. It wasn’t going to be like that.
Like Louis, Wilhelm also had a strong psychological defense mechanism against Louis.
So in order for their relationship to progress, they had to wait more.
Then Wilhelm, who hesitated, asked.
“Is he okay?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Anastasia nodded with a smile, changing the subject as if she had almost forgotten.
“By the way, I visited you last night…”
“Oh, you said you had something to say, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I’ve decided on a nanny for Prince Louis.”
“Yes, do as you desire.”
Anastasia asked with a panicked look.
“You didn’t even ask me who it is…”
“Because I trust you.”
At that one sentence, Anastasia couldn’t move her lips any more and hardened.
Wilhelm went on without noticing.
“I know how much you care about Louis. Don’t you know how to pick well?”
“Yes, I’ll hear her name. Who is it?”
“…It’s Countess Fiagel.”
“Oh, I know who she is. Rodri had a good reputation for educating the marquis’ mischievous grandson.”
Wilhelm, who had been searching a response for a moment, soon smiled.
“That’s exactly what I expected. I didn’t have to listen.”
“…Don’t you trust me too much?”
The man who hated and despised Anastasia, somehow… Why did he trust her this much?
In the unexpected situation, Anastasia bit her lips without realizing it.
She liked the situation, being recognized by him, but she felt uncomfortable in a corner of her heart.
It was dangerous for a woman who should continue to be reluctant to delay her vigilance this far. In many ways.
“At least in regards to the Prince’s business.”
Hearing Wilhelm’s voice at that moment, Anastasia looked at him with her dazed face.
He was still smiling. The face she loved the most… … Her heart pounded and fell.
“I believe it. I can see your sincerity.”
The gaze and the voice sounded so sweet that Anastasia followed her fast beating heart and tugged at the hem of her dress.
‘This situation… … I don’t think it’s good.’
While thinking like that, on the other hand, she was rationalizing this situation without realizing it.
It has to do with Louis, and she’s been taking good care of Louis so far, so it’s only natural Wilhelm trusts her.
She was just doing her due diligence.
She wondered if it would be okay to tolerate such kindness.
On her return from Wilhelm, Louis sat there waiting for her.
“I’m sorry, Louis. Did you wait a long time?”
Louis shook his head.
“I’ll sit down again. If it’s okay, can you continue drawing?”
This time Louis nodded. Anastasia smiled and sat down.
In the quiet room, only the sound of a pencil rang out without a word. Anastasia glanced at Louis.
He seemed to concentrate without thinking about anything else.
‘He’s not asking.’
She thought he’d ask her what she was talking about with his uncle.
Kids usually wonder what was talked about when they weren’t around.
It was when Anastasia was disappointed by the unexpected development.
“Your Majesty the Empress.”
“May I ask you a question?”
The heart of Anastasia began to beat fast with anticipation.
“If you don’t mind.”
“Please feel free to ask.”
But Louis couldn’t speak right away.
Anastasia smiled involuntarily, knowing intuitively that he was going to ask Wilhelm-related questions.
Anastasia encouraged the hesitant Louis.
“Tell me, Louis.”
“… It’s nothing.”
Louis replied nervously.
“I’m just curious what you talked about with His Majesty the Emperor.”
“Why was her here? He’s never been here before…”
“How did you know, Louis?”
When Anastasia asked with a surprised expression, Louis excused himself with a blushing expression of embarrassment.
“I can’t help but know. He’s never been here before.”
For the Empress, she was in a situation where she was found guilty, but Anastasia was strangely pleased with him. It seems that Louis wasn’t uninterested in him at all.
‘What else should I say?’
She hated telling the truth because it seemed like she was putting too much pressure on his adoption, and she was reluctant to tell a lie.
‘Still, it would be better to lie.’
Above all, there was no good explaining the situation to Louis.
She didn’t want to tell her little child about the political strife already.
“Just to make sure Louis is doing well.”
It wasn’t entirely wrong.
Didn’t he ask at the end? How was Louis doing?
Louis’ eyes shook finely in Anastasia’s reply.
Anastasia nodded as if it were true.
“But why didn’t he see me?”
“As expected, my uncle must hate me.”
At the conclusion that came before she could explain, the surprised Anastasia could not say anything as if her lips were frozen.
Anastasia belatedly came to her senses and denied the accusation.
“No, Louis, why would you say that?”
“Olivia said so.”
The moment she heard the name, her whole body seemed to freeze.
Louis continued sullenly, unaware of the fact.
“She said he wouldn’t like me.”
Anastasia squeezed the hem of her dress in a flash of anger.
But… …it was more important to soothe the hurt child in front of her eyes than her feelings.
Anastasia rose from her seat, approached Louis with his drooping shoulders, and hugged him tightly.
Was he surprised by the unexpected hug?
Louis trembled in Anastasia’s arms like a small bird.
Anastasia’s friendly voice called the child’s name. The voice relaxed the child’s body.
“There’s actually something I couldn’t say.”
“…what is it?”
“I love you.”
As she said it, her eyes were burning and her throat choked up. Anastasia repeated her confession in a difficult voice.
“I love Louis.”
After returning, she never thought she could tell anyone she loved them again. So it was a word that she had forgotten for too long.
Because she had ruined everything under the guise of love and returned again, it felt painful to say the words in her mouth as if a thorn was growing in her throat.
“I love you, Louis. I mean it.”
But she really wanted to tell the kid.
“And your uncle loves Louis, too.”
Louis immediately refuted.
“Then why would he go without looking at me?”
“He’s been hurt a lot, Louis.”
Anastasia patted Louis on the back as if comforting.
“Actually, this is a shameful statement in front of Louis, but your uncle has not yet healed. So….”
Anastasia concluded after a brief silence.
“I guess he didn’t have enough courage to see Louis now.”
“What kind of wound?”
She couldn’t say because when he saw you, he remembered your dead father.
Anastasia answered with as much thought as she could.
“The painful memories of the past scratched your uncle deeply. He needs time for it to heal.”
Anastasia made eye contact with Louis and emphasized the conclusion.
“But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love Louis, ever.”
“I’m sorry. It’s too hard for me to say…”
Louis gently interrupted Anastasia and asked.
“When can he come back?”
Anastasia asked back in a surprised voice at the unexpected question.
“If he comes, can you meet him, Louis?”
Louis replied coyly after a brief silence.
“I don’t know.”
“When I’m with Your Majesty… I think we can meet.”
Anastasia was surprised and delighted by the unexpected response.
“Did you change your mind while staying at the Empress’ Palace?”’
When she asked him to go see Wilhelm last time, he was scared and reluctant.
So Anastasia didn’t ask any more questions…
‘The reason Wilhelm can’t meet Louis is because he’s afraid that Louis will hate and resent him.’
So if he knew this, they may make further progress in their relationship.
A hopeful smile flashed along Anastasia’s mouth.
“Of course, Louis. I will always be by Louis’ side.”