(Anastasia’s 3rd Person POV)
‘After all, my purpose for coming here was to do volunteer work.’
‘If I was only going to deliver food, I wouldn’t need to come personally.’
Anastasia played hide-and-seek as well as some ball games with Mrs.
Essential’s twenty children.
She was initially worried that she might have overdone it, but fortunately the children liked her and followed her around.
They all said that she was a ‘Princess who defeated the scary uncles’.
“Are you all tired”
Anastasia asked, looking back at the maids who were playing with the children.
The maids were surprised and responded quickly.
“No, we’re not tired at all, Your Majesty.
We’re all doing well.”
“Me too! Rather, I am really happy and proud to be able to spend such a meaningful time with Her Majesty the Empress! Hahaha!”
‘I think their answers were a bit stiff….’
‘Did I say it in a certain way’
The reason why Anastasia thought this was because she didn’t think that noble maids would want to participate in activities like this.
“I’m not forcing anyone to do this.
All of you must be very tired from coming such a long way, so it’s all right for everyone to rest first.”
….But is it really possible for them to rest by themselves, while the Empress who’s also equally as tired, continues to play with the children Impossible.
“Oh no, Your Majesty.
We’re all good!”
“Really Are you sure”
“Of course! Also Her Majesty is taking such initiatives of taking care of these children.
How could we just sit there and do nothing but watch”
“Yes, that’s right! We should all contribute something to make it easier for all of us.”
Of course, the maids believed to some extent the words Anastasia had said when she promised she would change for the better.
But of course, the incidents from the past two years do not fade away that easily… In other words, their body was still reacting to its survival instincts it was conditioned to.
Time went by very quickly because of all of the various activities they have done.
Anastasia took a short break while the children were taking a nap, and came out of the cabin.
There she saw a garden near the hut where they were all gathered.
Anastasia decided to walk there for a while.
They were red flowers that bloomed modestly throughout the whole garden, creating a rather pleasant atmosphere to walk into.
‘I feel relaxed both in my mind and body.’
‘It’s been less than a month since I regressed from the past, but I’ve become pretty busy.
I have done a lot of work to modify my image.’
‘After leaving the Imperial palace for a while, I feel quite freeing.’
Then a soft breeze flowed by and gently wrapped itself around Anastasia’s body.
The sensation was quite pleasant to her and gave her a soft feeling.
“It’s so refreshing.”
‘I really liked this feeling.
Even before my return, I often went out of the Imperial palace and volunteered a lot.’
‘Wilhelm didn’t seem to like it very much because he was so worried about me, but he didn’t stop me.
Not when I made it so obvious how much I enjoyed doing it.’
Suddenly Anastasia’s expression, who was lost in thoughts of Wilhelm, slightly darkened.
‘Actually, I still want to suggest a policy to protect the orphans, but……’
‘But I can’t do that because the situation now is different from before.’
There were expectations, hopes, and resolutions in the past.
To have the opportunity to change the original work and to continue to stay next to him.
‘But not anymore…’
As long as she decided to follow the original plot, she needed to be ready to be deposed after a year.
To last until the real heroine comes.
Suggesting a policy to protect the orphans was not an appropriate move considering her reputation as an evil empress.
It was not as easy as simply getting rid of the stigma of a tyrant.
Above all, after she was deposed, the policy itself could be suppressed.
‘Avelin and her followers would not tolerate very well the policies that were proposed by the former Empress.’
But it was also Anastasia’s opinion that it would not benefit the orphans either way.
‘Of course, it could be simply a hasty prediction but I didn’t want to act recklessly because this is something that is very important to me.’
Then a brilliant idea suddenly came to mind.
“Should I build an orphanage after I am to be dethroned’’
‘After all, I don’t have any plans after my abdication.
So if I set up an orphanage and took care of these children, that would be a pretty rewarding life.’
She was originally a teacher because she loves children.
‘That’s a pretty good plan.
It might cost a lot, but still….’
While being an Empress, there were still a lot of ways for her to raise funds and even after she was deposed, she still could find ways to earn money.
Or she can also use her iconic status in Rosenberg and set up an auction house.
‘No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.
I think it would be easier for me to get donations if I maintain a good reputation once I dethroned from my position.’
She gradually became more convinced that this was the best approach to move forward with.
Then the flow of her thought redirected to other directions.
‘Is it okay for me to set up a charitable foundation after the abdication’
‘Rosenberg had no concept of a charity foundation yet.
In fact, it was only natural because they did not even have an idea of what an orphanage is in the Empire.’
This kind of issue also has a limited function, at least they can set it up in the temple.
‘Someone has to make it anyway, so I would definitely do it.
Oh, it would also be nice to build a school later once I could afford it! Or I can build it together with the orphanage from the very beginning!’
But of course, there was no such thing as compulsory education.
Education was exclusive for those who could afford it, which is mainly the nobility class.
‘Thinking about this makes me so depressed.
Since I still have a lot I want to do, but with so little time.’
After she was dethroned, Anastasia was contemplating on what to do with her life.
But once she opened the door to her thoughts, her plans exploded exponentially.
It was at that time, when Anastasia was happily organizing her thoughts with the ideas that came upon her, that she saw something.
Anastasia saw a familiar flower.
“Roses are still in bloom”
A red rose was still in full bloom despite its season having long passed.
Anastasia was amazed and approached it immediately.
‘I’m not sure when, but it seems that all of it’s companions are all gone.
This might be the only one left.’
Anastasia squatted in front of the rose and muttered.
“Hey…you must have been very lonely since you’re on your own.”
‘If I ever would have a daughter, I would definitely name her Rose.’
At that very moment. ‘Why’
[pr/n: all right, prepare your tissues and stay hydrated…]
Ironically, a fragment of the past came to her mind.
Anastasia’s expression hardened immediately.
‘I don’t want to think about that any more.’
But ignoring her wishes, her memories came flashing through regardless.
“….Rose But isn’t that too common”
“But the name is so pretty I love red roses.
My birth flower is actually a moss rose.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
Wilhelm smiled as if he was lost in daze.
“But what if we have a son”
“Are you really asking because you don’t know”
The memory was as vivid as if it was yesterday.
“Well, because it is your Majesty’s birth flower.”
The warmth of that moment was felt deep within her bones.
“Aren’t you a romantic”
Her flashback ended there.
To be precise, Anastasia forced herself to finish it.
It would be hard for her to continue remembering more than that.
Unable to overcome the sadness that was rising, Anastasia stumbled on the spot.
She remembered her child that she had with the man she loved.
‘Just a year after our marriage, she came to us as a gift…but quickly left exactly one month after being born.’
The grief was unbearable….
“What if my baby became lonely too…”
After that, Anastasia kept hoping for another child, but she was no longer blessed to have another baby.
‘It was so painful and heartbreaking, but at the moment when I was about to die, I knew then.’
‘I knew that was the reason why my child didn’t come again, because my precious baby was thinking about me.’
‘Because our child knows about what will happen to her father and I.’
‘I also knew how it would feel for a mother who couldn’t close her eyes, even if she was about to die.
For she would be thinking about what would happen to her children…’
‘At the very last moment of my life, I thought that I was rather lucky to never know that feeling.’
‘Because I didn’t have to end my child’s life .’
‘And I would I possibly dare to do such a terrible thing with my own two hands.’
Then Anastasia unconsciously stroked her flat stomach, and sadness suddenly came crashing down like rain.
Her gaze fell back again to the lone red rose.
“But why do you hate red roses”
“I just don’t like it.”
“But I love it.
I love all of the flower languages.”
“What is its meaning in the flower language”
She picked up the red rose and handed it over to him, smiling innocently.
“It means ‘I love you’..”
‘I loved…no, I still love him.’
It was the same then as it was stil now, undeniably.
With all her heart and soul.
‘The word love was so passionate that I couldn’t raise my head because of embarrassment whenever he’s in front of me.’
“I miss you…”
With a face that seemed like she was about to burst into tears, Anastasia slowly reached out towards the red rose.
As if the red rose was portrayed as Wilhelm, who always hated the flower.
However, soon after the sharp thorns that he had set up to protect himself, penetrated into the intruder’s skin.
Anastasia let out a short groan and quickly pulled back her pricked finger because of the stabbing pain.
Red blood flowed from her finger and dripped down towards her wrist.
As if it really was a trigger, tears that had filled Anastasia’s eyes now escaped and ran down to her cheeks.
“It really hurts…”
She felt so alone and pathetic like a rose, as she crouched down while holding her pricked finger and crying breathlessly.
After she came back, Anastasia never had the chance to fully express her true feelings for Wilhelm.
Iit was only now, when she was completely all alone, that she revealed her bottled up feelings for him.
It was something that she couldn’t do when she heard the news that she had completely lost him.
As she remembered that moment, it broke Anastasia’s last defense, and the tears continued to fall for a long time
She suddenly sensed a presence right next to her.
The moment that she believed that she was completely alone, someone’s presence was suddenly upon her.
Her tears immediately stopped as fear suddenly arose.
Anastasia raised her puffy eyes, still shining with unshed tears and looked at the person who was sitting right next to her.
It was Wilhelm.