In the swaying carriage, Erna pursed her lips. It took them a full week to reach the capital of the Duchy of Hessenguard by the carriage. Although it was the road leading to the capital, the condition of the road was quite terrible. It might have been because of the rain that poured a while ago.
Every time the carriage’s wooden wheel tumbled over the uneven stony road, Erna’s face turned pale, biting the flesh of her lips. For several days, her body had been battered by ceaseless thumps; a faint sway would make her nauseous. She wondered whether it was her fortune or woe. She had already vomited her entire breakfast and now her stomach heaved again. She could not even drink a drop of water. As she retched, only a groan escaped out of her lips.
Just then, she heard the cries of the knights who were marching ahead.
“It’s the Grand Duke’s Castle!”
“I can see the Grand Duke’s Castle!”
Erna’s face lit up as their loud voices reported what was ahead of them. Finally, their destination was in sight. With a bright face, she reached out to draw the window’s curtains. As soon as she was about to do so, the maid seated across from her quickly struck her hand. A powerful smack reverberated throughout the carriage.
“Princess!” The maid bellowed in a sharp voice, causing Erna to cower. It was a habit; she was scared. “What are you doing? I had told you that it was dangerous outside!” Although the maid sounded respectful, it was clear from her voice that she looked down at her. She couldn’t even hide the satisfaction she felt after hitting the princess’s hand.
“I just felt so suffocated,” muttered Erna as she massaged her throbbing hand.
“Did you forget that there have been several assassination attempts on people who’ve tried to reach this place! The princess was just lucky enough to avoid it. You better keep that in mind!”
It was not that she had forgotten about this. It was not easy to forget how the two previous candidates from the royal families, who had been sent before her, were cruelly assassinated. However, it wasn’t enough justification for the maid’s smug attitude. Other princesses would have yelled at their maids and bashed them for their rude behavior, but Erna had never inflicted harm against anyone. She couldn’t.
Erna was well-aware of her position. She was the fourth child born to the second wife of the King of Haband’s. The king had married Erna’s mother, expecting that the children born between them would have the talent of wizardry in their blood, just like their mother. As a wizard from the Mage Tower, she even had a beautiful appearance, but unfortunately, she died early after giving birth to Erna.
As Erna resembled her mother, the king expected that Erna too would have a talent for magic like her mother. But Erna, who had turned sixteen, had not shown any aptitude for magic until now.
It was natural that the King was greatly disappointed in her. Since Haband allowed men to have multiple wives, the King took a beautiful woman from a powerful family as the Queen. The Queen then gave birth to healthy children for the King.
Erna, without a mother and support from the royal factions, had a superficial existence within the royal family. It would have been nice if the tower could take care of her, but tower said that they no longer paid attention to the worldly affairs and ended their relationship. Therefore, Erna had to live with minimal treatment as a princess.
In fact, she had no complaints regarding her situation. At least in the royal palace, she would not have to worry about being hungry or having to sleep in the cold. She thought she could live quietly, then someday get married and leave the royal palace. She thought she could live with such naive thoughts.
But in this world, everything doesn’t go as one desire. In her early age, the harassment began, starting with the subtle bullying from her half brothers and sisters. At first, she fought back. But when she overpowered her bullies, the other queens would visit Erna at night and beat her endlessly in the guide of discipline.
“We’re all members of the royal family and should have a good relationship. But I can’t believe you would scratch others with your nails and kick them like a kid brought up in the streets. Even if you don’t have a mother, I can’t believe that you would be this unruly…”
Hateful words left a deep wound on Erna — deeper than the whip that struck her calf.
No one here cares about me.