Erna remembered the beautiful sisters she had seen in the Castle of Haband. These robes would have looked great if it was them wearing it instead of her. They also wouldn’t have overlooked the subtle impolite treatment of the maids.
When the preparations were finished, Erna was again left alone in the corner. In fact, there were many maids as well as knights in the room, so it could not be said that she was completely left unattended. However, Erna felt like she had become an object with the name ‘Haband’s Royalty’.
Erna blinked, holding back her tears even though she felt depressed. I came here to be the Grand Duke of Hessenguard, she thought. It was the last pride left for Erna. It was also the only use she had left of herself.
“I told you that the wedding ceremony must be over for you to be recognized as the Grand Duke of Hessengard.”
Even if she became the Grand Duke, she won’t be able to rule immediately. After all, she was a mere scarecrow sent from the Kingdom of Haband and Marquess Canavan, who came with her, would be the one who would actually represent the Kingdom of Haband and exert influence on Hessenguard on its behalf. Erna would be one of the two Grand Dukes of Hessenguard. Together with her, a candidate from one of the royal families in the Aether Kingdom would rule over Hessenguard. He was the enemy but at the same time would also be her husband.
Erna was curious about her partner. Even though she knew she would see him in a few hours, she wanted to know something about him before their meeting.
Erna, seated in the corner, hesitated before asking a passing maid.
“What’s wrong?” asked the maid. The girl, whom Erna had called, had a slight look of annoyance on her face. Erna said in a small voice, feeling her shoulders drop again, “My marriage partner… Who is coming from the Aether Kingdom?”
The maid gasped, “Oh my goodness, you still don’t know?” Her reprehensible voice pierced through Erna’s heart. Erna was about to say that no one had ever told her but she decided to just keep quiet. “It’s a prince named Kalion. He’s the first son born to the second wife of the King of Aether. He is the same age as the princess. And I…” The girl paused; a sneer evident on her face. At the same moment, another maid next to her winked at her, as if commending her for a job well done.
“I heard he’s quite tall and attractive looking?” she continued.
The maids next to her paused, not paying attention to Erna. They only wanted to hear more about the groom. They felt sorry for the man named Kalion, who was to be wed to this pathetic girl before them — even though he was the prince of the enemy country. Such a powerful royal family could have chosen someone to marry, reflecting their will to some extent, no matter how politically forced they were to marry. Then at least he wouldn’t have ended up with someone as bad as Erna.
Seeing Erna bow her head in shame, the maid sneered and went out. Another maid, who followed the maid Erna had asked, glanced at her.
“Why would you say that?” she asked.
“Why? It’s not wrong. Didn’t they say that the prince was fine in the past?”
Hearing the girl’s blatant answer, the maid sighed. “That was a few years ago. You saw him yesterday, so you know it.”
Last night, the two maids went down to see the prince in the pretext of doing their duties when he arrived at the Grand Duke’s Castle. Even if this was all a part of the peace treaty, the enemy would remain an enemy. The women looked at the carriage and the envoy of Aether Kingdom entering the gates of the Castle from afar.
“They’ve arrived safely,” muttered one maid. The other whispered in reply, “Yes, we were all nervous on the way here… but fortunately we didn’t face any dire events this time.”
The maids too had been tense the whole time they traveled to Hessenguard. Two royal family members had already been killed on their way here. The maids and envoy, who accompanied them, were punished for failing to protect the royal family. The royal family members who had come before Erna were even granted by the Queen more soldiers for their protection. But Princess Erna, who did not have the favour of the Queen, was sent with only the royal army.
They all thought they were going to die along with the princess, but strangely, no assassination attempt occured this time. Furthermore, the carriage carrying the royal family members from both the kingdoms had arrived safely in Hessenguard.
The maids raised their heels to catch a glimpse at the man getting off the carriage. Shortly afterwards, the two maids rushed to tell the other maids about the prince of Aether they had seen. For the entire night, the women only talked about Kalion, who would soon marry the princess of Haband.