No one expected there to be any love or respect in this marriage — Erna was keenly aware of that. Nevertheless, she bore the littlest expectation. She thought at least he would understand. Even without asking, she could grasp his situation with a mere look at his appearance. No one here would blink an eye if he died right now. Perhaps the Aether Kingdom sent him here because they thought there would be another assassination attempt. He was just like her.
They both were in a situation where they had to share a position that was actually meant for only one person. So she thought at least he would sympathise with her, knowing that they both were in the same boat. But he only spouted out derogatory words as soon as he saw her.
Erna had given Kalion all the sympathy that she could muster. After that, she was left with nothing but anger. This world was full of enemies. It was something that would not change even if she died. The kingdom that abandoned her, the maids and knights who laughed at her. And now Kalion…
The helplessness that filled Erna’s heart doused her ignited rage. She quickly turned her head, which felt as if it was being crushed. If she could, she wanted to throw away the responsibilities of the Grand Duke and hit Kalion’s dumb face with the bouquet in her hand. After that, she wanted to punish all the rude maids and knights for treating her like a clown and throw them all in prison.
But she didn’t have the power to do so. For now, she was just a useless princess of the Haband kingdom. Erna knew that in order for her to have some value in this hopeless situation, she had to become the Grand Duke of Hessenguard. And the position of Grand Duke would be given to her only after completing this marriage.
“Yes, please begin.”
When Kalion heard Erna speak gravely, a slight surprise appeared on his face. Erna ignored him and kept her gaze fixed at Vanessa.
“Does Prince Kalion agree?”
At Vanessa’s polite question, Kalion hesitated for a moment and then nodded as if he couldn’t help it.
“I agree. Let’s proceed.”
“Alright. I believe you both are fully aware of the obligations and responsibilities that come with this marriage. So I will proceed with the ceremony.”
And so a quiet wedding ceremony was held in the middle of a cold hall.
* * *
Back in her room, Erna groaned and removed her shoes, which did not fit Erna’s feet as it had belonged to a royal princess, who had come here before Erna. She hurriedly took off her dress and threw them all away. When things that didn’t fit her disappeared, she could finally breathe.
She couldn’t remember how the wedding went or even how it ended. The only memory she had of it was of Kalion staring at her intently, as Vanessa blessed their marriage. When Vanessa asked them to kiss to seal the oath, the faces of the two people distorted terribly in a grossed expression. It hadn’t even been an hour since they met, but the hostility between the two had reached such a level, that they didn’t have any good impression of each other.
Sadly, it couldn’t be helped. The kiss was the last process of the wedding and after that the ceremony would end safely. At that moment, Erna hoped that Kalion wouldn’t kiss her. Then the responsibility of annulling this marriage would fall on him and the Aether Kingdom would have to send a new royal family member.
The succession of the powers of the Grand Duke of Hessenguard would be delayed a little, but if her marriage partner wasn’t him, she could patiently endure the waiting period. At least the Chairman of Hessenguard Council didn’t seem to think badly of her. However, contrary to Erna’s expectations, Kalion clenched his teeth and approached her. He pressed his lips against hers with a gloomy face as if he had no other choice but to do so. In less than a second, the lips of the two touched and then parted from each other right away.
“With this, I inform everyone that the wedding ceremony has been completed.”
As soon as Vanessa’s words fell, both of them groaned as if they were disgusted and crazily rubbed their lips with the back of their hands. There was nothing noble in the royal marriage,that was said to bind the two warring kingdoms and decide the fate of the Grand Duchy of Hessenguard.
Erna clenched her fist. The wedding was finally over. Now, she was the Grand Duke of Hessenguard. She was going to start working on her duties the next day and immediately get rid of all the maids assigned to her. The moment she decided to do so, the said maids rushed into her room.
“What’s going on?” she asked. Although she had decided to get rid of them, Erna looked at them timidly as she always did and asked carefully. This had become a habit because she had lived being wary of them for a long time.
“What do you mean Princess, oh no, Grand Duke.”
Even though her title had changed, the high handed attitude of the maids remained the same.
“You have to get ready for your wedding night.”
Wedding night? The words made Erna stiff to her bones. It was something that she had never thought about. Since it was a formal marriage, she thought that with the completion of the ceremony, the big deal was over. She had completely forgotten that the treaty stated- the child born between the royal members of the two kingdoms would be the next Grand Duke of Hessenguard. But both she and Kalion were only sixteen years old.