y poetry across some stone walls was a beauty to behold.

Lady Sophia stopped her horse as they got to the palaces large main gate.

A heavily armed guard walked forward, and once he caught sight of Prince Xander, he gave the sign to open the gates.

”It is His highness! Open the gates immediately. ”

The gates started to open, and Prince Xander rode forward, accompanied by his servants on foot.

”Halt! Identify yourself! ” The guard said, stopping Princess Sophias horse.

”She is with me, ” Prince Xander said, then turned away.

The guard moved, allowing her to pass, and she rode till she was right beside Prince Xander.

The short journey was uneventful, and soon, prince Xander stopped in front of the main palace halls. He swiftly jumped off the horse, his long legs making it seem even more effortless just as a servant helped Lady Sophia down too.

”Take the horses to the stables, and leave me alone. ”

The servants bowed, then walked away with the two horses.

”Come with me. ” Prince Xander said, clasping his hands behind him. He walked ahead of her, and she followed, her smile small and sinister.

They went around the large palace to a secluded detached building, made of dark timber.

”Where is this? ” Lady Sophia dared to ask, like they were on friendly terms with Prince Xander.

He said nothing as he dismissed the guards in front, then stepped into the building. She did not hesitate to follow, her eyes taking it in.

Flowers, small trees and rare plants all sat in precious porcelain vases, one assigned to each plant, and on each one of them was a carved name filled with liquid gold; Prince Alexander Einar.

”Prince Alexander Einar. ” She read aloud, her voice filled with spite.

He suddenly turned to her. ”Are you doing this for riches? ”

She raised both brows, but said nothing.

”Tell me what it is you want to own. Hectares and hectares of land, your own palace, a manor, a stable filled with the best stallions, gold, silver…tell me what it is you want. ”

Princess Sophia smiled. ”I wonder how dear this servant girl is to you for you to be able to give up so many things. Or is it the crown, Your highness? ”

Prince Xander closed his eyes, trying as hard as he could to keep his temper under control. ”Charlotte is dear to me. And as a man… ”

”Of course, Your highness. As a man. But not as a prince. ”

He said nothing as she stepped closer.

”As for what I want… ” She raised her left hand, then slowly spread out her fingers.

He turned to the hand, his eyes thinning. ”Speak. ”

”I want you to place a ring around the finger that holds my vena amoris. ”

His brows furrowed in confusion. ”The vein of love? The fourth finger? ”

She smiled. ”Yes, your highness. In exchange for your secret, rather than a manor and a palace, I want you to marry me. ”

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