a window further along the wall, but could not make out anything of interest.

   “That’s it, a trophy? I’m sorry, but I still have no idea what you’re on about.
Please can you leave me alone, prince.” Erna said.

   “Of course, but only when you return my trophy.”

   “Why are you doing this?” Erna said.

   “Because you’re a thief.”

   “A thief? You keep saying that.” Erna said.

   She turned on the prince and the prince looked down into her large eyes that were like blue flame, burning with interest and annoyance.

   “Are you really the type to forget something so important?”

   “No, that seems more like you.” Erna snapped back.

   It felt like something a child would say and despite the annoyance on her face, she was still filled with fear of the prince, he was the prince after all.
Erna did her best to compose herself.

   “That day, even after committing such an absurd act, you still want to behave so rudely toward me? Were you so drunk that you remember nothing?” Erna said.

   Bjorn was put off by the sudden change in Erna, rounding on him and attempting to put him under her scrutiny.
He nodded his head indifferently.

   “I remember,” Bjorn said.
“I remember the fountain in Tara Square.
I remember everything.”

   “You remember…” Erna said, her stern gaze melting a little.

   “I must apologise, Miss Hardy, I have over stepped, its not entirely my fault.” Bjorn said.

   He was suddenly being overly polite and even bowed his head slightly.
He was being impeccably courteous and yet, surprisingly arrogant.

   “Now, its your turn.” Bjorn said.

   Contrary to Erna’s smirking expression, Bjorn remained calm.
It was a thorn that overwhelmed Erna.

   “Are you really suggesting that I should apologise to the prince?” Erna said.

   She was confused and could not hide the tremble in her voice.
She wanted to run away from the situation.
The urge to run was so overwhelming that there was no room to worry about anything else.

   “That is the polite thing to do, to the person you assaulted with a trophy and then ran away with said trophy.” Bjorn said.

   “That’s reticulose, that…”

   Everything fell away in that instance, the anger, the shock and the fear.
Even as she tried to rebuke the prince, she was forced to recall the memory.
It was a long golden stick.
She had grabbed what ever was to hand and hit the prince with it.
After that, she ran, but she had failed to drop the stick.
Was that really a trophy?

   It wasn’t until she was long clear of the square that she realised she still held the stick in her hand.
She threw the stick away in disgust and ran all the way back to the Hardy Mansion.
She never looked back.

  So the thing the prince was claiming to be his trophy was probably now lying in some bush some where near Tara Boulevard.
If someone had not found it and thanked their lucky stars.

   “I…I threw it away.” Erna said softly, ashamedly.

   “My trophy, you threw away my trophy?”

   Erna shrunk away from the prince.
She shivered at his rhetoric.

   “On my way home, I threw it away into some bushes.” Erna said.

   The straight flush that had stolen the Golden Antlers looked about ready to weep.

   Bjorn seemed to stare down at Erna for an age.
Not saying a word, not moving, just looking down at her.
Bjorn stood up straight and adjusted his jacket when the orchestra signalled the start of the first dance.

   “Shall we, Miss Hardy, lets go first.” Bjorn offered his hand.

   “What?” Erna said.

   She was caught in the net of bewilderment and didn’t know what to do.
Bjorn was suddenly being very polite and it gave the man a very creepy aura.
Erna wanted to scream.

   “If you refuse, people will grow suspicious and misunderstand.” Bjorn whispered softly.

   Erna couldn’t grasp the situation and she felt like she was spiralling down into a deep hole.
What was he trying to accomplish? One moment he was behaving like he wanted to throw her into a prison for theft, now he wanted to dance with her? Why wouldn’t he just leave her alone?

   “Dancing together, at a party, is nothing special.” Bjorn motioned his head toward the dance floor, where several couples were already taking their place.
“But hiding in the corner, talking in secret, that will draw attention.” His eyes locked onto Erna’s once more, they seemed darker, more sinister.

   “But I…” Erna stammered.

   “There is nothing left to say, you threw away my gold trophy, so lets dance.”

   Bjorn gently took Erna’s hand and escorted her to the centre of the dance floor.
Erna was powerless to do anything but follow.
She caught the glare of Gladys as past her.
She glared at them like she had just caught her husband mid affair.

   Erna could feel tears forming.
“Was it really gold?” Erna said.

   Bjorn simply nodded.
Her hands were limp in his, but she slowly compiled her strength again, as all eyes turned to them.
Her whimpers accompanied the melodies of the waltz.

   “I’m sorry, I…I didn’t know.
I was just so shocked that day, I really didn’t know.
Really.” She blubbed on.

   Bjorn’s eyes narrowed as he looked down at Erna.

I will compensate you, I promise,” Erna said.
“How ever I can.
It’s just, a little difficult right now.”

   “Miss Hardy.” Bjorn sad softly in an attempt to console the gibbering woman.

   Realising that they had most of the eyes of the party on them, Bjorn suddenly burst into laughter, which shocked Erna and she blinked away the tears.

   “Fine, you can do that.” Bjorn said mid chuckle.

   Erna really did not like the idea of being in the princes debt.
She got the horrible feeling that he was going to use this for some bitter means.
To be indebted is to create weakness.
She knew that she would not be able to repay the cost of the gold, Bjorn knew that too, she practically told him, but she knew the rules of fair trade and she would not let the poisonous prince take advantage of her.

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