The Prince was a habitual offender.
He played the caring husband when he wanted to, but mostly he acted like he completely forgot his wife existed, just like today.

   “The Prince is such a g.o.o.d husband,” Lisa said sarcastically. She had gotten so used to saying it, she wasn’t even aware she kept doing it.
She figured there was no man alive that enjoyed the same freedom as Prince Bjorn.

   “Huh, what did you say?”

Erna was busy pouring over tourist brochures for the city they were in.
She looked up briefly to give Lisa a smile.
She did not look unfortunate, like a Grand Duchess that had to enjoy her honeymoon with her maid, because that’s what she was right then.

   “Nothing,” Lisa said looking at her feet.

   When the tea they ordered came, Erna put down the booklet.
The hotel’s tea room was famous for its fancy china and colourful confectionery and it was presented exactly how it was shown in the booklet.

   She had planned on having tea with Bjorn this morning, but last nights card game went far into the early hours of the morning and by the time the Grand Duke returned to his bedchamber, he was blind drunk and Erna was about to get up to get ready for breakfast.

   The guests who visited them were all high standing members of the Royal Family and long time friends of Bjorn’s.
They certainly visited with dignity, but that intention quickly vanished after dinner, when the port was pulled out along with a deck of cards.

   “Oh my, it looks so pretty, how can I be expected to eat it?” Lisa said. She should feel sad that Erna is having to have tea with her maid, rather than her husband, but the cakes made Lisa forget all about her feelings of annoyance at the Grand Duke.

   “Eat as much as you want,” Erna said.

   Lisa paused, reaching for a brightly coloured lemon slice.
Something in Erna’s words felt threatening and Lisa was unsure if the Grand Duchess meant for Lisa to scoff down all the cakes, knowing what a sweet angel she was.

   All day that had been following Erna’s plan as diligently as they could, spinning a web all across the city, stopping only to enjoy the little things she spotted on their meticulously planned out tour.
She was so different to Bjorn, who was lazy and insensitive.

   “It’s so good,” Lisa said melting into her chair.

   The lemon slice melted in Lisa’s mouth.
Not like the dried out bricks she always had when she and Erna went to the department story tea room, when dropping off flowers.

   It was just last summer she was sipping tea over a dry slice, that was unlikely to be eaten.
Now, in just two season’s, she was in the most luxurious hotel, eating the most luxurious food.

   “Your Highness, it really feels like we’ve made our way up in the world.”

   Erna let out a delightful laugh.
It was not such a loud laugh that made every eye in the tea room turn to look at her.
The other visitors couldn’t take their eyes off Erna because she looked so beautiful, not that Erna noticed.

   Alas, Lisa Brill’s not so vain masterpiece, the Grand Duchess of Lechen.

   Erna kept offering Lisa the cakes on the little tray and Lisa scoffed every single one that was given.
It seemed like Erna was trying to strengthen her will and she ate well.

   Lisa wondered why the Erna wanted to visit a place known as the Sewer Museum.
She supposed it didn’t matter, so long as the Grand Duchess enjoyed it.
It might be because they were going to have to sail to get to the museum.
Lisa thought about the look on Prince Bjorn’s face when he finds out that his wife’s itinerary ended with a visit to the sewers.

   “Your Highness, why are those people standing in line like that?” asked Lisa.  There was a long line of people going past the display window of the tea room.
It went all the way down the street and around the side of the large building.

   “They are going to climb to the top of the dome of that cathedral there,”

    Erna said, pointing. The Cathedral stood diagonally from the hotel tea room and on its top was a large golden dome.
Lisa could see tiny little dots walking around it.

   “The cathedral was built two hundred years ago and built by the queen when she was to get married to the prince of Lechen.
It is said, if you go to the top with your loved one when the bell rings, that love will last forever.
When the cathedral was built, the royal couple of Felia did the very same.”

   Erna spoke like she had lived in the city for years.
She had studied up on Felia as soon as she found out she was going to be visiting on her honeymoon.
It was also the biggest reason she was looking forward to coming here.

   “Oh, my, then you should be going with Prince Bjorn, not me.”

   Erna looked up at the dome and nodded.
“Yes, I will.” She had already made plans to do so, when they laid together in bed on the boat over to Felia.

   It would be her birthday in ten days and she didn’t want her twentieth birthday to go unnoticed after getting marred to Prince Bjorn.
He had agreed to climb the cathedral with her and Erna felt embarrassed after worrying so much about being rejected.

   It was hard to show joy at that moment, with Bjorn moving so roughly inside her.
It was a romantic conversation shared with such a barbaric situation.
Looking back on the last three months, Bjorn was always more willing to do things when asked during their love making.

   Should she remind him of his promise?

   After thinking about it for a moment, it was a promise made with sincerity, as they looked into each others eyes.
He even gave her his sweetest smile.
There is the chance that he could have forgotten his wife’s birthday though.

   “Shall we go?” Erna said, after examining the clean plates in front of them.
Erna gave a smile that would light up the sewers of Felia.


Erna was coming.
The sound of her footsteps alone would have been a gentle whisper, but she came with her maid.
The busy pace went right up to the door.

   There was a gently knock at the same time as the door opening.
She was such a strange and obstinate lady, who would enter without permission and display pointless manners when doing so.

   “Bjorn, I hope I’m not disturbing you.”

   Erna spotted him sitting on the couch, in front of the fireplace, reading a magazine.
He folded it up and looked at her.
She was in a green velvet dress, with ribbons and frills.
She looked like yet another gift box today.

   “Did your guests leave on their own feet?” Erna looked around the room slowly, asking the sharp question with a soft smile.

   “Well, maybe.”

   “What a relief, I thought they might have stumbled out on all fours,” she said sarcastically.

   Bjorn chuckled as he tossed the magazine on the table and moved his leg off the sofa, Erna quickly seized the free seat and sat down next to Bjorn.

   “Ah, Bjorn, I went on a boat trip today, through the sewer museum.”

   “What?” Bjorn couldn’t believe what he just heard.

   “The sewage museum, you didn’t know? I went there this afternoon, it was amazing.
Did you know there is a huge network of big, long, complicated tunnels right under our feet? It was just like that novel I read, about the main guy escaping through the tunnels.”

   While Bjorn was marvelling at the fact that someone thought it was a good idea to make a museum for such a thing, Erna continued to recite all the mysteries she had learned from her trip.

   “I took a boat ride and the guide taught me how to find things that fell down drains.” She seemed particularly proud of that.

   Bjorn was thankful that Felia’s favoured son ambushed him last night.
It was much better to handle Felia’s drunken dogs than some boat trip through a sewer.

   “And then you came back here, from the sewers?” Bjorn inched his way along the couch, opening the gap between them.
His perfect little gift box, was a sewer adventurer.
Erna watched him shift away and wrinkled her nose.

   “What are you doing? Do you think I went swimming in the sewers or something? Is that what you think, you, the one who broke his promise and went off to get drunk and play cards?”

   Erna shifted along the sofa after Bjorn, closing the gap he had just created.
Each time he moved, Erna would too, until she was practically sitting on his lap.
Bjorn laughed as he let himself fall off the end of the couch, wrapping his hands around Erna’s waist and dragging her with him.
She still smelled of sweet flowers.

   “Your hat looks sad,” Bjorn said, removing her cumbersome hat and tossing it onto the table.
“I don’t think it was meant for the sewers.”

   He removed her cape from around her shoulders and started rolling up her dress.
Erna laid quietly on his body and gasped when she felt his hands on her garter belt.

   “Can’t you just look at me for a second?” Erna said, grabbing his wrist, “Lisa worked really hard on this dress.”

   “But you’re prettiest when you’re naked,” Bjorn unwound the garter belt very carefully.
Erna was not very appreciative of the compliment.

   “Oh my God, Bjorn, you say such insulting things, how would you feel if I said that to you?” Erna fired him an angry glance.

   Erna regretted her words as Bjorn got half naked in an instant.
He was grinning at her, as if this display was enough of an answer.

   “Don’t tell me,” Erna hurriedly placed her hand over her husband’s slightly parted lips. “No, Don’t answer.”

    Bjorn kept quiet as she’d hoped, but his silence was much filthier than the answer she’d tried to block.

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