ut please do not ask for more acquaintances than is absolutely necessary.
And please, try and be a good fit for the Prince of Lechen.”
Once she had finished what she wanted to say, the Princess left the summer house.
Erna had been absent minded for a time, then hurriedly followed after the Princess.
Emotional violence? Erna understood the meaning of the words the Princess had so coldly thrown at her, but she wanted to finish the social properly.
Louise had just stood there, staring at Erna blankly as she said her farewells to her last guest.
Louise left without saying another word.
Erna returned to her room and slumped in the chair in front of the desk, letting out a long sigh.
It was lucky that Louise rejected her before Erna had invited her to dinner, that would have been embarrassing.
Bjorn was right.
She didn’t want to admit it, but she had to accept the fact.
Should she live without expectations, taking for granted the hate from everyone who still loved Princess Gladys?
No matter how many times she thought about it, she could not come up with a reasonable answer.
Erna was ashamed of that label attached to her.
Erna sat in the chair and continued to repeat the question, until the walls were painted the colours of sun set.
Suddenly, she found that she missed her Grandmother.
“Not bad,” Bjorn said, he could scarcely believe the report he held in his hand.
Bjorn approached the fireplace and tossed the report into it without hesitation.
The repost of the atrocities caused by Count Hardy and his wife went up in flames.
“From now on, I want you to report to me every two weeks,” Bjorn said to the butler who had brought the report.
“Yes, Your Highness,” Greg the butler said flatly.
Seeing that the reporting period was reduced from one month to two weeks, Greg was satisfied that the Prince was at least aware the situation needed to be kept an eye on.
His mind was relived.
It was on the night of his wedding that Bjorn decided to keep an eye on Walter Hardy.
Even during his honeymoon, he had been receiving reports and telegrams.
For awhile, it looked like Walter Hardy was taking care of himself, touching on minor luxuries and investments and as time went by, the fence got a little bigger.
The report of the day was that Walter Hardy had been selling his son-in-laws name to raise investment money.
It was still in its early stages, but it seemed like a lot of people were being affected by the name Prince Bjorn.
Bjorn left the study after confirming the weeks schedule.
The conscious, ever present smile, faded as he climbed the stairs and walked down the long corridor.
He had foreseen the Hardy families lax behaviour coming and was prepared for it.
There was nothing to be surprised, or angry about and Bjorn was determined not to get involved unless they crossed a line.
To appease a noisy child, give them sweets.
Bjorn headed straight for Erna’s room.
“Her Highness is not yet finished, Your Highness,” said Lisa, Erna’s maid.
She quickly approached him when he came into the drawing room and bowed her head.
After checking the time, Bjorn nodded happily and walked over to Erna’s desk to sit down.
There was plenty of time before the painter finished preparing.
“That’s okay, I’ll wait right here.”
Bjorn sat cross legged in the chair, that had a delicate length of lace draped over it.
The maid bowed and continued about her business.
As Bjorn thought about the name, a strange sense of desolation came over him.
He felt concerned by it.
Bjorn looked about the room and found his gaze fall upon the golden antler he had given Erna, whole utterly under the influence of alcohol.
She had tied a little ribbon at the top.
His tight lips relaxed gently.
It had been the weekend after the honeymoon that he had seen the ribboned trophy.
He was leaning out of the window, looking at something, then when he turned his eyes inward, he caught sight of the jagged shape.
“What the hell is that?” He had said in surprise.
“There are so many trophies in this house, I tied a ribbon on my to distinguish it from the rest,” Erna said, looking up from her writing desk.
She had the poise of calm and grace about her, as she turned back to her writing, like someone completely unaware they had just done something out of the ordinary.
That day, when Bjorn laughed so loud, Erna gave him a confused look, the ribbon tied around the trophy had been blue.
Today, the ribbon was pink.
It seemed like Erna changed the ribbon depending on the season, or her mood.
Bjorn smiled as he fingered the ends of the pink ribbon, just as the door opened and Erna stepped in.
She wore a watery blue dress, adorned with gold, pearls and delicate lace.
She was more splendid and beautiful that Bjorn could have imagined.
Bjorn stood in front of her with a satisfied smile.
His gaze, which had been slowly examining the sparkling tiara, elaborately braided hair, veil and dangling earrings stopped on the nape of her neck.
“Where’s the necklace I gave you?” Bjorn’s eyes narrowed as he considered the sparkling pearl necklace about his wife’s neck.
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