ate spring afternoon, the scenery flowing out of the car window was like a picture.

* * *

“It’s all because of you.
Because of you!”

As the palace began to appear across the street, Brenda Hardy burst into anger.
Viscount Hardy, who barely sighed, glared at his wife as if embarrassed.

“What? Now, do you want to blame me and say that I am responsible for other people’s wagon accidents?”

“If you hadn’t taken left our townhouse in the capital with bank debt, we wouldn’t have entered the palace in such an unsightly manner on the day of the prom!”

Viscount Hardy, who was tired of his wife’s voice  who was raising her voice without losing, couldn’t resist any more and shut his lips firmly.
In the midst of the commotion, Erna only looked out of the window with a half-dazed face.

Schwerin was a city adjacent to the capital, Berne.
It was said that it was not too far to go by wagon, but their arrival had been very delayed more than expected due to the accident.
It was obviously a big deal that the ball had already started, but to Erna, even that fact seemed like a distant world.

It would have been better if the road had not been opened forever.

Erna looked down with eyes that were about to cry.
To arrive at the royal palace wearing such a shameful dress.
She felt like jumping off the carriage.

As soon as Erna saw the dress, she resolutely refused.
If it wasn’t for Lisa, who cried and begged her not to go back to the countryside, saying that she would be kicked out as of today if she didn’t wear this dress, she would never have worn such vulgar thing.

Erna, who could not go to the ball as if she was naked, and could not let the innocent maid out, offered a compromise of her own.
It was to cover the shoulders with a lace shawl.
Although not very pleased, the Viscount, fortunately, took a step back and gave in to her.

“You have to do well with what you learned, Erna.
Do you understand?”

As the carriage passed the grand entrance of the palace, Viscount Hardy insisted on it.

Learn? What did you learn?

Erna tried to retrieve her memory somehow, but it didn’t work out as she wanted.
Meanwhile, the palace was getting closer and closer.
Erna’s two hands clutching the lace shawl wrapped around her shoulders were trembling as if they had convulsed.

* * *

“Viscountess! What the hell is this?”

Countess Meyer exclaimed nervously when she saw the Hardy family rushing up the stairs.
It was after the royal couple had already arrived, and the introduction of the young girls who were debuting this season had ended.

“It turned out like this because of a wagon accident.
Are we really late?”

Victoria Meyer, viewed the Viscount as asking a pathetic question, hurriedly ran down the stairs.

“What is this shawl?”

“I’m sorry, madam.
This was the best we could manage.”

Brenda Hardy, who was paying attention, quickly made excuses.
At best, Erna had her upper body covered with a shawl, hiding the purpose of the beautiful dress.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get this kid in the wagon without a shawl.
You couldn’t imagine how stubborn she was.”

Making lousy excuses.

Countess Meyer shook her head nervously, grabbed Erna’s wrist first, and hurriedly started climbing the stairs.
She couldn’t handle this little, weak girl.
Brenda Hardy’s incompetence made her shake with anger.

“Countess, give me a little, a little bit of time… … .”

“Hey, Miss Hardy.
His Majesty the King is already here, how much more time do you need?”

Erna sighed and begged, but Countess Meyer did not waver.
Anyway, it was impossible to get rid of this kid’s rustiness in that short amount of time.
Rather, the odds of winning are higher if the appearance of an innocent country girl is presented as a charm.

“Please tell me.”

She gave orders to the servants guarding the front of the banquet hall.
The heavy door engraved with the white wolf crest, which symbolizes the Dneister royal family, slowly opened and dazzling lights and noises poured out.

“The House of Viscount Hardy arrives!”

Following the servant’s loud voice, the eyes of the nobles who filled the spacious hall were focused on them all at once.
At that moment, Victoria Meyer had a gut feeling.
That this side would benefit far more from appearing like this than being introduced as one of the many young ladies.
This crisis turned into an opportunity.

Countess Meyer, who exchanged glances with the Viscount Hardy, who followed them in a hurry, took the shawl from Erna, who froze like a statue.
Erna, who realized this too late, struggled to capture it, but it was nothing more than a gesture to no avail.

“Let’s go, Ms.

Countess Meyer pushed Erna’s back with all her might with a cold command.
The beautiful prize she was given this season was tossed aimlessly into the dazzling light.

* * *

She couldn’t breathe well.

That was all Erna could barely think of.
Even when she was just standing silently, her heart was pounding like it was going to explode and her breath caught up in her throat.


Erna took a hard breath and raised her head.
The incredibly spacious and splendid hall was filled with people as splendid as this hall.

Erna, who barely supported her shaking legs and took a step, came to a stop again after a while.
It was because she remembered what she looked like.

Erna shrugged her shoulders and looked around as if asking for help.
But all that caught her eye were unfamiliar faces and dizzying lights.
After a while, it faded like a painting which got smeared.

What should I do?

Erna looked around once more, trembling helplessly like a prey thrown into a den of wild beasts.
It was then that the servant’s cry could be heard, announcing the arrival of a new guest, amid the murmur of onlookers.

“Prince Biern is entering!”

The ripple caused by that name swept the entire banquet hall in an instant.

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