Thank you editors: jam, mook, dodo and Jasmine
1. Poisonous mushroom in spring
Erna Hardi was a good child.
Having grown up to be a good lady, it was soon her turn to be a good wife.
His reply to the lengthy letter was unexpected. He was giving her a chance to be his good wife.
Erna moved decisively as she put down the letter, which she had been staring at for a long time.
“This is absolutely ridiculous!”
Erna jumped up from her seat and walked over to the window. Even though it was raining, the spring sun was dazzling.
Erna opened the window with a creak, sat down on the window sill, and hugged her knees. From the mansion on Baden Street, which was located on a hill, the scenery of the village was visible. Erna’s gaze, slowly wandered through the orchard that had rippling apple blossoms, the creek, and the gentle slope covered with yellow primroses, before stopping on a chair that had been left unattended on the other side of the garden.
The world has no interest in one person’s misfortune.
That obvious fact made Erna feel bitte. Even if you lose your loved one and are in danger of being kicked out of your hometown, the world full of spring energy is heartlessly beautiful. Grandpa would just laugh and add a carefree remark mixed with a bit of cynicismif he heard her stupid complaint. “So how lucky are you?” .
“Miss! Miss Erna!”
It was the voice of Mrs. Greve, the housekeeper, whose voice came from the other side of the hallway and startled Erna from her thoughts. It looked like it was already time for lunch.
“Yes! I’ll be down soon!”
Erna yelled back and hurriedly got down from the window sill. She put the nonsensical letters in a drawer so as not to be seen, and adjusted her messy appearance.
“I’m okay.” She told herself.
All the way to the dining room on the first floor, Erna was muttering as if memorizing a spell.
“It’s ok, everything will be fine.”
* * *
“Erna, have you ever met a lawyer?”
Baroness Baden, who had been arguing about today’s weather over jigsaw puzzles, came to the main point when it was time to finish her meal. She was trying to maintain a calm attitude, but her eyes showed an impatience that could not be hidden.
“No, Grandma. Not yet.”
Erna hastily replied with a firm tone.
“I will make sure to meet one before the end of this week.”
The sunlight passing through the window fell on Erna, who had her neck and waist upright. How loud is the beating of the heart. Her lips were dry and her fingertips were trembling. Fortunately, the Baroness Baden nodded without asking further questions.
“Yes, you should. I hope you can find a way.”
A soft sigh permeated the air of the overly quiet dining room.
Erna raised her eyes as she stared at the two hands on her lap and looked at the old woman. Within a month, she looked older and weaker. She lost her husband in one day and had to hand over all of her remaining fortune to a relative that she didn’t even know.
So how can I tell the truth?
Erna sat up with a sufficiently straight posture and swallowed dry saliva. Her tightly closed lips were full of her stubbornness that she would never reveal the truth.
Actually, she met a lawyer earlier. The answer that came back was not at all different from what Erna already knew.
Baron Baden’s property, without a son, would be passed on to his nephew.
Erna had known from the beginning that such a nonsensical law existed. It was upsetting and unfortunate, but if there is no way to change the law, she had to come up with a countermeasure. It was around the time when Erna made such a decision that she began to increase her work little by little and start collecting extra money. So that she can rightfully repurchase this house, which will someday fall into the hands of others. However, that ‘someday’ came too quickly, and the amount of money collected was absurdly small.
‘I’m sorry, but the inheritance law is the way it is, Ms. Hardy.’
To Erna, who begged if there was any other way, the lawyer was consistent only in hopeless replies.
‘For now, I think it would be best to explain the situation to Mr. Baden and ask for mercy.’
After saying that, he put the pipe in his mouth again. It was rude to say the least, but Erna endured it. There aren’t many lawyers who welcome clients who are in a difficult situation to pay their consultation fees properly.
That afternoon, Erna wrote a letter to Thomas Baden. No matter how much she thought about it, it was difficult to find more than the best the lawyer had said. And today, the reply from Thomas Baden has turned a glimmer of hope into a distant despair and anger.
“It will be alright, Grandma. Do not worry too much.”
Erna, who lied and smiled to reassure her grandmother, stood up from the table and put on her apron. Erna, who helped Mrs. Greve, who was approaching her slowly, cleaned the table, was very skillful.
I am not okay.
As she scrubbed the tableware, Erna accepted the truth that could no longer be avoided.
It was no exaggeration to say that this single country mansion was the only property of Baron Baden, a fallen aristocrat. However, the house would soon became the property of Thomas Baden, the rightful heir. And he would sell this land without any hesitation.
Erna took a deep breath and suppressed her growing resentment. The soap bubbles that bounced off the angry, rough hand movements left small stains on the ends of the rolled up sleeves and on her apron.
Thomas Baden said he fully understands Erna’s heart. However, he has his own circumstances, so he can’t delay the disposal of the mansion until the Baroness of Baden’s death.
She would not have felt this way if shehad just expressed her resolute refusal .
After washing the dishes, Erna went to the backyard with her apron rolled up. Tears welled up in her eyes as she sat down on her grandfather’s chair under the beautiful ash tree.
The absurd reply contained a compromise offered by Thomas Baden. He said that if Erna Hardi became his wife, he would be especially generous.
Her vision of the beautiful spring scene began to blur, but Erna opened her eyes and held back the tears. She just didn’t want to cry because of that person. A person who treats and pushes his relatives into a corner like this, is like her father, and can’t act like his age… … .
Erna muttered without realizing it. A name that has been forgotten for a long time, but still exists in this world.
With her eyes narrowed, Erna jumped up from her chair. The strings of the fallen apron fluttered and fluttered along the grain of the spring wind.
* * *
The noise outside his closed windows and thick curtains was so loud that Biern could still hear them. The lively cheers and shouts that started from the river flowing next to the Grand Duke’s residence crept into the dimly lit bedroom.
He tried to sleep again with his head buried in the pillow and cushion, but Biern eventually succumbed.
“Crazy bastards full of energy.”
Biern let out a swear with a sigh and got out of bed. When he opened the curtain that covered the western window, he saw a group of people practicing rowing on the other side of the river.
Every summer, the Arbit River, which flows through the city into the sea, hosts a rowing competition for the nobility. The summer is too long to survive with only parties and gossip, so the effort to do anything is imaginary, but the problem is that the river is close to the Grand Duke’s residence. From the spring when full-scale practice begins to the summer when the game ends, it was difficult to escape from this terrible noise.
Leaning obliquely against the window sill, Biern saw them sitting disgustingly on the cramped boat, he stared intently at the boys burning with incomprehensible passion.
If you can’t control the overflowing energy, you’d rather have sex, crazy people.
It would be a much more beneficial hobby than that useless sweaty futile thing. Even in the worst case, one person would leave at least one child, so they would make a small contribution to the rise of national power due to the increase in the population of the kingdom. Of course, in his personal life, it would be heartbreaking, but the tragedy of the assholes who could not control it was beyond his knowledge.
After taking a sip of the lukewarm water lying on the table, Biern turned around, brushing her messy hair. Greg, the butler, immediately picked up his robe and rang the bell.
“I’m sorry, Prince. Although we did not respond to the request for use of the palace’s private land, there is no way to prevent it from being used even in the vicinity, with the permission of Schwerin City Hall.”
Knowing well why the bell rang at noon in the Grand Duke’s house, he hurriedly reported it before his master asked.
“This year, the number of participating teams will increase, so it seems to be a little more chaotic.”
At the tragic news he added, Biern burst into laughter.
“Anyway, Leonit Denyister wins the championship, and the colorful nerds are so passionate about what they do.”
“Do you want to move your bedroom?”
“No. It’s fine.”
“Then we will prepare the meal.”
“To the balcony. Only fruits.”
After leaving a dry command, Biern entered the bathroom. After taking a long hot shower, a table on the balcony of the bedroom was waiting for him.
Biern drank cold whiskey soda and gazed at the scenery beneath his feet. The water of the great fountain, which is called Schwerin Palace’s specialty, was gushing out. The golden statues adorning the fountain and the crumbling foam shone in the bright spring sun.
Biern’s gaze passed through the fountain along the slope of the stairway connecting the Grand Duke’s residence and the garden and reached the waterway through which the water flowed. There was still a roar of cheers from the Arbit River, which reached the end of a long waterway.
“Prince, the Crown Prince has arrived.”
Greg, who approached in a hurry, delivered the message when Biern had just put the glass of ice left on the table.
Wiring the remaining water from his fingers with a napkin, Biern nodded dryly, picking up an apple. Not long after the butler left, Leonit, who was in the bedroom, strode over and sat across from him. It was clear that he had run while practicing rowing.
“Welcome, Crown Prince.”
Unlike his arrogant posture of sitting with his legs crossed, Biern greeted his brother with an elegant greeting. Following the rhythm of shaking his head, the water droplets on the ends of his platinum-colored hair fell.
Even with Leonit next to him, who was looking at him like he was amazed, Biern looked down at the large fountain in the garden. The crunchy flesh of a large bite was as sweet as the scent of a flower fluttering in the wind.
“Tell me your business.”
After the servants who had prepared the prince’s share of tea left, Biern looked at Leonit with narrowed eyes.
Schwerin, where the palace of the Grand Duke is located, was also a resort town where the nobles of Letchen go to spend the summer. Although it was still early, the Crown Prince, mad about the court, moved to the Schwerin Palace early and played a major role in disrupting his brother’s daily life.
Leonit let out a light sigh, and put the newspaper he had brought down on the table instead of answering. The front page of a famous tabloid that specializes in social gossip had a large picture of a regular customer, Biern Denyister.
Is the royal poison mushroom alright?
Biern’s eyebrows frowned as he scanned the ridiculous headlines.
“I did not know? It seems to be the new nickname for the Grand Duke?”
[*t1v: meaning he’s pretty to look at but if you ‘eat’ him 😉 you will die]
Biern looked back slowly and put down the newspaper with a smile. Still, the fact that he put up a pretty good photo was a commendable article.
“They say Gladys is back in Lechen.”
Leonit, who was quietly looking at Biern’s side face, cautiously opened his mouth. Gladys. The ripple caused by that name erased the smile from the corners of Biern’s lips.
The article in the tabloid, which he read properly, contained quite detailed news about Gladys Hartford, Princess of Lars, who decided to spend this summer in Letchen.
A beautiful princess who was once loved by all Lechen. However, it is the return of the unfortunate woman who was betrayed by her husband and abandoned and even lost her child. Indeed, it was a gossip that the luxuries would be enthusiastic about. If her ex-husband, who was once a crown prince but now has become a poisonous mushroom, would make a more plausible picture.
“What are you going to do, Biern?”
Biern’s attitude was serious enough to make Leonit laugh.
After taking another bite, Biern put down the apple, he wiped the flowing juice with his fingers while leaning deeply on the back of the chair. The eyes that did not contain any emotions were just calm.
It was spring right now. It was a good season for poisonous mushrooms to grow.