Thank you editors: jam, mook, dodo and Jasmine
2. Love fate
The train to Schwerin entered the platform on time. It was around the time when the blue light of dawn had dissipated and the morning had just begun to arise.
Erna, who was standing in a posture as stiff as a stick, walked up to the front of the carriage. The rural station, where the first train had just arrived, was quiet. After a few passengers hurried to board, Erna was the only person left on the platform.
“Hey, miss. Aren’t you going to ride?”
The blunt question posed by the stationmaster awakened Erna, who had been in a daze.
Erna turned her eyes from looking around anxiously and faced the stationmaster. Her hand that gripped the trunk with all her might began to tremble slightly.
You must have found the letter by now.
Erna’s eyes recalling the past incident deepened.
She couldn’t bring herself to tell her grandmother that she was going to meet her father. It was because she knew well that her stubborn grandmother, the Baron of Baden, would rather be left out on the streets than seek help from her son-in-law, whom she regarded as an enemy. Erna, who had been struggling, eventually left behind a letter explaining the situation, and took the path not quite ladylike.
As she repeated the strange name that gave her a foreign feeling, my heart beat faster. Their last meeting was at her mother’s funeral, so it has been eleven years since she had been there. She knew that he was no different from a stranger, no, he was inferior to others, but for now, he was Erna’s last hope. Maybe she’ll get hit at his doorstep.
Erna grabbed the trunk and took a deep breath, then raised her head to face the train standing in front of her. A heavy black iron gleamed menacingly in the morning sun.
“If you don’t ride…….”
Erna hurriedly shook her head and shouted. Her blue eyes gleamed with determination.
“Sorry. I’ll ride, I will ride!”
Recalling that sentence that was the keynote of her life, Erna took a trembling step.
This world doesn’t care about a person’s misfortune, so one’s life must be managed by one’s own strength. It is better to love all the fates that have come your way, since nothing can be changed by struggling with self-pity. If you love, you will work hard, and doing your best is better than resignation in any case.
If it was a given fate to hang on to even a glimmer of hope, Erna was going to love that fate as well. In any case, Viscount Hardi was Erna Hardi’s father. A person who has the duty to take responsibility for his child. But a person who has neglected that duty for a long time. But, even now, that person has to fulfill that duty.
Leaving behind the stationmaster with a fierce expression, Erna hurriedly got on the train. Following the urgent gesture, the hem of her fine floral muslin dress fluttered. After leaving her hometown holding her mother’s hand, after fourteen years, Erna was returning back.
It was the beginning of a long journey.
* * *
Biern put down the teacup slowly. In a flawless and elegant movement he made a languid posture, crossing his long legs more prominently.
“Are you listening to me now?”
The bewildered voice of a woman disturbed the stillness of the parlor which was full of spring sunshine.
“Why? You don’t want to answer? Maybe that article is real—is it? Is it?”
The voice of the woman who was angry was raised even more.
With the hand that gently wiped his still-dry face, Biern grabbed the teacup again. As he drank another sip of the properly cooled tea, he felt that his dazed mind was clearing up.
The woman who couldn’t beat him got up from her seat. A single ray of sunlight flowing through the window lit up the woman like a stage light. He was dressed perfectly, unlike the woman who had run from the capital to Schwerin at less than noon.
Biern raised his eyes, now accustomed to sunlight, and looked at the woman. His gray eyes gleamed with a subtle brilliance like opal.
It was around dawn when he returned home, and after a bright morning he took a shower and threw himself on the bed. So at least it’s midnight for Biern. That means it was never a good time to wake up like this. [t1v: omg relatable af #depression]
Biern opened his eyes, which was closed slowly, and leaned deeply against the back of the chair. From the window facing the river, the cheers of the group practicing rowing began to be heard.
Good fucking morning.
With a sigh mixed with laughter, Biern grudgingly picked up the newspaper thrown by the woman who approached him recklessly. The front page of a tabloid, such as the one that Leonit brought a while ago, was decorated with articles today.
Rumors of reunion between the former crown prince and his wife, the private information obtained from the closest aides.
Biern glanced at the grand headlines and large photos of himself, and began to read the article with narrow eyes.
According to reports from close associates who requested anonymity, the atmosphere between the two was unusual. It is never wise to forgive an ex for such a shameful act, but Princess Gladys, who is weak at heart, seems to be swaying. Thanks to this, it is expected that Lechen’s social circle will be hot this summer. Something like that, carefully written nonsense filled the space. It was evident that the newspaper was bad at everything but the ability to pick out the best photos. [t1v: aka ancient instagram]
Biern smiled and put down the newspaper casually. The woman’s face, who had been watching him while her breath holding her breath, was now red with a sense of contempt she couldn’t hide.
“You don’t even have the heart to explain this, right?”
The woman now clenched her fists with tears in her eyes.
“Let’s break up.”
With a sharp voice she exclaimed, as if making a solemn declaration. With a cigar between his lips, Biern looked up to face the woman.
“I don’t think there is any reason to continue this relationship any longer. I think I need to get engaged before the end of this spring.”
Contrary to the triumphant tone of her voice, the woman’s eyes showed an impatience that could not be hidden. Biern stared at her slowly and lit the end of the cigar.
She was not a bad lover.
She was moderately elegant and moderately vulgar, and above all, it was because they were well aware of the premise of their relationship where they would return to their own lives after having a refreshingly enjoyable time. No. He thought that until she came over angrily yelling about Gladys Hartford’s name in a cheap tabloid newspaper.
“Congratulations on your engagement, Miss Perez.”
Biern nodded happily and smiled. The whisper that flowed out along with the white smoke was soft and gentle.
“I beg your pardon?”
The woman, who blinked slowly, asked back with a shocked tone.
“Cold-blooded, selfish to the bone and wretched! How could you do this to me?”
“Well. You were the one who said goodbye.”
The tip of his long finger gently stroked the rim of the teacup.
“I’ve accepted it.”
Isn’t that what you wanted?
As if asking a question, Biern tilted his head. His hair, which had been swept away randomly following the movement, flowed down. She only bit her lips, the woman did not respond at all.
Biern stood up from the table, leaving the woman with a red face. Smoke from the cigar thrown into the ashtray was blown away by the wind through the window.
The woman screamed at him. Biern, who stopped walking, responded by throwing his gaze over his shoulder.
“Is that all you have to say— that’s all you have to say to me!?”
The lady of the Perez family now had a face close to crying. Even so, the face was still beautiful, but he felt no particular emotion.
Biern slowly turned towards his former lover, who was not bad. And he bowed his head politely. It was a dignified greeting that did not go well with his loosely dressed gown.
“I wish you good tidings and at least a Count.”
His lips, which had a smile that seemed even mild at first glance, gleamed red in the sunlight.
Leaving behind the half-passed out woman, Biern left the parlour. Mrs. Fitz, who stood guard outside the door, followed him like a shadow.
“I’m sure you won’t be trying to put me to sleep by singing a lullaby.”
The tip of Biern’s lips curled softly as he saw Mrs. Fitz following her to the front of the bedroom door.
“I can do whatever the prince wants, but unfortunately there seems to be trouble now.”
Mrs. Fitz, as always, replied to his jokes in a strict manner. As the Crown Prince’s nanny, she was now in charge of managing the housekeeping of this Schwerin Palace. Even when she became an old lady with white hair, her upright personality did not change at all.
“You have to leave for the train station soon.”
“There is not much time left for the arrival of Her Majesty the Queen.”
“Ah. It was today.”
It was then that Biern remembered the schedule. It was the day that his mother, who was invited to a charity party at the Royal Hospital, visited Schwerin. The Queen’s escort was, of course, him.
Biern accepted the task with a light nod.
* * *
Passing through several cities, the train began to fill with more and more passengers. The compartment, where Erna was the only one, was already full.
Erna, sitting close to the window, carefully observed the scenery flowing through the snow mixed with curiosity and anxiety. Countless passers-by and carriages were passing along the cobweb-like road between the dense buildings. Everything was so complicated and flashy. It felt like her eyes were spinning round and round.
However, if I know the address, I can easily find it.
Suppressing her nervousness, Erna struggled to persuade herself. Anyway, since it was the city where she was born and raised, there was nothing to fear too much. Although it’s a place where she didn’t live for less than five years, her hometown is still her hometown.
While Erna was making up her mind once again, the train that arrived at Schwerin Central Station, the final destination, stopped.
Erna hurriedly packed her bags and left the cabin in the midst of the other passengers. The ribbon of the hat pulled taut under the chin and the neatly braided hair swayed along the stride. But that proud look didn’t last long.
After going out into the hallway, Erna couldn’t remember very well.
She was pushed here and there, and got off the train, and when she came to her senses and found herself standing on the platform. The crowd and the noise that made both ears tingle overwhelmed Erna for a moment. She tried to get out of this place somehow, but the more she did, the more Erna was pushed further and further away from the exit.
“Come here! It’s coming!”
When someone shouted loudly, the eyes of the people who filled the platform were all focused in one direction. Erna, who was holding the trunk she had almost dropped, also turned her head towards it.
It was almost at the same time she suddenly realized that she was at the forefront of a crowd of onlookers and found a tall man walking from the other side.