The Problematic Prince - Chapter 1
Translator and Editor: Lea and Aki
Chapter 1 – Poisonous Mushroom On A Day Of Spring
Erna Hardy was a well-mannered girl.
Now that she grew up into a polite lady, it was her turn to be a refined wife.
To sum up the content of the lengthy paragraph, it was a very different reply than what she expected as it especially destroys her chance to be a good wife to a decent man.
Erna’s eyes, which had been looking down at a letter for a long time, were full of determination as she said to herself.
“This is ridiculous!”
Even on second thought, the conclusion was the same. Standing up from her seat, Erna walked up to the window. It was an afternoon when the dazzling rays of the spring sun were pouring in, but it felt depressing.
Opening the panes with a squeaky sound, she sat on the frame, holding her knees close to her chest. Located high above the ground, the village’s landscape could be seen from the mansion of the Badens. Erna’s gaze, briefly pausing on the single chair lying on one side of the garden, slowly wandered over to the gentle slope of the orchard, streams, and hills covered with yellow cherries.
The world was not interested in one man’s misfortune.
It obviously made her uncomfortable. Even if she had a loving family and was on the verge of being kicked out of a place full of life, a world full of joyous spring was beautiful. If one heard this stupid complaint, they’d laugh. She felt relieved, a bit of cynicism added to it.
“Lady! Lady Erna!”
The voice of Mrs. Grebe, a housekeeper, reached her from the far side of the hallway. It seemed like it was already time to have lunch.
“Yes! I’m here! I’ll be right there!”
Erna declared, hurriedly getting off the window frame. The ridiculous letter was hidden deep inside the drawer so that it could not be seen, and her disorganized clothes were tidied.
She was fine.
While heading to the dining room on the first floor, she murmured as if memorizing a spell.
“It’s okay. Everything is going to be fine.”
“Have you seen a lawyer, Erna?”
Baroness Baden, who had been rambling about today’s weather and new sculptures, came up with it only after she finished eating. She tried to stay calm, but her eyes showed an indescribable nervousness.
“No, grandma. Not yet.”
Erna answered in a stern tone.
“I’ll make sure to meet one before this week ends.”
Sunlight that was penetrating through the glass of the window was falling on Erna, lighting up her neck and waist. Her heart was hammering loudly, her lips were drying up, and her fingers were curling up into a fist. Fortunately, the Baroness nodded without further questioning.
“Yes, you should. I wish I could find a way.”
A gentle sigh permeated into the air of an overly still room.
Erna looked up at her grandma as she stared at her hands on her knees. She had become old and frail in a month. She had lost her husband overnight and would hand over all her little assets to a relative who was no better than others. So how could Erna tell the truth?
Erna had already sat back in her right posture, swallowing the dry lump in her throat. Her lips were stubbornly sealed, not to reveal the truth.
Actually, she met a lawyer earlier. The answer that came was no different from what Erna already knew.
Having no son, Baron Baden’s property was to be inherited by his nephew.
Erna had long known that such ridiculous laws exist. It was upsetting and unfair, but if there was no way to change the law, they had to come up with a countermeasure. It was about time that Erna began to raise money by increasing her work little by little. So that she could buy this house in a fair manner again one day, but that ‘one day’ arrived too early, and the money she collected was not enough.
‘Unfortunately, that is how the inheritance law works, Miss Hardy.’
The lawyer consistently responded insincerely whenever Erna begged for a different way.
‘For now, it would be best to explain the situation to Mrs. Baden and ask for mercy.’
The lawyer bit on his smoking pipe, ending his remark. It was a rude gesture, but Erna endured it. There weren’t that many lawyers who welcomed customers who were in a difficult position to pay the consultation fee properly.
That afternoon, Erna wrote to Thomas Baden. She had to do it, unable to find a suitable lawyer. And today, Thomas Baden’s reply turned a faint-hearted repentance into utter despair and anger.
“Everything will be fine, grandma. Don’t worry too much.”
Erna, who lied, gave a smile to reassure her grandmother and got up from the table before putting on an apron. She was very skilled at helping Mrs. Grebe, who arrived slowly, to organize the table.
Everything was not fine.
While scrubbing the dishes, Erna accepted the truth that she could no longer avoid.
It was not an exaggeration to say that the estate of Baron Baden, a fallen aristocrat, was now only this house in the countryside. However, the house was soon to be occupied by Thomas Baden, the legitimate heir. And he was going to sell this land without even a moment’s hesitation.
Erna breathed deeply in her suppressed anger. The soapy water, which resulted from the rough squeeze on the sponge, left a small stain when it reached her rolled-up sleeve and apron.
Thomas Baden said he could fully understand her. However, because he had his own reasons, he could not delay the disposal of the house until Baroness Baden died.
She wouldn’t have felt this way if he only had expressed such a determined refusal.
After washing the dishes, Erna headed to the backyard with her apron rolled up. When she sat on her grandfather’s chair under the beautiful ash tree, her eyes burned up in tears.
The ridiculous reply contained one compromise offered by Thomas Baden. If Erna Hardy married him, he was willing to be particularly generous.
The view of the beautiful spring landscape became hazy, but she held back her tears with her eyes wide open. She didn’t want to cry because of such a person. A father who treated his helpless relative, who was not yet living up to her age……
She muttered without realizing. She had forgotten about him for a long time, but she was sure he still existed in this world.
Blinking her eyes, she leapt from her chair. The strings of the unclasped apron fluttered along with the spring breeze.
What woke Björn was the noise outside, which even closed panes and thick curtains could not block. The loud cheer that began in the river flowing next to the grand reservoir filled the dim bedroom.
He tried to sleep again with his head buried under a pillow and a cushion, but he finally gave in.
“Peppy crazy bastards.”
Björn walked out of his bed, spouting abusive language. When he slid the curtain covering the western window, he spotted a group of people practicing rowing on the other side of the river.
Every summer, on river Abit, which flowed across the city and into the sea, a rowing game of nobles was held. It was hard to do anything because the summers were too long to hold up buttery parties and gossip, but the problem was that the river was close to a large reservoir. It was difficult to get accustomed to this terrible noise from the spring when the practices usually began.
Leaning obliquely against the window, Björn’s disgusted gaze sat on a narrow boat, glaring at the enthusiastic boys atop.
‘You could rather have sex if you couldn’t control your overflowing energy, you maniacs.’
It would be a much more beneficial hobby than a fleeing task when they needed to sweat unnecessarily. In the worst case scenario, they could even leave at least one child to make a minor contribution to the rise in the power of the kingdom’s growth. Of course, it would be a headache in personal history, but the tragedy of the uncontrolled fools was none of his business.
Taking a sip of warm water from the table, Björn turned around, running his fingers through his messy hair. Wrapping a robe around him, he rang the bell that called his butler, Greg.
Greg, who was well aware of the reason for the bell ringing at noon, rushed to report before his master asked.
“The number of the teams participating this year increased, which made it a little noisier.”
Chuckling at the tragic news, Björn added.
“They’re very enthusiastic about Leonid Denyster about winning the championship, and a bunch of lunatics being bridesmaids.”
“Would you like to move your bedroom?”
“Nah, it’s fine.”
“Then, I’ll prepare the meal.”
“Just fruits. To the balcony.”
Björn, leaving a short order, entered the bathroom. After a long shower of cool water, a table on the balcony of the bedroom awaited him.
He stared at the view under his feet, drinking a cold whiskey soda. The great fountain of water, known as the specialty of the Schwerin Palace, was dancing. Gold statues decorating the fountain and breaking water streams glimmered under the cremated spring star.
Björn’s gaze reached the waterway where the stream of water flowed past the fountain and followed the slope of the stairs connecting the Grand Park and the garden. There was still a loud roar coming from the river Abit, which reached the end of the long waterway.
“His Highness, the Prince has finished eating.”
Greg, who came in a hurry, said when Björn was about to place his glass on the table.
After wiping the remaining water off his finger with a napkin, Björn nodded shortly, picking up an apple. Shortly after the butler left, Leonid entered the bedroom, striding up and sitting opposite to him. It was obvious that he ran away from the rowing practice.
“Your Highness, the Crown Prince.”
Björn greeted his younger brother elegantly, contrary to his arrogant posture with his legs crossed. When his head flicked, water droplets at the end of his platinum strands dripped down.
With Leonid staring at him as if amazed, Björn looked down at the great fountain in the garden. The crunchy pulp he took from the fruit was as sweet as the scent of flowers hovering in the wind.
“Tell me what you need.”
After the servants had the prince’s share of the ride withdrawn, Björn faced Leonid with squinted eyes.
Schwerin, where the Grand Duke’s Palace was located, was a resort city where nobles of Letchen visited to spend the summer. It was still early, but the prince, who was crazy about coordination, moved to the Schwerin Palace early on and added in his brother’s daily life.
With a light sigh, Leonid replied by dropping the newspaper he had brought on the table. The first page of the famous tabloid, which specialized in social gossip, contained a large picture of its regular customer, Björn Denyster.
[Is the royal poisonous mushroom all right?]
Björn’s forehead crumpled at the ridiculous headline.
“You didn’t know? I thought it was your new nickname?”
After a slow review, Björn laughed, putting down the paper. However, the fact that they put a pretty nice picture was a praiseworthy article.
“Gladys is coming back to Letchen.”
Leonid, who was still looking at the side view of Björn’s face, carefully opened his mouth. Gladys. The scandal caused by the name erased the smirk off Björn’s lips.
The tabloid’s article, which he read thoroughly, also contained the news about Gladys Hartford, the princess of Lars, who decided to spend the summer in Letchen.
A beautiful princess who was once loved by all of Letchen. But the return of the unfortunate woman, who was betrayed by her husband and lost her child, was indeed a gossip that people could go crazy about. With her ex-husband, who was once a prince but was now strategized as the poisonous mushroom, a more plausible picture would be created.
“Are you going to appeal, Björn?”
Björn’s attitude was serious enough to make Leonid laugh.
Björn, who stopped taking a bite off the apple, wiped the juice from his fingers while leaning back on the chair. The eyes that did not contain much emotion were just calm.
Spring. It was a good season for poisonous mushrooms to grow.