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We haven’t seen much of Anton lately, but that’s because he’s been keeping his head down. He and Maryna have a secret agreement that they’ll marry when they’re older, but for now, they don’t want to make waves with her mother. But one evening, Anton just can’t help himself and decides to go see her. She finds him after dark, in the palace garden, and after a bit of kissing, he gives voice to his doubts.
“I probably won’t ever become rich and famous enough for you,” Anton said as fast as he could, before he lost his nerve.
Maryna looked up at him, “Oh, I don’t care about that; not at all.”
“But you can’t marry me the way I am.” It was hard to admit he wasn’t anywhere near good enough.
“But I can,” she smiled, her eyes sparkling. “I’ve decided, especially because I’m angry with Mother.” She frowned and wrinkled her nose, then leaned against him gently. “Once I’m seventeen I’ll do what I want; I’ll make you a count or something, and then marry you. Some people may not like it, but I don’t care.” She tossed her head, becoming for an instant the haughty princess.