“How can we just forget the past and move on? I took such an important treasure, did what I pleased, and then lost it… and I cannot find it on my own.” She fretted, before turning to him rather frantically. “What if I give up my personal wealth to Your Majesty, even a fraction of it? Ha… never mind. That would not be nearly enough.” Eugene berated herself after a moment.
After listening to her incessant murmuring and gloomy notions, Kasser couldn’t help but smile.
He only wanted her to stop inquiring about the lost treasure, not make her feel guilty about a lie. He stifled back his urge to laugh at the thought of her paying with her fortune something that wasn’t even gone.
“That’s right.” Eugene paused before finally turning back to him. “Does this necklace have some sort of special ability?” she asked him, which brought him out of his own musings. “Like is it not just a necklace? Does it hold some kind of power?”
Kasser shook his head. “A gem is just a gem, just as the necklace is just a necklace.”
Eugene hunched in on herself with his answer, before sighing.
“I truly am sorry for the trouble I’ve caused,” she told him sincerely, and once again, he brushed her concerns off.
“Really, it’s been some time ago now. Stop worrying about it.”
“But you said it was passed down through generations.” She argued, “That it should be given to the next queen.”
“The queen of a child yet to be born.” he reminded her. “Besides, there’s no way of knowing when that would be.”
Eugene’s hands unconsciously came up to her belly as she imagined what it would be like to be a mother.
She imagined bearing the child, raising him, watching him grow up until he came of age. He would meet the woman who would soon become his wife, and she would watch in the sidelines as he married her, becoming king.
She wondered when that would all begin.
“It won’t be too soon, right?” she finally said, “If I am to bear your son.”
Kasser stared at her pensively.
“As I said, I will take care of it, so you should forget about it already.” He truly meant it when he said that. After all, he was only using the necklace as a scapegoat for what really disappeared.
He just needed more time.
“Let us stop talking about this and go to sleep. You also have a lot of work to do tomorrow.” He finally piped up, resituating himself to sleep as Eugene agreed softly.
She stared at him a moment longer despite the dim lighting, knowing he could feel her gaze on him. However, now, she was determined to leave her past behind, give up the wish to return to her own world, and embrace her new identity as Jin Anika, Queen of Hashi.
Eugene felt grateful to Kasser, who acted as if nothing had happened. He must have already deemed she couldn’t be held accountable for what she couldn’t remember, which was probably why he was adamant to not discuss the stolen item before until she’d brought it up.
“A necklace…” She murmured to herself softly.
It wasn’t what she was expecting. Of all the things she could have stolen, she hadn’t expected Jin to have stolen an heirloom.
But perhaps that was why she married Kasser after all. Did she like the necklace so much that she took it for herself and carried it across the desert?
I don’t think so. Eugene felt skeptical. If the item was truly just a jewelry of no special value, it could be traded for gold and sold off to the highest bidder. But why would Jin do that? She is wealthy enough.
Besides, it would be difficult to trade an entire necklace with such a distinguishing feature, but if it were broken up and sold only in small pieces, enough of it could have been sold. Looking back at Jin’s past record of investing in socializing, not even that would seem to be enough motivation for her to become a thief because she needed money…
She couldn’t help but think that the character she had created was much too one-dimensional for that scheme.
Despite her doubts having not been quelled, she quickly fell asleep…
Only shortly after, she heard it.
The soft trickling of water hitting the ground.
And her eyes flickered open once more.
What greeted her was the sight of clear blue skies, stretching out as far as her eyes could see. She could feel the water cradling her as she floated on the sea…
A lake? Or was it an ocean?
There was not a land in sight she could see from her peripheral, so it was difficult to tell. Finally gaining enough awareness, she gently paddled her foot as she tried to sit up.
Splashes of water moved as she flapped her arms, her feet paddling as it repeatedly broke through the water surface. She waddled her way through the water, and while she could hear the water surrounding her, she could not feel the cold, nor wetness the more she glided.
She knew this place and was familiar with this very scene. She spotted the same horizon at the farthest end of her line of sight.
It was the same scene she’d seen the last time. The dream she had before. But unlike the previous one, she’s determined to remain composed throughout the dream.
She looked down at herself and saw she was wearing the clothes she wore just before she went to sleep. She then bent her torso and saw that not even in her dreams did she see her own face, but instead Jin’s looked back at her.
Even in my dreams, I am Jin…
She then dipped her hand in the water from where she sat. As she expected, she watched her hand slip into the water, but she could not sense anything like she would when touching the water. She did this again, and again, but still, there was no feeling when she touched the surface.
She stood up and looked around once more. The water below her feet only stopped by her ankles. And there was nothing else but the water and sky in every direction she saw.