Soon enough, they’d arrived in the parlor. Its walls were painted a dark blue. The door opened, and Eugene went inside not long after.
Kasser sat at the table and woke up from his short respite as soon as Eugene arrived. When he did, they locked eyes instantly.
Every time I look at her, I am always overcome by intense loathing.
Eugene averted her gaze. In her novel, it was Kasser who took Jin Anika’s life. He was also the kind of person who wouldn’t hesitate to retaliate against someone who certainly deserved it.
However, despite that, justice was not the only motivation the king had when he killed his wife. She remembered that Jin Anika had, in fact, gone missing after being embroiled in a tragic incident that had taken place in the Kingdom of Hashi.
It wasn’t until later in the story that it was revealed that Jin had, in fact, caused the accident herself, while thinking she would die with it.
Jin was also well versed in the dark arts through sacrificing human lives; the lives of the people of Hashi, all done and possible through the power she gained by Mara.
It was in his anger at this discovery that soon led King Kasser to kill her in a fit of rage. He murdered his wife in cold blood. Might as well have called it an act of revenge.
Eugene sat down first, and Kasser followed. She did her best to ignore his intense gaze, which was undoubtedly on her.
The king, on the other hand, was steadfastly observing the queen and noticed that she kept her head down low, her gaze never straying to him once. Not once did she smile that coquettish smile she always sent his way, despite him being unresponsive to it.
The meal was already on the table, ready for the couple to begin eating without exchanging a single word to each other, not even for greeting one another.
All in all, it was a grim meal. Sarah continued to stare at the two royalties and found her eyes begin to moisten at the poor display in front of her.
What should I do with those two?
Sarah had taken it upon herself to be in charge of the preparation of the meal and had painstakingly worried about even the littlest of details. She had walked tirelessly up and down several flights of stairs, all for the sake of this lunch to be a monumental success.
That’s why seeing these two ignoring each other made her very disappointed. Soon after, all servants and general present, Sarah included, were dismissed from the parlour. The king wanted to talk to his wife alone.
Eugene didn’t even have the time to look at her surroundings. She concentrated all her attention on her dish so as not to make mistakes. The utensils here were quite different from what she knew. Despite being similar to Western dinners, the dishes were all still strange to her.
As she was eating, a voice suddenly ran through her mind, coaching her on what to do…
It’s… it’s a mushroom. You can skim off the cream from the outside and cut it with a knife.
She did what her mind told her to, and no one seemed to look suspicious of her eating. She ate in slow bites, fumbling at her memory, careful to appear without hurry. She felt a sigh of relief as soon as she finished her meal.
Because of her wariness, she didn’t even get to enjoy her food. She couldn’t even tell if the rice went to her mouth or to her nose. Still, even though she wasn’t able to savor her food, she felt proud of her accomplishment.
It was amazing that fragments of the original Jin Anika’s memory had remained in her.
She didn’t really know where or what the original Jin Anika knew. Nor did she know where the key to that locked drawers was. But she believed that if she looked and searched every nook and cranny, she’d get used to it eventually.
Kasser put his glass down and indicated for the servants to get the empty plates and utensils away. It didn’t take long for them to tidy up the place and soon only the two of them remained.
“You’re suspecting I told Marianne everything she knew. In fact, I didn’t clear those suspicions of yours at that time.” Kasser stated, frowning at the thought.
It had been half a year since it had happened. Since the great clash with the queen.
It was when the queen had asked, or rather demanded, that Marianne, the former general, be sent away. She had requested to place her not even near the castle but in remote areas of the kingdom.
But King Kasser had denied the request.
“I can never do that.”
He had said that time.
“Her influence in the palace is great. She’s only a general of the squadron? She might as well take my place!”
Kasser couldn’t understand why the queen had hated Marianne so much, enough to send her away. Marianne, for all her accomplishments and former position, was only a powerless woman. But the real reason why people followed her, loved her, was not because of the power she held, but the virtues she lived by.
The queen had always regarded Marianne, and by extension, Sarah who was her successor, an eyesore. And Kasser did not know why for the longest time.
“Do you think me a fool? That I wouldn’t know? You, the king confides in her everything. I won’t be fooled, not by anyone else.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. No matter what you say, Marianne stays.”
Kasser hadn’t listened to the queen. After the fight, both left each other with nothing but bitter feelings, and thus the queen and king became more desolate.
“It was my mistake.” He continued. “We should’ve compromised, instead of ending it like that.”
Eugene stayed in rapt attention to his every word, despite not knowing what he was talking about. She needed to get the information, and what better way than from the king himself?
“Did you change your mind? I’ll make sure Marianne doesn’t enter this palace. Isn’t this enough?” he asked her.
The mere mention of the name did not give Jin Anika a clue. Kasser then frowned at her, and Eugene realized she must have spoken out loud…
I don’t think he appreciated that question. But who is Marianne?! Family? Lover?
These thoughts rang through Eugene’s head.