He then started to transform before her eyes. With bated breath as she watched the black horse change into a completely different beast!
His snout grew shorter, hooves grew bigger, and into a paw, eyes became sharper as slit eyes stared at her. He had fully transformed into a black panther! It was an incredible event to witness. Afterwards, the black leopard stretched his front paws forward before sitting down on the ground, his long black tail swishing side to side.
“… Wow.” Eugene breathed out in awe with an overwhelmed expression. “You are really big…” She glanced down at the beast’s front paws that were frighteningly large. To imagine the size of the claws hidden within the fur sent a chill down her spine.
“You’re even bigger than before…” She remarked, noticing the slight difference from the last time she saw him. Abu had grown larger – much larger.
She had to raise her head much more than the first time she had met the king’s Hwansu.
The panther’s ears twitched as he stared at her. The small move startled her and caused her to step back unwittingly. Abu revealed his true power for the first time in a while, and at her behest nonetheless. He wanted to boast about his greatness to Eugene, to impress her, but she seemed not to like it.
It made him sullen, drooping his shoulders pitifully, letting out a whine.
“I’m sorry. It’s not because I don’t like you, but I just got nervous at how big you will become in the future,” Eugene said with an apologetic smile.
Abu rose from his sitting position, shook his body, and raised his tail. It was only then Eugene realized he was shrinking, reducing the panther’s size to about half…
He made himself smaller for her!
“Wow! Are you free to grow to any size? How awesome!” She exclaimed. Despite the reduction in his previous size, he was still notably large.
“Abu, could you become even smaller? About this size?” Eugene asked, demonstrating what she wanted as she drew a circle about the size of both her arms for Abu.
Abu appeared to be hesitating as he looked at her arms.
For a Lark, the bigger the size, the stronger the beast. Size was essential for the Larks to determine superiority and thus their survival. The smaller beast could not overcome the larger. That was the order of his world – survival of the fittest. As he lost to his master, it was only natural that the weaker should obey those who are stronger.
Although Abu had adapted to life as the king’s Hwansu, he still was a Lark by nature; his innate wildness was still there, just tamed. Catching wild wolves was no different from raising a dog.
After meeting the king there was no need for Abu to fight other Larks to survive, but his preconceived notion associated with his body frame remained. He was dissatisfied with the thought of further reducing his size.
Even when he was a horse, he would have an unusually large build. It was his subtle form of disobedience. But, to be asked to become smaller… even beasts have pride! However, his self-respect wavered when he saw the expectant look in the small woman’s eyes.
An irresistible energy was what he could sense from her.
A Lark’s aggression was inborn, an instinct. If Abu could express himself using the words of humans, he would have been able to explain his impulses rather clearly.
An urge to attack something that he cannot endure.
The king kept Abu’s urges under control mainly with the power of his Praz. That didn’t mean the desire had not disappeared; merely suppressed.
But the energy that came from the woman in front of his eyes gently soothed him. Abu felt a sense of stability for the first time in his life. He then began to condense his energy inward and gradually decreased his size to what she wanted…
Eugene was thrilled to see black panther standing no taller than her knees.
“Oh my! How cute!” She continued cooing in delight at him. She carefully reached her hands down behind his front paws and lifted the docile creature.
She had been worried that, though his size was smaller, his weight would have remained the same, but it was delightfully plain her concerns were unfounded. He was only a little heavy, fit for his size.
Eugene held the panther, now about the size of a common cat, in her arms and rubbed her face against the fur. Soft hair brushed against her cheek.
“Ah, so adorable! My goodness!” She squealed. Eugene jumped up and down and giggled excitedly to herself. Fortunately, there was no one around to witness the queen’s sudden childish demeanor.
The king and his soldiers rode up to the central storehouse. Kasser pulled on the reins of his horse and looked down at the building, finally arriving after a day’s worth of journey.
The storehouse was located by the center of a concave indent in the terrain. There were a few sparse buildings in the surroundings, but they had been abandoned. It was a dangerous place. The larger and darker the seeds of the larks, the more dangerous it was to handle them, but the quality was undoubted.
And this storehouse kept the best seeds in the entire kingdom. There was no other treasure house that kept seeds of such high-quality as the central storehouse in the Kingdom of Hashi. This was because all of Mahar’s finest seeds originated from the harsh environment known only to the desert.
Inside, the Larks could become unruly, thus the stone walls were built the sturdiest to keep them from escaping.
There were also two circular walls surrounding the building, causing it to closely resemble a fortress, instead of just a storage house. Citizens were not allowed to live within a certain radius of the storehouse.
Its placement was a double-edged sword; denoting that these precarious facilities were relatively close to the palace.
Kasser spurred his horse again; his soldiers closely following him in haste. The soldiers around the storehouse walls took one step forward to prepare to protect it. Their commander came running when he heard that the king had arrived, greeting him immediately.
“Your Majesty!” The commander greeted Kasser. Knowing the king’s temperament of disliking unnecessary chatter, he skipped the formal greetings and immediately began his report.
“According to the testimony of the first witness, one of the bottles accidentally spilled while checking the storage conditions in the preparation room. At first, he said it burst spontaneously, but his stories did not seem to match, so after interrogating him, he confessed and told the truth.” He summarized efficiently.
Kasser frowned and clicked his tongue. Though it was an irritating situation, it could have been worse.
He’d take a retainer’s mistake any other day over something more serious.
Still, if the seeds had been broken because of the managing sector’s mishandling, it was imperative to check on the rest of the seeds in the storage as well.
Kasser inwardly sighed. It was going to be a long while until he could return to the comfort of his wife’s bed.