The High Priest emerged from the disguised warehouse and walked down the street. Their beautiful features were radiant under the sunlight. Their skin was as white as marble and their golden hair, which had returned to its original length, shone.
It was as though a masterpiece carefully crafted by a sculptor had come to life. Yet something about their overall appearance was disharmonious. With their white skin and golden hair, their blood-red pupils seemed jarringly out of place.
Among the brown-haired and brown-eyed people, the High Priest stood out distinctly. Most of the people of Mahar would never see a hair of any other color in their entire lives. But although passers-by might have whispered and stared, the atmosphere of the street was no different than usual.
Someone coming in the opposite direction to the High Priest moved to the side as they approached each other. He did not give the High Priest a second glance, nor did he seem surprised – and everyone else around was the same.
People unconsciously and naturally made way for the High Priest. Proceeding at a normal pace, without stopping or brushing sleeves with anyone else, the High Priest reached the plaza.
In the direction in which those red eyes stared stood the palace.
Should I have instilled Anika with Magi?
If she had had Magi planted within her, they would have been able to sense Anika’s presence anywhere in the palace. Without having to constantly go through Rodrigo, they would have been able to communicate with Anika directly.
No. It would be no good if I ruined our work by rushing.
They had waited for an unimaginably long time. There was no need to take risks for the sake of no more than a convenient method of contact.
The Dogs of Mahar would immediately notice Magi dwelling within Anika. They visited the kingdom periodically, and although they left immediately after delivering letters to the king and had no reason to meet with the queen, there was always a scope for `what ifs`.
They must not let their guard down until Anika was completely in their grasp.
A corner of the High Priest’s mouth tilted up.
The day that you reign over these insignificant creatures as a god is not far off. The fault lies in your complacency.
They turned around and eyed the path which led between the many parts that the plaza was divided into.
Shall I try causing a commotion outside?
The off-season was stretching on for quite a long time. The king had to be dragged out of the palace in order for Anika, The Queen, to move around freely. Rodrigo would also be able to send his follower into the palace more easily while things were chaotic.
They proceeded down a secluded street where the capital’s poor and needy gathered. They did not stop in this street but continued deeper.
Unlike other well-ordered streets, the road here was narrow, the houses were crammed tightly together and there were barely any passers-by.
The High Priest looked around slowly. Their eyes stopped on a corner where various miscellaneous objects were piled up like rubbish. Their red eyes flashed, and they lifted the plank of wood on top of the pile.
A few sewer rats were sitting there perched on their hind legs, stock still. The rats did not move, even as a huge hand came close to grab them. Only their noses twitched, like frogs frozen in fear before a snake.
“You will have to do some work for me.”
The High Priest reached a hand inside their robe and pulled something out. Between their two fingers, they held a light purple seed.
It was about the size of her palm. Eugene watched the brown lizard in the cage with interest. Its tongue, which flicked out and licked over its face before disappearing again, was black.
Eugene grimaced. Animals without any fur made her uneasy. She was not at all fond of amphibians, reptiles, or any creatures of that kind.
Its little horns are a bit cute, though.
The beast’s horns poking from its forehead were smaller than a finger.
“You said the beast awoke from a yellow seed, yes? Are they normally this small?” she asked.
“It was bigger in the storehouse. From head to tail, about the same size as you.” Kasser replied.
Eugene let out a sound of surprise.
“Ugh, how awful!” She muttered under her breath, pulling a face. She definitely did not want to see a lizard the size of a person!
“Then Your Majesty ordered it to become smaller?”
“Since I can’t exactly bring that kind of huge creature back with me.”
As Kasser watched the small lizard inside the cage, he recalled how he had gotten it there.
Kasser had thought he would struggle a lot more. His own beast, Abu, hated being small. Even when he took the form of a horse, he insisted on having a huge build, so that the other horses around were intimidated by him.
In order to get Abu to listen to him, he had to firmly enforce his dominance. It wasn’t a hardship or anything, and playing with the rascally creature was even fun sometimes, but it could be a bit of a nuisance too.
This lizard beast, however, had meekly shrunk down and gone into the cage obediently. Since he had thought it was a very clever creature when he had captured it, he had let it believe it was safe, but always kept an eye on it in case it tried to escape.
But if it’s as the queen says, it makes sense.
Her statement that a newly-awakened beast was just like a new-born infant explained everything that he had been wondering about.
“It seems like it wants to get out.” Eugene sensed its intention as she watched the beast scurry up and down inside the cage. The way the lizard poked its feet out between the bars and wriggled its body was almost comical.
Kasser found the restlessness of the creature very strange especially since it’d stayed quiet throughout the journey back. Thinking that the young beast must be feeling some curiosity about the outside world, his heart softened.
Eugene started as he pulled out a key and made as though to open the door of the cage.
“You’re going to let it out?” she asked in a trice.
Looking at her unhappy face, he retracted his hands from the cage again.