Kasser scowled at it and opened the cage. The squirrel tried to resist with all its strength, gripping the bars around the cage door with its legs. It looked very cute and very poor at the same time.
But the man was unaffected. Ignoring its resistance, he flicked it into the cage.
Eugene awkwardly lowered her hands. She had just remembered him saying that he never shared anything about the beasts.
It must have bothered him. I did treat the beast like it was my own pet.
The connection between a king and his beast was far stronger than between a normal person and their pet. The Praz that was infused into the beast became strongly connected to the king’s Praz so that if their beast was gravely injured, the king could feel it too.
Sensing something amiss, she couldn’t help but ask, “Are you angry?”
Eugene tried to understand his mood. Even though he was normally not one to display his emotions, she was able to recognise the uncomfortable expression on his face.
“I’m sorry that I touched the beast carelessly.” Since she had misstepped, it was only proper for her to apologize.
Kasser knitted his brows, meaning that that was not the problem.
“Do you think I’m angry that you touched it?” he asked. He was taken aback by her question in all honesty.
“Why would you be angry if that’s not the case?” She demanded. The way he grabbed and shoved the squirrel into the cage, wasn’t that proof that he was upset?
“I said I’m not angry.” He reiterated.
Now, Eugene was confused. They had come to his office because he had said that he would show her the beast, and everything had been fine up until now. But now, this royalty was irate.
As she mulled over the situation, a memory of Marianne teaching her how to handle this kind of situation rose to the front of her mind.
“If you are at a social event, there are always times when the atmosphere suddenly becomes uncomfortable. Normally, when someone falters with their words or the conversation stops for some reason…”
In this situation, it is generally accepted that the youngest person or the person with the lowest rank present should take up the responsibility to subtly steer the conversation onto a different topic.
Marianne had added that if you wanted to be able to handle these kinds of social interactions smoothly, you needed to learn these kinds of unspoken rules.
“While it would be acceptable for you to assist someone else in trying to improve the situation with simple agreements, please try not to step forward and do it yourself, Your Grace. If a high-ranking person tries to take on the role of one of low-rank, it could have a damaging effect on their reputation.”
Eugene tried to apply Marianne’s teachings to the current situation. In an absolute monarchy, the king was the highest-ranked person in the kingdom, and everyone else was his subject.
However, regardless of such rules, she did not want to cater one-sidedly to his whims. Since it was not a discussion about national affairs, she was not in the position of his subject, but his wife.
“Your Majesty, if you try to claim that you’re not angry with me, I will be angry with you. You took the beast away from me so aggressively and embarrassed me.” She made known her displeasure without any qualms.
She was no pushover; royalty or not, she didn’t like the way he had just behaved. She was in the right to demand an explanation from him even.
Seeing his silent, sullen expression, Eugene started to feel better. She had never seen him acting like this, she found it unusual and charming.
He was very mature for someone in his mid-twenties. In Eugene’s world, people in their twenties were very immature in both the way they thought and behaved.
Even considering the social norms of this world where most people got married in their early twenties, she thought that he was more mature than other people his age. But for the first time, probably because of his expression, she felt that he seemed childish.
Rather than angry… it seems like he’s upset.
It was a word that did not befit the Desert King. The man who was always unfazed, Eugene was curious about what had bothered him. She had no idea what it could have been other than the beast.
Seeing that things had come to a stalemate, Kasser spoke after a little sigh.
“I didn’t intend to embarrass you. It was my mistake. I’m sorry,” he said sincerely.
Now that he had taken a step to appease her, she felt it would be silly to continue with this tiff. “I was careless as well. I will ask for permission from now on.”
“Don’t worry, you can touch it whenever you want,” he said hurriedly. “Just don’t forget that they’re not ordinary animals and let your guard down.”
He was obviously drawing a line so that Eugene could not press him further. And she didn’t.
Kasser stared at the beast in the cage with mixed feelings. He and Eugene were sitting across from each other with the coffee table in between them. From where he was sitting, he could only see the back of the beast.
The squirrel was scampering about the cage very busily, keeping its back turned on him and facing Eugene. It was as though Eugene was its owner rather than him.