Although this was a very strange behavior considering the beasts’ characteristic of only following their master, he had no space in his mind to think logically while dealing with his complicated feelings.
Should I not have brought it back with me?
He was all turned around just because of a tiny beast the size of his palm. It was an unpleasant feeling, but it was different from anger. It felt like something was boiling in his stomach, something closer to irritation than anger.
He remembered when he had been going to kill the lizard beast after defeating it and had suddenly thought of the queen. She had so much interest in beasts and, seeing her interacting with Abu, it was clear she was not afraid of them.
He had hoped that if he brought the beast back and showed it to her, they would have more things to talk about together.
She was, however, so absorbed by the beast that she was paying no attention to him. It was not the result he had been seeking at all!
He tried not to think about anything else when he was focusing on what was in front of him. When he was outside the palace, he did not think about the people in the palace.
He had been different recently, however. When he had been chasing the beast in the storehouse, every time he paused for a respite, one person returned to his mind. It was the first time he wanted to hurry back to see someone.
And yet, the person he had so wanted to see was more interested in a lizard than her husband whom she had not seen for some days.
Did I make the wrong choice sparing it?
All the hurt and injustice surging within him was the fault of this ungrateful lizard.
“You didn’t eat lunch yet, did you?” he asked. He was desperate to draw her attention to him.
“That’s right.” Her gaze never once leaving the beast.
“Shall we eat together?” he said hopefully.
“Yes, I’d like that.”
Eugene was disappointed that they were moving on from the topic. Although she had grown this much closer to him, they were still not in a relationship where she could freely press him with questions just to satisfy her curiosity.
“Why have you not gone outside? You’ve even put together a team of escorts as though you would be going out often.”
He had expected her to have stepped out into the village in his absence, but to his surprise, she had been cooped up in the palace.
Eugene had left the palace only once and had not gone out since then. She had to be careful in case Rodrigo spotted her.
The day she had first tried going out, Rodrigo had spotted the group of five soldiers. If she went outside with them again and Rodrigo realized that the person those soldiers escorted was the queen, her lie that it had not been her with the soldiers that day would be discovered.
Since Eugene could not explain her situation in such detail, she made up an excuse.
“Going out with the escort was very cumbersome. I felt much more comfortable going out with just you, Your Majesty.”
That caught Kasser’s ear.
“Shall we go out? You still haven’t gone out of the palace during the day, have you? We can even eat lunch outside.”
“Eat lunch outside? Have you tried eating outside the palace?” She was intrigued that this royalty, who had made a fuss over her stomach ache not long ago, was offering to eat at a place other than the royal kitchen.
“Of course. I’m often out of the palace all day. Do you think I just starve?” He thought it was obvious that she would know he ate out.
“Then let’s eat out! I’m curious about how the streets look during the day.” Eugene responded enthusiastically. Although they did not know when the rest period would end, she did not want to reject him.
The person suggesting the idea was the king. He must certainly have thought ahead. Since she could go outside with a much smaller group if he came with her, it was an excellent opportunity for her that she did not want to miss.
What’s more, she was excited about going out with him. The last time she had left the palace, she had been unable to fully enjoy herself due to Jin’s memories and had had to return right away. It had been bothering her since then.
However, she felt this was too good to be true and decided to reaffirm. “Oh, Your Majesty, Are you sure it’s fine if I get close to the beast? You aren’t against it?”
“It’s fine. I don’t mind.” His gaze on her was gentle, emphasizing his sincerity.
Eugene smiled slightly at Kasser’s expression.
“There is a place I want to stop by before we go out. I promised that I would.”
After a little while, the two of them emerged in a garden that was connected to the corridor.
Cupping her hands around her mouth, she yelled “Abu!” She called out again and at once, a small black leopard came bounding over on short legs.
Charging towards Eugene, Abu leapt and threw himself into her wide-spread arms. But before he could reach her chest, he found himself suddenly grabbed firmly by the scruff of his neck.