“Yes… I’m listening.”
Eugene stared at him unfamiliarly. In her memory, the Fourth King, Kasser, was certainly the same man in front of her, but why did he feel so different.
A chilly visage and frosty tone.
This man, who called her “Eugene”, had never once spoken as coldly as she remembered. She sighed as if she had suddenly come to a realization.
“It was you…”
“What?!” Her abrupt words confused him.
“The one who called me…”
In her dream, she was exploring the limitless waters like the infinite sea. For her, who had never learned how to swim, the water was as comfortable as a plain. As she swam, she felt like a mermaid exploring the shoreless form, delighting in its mystic enormity.
Immersed in her merriment, she seemed to have forgotten everything. She was brought out of her frolicking the moment she heard something.
I have to go back.
That sound seemed to have been her name, but she wasn’t able to point out the source.
“I… I thought I heard your voice in my dream.” Thinking back to it, it did feel like his voice, although it sounded faint.
“If I had known, I should have called you sooner. You were unconscious all day, and then you woke up because I called you?” Kasser said with a look of despondency.
He didn’t know what to say, the way things had transpired was truly beyond his comprehension.
But the truth was she wasn’t unconscious but in a prolonged sleep. However, Eugene didn’t think it was appropriate to say so, in fact, the look on the man’s face steered her away from revealing it.
Instead, in response, he held his hands tightly, not missing the softness in his tone, and unabashedly smiled at him.
“I’ll be sure to discuss it with you next time before I do anything. It’s my fault this time.” She tried to appease him.
“… Don’t say something you won’t follow.” He outright called her bluff and went on to remind her. “Be careful not to make promises that you cannot keep…”
Kasser had been in a foul mood all day. Seeing her unconscious, his mind was filled with worry and resentment. However, all the negativity had vanished, just like that, when she had snaked her hands around him and laughed naïvely.
It wasn’t something to be overlooked. He knew…
Kasser glanced down at his own hands held by both of hers, gently tugged himself free and wrapped his arm around her back.
With the sudden pull, Eugene leaned on his chest, about to fall. His hand rubbed her shoulder, stroked her neck. His lips gently brushed against her cheeks, eyelids, and temples.
She was still on the surface as he rained light kisses, but inside her heart was throbbing. She was abashed, a little embarrassed even unlike when she had received a much more explicit caress. Oddly, he seemed more affectionate like he was tending to a treasure.
Seemingly coming to his senses, he remembered something important that he had otherwise forgotten until now. “I’ll send for a doctor.”
She knew it was futile to refute, she wouldn’t be convinced if she were to say she was fine, more so she didn’t want to reject his affection. “Okay.”
“Don’t go out of the castle until Sang-je’s knight arrives.”
“What?! A knight of Sang-je?” Eugene pushed him away and raised her head.
“I’m sending a dispatch to the Holy City. I’m sure there will be a knight here before the end of the season. Then we can start as soon as the dry season begins.”
Eugene was confused. What in the world had happened while she slept?
“What do you mean? Why is a knight coming? And a dispatch? Start for where?” She hurriedly shot a barrage of questions.
“The Holy City.”
Eugene’s eyes widened to their limits.
“You should go better Sang-je as soon as possible.” He added in a low tone.
His deep-seated fear of her memories returning, and the ensuing estrangement that he had envisioned was the root cause for his reluctance to take her to the Holy City. But now, rationality had prevailed, her well-being a top priority.
“Because of the Lark becoming a tree?” she asked in disbelief.
“There is that, but there’s something else too. We’ll talk later. Right now, you need to know Sang-je will summon you anyway. Rumors are rife, a Lark has become a tree. Your Ramita seems to be beyond the ordinary.”
“No!” Eugene shook her head. “I think I should go to the Sang-je, but not so suddenly. And you said that Sang Je will summon me anyway. We can wait and decide when the knight comes.”
“You should have gone straight to the Holy City after you lost your memory,” Kasser said gravely.
He couldn’t trust her back then. At first, he had suspected she was pretending to lose her memories. After that, he thought she would abandon her contract if she went to the Holy City. There were still suspicions that she might not come back once she went to the Holy City. The thought that he had assumed this made his stomach twist from worry, rather than anger. He didn’t want to let her out of his sight, not even for a moment.
But if she got into trouble because of her greed, he would regret it even more. He was sincerely hoping that she would not go the wrong way.
Eugene couldn’t figure out what he was thinking. These days, he had not even mentioned his successor. She found it strange, especially because she knew how important and obsessed he was about having an heir.
“Do you want me to go?” she asked, looking at him keenly.