Eugene felt as if her breath was caught in her throat, she stopped laughing. She looked at him in some shock. Had he found her out? But that was impossible. Who could possibly imagine the truth?
“You said you wanted me to call you Eugene. That’s the ‘you’ that I want to start over with.” He explained to avoid being misunderstood.
“And if I were to recover my memory and return to my past self?” She countered.
Kasser responded with a dry smile. “I apologize if it seemed as if I was engaging in foolish wordplay. You are right that it’s not possible to split your past self away from you. So, even if you were to remember everything and return to the way you were before, that is all right. As long as your current character does not disappear completely, you will of course still be yourself. I’m not denying that fact.”
As she delved, she realized he did not think of ‘Jin’ and ‘Eugene’ as two different people. But what he said was even more surprising to her than if he had said that he knew they were two different beings. It seemed like, even as he said “I can’t handle your past self,” he was also saying that he didn’t care about how her past was at all.
If this had happened just a few days ago, Eugene would have been sadly unable to respond to him. She had been wandering through this world trying to figure out her own identity. But after yesterday’s events, her internal identity crisis had quieted. That said, there was still a pressing, gnawing query.
“Your Majesty, I know this is a strange question to suddenly ask in this situation, but … is Ramita a power connected to the soul, or to the body?”
Kasser didn’t hesitate for even a moment in his reply. “To the soul, of course.”
The absolute certainty in his answer comforted her. Whoever Eugene thought she was, she was, without doubt, an Anika. She had the right to confidently live out her life in this world. At least, this part of her was no illusion or lie. The incident and the theories she had gathered, all pointed to the fact that at least some part of what his world saw her as, an Anika, was true.
“Eugene,” Kasser said, “In the past, I didn’t understand you. In fact, I didn’t even try to. But of course, this place would have felt strange and unfamiliar to someone like you, who left your homeland and traveled afar. If I had tried to talk with you more back then, like I’m doing right now, things might have been different.”
As he spoke, Kasser became embarrassed and ashamed of his own small-mindedness. He realized that in the past, he hadn’t thought even once to knock on the doors of his queen, who had always stuck to her own little world. The difference in their relationship now was almost all due to her efforts.
Eugene shook her head. The past that the king regretted so deeply, was actually a relief to her current self. If this man had loved Jin, then she would have felt nothing but guilt and pain every time she looked at him.
“I don’t want to talk about the past,” she said to him. “My memory hasn’t even fully returned, and I’ve decided now to go forward only looking ahead.”
“That’s what I’m trying to say.”
“Huh?” she tilted her head, looking at him quizzically.
“I’m saying, let’s only look ahead and go forward together, from now on.”
As she watched a smile spread across Kasser’s face, she couldn’t help reciprocating. Of course, she understood his meaning, to continue to improve and grow together in their relationship moving forward. But what was with this business-like and completely boring way of expressing it as if they were making a trade agreement or something?
She liked him. It was an emotion that felt soft and squishy in her chest. Of course, there were many reasons that led to her liking of him. His good personality, great looks, his position of power, etc.
When your emotions start moving, however, you start liking that person for themself regardless of all of those good and practical reasons. Eugene had come to the point where she was attracted to the very man that was Kasser. Her feelings wouldn’t change, regardless of his status and identity.
But she didn’t want her love to be one-sided. She wanted him to like her as much as she liked him. From this current conversation, though, she could not figure out what his emotions towards her exactly were. She could be straightforward and ask, “Do you like me?”. But she got the feeling that whatever his answer, she would not be able to know whether it was really true. It’s possible that he only needed someone to hold the position of queen in his kingdom. And knowing what a dedicated ruler Kasser was, it wasn’t a far fetched notion.
Eugene smiled lightly and nodded. “Okay. Let’s start over, then. You’re saying let’s not speak of the contract anymore, right?”