“Way of magic….”
She thought that maybe the diagrams from the torn page had something to do with the words “Way of magic”, seeing that Jin had muttered these words while clutching on the sheets.
There also had been something similar to that on Earth- where she had originally lived. Like that of a dark magic, or the ability to summon demons.
Back in the Middle Ages when religion reigned all over the world, dark magic was something that was greatly respected, people believed in its existence and they made sure to live their lives in accordance with its teachings. But modern society today was different, and people think of those as nothing but tales.
Like Earth, science prevails in Mahar. But even with the idealistic nature of Mahar, unexplainable events seem to happen on a daily basis.
“I wonder if it has something to do with summoning Mara, the God.” Eugene thought.
But then the story didn’t make any sense. Rodrigo said that Jin had disappeared right before the ritual, and it seemed like he didn’t know the reason why the queen went to the desert. If Jin wanted to summon Mara, she shouldn’t feel the need to hide it from them.
Getting help from the servants of Mara would have benefited Jin so much, but why did she feel the need to gather those old texts instead? It wasn’t as if they didn’t know each other, and she even had the title ‘Saint’ attached to her name.
Completely lost in her thoughts, Eugene traversed along the corridors with no maid trailing beside her. She didn’t ask for company because she didn’t think that she would take so long in the library.
Nearing the galleries, her thoughts drifted to the memories of her playing with Abu. She fondly reminisced as she trudged along.
“I haven’t seen Abu since that day…”
She wasn’t able to thank him properly. If it weren’t for Abu, she would’ve been severely injured from falling off the horse.
Eugene went to the spot where she and Abu would always meet. She also made sure to arrive at the same time of day like they used to, and even faced the direction where Abu would always come from. She called for him and waited, but the small, black panther did not appear.
Eugene called for him again. But still, Abu did not show up. Even with Abu’s absence, Eugene decided to wait further. She was confused as to why the King’s hwansu was not appearing, even though he’s definitely around the area.
Hwansu is a type of Lark, and now she’s able to sense the presence of a Lark nearby. She was able to perceive them before too, but it had been unclear back then.
Ever since she had a lucid dream of being able to use her Ramita, her senses seemed to double over and have grown sharper. The peculiar feeling she always sensed from a Lark felt much stronger, more recognizable now.
“Abu. If you don’t come out right this second, I swear I’m going to leave!”
Upon hearing her words, the small, black panther suddenly made an appearance. He was situated underneath a bush, slowly crawling out of its position, not exuding his usual demeanor of confidence and enthusiasm.
The panther’s ears were flattened back against its head, and his shoulders stooped low to the ground. He looked almost pitiful in that state.
She was suddenly reminded of Abu’s fierce state. The sight of Abu fighting a monster whose size is as big as a house is still clear in her mind as if it happened yesterday. Abu was confident and unwavering then, unlike the panther that she was seeing now.
He looked so cute in this state that she wanted to pull him into a hug and rub her face directly to his soft, matted fur. Laughter is also threatening to burst out of her, but she held it in her chest instead.
She didn;t know why the panther’s acting like this, but he seemed so serious that she’s glad she’s able to reign her laughter in, not wanting to offend the panther in any way.
“Abu, what’s wrong? Are you mad at me?” Eugene asked.
He answered her by lying down on the soft ground and wagging his tail. He seemed to be saying ‘no’.
“I was really thankful for the help you’ve given me that day. Sorry for saying that just now. Is that why you’re upset?” She asked the panther.
He only continued wagging his tail.
“Hmmm. What could be the problem? I can’t figure it out.”
Eugene approached Abu slowly, not wanting to scare the panther off as she made her way towards him. Abu didn’t seem bothered with their close proximity. Eugene stretched out her hands and pulled the black panther close to her, closing him into an embrace.
“Abu, it’s okay.”
As if she was comforting a child, she patted Abu as she held him in her arms. Abu seemed to enjoy her affections that he began to purr at her ministrations. Regaining his spirits quickly, his ears suddenly turned upwards, looking like his old self again.
The truth was, Abu was not able to forget Eugene’s screams of fear when he threw the rat right next to her.
After that incident, he was worried that Eugene might not like him anymore. Even when he was praised for helping her when she fell off the horse, it still did not ease his worries away.
But now with Eugene hugging him and playing with him the same way she always did before, his fears slowly melted down and diminished completely. He even flipped to his back to show his playfulness.
He could not speak, but he looked at her as if he’s promising her that he will never throw a rat towards her again.