Days went by like a breeze. People were scattering in and out of the palace like ants, all of them too occupied with their own posts to pay any attention to matters unrelated to work. The same thing could also be said to both Kasser and Eugene. The royals were not exempted to the days’ work. Government officials were lining up outside the door of the king’s office, and Royal Aides to the queen were busy shuffling back and forth with piles of documents in their hold.
Eugene took a break just after lunch. She went to the balcony with a cup of tea in her hands, facing the relaxing view of the castle’s gardens. The light breeze was pleasant enough, chilling her skin just slightly as she sipped on her hot tea. It was a nice weather to relax in despite the active season, but she couldn’t help but feel a little sad, realizing that there’s still no news.
The news that she was thinking about was that of Rodrigo. Was he looking for the right opportunity? It had been a few days since she heard that there would be temporary workers coming in the palace, why is he still not coming in?
“Your Majesty, you called for me?” Eugene had sent a maid to call and fetch Marianne for her. Eugene turned and beckoned her to come in. Marianne entered the room, and bowed respectfully.
Eugene noticed that ever since she’d taken the Royal Aides under her wing, Marianne seemed to be withdrawn from her, barely attending to Eugene’s presence unless called. She used to be attached to the hip with Eugene, but now all she does are the occasional greetings every morning & evening.
It baffled Eugene completely, not knowing the reason for Marianne’s subtle withdrawal. She also felt like she couldn’t directly ask her what her reason was, and it’s not like Marianne’s attitude changed anyway. It bothered her so much that she called on the General to ask for his opinion. “She probably thinks that she has already provided you all the help she could give.” The General said in a confident tone.
“But I still need help.” Eugene muttered.
“Nothing has changed. If you need her, just give her a call. I also think that she’s being careful too, just in case people from the outside misinterprets your closeness, by implying that she’s trying to get a hold of you.” Explained General Sarah.
From that conversation, Eugene came to realize how thoughtful Marianne truly was. Even if she wasn’t part of royalty, she obviously knew her place, and she knows to do her job well. Having served as the King’s nanny and a General for several decades without any trouble.
“Take a seat.” Eugene told her.
Marianne obliged, “Yes, Your Majesty.” Zanne appeared and placed a cup of tea in front of Marianne, and left.
Looking at the view outside, Eugene said, “The weather’s so nice. I wanted to serve you a cup of tea.” She turned her back and smiled towards Marianne “And I also have a favor to ask.” This request made it seem like that the Queen simply invited Marianne over for the sake of getting favors, but Marianne just smiled towards her.
Their teacup is almost empty when Eugene brought up the subject again, “I need information, but I don’t know where to start. It’s pretty hard to explain.” Eugene was trying to understand what ‘Way of magic, vessel, medium’ meant in the memory. She had considered contacting the servants of Mara, but she didn’t want to get involved with them as much as possible.
“It’s not just any information one could easily have access to, and it’s not a secret too. It’s just that it is something that is not common around here. It’s probably related to dark magic. That sort of thing.” Eugene explained further.
After a short while Marianne responded, “Should I look for a storyteller who is well-versed with legends and tales?” Eugene nodded, satisfied that Marianne was able to understand what she was trying to say. “One more thing, are there people who specialize in the study of society?” Eugene went on.
“I’m not sure about that.” Marianne answered.
“When I looked at the books in the library, I noticed that the quality of those volumes are top-tier, despite being made so long ago. They seem to be very valuable too, very artistic in nature. I’m sure that there must be people out there who have great interest in such things.”
“Alright. I will try to find out.” Marianne nodded and left the study. Eugene leaned on the balcony railing as she looked down at the gardens, with her mind filled with thoughts.
“If my memories won’t show me, I will find out myself.” Eugene thought internally.
She went in and out of the library multiple times, but no additional memories seem to resurface. She also went back to the treasure room, but still, nothing. She couldn’t completely rely on those memories that only came to her at random.
The sound of something being placed atop the table startled Eugene out of her reverie. She turned around and saw a birdcage on the desk, and was held by a man. She was surprised by the king’s sudden appearance.
“Your Majesty?” Eugene said.
Kasser walked up to Eugene in a flash. He took her face gently in his two hands and pulled her into a deep kiss. The kiss was chaste, barely lingering as he pulled away quickly. With a confused expression Eugene asked, “Are you finished with your meeting?”
She heard that the king would be immersed in a very long meeting. Yesterday all they managed was lunch together, but today they weren’t able to do that at all because of the busy day. “It’s just a short break. I have to return soon.” Kasser replied.
“Why the Hwansu?” Eugene asked as she took a glance at the birdcage. Inside the cage, a squirrel Hwansu crawled up and down the railings, clearly excited about seeing Eugene.
“It seemed like you were curious about little kid, so I brought him to you.” Kasser said.