Kasser went to the treasure house and, upon finding the national treasure missing, visited the queen for a confrontation. As a result, he spent most of his day away from his work, which had piled up during his expedition outside the kingdom.
He hardly finished his dinner and stuck himself to work in his study for the rest of the day.
“Your Majesty, Marianne requests for an audience.”
Kasser put down the documents he was looking at and prompted the general to let Marianne in. She came later than he had expected.
Could it be that she and the queen had a lot to talk about?
Well, this is indeed strange. Anika could not stomach being in the same room as Marianne before.
Marianne’s face was subtle. After rendering her salute, she raised her head. She, who always had a clear purpose, looked disoriented.
“Did the talk go well with the queen?”
“What about her so-called “rightful compensation” for her missing servants?”
Marianne stared at the king and sighed.
“Your Majesty, it’s a serious matter. You should take this situation severely.”
“All right then, what’s the problem? Do you think Anika is lying?”
Marianne could not answer. The queen claiming she had memory loss was ridiculous. But what’s even more perplexing was that Marianne sat opposite her and talked for nearly two hours. With the queen!
It was like the high-handed, arrogant, hostile queen had completely disappeared. Besides, he had never heard of Anika having a twin.
Marianne busied herself by looking for doctors after speaking with Eugene. She asked several doctors about the symptoms of memory loss, and whether losing one’s memory could change a person’s personality at all. But no one gave a helpful answer.
“Did call her ‘Queen’?”
“What was her reaction?”
“Calm. She didn’t act violently.”
“Isn’t it funny? You know how obsessed the queen is with the title. If the queen were faking her memory, she would have given up her obsession. It’s not easy to give up on something that’s especially important to her.”
Jin Anika never allowed anyone to call her ‘Queen’. She was immensely proud of the fact that she was Anika. She firmly believed that it was an insult to call her by her title instead of her adored name.
From then on, everyone became careful with their mouths, but still, there were quite a few mistakes made by the maids at the beginning of the royal couple’s marriage. They were punished severely for calling her with the title, and several of them were beaten to death.
“Do you believe that the queen has lost her memory?”
“I don’t know. I, for one, am not good at reading people.”
If she’s lying, he’d surely find out. How long would it be possible to hide one’s true nature?
If proven that she was trying to deceive the king, then she would be in debt of greater punishment. Kasser saw this as an opportunity. Now, he would have the leash to hold her tight. She couldn’t afford to act out of her newly built character.
Whether it’s just an act or not, the current Anika was much better than the original queen. The former queen never ran out of clever narratives if she thought something was against her. So any conversation with the queen only ended in futile attempts.
And now, for the first time, he felt like he had a decent conversation with his wife.
“Even if she lost her memory, she still knows the important pieces of information about the kingdom.”
“Yes. I didn’t feel that there was a problem with that when I spoke to Anika.”
“Then, what else are you worried about?” Marianne looked at Kasser’s gloomy face and couldn’t help but ask what was bothering him.
“What else am I worried about? Now that she acts like that, I’m afraid I’m going to wait longer to hold an heir in my arms.”
Kasser evaded Marianne’s eyes upon saying so.
“Your Majesty, next month is exactly three years since your marriage. When are you going to give me good news?.”
“Next month? Not the month after?”
“Your Majesty, how could you forget?”
Kasser, who was quietly counting the dates, became quiet. His brows scrunched up as he tried to recall.
“It’s next month,” he finally said.
“The anniversary date for your national wedding in the kingdom is in two months, but you wrote your marriage certificate in front of Sang-je first.”
Kasser lamented. He was under a really ridiculous illusion. As Marianne had said, a marriage certificate bestowed by Sang-je validated their marriage before the actual ceremony which followed the month after.
And next month would be the third anniversary of his marriage to Jin Anika.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s the next month or the next. Your Majesty, it’s about time you have your successor.”
No, that’s very important. Marianne knows nothing of the contract.
Kasser answered only inwardly. Three years after marriage was crucial to the marriage law. Couples who were fruitless after this period were eligible to annul their union.
Their marriage was a problem from the beginning.
In the commencement of the contract, Kasser prepared a fake marriage certificate to be given to the Sang-je and, therefore, he traveled towards Seongdo. Then he returned to the kingdom and held a national wedding ceremony.
However, the two did not spend their first night in the arms of each other. No, within the three years of their marriage, the royal couple still hadn’t copulated. No one would believe it, and Marianne, who’d been nagging Kasser, would probably faint if she knew of this.
Of course, this fact was a secret that only the king and queen knew. As agreed, no one in the castle knew of the contract, except the parties involved.
That’s what the queen wanted. They pretended to be married even if they were not.
There must be a reason why she needed her status as queen, a reason why she proposed a quaint contract. She had offered to tell him the reason when their contract ended.
Yet, Kasser was not interested, for he only needed a successor. It was only now that his curiosity piqued when the queen started acting out of her character.
Has the queen ever intended to run away before I came back?
After their marriage, Kasser spent almost three years in his reconnaissance in the desert. Therefore, he had not seen Anika for long and didn’t have the chance to sleep with her to fulfill the contract. Besides, she strictly set a bargain between them–he must not touch her, not until she says so.
If the queen was not willing to keep her end of the deal, she should have taken her chance while Kasser was away from the castle. She could have just disappeared somewhere and come back after three years to claim the annulment of the marriage.
But why did she choose to roam around the desert for days?