Pides had finally made it back to the Holy City. And upon his arrival, he went straight to Sang-je’s prayer room to give his report on the progress. He went up to Sang-je, who was standing on the other side of the room as he opened the door and got down to his one knee.
“I, Knight Pides, have just returned from the Hashi Kingdom upon completion of the task, Your Holiness.”
– I highly appreciate all your efforts. You really have exceeded my expectations. It was an excellent judgement of yours to promptly deliver the news through a correspondence.
“Thank you for your generous compliment, Your Holiness.”
– But I’m afraid I can’t reward your hard work with rest, just yet. As I will have to assign you to a new task this instant.
“I am always at your service, Your Holiness. It is my great honor to serve Mahar’s will.
– I have sent an urgent telegram to send for Anika Jin to the Holy City upon the arrival of your letter and the knights have already been set out to escort her. I want you to ride down and join the knights as an escort to Anika Jin. I am sure she will be delighted to have you as her escort on her way back to the Holy City for the first time in many years.
Pides was well aware of Anika Jin’s feelings towards him for it was harder for someone not to take a hint when such a beautiful and noble young anika gives you a stare, always with a great affection in her eyes.
Whether it was a good thing or not, they somehow ended up going their separate ways from each other. When Pides was of an age where he could easily fall for the temptations, he restrained himself with such an effort of will as Anika Jin was still a young girl. But by the time she grew up to be a fine young lady, Pides had sworn an oath to serve God with all his body and soul for a lifetime by taking the vow of celibacy after he went through a great misfortune in his life.
On the very next day of his declaration, Anika Jin came to see him. But all she did was to give him a long stare in silence, with her sorrowful eyes which later turned to resentment before she left. Pides still can’t get over the look she had given him that day.
So, when he recently encountered her at Hashi kingdom, he sensed a significant air of unfamiliarity around her. Maybe it was because she was now married, or maybe the interval of three years between them was long enough to change how they once had felt for each other. He now spotted nothing more than a token of courtesy in her eyes when she looked at him.
Although he had realized that he no longer meant anything to her anymore, he obediently responded to Sang-je’s order without complaint.
“I will set off right away, Your Holiness.”
– And about the letter you sent, it contained no other news apart from the incident regarding the Lark tree. Are you certain that you have delivered my letter to Anika Jin?
“Yes, Your Holiness. And when she finished reading it, she had asked me to inform you that she was still in search, as her reply to your letter.
Sang-Je’s brow had slightly furrowed with his eyes still closed.
– That was all?
“Yes, Your Holiness.”
– …Very well.
Pides, who had vowed his head before he turned around to leave, came to a halt and hesitated before he spoke.
“Your Holiness. If only I may, I would greatly appreciate it if you could share your wisdom to a doubt of mine. “
– It would be my pleasure.
“Will it be possible for something other than a seed… a lark to actually transform into a tree?”
– It certainly is possible. In fact, the very tree in the main square which is widely known to the people was actually a lark instead of a seed.
“I beg your pardon? If so, how can it…”
– If the fact ever goes out to the world, the kingdoms then would scramble for Anikas during the active periods, to have them as a spearhead during their war against the larks. But Anika is not born to the world to be sacrificed for such a trivial purpose. Moreover, not all Anika have such power. The miracle was first realized by Anika Roxy, who was known to possess the strongest Ramita, and among all the Anika in existence at the moment, it was only Anika Flora who had the same ability as her. But now I believe, Anika Jin has got herself the same ability as well.
Pides was astonished by what he just heard as he revolved them in his mind. According to Sang-je, Anika Flora had a powerful Ramita, enough to be comparable to Anika Roxy’s, who is considered as a legend. And that now Anika Jin’s Ramita was no less than theirs as well.
– That is the reason why I have urgently sent for Anika Jin. As you must’ve noticed, Anika Jin’s Ramita is tenuous, but if her Ramita has somehow evolved, it surely is an unprecedented situation for us all. Therefore, Pides, I need you to bring Anika Jin back to the Holy City at all costs.
“Yes, Your Holiness. I will get right on it with all my might.”