Charlotte was glancing quizzically at Eugene as she looked up.
“Of the favor which I had privately asked of you before.”
“I wouldn’t say I had been much of help to you, Your Majesty. As all I did was nothing but to pass on your words to my mother’s side of the family.”
Charlotte’s answer must have worked as some kind of trigger as another memory of Jin’s was brought to her remembrance. And there she saw Charlotte, who was sitting in front of her in a different clothing.
[I need you to pass along my letter to your maternal grandfather.]
[I believe it was your wish to seek for a person with the help of my mother’s side of the family. Would your letter contain the like content?]
[Close enough. Though it’s merely a personal favor. Umm… as I do not intend to keep this a secret, I will just tell you openly. If I am not mistaken, I have heard that your grandfather is keeping a rather special kind of hobby himself. Which happens to be my hobby as well.]
Eugene surmised the hobby of Charlotte’s grandfather to be something related to old book collections. If Jin had personally asked for his help, he must be someone with a profound knowledge of that field.
‘Wait, then she could’ve just asked for the help before she returned to the kingdom. And from the way Jin had mentioned about the count’s mother, they sounded like they were acquaintances after all. But why is it that Jin had chosen to communicate through the Count despite all the cumbersomeness?’
Then she heard the voice of Charlotte from the present.
“But I do not know what really happened afterwards. And Your Majesty need not worry further as Count Wacommbe is surely a man of few words.”
As soon as a familiar name fell on her ears, a different scene of memory unfolded in her mind.
[I may have more letters for your grandfather in the future. And it’s obvious that I can’t have you as my bearer every time I have a letter to send. So, I wondered if you could recommend someone who you think is trustworthy of the task, preferably from one of your grandfather’s acquaintances]
[I will make a recommendation as soon as I find someone suitable to your request, Your Majesty.]
‘So.. Count Wacommbe was actually someone who was introduced to by Count Oscar.’
Count Wacommbe, the ancient book dealer, was someone Eugene was watching for her opportunity to have a meet up with. But when Marianne first informed her of Count Wacommbe, she had never told her about any of his connections to Charlotte.
‘I guess she must have not known about it. She wouldn’t have hidden it from me if she knew.’
It occurred to Eugene that Charlotte was indeed someone trustable, as she did not seem to have boastfully blabbered about the Queen’s personal favor to no one.
“I hope you don’t misunderstand as I did not bring that up with any intention of questioning. It just happened to occur to me and I felt like I have yet to say my words of gratitude to you. I want you to know that I am truly thankful for everything you have done for me so far.”
Charlotte had watched Eugene with a curious look before she lowered her head.
“I am more than flattered, Your Majesty.”
Charlotte then muttered to herself that there was definitely something peculiar about the Queen. The Queen had never occurred to Charlotte as someone who would intentionally bring up a past event just to give her gratitude. And throughout the whole conversation, she had sensed the delicate differences in her way of speaking, from the changed expressions on her face and even her gaze seemed like those of a totally different person.
“Look further into the marked section and bring it back to me.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
One of the king’s aides turned his back with a pile of documents in his arms. From his sagging shoulders to sluggish steps, and also from his fatigued pair of pupils, the king’s aide had appeared to be in his worst condition with no doubt. He almost looked like he could fall asleep in no time with just a slight tap of the pillow on his head.
Lord Chamberlain clicked his tongue at the sight of the aide who had just shuffled across before him. It’s been days since they had been living buried in the constantly piling amount of works from the king.
Except for the one time three years ago, the castle had never been left vacant without the king for more than a month. Moreover, time was more than sufficient for all the necessary arrangements before their departure to the Holy City three years ago. Compared to that, this truly was indeed an unprecedented trip which called for emergency measures.
But the staunch chamberlain was more concerned about the king who showed no sign of fatigue at all, than those of gaunt looking aides of his. The Lord Chamberlain, whose presence was barely noticeable as he usually spends the day running little errands for the king, had carefully stepped up to his king.
“Your Majesty, you have been overworking yourself for quite some time now. And I am most worried about your health, especially with a long journey awaiting for you tomorrow. I beg for Your Majesty to take his necessary rest, even for a moment.”
“I’m afraid I still have piles of work to finish before the departure. I’ll rest if I am tired.” Kasser replied.
“With all due respect Your Majesty, I have to point out that you have been awake for two days in a row so far.”
Kasser, who was busy moving his pen on the papers, had come to a sudden halt and asked his chamberlain with his head finally raised from the documents.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The chamberlain carefully studied the king’s pensive face before he spoke again. “Shall I ask everyone to be away for a moment?”
The king sometimes took a short nap leaning on his chair whenever he felt like he was sleep-deprived. Although it wouldn’t be comparable to a proper rest on bed, Lord Chamberlain believed even a short nap would benefit him at this point.
“…Do as so.”
Now that everyone was away, Kasser took the time out to examine his current condition. Was it because he was overly engrossed in work that he had altogether forgotten about his tiredness? He concluded ‘No’ to his own doubt. As even if to say he was now under an optimal level of arousal, it still wouldn’t be possible even for him to maintain such a clear state of mind for as long as this.
Although kings were known to be born with better physical strengths and endurances than ordinary people, that does not mean they were totally invincible. It was just that they tended to feel less tired and were faster in recovery, despite having greater amounts of daytime activity than others. They could easily sit up all through one night, but they would eventually need to nap in between to maintain their state of mind from the second day onwards.
But somehow Kasser was feeling significant changes in his current condition compared to his past. Despite being fully awake for two days in a row, his mind was as fresh as if he had just awoken from a sound sleep in the morning. And he hadn’t felt tired at all lately now that he comes to think of it.
He looked down to his hands and clenched them hard into firm fists. With that, the auras surrounding his bluish eyes had converged over his pupils, vertically extending the glow in his eyes.
Then, a faint illusion of scales had started to appear over his right arm, where his stares were now fixed on. And soon, the outline of the snakelike figure, soaring as it wrapped around his whole arm all the way from his elbow, was now beginning to take a clearer shape.
The outline had gradually sharpened into a distinct form of a snake, all the way from its tail to head—it was his Praz. It was now sticking his head right up against Kasser, staring into his eyes as if demanding for the purpose of its summon, flicking its tongue.
Kasser faced Praz with his brows furrowed, but without any intention of suppression as he was only observing attentively at the blue snake which was around his arm.