‘How long… has it been like this?’
As Praz is an intangible presence, the form it took on was nothing more than a symbol which signifies the identity of the Praz that the king had in his natural possession. Just because the Serpent king’s Praz materialised in the form of a snake, it didn’t really mean it had anything to do with the actual snake.
Although it was the Serpent king’s Praz which was known to have the clearest form of all, it still looked far from real. The Praz was translucent enough to see through its body from up close and with its blurry outline blended into the air of its surroundings, it was no more than a mere image of a snake.
However, what had appeared before his eyes right now was considerably different from the Praz he had always known. Except for not being able to feel its weight around his arm, the prominent scales on its skin almost had him convinced that it was a real snake that was coiling around his arm. The vibrant colors on its vivid skin had covered every skin of his arm with a shade casted by its coiled body.
Kasser concentrated further on his mind in an effort to bring out more of its presence out of him. And to his surprise, the body of the Praz, which was only as thick as his arm before, had suddenly swelled up to almost twice its original size.
‘A little more.’
The blue snake, which had now swelled up to almost the size of a human, was coiling around his whole body as if his arm alone was too cramped for its current size.
‘Go back in.’
At his command, the image of the snake had vanished into his skin as if it was being sucked into his body. And that all literally happened over a split second, barely enough for one to let out an exhale. A hollow laughter was let out by Kasser as he stared at his empty arm, clean without a single trace of blue scale.
Despite taking into account that it was the dry season, the handling of Praz came unexpectedly easy to him and he didn’t even devote his full strength to do so. It had never been this easy for him to take control of his Praz before. And he bet he had struggled more during his prince years, although the Praz was too weak to even have a form, back in those days.
‘The Praz has changed?’
It was hard for Kasser to put his finger on all that was happening to him of late. No one had ever informed him about the possibility of transformation in his inborn Praz before.
But the changes were obvious and what struck him eventually was that the changes he felt in his Praz could be the explanation for his increased vitality.
There must be a reason behind all these changes. He took a moment to look back on what had changed in his life recently.
‘There’s nothing unusual about my recent trip to Holy City as I’ve visited the place numerous times before. Could it be because of the stronger larks which have started to appear more frequently as compared to the last active period? But Praz is not an ability which gets stronger the more it is used.’
His train of thought had stopped when he was about to trace back to his old memories as far as to the last active period. The image of Praz wagging its tail as it swims across the pool of water, which was only an illusion conjured up by Eugene, had flashed across his mind all of sudden.
Now that he thinks of it, there were a few occasions when he had felt that Praz was surprisingly well-disposed towards Eugene. But as he never assumed it to be able to have feelings like a living creature, he had not given much thought to it before.
‘Is it Anika’s presence around me that influences Praz?’
If that was the case, he should have felt all these changes three years ago.
After pondering for a while, a new hypothesis came to his mind. If Anika’s presence alone was not the trigger, then maybe it was the direct intimacy between him and an Anika that did the work.
Although it’s been three years since they were married, it was only three months ago when they had spent their first night together in three years of marriage. Which happens to coincide with the period he started to sense the changes in his Praz.
‘It can’t be.’
Kasser shook his head sideways as he was not logically convinced by his own surmise. As far as he knew, both Anika’s Ramita and the king’s Praz were known to be contradicting each other. Isn’t that the reason as to why Anika, who married the king, eventually returned to the Holy City? Most of them struggled to acclimatize themselves to the kingdom.
He leaped up from his seat with an urge to sift through old books in the castle for more leads to the matter. But he reluctantly plopped back to his chair as soon as he realized that he couldn’t afford to stray from his current tasks at hand.
‘I shall look into it after I come back.’
His eyes were then set on the documents once again. He buried himself back to his work as he needed neither a nap nor a rest at the moment.