Gemma, who was terribly quailed before, seemed to have brightened up a little by that. She was relieved as Eugene didn’t seem to be holding grudges against her. The reason she lost her temper earlier was because Eugene was looking very much at ease compared to herself. She got more upset when it seemed like she was the only one who’s having a hard time adjusting a life in foreign kingdom when she’d expected Eugene to feel the same.
Although she’d used her pregnancy as an excuse, it wasn’t entirely a lie after all. She clearly was experiencing dramatic mood swings after she got pregnant. Normally, she wouldn’t have made such a mistake of revealing her true feelings to others.
“I actually really wanted to go. However, His majesty did not give his consent.”
“I’m sure he was concerned about his daughter-in-law’s health.”
“Yes, I guess.” answered Gemma rather flatly. Gemma’s somewhat cynical response had left Eugene to wonder if Gemma was on bad terms with her father-in-law.
However, if there really was a problem between them, it didn’t seem like the Sword King was entirely to the blame. Even if his gentle outer appearance belies him, he wouldn’t have revealed such a side of him to noble Anika, who’d married his son. Especially when Gemma was now carrying a royal bloodline.
While it really wasn’t her place to put her nose into other family’s affairs, Eugene wanted to probe more into Gemma to find out what was on Anika’s mind as well as her life in the foreign kingdom. It would help her greatly in collecting information about Anikas.
‘But first, I need to set up a favorable atmosphere so she would open up to me.’
After glancing over at the servants who were standing close by, Eugene said “Anika Gemma, I’m sure you are well-informed of news from the Holy City as you’d left the city much later than I did, are you not?”
“Well, I guess I do but nothing special happened after you left the city. And I haven’t heard anything back since I came here as well.”
“But still, you were there just until last year. I’m not asking for big news. I just want to hear about the little things like what Anikas talked about in the gathering. I have no one else to ask but you as those are the things that can only be shared between Anikas.”
Eugene’s attempt to create a bond seemed to have worked as Gemma responded much more eagerly than she expected. At once, Gemma asked the servants to leave them so they could talk privately.
At first, Gemma was careful in choosing her words to say. But before long, she chattered away almost ceaselessly as Eugene showed interest by giving appropriate reactions every now and then.
Eugene had no means to interfere as it was her deliberate intention to take a step back from the conversation and be more of a listener. She was pretty content with how their conversation had turned out as Gemma did all the talking mostly.
“I’m sure she’d mention me as well. Anika Cassy always has different things to say behind people’s backs. So…”
After a while, Gemma’s chatter turned to gossip instead. It took her a while before she did a double take as she was so absorbed in venting out her built-up resentments. Sheepishly, she trailed off to a whisper and said, “Perhaps I’ve got too carried away as it’s been so long since I had someone to talk about Holy City. My apologies if I have spoken out of turn.”
“Not at all, I’m glad to have found someone to talk to in a long while as well.” said Eugene with a smile.
Eugene was indeed speaking from the heart. Although she doesn’t specifically enjoy long chats, Gemma’s gossip was just like a repository of information to her. The names and personalities of several Anikas from her stories had greatly impressed on Eugene’s memory. More so, the biggest takeaway was that she’d managed to gain some insights into the social gatherings of Anikas.
‘She’s so adorable and naive. I guess it’s because she’s still young.’
Gemma never bothered to be calculative in a cunning way. If Eugene were to speak with one of those sly elderly ladies, the conversation will be nothing more than superficial.
But Eugene didn’t have the slightest idea about how much effort Gemma had made throughout the whole conversation. Gemma was desperate to make the best of her opportunity to cultivate a friendship with Anika Jin.
Gemma had a great admiration for Anika Jin. She was envious of Jin’s looks, her position in the society, as well as her dignified nature. However, Gemma knew that it was impossible for someone from a humble and poor background like her, to ever become someone like Anika Jin.
But there still was a good chance for her to become someone like Anika Flora, who gets to socialize with all sorts of elites in the society, just for being Anika Jin’s friend. She was more envious of all the privileges Flora gets to enjoy in the society, instead of her strong Ramita.
“So, what did people say about me after I left the Holy City?”
Watching Gemma’s mouth being clamped shut in a flurry, Eugene said in a friendly tone, “There are bound to be people like Anika Cassy, who likes to say different things from behind. I bet those who were being cautious around me didn’t bother anymore when I was gone, am I right?”
Gemma gave Eugene a nod for an answer. She had no reason to avoid the topic as she never dared to speak ill of those high-ups, who seemed to live in a totally different world from her. Gemma had only listened to people gossiping when Anika Jin left the Holy City after she married the Desert King. Gemma could literally swear that she didn’t contribute to any of it.
“I’m not asking for the names. I just want to know what they’ve been talking about me. It’ll be helpful to know how people think about me as I’m paying a visit to the Holy City for the first time in a while. I won’t forget your help.”
‘I won’t forget your help.’ That last sentence had instantly caused a great flutter in Gemma’s heart. She felt her heart racing with excitement as she imagined the life of luxury she would be leading in the Holy City at some point in her future. With that in mind, she hesitatingly opened her mouth.
“The most prevalent opinions were that they couldn’t quite understand your decision. They said there was no reason for Anika Jin to marry a king…umm…unless…”
Gemma quickly looked over to Eugene before she continued. “It’s alright. Just tell me everything.”
“Unless the rumor was true indeed… that you hardly have any Ramita with you.”