The honored guests of the Slan Kingdom had departed early in the next morning of their visit. Gemma, who went out to see them off, quietly stared into the carriages as they slowly disappeared from her sight.
The hour was still early for Gemma. As of late, she was getting more and more reluctant to leave her bed in the mornings, due to her pregnancy. More so, she had only gone to bed well past her bedtime last night as the banquet ended at a very late hour. However, she was feeling strangely refreshed despite all the fatigue from her lack of sleep.
Gemma felt like she had the wildest dream of her life last night. In fact, instead of a nightmare, it was perhaps the most pleasant dream she’d ever had. She couldn’t quite cool down her excitement as she still had a vivid recollection of yesterday’s banquet. Of all the various banquets she had attended after she became the princess, she had never so much enjoyed herself than she did yesterday.
Despite being born as an Anika, Gemma had never once regarded herself as someone special before. She always felt like she was a nobody compared to other Anikas that she met in the gatherings, as she reflected that she was neither beautiful, nor was she from a prestigious household and nor did she have a high Ramita level like the others. Gemma further despaired when she had to leave the Holy City, as she was chosen to marry a royal and to produce an heir to their kingdom.
So, for as long as she can remember, she had always thought that she was no more than an extra in other people’s lives. However, for the first time in her life, she’d almost felt like she was a lead during yesterday’s banquet.
Gemma was left confused as there clearly was something different about Jin yesterday, compared to the last time she saw her in one of their gatherings.
To Gemma, Jin was someone who lived in a completely different world from her, as she seemed to radiate some kind glow just by her mere existence.
Therefore, Gemma had surely assumed that Jin would sweep the banquet as it was indeed specifically held to welcome her visit to the kingdom. However, Jin never left Gemma’s side throughout the whole banquet, who was standing back from the crowd.
Soon, people gathered around them like clouds as Jin only allowed herself to get introduced to others through Gemma. And whenever the conversation seemed to get lengthy, Jin engaged Gemma into the conversation so that she wouldn’t feel left out. The two Anikas must have looked as if they were as thick as thieves in people’s eyes, as they went about the banquet hall together, throughout the whole night.
Thanks to Jin, Gemma felt like the nobles had started to see her in a new light. It somehow made her feel proud and later, she even laughed out loud at will, without being conscious of her surroundings for the first time in her life.
‘Maybe I’ve been too self-conscious this whole time.’
Perchance the nobles had never looked down upon her after all. She must’ve tormented herself in vain all along by thinking that she would most certainly be slandered or sneered at by the nobles for her sloppiness, as she was unused to social customs or the court etiquettes of the kingdom. However, she was never once mistreated by any of them now that she recalls back.
Gemma never knew a way to become the center of the attention as she’d never once been a lead before throughout her life. However, something had finally struck her yesterday. She came to realize that all she needed was to have more confidence in herself. It was her attitude of mind that was holding her back after all.
“Princess, let’s go inside.”
Gemma turned her head over to the sound and looked at her husband.
“You must feel tired, aren’t you? I’m worried that you might fall ill as you seem to have overstrained yourself. Let’s go inside and take some rest.”
As she gazed at the symbolic grayish hair, which represented the Slan Kingdom’s royalty, she recalled the words Anika Jin had said to her yesterday.
[To be married to one of the special people, only six that exist in the whole world. Isn’t that fascinating?]
Gemma clearly saw the sincerity in Jin’s features as she said that.
[My child will become a king in the future. And so will his child. In fact, that means my bloodline will be inherited generation after generation. We are becoming a part of history.]
Gemma was truly astonished as such thought had never crossed her mind before.
However, if the exact same words had come out from the mouth of another Anika, who was in the similar position as hers, instead of Jin, would have only sounded like some sort of self-comfort to Gemma’s ears. It sounded much more convincing hearing from Jin herself, as Jin had chosen to be married to a king although she was more than capable of having any man she desired if only she wanted to. The Desert king was indeed the man Jin had chosen for herself.
[Try to look around your surroundings. Surely you wouldn’t find any man who has better conditions than the kings anywhere in the world. There wasn’t any man in the Holy City who was up to my par.]
‘She’s right indeed.’ Gemma murmured in agreement. It wasn’t hard to tell just by looking at those of the nobles.
She recalled that her husband did stand out among all the noblemen at yesterday’s banquet. Something which she had been disregarding all along, as she was too occupied with the repulsion she felt from him and also which she had purposely ignored.
“Is there anything wrong?”
Conscious of Gemma’s unusual long stare, the prince asked. Looking at the innocent face of her husband, Gemma felt as if a sudden guilt was creeping up on her. Although their marriage wasn’t out of love, her husband had always tried to make her feel comfortable around the kingdom. It was her who had tried to shun him out by persisting on her aloof attitude despite all his efforts.
Gemma, who’d been counting down to the day she would finally be able to return to the Holy City once she was free after giving birth to a child, felt a sudden change of heart after considering Jin’s remark. It was considerably easy for her to give up on her original plan, as it wasn’t like she belonged to the Holy City in the first place.
A life in the kingdom while raising her child, who would ascend to the throne in future, didn’t seem like a bad idea after all. While she would only be regarded as one of the many Anikas in the Holy City, she would become the one and only queen of the kingdom if she remained.
“Are you busy today?” She asked her husband.
“Pardon? Umm, no. Not at all.” The prince looked flustered, surprised at his wife’s sudden question.
“Then would you mind recommending some light reads for me? Something which is good for prenatal education would be most ideal.”
Without hearing a reply, Gemma quickly wheeled around and walked away in rather hurried steps. There was a flushed look on her face as she was quite embarrassed by her own remark.
After staring at his wife’s back with a puzzling look, the prince promptly followed her with a faint smile on his face.