He just lied to Becky. After all these years he took care of the Anikas, there never was a time an Anika saw changes in her lucid dreams, save for once, twenty years back in the past.
About twenty years ago, every single Anika experienced change in their lucid dreams. As each one of them has their own dreaming cycles, he couldn’t specify the exact time or period such phenomena occurred. He could only assume that it all happened about twenty years ago.
Oddly enough, every Anika saw the exact same changes. No matter if it was a well, a pond or a spring, the important thing was that the water level was always described to have increased compared to the usual level they saw in the past.
Despite paying close attention to Anikas for a while, Sang-je failed to discover what those changes implied. He had their Ramita level measured through the transparent seed but there were no conspicuous changes in their level.
But one day, when the then little Jin came to ask for his help in finding back her lost Ramita, it occurred to him that Jin having lost her Ramita must be related to the changes Anikas saw in their lucid dreams. He then realized that the abduction incident here Jin was one of the children that had gone missing, coincides with the period where Anikas were experiencing changes in their dreams.
And for the past few months, he had been frequently visited by Anikas of late, and the reasons for their visit were all alike. For the first time in twenty years, it seemed like their lucid dreams had changed once more.
Those who experienced an increase in their water level twenty years ago, had seen it reduced to its original level as it had once been. And for those who were born after the changes occurred twenty years ago, had seen the water levels in their dreams reduced even lesser than it had been in their first lucid dreams.
‘Could it be because Jin had recovered her Ramita? Just how strong Jin’s Ramita could be to even affect other Anikas in their lucid dreams?’
‘Then, could it be Jin instead of Flora?’ All these years, Sang-je had waited for Anika who could finally put an end to his endless journey in this world. He was getting restless of late as if he had reached the limit of his patience.
He recently summoned Flora and asked if she had gone through any changes. But Flora had only told him that she was the same as usual. It shall be all clear when he summons her again after her next lucid dream.
Sang-je turned his head toward the firmly shut door. Before long, the door was opened and through it came a knight.
“Your Holiness.” said the knight as he bowed his head.
“Anika Jin is likely to arrive very soon.”
A faint smile flashed across Sang-je’s face at the news.
– I will see her as soon as she arrives. Kindly escort her to my prayer room.
“As you will, Your Holiness.”
After a moment, a carriage entered the palace of the Holy City. And it was Eugene alone who was riding inside.
Eugene remained in her seat for a moment, even after the carriage had come to a complete stop and the door was opened for her from the outside. Before she set off earlier, she dissuaded Kasser, who insisted on accompanying her to the palace.
[I am the only one who’s been summoned by His Holiness.]
[But there wasn’t a word of him forbidding me to visit as well. I can tell him I came along to request an audience with him for some other matter.] Kasser had insisted.
[Your Majesty, I’m really alright. I will go alone.]
[I think it’ll be wiser not to have him provoked unnecessarily. I will tell him that I’ve just come to pay my respects today under the pretext of being weary from the long journey. I’m sure he wouldn’t make any move right away.”
[…I will be waiting outside the palace then.]
[No, please don’t. We’ve agreed to affect a facade of indifference on the outside. I will meet you back at the mansion later, so please go ahead.]
Eugene couldn’t help but to titter when she recalled the restive look on his face, as if he was leaving a child alone by the shore. Thanks to that, she now felt much lighter at heart, feeling her tension seemingly dwindling.
‘Right. There shouldn’t be anything to worry about for the time being. Sang-je must be thinking that I’ve come under his influence now that I’m in the Holy City.’
As Eugene stepped down from the carriage, she was greeted by Pides, who was waiting for her from the outside. Ever since she learned of the truth behind the death of the queen of the Slan Kingdom, she wondered why Pides, who was supposedly Jin’s first love, was sent to deliver Sang-je’s letter, all the way to the Hashi Kingdom. Then, she concluded that such incidents were never a happenstance after all. Moreover, she found Sang-je’s palpable intention to be rather ludicrous, especially at how he tenaciously kept Pides to linger around Jin’s surroundings.
A fresh memory then prodded at Eugene once she saw Pides standing along with the scenery of the palace. In the memory, Jin was speaking to a knight whom she was not familiar with.