‘The place looks fine to me.’
But despite how it appears on the outside, it seems like the place needed some good repair. And to see to that matter, Kasser didn’t get to join her on the tour around the house to his regret.
The manor had indeed been left unattended for many years with no one residing in it. The late Desert King hardly made any visit to the Holy City, and it’s been three years since Kasser’s brief stay, when he had come for the marriage. The manor was practically neglected although it had been entrusted to the caretaker. Indeed, the manor lacked in people with a real sense of duty in managing the house. With all the repair works neglected over the years, the house was now in a serious condition.
So Kasser had gone in person to see the condition of the manor and check on the places which needed fixing while personally assigning the repair task to someone reliable.
‘It must be because no one lived in it for so many years no matter how greatly it was managed. As empty houses are more likely to go to ruin. But… why was it left empty?’
What about the late queen? Didn’t Kasser’s mother live here?
Eugene had heard that his mother lived in Holy City but knew nothing of the context. Was it alright for her to ask? Would he tell her if she asked? It will hurt if he doesn’t. But more than that, she wondered if she had the right to ask such questions.
Yesterday, after crying her eyes out in his arms, Kasser had not asked her a single question since then. She felt sorry yet thankful for him being so patient with her until she was ready to tell him.
She had no idea as to how she should bring up to him that this whole marriage was actually a part of a scheme from the start. She couldn’t get enough courage to tell him just yet. Inattentively, Eugene looked around her surroundings and before long, she was absorbed into her own thoughts.
‘Retrieve her Ramita… what was the meaning of that? How come Jin was without Ramita? Did she mean that she had lost her Ramita although she used to have it before? If so, there must have been some kind of incident before she lost it.’
She felt alone. There was no way for her to ask people around about it as it was such a sensitive subject. And it was also hard to ask Kasser for the investigation—it was likely to arouse Sang-je’s suspicion if he ever finds out.
But there was someone who she could ask without having to come under suspicion. Moreover, they must know best about Jin more than anyone else.
‘Should I meet them….’
Ever since her encounter with Sang-je, new doubts have outnumbered the hints she had found out so far. She was feeling heavy at heart with all the burdens pressing down upon her.
Eugene opened the door which had an unusual pattern that caught her eyes and went inside. She was greatly astonished by its interior for she entered the palace bearing no expectation at all beforehand. Despite its pitiful state, it still exudes a hint of its past grandeur.
The room was wide with a high ceiling and looked almost like a small garden. On the podium which was separated from the floor by some steps, there were various kinds of flowers and plants placed all around the room in countless vases and pots. The way the ivies had grown high all over the wall was just stunning.
“Is this place embellished only recently?”
Eugene asked the maid wondering if they had fixed up the place upon hearing that the owner of the manor was coming for a visit.
“No, my queen. This has always been a garden.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“For whom was this place embellished for? It surely would cost a fortune just to buy enough flowers and plants for the whole place.”
“They all are indeed dry plants, and they don’t have to be looked after and just need to replace them once in every month. Also, we’ve been receiving all the flowers and plants from the Arse family.”
It struck her when she was just about to ask why they were sending out such things to the house. Arse. It was the family Jin was born to.
Eugene went up to a nearest pot with a tall plant. Then, she carefully touched on its green glossy leaf. Compared to the dry flowers she had known from earth that rustled with touch, the leaf seemed more artificial than dried.
‘The way they produce the dried plant is more sophisticated.’
This must be a costly product made with special techniques. Perhaps it was costlier than a real plant.
“So, they are all sent by the Arse family? Every once in a month?”
“Yes, my queen.”
“It has been over two years since I’ve been working here, and I’ve seen them delivered every month since I first started working.”
‘It seems like Jin and her family aren’t on bad terms after all.’
It seems like they’ve started to send the flowers around the time when Jin had left after her marriage three years ago. They must have been sent so that Jin could see them whenever she comes back to stay in the Holy City. She could feel the love of the person who sends out flowers enough to fill the whole room, every once in a month.
‘You are so lucky Jin…’
She wondered what it would feel like to have a family who loves her. It must be a feeling where one would start feeling invincible. Just by having the belief that there’s a man who’ll always be on her side was enough to make her feel stronger than ever.
But at the same time, she was assaulted with a sudden sense of guilt. She was standing here in place of a woman who was a precious daughter and sister to others. How could she ever face the Arse family?
Eugene, who had been staring at the plant in a daze, turned around at the call. Without her knowing, the chamberlain, whom she has gotten familiar with while traveling up to the Holy City, was standing nearby. He lowered his head while saying, “My queen. His Majesty has sent for you. A guest has come for a visit.”
“Has the guest come to meet me?”
“Yes, Your Majesty. He came from the Arse family.”
A flicker of surprise showed in her eyes immediately.