As the carriage came to a halt, Eugene was filled with the same regret she had right before they set out on the road. Rather restless, she considered going back. ‘I should not have come in the first place.’ It felt like it was too soon for her to meet Jin’s family and wasn’t prepared for it.
Her such regret traces back to earlier when she had given her prompt consent to Jin’s second brother, Arthur, who invited her for dinner tonight, adding that everyone was eager to see her again. It was such an impulsive decision that she herself had no idea what had made her do so. She wondered if it was due to a memory of Jin’s which crossed her mind after seeing Arthur’s face.
[I know you hate me. You wish Flora was your sister instead, don’t you?]
Jin’s voice was faltering, it reminded Eugene of Jin’s sullen face. Arthur was looking no more than a boy in Jin’s memory. With a composed look that makes him look mature than his actual age, he said,
[Jin, you are my little sister. No matter what happens, I’ll always be on your side.]
Eugene was simply astonished by the fact that a brother could say such a dialogue one might only hear in novels to his sister. He was nothing like her own brothers who had always hurled insults or curses every time they called her.
After having met with Arthur, Eugene couldn’t help but to wonder about the other members of Jin’s family. But now that she had arrived at the Arse manor, she got cold feet and was gravely regretting her recklessness.
Eugene stopped Kasser as he tried to rise to his feet right across from her.
“Wait.” Kasser gazed into Eugene after seeing fear swept over her face. She just held onto him without saying a word. After a moment, he took her hand by one and patted on the back of her hand with the other.
“It’s alright. They are your family.”
‘Actually, they aren’t.’
Eugene said that only in her heart and tightened her grip on his hand.
“Promise me that you’ll help if I make any mistake.”
“Yes, I promise.”
Kasser couldn’t quite understand as to why she was trying to hide the fact that she had lost her memory to her family nor why she was so nervous to meet them. The Arses would never condemn her for anything no matter how big her mistake may be.
He had once met her father three years ago, before their wedding ceremony. Though they didn’t get the chance to have a long conversation, Kasser had felt the sincerity in her father’s short remark when he had asked him to take good care of his daughter. He got the impression that Eugene must have been an endearing daughter to her father.
Arthur was red in the cheeks; his palms had become sweaty as soon as he realized no one had come out to meet the royal couple after getting off from their carriage. He hastily asked the present butler who was coming up with him.
“The master has gone out and is not back yet.”
“Did he mention when he would return?”
“He had said that he would be back before dark.”
“Ah! This is bad.” Arthur was put in an uncomfortable position. As it was Enoch who asked him to visit Jin in his stead, for he had an urgent business to attend to, his brother’s absence was no news to Arthur. However, Arthur didn’t expect for his father to be out as well.
Arthur didn’t foresee any of these before he brought Jin back home. All he was asked to do was to go and ask his sister if she would like to come over for dinner.
Before meeting her, he had worried that it might be awkward to reunite as a family after so many years. Arthur could never quite bring himself to feign friendliness and say things like ‘My dear lovely sister’ or ‘I’ve really missed you.’, just like the way Enoch would say from the bottom of his heart. Hence, he had worried that Jin might be disappointed to see him come instead of Enoch, whom she used to be fonder of.
However, Jin’s response was however somewhat different from his expectation. She didn’t look particularly happy or disappointed to see him. It took him by surprise when she had given her prompt consent to the invitation.
Doubtless, his family expected Jin to arrive by evening.
“The lady is at the glasshouse.”
Arthur forbore from asking if his lady mother was informed of their arrival. She must have been informed by someone in the house. Even so, there’s only a slim chance that his mother would willingly come to meet Jin. He recalled how his mother didn’t budge an inch even on the day when Jin left the house with all her stuff packed up after announcing her marriage.
He also remembered hearing Enoch making feeble complaints about how he couldn’t understand why their mother was being so cold to her sole daughter. Although Dana’s intention was incomprehensible to Arthur likewise, he felt like he could quite understand why his lady mother kept her distance from Jin.
Unlike Enoch, who’s seven years apart from Jin, Arthur, who was older than Jin by only two years, had spent most of his childhood with her while growing up.
Being reticent and reserved, Arthur was never the type who showed his feelings to others. So even when he was falsely accused of the mistakes which Jin had made, he received all the punishments without attempts to right himself.
Knowing that Arthur would never tell on her, Jin had fairly confided to Arthur alone. Resultantly, Arthur had plenty of chances to observe her natural demeanor. Perchance, he might be the only person who had ever seen Jin without her facade of pretense.
However, he was distraught with worry whenever he thought of Jin—there was a streak of cruelty in her ever since she was a little girl. Jin was only six when she hurled her pet bird down on the floor to death for pecking at the back of her hand and had an innocent maid kicked out from the house after blaming her for killing the bird in her stead.
And as she grew older, she acquired another cunning side and started to put on a kind act when people were around. But after having her lucid dream, she stopped bothering to even do that and treated people with open contempt. It was such a mystery as to who she took after as he had never seen his parents treating anyone ill, not even those who worked for them.
What would be one’s best measure to take if one’s closest flesh and blood seems to be evil by nature?
Their mother couldn’t seem less interested to oversee discipline of her daughter, and their father believed that pouring unconditional love to Jin would change her. Enoch, on the other hand, listened to her every favor and strived to please her every time.
None of it worked.
As for Arthur, he had no role to fill in such a family but had no intention to speak ill of his sister as well. He never hated her. However, he had this foreboding that Jin would end up passing the point of no return someday.
As her brother, he felt deeply responsible in stopping her before she ended up making fatal mistakes that are beyond recall. So, without her knowing, he kept a close watch on his sister’s every move since then.
But as Jin left the house after she got married, he felt almost as if a great weight was taken off from his shoulders. Having to constantly observe someone in secret was never his cup of tea.
Arthur turned his head around to the sound when he heard the carriage door being opened. From there, both the Desert King and Jin emerged within the carriage.
He could hear the pure exclamations slipping out among the maids who had come to meet them. Doubtless they were a veritable match made in heaven. In addition to that, the distinctive black and blue in their hair gave an unearthly impression as if they belonged to a different world from everybody else.