Although the Holy City is not subjected to the hierarchy system of the kingdoms, the kings were regarded just as special as Anikas who possessed distinct abilities as well as their appearances.
To merchants, who wish to expand their business further to foreign kingdoms, the royals were without doubt their most honored guests. Seats for the royal guests were always reserved even in those social gatherings that are strictly limited to the elites of the Holy City as the very attendance of a king could make a huge difference.
Patrick cleared his throat, breaking the silence. Then he began with an ordinary conversation opener. “Pardon me for the poor reception. And I hope you’ll understand that things aren’t usually disordered like they are today.”
“Nothing matters more than the well-being of the lady. Please treat me as your son-in-law as I’ve come today to pay my respects to my wife’s parents.”
“It’s been three years since my daughter left the nest. Time does seem to fly at my age. I may have overindulged Jin as she’s my youngest daughter. Please be understanding even though she wouldn’t be all satisfactory to you.”
“That’s very modest of you. But I must say she really is the most ideal queen I could ask for as she’s most certainly irreplaceable.”
“Oh. Is that so? That’s a… a relief.” Patrick said so in his bewilderment. But his face lightened up gradually as no parent would get enough of hearing words of praise for their children. It made him feel good even if they were only words of courtesy. Whatever grudge that was left in the bottom of his heart seemed to have faded by that.
“To my regret, we haven’t been in touch since there’s a great distance between us. How’s Jin doing in the kingdom?”
“She’s the reason for my well-being in the kingdom, as a matter of fact. I couldn’t be thankful enough for allowing me to take the hand of your precious daughter in marriage.”
“You are most welcome.” Patrick looked very perplexed at Kasser’s words. The Desert King spoke in such an earnest way that didn’t sound like he was just giving out words of courtesy. Besides, from the impression Patrick got in their brief encounter before the marriage, the king didn’t come across as a man who would say empty words just out of politeness.
‘His demeanor is much gentler today than last time.’
The Desert King most certainly wasn’t rude, but his manners showed no more than mere formality in their first encounter. Kasser was indeed a man of impeccable manner. But since he seemed like someone who would impose strict standards on others as he is with himself, Patrick had been worried if his self-centered daughter, who grew up pampered by everyone, could get along with her husband. But it seems like it all had been his needless worry after all.
“The conversation is getting very long. I hope the lady is not overdoing herself, especially since she has just regained consciousness.” Kasser expressed his concern once again. This time, Patrick finally got an inkling of what Kasser was trying to convey. It wouldn’t be Dana whom the Desert King was truly concerned about.
Seeing the Desert King striving to hide his growing restlessness, Patrick was convinced for the first time that the king was indeed his son-in-law.
As it also concerned Patrick that his wife might get worked up again as she spoke to her daughter, he gave a nod to Kasser as he rose to his feet.
“I better go check on them.”
Just then, Eugene came into the sitting room. Her sudden reappearance took everyone by surprise. She opened her mouth as she looked at Patrick.
“Mother says she has some important things to say to you… father.”
Eugene added the last word, which she wasn’t very accustomed to, as she trails off to a whisper. She felt different in the presence of Patrick now, compared to her first encounter with him. Her once guilty feelings, which forbade her from looking into his eyes, were now replaced with overwhelming emotion surging inside her.
Instead of the man with the dull eyes, who was never sober nor had the slightest sense of refinement or morality in his entire life, this man, who was literally standing at her arm’s length, was her real father.
“Really? Right now?”
After having stared at his father’s back, who hurried himself at his wife’s call, Eugene turned to her brothers. “Both of you too.”
“Yes. Mother says she has some very important things to tell you all.”
Eugene gave a good long stare at the back of her brothers as well. They were her real family. Once Dana was finished with what she needed to say, she wanted to give her father, as well as her two brothers a decent greeting like the way she and her mother shared the joy of reuniting by giving each other a hug. The overflowing joy of having found one’s root was truly beyond explanation.
Lastly, she turned to Kasser and brightened into a smile when her eyes met his.
‘After all this time, I still was unable to get you off my mind.’
As her conversation with her mother prolonged, she couldn’t help but to think of Kasser, who must be waiting impatiently for her return. He had truly been a great support to her the entire day. Her concentration faltered whenever she thought of his worried look.