“We must hold a banquet. A grand welcome banquet to celebrate my daughter’s return after a long time. I guess the manor would need a little touch up for the first time in a while.”
Eugene asked with a hint of excitement on her face. “In the manor?”
“A banquet in our manor is more likely to catch people’s attention than to just hold it in a banquet hall.”
“But… wouldn’t it be cumbersome with all the people coming and going? Not to mention all the preparation work needed as well.”
“The greater the crowd, the better the celebration will be. Now that the subject has been brought up, we must set a date.” With clear excitement on her face, Dana got started on planning right away. She asked a maid to bring her pen and paper and started to write down her rough idea on the scale as well as the entertainment for the banquet.
‘…A banquet? Here in the Arse manor?’ Flora took alternative glances at Jin and Dana in disbelief. The deep affinity between mother and daughter radiated in the way they smiled at each other. Lady Arse, who had always avoided Jin with cold indifference, has taken a complete change in her attitude towards her daughter.
Flora felt queasy suddenly. She felt like she was alienated when it dawned on her that she was nothing but an uninvited guest who made an abrupt appearance in the middle of the family gathering.
She also felt a sense of crisis growing as she realized that Jin lacked nothing now that she has both Sang-je and her family’s support behind her. Once the word of a banquet being held at the Arse manor gets out to people, Jin will become the talk of the town in no time while Flora’s effort for the last three years will fall apart like the way waves washes away the sandcastle without leaving a trace.
Flora rose from her seat and gave a nod as everyone turned to her. “I’m very sorry to interrupt but I’ve only come to give my present to the lady today. I’m afraid I must take leave now as I have some other business to attend to.”
“I’ll look forward to my present on your next visit, Flora.” Eugene cut in, knowing full well how spiteful she might sound.
Flora bit her lips for a moment before she flashed her innocent smile at Eugene.
“Alright. I’ll bring Sir Pides with me the next time I come to visit.”
Eugene felt her face hardened instantaneously at Flora’s remark. She then stole a quick glimpse at Kasser and was relieved to see there was nothing registered on his face.
However, it wasn’t only Eugene who was caught off guard by Flora’s bold remark as it was no secret to the family that Jin had used to admire Sir Pides. Though it shouldn’t matter much as it was all before her marriage, it was still very inappropriate of Flora to mention it, especially in the presence of Jin’s husband.
Enoch regarded Flora with a degree of surprise in his eyes. ‘Have I been wrong about Flora all this time?’
He’d always thought that Flora was a faint-hearted girl who often got pushed around by his mean sister. But after his mother told him that he must learn to have better judgment of people, he couldn’t help but to feel uneasy by Flora’s remark.
After Flora took her leave, the butler came back with an announcement in a moment. “There’s an urgent message to the Desert King.”
The chamberlain who followed in the wake of the butler, trotted close to Kasser at once. He spoke in such undertone that it was inaudible even to Eugene who was sitting right next to Kasser. All she could make out was that someone had come to visit at their royal manor.
‘Could it be a woman? I think I heard him mentioning a lady’s name.’
But Eugene didn’t manage to catch it as the name was unfamiliar to her. Kasser gave a short nod before he turned back to the lord and the lady of the house. “I beg your pardons but I’m afraid I must be leaving now.”
Then he turned to face Eugene as he went on. “As for you my queen, you may stay and spend more time with your parents as you haven’t seen them for such a long time. Please excuse my going first.”
Dana had almost come to dread when she thought she must see her daughter go while she still had plenty left to say. But her clouded face was soon brightened at Kasser’s kind consideration.
Eugene turned and said when everyone followed suit as Kasser rose from his seat. “I’ll go see him off.”
Dana resumed her seat after boring holes at the back of her daughter and son-in-law as they left the room.
“What do you think of him, dear? Your son-in-law.”
“I think they look good together.”
“Do you really think so?”
Patrick, who had just given his honest opinion, turned to his wife as she sounded rather skeptical. “Do you think there’s something wrong with the two of them?”
The Desert King had already come into Patrick’s favor since their earlier conversation. He was even feeling grateful to his son-in-law for treasuring his daughter, who was notorious for her mean temper.
Dana asked the same to her two sons. “What about you two?”
Both her sons seemed startled as they obviously never expected their mother asking for their opinion with such keen interest.
“They seem to get along and they look good together.” Enoch gave his answer while keeping his honest opinion just to himself. ‘Shouldn’t it be us who have to be thankful to the Desert King for sustaining a smooth marriage with Jin?’
Arthur gave a nod in silence as he agreed with Enoch. He felt like Jin had gotten meek in temper and that it was her marriage that brought positive changes to her life.
Dana’s face registered disapproval as she rose to her feet. However, she couldn’t quite contradict their opinion either as it was clear in the atmosphere that there was mutual affection between her daughter and her son-in-law.
Nevertheless, Dana couldn’t shake off the fact that their marriage was wrong from the start as the Jin who married the Desert King three years ago, wasn’t actually her daughter. It disgusted her to think that her precious daughter got stuck with the man who was married to the cunning imposter.
“My dear. Enoch and Arthur too. I would like you all to listen to the end of my unfinished story from before. As for you butler, make sure we wouldn’t be interrupted in the middle of our family conversation. And tell Jin to attend to me in my chamber as soon as she comes back.”
“As you say, my lady.”