Eugene has started to think how ludicrous she must sound to him while she listened to herself as she went on. None of what she’s been telling him felt out of place to her since she was in fact, speaking from her own experience. But if she were to put herself in a different position, she can’t really think her response would have been any different from, ‘You really must have gone out of your mind.’, if someone tells her that there has been switched. In soul.
All she could do now was to try her best to speak in the most articulate way possible. And as she was afraid that her thoughts might get jumbled up once she tripped over her own tongue, she kept on without a pause.
She took her time explaining how much her mother had tried to find her, in the hopes that her mother’s desperation would be conveyed to him as well. She somehow believed that it would make him more likely to take her at her word instead of regarding her unaccountable stories as mere nonsense.
Dana had literally tried in all ways to find a way to retrieve her daughter, but she failed eventually. While Dana agonized in disgust of her own powerlessness, the imposter had continued living in a clover under the name of Anika Jin.
Kasser listened intently to her with set expression all the while until there was a subtle change in his gaze when Eugene said, ‘My mother was the only person in this world who knew Jin was nothing but an imposter.’.
Eugene wondered what he was thinking in his mind, but she couldn’t quite work up the courage to ask. Right now, she couldn’t be more grateful to him for listening without cutting her off in the middle.
“… So I found myself lying in the middle of a desert as I opened my eyes.”
Eugene has finally reached the part where she had first set foot into this world. But she seemed to have reached her limit of tension that had been building up as she spoke. She was getting short of breath while her heart pounded with irregularity although she had been sitting still the whole time.
Feeling parched all of sudden as if her throat was tightening on its own accord, she reached out for the tea which had already gone cold by now. However, the teacup, which contained nothing but a few mouthfuls of water, felt almost as heavy as stone. There was a slight tremor in her hand as she struggled to bring the cup to her mouth. She feared that she might drop the cup at this rate.
Reluctantly, she put the cup back on the table and licked across her lips instead to moisten it before she could get to the most important part.
But despite her efforts, her lips had gone stone—she couldn’t say anything, her vocal cords blocked. She cleared her throat to put on a pretense of calm but ended up breaking out in a cold sweat when nothing, but air came out from her.
Kasser, who had been sitting across from her the whole time, rose to his feet at once. Eugene looked up with a startle and watched as he came around the sofa table to her side.
As he took a seat next to hers, he reached for the cup and held it out to her. Eugene intended to take the cup from him with both hands but instead of handing the cup to her, Kasser brought the cup directly to her quivering lips.
Eugene smiled sheepishly as she tilted up her chin to drink out of the cup. She felt like she was able to breathe again now that her throat was moistened with water.
“Are you alright?”
She looked back at him as if she was confused by the intention of his asking.
“You have no idea how you look right now.” While clicking his tongue inwardly, he brushed across her pallid face with the back of his hand. He was relieved as the water seemed to have brought some color to her face. Despite all the shocking truths which she was confiding in him, he couldn’t help but to be more concerned to watch her turn pale as if she were to swoon any minute.
“..I’m fine.” A faint whisper came out from her although she tried to speak up with all her strength. Her voice, although weak and unsure, sounded much better than when she spoke a while ago. Eugene forced her stiff muscles into a smile as if to reassure him, but her smile had only made him more worried for her as she couldn’t look more in pain.
Kasser wanted to ease the burden on her. “Let me take it from here.”
Eugene gazed at him, looking dumbfounded by his words.
“The day you woke up in the middle of the desert, must be the day you came back after you were found by the search troops. Am I right?”
Eugene nodded, unsure of what kind of expression to put on.
“But I wasn’t present at the castle as I was away in the desert.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
“Then on the day I returned. No, was it the day after? When I went to ask you regarding the missing national treasure as I’d highly suspected your involvement, you’d told me that you don’t remember anything as it seems you had lost your memory after being found in the desert.”
“Yes, I did…” Eugene’s voice grew smaller with guilt.