Eugene gazed at him with a look of surprise and felt the last of her tears dry up almost instantly.
Though it was brief, she hadn’t forgotten about the conversation she had with Flora yesterday as it had nearly put her into an awkward position. But since it was only mentioned in passing, she plainly believed that he didn’t give a fig about it, just like her family who pretended as if they heard nothing. If anything, that merely was a trivial incident which Eugene was likely to forget all about on the next day.
She merely stared with occasional blinking of her eyes before it dawned on her that she had missed her chance to gloss over the situation. But she wouldn’t have been able to answer him nevertheless since she hadn’t expected him to ask such a question.
‘Have you lost your mind? Why are you stammering?’
Eugene reproached herself inwardly as her such response would likely cause more suspicion at this rate. But she could swear that she has done nothing that goes against her conscience. She first encountered Pides at the palace when he came to deliver Sang-je’s letter to her, and she absolutely had no personal feelings whatsoever for him.
Still, it didn’t feel right to feign ignorance since she was well aware of Jin’s feeling for Pides through her memories by now. Besides, it was impossible to leave out Pides if she were to explain to Kasser about the reason why Jin had decided to marry him in the first place.
But she wasn’t sure if it only had been a one-sided relationship or one of mutual giving since she knew no details about what really happened between Pides and Jin. All she could do was to conjecture from the snippets of memories she saw.
‘I should have asked my mother yesterday.’
Never once did Pides’s name cross her mind yesterday, as one night surely wasn’t enough for Eugene and her mother to catch up on the years they’d missed in the past.
“Nevermind. It was a stupid question…” said Kasser along with a faint sigh.
“No, really! I can explain.” The last thing Eugene wanted was for such a trivial matter to cause unnecessary misunderstanding between them.
“Sir Pides was Jin’s, by Jin I don’t mean myself here. He was Jin’s… first love.” Eugene made herself clear once again by placing her hand on Kasser’s, after seeing his expression froze up instantly.
“It wasn’t me. I’m talking about the Jin who was in my body before I came back to this world.” Eugene went on, unable to discern how he was taking in her words just by his expression. “I don’t know who else knew but it’s obvious that my family and Flora had known about it all along. There may be more or maybe not.”
“But Sang-je’s among the people who knew.”
Kasser was suddenly lost for words when it occurred to him that he wasn’t being overly sensitive after all as it turns out that Sang-je’s interference had indeed been intentional all this time. It truly was an undignified yet cunning tactic for trying to stir Eugene’s heart by sending Pides to her on purpose.
“But it doesn’t seem fit to describe it with the word as innocent as first love, since….” said Eugene after seeing him let out a snort of contempt.
Eugene finally plucked up the courage and confided further in him about the secret deal made between Jin and Sang-je, concerning the marriage. However, she couldn’t help but to break out into a cold sweat, watching his face harden as she went on. Never had she imagined that there would be anything much harder than explaining something as outlandish as souls being changed in a body. But on the other hand, she felt rather light-hearted since she had long deliberated about when and how to tell him about it.
“But I have no idea what exactly Sang-je had asked for in return when she requested for Sir Pides.”
“Sang-je…” Kasser trailed off, keeping the cursing to himself. Then he went on muttering with clenched teeth, as if swallowing his anger. “Sang-je wants you.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You’d vowed to devote your whole life to God. That’s what you, your past self to be exact, had promised Sang-je in return. That means you agreed to enter the convent in the Holy City palace.”
“There are Anikas who go into the convent. And once they take the vow and enter the Holy City palace, they will leave their family, discard all the relationships and renounce the world forever.”
Eugene looked completely nonplussed. “I merely thought… it was just a figure of speech. Wait!” said her when struck by a thought suddenly.
“Is that why Jin was never intimate with you throughout the whole marriage? Since she needs to stay a virgin to enter the convent?”
“It’s not compulsory for one to remain virgin to enter the convent.”
Eugene thought she had finally got to the bottom of the reason why Jin had avoided sexual intercourse throughout the three years of marriage. But according to what he just said, the deal she made with Sang-je didn’t seem like the sole reason after all.
‘Had Jin avoided it altogether as a justification for the annulment process later? But is there really a reason to have their marriage annulled? She could have asked for a divorce instead. Or could it be all because of Pides? He may be her first love but I don’t think Jin is the type who devotes herself to only one man. If that’s the case, that leaves no other explanation than the spell which Jin initiated in the past. I better start looking for the so-called sorcerers.’
While Eugene was ruminating over Jin’s true intention, Kasser was lost deeply in his own thoughts as this was rather more serious than he had ever imagined. The fear that he might lose his wife to Sang-je no longer seemed like an idle fear to him.
‘Doubtless Sang-je would try to stop Eugene from leaving the Holy City. I better prepare for the worst and devise different means of escape beforehand.’