Thas took a cracker from the plate, but he did not eat it. He just held it and stared at it, his mind buzzing. Unlike everyone else in the mansion, it wasn’t Rahan that Thas worried about. Rahan’s cold was fake, he had probably planned everything with the doctor and they just spent the doctor’s visits chatting.
The original plan had changed. They were supposed to pretend that Rahan’s illness was something serious and Thas was going to meet the owner of Scan while people were busy taking care of him. Meanwhile, Mitchell was going to have an appointment with Anika Jin on the same day they were planning on meeting.
But when they were finally supposed to execute the plan, Sang-je’s delivery man came by. Sang-je occasionally sent someone with a list of ingredients needed for incantation and Alber received those ingredients to activate or maintain an incantation.
The reason Sang-je was ignoring the rise of the Muen family was so that he could use them as Alber’s weakness and have a way to activate the incantation himself. If the Muen family didn’t exist, Sang-je would have to search for the ingredients on his own.
The last time they sent ingredients wasn’t even a year ago when, usually, they lasted five years. This meant that Alber must have been activating a new incantation.
Alber’s incantation was complicated, so it was difficult to find the ingredients and, when they did have them, they were expensive. Alber didn’t try to decrease the time between activating the incantation in case it ended up being too much for the next generation to handle.
Sang-je’s deliveryman visiting signaled Albert starting the plans he had told Hitasya about. For Albert to contact Anika Jin through a dream, she needed the blood of Jin. Rahan understood it as sending her Jin’s blood and pretending that it was just an ingredient for incantation.
The problem was that Sang-je’s attention was always on them when they were seeking out ingredients. He was suspicious that they might send some random items, so he checked everything. He even kept track of who the Muen family were in contact with at all times to ensure the purity of his ingredients.
If Thas met the owner of Scan on the same day that Anika Jin was there, there was no way Sang-je wouldn’t know. Sang-je would find it strange. He wouldn’t overlook even the smallest possibility of danger.
So, Rahan and Thas revised the plan. They pretended that Rahan was sick with a cold and that he had sent his granddaughters away for a few days to avoid infection.
They sent the second-born and youngest child to their mother’s family along with their mother while Hitasya was sent off to the owner of Scan. Mitchell also had a granddaughter around her age. They spent time together from time to time, so it wasn’t suspicious if she visited.
It became Hitasya’s responsibility to meet Anika Jin. The fate of the family was on a twelve-year-old’s shoulders.
Hitasya. Thas’ heart felt heavy as her name came to mind.I’m sorry. No matter the result, it’s not your fault.
Thas had placed a heavy responsibility on his daughter because it was his role as the heir of the family, but in his mind, it wasn’t about family. He was just worried that Hitasya would blame him later if everyone went wrong.
It was not even a quarter of the size of the greenhouse in the Arse mansion. Eugene sat at the table and looked at all the plants.
I like how small and tidy it is compared to my mother’s, she thought.
The only greenhouse that she could compare this one to was the Arse’s. Eugene didn’t know that having a greenhouse in the mansion was the sign of their wealth. It was also the largest one owned by a private entity.
Did he want to show me this greenhouse? Eugene didn’t know Mitchell’s intentions when he escorted her here. I want to go home.
She was tired from the Anika gathering earlier. She didn’t realize it at the meeting, but the moment she left, she knew that she was very tired. If she wasn’t meeting Mitchell, she might have canceled the rest of her itinerary and gone home.
It was weird sitting in the middle of the greenhouse and drinking tea by herself. If Eugene knew more about tradition, she would’ve known that this meant that he wanted to speak to her in private because the greenhouse was much more private than the drawing room. They didn’t let anyone in and, if the owner wasn’t available, only one of the family members could accompany you and chat. Regardless, it was quite unusual to leave a guest alone.
Eugene didn’t realize the signal Mitchell was sending her and thought while she drank, I’ll leave once I’ve finished drinking all of this.
Eugene turned her head as she heard the door open. She expected someone who could accompany her, but who she found was stranger than ever. It was a little girl. As Eugene looked at her in surprise, the girl bowed hesitantly.
“Hello,” Eugene greeted her and smiled. “Are you here to relay a message from your grandfather?” She assumed it was Mitchell’s granddaughter.
“No,” the girl said. “I wanted to meet you.”
Eugene thought for a moment and decided to let the girl stay with her. It wasn’t like she was doing anything else. Also, she found it better to talk with a child than an adult because she didn’t have to decipher what they meant when they spoke. So, she waved over.
“Come here,” she said. “Do you want a snack?”
Hitasya sat across Eugene while the older woman pushed a plate of snacks towards the girl, who in return, looked at the plate, glanced at Eugene, and then picked up a cookie.
“What’s your name?” Eugene asked.
“HItasya,” the girl mumbled as she chewed on her food.
“What a pretty name. How old are you?”
Eugene treated the girl as she would’ve treated her back in her old world. She didn’t know that, for a girl living in such a high social class such as that of the Scan family, her behavior was extremely unusual.
Hitasya hadn’t introduced herself first, she hadn’t said her last name, and was eating as she talked to an adult. If somebody else had seen this, they would have thought she wasn’t well-educated or well-bred.