Soon after, Flora visited the palace once more. She greeted the priest that was guarding the study with a sweet smile.
“Anika Flora.” The priest nodded. “It has been a while.”
“Yes, it has,” she said. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been there.
The palace’s study was a mysterious place. Some people even believed that it held the world’s secret. Some scholars would do anything just to spend a day there. But not everyone could go in, not even priests and knights. Only Anika were allowed.
Though Anikas had that privilege, the truth was that none of them cared to study. As children, they might have gone in there a few times out of curiosity, but after a while, that would fade. There were other things in the world that fascinated them more.
This was true for Flora. She knew that if she wanted to read, she could just go to the bookstore. The study might have held the world’s secret, but she had no interest in looking for it.
It was Jin who had gone to the study all the time, but Flora knew she didn’t like reading so she wondered why she was always there.
“Is there a fun book in the study?” Flora asked.
Jin shook her head. “No, I’m just looking for something.”
“You’ve been looking for a while. Shall I help?”
“It’s not that I can’t find it. It’s just a lot to look for. Do you… know about magic?”
Flora realized that Jin was learning about magic because she didn’t have Ramita. It should have been useless though because Jin wasn’t born with Ramita, there should have been no way for her to suddenly have it. To think that she had really gotten Ramita through magic!
She gave the list to the priest. “I’m looking for these books.”
He studied the list and nodded. “Come this way, Anika Flora.”
Sang-je heard as Flora went straight to the study. She didn’t need the priest’s permission as it was all a formality. He could never deny an Anika’s entry into the study.
How unexpected for Flora to have a side like this, he thought. She was fixated on achieving her goal, but he didn’t mind it. It was easier to control someone with ambition.
But he couldn’t help but wonder, Did Jin really tell Flora that?
He didn’t care much for Flora’s version of the truth. She was competitive and it was rare for those who desired something as much as she did to let it go so easily. But Flora’s dreams are changing. I’ve never met an Anika whose water amplified. Maybe it was Flora after all and not Jin?
He shook his head and frowned. That’s not enough. A lake is not enough. If Flora thinks her Ramita has gotten stronger because of magic, then so be it. She could believe anything she wanted to. He told her the same thing he told Jin. It wasn’t exactly a lie, but it wasn’t the truth either. Jin had recovered Ramita, but it wasn’t because of magic.
Sang-je had observed Anika over a very long time and tried his best to strengthen their Ramita, but the only conclusion he came to was that Ramita was an Anika’s unique ability and could not be altered.
Just then, Pides walked into the room.
“Your Holiness,” he bowed. “I’m at your service.”
I have an assignment for you.
“What is it?”
A few days ago, someone took the divine object without permission. Bring it back.
Pides was enraged at the thought of someone stealing it. He bowed once more and said, “Of course, Your Holiness.”
Sang-je tossed a half clear seed at Pides. It’s almost the end of the month. Your divine power will be too weak to track the divine object.
“Of course, Your Holiness,” Pides said again. He picked up the clear seed and put it in his mouth. It was something all knights did. They swallow a divine object at the start of the month to get divine powers. With their powers heightened, they could feel each other’s presence and gained the ability to detect Mara’s drug, the divine object. The power didn’t last long which was why they had to absorb a divine object once a month.
Sang-je told Pides where the divine object was. When he was near enough, he would be able to track the exact location.
“I’ll report back to you after completing the mission.”
“Yes, Your Holiness?”
If the culprit isn’t with the divine object, don’t retrieve it.
The seed hadn’t moved in days, and it was in an unpopulated suburb. While Sang-je wanted to retrieve it, he also wanted to know why it had been stolen in the first place.
It wasn’t like any other robbery before. If it was an Anika who took it, they would keep it in their house. Others would try to sell it on the black market. If this culprit had chosen to hide it and probe the situation, Sang-je wanted to know who they were.
When she woke up, she was on the sofa. Did I doze off? Eugene looked around the bedroom to check for the time. That was when she realized the place was unfamiliar. Something didn’t feel right.
She shook her head. It is my bedroom. She got up. This is the king’s palace.
It was so strange to find herself back at the palace, alone in the room. She went to the door to find someone who could explain what had happened, but when she opened it, the scenery was different. She was in a hallway. When she turned around, the bedroom was there. Then, she opened the door again and found that it was no longer the hallway. It was just the room again.
Eugene sighed as realization hit her. She’s dreaming.