Kasser was quite happy until that day, the day Eugene fell asleep after telling him she would.
He was happy the entire morning after ordering people not to go into the bedroom in case she woke up. The way she called his name kept ringing in his ears, so much so that he smiled even while he was working. He was curious as to what she meant by “I’ll treat you.” She had slurred the words between sentences, but she had still said it.
He just kept waiting for her to wake up. He was checking the time so much that he couldn’t even focus on work. Time was going too slowly.
He went to the bedroom that afternoon and found that Eugene was still fast asleep. He looked at her for a while before quietly stepping out. He was still fine then.
That night, Kasser crept into the bedroom once more. He gazed upon her as she lay in slumber, her chest rising and falling in a peaceful rhythm. He lingered for a moment, a feeling of unease creeping over him, before turning and slipping out of the room once more. When he came back, she still wasn’t awake.
One day should be okay, he thought to himself. He tried to remain calm. Though he had never experienced it, he had heard how some people could overexert themselves to the point of sleeping an entire day, so it shouldn’t be too big of a deal that Eugene hadn’t moved or eaten or drank water all day. So, he went to sleep that night as calm as he could be.
The next day, he woke up early. He didn’t even feel like he had slept at all because his mind had been focused on her the entire time. He studied Eugene closely, disappointed to find that she was still fast asleep.
He couldn’t focus on work that day. He ordered people not to go into the room but he couldn’t help but go in himself to check in on her. Each time he went, Kasser found Eugene still asleep.
Another day passed and he grew anxious, wondering if she would wake up again.
Eugene focused on every word Alber said. There wasn’t much time left.
Pressed with time, Alber had started changing the way she spoke. She summarized ideas and went to the core of what she wanted to say in order to get the information across faster. In the beginning, she made a habit of asking Eugene if she understood or had any questions, but eventually that stopped entirely.
There was no one in the world that knew magic better than Alber did. Even if ancient tribes came back to life, they would’ve asked her to teach them. She had been given so much to learn, more than any other normal human had.
She explained that, to activate the magic that was meant to open the world, one would need an anchor to hold onto the world first; this was because they wouldn’t know what kind of world the other one was. If one world was dense but the other one wasn’t, the two worlds would suddenly connect. Things would change due to the pressure. One world would get sucked into the other then both worlds would collapse.
So, they used a medium to fix the direction. The medium would be used as an anchor and therefore would need a strong life force, it would be something like a strong tree in the south or a rock in the east. The success of the magic often depended on the medium, so it was important to find the right one. The higher the level of magic, the harder it was to find something that would work.
“It’s hardest and easiest to find materials with life force,” Alber said, “because you can often replace it with someone’s life.”
Eugene’s eyes widened. She remembered the gypsies saying something about how they used magic that required someone’s life.
“In ancient times, they forbade the practice of using life to create magic,” the older woman explained. “If anyone did so, they would be executed without question. Magic was meant to be for the people, not the other way around.”
“Those maids…” Eugene trailed off. “They were the material for the magic.”
Alber sighed. “To take someone’s life for your own purposes… it’s cruel.”
“Then what about the lark’s seed?” The impostor Anika Jin had married the fourth king to get that seed.
“One always attracts another. That means that the body calls for the soul. But your body and soul were apart for too long. So, you need a medium that will help you. What is empty has a tendency to try and fill itself. If the lark’s seed is enormous, then so is the force that pulls.”
“They called me here on purpose?” Eugene asked. She was surprised. She had always believed that she had been summoned there by mistake.
“You said she took all five maids, right?” Alber continued when the younger woman nodded. “If she was trying to use all five of them for magic, then my assumption is that four of them were used to open the world’s door and the other one was used to summon your soul and put it in. If the magic failed, then the maid would have had to deal with the side effects.”
A scapegoat meant to take on the side effects in the case of failure. Eugene had heard that from a magician who had visited her a long time ago.
“So, she was planning on putting me in the maid’s body?”
She was horrified. If that had happened, she would have been trapped in the body of a maid in a world she didn’t know anything about. She might have been locked away forever. It was horrible.
Alber pursed her lips. “If your soul existed in this world, she might’ve just tried to take the Ramita and place it in her body.”
“She wanted to lock me up in the maid’s body and take the Ramita for herself?” Eugene scoffed. The impostor could’ve lived her life in Eugene’s body but was still unsatisfied. She wanted everything; she wanted it all. And it was her greed that returned everything to its natural order.
She let out a sigh of relief. It was nice to know the truth, even if she was annoyed by the impostor’s intentions. Still, she felt slightly uneasy. The impostor’s tenacity was so great that she had managed to activate an ancient magic. Eugene felt as if her soul was still there, circling around.