Welcome, Anika Jin.
“Greetings, Your Holiness,” she said. “May Mahar’s blessing be with you forever.”
“Mahar” was both the name of their world and God. So Sang-je, as the symbol of Maha, stood as the belief of the people in their world. If they knew what he actually was, some people would probably lose their grasp in reality. As someone who had lived in another world for 20 years, Eugene knew that she was one of the only people who could fight the monster without losing her sanity.
May Maha’s blessing be with you too, Sang-je said. I heard that you received my message through Sir Pides.
She nodded. “Yes, Your Holiness. I have been offered a great opportunity. I requested to meet you about that.”
“Who is it imitating?” Eugene had asked Alber. “You said that larks can’t create new appearances out of thin air. Is it because they are simply using magic?”
Alber clasped her hands in front of her. “Magic is the same,” she had said. “It’s an imitation using that person’s energy, that’s why it shows its true nature. Even if it used magic to look human, its eyes would still be red because red eyes come from the lark’s true nature. A lark doesn’t have the ability to create. It can’t create humans that have not existed, so it imitates the appearance of someone it has seen before.”
Eugene had shaken her head. “But the hair…” she said. “Sang-je is blond. There are no blond kings or anyone else with that hair.”
Alber had looked at her oddly. “When an Anika uses up her Ramita and dies, her hair turns blond. He must have seen a dying Anika.”
The memory felt like a piece of a puzzle to Eugene. It filled her with excitement and fear at the same time.
Your role in the Celestial Festival won’t be difficult, Sang-je explained. I’ll have a priest explain the specifics to you.
“Yes, Your Holiness.”
Is there anything else you wanted to say?
Sang-je was waiting to hear what she really wanted, whether it was divorce or some kind of marriage cancellation. But strangely, that no longer seemed to be what she longed for. From what he had heard, Jin and the fourth king were enthralled in a blissful marriage. He wondered what her intentions were. It also seemed like she had changed her mind about the attention she used to seek from Pides.
He wondered if it was a change of heart. However, even if Jin’s interest in Pides had cooled off overnight, he wouldn’t find it too surprising if she was longing for something else. The Jin that Sang-je knew was a greedy person, and his experience told him that a person’s nature never changed.
“There’s actually something that I wanted to ask,” she said. “I promised that I would become a priestess before I left for the kingdom.”
I gave you what you wanted, so I believe you’ll keep your promise to me.
Eugene looked troubled. “While I’m not going back on my word,” she said, “I still have much I want to do. My mother said she wanted to host a ball as well and…” she trailed off.
Sang-je immediately assumed that this meant she wasn’t ready to give up the world and all its entertainment just yet. So, he answered her like he was talking to a child.
You can fulfill your promise after enjoying as much of the world as you can.
“Are you saying you’ll give me more time?” she asked with wide eyes.
Let’s discuss it again after a cycle.
This world’s year also consisted of 12 months, but because the active and dry seasons combined lasted six and a half months, a year rarely started with a dry season. A cycle needed the year to start on a dry season, which was why a cycle lasted 13 years because that was how long it took for the seasons to even out.
“Thank you, Your Holiness,” Eugene said. “I’ll keep my promise, you can be sure of that.”
Now that her agreement with Sang-je had changed, she could leave the Holy City without him having the power to stop her. She wouldn’t even need to attend the Celestial Festival.
She had gotten what she wanted.
Content with the results of her visit, Eugene left the room feeling lighter than before. She looked down at her sleeve again and whispered to Kkoma, “Well, that’s done.”
A priest approached her once more and escorted her through the hall. When they turned a corner, Eugene flinched and stopped. The red-haired man was leaning against the wall with his head turned toward her.
When the priest saw the Fire King approach them, his face grew stern. He took a step in front of Jin to protect her, but Riner ignored him and just stared right at her.
“Fire King,” the priest warned.
At that, the Riner’s face flashed with anger as he turned to the other man. “How dare you interrupt me!”
The priest immediately backed down. He looked pitiful, but Eugene didn’t show any emotion.
“Is there something I can help you with, Fire King?” she asked.
The man huffed. “I’m curious about something,” he said. “Do you have a moment to spare?”
“From my understanding, this is the first time we’re meeting,” Eugene said, implying the rudeness of his blunt request.
“We’ve already said our greetings,” he insisted.
There was something about his arrogant attitude that reminded Eugene of just how polite and kind Kasser was.
It had only been a few months, but Eugene had been treated like royalty ever since she arrived. It was clear now that this kind of treatment made her react badly to rudeness. She couldn’t help but wonder just how crazy he was as she smiled courteously.
“How rude,” she said. “I don’t think I have anything to say to you.”
“Is that so?” The man sneered. “I think you’re carrying something a little odd. If you don’t talk to me, I should probably tell someone else.” He offered a glance at her sleeve.
Ah, Eugene thought. He senses Kkoma.
In the novel, he had a special ability. He was able to sense the presence of a lark.
Most kings can sense a lark’s energy, but they normally couldn’t detect anything during the dry season. Riner was different though.
She turned to the priest. “I will speak to the Fire King alone.” Then, she turned to Riner. “Since you only asked for a moment, I’ll only give you a moment. We can speak here.”
He nodded. “Fine.”
With one last glance at the strange pair, the priest bowed and walked to the other end of the hallway looking uncomfortable.