“Anika Jin, we’re not done here,” he told her.
“Please let me leave now.”
“Anika Jin, I can—”
Before he could even finish speaking, he was forced to turn around as a blue snake moved towards him. Then, a blue flame spread over his arm as the snake’s open mouth clashed with his praz.
The two energies collided with a loud crash.
Riner took a step back to try and balance himself as the blue and red energy intertwined before dissipating entirely.
All this happened in the blink of an eye, so fast that Eugene could barely tell what was happening. She turned to look at where the blue snake had come from, and her eyes widened in surprise.
The blue-haired man made his way toward them as thin blue energy radiated off of his body. His cold expression made him look like a wild beast about to pounce.
“What do you think you’re doing, fourth king?” Riner demanded.
In a cool voice to match his expression, Kasser shot back, “I would ask you the same thing. What are you doing with my wife, Fire King?”
The other man froze. “Your wife?” He slowly turned to look at Eugene who was staring at him with an almost haughty look on her face.
Kasser’s energy slowly gathered to form another snake. He was ready to attack at any given moment if he needed to. With his eyes still on Eugene, he waved her over. “Come here, My Queen.”
Walking past Riner, Eugene made her way to Kasser. The priest at the end of the hall looked like he was about to faint; Eugene couldn’t help but feel just as he did. It was like she was standing in front of a bomb that could explode at any given moment.
When she got to Kasser, he quickly grabbed her arm and moved her behind him.
Riner rolled his eyes. “Why are you being so hostile?” he scoffed, as if he didn’t cause Kasser’s reaction.
The other king glared. “Should I not be hostile toward the man who was trying to take my wife a few moments ago?”
“Take?” The Fire King laughed. “I was just talking to her. I also didn’t know that she was married.”
As if, Eugene couldn’t help but think. If her husband didn’t have any manners, he would have done more than just hurl a snake at the man. However, she also couldn’t help but notice the familiarity in their tone. They weren’t exactly talking as formally as other kings would when talking to one another.
“This was all a misunderstanding,” Riner said. “Anika Jin, please forgive me if I was rude.”
It surprised Eugene that he was so quick to back off. “Okay,” she told him, “I accept your apology.”
The blue snake slowly faded as its energy disappeared into Kasser’s body. It all seemed to resolve rather peacefully.
“Let’s go,” Kasser said, keeping his cold stare on Riner as he put an arm around Eugene’s shoulder and led her away.
When they were gone, Riner beckoned the priest over. As the man approached him, the Fire King immediately barked out a question.
“When did the fourth king get married?”
The priest frowned. “Three years ago, Your Highness.”
Three years, Riner thought. He had no idea. He hadn’t visited the Holy City in that time and had spent those three years in places that weren’t necessarily hubs of information. No wonder he had no idea.
The fourth king is a bit old-fashioned, the Fire King couldn’t help but think. What was all the fuss about? It’s not such a big deal.
Riner didn’t let himself be bound by all the rules of formality and society. He found them troublesome to deal with. Still, he knew that Kasser’s reaction was a bit too much. It made sense that he wanted to protect his queen, but the whole thing made him seem a bit too emotional.
Could it be?
“Have they had a child?” he asked.
The priest shook his head. “There doesn’t seem to be one yet, Your Highness.”
Ah, that’s why.
As long as they didn’t have a child of their own, Anika Jin could still have any king’s child. It didn’t necessarily have to be the fourth king’s.
Although it had been a while since it last happened, there had been cases of kings stealing Anikas that were about to be married and even some where they already were. Because Anikas were always being wooed by different kings, they could have their pick at who they wanted to be the father of their child.
“How did you know?” Eugene asked, smiling widely as they got in the carriage.
Kasser shrugged, pretending to seem nonchalant. “Kkoma called me,” he said. “Are you okay?”
*T/N: Kkoma means little kid. The small lark that always hang around Eugene.
“I am,” she assured him. Then, she turned to look at the small creature in her sleeve. “Did you call master?” she asked. “Why?”
It was Kasser who answered. “What do you mean why?”
Eugene turned to him with a laugh bubbling beneath her words. “The situation wasn’t exactly dire,” she said. “It was just a bit troubling, that’s all. Also, you seemed to know it wasn’t an extremely terrible situation.”
“Well,” her husband said, his voice becoming quieter, “Kkoma didn’t exactly send a danger signal.”
Eugene smiled as Kkoma crawled on her hand. She rubbed his head. “Kkoma, you’re so smart,” she said. “I can’t believe you know how to send different kinds of signals to your master.”
Kasser pretended that he was no longer paying attention to their conversation. Ever since Pides had shown up, he was very mindful of Eugene’s safety. So, he decided to teach Kkoma a signal that the creature could send when a “strange man” was around her.
Suffice to say, it was a good decision.