After Sven left, Eugene wondered how she could get rid of the oil while she finished writing the invitations. The bottle was pretty big. If it was smaller, it would be easier for her to move, but the amount of oil in it was considerable because they needed it to be effective in concealing the seed.
I need to send the bottle to the kingdom first, she thought. I’ll have an officer bring it on his way back home.
She was still deep in thought when she felt a weight on her thigh. Abu had turned small again and had jumped into her lap. He looked up at her as he wagged his tail. He was even smaller than when he was playing by her feet. He knew that Eugene preferred it when he was small, so he made sure to adjust, especially when he wanted something from her.
“What is it, Abu?” Eugene asked gently as she rubbed his head. “Are you bored of playing by yourself?”
He leaned into her touch.
How cute. He was being so cute that she couldn’t help but end up playing with him for a while. In the end, her taking longer with the invitations affected Kasser more than it did her because she ended up coming home late.
A few days later, after she had told Kasser about the oil, she summoned an officer who was planning on returning to the kingdom. She gave him the bottle.
“You’re leaving at dawn, correct?” she asked.
“Yes, My Queen,” the officer told her.
“This is precious oil,” she said. “Be very careful with it. You can tell the guards or Marian that I gave it to you, but don’t show it to anyone else.”
The officer nodded. “As you wish, My Queen.”
However, the next day, the officer returned.
“My Queen, they have become stricter with checking the belongings of the people leaving the city,” he said. “I was told that they’re letting people with only a few things go, but those who are bringing more are being checked thoroughly. I felt something was up, so I came back to tell you.”
“Is that so?” Eugene frowned. “You’ve done well. I’ll see what we can do and let you know what to do next.”
She sent someone to try and see what was happening, and just as the officer said, they were thoroughly checking people’s luggage at the exit. They didn’t stop people from coming in and they let those who weren’t bringing much pass through. Those who were carrying more items though were being checked.
The process had only been in place for a few days and the castle gate was already flooded with people who were stuck in the line. A few knights were stationed to make sure no one complained or caused trouble.
As they traced back the dates, Eugene found that they had started to do this when Sven brought the oil in. She thought that it might have been a coincidence, but apparently inspectors had been checking the oil transactions in the city as well.
It’s looking for the seed, Eugene realized.
Sang-je seemed to have been paying attention to the seed this whole time. He was sending a knight to check whenever the seed was moved. But now he couldn’t track it anymore, so he must have been flustered. It knew that the seed had been placed in oil.
He wouldn’t be able to track where they had acquired the oil itself because Kasser had been very careful about it. But now they had to worry about sending the seed out of the city.
Eugene called the officer again and told him not to take the oil. She put it back on her table and wondered what to do with it. If she took it herself, the chances were that they weren’t going to check a king’s carriage.
But they couldn’t exactly take it out when they were leaving if they didn’t know how they would go in the first place.
She wondered how to get rid of the oil, but her thoughts ended up nowhere. If there was one thing she learned, however, it was that the monster valued the seed enough to search for it this way.
Kasser brought Eugene the news she had been waiting for.
He pointed at a map. “It’s around here,” he said.
The map was one of the Holy City. For common folk, maps of the city were not allowed to be produced and traded, but kings were not common folk. The shape of the big map was strange. It was drawn on thin cloth and it was cut into several pieces that needed to be put together to form a map.
Maps were traded in the black market. Even so, no merchant carried an entire map. They only sold certain regions, so it was up to the buyer to find all the pieces. Since Kasser knew they didn’t have enough time, they decided to buy a completed map instead of sending people out to scout for the pieces. It cost quite a fortune and it had to be bought in secret. The quality was incredible though, it showed even the smallest of alleys.
Eugene examined the spot that Kasser was pointing at. It was the first time she saw this world’s map, but she was beginning to understand it.