Once the skies turned dark, Kasser returned to the castle. Never had he been this anxious about getting home before, except today. All-day, how he had wanted to leave, but his duties kept him from doing so.
It was quite late, yet he summoned an attendant and asked her whether the queen had already taken her dinner. Her reply was quite disappointing.
“Her Grace had an early dinner and is now resting, Your Majesty.”
Deep inside, he had hoped that his wife would await his return. Seeking a meatier report, he summoned General Sarah.
“Is the queen all right? She took a long nap but is already in bed now.”
Sarah was surprised by the fact that the king was aware that the queen had resigned to her chamber the entire day. Nonetheless, her answer was professional, deftly masking her astonishment.
“I sent a maid to the queen’s chamber to ask her if she wished to see a doctor, but Her Grace said she is just fine. If she is still bed-ridden by the morrow, I would summon a doctor.”
With that the general took her leave and the chamberlain announced that someone wished for an audience with the king.
Since the early afternoon, the doctor had been waiting for the king’s summon. Kasser wanted to know more about memory loss, so on his way out in the morning, he tasked a page to deliver a letter to the doctor, demanding that he visit him within this day.
Currently, only a few, including the king, were privy to the queen’s amnesia. But Anika was yet to consult a doctor.
Upon her return, the queen had undergone a health check first and was told there was nothing wrong. Kasser did not intend to add to the number of people in the know unless there arose problems with the queen’s health.
Loss of memory was unfamiliar territory and a serious ailment. If word of this got out, it could cause a stir among the subjects. A monarch’s health is the cornerstone supporting the kingdom. A slight tremor and there is every chance of collapse.
“One of the warriors who had accompanied me to the desert has lost his memory. What do you know about such a condition?”
Kasser blended fib and fact in moderation.
“Did the patient suffer a major blow to the head?”
“I can’t elaborate, but it seems so.”
“Memory loss is a condition that has often occurred. After a major impact to the head, the symptoms may continue for a few hours or days at the very least.”
“What about the condition of having no recollection of who you are?”
“That’s pretty serious. It’s very rare. My belief is someone who has this won’t regain memory for days or even years.”
“You mean, there is a chance that the person will have his/her memories back?”
“I can’t give you a definite answer, Your Majesty.”
What if I don’t want her memories to return? He almost said it out loud. Kasser quickly reworded his thoughts.
“How do the patients get their memories back?”
“It can help if the patients are administered a shock therapy, it can act as a stimulus to trigger the memory. For example, it’s a good idea to show them something they were attached to or let them venture to a place they most frequented.”
Kasser was lost in thought. After a few more minutes of ‘consultation’, the doctor left the castle.
The first thing that came to his mind was the treasure house. The queen had loved it so much that she had kept going in and out of it for these past three years.
It was this very ‘love’, that catapulted her to the prime suspect’s position when the national treasure had been robbed. It was unclear if she’d hid the national treasure in a secluded place or whether she had taken it out to the desert and lost it.
Heaving a heavy sigh, Kasser rose from his desk and walked over. He stopped by the door leading to the balcony, simply standing there, and staring out into the darkness.
On this black night, a red moon adorned the sky. During the dry season, the yellowish, white-brown moon turned red when it entered its active phase.
Throughout the last dry season, he suffered from an unknown sense of insecurity. Hence, he’d ordered the stone gate to be lowered 10 days earlier than usual. He, along with his warriors, was out in the desert for a month.
That whole time, he had been anxious. He had a gnawing feeling that something big would transpire in the desert. However, his misgivings proved to be unfounded for nothing out of the ordinary had occurred during his reconnaissance. On the contrary, a quite peculiar incident took place in his castle instead.
The queen’s disappearance, return and memory loss, the robbery of the national treasure, it was all a big deal.
Her disappearance was naturally masked by her return. It didn’t matter where the stolen national treasure was. He’d rather forfeit the national treasure than have her regain her memories. If it happened, he would lose her again.
Well, on one hand, Kasser did feel sorry for the queen who lost her memory but a part of him had hoped she’d stay as she was right now. He didn’t want her to go back to her former self.
Her former countenance, where is it now?
But, in all truth, he must not fret over such things. What he stood to gain from the contract was an heir, not her.
In the face of an unsolved mystery, he seemed to be fraught with unanswered questions.
Last night was still vivid in his mind, for it was not just an intense carnal indulgence. The words he had exchanged with her, floated in his head throughout the day.
“Be gentle or else!”
Her words flashed across his mind; his placid face broke into a grin. She spoke in an accent and a tone he had never heard of anywhere.
It was a strange experience. He’d never had such a casual conversation with anyone among peers.
The chamberlain brought him back from his musings.
“Someone requests an audience with His Majesty.”
“Send them in.”
Soon, Marianne entered.
“Greetings, Your Majesty.”