Chapter 353.1

With a sudden, jarring bang, Eugene snapped her head towards the source of the explosion. Seated at a table, she peered out the window, her eyes locking onto the sky where a sinister yellow smoke cloud billowed. Once assured of the alarming spectacle, she turned her attention back to the report at hand.

Setting it down on the table’s surface, she addressed the assembled attendants, her voice steady and composed. “I believe there’s no further need for scrutiny. Thank you all for your unwavering dedication.”

The attendants, their faces etched with tension, breathed out sighs of relief and offered appreciative nods. But their relief was short-lived, for they couldn’t help but notice the subtle signs of discomfort etched on Eugene’s face as she clenched her lower abdomen, prompting immediate concern.

“Your Majesty, are you all right?” one of them inquired.

Eugene placed her left hand on her lower belly and straightened her posture, her regal bearing unwavering. With a reassuring smile, she extended her right hand toward her concerned attendants. “My stomach occasionally feels a tad tight. Nothing to be overly concerned about.”

Nonetheless, one of the attendants wasted no time and dashed outside. Moments later, the attendant reappeared, accompanied by a group of maids, and before long, the commander rushed in, his expression fraught with urgency.

“Your Majesty,” he proclaimed, “the physician has been urgently summoned.”

Eugene, still maintaining her composed demeanor, waved a dismissive hand. “There’s no need for such commotion,” she insisted. “This is a minor ailment that occasionally troubles me during this time. The physician has assured me it’s nothing to fret over.”

The commander persisted, his voice tinged with concern. “Your Majesty, His Highness has issued explicit instructions. He will be gravely displeased if we don’t ensure your well-being properly.”

Reluctantly, Eugene released a soft sigh, leaning against a plush, elongated sofa for support as the maids quickly arranged a cluster of soft cushions behind her. Extending her legs onto the sofa, the maids knelt at her side, their nimble fingers skillfully massaging her tired limbs.

After a brief interval, the physician arrived on the scene. There were designated rooms nearby, such as the bedroom and the study, where the queen frequented, ensuring that the physicians were always within reach when needed.

In response to the physician’s inquiry regarding her symptoms, Eugene opened up about her recent experiences. “I’ve been enduring these symptoms quite frequently of late. It’s a persistent, dull ache in my lower abdomen.”

The physician, offering reassurance, spoke with a gentle demeanor. “Your Highness, this discomfort is often a sign that the prince is developing healthily without any complications. There’s no need for undue concern. In fact, you may find these pains increasing in frequency as time passes. When they become too unbearable, please don’t hesitate to inform us.”

Although Eugene had heard these words countless times before, she responded with a silent nod. “I’d appreciate some solitude, so kindly leave.”

As the physician exited the room, she also ushered out the others. While she understood their genuine concern, there were moments when their well-meant attentiveness felt burdensome. Therefore, in those times when she feared her irritation might surface without reason, she opted for solitude. She sensed a heightened sensitivity, possibly influenced by her pregnancy.

Once everyone had departed, only the two steadfast maids remained. Their constant presence did not disturb her; they seemed to blend into the background unless specifically summoned. Even as she rose from the sofa to sit upright, the maids refrained from intervening, a comforting presence that Eugene appreciated.

Eugene strolled over to the balcony, her fingers gently parting the window to welcome in the pleasantly cool breeze. While this wasn’t her first encounter with the ever-changing weather tied to the alternating dry and active seasons, she couldn’t help but marvel at its transformation.

“I’m already approaching the end of my second active season here,” she mused.

Two months had passed since the active season commenced, and in just a few days, the dry season was expected to make its return. Recollecting the previous active season, when restlessness seemed to be her constant companion, Eugene couldn’t help but chuckle. Back then, even the faintest explosion would send her heart plummeting, her entire focus directed toward that source until the reassuring blue smoke signal lit up the sky.

Now, she luxuriated in the simple act of verifying the signal’s color before redirecting her attention to other pressing matters. Sometimes, the signal would fade from her thoughts until the sound of the blue flare snapped her back to reality, and she’d muse, “Oh right, a signal just went off.”

This active season felt like a brief interlude of peace. Despite daily, and sometimes even multiple signals, it seemed oddly tranquil. She was well aware that a storm loomed on the horizon, but for now, she cherished the tranquility. As long as her focus remained on navigating the active season unscathed, her mind remained uncluttered. She even found herself growing fond of the weather and felt a pang of regret as the days passed by.

“It’s a yellow smoke signal… Today’s taking longer than usual,” Eugene remarked, her thoughts drifting to Kasser, who was likely out on a hunt. She gently rested her hand on her burgeoning belly.

Entering her third month of pregnancy, her belly had swelled noticeably. During the initial three months, there had been no visible sign of her pregnancy, leaving her to ponder if there was indeed a little life growing within her. However, any lingering doubt vanished as the baby began to make its presence felt within just one month.

Eugene tenderly caressed her belly, a soft smile gracing her lips. Whenever she thought of the tiny life within her, a specific image always danced in her mind: a small snake with its mouth wide open, playfully nibbling at her ankle and wriggling around. That sight was indelibly etched in her memory. While she couldn’t quite recall the face of her teacher she had encountered in her dream, this vision remained vivid, as if she had witnessed it in the waking world.

Did you come to assist me? she mused silently.

Regrettably, the little snake hadn’t proven to be of practical help. It was Kasser’s arrival and his Praz that had ultimately roused her from her dream. Yet, whether the snake had been helpful or not became inconsequential. Eugene took comfort in the fact that a man had rushed to her aid, enveloping her in the safety of the world’s mightiest shield.

She had nearly fallen victim to a teleportation spell cast by Mara, but the memory of meeting two blue snakes in her dream remained a cherished one, a bright and happy recollection.

“But, my dear,” Eugene whispered, her voice laced with a hint of wry amusement. “Your father has become incredibly sensitive since that day. Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s not just a little; it’s quite a lot.”



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