Chapter 355.2

A resonant knock reverberated through the room, disrupting Dana’s focused perusal of documents. Unswayed, she kept her gaze fixed, assuming it was the housekeeper arriving with the customary tea tray.

“Madam,” the housekeeper greeted.

“Leave it and go,” Dana instructed, her attention tethered to the papers.

“We’ve received a letter,” the maid revealed.

“At this hour…?” Dana raised her head, catching a subtle flicker of anticipation in the housekeeper’s expression. A hunch fluttered across her consciousness, prompting Dana to swiftly rise from her seat.

“From the kingdom?”

“Yes, Madam.”

“Hurry, hand it over.”

The housekeeper, a fixture in Dana’s life, observed a rare departure from her stoicism. Dana’s unbridled joy, akin to that of a girl cherishing her innocence, painted a delightful tableau. Hence, each time the housekeeper prepared to deliver a letter, the anticipation of Dana’s pleased reaction heightened the overall excitement of the moment.

As the housekeeper handed Dana the letter, her thoughts swirled in contemplation.

Both at the same time?

Letters from the Hashi Kingdom boasted the lowest security classification among ordinary mail. Beyond the perk of swift delivery, there was little else to commend. Yet, it served as an indirect means to breach Sang-je’s defenses.

Dana unfolded her daughter’s letter first, and to avoid disturbing her focused mistress, the housekeeper quietly exited the room.

[Mom, I hope you’re well.]

A persistent smile graced Dana’s features throughout the perusal. The contents were ordinary, brimming with her daughter’s assurances of good health and inquiries about the family. The absence of critical information meant the missive could traverse as regular mail without raising concerns.

As Dana contentedly perused today’s uneventful letter, a subtle twinge of disappointment lingered. It was a phase where the gradual transformations in her pregnant body were becoming noticeable. While it would have been acceptable to voice a bit of complaint, Eugene opted for the reassuring route, alleviating her parents’ concerns by affirming her perpetual health.

Methodically placing her daughter’s missive into the envelope, Dana turned her attention to her son-in-law’s letter. Unlike the joy induced by her daughter’s words, reading the son-in-law’s letter consistently sparked a palpable excitement. Today’s letter, she wondered, held what revelations.

Unfurling the missive, Dana marveled at the impeccable handwriting that never failed to impress. The lengthy letter unfolded like an observational journal, with the focal point being his wife, Eugene. It chronicled the nuances of Eugene’s appetite and meals, capturing the subtleties of her changing body—details Dana couldn’t glean from her daughter’s more generalized letters.

A pleased expression graced Dana’s face as she absorbed the content. Over time and multiple letters, she had discerned that her son-in-law lacked a flashy writing style. Emotions were never overtly expressed in words. Yet, the entirety of the letter radiated affection, allowing Dana to keenly feel the depth of his care for his wife.

My daughter is fortunate.

Having read both letters in a rhythmic dance of alternation, Dana retrieved a polished wooden box from the desk drawer, tenderly placing the precious missives inside. It marked the inaugural occasion when both her daughter and son-in-law’s letters graced her with simultaneous arrival.

No separate replies were composed. Even if it was a regular mail, the risk of arousing suspicion loomed if frequent exchanges became a habit.

Now the belly is starting to show.

Considering the letter’s date was eight days past, the mental image of Eugene’s burgeoning belly occupied Dana’s thoughts. By now, it would likely be more pronounced, carrying with it the weight of impending motherhood.

It must be getting heavier. It must be tough.

Lately, the vivid image of her daughter lingered in Dana’s mind. Initially poised to depart for the Hashi Kingdom as the active season waned, the plan now dangled in uncertainty, entangled by unforeseen incidents.

Throughout this active season, Dana found herself unusually occupied. Venturing out almost daily, she showcased the prosperity of her family and herself. The legends she had woven still wielded influence. Her authority surpassed even that of her son, the heir. While exemplifying a measured response to those daring to challenge her, she had recently embraced a period of relative quietude. If Sang-je had opted for a full-scale confrontation, it might have left her considerably drained. However, it appeared that Sang-je’s attention had veered elsewhere.

Without a doubt, I must journey to the kingdom this active season.

If she failed to make the pilgrimage during this bustling time, Dana would be left waiting until after childbirth for an opportunity to be at Eugene’s side. The prospect of witnessing her daughter’s delivery kindled a profound desire within Dana.

The palpable sense of distance, whether consciously acknowledged or not, gnawed at Dana. She recognized the inevitability of this gap, a chasm carved by the vastness of time. Family affection, she mused, wasn’t solely bound by blood ties; it necessitated shared memories. And in this juncture, Dana yearned to forge such memories.

As her determination crystallized, Dana summoned Enoch.

“As soon as the active season commences, I need to depart,” she divulged.

“Will you inform Sang-je before leaving?” inquired Enoch.

“Sneaking away and leaving room for more rumors? I plan to let whispers spread far and wide. Who would object upon hearing I’m going to assist in my daughter’s childbirth?”

Enoch grappled with his apprehensions but chose to withhold further words. If Dana framed this as a decision rather than a discussion, changing her mind would prove challenging, regardless of Enoch’s sentiments.

“I wanted to discuss the missing persons case we touched upon last time,” Enoch said.

“Oh, right. Did you uncover anything?” inquired Dana.

The Arse family, known for their regular dispatch of essentials to impoverished villages, had become entangled in a disconcerting surge of disappearances. Though such incidents were unfortunately common in these regions, the recent occurrence of over ten people vanishing simultaneously raised alarming red flags.

The afflicted areas fell within the critical zone, yet the Holy City’s security forces exhibited a notable lack of interest in these crimes. Undeterred, Dana had clandestinely directed an independent inquiry.

“Beyond that region, similar incidents have cropped up in several other villages,” Enoch began. “From my findings, the tally of missing persons nears two hundred.”

“What?” Dana gasped.

“Moreover, during the disappearances, a witness claims to have spotted a knight.”

“A knight?”

“But based on the witness’s account, it seemed more like an Inquisitor.”

Dana pondered, her brow furrowing. An Inquisitor… The grand title of knights masked the reality that they were essentially Sang-je’s janitors, handling his unsavory tasks.

Unless the witness erred, could Sang-je be involved in kidnapping? What could be his intentions with so many people?



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