Chapter 356.1

Approximately three weeks ago, a contingent of knights departed from the sacred confines of the Holy City. Dana had meticulously observed the palace’s activities in recent times. However, her surveillance had failed to detect the departure of a group of knights who seemed to have skillfully eluded her watchful eyes. In the active season, the uncharacteristic gathering of knights and their subsequent exodus from the Holy City raised eyebrows.

Enoch added, “Rumor has it that Anika was among them.”

“Which Anika are we talking about?” Dana asked.

“I couldn’t ascertain that,” Enoch admitted.

Who could it possibly be? Dana wondered. If knights were part of the departing group, logic pointed towards Anika, who had transitioned into priesthood. The movements of such individuals were shrouded in mystery, making them nearly impossible to track. As time progressed, those who entered the Holy Palace gradually severed ties with the outside world. Their families remained oblivious to their well-being, unsure if they were alive or deceased.

Compounding the uncertainty was the Holy City’s tradition of keeping priest deaths discreet. While priests, like any mortal being, had a natural lifespan, there was a conspicuous absence of any reported deaths among them. This absence fueled the belief, particularly among fervent adherents, that ordained priests enjoyed an eternal existence in the divine presence.

An uneasy feeling settled over Dana.

With the exception of Anika, Dana hadn’t observed anyone departing from the Holy City. Yet, the notion that Anika alone could accomplish something significant by leaving seemed implausible, no matter how she contemplated it.

Recently, the actions of the priests have been peculiar, Dana mused. Despite the challenges posed by Sang-je’s activities, investigating the priests’ movements seemed comparatively manageable under the circumstances.

The incident of disappearances in the slums is no different. If people vanish simultaneously, even beggars, it’s sure to attract attention. Sang-je used to plan things with much greater precision in the past, she reflected. A sense of urgency in Sang-je’s recent actions had not escaped her notice.

After careful consideration, Dana resolved, Nevertheless, I must journey to the kingdom. I cannot leave Jin alone in a distant place to navigate the challenges of childbirth. No, I simply cannot bear the thought.  The idea of her daughter enduring hardships without support weighed heavily on her heart.

Turning to Enoch, she said, “Enoch.”

“Yes, Mother,” he replied.

“During my absence, you must safeguard our family. Your age and capabilities are more than sufficient to lead. Consider the opinions around you, but the final judgment rests with you, and so does the responsibility.”

Enoch responded with a solemn expression, assuring, “I will keep that in mind, Mother.”

“Take advantage of the opportunity to gather wisdom from your father. It’s a parent’s duty to assist their child. However, that doesn’t mean you should forsake your independence,” Dana advised.

“Yes, Mother,” Enoch responded, nodding with a slight, relieved smile. “But Mother, you can trust me more and leave me in charge. If possible, Father should come along too. It’s been a while since both of you embarked on a lengthy journey together.”

Enoch subtly mentioned his father’s desire. The prolonged absence of his mother had left his father visibly melancholic. It was disheartening to see him silently surveying his surroundings after receiving a refusal from Dana, who had stated, “This time, I’ll go alone; we can travel together next time.”

Dana shook her head. “That won’t do. If both of us abandon our positions in this tumultuous atmosphere, we might regret it later.”

As a sharp response followed, Enoch forced a bitter smile, silently seeking forgiveness in his heart, thinking, Father, I did my best.

“Enoch, one more thing,” Dana added, recalling the advice she had given to Jin before leaving the Holy City.

“Mom, just in case things become extremely difficult and you find yourself in a situation you can’t handle, contact the Muen family. They’re your maternal relatives, and they will undoubtedly offer assistance.”

The term “maternal relatives” carried an unexpected weight, causing a strange heaviness in Dana’s heart. Even at her mother’s passing, Dana harbored resentment towards the Muen family due to the lack of communication. However, she gained insight into the unavoidable circumstances after hearing snippets from Jin.

“Enoch, pay close attention to what I’m about to tell you. It concerns my mother and your grandmother,” Dana declared. She had made the decision to unveil a long-concealed secret to her son.



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