Still, Eugene was quite eager to start on this task. “Do you have to make them?” she asked. “Are there no pre-existing portraits?”
“Borrowing a private portrait is a rather difficult job, Your Grace.”
“How did you draw the portraits? Surely they don’t each pose for you!”
“There are artists that can draw people by only a verbal description of people’s faces.”
Ah, so it is indeed a montage!
Marianne began giving details of Count Wacommbe-age, family members, and other relevant information. Eugene queried about how often the count visited the queen and the process involved in buying the antique books.
“I can only inform you about the basic procedures. I do not know what conversations or dealings you had with the count.”
In return, Eugene nodded.
I don’t have any intention to buy more books from him, but I reckon it is worth meeting him in person. Jin Anika must have had a preference for these books. I might get a hint.
“Do I wait for Count Wacommbe to visit to meet him?” Eugene was much too anxious for that and hoped the answer was a negation.
“You can summon him. However, the count is presently in the Holy City. He will be back only after the active period.”
Right at this moment, Marianne’s words were punctuated with a loud…
Instantly, two heads turned towards the source only to see a signal flare. Marianne scurried over to the window, as she peeked, she looked relieved.
“It is yellow, Your Grace.” She sighed.
The news brightened Eugene’s face as well.
Signal flares were fired frequently, and Eugene had learned why it was a relief to see a yellow flare. It was difficult to live a daily life full of surprises and fear.
Fortunately, there had been only yellow signal flares so far.
Interestingly, the Larks did not show themselves at night, appearing only between sunrise and sunset. This was why the signal flares were only fired into shining daylight.
It was also why people stayed indoors during the day and filled the streets at night. Ironically, the rate of human crimes during the night in the active period was quite high.
Is he running towards the castle wall now?
She had not seen a Lark yet. It was known that Larks did not harm Anikas, but it was a crazy thought to want to watch a Lark out of curiosity. To some people, Larks were a matter of life or death.
“I will leave you to it, Your Grace. You seem tired; I will let you take a nap.” At this point, Marianne had spotted Eugene fighting the yawns trying to escape her mouth.
Eugene smiled and shook her head. She may have been tired, but the signal flares had woken her up abruptly. Though her body was ready for rest, her mind wasn’t.
“I’ll leave with you. I want to go to the study.”
Though Marianne was concerned for Eugene, she wouldn’t dare go against her wishes. She answered with a smile. “Yes, Your Grace.”
“Ah, I almost forgot!” Eugene added abruptly as she stood up from her seat. “Do you know anything about Ramita, Marianne?”
“Ramita… Your Grace?”
“I didn’t have anyone to ask. Is there a book I can look for about Ramita?”
Ramita, the power of Jin Anika.
Jin Anika must have had some sort of powers, even if she was weak. But Eugene had no clue as to how to feel and use these powers. She thought she could learn through a book or a manual, something that, perhaps, Jin Anika referred to.
Marianne seemed hesitant, which was highly unlike her.
“Your Grace, if you want to know about Ramitas, you must go to the Holy City. There, only the ones that have been blessed with the permission of the Sang-je can have access to a special library. There may be a couple of books that can help you.”
“There may be? Are you not sure? What if there is no such book?”
“Then you can visit the gods. You are an Anika. Any Anika can request an audience with the Sang-je.”
Requesting to meet the Sang-je was a privilege of Anikas. Even the king was expected to gain permission to meet the Sang-je beforehand, but Anikas had the liberty to meet as they pleased.
But Eugene did not plan to go to the Holy City. She did not want to meet the Sang-je.
“You will remember once your memory comes back, Your Grace.” Marianne carefully studied Eugene’s face. The king’s Praz and Anikas’ Ramita were sacred abilities. One was not allowed to talk about it carelessly.
Marianne made up her mind and slowly opened her mouth to say something more. “I am not sure if I am correct.”
This was enough to catch Eugene’s attention.
“Anikas see their Ramita through water.” Marianne finished.
“I do not know any more than that.” Marianne assured her. “It is just something I have heard. His Majesty will know more about this.”
Marianne mentioned the king carefully. She didn’t pretend to be ignorant of how Eugene would feel about the suggestion. She only mentioned him, thinking that the king would be able to answer Eugene’s questions.
Marianne wanted to make more opportunities for Eugene and Kasser to spend time together. But she did not want to push things too far. The two seemed to be getting along lately. The king had visited the queen’s chambers ten days in a row. It had never been like this before. Marianne made sure that no gossip spread around the palace about this. She knew that any disturbance from the outside would only make things worse.
Eugene didn’t betray any feelings or answer Marianne’s proposal of counsel. It was clear to Marianne that the conversation had come to a close, and she followed Eugene out of the bedroom in silence.
When they reached a split in the corridor, she released Marianne, saying, “You do not have to follow me. Go and spend your time.”
“Thank you, Your Grace.”
When she heard this simple reply, Eugene smiled awkwardly as she watched Marianne bow her head. She could not stand the extremely formal language spoken to her in the palace.
After a few moments, Marianne lifted her head. She watched Eugene disappear as she turned at the end of the hallway. She had mixed feelings. She never felt so peaceful, yet she felt as if she was standing on thin ice. Some mornings her heart would sink without any specific reason. She felt that things would go back to how they were overnight.
Marianne jumped and turned to see Sarah standing behind her. The general glimpsed at the hallway that Marianne was facing but saw no one.
“Is anything bothering you?” she asked.
“Nothing. Why are you here? The queen is in her study.”
“I came here for you, Marianne. The king is looking for you.”