The culture, tradition, and events of Mahar… Eugene was pensive as she watched Marianne patiently roll up the portraits one after another. While she compared her world with the one she’d been thrown into, a question suddenly popped in her mind.
“Marianne, you told me that high society gatherings are not held during the active period.”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
“Is it prohibited?”
“Not quite, my queen.”
“Then are the nobility restraining themselves from holding them?”
Eugene thought back to what Kasser had said, that no one was restricted from doing things during the active period. All they had to do was be cautious during the day. It was harder for her to believe that the nobles, known for their luxurious and extravagant way of life, also restrained themselves from holding gatherings.
Since the Larks normally did not lurk after sundown, she thought, it did seem like a perfect time to throw a party for the elite.
“It’s more of a realistic measure, Your Grace. Besides, no one in high society has status enough to hold the gatherings during the active period.”
“So, by the near end of the dry period, they head to the Holy City and return only when the dry period starts again, right?” Eugene said, to make sure she’d understood Marianne correctly.
“That is right, my queen.”
“So this handful of nobles form high society, huh? Then, is Countess Moriel also in the Holy City now?”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
Eugene remembered that Count Wacommbe would also be back as the dry period started. When Marianne left, she fell into deep thought.
What did the other lower class and the peasants think of the high-class nobility as they left the kingdom every active period for safety?
Perhaps, some criticized them, but surely most were envious and wanted to leave with them to safety. The Holy City was safe from the Larks, so the nobility was essentially on refuge.
However, not all were blessed with the privilege to be one among them. People admired the nobility; dressed like them, ate like them, and even talked like them. They were the celebrities of the kingdom. As much as they inspired awe, they inspired jealousy too.
The culture of the kingdom is completely dependent on the Holy City.
As Eugene delved deeper, she realized it defeated the purpose of culture, as nothing was indigenous to the Kingdom of Hashi. On the contrary, it was completely influenced by the culture of the Holy City. In a way, this kingdom was living in its shadows.
Holy City… the heart of Mahar and the center of all six kingdoms. It was here that the highest of the nobility came together and exchanged their cultures with the others. But because of this very reason, prohibiting the movement of people during the active period wasn’t going to be a solution to enriching the culture within the Kingdom of Hashi. It was only going to isolate it.
But there was no other way to prevent people from traveling to the Holy City other than a forceful measure. If a Lark enters the kingdom walls, someone dies. It was logical for people to move to safety if they could afford to.
And if one had the means, more so.
But there was no denying, this move was sending wrong signals among the masses. So far things seemed quiet and acceptable, but the seed of temptation had long been sown. It had only yet to sprout.
Hmm… How can I keep these nobles from moving in and out?
Even after thinking for a while, Eugene couldn’t come up with any good ideas. Instead, she was vexed. It made her sick, thinking about the selfish nobles. Greedy, insensitive, and self-centered—words which best describe the so-called nobility of Mahar.
How dare they while the king himself is risking his life every day to save the kingdom. It’s so selfish!
She suddenly smirked. She realized that she was thinking like the queen of this kingdom and the wife of the king. This was a novel feeling, but somehow she wasn’t repulsed by it. She resumed her musings.
Anyways, the king is too devoted to his duty. How can he drop everything and leave as soon as the signal flare hits the sky?
At least the Larks didn’t show themselves during the night. At that note, Eugene couldn’t help but imagine the king dressing up to leave in the middle of s*x as the signal flare lit up their room.
He would definitely do that!
Eugene broke out into laughter at her own thoughts.
She recalled the scene when Kasser was riding his spirit animal. It was the first time she saw the king leave for battle, the whole aura and the air had suddenly changed from casual to valiant in a matter of moments. This was why she had been fidgety all day, unable to keep calm until she saw a blue flare leap into the sky.
She’d spent the last few nights sleeping by herself. Although she was energetic, her mind was full of thoughts, giving her a headache. If he had forced her to sleep with him even during her period, he would’ve been an ass.
But he hadn’t shown himself these past few days and it only irked her.
At first, when it had all started, she was skittish about his presence, but his absence left her in no better state. She was unable to understand her feelings, even less his actions.
Again, she wondered if he only thought of her as a body that gave birth. Resigned, her thoughts began to take a familiar road of doubts and… resistance.
I should stop expecting more from him. I am not in a romantic relationship, I’m just a person that has a contract with him.
He had invested three years into an expensive and unhappy marriage in hopes that it will produce an heir to the throne. Determined as he was, nothing was going to stop him from getting what he wanted.
Jin signed the contract knowing well that she can get anything she wants as long as she gives him a baby in exchange.
And that, she would do. Nothing more.
Gradually, her mind went blank. Eugene gazed blankly into space. Her heart felt empty; emptier than the desert that welcomed her when she first opened her eyes in this world.