Time has an inconspicuous way of changing things. It is especially so with feelings.
Back then, Kasser was often displeased with the queen’s attitude. Be it her talks or mannerism, there was nothing to fault her. She was impeccable. Yet, it invoked in him a gnawing feeling that she harboured an ulterior motive. And thus, he had never once lowered his guard.
On one such occasion, when Jin Anika brought him tea, he decided to get it off his chest and be done with her permanently.
“If you want anything, just tell me. You should not do things behind my back.” He was giving her a chance to lay her cards bare.
The queen grinned, she looked so pure. “My king, I get bored easily. I’d like to see the treasure house.”
Kasser was ambitious but even more so logical. He had never indulged himself in flights of fancy. Be it matters pertaining to the kingdom or personal, he had the knack of knowing his limits. Although her facade was genial and courteous, he knew in his heart that it was impossible to mold the queen to his liking. As he gave in to her every demand, her vicious behavior somewhat dwindled. His efforts to avoid sparking an argument with her, a war of nerves, played a big part.
When she spoke of her demands, Kasser listened to her every word. If this were the only thing he could do to assure himself that she would not stoop to evil means to procure her wants, then why not?
In that respect, Jin Anika was transparent. By-and-by Kasser distanced himself from her, their interactions were fewer and fewer. He even left the kingdom, trusting that she would not do anything horrible now that her demands were satisfied.
Yet, despite the privileges he bestowed upon her, she still brutally stabbed him in the back. She stole the national treasure and ran away. However, when she returned, her memory was gone. There was no way to know the truth of what had happened and what had driven her to do it.
Upon her return, Kasser was torn on how he should deal with her. Should he be angry, doubt her or simply bury the past as if it were nothing?
And today, her gesture of sending tea shook him while he was already off-balance. Why did her behavior, which could hardly move him in the past, feel so special? You’re the same person after all.
He immediately found himself striding out of his office, not knowing a destination or purpose. When he came about, he found himself standing before in the queen’s chamber.
And right now, she was looking at him in puzzlement, trying to perhaps understand the reason behind his visit. Her dazed eyes, furrowing eyebrows… oh, she looks so lovely?
“Your Majesty, is everything all right?”
He stood before her silently. Neither had he answered her, nor did it seem like he had heard her. He seemed to be lost in thoughts. But seeing the hour he had chosen to visit; she was still inclined to interpret his silence…
He was here for the same reason he’d graced her chamber the last few nights?
Eugene took a few deep breaths and called out to him again, trying to bring him out of whatever that was keeping him.
“What is it, Your Majesty?”
Well, Kasser at some point wanted to ask her what she meant by sending him tea. But when he looked at her, it seemed an unnecessary question. Even so, what came out of his mouth shocked him too.
“Can I have a cup of tea?”
Eugene was confused. He’d come to ask her such a simple question in such a grave manner?
“… Now, here?”
Somehow, Eugene felt that there was more that he wished to say, and with every moment, it pressed greater and greater on her self-possession. She decided to be candid about it, after all, this was not the time for a guessing game.
“What is going on? Don’t drag it on, please. That’s even scarier.”
Her face was full of life as she spoke. Her stance was demonstrative of him trying her patience. Hands on waist, eyes narrowed, looking him straight in the eye– Kasser couldn’t keep from staring.
He was born a prince and became a king. He grew up in the hands of a nanny without any brothers or friends. This heir apparent had been put on the pedestal right from the moment he was born. He was the highest authority in the kingdom. Irrespective of age, gender, status, they were all required to acquiesce. Bowing and nodding at every turn. Whether he was right or not, whether they agreed or not; no one dared to defy him. It was so when he was a prince more so now that he was the sovereign.
Because of this, he had no chance to experience the various highs and lows of being in a mutually respectful relationship with anyone. No one had treated him as an equal nor had he felt the need to either.
However, this queen who had lost her memory had an expression he had never seen before. She didn’t hesitate to show her feelings in front of him. It was strange for him to see honest feelings, but it looked good. He had a vague feeling that this was how it would feel to be… ordinary.
“Nothing’s wrong. I couldn’t drink the tea you sent me. If we go to the office now, it will be cold.”
Eugene looked at him for a moment finding it a little odd. Nonetheless, she called her maid, gave her the tea leaves, and ordered her to bring the tea to a boil. With that, the two were left in silence until the maid brought in the teapot.