The man who possessed red eyes and bowing in front of her as he looked up in reverence…
She couldn’t believe that Jin would dare bring a heretic, it’s chief priest, within the palace walls so casually, making visits every now and then. She couldn’t help but feel anger at Jin once again.
But his name isn’t Cage, that’s just a disguise.
It was like Jin was standing right next to her, whispering his name to her ear as they locked eyes…
He took a few steps forward towards her and bowed so low, his nose could touch the floor…
“May endless glory be with you, noble Anika. This humble one greets you.”
As Eugene stared him down, she was hyper-aware of who else was still in the room with them. Aside from Marianne, there were two other maids inside by the door, and another two at the opposite corner. Zanne also stood a few paces behind her, from where she sat.
“To what do I owe this visit?” she asked him.
Rodrigo looked somber as he spoke. “This humble one was rude because I had something urgent to say. Please forgive me.”
“Urgent?” Eugene asked, frowning in concern.
“Yes. But first…” He trailed off, glancing around discreetly. “The information I have is of a sensitive matter.”
Eugene frowned and gestured for two servants, the ones by the corner, to leave.
“Highly sensitive.” He insisted, wearing a mock worry on his face, and Eugene gestured for the other two to leave as well. That left only Marianne and Zanne with them. Marianne’s expression was hard, but she remained unmoved.
“Better?” Eugene asked, feeling her hands start getting clammy.
“Better,” he said, giving her an ominous grin and turned around. “And I have a request for these two, lovely maids of honor.”
Zanne and Marianne’s eyes stared resolutely down at the man, and Eugene could feel her trepidation build up as the man’s eyes flashed red.
He moved forward, encroaching her personal space, and genuflected in front of her and declared…
“God bless the saint! Mara’s servant greets the saintess!” He revered, bowing his head at her.
Eugene’s breath caught in her throat, as her body froze. It was like her heart stopped in that moment.
Is he not afraid of the repercussions!? She thought in panic, but the reaction she expected was noticeably absent.
The room was deadly silent, and as Eugene looked to the other two occupants in the room, she saw them standing idly by. She glanced at Zanne’s face, and her expression was blank. So was Marianne’s!
It was evident that in that short span, when the man locked eyes with them, he’d done something to make them appear so lifeless… So statue-like, as if they couldn’t hear or see what’s happening in front of them. Her concern eventually won out.
“What you did.” She began. “It’s not harmful, is it? These two are quite special than the others,” she asked, so beside herself until she saw a flash of suspicion when he looked up at her. “Wha-what is it?” she asked with a nervous tick, but amended her thoughts once more.
Calm down, he might not know you’re not Jin Anika anymore.
If Jin was her, what would she have done? If she was Jin, she would just take whatever she wanted and deemed it as her birthright, even if it included the lives of her maids. She wouldn’t also be bothered to explain herself, or even make excuses for her actions either.
Raising her chin as a sign of superiority, she sent him her most scathing look and demanded an answer in her most icy cold tone as she stared him down.
“An answer, Rodrigo.” She demanded, even quirking up a brow when he still refused to answer. Thankfully it worked, for the man flinched and bowed his head back down.
“Of course, Saintess.” He continued. “You need not worry about them, Saintess, it’s only side effects is a short memory loss,” he finally said.
Eugene nodded in satisfaction, the tension on her shoulders minimizing slightly.
So it was similar to hypnosis. It could be possible that he could only manage to hypnotize two or three people at a time, which would explain why he needed to lessen the number of watching eyes within the room. Then that would mean, even the maids Jin had previously taken with her during their transactions didn’t know what happened.
Now that problem was slightly solved, an even bigger problem was presented in front of her.
Why was he calling her Saintess?
The man called himself ‘Mara’s servant.’ He did not hide the fact that he was a priest who served Mara as a god. In that case, he would only acknowledge holy beings blessed by Mara as a Saint or Saintess
Wasn’t this before Jin got Mara’s power? She thought in confusion. One thing was clear for her, this man had information about Jin’s plans, and she needed to extract information from him.
However, things weren’t so simple.
Even now, she could feel the bead of sweat roll down to her neck, as her hands got clammier than a while ago at the prospect of talking to him. It would be difficult not to raise his suspicions the more she acted less like Jin.
Initially, she had been relieved she got turned into Jin before she made any drastic moves, but now she was reluctant if that were truly the case. Evidence number one was standing in front of her.
“Why do you come here so recklessly?” She demanded, keeping her tone cool and even.
“During the preparations for the ceremony, we’ve had word that Tanya, a fellow servant of Mara, was executed.” He began. “And we’ve heard no word from the Saintess either, so I had to make sure you weren’t in any danger.”
Despite not knowing what it was he was talking about, she knew this was important information. However, now she needed to think like Jin Anika and become cruel to avoid suspicion.
“How arrogant of you to assume I would be so careless!” She spat out. “If I have gone silent, it’s only smart to assume I’m being more cautious. Don’t presume you have to know about everything I do.” She finished and the man cowered in front of her.
“Your humble servant begs forgiveness for his insolence!” He pleaded and Eugene could see this man wasn’t just someone working with Jin, he was a faithful servant of hers who bent to her every will.
Then that would mean this title of Saint, or even Saintess was of a higher position in the hierarchy of the heretic church, and not as an actual saint or a holy person.
But Jin doesn’t have Mara’s power yet! She thought in panic. I know this for certain!
Eugene knew this was true. Even after inhabiting Jin’s body for a month, there was no hidden power or anything special. She would’ve felt it otherwise. Still…
The fact that Jin held the title of Saintess meant she’d been part of the heretic church for a very long time now.
The question was: how long had she been planning this?