It’s been quite a while since Kasser has been displeased with the way things were going lately. He has anticipated much about spending more time with Eugene in Holy City, away from the palace where he was usually always swamped with too much work that he couldn’t even get to see her face throughout the entire day.
His such anticipation, however, turned out to be miles out, as his wife has instead been busy ever since they arrived at the city. She recently had been leaving the house at first light and returning only after dark. Despite his efforts to keep his cool, he could feel his discontent building up inside him.
‘It’s not surprising that Abu has tried to swallow up Kid.’
Although he’s explained to Eugene that Abu’s intention was nothing more than an attempt to establish a pecking order, he could easily tell that Abu had just been throwing one of his petulant hissy fits at Kid.
As far as he’s concerned, larks only come into conflict with one another when they are faced with those of the similar level in terms of ability. So in the case of Abu and Kid, where their ability wasn’t even remotely comparable to each other, there was no reason for Abu to be agitated to Kid as the weaker Hwansu would eventually keep distance and humble to not get under Abu’s skin. Besides, it wasn’t an unusual sight to see Hwansu, who are subordinated to the same master, to ignore each other’s existence completely.
Doubtless Abu has long been aware of Kid’s existence, as well as the fact that Kid has been tagging around Eugene lately. In other words, there was no better way to explain it than that Abu was blinded by his jealousy.
‘We better go back soon.’
Feeling absolutely absurd to find himself empathizing with the beast’s jealousy, Kasser grumbled inwardly, tightening his arms around her waist to pull her in closer as he rested his chin on her shoulder.
There simply have been too many distractions in the Holy City. And he never thought he would say this, but he would rather go back to his palace despite there being a heap of work waiting for his return. If needed, he could always hold off works which weren’t urgent or even allocate some of them to his men accordingly.
He felt like there really wasn’t anything else he would wish for as long as he gets to keep hogging his wife, whom he was now holding to him in a warm embrace, wholly to himself.
On the days he wasn’t sent on private missions by Sang-je, Pides usually led an orderly life according to a strict routine of his own.
As it happens, the knights under the immediate command of Sang-je, need only follow his orders without any particular rules or precepts forced on them to abide by. In fact, Sang-je never seemed to interfere into the private lives of his knights, no matter how idle or promiscuous they were.
Since Sang-je stays mainly in his palace without ever stepping out from it, he only calls out for his knights on rare occasions. And even if he does so, only a small number of knights whom he usually gives out his orders to would be summoned to carry out missions for him. The only time a total of 99 knights had been sent out to a common mission was twenty years ago, when Anika Jin had been kidnapped.
Beside taking their turns to make regular patrols around the perimeter of the palace and stand sentry at the audience and prayer chamber at appointed times, the knights were free to spend the rest of the day however they wanted.
All 99 of Sang-je’s knights were considered equal without any discrimination in terms of rank between them. If anything, there was no significant difference to the number of fortunes or authorities given to the knights who’s faithful to their duties, compared to those who prioritized their personal lives over their knighthood.
Having the money to burn as well as the time on their hands, there really was no reason for the highly revered Sang-je’s knights, not to indulge in pleasures and amusements.
However, despite being a small fraction of it, there are still a few knights who strive to uphold their knighthood, faithfully devoting their lives to God. And among them all, Pides was considered an eccentric conservative.
Pides has indeed spent the whole afternoon today meditating in the prayer room, fully absorbed, as he usually does whenever he is free. But before long, he opened his closed eyes after some fine wrinkles were formed between his brows.
With that, he turned his gaze over to the door, as he was clearly disturbed by the sounds coming from the other end of the door.
Pides was just in time to catch a priest walking past the prayer room with hurried steps when he went out through the door.
“Is something wrong?” Pides asked the priest.
“Ah, Sir Pides.” The priest answered, sounding relieved to run into Pides. “It’s already been two days since we last received the signal from the Anika who had gone down to the prayer room. But as you know, we have no right to access the prayer room without permission from His Holiness.”
There are several prayer rooms in the palace, each of them created for the use of knights, priests and also the visitors. While most prayer rooms are openly accessible by anyone, there are some prayer rooms where its access is strictly restricted. However, there are only two prayer rooms in the whole palace which are located underground. One was solely for the use of Sang-je himself, and the other was for the priest Anika.
“Have you informed His Holiness about the matter?”
“I’m afraid His Holiness is in his prayer room at the moment. I’m quite lost at what to. His Holiness has given out orders that he is not to be disturbed before he headed down to the prayer room this morning.”
‘Again?’ Pides thought inwardly to himself.
Indeed, Sang-je has been confiding in the prayer room for the past few days, deferring every audience request to a later date. Though there was nothing strange about Sang-je spending most of his time in his prayer room, it surely was uncommon for him to give out strict orders that he didn’t wish to be disturbed.
“Let me inform His Holiness about it.”
“I’ll be most glad if you would.” The priest brightened up instantly at Pides’s kind suggestion.