Chapter 64 – The Missing National Treasure (1)
May the holy light of Mahar always be with you.
Kasser wrote the last line, and once he was done, put the pen down and began to fold the parchment in half while summoning the Grand Chamberlain. When the Grand Chamberlain arrived, he handed the folded letter to him.
“This is a letter for the Sang-je,” Kasser said, “Make sure it is personally delivered by our postman.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.” The Grand Chamberlain bowed as he dismissed himself before setting out to carry the orders.
Kasser estimated that the mail wouldn’t take more than ten days until the Sang-je would receive it. It was the average a regular mail by coach would take after all. However, in the active period, it could take over a month to deliver.
Kasser didn’t take too kindly of the Sang-je meddling in his marriage and his kingdom. He didn’t owe him enough to tell him everything happening in the Kingdom of Hashi in great detail, so he left things in the letter ambiguous at best. He was certain because of this, the Sang-je would prod, asking more and more about the wellbeing of Jin.
If worse came to worst, he’d send out an invitation to the Holy City. That way he could salvage the situation.
Whatever I do, will cause trouble. Rhythmically tapping his fingers on top of his desk, he mulled things over.
He may not want the queen’s memory to return, however, he knew better. It wasn’t ideal or safe for Jin Anika to stay that way, especially when she’d forgotten the ways of an Anika. No one could teach her that, only the Sang-je.
If the queen agrees to travel to the Holy City… His thoughts began to trail off.
He could always prevent her from leaving during the active period, explaining to her how dangerous travelling could be. But it was not possible to do so when the dry period began. He wouldn’t have a viable reason to hold her back. He was certain that she currently did not plan to break their contract. She was cooperating now, and he’d no reason to interrogate her any further. After all, there was no use to questioning her of things she couldn’t remember.
However, should she head back to the Holy City, recover her memory, she’d most likely revert to her cruel, conniving self. Therefore, the probability of her breaking the contract would be exponential. She wouldn’t even think about returning to Hashi by then. He couldn’t force her, especially an Anika, to leave the Holy City for his kingdom. The Sang-je would no doubt respect her wishes, and even protect her if push comes to shove. He’d always be at their side, protecting them.
And while divorce wasn’t a foreign concept, the procedures weren’t as simple. It would only mean he’d need another Anika to give birth to an heir for his throne.
It would only complicate matters further. As he thought things through, he let out a groan as he pulled his hair in frustration. He slumped over his desk, cradling his head in his hands.
Everybody knew that the queen was an Anika. Wasn’t that enough? It shouldn’t matter if she couldn’t sense her Ramita, although he understood her desire to learn about herself. It was simply human nature.
Looking back, he couldn’t help but chuckle as he recalled Eugene’s words from yesterday. How did she come up with such an idea? Touching the seed? I have to emphasize that she can’t do that. Ever! He added as an afterthought.
The Grand Chamberlain peered at Kasser and approached him slowly.
“Your Majesty. Baroness Wais is requesting to see you,” said he, bowing his head lowly in reverence.
Kasser straightened up and nodded.
“Send her in.”
Soon, Marianne entered the room and bowed her head. Marianne had been re-employed as a nanny and a tutor into the palace and was bestowed the title of Baroness.
As a woman not of noble birth, she wouldn’t be holding a title. However, when she served as a General in the palace, she had been given an honorary title, which was revoked when she left the service.
Kasser wanted to permanently assign a noble title to Marianne when she first left, but she had declined repeatedly. Thus, she was called “former general officer” for a long time, until finally agreeing to accept the title of Baroness.
“Your Majesty, Her Grace plans to leave the palace after sundown tonight. I believe she has discussed this with you before.” She apprised him.
“Yes, I have. Where will she go?”
“Her Grace has not revealed a destination. She desires to keep it confidential. I have come to you to ask your advice on assigning guards around her.”
“If it is confidential, then you shouldn’t assign too many.” A couple of his guards who were skillful yet covert during their duty came to his mind.
“I am not sure if what you have planned would suit what Her Grace has in mind.” Marianne told him pointedly.
Kasser frowned. He didn’t understand where she was heading with this.
As if sensing his confusion, she sighed and rephrased her words.
“I merely believe that the queen has her own plans if the frequency of her visits is anything to go by.” She straightened up. “If I may, Your Majesty, I think it would only bring more trouble picking out a different guard every time she exits the palace gates.”
“And what would you suggest, Baroness?”
“I think it would be best to let the queen pick the guards herself. It’s important that she gets along with them well. Especially when they would be spending a significant amount of time together outside the palace gates.” She pointed out, amidst Kasser’s sonorous tapping of his fingers on top of his desk.
“Does she have anyone in mind?”
“No, Your Majesty. I believe that you should discuss this with Her Grace. Perhaps at noon, today?”
Kasser let out a deep sigh, finally grasping Marianne’s intentions. “So, you want me to have lunch with her?”
“Not exactly, Your Majesty. I am simply–”
Before she could finish, she was cut off with a wave of Kasser’s hand.
“Fine, I will have lunch with the queen today. I’ll send a page to her.”
“Please do not mistake me, Your Majesty. Her Grace did not send me here today.” Marianne insisted, and Kasser nodded, humming in agreement as he went about his morning duties.
“Don’t worry, I won’t.” He knew if it were the queen’s desire, she would find him and speak to him directly herself.
With this thought, he realized that he was predicting her actions with his knowledge of the type of person she was. For the last three years of marriage, he hadn’t even had the interest to know such information. The queen, he thought of now, was the queen with memory loss.
He knew she was still the same person. But for some reason, he kept considering them as two completely different people. At some point, he had stopped suspecting she was pretending to have trouble remembering anything.
Not long after Marianne left, Kasser paid a visit to the national treasure storage; his first visit since the incident of its disappearance. Under the King’s orders, the storage was guarded tightly by the soldiers. They were paired in teams, leaving no space for anyone to sneak in without getting caught.
When Kasser showed himself, the chief inspector bowed deeply.
“I suspect you haven’t had any unwanted visitors?” He inquired as soon as he arrived at the door.
“No, Your Majesty.” The chief answered with a display of confidence. “No one has dared.”
“And no one has entered the storage?”
“It is so, Your Majesty. As you ordered, no one has been permitted to enter, even for general inspection.”
“Open the gates.” Kasser commanded.