Chapter 3 - A Twisted Woman (2)
Afterwards, Kasser threw his helmet to the ground and one warrior came quickly fetch it.
He then turned his head to Abu and struck the body of the beast with his big and heavy right palm. The red eyes of the helmeted beast were full of antipathy. He looked irritated and agitated when he was scolded by his owner.
Narrowing his eyes, Kasser glanced at the red-eyed beast. His blue eyes visibly stretched vertically like a snake's.
“Tsk..tsk..I am disappointed.”
Slowly, the red eyes of the beast turned to the other side in fear and Kasser's lips crept up. This was a short moment when he was able to smell fear from his superior and wild beast.
Nonetheless, he cared about his horse and never forgets that Abu was a special fellow in a good sense and in a bad sense. His loyalty was based on the superiority of power. Therefore, his coercive order was more effective than dealing with him with affection.
Handing the reigns to one nearby servant, Kasser ordered to take over his horse. "Give him plenty of food because he hasn’t eaten all day." Proper carrots were also essential to tame the wild beast.
"Yes, Your Highness." The servant answered. Abu was excited by the food he was about to eat, so he went with the servant without resistance.
Kasser took a quick step forward and glanced at his subordinates—not one man didn’t have a horrified face. Truly, he would never fall into a position where he would need to remind people of his authority.
He was adored and feared by everyone at the same time.
Verus stood side by side with the king who began to walk in wide strides. The servants tailed behind them and entered the palace’s gates with vigor.
"I am glad to see the King has returned home safely." Counsellor Verus greeted him.
Kasser nodded and immediately got down to business. “The meeting is an hour, I believe.”
"Yes, Your Highness, I have issued a call."
"What's the recent news?" Kasser inquired.
“There is a message from the Priest saying that the drought will be over soon.” Verus answered diligently.
“And? Did something ‘special’ happened in the castle while I am gone?”
Verus' mouth, which was previously smiling faintly, became stiff in an instant. With great effort, he managed to display a relaxed expression again. His palms however, started to break out sweats of tremendous anxiety.
"None, your majesty! I'll let everyone know in advance that the main agenda of today’s meeting will be the strengthening of the wall's defenses. I must get ready. Your majesty, If you'll excuse me.”
Kasser simply nodded.
Without hesitation, Verus stopped walking and bowed his head. When he raised his head long after, he could only see the back of the king's last servant following him.
I’ll tell you soon.
He sighed in a swoon. Whenever the king went out into the desert, he always gave Verus full authority. The king's bestowed strong credentials to him were admirable, but the pressure was unspeakable.
Him together with other advisers of the king agreed to postpone informing him of the recent events in the palace. Come to think of it, he would be giving the King a day or two to resolve the kingdom's difficulties rather than losing his patience over his wife whose existence was a blasphemy!
Fortunately, the missing queen returned unscathed. Verus snorted, 'Well. Isn’t it a waste? It would have been better for the Queen to disappear for good!”
His habitual smile disappeared from his face as the woman came to his mind. He felt irked when he recalled her, the sole person who had made everyone participate in a search frenzy these past few days,
“Why the hell did she do that?”
The Queen's disappearance left questions unanswered. As he could not even inquire her himself, he was sure that she had some vile motive behind this stunt.
She was a twisted woman and he hated her.
It's not that he didn't like her from the start. On the occasion of the royal wedding, he was even glad to attend and sincerely wish good fortune to the couple in the coming future.
But as time passed, when he became aware of the Queen's true nature, he became increasingly loathsome of her. The Queen was the type of woman he disliked extremely. She only enjoyed power and refused to take responsibility, even abandoning her duty!
It was just fortunate that the Queen did not take part in state affairs. Still, he couldn't shake his intuition that her presence would harm the king and put this kingdom in jeopardy.
* * *
As what he always does when he returns from the desert, Kasser proceeded to his chamber, intending to change his clothes. In a couple of minutes from now, he would grab something to eat before going straight to the conference hall.
Yet, today was seemingly different. He stopped on his tracks as soon as he entered his chamber. An old lady of ample physique bowed deeply with a placid smile before him.
He continued with his stride and stood at the center of his chamber, stretching out his arms sideways. His servants then quickly stripped him of his armor, including the ones attached with his arms, legs and chest.
"Good afternoon, Your Highness. Is there anything I can do for you?" Marianne, the old lady bowed again and asked him casually.
"Verus lied to me. He told me there was nothing unfortunate that transpired inside the castle in my absence."
"He’s right, your Highness. What bad could possibly happen to us inside the peaceful walls of this castle?”
"If you are telling the truth, then why are you here?”
The blue eyes, clearer than his blue mane, stared at the old lady in question.
Marianne gently turned her eyes to the king with a reassuring smile. Perhaps no one in the kingdom was more outspoken than her and no one could afford looking at the king straight in the eye like she does.
He was the king's nanny and was once the commander-in-chief of the royal court. She also took charge of the royal household for a long time in place of the absent Queen.
In matter of truths, she was second only to the Prime Minister but she had never wielded her power after the King’s marriage to Queen Jin.
It was because her presence seemed to be a burden to the Queen who was supposed to shoulder her responsibilities. Marian declined to be in position again, even though Kasser himself persuaded her several times.
Since then, Marianne had been hardly seen in the castle. She stayed quiet and was not even socializing. So her unannounced appearance was unusual. If she had only intended to say hello and welcome Kasser, she would have chosen another day to do so.
"Your Majesty. You're overreacting. It's really nothing."
Kasser snorted faintly. Her presence told him the palace had been eventful these past few days.
"Speak, what is it?" He commanded in his authoritative voice.
Marianne glanced at the king. "The Queen....”
Kasser clicked his tongue. "I almost forgot about her. Who else died this time?"