Episode 3: First Meeting – Chapter 9.1
King Rumein was seated in an armchair in his study, perusing through the documents stacked high in front of him.
He also had black hair.
Rumein looked every bit the kingly figure out of a storybook or fairytale, and the expression on his face was one of careful thought. The image reminded Calian of someone else.
‘It’s almost like I’m looking at Randall.’
The king’s dark blue eyes and expression were like the vast sea, and he exuded an atmosphere of pressure on the room without having to say a word. Everything in Rumein could be found in Randall.
But Rumein was also the type to stand by and watch idly.
Despite his quiet strength, he was a heartless king who pretended not to know the true causes of Freya’s and Calian’s death. That was Calian’s impression of Rumein, and his opinion had yet to change. His instincts cautioned him to be wary.
Calian shook away his thoughts as he walked towards King Rumein, afraid that his feelings would be easily read in his expressions or words.
‘I’m just going to say hello and leave. I will think of him as someone who has nothing to do with me.’
By the time he arrived in front of King Rumein, Calian had managed to school his complicated feelings into something more impassive and appeared every bit the perfect prince. He spoke in a clear voice.
Fortunately, he didn’t say, “Nice to meet you for the first time.”
“Hello, Your Highness.”
Rumein set down the papers he was looking at onto the table. Judging by the proximity of his teacup and other stacks of documents, he seemed to have been working at his seat the whole time.
With his hands now free, Rumein spared a glance at Calian before picking up another sheet.
Calian was bewildered.
Rumein did not seem to notice, as if his reading was more important. Calian’s eyes hardened, until King Rumein finally spoke.
“Take a seat,” he said.
Despite the fact that it was inappropriate for the situation, it made Calian laugh inwardly despite his anger in the moment.
Rumein’s voice sounded similar to Franz’s. Naturally there was a slight difference, but it was what Calian would’ve imagined an older Franz to sound like.
He should’ve supposed that King Rumein’s traits were divided among his sons.
Calian sat across from him, trying to put rest to his conflicting thoughts
“Congratulations on your 38th birthday,” he said in a subdued voice.
Rumein nodded. A low tone came from behind the papers.
“Yes, thank you.”
After responding in such an emotionless way, Rumein lifted his hand to take a drink from his cup. He seemed quite exhausted.
“Are you doing well?” Rumein asked.
“Yes,” Calian answered right away without thinking. “All is well.”
“Good.” Rumein seemed to be completely unaware of Calian’s frail figure. As if he would know. Would he look at Calian or not? “If there’s anything that’s troubling you, please tell me.”
Calian’s lip curled.
‘There’s certainly one or two things that’s troubling me.’
Should he say that he found it difficult to tolerate the quiet breakfasts with his other sons? That the assassin sent by his wife was likely to come soon? Or that he might wither away and die due to an unknown disease?
That he was not actually his son?
Maybe if Calian said any of this this, Rumein might actually pay him some attention.
“All is well, I assure you.” In the end, Calian repeated his same insincere answer, and Rumein nodded.
Now he understood. Understood why it was quicker for the king to see three sons individually than seeing his three sons together at once.
It was because Rumein couldn’t act so terse with three people sitting in front of him. How much more efficient it was that he only had to briefly open his mouth while working?
‘He thinks it a waste of time to simply spend just five minutes with his son.’
Rumein was pressing his hand against the middle of his forehead.
Calian could not stop the bitterness welling up from him.
He couldn’t even remember the last time he talked to Rumein, and thought it best not to pull up those memories. Five minutes after leaving Arpia palace, he climbed onto the carriage.
“I wish I said “Nice to meet you for the first time.’”
Yan smiled quietly. He did not know what happened in the office, but he knew the way Rumein treated his sons.