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Today, Allen went to the royal castle because he had several matters he had to settle there. Only when he was working that he could set his mind aside from the puzzling feelings he felt surging in his heart after last night’s incident.
Even so, those who were familiar with him would still notice that something was wrong. Yet nobody dared to ask.
“Oh, Allen, you’re still here!” A charismatic man with soft blonde hair entered the room Allen was working in nonchalantly. His deep blue eyes reflected the figure of the man he was calling.
Hearing the familiar voice, Allen stopped what he was doing and quickly turned to look at the tall man who was approaching him.
“Prince Kiehl,” Allen saluted.
The prince dismissed his greeting and grabbed the seat in front of Allen.
“So, how is it going?” Prince Kiehl didn’t beat around the bush.
“…About what?” Allen didn’t even look at the prince.
The prince leaned forward on the table as he said with a low voice, “About that woman.”
Allen’s hand that was holding the document stiffened before he relaxed and said, “…Not sure yet.”
The prince’s hawk eyes noticed the barely visible movement and a hint of intrigue rose in his eyes.
“Well well, it’s been a while since we last discussed this matter but it looks like you have a massive change of heart, huh?” The prince mockingly said.
Allen sighed. It seemed like he couldn’t hide it from the prince, after all.
Kiehl Velt Griffiths was the current crown prince and he was two years younger than Allen. However, the crown prince was even harder to read and his gaze would often be unfathomable. Since he had a tall and well-built stature, the fact that the prince was two years younger than Allen didn’t seem to matter at all.
“Alright, I’m confused. She doesn’t seem like she’s lying about her amnesia but it feels as if she’s a completely different person. However…,” Allen paused as he remembered the face of disgust and hatred that Arlea showed for a split second last night.
“However…?” Kiehl raised his eyebrow, urging Allen to continue.
But for some reason, Allen didn’t feel like telling this crucial information to him. He only shrugged and shook his head, “We need to observe more. What about the investigation on your side?”
“Nothing new so far,” Kiehl also shrugged before he looked at Allen with an indifferent gaze as he said, “I’ve got an idea. How about interrogating her and have her spill the truth?”
Allen’s pupils contracted as he quickly argued, “Nonsense. What will you do if she’s indeed innocent?!”
The interrogation that Kiehl was talking about would surely involve a form of torture to make the involved party surrender and spill everything out.
“Hoo… So you’re more leaning towards that, I see,” The prince played his hands with his lips hooked up. Interesting.
“You’re bewitched,” Kiehl said.
“No. It’s just a matter of principle. How could we use that method without getting any real evidence?” Allen denied.
“Well, last time I suggested that, you seemed indifferent and said that we could use that method if push comes to shove. I’d say, since she managed to bewitch you, it’s exactly the right time to try it.”
“That’s because at that time, her behavior is getting out of hand. But now, she’s changed and I don’t think—”
“Is she really changed or is that only a pretense?”
“She’s changed. I’m sure of it,” Allen said with a determined look on his eyes.
Prince Kiehl took note of it and said, “But why so sudden, and so drastic?”
“You can’t answer that.”
Prince Kiehl closed his eyes as he said, “Then, bring her here soon.”
“Kiehl, you’re not going to–,” Allen became agitated as he forgot to address Kiehl as ‘Prince’.
“I’m just going to take a look, I won’t interrogate her or do anything yet. Everything will be determined at the time I see her in person,” Kiehl reassured.
“Are you going to let the saintess see and assess her?” Allen asked.
“No. I don’t want to risk anything happening to her. After we found and trained her for so long… I should take a look at her first and if I think it’s safe for Laurence to see her, then I’ll have to bother you bringing her again,” Kiehl said.
Irritation rose in Allen’s heart unknowingly when he thought that Kiehl was being guarded against Arlea. A hint of irritation could be seen deep inside his gray eyes.
Kiehl noticed this and said, “Don’t worry. I just want to take a look at the woman who managed to move your heart. Before your feelings become deep-rooted, I need to make sure that she is indeed someone you can give your heart to. I’m doing this as your friend, not the prince.”
Allen was stunned upon hearing Kiehl’s words.
“I don’t know why you seem to be very conflicted when your heart is already clear of your feelings. That’s why I want to help,” Kiehl added.
My heart is already clear of my feelings?
Allen pondered. His heart thumped.
That’s right. From the moment he kissed her, he already knew that he no longer hated that woman. Although her appearance was more or less the same, her personality and heart inside were so different and he couldn’t help but fall for her.
He closed his eyes and tried to remember the events that happened last night.
After he saw the old Arlea’s expression, what else did he see? Was it even real? How was her expression after that?
He was too engrossed in his own fear that he neglected to see how she was.
His mind tried to recall the details of last night and a blurry image of Arlea’s face after the kiss surfaced in his mind.
She had a fearful expression on her face.
Upon recalling that blurry detail, Allen opened his eyes.
If this was real, then what could have happened that night? Why did she look so scared? Was it because he suddenly kissed her? Didn’t she want something to happen between them, thus she continuously teased him?
There might be more to the story, something that he couldn’t grasp what.
Was it something she was so reluctant to tell him, after he questioned if she really had an amnesia?
It seemed he had a lot he got to ask.
Even so, deep in his heart, he wanted to trust her.
It wasn’t logical, but he wanted to go with his instinct this time.
“You seem enlightened?” Kiehl asked.
“I am. Thanks, Kiehl,” Allen answered.
“Don’t be too rash. They say that love is blind,” Kiehl reminded as if he could hear Allen’s thoughts.
“…I know. I’ll bring her tomorrow.”
For now, he wanted to believe. In her. In his heart. And with that belief, he would try to dig out the truth from her. After the truth is out… Only then he could decide what to do for the future.
Allen laughed at himself. The answer was so simple, yet he let the uncertainties bound him. It won’t get him anywhere. Thankfully, Kiehl was there to enlighten him, although his method was a bit extreme, as expected of him.
Meanwhile, Ann went to the orphanage and managed to set aside her worries as she interacted with the others like usual. Before long, her mindset of ‘I’m not destined to be here to stay, only to have fun for a while before perishing’ took over and she was back to normal.
During Ann and Faye’s journey home, a stray hound snatched Ann’s back away and went into the alley. Ann and Faye quickly ran after it, but the hound was too fast and the path was diverged into two.
“Let’s split up,” Ann instructed Faye before she commanded the nothingness, “Oii, Allen’s hidden guards, please protect Faye too!”
There was no response, but only after Ann shouted that she could feel reassured and parted ways with Faye.
Unbeknownst to Ann, the hidden guard that was following her saw some suspicious people following Ann in the dark. The hidden guard had no choice but to go and fight those people, leaving Ann alone.
The path that Ann took actually led her to the stray hound who, for some unknown reason, dropped her bag on the ground.
Ann thought that the hound found something more interesting to hold on to, and she quickly crouched and grabbed the bag.
When she stood up, she noticed someone’s presence from behind her—and the ‘stray’ hound was there next to that person.
As that mysterious person approached her, Ann slowly walked behind as well, being cautious. Soon, light shone on the mysterious person and Ann finally could see who it was.
Then, her eyes widened in disbelief.
“Long time no see, my dear daughter,” that person said with a low voice and a smirk.