Special thanks to all patrons~
[Casual Supporter: aureliaxangel, Michelle, Diego R, Eli D, mjkj, SkVt, Greame K, ghost750x]
[Original Mania Level 1: Sami, ZeroDeviation, Kiradien, Ravenslock, Luke, Greg S]
[Original Mania Level 2: Bradford M, DJay, Goddess_hera, Katrion, N0VERCL0CKER, Sean D, Aria R]
[Original Mania Level 3: blizgerg, John D, sch]
[Original Mania Level 5: Andrew M, Katherine, Kaifen, Kyle M, Mark_A_Talk, quiscon]
[Double Degree Level 1: e]
[Double Degree Level 2: Christopher]
[Double Degree Level 3: Browser]
[Library Lover: Erika S]
“Now, come back to us, my dearest daughter.”
As the man’s words penetrated the cold air, the people had varying expressions.
The man, Rueben, had a gloating smile.
Faye and Birdie looked at each other with confusion in their eyes.
Allen had a shocked expression as he turned to look at Ann.
As for Ann herself, she obviously had a frightened expression, her eyes still looking at Rueben with horror and surprise in it.
How could she not?
First, her body’s real identity—her death token—was exposed this way, unlike that in the game. It was way too early.
Second, the person exposing her real identity was none other than her body’s biological father! Wouldn’t that mean the biological father was pushing his one and only surviving child to the pit of fire?
After her identity was exposed, she’d be the enemy of the nation, wanted, alongside with this shitty father of hers, as well as his henchmen.
There was no more route of retreat for her, other than working with the rebels, but she didn’t want that.
Upon thinking to that point, Ann’s eyes widened in surprise.
Is this exactly what he wants?!
Because I don’t seem to do what he wants his daughter to do?!
At that realization, she felt a chill running down her spine.
Rather than thinking of his daughter’s safety and survival, this shitty father was willing to expose her to a risk of death simply for not obeying him, simply for not doing what he wanted her to do.
A little bit of sympathy bloomed in her heart, for the real owner of this body.
After all, didn’t this prove that the bastard father never really treasured her? He only cared about himself and his ambition above all…
The original villainess was discovered and murdered, while the former king was in escape.
In an essence, he was abandoning and sacrificing his daughter, right? And she didn’t remember him trying so hard to save this ‘dearest daughter’ of his.
But this wasn’t the right time to be thinking of such thoughts.
“What… do you mean?”
Allen’s voice trembled a bit, yet still retained the same coldness, as he turned to look at the man with his sharp eyes.
“I meant what I said. Are you dumb, lowly bastard? Don’t you even know who I am?” Rueben asked with a taunt.
“Of course I know who you are,” Allen answered firmly, “Rueben Feif de Von Ermengilde. The former tyrant king.”
“At least you still remember this king! And that woman next to you—,” Rueben pointed at Ann, who was frozen in place, “—is none other than my only surviving daughter, Arnestianne Lacey du Ermengilde!!”
Ann hung her head down, nobody could tell what kind of expression she was having right now.
“You fell right into our trap, hahaha! This is the end for you now!” The man’s maniacal laughter continued.
“Well done, my daughter, for luring him here. Knights!!! Kill him!!” After laughing until his tears almost came out, the man said with his cold voice and eyes full of murderous intent.
The ‘knights’ that he commanded were none other than the rest of the rebels who immediately drew their weapons and approached Allen.
Likewise, Allen also readied himself to fight them back.
Meanwhile, Ann remained speechless and unmoving, her head was still hung down.
Even though the sound of swords clashing was heard, Ann didn’t do anything.
And nobody questioned her, other than Faye and Birdie who were looking from the carriage with worried looks on their faces.
Though Faye couldn’t understand what exactly was happening, she was clear about how their attackers were trying to do bad things. She was also worried about her mistress, who didn’t seem to be doing anything. What exactly happened?
As she was ignored, nobody saw the turmoil that was clear in Ann’s eyes.
Her mind was working at the maximum capacity, her heart throbbing. She wasn’t sure on what to do.
She could try to yell and said no, but would Allen believe her, when the evidence was pointing otherwise?
She could join the dark side and embrace her villainess role completely, but what Rueben and his faction were doing was against her conscience. She could never support them, even if the identity of this body belonged to their faction.
Nevertheless, everything seemed to lead to her doom, now that things had become like this… What a good father! Slandering his own daughter of ambush, how could she have her life spared after this?
Was there really no way out?
Just as Ann was thinking really hard, the loud sound of metal could be heard along with Allen’s gasp.
Ann reflexively looked up and the scene before her was surprising enough.
Allen was cornered by lots of the rebels, and the sword in his hand just slipped to the ground.
Even if Allen could retrieve his sword quickly, he’d be injured. Would he be able to fight back and escape this predicament?
Ann’s heart dropped when one of the rebels took this opportunity to charge his sword at Allen.
There was no more time to think.
Ann rushed up as she used the power of her pure water magic combined with the knowledge she had from the modern world—she quickly detected the blood that was flowing in the rebels’ body and manipulated it, depriving the blood from their brains. As a result of the sudden movement of the blood, the rebels felt a tinge of pain before they blackened out and collapsed to the ground.
Allen—who had already grasped his sword by now and was about to defend—was surprised when he realized that there wasn’t any incoming attack nor pain directed at him.
Then, he was surprised upon seeing the rebels before him—every single one of them had collapsed—and at the end of his sight, Ann was standing with her slightly rough breathing.
At that time, their eyes met.
“I…,” Ann controlled her breathing.
Sure enough, exerting such high usage of her magic at the same time was tiring. She felt the strength going out of her body, but she couldn’t collapse here, now.
“I refuse to go to your side!! I have never schemed against him!!” Ann turned around and looked at Rueben with eyes full hostility, her clear words resounded.
Rueben and the rest of the rebels by his side were surprised seeing the turn of events.
“You… What did you do?!” Rueben asked.
The other rebels were also wondering what kind of thing happened, what kind of sorcery was used, that more than ten of the rebels were defeated at the same time, very quickly on top of that.
“I can do the very same thing to you all!” Ann bluffed.
She actually wasn’t sure if she had the strength to do that, and what would happen if she were to overwork her magic, but… She had no other choice.
She’d be willing to gamble.
Revealing her strength could be said as a double-edged sword, as she’d be deemed dangerous, and it might even lead to her death, but…
She couldn’t help it upon seeing Allen who was about to be harmed.
From the very beginning, he was her favorite character.
Though he was irritating at first, his treatment towards her gradually softened to the extent of being really kind and tender. Though she tried to just bicker around with him and never took it seriously, she was after all still a young woman who wouldn’t be moved.
Perhaps, though it went unnoticed, her simple ‘fangirling simping’ had evolved into love or fondness to him, who had become pleasing to the eyes and heart the more she spent time with him.
The logical thing behind her action was also that perhaps, by displaying such power and determination to save him and go against her own ‘supposed allies’, she’d be able to buy a ticket to her survival.
She thought, trying to comfort herself and rationalizing her action. If not, she’d go crazy.
Seeing that this daughter of his had become a stranger that he didn’t know anymore, Rueben was furious, yet he knew he wouldn’t be able to get any answer right here, right now.
And if she had the tremendous power of defeating them that quickly, it’d be bad as they’d be captured in one go.
Thus, Rueben decided that retreating now to form another strategy would be the best course of action. He used some subtle signals to his subordinates, telling them to withdraw.
Just as they stepped back, Allen noticed that Rueben and the rest of the rebels were planning to escape. So, she immediately swung her hand, readying herself to cast another magic.
However, the black-hooded person who was the closest to Rueben immediately blocked her attempt with a thick dark mist that somehow repelled her magic power.
Surprised, Ann also found that the dark mist was sharp to the skin, much less to the eyes. She immediately closed her eyes as she felt a familiar pair of strong arms pulling her in a protective manner.
When she opened her eyes, there was no trace of the rebels at all, including the ones that Ann defeated.
And the person whose arms were wrapped around her in a protective manner was none other than Allen.
As Ann realized that, her eyes widened in disbelief.
“Are you hurt?”
The first thing that came out of the man’s mouth wasn’t words demanding her explanation, but simply voicing his concern over herself.
Touched, Ann shook her head as she asked, “What about you?”
“I’m fine. Thanks to you. But what…,” Allen was speechless, wondering where he should start asking.
“I… I will explain everything later, but first, we should hurry back, don’t you think?” Ann asked.
“You’re right,” Allen nodded.
Just as Allen was about to move, Ann tugged on his arms.
“…You… Why do you still… towards me…?” Ann was at a loss over what she should say.
Why is it that you didn’t insist on questioning my identity, the truth behind their words, and everything that just happened?
Why were you worried over me first?
Why are you still able to trust me and willing to bring me back with you?
This was totally illogical, and something that was illogical wasn’t in Allen’s dictionary. Or that was how it was supposed to be, and yet…
Don’t make me hope.
Having hope is scary, because if it’s crushed, the despair felt would be so overwhelming.
Ann didn’t realize it herself, but her eyes that looked at Allen’s—showed a hint of hope that was clouded by fear.
Seeing that, Allen smiled as he placed his hand on Ann’s cheek, gently moving her head so that their eyes met.
“Regardless of everything, you went against them to help me and even revealed your power for me, didn’t you? And…”
He then pulled her to his embrace as he softly whispered to her ears.
“I don’t want to lose you. I’d like to believe in you.”