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After closing the door, Ann realized that other than herself and Allen, there was nobody else nearby. The closest guard or servant was on standby not too far, yet not too close, from the front door leading to Allen’s room.
There was silence between the two of them, so much that the sound of the door being softly closed by Ann resounded in the room.
What made it more awkward for Ann was the fact that she locked eyes with Allen, but the two of them were speechless even while maintaining their accidental eye contact.
Feeling uncomfortable with the situation on hand, Ann took a deep breath before she showed the apple and the fruit knife on her hand as she said, “I’m bringing you an apple. Do you know the saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away?”
Instead of words, Ann’s question was answered by Allen’s furrowed brows and inquiring gaze.
Ann’s shoulders slumped in depression over realizing that what was common as a joke or saying in her original modern world might not apply here.
She walked closer to Allen as she said, “Never mind. Just forget it. How do you like your apples? Naked or clothed?”
It took Ann less than a second before realizing that she had unwittingly used such an innuendo that she was used to using with her closest girl friends back in the modern world, and her cheeks reddened upon realizing that she had actually used it to Allen!!
Oh dear brain, why are you failing me like this?!
Ann’s brain wanted to retort: You panicked and did this in auto response, it’s your fault for being too nervous to the point of panicking!
Allen understood both her intention and the innuendo, and he was caught tongue-tied.
His brain started to overthink Ann’s question.
Is she actually asking about apples or my preferences in that way?!
Ann coughed twice on purpose as she sat down on the seat opposite Allen and corrected herself, “I mean, do you prefer me to peel the skin or…”
“Either way is fine.”
Ann rejoiced at Allen’s answer. Back in the modern world, because of the concern with pesticide or whatever reason, her parents always advised her to peel the skin of the apple, so she was more used to eating a skinless apple. She would feel weird eating the apple with the skin as she was already accustomed to it since her childhood.
Though she pondered in her heart, in this world, was such a concern about the apple’s skin nonexistent? Was there even pesticide? Probably not. She bet people here would just eat the apples with the skin.
Luckily, she could do as she wanted to.
“Alright, then I will peel—”
“Do it later. Let’s talk first,” Allen interrupted Ann’s words.
Thus, Ann put her hand that was about to peel the apple back.
“Alright. Where do we start?” Ann asked.
“Oh, I know. First thing first, I didn’t know anything about the ambush earlier, I swear. They were trying to frame me, so that you won’t believe me, and I’d have no choice but go along with them.”
Allen and Ann spoke at the same time, but Allen quickly dropped his words as Ann continued.
“Of course, there’s also a possibility that all of this has been an act and my help to you earlier was also an act to garner your trust even more. But I promise you, that is not the case at all. I disagree with their cause,” Ann finished her sentence.
Since she wasn’t the original villainess, Princess Anne, she didn’t look at the whole situation of the kingdom with a tilted lens. She could clearly see how things had taken a better turn after the former monarch was abolished, and this new monarch seemed to be a wise, kind, and generous ruler.
But the original villainess, Princess Anne, obviously didn’t view the matter like that.
Ann’s statement caused Allen to furrow his brows tighter as he subconsciously raised his right hand to signal Ann to let him talk.
“Before we get to that, I have a question.”
“Speak,” Ann said, as her mind pondered over what questions Allen might have, and what she should prepare as an answer.
Then, very unexpected to her, the usually ‘man of a few words’, Allen, started talking as if he had used up his yearly allowance of words.
“Based on your reaction during when you saw those people and your words just now, you seem to be aware of your identity. Yet, it contradicts the reality that’s been established: that you hit your head and had an amnesia. This contradiction doesn’t make sense. Have you been faking your amnesia all this time? Or did you meet them discreetly?”
Whichever that was, it would be bad for Ann. She was about to open her mouth when Allen suddenly sighed and didn’t even let Ann speak as he continued.
“I don’t think you faked it, though. Your attitude’s like a completely different person. But if you are indeed faking it, then you’re…”
The temperature around Allen dropped when Allen’s voice turned colder, “…truly a really frightening existence, as it’s really convincing and looks genuine.”
After saying that, Allen rested his forehead on his hands, gazing downcast.
He couldn’t make sense of it all. No matter how hard he tried to look for a reason, he couldn’t find a good one.
Deep down, he was afraid that it was all a deception.
If this were only an illusion, he hoped this illusion would never fade.
It was his responsibility to see this matter through, no matter how hard the answer was for him.
Due to this dilemma, Allen’s usual imposing aura diminished. It was just a desolate cold atmosphere that flew around him.
Ann gulped as she closed her hesitant eyes. When she opened her eyes again, only determination could be seen there.
Ann slowly stood as she answered, “Yes. I am aware of who they are and who I really am, before this encounter. And yes, I lied about having an amnesia.”
The moment Ann’s words entered Allen’s ears, he felt as if he had been splashed with a bucket of a cold water. He even felt a pang in his heart as he reflexively lifted his head and turned his gaze towards Ann, his eyes dimming.
Not only was it hard for Allen, it was even harder for Ann, but she had to continue. She turned her face away from Allen immediately as she walked around while her hands were busying themselves with peeling the apple.
She didn’t dare to look into Allen’s face as she continued.
What would happen once she had explained the truth to him? Would he believe her? Would he think she was looking for an excuse or would he then try to bring her to a priest for an exorcism?
But that was the truth, so she could only say it.
Whatever happened next would be out of her control, and she could only pray for the best.
If push comes to shove, she could just run far, far away from this place and lived a simple and quiet life in a place unknown even to her. If she would be chased all the time, then she would just live a nomadic life. Living as a pariah didn’t seem to be that bad, she could just live like a hermit.
The worst thing that could happen and that she would avoid at all cost was her death.
Nothing could be worse than death, right?
As long as she still had her life, anything could be changed and worked on.
That was what she believed.
“But, listen. What I am about to explain is the whole truth, although it might be… too bizarre. And hard to believe, even. But even so…,” Ann blabbered whatever words she could think of, not realizing that she was just talking in circles.
“I hope you’d be able to believe in my words,” Ann said once more, emphasizing on her request.
Allen’s eyes that were looking at her showed an uncertainty and inquiry, yet slowly, the dimmed eyes looked livelier than before.
In his mind, Allen already decided that if, there was even 0.1% of Ann’s words making sense, then he’d like to believe in her, no matter how absurd her explanation would be.
But he wasn’t sure if the others would do the same, so hopefully there would be something to prove whatever ‘bizarre truth’ that Ann wanted to explain.
“You see, the truth is…”
Ann opened her eyes after she took a long, deep breath.
But her words were stuck there as she suddenly felt a churning sensation. She felt as if something had blocked her throat and paralyzed her body.
To put it simply, she felt as if she had lost control over her own body.
And next, a surge of weird emotions welled up from inside her heart.
This weird and unfamiliar sensation was so overwhelming and unpleasant that she wanted to scream, yet no voice escaped her throat.
Even her hand that was in the middle of peeling the apple’s skin stopped before it trembled. Though Ann had commanded her hand to move, she felt as if she was met with a resistance.
She started to panic and tried to resist even more, wanting to have a sense of control over her own body. Yet, not a single cell in her body listened to what she wanted them to do.
Heat started to spread from deep inside her body, and it was an excruciating heat that was painful to her.
As if it was not enough, her eyes widened in horror as she felt the grasp that her hand had on the knife tightened…