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That night, Ann couldn’t really sleep because of two things that were bugging her mind.
One, the sensation of losing control over the body that wasn’t hers. It was such a scary sensation. The feeling of helplessness, the despair, the horror… Even now, she was afraid that it’d happen again any time, moreover during when she lost consciousness. Hence, she didn’t dare to sleep, but every living being needed sleep to live. It wasn’t good to not sleep over anything.
Therefore, she tried to think of this second thing that was bugging her mind, in a good way.
The second thing was obviously about her relationship with Allen, that took an unexpected turn for the better.
Ann felt relieved for being able to unload the heavy burden of her concealed identity with someone else, and that someone happened to believe in her seemingly absurd story.
To be believed and accepted by someone…
It was such a nice feeling.
She felt like she had gained a true ally for the first time in this world.
And that ally happened to be someone she had ‘simped’ for in her original world, back when that person was simply fictional and this love over dimension was never fated to have a happy ending.
Flashback of her memories with Allen flooded Ann’s mind, causing her to blush and roll over on her bed in embarrassment.
What do I do?! I’ve been teasing him back when I first came here, with the thought of just teasing to see his fun reaction… I never thought I’d get this far, I swear!
Despite all the teasing she had done to Allen, Ann was a bonafide newbie when it came to romance and relationship.
Though being a person of modern world meant that she wasn’t so clueless, but she was still a newbie, it’d be natural for her to feel embarrassed!
It wasn’t like she had never had a boyfriend before, but she hadn’t really done anything with her past boyfriends…
Her classmate in kindergarten. They promised to get married after growing up. The furthest she did with him was just hand-holding. Their relationship lasted one day.
The handsome protagonist in a hero drama series she had watched when she was in elementary school. Their imaginary relationship ended only one minute after her declaration, after her parents laughed and said that she couldn’t marry him because he didn’t exist at all. Ann cried one whole night after knowing the concept of fiction.
An average guy in her junior high school. Confessed that it was love at first sight to her, a freshman in junior high school. Her maiden heart wanted to experience spring for the first time, so she accepted. Their relationship only lasted a week because the guy said he had fallen in love at first sight to another girl he had just met. Ann had a taste of her first date, hand holding while going home, and hugging.
All the fictional men in novels, games, anime series that she had watched, who she easily declared as her husbandos. Allen was included in this category…
As she recounted her past boyfriends, Ann slowly drifted to sleep in sadness…
Then she had a nightmare that night.
“Mom, Dad, this is my boyfriend, Allen!”
Ann said as she showed off Allen who was standing next to her in the dream, her parents were standing opposite of them.
“Boyfriend?” Allen asked.
“No, actually, this is my husband! Mom, Dad, please accept our relationship and give us your blessings!” Ann happily said.
“Ann, what are you talking about?!”
Her mother’s surprised voice was heard.
“Mom, I know this is sudden and it’s very complicated, but I can assure you that he’s a good man—”
“Ann… Dear…,” her father’s awkward cough could be heard after that.
“Mom, Dad, what’s the matter?”
Her parents then pointed at the same direction as they said in unison, “You can’t marry a piece of fabric!!”
When Ann turned to look at the tip of their fingers, she saw Allen’s dakimakura on her side, and without its content, the dakimakura covering slowly slipped down…
Then, her parents’ laughter could be heard.
Ann was so frightened that she actually woke up, only to realize that it was already morning.
Still disoriented, she quickly checked on her surroundings and her own body.
“I-I’m still in this world, yes, not back in my original world, and Allen is real… right?” Ann mumbled.
After mumbling, she finally felt a wave of sadness in her heart.
Though she finally managed to gain a good lover, she could never introduce him to her parents as they lived in another world…
Her little sister often joked that she’d pick on her boyfriend later on, fighting over Ann with him, but that would never be realized now…
In this world, her family was no longer here.
She could never go back to her original world.
If she had really avoided her death end, she’d have to live a long life missing her family that she had no way of seeing…
This realization caused Ann’s mood to be bad. Faye could sense this, and thus she only helped Ann without bothering her too much. Although, Faye thought that Ann was feeling down and still frightened due to what happened yesterday.
The coping skills Ann had learned in her original world came in handy this time. Back then, no matter how bad she felt, she still had to persist to live and work. She entered some kind of an autopilot mode, so nothing was hindered.
Ann quickly finished her preparation and went to the carriage with Allen.
That night, before parting ways, Allen had told Ann to come with him to the castle, as he needed to discuss her matters with Prince Kiehl. With his promise of not letting harm come to Ann’s way, Ann felt much less insecure.
After all, it was such a big matter that might involve the continuity of the current monarchy. Obviously, Allen needed to consult it with a member of the royal family, to discuss the best outcome. It was much better than hiding it with her, only to have it be a ticking bomb.
In the carriage…
“What’s the matter? Are you feeling afraid?”
Allen finally asked, after observing how Ann was during the time they had breakfast until now. Something was off, it was obvious that Ann had something on her mind. However, he could only guess without having a certainty on what exactly was on her mind.
He had expectations that Ann might be feeling bashful or at least showing a good reaction after what had happened between them last night… But contrary to his expectations, Ann’s mood today was gloomy, and it caused him to be worried.
After hearing Allen’s question, she finally came to her senses.
She looked at Allen’s concerned look, before shifting her gaze at Faye who was also looking at her with a worried expression. Birdie was also tilting her head in wonder.
“Uhm, I’m fine… I am just thinking of something…,” Ann faked a smile as she gazed at Faye.
Noticing Ann’s gaze, the quick-witted Faye understood that Ann wanted to tell Allen something, but was hesitant because of her presence.
Then, Faye quickly turned her around and distanced herself from Ann. She was facing the window and busied herself with talking with Birdie about the scenery outside.
Looking at Faye’s action, Ann felt a bit embarrassed but thankful that Faye was so trusting towards her and so quick-witted.
Ann then turned to face Allen again, both of their backs were bent frontward so that they were closer to each other, so that Ann could just speak in a smaller voice.
“I had a dream last night. In that dream, we met my parents and…,” Ann omitted the details about her being judged as a hallucinatory girl, introducing a dakimakura as a husband to her parents…
“I woke up and realized that I can never have you meet my parents and introduce you to them. Oh, and I haven’t told you, but I had a younger sister back there. She said she’d want to fight over me with whoever’s going to be my boyfriend in the future… My parents would’ve been so happy to see you, and I bet my sister’s going to approve you, too. I bet they’d tease me for being able to catch a good ‘fish’…”
Allen furrowed his brows upon hearing that his wife actually compared him to a fish…
“But, yeah… That kind of thing will never happen… I… In this life, I can never see them again… I was too hung up on survival so far that I hadn’t stopped to think about such thing… But I will have to live alone here, without my beloved family…,” Ann started to tear up. Her mind was filled with the faces of her family back in the modern world.
How are they doing right now? I miss them so bad…
Allen quickly forgot about the ‘fish’ remark Ann just said and gently grasped Ann’s hand.
“Hey… I’m here. We can make our own family in the future. You aren’t, and will never be alone,” Allen said in a gentle tone—one that Ann had never heard before, as if he was soothing a child.
Ann felt warm in her heart as she wiped the tears that welled up in her eyes.
“You’re right. I bet they wouldn’t want me to feel sad about it and miss my happiness. I’m sorry I got too emotional…”
“It’s alright. Whenever you miss them, you can share your stories about them with me,” Allen said.
“…Thank you,” Ann said before she realized something, so she added, “And you too. You have to share your stories with me, too.”
Not expecting Ann to reciprocate, Allen felt warmth in his chest as he also said with a loving gaze, “Alright.”
Though Faye’s back was facing them and she couldn’t really hear anything that the two lovebirds were talking about, Faye could feel the lovey dovey atmosphere and sometimes glanced at Ann and Allen who were so close and intimate.
She couldn’t help but quickly retract her gaze.
Tsk, tsk… This is the real definition of from 0 to 100.
The books are true. Lovers grow closer after facing difficulties together, huh?
So she thought.
Eventually, they arrived in the royal castle.
After going down from the carriage, Ann turned to look up at the big castle.
My fate will be decided by this one visit and talk, won’t it?
She gulped down her nervousness before she took the hand that Allen extended for her.
Then, together with him, she walked towards the royal castle with a feeling of uncertainty.
This was definitely a development that never existed in the story.
The unknown outcome and future scared her, but since this unknown future had her survival and happiness, she’d gladly embrace this nervousness rather than living on the edge due to her death end.