Special thanks to all patrons~
[Casual Supporter: aureliaxangel, Diego R, mjkj, SkVt, Greame K]
[Original Mania Level 1: Greg S, Kiradien, Luke, Ravenslock, Sami, ZeroDeviation]
[Original Mania Level 2: Aria R, Bradford M, DJay, Goddess_hera, Katrion, N0VERCL0CKER, Sean D, Skyler J]
[Original Mania Level 3: blizgerg, John D, sch, Mac, Tibb)(]
[Original Mania Level 5: Andrew M, Katherine, Kyle M]
[Double Degree Level 1: e]
[Double Degree Level 2: Christopher]
[Double Degree Level 3: Browser]
[Library Lover: Kaifen]
In Search for Her
From then on, Ann continued her journey as a captive along with her kidnappers, Four and Ten. Blindfolded or not, it’d be the same as Ann literally had no idea where they were.
Though Ann was still angry with what they had done to Faye, but at least Faye was now away from them, away from the possibility of getting killed by the rebels faction. Ann could only pray for Faye’s survival.
As Ann recalled her first meeting with Faye, she was more relaxed after remembering that Faye had suffered some hardships before and had the resilience to live and survive.
It’s not a good thing to happen to a child, but I hope her past experience came in handy in order for her to survive.
She thought as she tried to calm herself down.
Then, she also upheld the promise with Four and Ten. She stopped struggling or trying to escape.
Her mind calculated a lot of stuff before deciding that, however.
First, it was to save Faye. If she were to struggle, the enemies might have an idea of finding and killing Faye to show Ann that they were serious.
Second, to probe more on what they wanted to do. Perhaps she could find out more about their future plans and that’d come in handy in the future.
Third, she believed she could escape later on. It wouldn’t hurt playing the part of an obedient person to trick the enemy, then betray them when it counts, and run away with all the glory.
All in all, she believed that’d be the best course of action she should take for now. So she did.
Not too long after Faye was thrown out, they took a short stop as Four joined Ten, leaving Ann alone in the back of the carriage.
She sighed in relief as being alone like this was easier and less suffocating than when Four was with her.
Being bound like this, she didn’t have any means of escaping as well.
Ann was daydreaming while staring blankly at the only small window that there was in the back of the carriage she was in when suddenly…
A familiar pink bird knocked its small body on the carriage’s window, causing a small voice that was only audible to Ann.
“B-Birdie!” Ann softly answered after snapping from her daze.
Then, Birdie noticed a very small gap that was open, and squeezed her small body through it.
Seeing Birdie’s body being stuck in that small gap, Ann almost gasped.
“B-Birdie, you’re going to squeeze yourself to death… Ah, step-birdie, you’re stuck…,” Ann couldn’t help but make that infamous joke from the modern world.
“Chirp?” Birdie tilted her head cutely before she maneuvered herself through the gap. She twisted her body clockwise, counter-clockwise… Ann was worried Birdie would end up injuring herself, but then…
Birdie actually made it through the small gap and came to Ann’s side!
“Birdie, you’re alright,” Ann whispered as Birdie nudged on her cheek.
“Where were you all along?” Ann asked.
“Chirp chirp!” Birdie actually answered.
“Never mind. I can’t understand what you say, anyway,” Ann just gave up.
“Chirp!” Birdie let out a cry that sounded like a protest.
“Ah… Anyway, Birdie… Can you please help Faye? She was thrown away some time ago. I am worried about her. Assist her, if you can. Find help for her if she… In short, don’t worry about me and help her first,” Ann suddenly had an idea and asked Birdie a favor.
“Chirp,” Birdie chirped once and flew circling Ann once before she went out of the carriage through the same small gap and went away, perhaps in search for Faye.
Seeing Birdie’s slowly disappearing figure, Ann breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Birdie would try to help Faye.
Although she herself was unsure of what kind of help Birdie could do, but for some reason, the thought of Faye not being all alone in the wilderness comforted Ann.
On the other side…
Let’s rewind time to the day Ann and Faye were kidnapped.
When the Schwartzen residence noticed that Ann and Faye were missing, they were immediately thrown into uproar.
Gwen immediately sealed the premise and contacted Allen, who immediately returned home.
“She went missing?! All these people inside the residence, and nobody noticed that something was wrong?!”
The usually calm Allen exploded right in front of the residence’s people that were gathered by Gwen. Each one of them didn’t dare to lift their heads, including Gwen.
After following Allen for so long, Gwen understood him very well.
No matter how hard the problems, Allen would calmly try to solve it. He was rarely emotional. When Arlea caused lots of problems and was clearly not a good wife, Allen didn’t explode. Sure, he scolded Arlea a lot, but his voice was still cold and without a hint of emotions, despite being mad. Even when Arlea raised her voice, Allen didn’t get agitated alongside her.
But now, Allen’s anger was a different kind than that one. His voice trembled and everyone could hear the emotion contained in his words very well.
“I want a detailed report on what each of you were doing during the timeframe of their disappearance as well as what you witnessed during that time. Right here, right now, directly to me,” Allen said.
Gwen then arranged each and every one of the people in the residence to report to Allen. Allen personally took care of it, even the arduous report. Usually, he’d only hear the report from several representatives. Everyone present was no fool, they all had been working here for some time. Obviously, they all understood the gravity of this matter.
Meanwhile, Allen already had a hunch that there was someone, if not several people, who were spies planted by the rebels. Thus, they were able to kidnap Ann and Faye.
To think that his residence could be penetrated like this… Even when he had applied a strict selection before accepting people who’d be working there. He also did a background check before accepting anyone, so…
Either the collaborators were bribed after they were working here, or they managed to deceive him from the start… Either case wasn’t a good one.
If only I was more careful…
Though he knew how futile regret was, Allen couldn’t help but feel regret and even blame himself.
Eventually, Allen managed to gather a group of suspicious people and dismissed the rest to continue working. After isolating them in another room, Allen had Gwen call the people one by one, to be interrogated privately by him in yet another room.
Allen stayed out late that night to interrogate the suspects and managed to find three people who collaborated with the rebels. Apparently, one was a hidden supporter of the rebel faction, another one was bribed with rewards, while another one was threatened.
The poorest one of them was actually the one threatened with the safety and lives of their family, but Allen was dissatisfied with their loyalty.
“If they can do that to your family, why do you think that I can’t also do the same?” Allen coldly asked the person who was trembling so hard.
“I-I’m sorry, I didn’t think…,” they were close to tears.
“You should’ve reported instead of collaborating with them,” Gwen sighed.
“I will decide on your punishment depending on the outcome of this case,” Allen said as he let Gwen take care of the people.
The hidden supporter of the rebel faction and the one bribed were imprisoned in the residence’s prison, while the one threatened was now grounded. Each and every one of them couldn’t keep their jobs, obviously. They were monitored and kept in check in case their collaborators were to contact them or in case they could spill another precious information that could help.
While Allen was busy sorting out the people in his residence, Kurtis, Allen’s right-handed man, had received Allen’s order and was on the move to discreetly search for Ann’s whereabouts.
The reason he was ordered to carry out the search in secret was because of the complications of the situation. If words were to come out of this, Ann’s real identity might also get leaked, and it would cause another problem in the long run.
“To think that I’d see him panic over a woman in this lifetime…,” Kurtis shook his head in disbelief as he was looking for her.
He had tried looking in places that Allen said Ann might be in—from Heart’s Wings Children’s Home to downtown… Basically he had been looking in every nook and cranny of the city, yet he found no result yet.
“This is bad… Where have they gone to? They couldn’t be gone this fast, right?” Kurtis scratched his head. Not because he was worrying over the failure of his mission, but because he was genuinely worried over Allen.
“I hope she’s safe somewhere out there. I still haven’t met this woman that managed to cause Allen to change like this. I haven’t seen how she’d changed after that amnesia of hers,” Kurtis sighed.
When the next day arrived without any news or clue, Allen decided to report this to Prince Kiehl, who assisted in the discreet search of Ann.
They extended their scope of search because as more time passed, the further they could’ve gone to.
As days passed by without much news and clues, only the extension of search area, Allen could feel that he was getting desperate for any clue. He found himself unable to concentrate on his work.
Is Ann doing alright?
Is she not injured or sick?
…She’s still alive, isn’t she?
Though his head rationally narrated how Ann, as King Rueben’s daughter, wouldn’t be killed by the rebel faction who definitely needed her, he somehow was still feeling insecure.
Wait, what if she were to be gone of this world, and replaced by that villainous woman again?
This thought caused Allen to shudder in horror.
If he were unable to see her again in this lifetime…
He finally realized how he had fallen so deeply for her.
After a week had passed, a letter arrived in Allen’s hand.