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Please, please be safe and alright.
That was the only thing that Allen kept repeating in his mind as he rushed to the place that was suspected to be the most probable place that Ann would be in.
When he set off with the Birdie as the guide, Allen wasn’t expecting much. However, contrary to his low expectations, Birdie seemed sure the whole time she guided them. Whenever the group would stray to another direction that seemed more logical for them to follow although it was contrary to what Birdie had directed, Birdie would appear to chase them back angrily.
With this much pressure and insistence from the little bird, he relented and decided to stop thinking and just blindly followed her.
Eventually, Birdie stopped right in front of the entrance to an old abandoned ruin that was located deep, deep in the middle of a forest.
Allen and his team didn’t rashly rush into the ruins. They hid and observed the location first. To their knowledge, this forest was full of dangerous monsters, and the ruin was abandoned and never had any visitor at all due to its dangerous location.
But surprisingly, they saw some people inside the ruins, and they managed to positively identify them as a member of the rebelling faction.
Though there was no sign of Ann being there, the fact that Birdie would lead them to a place with the sighting of the rebels was pretty much telling that Ann ought to be here.
As much as Allen wanted to enter and rush to save Ann, he didn’t want to ruin what could be the only chance they’ve got. They decided to retreat quietly without alerting the rebels that their place had been discovered, in order to make a more thorough preparation and to wait for the other reinforcement to arrive.
It was unknown whether this was merely one of the rebels’ hideout that they were using, or if this was their headquarter instead. Either way, it was a good chance to capture them and to seek out the rest.
Allen’s mind was all foggy during the whole journey back to preparing everything and then heading back to the ruins.
By the time they arrived back at Viscount Jonas’ place, the reinforcement was already there. They were led by two people that Allen was familiar with.
One was Fremont Rai Ainsworth, a young royal knight and the future heir of the Ainsworth earl family, leading the knights here.
Another one was Reginald Barlowee, a promising magician from the Royal Magic Institute, leading the magicians that were sent as a reinforcement here.
Together with Viscount Jonas who requested to be included as a veteran, they discussed and planned their whole raid to the ruins.
Since it was agreed that they would do a guerrilla attack during the night, they took a short rest, despite Allen not feeling like it was a good rest at all.
The magicians led by Reginald cast a temporary sneak magic to help conceal their presence more, so that they won’t be discovered before the right time.
The sneak magic wore off exactly at the right time—just as they had successfully infiltrated the ruins.
The rebels immediately went on a clash with Allen’s team.
As expected, they were a lot of them here, and it was the best that Allen had decided to wait and come here prepared.
While the other knights and magicians were fighting, they also opened the way for some of them to sneak in, including Allen, Viscount Jonas, Fremont, and Reginald.
Reginald detected a magic that hid the entrance to the underground ruins and they entered there.
The deeper they went, the less people were there, and this caused Allen to doubt things, but nevertheless, they needed to capture the rebels.
Furthermore, Birdie continued to lead the way without stopping, so Allen decided to trust her again.
Eventually, they reached a room where Birdie chirped in front of it, and when they entered, Allen saw the woman he had been dying to see again.
There were only several rebels in it, with two of them standing guard beside Ann, who was unconsciously lying on the ground with ropes that bound her.
“Intruders!” Four hissed the moment she noticed Allen and his team’s presence, causing the others to assume a fighting stance.
Four and Ten were the people right on the right and left side of Ann, and they immediately stepped forward, making sure the bunch won’t be able to get anywhere near Ann.
“Let her go!” Allen shouted.
But instead of an answer that he got from the bunch that were standing there, a loud clapping could be heard from the dark passageway behind Ann and the rest of the rebels, and two shadows emerged from within the darkness.
When the light from the lanterns hung in the room illuminated the person clapping, Allen recognized that it was the previous king and the leader of the rebels, Rueben.
“Well, well, I applaud you for managing to discover this place,” Rueben congratulated Allen and the rest, without a hint of fear.
His eyes scanned the surrounding and seemed like they couldn’t find what they were looking for, as his expression twisted.
“Where’s your current prince?! Or the current king?! Why are they not here? What a coward!” He scoffed.
“They don’t need to come to entertain you,” Reginald immediately answered as he steadied his eyeglasses.
“Hahahahahahaha!!” The former king laughed out loud, not having a single bit of majesty that hinted that he was once the king that stood above them all.
“What an excuse for cowards! Here I thought I could at least get the current, bad royal blood finished here,” Rueben said with a mocking smile before he quickly scanned Allen, Fremont, Reginald, and Jonas.
“But I guess finishing all of you here will be quite an accomplishment already,” he said.
“Are you done?” Fremont frowned as he unsheathed his blade and pointed it towards Rueben.
“Insolent!!” The rebels around roared as they stood between Fremont and Rueben.
“Let her go and surrender yourselves,” Allen said.
“Let her go? Why should I? She IS my daughter!!” Rueben dissed Allen.
Allen couldn’t find a word to refute Rueben at all.
It was true that she was indeed his daughter, yet at the same time, she wasn’t…
“I repeat. Surrender yourselves now and—”
Before Reginald could finish his words, Rueben interrupted, “And what? And you will spare us? Ha! What a joke! As long as you and us exist under the same sky, we won’t be reconciled.”
Hearing Rueben’s words, Allen and his team understood that they would definitely clash here and that there was no hope of them surrendering like obedient sheep at all.
“KILL THEM!” The king shouted his command, to which the rebels answered with their war cry.
In an instant, the situation turned messy.
The rebels and Allen’s team clashed heads on against one another.
Allen and Fremont took on Ten and Four, while Reginald quickly went after the former king, who was protected by Blake, the dark magician, who recognized Reginald’s magical capabilities.
Meanwhile, the former king simply watched the battle unfold from a safe place, mocking anyone who laid eyes on him but couldn’t get closer to him. It was as if he was watching a good show.
Nobody took on the small pink bird that was floating in the air, so Birdie decided to take this to her advantage and fly to Ann.
However, Four noticed her intention and quickly sent a dagger flying at her direction.
Birdie quickly dodged the dagger that almost stabbed her whole body and decided to not approach Ann anymore.
She then quickly went after the former king who she perceived to be annoying, for others were currently seriously fighting against one another, yet this man here was only leisurely watching from the safe spot.
However, Blake had put a dark mist that quickly hindered Birdie’s way or anyone who was thinking of approaching Rueben’s spot.
With a heavy heart, Birdie retreated and tried to not get knocked by any of the combatant there.
When Fremont managed to defeat Ten and quickly took on Four together with another knight, he shot a look at Allen, who quickly understood what he had to do.
Allen immediately approached Ann who was still lying on the ground and untied the ropes around her.
He knelt down and examined Ann. When he noticed that she was breathing just fine, only unconscious, he sighed in relief.
Although he knew that there was no way Rueben would kill his one and only bloodline left, he was still worried that she’d left him and this world for good.
Allen then gently shook her, “Wake up, Ann. Wake up.”
But there was no response.