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Fear began to set into Allen’s heart as he kept trying to wake Ann, this time more intensely than before. But perhaps it was necessary, as Ann finally moved.
She groggily opened her eyes and stuttered, “Al… len?”
Allen’s expression softened as he breathed in relief before answering, “It’s me. You’re safe now. We’re going home.”
“Yeah,” Allen said as he was scanning Ann from head to toes, making sure that she was safe and sound and all binding had been removed.
“Wait here,” Allen said as he realized he still needed to help with the battle, so he turned around and was about to join Fremont and Reginald.
Unbeknownst to Allen who had his back turned to Ann, at that time, the weak-looking Ann’s eyes sharpened as her hand looked for something in her pocket. When her hand firmly grasped on something, her eyes glinted as she moved quickly, lunging towards Allen, swinging the thing that was in her hand towards Allen’s back—
Before a knife managed to stab Allen in the back, a small pink bird got in the way, shouted loudly in alarm and bit the knife strongly to stop it from progressing further.
“…!!” Birdie squinted due to the pain she felt from the impact of the metal and her teeth, but she worked hard not to let the knife stab Allen, as it was evident that the knife was pointing towards where the heart was.
Though Birdie couldn’t do a good job in fighting back against Ann—who was clearly not Ann, but Anne—it was enough for Allen to notice something was wrong and turned around once more.
Seeing that her plan had been foiled by the insignificant small bird, Anne clicked her tongue loudly as she used her other hand, ready to hit the small bird.
Though a flood of mixed feelings entered his heart, Allen moved quickly as he held Anne’s hands, one on the hand that was about to smack Birdie, and another on Anne’s grip of the knife. The two held hands, but over a knife and in an aggressive showdown.
Seeing that Allen had it covered, Birdie let go of her grip and plopped on the safe ground, clearly the impact of stopping the sharp object that was being thrust so aggressively had a negative effect on her.
“Who are you?!” Allen lost the warmth he had before when he was talking to Ann. He was ice cold, both in expressions and intonation.
“I am…,” With a face and tone of anger, Anne shouted, “ME!!”
She then bit hard on the hand that grabbed her hand that was on the handle, causing Allen to reflexively let her go.
“Princess!” Ten went to aide Anne as they fought against Allen.
Same face, different person inside… The thought causing Allen to have a mixed feeling when he was fighting Anne.
Fremont noticed Allen’s situation and asked, “How come you’re fighting the person we’re supposed to rescue?!”
As his frustration and confusion being questioned by another man, Allen shouted in despair, “There’s gotta be an explanation!”
“Then what is happening?” The hot-blooded Fremont didn’t take in Allen’s tone and asked because he was genuinely confused.
If the person they were going to rescue turned their side and didn’t want to be rescued, but wanted to kill them instead, how were they supposed to act?
It was logical for Fremont to think so.
Meanwhile, Allen was frustrated as well and he could only say, “I don’t know, that’s why we’re going to find out what’s happening. Proceed with the same objective.”
Deep down, he was also unsure on what was going on, or what he should be doing.
Would Ann ever come back to his side, or she was gone for good?
The thought alone scared him, but since Ann was just the intruder in that body, the possibility existed.
But killing Anne would mean cutting off the very slim possibility that Ann could return, so he’d rather catch her alive and find a way to bring Ann back.
The sound of metallic weapon clashing against each other resounded, followed by their shouting, rough breathing, and the magicians’ casting as well as magic clashing against one another.
Contrary to Ann who couldn’t really fight, Anne could utilize her dagger quite well. However, she never used her water magic to fight, just like everyone of this world.
Anne’s dagger clashed with Allen’s sword, and they were locked in a stalemate.
Because seeing Anne’s distorted expression pained Allen so much, he tried so hard not to look at her face.
Noticing that she could still taunt Allen, Anne used it to her advantage and said with all her hatred, “I despise you.”
Though he knew that the soul occupying the body wasn’t of his beloved and that the tone was very different, their voices were still the same, so Allen still felt his heart twisting a bit.
But that was enough room for Anne to break the stalemate as she managed to graze Allen a bit due to Allen’s good reflexes.
Anne aggressively pursued Allen who was retreating, with murderous intent very clear from her whole body.
It was at that time that Anne passed by Reginald who was retreating as he was still handling Blake with another magician.
In that split moment, Reginald, whose sight was wholly focused on Blake, widened his eyes in surprise and shifted his gaze towards Anne, who was attacking Allen.
He stopped in his track, causing the other magician to be surprised but luckily managed to take over the lead of the fight and cover Reginald, who seemed to be distracted.
“Reginald, what’s wrong?!” The magician asked in the middle of his fight, wondering why Reginald hadn’t recovered from his distraction and help him fight again. After all, Reginald was stronger than him!
While blocking Anne, Allen noticed that Reginald was distracted and had his line of sight fixed to Anne.
Knowing that Reginald wouldn’t be loafing around for nothing and that he might have realized something, Allen called him out with full of hope, “Reginald, did you notice something?!”
“…Yeah. Help shield me as I approach her,” Reginald’s bewildered and unsure gaze quickly changed into determination, seeing that it was worth trying.
He wasn’t sure of what was going on because it had never happened before, but he clearly sensed a hint of dark magic emitting from Anne’s body. But he had no clue on what that dark magic could possibly do. Was it to enhance her power? But then, there was no need to specifically use dark magic.
Whatever it did, the only way of knowing it was to eliminate the dark magic.
Allen didn’t receive any explanation from Reginald, but he agreed nonetheless and quickly changed his strategy to help Reginald approach Anne.
Ann and Anne’s situation was special, so anything that might help in returning Ann back would be welcomed at this point. It was better than not trying out at all, Allen thought.
Blake saw that Reginald switched his focus and tried to approach Anne instead of focusing on him, and seeing the oblivious Anne, he cried out in warning, “Not good!”
Anne finally shifted her focus from attacking Allen and noticed that Reginald was sneaking up on her, but it was too late.
“Take this! O Holy light that illuminates the world, eliminate the dark magic that dwelled in this body!” Reginald chanted as light magic radiated from his staff, shining brighter until it engulfed Anne.
The first thing that Anne felt was the unbearable brightness that caused her to close her eyes. But the next thing that she felt set in terror in her eyes.
The dark magic in her body was purified by Reginald’s light magic, and at the same time as the dark magic left her body, Ann’s consciousness awakened although she only had slight control over this body.
Though she had been repressed, she could hazily see what was happening and hated that she couldn’t have done anything to help.
Now, feeling like she had a brief chance to help out, she used it to fight back against Anne, using the chance to use her water magic to cause liquid imbalance in her own body, making her body feel so faint and close to fainting.
She didn’t proceed further the moment she felt her body was close to fainting as well as her sensing that she was the only one in control of the body again, as she was still afraid of accidentally killing herself in the process!
Even so, she couldn’t return the balance of the liquid within her body in an instant and ended up collapsing to the ground.
When the rebels realized that they had no chance to retrieve the princess’ body as Allen and the others immediately created a barrier between them, and judging the situation that the opponent had the upper hand, they decided to retreat, starting from Rueben.
“Don’t let them go!” Reginald noticed what was going on and quickly lunged a magic attack towards the fleeing Rueben, but his attack was repelled by Blake, who followed Rueben in fleeing.
“Ann!” Allen was more worried about Ann’s condition than chasing the rebels, so he quickly ran towards Ann, who fainted on the ground.
“Chirp!” Birdie also quickly went over to Ann’s side.
While the others were trying to chase and capture the remaining rebels, Fremont and Reginald decided to go over to Allen and Ann’s side to check.
A small pink bird, Allen, Fremont, and Reginald were circling over Ann, who had a little bit of consciousness left in her.
The weak Ann could hazily see who were around her, so in her brilliant spurt of consciousness, she blurted out, “Dang, half of the capturable targets are staring at me!”
Then, she fainted.