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The sound reverberated through the room, causing Nina's heart to skip a beat. She could feel the tremors shaking the walls, as if a disaster of epic proportions was about to strike against her.

Her eyes snapped open.

"What is happening?" The assassin asked. He furrowed his brow as a clear indication of his concern. The unmistakable vibrations coursing through the room added to his unease.



The violent noises emanating from beyond the door reverberated through the chamber, heightening the already palpable tension.

Nina, deep in thought, wondered. 'Are we being attacked? Has Queen Mavena abandoned her plan to strike at the mad King's territory in the morning and chosen instead to launch a midnight ambush?'.

Would she be able to get out of here for free?

Given her current form, would they show her mercy or execute her on sight?

Filled with doubt, Nina's appearance began to ripple like water as she transformed back into her true self.

"DON'T YOU DARE?" A voice boomed, interrupting her transformation. The next moment, she felt a tight grip around her neck, causing her to collapse over her chair before tumbling to the opposite side of the room.

"Unless you wish to end up as a pile of bones and meat, I advise you not to try that again" He warned, his magical energy pulsing fiercely with each word.

Despite the gravity of the situation and the threat to her life, Nina remained resolute, fighting on with reckless abandon, heedless of the consequences that might follow.

Observing Nina's unwavering resolve to fight back despite his warning, the assassin swiftly resorted to repeatedly slamming her head against the hard wooden floor.

"Bam!" "Bamm!" "Bam!" Each brutal impact, fueled by a surge of obsessive magical energy, bore through the wooden surface, creating a gaping hole and causing Nina's head to throb with pain and discomfort.

Enraged, the assassin opened his mouth to berate her, but before he could utter a single word, a deafening "BAAAMM!" rocked the room as the door was violently hurled open and sent crashing to the far side of the chamber.

Both Nina and the assassin swiftly turned their heads to face the direction of the sudden disturbance, bracing themselves for a potential threat.

Surprisingly, a dense fog had abruptly enveloped the room, shrouding everything from view. It was an eerie phenomenon that seemed impossible, given the location they were in.

"I must say, I'm rather surprised..."

Nina's eyes widened. The voice that spoke was unmistakable!

That unmistakably sarcastic tone!

"Don't you guys have any fear…"

May her senses be damned if she doesn't remember or recognise who it was.

Annabelle's eyes widened in relief, tears streaming down her face, as the figure that materialized from her thoughts confirmed her hopes.

"Whichever way, I assure you of one thing..."

She knew now that she wasn't hallucinating.

Her prince. The man to whom she had pledged her eternal allegiance!

He was here!

"You will regret whatever you have done to my Nina" He snarled fiercely, his presence filling the room and quashing any remaining traces of fear or uncertainty.

He had come to her rescue!


One hour before the event.

Velve city

Despite my aversion to relying on luck, it was undeniably my sole option. Thus, as I surveyed my surroundings from my lofty perch in the dead of night - the empty streets and closed shops below me - I knew that leaping from one concrete rooftop to another was the only course of action available to me.

"CAPTAIN! I DON'T THINK THAT THIS PLAN IS WORKING…. OHH!…" Beric exclaimed, his eyes still reeling from our successive ups and downs as I landed on another rooftop.

After gently lowering him from my shoulders, I asked. "And what do you expect we do?".

He settled himself comfortably on the rooftop and remarked. "Well, based on what happened during the beast attack, it appears that we won't be seeing anyone on the streets until morning". He rubbed his temples, attempting to steady his disorientated senses. "However, since that option is not possible, as we need to find a clue about the person you are searching for, it seems that we must look for alternative options".

I remained silent, weighing my options. Should I risk climbing Miracle Mountain in hopes of finding my target or should I continue searching the city, running the risk of being apprehended?

"With a chuckle, Beric suggested. "If only we could break into one of the houses and hope that someone inside could provide us with relevant information". Clearly, he was attempting to ease the sudden tension in the air.

"But that won't be possible without alerting the neighbours and patrolling guards" I interjected.

Yeah, apart from the sparsely populated streets, the patrolling guards would make it difficult to move around undetected. Normally, I wouldn't be bothered by them, but considering the circumstances...

"But who said the guards are a problem?" I added, causing Beric to frown in confusion.

"You yourself said you didn't want to attract--"

I faked a cough before responding. "Well, I take that back. Anyone who thinks they can stop us can come and try... but in the meantime..." I quickly grasped Beric's collar before he could protest and leapt into the air, heading towards the first house.

"CAPTAIN! I DON'T THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA!" Beric screamed for his dear life as the wind rushed past his ears, rendering him deaf and turning everything in front of him into a blur.

At this point, he was beginning to sound like a broken record.


"CAPTAIN! PLEASE…" I tuned out Beric's voice and picked a random house from the multitude of buildings in front of me.

"Here we go" I landed softly in front of the door and released Beric from my grasp.

"Are you crying?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"No, I'm not." Beric wiped his ears and nose clean before standing up straight with his back rigid. "The sooner we finish this, the better" His expression returned to what it was before the jump, but his complexion still appeared a little pale.

Regardless, I withdrew my gaze and focused it on the door. I circulated my magical energy and tapped on it with my knuckles gently.

"BAM!" "BAMM!"

The house vibrated the moment my hands touched it, letting me know that unless the person inside was dead, he would have been stirred awake by the sudden disturbance.

After a few minutes, my ears picked up the sound of footsteps heading towards the door.

"Who's there?" It sounded like a man.

I used my magical energy to scan the inside of the building. 'A family of five' I nodded my head in understanding.

"We're here to ask you some questions. Can you open the door?"

Beric looked at me sceptically, aware of my ability to knock down the door if necessary. However, I decided to take a more civilized approach.

"In the middle of the night?" The man responded sarcastically. "If you're that serious, why don't you wait until morni---?"

Knowing how this was going to end already, I immediately interrupted him. "I will give you one gold coin for any useful information that you are willing to give".

Silence lingered in the air.

"Before I let you in, tell me what the question is about"

"It's regarding the recent war that took place atop Miracle Mountain" I replied.

There was another moment of silence.

"You mean the last stand of the Azuiloth Kingdom?" He asked.

So that's what they are calling it now.

I nodded "Yes".

Without a word, the chains behind the door rattled and clicked, and a shirtless man in his mid-thirties, wearing only pants, slowly opened the door.

The man's piercing, sharp, brown eyes bore into mine as he spoke. "Although I am not privy to what occurred during the war, due to the ruckus they caused the night before, I know of a few individuals who followed them up the mountain to observe the battle from a safe distance".

I frowned. My expression described my thoughts 'Is that all?'.

Sensing my discontented expression, he quickly added. "However, I do have a friend who is related to someone from the Azuiloth Kingdom. He possesses a detailed account of everything that transpired before and after the battle".

I nodded "Where does this friend of yours stay?"

He extended his arm to the side and pointed out the direction to me. "Proceed straight, turn left at the third street, and you will come across a small bakery store. That's where he conducts his business and resides as well" He explained.

The man paused with a sigh before adding, "Just make sure you don't mention that I showed you the way--"


Suddenly, a gust of wind whistled through the air as I vanished, clutching Beric tightly in my grasp, while a gold coin clinked where I had been standing a moment before.

"Captain!" Beric cried out, clearly surprised and shaken.

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