Chapter 63: Coercion
After doing everything we could at the store, Jennifer and I headed back to the royal palace.
The elders already knew about my mother’s disappearance.
They asked me to bring Jennifer back.
It seemed they wanted to make a fuss of things.
The truth was, Jennifer didn’t have to come.
But thinking about how she was to be my wife, I figured it’d be good for her to face the elders better sooner than later.
Thus, I followed the request of the elders and brought her with me.
To my surprise, the elders seemed to be gearing up towards putting all the blame on Jennifer.
They insisted she was to blame for my mother’s disappearance.
“It’s Jennifer’s duty to protect Mrs.Jones, but she disappeared right under her nose.She should take responsibility.”
“Yes.Jennifer needs to be punished!” These elders were adamant.
“Jennifer didn’t do anything wrong. She didn’t know any of this was going to happen!” I defended Jennifer.
“Mr.Jones, there is a rumor that you are obsessed with Jennifer.Seeing you defend her like this, I think they’re not just rumors.You still haven’t found out what happened back then.Is this woman more important than your mother? You’re slowly losing yourself!”
One of the elders spoke sadly.
This elder was one of my trusted confidants.
He had been supporting my fight against Austin.
We hadn’t found out who had killed my father, and the elders had been asking me to investigate.
Even so, I didn’t expect them to argue with me about this.
Since the topic was brought up, the other elders chimed in.
“Yes.There was a rumor that Mr.Jones has become indolent because of a she-wolf.”
“I wonder what else Mr.Jones will do for this she- wolf?”
“So, do you really want to blame Jennifer for my mother’s disappearance?” I asked coldly.
I really couldn’t stand it anymore.
Those old guys were so preoccupied with putting Jennifer down that they weren’t even looking for my mother.
I narrowed my eyes in suspicion.
I always felt that there was more to my mother’s disappearance.
I It all must’ve been a ploy to shoot me down, and who else would plan such a thing other than Austin? Speaking of the devil, Austin cleared his throat and spoke loudly.
“Why don’t we ask Jennifer to bring back Elizabeth within three days? If she fails, we will punish her then.”
“No way!” I refuted.
“We don’t have a single clue regarding my mother’s disappearance.How could anyone find her in three days?”
What on earth was this ******* planning? Unexpectedly, as soon as I said that, Jennifer took a step forward and said clearly, “So be it.”
“Jennifer, don’t take on a mission you can’t fulfill.I’ll do it.They won’t dare to hurt you as long as I’m here.”
I thought that the reason why she had agreed to this mission so recklessly was that she was afraid I would be in trouble.
Unexpectedly, Jennifer just smiled at me as usual and held my hand reassuringly.
“Anthony, I care deeply about your mother.I’ve been worried sick about her.I want to find her.”
“Then I’ll go with you,” I said resolutely.
I could tell she felt bad about my mother’s disappearance.
Although she didn’t tell me, I could still feel her guilt.
Jennifer was a kind-hearted and strong-minded girl.
I couldn’t let my mate face such a thing alone, so I made the decision to accompany her.
“Anthony, where should we start?”
I was really worried about Elizabeth.
Her condition wasn’t great, and with the kidnapping, I was sure she was scared to death.
The sooner we found her, the better.
“Actually, Jennifer, I think all of this has something to do with Austin.I think he has hidden my mother somewhere we would least expect.” Anthony sighed.
“At least, if he really is behind this, then my mother’s safety is guaranteed.He must’ve done this just to threaten me.”
After pondering this for a bit, I realized Anthony’s theory made sense.
Elizabeth usually stayed in the royal palace.
She hadn’t seen many werewolves before.
The one who had the most motive to kidnap her was Austin.
But even if Austin was behind this, we didn’t have any proof to back up our claim.
“Anthony, let’s split up.We’ll find her sooner that way,” I suggested.
“But it’s dangerous.I need to protect you.”
Anthony was obviously opposed to my idea.
“Don’t worry.I can take care of myself, and you should take care of yourself too.What’s important now is finding your mother.”
I gave Anthony’s hand a reassuring squeeze, and he finally agreed.
He planted a gentle kiss on my cheek and whispered, “Be careful.”
“I will.” I stood on tiptoe and kissed him on the lips.
Then, we parted ways.
Not long after we split up, I got a tip that Elizabeth had been spotted deep within the royal palace.
The royal palace was a complicated piece of architecture.
There were many secret rooms within its depths, which were indeed suitable for hiding someone.
Besides, if it really was Austin who had kidnapped Elizabeth, it made sense for him to hide her somewhere close.
Initially, I doubted the authenticity of this tip.
But on second thought, I realized it was my only lead, and consequently, my only chance at finding Elizabeth at this point.
Ultimately, it was better than wandering around aimlessly, which was what we were doing.
Elizabeth was in poor health.
I had to find her as soon as possible.
So, I snuck inside the royal palace and started to explore.
I searched for a long time.
Finally, I stumbled upon tracks on the floor.
The prints led to a spot on the wall.
That must’ve meant there was a secret room here! When we were training on Marge Island, we were taught how to spot and open secret rooms.
I quickly found the mechanism to open the door on the wall and it swung open.
Delighted but wary, I cautiously walked inside.
There were many doors inside this secret room, and each of them was solid and heavy.
Whenever I passed through a door, I would feel a chill run down my spine.
But I couldn’t turn back now.
Elizabeth could be behind one of these doors! Sure enough, at the very last door, I found Elizabeth inside, lying in a bed.
“Mrs.Jones! Are you alright?”
When she saw me, she sat bolt upright, pale as a ghost.
“Jennifer, it’s a trap! Get out now!”
But before she could properly warn me, I heard a series of loud bangs from behind me.
When I turned around, all the doors had slammed shut.
I rushed to the nearest one, but it was too late.
It was sealed shut.
I searched for a mechanism to open the door, but to no avail.
It seemed that whoever had designed this secret room didn’t want anyone to get out.
“Why are you so stupid?” Elizabeth asked angrily.
“Why did you risk your own life to rescue me?” Knowing we were trapped here, I stopped trying to look for an exit and went to Elizabeth’s side.
“Mrs.Jones, I’m relieved you’re okay.Don’t worry.Anthony will save us!”
“There’s nothing we can do but wait and see.”
Elizabeth threw her arms around me and stroked my hair, as though I was her own daughter.
“Do you know how you were caught? Do you know who’s behind this?”
I asked, pulling away from Elizabeth’s embrace to look her in the eye.But she shook her head.
“I have no clue.I fainted as soon as I entered the fitting room and the next thing I knew, I was trapped here.” I sighed.
We could figure out who the culprit was after.
What was most important now was to get out of here alive.