Ivor Osan stood amidst the group of Rankers and fiends.

"Boy, you look worried. Do you regret following our liege in his plan?" Hettie asked playfully as she looked at Ivor.

Ivor looked at Hettie with a neutral gaze before answering calmly.

"Not really. I don't care what happens to me anymore. However, I am concerned about what he is planning to do with that dead demon beast companion of his. I don't know what others see at this point. But I have never seen him this distraught," Ivor replied while looking at what Eren was up to.

The Rankers and fiends trapped in the isolated space between the primary and secondary Birdcage Barriers decided to collectively ignore what was happening of Eliza and Demonmir's battle. They had also chosen to ignore what was happening outside the primary Birdcage barrier as well.

This was because something interesting was taking place inside the isolated space. They all paid attention to what Eren was doing.

Hettie, intrigued, glanced at Ivor. "Anfang's Rankers are a peculiar lot, huh? Unperturbed by the potential consequences?" she pondered.

Ivor, puzzled by her words, questioned, "What do you mean?"

Hettie reflected briefly before answering. "Well, our liege is about to make a lasting mark on Anfang, whether his plan succeeds or fails. Do you think you will be able to deal with the aftermath of this incident?" she probed, peering back at Eren.

Unmoved, Ivor focused on Eren.

"No. You misunderstood, Hettie. That's not what I meant by my previous words.

I've had my share of the spotlight here. I seek no further fame. But whether my name becomes the talk of the town in a bad way is not relevant to me anymore.

Does it matter if I plan to leave Anfang after this is over? Do I have to care about people cursing me if I'm not going to be under the same roof as them?

No matter what happens from now on, I'll leave Anfang. If I make it through, that is," Ivor responded casually.

Hettie nodded, acknowledging his stance. "Interesting. Will you join our liege on his venture or follow your heart?" she asked, curious about Ivor's intentions.

"It depends on Eren, honestly," Ivor shrugged his shoulders before speaking further.

"Yet, exploring other worlds solo isn't a bad notion. I'll think about this when we find a secure space for thought," Ivor said and sighed in contemplation. It took a while for him to expound on his words.

"To be honest, surviving this incident isn't high on my hopes, Hettie. I think we are all doomed. If the Sages present outside don't kill us, whoever wins the battle inside the secondary barrier will. Eliza or Demonmir– they will treat us the same.

Not that I blame anyone, including Eren. I knew the risks before I decided to not be on Eliza's side.

I just haven't considered future plans because my goals ended when I saw my grandfather die in front of me. I once held grand ambitions. But time has changed me and I allowed it to happen.

I know those who knew me from my past would call me directionless if they were to see me now. But I feel like I'm a free bird now.

Apart from being tortured for the rest of my life, I'm okay with anything. I'm okay with…. "Abrupt ending" so to speak. And I'm okay with having new goals as well.

However, there needs to be a secure present first before we can think about the future. So I have to live by the moment, whether I like it or not. We all have to."

Ivor shared, gazing at the diverse mix of Fenris half-bloods and fiends dispersed in the isolated space.

Hettie concurred with a smile. "Fair enough. Alright. Here's a deal: if we survive and you wish to explore Labh Salem, I'll guide you. Things might have changed, but I can assist in introducing you to our customs," she offered with excitement.

"Labh Salem?" Ivor mused, contemplating Hettie's homeland. He chuckled, appreciating the prospect. "Sure, something to look forward to after the dust settles," Ivor said, peering at the sky, an air of determination around him.

In silent prayer, a glimmer of unusual behavior seemed to arise from someone born in the Land of the Faithless.


Similar discussions were taking place among the group of Rankers and fiends as they watched Eren construct a very intricate Array Formation. For some, these discussions served as a way to handle the stress, while others sought a glimmer of hope for their uncertain future by openly conversing about these matters.

As time passed, uncertainty mounted among those in the isolated space. By this point, they were all aware that Sages from Anfang Alliance managed to disrupt the operation of the Sansara Sage's space-element runes through sheer brute force.

The Sansara Sage's space-element runes were so well-encrypted that the Sages couldn't directly influence them or their usage. However, the Sages outside could manipulate the spatial fabric surrounding the Birdcage Barrier.

The Anfang Alliance's space-element Sages altered the space outside the primary Birdcage Barrier, significantly increasing its spatial distance. Therefore, the activation of the Sansara Sage's runes was bound to result in users missing their intended destination by a considerable margin.

The Birdcage Barrier offered security but also trapped those within it.

It prevented movement, giving the Sages outside the chance and time to devise countermeasures against the Sansara Sage's space-element runes.

Eren and his allies already foresaw this development. They were aware of the risks involved at the prospect of staying at the same place for too long even before Eliza had voiced them to Eren to shake his confidence.

The fact that almost no one attempted to leave after Eliza's resurrection was a testament to their allegiance to Eren and his plan. Rankers like Sirius and Fiona Fenris had willingly stayed inside the Birdcage Barrier even though they were given the head-up regarding the potential inoperability of Sansara Sage's space-element runes, their only way out of this mess.

Survivors within the barrier understood that following Eren was an all-or-nothing scenario. There was no scope for the middle ground.

AN: In this chapter's comment section, write the number corresponding to the world you'd like the VEH's storyline to explore in the upcoming volume. The world with the most votes will be prioritized. Each of you can only choose one option. ;)

1) Echidna (Children of Echidna AKA monsters)

2) Allansia (world of Titans)

3) Labh Salem (witches, demonic beings, and half-bloods)

4) Tel Quasser (Land of the Fey)