The Heroic Tale Of A Villainous Prince Chapter 8

Episode 8: Girls Talk

Charlotte and her companions had discovered the whereabouts of the legendary first-generation master craftsman from the royal family’s workshop. They were now en route to the location, known as Mt. Itoel.

Ordinarily, such a journey would involve numerous complications for members of the royal family. However, Alfred had managed to obtain permission from the king, allowing them to proceed without hindrance. The “shadows,” including Makina, were assigned as their escorts.

After a full day of traveling by carriage, they finally arrived at Mt. Itoel. Since it was already nighttime, they decided to stay at an inn in the village located at the mountain’s base.

Naturally, Alfred and Charlotte had separate rooms, while Makina and Charlotte shared a room.

“Charlotte, let’s have a girls’ talk,” Makina suggested.

“Sorry, but we need to get enough rest and conserve our energy for tomorrow’s search, so I’ll have to decline,” Charlotte replied.

“Aww, come on. It’s not like we have many opportunities to have a relaxed chat like this,” Makina persisted.

Charlotte knew it would be wiser to sleep early and focus on getting enough rest for the next day, but she couldn’t help but be secretly intrigued by the idea of a girls’ talk.

Charlotte didn’t have many friends, and her constant pursuit of becoming a suitable person as the first prince’s fiancée had caused others to keep their distance. She had always longed for the chance to engage in a casual conversation like other girls.

“Alright. But let’s not stay up too late. We’ll end it early and go to bed,” Charlotte finally agreed.

“Got it,” Makina nodded.

Charlotte thought that Makina probably didn’t understand the true extent of her longing, but for now, she chose to believe her words.

“Well, since I’m your fiancée subordinate, I guess I’ll start. Go ahead, Charlotte!” Makina encouraged.

Go ahead? I’ve never had a girls’ talk before, so I’m not familiar with the proper etiquette. I’ve always had a vague longing for it, but I never had the chance to learn the details.

After giving it some thought, I decided to start with a safe topic

“Well… It’s amazing how we managed to easily find the whereabouts of the first-generation master who disappeared two hundred years ago. What do you think, Makina?” Charlotte began.

“Starting with that, huh? You’re serious, aren’t you?”

Makina responded casually, relieving Charlotte of some of her tension.

“I’m sorry… I guess I’m just a boring person…” Charlotte apologized.

“Oh! No, no, no! I should be the one apologizing, Charlotte. I didn’t mean it that way… Uh, yeah! Let’s change the topic! How about discussing the ‘shadows’?” Makina suggested, trying to redirect the conversation.

Makina’s sudden change of topic caught Charlotte off guard. Makina was usually the one teasing Alfred, so seeing her flustered like this was rare. She coughed, trying to regain her composure, and went along with the safe topic Charlotte had introduced.

“We ‘shadows’ believe that we are more capable than the ordinary knights in the royal palace… Well, to be honest, it was mostly luck that we were able to find the location this time, considering that we were chasing after someone who disappeared two hundred years ago… Oh, by the way, Charlotte, do you know about us ‘shadows’?” Makina inquired.

“No, not really. I understand that you’re part of Al’s direct squad, but… I didn’t think it was appropriate to ask too much.”

“That sums it up. Unlike knights, we don’t take center stage. Our main mission is to work behind the scenes as Al’s trusted support. Al is our master, of course, but in the future, I believe we’ll also serve you, Charlotte, as his fiancée.”

“Makina, your exceptional work performance and your ability to quickly locate the first master… You truly possess remarkable talent. When it comes to gathering information, you seem to surpass even the knight order. Where did Al find such talented individuals?”

“Rather than finding us.. I would say he picked us up”

“Picked up!? like a cat”

“Oh, Charlotte-sama. That’s quite accurate.”

“Hmm. So, Makina-san, are you actually a cat maid?”

“I think being a cat maid would be nice, but… well, it’s more like… hmm, a stray cat? Something along those lines.”

Gazing into the distance, Makina continued, “All of us in the Shadows, we’re all people with our own struggles. We’re a group of misfits who have been cast aside and abandoned. In reality, by now, those individuals should be lying dead somewhere. But it was Al-sama who found us, discovered us, and took us in.”

“So, the members of the Shadows… they’re just like you?”

“Yes, that’s right. Each and every one of us was saved by Al-sama. …Well, we do have a poor reputation within the royal palace. From the perspective of proper folks like knights, a group of people with issues like us is nothing but suspicious.”

Makina spoke with a hint of self-deprecation.

From what I gathered from their conversation, the Shadows unit never takes the center stage.

They are perpetually shrouded in darkness, always active as the unseen support for the royal family.

Due to this, there are times when they cannot be openly seen as assistance to Alfred.

They don’t possess the same power as the knight order, nor do they operate in the limelight, gaining support from the people.

For Makina, it must be incredibly frustrating.

“I, too, was discovered by Al-sama.”

Makina spoke softly.

“I don’t know where I was born or what I am. By the time I realized it, I had lost all my memories except for my name and found myself alone, collapsed. I had nowhere to go, no hope for survival. But I was scared of dying… so I resorted to stealing food and money just to get through each day.”

Charlotte couldn’t even begin to imagine that kind of pain.

As someone who had been raised in privilege as a member of the Duke’s family, Makina’s circumstances were beyond her imagination. She couldn’t casually approach her and say, “That must have been tough.”

“But I managed somehow. However, one day, I made a small mistake and was caught by the shop owner. It was really tough, getting hit and kicked. Well, it was only natural since I had been stealing. But then, Al-sama happened to pass by and said to the shop owner… ‘Is that sandbag for sale? If it is, sell it to me.'”

“A… sandbag?”

“Hahaha. It was a terrible situation, right? Even the shop owner who had been hitting me was dumbfounded. But Al-sama piled up a large sum of money in front of him and bought me on the spot. …Thanks to that, rumors like ‘The third prince collects human sandbags and enjoys tormenting them’ started circulating. Despite knowing that such rumors would spread, Al-sama still chose to purchase me.”

“Oh… I can imagine.”

“Exactly. I mean, it’s truly unbelievable. Being a nameless and dirty child, not knowing where I came from, and suddenly being bought, given a bath, provided warm meals, clothes to wear, a place to sleep, and even given a job as a maid… And if anyone dared to say anything, he would simply say, ‘I bought her as a tool’ or ‘Don’t complain about the maintenance of a prince’s tool’ and easily refute them. Thanks to that, the way I am perceived within the royal palace changed from ‘a dirty child of unknown origin’ to ‘a pitiful child being used as a tool by the third prince,’ and the other maids accepted me warmly.”

“That’s… similar to…”

“Yes, it’s similar to your situation, Charlotte-sama. Well, to be honest, when Al-sama saved you from your predicament, I also felt a sense of nostalgia.”

The cheerful expression on Makina’s face as she spoke didn’t give any hint of her tragic past.

“Hehe… You’re quite the troublemaker, Al-kun. I never expected you to help people in such a way.”

“Yes, indeed. Being a maid is quite a challenging role. Charlotte-sama must be going through a lot as well, right?”

“That might be true.”

Charlotte and Makina exchanged smiles as they faced each other.

“Um, Makina-san. Please call me Charlotte.”

“Is that okay? someone like me, a maid?”

“Of course.”

“Well then… Charlotte-sama.”

As Charlotte observed Makina, who seemed a bit embarrassed, she felt a genuine sense of closeness in that moment.

(……………………)

Suddenly, a sense of unease swept over Charlotte.

(…I wasn’t the only one.)

Everyone was being rescued from despair in the same manner.

Charlotte wasn’t special. She knew that, yet for some reason, she felt a faint uneasiness, like a haze, in her heart.

“…Well, let’s forget about my story! It’s your turn, Charlotte-sama!”

“Eh. M-me?”

“Yes, yes. Talking about love is a classic topic in girl talk, right?”

As she said that, Makina leaned closer to Charlotte.

“Charlotte-sama, to be honest, what do you think of Al-sama?”

“How…do you mean?”

“Of course, I mean as a man. You and he only recently engaged, right? Usually, these things progress without any romantic feelings due to family circumstances. But in your case, you were publicly humiliated by Leo-sama, and your engagement was broken off. It wouldn’t be strange if you became distrustful of men. So I was curious why you became Al-sama’s fiancée.”

“Well…there were various circumstances…”

“I understand that there were various circumstances, but it was decided quite easily, wasn’t it? And even when you were Leo-sama’s fiancée, you seemed to have fun talking with Al-sama. Maybe there were romantic feelings from before?”

Romantic feelings. Love.

Being aware of Alfred as a man.

Regarding such matters…

“…I haven’t really thought about it.”

“Oh, I see. So Al-sama doesn’t have a chance…”

“N-no, that’s not what I meant!”

Makina quickly corrected herself. Even Charlotte didn’t understand why she panicked.

“Well…the engagement with Leo-sama was decided before I even realized it… And besides, I was desperately trying to be suitable as the first prince’s fiancée, so I didn’t really pay attention to things like love. I thought it would be nice for two people who love each other to be together when I read books, but…when it came to myself, it didn’t feel real…”

“Ah…indeed, if we consider your title as the first prince’s fiancée, there is no one more suitable. Love is out of the question, right? And in that sense, Al-sama was free from the concept of being a fiancé, so he had the luxury to fall in love.”

“……………………………………Huh? Al-kun, have someone he like?”

“Ah.”

Makina had a face that clearly said, “Uh-oh,” but Charlotte couldn’t ignore it.

“By the way, Charlotte-sama, I’m changing the subject–“

“You don’t have to change it.”

“It’s about time to go to bed–“

“I don’t mind staying up a little longer.”

“Um…good night!”

“Ah! No, you can’t, it’s still early!”

That night, Charlotte tried to inquire further with Makina, but she couldn’t extract any information.

In an unexpected moment, Charlotte felt like she witnessed the maid girl’s true loyalty.



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