The Heroic Tale Of A Villainous Prince Chapter 14

Episode 14: The Similar yet Different One

A dark aura, as abyssal as it gets, emanates from the Forbidden Curse Demon Ring, seeping out like thick mud. It flows like blood escaping from a wound.

“I can’t bear it… I can’t stand those eyes!”

Deophil screams, venting his frustration. The more he confronts that boy in silence, the more his irritation grows.

Deophil activates the [Enhancement Infusion] equipped on his left hand, morphing the pitch-black aura into claw-like formations, reminiscent of a beast’s. He propels himself forward, propelled by a kick against the ground.

These dark claws, forged from the pitch-black aura, possess not only physical destructive power but also the ability to annihilate a magic ring upon contact with the aura.

Therefore, the opponent’s actions…

“[Flame Magic Sphere]!”

A long-range magical assault.

For Deophil, it’s safe to say he has grown weary of it. Everyone follows the same pattern, and he has overcome them all by bending their strategies.

He nimbly evades the incoming fireballs with minimal movements.

The experience gained from employing [Oathbreaker Fang] in battle runs deep. For Deophil, who has teetered on the edge, never knowing if his soul would be devoured by the demon residing in the ring, closing the distance is his specialty.

“First, one!”

He thrusts forward with the black claws. In that instant, he aims to capture the black-haired boy.

“[Coordinate Exchange]”

The boy’s figure vanishes. The pitch-black claws skim through the air, and in the blink of an eye, the boy has moved one step backward. Just beyond the reach of the aura.

“What…!?”

Instant teleportation. Caught off guard and surprised, Deophil is too late to react as a crimson fireball materializes.

“[Flame Magic Sphere]”

With a composed incantation, the crimson fireball advances.

The distance is too close. This is—

(—I can’t evade it!)

An explosion ensues.

“Gahaha!”

Deophil’s body curves into a bend as he rolls along the ground.

Enduring the pain, he swiftly adjusts his posture while rolling. The flames scorch his abdomen, but the pain keeps him conscious.

(When was the last time… I took a direct hit from a mid-range magic attack…)

Dodge minimally, close the gap, and end it.

Since acquiring the courage forged through daily battles that shattered the constraints of the Forbidden Curse Demon Ring, he has never been struck by a proper [Magic Sphere].

(Who is this brat…!?)

An indescribable fear surges through Deophil as he faces the boy before him.

“Hey, kid. What’s your name?”

“…Alfred.”

“What?”

“Alfred-Berg-Leuville.”

Deophil has heard that name before.

The third prince of the Leuville Kingdom, cursed and despised as a disgrace. Not only by those in the royal palace and the nobles but also by the people. The despised prince.

His swordsmanship, magical abilities, intelligence, and physical strength all pale in comparison to the first prince.

In social gatherings, he disrupts the atmosphere, and even within the academy, he is disliked for his wicked and cruel behavior. Whispers of him being a stain on the royal family abound. The third prince.

(Is he an imposter…? No, it doesn’t matter if he claims to be a prince. And those black hair and black eyes…)

The magical power Deophil senses from the boy. The faint glimpse of pitch-black.

“Is he the real deal…”

If he were the despised prince with no real power, he wouldn’t be capable of executing the current feat.

The technique of [Coordinate Exchange]. The audacity to draw the pitch-black claws near until the very last moment. The utilization of magic. All of them display an incredible level of training.

“Don’t trust on rumors!”

He activates the magic ring on his left hand. Alfred also infuses his own magic ring, also equipped on his left hand, with magical energy.

“[Earth Shackles]!”

Simultaneously, both of them activate their magic.

Coincidentally, they both employ the same earth attribute magic, [Earth Shackles].

Their chains clash and fiercely collide.

“Hahaha! We get along well, don’t we?”

“I don’t find joy in being in sync with someone like you.”

“Don’t say that. Let’s get along—”

They infuse more magical energy. The chains grow stronger, gradually overpowering Alfred’s chains.

“—- We’re the same kind, you know!” We charge forward, maneuvering through the storm of chains with our fortified bodies, closing the distance. Alfred, on the other hand, kicks up the sword that was lying beside him with his foot and grasps it. I remember, that was something the elf woman kneeling behind him held.

Deophil swings down his jet-black claws, and Alfred swings his sword.

The claws and the blade collide forcefully, resisting each other. Our auras barely touch, and our gazes meet.

“Same kind? Sure, my behavior may not be commendable, but I don’t recall choosing to become a thief as my career.”

“Thief or prince, those petty titles don’t matter! It goes deeper! It’s ingrained in our lives, it’s fateful!”

Alfred’s power increases, forcefully swatting away the claws. I try to halt, but I slide backward as if gliding on the ground. In that moment, Alfred launches a follow-up [Fire Magic Ball].

“[Grant Acceleration]!”

I sidestep and dodge the barrage of fireballs. [Grant Acceleration] enhances my speed, but it makes my movements linear. I thrust my claws, brake, and kick the ground, approaching Alfred in a straight line. I immediately deactivate [Grant Acceleration]. I switch to [Enhancement Grant] and dodge the volley of fireballs that Alfred hurls at me as if intercepting.

“You were born cursed! Because of that, you’ve given up on many things, haven’t you!?”

Alfred’s eyes tremble slightly. Seeing that, I become certain. He is the same as me.

I swing my claws. Alfred intercepts with his blade, deflecting them.

“You speak as if you understand. What same kind? You’re shameless!”

“I do! Because I am just like you!”

An intense battle between claws and blade. Just a few exchanges reveal that Alfred is also skilled in swordsmanship.

“Same? Your curse is merely an afterthought!”

“I never desired this power! I had no choice! So give up! Let go! Before I knew it… I had lost everything!”

Deophil’s life has been a sequence of surrender. Surrendering dreams, surrendering the path of an adventurer, surrendering to the wrong side… The culmination of all those surrenders manifests in the shattered state of the ring.

In the hand that wields the dark claws, there is nothing. It holds nothing. It’s an empty, hollow hand. The hand of someone who has relinquished and abandoned everything.

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“You’re the same, aren’t you!? Born into royalty, yet cursed! You didn’t choose to become like this, did you!?”

I strike with my claws, strike, and keep striking.

“[Fire Magic Ball]!”

Alfred retaliates with a fireball, but this time it lacks the element of surprise and Deophil easily dodges it.

With swift and minimal movement, I evade the attack and swiftly swing my claws. My aura brushes against Alfred’s body, causing his magic ring to shatter into fragments.

The missed fireball detonates behind Deophil.

“[Earth Defense Wall]!”

An instant defensive wall materializes. Without giving Alfred a chance to recover, I swing my claws, crushing his dark claws.

“You must have faced unjustifiable hatred from everyone around you—-“

And finally, Alfred’s stance crumbles.

“—-You should have forsaken the glory that was destined to be yours!”

Seizing the opportunity, I swing my claws upward, sending his sword soaring high into the sky.

“…………!”

My aura grazes Alfred’s finger, and another magic ring shatters.

From Alfred’s finger, the [Coordinate Exchange], [Fire Magic Ball], and [Fire Landmine] magic rings have already been destroyed.

“Surrender, Alfred. Join me.”

I press my jet-black aura against the kneeling Alfred.

“…Are you recruiting? Quite generous of you.”

“We are of the same kind. I understand your feelings, and you should understand mine… Yes. We didn’t choose this path willingly. Yet, everyone around us unjustly stripped away everything we held dear.”

Deophil transforms his aura, removing its lethal power, and gently touches Alfred’s cheek.

Another magic ring shatters into pieces.

“Today, I have met a kindred spirit, a companion who understands. It is fate. We must seek vengeance against those who have taken everything from us and continue to live carefree lives. It is our destiny, Alfred.”

One by one, cracks appear on Alfred’s magic ring, causing it to shatter.

And then, from his finger, the magic ring is lost.

“Now, take my hand. If you are as astute as I believe you to be… you will know what lies ahead for us.”

Alfred is now completely powerless. Without a magic ring, a human is defenseless and powerless. Deophil, who has buried numerous individuals, understands this. He has no choice but to extend his hand. It is the only option available.

“…But a magic ring is merely a tool for activating magic.”

However…

Alfred’s response is neither agreement nor affirmation.

“After activation, the ‘control’ must be performed by the spellcaster. In other words, the magic ring is not necessary for controlling the magic after its activation.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Hence, even if the magic ring is destroyed, the magic that was activated before its destruction does not disappear. In fact, the fireball that was released earlier remains even after the magic ring has been destroyed.”

“What are you saying… What do you mean!?”

“In short…”

Alfred wears a triumphant smile.

It is as if he possesses absolute confidence in his victory.

“You have left yourself vulnerable.”

As soon as Deophil realizes this, his vision starts flickering.

“What…!?”

In a split second, he barely comprehends that pillars of earth have sprouted from the ground, striking him in the jaw.

“What… is happening!?”

“I set up a simple ‘Earth Magic Barrier’ during the chaos. I activated it with a delay, aiming it at your face.”

The ‘Earth Magic Barrier’ that was shattered by the dark claws. Deophil believed there was only one, but in reality, two were deployed, with one concealed within the ground. Furthermore, Alfred controlled it with magic power, enabling delayed activation and manipulation of its shape. It is a terrifying technique of magical control.

(While pretending to be a feeble prince… concealing such power… Why…!?)

However , what was even more shocking than that…

“You used the ‘Earth Magic Barrier’… a simple defensive common ring… for an attack!?”

The ‘Earth Magic Barrier’ that Alfred employed was a common ring, far less rare than the ‘Oathbreaker Fang,’

“Ah… ugh…!”

Deophil’s strength wanes. His consciousness begins to fade, slipping into darkness, unable to maintain his grip.

“…I do understand what you’re saying.”

Alfred’s voice grows fainter with each passing moment.

“I had given up too. I had always succumbed to defeat. I believed I had only one role assigned to me.”

The Forbidden Curse Magic Ring constricts him. As time passes, the magic power gradually diminishes. The consciousness he once held slips through his fingers.

“…But now, things have changed. There is someone who persists without surrender, even when betrayed. Someone who has shown me a different purpose. That is why I… have decided to continue striving, refusing to give up.”

In the fading consciousness.

In the last glimpse through Alfred’s eyes, a glimmer of light still remains.

“You and I are not the same.”



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