The Heroic Tale Of A Villainous Prince Chapter 17

**Chapter 17 – Elinne 2**

“Who… who am I… Haha, I wonder. Even I don’t know.”

In contrast to her cheerful atmosphere, shadows appeared on the girl’s sunny smile.

But she quickly shook it off, maintaining her unchanged expression.

“I’m Netos. Just Netos…. Though rather than me, shouldn’t you say who you are?”

Come to think of it, she had a point. The elf lying tattered and collapsed here was more of a [Who].

“Well whatever. Doesn’t matter who or what. Leaving you like this leaves a bad taste, so…”

Netos channeled magic power into her magic ring.

“[Recovery Grant]”

The shining magic power. Mystical radiance.

The warm light enveloped Elinne, gradually healing her battered body.

Elinne, who just moments before couldn’t even crawl, was now able to stand on both feet in an instant.

“Recovery… magic…?”

While the ability to use recovery magic itself was surprising, what shocked her more was its effect.

Her body which she couldn’t even drag across the ground now firmly tread the earth, able to stand up. And that after mere seconds.

“There, you should be fine now!”

Virtually instant recovery.

Normally it would take more time to heal such serious wounds. She had never heard of recovering in just seconds.

(The difference in magic power levels of the user? No… that’s part of it, but not all. Rather, it’s…)

…the difference in the magic rings. That was now plainly obvious.

She unconsciously bit her lip. Elinne currently could not make magic rings like these.

(My magic rings and the ones she makes are different… but… what exactly is different…?)

She didn’t know. No matter how much she thought about it, she just didn’t know.

“How is it?”

“……..I see. It’s amazing work. Hate to admit it, but your skill is better.”

“Hehe, being told that makes me embarrassed…”

Elinne herself was surprised at confessing defeat so frankly.

…Her magic rings were just that overwhelming. But Netos’ existence was also stimulating.

As a [Sculptor], Elinne possessed overwhelming skill, rising to her current status.

She had no rivals, always alone at the peak.

(Who’d have thought I’d go from the pursued to the pursuer.)

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Perhaps deep down she had felt some boredom.

But now she had obtained stimulation beyond compare.

She was filled with the same excitement as when she first left the elf village.

“When are you returning to the capital, Elinne?”

“I was planning to head back once I’d properly recovered, but… I changed my mind. Or rather, getting beaten doesn’t suit me.”

That’s right. She couldn’t remain like this.

“I’ll stay at the mountain’s base for a while. I can’t stand losing to you.”

“Really?! Then stay over at my place! I should have spare rooms!”

“Ha. Surprised you have rooms fit for human habitation.”

“I do! ……Well, they’re storage shed-like now, but I’ll do my best to tidy up!”

Netos immediately grew happily bubbly.

“Hehe. A sleepover with a friend is a first for me~ I’m looking forward to it!”

Seeing her innocent smile, Elinne unconsciously relaxed.

Friends. Normally she would dismiss it as presumptuous, but for some reason she accepted it without resistance.

—-And so, Elinne and Netos’ cohabitation began.

The two spent each day, every day, together.

Crafting magic rings, debating techniques, hunting monsters, and crafting more magic rings again. Immersed, a bond connected them even without words.

The days with Netos were stimulating for Elinne, fully becoming part of her flesh and blood, each one shining like a treasure…Elinne was certain that no matter how many hundreds of years she lived, she would never forget these days.

“Don’t you want to go to the capital and open your own workshop or something?”

“Not really interested. I mean, it does sound amazing, but all I want is to make my greatest masterpiece that I’m completely satisfied with.”

Elinne involuntarily smiled wryly. There was a time like that for her too once. But what about now?

Had there truly been a time when she engaged with magic ring crafting so purely?

(Honestly… To think a hundred year old elf still has things to learn from a little girl like this…)

Netos had become an irreplaceable friend to Elinne, while also a rival she aspired to surpass. Before she knew it, she spent her days aiming to surprise Netos with magic rings someday, and surpass Netos.

But still, she could not surpass Netos.

(Even so, someday… Someday for sure…)

Harboring those thoughts, time passed by.

One moment, then the next, as eternity became fantasy—finally, that time arrived.

It was raining that day.

Unable to neglect work at her workshop, Elinne periodically had to return to the capital. After finishing work at the workshop, heading back to the cottage on Mount Itoel, Elinne called out.

“Netos, I’m back.”

But there was no sign of the door opening despite calling out.

She would normally energetically greet her saying “Welcome back! I was waiting!” Why wasn’t she?

“Netos…?”

Tilting her head, Elinne entered the cottage but found it deserted.

“Did she go to the cave or something…?”

The nearby cave with torchstones was Netos’ favorite. They would often immerse themselves there debating techniques.

Pushing through the pouring rain, Elinne raced into the cave.

And there she saw the collapsed figure illuminated faintly by the torchstones.

“—-Netos!”

She immediately rushed over and held the Netos who had fallen to the ground.

“……!?”

Seeing her shallow breathing, Elinne involuntarily gasped.

Her cheeks, neck, arms. Though only slightly, but clearly, her body had begun—-turning to stone.


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