The Heroic Tale Of A Villainous Prince Chapter 31

Episode 31 Time Underground

Leaving the training grounds, my footsteps were a bit rough. I didn’t even feel like putting on the clothes hanging over my shoulder, with only irritation smoking in my head.

“Damn useless stuff…”

The words I spat out without addressing anyone were meant for both Dold and Filga, but the irritation itself was also directed at myself.

That Charl could only be verbally abused is partially my responsibility.

No matter what was said, enduring was the only option because reacting would be disadvantageous for me. That’s because I don’t have the power. I don’t have the power to protect my people.

…The fact that I don’t have the power to protect my people is also the result of my past actions.

“Ahh, damn it!”

I don’t think my past actions were mistaken.

To make my brother Leo’s position and glory as king unshakable. To make Leo’s light shine more strongly, devote myself to being a shadow―I don’t think that was mistaken. Even now.

I have no regrets. No resentments. At least I tried my best to do what I believed was right.

But my past actions done for family are now hurting that family.

It’s a frustrating and lingering feeling that I can’t do anything about, and my mood just won’t brighten.

“…Maybe I should swing my sword for a change and clear my mind.”

Lately, with all the hustle and bustle, I’ve had less time to focus on swinging my sword. Taking it as a good opportunity, my feet naturally led me to the usual path.

The splendid garden of the royal palace. In a corner of the ground, there is a secret underground space, not widely known. It seems to have been created in the era when the Night Witch spread calamity across the world, making it quite ancient. However, the magical construction is robust, and it remains unaffected even if I go a bit wild.

I accidentally discovered this secret underground space, not recorded in the royal records, and taking advantage of the find, I’ve been using it as a training ground.

If I were to be seen training overtly, it might create a crack in the image I’ve carefully crafted to stay in the shadows. Hence, the concern.

This underground space is quite handy, whether I want to be alone, gather the [Shadow] members, or use it for training.

I channel magic into the small array engraved on the ground, opening the entrance to the underground. I descend through the stairs into a hall-like space. The air might be a bit worse than on the surface, but thanks to regular use, it’s not dusty, and with the facilities set up using magical tools, it’s comfortable. In winter, I can even use fire attribute magic to warm the air.

“Now then. Let’s start with some practice swings…”

“……”

“…Huh…?”

In what could be called a surprise encounter, Charl was already here as the first visitor to this underground space.

“Oh, Al-kun?”

“Woah!? Charl!? Why are you here…!?”

“Um…Lady Makina told me. That I could swing a sword without interference here…”

Because of what just happened in the training grounds.

And I remembered I hadn’t told Charl about this place.

“Did I get in your way?”

“No, not at all. I was just about to take a break anyway.”

Come to think of it, looking at the nape of Charl’s neck visible from her bundled up long golden hair, there was slight sweat flowing.

“Um…Al-kun…?”

“Hm?”

“I…get nervous when you stare at me like that too…”

Crap. Looks like I was staring at Charl more than I realized.

“Wha, sorry! I didn’t mean anything weird or anything…!”

Wait wait wait. This is just sounding like an excuse.

If I make excuses, it will seem even more like I really was [looking for weird reasons].

If she thought that…

[What lecherous eyes you have…you’re a pervert, aren’t you?]

I might get talked down to contemptuously like that! No, the Charl in my head is already saying stuff like that!

But calm down. Stay calm, Alfred. At this stage, I should still be able to fix what I said. Yes. Supplement. I’ll attach supplemental words!

“You didn’t mean anything weird…?”

Charl tilted her head in puzzlement.

Time is running out…No. This is when I especially need to stay calm. Think. Twist it. Make my brain do full rotations.

If I try to cover it up too much it’ll have the opposite effect. I’m lying because there’s something indecent. But think about it. I haven’t done anything indecent. …That’s it. I just have to frankly speak my true feelings.

I’ll convey it…this isn’t an excuse. I have nothing indecent or anything, my frank emotions!

“I didn’t mean anything weird…I just got excited by Charl’s nape!!”

“……”

“……”

I overdid speaking frankly.

In making my brain do full rotations, I completely forgot the omelette was there.

But wait, don’t give up. My intellect should somehow be able to pull off a comeback here…Calmly. Don’t panic. Stay composed. Now, my brain. What choices do I have available now…?

  1. Apologize
  2. Get hit
  3. Get scolded

My brain is useless—-!!!

“I’m very sorry. Please hit me with a practice sword as much as you need to vent your anger. Feel free to scold me too.”

Nothing left but to concede here. This underground space seems to be my coffin.

“I w-won’t do anything like that!”

“…You won’t say [You’re a pervert], or anything?”

“I didn’t intend to say anything in particular but…”

Charl seems extremely perplexed. Good. It turns out my mental Charl was just a mere illusion.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t intend to blame you. I just didn’t understand why you were staring…”

Seemingly not intending to blame me, Charl, while playing with the tied-up hair with her fingers, says,

“I tied it up because it was getting in the way when swinging the sword… If Al-kun is happy with it, then I’m glad.”

I thought about correcting her, as it might sound like I really love ponytails, but I decided against it to avoid slipping out unnecessary words.

YOU ARE READING STOLEN TRANSLATION. READ THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION AT GADGETIZEDPANDA.COM

“……………………”

Since my head, even with a full turn, can only come up with unnecessary words, I remained silent. Now, it seems I’m the one feeling Charl’s gaze. I thought of not saying anything, but… her gaze felt more intense than usual, so I started to get curious.

“…………W-What’s wrong? Why are you suddenly staring at me?”

“…Ah! S-Sorry!”

“No, rather, I should be the one saying ‘sorry.'”

“Well… um…”

Uncharacteristically, Charl seems hesitant in her words. What’s going on? It’s making me even more curious.

“What’s wrong? Do you not feel well?”

“No, I feel perfectly healthy.”

If it’s not physical, then is it mental…? Could she be dragging around shock from when Dold and the others scolded her…?

“Um…is it alright if I say something?”

“It’s fine with me. If anything, I’m the one who said something unbelievable…”

Compared to that, whatever comes I’ll be fine. If anything, after embarrassing myself I’m less perturbed.

“I…couldn’t take my eyes off Al-kun’s body…”

“Huh?”

My body. Why would…Oh wait.

Come to think of it, the clothes I was wearing are in my hands now. My upper body is completely exposed…

“Kyaa—-!!”

Whether I just now realized it, or because Charl had been absentmindedly exposing my half-naked body, I couldn’t help letting out a shriek…or rather isn’t it normally like walking in on each other bathing that’s the standard pattern!? Why is it so sad for Charl to see my half-naked body!?

“S-sorry! To show you something so unsightly…!”

“There’s nothing unsightly at all!”

Wha,

for Charl that’s an unusually strong denial…?

“Rather…I think it looks good. Um…so sturdy…”

“I-is that so…?”

What is it. Charl’s gaze towards my upper body seems strangely heated or something…

“I’m sorry. Since I rarely get opportunities to see male upper bodies, it feels rather fresh…”

“Haah…well, I guess that figures…”

Rather than the broken engagement, just being able to stare intently like this has probably healed Charl’s heart a little. Or could it be…because it’s me…? No, that would be too self-important.

“—-…… “

――A sudden warm, soft sensation touched my skin.

Charl’s fingertips traced over my scars, stroking my bare skin.

“When I look closely…there are a lot of scars, aren’t there?”

“There’s been all kinds of stuff, yeah.”

“Haven’t you been taking too many risks…?”

I feel like I missed the timing to put clothes on or something.

“There was nothing I could avoid that wouldn’t make others avoid me. If I don’t have at least some ability, I’ll become a person with truly nothing. Taking some risks to a reasonable degree is just right.”

“…Please don’t take any more reckless actions from now on, okay?”

“…I’ll handle it properly.”

“Yes, please handle it properly.”

With a smile like that, Charl gently stroked my scars and―

“Lady Charl~! I’ve brought snacks for you―”

“!” “…Oh.”

The one who entered the underground space holding a basket of snacks was Makina.

My eyes met Makina’s eyes perfectly.

…Now then, let’s try standing in Makina’s viewpoint here.

Underground space. Charl is touching my exposed skin with me half-naked…

“……”

“…I see, seeing the flames of passion burn so quickly, you’re already trying to make a successor?”

“That’s wrong!!”

“That’s not it!!”

“Oh my my~. Don’t worry, the perceptive Makina-chan will tactfully withdraw here. …Ah, but I’ll still drive everyone else away, so please feel free to continue without reservation.”

“I told you you’re wrong!!”

“Please listen to what we’re saying!?”

It goes without saying that afterwards, Charl and I exhausted our words trying to resolve Makina’s misunderstanding.

With vibrations great enough to shake the earth, an enormous body over 10 meters in length powerlessly collapsed before the eyes of the king. It was the corpse of the overgrown Lizardman [Fragment].

Its head had been sliced off by a powerful blow, and its body had begun breaking down into fragments of magical energy.

“Magnificent. Your skill doesn’t seem to have dulled.”

The court magic caster, who had joined in actions and was now an old friend from his school days, sighed as he gazed at the giant body.

“I’m completely ashamed with myself. If I had power as well, there would have been no need for the king himself to go out of his way like this…”

“The [Fragments] are the duty of the royal family to defeat. Don’t blame yourself for it.”

“But isn’t now a delicate time? I didn’t want you leaving the capital after what Leor did…”

“It can’t be helped. The big ones are still too much for the children. And more than anything…I’m thinking of it as a good opportunity as well.”

“A good opportunity?”

“For both Leor and Alfred, there hasn’t been any real clash between them until now. I’m sure various feelings have built up. In that case, it might be better for them to even have a fight as brothers.”

“Geez…you’ve got it hard too, huh?”

“Likewise. …Either way, it doesn’t seem I’ll be able to return for a while yet.”

The lizard’s giant body breaking down. The king’s eyes did not miss its tail.

“Look…The tail has been cut off. When I first started fighting it, the tail was already severed.”

“A self-amputation probably. We’ll need to search for the cut-off tail…”

“Please hurry. And I’m also concerned about hardly feeling any impact from that giant body when I defeated it.”

When I finished off that giant body, its feel was clearly different from other [Fragments].

“I have an unpleasant premonition…”

In the darkness like the bottom of an abyss, the forest of darkness. Inside that cave.

Something was pulsating.

Like a heartbeat with a steady rhythm, that something beat its pulses as if it were a gigantic lump of flesh. However, countless arms and legs disorderly grew from that lump of flesh, making it look like a warped object as well.

And someone was standing before that lump of flesh.

Their entire body was wrapped in a cloak, with a hood completely covering their head so no expression could be glimpsed.

“Hmm…I suppose this will have to do. Some were defeated along the way…and it’s about time we’ll be discovered too…”

In the line of sight was a Lizardman aberration that had entered the cave―a [Fragment] with a humanoid form.

Swaying as if enraptured, the [Fragment] slowly walked towards the lump of flesh. The instant its hand touched the lump of flesh, the Lizardman aberration merged into it, becoming one with the lump.

“Deophil the ring breaker…who knew he wouldn’t be able to utilize it to that extent. Well, I wasn’t expecting that much from him anyway.”

On the hand peeking out from the cloak, a jet-black ring dully shone.

“Well…let’s consider it fortunate we learned it has poor compatibility with that sorcerous gem. The third prince’s intervention was unexpected but…”

Evil aura overflowed from the jet-black ring, pouring towards the lump of flesh.

“In the end, this is still just an opening act before the main event…do be of what little use you can be.”

Having obtained malicious power, the pulsations gradually intensified, the warped melody played by the lump of flesh echoing through the cave―


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