The Heroic Tale Of A Villainous Prince Chapter 50

Episode 50: Fleeting Back 
From birth, he had been blessed.  
He hadn’t experienced any particular hardships or made any special efforts. He was in an environment where he didn’t have to.  
That was Simeon Garland. 
The Garland territory, to begin with, was special compared to other territories.  
Its shine as the birthplace of the Holy Maiden Claudia, who once battled the Night Witch, was not only revered and cherished within the Kingdom of Leuville, but also held in high regard by other countries. It held great value as a pilgrimage and tourist destination. He could get away with some unreasonable and reckless behavior. 
Being in such a “special” territory gave him a sense of superiority, which only inflated Simeon’s ego further, evident in his attitude. 
Humans aren’t born equal. Some are dealt powerful cards from birth. Simeon had felt this since he was young. 
“Ah, I see. So, I am indeed a special human.” 
But he wasn’t satisfied there. 
More. More, more. He desired everything: wealth, jewels, status, honor, you name it. 
Because he had been blessed from the start, he had never been satisfied. 
Because he had never been satisfied, he yearned to be fulfilled. 
Joining the Leor Faction was for that purpose. He didn’t intend to end up as just a well-behaved lord. When his daughter was born, he thought it was convenient. Perhaps she could marry into the royal family, and he could ingratiate himself as well. 
That’s why when his daughter expressed a desire to pursue the path of the sword, he was furious. 
Under the guise of education, he tormented her, rendering her unable to wield a sword again. 
Backing the First Prince. 
The birthplace of the Holy Maiden Claudia. 
Having invincible cards in hand. He believed in that without a doubt. 
That reality, however, crumbled one day quite easily. 
From the moment the First Prince Leor was defeated by the Third Prince in a duel, the wheels of fate began to warp. Those who no longer felt any advantage in siding with the First Prince, who had lost an arm and appeared pathetic, began to leave one by one. 
Though Simeon wanted to follow suit, Simeon Garland, the lord of the Garland territory, was already famous among the nobles as a Leor supporter, so there was no acceptance elsewhere. 
The decline of the First Prince aside, the contamination of the land god was particularly unsavory. 
I hear there’s also significant criticism for sullying the Holy Maiden’s land. Those who had not found Simeon’s behavior amusing in the past were particularly noticeable. 
The invincible cards he believed in turned against him. 
And Simeon lacked both the ability and the conviction to break through this situation head-on. 
(First, I must discard the First Prince… I refuse to sink with such a young fool…!) 
It was only natural to discard anything that threatened his privileged environment. 
Even if he clung to the declining First Prince, it was evident that he would be left out in the cold if the Second Prince became the next king. He calmly changed sides and began to ingratiate himself with the Second Prince’s faction, but… 
“No need for flattery. However, you are merely a lord. Allowing the contamination of the land god and especially sullying the Holy Maiden’s birthplace will only bring condemnation. It’s a big loss just to be associated with it. Even if we were to form a connection with you, what would we gain?” 
The young man, who is the close aide of the second prince and is currently speaking – his familiar is speaking, to be precise – couldn’t say anything in response to Simeon’s advisor’s remarks. 
There were signs of contamination. Reports of anomalies had been submitted. But Simeon, who disliked trouble, chose to overlook the anomalies. He insisted on carrying out the festival as planned, claiming [no abnormalities] [no anomalies] [nothing had happened]. And this was the result. 
“But… well, yes. The Garland territory is extremely valuable as a tourist resource. And it’s obvious that the contamination by the land deity will be purified. Regarding this matter, personnel will be dispatched from the royal family to resolve it, even if you don’t fuss about it.” 
It was implied, “Didn’t you notice that either?” Simeon understood that much. The close aide of the second prince was the same age as him. He felt his blood boil at being looked down upon by a mere youth, but he managed to keep his composure at the last moment. 
“I can introduce you to the second prince. He has been interested in the birthplace of the saint for some time.” 
“So, then…!” 
“But I can’t accept you coming empty-handed.” 
(That youth… looking down on me like that…!) 
While inwardly clicking his tongue at the youth behind this familiar, he pondered. This was both a crisis and an opportunity. It was a perfect opportunity to directly approach the second prince. 
With the decline of the first prince, Leor, the second prince was considered the most likely successor to the throne. While his true intentions were uncertain, at least it was clear that this youth, at the very least, was aiming for the vacant seat. 
To make his master king. That much was evident. In that case—- 
“…………What about the third prince and the first princess? I heard they were dispatched for purification.” 
“It’s inevitable that the second prince will ascend to the throne. It’s just a matter of time. However, those two are still obstacles. I’ve heard that your return is imminent… If the third prince and the first princess fail in their purification efforts and the second prince succeeds… the throne will be even more secure.” 
Silence enveloped the room. It wasn’t clear what expression the second prince’s aide wore beyond the familiar, but Simeon felt a smile tug at the corner of his lips as a response. 
“Well said. If for some reason the second prince does carry out purification and successfully completes it… we should commend the second prince. Face to face.” 
“…Indeed. I look forward to that time.” 
After that, Simeon did everything he could to overthrow the third prince and the first princess. 
He secretly gathered those who held a grudge against the [land deity] in his territory and instructed them to attack the royal family’s carriage first. However, no one among them could fully wield the high-powered magic rings provided, so they reluctantly trained a child with magical talent to act as the perpetrator. 
The royal family’s carriage was enveloped in strong protection. Half-baked magic couldn’t even leave a scratch. 
But the child messed up. Furthermore, the leader managed to escape. Despite having already sent pursuers, it was still annoying. 
Moreover, the third prince and the first princess were still alive. That was the biggest problem of all. 
The purification of the [Land God] is not a concern. Even if they fail, the Second Prince will perform the purification. Rather, it would be troublesome if the Third Prince and the others failed.  
“This won’t end here… I won’t let it…!”  
The day after arriving in Garland Territory.  
After conducting detailed investigations and organization on-site, and in preparation for purification, we decided to take a rest day.  
Purification consumes magical power, and it’s the first purification in unfamiliar territory. Certainly, the situation is urgent, but rushing and failing would be disastrous. What we should do is ensure our physical condition is optimal for tomorrow.  
What’s a bit unsettling is that it was Simeon who suggested taking this rest day.  
He doesn’t seem like someone who cares about us. It’s natural to think there’s some ulterior motive.  
“If we’re going to rest, we might as well leave the mansion. You never know what kind of complaints they might come up with.”  
It feels like a waste to spend the day holed up in a room in the mansion, even if it’s a rest day.  
…If we were to go outside, where would we go? A little reconnaissance for purification… no. If we go near places with miasma, there’s a possibility we’ll encounter [Fragments]. That wouldn’t be restful.  
As an option as a fiancé, going out to town is also a possibility. …With Charlotte.  
“…Should I ask her out?”  
But calm down, Alfred. Would it be bothersome to suddenly ask her out? Especially since we haven’t decided on any plans, Charlotte might have her own plans. …But leaving my fiancée behind and going out alone (strictly speaking, with Makina as an escort, so not alone)…  
“What are you mulling over?”  
“Yi–!? M-Makina!? W-When did you come in!?”  
“I did call out, you know. It seems Sir Alfred didn’t notice the presence of such a cute maid.”  
“Yeah. I didn’t notice at all…”  


It’s probably because I was so absorbed in my thoughts, but to not notice Makina coming in… How much was I mulling over, really?  
“So, what’s troubling you? I can guess what Sir Alfred is thinking about, more or less.”  
“Oh-ho. You’re willing to say that. Then guess what I was thinking about!”  
“Whether to ask Charlotte out on a date or not.”  
“…It’s not a date, though.”  
“Well, that’s debatable.”  
There’s no response to that perfectly valid opinion.  
“All right, Sir Alfred. In general, going out with your fiancée to the town is called a date. And since you two are engaged, you should just straightforwardly ask her out.”  
“Well, it’s straightforward, but… Have you ever asked someone out on a date?”  
“Sir Alfred. How about going on a date with a cute maid?”  
“Don’t make up achievements with me.”  
“Ahaha. Did I get caught?”  
Suddenly, I feel uneasy about Makina’s smile. It’s usually more…  
“What’s wrong? Are you feeling unwell?”  
“What are you talking about? Whether something’s wrong or not, Makina-chan is always full of energy.” 
“No… Something about that smile earlier… It doesn’t sit right… doesn’t feel like you,”  
Naturally, leaning forward, I bring my face closer to Makina’s.  
“W-What’s gotten into you all of a sudden…”  
Makina takes a step back. As she does, I take a step forward.  
To confirm the slight unease I felt, I draw my face closer.  
As I continue this, Makina gradually finds herself backed against the wall.  
“W-Wait, Lord Al… Ah…”  
Makina, who had been retreating, seems to have finally reached a dead end.  
Thanks to that, I can scrutinize Makina’s face closely to explore the unease.  
“…Hey, Makina. You’re hiding something, aren’t you?”  
“T-There’s nothing like that. Makina-chan has nothing to hide. I’m a maid who exposes everything to my master.”  
“I won’t stand for such a maid.”  
Her eyes are clearly swimming, an unusual sight for her. She usually teases me at her own pace. She’s good at being aggressive, but when she becomes passive, she seems to weaken suddenly.  
“…Well, I’m not going to force you to reveal what you’re hiding.”  
“That’s… Is it okay?”  
I lightly enclose Makina’s cheek, which has relaxed considerably, with both hands. Her cheek is soft and squishy.  
“When you’re really struggling, tell me. I’ll do something about it.”  
“I-Is it really okay to ask such a thing?”  
“I wouldn’t say something like this to others. I’m saying it because it’s you.”  
This isn’t a joke or anything.  
It’s something I seriously, deeply feel.  
Above all, I just saw it recently. I exploded what I’ve been suppressing deep in my heart and hurt those around me… Leo-nii.  
“Even if it’s impossible, even if it’s reckless. If you’re in trouble, I’ll do everything I can to help. If it hurts my own heart, spit it out to me. I’ll accept it.”  
I’m not asking her to expose everything.  
But at least, I want her to talk within her limits. I want her to spill her complaints before her heart gets hurt.  
Because I’ve already decided not to run away from people’s hearts anymore.  
“I… I can’t say it. Something like that…”  
Makina averts her gaze from mine as if avoiding it and looks down.  
“I can’t say it. I mustn’t let my heart out. So, please don’t worry.”  
Makina releases my hand and slips away like a cat.  
When I turn around, there’s only the usual absurd maid who teases me there.  
“Don’t get caught up with such a maid. Let’s hurry and invite Lady Charl on a date! Of course, I’ll accompany you as a guard! It might be disappointing for Lord Al, but it’s work, you know?”  
Saying that, Makina leaves the room a step ahead of me.  
…I wonder why. Her back feels distant, fleeting.  
As if it might disappear from my hand at any moment— that’s how it felt.

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