The Heroic Tale Of A Villainous Prince Chapter 51 part 2

“Hey, what do you mean?”
 

 
I caught Loretta the day after that dreadful meeting.
 
It’s unusual for me, who always acts swiftly, to let a day go by. It’s too slow, but that’s because Loretta, my best friend, has been evading me.
 
As a result, it was difficult to catch her. In the end, relying on my excellent intuition, I stormed into this room used for the meeting yesterday, and hit the mark perfectly.
 

 
“What’s wrong, all of a sudden?”
 

 
“Don’t play dumb. It’s about your arm, right?”
 

 
My gaze falls upon the dreadful scar on her right arm. The scar tells the tale that her life as a swordswoman has already been extinguished.
 

 
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
 

 
“There’s nothing to be done about it. And I didn’t want to worry you while you were studying abroad.”
 

 
“Worry me…?”
 

 
Her words stir up my irritation. I wished she would have let me worry about her.
 

 
“…Did you think I wouldn’t notice?”
 

 
Loretta remains silent, saying nothing.
 

 
“That injury isn’t from an accident. …It was inflicted by your father, wasn’t it?”
 

 
She doesn’t try to say anything.
 

 
“Your father took your sword from you, didn’t he!?”
 

 
The injury makes it clear. It was inflicted deliberately.
 
And the only one I can think of who would do such a thing is Loretta’s father, the lord of the manor. Especially since Loretta is such a skilled wielder, for her to be wounded so grievously.
 

 
“…it was all a lie.”
 

 
“A lie?”
 

 
“My father never intended to let me join the knights in the first place. It seems I was nothing more than a tool to him after all.”
 

 
Her self-deprecating tone is different from the Loretta I know.
 
It’s as if she has completely given up on everything, on everything.
 

 
“I envy you.”
 

 
“Huh?”
 

 
“Even if you couldn’t get the thing you wanted the most, you have a loving family. You already have what I can’t obtain no matter how much I wish for it.”
 

 
Loretta, who always had an air of composure and detachment, has disappeared.
 
There is something stirring in the depths of her eyes that I don’t know. The irritation builds up in me for being afraid to acknowledge it.
 

 
“…Just kidding.”
 

 
Loretta lets out a soft smile. Her calm, composed expression has returned to the Loretta I know, and I can’t help but feel relieved.
 

 
“I’m sorry. I seemed to be in a rather foul mood. Forget what I just said, it was just a bit of grumbling.”
 

 
“…Don’t apologize.”
 

 
This is the vulnerable side of Loretta that she has shown me. I want to hit myself for being intimidated by it.
 

 
“We’re best friends, aren’t we? We’ve always talked about everything, and shared secrets that we couldn’t tell anyone else. Show me your weaknesses, your ugliness, all of it. Don’t cover it up with words like ‘grumbling’. At least I…wish for you to do so.”
 

 
“…Thank you, Luce.”
 

 
Her considerate words make me feel like my own weakness has been exposed. Right now, I find myself the most exasperating being.
 

 
“I’m glad you’re worried about me, but you should worry about yourself as well.”
 

 
“What do you mean?”
 

 
“My father is trying to make contact with the Second Prince’s faction.”
 

 
“I expected as much. And I’m not really surprised to hear it. Most likely, he’s planning to hang some failure on me and Alfred during this purification mission, and take that as a gift to defect to the Second Prince’s side.”
 

 

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I’ve heard my younger brother Robert is also on his way back here.
 

 
“Father apparently intends to credit the purification mission itself to the Second Prince. That’s just how he thinks. You and Alfred may face some interference.”
 

 
“…So that’s why he took a rest day. But isn’t that strange?”
 

 
“I agree. Even if Father’s interference succeeds… Why would he need to reduce your fighting strength in the face of the unprecedented crisis of [land god] contamination?”
 

 
“Is it because he’s confident the Second Prince’s purification will succeed? And his blatant attitude towards us is also worrying. Even if he’s planning to defect, for him to be so obvious means he must have a powerful backer…”
 

 
“….If there is a technique to control the miasma, then?”
 

 
Loretta’s words create an unpleasant connection in my mind.
 

 
“….Are you saying he’s connected to Lucille?”
 

 
“I don’t know. But if we have the cooperation of someone who can control the miasma, the purification of the Second Prince will surely succeed.”
 

 
“What’s the benefit for Lucille in doing something like that?”
 

 
“I don’t know. But recently, it’s a fact that my father has been meeting with someone secretly in the city. And since my father started meeting with this someone, he has started searching for [something].”
 

 
“[Something]?”
 

 
“I don’t know what that [something] is. But it’s certain that it’s somewhere in this domain.”
 

 
“So you’re saying he got Lucille’s cooperation to search for that [something]…”
 

 
“It’s all just speculation, though. There’s no evidence.”
 

 
These are all just imaginations. Speculation. Without any evidence, even if I ask Simeon directly, he’ll just brush me off.
 

 
“……Even if the purification fails, if you side with Lucille, it makes sense that you can be so bold towards the royal family. Your father, he’s a terrible bat.”
 

 
“Indeed.”
 

 
Loretta chuckles wryly. She must have complex feelings towards her father.
 
……Lord Garland, Simeon-Garland. If I can corner him, maybe Loretta can live a little more freely.
 

 
“In any case, we need to get some evidence. Or find that [something] that your father and Lucille are looking for first…”
 

 
“About that, I do have one clue.”
 

 
Loretta hands me a folded piece of paper.
 

 
“It seems they are having a hard time finding that thing. Maybe the client is pressing my father, because he has started seeking the help of shady people.”
 

 
When I take the paper and unfold it, there’s a simple map drawn on it.
 
Apparently, it’s pointing to somewhere in a nearby town.
 

 
“….So if I go here, I might find something?”
 

 
“Yes. But… those people are probably trying to use it to interfere with you. They seem to be on very good terms with my father.”
 

 
“Hmm. Well, that makes it easier for us.”
 

 
As I fold the paper and tuck it away, Loretta has a complicated expression on her face.
 

 
“….Luche. I’m sorry, but I can’t move.”
 

 
She rubs her arm, where there is a painful-looking scar.
 

 
“They not only injured me, but also implanted a collar on me. If I leave the mansion without my father’s permission, I’ll be caught immediately.”
 

 
Not only did they injure and disarm her… they even carved that into her arm.
 
Of all people, to my best friend.
 
My anger towards Simeon boils, like molten lava.
 

 
“….It’s okay. Leave it to me.”
 

 
Ah, but having something to do is good.
 
It’s better than being unable to do anything.
 

 
“I’ll take down that bastard father, and I’ll set you free.”


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