The Heroic Tale Of A Villainous Prince Chapter 52 part 2

From the time he picked up the dream I had discarded, along with the storybook… That’s when I most likely…
 
We occasionally meet and exchange a few words. In hindsight, I found happiness and solace in those modest moments. It took me so long to realize that was [love].
 
“Uuuu~ Why only now…?”
 
I end up slumping down in an alley where I fled.
 
Ever since realizing it, my heart has been very busy.
 
Just walking with Al makes me happy. Simply sharing a seat for tea makes my heart race. Studying together fills me with bliss. And when our faces were that close just now, I didn’t know what to do.
 
I’m being tossed about by even the most ordinary, trivial occurrences. This is a first-time experience for me. I don’t know what to do. There’s no answer in books. But even being tossed about like this… it’s enjoyable.
 
“…But this isn’t good, is it?”
 
Overwhelmed by embarrassment and nervousness, I couldn’t even exchange words properly. And to run off somewhere on my own like that…………….
 
“ …………? “
 
Suddenly, at this stage, I finally noticed something off.
 
It’s true that I ran away from Al,
 
but Makina and Elinne should have chased after me immediately. I didn’t run fast enough to outrun them, and Makina wouldn’t have lost sight of me at that distance.
 
No, this place… where am I?
 
I remember entering the alley in this town, but I don’t recall going this deep. And the ominous atmosphere lingering around…
 
“Sweet, sweet, the taste of love. Innocent and pure, foolish and delightful, the taste of love.”
 
clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.
 
Chanting in a sing-song voice, a young girl walks out from the miasma-filled depths.
 
Peach-colored hair that melts, skin white as pearls, a sunflower-like expression of benevolence.
 
But the strange distortion in her pupils and the corners of her mouth give a sense of demonic eeriness and coldness.
 
There’s no mistaking it. This is the one who set the stage for Al and Leo’s battle, and brought overwhelming calamity to the royal capital.
 
“—-Lucille-san…!”
 
“Good day, Charlotte-san. Have you been well?”
 
She gracefully curtsies, as if this dim alley is a glittering party venue.
 
“…!”
 
Even I can tell this situation is trouble.
 
Alone with Lucille-san, who even Al couldn’t catch.
 
I have the magic ring, but… can I really win? A powerless person like me…
 
“Please don’t be so wary. I have no intention of fighting you. I was just passing through the city, you see… and I couldn’t resist inviting the sparkling lovely Charlotte-san.”
 
“So this space is of your doing.”
 
“Yes. And by the way, Makina-san and Elinne-san won’t be coming here. I’ve invited them to a different space.”
 
“…!”
 
“…Ah, don’t worry, I have no plans to harm Makina-san or Elinne-san. I have an important matter to attend to, you see.”
 
Lucille-san takes a step forward.
 
I almost instinctively step back, but I manage to steel myself and stand firm.
 
“The fact that you’re here means… it was you who contaminated the [Land God]…”
 
“Hmm? What do you mean?”
 
“The power to control miasma, only Lucille-san–“
 
“Who said I’m the only one?”
 
Her words make my thoughts grind to a halt.
 
Seeing my expression, Lucille-san lets out a small, amused chuckle.
 
“Did you think I was a simple-minded underling of an evil overlord trying to conquer the world with miasma powers? No, no. I’m just a dutiful daughter acting for my mother’s sake. …Though I do enjoy indulging in my own hobbies along the way.”
 
“Your… mother?”
 
“—-The Night Witch.”
 
At those words, my heart pounds violently.
 
The existence that once engulfed this world in chaos. The one supposedly defeated by the [Fifth Attribute] mages, including the founding king of Reyuellia Kingdom and Saint Claudia.
 
“The daughter of the Night Witch? You are…?”
 
“Or more accurately, ‘we’ are. Since I have a ‘mother’, it’s not strange if I have ‘sisters’ or ‘older sisters’ as well, is it?”
 
I wanted to deny it. Dismiss it as a ridiculous notion.
 
But the power to control miasma and [Fragments] makes sense if it comes from the Night Witch. That’s why I can’t help but accept her words as truth.
 
“What is your purpose? What are you planning to do by contaminating the [Land God]?”
 
“I told you, didn’t I? I’m just a dutiful daughter acting for my mother’s sake.”
 
Her roundabout phrasing, mocking and toying with me, is frustrating.
 
Seemingly sensing my inner turmoil, Lucille-san widely spreads her arms to cover her face.
 
“Ahh, it’s no good, is it? I shouldn’t have talked so much. I get too sweet when it’s with my beloved Charlotte-san.”
 
Through the gaps in her fingers, her distorted, cruel eyes gleam, reflecting my form.
 
“…I don’t know what your purpose is. But!”
 
Supplying my magic power to the limit of control, I make the magic ring shine.
 
A silver brilliance, not quite gold, surges forth as I call out the name.
 
“I’ll stop you here! [Gale Dispersal Blast]!”
 
The swirling gale bursts into countless flashes of light, rushing towards Lucille-san.
 
The magic ring Elinne made. Of the spells I have, this is the fastest. In this narrow alley, there’s no escape, and it will be difficult for her to evade.
 
I’ll have her defend, then hit her with the next spell before she can–

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“How serious,”
 
Lucille remarked with a smile as she watched my magic. Without further ado, she dove straight into the myriad of flashes of light.
 
Caught off guard by her unexpected actions, I found myself momentarily frozen. But as if mocking even that, Lucille freely manipulated her limbs, kicking off the walls and ground, jumping, and narrowly evading the flashes of wind.
 
Amidst the barrage of magic projectiles, she danced gracefully, as if performing a choreographed routine.
 
“Your attacks are so honest and earnest. Ahaha, you’re just so adorable, Charlotte-san.”
 
“…!”
 
All of my attacks had been evaded. She didn’t even seem to pay them any mind.
 
Taken completely by surprise, there was no way I could have followed up with another attack in time. Lucille closed the distance between us to zero.
 
“Gale Magic Spear—”
 
“Nope!”
 
Her delicate, glass-like hand grasped my hand, covering my mouth, and pushed me down to the ground.
 
“…Ugh…!”
 
I couldn’t move. It felt as if I was bound by an invisible force throughout my body.
 
“You’re so weak, Charlotte-san,”
 
Lucille’s words pierced me like a knife.
 
This wasn’t the power of magic. No, it was the pain of the heart.
 
“A weak, weak princess. You can’t live unless someone protects you, a princess who suits being imprisoned. All you can do is cry and beg for help, waiting for a prince to come save you, a pitiful and frail princess. That’s who you are, Charlotte-san.”
 
“No, that’s not… me…!”
 
“What’s different? You’ve been constantly relying on Alfred-san to save you all this time. And you’ll be relying on him again this time, won’t you? There’s no way you can purify the [Land God] on your own.”
 
“………… But I’ve been …… for a while now! “
 
I had no words to argue back. I wanted to refute her, but the words wouldn’t come out.
 
That’s right, I’ve always just been protected by Al-kun, always been the one who needed saving…
 
“Ahahahahaha! Yes, that’s the expression I wanted to see!”
 
Lucille’s face, now disturbingly close to mine, twisted and distorted.
 
“Charlotte-san, I’ll never forget the impact of seeing you for the first time. I still remember it so vividly. Sparkling with light, blinding like the sun. Pure, transparent, an untainted innocent. I was drawn to you immediately. I couldn’t take my eyes off that light that was you.”
 
Lucille gushed her words excitedly, like a flood.
 
“That’s why I approached Leo-kun. I had the goal of obtaining the [Royal Garment Ring], and his heart seemed interesting, too. But… but you know what? My true purpose was you, Charlotte-san.”
 
“Me…? Why…?”
 
“To stain your light with darkness.”
 
What is this person saying?
 
I don’t really understand the meaning of her words.
 
“I even went through the trouble of breaking the engagement just for that purpose. I thought that if the dream you’ve believed in so innocently and naively was trampled on, you would come to my side. I thought you would become steeped in despair. In the end, that guy… Alfred interfered, but… it’s fine. It’s over now.”
 
Our gazes lock. I feel like I’m being drawn into the abyss of her eyes.
 
“Because there is darkness inside you. A great despair is swirling within.”
 
“…No. That’s not…”
 
“It is. Don’t you want it? Strength. Immense power.”
 
“—”
 
The words of denial won’t come out. My mouth just hangs open, unable to make a sound.
 
I have to say it. That it’s not true. I have to refute it…but I can’t…
 
“You don’t want to be protected anymore, do you? You hate being the useless princess who can only cry. That’s why you want the power to become a strong one, isn’t it? I understand. I’ve been watching you for a long time.”
 
“…”
 
“If you want power, I’ll give it to you.”
 
What Lucille produced was a sinister aura of darkness… a cursed ring.
 
She forcefully pulled the cursed ring from my finger, as if it was in her way.
 
The discarded cursed ring fell to the ground, producing a cool, ephemeral metallic sound.
 
“Let’s fall together? Into the deep darkness, endlessly… Then you’ll get the power you desire.”
 
“Ah…—”
 
The cursed ring was about to be placed on my finger.
 
If I accept this, will I no longer be just the one who is protected by Al-kun? Will I be able to walk side by side with him…?
 
“—!”
 
Kling. The metallic sound rang out again.
 
The sound of the sinister cursed ring I had knocked away falling into the alley.
 
Lucille stared at me, with a somewhat bewildered expression.
 
“…Huh?”
 
“Even if I gained that power and became strong… Al-kun would never laugh with me.”
 
His face had surfaced in my mind. It’s true that I’m still weak and powerless.
 
But I don’t want to make that mistake. I don’t want to lose his smile.
 
“[Flame Magic Sphere]!”
 
“…?!”
 
Lucille-san’s reaction is delayed. The clear opening is hit by the fireball, capturing her. She and I tumble across the ground amidst the erupting flames.
 
“Guh…!”
 
“Ugh…!”
 
The explosion at close range. The impact is directly transmitted to me as well, but that’s just something to endure.
 
“Hah, hah, hah… I’ll show you that I can become strong without relying on your power!”
 
“…Ow, that hurts… But since it’s you, Charlotte-san, I’ll forgive you.”
 
Lucille-san picks up the dark magic ring I struck down.
 
She seems to have taken damage, but it doesn’t look like a serious injury.
 
“Ah, so I’ve been rejected, huh. Well, no matter. It was just a bit too soon, that’s all.”
 
Her body becomes enveloped in darkness. And not just that.
 
The miasma of this space itself writhes, wavers, and distorts.
 
“Charlotte-san. I have unfinished business, so I’ll stop here for now… But if you ever feel you need power, be sure to think of me.”
 
“……………………”
 
“Fufu… Your eyes. They’re now filled with light, shining. But one day, lamenting your powerlessness and weakness, cursed, that shine will be corrupted by darkness. I look forward to that time…”
 
After leaving those final words, Lucille-san melts away and disappears.
 
I find myself back in the original alley… and can’t help but sit down on the spot.
 
It’s as if the tension has been cut.
 
“…She said she has ‘unfinished business.'”
 
Not just me. There’s someone else Lucille-san has targeted as well…?
 

 
“I may have gotten a bit too hasty…”
 
Alone in the darkness, Lucille mutters to herself. The blow from Charlotte pains her abdomen, but that pain is a sweet fruit to her. She almost lets a blissful smile slip out, but restrains herself.
 
“Ah, can’t have that. There’s a next time. I’ll have to save the enjoyment for when I get back.”
 
Slipping through the darkness, she plasters a heartless smile on her face towards the person waiting there.
 
She had always thought Charlotte was still a bit too soon. Her true target is the next one.
 
The young girl before her now.
 
“Good day, Makina-san. Would you mind if I spoke with you for a moment?”


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