“A good environment, wonderful relationships, intelligent, powerful…..
Liz-san, you’ve been living a blessed life.
That’s the only reason you can even say anything like that.”
“Liz was bullied when she first came to the academy, but she never tried to retaliate.
Life hasn’t been perfect for her either, but she chooses to always remain good,” Eric-Sama growls.
His voice is low and gravelly, a warning.
Somehow my words seem to have struck a chord with His Royal Highness, Eric-Sama, chief expert on all that is moral and just.
“But the only reason that she would even consider acting in that way is because she’s been living a blessed life up until then, don’t you think”
“The environment she was raised in doesn’t matter.
Liz’s heart is beautiful and it has changed us,” preaches Reverend Eric-Sama.
With the way he’s talking, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d already formed a religion in her name.
I always knew that he was the hot-blooded type that would become easily consumed by whatever he decided to throw his passions into… But I never imagined that he would be this obsessively devoted to Liz-san.
“Even if the nobles of this academy are corrupt, they are still members of the nobility.
They’ve all received very strict instruction since young on how to act.”
“What’s that have to do with anything”
“Even if they don’t like something, I doubt they’d act in a manner vulgar enough to affect their dignity or reputation.
So what bullying has she been subjected to Smirks and smiles at her expense concealed behind decorated fans Yes, a truly hard life indeed.”
“I’m not the only person who can live unselfishly! The townspeople are also extremely kind!” Liz-san declares while looking at me defiantly.
She still seems stuck on the fact that I said only she was capable of living an immaculate life.
“Not all townspeople are kind.
You’re talking about loosing your ideals onto the whole world, and you’re using that bright, perfect little town as the leading archetype.
But I’m talking about a place much worse than that.
It’s a place where no matter how much you beg for help, no one will so much as spare you a glance.”
“Where do you mean” Liz-san asks me suspiciously.
As if she can’t imagine such a place could really exist.
Have I still not managed to convince her that the world isn’t made up of just kind, gentle, good people
“It’s a place where hatred is unequivocally repaid by more hatred.
And that hatred is embroiled and built upon what could be nothing more than covetous greed and petty jealousy.
The children born in the impoverished village are innocent.
They have committed no crimes except being born by supposed sinners and yet they are forced to live in such an environment.
If those children were to see us, what do you their opinion of us would be” I say derisively.
My expression is one of scorn and disgust.
I hate the fact that Liz-san has pushed me this far.
I didn’t want to ever have to use the impoverished village as an example in front of Gilles.
But thankfully, Gilles’s eyes are telling me that it’s okay.
That he’s okay.
“Ali, you’re the one living in the most blessed of circumstances, so how can you even say that Why can’t you understand that returning hatred with hatred is completely meaningless The people of the impoverished village merely need to be taught forgiveness and how to put their hatred aside and then things will become much better for them.
How can you continuously fail to understand such a simple concept”
For the first time, Alan-Oniisama speaks up.
The feeling in his eyes has gone way past incredulity and disappointment in me, they are full of pure hostility.
And, might I say, hatred
But if convincing people to let go of their hatred was so easy, then this country would have become a much better place a long time ago.
The only reason he can claim something ridiculous like that is because he doesn’t understand the cruel and inhumane conditions of the impoverished village.
Ugh. I don’t know anymore….! Those stupid game administrators! Why couldn’t they have just given a few more of Liz-san’s harem members an actual brain that is capable of a teeny, tiny bit of critical thinking skills
I guess the only thing going through their heads was how to surround the heroine with an adoring harem of handsome men.
“For now, why don’t we get you guys cleaned up, Ali The amount of blood splatter on you is quite something.
As a girl, what heathens are we to make you stand here chatting in that state” Curtis-Sama interjects in a cheerful tone.
He seems to be trying to break up the growing, volatile tension between our two factions.
……I never seem to know what Curtis-Sama is actually thinking.
His words are always filled with a flattering charm, but he gives off the impression of being a good-natured person.
But, deep down I wonder…..
it kind of reminds me of something that Henry-Oniisama said to me about him before.
Could Curtis-Sama really be more of a black-bellied philanderer than the nice, harmless flirt he appears to be
With a grin, Curtis-Sama snaps his fingers.
And suddenly, a brilliant, glittering green light surrounds us.
It washes off all the blood that had started to dry on my clothes and skin.
“What about checking for infectious diseases—“
I’ve completely removed all traces of foreign blood from each of you,” Curtis-Sama interrupts before Gilles even has the chance to fully voice his concern.
…….So a spell like that actually exists.
I’d really like to learn it someday, but unfortunately, it’s likely a spell specific to greenery magic.
If it was possible for me to learn it too, I feel like I would have encountered it by now after all.
“Can’t you also fix Alicia’s tooth” Gilles asks, his eyebrows arched high as he looks at me with huge, worried eyes.
Aw, it makes me happy knowing that Gilles is concerned for me.
But he went through way more terrible things than I did.
He’s the one that really needs to be looked after, not me.
“Something that you’ve lost can’t be grown back anymo–ahhhh!”
As I’m speaking, without warning, my body is lifted into the air.
Duke-Sama, with no seemingly no regard for the fact that I’m still speaking, picks me up and lifts me into his arms.
Then his scent envelops me.
…..His body just gives off such a good smell.
It’s not fair! I’m a sweaty mess right now.
I’m sure I smell terrible.
“Hey! Wait! Put me down! Please,” I cry, but Duke-Sama completely ignores me.
Liz-san and the rest also just stand there silently dumbfounded.
Come to think of it….
Didn’t Liz-san have feelings for Duke-Sama No wonder she’s shocked.
“We’re heading back now.
You need to rest,” Duke-Sama says solemnly to me.
I glance towards Gilles and see Henry-Oniisama picking him up as well.
Though, I notice that he is much more docile about it this time.
But I’m a villainess! I can’t let other people see me being carried around like some invalid….!
But I still don’t like this.
Put me down, I can walk by myself.”
“Just hold still until we get to the carriage.”
In an instant, my request is shot down.
Again, I glance over to Gilles for help, but both he and Henry-Oniisama are just contentedly watching the exchange between us with amused smirks on their faces.
I wish they’d at least stop smiling like that though.
With Gilles being held in Henry-Oniisama’s arms like that, I can just imagine the misunderstandings that might be forming in people’s minds right about now.
“Alicia, I don’t want to limit what you can say or do in any way.
But, I draw the line at anything that may endanger your life.”
Duke-Sama’s voice is serious.
It’s a more serious and genuine tone than I’ve ever heard him use before.
Although I don’t know what his expression looked like as he said this, I can tell that he’s thinking sincerely about my wellbeing.
…..Could it be that he really does like me in a romantic way
As the thought strikes me, I can feel my body heating up.
My heart starts beating fast and hard, to the point where I can clearly hear it pounding.
Agh! Duke-Sama must be able to hear it too!
I need to calm down.
Calm down, heart! Deep, calming breaths! In… Out….
I am calm.
But, why do I feel like I can still hear my heart pounding ……Wait, is this….
“Duke seems like a surprisingly open-minded guy.”
“Nah, I think deep down his desire to monopolize her is pretty strong.
He just doesn’t let that side of himself show.”
“But he’s always spoiling Alicia, right”
“It just seems that way cause he’s good at keeping his expressions concealed.
Though, his mask tends to slip most often when he’s in front of Ali.”
As we walk, behind us Gilles and Henry-Oniisama talk amongst themselves, but I can’t hear what they’re saying.
The rest watch silently as we go.
Only Curtis speaks in a voice so low that only Liz can hear.
“Like I said.
You’ll never be able to surpass her,” he murmurs into her ear.