After taking a break from that little brat for a day, this mighty Lyra is ready to haul him!!
Since Dad’s out in town instead of the castle, this time around, I’ll be coming together with Mom.
Fufu, I can’t imagine the look of fear in that brat’s face when he’s facing this mighty Lyra, mwahahahaa!!
W-wait, I sound totally like a villainess here!!
Am I that gifted to be a villainess…?
If this is an otome game, I will be the typical villainess who would hinder the heroine, yes?
Furthermore, my affinity matches, so…
Nope, this is not the time to remember that thing with my affinity, yes!! I need to gather my mind to assault—I mean, to give a payback to the prince!
To be honest, I have imagined lots of ways to do so, but do I have the courage to act as I imagined, I wonder?
Please don’t be frightened by my wild imagination of revenge.
I have read too many angst series in my past life, it seems.
Today, instead of wearing a dress and twin-tailing my hair, I am wearing a simple shirt combined with a short overall, and I only wear a hair pin. This is so I can move freely, anticipating the other day’s antics. Besides, today… I will be going all out, for my payback!
Unlike yesterday where I had an audience with the royal family, today I will directly go to the brat—prince’s side.
…Or so I thought.
But the prince is still missing in action after he ditched his private lesson this morning. So, I think I will try to look for him myself, as the maids are frantically looking for him.
I can think of a place. That’s where we had our “strategy meeting”. A secret, small space in the library that’s enough for some kids to hide, but not for adult.
And there I found him, intensely reading some book.
“Why are you here, instead of having your private lesson?”
The little boy lifted his gaze from his book, showing that he is upset.
“Oh wait, you can read?!” I intentionally asked that before he can even respond.
“What are you, dumb? Of course, duh!”
“Heee—I didn’t expect the boy who did those kinds of pranks and ditched the lessons to be civilized, my bad.”
“…you…,” he stood up and approached me.
Here it comes, Lyra!
Time to argue!
But then, he proceeded to pinch my cheek!
“Who are you? Are you an imposter? I don’t remember having an underling with that kind of personality,” he asked as he observed my face.
“Your hair is not twin-tailed and you wear something completely the opposite of what you wore the other day.”
Whoa, this kid is sharp for his age! And here I thought he didn’t pay me any attention! As expected of the prince!! Even when he seemed to be not paying attention, he actually remembered the details!
“Sooo, what is your objective? Show me your real identity!” He let go of my cheeks.
“How rude! I am Alrescha Lyra Hartmann, the real deal!!” I snapped and raised my voice.
“But your behavior is so different!”
I want to start lecturing him right away, but I need to scare him—uh, I mean, I need him to learn about the danger that can happen due to his pranks. Yes, baseless payback won’t be good. I need to give him an educational payback, just in case the adults or the royal family asked me about it. So, I need to hold back a little and give him my payback in full afterwards.
“…I apologize, I didn’t know what has gotten over me. Perhaps a stray ghost possessed me just now. So, what are we gonna do today?”
“Hmm, you need some exorcism? We can arrange that later. Anyway, today, the gardener has dug some holes to plant new trees, so I guess we can use that! It’s gonna be exciting!”
Alright, perfect time to launch my educational payback!
“Andddd, done!! They really left this place alone, and focused on working the other area! They should have left someone to guard it, hehe!” The little prince grinned.
“So, we are done?”
“Yes~ Anyway, follow me!”
After preparing the trap with covering the holes with the leaves, the prince ordered me to follow him to get us a target.
Just right at that time…
I purposely placed my feet on the trap, causing the leaves to crumble along with my body. I lightly applied some of my mana to support my back so that the impact from falling won’t hurt me that much.
Then, I also did some transformation and illusion~!
After making sure it’s perfect, I yelled, “Ouch!”
…did that come out good? Did I properly let out a good yell, and not some weird high-pitched voice?
I can imagine him ridiculing me and saying something like, “What? Falling to our own prepared trap? What a stupid underling you are! Serves you right!”
Serves me right? Haha, yeah!
But, he must change his mind after seeing what I have in store for him!
I can hear the prince yelling in his irritation.
“Ugh, what is it this time, you little—wait, are you inside our trap?!”
He approached me…
“So, what kind of an idiot are yo—”
–and stopped talking.
Yup, I put up my illusion magic and made it as if my hand was bleeding. I took off my hair pin and used it to create the illusion of a nail.
The scenario is that, by chance, a nail was mixed into the soil and my hand got struck by it.
A very possible scenario to happen, right?
There is still a logic in my payback!
Oh yeah, right!
Time to act, again!
“It hurts…” I put up my agonizing face. I thought of the impact from the comet that killed me and that recollection made me able to put up a good act.
As a result, he’s frozen up there.
Here, you’re supposed to freak out and run away from the location. Any kid would react that way, right?
Afterwards, I’d say that I told the maids who patched me up that I got the wound from playing without paying any attention to my surroundings, so it will look as if he owes me one for covering him up~ and that should also teach him on how he should be more careful and consider the worst out of his action—a prank, on top of it.
That will teach him plenty of lesson.
Then, after that, I will give plenty of scolding to him.
Since he felt guilty, he wouldn’t be able to argue back that much, haha!
I have secured my absolute chance to lecture him!
“Stay right there!”
Yes, scream and run away–
Did I hear that right?
Before I even noticed what was going on, he suddenly jumped into the hole, and now he’s standing next to me, in this very narrow hole.
Wait, too close!
“Show me your hand.”
He reached out to my “bleeding hand”.
Uh… I hesitantly reached out my hand to him.
Was I found out?
Unexpectedly, he takes out his handkerchief and tightly ties it around where I cast the illusion of bleeding.
“The bleeding won’t stop?! Or rather, how can there be a nail here?! The gardeners should have made sure to get rid of dangerous things!”
“Uhm, I think there are possibilities of sharp objects to be buried in the ground in the first place, despite the gardeners trying their best to clear the area… hence why this prank was quite dangerous… So, listen–”
“W-why can you be so calm?! Your hand is bleeding!! The nail might infect you, as well! I, I didn’t listen to the lesson in details but I get that it’s dangerous! L-let’s quickly go out of here and let me call the doctor! Oh, right… if it’s hard for you to climb up… let me carry you…”
He positioned himself to carry me.
Huh? What’s with this turn of events?
He didn’t freak out and run away out of fear of his own action’s consequences?
But, he’s just a normal 4-year-old, despite being the prince!
Or, since he is the prince, he is different than any normal kid?!
He looked so impatient and tried to grab me.
“Wait a second!”
“No waiting! We should get you treated right away!”
…Uh, the situation doesn’t turn into what I imagined it would be. If I were to go to the doctor, this whole mess would get me into more trouble.
Seems like it’s time.
“Alright, alright, there’s no need to do that, I’m okay!” I called off my illusion.
“Huh, you’re okay? Are you out of your mind— HUH?!!”
He noticed that my wound and all the bleeding have gone away.
The prince is standing there, with a puzzled expression.
He’d have more reason to be mad at me.
This payback has backfired.
“Alright sorry, I did that with magic. I want to teach you that your prank could have resulted in people getting injured, you know. I want you to learn that before the damage’s been done.”
He went silent.
Here it comes, Lyra! I closed my eyes, anticipating his anger.
Damn damn, and here I wanted to be able to scold him, not the opposite.
…huh? I opened my eyes in disbelief.
“I was worried on how it would turn out if your bleeding didn’t stop! Thank goodness it’s just an illusion!”
“…Huh?! You’re not going to get angry at me?”
“…well… The most important thing is that you’re okay. …I never thought of people getting injured like that because of my trivial prank… So yeah, …I… think, I… deserved that…,” the prince turned his face away. I can see that his ears are red. He seems to be embarrassed to admit his own mistake.
Did I just give him a shock therapy, and that caused him to be more obedient and honest?!
And, what is this? This brat isn’t some kind of thoughtless brat like I thought he was.
“Why didn’t you just run away when you saw me like that? The others could have thought that I fell on my own since I wasn’t being careful in walking. If my wound was real, it’d get you into trouble, you know?”
“…My father taught me to be responsible of my own action, like if someone is hurt because of me, I should apologize and be responsible of it…”
Hmm? So, he listens to what his father told him.
Out of curiosity, I asked.
“Hey, if you really listened to what your parents told you… why didn’t you stop your pranks? I mean, they must have told you to stop, right?”
“Yeah, they did. But, I didn’t think my pranks are harmful and everyone else seemed to not mind them, and it’s fun to do! You know,… I was happy… that my parents gave me more of their attention to me… even though it’s only for scolding me…”
Aah, makes sense.
No harm was done by the pranks, the maids didn’t seem to get so upset, thinking it was one of the children’s usual behavior, he had fun doing so, and he got his parents’ attention after that.
A simple child’s thoughts.
No harm done, I get lots of benefits. Let’s continue!
“…you know that this cycle will keep on going, don’t you?”
“You know that you can no longer get your parents’ full attention again, like before.”
“…I know, but as long as I can get any extra of their attention, then it’s fine!”
“…but, aren’t you tired of it?”
No matter what he does, things can’t return to how they were, before Leti was born. Why do something futile?
“You know that it’s not like your parents love you less than your sister, right? It’s just they can’t give you their full attention again. You are a big brother now, you can’t act spoiled.”
Uh, another silence.
“Uhm, can I ask more questions?”
Finally, a response!
“Instead of being so fixated on your parents’ attention, why won’t you try to make friends with the others? You can learn how to socialize and gain care and attention from your friends in exchange of your parents’ lost attention, so why did you treat your playmates like that?”
“…I thought that if I tried to make them upset, they’d drop that behavior of trying to please me, just because I’m the prince. I am not happy even if I get their attention, as they only view me as the prince and faced me with their pretense… That’s why I want my parents more than the others. …The only ones who would see me as just Luca. You might not understand it at all. I was just…”
The prince didn’t finish his sentence, perhaps out of his embarassment, but I know.
“I was just…”
In exchange to the luxurious life he’s got as the prince, he felt lonely.
There are things that money and status can’t buy.
Instead, there are things that are harder to get when you have money and status.
Being accompanied by someone doesn’t automatically make you less lonely.
In fact, being with others who can’t stand on equal position and be honest with you will just make you feel lonelier than ever.
More than anyone else, I can understand that.
Now, I can slightly understand this kid’s motive, and why it didn’t work out with the other children the way things are, right now.
“Still, it doesn’t justify your actions that can cause others trouble, right?”
“…but, nobody is…”
“They can’t really get mad at you because you’re still a child and the prince, on top of it. You even said it yourself, right?”
“You just don’t want to feel lonely, right?”
“But you know, you are the prince.”
“I know that!” Tears welled up from his eyes.
“I know that I should be happy because I am the prince and that I can have almost all that I want, but, is it wrong for me to feel lonely?!”
“No, that’s not what I want to say. I want to say that, since you’re the prince, you are born with the burden of being more mature and wiser than children your age. You should conduct yourself in a well manner and make sure you don’t ditch your lessons, as they are useful for your future. In the future, you’re the one who’s going to lead countless number of people in Riviera. So, you should think of them and diligently study for their sake.”
“…kh! But… what about my feelings…?”
His expression stated his question, “Are my feelings not important at all?”
…what a dejavu.
I think there were countless time when I thought of the same thing, as Reinst.
I cleared my throat and readied my answer.
“Well, before you are the prince, you are just Luca, aren’t you? If you want someone to be able to view you as who you are in spite of your status as a prince besides your parents, you should find some true friends, or those that can stand on equals with you.”
“…That’s what I tried to do, but it was all in vain.”
“No. It wasn’t. …Hey, am I not enough?”
I offered myself to be his friend! Hey, it wasn’t even my intention when I came here today!
To be honest, if you were truly a spoiled brat, then I wouldn’t even want to accompany you any more than this.
But, after today’s events and hearing his honest feelings, I changed my mind.
Somehow, I can see some parts of my old self in him.
“…!! You are just the same like the others! How can you…?!”
“Really? Has anyone tried to pull a prank to you like that and even lectured you like this?”
“But, before, you…”
He seriously didn’t get it?!
“Well, duh. You are the only prince of this country and during out first meeting, I hesitated on how I should act. I thought I should just be a good girl and follow whatever you want, even when you’re going too overboard. My action up to that time might be similar to the others… but, you know what? That was so tiring! And unlike the others, I decided to face you head on!! Isn’t that what you wanted, as well?!”
Damn, I snapped out!
I said those words very fast, and in a tone very different from the one I used just until now, causing him to be overwhelmed. I mean, look, he literally jumped back (slightly) in silence!
The tears also vanished from his eyes, due to his surprise.
…Earth to the prince?
…did I surprise him that much?
Ah, uhm, shall I count how long he remains silent?
Let’s see… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, seve—
“H, how can you be so brave now, then? You know fully well that I am the only prince of this country! Aren’t you afraid if you are being rude?” He finally speaks out his question.
That is true.
If I were Reinst, I’d probably remain a good girl and would do whatever works in his favor, as they all expected me to be the future queen, so I should curry up the prince’s favor, right~
However, right now, I have my family’s full support and there is no need for me to gain the prince’s favor.
I don’t have to be the future queen. It’s okay if the prince doesn’t favor me at all.
“I have my family’s approval to go all out on you as who I am. Dad said that your father, His Majesty won’t punish me for something like this, regardless of what you think about it. Plus, after listening to your real thoughts, I think I really should get real with you instead of sucking it up to gain your favor, right?”
“…you sure you want to stick up with me?” He asked with eyes full of wonder, as if saying, ‘despite all the taunting I’ve done to you and all my bad treatment? ’
Well, I could also ask the same thing to you, like, ‘you sure you want to be with a girl who’s teased and scolded you harshly, or you just ran out of options?’ I’ll bet it’s the second reason!
“Only if you promise me you won’t cause any trouble again, and to obediently attend your classes from now on. You will have me around so that you won’t be lonely anymore, so what’s the point of continuing your mischief?”
“…” The prince wiped away his tears and nodded.
My suddenly loud voice startled the poor prince again.
My bad… I didn’t do it on purpose. …or did I? His reaction is amusing!
“Make sure you’re able to withstand me, as I’m not going to hold back against you for a single bit of consideration that you’re the prince, you know? If you don’t like this me, then you can go and find others more suitable to befriend.”
“Got it.” He smiled.
Now look at that genuine smile.
You are not a fully spoiled and selfish brat, aren’t you?
You are just lonely and misunderstood.
Just like I was.
As Reinst, I felt that nobody truly saw me as just “Reinst”—but they saw me as the future queen.
Though the details of our conditions are different, but I know how it feels like to be in a high position and getting the special treatments—but deep inside we’re still lonely.
I know the pain of loneliness.
And I don’t want anyone else to suffer like me.
Maybe that’s why I changed my mind, even when previously I wanted to have nothing to do with him.
I can’t just leave him by like this, alone and feeling lonely. For this country’s sake… and especially for this child’s sake.
Not that I want to be the future queen, but this is just a sincere friendship.
“Let’s start over from the beginning, shall we? I am rei—reintroducing myself! My name is… Alrescha Lyra Hartmann, just call me Lyra. Pleased to meet you.”
Damn, just because I was reminiscing my life as Reinst, doesn’t mean that I can screw up on my self-introduction!
“I’m Lucius Aideen seo Navarrete. Just call me Luca.”
We shake our hands firmly.
“Well, now I’m officially re-hired as your subordinate, huh? But let’s not do that kind of prank anymore.”
“You are not my subordinate. You are my equal, right? You also said it yourself before. So, you gained the title of my [friend].”
“…” Hmm, I thought he’d boss me around and make me his subordinate again instead of being suddenly called as his friend.
“What’s wrong? You should be honored, for there’s not many that I can call my friend! Perhaps you are the first one?” He smiles in a prideful manner.
…LUCA, THAT IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN BRAG ABOUT!!
I feel like I pity you from hearing the way you said it, full of pride.
Bragging about how I am your very first friend ever? The only real friend you’ve got?
…no, that is certainly something you can’t brag about!
And, that is how I gain another achievement in my life.[Achievement acquired! Taming—I mean, Befriending the prince!]
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