The Villainess Escapes
“Veena-sama, are you all right?”
Yua asked with genuine concern, as Veena held a bag of ice to her battered cheek.
“Thank goodness… I simply don’t know what I would do if Veena-sama’s face had become scarred.”
She’s exaggerating. Besides, it no longer matters. This face… and this body, they are no longer useful to the Lilyfall family, not even as a political tool.
No matter how much this body is torn up or marred by filth, it doesn’t make any difference. Then, as if to read her mind, Yua spoke softly.
“Please don’t succumb to despair like this.”
It’s impossible. For her, the Lilyfall family was everything, and in losing it she had lost all her value as a person.
The House of Lilyfall is run as a meritocracy, and held no place for the sentimentality of regular families. If it’s useful, it will be put to work. If it is worthless, it will be cut off like a diseased branch, even if it is a child. That is the ethos of the Lilyfall family.
If you want to be recognized in such a peerage, one has to maintain absolute impeccability. However, in being humiliated like she was, Veena would no doubt be branded as incompetent.
The Lilyfall family was different to the other aristocratic families. Even a female daughter had the ability to become involved with the family business if they proved themselves excellent in their studies. In fact, her younger sister was already closely advising their mother on business matters during her time outside of school.
(Although I tried my best to prove myself to Father as well, it’s all over. The least I can do as a member of the Lilyfall family is to slip away quietly, and not cause more damage than I already have.)
Yua embraced her tightly.
Although her chest was modest, it felt incredibly soft on Veena’s cheeks.
“I need to lay low for a while until that foolish brother of mine has the rug pulled out from under him.”
Is that the case? It’s true that she acted in such a way towards the Prince, if she returned to the Royal Palace where the Second Prince is waiting now, things could get very ugly.
Like Euberto had once done before, she would have to hide away until this storm had passed.
Veena was stricken with feelings of guilt.
If only she had noticed the plot being hatched by the Second Prince, her foolish brother, and that common girl, she could have been taken care of it in advance and things would never have come to this.
(What a failure I am.)
“So, to that end, I have a proposal.”
A proposal? Whatever could it be?
“Would you like to elope with me, Veena-sama?”
Just like back in the hall, the air seemed to freeze.
Elope…? Elope is what she said, is it not? When two lovers, backed into a corner, cast aside their past lives and escape to live together…?
…Surely she just meant it as a figure of speech for running away with her.
Running away with Yua…
That could prove to be an interesting experience in its own way.
In the first place, what would it mean to abscond with a member of the royal family? Veena already knew the answer to that question, however…
Veena was beyond caring about such things.
So she nodded and agreed to Yua’s proposal.
There’s no going back now. The charges relating to Mina were all fraudulent, but going ahead with this would undeniably make her a criminal.
To the point where she could have no complaints if she found herself later having a date with the executioner’s sword.
However, isn’t that only fitting?
It’s the most suitable end for a Villainess, after all.
“…You understand why I’ve called you here, don’t you Glenn?”
Glenn, who had been called back to the family estate for his first visit in a long time, was posed this question by his father.
(I haven’t done anything wrong. This is all the fault of that foolish sister of mine.)
However, his anger paled before the rage emanating coming from the man before him, his father Alcathros.
“Do you not understand, you fool? The purpose behind sending you to that school was not for you to play around like some idle youth!”
Glen bristles at these words; it’s as if his Father was belittling all the work he had done until now as “playing around”.
“Please excuse my rudeness, Lord Father, but is it not the duty of us aristocrats to make such social connections-”
“Be silent! Nobody gave you leave to talk.”
The booming voice rang with power, causing Glenn to tremble all over.
“I deeply regret having someone as incompetent as you enrol, as opposed to Leena.”
At the mention of his twin sister, Glenn ground his back teeth out of frustration.
(Why am I the one being lectured like this? The one smearing mud on the good name of the Lilyfall family is not me, but my elder sister.)
“Truly, this thing is an utter disgrace to the Lilyfall family.”
That statement was not directed at his elder sister. Rather, it was aimed at Glenn, who stood aghast in front of his father.
“Wh… why? I did… I was… always the one with the superior grades…”
“That’s a matter of course.”
His father said coldly.
“Compared to that incompetent elder sister, I… was always superior in my studies. To accuse me of disgracing the Lilyfall name? I…”
“That’s far enough. You’re tragically mistaken about just how superior you really are. Leena, I’m sure you understand what I mean.”
Leena Lilyfall, twin sister to Glenn, stepped forward from her father’s side and looked at him with those same red eyes, although they betrayed little passion.
“It’s more than likely that my sister aimed for lower grades intentionally.”
Glenn couldn’t comprehend it at all.
On purpose? What nonsense is this?
Being a member of the Lilyfall family demands the utmost in perfection.
And that can only be measured in numbers. The grades that separated himself and his sister should be an absolute truth.
And yet… this younger sister of his… What on earth was she rambling about?
Is this some sort of ploy to protect her elder sister?
As these thoughts raced through Glenn’s mind, Leena let out an exasperated sigh.
“Since you seem to be unaware, let me educate you. My sister’s grades never leveled out, they would seem to fluctuate wildly between excellence and near failure.”
…Isn’t that only natural? If you diligently study or neglect to do so, it will show up in your results. Isn’t that the reason for it?
“However, there was always a common thread that ran through all her examinations, whether marked highly or not. If you cared for a moment to look at the results throughout the school year, you would understand, but I’m sure you’ve only been looking to yourself. It’s such an easy pattern to notice if you bother to open your eyes.”
Glenn was beginning to get seriously irritated with Leena, who seemed on the verge of laughing in his face. But, he swallows the curse he wants to hurl at her.
There’s nothing he can do against Leena in this situation.
“Why, how the results compare to the Second Prince Arnight-sama’s grades, of course.”
Leena didn’t take pride in her findings; she merely presented it as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
“…What do you mean by that?”
“Please put that head of yours to use just once and think, if you would. To be blunt, Prince Arnight excels in neither written nor physical studies, and his grades reflect that. Unlike Prince Euberto, he is simply a puppet that dances to the King’s tune. That is the full picture of that man.”
Glenn glared at his sister, who was so brazenly flinging barefaced insults at her better and his friend, Prince Arnight.
“What’s with that scowl? I am simply laying out the facts. Moreover, it’s your fault in the first place for befriending such a man that elder sister is… she’s…”
Finally, the flames of passion erupt in Leena’s eyes. It is an intense anger. Unlike her father, she still hadn’t learned to keep her emotions under control fully.
Just as quickly as the anger flared up, however, it faded as she cleared her throat.
“…I could not contain my anguish. Father, I have no excuse.”
“It’s no matter. Sometimes there is nothing wrong with letting your emotions flow. The only issue is when you can’t keep it under control, just like this foolish son before me.”
Glenn had no room to retort, and his shoulders sunk.
“Then, let’s continue. Elder sister always strived to keep her grades below that of Prince Arnight’s, in order to not damage his fragile pride. In other words, she was already acting as a wife would to an egotistical husband. Or perhaps, a mother to a petulant son.”
“…Isn’t that simply your own theory? Rather, such a thing is impossible. Unless you somehow knew the results that Prince Arnight would achieve in advance, there would be no way for her to manipulate her results correctly.”
Yes, this theory is truly outlandish.
That my sister’s wildly varying results were simply the result of keeping her scores always below Prince Arnight’s?
Such a thing is completely ludicrous.
Desperately denying the claim over and over in his head, he searches for the words to refute Leena. And looking at her brother in such a state, Leena was filled with feelings of revulsion.
“The reason it’s possible is that it was elder sister doing it. In reality, she could have won that mock battle at the beginning of the first year against Mina. Elder sister is not incompetent at all. She truly understands people’s hearts. However, there seems to be one blatant misconception that my foolish brother seems to hold, so let me clear it up for you. Elder sister was not betrothed to this halfwit Prince in order to do away with an incompetent daughter, but rather the exact opposite. Elder sister is…”
Before she could go any further, her father signaled her to stop.
“That’s enough, Leena. There’s no use in telling him any more than that.”
“…Yes. I was simply caught up in the moment. I apologize profusely.”
Bowing her head towards her father, Leena returned to his spot by his side.
What is the meaning of this? Wasn’t that sister of his being tossed aside by the family due to her lack of ability?
“That’s the truth of it, Glenn. The reason for those poor grades is as Leena said. It was all for the sake of elevating the majesty of the Second Prince. For that reason, Veena always watched the Second Prince closely and positioned herself at his side. What I want to know is what were you doing when this debacle came to a head at the school? Why did you not deny the false charges leveled at Veena?”
Thus, the real issue surfaces. Glenn had done nothing to defend her. And because Veena had no one to support her, she was ultimately condemned. That was the true reason for Alcathros’ anger.
However, Glenn had never even considered it.
False charges? That’s preposterous.
Whilst he himself had not seen these crimes committed first hand, he had heard testimony from many different people attesting to it. Thus, Glenn and his friend the Second Prince had condemned Veena for her actions.
That was the correct thing to do. Yes, it was the only thing that could be done.
There’s no way that they could have been mistaken.
“…You have nothing to say? So be it. Those who do not understand their roles have no place in the Lilyfall family, but that does not mean I cannot put you to work in some way. For now, continue to shadow that puppet prince. It’s the only use I have for you now.”
His friend is being ridiculed, and there’s nothing he can say. It’s vexing.
“You are dismissed.”
Glenn retreated from the room. Meanwhile, Leena still stood in place.
“That tool is no longer going to be useful. If anything, it seems more likely that he will go over to the side of the Second Prince and betray us. Perhaps it would be better if we disposed of it now?”
Such is the proposal.
“I am well aware. I don’t expect anything less than that. His real role is that of a ‘bomb'”.
“…Fu fu, utterly merciless, even when it comes to your own flesh and blood. As per usual, my father is the one with the real villainous streak. Well, that’s what I respect about you most.”
“What are you saying? From the moment that he betrayed Veena, I no longer thought of him as my son.”
“You really are quite the doting father when it comes to my sister, aren’t you?”
As Leena said that, Alcathros raised one of his huge hands.
“Not just Veena. I cherish both you and Abel in exactly the same way. That is all. Everyone and everything else is either a tool to be used or is unnecessary to our house.”
Abel is the eldest son of the Lilyfall family, and the heir apparent.
“Furthermore, I am not the only one who cares deeply about Veena.”
“…Elder sister, will she be okay?”
As Leena spoke with uncharacteristic anxiety, Alcathros laughed.
“What, the same Veena who is currently joined to the hip of that lovestruck princess? I can’t think of anywhere safer for her to be.”
At those words, Leena’s lips formed a slight smile.
(That’s right. Yua, I will lend you my place at my sister’s side. In return, please watch over her.)
She sent this wordless plea to the childhood friend she used to squabble with every day, who now held the hand of her dearest sister.