The Villaness on the Run
“Arnight, are you serious?”
A resounding voice echoes throughout the royal chamber. That voice belongs to none other than my father, King Midrash.
“Of course. I plan to break my engagement to Veena Lilyfall, and formally announce Mina Yukishiro as my new betrothed.”
“P-please treat me well.”
The girl bowed her head as she spoke. An appalling lack of proper etiquette, but what can one expect from a girl of such common stock?
I see. You think I intend to allow such a common girl to become part of the royal family? How farcical.
Well, I won’t pretend this mess hasn’t been convenient in removing that annoying woman known as Veena from the picture.
She was the biggest obstacle to me defeating Arnight in this struggle for the throne, but not even I had the power to simply make her disappear.
I continued to observe the scene from the shadows behind the throne.
Once more, the King’s voice boomed.
“Do not be ridiculous! To allow such a common girl into the royal family, it’s completely unheard of!”
Well, he’s correct. Such a thing obviously cannot be permitted.
“Well, whatever Father decides is absolute. However, would you go so far as to strip me of my rights to inheritance?”
“No, that wouldn’t be possible, would it? I don’t think even Father has the authority to move against me with the level of support I enjoy with the people. So please stop attempting to interfere with my affairs, would you?”
I almost broke out into a fit of laughter. Well well, just as Father said, maybe he really has lost his mind?
Who exactly do you think it was that had been working to build up that support base of yours, by snatching it away from me?
It was none other than that woman you’ve cast aside.
This is bad. The mere suggestion that he has been competing against me with his own ability this whole time is just too much, I might just die of laughter right here.
So, I left the royal chamber.
“Ah, Euberto, I finally found you. It’s been an absolute cacophony inside the castle today, and those in the Arnight faction are getting especially loud. What do you plan to do? Is the battle finally getting started?”
The young man greeting me is Abel, one of my closest friends. He’s a young man with beautiful features to rival any woman, his face framed by that striking black hair that’s a characteristic of the Lilyfall house.
“No, the time hasn’t come yet. First of all, we need to do something about just how popular the Arnight faction seems to be right now. Really, just what did your sister see in that foolish oaf? If she had only chosen me instead, I would already be sitting on that throne in place of my father.”
“Well, you’re right. It was only because Arnight was so easy to control, unlike you, Euberto.”
“Control, is it? Well, she certainly seems to favour being the jockey as opposed to the mare.”
“…Please don’t repeat such base jokes in public that’s too much even for you.”
“You worry too much. That aside, Abel, do you have any idea where Veena might have gone?”
Abel shrugged and let out a laugh.
“No, I haven’t the faintest clue. Or rather, I’m still amazed by my sister’s tastes.”
“What do you mean by tastes?”
“Why, I’m talking about this elopement of hers with Princess Yua. An elopement… I really had no idea their relationship had progressed that far already.”
Ho? This is the first time I’ve heard of this.
“I’m aware that Yua has gone missing, but where did all this talk of elopement come from?”
“Well… I’m sorry Euberto, but that’s not something I can easily divulge, even to you. Let’s just say it’s a product of the Lilyfall information gathering network.”
“Is that so? Well, putting that aside, about this talk of elopement. Nobody is going to buy that story. Inevitably, the story that Veena kidnapped Yua in order to take revenge on the royal family for the humiliation Arnight inflicted on her is going to be believed by everyone.”
“I guess so.”
Despite everything, Abel was still as casual as ever. Should I be worried about him?
“You know Abel; with matters as they stand, if Veena is captured she will definitely be condemned as a traitor, are you okay with letting that happen? Aren’t you going to ask me to try and help her?”
“Euberto, you don’t really know much about the Lilyfall family, do you? Certainly, Veena is one of my beloved sisters, but that’s as far as it goes. Any person who cannot live without being under the protection of another is either a child or better off dead.”
My best friend just said something like that as if it were only natural.
As always, the House of Lilyfall sounds more like a house for the mad.
Really, the only decent one is that Glenn who is always following Arnight’s coattails.
Well, ‘decent’ might be a going too far, but at the very least he strikes me as being more of a human.
“You sure have it rough. That said, what about your younger brother, Glenn? He seems to almost live in Arnight’s shadow.”
“Don’t concern yourself with my worthless brother. He won’t be any sort of obstacle to you, Euberto. He boasts of his Lilyfall lineage, but in reality, he is just another incompetent who doesn’t understand the first thing about what it means to be one of us. That’s all I have to say about that person.”
“…Right. Well, I’m glad to hear it. He doesn’t seem like the same kind of obstacle Veena was.”
I let out a small sigh of relief.
“There is one thing, however,” Abel said, bringing me back to the brink of worry.
“I confess I do not know anything about the Second Prince’s new fiancée, that Mina Yukishiro. To have entrapped my sister so gracefully, as well as win the hand of the Prince… If you look only at the results, she really has defeated Veena.”
Well, that’s true. Despite her social disadvantage as a commoner, she had managed to almost completely defeat Veena. Though, the way that Abel said ‘only the results’, he doesn’t seem ready to admit his sister’s defeat just yet.
Favouring the family, huh? Or is there some other reason?
I don’t quite understand it, but for now, I’ll just avoid that subject.
“For now, I think the best course of action would be to keep Mina Yukishiro under close surveillance. Though, I truly wish I could recruit you to my cause, along with both Veena and Leena. If I had the Lilyfall siblings on my side I would easily be able to bring that moronic brother of mine to heel.”
But Abel shook his head.
“Such a thing is impossible. It’s in Veena’s best interests to stay out of this mess, and the same goes for Yua. Leena is too busy with her duties, and personally, I’m just not interested in the slightest.”
“If that’s how it has to be, then that’s truly a shame.”
I meant that from the bottom of my heart.
A week has passed since my betrothal to the Prince was broken.
Traveling alongside Yua, we eventually made it to a small town called Takrath, far from the palace of Lafalis’ royal house.
Compared to the capital city of Lafalis, the population density is much lower, but every stranger on the street seemed happy to greet you like a friend as you passed by.
It was morning. I awoke to the sight of Yua, looking very comfortable curled up beside me, mumbling my names as she slept.
Just why are you so fond of me, I wonder?
It’s true that when I was young, I used to join in when this girl played with my younger sister Leena, but that’s really all the time we had ever shared together.
Furthermore, as I was such a small child at the time, I didn’t truly understand my place as a subordinate of the royal house.
I must have been exceptionally rude to the young princess.
Of course, these are stories from a long time ago.
Once I began to understand my standing in the social hierarchy of the Kingdom of Lafalis, I moved to distance myself from Yua.
Part of the reason for this was because I began to recognize Yua as a potential obstacle to Arnight’s ascension to the throne.
And yet, this girl…
I stroked Yua’s head gently. My fingers ran smoothly between her beautiful strands of silver hair.
Just a short while ago, an act like touching a hair on a royal’s head would have been absolutely unthinkable for me.
(I still don’t truly understand what caused you to intervene on my behalf at that time, Yua. I still have a lot to think about when it comes to that. Yet, despite that, I was happy when you stood up to protect me…)
I truly was happy. For me, who had dedicated myself to placing Arnight on the throne, that situation was the absolute nadir of my existence.
It never had any qualms about Arnight loving another woman. Really, that didn’t bother me at all.
It’s only natural for a King to have his concubines. It’s completely normal.
I knew that Mina had begun to attach herself to the Second Prince, but I had chosen to ignore it. Instead, I focused on attempting to politically corner and isolate Euberto.
There within was my true failure.
I was caught in a truly beautiful web and the spider that spun it was my very own fiancee.
I, who had never fallen in love, ended up completely underestimating the power it held over that man.
Never did I expect to be cast aside in favour of a commoner.
Blinded by love, the only person Arnight has eyes for is Mina. As for what lies ahead for the country, I’m fairly sure of the outcome.
If Arnight succeeds the throne as things stand, it will bring only ruin to this country. But, such a thing will not happen.
Surely, the First Prince Euberto will make his move long before things become that dire.
That’s the kind of person he is.
“Munyaa…” A pretty voice purred from the other side of the bed.
“Veena-sama… Good morning.”
Yua is slow to wake up. How cute. Despite only being one year my junior, she looks much younger than the typical fifteen-year-old girl.
“Ah, yes, good morning, Yua-sama.”
“Muu-” And in response, Yua puffed out her cheeks and let out a soft sound.
“Just ‘Yua’ is fine, like back in the old days… There’s no need for any formalities or honorifics.
Please treat me like you used to.”
To do so suddenly is difficult… but, let’s try our best.
“…I understand. In that case Yua-sa… Sorry, excuse me. Yua, shall we begin our morning preparations?”
As I spoke, Yua was staring intensely at me, so I very hastily corrected myself.
“Yes, Veena-sama ♡”
Ah, I want to laugh.
At the very least, if you’re going to ban me from using formalities when addressing you, please don’t use an honorific when addressing me.
“Not happening! To me, Veena-sama will always be Veena-sama!”
Was the reason she gave not long after they escaped. Sometimes I just can’t understand her at all.
“It’s just how it is; I cannot simply abandon my favourite way to address my beloved Veena-sama.”
I really wish she would stop saying such embarrassing things like that. I can’t help but feel flustered.
Yua lowered herself out of the bed and extended a hand to me.
“Well then, Veena-sama, it’s time to prepare ourselves for the day ahead.”
“Eh? W-why yes, of course.”
I take Yua’s hand and get out of the bed.
“Shall we be off then?”
And so, Yua and I began our day.