From all Capture Targets I had contact with, my impression of my brother and my fiancee was the worst. Being a little conceited and arrogant was okay. In this society it was near impossible to not be aware of one’s status. These two though…
Just at this moment we arrived at the personal lounge of the Prince. There was a common place to eat and a lounge to gather for all students but the top students as well as high-nobles such as myself got their own space to provide with a better learning environment, they say. Moreover the Prince still had this personal study and lounge… Equality alright.
“Announce my arrival”. The guard bowed and left. When he came back he had an awkward look on his face. I held my hand up to stop him from speaking. “No need. It’s Important. Ines.”
“Yes, my Lady.”
Without asking anything she stepped forward and opened the door.
“Ah! M-Miss!”, the guard tried to stop us but I already entered. The Prince looked up from his seat. “As impudent as ever”, he said while lowering some documents. At least he looked the part of a Crown Prince. Sunlight made his light blond hair look like a halo and his blue eyes sharpened considerably after eyeing my conduct.
Out of politeness I gave him a very small bow. “Your Highness”, I said before I sat down right in front of him. The guard had followed me inside and stood awkwardly inside the room. ‘I’m sorry It wasn’t my purpose to embarrass you’, I thought.
He can’t hear you.
‘I know! But I can’t talk freely in front of this bratty Prince.’
I heard a low chuckle.
Indeed. That’s also true.
“Why have you come?”, questioned the Prince after he motioned the guard to wait outside.
I leaned back in my seat and tried to figure out whether he really sent an assassin. Considering that Sophien always died before anything got resolved, the Prince being the mastermind was just my speculation cause’ he gained the most from my death at this point in time. Therefore I decided to throw caution in the wind, my body was really unstable right now. There was no time to conduct a professional investigation.
“I came to advise you to call back your dog otherwise our little Crown Prince might have to face the wrath of the Rubien Dukedom”
I saw his facade crumbling before he shouted: “Impudent! Are you threatening and mocking the Crown Prince of this kingdom!”
This was the Crown Prince of the kingdom of Laurit. One of the three biggest kingdoms in this world. I clicked my tongue. He still behaved like a child when in reality he was already managing parts of the kingdom. How laughable.
“Well, well Prince Aiden isn’t it you who is threatening me?” I uttered, reigning in my desire to educate this youth. I knew a little about his childish and arrogant behavior. In the game, it was the Heroine who slowly taught him who was always isolated by his peers because of his high standing.
“You!”, he stuttered while pointing a finger at me. “How dare you call me by my given name!”. Seeing it for myself, I pitied Sophien who tried the exact same thing but was always met with a cold shoulder reason being her own clumsy behavior. Even if he had few interactions with his peers, in an environment full of adults, shouldn’t he have learned to control himself and not lose his temper?
On the other hand Ines, who was rather calm all this time began to fiddle with her skirt, seemingly restless.
Interesting, was she nervous on my behalf?
“Then how do you want me to call you? A fiancee who hired an assassin to dissolve our engagement ignoring years of virtuous service that our Dukedom served to the Crown?”
It was funny to see how his expression twisted. “Where I come from, people who try to kill other people are called bastards or criminals. So shall I name you like that, Crown Prince Aiden?”. By now I was certain that he was the perpetrator. “How unsightly”, I uttered.
Having a childish temper was one thing but repeatedly trying to kill his fiance? There wasn’t one route for Sophien to live by dissolving her engagement or being exiled. One could argue how this was all a game’s setting and the Prince had no choice but then, how do you explain Sophiens’ awakening? Wasn’t it because of all her resentment? If any of the Capture Targets had found fault in how things were going, why didn’t they awaken?
Nobody said anything. I heard Ines nervously gulping but the Prince slowly got his calm back. With a low voice he began to spout nonsense.
“So you are naming me a criminal? Are you aware what penalty will await you for this severe accusation and defamation of the royal family?”.
“Relax, little Prince. I just told you what one would call such a bastard. It has nothing to do with you, right?” I gave him a beautiful smile. “I am also just warning you to call back your dog. My father is very angry about the incident that happened at our estate. No need to bare your fangs.” I chuckled. “Should something happen to me in the next few days… I doubt my father will just let it slide. By the way, didn’t you get a younger brother not long ago? Please give the Queen my congratulations.”
With a loud bang His Highness the Crown Prince hit the table and stood up. “Sophien Alma Rubien! How dare you threaten me with my brother.”
I stood up too. “Crown Prince Aiden Alecto Saphiér, please mind your manners, I am still a daughter of a Duke. I am sorry if you interpret my good intentions as a threat but do indeed consider it a warning. Good day then.” And with a small bow I left the lounge and study room.
+ 15 Emotional Points
+ 5 Reputation Points
Villainess Reputation currently 50/100
‘System, where is the Assassin’s Guild located? Or any settlement in which you could hire a professional killer on the level of cat-eyes?’, I asked in my head, ignoring the notifications.
For this level… There should only be the Assassin’s Association on the black market in the capital.
‘So it’s the capital, as expected.’ “Ines,” I called out. “For your own safety, never let anyone know what you heard just now.”
“Yes, my Lady.”
“Also, find out whether the Crown Prince sent a messenger to the capital. How long would that take?”
“Yes, my Lady. It would be two to three days depending on the horse, my Lady. The academy is still located within the Rubien Dukedom.”
I was a little sorry when I saw her shaking hands, however I needed a witness to pressure the Prince. Now, it would be very critical if something happened to me. Ines wasn’t from an average family. No one who could serve a Duke’s daughter or Princess was.
It was just that fate wasn’t as easily avoided as that.
‘Till nightfall I got no notification from the Game System. Despite the fact that the Prince sent out a messenger.
‘You can’t tell me that he had no other way to contact the Guild as on horse right? How bad was my luck?’
“Ines, find out immediately where His Highness the Crown Prince is right now. No! Let’s go together.”
It wasn’t too late. I already prepared a few more guards to make the assassin wary. As long as I was in the presence of the Prince no average assassin would act, right?
However before I could make arrangements to survive the night, I felt that presence.
This time I died looking at Ines back hurrying to find the Prince.
“M-Miss Sophien! Are you fine?”, Carnelian tried to catch me again.
“I said I’m fine!”, I screamed. A few students gave me a glance.
– 10 Emotional Points
+ 5 Reputation Points
Villainess Reputation currently 25/100
I sighed. “I am sorry Carnelian, can you help me to the next bench?”
“Ah? How do you know my name?”, he asked cautiously while he simultaneously led me to the same bench as last time.
“My servant told me my guide’s name before she left. I am sorry for shouting at you, really. My head feels like it is splitting and I heard that question far too often these few days. I snapped.”
I looked up at him, it was really unfair that he couldn’t remember our encounters. He already felt like a friend to me…
“I am sorry.” I slightly bowed my head and saw him freak out.
“That-tha-that’s fine! Totally! There are just these days. Please raise your head, it is making me uncomfortable.”
Finally, this felt more natural.
“Say, you seem to know a lot about this academy?” I asked him, even though I already knew how many years he spent here. Even though this body has been attending this academy since she was ten years old, there wasn’t much Sophien learned about the paths and hideouts. She was always bound by her nobility.
I pressed Carnelian for a little more information before I came to the point.
“Carnelian, can you help me with something?” I asked and grasped his hand simultaneously. “I have to urgently speak with the Crown Prince but after that can you please show me a good place to hide?”
“A-a place to hide after you see His Highness?”, he asked and I swear, I nearly heard him ask what I was going to do. He didn’t.
“Yes, to be honest, I am probably in danger tonight and my guards… they won’t be of any help. So please!”
While giving me a strange look, he nodded.
“Great, let’s meet here when they close the gates of the academy” I instructed him before readily leaving to lead a nearly identical talk with the Prince.
+ 15 Emotional Points
+ 5 Reputation Points
Villainess Reputation currently 45/100
And again, I ignored the notifications. ‘System, how is my body? I feel like passing out any minute.’
That’s an accurate description. Did you glance at your Status Window?
‘No need, let’s just get this over with.’ I took a short break even though I was merely slowly walking.
‘Did I imagine things? I had a feeling like that assassin acted faster this time. Is he influenced by this repeated time flow? Is that possible?’
It… would be very unlikely but it is not impossible. Since your soul is an outsider, the Game System isn’t able to repeat a whole playthrough like before which would be equivalent to a ‘whole life’ for game characters. So these repetitions of instances or the same action might awaken a feeling of déjà-vu in a sharp person but… Really, it is highly unlikely. If you had been in these Time Loops a few times then I wouldn’t be shocked but now…
‘Anyway, it is better to be prepared than not. If that assassin has indeed noticed something amiss then he might behave differently than before. I doubt I can freely move next time, so we have to resolve this Death Flag in one go.’
Finally, I arrived at that same old bench.
“Miss Sophien!”, Carnelian had already arrived and waved his hands. “Are you alright? Your face-Ah! I did it again! Sorry Miss Sophien, you just look really…”
“Bad?”, I joked and he immediately shook his head but I just shrugged. “It’s fine. I’m not feeling that well. Anyway, lead the way.”
“Are you sure?”
I just nodded and followed him slowly. Cold sweat ran down my face. You could say that my Stats right now resembled my stats when I first entered the Game with some being even lower. However there was a big contrast between these Stats being my natural Stats or them being forcefully lowered.
‘I won’t be able to run tonight.’