25. Foolish Prince
- Prince Claude’s POV
“It’s such a dark and damp place, isn’t it…”
Such was the first remark Leticia, Prince Claude’s fiancée, uttered after they entered the underground shelter.
“Indeed. It is rarely used, after all. I know how unpleasant it is for someone who loves beauty like you, Leticia. But please, be patient.”
Even though Leticia said that, for a moment, her face was distorted with discomfort.
—well, what can I do?
A place like this indeed doesn’t look good on her.
He hoped the turmoil caused by the dragon would wrap up early so they could leave the underground shelter.
“Other than that, Leticia, can you put up a barrier for the underground shelter?”
“Eh? Isn’t this a safe place?”
“Just in case, just in case. Even though it’s an underground shelter, the only thing securing the entrance is a lock. Usually, it wouldn’t be a problem. However, this is a dragon invasion, the underground shelter might get destroyed.”
Leticia proceeded to extend both her hands forward. From her hands, pale light was emitted.
“Ooh! How divine!”
For Leticia to be able to use such holy magic—didn’t that just prove that she was indeed the ‘True Saint’—
—as he thought, Eliane was definitely the fake one.
“That was fast. It only took 20 minutes—as expected, you’re the real saint.”
Claude was impressed.
In fact, Eliane could make a barrier of that size in less than a second—but the oblivious prince wasn’t even aware of that.
“Then, we can rest easy. I hope things settle down quickly…”
After a while, screams could be heard outside the underground shelter.
“Aren’t the soldiers moving to slay the dragon!?”
“I hope so.”
However, the fuss had in fact happened.
For some reason, Claude felt that he shouldn’t just ignore it.
Claude felt anxious.
The entrance of the underground shelter suddenly opened, making a squeaking noise—
The door of the underground shelter should’ve been locked. Moreover, it should had been protected by a barrier. Only someone with magic greater than mediocre should be able to touch it.
From the other side of the door, a man appeared—
Despite so, the youth had warlike eyes akin to a wild animal eyeing its prey. Just by looking at him, Claude felt like his heart would stop.
“Who dares enter this place—!?”
Claude asked the man.
“Because I can. Besides, this is a door, isn’t it? Or is it meant to be just a mere decoration?”
The man tilted his neck.
What the hell is with this guy? Is he one of my soldiers? But why would he come to this place, then?
While Claude was confused, Leticia, who stood beside him, trembled.
“This person… has a tremendous amount of magical power. This magical power… is akin to that of a dragon—!”
Generally, dragons were known for possessing a 100 court mages’ worth of magical power. Speaking of court mages, they were the pinnacle of wizardry—as such, only five court mages existed in that kingdom. From that alone, it was obvious how outrageous a dragon’s magical power was.
Hearing Leticia’s words, the man laughed out loud—
“—Hahaha! That’s right, I’m the dragon! Something wrong?”
“The dragon…? But your appearance doesn’t appear to be so…”
Claude, who still didn’t believe the man in front of him was the dragon, voiced his doubt.
“If it’s merely transforming into a human, it’s a piece of cake.”
“T-then how were you able to enter this place!? Saint Leticia put up a barrier, right!?”
“Huh? You call that a barrier? I don’t think that kind of ‘barrier’ will hamper me, really. Compared to Eliane’s barrier, it was too fragile.”
Upon hearing that, Claude turned to Leticia.
“—A, as if anyone in this world could create a barrier that can block a dragon! No one is capable of such a feat!”
The man, who heard her, laughed again—
“—Turns out you’re this hopeless! It’s all because you’ve exiled the true saint! You will regret it! …Well, now, rather than messing around like this…”
Claude couldn’t see the man move.
When he thought the man claiming to be the dragon had disappeared, a face appeared in front of him.
Claude was pressed against the wall by the man’s hand.
“Answer me—the bastard who banished the saint, was it you?”
“’The saint’? But Eliane is just a fake saint!”
“A fake saint? The hell are you saying?”
“She pretended to be the saint when her real aim was to drain the kingdom’s finances—as such, wasn’t it only natural for her to be banished?!”
The man sighed deeply.
“What a foolish thing to say. Well, Eliane had indeed spoken about how much of an imbecile you are. Eliane said she was at risk of being exiled—who would’ve thought that it’d become reality?”
“What are you talking about—”
With a flash, the man punched Claude’s gut.
Initially, it felt like a light bump—
—however, in the next second, indescribable pain struck Claude.
I, is my stomach rupturing!?
It was a terrible suffering which left him unable to breath for a few seconds.
“First off—Eliane is the true saint. The evidence is that due to her barrier, I couldn’t even get close to this kingdom. Yet you exiled her… are you sane?”
The man grabbed Claude by his bangs and forced him to lift his face.
“Even if there were no barrier, I like her enough to not do something as troublesome as destroying the kingdom. I can do it whenever I feel like it, but I haven’t feel the need.”
As the man spoke to Claude, Leticia screamed and attempted to use magic.
However, instead of the pale, divine, light she exuded from before, her current magical power was jet-black in color.
“Ho… I see, wench, you’re that kind of being.”
The man curiously gazed at Leticia.
“However, despite everything, your spell still doesn’t work—which makes it meaningless.”
When the man extended his hand, the black aura enshrouding Leticia’s body gradually dispelled.
Apparently, she was trying to attack the man with the magic. However, due to said man, her magic was cancelled instead.
“The two of you are of no use to me anymore.”
The man threw Claude onto the floor, causing him to kiss the floor hard.
Intense pain hit Claude’s entire body.
Claude gritted his teeth, trying to maintain his consciousness.
“Eliane is gone, this kingdom is meaningless to me. I’m going on a trip for a while—a stress-relieving trip.”
“A, are you letting us go…?”
“‘Letting you go’…?”
The man grinned—the corners of his mouth twisted.
“It’s the opposite. The end of this kingdom has just begun.”
“What do you mean…?”
“Let me tell you something interesting—this kingdom isn’t only targeted by me, but other archdemons. After all, this kingdom has precious magical artifacts and other valuable treasures, golden, silver, and what-not. As the kingdom has an enormous populous of humans, it’s also possible to take advantage of that for magical experiments. Also, demons are hundreds of times crueler than me, just saying.”
The man continued.
“The reasons the demons haven’t attacked so far, it was not only because of Eliane’s barrier, but also because of my presence. To put it simply, because I’m always in a staring contest with them, they haven’t been able to lay their hands on this kingdom.”
“It won’t be strange if demons invade this kingdom soon. Because the barrier—and also me, have disappeared.”
“N, no way!”
Of course, it was also possible the man before them was spouting bald-faced lies.
However, from how confident he looked, it was unbelievable for anyone to think that he was lying.
“I don’t want to soil my hands with the blood of an imbecile like you. I’ll leave the dirty work to the demons.”
The man said so and subsequently left the underground shelter.
“C-Claude, are you okay!?”
“Y, y, yes…”
Claude’s consciousness gradually went away, perhaps because the man had finally left.
However, that was but one adversity…
…for the time being, he decided to just be grateful he still had his life.
Claude of that time was still naïve.
As the kingdom reached its end, more miserable things awaited.
E/N: I’ve figured out why this prince is such a rotten mess. He lacks muscles. None of this, starting from him being a terrible fiancé, would have happened have ever happened. His father failed him by not encouraging daily push up, sit ups, squats, and running.
***T/N: Ignore my Editor slash Bawss over there, she has been editing too much Jojo Shoujo (ShoJo) lately, and once, she even edited 6 chapters in one sitting–I think she need a break, rest well, Editor-san.
Now who wants some protein shake as we run thirty laps? MUSCLE IS LOVE, MUSCLE IS LIFE.