“To be liked… huh.”
Mika said he was going to look around inside the castle in order to protect me from now on, and then I sat at the desk in my room to think about it.
The aged wooden desk had turned a little black, but it has been used by princes for generations, and I like it too.
Thinking at this desk somehow made my mind clear.
But, Mika’s smile from earlier flashed through my mind even though I wanted to concentrate.
(He said that… he’s on my side.)
Unlike in my first life, Mika smiled with such a happy face.
Remembering it made my heart pound weirdly, so I rubbed my chest with my hand.
To be well-liked doesn’t simply mean I have to be all smiles and show friendliness.
After all, it’s meaningless to be liked by people who have always had a good relationship with my brother.
Mika said that it’s no use to eliminate people who cause harm, but I’m sure that he didn’t expect them to be that harmful.
I think he probably meant to tell me to consider bringing the neutral nobles to our side.
However, even if I could have those neutral nobles in the palm of my hand like Mika said—
(What’s important is whether I could prevent what’s about to happen from now on.)
In my first life, five years ago, I didn’t listen to what Mika said to me.
But now that I knew the future five years from now, I couldn’t just take Mika’s opinion that said I should take the neutral nobles in the palm of my hand.
It’s obvious, but Mika didn’t know such a future that would be waiting for us.
The more I think about it, there were a number of strange things that happened.
Things that made me wonder why I hadn’t noticed anything in my first life, but they must have already started at this point.
At this point, who’s the enemy?
A few years from now, when I realized that something is wrong, there were already a lot of suspicious people in this country.
So many of them that they could frame Brother Seth.
There was no doubt the enemies must have been meticulously setting their plan from years ago.
What in the world can someone who has nothing like me possibly do?
“Being liked, being loved.”
That’s right, Mika’s direction is not wrong, that we should have them in my palm and bring them into my force.
I took action to eliminate them in my first life and failed.
But this is not going to be as easy as Mika thought.
Even if I could draw the neutral nobles into my force, once that incident happened, people’s sentiments would only drift away.
If that’s the case— then what’s the force that I need to obtain?
(It must be the faction of the second prince… But, what can someone who has nothing like me possibly do…?)
No matter what and how I think, eventually that’s where all the thinking ends.
In my first life, I thought of doing anything I can for my brother because of my low self-esteem.
Machina was also there with me.
I had power that I could exercise.
I was proud to work for my brother.
However— now I realized that it was just a right that came with my title, and it wasn’t my worth.
After my brother was gone, I was truly alone.
(Ah… it really makes me feel dispirited.)
Furrowing my eyebrows deeply, I remained frozen for a while.
Then I stretched my arms and turned my head.
At that moment, my eyes suddenly met with my reflection in the mirror hanging on the wall.
“Being loved, huh…”
As I mumbled those words, I heard the sound of something falling to the carpet with a thud.
Wondering what it was, I turned around and saw Marie standing there with a face as if she had seen a ghost.
Then she asked me a question.
“Huh, What? What~~~?! W-w-what happened to you, Your Highness Nagi?”
Whether it be Marie, Mika, or my brother, today they all asked me if something had happened or if there was something wrong with me.
But that was the question I wanted to ask the most.
What in the world had happened? Perhaps after I sleep and wake up in the morning, my consciousness might return to my charred state.
Well, if my consciousness did return to my charred state, it feels like the beginning of a new ghost story.
In any case, now that I’m here, it might be a good idea to hear what others have to say.
“What would you do if you want to be loved by someone who hates you?”
Eventually, Marie’s face turned pale, at this rate I might have to call a doctor.
But, as I stared at Marie’s round glasses and looked into her round brown eyes, a lot of sweat began to pour down her face, and with a face that looked like she was dying, she said,
“I’m sorry, but the destructive power of your face is extraordinary, could you please not look at me?”
What a rude maid to say such a thing to me, her master.
Marie said “Excuse me for a moment”, and touched my forehead.
It seemed like I didn’t have a fever, and she said “Hm?” while tilting her head.
I was perfectly normal, except for the fact that my consciousness seemed to have inadvertently returned to five years ago.
“What happened to you, Your Highness Nagi? By wanting to be loved, do you mean romance?”
It’s not about romance.
But, it made me wonder if wanting to be loved is the same thing in a broader sense.
I glanced at Marie, then it struck me.
Marie is a woman, I wonder if there are times when she falls in love and wants to be liked by that person.
“Did you do something to attract males? Like carrying around a salmon maybe?”
“…..What, males? I don’t really understand what you’re saying, but I sensed that you’re making fun of me… Are you really talking about romance after all?! I can’t believe it!”
I want to have them in my palm.”
“Uh oh… it was about something darker than I thought.
Hmm, let’s see… Ah, that’s right! Please wait a moment.”
Marie, looking somewhat excited, went out into the hallway and returned a short time later.
Seeing the book in her hand, my already expressionless face lost even more emotion.
What Marie happily showed me was a romance novel.
And then, with sparkling eyes and a bashful manner, Marie said,
“Ta-da! This is ‘Matchless Villainous Woman, The Demonic Beauty’.
When I read this, it made me wonder if she’s as beautiful as Your Highness Nagi.
I just finished reading it, so I will lend it to you.”
No, like I said, —I’m trying to avoid the “evil burned at the stake ending” here.
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