“Eeeekk! Excuse me! Your Highness Nagi! Are you insane?!”
I could feel that Marie was running around beside me with a scowling face.
However, I was just sitting dazedly on the sofa.
What was there to be so panicked about in the first place? I’m not a woman, and the preparations for a man are not much.
And yet, Marie had been busily circling around me, brushing my hair, complaining about the look of the knot in my tie and the waste thread on my cloak.
She was as fussy as a pre-hibernation plubear.
It even made me want to give her three dried salmon.
In defiance of Marie, I just put my head on the back of the sofa and spaced out.
After all, this is something that would be bad if I didn’t think properly.
Before I died, I remembered thinking that if I had a next life I would… —Something like that.
(…What to do? Even though I thought that I wanted to live more interestingly.)
I would play and get mud all over me, run around covered in sweat, fight over sweets with my friend, and tell silly jokes to each other.
I would talk about girls we liked with my friend, tease him, and get teased back.
Then when the girl I like accidentally heard all that, she would reject me before I could confess, saying “You look too plain.”
After growing up a little, I would go to school.
I would somehow spend my days while clicking my tongue and feeling jealous of the dazzling guys whom the girls would raise their shrieks at.
I had given up on going to the academy because I thought it would be of no use to my brother, but actually, I wanted to study magical botany.
After graduating, I would hide away in a rural village or forest in the countryside and quietly do some research.
I would fall in love with a kind and simple girl who would be willing to accompany me in such a lifestyle.
I would try my best, beg desperately, and somehow get her to marry me.
As my friends blessed the two of us, I would raise a warm family in a rural village.
(…That’s right, I wanted to live while sharing smiles like that.)
I despised my own face.
And yet, here I am with this face again, still a prince, five years ago.
It didn’t seem like I could live a farming rural life.
Who would have thought that just when I finally said goodbye to this present world, the same present world would come again?
—“That’s not true.
It’s not about if you’re good-looking or not, or if you’re a prince or not! Don’t be on the deprived side.”
I was reminded of the face of my nagging childhood friend, Mika.
I always wondered about what he meant by the deprived side.
Born as a prince, I never thought I would be on the deprived side just like what Mika said.
I always thought of him as a noisy guy.
I couldn’t remember what triggered it, but I thought that he hated me, and I didn’t even listen to him anymore.
(He cried that time…)
I didn’t choose Mika as my knight.
Ever since I was little, he was the one closest to me, and yet he was the hardest to deal with.
I think we got along right away when we first met, but he started to nag a lot at some point.
And then, when I thought that Mika would be by my side from this point on, even on my wedding, when my child with that person was born, when I support my brother— When I thought that he would be by my side for a long, long time watching me until the day I die, I didn’t want that.
But, there were also times when I felt a little lonely when I tried staying away from him.
I managed to do things while putting on a bold front.
But in the end, I ended up being on “the deprived side” just like what Mika said.
When I saw Mika for the first time in a while on my dying breath, his eyes were clearly saying “idiot”, and yet tears were forming in those eyes.
(…What kind of emotion is that?)
I really couldn’t understand him.
As I stared at the empty white ceiling, I tried to think over what Mika had said for a bit.
“Being on the deprived side, huh…”
I wonder what in the world I was being deprived of?
In the end, my brothers, my parents, my position as a prince, and my country were all taken away from me.
But he had been saying that to me since I was still a student.
What was deprived of me when I was still a student, I wonder?
I think I just did what was told by people around me without thinking… That was what I thought, but then I realized.
(Ah, could it be that not doing what I wanted to do was already a loss?)
For example, would it have been better if I studied magical botany instead of just the subjects recommended by people around me? Or maybe I could have tried to explore the outside world a little more.
(If I had talked to Mika more, I wonder if things would have been any different…)
For some reason, my chest ached a little.
But, just when I felt like I almost reached a good and fitting answer… the maid with round glasses interrupted me.
“Please!! You’re in the way! Don’t be irresponsible just because you overslept.
Please hurry and apologize to His Highness Seth, and eat some bread!”
“No, you’re the one who’s in my way.”
“Listen, Your Highness Nagi.
You have already changed into that outfit, so please! Don’t ever put jam or anything similar on your bread.”
Perhaps she had finished with the preparations, Marie who was carefully brushing my grandiose cloak suddenly yelled at me while pushing me on the back.
“Orange juice and black tea are also off limits! Eat only bread and water!” she said, while kicking me out of the room.
What in the world.
Once again, a plubear turned over in my head.
We had known each other for a long time, but it seemed like that maid still didn’t know my status.
I thought that she shouldn’t bother me, but I didn’t expect to be the one who ended up being treated like a bother instead.
But, grimaced by her intensity, I reluctantly started walking down the hallway.
Still, Marie was very strong despite having such a small stature.
Those iron arms of hers shouldn’t come off even if a plubear pulled them.
Perhaps Marie has some plubear blood running through her veins.
I pictured Marie’s family tree, thinking that it must have been mixed in at about the grandmother’s position.
However, I didn’t remember my back being pushed and getting kicked out like that on the day of the knight investiture ceremony.
I also overslept five years ago, but I didn’t laze around on the sofa afterward.
But then, at that moment, I realized something.
Could it be—
(Could it be that… the future can be changed?)
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