Prequel to “It seems I’m the So-Called Villainess, but I’ll Take my Punishment Properly so Please Let Me Off Easy”
I have been reincarnated.
I realized this at the entrance ceremony of the academy attendeed by all the sons and daughters of nobility.
The moment I saw the handsome man on the dais, blessed by the Spirits of Light, bearing a stellar, halo-casting beauty — in other words, our country’s dear Crown Prince — I remembered everything. My previous life. And this was the introduction to him, the main capture target and hero from that something-or-other girly game.
Obviously it couldn’t be helped that, in an instant, I was fixated on my own pink hair. I mean, if we’re talking about that game, then the only person with pink hair is…
“He… ro… ine…!?”
I was supposed to be telling myself that quietly. Even so, a voice chimed in to warn me about my conduct. Silence! he said. Even though there’s no time to be worrying about that.
“You mean I’m supposed to pick Crown Prince or his foster brother or the Duke’s heir or the candidate for successor to the Commander of the Knights or candidate for the next head of the Imperial Magicians?”
Again, that voice of warning. But this is no time to think about that.
“And I have to tear the— tear them apart from their fiancees even…”
“Incoming student over there, come to order!”
Somehow it seemed like the warning was getting louder, but that had nothing to do with me. If I could be orderly about this I totally would.
“Incoming student— Magic Department First Chair Nanami Irie! Silence, I say!”
I felt like I heard someone call my name, but it went in one ear and out the other.
…… Can I just come right out and say it?
I have absolutely zero interest in being waited on by a bunch of high-spec men. I also have zero interest and take no joy in making enemies out of a bunch of high-spec women. I just want to live normally. I really just want to pass every day in peace. For someone like me with life goals like that, a situation like this is excruciating.
Besides, if we’re talking heroines, wouldn’t it be a girl who’s like a ball of aspirations, or a girl who’s built off a strong sense of justice or something? It’s impossible for someone like me who can’t even scratch the surface of such prerequisites. Absolutely impossible.
Aaaah, god, seriously, I should just make a break for it.
“Ah, I’m gonna to withdraw—”
Afterward, I devised a way to escape the entrance ceremony, but was captured just before I could leave the capital and returned to the academy. … God, why. At best I’m just a brat from a baron’s family, you could’ve just let me be. When I said as much, they stuck me in a penitence room for a week. … No seriously, why. Even if it’s against my will, your treatment of the heroine, a.k.a. me, is just too crude.
A week after the entrance ceremony, after being absent for various reasons, my classmates looked at me quite coldly.
“Well, wouldn’t that be obvious after such a scuffle?”
So sayeth the smiling son of the Abenstar family, my seat-neighbor. He also numbers among the capture targets, and is possessed of a halo.
Even so, he’s so friendly, regardless of it being our first meeting. Are capture targets just naturally imbued with high-level communication skills, too?
“Ufufu… it wasn’t such a big deal as to call it a scuffle…”
“Hahaha… that wasn’t at the level of ‘a big deal.’ Not after you destroyed a checkpoint.”
“Ufufufu… I’m sure it was just overly worn out. Or rather, you’re so knowledgeable, aren’t you? I’m positive a gag order was put out.”
Apparently it was a problem of national significance that one little girl managed to completely destroy a location of such import to the country. That’s why the king and duke moved to supposedly issue a gag order of the highest level, so I wonder why it is that someone from the Marquis’ house of Abenstar would be in the know?
When I gave him a questioning glance, he merely smiled without comment. …… Yep, this guy’s one to keep a wary eye on.
“I’m Eury Abenstar. Let’s get along shall we, Miss Nanami Irie?”
“My! I’m so honored, Lord Abenstar!”
“No need to call me Lord, just Eury is fine.”
“Fufufu. I’ll be in your care then, Lord Abenstar.”
“…… Well, alright. It’ll be my pleasure, Miss Irie.”
And somehow I managed to get on good terms with Abenstar the Capture Target. Well, we’ll just call it good. …… Because he seems like he’d be a terrifying person to be on the wrong side of.
Half a year passed after the entrance ceremony.
I am currently in the midst of rather charming harrassment from all of the capture targets’ fiancees.
Since that incident where I destroyed a checkpoint was so beautifully swept under the proverbial rug, instead of fearing me, the aristocratic young ladies apparently see fit to harrass me.
But… I mean it’s like that, after all. If they dump a bucket of water on me, all I need to do is dry out. If they break something, I just need to fix it. If they push me down the stairs, all I have to do is magnificently stick the landing.
Honestly, it was harrassment on the same level as having a pet dog lick your hand, and I personally found it rather uninspiring.
“A pet dog… Irie, that— no matter what you do, don’t say such things to that girl. It’d just be too pitiful.”
“As if I’d say it, Abenstar. I’m not that cruel a person.”
And this is me, having lunch with my best bad friend, Abenstar. No matter how much it infuriated his dear fiancee, we couldn’t put an end to these habitual lunches for two. If asked why…
“Nanami Irie! Today I will certainly defeat you!!”
Lately the Duke’s heir has been seriously annoying… irritating… freaking pest… what should I do, I can’t seem to make myself say anything to smooth things over.
“— Well, any more than this is just irksome, so Abenstar? Why don’t you play along with him.”
“Don’t answer so fast, damn. (Lol) Also, aren’t you laughing too hard? (Lol)”
“Like you said, it’s irksome.”
“Isn’t it though~? (Lol)”
For me and Abenstar, this is an everyday occurence.
“So… so mean!”
And for the Duke’s heir, red to his ears and on the verge of tears, this too is an everyday occurence.
If Abenstar and I both tease him at the same time, the cuteness levels of the attention-seeking Duke’s heir just explode. That’s why we just can’t seem to stop having lunchtime together, just us two (plus one).
Oh god, it’s no good, I’m going to end up smiling.
“Irie, your face is disgusting y’know?”
God, I’m grinning to beat the band. Especially now as the Duke’s heir stands bewildered, unable to join our exchange.
“W… wh- what? What is it? What kind of understanding are you coming to, just the two of you!?”
Apparently he’s feeling jealous.
But god I can’t help but think how adorable it is to see him puffing out his cheeks and sulking like that!
“That our dear Lord Heir-to-the-Duke is sooo cute, I guess. Right, Abenstar?”
“Don’t ask me. If some weird rumors reached my sister, I’d never recover.”
Abenstar’s blatant sister complex is also business as usual.
Though come to think, in the game he hated his entire family, sister included. Apparently he was brought into the Abenstar house as an illegitimate child while very young, and received nothing but cruel indifference and oppression… and while remembering his backstory, I asked him.
“Abenstar? Don’t you have any intention of joining in with the Duke’s Heir and the Crown Prince in flirting with me?”
“… The hell are you talking about?”
For a moment, he sent me a glare that almost froze me solid. Sooooo scary, damn.
But that was an excellent sign.
Abenstar, who managed to escape being one of my harem members all on his own, is my star of hope. I gave his shoulder a pat, and ended up leaving my hand there in a show of affection.
“As far as I’m concerned, I only think of a weirdo like you as a friend so can you chill?”
“……. You’ve got no room to talk, you know?”
Even if he said, “You’re pretty strange in general, too!?” I don’t really think so.
“But I’m the Lady Heroine~”
Not just Abenstar, even the Duke’s heir looked at me with pitying eyes.
It goes without saying, but I felt anew in that moment how abysmally low my abilities were as a heroine.
For a while, the days where Abenstar and I would tease the Duke’s heir together continued. There were periods of adorable harrassment, and how Abenstar’s blatant statements on his sister complex were starting to head for pervy territory, the Duke’s heir being all dere was godly, and while such slight changes were occurring, I passed my days in a fundamentally peaceful manner.
Officially, at least.
Peel back the veneer and apparently there’d been a plan assassination of the Crown Prince, though it apparently it ended as just an attempt.
It’s difficult isn’t it, being one of the rich and elite. The prince, too; even though all he did in the game was chase after the heroine’s ass, I guess in reality all sorts of things were happening, weren’t there.
“But seriously, good job repelling that assassin~”
“Wai—! Nanami!! This person is His Highness the Crown Prince you know! The next king, you know!? What’s with you and being so frank!?”
“A distressed Duke’s heir does such a number on my heartstrings~!”
“…… Geez, you!”
Yup, before me are the distressedly-shy Duke’s heir and the Crown Prince.
The foster brother is glaring at me while he prepares the tea, but he’ll have to pardon my ignoring him.
“Now, now, why don’t we calm down and have some tea~”
“That’s not for you to say is it, Nanami? Normally, that be something His Highness would say, you hear!?”
The Crown Prince and his brother seemed fascinated, watching the two of us in our give-and-take. Apparently, before them the Duke’s heir is always calm and collected.
Setting aside the Duke’s heir, who is adorable even when he moans and groans, I turned to meet the Crown Prince’s gaze.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen this blessing of the Spirits of Light, and it’s still blinding as ever.
When I covered my eyes so I didn’t have to squint in the dazzling light, I was asked why I was doing so.
“… No, well… my lord the Crown Prince’s halo is a little too intense from such a short distance, you see.”
The Crown Prince seemed to accept it with an “oh…?” but god how did that actually get across.
I refuse to recognize a man who gracefully accepts being told he’s too dazzling as the main hero and capture target.
And the Crown Prince dropped a bombshell on me, who was judging him internally.
“By the way, Miss Nanami? Will you become my lover?”
At my instant reply, the foster-brother’s glare intensified, and the Duke’s heir stared. The Crown Prince burst out laughing.
After wiping the tears running down his face, in an instant he faced me with uncanny seriousness.
“Then let me rephrase that, shall we. Nanami Irie, I command you as the Crown Prince. Become my lover.”
“…… Am I allowed to ask why?”
“There’s no reason for you to know.”
And that’s the day I became the Crown Prince’s lover. I neither had the inclination to conquer him, nor felt a millimeter’s worth of affection. Even so, I somehow ended up nearing the end of the Crown Prince’s route. … Why. Somebody, just tell me why.
“…… and that would be the reason lunchtime came to include so many people.”
I explained the situation to Abenstar, and surveyed my surroundings.
Abenstar and the Duke’s heir were just as usual, but Handsome™ Crown Prince and Handsome™ Foster Brother, plus Handsome™ Royal Mage off in the shade of a tree, are also present.
The harem feels were already going full-power. But secretly it was completely different, ok?
Because this is an order. I’m just obeying a royal order here, I swear.
And since I began partaking of lunch together with the Crown Prince, the variety of harrassment has improved. A portion of the aristocratic ladies have started to get their hands on poisons. …… Well, even if I say “a portion,” really it’s just the Crown Prince’s fiancee.
I gave the ringleader — ie. The Crown Prince — the poisoned articles and so forth together with my complaints. Whereupon he smiled from ear to ear and practically crowed, “As expected of Nanami! Who would have thought you’d fish up such a prize so quickly!!”
I have no clue what’s going on. What d’you mean, prize? I have no recollections of fishing here…
“It’s nice that you’re so stupid even though you’re so strong.”
He was giving me such a good, smiling face. Apparently, according to him this was a compliment. As I was feeling just a liiiiittle irked, the Duke’s heir lazily diffused the situation by saying “now, now, just calm down,” and I decided to call it even by petting his head.
“… Eh! Wait a sec, Nanami? …… Aw, geez, what’s up with you.”
…… Attention seekers only show their true levels of cuteness once you’ve actually given them attention.
“Aw, geez,” he says, god why it’s so cute.
Looking so bashful while your cheeks turn red…… My dear Duke’s heir, your dere is my only source of healing.
Once satisfied with his soothingness, now calmed, I gave a small sigh.
The one to notice was the sharp-eyed Crown Prince.
“Nanami, what’s the matter?”
“Mm~~~? Nah, just kind of, worried about my future?”
“I can’t imagine a proper future for a woman like me, who’s being meaninglessly waited on hand and foot by a bunch of handsome guys.”
“You shouldn’t have to worry; just leave everything to me an all will be well. ……… I will do well by you.”
Is it just me, or does the Crown Prince just seem endlessly fishy…
I quietly covered my ears, and closed my eyes and mouth.
It was the moment where my future, filled with elements of uncertainty, was blacked out.
“—you thieving cat-!”
Currently, I’m on the receiving end of a glare from the aristocratic young lady who was just informed of the Crown Prince dissolving their engagement. That, combined with the nostalgically old-fashioned words she raised against me, well…
“Nya… nyaa~n?” So well, in the meanwhile, I tried giving her a meow.
After, the Crown Prince and four others each gave notice to their respective fiancees of the dissolution of their engagements.
The reason was apparently their constant harrassment against me. … eh, no, wait a sec.
Did they not listen to the contents of my harrassment but once they became weary of worrying, would instead laugh until they were holding their heaving stomachs? Did they not also make strange quips such as, “How far behind the times are they, trying to use a poison like this~” and so on?
When I went to say something, the Crown Prince stopped me. …… Capture targets are amazing, like damn. To be able to glare with a smile on your face, your expressions must be some sort of standard equipment or something.
Once again, I covered my ears, and closed my eyes and mouth.
…… Yup. I reaaaally don’t care anymore.
After the condemnation event, things around me got quiet.
One reason would be the dissolution of my harem-for-business. Apparently, the Crown Prince’s purpose in making me his lover was to break off his engagement.
“If you hated your dear fiancee so much as that, you could’ve just come out and dissolved the engagement instead of turning me into some sort of side show…”
“What are you saying? I love her from the bottom of my heart, you know?”
“Haa? When why’d you go out of your way just to break things off…?”
“Wouldn’t you want to see how an angel struggles once she’s lost her wings…?”
After saying as much, the Crown Prince seemed to lose himself ecstatically into some memory, some seriously sick R…… It seemed like if I asked for anything more the conversation would end up Rated R, so I decided to not dig any deeper, like ever.
“You’ve made a wise decision,” so his foster brother praised me. It was my first, shining achievement.
The second reason was Abenstar’s disappearance.
With a scandal related to his family coming to light on the same day as the condemnation event, he and his beloved elder sister were both expelled from the academy. It appeared as though, except the upper echelons, their punishment was removal of their peerage, but the last time we met, he proclaimed, “I’m a man who lives for love!” with an excellent look on his face, so I doubt there’s any need to worry.
He really is such a strange friend.
The third reason is because our attention-seeker has calmed down considerably.
“Hey~ hey~ Lord Duke’s heir~”
“Hey~ I’m talking to you~”
“Hey, bastard Duke’s heir. Here a person is, finally acting cutesy for you, and you’re ignoring me? Hah?”
Since I’d grabbed his lapels without thinking, when our eyes met, our dear Duke’s heir was deathly pale in the face.
Nanami, you fail. ☆
The Duke’s heir coughed violently and his eyes watered… as expected, it was a blow to my conscience.
When he finally caught his breath, he quietly narrowed his eyes and started to speak to me.
“You’re lonely since Eury Abenstar left, Nanami?”
It wasn’t a question really, but a statement. Moreover, he said it as if muttering. With such sorrow welling up, I understood what he was feeling immediately.
“You’re lonely aren’t you, heir to the Duke. One of the people who will pay attention to you is gone… It’s a hard blow for someone with an attention-seeking character like you, isn’t it.”
“Haa? What are you talking about, Nanami?”
“But it’ll be fine! From now on, I’ll pay you two peoples’ worth of attention! Ok? You don’t have to be lonely, alright??”
“Ha- haaaa?! What the heck are you saying? Seriously, what is this coming out of your mouth??”
“Turning so red… No need to get so embarrassed. It’s okay. I know what it is the Duke’s heir wants to say, I really, pro~perly understand.”
“…… You really don’t get it, at all. …… I just… about Nanami……”
His voice was too quiet for me to catch. Even so, his timid form was also adorable.
Since I knew well that being timid = wanting me to rub his head, I answered his desires immediately. His cheeks puffing out in disappointment were also adorable… though he caught the hand that tried to touch them.
“…… It’s Chris, you know. My name.”
Before my eyes was a very red, but veery serious face… and silly me, but for a moment I couldn’t speak.
“Di- did you possibly… not know my name?”
“Uuuuumm… te- tehe☆”
“I’m sorry, ok? Ah, but I know it now! Chris! It’s such a good name.”
“Wha! ….—wha! Su- suddenly just calling me without a title!!! …… W- well, I’ll forgive it though, since it’s you, Nanami.”
He turned redder than I’d ever seen before.
If I really were the heroine of an otome game, I’d absolutely be supporting Chris-tan.
……… But wait, what?
“Wasn’t I actually the heroine?”
With various reasons for reluctance stacking up beyond measure I’d forgotten, but I was a genuine otome game heroine.
At first I was like, the heroine…. Eww. Or so I thought, but if I give it my best shot and manage to get to the Captivate Chris-tan ending, there’d be nothing more perfect.
Heart set, I quietly corrected my posture, and raised my hands in beautiful surrender.
“I, Nanami Irie, do hereby swear to conquer the Chris-tan route.”
“Chri-stian? …… Root? What on earth are you saying?”
Unable to really answer Chris-tan’s questioning expression, I just outright told him.
“Chris, I swear, I’ll do my best!”
“Y- yes!! Um, go for it, Nanami!!”
When I asked him the reason why he seemed shy, apparently the answer was, “I’m still not used to you calling my name… It’s embarrassing.”
For now, let’s give Chris-tan the title of heroine. Then I’ll become the hero.
And soon after withdrawing from the heroine’s role, I spread my name throughout this world as the number one magician; and the time when the world would also come to call me the number one wife from hell would be just another five years into the future.