“Eh, the person over there, you’re Hayato, right?”
Suddenly, an unpleasant voice echoed in the forest, and I turned around to see the source of that voice.
There stand the fluffy pink-haired heroine, Baroness Maria, plus four others.
Here-they-come! My natural enemies! Are you trying to be cute by putting your hand over your mouth? Do you think you’re cute? Well, yes, she is cute! But… uh, why did you look a bit dull?
She wore the white surgeon’s robe just like the last time we met, it’s getting a bit dirty, You can see traces of dirt stains that looks like she’s trying hard to clean, And her pink hair, which once fluffy and curly, is now deflated and lose its liveliness.
… really, what happened to you?
“Hayato! I’ve missed you! I was so scared of the man-eating apple!”
Maria runs to Hayato with tears in her eyes, and just like before, she not even looking at me.
I can predict her next move, stumble over something within the next three-second. I could tell for sure.
See? Told you.
But Hayato also had predicted that and casually avoiding her.
Maria, who didn’t get accepted, managed to avoid falling as quickly as possible and swiftly adjusted her stance. Then she muttered…
“This won’t do… I’ll try again…”
However, her voice is not as sharp and lively as it used to be. I’m curious what has occurred to her?
As I silently watch her, Maria looked at me with trembling, moist eyes.
“Alisha-sama, … please stop this already! This is all my fault! Not Mel’s fault! So forgive him already!”
What in the world is she talking about?
When I looked at Hayato, he also looked surprised.
“Uh, what do you mean by that?”
“You’re Alisha, aren’t you? So, the rumor about you pretending to be a commoner to approach Hayato was true! Why did you ignore me last time? Did you hate me that much!?”
Are you kidding me!
I’m the one who ignores you!?
Are you saying that the other day, you just pretended not to know me?
I don’t know anymore! Somebody help!
“Alisha-sama, I’m worried about Hayato; he is a great man!
And yet, you forced him to be your escort, …please let him returned to his original job, I don’t care what will you do to me, just please stop using your power to oppress people!”
I can’t believe this… and who in the right mind wants to be escorted to this kind of place on purpose.
Those are words I expected to hear, but my heart still throbbed with pain.
She’s still good at exploiting the weaknesses in people’s hearts. It was true that Hayato is here because of Duke’s request, and I couldn’t say that my family didn’t take part in this deal.
“Oi! you over there, I do this because I want to.”
I’m going to get on Hayato’s rescue boats now.
“That’s what he said… regardless of what you think, at the very least, I can say that this has nothing to do with you, so, will you step aside?”
Then, finally, Maria covered her face and started to cry.
“T-that’s… I… I just wanted to help!
But it cannot be helped, Hayato is in the middle of his work.
And I was the one who at fault, I was the one who was barging into the love life of his Highness Mel and Lady Alisha, while I know they loved each other.
I know, I know that there’s no way Alisha will ever listen to me…”
“Loved each other!?”
Oi, no, there’s no such thing, stop saying something so misleading!
“I don’t want to love him.”
Suddenly a hand was placed on my shoulder from behind. It’s His Highness Melchizedek. I get creepy goosebumps all over my body.
Once, he was my precious childhood friend, but I don’t know how to feel anymore after getting that kind of rejection. Please stop this.
Still unwilling to look back, his Highness decided to speak to me.
“Alice, I was stupid, I couldn’t see your love for me, even after the time we spend in all those years, and I want to have a little fun by playing with fire…
His Majesty, my father, has scolded me thoroughly, but I’m sure that he will forgive me if you come back with me.
Please, Alice, come back to the palace with me.”
So, you just want to go back to the palace.
The effect of disinheritance seems to be effective.
Well, that’s understandable; this life must be hard for you since you was a crown prince, though now you’ve been disinherited.
I brushed his hand, turned, and look directly at him.
His Highness, I hadn’t seen in a long time, had lost the luster of his hair, his complexion was pale, and had scars all over his body.
I wonder if Maria’s restorative magic hasn’t been effective in helping him recover.
He looks pitiful.
“Why is that? Oh, look at you, Alice… You are beautiful. …Yes, I remember now. When you were a little girl, you were certainly as lovely a princess as the flower fairy just like you right now.”
“Your Highness, please stop this. I like my life right now.
If you want to return to the palace, why don’t you face the trials of His Majesty without relying on me, overcome them, and return to the castle with a renewed dignity?”
“Don’t be unreasonable. I’m not sure if they are targeting me because I’m royalty or not, but assassins often came on me, and I don’t have time to rest.
I’m cannot find lodging in the city, so I camped out in this forest for a while, but … recently, the number of man-eating apples has increased abnormally, and I’m tired of it. It’s impossible to rest properly with them keep spawning.
I’m sure I’ll be able to find a way to clean them if I could go back to the palace. I could lead a group of knights to defeat them all at once.”
Those assassins. Is it possible that the royal family is the one who sends them?
If they’re going to make the second prince a true successor, they must view the first prince as hindrances that need to be removed no matter that.
Also, Hayato can solo-hunt a dragon, right?
Was it impossible to utilize reverse harem full strength to do the same?
While it’s true that Hayato is an anomaly, the reverse harem is all capture targets, so their abilities should be reasonably high.
Based on the balance and characteristics of the attack targets, his Highness is an all-rounder type, the Prime Minister’s son is a magic attacker type, the Knight Commander’s son is a physical attacker type, the teacher is undoubtedly a support type, and Luke is —
Come to think of it; Luke was nowhere to be seen among the reverse harem members.
That boy is now spending his days studying at the academy and remains as Duke’s family member without involved in the incident at that graduation party; his Highness and the others had to camp out in the forest because of that event.
Luke, you were supposed to have gone to the party as a representative of the student council, but you didn’t participate in the condemnation event…?
In other words, Luke wasn’t captured by Maria?
Miss Maria, did you fail to complete the reverse harem route?
Maybe thanks to that, the route to the hidden character (Hayato) wasn’t available in the first place.
Or probably there’s no such thing as game compulsion force? Well, it’s possible.
“Oh! Alice! You finally gave me that dazzling smile! I’m so happy for us!”
“Eh? I was smiling!?”
I looked at Hayato; he was casually avoiding Maria, who attempt to touch him as subtly as possible while we’re having this conversation.
As expected from you! You’re not letting her get into you at all.
Somehow, I feel so much better now.
Well, I don’t want to get involved with these weirdos anymore, so let’s go home!
“Alice, both of us can go apologize to His Majesty and say…” “Hey, Hayato, let’s get out of here…” at that moment, I stuttered….
The color of Hayato’s hair was changing.
It’s a dark blue color.
Indeed, I just noticed it, but this whole area is filled with dense dark magic from some time ago.
A strong demon might come out—.
Maria reached for Hayato’s discolored hair.
“Huh? Hayato, is your hair getting darker? Come to think of it, the last time I saw you here, it was silver.”
I push her off to the side and stand in front of Hayato. His eyes have turned dark-blue as well, which is also mysterious and beautiful, but this isn’t the time for that.
“Um, your hair. It’s turning darker.”
“Yeah. If the outbreak was this big, I already expect something to be here.
There, I knew it… It’s right in the back. Come on, Alice.”
He held out his hand to me, and I nodded and took it.
We both started running towards the back of the forest.
I heard Maria’s cry from behind me.
“Aaah! Alisha is awful! Why are you so mean?!”
Ignore it. Ignore it.
Hayato, running in my front by a bit, muttered to himself.
“They’re amazingly persistent people…”
“Do you understand what I went through when I was at the academy?”
He squeezed my hand and gripped it tightly.