By Shakushineko and Yukiko. Released in Japan as “Betabore no Kon’yakusha ga Akuyaku Reijō ni Saresō nanode Heroine gawa ni wa Sore Sōō no Mukui o Ukete Morau” by Mag Garden Novels. Released in North America by Cross Infinite World. Translated by Mittt Liu.
As with so many of these books that are written as one-offs but unexpectedly become popular, the subtitle to this second volume is inaccurate. The “heroine” of the first book is still being emotionally tortured by sadistic magic expert Raphael, and doesn’t figure into this volume. A more accurate subtitle might be “I’ll Fight the Foreign Prince for My Villainous Fiancée!”. As with the first book, Elizabeth is about as villainous as a wet rag, but due to plot circumstances we do get to see her acting the part near the end. This is actually the funniest moment in the book, as she’s absolutely terrible at being bad, even if it’s for good reasons. As for the series itself, it remains “decent”. There’s nothing overtly wrong with it, and the main couple are sweet, but unfortunately it also lacks that certain something to make it stand out from the pack.
Things are mostly going well for Vincent and Elizabeth. The young lady plotting their downfall has been dealt with in a vaguely creepy but also pretty permanent manner. The guy who was also antagonizing them is now under house arrest. And they’ve even managed to confess to each other in the shyest, most adorable way possible. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for a start, Lord Lars is back, and he’s now a dragon. A tiny dragon the size of a cat. And seems to have very little memory of being Lars except a vague “I am imprinted on Elizabeth” sort of way. More importantly, there are visitors from the neighboring kingdom of Orion, which is currently undergoing a bit of a throne war. In that case, why is Second Prince Leohardt arriving to study at the academy? And why is he bringing along a baron’s daughter who can barely string two sentences together without screwing up?
The most interesting part of this book is how they set things up so that Lecia, the aforementioned baron’s daughter, can marry the First Prince. Normally the status difference would be far too great, so everyone assumes that the second prince is going to unseat his brother from the throne and thus make it OK for him to marry Lecia. But no, Leohardt is craftier than that (a lot is made about his demonic smile throughout the book). The plan they have instead is a bit of an ass pull (it’s fortunate that a mere baron’s daughter can punch out all that magic after simply seeing one traumatic event) but I’m OK with the handwave, especially as it allows our “villainess” to show off her absolutely terrible acting chops. Leohardt is also very interested in Elizabeth… supposedly, this may also be a lie… but by now she is very firm at rejecting other suitors. We even get a few more scenes from her POV, which were welcome.
There is a third book in this series, and judging by the wedding outfits on the cover it’s the final one. Given that Vincent can’t even bring himself to kiss Elizabeth on the lips, they likely need to third volume to build up the nerve. Recommended for those who like adorable dorks being dorky.