I Quit Being the Rival of the Strongest Male Lead - Chapter 1
“Anabelle, aren’t you going to wake up already?”
A loud voice pierced my ears.
“Do you have time to do this? You should be training first thing in the morning!”
Reid shouted as he slammed the door open.
“This is our last chance! If you fail the sword competition again, you won’t be nothing more than an illegitimate bastard!”
I groaned and shifted over in bed. My long strands of bright purple hair spread out.
“Why the hell are you slacking off without going to the training ground these days? Are you out of your mind?”
‘Of all things, I can’t believe I was born into this role…’
I was living my life to the fullest until a huge change happened a few days ago; I suddenly remembered my previous life.
I even realized that the world I lived in was based on a book I read before reincarnating.
I isolated myself in my room for a few days, frustrated by the idea that I was born as a character in a book and had a predetermined future.
I denied it at first because I didn’t want to accept it, but my memories became clearer and my previous self had fully blended in.
If I had been reborn as a villainess with a crush on the male lead, I wouldn’t have felt so hopeless. If that were the case, I could just stop liking him and move on with my life.
Furthermore, I wish I had known this the moment I reincarnated.
‘What’s the point of remembering anything in the spring of my 22nd year?’
For 22 years, I’ve been faithful to the original novel and worked hard in building up my karma.
“Are you going to lose against Ian Weidross again?”
Annabel Nadit, the role I was reincarnated in, was the male lead’s, Ian, rival.
No, only Anabelle saw Ian as a rival; he didn’t care about her at all.
In the Imperial Swords Competition, a huge event held every four years, he was always in the first place and I was in second.
The event was so prestigious, the winner was granted a title as a prize.
But there was a problem: only one person could win first place.
‘A nasty world that only recognizes the first place is the same in this life and any life!’
There was also a 24-year age restriction.
‘It’s the same as saying you won’t have a chance once you get older.’
I’m already 22 years old, hence this swordsmanship competition, which would take place shortly after, was my last chance.
“Aren’t you supposed to get a title no matter what!?”
Reid shouted once more.
“Aren’t you putting too much faith in my underground work? He’s a demon. You know he’s a dangerous opponent even if you chop off his limbs!”
I was born as the illegitimate daughter of Marquis Avedes, one of the empire’s most prestigious noblemen, and, like any illegitimate child, I needed to gain my own title to be acknowledged as the daughter of a noble family.
Reid, my mother’s elder stepbrother, became my guardian when she died. Ever since I showed my talent for swordsmanship when I was a child, his goal was for me to win a title and proudly become a member of the Marquis of Avedes.
I’m going insane again at the thought of that piece of crap selling my sister and making a fortune from her.”
Marquis Avedes’s wealth was all that mattered to him.
I’ll have the right to inherit if I become a member of the Marquis’ family, thus I’ll be able to get at least a large property with a few mines.
Although my mother gave birth to me and was generously compensated by the Marquis, Reid wasn’t satisfied.
“Reid, if you do nasty things, you’ll be beaten to death.”
In any case, I was aware of the outcome of the swordsmanship tournament.
‘Ian Weidross was not a man I could defeat.’
He was truly the strongest person in the world, so even if 10 people like me challenged him, he was a human being who could subdue them all at once.
Because I didn’t want to accept it, I’d been wasting my breath telling him to die. But now, even though I was still bewildered, I had no choice but to accept it and move on with my life.
‘I can’t even compare to him.’
Ian Weidross, the heir of the Duke of Weidross, the empire’s most prestigious family, was a flawless man.
I had to accept it and think of a plan for the future.
‘Of course, if I wish for it really hard, maybe the universe will grant my wish, and if I work hard with a bone-crushing heart, there may be as little probability as an ant’s toe…’
That’s what I was thinking about as I looked in the mirror, ignoring Reid’s whines.
To be honest, I’m not willing to put my life in danger for that possibility.
‘Besides, it’s not like I haven’t worked so hard until now to the point of breaking my bones.’
Now that I know the future, I have completely given up on living a stinky life as the heir of a high-ranking noble.
Reid’s wealth would allow me to play and eat for the rest of my life, and after combining my past and present selves, it became clear that the desire to be acknowledged as a member of the nobility was not mine, but that of my family.
What I wanted wasn’t the envy of others or even first place…
“I’m confident you’ll win this time. After all, I’m putting in a lot of effort behind the scenes. But if you fall into a slump like this…”
He continued to babble without thinking.
‘A future in which we all perish because of your behind-the-scenes efforts…’
My head hurt just thinking about the future.
“Reid, could you please shut up? You’re being noisy.”
“What? You say I’m too loud right now, me, who only wants you to succeed?”
“That’s right. So get out now.”
I already had a lot on my mind, and his quacking made me dizzy.
“How dare you!”
“Would you want a haircut?”
I spoke grimly and pretended to wield the sword.
“You never know. I don’t train as you say, so I’m afraid I’ll cut off your hair by mistake.”
Although it happened in his later years, Reid finished second in the swordsmanship competition after subduing the empire’s second best.
He paused for a moment and then came out snorting.
I was left alone and fell back in bed.
The idea of winning first place in the swordsmanship competition, which couldn’t happen anyhow, was quickly abandoned. It would be foolish for me to keep acting in the same way now that I know the future.
However, a problem persisted.
Four years ago, I realized that I don’t play fairly.
That’s why I’ve already plotted with Reid to beat Ian in some way.
‘They’ll find out eventually, I guess I really am insane!’
I sighed, burying my face in my hands.
Our plan to harm him would be exposed, and we would be punished.
When I first read it, I liked her because she was relentless, but now I am reincarnated as that very character!
‘I have to protect my wealth.’
What a disgrace, we were both sued, beaten up at trial, and ended in prison.
‘No, my property isn’t the issue. I should stay out of jail.’
However, it would be too much for me to get rid of all Reid’s traps that had already been dug.
‘And he would never stop.’
There was only one way.
I needed to keep Ian safe before the traps burst.
[“Just wait and see, you cheeky bastard. I’m going to crush you. By all means!”]
[“You should first learn about chivalry.”]
His ruby eyes, tainted with contempt, lingered in my mind.
[“Don’t come in with nasty tricks.”]
Ian Weidross had everything.
Blonde hair that shined brilliantly, ruby-red eyes, a historic family named Weidross, and exceptional swordsmanship skills.
He was born with an entirely different background than mine, who was only an illegitimate child.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve been working so hard to defeat him.
It was okay to aim for victory. The hard work was difficult yet enjoyable. The issue was that I didn’t play fairly.
What Anabelle and Reid planned in the original for the swordsmanship tournament, was a crime.
‘So it was a fitting ending for a criminal…’
The Duke of Weidross was also well-known for his chivalry. So, when he discovered that we were attempting to harm his only heir by employing a cruel ploy, he became crueler than anybody else.
‘Never, ever get caught.’
Regardless of how hard I tried to thwart the plan, there was a sequence of plots to harm Ian until right before the sword competition.
I’ve already signed up for the swordsmanship contest, and I can only withdraw on the same day.
I considered abandoning everything and simply fleeing, but I didn’t know how to do anything other than swordsmanship training.
I couldn’t speak a foreign language, didn’t know much about the world and didn’t have any money.
At the very least, I had to stay in the imperial capital, where I could take advantage of my qualification as second place in the swordsmanship competition. That way, even in the worst-case scenario, there was a way to live.
‘I only have one choice.’
Until then, I had to keep Ian out of danger so he wouldn’t get suspicious and start investigating it.
‘We will be doomed if he starts an investigation.’
Meanwhile, I needed to fool Reid. If he knew I was attempting to save the male lead, he’d plot something different behind my back.
‘Today is the High Priest’s official visit to the imperial palace. Wasn’t he who was supposed to be the escort?’
Today, he planned to poison Ian’s arm.
Of course, due to his monstrous reflexes, he only ends up with a few scratches and mild paralysis for a few days, but he shouldn’t even be paralyzed in the first place!
I didn’t want to have him digging around because he believed there was a plot against him.
‘Anabelle Nadit… you wasted your life.’
The palace was full of Reid’s people. Meanwhile, I’ve been concerned with my sword training without even having a single pawn. As a result, I couldn’t ask anybody else to do it for me, and I had no choice but to do it myself.
If Ian stepped on my tail, I’d blame Reid and have to rely on my goodwill to survive.
Thus, I made up my mind.
Even though I reincarnated as this crappy character, I remembered every detail of the book until the middle, and although things have already happened to some extent, I was hoping to be able to fix it and start a new life.
To do so, I had to give up my role as a rival villainess, a petty side character who always ended up stepping on her toes after saying cheap lines like “You wait till I get my hands on you!” or “I’ll beat you next time!”