“But why” I ask, my voice coming out slightly whinier than I had intended.
“Alicia, I don’t want you to keep getting put in harm’s way.
What will you do if something like this happens again”
As I look into his eyes, I can see how truly worried he is for me.
However, there’s really no need for him to feel concerned.
I’m still training every single day to make sure that I can handle anything that’s thrown my way.
“I can protect myself,” I say definitively.
“You’re still just a thirteen-year-old girl,” he says gravely.
His voice is low and has a hint of authority sharpening its tone.
Hm So you’ve finally realized that
“Ali, what would have happened if there had been more men You could have been killed!”
“Even with more men I would have been fine.
Last time, if I had died it would have been…..”
….the saintess’s fault….
is what I was going to say, but then I stop myself.
I don’t want to make Father any more worried than he already is.
It’s all my fault.
I never should have let them ask such a thing of you.
Just because you have exceptional talent doesn’t mean that you should be forced to deal with these sorts of situations so young.”
A heavy furrow forms between Father’s eyebrows as he says this.
His expression screams of pain and regret.
“Please don’t think like that, Father.
You don’t need to worry about me! I’ll be fine.
And since I’ve promised to take on the council’s request, I want to see it through to the end.”
I’d be rather troubled if they dismissed me from my role as Liz Cather’s monitor at this point.
All of my efforts to be able to stand on equal footing with her would all go to waste!
Liz-san is already a vital component to getting my name be immortalized in history as an amazing villainess.
Just as my father and the rest of the council view me as a mere chess piece– a means to an end– I’m basically using Liz-san in the same way in order to bolster my fame and notoriety.
Ha! Even I feel like thinking of Liz-san as just a tool is quite a dastardly train of thought.
As far as villainous schemes go, I’m sure this one will earn me full points.
“Even if you’re fine with it, I’m not.
I realize just how disgustingly hypocritical I must sound to you right now.
To suddenly tell you to stop doing something when I was the one who had requested it of you in the first place, I know how absurd that must seem.
I know that it’s unreasonable…… But, Ali.
I can’t bear to see you keep getting hurt.”
Father’s expression is pleading and earnest, begging me to understand.
From this one look I can tell that he loves me dearly.
But still, it really is an unreasonable request.
Sure, Liz-san’s head is filled with nothing but flowers and her followers are brainless, brainwashed idiots, but they haven’t hurt me at all.
I’ve been amazed by their endless imbecility and insipidity, but I’m the villainess and she’s the heroine, you know All of that is still well within my expectations.
Right from the start I knew the two of us wouldn’t see eye-to-eye.
But to expect me to give up when I’ve barely even started because of some tiny hiccup… No way! I refuse to step down.
“I don’t care! I’m not going to quit! I chose to go down this road myself, so I’m not giving up halfway.
I’ve already made up my mind and no one can change that.”
In the heat of the moment, my voice gets a little louder than it ought.
But that’s just how determined I am.
As stubbornness flares between us, the tension rises in the room.
“It’s way too selfish of you to force me to quit now.”
He’s probably not very pleased to be called selfish by his thirteen-year-old daughter, but as a villainess, this is not the time for me to be pulling my punches.
He’s likely thinking that I’m an unfilial, hateful child right about now.
And, because my voice was quite loud, I’m sure that any passing servants should have easily heard what I was saying.
Any minute now, there are bound to be countless rumors circulating about what a terrible child I am.
Ooh, how awesome would that be….!
“Alicia, please try to understand.”
“I don’t want to.
I’m not going to change my mind.”
A villainess does not bend her will in accordance to the will of others.
If I was the heroine, then I would probably try to listen to him… and understand… and end up quickly giving in….
But sorry, Father.
That’s not me.
I’m a villainess through and through.
He stares fixedly at me for a few seconds without saying anything.
Nope! Sorry! Even if you look at me like that, I have no desire to reconsider my decision.
“Ali, I just want you to be happy,” he finally sighs.
His voice is quiet and sounds almost… sad.
For a moment, my heart is shaken.
Is it really okay for me to act like this to him when Father cares this much for me He really just wants to do what’s best for me, and I’m practically throwing all that effort back in his face.
……But, my dream is to become a splendid villainess.
I can’t let anyone get in the way of that.
This is the only thing that I refuse to give up on.
I won’t quit.”
This time my voice is resolute, but quiet.
As before, he continues to carefully examine my face, searching for something.
And after long moment of silence, as if he found something hidden in my expression, he heaves another small sigh.
I won’t make you quit.
But there are going to be some conditions that you’ll have to meet before I allow you to continue.”
There is an amazing air of command and dignity in his tone that I’ve never heard there before.
It’s something that says there will be no arguing on this point.
I can’t help but sit up a bit straighter as a slight chill runs down my spine.
Instantly, the atmosphere of the whole room feels different.
I’ve never seen my father act like this before.
Plus, to suddenly attach conditions to something that is well underway….
is rather odd, is it not Though, if he’s willing to let me continue monitoring Liz Cather, then I’m fine with it.
It’s a thousand times better than him trying to force me to quit.
“Fine with me.
But if I do manage to clear all of your conditions, then I want you to promise to let me continue to monitor Liz-san.”
I promise,” Father says, nodding his head.
His every move is suddenly filled with a grace and solemnity that I’d never noticed in him before.
“The first condition is that you are not allowed to meet with Liz Cather or anyone else until you are 15…..
That includes family.
You’ll have to live in a little cabin that’s far from our estate.”
There’s a funny glint in his eyes as he says this.
“Also, by the time you turn 15, you need to have acquired at least level 90 magic.”
What! Level 90! But a regular 15-year-old is only expected to reach level 20.
That’s the entrance requirement for entering the academy.
His first condition is completely ridiculous, and there’s no way the second one is possib…… Oh! So that’s how he wants to play it.
If he tosses out these impossible, nonsensical prerequisites, he must think that I’ll just give up being Liz Cather’s monitor without even trying.
What a dirty, rotten schemer.
“Those are my conditions,” Father’s low voice rings throughout the room with a sense of finality.
Those conditions are absolutely ludicrous.
If doing those two things is the only way that I’ll be allowed to continue monitoring Liz Cather….
I’ll just have to deal with them the best I can.
Honestly speaking, I don’t need to be her monitor in order to bully her.
Even without it, I can bully Liz-san to my heart’s content, no problem! But…..
as a villainess, it just doesn’t sit right with me to give up halfway on something I committed to.
My bad name will be run through the mud if word were to ever get out.
History would remember me as the half-baked villainess, the witch who was too capricious to bother finishing what she started.
That is definitely not the sort of infamy that I am striving for.
Deal,” I say confidently.
I’ll show him the true spirit of a villainess.
Father must have thought there was no way that I would ever agree to those conditions.
But joke’s on him for underestimating me!
All that majesty and bravado that had been in his face is completely blown away like a flickering candle in a hurricane.
All that’s left is my father standing there in shock; stiff, wide-eyed, and gaping.
Oh-ho~ Even if you regret it now, it’s already too late.
I won’t take pity on you for something like this.
You dug your grave and now you’ll have to lie in it.
In fact, I’ll help you make that hole a bit deeper and make you wish you’d tried harder to think of more impossible conditions.
“……You’ll be living in a tiny….
shack, you know!”
That won’t be a problem,” I tell him cheerfully.
“You’ll be completely alone for two years!!”
A villainess is originally someone fated to be alone.
A little isolation before I get officially ostracized certainly won’t be an issue.
Plus! It will give me ample time to train in peace.
I realize that.
But, I hope you’ll at least continue to supply me with a steady stream of new reading materials during that time period.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to acquire it before the time is up.”
I give him a content, angelic smile as I assure him that I will fulfil all the conditions perfectly.
Though, I’m sure to him my grin must look like something from the devil himself.