Liz-san stares at me, completely frozen.
I wonder if I should ask her the question again.
If I learned anything from reading her essay yesterday, it’s just how highly she thinks of people in general.
Because of that, she probably can’t even wrap her head around what I just asked her.
She must think the concept of equality should be common sense to everyone.
If I were to summarize her paper into a couple of sentences, it would be something like: “There are no people born into this world by mistake.
As human beings, we are all born equal, which is why it’s ridiculous to try to assign a value on a person’s worth or to discriminate based only on whether they can or can’t use magic.
The inhabitants of the impoverished village are also human beings, so we need to treat them as such.
We need to break down the wall surrounding the village and let them live under the same conditions that we enjoy here on the outside.”
What she’s saying isn’t entirely wrong of course.
There is some righteous truth to it.
But it’s the type of logic that only a true saintess would be able to come up with.
Living under such idealism will forever prevent her from becoming a pillar of strength for this nation.
She needs to learn how to think of the greater good and not just the poor, suffering person right in front of her.
“What is it that you’re trying say” Liz-san asks, looking at me suspiciously.
“Let me rephrase that for you, shall I Are you against distinguishing between people based on rank and superiority”
“Then, you think this academy is unnecessary”
“What’s that supposed to mean”
“Merely that the academy hardly chooses its students with equality in mind… But I digress.
Allow me to present my thoughts as well.
In my opinion, I believe it’s important that we assign such ranks to people.”
“But that’s so wrong.
Each and every person has their own values and strengths, so we should all be considered equal.
Since it’s impossible to understand a person’s true worth, of course you shouldn’t be assigning them ranks.”
“Then, Liz-san, what about His Majesty, the king By that logic, the rank of royalty is unnecessary as well, I suppose”
The gazes of the people around me who had been watching our exchange with mild interest all turn heated and sharp.
I’ve splendidly transitioned to becoming their enemy now.
It’s all going according to plan!
“Are you trying to hold His Majesty in contempt” Gayle-Sama demands, glaring at me.
Those eyes… with that look on his face, he’s truly the spitting image of Johan-Sama.
“Alicia-chan, letting people follow their dreams and be who they are is the most important thing in the world.
Since His Majesty is the king, of course he should live as one,” Liz-san says, throwing an angelic smile at me.
And, as if bolstered by that smile, the surrounding people all start expressing their agreement with her in unison.
“Liz-Sama is right.”
“Alicia-Sama is so arrogant.”
“She’s holding His Majesty in contempt.
This is lèse majesté.”
“She’s looking down on us.”
I hear them all chattering amongst themselves.
This is that scenario that villainesses often find themselves in…! A societal rejection scene!
What an amazing development.
This is the best!
“Can you not ignore the main issue here We’re not talking about letting people follow their dreams or be themselves.
That’s a personal matter dealt with by simple cooperation and finding confidence in their own individuality.
Those are things that everyone can decide on their own.
Can’t you see that you are contradicting yourself So, once and for all, I want to know whether you would abolish the caste system completely, or allow our society to maintain its current ranks.”
“I believe I’ve already said this multiple times, but I don’t believe in differentiating people by rank.”
“And your reasoning for that is because everyone has their own strengths, right”
That’s right,” Liz-san says, determination alighting in her eyes.
“Then, are you also against ranking those strengths themselves”
Ugh. Why is she trying so hard to play dumb
“You do realize that your presence here at this academy is precisely because your particular ability was ranked highly, do you not The only reason you were able to enroll here is because such distinctions exist.”
“That’s not fair! It’s due to Liz’s own hard work that she was able to come here!” Eric-Sama declares, raising his voice.
I let out a small sigh.
“I’m well aware of that fact….
Shall I put this another way, then What about the people in the impoverished village If they were to put in twice as much… three times as much… many times more effort than Liz-san, should they be allowed to attend this academy as well”
At this, Eric-Sama shuts his mouth.
He’s glaring daggers at me now.
This is the first time I’ve seen Eric-Sama actually get mad.
I really must have grown as a villainess.
“Societal rank, pedigree, appearance, economic status, intelligence, ability.
Every single one of these things distinguishes us from one another.
However, discriminating against people based on such notions is wrong.
That’s why everyone should be equally entitled to rights and privileges…..
But, while some rights are universal, not every privilege can be assigned to every person.
We cannot all hold the same jobs, all have the exact same amount of money, nor all hold the same amount of political power.
And since that’s the case, who is to assign these privileges to people How will we make those decisions of who gets what”
“By distinguishing people based on rank By allowing some people to lead” Liz-san says hesitantly, as if she might have accepted my argument.
Wow, did she finally understand what I’ve been trying to say this whole time
“Liz! You don’t have to listen to that brat,” one of the male students sitting off to the side cuts in.
And who are you supposed to be What an unreasonable guy, calling me a brat right from our first meeting.
No one’s ever dared call me that!
“I suppose you must be someone that agrees with Liz-san’s opinion.”
You got a problem with that”
“I’ll pose this next question to you, then.
How do you think we can create a world where rank doesn’t exist”
The boy’s eyes go wide.
He must not have been thinking at all.
He’s just blindly following Liz-san’s opinions without bothering to formulate any thoughts of his own…..
Is this academy full of nothing but idiots
“Well, to start with, I think we should destroy the wall around the impoverished village,” Liz-san says, enunciating each word very carefully.
I glance towards Gilles, unsure of how he might be taking all this talk of his hometown.
It only takes a second for me to read his expression.
He’s looking at Liz-san as if he can’t believe that such an idiot actually exists.
…..I feel the same way, Gilles.
“If you do that, you’ll be destroying all semblance of public order…”
“You b*tch! That’s not what you were saying earlier! What about their rights that you were lecturing about! Huh” yells the male student from before.
He had been staring blankly at us during our last couple of exchanges but it seems he’s finally managed to kick-start his brain again.
“You b*tch Excuse me Just who do you think you are” I say, putting all of my rage into my eyes as I glare murderously at him.
At the same time, I release the full pressure of my exceptional magic power.
Suddenly, the air feels charged and heavy.
The boy, the main target of my fury, begins to tremble.
I’m the epitome of a villainess right now.
I’ve thought this a couple of times before, but if the internet were to exist in this world, people would definitely be live-streaming this right now.
“Stop it!” Liz-san cries.
Simultaneously, the atmosphere seems to lighten up slightly.
Since Liz-san holds a good deal more magic power than me, dispersing the pressure that I created is basically child’s play for her.
Ugh. It must be so great having the heroine’s plot armor at work for you.
I’m so jealous!
“Alicia-chan, what do you want” Liz-san asks me a bit despondently, a huge wrinkle forming between her brows.
Well that’s an easy question.
I want to become a villainess, of course.
That’s why I’ve purposely come to this crowded place and am currently bullying you like there’s no tomorrow.
“There are a multitude of things that you need to do before you can safely bring down that wall around the impoverished village, you know,” I say instead of answering her.
“No, the wall is the whole problem.
I’m sure everyone living there wants the wall gone as soon as possible.
As long as we get rid of it, then everyone will be able to live their lives happily.”
If we actually did that, then all that dissatisfaction, pain, and unrest that has been brewing there all these years would explode.
There would be a violent uprising tearing through our country.
I wish Liz-san could see the impoverished village at least once for herself.
Then she might have a chance at understanding how truly savage the conditions are there.
I’m intentionally stopping myself from looking Gilles’s way, but I can’t help picturing what his current expression must look like.
I’m sure he’s gone way beyond being surprised by Liz-san at this point.
He’s probably staring at her with eyes filled with scorn and disgust by now.
“Yes! I think so too! We just need to get rid of that wall and everything will be fine!”
“Yeah! Liz-Sama is correct!”
“Get lost, you demon!”
“I wish you’d hurry up and leave.”
“Don’t ruin the mood!”
All at once, everyone starts shouting at me.
So this is the power of a mob all banding together for a common cause.
….Well, this doesn’t bode well for me getting anything else done today.
But, I’ve successfully made a mess of their precious tea party! What an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
And to think….
someone even called me a demon!
I would have preferred that they call me a villainess but…..
I shouldn’t be too picky.
For today, I’ll be happy with just this much.
I feel like I’m on top of the world right now! But….
Did I actually achieve my initial goal Or not I’m honestly not sure.
I still have lots of time from here on out, right So there should be no need to worry about it.
Ah, I met Duke-Sama’s eyes by accident just now.
Between our interlocked gazes, as clearly as I can I signal for him not to step in.
Thankfully, Duke-Sama seems to understand, since he doesn’t make a move.
“Then, I shall take my leave.”
As I say this, I lightly grasp the sides of my skirt and give them all a graceful curtsy.
Wait, doesn’t this feel like I’m running away I can’t just leave like this….
As Liz Cather’s handler, I need to say something before I go.
“But first, one last thing.
Liz-san, would you say that you’re a competitive person”
At my sudden question, Liz-san’s eyes widen perceptibly.
I can now clearly see their emerald green shade even from my current distance.
Those jewel colored eyes seem to sparkle every time I see them.
And not a moment later, she aims that angelic smile at me once again.
I knew that smile couldn’t be far behind that twinkling gaze.
“I am a bit competitive, but mostly against myself.
I’m always striving to be the best person that I can possibly be, so my goal is always to surpass my previous self.”
“That’s an admirable mindset to have….But, not everyone is capable of motivating themselves like that.
They need an outside source, a rival or some sort of reason to strive to do better and grow as a person.
That’s why using ranks to distinguish people can actually be a good thing.
It gives them something to strive and work hard for.”
Saying that, I send my own relaxed grin her way, and then Gilles and I leave the rose garden.
With those last words, I should have accomplished my original objective, right She’s frustratingly naive, but even I’ll admit that Liz-san should still be considered intelligent.
So I think she should have understood what I was trying to say.
As Gilles and I walk away, I have my calm and collected mask thoroughly in place, but the farther away we get, the more relaxed I become.
After a few minutes, without meaning to, my lips end up cracking into a huge grin.
Gilles seems a bit off-put when I start giggling to myself, but I don’t care.
I’m on cloud nine right now and nothing can bring me down.
After today’s stellar performance, won’t the whole school have started calling me a villainess by this time tomorrow
Mm! How satisfying!
I’m definitely going to sleep well tonight.