The only ones who seem surprised by my words are Liz-san, Eric-Sama, Curtis-Sama, Gayle-Sama, Alan-Oniisama, and Henry-Oniisama.
The king, the heads of the five great noble houses, along with Duke-Sama, Albert-Oniisama, and unexpectedly Finn-Sama as well don’t show even a hint of surprise in their expressions.
They don’t seem to be concealing the feeling, either.
They look as if they already knew what I was going to say….
Ah, I get it now.
I know the reason that this meeting was called.
They want to gauge my skills and verify that I have the ability to assess Liz-san’s thoughts and actions.
In other words, this should be a test to see if I possess the proper qualifications needed to take on the role of monitoring the saintess.
Which means that they are still not convinced that I have the intelligence necessary for the job, doesn’t it
To bring me here so suddenly and without warning like this….
these adults really know how to play dirty.
Although Duke-Sama, Albert-Oniisama, and Finn-Sama didn’t have much of a reaction, I’m sure they weren’t in on the ploy.
So, for them to react like that must mean they already had prior knowledge of Duran’s current state of affairs, I suppose I’m not surprised that Duke-Sama and Albert-Oniisama are quite well-informed, but I am a little taken aback by the fact that Finn-Sama knew as well.
He’s much more astute than I gave him credit for.
Sigh. Even if their methods were underhanded, I can’t disappoint my awaiting audience, now can I From now on, I’ll put on my best performance and show them a great battle of wits between the villainess and the saintess.
“A discrepancy between productivity and purchasing power” Liz-san asks, staring at me wide-eyed.
A failure of supply and demand, if you will.
You might not be aware, but four years ago, Duran instituted new economic policies in favor of mass producing a majority of their goods.”
“No, I’ve also heard about that.
But, shouldn’t that have stabilized their economy rather than weakened it”
However, only for the first several months.
If you are going to study, please do it properly,” I say, sending a sweet smile Liz-san’s way.
With just these meagre abilities, if Liz-san really were to become a pillar for this nation….
I really worry about our country’s future.
“Liz is always studying to the point where she barely has time to sleep!” Eric-Sama cries, outraged.
Is he an idiot
His muscles and ego are so inflated, they must have stolen the growth hormones that his brain needed to develop properly.
“Rather than earning a merely rudimentary knowledge at the cost of sleep deprivation, I think she really would have been better off getting a good night’s sleep.”
“Do you even know just how hard Liz works”
Is hard work something you would typically put on display
As someone who wants to become a villainess, I obviously won’t show such things to other people….
but could it be that people normally show off how much effort they are putting into things
Somehow, I’m not really sure what’s normal.
Between my current life, my past life, and my game knowledge, I don’t know what goes for common sense anymore.
“I understand that Alicia-chan is mad.
I haven’t studied enough and so my knowledge is lacking.
I’m sorry,” Liz-san says to me apologetically.
She’s definitely the heroine alright.
How straightforward and honest.
“Liz, why are you apologizing to her Aren’t you always trying your best You already work way harder than anyone else!”
Eric-Sama, please do kindly shut up.
“Do you realize how catastrophic it could be to lack even a single piece of information”
“I… will try even harder from now on,” Liz-san declares with a hard edge of determination in her voice.
Did she just completely ignore my question Did no one else notice that fact
They’re all just looking at her with kind eyes and are murmuring words of encouragement.
Even Henry-Oniisama is doing the same….
but his is just acting at least, right He’s just pretending to follow their lead
Oniisama, you’re just like a professional actor.
I definitely can’t let myself fall behind.
I have to show everyone just how amazing of a villainess I can be as well.
“Try You’re just going to try hard And what… do you think that as long as you put in a bit of effort that everything will be okay” I demand, smiling contemptuously down at her.
As long as I continue to work hard, I’m sure my efforts will be rewarded.”
“If you work hard but still don’t see any results, than all that effort will be meaningless.”
“Thankfully, as long as you work hard and don’t give up, those efforts will always bring you good results.”
Everyone nods their head in agreement.
Who wouldn’t like such a pure-hearted girl
Although, neither Duke-Sama nor my father show any reaction to her words.
Again, even Henry-Oniisama is nodding his head along with the rest….
Since he’s this good at acting, I wonder if there are others besides him who are just pretending to go along with all this
“As long as you continue to try your best, you’ll definitely do great,” Eric-Sama declares loudly.
That overly optimistic drivel is so empty.
It’s so irresponsible.
Hearing people say that sort of nonsense with such conviction is one of the things I can’t stand the most.
“The only thing that hard work can ensure is confidence, not results.”
In an instant, everyone’s gaze gathers on me again.
After taking in a small breath, I continue.
“And getting back to the topic at hand, because of the mass production policies, Duran has fallen into a state of overproduction that their consumption levels cannot keep up with.
That is why their economy collapsed.
…..Which is exactly why we should take this opportunity to buy them over to our side,” I say, smiling broadly.
This is it! This is the epitome of a villainess.
To smile gaily after throwing out that sort of line, that should have increased my villainess points by quite a bit.
We buy them out of their mounting debt and in return we have Duran swear fealty to the Duelkis Kingdom.”
“And then what will become of the Duranian citizens”
“I don’t know.
That’s irrelevant at the moment.
But getting back to the point and our initial goal in talking about all this… Buying out Duran will be a major step in the plan for taking over Ravaal.”
“That’s too cruel!” Liz-san cries as she stares at me sternly.
I suppose this expression is the closest she can come to actually glaring at someone.
“The Duranian people haven’t done anything wrong! How can you not even think about the consequences that taking over Duran would have on them”
“If the conditions become that bad, then they can always just flee to a neighboring country.”
“How can you think that’s okay! And Alicia-chan.
After we buy all their goods, didn’t it cross your mind that their people might starve to death”
But the new policies that will be put in place after we take control aren’t something that I can decide anyway.”
“That’s so irresponsible,” Liz-san cries, her eyes filling with contempt.
And it isn’t just Liz-san.
Albert-Oniisama and Eric-Sama are also looking at me with scorn-filled eyes.
It seems that the two of them have lost their ability to think to their devotion for Liz-san.
“If you’re so opposed, then what would you propose we do, Liz-san”
“We don’t need to buy them out.
We need to form an alliance with them!”
“With a country who’s economy is in tatters”
Unconsciously, my whole body stiffens as I stare at her in abject horror.
Glancing around the table, I notice that the king and the five head nobles are also staring at her in near disbelief.
After she made such a ridiculous suggestion though, I’m not surprised.
“And how does that benefit us”
“If you’re only ever thinking about your personal gains, then you’ll lose sight of what’s truly important.”
What nonsense is she spouting now She’s acting like a perfect little saintess or something!
……Which, I suppose she technically is.
And what will you do after allying with them”
“Well, the most important thing is to stabilize their economy, so of course we should pay off their debts and provide aid for them.”
You know Maybe it’s a good thing that Gilles wasn’t here for this.
After hearing this last bit of idiocy, I don’t think he could have held himself back.
He probably would have ended up yelling at her, trying to force some sense into that thick head of hers.
“Do you really think that a country that has our own impoverished villages has the ability to provide that sort of aid”
“That’s….” Liz-san stutters.
She opens her mouth to continue but no sound comes out as if the words are stuck in her throat.
“Liz-san, your plan clearly does not take the future of our own country into account.”
“But, I just want Duran’s economy to be restored!”
“You just want it Without coming up with a single plausible plan to make it happen”
“That’s why I suggested that we need to give them our assistance!”
“Do you even have a brain in that pretty little head of yours”
At this last remark, Liz-san seems speechless.
But unfortunately, there’s another idiot here that hasn’t lost his words yet.
“Oi! What the hell are you saying!” Eric-Sama bellows, his face going beat red.
I can practically see steam coming from his ears.
Oh To be yelled at by Liz-san’s precious knight in shining armor, I must be doing a great job at this whole villainess business.
“I didn’t say anything she didn’t deserve.
She suggested that we ally with Duran while fully knowing that there won’t be a single benefit for us.
She wants us to just throw our own money away with no regard for the state of our own country.
And waste it on a country that is utter trash right now.”
With a screech, Albert-Oniisama sends his chair careening backward as he bolts to his feet, yelling my name.
It seems that his patience with me has run out at last.
To wear down his seemingly infinite tolerance, aren’t I amazing
“This isn’t something you can just consider based on possible profits.
If you only act based on what you stand to gain, then that will only lead our country to ruin in the end.”
In contrast to Albert-Oniisama’s outburst, Liz-san is still speaking with a calm, quiet, reasonable tone.
“If your idealistic plans aren’t able to take potential profits into account, then you’ll never be able to make them into a reality.
You can feel free to help them as much as you see fit under your own power, but I’d prefer it if you didn’t drag our country down for the sake of your ideals.”
“Alicia, just get out of here,” Albert-Oniisama says, barely managing to keep his voice under control.
He’s clenching his fist so hard on table that I can actually see it trembling.
He seems quite mad but…..
I’m a villainess.
Of course I won’t bother listening to him.
“Until His Majesty the king tells me to leave, then I should have just as much right to be here as anyone else,” I declare, straightening my back and staring down Albert-Oniisama.
At my words, the king doesn’t say anything.
His eyes are currently closed and a wrinkle is etched deeply between his brows as he rests his chin on his hand, but he doesn’t make any move to object.
“Alicia-chan, then what would you do To help Duran’s economy” Liz-san asks, training her emerald green eyes on me.
Ah, I’m so done with this conversation.
I’m starting to get so hungry.
I wish I would have eaten before coming here.
It seems that it’s true that you can’t fight on an empty stomach.
But, I can’t just leave now.
As someone charged with monitoring Liz-san, I have to give her an answer.
“If we were to ally ourselves with Duran it would be pointless for us to send relief aid to them.
Unless they can revive their economy themselves, we’ll be stuck supporting them forever.”
“Then what can we do”
“….Liz-san, do you know what product is considered Duran’s specialty”
Their economy might have collapsed but their specialty still remains.”
“So if they just sell their potatoes to other countries….
That should be enough to at least better their situation, right” Liz-san says, her expression brightening significantly at the thought.
It looks like my words are finally starting to get through to her a bit.
She needs to realize that the obvious, idealistic solution is rarely the best one.
“Up until now, potatoes were something that Duran has never tried to export to neighboring countries before!” she continues excitedly.
“Furthermore, if they leave the low grade potatoes for internal consumption and focus only on selling the high grade ones to foreign countries, they’ll be able to further increase their value.”
“Right! And just by doing that, they might be able to revive their own economy! Since Duran’s highest quality potatoes ought to sell for a huge amount!”
I’m quite happy now that she has finally understood what I’ve been trying to say.
Somehow, I’m overcome with this strong sense of accomplishment.
With this, I should have passed the test and proven that I can properly monitor Liz Cather, right
…….But man am I tired now.
What an exhausting job this is.
But, I suppose it’s worth it.
I’m sure I was able to make a wonderfully villainous impression on everyone here today, and the results of guiding Liz-san turned out alright in the end as well.
Although I’m tired, I let a huge, self-satisfied smile find its way onto my face.