Bad news continued.
“Father must have gone insane!”
That was the first thing Claire-sama spat out when she read the morning newspaper.
“It is written that taxes are being increased”
With disbelief on her face, Claire-sama passed me the newspaper.
I received and scanned over it, there it was written that the provisional government is raising taxes as a post-eruption measure.
It’s being said that in order to compensate for the damage dealt by the eruption, a large special budget is necessary, is what’s in the newspaper.
“People are already suffering from the rising price of commodities. A tax increase on top of that…”
It’s such a poor move even a layman at politics like me can understand that.
For Claire-sama who’s studied leadership from the early age, Dor-sama’s and his lot’s decision must look like extreme foolishness.
“As things are, I expect this to not be the end”
“It will not be long before a citizen protest occurs”
Claire-sama’s prediction isn’t wrong.
If the flow follows the game, demonstrations will begin the next week.
“Therefore, I wish Father’s provisional government would come to their senses…”
“And if they don’t?”
“… A riot may occur. According to the records left from the past eruption, such a thing had actually occurred”
It’s something I understand, but in practice it won’t end at a riot.
Masses that grew tired of the continued tyrannical rule will eventually turn towards a revolution.
If that happens, Claire-sama’s and other nobles’ fate will be tragic.
“Do you remember what Lily-sama said about revolution?”
“I believe it will happen afterwards”
Claire-sama looked daunted as she became speechless, but eventually,
“Even if it turns into that, it will not be strange. Not if aristocracy continues doing foolish things like this”
said so, and smiled in self-derision.
“What is Claire-sama planning to do?”
“What, you ask… I have done everything a single noble can. I cannot do any――”
I presented Claire-sama something like a notebook.
“The list of my assets deposited in the Trade Guild”
“I did not know you did such… Eh? So much?”
Written in the notebook was the amount of money that surprised even the foremost aristocrat like Claire-sama.
“What is with that amount. You would not be able to save this much from the wage of my servant?”
“I also worked part time at the same time”
“You have always been at my side almost all day long, have you not?”
“Yeah, it wasn’t a work restricted by time”
Claire-sama looked like she couldn’t agree, but for now I continued with my talk.
“Let’s use this money for something”
“Something… What do you have in mind?”
Claire-sama made a dubious face at my proposal.
“If that is the case, should you not cooperate with the provisional government. The soup kitchen would be performed more efficiently if you handed the money to the provisional government and entrusted it to them”
“Can Claire-sama trust the provisional government with how it is now?”
“… That is…”
“Moreover, Claire-sama. Claire-sama doing it has a meaning”
“Me doing it?”
“Yes. It is to show people that not every noble is corrupted”
Claire-sama pondered over my words.
What I said just now is a half-lie.
Having Claire-sama do the soup kitchen is the insurance against Claire-sama standing on the losing side during the revolution that will happen soon.
Dor-sama’s provisional government is being completely mismanaged.
As things are, Claire-sama will get entangled with Dor-sama’s impetuous path to ruin.
It’s necessary to clearly demonstrate people Claire-sama holds different beliefs from Dor-sama.
From the start the reason why I accepted the request about nobles’ wrongdoings from His Majesty Rousseau was to give Claire-sama the image of punishing corrupt nobles.
As the result of exposing them one after another, Claire-sama’s evaluation rose to that of a virtuous noble with a good sense.
Considering her original evaluation was a selfish villainess, it’s a huge change.
However, if Dor-sama doesn’t stop mismanaging like this, such evaluation will disappear.
It’s necessary to give Claire-sama the image of opposing Dor-sama.
“Even though I could only see soup kitchens as hypocrisy in the past”
Saying so, Claire-sama smiled in self-depreciating manner.
“Whether it’s hypocrisy or whatever, isn’t it fine. It will benefit the people”
“… Are you okay with that? It must have been considerably difficult to save such an amount of money, right? Do you not want to accompany me?”
Claire-sama asked to confirm, but it’s way too late for it now.
“I have no better use for it than helping Claire-sama”
“… I will not say it is ostensible kindness, in fact I am frightened I came to understand that”
Claire-sama wryly smiled.
“Let’s use my personal assets as well. Together with Rei’s part, the soup kitchen should have a considerable scale”
“Sounds good. And, I would like to have Yuu-sama’s cooperation”
“Yuu-sama’s? But, at present Yuu-sama is under house arrest due to the so-called insanity caused by the opposite sex disease, right?”
“I believe there’s no need to obtain the permission from the provisional government. Yuu-sama still holds top influence within the church and is the former heir to the throne. With the absence of the king, I believe nobody can stop Yuu-sama from acting”
In the crisis that threatens the survival of the country, we can’t afford to not use excellent people.
“I see, you have a point. The Church should understand the essentials of soup kitchen, rather than acting individually we will be able to do organized activities”
Of course, that’s also my calculation.
In addition to the image of Claire-sama being in opposition to Dor-sama, I would also like to create the image of the Church against aristocracy.
“Very well. Let us work in that direction”
“Now that you’ve decided, let’s start at once. First of all, we have to appeal to Yuu-sama”
“I will write a letter, please deliver it to Yuu-sama”
Energy seems to have returned to Claire-sama’s face.
Faced with a present problem they understand they can do nothing about, people will at best endure.
But, if they believe there’s some way to solve the problem, hope is born.
Claire-sama, who found a new thing she should do, worked vigorously.
The cooperation with Yuu-sama was easily realized, the soup kitchen started the next day after we started moving.
That day, in the evening paper Claire-sama’s name appeared alongside the Church’s.
She was presented as a considerate noble with different ideas from the provisional government.
The soup kitchen wasn’t left to others, Claire-sama herself made an appearance.
In her appearance of taking bowls and serving soup there was no trace of a villainess.
Commoners who stood in the line spared her no words of gratitude.
Of course, it can’t be simply said all commoners supported Claire-sama.
There were those who took Claire-sama’s actions for a tactic to recover Dor-sama’s government’s image.
But, that also was temporary.
The provisional government announced that individual nobles moving of their own accord is not something praiseworthy, a major newspaper company reported.
It implicitly criticized Claire-sama’s behavior.
The number of people suspicious of the relationship between Claire-sama and the provisional government gradually decreased.
The flow changed little by little.
At such time, the first to move were merchants sensitive to profit.
Some merchants continued buying up goods craving for excessive profits, but gradually those cooperating with Claire-sama’s distribution began appearing.
Among them were Tulu company, Blume, Frater and others, these companies and shops that participated in this trend received overwhelming support from the people.
“The scale is still small, however the number of proponents seem to be increasing”
About a week has passed, Claire-sama is now reading a newspaper in her dormitory room.
Claire-sama also advertised in newspapers to recruit people far and wide who’d participate in our activities.
The number of individuals and organizations that endorse them is approaching fifty.
The flow was changing.
It happened one day while we were in her room preparing to head for the soup kitchen.
At my words, Claire-sama cast a glance outside of the window.
There, commoners who formed a crowd could be seen.
“… What a thing”
What we witnessed was a sight of demonstrating commoners.