I Favor the Villainess 207

The Cold-Hearted Logic of Diplomacy

“A coup d’etat, huh……”

After returning home from school, Claire-sama and I went into Dor-sama’s room and immediately told him about what we had heard from Otto.

Dor-sama’s room was located in the Bauer dormitory as well, but was a bit smaller than ours.
His room included a kitchen, a dining room and living room area, and one bedroom.
His furniture was plain and focused more on functionality, unlike his days in the aristocratic era.
Dor-sama, Claire-sama and I sat around the table with cups of tea set out in front of us.

At first, Dor-sama’s eyes widened with surprise, but his facial expression gradually became more and more complicated.

“If we don’t do anything, a lot of young people may lose their lives.”
“Do you have any wisdom you can share with us, Dor-sama?”
“Can you call me father-in-law instead, Rei?”
“You’re strangely particular about these sorts of things, aren’t you, father-in-law?”
“It’s very important to me.”

Although he sounded playful with his words, I could tell through Dor-sama’s eyes that he wasn’t amused at all.
I wasn’t really good at handling Dor-sama at times like this.
I mean, whatever it was that he was thinking of, it couldn’t have been anything good.
Moreover, he was often correct, which made it more unbearable.

“Where are Mei and Alea?”
“They’re currently playing in their own room. Don’t worry. The escorts that you hired are watching over them too.”
“Good. If it’s for my granddaughters, I’d spare every dime I can.”

Immediately following the kidnapping incident, Dor-sama hired escorts for Mei and Alea.
It was a duo of women, and it seemed that they were originally Dor-sama’s bodyguards back in the aristocratic era, so their skills were authentic.
Both of them looked like cool career women, but they were actually top-notch in both hand-to-hand combat, as well as magic combat.
Of course, they cost a lot to hire, but Dor-sama was generously spending his salary that he got from the government.
By the way, I recognized one of the women, but that’s a story for another time.

“In fact, it’s been really helpful in a lot of ways, so we’re grateful for the help.”

That was true, but why was he concerned about the twins’ whereabouts right now then?
I couldn’t shake off the unsettling feeling that I started having from a while ago.

“Claire, Rei.”
“What is it?”
“Did you come up with a good idea?”

We were hoping to receive some good advice from Dor-sama, but what we got was――

“You should just give up on them―― and that includes Otto-kun’s sister.”

An answer that bluntly betrayed our expectations.

“Give up, you say……. What do you mean by that?!”
“I mean every word that I said. You should just give up on her and let the coup d’etat happen.”
“That’s……!”

Claire-sama stared at her father, her eyes clouded with disbelief.
It was as if she was staring at a stranger.

“Are you telling us to just leave them to die!?”
“Putting it like that is a bit too harsh. I’m just telling you to stand back and respect their will.”
“That’s basically the same thing! I can’t approve of this! Tell me what your reasoning behind this is!”

Claire-sama spoke with a strong tone in her voice.
I understood how she felt.
You could probably tell by now, but the moment Claire-sama suggested that we asked Dor-sama for his advice, I somehow knew it would turn out like this.

“A coup d’etat would be a civil war in the Empire. There are tons of problems that we may not know about. Do you know the term, ‘internal affairs’?”
“Even so!”
“And plus, it’ll provide Bauer with some valuable data as well, Claire.”

All traces of expression disappeared from Dor-sama’s face as he stroked his beard.
Dor-sama usually had a calm look on his face, but he didn’t look like that right now.
He had his “business” face on.
I felt a chill run down my spine.

“It’ll prove to be valuable data?! Just how many lives do you think will be lost for that cause?!”

Claire-sama grew furious as she slammed the table and rose from her seat.

“Please calm down, Claire-sama.”
“Rei, you agree with him too?! This isn’t something that I can just stay calm about――!”
“Claire-sama, I understand how you feel to a painful degree. However, let’s listen to what father-in-law has to say first. We’re the ones that approached him for advice, after all.”
“……. Kuh――!”

Claire-sama had an incredibly frustrated look on her face, but in the end, she decided to bury the hatchet and sat back down.
Claire-sama’s mood often fluctuated, but she was weak when it came down to expressing courtesy and being reasonable.
She had a stern look on her face as she glared at Dor-sama.

“When you say that it could prove to be valuable data, you mean that in a political and diplomatic way, right, Dor-sama?”
“That’s right.”

Dor-sama nodded as he took a sip from his tea.
Perhaps he did this in order to give Claire-sama some time to calm down, but Dor-sama waited a little while before continuing with what he wanted to say.

“I don’t know how big the coup d’etat will end up being, or whether or not it’ll end up affecting Dorothea at all, but in the end, it’s still a civil war. It’ll cause the Empire to take a hit, but at the same time, it’ll turn into a good opportunity for us too.”

Dor-sama’s words were blunt and sounded terrifyingly apathetic.
The Dor-sama that was in front of us right now was similar to the Dor-sama that once had to explain aristocratic logic to Claire-sama.

“And besides, the coup d’etat is set to take place during the summit, right? If something like that takes place in the presence of the leaders from other nations, even if the Empire were to suppress their forces somehow, they wouldn’t be able to escape the liability issues. This is a powerful card we have up our sleeves.”

Dor-sama smiled faintly.
His assertions were clear.
In other words, we were being told to prioritize the interests of our own country by taking off our rose-colored lenses and to use whatever we had at our disposal, even if it ended up taking the lives of many different people.

“You’re telling us to just take advantage of the lives of those young people that wish to fight for the future of their nation just so we can use them as bargaining chips?!”
“Those young people are not citizens of our country. On the contrary, if we don’t take this opportunity to take down the Empire, we’ll end up threatening the lives of the young people from our country too, you know?”
“T-That’s…… But……!”

Claire-sama was still desperately clinging on.
Most likely, even Claire-sama understood it herself.
The lives of the people from our own country versus the lives of the people in other countries―― if she had to weigh them, she knew which one she needed to prioritize.
That being said, that didn’t mean she was willing to stay quiet about sacrificing the lives of other human beings.

Staring at his daughter, Dor-sama heaved a sigh and continued.

“Claire, you’re being too arrogant.”
“I’m the one being arrogant? Are you sure it’s not you? Even though you view human lives like they’re just chess pieces on your little game board?”
“And when did you become so almighty that you can just go around, saving the lives of every single human being?”
“T-That’s…….”

Claire-sama couldn’t follow up at all.
Although this probably wasn’t the intention, it ended up hitting her where it hurt the most.
Dor-sama pressed on.

“A person is not a god. There’s a limit to how many people one can save on their own. It’s a good idea to hold onto your own ideals. However, ideals are just ideals in the end. You can’t run away from reality.”
“……”
“Or what, have you been flattered so much after being hailed as the heroine of the revolution that you think you can do something about it?”
“――!”

Claire-sama, whose expression seethed with nothing but rage, raised her hand at Dor-sama, who was clearly bad mouthing her on purpose.
Dor-sama didn’t flinch at all, but instead, stared quietly at Claire-sama.

“Okay, let’s stop here.”
“!?”

The hand that stopped Claire-sama from hitting Dor-sama was not mine.

“Bill……”
“William-sama?!”
“Hey there, Dor, Claire-chan. It’s been a while.”

A middle-aged man, whom I didn’t recognize, replied with a tone that was relaxed and didn’t fit the current situation at all.
Following the man that seemingly came out of nowhere, a woman that appeared to be his attendant held the wand that I had in my hand back.

“Rei-chan, we haven’t seen each other since the cooking match, huh.”
“Lene…… That means this person is…?”
“Yep.”

The fact that Lene, who had become a full-fledged Appalachian citizen, was following this person around meant――

“You must be Rei Taylor. I’ve heard a lot of rumors about you. You’re surprisingly normal, aren’t you?”
“H-Haah……”
“Oh dear, I’m a bit late with introductions, aren’t I? Well, you can probably guess who I am by now, but allow me to do so anyway.”

With that said, the man gracefully put his hand against his chest and,

“My name is William. Despite how I seem right now, I am the King of Appalachia. Feel free to call me Bill.”

With a laidback tone, the man named William Appalachia introduced himself as such.


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