Esther seemed realize she was starting to fall into a disadvantage. She held both hands in fists under her chin, and her eyes filled with water.
“That isn’t true~! I’m trying to get along with everyone the same way! It’s the girls who always leave me out!”
Being as noisy as you can isn’t going to help. It should be clear to everyone by now that you only ever act so friendly in front of noblemen.
Esther yelled and screamed, but despite her best efforts, her entourage of cronies started to look at her with suspicion.
“Miss Esther… Could it be that… you don’t like girls very much?” Minion C asked with a twitching smile, deliberately picking his words with as much care as he could.
“No, no, that’s not it! Everyone is always picking on me!”
“Have any of you ever witnessed a single instance of bullying?”
I quickly interjected, and Minion A shook his head, looking troubled. “No, come to think of it, I’ve never…”
“Well, that’s right. Oh, I suppose I’m bullying Miss Jones right now, aren’t I?.”
“She caused you plenty of trouble before that, though, didn’t she?” said Joshua.
We smiled at Esther, who gave a little flinch.
“Regardless, that’s only me, isn’t it? You’re such a social person, yet you don’t have a single female friend. It really is strange.”
“N-no… Hey, everyone, won’t you believe me~?”
She looked at her cronies with clinging eyes. Seems like she gave up on making any more excuses and instead switched to the “poor me” pity strategy.
Nonetheless, the crowd seemed to flinch from her gaze, retreating back as though frightened. Did they finally figure out how horrible she can be?
“What kind of woman would even be jealous of her in the first place? Just because she has a nice face, she acts like she’s some princess and gets particular about her men. She speaks gibberish and has the lowest academic performance in all her grade. Her taste in clothes is horrible, and she cries like a baby despite being seventeen. She’s too low class for anyone to bother talking about her, let alone spread rumors.”
…Oops. Was that too much? I suppose this makes me look as bad as Esther, if not worse. I noticed it halfway through, but couldn’t stop. Apparently, I was a lot more resentful than I imagined. I thought I was pretty calm, but it’s possible that I was affected by Joshua’s teasing to a much more significant degree than I suspected.
Should I try to take it back? I thought for a short moment before immediately stopping.
Oh well. I’m a villainess anyway. It’s too late to fix it now.
“Well, to be fair, there is one topic of discussion between women where Miss Jones’ name does tend to come up…”
I lifted my face and gave a condescending smile.
“The women who had their lovers stolen by her often lament about it and get support.”
“Huh?! Is that true?”
“She put her hands on guys who had girlfriends?!”
“Didn’t you know? Just yesterday, she went after an upperclassman from the next grade up. He has a girlfriend, of course.”
Besides her newfound love for harems, Esther seemed to have developed a penchant for plunder. I suppose she can’t forget the thrill of stealing Tristan. Though, in his case, it was more like Esther picking up what I’d already thrown away.
“What an awful thing to say! I was just talking with a senior at the student council~!”
“With your arms entwined together? Whispering in his ear?”
How idiotic. It was just the same as with Tristan and Albert. Distances closer than necessary, and an excessive amount of skinship. There was no reason to change her methods—this was enough to get most guys infatuated.
“Doesn’t that ring a bell?” I asked in a teasing tone, and the surrounding crowd turned grim. They know exactly what I’m talking about. Each of them probably thought they were getting closer to Esther without the others knowing. She must have led every one of them to believe that he alone was special among all the cronies.
With a dumbfounded look on their faces, the hangers-on all looked at Esther in silence.
In response to their stare, Esther crouched down and started to sob, without any discernible preparation. Wow. Does she have a switch that makes tears come out?
“Ooh, Lady, that’s an entertaining performance. Should I try to copy that too?”
Esther’s entourage, despite cringing back, surrounded her and tried to appease and calm her down. Esther, meanwhile, kept whimpering on the floor. I guess she ran out of ideas and just wants to put this whole mess behind her. This is essentially Esther raising a white flag. Well, it’s already clear that we’ve won this round, so let’s just end it here.
“Oh, that’s refreshing. Alright, let’s get out of here, Joshua.” I brushed my hair back and turned on my heels.
“Roger that!” Joshua returned a cheesy reply in a light mood.
I’ve spent the entire day so far relieving my stress, but that’s okay. With this, Esther should know not to try to touch my Joshua again.
I walked back to the classroom, a spring in my steps.