Chapter 15: The Villainess Devises a Plan to Entrap the Heroine

Did everyone hear about what happened at the schoolyard, or had Esther simply ran out of gullible noblemen to charm? Either way, she got repeatedly spurned by almost everyone she set her eyes on. Esther looked pretty dejected these past few days.

Her current behavior was actually more impressive than irritating. Whenever she got rejected, she would quietly accept defeat, immediately switch targets, and begin to pursue another man. In other words, she’s like a cockroach.

Regardless, as I expected, she’d learned her lesson, obediently keeping her distance from Joshua and stopping her persistent effort to get on my nerves. In exchange for that, she’d also gotten into the habit of coming over to show off whenever she managed to catch a new man.

Apparently, Esther’s had enough of both the Poor Heroine act and trying to play my friend. Instead, she started trying to assert dominance by way of romance.  I suppose she must think this is the best way to beat me, who hasn’t had a single affair since my betrothal with Tristan.

Unfortunately for her, it had no effect. No matter how proudly she bragged about their specs, none of the men were even comparable to Joshua. Besides, Esther and I had wildly different tastes, so there was no way I would envy her for any man she found attractive. Moreover, my own specs were generally higher than any man she could find, and my personal wealth was an order of magnitude greater than any other student’s.

So basically, she was still annoying, but not as much as before. I thought it was okay to just leave it at that and declare a truce, until I suddenly realized something.

If not for her unhealthy insistence on antagonizing me, Esther would naturally be able to catch some decent aristocrat. And if that were to happen, my likelihood of encountering her in social situations would drastically increase. I could easily imagine her trying to show off whenever we met, and the thought of having to deal with that for years to come made me throw up a little in my mouth.

“What do you think, Joshua?”

“I can definitely see Esther running up to us whenever we attend a party.”

I asked him once in my room, and he shrugged while affirming my conjuncture. I couldn’t help but sigh.

Even though I’ve gotten somewhat used to her presence, I hardly want to be stuck with Miss Showoff for the rest of my life.

“I wonder if I could just introduce her to some rich aristocrat from a remote region and drive her off.”

“Do you think she’s naive enough to obediently retreat to the countryside?”

“No, there’s no way it’ll be that easy,” I answered without any hesitation and let out another sigh. I’m pretty sure that for Esther, status and urban life are far more important than money itself. There’s no way such a woman would be satisfied with an idyllic life in the countryside.

“Besides, I wouldn’t want to let her get too close to any more decent men than she already managed to get her clutches on… Any one of them could be a future business partner. I wonder if there’s any man who isn’t already under her control that I could safely dump her on.”

“How about Tris~tan?”

“Pfft. Stop that.”

I chuckled a little at his exaggerated intonation. It took me a second to actually comprehend what he said, and I gasped.

“Actually, that might just work.”

Tristan was the origin of my entire entanglement with Esther in the first place. He’d already got dumped once a few months ago, but as long as he can clear that hurdle, he should be a pretty good match with Esther.

His family was doing fine right now under his father’s management, but their prospects look pretty bleak with Tristan as the family heir. In other words, they have no future, and can’t become future business partners. And after everything that happened, I feel zero guilt about forcing Esther back on him.

I’m helping them with generous loans, so at first glance, the Cloyde family looks pretty well off. And above all, they live in a prime location near the castle. It’s a beautiful place that Esther was very fond of. In reality, though, looking behind the beautiful facade, it’s a defective property barely held together by excessive amounts of maintenance. Luckily, there’s no way Esther would be able to discern something like that.

“Don’t you think that if they hang around together, She’ll feel like getting back together?” I asked.

After all, Esther seemed to have acquired a taste for taking men from me. And I’m sure she’ll resume that annoying habit sooner or later, so I might as well use it to my advantage. It’s especially true with Tristan. She’ll be very confident, thinking that if she could snatch him once, she could take him again.

“Definitely. I’m a little jealous, though.”

“What, are you interested in that girl after all?”

“No, that’s not it.”

I asked Joshua with a frown, and he gave a deep sigh and slowly shook his head. That reaction was kind of annoying.

“Well, even if you don’t like it, it’s okay. Even if Tristan and Esther get together, we’ll only need to endure seeing them together in social circles for a few years. By binding the two of them to the sinking ship that is Tristan and his family, we can simultaneously eliminate both of them, killing two birds with one lightly-tossed stone.”

“Ooh, that sounded pretty villainous.”

“Did it? I suppose I’m starting to get used to my role. That’s great.”

We exchanged a cheesy, sinister laugh together before sitting down to finalize our future plans.

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