Remember that every manager in branches outside Kaomagi Earth was that, a manager. Even the ‘main’ branch in one world was led by a manager and it was made sure that the manager was known to simply manage the branch and not the owner of the company itself.
Thus, the true owner, Ronald Bell, was known to every world with a Bell branch.
In other worlds, Ronald was only known to be the owner of Bell Conglomerate and maintained a mysterious persona. No one except the managers knew his face, and his whereabouts are always unknown. Only that he frequently traveled from place to place.
As such, few knew the true purpose of the Bell branches.
Additionally, it allowed Ronald to put himself at the negotiation table with key people in other worlds, though it does stretch the first Rules of Engagement. Although it said ‘let none witness you‘ it could simply entail witnessing Court Wizards and not an innocent merchant, such was the excuse.
Alicia, naturally, was taught of all of this beforehand, including stretching the first rule. But even before that, her father had trained her in the art of business first and foremost.
Alicia in businesswoman mode: on.
“M-Miss Bell?” The manager said in surprise.
“How dare you interrupt, little girl!” Doug said in anger. “Who are you!?”
As Alicia walked towards the two men, Owen and William hid behind the counter where Maria Davis was. Jonathan stood behind her.
“First, you have done well to keep your composure, Davis,” Alicia praised the manager. “I will take over.”
“Very well, miss Bell,” the manager, Davis, nodded to the compliment.
Alicia then turned to the noble. “My name is Alicia Bell. Daughter of Ronald Bell, owner of Bell Conglomerate and the heiress.”
The slightly obese nobleman raises his eyebrows.
“Yes, it is true.” The manager confirmed before the SaltWaters could even ask.
“Hoh? The daughter of the supposed owner of this company?” Doug leaned a bit to get a good look at Alicia. “Your face is quite lovely,” He complimented. Shifting his eyes at a lower angle. “But you lack any sort of chest.”
“…Excuse me?” There was a vein that popped out of her forehead.
“Did he just call her flat?” William asked his partner.
The ice wizard simply stood there, staring at the bastard with killing intent. The Wind Guardian stayed silent.
“But, it adds to your charm, no?” Doug flirted.
“I’ll beat his ass…” Owen cursed.
Alicia simply stood there in disgust, then said, “Although I have already heard of it. I will ask again: what business do you have with the conglomerate? Assume I am the owner of Bell Conglomerate.”
“Hmph, your lackeys have been committing crooked business,” Doug smirked. “And I am here to bring them to justice!”
“First of all, never call my employees ‘lackeys,'” Alicia started. “And if you want to bring ‘justice’ you go report to whoever in charge of administering it. You did not even bring any guards. Therefore, you have no reason to come here.”
“W-Why my reason for being here is for… Negotiations! Yes, any reputable company would like to keep their reputation intact, so I provided the means to keep this under wraps before you came along!” The rebutted aristocrat excused. “And I was going to bring the guards later anyways!”
“You have no reason for ‘negotiations’ if you are going to call the guards later anyway unless it would be troublesome if the guards arrested my subordinate right now when you want to make demands.” Alicia deadpanned. “In other words, what you are doing is blackmail.”
“W-What!” Doug exclaimed as if he was transgressed. “Do not address this as though I am the villain!”
“Well, you are being a villain here,” was the heiress’ nonchalant response.
“W-What! You dare mock me!?” The fumed noble was ready to assault her, but Jonathan glared at him to make him back down.
I didn’t know you can be savage! We’re practically the same person!
Voice, since when we are the same person? We are different people.
What did you just say?
Dunno! I just felt like saying that!
Owen grinned, reminiscing the times when Alicia was shielding him from bullies. She got into a lot of arguments and she would employ the savage speech which made the bullies cry.
“I wonder why you would not bring any guards here to arrest my manager in this branch,” the Bell heiress wondered. “Is it what you demanded earlier? Maria belongs to herself and herself alone!”
Maria, a beautiful woman for her age, promptly nodded.
“Whatever!” the perverted noble growled. “Your manager has done against the law under your watch, what are you going to do about it?”
Alicia stood silently hearing this statement. It’s as if she was considering the noble’s statement. A small sweat ran from the elderly Davis.
“So, now do you believe me?” Doug started back his smirk.
“Now what nonsense are driveling, liar?” Alicia said unamused.
“W-What?” the noble blinked.
At that statement, Alicia took a stance and gave out a speech.
“We, of the Bell Conglomerate uphold trust and honesty high. The light blue cloth in our emblem represents that. We pick does worth of our trust to be given the position that they deserved. I believed my manager did no such thing as you said.”
“Oh yeah? If I am not wrong, he was just a poor commoner living on the streets,” the noble scowled. “His kind are not trustworthy.”
“We do not just pick a random person off the streets,” Alicia countered. “We know who to trust and we can see the talent that others are blind to.”
Alicia then turned to the manager. “Mister Davis, you do not need to worry, regardless of who you are before. You have been entrusted to manage this branch. That is proof enough. I will not fall for this fat man’s lies. So, lift your head with pride as a manager of Bell Conglomerate!”
“Ah… I thank you!” The manager bowed to his future boss. Tears swelled his eyes. His granddaughter smiled, proud of her grandfather.
Alicia then turned to the SaltWaters. “So whatever you accuse is not true and it will never be!” Alicia pointed her finger towards the noble.
“Well,” Will commented. “Our mentor had always been able to pick anyone loyal enough so there wasn’t any problem, but regardless, that way of thinking is seriously flawed. You can’t trust someone that easily. And you never know when they will betray you.”
“Even so, to them, it’s a wonderful idea.” Owen rebuked. “The Bell family will always cling to that. That’s why we’re here today.”
“Yes, he’s right.” Maria who was there agreed.
“Though your subordinate Air Court Wizard can betray the court. So, your right about the last part.” Owen muttered. “And the Bells would simply not hope that happens.”
“I know and I still don’t understand that.”
While the peanut gallery ensued. Doug had made his counter-argument.
“Whatever! I have the evidence here!” Pointing the bundle of ‘evidence’ towards Alicia in a weak grip. “So everything I accuse is-“
Suddenly, the Bell heiress swiped the ‘evidence’ off from the accuser’s grip. “So this is the pile of ‘evidence’ you speak of,” she said, looking at the bundle of ‘proof,’ shifting through its contents lazily.
“Y-You!” Doug’s face was red, feeling infracted by the girl’s sideswipe, “give that back!” and tried to wrest his paper back.
Alicia, however, simply retreated past Jonathan for cover while reading the bundle of paper.
“For twelve consecutive months,” she began reading. “The amount of tax paid was zero.”
“Quite a serious offense, no?” The noble said, trying to recover any shred of dignity.
“Who made this report?” Alicia read the name of who made the report. “Collin. Oh my, there is even a seal.”
“Then that makes this report valid!” The noble smirked.
“If I may say,” The manager interrupted. “Collin is definitely not the name of the tax collector that collected this branch’s taxes. I happened to know the name of the tax collector and his name is Reygard Millers. I believe he was here in the lounge a moment ago before you came.”
Then, a backdoor opened revealing a man with black hair and a monocle in a green suit.
“My name is Reygard Millers. You called, mister Davis?” The man in green asked.
“Oh, mister Millers, you were listening?” the manager raised an eyebrow. “Then please examine that ‘report’.”
“Will do, miss Bell?” Reygard asked for the paper.
“Here.” Alicia handed over the tax report.
Reygard then examined the report carefully. “Hmm… It actually seems real. The paper is of the same material and the seal is authentic, Collin was my fellow tax collector co-worker.”
The noble gave a smirked.
“Except that Collin is currently under suspicion of embezzlement and accepting bribery over the last month in which was recently proven to be true,” the tax collector continued.
“What?” Doug’s eyes widened.
“This report seemed to be created about a week ago and it is contradictory to my report. It seems Collin has taken a bribe to forge these documents. He will be arrested with this additional evidence for his crimes. May I?” The tax collector turned to Alicia to which she simply nodded. “Very well.” He then pocketed the paper into the slip of his vest.
“And that makes one forged evidence,” Alicia declared.
Hearing this, the SaltWaters tried to use the other document to save his accusation. “There is still the complaint of the undercut wages.”
“Let us see about that.” Alicia reads the document.
“Well?” the noble pressed.
“Instead of a recorded testimony, it is more akin to a petition. A general topic about a complaint of low wages with blood seals and their names signed.” Alicia complained. “Mister Davis, do you recognize any of these?”
Alicia gave the document to the manager.
“Hmm… Carl, John, Paul…” he listed. “Why, all of these names are the employees that were fired three days ago!”
“Why were they fired?” Alicia asked.
“They were frequently harassing the other employees, women specifically,” the manager explained. “They were given multiple warnings, but they wouldn’t listen. So, I deducted their wages and finally, I fired them. I have the records for the legal procedure of their resignation”
“I see, their wages were deducted, with a justified reasoned. It seems the document was recorded before they resign.” Alicia then turned to Doug. “It looks like you are trying to make this as though they were underpaid unfairly. Unfortunately, now that they have resigned, that document is useless.”
“Then how about-“
“Two ‘evidence’ are proven to be false,” the heiress cut the noble off. “Would that not make the other documents false too? Do you agree, Mister Millers?”
“Yes, I do agree with that.” The tax collector with the monocle affirmed. “Actually, in court, when two pieces of evidence presented by the same person are proven to have no credibility, it is legal to assume every other evidence that would be presented to be also false. It is meant to save time from combing through useless items, though such thinking is flawed.”
“Well regardless,” Alicia turned to the noble. “As he says, we do not need to waste time proving the credibility of every other document here. We will assume they are false too.”
“Grr…” The noble grunted in anger. It was not supposed to happen like this. He was supposed to blackmail one of the wealthiest merchants in the market and have it under his thumbs along with that receptionist girl. How could his plans be thwarted by some woman with a flat chest claiming to be the daughter of the owner of this merchant business who doesn’t even show his face! Preposterous! This was preposterous!
“Mister Millers, what charges can he be given for forging evidence?” Alicia inquired.
Wait, maybe there’s a chance to turn this around!
“Oh? Do you think you can arrest me with that?” Doug smirked. “I am a noble, I can easily say that you forged these pieces of evidence to frame me! Who would they believe? Me, a noble or a commoner like you!”
“You are still not giving up?” Alicia sighed.
“Actually,” The tax collector retorted dejectedly. “He has a point. Even with the new laws passed down by the king, we commoners still can’t fight nobles that easily.”
“See?” Doug smiled. “Even with that foolish king’s new laws, you cannot stop me!”
“I see, so these papers are useless then,” Alicia sighed again.
And the next action surprised everyone.
The Bell heiress tore the false evidence in half…
Voice, burn these papers.
Right away ma’am!
WHOOSH CRACKLE CRACKLE
…burned them with loyal maneg, and tossed them aside.
While the action Alicia did technically broke the first rule, Qantasia was a world with magic, people would assume she was a mage using fire magic. Another loophole.
Furthermore, with the month of experience in the Otherworldly Court, Alicia was now taught how to actually use loyal maneg.
Loyal maneg are the actual soul compressed to fit in disloyal maneg which was safer to use. Loyal maneg reflected the Court Wizard’s self thus, there was no need to use a specific wording for its orders. For Alicia, she can tell Voice what to do and the pixie will almost flawlessly do what was told no matter how vague it was. Such Orders on loyal maneg are called ‘Vague Orders’, the true application of loyal maneg.
Alicia was still taught disloyal maneg Orders for formalities and will still be. It was still safer to use since its cost will always be at the minimum unless Alicia specifically ordered the amount of maneg used. The Vague Orders of loyal maneg on the other hand, have varying costs controlled by the Court Wizard’s subconscious. Even with Voice regulating the amount of loyal maneg used, it’s still safer to use traditional Orders. Furthermore, Alicia can still override Voice’s loyal maneg regulation unknowingly. Very simple Vague Orders were fine though.
“Y-You’re a mage!?” the noble gasped in surprise.
“Yes,” Alicia nodded, “and with that, we are all back to square one. I presume you have no more purpose being here.”
“Why you…” The rebuked noble tried to get close to the rebuker, but Jonathan gave another glare at him to stop him in his tracks.
“Leave,” she commanded.
“Grr… I’ll get you for this!” Doug shouted a generic bad guy defeated quote before turning back to leave the building in a huff. His two attendees, whose presence was forgotten, followed suit.
“Well, good riddance,” the tax collector commented. “He’s an idiot to try capitulating a very rich merchant business. Think about the local economy, it could crash the market!”
The receptionist peeked up the counter. Owen and Will followed suit.
“Ah, where are my manners.” Reygard the man with a monocle gave a slight bow. “My name is Reygard Millers, the capital’s local tax collector. A pleasure to meet you, miss Bell.”
“Likewise,” Alicia too, gave a bow. “My name is Alicia Bell, daughter of Ronald Bell, the owner of Bell Conglomerate.”
“How polite of you,” Reygard smiled. “Also, that was a superb performance, burning the papers at the end was surprising.”
“Thank you,” Alicia thanked. “Though I may ask, why is a tax collector such as yourself be here?”
“I simply like this place,” he answered.
“…” Blinking, Alicia inquired, “Please elaborate.”
“The tea here is good, and ever since this branch was built, it helps people out of employment, giving them more adequate lives,” the tax collector explained. “If I dare say, your branch increased the tax revenue! I am also good friends with Mister Davis.”
“I see,” the Bell heiress nodded in understanding. It was… interesting to say the least.
“So, what will you do about that noble?” the tax collector asked back. “I’m sure he will do more rash decisions to take you down.”
“Do not worry, I have an idea,” Alicia assured him. “Though it is quite simple really.”
Thus, they began the counterattack.
In the manager’s office…
“We have school so we will come back later in the next 4 days,” Alicia explained nonchalantly. Owen and Will nodded in fashion.
“Huh…” The manager muttered. “Huu……..!”