I Favor the Villainess Chapter 70

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Religion and the flow of the society

"The, then, Lily will talk"

After pressuring the bishop to leave it to her, Lily-sama began talking.
Lily-sama first tried to talk about the history of the Church establishment, but,

"You can cut short the story of the Church establishment. History is my strong point"
"Is, is that so"

Saying so, Claire-sama urged her on.
I think I told the story of how folk beliefs turned into the religion before, so I'll also omit it.

"The, then, let Lily tell about the Church doctrine"

According to Lily-sama's story, it's like this.
The Church is an organization that preaches equality under the Spirit God, its purpose is to share the spirits' grace among every human.

"The, there is royalty and nobility in the Bauer Kingdom, but they are all equal before the spirits"
"But, in reality there exists a gap between rich and poor, right?"

Lily-sama nodded to what Claire-sama pointed out.

"Ye, yes. For that reason, the Church redistributes wealth"

The Church aids poor all over the world in the form of charity, using donations from nobles.
The Church's main service, hospitals, requests offerings proportional to wealth.
According to Lily-sama's talk, there's more, but these two are the primary operations.

"So does that not means that the Church ultimately cannot exist without the support of royalty and nobility?"
"N, no, that is not the case. The Church has territories in every country, it profits from operating businesses"

It's easy to misunderstand, she prefaced her explanation.
The Church doesn't only depend on offerings or donations, it's an economic entity in itself.
Collecting taxes from territories, cultivating fields, diary farming, making diary products, their activities seem diverse.

"Tha, that's why, the Church exists independently of the wealthy of each country. The Church couldn't realize its doctrine being dependent…"
"I see…"

Claire-sama's enthusiastically nodding while listening.

"Do you not take donations from commoners?"
"Of, of course we do receive donations from commoners. But, these are small sums, large sums come mostly from affluent merchants"
"I wonder if these contribute little to the Church assets”
"N, no. Rather, it's essential to collect faith from commoners. Faith is what's most important to the Church"

I don't understand well.

"Is faith so important? I'm not religious so I don't quite understand, but isn't what you call religion just a blind belief?"

My statement as a modern Japanese rendered Lily-sama speechless for a moment.

"Oh, blind belief… That… Err… As expected… Hmm…"
"Rei, these were undoubtedly thoughtless words. Apologize"

It seems faith is something natural in this world, and I come off as an outsider.

"I seem to have gone too far. I am sorry"
"N, no. Sorry, Lily was surprised. But, Lily feels she understand what you said. In the Church territories, there are some areas where people without faith live, and people there say similar things to Rei-san"

But, Lily-san continued.

"Bu, but, religion is a power that really exists. Things that originally should have no power, in reality do, or perhaps Lily can rephrase it. To put it in words for someone not familiar with religion… Let, let's see, it could be called a well-woven fairytale fostered in the course of history…"
"Cardinal Lily. If the pope heard those words, she would have fainted?"
"Yo, you are right, sorry!"

Lily-sama was strongly apologetic, but that explanation suited me more.
If you actually carefully examine the content, religion is an empty fiction.
But as long as it has a long history behind it, it has an actual power.
And, that power is sustained by people's faith.

"Of, of course, for us who live in faith, religion is not a fantasy. Religion could be said to be a system of values"
"A system of values?"
"E, err, what to place value on, what not to place value on, what's the relationship between what has value and what doesn't, would that explain it"

In other words, it's like this.
A certain religion forbids eating pork.
Moreover, the background of that religion's dogma that is not eating pork is closely related to another religion's dogma.
And while living every day like this, what you ought to do, what's right and what's wrong, it becomes a catalogue demonstrating these.
Japanese often perceive religion as something "separate", but originally religion was something close to people's lives, and a guide to life.

"It is not something you have to think hard about. Religion tells you how to live better"

Although Claire-sama finally said what she felt, on Earth this "better way to live" caused wars and conflicts to repeat time and time again, it was in reality a deep-rooted problem.
However, there seem to be no religious wars and conflicts in this world, so I didn't object to Claire-sama's words.

"Let's get to the main subject soon. How does the Church see the current poverty issue in Bauer? As for me, I can see aristocracy becoming a mere formality and a hotbed of decay"
"Li, Lily doesn't know too much about difficult things, but what Claire-sama is saying is generally not wrong. But, it probably won't last long"
"And, that means…?"
"P, Prince Yuu said it. Aristocracy will soon collapse"

Claire-sama's complexion changed at Lily-sama's words.

"What do you mean by aristocracy collapsing?"
"Li, Lily doesn't know the details. Bu, but with the invention of magical tools and development of magic, the era where individual ability will matter more than pedigree is coming, is what Prince Yuu seems to think. If that happens, going by the numbers there's no way for nobles to win against commoners, he said…"

It's the repeat of what Yuu-sama said before when commoners' movement was active.
At that time, Claire-sama simply dismissed it, but now she has a perspective of a commoner.
She cannot flatly deny Yuu-sama hypothesis.

"But, I do not think nobles will silently allow for the collapse"
"Of, of course, there will be resistance. But, Lily thinks you cannot go against the course of history"
"Then, how will aristocracy disappear?"
"The, there are some countries where aristocracy disappeared. For example, the country of Rance to the west"
"How did that…?"

Lily-sama briefly stopped talking, seeming hesitant to say it, but she resolutely continued.

"So, something called revolution happened"
"Co, commoners revolted and brought down the aristocracy by force. So to speak, it was a civil war between the new and old forces"
"Are you saying a civil war happened…?"

Claire-sama face went pale.

"Of, of course it is not certain it will happen in the Bauer Kingdom. But, looking at the tide of the world, isn't the current situation, where the privileged class dominates wealth, nearing its end"

Lily-sama may seem timid, but in Claire-sama's eyes she might look like a prophet giving her a death oracle.

"After the revolution occurred, what happened to the nobles?"
"It depends on a country, but many had their status reduced to that of commoners, there were also nobles who were executed"

Hearing that, Claire-sama lost her balance.


I hurriedly supported her.
It seems the shock was too big.

"I, I am okay. I just felt a little dizzy"
"Let's call it a day with this much. It's too much to learn everything at once"
"Li, Lily also thinks that would be for the better"

Lily-sama also recommend we finish for now.
You can see how guilty she feels for shaking up the partner she was talking with.

"You are right. We will finish with this for today. Cardinal Lily, could you talk with me again?"
"Yes. If it's for talking with the leading aristocrat Claire-sama, Lily will make as much time as possible"
"Thank you"

After thanking Lily-sama, we left the cathedral.
On our way back, for a while heavy silence lingered in the carriage.

"Rei… About Cardinal Lily's story… How do you feel?"
"It was difficult. I'm hungry"
"You are doing that again… I am aware of the results of your tests in the academy, I understand you are not as foolish as you make yourself usually look?"

I tried playing clown to change the mood, but today Claire-sama seems to want somebody to speak on an equal level.

"We intended to only learn about how the Church is organized, but the story went in an unexpected direction"
"Yeah. Especially the revolution… Such savagery can actually occur…"

It's true that it's easy for violence to accompany a revolution, but the judgement is split on whether it's savagery or not.
After all, for people the tyranny of royalty and nobility might be the bigger savagery.

"I wonder if it is fate for us nobility to disappear…"
"Even if you lose your status as a noble, I'll still always protect you"
"But, if revolution occurs, nobles will be executed…"
"I think it depends on where you stand. If you take the side of revolutionaries, they might instead be grateful"

But, that's something Claire-sama couldn't possibly accept.

"Are you saying I should become a traitor!?"
"Traitor sounds bad, rather, you could think of yourself as an ally of people"
"I am a noble!"
"Didn't Claire-sama want to manage people's poverty? Can't you discard your nobility for that?"

Claire-sama pondered with a difficult face.
I want to manage people's poverty - that's Claire-sama's true feeling that contains no falsehood.
But, she must have realized she needs to cast away her status as a noble to realize that.

"Claire-sama. You've heard many things today all at once. It's not easy to immediately reach a conclusion. Tonight, please eat and rest without thinking about difficult things"
"… You… are right…"

Although she replied positively, Claire-sama was brooding over something all our way back.
Rashly thinking too hard will just have an opposite effect.
As things are now, I wonder if she'll be able to sleep tonight.

But, today's development isn't bad.
With it, I was able to have Claire-sama learn about the concept of revolution.
And, that there's an option to stand on the side of people.

A revolution… will occur.
Definitely, if things continue like this.
I'm aware of it thanks to the game knowledge.

But, I won't let it progress as in the game.
Or allow Claire-sama to be executed.

(Claire-sama, I will absolutely protect you)

I made a vow to Claire-sama, who's pondering with her head leaning on the carriage's window.

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