As Eloise heard this, and realized that her idea of letting Jessica enter the market and then converting her resources into theirs wouldn't work, she sat down, and continued thinking.
For the past half hour, they had been brainstorming unsuccessfully. Most of the plans that had been proposed were for the short-term, and they involved letting the monopoly go right now and then looking to get it back later. However, Daneel knew that their opponent was smart enough that if she was given an inch, she would take a mile and make sure that there would be no avenue for them to make a comeback later.
Besides, Daneel also wanted whatever they did to be conclusive, so that they would effectively push her out, for good, out of the entire market. That would be a warning even to others who might look to try something like this is in the future, and this would be very effective for the long-term.
And of course… For those who were watching, he had to put on a show.
All of the ideas that had been given so far hadn't gone to waste, though, because they had allowed him to think in different ways, and to expand his mind regarding everything that he could do. This was always important in the process of thought, as it was never wise to just sit and do it alone without the help of others to share the load.
As he was wont to do when he was looking for ideas, Daneel began to think of this from the perspective of Earth.
He was like someone who had invented something as revolutionary as the mobile phone, but it was essential for him to make sure that he was the only supplier of this gadget in the market. There was an opponent who was also making them, albeit at a higher production cost , but their money burn was justified because it would allow them to capture a segment of the market which they would be ready to cater to when the time came where they would have figured out how to do it without the extra cost.
Any other options, such as telling off this other maker to their investors saying that they were wasting resources, or letting them keep burning in the hopes that they would eventually stop were all short-term solutions which just didn't cut it.
And besides, he was being eyed by some high-value investors, himself, who wanted to throw their lot behind him if he was able to prove that he was someone capable enough of figuring out ways to get past difficult situations like these.
What would he do if he was the CEO of a company there?
What would he do if he had scores of loyal customers who should all be retained at any cost, even if there was a cheaper alternative in the market?
Wait… The customers!
As Daneel's eyes suddenly took on an extra glint, the entire area fell silent, because they could tell that something had occurred to the King.
They had experienced this before – whenever something like this happened, the entire atmosphere around him would change, and he would even start affecting the environment unconsciously. Elemental particles would begin moving in erratic patterns as if to display the rapid movements of the thoughts in his mind, and if anyone was watching, they would definitely get dizzy.
In matters like these which were rather new to the continent of Angaria, Daneel had always known that he would have the upper hand because of the myriad things that he had read about back on Earth. At least in the aspect of business, a lot more had happened on Earth than on here, so it had always been his intention to use that knowledge to his benefit.
Right now, some almost unrelated incidents had given rise to an idea and in his mind, and it was quickly developing into something that might just work perfectly in order to handle the present situation.
He hashed it out perfectly in his mind, listing out the pros and cons, before finally saying it out loud to the waiting sovereigns, who had already guessed by the smile on his face that whatever idea he had gotten was pretty damn impressive.
After he was done explaining it, they had varied expression on their faces, ranging from shock to even disbelief.
Chief among the former was the one that was on his father's face, and Robert actually sent a message to Daneel to say, "I had heard of your scheming mind, but seeing it in action is really something else. Should I say I'm proud, or should I go back and see what went wrong during our upbringing which allowed you to develop this much of a talent in this area?"
This was said in a jesting manner, but Daneel it still blushed a bit, before deciding to just smile at his father not answer.
After that, they completely launched into a discussion regarding the idea, and soon, with many valuable inputs from everyone who was present, it was perfectly decided.
After that was done, Daneel stood up and opened his arms while declaring, "As I thought, she is nothing in front of this council. My dear sovereigns, let's show what happens to those who dare go against us. I can't wait to see her face after its all done! All right, let's get started."
In the underground cell in which Jessica was being held, a display trinket had just popped up because she had accepted a call from her confidant above the ground.
"The coins have all been shipped successfully to the warehouses that we chose all around the Alliance. There have been no attempts to disrupt them, so I'm afraid to say that our plan to incriminate the king has failed."
A slight expression of frustration came on Jessica's face, but it turned into a smile before she said, "Well, if it was that easy, it would not have been fun. Begin to distribute them to the merchants at low prices. If we try to carry them in directly, we may be stopped, so it is best to use these people whom he can't target because they're just doing their job. How is the development of the recharging formation going?"
The answer came after a moment.
"The timeframe given by the formation masters will be adhered to. They have gotten all the hints from the libraries, and they are actually quite surprised that the king was able to adapt the formations in such a short time."
Shaking her head, Jessica said, "I found out that he has been at this for a long time, from the day since he visited the Goddess's Sanctum. So it's actually not that short a time, at all. Just keep pushing them on, and if needed, increase the benefits. I don't care if they get burned out. If they do, just get new ones. We need to be able to duplicate them perfectly as soon as possible, and after that, there will be nothing he can do. Right now, prepare to deploy any of the countermeasures depending on what he does."
The cloaked man nodded, following which the connection was cut.
After this, Jessica couldn't help but think how great it would have been if the king had taken the bait. She had had secret surveillance eyes ready, which would definitely have been able to identify that he was the culprit behind the attacks. After that, her plan had been to publicize the feed among the people with the narrative that his intention was to stop cheaper products from being made, and although she could still go forward with this by faking his face, it was a bit risky, because he might be able to prove that it was wrong. If he managed to do that, the entire thing might actually hurt her instead.
Well, there were so many other plans already laid out, and no matter what he did, he would definitely step into one of her traps.
All she wished for right now was that she would find some way to see the King's expression when that happened, and with this thought, she began to replay the short video of his reaction in front of the gates.
The same crazy smile came back on her face, and even though the video was on a loop, no matter how many times she saw it, she just didn't get tired of seeing the shock on his face.
As a low laugh began to sound in the room, in a different place, the cloaked man was carrying out her instructions.
He had just sent the message to the trading families to begin the distribution, after making sure that the prices they had set were so low that there was no chance that the king would decide on anything that was lower than it. Right now, it was obvious that he had made the coins free so that people could get used to using them, but they were limited. As soon as they were over, their coins would be the best ones on the market, and they would be chosen for sure.
This distribution began slowly, because the objective was to have the final launch when it was time for the coins already given by the King to expire. Hence, the sales were only made to the merchants, who were told to keep them with themselves and only start selling later.
For a week, both Jessica and the cloaked man were extremely alert, waiting for the king to do something to stop them. Yet, to their extreme puzzlement, he did nothing except announce the recharging stations and their low introductory prices, and people all over the alliance became more and more pleased with these new gadgets that were so practical that they were already starting to not be able to imagine life without them.
It had gotten so bad that each and every trinket was so overused, that time slots needed to be made for people around the houses who had received them to use them, and in the process, those who had been lucky enough to be selected randomly by the king started to earn quite a good amount by charging all of their neighbors.
Yet… Continuous usage kept depleting the coins that had been given, and it soon became clear that there was soon going to be the case where they would no longer be available.
It was at this point that everyone understood that the king would soon be launching the actual method through which new coins could be obtained by everyone, and they waited with bated breath with the hope that it would be affordable for everyone. The price for recharging was already very favorable, and everyone prepared to head to them to renew their supply of Energy.
Yet, to their surprise… On the day before their store of coins was about to be over, they found merchants at their doors, selling similar coins for dirt cheap prices which were much cheaper than the announced recharging cost.
These coins had different names of the major trading families of the continent engraved on them, and although a few hesitated, many just bought them, because it was such a lucrative offer.
Seeing that everything was going well, Jessica continued to have a small smile on her face, although the question remained in the back of her mind regarding just why she was having such an easy time.
No matter how much she tried to remove it, it didn't go, and she kept remembering the face of the man when he had apprehended her the moment before all of her plans have been about to come to fruition.
He was up to something, definitely.
But what could he even hope to do?
This finally became clear a few more days later, which was in the form of a surprise announcement that appeared on the Networks.
Hearing it, though, Jessica actually felt relieved, because the king, as expected, had taken a step into one of the traps that she had laid.
Foolish King, you think you're clever, but I'm one step ahead of you...
Musing to herself in this manner, Jessica watched the Network Trinket on which news was scrolling at the bottom which read:
"Second form of currency launched with much higher capacity! For a limited time, get them at the cheapest price in the market! Even recharges are free for a limited time! Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to obtain the cutting edge Energy source for the trinkets that have taken the Alliance by storm! Available in all major towns and cities! Go get your Nivrons now!"