I thought long and hard in the carriage on the way back.
The reason for this was Surfania, who I had just been playing with.
As far as the board game went, I was completely victorious. Surfania was a little sullen by this result, but she was unfortunately still no match for a genius like me. It’s a little boorish to not be able to enjoy a game regardless if one wins or loses. And I was not like Surfania, I didn’t put much stock into something as small as the results of a game. It was only natural for me to win any way.
And so the issue was not so much the results of the board game, but the many verbal attacks she had launched while we were playing.
With every word she said, I became more and more unsettled, and my mind grew disheveled. Thanks to this, I ended up putting a little too much effort into the game and beat Surfania black and blue. It was such a humiliating and crushing defeat for her that she sulked and drove me straight out of her room. But then again, this was not too much of an issue. I had meant to go home soon; now it would just be a little earlier.
I thought back on the contents of the many, endless things she said to me.
She did not get along with her older sisters… Well, Surfania had a rather one-sided dislike of them, and she was glad to give me numerous examples of what about them she disliked as we played together.
And well, they fit quite well with my own actions.
I thought deep and hard on this. I had to look back on my past actions towards Mishuli and our sense of distance to each other.
And I think.
Maybe I was paying too much attention to Mishuli.
“…no, no. That could not be true.”
I tried to erase this theory from my mind as I mumbled to myself, but it was to no avail.
I am a genius. No mere baseless threats saying that Mishuli would hate me could bend my will so easily. No, but… Surfania’s words came from her own experience as a younger sister. She had something in common with Mishuli that I did not. She had a certain authority with her words then, and while just a little, I was starting to feel worried.
I and Mishuli were very close sisters. Sisters who both loved each other dearly. There was nothing hidden behind the smile that Mishuli offered me, her brilliance was pure.
However, even if she was my sister, she would surely enter adolescence or a rebellious phase eventually.
Especially the rebellious phase. The phase that Surfania was clearly in right now. It’s a period when one interacts with those close to them in a sharp manner for no reason whatsoever. When I consider that Surfania was much more honest when I first met her, it left little doubt in my mind that her current way of attacking with unnecessarily harsh words and actions meant she was right in the middle of her rebellious phase. It had very little to do with me, as someone with a mature mind who would put any grownup to shame, but otherwise, this phase was supposed to be a necessary part of growing up. That was why I could look at Surfania’s actions as something almost adorable.
But, if the time came for Mishuli to act like Surfania towards me, I think I might want to die.
I was overwhelmed with worry over this.
This was bad. My life was in danger. This was a much bigger threat than all that nonsense about fate. In the present, I felt very much like I could understand the emotions of Christina when she commits suicide by poison in the Charles route.
If Mishuli entered her rebellious phase, I would probably die. I would take such a psychological blow and wish for death.
“What, what should I do…!”
I tore at my hair over this sudden dilemma.
This rebellious phase, when did it even begin? Surfania was right in the middle of hers, but she must be on the faster end of the spectrum. As a genius, it would probably never come for me. Because I am a genius. But if I was asked about Mishuli, well, I could not answer. Wide-spread and completely useless knowledge says that it starts at ten years of age, but then it also suggests that there are differences based on the individual.
Would it be necessary for me to give Mishuli more space?
Perhaps I should wait for the moment and then consider how I should interact with her. Maybe I shouldn’t embrace her or put her on my lap and express my affection over every little thing. If I minimized our contact, she shouldn’t think of me as lame. No, it would be too sad for me to have to stop doing that…
We quickly arrived back at the mansion as I was thinking about these things.
Ultimately I had not been able to gather my thoughts before stepping out of the carriage and entering the house. I couldn’t see any carriages from the royal palace yet, so it seemed that Charles had not arrived.
Well, I supposed that I should get ready to receive him in the meantime. As I thought this, I heard the sound of footstep approaching me.
“Sister! Welcome back!”
Of course, the person who had come down to greet me was none other than my beloved sister Mishuli. My sister was attached to me as ever, even though she was now seven years old. And she exuded an adorableness that had not changed since the day that we first met.
I made my best attempt to meet her with the biggest smile; I failed a little.
“…ah. Yes, I am back!”
I was able to recover with the last words, but I had stumbled over the first few.
Mishuli had been rushing towards me with loud footsteps, but she suddenly slowed down with a mystified expression on her face.
My sister was quite perceptive. She had immediately recognized that there was a shadow over my heart as soon as she heard my voice. She came over to me and her blue eyes looked into mine in order to see the colors.
“Worry… But why?”
Mishuli was my superior in terms of seeing the emotions of others. Once she learns to also discern the reasons behind them, she would surely become a fine lady.
Well, setting that aside, it would be ill-advised to try to hide it once she had already seen through me. If I tried to hide it now, it would only cause her to worry as well. I must share with her my anxieties for the future and strive to solve this problem.
“Hey, Mishuli… What do you think of me?”
“I think you’re really cool!”
Yes. I knew that these were the words that Mishuli would surely say to me. But, this was not about that.
My heart hurt just thinking about the words I was about to say. I bit my lip hard. I feel like I have to ready myself for this, but nothing could make this any easier for me.
But even so, I force myself to say them.
“If, this is an if, okay? If you ever start to think of me as lame or bothersome, or that you ha-hate me, or anything, just tell me.”
It was an example of a worst case scenario, and yet my voice was shaking. And for some reason, I felt my vision start to distort. I thought that maybe the stress was affecting my perspective, but then I realized that it was my tears.
“I, I, I really like you, Mishuli, but if you tell me, I will respect your feelings…and so…!”
“…Did Miss Surfania say something to you?”
Mishuli went straight passed my words and to the heart of the problem.
“Well, yes…but, how did you know?”
“It doesn’t take much to know something like that…”
It wasn’t the most well-grounded explanation, but apparently, she could tell.
It was strange. But Mishuli was an angel, it only made sense that she might be equipped with some extreme intuition that I did not have. Or so I told myself through tear-stained eyes.
My sister was an archangel, so such things could be possible. I was satisfied with this, but now Mishuli wanted to know more about what had happened.
“And so, what did Miss Surfania say? Why must you look at me with such an expression of worry?”
“Hmm? Oh, well… To put it simply, it was about what was the optimal space that should exist between two people.”
“Yes. It is like, what is the best place to be for both parties. You know. Surfania is not very close to her sisters, right?”
“I think that is just because she is not honest with herself though?”
“Oh, uh, well, those sisters do maintain a distance from Surfania because of her attitude, so I suppose that is true…”
Indeed, it wasn’t so much that the Calibrachoa sisters hated each other, but that the older sisters did not know how to react to Surfania while she was in her rebellious phase. So Mishuli was right. I flinched at Mishuli’s ability to get to the root of the problem so quickly, but we weren’t really talking about Surfania.
“I was thinking, what would be the best distance for us to have. Not just now, but moving forward.”
Apparently, I had phrased it in a way that was difficult to understand. I reworded it, this time using Surfania as an example and boiling it down as much as possible. After that, she was able to make sense of it.
“Oh, I understand now.”
This dilemma had been tormenting me ever since I left Surfania’s mansion. But Mishuli had solved it the moment it was before her, she didn’t even have to think about it.
Her face immediately lit up and she jumped onto me and wrapped her arms around my neck.
“Always, right here!”
This was our optimal distance. I was surprised by this answer that was the closest two people could be, but that was soon followed by an overflowing joy. That familiar sensation of her jumping towards me, all my fears were blown away in a heartbeat. In order to repay Mishuli for her answer, I embrace her tightly.
This was it. This was the optimal distance for me and Mishuli.
“That was amazing Mishuli! You are always able to give me answers that I could have never thought of!”
“Ehe hehe. I am your younger sister after all!”
Mishuli might be a genius. Compared to me, she is much, much closer to the truth of the universe.
It’s been four years since we met. Though we weren’t connected by blood, the love that we continued to nurture together could not be shaken so easily. What was this rebellious phase? What was adolescence? Such things were no match for us sisters.
“That’s right, we sisters are the strongest!”
“Yes! …Ah, but…”
“Hmm? What is it?”
Mishuli, who was holding on to me, said as if just remembered something. Mishuli disengaged from our embrace, took one step back and looked up at me.
And with a smile, she made the following proposal:
“I was thinking of optimal distances, and I think maybe you should keep a distance from Charles.”
Mishuli had the brightest smile, and I, of course, felt absolutely no malice in her. There existed no spite or ill intent in the proposal at all. She must believe from the bottom of her heart that this would be for the best.
And yet, I couldn’t help but tilt my head to the side by this.
“Why is that? Am I not doing quite well with Charles?”
It was now two years since we were promised to be engaged. Charles would visit twice a week and we would enjoy playing together. Mishuli was together with us most of the time, and so she should know just how strong our friendship was.
“…Because, umm, well.”
I asked again as Mishuli mumbled something under her breath. But my sister, the archangel only smiled and said, ‘Oh, it’s nothing’ and shook her head.
However, I just could not think that there was an issue with me and Charles in the present to warrant me keeping a farther distance from him. Aside from my own personal feelings on the matter, father too had grown quite fond of him. And there was something about Mishuli and Charles’ unreserved way of arguing that reminded me of Surfania and I. I thought the two of them got along well. Along with his relationship with my family, I could not find a fault with Charles as a fiance.
But Mishuli continued to talk with the exact same smile that hadn’t moved at all.
“You know, Charles is a boy, right? I think that he may not like being around a girl all the time.”
I had to think a little as her words were very convincing. That was basically what occurs when boys grew older. My usually worthless memories of my past life had some utility today for once. Charles was still only seven years old, but as he continued to grow, it was normal to consider that he would start to find it embarrassing to play with girls.
I did like Charles a lot, but it did not seem right to act too friendly towards him if it was not reciprocated. I was sure that Charles at least felt some fondness for me, but I didn’t know how much that was. It was very different to Mishuli and my relationship, where we were convinced that we loved each other the exact same amount.
“I see. Then perhaps it would be good to reconsider our distance, starting today.”
I would not like for Charles to hate me because I had come too close to him. That was my conclusion, and Mishuli agreed to it with a great big nod.
“I think that is a wonderful idea!”
After saying this, the brilliant smile that appeared on Mishuli’s face was without a doubt, the greatest smile she had shown in a while.