Time passes irregularly.
Of course, the passing of time is subjective, but everyone and anyone knows it’s true. My proof for this is that when you have nothing to do, time seems to stretch forever, but when you are concentrating on something it passes in the blink of an eye.
Mariwa’s class seemed to be forcefully hammering that idea into me.
One’s thoughts are an inherently personal thing. There is no room for another person to interfere in such a personal thing as one’s own thoughts. My thoughts were something that had been born from my eleven years of living. It was something that only I should be able to understand.
However, sometimes it seemed that Mariwa could grasp the full picture from my thoughts.
Even so it’s not as if I turn off my thoughts even if she was reading them. I was pushed to the limit as she gouged out what I didn’t know, understand or was unsure of. Her accuracy at knowing my weaknesses was enough to make me believe she was truly monitoring my thoughts.
I couldn’t tell if this was what people meant when they said ‘education.’
“Hmm…well, I think we can give you a passing mark today.
Hearing Mariwa’s compromise, I pretended to hang my head with disappointment. Internally I let out a huge sigh of relief.
Perhaps Mariwa was testing just how fast I could think. I had been forced to concentrate to the extent that all I could remember was that it felt like time had kept speeding up. As long as the class would pass more quickly as it went on, I could remember what I needed to. If I was to say it frankly, it felt like my spirit was being scraped away bit by bit in that class.
The breakneck pace time had been going was cut short with my relieved sigh, and it seemed time was back to normal.
“Even if I’m satisfied with your work today, we still have time left in our lesson. How about we listen to the why the young lady went and forgot her place?”
“Aah, because I was scared of facing Charles–”
“I’m sorry, what?”
Finishing classwork early so she could bring this up must have been her plan all along. The question had been flung at me right when I was most worn down. Forgetting myself for a moment, the truth snuck out in my answer. Even as I clamped my traitorous lips shut, I knew I could not take the words back. My only sliver of hope was that Mariwa would pretend she hadn’t heard a thing. That vain hope was crushed to pieces with her next question.
“Scared of His Highness? That is…Oh. So it was like that.”
Pausing in the middle of her question, Mariwa looked as though she had just realised something.
“Now that I think about it, that was the case. I guess you were still just a stupid brat, huh?”
“Oi! The hell did you just call me?!”
“Nothing at all.”
The words I heard would be unbelievable in front of a Duke’s daughter such as myself. Surely that must have been my imagination.
I tried to clear my head.
“I see. It must have been my imagination.”
“Err, yes of course you simply misheard. What kind of language is that, young lady. Just try speaking a single word like that in high society. They will be shocked beyond words. Make sure you never say such a word like that in front of the upper class.”
Somehow feeling like this was unreasonable I puffed my cheeks up in frustration.
Even if I was the one who misheard what she’d said, somehow I wasn’t completely satisfied that explanation.
“Hold on a second, there’s no way I would ever say such a thing in front of someone. I’ll have you know I am a proud lady of the Noir household.”
“To say that you, as a lady of the Noir house, wouldn’t mishear such a thing. Considering you fled from your guests of honour the other night, I hardly think that argument has any power.”
“However, just this once, because of the situation with His Highness Charles…well, it all couldn’t be helped. Let’s just treat this as an important growth experience.”
My excuses were trampled as Mariwa played judge and jury to this problem by herself.
Still, it was an unexpectedly mild conclusion. I had thought for sure she would be angrier about my actions.
“Mariwa, you aren’t actually all that angry, huh.”
“Oh. To the young lady does it appear as if I am not angry? You believe your teacher isn’t mad?”
Putting aside that she had answered my question with a question, I closely observed Mariwa.
It was something I had only realised recently, but if Mariwa didn’t answer a question clearly she was usually hiding something. Perhaps it’s that she doesn’t want to actually lie. It was a way of causing a misunderstanding by leading the conversation with a question.
In order not to be fooled by her tricks, I re-analysed our interactions thus far.
Looking at Mariwa, questioning whether she was actually angry I came to the conclusion that she wasn’t actually all that angry. The contents of our conversation was proof enough. To put it more accurately, considering Mariwa’s nature she should be a lot more angry. But somehow her level of anger seems rather low.
“As I thought. You’re not actually all that angry. Why is that?”
“…That may be so.”
I was genuinely surprised that I had not only managed to break through Mariwa’s barrier with my impressive powers of observation, but that she had even acknowledged it.
“If we are to talk truthfully, I am not that bothered by your emotional behaviour itself. Absurdity isn’t born from logic after all. If you acted irrationally, then that is proof of your emotions. You never know, someone could have been thinking that was rather charming of you.” Then Mariwa added with an unheard murmur. “Like his highness Charles.”
“So, what you’re saying Mariwa… is that maybe acting out like that could maybe have been a good thing. And because of that you’re not angry?…But still, isn’t it the job of a tutor to reprimand me to control my emotions better?”
“No. In reality, people who act like they have that control are just repressing their true emotions. Saying that hiding your feelings is managing your emotions is foolish. What they’re basically doing is just controlling their facial expression and their words. All the while their emotions are acting out inside.”
“Suppressing your emotions…is that a bad thing?”
“It is neither good nor bad. There are both disadvantages and benefits at the same time. If you think of it more from a social aspect, there are more benefits, yes?”
She immediately struck down my words. That she could respond immediately like that was proof that Mariwa knew what she was talking about.
I thought about it for a little while.
“Even if you say that to yourself…for me, being controlled by my emotions and the public humiliation that followed. I would be better off suppressing them.”
“If even as an adult, you still find yourself controlled by your emotions, then at that time you will need to learn to suppress them. But, while you are still young it is best to listen to your feelings. That way you can come to understand your emotions. Rather than suppressing them or being controlled by them, you can learn to wield your own emotions.”
“To wield my emotions…?”
“Yes. Though I have never been able to do it, there was a certain person who turned it into a social art. If you are able to do that, those emotions will become a strong weapon for you.”
“…a certain person?”
“A friend of mine.”
So she actually does have friends. At my surprised expression Mariwa narrowed her eyes.
“While I can no doubt guess what you’re thinking right now…it’s already time for my carriage home. And with that, make sure to engrave what we discussed onto your heart.”
“W- wait! Mariwa!”
As devoted to the time limit as I knew she was, I hastily grabbed her cuff to try and stop her, looking up at Mariwa.
“Um, that is. I think I basically understood what you meant about controlling emotions but…tell me what to do about Charles?!”
“That is not something I can tell you.”
I was left with the most important question unanswered as Mariwa pulled her cuff free and resumed her frosty exterior.