I was in pretty high spirits on the day Charles was to pay us a visit.
I had a fondness for dressing up. It made me happy to know that you could attain beauty that corresponded with the weight of what you adorned yourself in. Now, I have absolutely no shame in myself even without as much as a string to wear, but then there was an inexpressible joy in accessorizing oneself.
What I am trying to say is quite simple. Due to the fact that I will be entertaining the third prince of this country today, I am dressing up a little more than usual.
The dress I will wear today is very different one than the red dress I wore to the ball. This one is blue and white. The upper half has been dyed with a brilliant and deep blue and decorated with white lining and gold buttons. There is a train that starts from the top and goes halfway down the skirt that contrasts beautifully with the front that is pure white and flowing.
Putting this on, I became my most confident self. First, I displayed it to Mishuli who I had invited to my room.
“Mishuli, what do you think about your older sister in her dress today?”
“You look so cool!”
Unlike my appearances at balls, I would be the only one here that was dressing up. Mishuli was armed with an adorableness that no dress could ever match. In her regular clothes, she applauded me. Mishuli’s vocabulary was not the most extensive in the world, and so she always used the same words of praise. But I felt that all of the feelings in her entire being were mustered up in those words.
“Amazing. You looked slender and cool in the red one too, but this blue one is fluffy and cool! You look amazing no matter what you wear!”
Mishuli’s blue eyes shone brighter than the afternoon sky as she gave her all into expressing this praise. It wasn’t just with words, she expressed it with her whole body. It hit me straight in the heart, reverberating.
I puffed out my chest in answer to her adorable and honest praise.
“Of course I do! I am your older sister after all!”
“You really are my older sister. You are the coolest in the whole world!”
“Indeed! I am the older sister of the cutest girl in the world, that way, we create a balance! …But, fufu. If I can receive so much praise from you, Charles will surely be surprised too.”
The lavish praise suddenly stopped dead.
“Ah, I had not told you yet. Remember, we talked about it a little? The friend I made at the ball, he is going to visit us. So I thought that I’d go out and greet him.”
“You’re going to greet him…? And with this cool dress?”
“Yes, that is right. Fufufu. Last time, he had caught me off my guard. Charles, this time I will give you something to really see!”
“A boy friend….Charles…greeting in a dress…”
I had turned my gaze from Mishuli and had been plotting on how to surprise my friend; I now turned back to look at her.
For some reason, all of the vigor and joy she had been overflowing with up until now was shrinking. The lights in her bright, blue eyes had dimmed, even her blonde hair seemed to have lost its luster. And now she was mumbling things to herself, this was really not like her.
What could have happened? Worried, I tried to look into the face of my beloved sister which stood a head below mine, but before I could, Mishuli had raised her own head and her blue eyes pierced into mine.
“So, you put that dress on for the boy, Charles?”
My extravagance was indeed for this occasion where I would greet the third prince of this country. It was just as Mishuli said. But something was wrong. Mishuli looked at me with a most difficult and willful expression. I was a genius, and yet I was feeling pressured.
“Well, indeed, it is the truth that I put on this dress for Charles. You are right, Mishuli.”
“Oh, I see…”
Mishuli showed undisguised disappointment at my affirmation.
“You’re going to go and meet this Charles, now?”
Mishuli was acting a little strange. There was a disquietness to it compared to her previous moment of adorable jealousy. Really, what was happening?
“Um, Mishuli. What ha-”
“Excuse me, my lady.”
Just as I was about to ask her the reason for her behavior, I heard the most untimely sound of three knocks on the door.
“His Highness, Prince Charles will be arriving soon. The preparations have all been made, please come down.”
I frowned at the words that came after the knock.
That was most terrible timing. It was quite tragic that as an older sister, I was unable to help Mishuli when she was feeling down.
Mishuli would not be pleased by this interruption either. When she heard the words from the servant, she had whispered ‘Charles’ and her eyes had unusually narrowed.
However, the person I was to meet was him. He was a prince, and more than anything, a friend. I could not just leave him alone. There was nothing that I could do but pat Mishuli on the head and try to cheer her up.
“I’m sorry, Mishuli. I have to go now.”
It felt like someone was pulling me by the hair, but I decided that I would settle this later.
I’m coming. I turn in order to tell the servant, but then I noticed something lightly pulling me back.
Mishuli was holding my sleeve to stop me.
Mishuli looked up at me with trembling and teary eyes.
I could tell how sad she must have been feeling just by looking at the tears and the tight grip on my sleeve, but the words came pouring out of her mouth.
“I don’t want you to go. I’ll be lonely…”
I heard the words that shaped her heart, and my eyes slowly widened.
In truth, it was quite rare for Mishuli to act stubborn like this. Mishuli was more of an accepting child. Even if this was just a tantrum, it was unusual for her to pursue something on her own like this.
Mishuli was demonstrating her will to not listen, and so I knelt down so as to be on the same level as her.
“…The thing is, Mishuli.”
I stared straight back into Mishuli as she complained, and I declared:
“I would never leave you and go somewhere alone!”
“I knew it!”
A bright smile appeared on her face like a blossoming flower. She then flung her arms around my neck. I received it and hugged her tightly back.
“You would never leave me and go off to someone else, never!”
“No, no! It is impossible!”
“I know! I won’t let you go off to some boy name Charles. You wouldn’t go!”
“Yes! …Huh? What, um. That’s right!”
“Of course it is! Ehehe. I love you, sister!”
“I love you too, Mishuli!”
We sisters laughed as we pelted each other with declarations of love.
I felt that we must be in a corner of God’s kingdom that was made by the incorruptible archangel Mishuli. It was Shangri-la, Utopia, the Garden of Eden, Nirvana. There was a bliss that was more powerful than anything I remembered from my past life.
But then a voice came that shattered that joy I was basking in.
“Um, my lady Christina? Forgive me for repeating myself, but it is time…”
I had forgotten.
The servant’s words brought me back to reality and I stood up, wordless. And like that, I made way toward the door.
Mishuli’s voice quivered behind me, but I wanted her to be assured. It was not that I was trying to go out into another room. What I was about to do was quite the opposite.
The door was in front of me, and I turned the lock without a moment’s hesitation.
“Yes. This should do it.”
“Do it… Umm, my lady. Did you just lock the door?”
“Yes, I’m sorry. I don’t think I will be able to leave this room for quite some time.”
I had been lead to the truth of the world, but a horrible screech sounded after my honest reply.
“Ah, I, my lady Christina? What are you saying?”
“It seems that I will not be able to leave Mishuli today. We must ask Charles to come another time. Yes, we must do that.”
“That is out of the question! They are royalty, my lady Christina! Please stop it with these jokes and acts of willfulness!”
“And so what if they are royalty? Am I not entertaining an archangel in her? Do you really suppose that I would abandon my beloved Mishuli in here!?”
“Why, your affection for lady Mishuli is causing you to do strange things…! My lady Mishuli! If you are in there, please persuade your sister to come out of the room-”
That energetical rejection that echoed was very unlike the usually honest Mishuli. I heard the second scream of horror.
“Why, even you, Mishuli…? Tsk. For now, I will have to go and borrow the key from the head maid…”
“Try it. While you are gone, I will fill the keyhole with candle wax so it will no longer turn.”
“Will you not stop thinking of such childish tricks?!”
It was most disrespectful of her to suggest that such ideas from my genius mind were no more than childish tricks.
This servant will not be able to break through my defenses no matter what. I went back to where Mishuli was and with a smile, explained my plans.
“Now, Mishuli. Let’s play together for the whole day.”
“Um, my lady Christina? You do understand that this is not something to joke about? Just like when you locked yourself in the pantry, it was not something that could be handwaved as a joke. Please, my lady! Please open this door right now!”
Her banging on the door had far exceeded the level of a knock. I silently watched at the rudeness of it all.
Unfortunately, I could not do what she wanted. There was not even one shred of a joke in my decision to hold this castle.
“What should we play, Mishuli? It’s quite noisy outside, but should we read a book?”
“Yes…stories! I like your stories more than books!”
“Noisy outside…! No, no, I must call the master of the house and tell him… Oh, but he has been easily controlled by Christina of late, it might just be a waste of time… Then, what should I -AH, that’s it!”
It appeared that the servant on the other side of the door had thought of something, unfortunately for her, there was nothing in this mansion that could aid her in breaking the defenses of a genius. I would be able to shoot down any plan, no matter how brilliant. The kind that a plebian servant would think of was likely to be of no concern.
I was about to confidently ignore the noise coming from the other side of the door.
“We just need to call Miss Toinette!”
I would not have thought that they would try to rely on an outsider. I fell silent.
Mishuli cocked her head to the side as I became speechless. But as it happened, the servants had used an unexpected hand. And in this reality, I had to use all of my power in order to find a way out of this. I had no time to reply to her.
Leaving us like this, the servant began to monologue.
“It’s always like this. Even when she holed up in the pantry, it was Miss Toinette who solved it for us. We prepared the young lady quite ahead of time, so we can still make it. Today is not the usual day for the private teacher to visit, but if I send a carriage…we might just make it in time! Yes. Now…”
“I’m sorry. It was just a little joke. I will come out now, so please don’t call Mariwa.”
Mishuli’s scream echoed. The pain in her voice tightened around my heart, but there were many things in this world that were out of one’s control. I calmly untangled Mishuli’s hand that was gripping my sleeve.
“I’m sorry, Mishuli. What I must go and do now, is my responsibility as a noble. It is not something that I can ignore as the daughter of Count Noir.”
I say as if to comfort her. Hearing my words from behind the door, the servant mumbled, ‘…It really is true.”
Hey, now you maid. You may think that I can’t hear you behind this door, but I can.
I considered saying something, but I knew that if our previous exchange was related to Mariwa, it would be incredibly troublesome for me. So I did not say anything.
Though she was solemn, Mishuli seemed to have been persuaded by my words. There was still discontent there, but she would no longer try to keep me from going.
“It’s your duty as a noble to go, right?”
“Yes, it is.”
“It’s not that you want to see that boy Charles, or anything right?”
“Huh? Yes. Well, that is true.”
I won’t deny that it would be fun to meet a friend, but it was also true that it was my duty.
Upon hearing my answer, Mishuli smiled and gave me her blessing to go.
“Okay, I understand then!”
“I’m glad. You are so good.”
I gently patted my understanding sister on the head. Her blonde hair was soft, it felt nice and fluffy under my fingers.
“Ehehe. …Oh, by the way, sister,”
“Hm? What is it, Mishuli?”
I was sure that the patience of the servant was reaching its limits, I had to leave soon. As I thought this, Mishuli made an adorable last request of me.
“Can I come to your room to play later on?”
Usually, it is I who goes to Mishuli’s room to play. It was quite rare for Mishuli to want to come to mine.
I would not mind her coming to play as much as she wanted, as long as it was after Charles had left. So I gladly accepted her request and Mishuli excitedly said ‘Yay!’ in happiness.
“…You better not be alone together or anything.”
“Now, I suppose I should go…? Did you say something, Mishuli?”
“No. I didn’t say anything!”
I missed whatever it was that she mumbled, but there was nothing dark in Mishuli that she would hide, she shook her head with an adorable smile.
“See you later then, older sister!”
“See you later, Mishuli!”
She was so cute.
She was the manifestation of purity, wholesome and adorable with only one side to her. I could not help but smile broadly as she sent me off.