I am Christina Noir. I am a genius.
I was able to run freely around the mansion since I was a year old, at three I had mastered speaking, at five I had read every book in our library, at the still young age of seven, I portrayed the most perfect lady at a ball and shocked all of society. I am a genius and completely flawless girl.
And now, I am nine years old.
In the two years that passed since I was seven, I have gained even more knowledge, as I have an ability to absorb that you might expect from a genius. I learned during moments of every day, I learned from Mariwa’s lessons, and then I spend time with my sister, the archangel, in order to replenish my heart. The days that went by were ever flowing with possibilities to grow even more.
Since then, I have had several opportunities to appear in public and conduct myself in a way that was worthy of praise. My reputation was nearly set in stone at this point. Who was the girl that society whispered about, saying she was the most promising? It would be no exaggeration to say that it was me. I was the talented, genius girl whose future looked the brightest.
In the past few years, the rest of the world has started to see my genius. This truth that slowly started to spread had definitely satisfied my self-esteem, and more than that, there was one wonderful result that was about to come to fruition. And it was more wonderful than all of my growth in the past two years.
“…Hmmm, very well then. I will acknowledge that my lady’s etiquette and manners have finally crossed a certain threshold.”
So were the words that I heard after two years of etiquette lessons and a simple test. I was so pleased that I nearly pumped my fist in the air.
The happiness threatened to rob me of my self-control, but I knew that, had I so much as clenched my own fist, Mariwa’s bony hand would have dropped over my head. So I had to settle for keeping my excitement hidden.
I had grown to such an extent that I was able to receive such words from the cold-blooded, devil brute known as Mariwa.
Barely noticing my joy, Mariwa sat with her back straight like she had for the last two years and continued to talk in a calm voice.
“You have grown, my lady. Your ape-like, tomboy actions have become much milder now. You could probably wear the skin of a cat without looking too suspicious. There is almost no difference in your nature, which is like an unruly horse, but it is doubtful that anyone could peel that layer off. And so I give you a passing mark.”
“Fu fu fu. It is no trouble to me, Miss Toinette.”
I hold back my need for a boisterous laugh and just smile pleasantly. Her words did seem to imply a lot of other things, but I was still happy. Generally speaking, Mariwa never gave me any praise at all. And while she did not pat me on the head now, I was greatly moved by the few words of praise she had bestowed on me.
“I am the woman of talent who will carry the House of Noir, after all. The one who will one day shine so radiantly in society. It should be most expected that I can carry myself to this level!”
It was a rule that I must speak like a lady during my etiquette lessons. By now, it was very rare for me to break this rule and have her fist come down on my head. That was proof that I was making progress on this strict road to ladyhood.
I was proud in a graceful manner that a lady should be, and then I noticed something.
Now that it had been determined that I had acquired the necessary manners and etiquette, did this mean that Mariwa’s role here had come to an end?
I couldn’t help but fall silent as I pondered on this.
Mariwa was a private teacher who had been hired to teach me etiquette. If that role was no longer needed, then she would of course, no longer have to visit the mansion.
Mariwa would be gone.
That could not happen.
It was such an obvious future, and yet thoughts of rejecting it immediately entered my mind.
Because I was still… Well… That was it!
I had still not brought Mariwa to her knees!
“That is well. Now, if you have learned to smooth over your outward appearance, the next thing to do is polish yourself from within. You will be studying the liberal arts next.”
My genius mind had been working furiously to find a solution, but Mariwa’s words made me pause in confusion.
“…Are we not finished with lessons of etiquette?”
“You seem to have misunderstood something? I told you. Everything you have learned until now has been nothing more than an emergency improvisation to polish your outward appearance. From now on, we will attempt to make you a lady on the inside as well. And the first step to that is the liberal arts.”
My dilemma had been immediately solved. The road to being a lady was not easy, and it seemed to be far from finished.
That was fine, but now another question entered my head.
“Will you also be teaching me the liberal arts, Mariwa?”
Liberal arts. It was the study of the trivium and quadrivium. It originated as a ‘study that gave people freedom,’ and it was thought that attaining knowledge from them would give you a general education.
I had no issue with learning such things. Indeed, it was only normal for those of nobility to learn them. In fact, the Royal Academy which allows students to enroll at the age of fourteen also used the liberal arts as a central part of the student’s education.
And so my misgivings had nothing to do with what I would be taught.
“It’s Miss Toinette, my lady.”
“Wait, you just said that I had completed my exterior etiquette training, would that not mean that such things don’t matter anymore?”
“….Hmmm. Well, that is right. We can ignore that for now then.”
Surprisingly, she accepted my argument easily. Mariwa looked very obstinate, but she could be quite flexible sometimes. If you have an argument with a sound reason, then it was possible to refute her.
Leaving all that aside, I wanted an answer from Mariwa.
“Let me ask you again. Are you to teach me the liberal arts as well?”
“Yes. To learn the liberal arts is to gain a basic education. If an educated woman is considered a lady, then the liberal arts are part of the same category as etiquette. So why should it be considered odd for me to teach you?”
I was a genius, so I knew immediately that it was indeed something rather odd. But I didn’t press the issue. I ask the other thing that was bothering me.
“…You are going to teach all of the subjects, by yourself?”
Who could have blamed me for being shocked at Mariwa’s nonchalant nod?
This was something quite unbelievable under normal circumstances.
If one was going to learn all of the subjects, you would, of course, have a professional teacher teach each one. It may be possible for one person to give the child an introduction to each subject, but the student, in this case, was a genius. My ability to absorb knowledge at a rapid speed was not normal, it would require an especially good teacher to be able to keep up with me.
And yet she said that she would teach each subject herself, I could not make sense of this decision at all. Mariwa would take on the burden of seven people. Why not hire seven people like a normal person?
But there was not one speck of uncertainty on Mariwa’s face.
“There is no need to worry, my lady.”
Her cold eyes did not waver, they looked only at the truth. The mouth which swallowed the unreasonable, smoothly spun the next words.
“It is fundamental that as long as I am here as your teacher, that I help you acquire knowledge of all seven subjects until you reach the age of fourteen and enter the Royal Academy. By then, I would have crafted you into such a student that you will proudly proceed down the abyss of philosophy and the higher learnings.”
It was not like me to nod so sincerely. But that was the level of intensity that I felt from Mariwa’s spirit.
Mariwa. What was she?
It was really something that I should have wondered about a long time ago.