Being in a tree is great.
That’s what I thought as I sat in a sturdy branch of the splendid tree in our garden.
My name is Christina Noir. I’m a genius.
At one I could walk, at three I could talk, and by five, I had exhausted all the books in the library.
The household I was born into is a Duke’s family which boasts a 300 year history. Our garden has been maintained by excellent gardeners for generations. Even this tree that I’m sitting on was apparently planted a hundred years ago.
Even after a hundred years, this tree shows no signs of withering. The branch that supported my weight was sturdy and I could feel the tree’s quiet but massive existence from the trunk that supported my back.
What was most wonderful of all though was…..
The rampant, lush foliage obstructed the woman’s view as she searched for me from down below.
Calling my name repeatedly was a woman in her mid-thirties. Slim and tall, possessing a slender, straight and well-proportioned back, she was of a strict disposition.
She’s the governess employed by my family to oversee my education.
「Christina-ojousama. Where have you run off to, Christina-ojousama? It is all right. If you come out now, I will not be angry. If you come out right now, I promise that I will not reprimand you for running away from your etiquette class. On the other hand, if you do not appear right this instant, I promise you that you will experience the depths of hell.」
Hearing her lie, I snorted and sneered. A mere employee dares to threaten me with cheap lies?
Whilst disdaining her futile search from my elevated spot, I surmised her deception. At any rate, I’m a rarely seen genius in this world. At one I could walk, at three I could talk, and by five, I had exhausted all the books in the library. Recently at seven, my most exciting memory was when I had won an argument with my Father, causing him to seethe with teary eyes. As I am a genius, I understood Mariywa’s real intention completely.
「….. Even if I came down and apologised, I’ll be struck with the whip」
Stealthily holding my knees, I decided to ignore the voices from the ground.
No to whips.
Ah, it hurts. The etiquette teacher my family employed, Mariywa, always had her whip on standby. According to the person herself, she will not use it unless necessary. In reality, she would mercilessly whip me without reservation. Mariywa especially did not like my tone. On the first day, every few words spoken resulted in the whip flying about.
Even if I was the heir to the Duke’s house and were to utilise the age-old sympathetic cry ploy whenever I saw the whip, Mariywa would state, “This is education” with a freezing glance.
That was enough to freeze the heart of a genius such as myself. That wasn’t a look that treated another human being with dignity. It was akin to a relentless, merciless glare – that one cannot express – to a despised, poorly trained horse and cause them to shiver from the cold.
Although, to submit to such fear, as a child prodigy born into the house of Duke Noir and christened with the name of Christina Noir, it would be equivalent to weeping. Therefore, particularly today, I boycotted Mariywa’s lessons.
「Christina-ojousama? This is my last advice. If you refuse to come out after hearing this….. Your lessons today will be stricter than before」
It….. It’s a threat after all! In the past five minutes, I heard the whip fly once, more intensely than usual, in the remote distance. My shoulders instinctively trembled, but not attending the lessons was my victory.
Mariywa was different from the live-in servants who worked here. The time for the pickup carriage to arrive was set in stone and can’t be missed. In other words, if I hide till then, Mariywa can’t meddle with me. Consequently, I would have to wait here until it arrived.
Perfect. Not a piece lacking, it was the perfect, accomplished plan.
「Christina-ojousama? ….. Che」
Bating one’s breath, before long, Mariywa’s resigned form disappeared from sight. Finally, I had a feeling that I heard the unworthy, ill-mannered etiquette teacher, but surely that was my imagination.
Victory. Deeply satisfied, I made a guts pose.
「Hahaha! Mariywa! After all, you’re just a lowly servant! To think that with your position that you could best me, Christina Noir, the eldest daughter and heir to the house of Duke Noir! Kukuku….. Fuwahahahahahahhaha!」
Striking a daunting pose on top of the branch, a loud laughter rang out loud. This was an excellent height to gaze from and above all, it was a position that gave a bird’s eye view of the estate. Therefore, it felt good to roar with laughter.
Of course, I had verified that Mariywa was nowhere in plain sight. Even if she had seen me standing on top of the tree laughing, it would have been difficult to strike at me with the whip due to the obstructing branches. Must not think grandiose thoughts. That big-headed governess’ discipline and her torturous tool were plainly lacking characteristics. I thought she wouldn’t dare, yet she would still strike me with absolute conviction.
With that being the case, it’s best to stay hidden. I can’t relax my guard here for if I’m found descending, it would be akin to committing a folly. After all, I’m a genius at cleverly hiding stealthily.
Just like that, I continued playing hide-and-seek.
Suddenly, somebody’s call could be heard. It wasn’t Mariywa, but it was necessary to guard against the possibility of her advancement. If this be the call announcing meal time, then I would need to endure my hunger. This was indeed a wise decision in order to continue hiding and prevent running across anyone.
Doesn’t matter who tries to find me, even if it was Father searching for me personally, I would continue to hide here. With that resolve, I quietly peek at the ground. Lo and behold, an angel younger than me, that was shaped like a girl, was there.
「Oneee-samaaaa….. Where are youuuuuu…..」
The delicate voice trembled slightly. Hearing that voice, I unhesitantly leaped off the branch.
For the seven year old me, jumping off from a height as such this was dangerous. However, if it was for the sake of my beloved imouto, this pain was nothing. Safely landing, I stood up boldly and laughed.
Before the very eyes of the me who had jumped down stood one beautiful girl. Compared to the boring black irises and hair I possessed, she had light, golden coloured hair that shone beneath the sunlight. Transparent blue eyes that looked like a copy of the sun suddenly widened in astonishment when I had descended. This angel was my beloved imouto, Mishuly.
「Onee-chan has answered your call, Mishuly!」
「What, Mishuly! You were looking for me weren’t you? Onee-chan will always be by your side—」
「Well, that’s reassuring. In the future, if Christina-ojousama runs away from her etiquette lessons again, I’ll be sure to call upon Mishuly-sama’s assistance」
Mixed together with the angel’s voice, I heard the voice of a hellish goblin. Turning around, there stood the tall and lean figure of the old maid, Mariywa Toinette.
「….. Why are you even here, Mariywa」
「How about using a smidge of the expressions that I’ve hammered into your brain as proof of my teachings」
「….. May I ask why you are here, Miss Toinette」
For the sake of information, I sold my pride using formal speech that was taught by Mariywa.
The words I used were naturally the qualifying marks. That human-pretending man-eating fiend Mariywa answered me readily.
「To discover the idiotic tomboy who decided to hide in the trees, I borrowed the assistance of Mishuly-ojousama」
「Wha-!? Don’t call me an idiot!」
I protested instinctively at Mariywa’s words. Receiving my outburst, Mariywa responded ingeniously with a raised eyebrow.
「And the idiot would be?」
「It goes without saying! Isn’t that you, a person from hell, who would plan and scheme to use an honest person like Mishuly!?」
Mishuly is the purest existence in the world. It was highly unlikely that this existence would willingly agree to child abuse.
「Hoho. Splendid work, Ojou-sama. As per declaration, today’s class will be stricter. Have you prepared yourself to take a good look at hell?」
「Silence, hellish goblin! For the crime of deceiving Mishuly’s actions, quickly go to hell!」
「Ah….. Erm….. Mariywa said that onee-sama was lost and you didn’t come back during meal time so she was worried…..」
「I’m sorry, Mishuly! This was all your foolish sister’s fault!」
Preoccupied with running away from this hellish ogre, I had made my younger sister insecure. This was a disgrace and unbecoming of the older sister. To the world’s cutest, younger sister who was worried for me, I apologised and hugged tightly.
Mariywa’s argument had implied that I was partly responsible. The uneasy countenance was swayed with a tight embrace, gradually turning into a smile.
Uh huh. My younger sister’s smile was definitely becoming. Feeling the body temperature of the angel in my arms, I was convinced again.
「As expected, you’re the cutest in the world, Mishuly」
「A-again, Onee-sama….. ehehe 」
Mishuly’s voice was no longer shrouded with worry. Instead, it was overflowing with shy happiness. With my younger sister’s worries removed, everything was settled as it should be.
One extremely trivial problem remained.
「Now then, Ojou-sama, relationships between sisters are such blessings….. It is already enough」
According to the hellish ghoul, it appears that I’ll be on a tour to a hell known as etiquette lessons.
However, I must not show my alarm. The reason is because in my arms lie my beloved, heavenly younger sister.
Not giving away a hint of insecurity, I confronted Mariywa with a magnificent, daunting pose.
「Fu, fufufu, fuwaaaahahahaha! Naturally! Let’s do this, Mariywa Toinette! I will turn the tables on you, leaving you speechless!」
「Starting from those expressions. I don’t know what you’ve learned from your mistakes, however prepare yourself, I will reform that vulgar, manly way of speaking」
「O-Onee-sama!? That….. Isn’t that painful? Onee-samaaaa!」
From a wee bit distance, I heard my beloved younger sister’s encouragement. Holding my head which was hit; crouching with teary eyes, I immediately vowed to confront my hardships with courage.
My name is Christina Noir. I’m a genius.
Started walking when I was one, spoke words freely at three, read and exhausted all the books in the library at five and remembered my previous life when I met my beloved angel.
At seven years old, this is the personal, rare story of a proud Duke’s daughter.