The Day All Four of us Cried
“Mothers, is it my fault that you are fighting?”
“Or is it Mei’s…..?”
Alea and Mei looked like they were about to cry as they spoke.
Claire-sama and I panicked a bit.
“We are not fighting. We were just chatting among ourselves, right?”
“Yeah, that’s right! Claire-sama and I weren’t fighting. We’re lovey-dovey. Super lovey-dovey, even!”
Claire-sama sounded desperate, while I tried to joke around a bit, which seemed to soothe them somewhat.
“But both of you had scary looks on your faces….”
“And your voices were kind of scary….”
Both of them were sniffling.
It looked like they were about to cry.
Actually, did they overhear us…..?
“We scared you, didn’t we? I’m sorry. Come here, Mei, Alea.”
Realizing that she couldn’t deceive them, Claire-sama apologized sincerely and opened her arms up to them.
She gave Mei and Alea a hug.
I could hear quiet sobbing for a moment.
While Claire-sama was holding them, she whispered, “It’s alright, it’s alright” and kissed their hair repeatedly.
It took a while for them to settle down.
“Mei, Alea, we have something important to discuss with you. Will you listen to us?”
Claire-sama asked them with her soft, gentle voice as soon as Mei and Alea were able to stop crying.
The two of them nodded their heads and each took a seat.
“Before we get into it, could you both keep something in mind? No matter what happens, Rei and I will never come to hate you, nor will we ever give up on you.”
Claire-sama once again emphasized that it was something they must always remember.
Mei and Alea both wore puzzled looks on their faces, but for the time being, they nodded.
“We received the results of your aptitude assessments from the church just the other day. We want to talk about those results with you two.”
“! How did it turn out?”
“I wanna know, I wanna know!”
Mei and Alea were now smiling innocently.
When I thought about how those smiles would soon be clouded over again, my heart began to ache.
“Let’s start with Mei. You are proficient in earth, water, fire and wind magic, which are all of the elements. Congratulations.”
“Isn’t that the same as Manaria-oneesama?”
Mei nearly burst with excitement as she fell off her chair.
She must’ve been extremely happy.
Seeing Mei like that, Alea looked on with envy.
“As for Alea, it is unfortunate, but you have no magical aptitude whatsoever.”
Alea looked like she could hardly understand what she was being told.
Mei, who was so excited up until now, shut her mouth.
“What does it mean to have no magical aptitude…..?”
“Alea, you are excellent at a lot of different things, right? But out of those activities, magic is the only thing you cannot do.”
Alea went speechless.
Claire-sama tried her best to let her down gently, but it seems that the news was too much for Alea.
“Okaa-sama, does that mean Alea can’t use magic?”
“Unfortunately, that is the case.”
“Is it because she has no aptitude for it?”
“Why? Even though I can use all four elements?”
“Only the Spirit God will know of the reason.”
Mei pondered for a bit, before her expression changed into one that looked like she had just come up with a great idea.
“Then Mei will just split half of her abilities with Alea!”
Mei innocently suggested her idea.
Alea’s face lit up with hope.
She was probably thinking that Mei’s plan would allow her to use magic as well.
“Mei, you’re a very nice girl, aren’t you? However, it is regrettable, but it is impossible to split your magical aptitude like that.”
“Is it impossible…?”
Mei looked disappointed.
Alea appeared to be even more so.
“Okaa-sama, am I not able to use magic no matter what?”
“Yes, I am really sorry.”
“No matter what? Even if I am a good girl?”
“….. Yes. However, being a good girl is a very commendable thing to do. Will you keep it up?”
Alea became speechless again.
The air felt heavy.
“Alea, even if you can’t use magic, you can focus on something else. You’re really good at a lot of different things.”
“Really, it’s just magic. As a human being, having at least one thing that you’re bad at sounds just about right to me.”
“Rei-okaasama, please be quiet for a bit.”
My follow-up was cut to shreds with a single strike.
Alea seemed like she was deeply lost in her own thoughts.
From my perspective, it looked like she was earnestly trying to fight back against the harsh reality she was suddenly forced to face.
“Mothers, are you sad that I cannot use magic?”
“No. Even if you cannot use magic, as long as Alea is fine and well, that will be enough to make us happy.”
“You won’t come to hate me?”
“Of course not.”
“You won’t favor Mei?”
“We definitely won’t.”
After hearing Claire-sama’s answers, Alea looked relieved, and,
“Then that is all I need. As long as both of you do not come to hate me, I do not need something like magic.”
Is what she said, with a fearless smile on her face.
“In exchange, Rei-okaasama?”
“What is it, Alea?”
“Will you teach me how to cook?”
“How to cook? I don’t mind, but why?”
“Because if I become skilled at something that even Claire-okaasama cannot do, don’t you think that is more rewarding than being able to use magic?”
She said while laughing mischievously.
“Ahh, no fair! Mei wants to learn too!”
“You can’t, Mei. You are able to use and will be using a lot of magic, so please give up on learning how to cook.”
Upon hearing Alea’s words, Mei looked dissatisfied, and puffed her cheeks.
“Okay, I understand. In that case, Mei will learn magic from Claire-sama, while I’ll teach Alea how to cook.”
“That sounds good. Are you both okay with it?”
“Sounds good to me.”
Somehow, they were able to settle down.
At one point, I wondered about how things would pan out, but it seems like it worked out in the end.
While Mei and Alea were discussing what kind of cooking or magic they’ll be learning, the two of them looked better than how we feared.
It seems that it was easier to do something about it than to worry about it after all.
“You’re a very strong girl, Alea. You also did very well for not saying anything mean either, Mei.”
Mei and Alea cuddled with Claire-sama.
I was finally able to relax my shoulders as well.
I let my guard down.
“I did well, right?”
“I gave it my best, right?”
“That’s why, forgive me… Just for today.”
As soon as she said that, tears welled up in Alea’s eyes.
“U….. w……w…… ahhhhhhhhhーーーーー!!!”
She started bawling.
Alea sobbed as if she was on fire, with her cries surprisingly loud for how small her body was.
Mei followed her lead and started crying at a volume that nearly rivaled Alea’s.
Large teardrops trickled from their big eyes.
Their entire bodies were enveloped by grief.
Unable to hold it in any longer, I went to hug both of them.
Claire-sama also held them tightly together.
Both Claire-sama and I were crying as well.
I’m sure we were being a bother to the neighbors.
But on that night, the four of us all cried our hearts out.
Mei and Alea cried endlessly until they were able to fall asleep.