Chapter 5:

Three Truths and a Lie (Part 2)

The Curious Case of Clemsey

As Soreno became a frequent visitor of The Meliora Library, he began to earn Enith’s friendship, Aunt Gigi’s affection and the right to use our staff room’s grand coffee machine. He became obsessed with a book entitled, “A Brief Account on the Ancient Theories of Soul,” and would always hang out at the history section where he found another curious case— a male student who would always seat at the most discreet corner, with the most uninteresting book opened in front of him, while he dozes off. Whether his choice of books are way too dull or he really intends to sleep in the library is a mystery. Soreno just never runs out of things to be curious about.

However, the same thing applies to me and my object of curiosity is troubling me during my break time with something rather perplexing.

“Akisa! Three truths and a lie.”

I looked up from the medical book I was reading, as I tried to comprehend his words. “Soreno, whatever are you talking about?”

“You see, Mashima and I are developing a game. We are trying to test a theory. Good miss, will you... please help us out?” He said with a sweet smile while tapping the cover his favorite book.

“You’re always speaking in puzzles, can you please elaborate. What does my soul have to with your game development?” I retorted and went back to my reading.

“Akisa… it’s just that… you always look at people so very deep as if you’re solving a mystery in a mystery novel,” he said in a serious tone that got my full attention.

“Here’s the thing, this test is pretty simple,” he took a sip of his coffee and went on with his explanation. “I will just say four statements and you just have to determine which among those is the lie. You win the game either by stored knowledge, in depth analysis or pure luck.”

“And the consequence… in case of a lost?” I asked.

“I’ll state after the game,” he replied.

“Isn’t that unfair?”

“Like most things in life are… but hey, Akisa, please don't give me a weary look, we just need to study our theory here,” he said with a sigh.

“Okay, okay. I trust you anyway.”

And I lost the first round anyway. That said, as Soreno stated three truths and a lie regarding our hometown, I was rewarded in return, with extra stored knowledge about the history of Port Ami. I guess in the next round I will just try my luck.

The very next day, he started calling me Clems-y. So yes! He took a letter from my given name as a consenquence. It left me utterly baffled. If one looks at it in a different perspective, It would seem like one is being called by a nickname which would denote a close relationship between two people. However...

“This is harsh Soreno, that letter “E” may not be doing much to my name but it feels like I just lost something... something significant!” Like really, It's unsettling.

“You’ll have it back if you win a game. Anyway for now, you gained a friend, Clems-y, the cat outside the Meliora, the one that Enith said resembles you, her name is Elsker.” He just named the cat using what I lost. How else would I react?

Blaming it to my sheer lack of luck, I lost the game again after a week. He started calling me Clemy. And guess what? Once again, I earned another supposed friendship in a form of a “Dracaena Sanderiana” aka “Lucky bamboo” aka “Saya.” There goes another precious part of my name.

“Clemy, I bought this for you. You look so much like you need a semblance of a new life form,” he said while staring fondly at the indoor plant named Saya.

“Why are you always so painfully honest?” I said with a scorn that turned into a sudden spark of idea. Oh my, I guess this time, I know how to win the game.

I allowed myself a week to actually observe everything closely. What I’m talking about when I talk about closely is Soreno’s every movement— to the faintest of his reactions, to his most usual tone. For one, I can say for certain, that he became a constant in my life, which caused his motions and emotions to flow naturally with mine. Heck, I can even finish his sentences. But, looking hard enough at something can make you realize that there are subtle details you happen to overlook. Isn’t that an irony of life? That things in plain sight, are somehow the easiest to miss. For instance, as far as I can tell, Soreno is not the kind of man that is comfortable with lies no matter the weight. Even uttering a single necessary lie will cause him to avert his gaze to random objects present in the room. His love for history goes with his fervent desire to always seek for the truth.

“Interesting... that smug of yours is pretty telling that you just cracked a code,” he looked at me with curiosity and continued. “Remember this library’s sleepy guy? I will start calling him “Yuu” if I win this round,” he told me, whilst flipping pages from the "Dictionary of Languages."

“Soreno, if I win next round, you will bring my name back to its original form, then I'll take something from yours. Deal?”

Sure enough, I finally won! From then on, he started calling me Clemsey, and I started calling him Van. Anyhow, he looks genuinely happy with the result of his game theory.

A name is a name given to our very soul. It holds a great significance synonymous to life itself. We risk a fight for its value. Our soul loses it in death— is one of the notions presented in Van’s favorite book. Somehow, I am getting the gist of it.

As I prepare to close The Meliora Library that day, I was surprised to see that the male student that Van was supposed to call “Yuu” is still snoozing at the corner. Of course, I am fully aware of how improper the whole matter is. Though, for some reasons, I never really had the inclination to wake him up and rub him off his chance for a peaceful sleep, so much like how I could never not call my lucky bamboo as “Saya” or the cat as “Elsker” from now on.

Wherever did he get those names anyway? I never bothered to find out. I let it remain a mystery.

That night, I left a cup of coffee on Yuu’s table, and got a sincere thank you note in return.