“Did you know my mother?” I asked, leaning forward.
Although I had been extremely nervous earlier, Tomiko Asahina had a special way of making you drop your defenses and open up to her.
“Yes, very well. Ever since she was born,” she said in a voice that went right to the depths of my heart. “Mizuho-chan has a special knack for leading people. She’s doing an excellent job as librarian. But my position requires more than that. And it’s something no one but you have.”
“But…why me? I’m still a student, and my grades aren’t that good.”
“Grades? You mean your cantus? You’re not interested in being someone like Shisei are you?”
“Well…even if I wanted to, I couldn’t.”
“Your aptitude for cantus is not the only thing tested in school. There’s also the personality index. It’s something we never let the students know about.”
Tomiko smiled, revealing teeth unnaturally white for her age. “In every era, what is demanded of a great leader is not some special ability but their personality index.”
All at once, I felt everything become lighter. Until then, I had been oppressed by all the things I felt inferior about.
“Do you mean things like their intelligence, or sensitivity, or leadership skills?” I asked fervently.
But Tomiko shook her head gracefully. “No, It has nothing to do with intelligence. Or sensitivity. And leadership abilities are acquired through various social experiences.”
“The personality index is a number that indicates a person’s stability. It is their ability to maintain a grasp on themself and carry on without breaking down no matter what kind of unexpected situation or psychological crisis occurs. That is the most important quality in a leader.”