Once they reached the Gare de l'Est, Remilia tried to play it cool, but her act fooled no one. Flandre, Meiling, and Sakuya could all tell that she was suppressing a natural impulse to fret only with the greatest exercise of will. She wanted to ask repeatedly about the state of their supplies, whether they had enough money, what their contingency plans were for inclement weather, and a dozen other things besides, but she held it all in with an outward sangfroid that impressed and touched Flandre, who recognized in it a deliberate effort to treat her younger sister as her own woman, prepared to face the world.
While Sakuya and Meiling procured tickets, the Scarlet sisters waited on the platform alongside the train. Flandre and Meiling were traveling relatively light, with no bags to check in: just Flandre's suitcase and the hefty duffel bag into which Sakuya had carefully packed their supplies, which Meiling could easily carry despite its considerable size. As they waited, Flandre searched her mind for a way to let her elder sister know that she'd noticed her consideration, to express her gratitude for it, without seeming to be crowing about it.
Remilia saved her the trouble by turning to her and remarking, "You know, Flan... for the longest time, I was convinced that nothing would ever change. That nothing could ever change. That our lives were as lost in time as our home, and every night would be the same. And now... here we are."
She gestured around at the great, echoing hall of the gare, the train waiting to take Flandre and Meiling off on their adventure, the mid-twentieth century in all its bewildering glory. "It hardly seems possible that it's only been a few weeks since that night. The night of the storm, when everything changed." She paused, considering, then went on, "Just after you met Benjamin for the first time, he and I were talking. I had explained to him who you were, what had happened to you. I said he must have better things to do than get mixed up in my family's misery... and he said no, not if there was a chance he could help you.
"I told him I don't believe in chance," said Remilia, a nostalgic smile crossing her face, "and he said I ought to, because sometimes it's everything. He used as an example the timing of his trip that night—that if he had left Colmar a minute sooner or later than he had, he'd never have encountered you. He firmly believes that it was mere luck that brought him across your path at that critical moment..." She took Flandre's hand then, squeezing it, and concluded, "... but I think it was fate."
Flandre smiled. "I remember once when I was little, Maman told me that you had the power to change people's fates. That you inherited it from Papa."
Remilia chuckled, but it wasn't really a sound of mirth. "If that's true, it takes its time working," she said. She closed her eyes, a tear slipping down her cheek, and said quietly, "I prayed that something would change yours for four hundred years before it finally happened."
"Hey. But it did happen," Flandre insisted, letting go of her sister's hand to wipe the tear away with her thumb.
Remilia shook her head, looking annoyed with herself. "I'm sorry. I'm maundering, and I've no idea why. This should be a happy day." She brightened with an effort, giving Flandre a smile that was only slightly wan.
"You want me to stay?" Flandre asked at once.
"After you've looked forward so to this trip?" Remilia said. "No, no. I promised I'd let you go if you met my conditions, and you did."
"We could hold off a day or two, if you'd—" Flandre began, but Remilia shook her head firmly.
"No," she repeated. "Honestly, Flan, I'm fine. It's just the gravity of recent events telling on me a bit. You've earned your adventure and you shall have it." She drew herself up, elevating her chin, and declared, "My honor as your elder sister is at stake," then winked, the tip of her tongue showing in the corner of her mouth, to show that she was just putting on airs for effect.
Flandre laughed, but her voice and her eyes were serious as she said, "Well, if you're sure."
"Of course. Don't worry about me, Flan," said Remilia. "Sakuya and I will be off to Ribeauvillé ourselves before too much longer."