In the morning when they parted to meet with each of the other three on their lists, Gypsum took a round-about route to return to the home of Beryl, the stunningly attractive blonde female that he'd ranked first on his list.
At the same time, Feldspar took a different round-about route to the same home. They both saw the other approaching before either arrived at their destination. Their initial reactions were, not surprisingly, identical. Growls involuntarily formed deep in their throats and their bodies prepared for battle.
But then their intelligence and brotherly loyalty gained dominance over their instincts. They approached each other with apologetic grins. This was how they should have resolved the situation in the first place.
They approached the building together and scratched politely on the wooden door. The girl's father opened and was surprised to see both of them there. He turned into the house and called for Beryl to come to the door.
He was almost laughing as he remarked, "Daughter, you have two young suitors here to see you!" Then he turned to the twins. "You gentlemen make me proud. Obviously, my daughter is desirable enough to win the admiration of you both." The woman in question joined him at the doorway. He made room for her to step out past the door.
Feldspar, as the oldest, took the unpleasant duty. He bowed, and, a step behind him, Gypsum matched the gesture. "Sir," said Feldspar, in a tone of voice that was as close to apologetic as any Riotori male could manage, "What you say is true. Which is why we must give our regrets."
He turned to the young woman that had stolen both their fancies. "Beryl, it is with sadness that we must excuse ourselves from the pursuit of your favor. We made agreement even before we began our journey that we would not fight or even compete against each other for any reason, not even for the affections of one so desirable as you. We will no longer bother you. We will pursue one of the other attractive young women here. You are the only one that impressed us both so much that you were the first choice of my brother as well as myself."
Gypsum added, "So know that it is your very desirability that forces us to abandon our courtships before they have even begun."
Both young men bowed again, this time to the young woman who seemed to be taking the news quite well, nodded to each other, and turned away.
It is seldom that things work out perfectly, but sometimes they come close. Ideally, each twin would choose a woman that did not have a twin. This was preferred custom, but not in any way a hard and fast rule.
Beryl spoke to them in the soft purring voice they both found so endearing. "But Feldspar! Gypsum! Do not go yet! There is something that you do not know. There is a very likely solution to this problem."
She turned back into the house, exchanging knowing smiles with her father, who waited by the door, still looking proud and satisfied.
Beryl reappeared a moment later, accompanied by her identical twin.
"This is my sister, Topaz. She was working in our pottery shop yesterday with our mother all afternoon. It is her week to do so while I work in the mornings. Next week we will change schedules.
"But when you both visited separately, and expressed such wonderful favor with me that I could barely keep from dancing my pleasure, I anticipated this problem. Mother allowed me to stay here this morning on the likely chance you would both return."
Topaz was, of course, identical to Beryl in every way at birth, yet they were old enough to show differences. Since the Riotori live with identical twins all the time, they have developed keen perceptions to identify the differences between twins.
One main difference, of course, is scent. Even from birth, identical twins do differ in their personal scent, though very little. As they age, other tiny differences develop. In the case of Beryl and Topaz, the young men saw at once that Topaz, the younger by almost an hour, showed a thinner pelt at the neck and throat and the lovely shorter horn on her left had grown with a tighter spiral.
Some men would have considered this imbalance to be unattractive, but Gypsum found it uniquely fetching.
And so, the problem of choosing the females they wished to court was solved.
Soon the real trials would begin.