Mariko is sitting on the apartment balcony with her notebook, diligently writing out her thoughts for the day. She doesn't really feel like it, she's got a bad cold and would sooner lie in bed being brought miso soup at regular intervals, but she knows she'll feel better if she sorts out her thoughts even if those thoughts are mostly that she hates being sick, and wishes she could assign the part of herself that wants to do things literally every day come what may to her immune system its own body to do this for her.
"A slightly more plausible explanation than you discovering magic on your own is someone becoming careless and displaying obvious magic in a place you could see. If that occurred, the responsibility would fall on them, not on you, and your own discovery of magic would be less alarming."
"Would that start a manhunt for whoever it was?"
"You would need to reveal who you 'saw'. The level of consequence would depend on who you claimed made the mistake."
"She could say Tamaki did it."
"Everyone would totally buy that."
"If Tamaki did that, his grandmother would publicly disown him."
"Could it be in a context where I couldn't identify them?"
"Perhaps. Our magic does tend to be subtle. The intersection of things that are obviously magic and that one would do at a remove are not large."
"Maybe it wouldn't have to be obvious! Mariko-chan is smart. She could have noticed a pattern! A lot of people forget about patterns."
"I didn't in fact notice any but maybe we can think of a set of observations I could have made that would have caused me to notice."
"Do you like statistics?"
"I approve of statistics but don't have any strong emotions about them."
"If there's some reason that could plausibly fit within your personality for you to be looking at some population statistics or the raw data for some recent infectious diseases, we might be able to find a pattern you could have plausibly noticed."
"Sure, I can spin that pretty easily."
"I'll attempt to find the actual patterns for you."
"Maybe take notes on your search procedure for me?"
Tamaki looks dismayed.
"You're, you're going with statistics? She's finding magic through statistics? That's so unromantic!"
"She'll still need a scholarship if she wants to go here and someone to notice she's magical in the first place."
"Why would my cover story need to be romantic?"
"Because the truth is romantic. Your story is so unusual, no one has ever discovered magic their own before. You should go down in history. It's a tragedy for it to be brushed away as simply finding an unusual piece of math!"
"No one's ever discovered it on their own before? The tradition was handed down directly from God?"
"We don't know. The theory that seems most likely is that it was discovered by the church in a more raw form and then intentionally harnessed to the classic seven vices and virtues. But since then, it's true that there are no known instances of anyone discovering it independently."
"I mean, there does apparently exist a reason why it wouldn't be common knowledge if it happened a little more often."
"Especially historically. Fifty years ago you would have had a worse reception than this."