Author: rolypoly

The maids who took care of her only handed her meals and baths for breakfast and dinner, but never spoke kindly.

 

It was a time when she didn’t even know she was lonely.

 

On a rainy autumn day, until a girl came to her always quiet villa.

 

Clarisse, who was quietly piling up pebbles in her room, noticed something strange outside the window of her room.

 

「Eung…?」

 

It repeats several times for the brown head to appear and disappear.

 

Curious, Clarisse quickly approached the rainy window.

 

As she climbed up the platform that made the squeak every time, she saw a girl avoiding the rain under the eaves.

 

The child had cute pigtails and was wearing a dress full of white lace.

 

It was the first time she had ever seen a girl her age up close, so Clarisse was at a loss for words and just stared at the girl.

 

The child who raised her head from beyond the window said something.

 

However, the sound of the rain and the tightly closed door prevented the voice from being heard, so Clarisse quickly lifted the heavy window upwards and opened it.

 

「Hello!」

 

The girl who came with the rain greeted her first.

 

Clarisse found it very awkward to exchange such a casual greeting, so she mustered up the courage to answer with blushing cheeks.

 

「H, hello….」

 

Then the girl smiled back.

 

「Do you live here?」

 

Clarisse nodded.

 

「I came with my father. I mean by carriage.」

 

「Ah…」

 

Clarisse looked at the child with a very pitiful gaze.

 

To ride in a carriage with her father.

 

The girl was so pitiful.

 

Clarisse is so frightened that even standing in the same hallway as her father freezes her legs.

 

「By the way, do you have an umbrella?」

 

「Umbrella…?」

 

「You don’t know? It’s so big, it covers the sky.」

 

She knew what an umbrella was. Because she saw the maids using it.

 

But Clarisse never thought that she could have such mysterious things.

 

「I, I’ll look for it.」

 

Clarisse gave a clumsy answer and stepped down from the platform.

 

「Umbrella, umbrella, umbrella.」

 

As she muttered that word, she left her room and passed through a slightly dark hallway. Just then, she saw a yellow umbrella near the entrance.

 

Did the maid leave it?

 

「What are you touching?」

 

Clarisse was startled by the voice from behind.

 

When she saw the maid’s sharp eyes, her shoulders dropped.

 

「…Umbrella.」

 

「What are you going to do with  umbrella if you don’t go out anyway?」

 

「B, but.」

 

Clarisse looked up at the maid eagerly, holding the umbrella with both hands.

 

This was the first time she had been asked by someone, and she wanted to help if possible.

 

「Do what you want.」

 

「Really?」

 

Clarisse shook her head happily.

 

「Yeah, it’s almost broken anyway. 」

 

The maid answered as if she was lazy and went somewhere, saying she was busy.

 

Clarisse grabbed the umbrella and ran to her room and climbed back onto the foothold.

 

Clarisse stuck the long umbrella out the window.

 

「This!」

 

When the girl found the umbrella, she was very happy and gave a bright smile.

 

****

 

After lending the umbrella, Clarisse often looked at the window where the girl had appeared.

 

‘Will you come… again?’

 

Clarisse brought out a clear memory of that day and stroked it several times.

 

Every time she felt like a small space in her heart was swelling up, it was to the point that breathing became more and more difficult.

 

‘It would be nice to see you again. I hope so.’

 

On the third day, when it felt like her heart was about to explode, Clarisse found a yellow umbrella swinging by the window.

 

「…!」

 

Despite waiting so long, Clarisse couldn’t run to the window right away.

 

She managed to move her frozen legs with tension and surprise, but then she tripped and fell.

 

Clarisse managed to open the window when she stumbled and arrived at the window.

 

There was the girl of that day outside. As pretty as a rainy day.

 

「Hello? Thank you for lending it to me!」

 

The girl, along with a yellow umbrella, handed a flower that had been picked from somewhere over the window.

 

Clarisse put the umbrella down on the floor and carefully held the flowers with both hands.

 

The thin autumn flowers looked so fragile that she was worried that they would tear with even the slightest force.

 

「…Pretty.」

 

「Right? It looks like you.」

 

「….!」

 

Clarisse’s face flushed. She can’t believe she looks like a pretty flower!

 

But the girl, unaware of Clarisse’s embarrassment, began to tell her story.

 

「 You know, I can meet the prince tomorrow. Do you know what the prince likes? You’re a royal maid.」

 

「Ah, I.」

 

I’m not a maid… Clarisse, who was about to say that, just shook her head.

 

In the sense that she doesn’t know what her brother likes.

 

She knows what he doesn’t like, though. It was Clarisse herself.

 

「Well, the prince probably won’t come to a place like this. Anyway, thank you.」

 

The girl waved her hands and was about to move away, so Clarisse quickly stuck her head out over the window frame.

 

「A, are you… going already?」

 

She’s been waiting for three full days, but it’s a pity that she’s already gone.

 

「Actually, I came out without my father’s knowledge. If I don’t go back quickly, I’ll be scolded.」

 

「Ah.」

 

Clarisse nodded quickly, as she never wanted the girl she was grateful for to be scolded.

 

「That…」

 

Instead, it was a pity to let it go like this, so she held out a brown pebble that she always carries in her pocket like a friend.

 

It was a return of flowers.

 

When she was sad, hugging this pebble and sleeping with it made her feel surprisingly good.

 

It was also the most valuable thing Clarisse owned.

 

「This…」

 

「Are you giving it to me?」

 

Clarisse nodded her head.

 

「Thank you, it’s a very pretty stone!」

 

The girl smiled broadly, and Clarisse’s face flushed again.

 

Her heart was tickling and she couldn’t stand it.

 

The next day.

 

Clarisse wakes up in bed with an umbrella and is scolded by the maid.

 

She said she increased her work by carrying a dirty umbrella to bed.

 

She cleaned the umbrella in her own way, but it didn’t seem to be perfect.

 

「Phew, it’s really annoying.」

 

The maid snatched the umbrella from Clarisse’s hand.

 

「This is confiscation. Do you know? No, this is some kind of garbage again!」

 

The maid screamed, pointing at the pink flowers lying neatly by the bed.

 

「That’s…a flower.」

 

「What kind of flower is withered and flimsy? It’s just garbage. I will throw it away immediately.」

 

Clarisse quickly stopped the maid from trying to grab the flowers.

 

「I…it’s precious! Please.」

 

When the child begged, the maid let out a deep sigh.

 

「You are doing everything right now. All right. You can live with or without garbage, whatever you want, I need to change the sheets, so go out to the garden right now. Argh, you’re such a troublesome kid!」

 

「I’m sorry….」

 

Clarisse looked at the umbrella thrown by the maid, and eventually turned around and left.

 

She was afraid that if she wished for the umbrella for no reason, the precious flower would be thrown away.

 

Even in the cold weather, Clarisse, who came out to the garden without even putting on a shawl, wandered around the detached palace.

 

When there was nowhere to go, and nothing to do like today, it was her only plaything to find a kind stone.

 

She didn’t mind getting her hands dirty, even digging through the soggy soil.

 

While exploring the garden for a long time, looking down at the floor,.

 

Clarisse bumped the top of her head against the leg of a tall figure.

 

「Ack!」

 

When she looked up in surprise, there was an adult man she had never seen before.

 

Judging from the fact that he was wearing a nice suit, he seemed to be an aristocrat with work in the palace.

 

Clarisse flinched, bowed her head quickly, and tried to run away.

 

Because she was taught not to reveal herself recklessly in the palace.

 

But it didn’t take long before she stopped moving.

 

「…Why do you dare stand out in my eyes?」

 

It was because she heard the voice she feared.

 

It was her brother.

 

Clarisse stopped in her spot and cautiously looked back.

 

Beyond the aristocratic man whom he had just encountered stood her brother, and beside him… The girl from yesterday was standing together.

 

The girl immediately recognized Clarisse and clapped her hands in delight.

 

「Prince! It’s this kid! The baby maid who lent me an umbrella.」

 

「…Maid.」

 

The prince frowned lightly at the little girl’s story.

 

She seemed to think that Clarisse didn’t belong to this royal family.

 

‘W, what should I do?’

 

Clarisse looked down at her toes, holding on to the hem of her dress.

 

「She also gave me some pretty pebbles as a gift. These pebbles.」

 

The girl, not noticing the chilly atmosphere between the prince and Clarisse, spoke lively.

 

「A really good kid… why are you like that, Father?」

 

In the meantime, the noble man seemed to have guessed Clarisse’s identity.

 

She quickly pulled her daughter’s arm and forced her to shut her mouth.

 

「Keep your mouth shut. How dare you make Your Highness uncomfortable!」

 

「I, I didn’t mean that!」

 

The startled girl looked at the prince’s complexion and bowed her head deeply.

 

The prince finally looked away from Clarisse and gave a small smile.

 

「No. Since the mother is lowly, it is only natural that the child will be seen as a maid. Your daughter seems to have the keen eye for even her lineage.」

 

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