Author: rolypoly

“Yes? There’s no way!”

 

Clarisse quickly explained her relationship with them.

 

“Actually, those two people have probably almost forgotten that I’m a girl.” 

 

It’s as if Clarisse has almost forgotten their gender.

 

“When I was young, I caught frogs and bugs and crawled along the bottom of dirty waterways without adults knowing. But how can I be liked?”

 

Clarisse still saw the two people from that day before her eyes.

 

Noah enjoys catching a frog.

 

Valentine throws a tantrum because there’s something dirty in the waterway.

 

Even now, sometimes she sees them overlapping with how they were when they were young, but the word ‘courtship’ couldn’t be formed between them and Clarisse. 

 

If it were ‘harassment’ or ‘friendship’, it would be quite possible.

 

Despite Clarisse’s explanation, the madam never seemed to agree. 

 

“You’d better trust this old woman’s eyes. They’ll be even nicer guys in a few years, and they’ll definitely be courting Miss Clarisse enthusiastically.” 

 

“That’s…”

 

Clarisse bit her lip for a moment.

 

She thought it would be better to tell the madam a few more stories. 

 

“It’s really impossible. Because… I’m not even a person who can accept that kind of feeling.”

 

“How about Miss Clarisse?”

 

“As for me, Madam.”

 

Clarisse played with the hem of her clothes for a moment. 

 

In recent years, she has often been introduced as ‘one who has the king as her guardian.’

 

Although she never lost sight of the fact that she was essentially a prisoner, she was actually referred to as such less often.

 

Is it because of that?

 

It was a little difficult… to talk about the unpleasant identity again. 

 

“I’m a prisoner.”

 

Still, Clarisse mustered up her courage and spoke. 

 

“…Yes?”

 

“I should have told you first before coming here like this. I’m sorry. I didn’t hide it on purpose, but…”

 

Clarisse tried to regain her composure and straightened up after explaining her ramblings.

 

And she confessed her sin in just one word.

 

“My name is Clarisse Lennon… Grezekaia, madam.”

 

Anyone who hears the name of a lost country attached to that name will know Clarisse’s sin.

 

At this moment, there seemed to be even deeper silence and coldness in the otherwise quiet hallway.

 

‘…W, what should I do?’

 

Is she upset that she brought a prisoner into the drawing room?

 

Clarisse wondered if she would show a pendant that she was wearing. 

 

Even if it’s just to make the madam feel a little better.

 

However, Clarisse just lowered her head as she felt like she was adding an excuse for no reason.

 

She passed through the heavy silence and the madam took a step closer. 

 

Clarisse, who was looking down, was surprised at the narrowed gap and took a step back. 

 

“So you were a princess.” 

 

The Marchioness’ answer was the title of Clarisse, who had long since disappeared, and she shook her head quickly.

 

“N, no. I…” 

 

“It was by no means coincidence or luck that I felt familiar with you on our first meeting.” 

 

“Yes?” 

 

Feeling so happy, Clarisse was finally able to raise her head and look at the madam properly.

 

She held Clarisse’s hands affectionately.

 

“Grezekaia, it’s my homeland.”

 

“…Yes?”

 

“I thought the name was now gone forever… I was so blinded by the news from the world that I didn’t even know that the princess was alive.”

 

“I, it will be difficult for you to call me that!”

 

Clarisse quickly warned in case someone heard.

 

Calling her princess was considered an act of treason to insist on the re-establishment of Grezekaia. 

 

“Please call me Clarisse. Just as you have done so far.” 

 

Although the madam was very disappointed, she immediately nodded her head. 

 

“If I had known in advance, I would have helped. Anything…” 

 

“I’m grateful just for your words. But I have a loving guardian. So you don’t have to worry too much.” 

 

“…How can you be so brave?”

 

The woman must have felt sorry for Clarisse’s situation, so she wiped away her tears again. 

 

“From now on, I will also be your strength. I might not be able to do anything special, but we’re still distant relatives, so I can’t act like I don’t know.” 

 

“A relative?”

 

She smiled sheepishly as she revealed that her great-great-grandmother from her father’s family was Queen Grezekaia.

 

“It’s a relationship that’s too distant for a young person to see, isn’t it?”

 

“That’s not true!”

 

Clarisse was delighted, her eyes sparkling.

 

“There is a clear connection between madam and me! Oh my… This is my first time meeting someone who is related to me at Saphers!” 

 

She is happy to know that she comes from the same Grezekaia, and there is even a family connection between them.

 

It must be like this…

 

‘It’s like family.’

 

Clarisse’s fondness for the madam grew even more. 

 

‘It would be nice if I could help madam too.’ 

 

For example, to help find Cecilia. 

 

But how does Clarisse accomplish such a thing? Even the competent wizards have not been able to find her to this day.

 

“Clarisse.”

 

When she heard the madam call her, she quickly looked again and saw that she had taken the brooch off her blouse and held it out to her.

 

“It’s sudden, but will you accept this?”

 

“Yes…?”

 

A brooch with a blue gem that is very precious no matter how it looks.  

 

“I… came to Saphers alone with my first love when I was thirteen. This is the brooch my grandmother gave me.”

 

“Then this is madam’s treasure!”

 

“My grandmother said she got it from her grandmother.” 

 

“….” 

 

“So, strictly speaking, this is the jewel of the Grezekaia royal family. I think Clarisse is right to be the master of this gem.” 

 

She put it over Clarisse’s hand. 

 

“I can’t…”

 

Of course, Clarisse tried to refuse. She was a prisoner, and couldn’t own private property that the Duke didn’t pay. 

 

What’s more, it belongs to Grezekaia!

 

Wasn’t there an agreement that she shouldn’t have anything like that other than Mallang?

 

‘If I explain the situation to her, madam will understand.’ 

 

So she was going to return it…

 

[Ta-da! Use moss to find the mineral that will help you find Cici with me!] 

 

“….”

 

[The Cici Expedition is always recruiting! Please support all minerals with cool feet!]

 

…Listening to what the jewel said, she somehow thought she should keep it a little longer.

 

* * *

 

While Clarisse chatted in the hallway with madam, Noah and Valentine sat quietly in the drawing room. 

 

They had been talking quite a bit lately, but that was only when Clarisse was among them.

 

They each put their chins on the end of the sofa and pretended not to see each other since she wasn’t there.

 

After a long time, it was Noah who opened his mouth first.

 

“…Girl is late.” 

 

Noah, perhaps worried about her, kept glancing at the door of the living room where she had left.

 

“She will come.” 

 

As Valentine answered harshly, Noah quietly looked at him.

 

“How can you claim to be a friend and not worry?”

 

“You say you are a friend, but you have no faith?”

 

“Faith and worry are different things.” 

 

“It’ll be almost the same. You act like she can’t even climb a flight of stairs on her own.”

 

“I didn’t.”

 

“No, I’ve seen you glance at her toes in secret worry more than ten times.” 

 

Noah couldn’t refute.

 

Because that was something that had been going on since his childhood. 

 

The Duke of Sheridan was worried, saying, ‘It looks like Clarisse may be acting dangerously on the stairs.’ so Noah responded, ‘We’ll look into it together.’ 

 

From then on, Noah checked Clarisse’s toes whenever she went up and down the stairs, but it had become a habit now. 

 

“But Valentine’s isn’t much different.”

 

“Me? How funny…” 

 

“Who didn’t know that the two-space ladder used to clean the chapel was secretly fixed?” 

 

Of all the cleaners, Clarisse was the only one who used the ladder to clean the decorations.

 

The ladder, which was a bit shaky at first, became very safe the next day, thanks to Valentine’s work.

 

“That, if she falls stupidly, we will have fewer workers!”

 

“Even a 10-year-old child wouldn’t fall from a low ladder that would shake just that much. But are you telling me that I’m worrying too much?”

 

“A, anyway! I just did what I had to do as a friend. How can you criticize this friendship without imitating it!” 

 

“My friendship with Clarisse has been strong for many years, and we don’t have to keep up that petty friendship.” 

 

“What do you mean by petty! You just said…!”

 

When Valentine got up from his seat and screamed.

 

Just then, the door to the living room opened.

 

The Marchioness had returned. With Clarisse.

 

Valentine, who was making a rough noise, was startled and quickly smiled. Even though it was awkward and the corners of his lips trembled.

 

“M, Madam… you’re here. Of course, we were waiting patiently.”

 

Does he think that such an excuse will work after revealing a scene where he almost grabbed someone by the collar?

 

“Really! A very passionate friendship…” 

 

Clarisse felt bad for Valentine, who was still pretending to be a ‘good gentleman,’ so she quickly decided to help him.

 

“I told her it was a lie. So you don’t have to do it anymore.”

 

“…Yes?”

 

Valentine looked at Clarisse and madam in surprise. 

 

“Y, you! What if you confesses something like that without our permission?!”

 

“But it’s also strange to lie forever. It didn’t seem like you were courting me at all in the first place.” 

 

“Don’t lie! It was something that no matter who heard it, they would be so excited that they wouldn’t be able to fall asleep! Hey, don’t you have to say something too?”

 

Valentine shook Noah’s shoulder.

 

Noah, who got up from his seat with a sigh, fidgeted with his mask and replied meekly.

 

“I thought Girl would come back after telling the truth.”

 

“How funny!”

 

But Valentine tilted his face right in front of his mask and shouted.

 

“You just said that she must have fallen down somewhere!”

 

“I’ve never done that.”

 

“Ha, I’m going crazy… ah.”

 

When Valentine looked into madam’s eyes, he quickly straightened up and bowed, maybe because he felt embarrassed about showing his true nature.

 

“I, I’m sorry for the fuss, Marchioness. However, I just want to tell you that it wasn’t for our fun or pleasure.” 

 

“Of course I know. You were afraid that I would be disappointed, right?”

 

“I’d appreciate it if you could take it that way.”

 

“Of course I had a lot of fun. I feel like today has become special thanks to these two gentlemen.”

 

Clarisse stood in front of the Marchioness Curno and asked for her understanding.

 

“Madam, I think it would be better for us to leave now.” 

 

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s been a while so it might be better. Ah…”

 

After hesitating for a moment, the madam who was about to greet them seemed to remember something. She then took Clarisse’s hands in hers. 

 

“Perhaps… Can you come again next week?”

 

Clarisse remembered that next week was her daughter Cecilia’s thirtieth birthday.

 

From that day on, the title that Marchioness and her husband had passed on to their daughter will be completely passed on to the collateral line of the family. 

 

On such an important day… Is it really okay for Clarisse to be here?

 

“Ah, I’m sorry. I’m asking a useless favor to someone studying…”

 

“No, I’ll come!”

 

Clarisse answered quickly because the madam seemed somewhat disappointed. 

 

“I come to the royal capital on the weekends. It’s not hard to take some time. No, I really want to come. It’s an important day for the madam. Right?”

 

“Thank you… for saying that.”

 

As Clarisse smiled brightly, the madam rang the bell in the drawing room.

 

The butler approached and gave Clarisse’s coat and hat one by one.

 

Meanwhile, the Marchioness approached Noah and Valentine.

 

She raised her index finger to the tip of her lips and spoke in a low voice so that Clarisse couldn’t hear. 

 

“Then, may I ask you a third question to the courting gentlemen?”

 

Noah and Valentine looked at each other for a moment.

 

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