I had always been an unwanted child since I was young.
My mother worked as a maid in the castle, so since childhood, I was taken care by my aunt who lived in the castle town. I don't have a father. When I was younger, I heard something about my father, but it was left aside.
"You're really ugly. Go draw water so I don't have to see that face."
It seemed that my aunt hated my face, I was often told to do works outside the house.
My aunt and her husband had two boys and one girl of the same age as me. They're Jido, Bado and Kuku.
Jido disturbed me by kicking me when I was just about to pull the water from the well.
Bado tripped my feet when I was carrying the bucket.
I was usually cautious toward them, but I didn't see their figures today, it was a failure.
Since the water splashed onto soil, I had become full of mud.
"Yay, muddy Lulu."
"Hehen, mud make-up looks better than your normal face y'know~"
I wept as I was more vexed that I couldn't deny them more than getting myself muddied. It was a fact that people were gentler to me when I was covered with mud and my face couldn't be seen than when I was just simply soaked.
When I was washing my body near the well, Kuku came. She was with her usual sarcastic friends.
"Ara? What a waste of your special make-up."
"Right right, wouldn't it better if she wear mask anyway?"
"That's good! Kuku, you're a genius!"
The girls weren't using violence like Jido and Bado, but their words hurt me all the same. At a time like this, I wonder how would Arisa retaliate? If it was Tama-chan, she would likely throw mud balls toward those girls for their own make-up.
It was generally like these during my childhood.
When I was 9 years old, my mother took me to the castle together with her. I was to be the princess's playmate. It seemed that the fourth queen's daughter was quite a sickly person. Moreover, she was really hard to please, noble daughters couldn't keep her company for more than three days, so they turned to me.
Normally, for a commoner like me to meet a princess, I would have to take etiquette lesson for about a year first, but it seemed they gave up in 2-3 days, so the lesson was abbreviated.
"It's Lili's daughter this time? Mou, I've said many times that I don't need playmates, if they insist, then bring me a scholar or a bureaucrat instead."
What I heard from the other side of the door was a child voice with tired and proud adult words that didn't suit it. I'm not welcomed here either after all.
The princess that I met for the first time was a very beautiful girl with mysterious violet hair and pupils. Furthermore, her eyes were really calm like an adult.
Pushed by my mother, I awkwardly introduced myself, the princess glanced at me and then briskly stepped toward me and push up my bang. I always covered my ugly face with a bang so it wouldn't be seen.
I prepared myself for the abuse that the princess would throw at me. But the abuse was different from what I expected.
"Cih, this riajuu face, winners have it all since they're born."
"Arisa-sama, even though this girl can't be said to have superior look, she's a good girl that's calm at her age. Please don't hate her."
Riajuu face? I've never heard those words.
Arisa-sama leaned her neck to the side after hearing my mother's word and murmured, "Poor look?" That's the kindness of a mother. She couldn't really say that her own daughter was ugly.
"What are you saying? Lili. If you tell me that this bishoujo face is poor, that'd mean this country doesn't have any beauties you know?"
At this time, I had thought that Arisa's words were an indirect sarcasms, but she told me later that she was serious.
Thus, I became the playmate of the princess.
The princess that I served was a slightly strange person.
She ordered the servants to cultivate a field on the castle's garden, and she went inside the library and treasure vault in the castle to read many difficult books. Even though she made her unusual clothes herself, she couldn't do embroidery or knitting, she had many imbalances like that. Moreover, she was also not good with social dancing and poem reciting.
"Did you look at the new playmate of the taboo princess?"
"I saw I saw, what's with that ugly girl."
"Hey, they'll scold you if you say that."
I heard such backbiting from the the maid's room. It seemed that taboo princess was about Arisa. Looked like, those violet hair and pupils were considered to be bad omen.
I didn't tell about it to anyone, but the women were gone in the next day. The princess said, "Fufun, it's impossible for malicious gossip to skip my sharp ears." It seemed there was a magic tool to hear far sounds, it was called voice pipe.
At the following day, princess Arisa told me a children story called "The Ugly Duckling".
Princess Arisa had told me many stories, but I liked this story the most
I wasn't as naive as to think that I would become like the swan in reality, but I thought I was allowed to dream a little.
Hectic days continued after that.
What surprised me most was the fact that I was the older sister of princess Arisa from different mother. It seemed she heard it with that tool called voice pipe from the other maids' talks. It should had been a secret, but princess Arisa already knew about it.
"With this, there are 12 siblings. There are probably more if I look in the castle town. I'd hate a country without entertainment. That's right Lulu."
"Yes, what is it Arisa-sama."
"I'm banning the 'Sama'."
"Like, I, said, when it's only the two of us, don't use it. Since we're sister, I'm banning the honorific."
The face of pri--no, Arisa which had turned away looked red.
At this day, we became sisters, no, the best of friends.
Arisa wanted to do agricultural reform to make this country prosperous.
However, I was worried. The minister's son was supporting Arisa's agricultural reform, but from the gossip of the maids, it looked like he wasn't a decent human being.
"It's fine, men aren't trustworthy in the first place, but that kind profit-seeking type is surprisingly usable. Above all, this country only sees women as tools for giving birth. If I don't have a puppet like that then I wouldn't be able to meddle in the politics."
However, after this day, the cogwheels of our plan began to go out of order little by little.
The mountain died, monsters came out of the fertilizers, and the fields' harvests dropped sharply.
But, I personally was more worried about Arisa than the country. Even though she was called, "The Wise Salvation Princess" just the other day, now as if flipping hand, they called her, "Country Destroying Witch", or "Mad Princess".
Then the king finally confined her inside one of the spire in the castle. It seemed that our country had been occupied by another country, although I didn't know the detail since I was only looking after Arisa while being confined with her.
The kings and his companions were executed, and we became slaves.
Arisa was looking like a doll with her lifeless eye and lethargic condition. She's not like the usual stout-hearted Arisa, but she's still a 10 years old girl. It is not unreasonable.
The strength in Arisa eyes came back after a year, when we were moved to the royal villa from the prison, it came back a bit. In the evening with full moon, the royal capital sank into flame. The two of us ran away to the mountain. We were surviving while being frightened by the wolves sounds, endured starvations by eating nuts, and drank water collected with leaves.
When we ran out of strength on the highway among the mountains, we got caught by a passing slave trader. If we had not got caught at that time, we would probably die of starvation or fall victim to the wolves' fangs.
I felt cold shivers on my spine when I heard creepy voices from Arisa.
Aah! It seemed that the stout Arisa had finally reached her limit.
Even though I'm clumsy and good-for-nothing, an older sister is still an older sister.
I don't know what kind of person our master would be like, but I would protect Arisa until the end.
Even though I had such grim determination--
That Arisa, she was just laughing after finding her favorite type of young man! Mou, that Arisa, mou!
It was several days later that the young man became our master.
My first impression on that person is, "He looks like me."
He's not ugly like me, but his features are similar. His lines are slender, his colors are also not white, but black like me.
But, I don't think that he's as pretty as Arisa make him up to be. I wonder what does Arisa like from him?
"It's quite tough."
I was surprised when I heard Arisa's story. That Arisa! She was crawling inside master's bed in nude herself to get his favor. She's too bold!
But, master didn't seem to touch Arisa. Master should be only 2-3 years apart from Arisa, it was strange that he didn't lay his hands on her when someone as beautiful as Arisa approached.
I wonder if master likes men?
Today, I talked a lot about Arisa with master.
I noticed that I was talking too much in the middle, but I couldn't restrain myself as I didn't feel tense like I would with other men.
But, master listened me to the end without showing unpleasant face even once.
He didn't look disgusted from seeing my face.
It might be the first time this happened beside with Arisa.
It might only be my misunderstanding, but I felt like he was looking at me gently full of affection. Even if it was misunderstanding, it is fine.
Since the only one who could cook was Liza, I offered myself to help her. I also had things I could do. I would work hard to become something that was needed, not only as a freebie from Arisa.
<TLN: Like she's an extra Satou gets from buying Arisa.>
I got master to praise me, "Tea made by Lulu is delicious."
This might possibly the first time I had been praised by a person.
"Yes, listen to the sound well."
Impossible. It's impossible, master!
Y, you can't whisper so close to my ears.
Aah! I feel too happy, I would likely get a nosebleed. As a girl, I cannot live if that situation happen. I'll endure with spirit.
But, it was not a whisper of affection. I earnestly asked the secret of the really delicious steak that master had made yesterday.
But it was not the time to listen to the oil at all when I was being embraced from behind with our hands stuck together holding the frying pan.
Even so, I still managed to grill one somehow.
When I sampled the meat, even though it was absolutely no match against the one that master grilled, it was many times tastier than the one I made yesterday!
As a proof that I was not mistaken, the plate became empty in a blink of an eye.
It was exposed to Arisa.
I wonder how did she knew that I was attracted to master. It's mysterious.
But, master is very popular.
Not only to Arisa, but to Pochi-chan and the others too.
Furthermore, this time, even the the elf princess!
"I, I will also work hard to gain your favor."
"Yes, yes, you're cute Lulu. However let's wait the favor until you refine yourself as a woman in 5 years okay."
Cute he said!
Just now, he said that I was cute right?!
Ah, I can die of happiness.
To think that the day I got called that so naturally would come, it was such an absurd thought even in a dream or a delusion.
Even though the rivals increased, we had got to share bed together, we even did "A~n" like lovers, it was full of happiness.
Becoming master's wife or mistress are too unrealistic of a dream, but if some kind of mistakes happen, I would bear master's baby.
When I talk about it to Arisa--
"It's alright Lulu! When I become the legal wife, I will absolutely make Lulu the second!"
Arisa is very reliable.
But, I can't keep relying on Arisa.
I can't match with my face no matter what, but I work hard every day to make my figure suit master's liking. I'm still doing [Bust-up Practice] that Arisa and Mia have given up in three days.
And also my cooking! I will improve my cooking to be equal for standing next to master.
And then, he would say "Lulu, you're cute." once again!
It's an audacious ambition, but I will absolutely make it comes true.