This is in Luke’s POV, about the life he got before Lily.
ED: clover, Yoshioka
Snow fell on a cold day.
I was saved by a goddess.
It happened so suddenly.
My father, mother, and I. Misfortunes suddenly fell upon the three of us who were poor but living happily in a tenement house.
My parents got infected by an epidemic disease at the same time and had to stay in bed.
At that time, I was only eight years old, but was still desperately nursing my parents. My parents couldn’t move due to their sickness. So I had to somehow manage things by myself.
The doctor couldn’t examine them. No, I couldn’t get them examined.
Because, there was no extra money at home. My parents worked very hard just so the three of us could eat and live. There was no way we could prepare the money to pay the doctor.
I could only say “I’m sorry” to my father and mother who were becoming more and more weak.
In the meantime, the money to buy food had also run out.
There was none other than myself who could work. I thought that whatever job I could get, would be fine and walked around to various places. But as an 8-year-old boy, I couldn’t get a decent job. I sold flowers at the street, carried luggage, worked as an assistant in the chapel, but I could only earn a small amount of money.
I bought foods with that money, and while putting myself on the back burner, gave those foods to my father and mother. I continued that sort of life for about half a year, but it was of no use, as my parents died.
I didn’t shed a tear. It had been dried up a long time ago.
It was sad and very painful. Before I think so, I thought, “Aah, I can’t take care of them anymore.” Because it had been half a year.
For half a year, I kept looking after my parents all alone. I myself was only eight years old.
It was a very cruel and harsh reality.
It was unavoidable that I thought, “I’m glad I don’t have to take care of them anymore.” But of course, I couldn’t forgive myself.
I thought myself, who thought of something like that even for a moment about my parents who birthed and raised me, was so dirty and I fell into despair. And at that time, tears fell.
I couldn’t prepare the graves for my parents because I had no money. I buried them in the church’s joint cemetery with the help of my neighbours and finished everything.
In the narrow house.
It seemed cramped until now, but it suddenly felt very spacious. It seemed hollow, and something like chills suddenly assailed.
—Aah, I’m alone in this world.
Suddenly, reality struck me.
I hadn’t heard that my parents had relatives that I could depend upon. In other words, in the truest sense, I was alone.
—How can I live after this?
However, there was only one way to go.
In the meantime, I grew older and became nine years old, but it didn’t seem that things would become better. As usual, like a day laborer, if it could even be called a job, I became a helper and received wages out of pity, and I managed to eke out a living somehow.
Still, thinking about the time when I had to feed three people, this was considerably easier.
I could manage it if I only had to think about the cost of my own food alone.
Just as I thought so, I heard a voice from outside. As this tenement house had no soundproofing, the sounds from both the next door and the outside could be heard.
Apparently, the voice seemed to be calling me. In a hurry, I opened the door. There was a landlady who is older than my deceased mother, when she saw me, she said with a pitying but resolute voice.
“I’m sorry. But the rent was long overdue.”
Hearing the word ‘rent’, I blinked my eyes. With furrowed eyebrows, the landlady said, “As expected you didn’t know about it.”
“This tenement house is a rental house. Every month, I rent out this house by having the money paid as per the agreement. I didn’t want to say this to a small child like you. But, ever since your parents were sick, the rent continued to falling behind. I am not a demon either. I thought that it would be paid if your parents got well, so without saying anything, I kept waiting for a long time. However, the two of them died.”
My voice was as dry as before. What would be said next? I have some idea about it.
“If you can’t pay the rent, I’m sorry, but you just have to get out.”
Those words were as expected, but I desperately said,
“W-wait, please. I don’t have anywhere to live if I get kicked out of here.”
“I thought so, but I have been waiting until now. It’s been more than six months. I’m not doing charity projects here. If money doesn’t come in, I want to lend this house to another person who will pay the rent properly. Or do you mean that you will be able to pay the rent?”
I thought that it would be fine if I only had to earn money to eat, so I became flustered at this dreadful discussion.
The landlady said without mercy.
“If you want to continue living here as it is, you will have to pay the rent that has been long-overdue up to now. But, it seems that will be impossible for you. So please get out. If you say that you will leave from this place obediently, I will forgive your debt.”
What the landlady told me was perhaps unprecedented. As long as I leave, I don’t have to pay the rent that has been falling behind. It was a welcomed negotiation for me who wanted to cry due to not having any money.
However, once that was done, I would lose my only place to live.
I couldn’t depend on anyone. There is no one other than me. What should I do if I also lose my place to live?
“……yes. I understand. Thank you for everything up until now.”
“That’s the way! You’re a clever and sensible child. I’m saved!”
In the end, I was told the words “Get out.”
Because, I didn’t have the money to keep living there. There was no option to choose from the very beginning.
It was terribly vague from then on.
Perhaps it was too painful, my brain refused to remember.
I took the minimum amount of baggage and left. Since there was no aim, I just kept walking.
I picked a flower, sold it, and somehow bought one day’s worth of food.
It was a night that was painful in any way.
On a cold road, leaning against the wall, I passed through the night. It was winter. Just in case, I came out as warmly as possible, but it was impossible to defend against the wind with a cheap jacket.
Apparently, it seemed that I had gotten a cold. But, no one worried about me.
That was only natural. Because, I was alone.
I was an orphan whom no one would want to see.
About a week has passed since I left the place where I lived.
I’m already at my limit. It was much harder than I imagined when there was no place to rest my body. The cold winter is not helping.
Even if I sat down on the ground, I couldn’t recover, and I could only pray for the night to end everyday.
I walked as if dragging my legs.
It snowed last night. The snow didn’t stop falling even in the morning, and it’s piling up on the road.
Melted snow is seeping from the thin shoe soles. My eyes are teary due to the piercing cold.
I lost the belongings that I had unnoticed.
I don’t have anything. However, I just walk without hesitation.
“I wonder…if I am going to die.”
I lost my power and fell down on the spot.
Thanks to the accumulation of snow, I didn’t get hurt, but I have no energy to stand up. The cold snow and wind deprive me of my temperature. I feel ache all over my body.
—I wish I could die easily.
I hope I don’t wake up if I keep my eyes closed.
I don’t want this pain and cold anymore.
Thinking like that, I closed my eyes. With this, it would become easier. That’s what I thought.
“—well, how dirty. I don’t want any dead body in front of my house.”
Hearing the voice overhead, I moved my body in surprise. Who is watching me?
Mustering my non-existent power, I turned my face towards that voice. A beautiful girl that I’ve never seen before is staring at me.
She is wearing a thick coat that looks warm even as I see it. Her legs are wearing boots made of fur.
An aristocratic lady.
They are occasionally seen in town, there is obviously a clear line between them and the commoners.
Everything is different from us, from what they wear and as well as their presence.
Such aristocratic lady is staring at me.
“Oh my, I thought you were a corpse, but you’re alive.”
“How dirty! Oh my, but, if I look closely, you have a beautiful face. Heeh.”
After observing me carefully, the girl clapped her hands in delight.
“That’s right! Let’s do so! Hey, you, to fall down in a place like this, were you kicked out of your house, or maybe an orphan? At any rate, you don’t have a place to go home, right?”
The words she said to me were facts but they pierced my heart terribly. But I nodded my head.
She smiled, “As expected” and said “Now then.”
“Can you swear that you will be my butler and serve me for the rest of your life? I will not tolerate any disobedience. If you swear it, I’ll pick you up from your current situation right now.”
It took me a couple of seconds to understand the words she suddenly said.
I wonder what did this girl say just now.
Pick me up? Me, who is in this state? Is this a bad joke or something?
The face of the girl who is staring at me looks happy but earnest.
So, perhaps, this is not a joke. My head was already exhausted and I wasn’t in the state to be able to judge things properly, but even then, I knew that I would really die if I missed this chance.
I hesitated a little.
I wanted to die for a long time. However, if I was told that I could truly be saved.
Aa, I will even cling to a devil.
“I swear. So…please, help me.”
“That’s fine. Then, you are mine from today onward.”
The words that I said in desperation were accepted easily.
As she entered the house in front of her, she immediately brought some servants.
“Carry this child into the mansion and treat him. Because I will make him my exclusive butler.”
“I have decided to do so. Is there any problem?”
With the girl’s final word, the servants lowered their heads.
I was brought to the mansion by them, taken to the bathroom, received an allowance, and received clothes several times warmer than what I was wearing before. I was given meals and even a private room.
“…is this really okay? These kinds of things…”
The private room given to me is as large as the one where I lived. There is a fluffy bed, a desk and a chair, and even a fireplace that I hadn’t seen in the tenement house.
I cannot believe the extraordinary treatment that I unexpectedly got. The servant who brought me to the room said to me who had my eyes wide open.
“This is not special treatment for you. In this mansion, every employee works under the same conditions. It is decided from the start that a private room will be given to the exclusive butler.”
“Do not forget your debt of gratitude for being picked up. If it’s not for Milady’s whim, you would undoubtedly die, right?”
I nodded quietly.
It doesn’t need to be said. I knew better than anyone, that I would be dead if I weren’t helped by her.
“Milady is willful and whimsical, but she will not raise her hands. At any rate, do not go against her order. Understand?”
I’m very grateful when I was told that she won’t raise her hands. In my work as an assistant that I had done occasionally until now, the times I was beaten or kicked were by no means few. Even so, it seems that my luck is good.
“I will serve her with all my heart.”
This life was picked up by her. I intended to use it for her.