A yukkuri student found something he first thought as blonde Patchouli during his trip to mountain to interview yukkuri about their hibernation. He's already excited by the possibility of discovering new breed.
On closer inspection, it's an Alice with Patchouli hat. This bring another question. Accessories are identity and is the most precious thing next to their life. Even if some scum would attack and steal accessories, they will steal from yukkuri of the same type as they are.
After ensuring he mean no harm to the family and offer them leftover vegetables which the Alice consider to share with the other clan members, the man take Alice and Marisa out to talk.
Marisa know about Alice, but her weak wife Patchouli doesn't. Both then tell about their story.
Alice is born with dream of simple happyness which is taking it easy with her mother and sisters. But as soon as she's born, she's dragged out by her mother who shut their nest's door.
This clan is recently raided by Rapers. Thanks to their strong Myon leader who trained all the clan yukkuri, they managed to survive despite losing many friends and families, and especially children by the attack. Confused, Myon decreed to the clan members who's saddened by the fact they're pregnant with raper's children: all the clan will raise the children, none will be killed. Those who disobey shall be Punished.
Because many young yukkuri dies, the food supply should be enough to survive the coming winter even with the newborn.
Exception are Alice types. Kill them before birth or abandon them, the clan can do anything they like with no punishment.
Alice is one of them, one of those lucky soul to get born. Many never even made it from the stalk.
This Alice is smart, so she quickly realized from her mother's cries that she's born from raper, an uneasy existence. Giving up, Alice tried to live alone, but nobody will accept her, she even lost her hairband by crow attack.
On a cloudy day, Alice stumbled upon a nest hole. She's about to leave when knowing there's already other yukkuri inside, but the Marisa and Patchouli pair accepted Alice.
Patchouli is weak and pregnant, while Marisa is the clan's leader.
Patchouli especially cared for Alice and even let Alice call her mother. Patchouli also got abandoned by her family and got adopted by the previous clan leader's family. As sign of her gratefulness, Patchouli learned hard and finally became Marisa's wife.
Marisa thought of sending Alice out. As clan leader, it's the best choice as child of raper could become raper any moment. Even in this clan the Alice type are gathered in separate place, an "Alice clan".
But Marisa is too kind, and her wife also loved Alice. Marisa and Patchouli then raise Alice in their home.
Alice is a very good and smart yukkuri. She lost her baby tongue before growing to a koyukkuri and she learned very quickly. Alice even followed Marisa out to hunt while they look for another parent to adopt Alice, which nobody want.
Even in the Alice clan, none will be so kind to accept another child, let alone offspring of raper and no accessories. Alice clan is more like a slum, so life is too difficult for them to care for someone else.
The only choice left in Marisa's mind is going to the city and ask her friend to take Alice as a civic yukkuri. She also heard that a Yuuka in the city adopted accessoryless Sanae, so maybe Yuuka would care for Alice.
Marisa thought, if just Alice is not born from raper, she would be loved by everyone and would probably even become the next clan leader.
Back home, Patchouli is finally giving birth.
Patchouli forced herself to have a child even though she's too weak. She has been blaming herself because their house is the only one in the clan without child, and she want to let her husband take it easy.
A tragedy though that Patchouli's child is an abnormal yukkuri with strange shape. The clan's rule is to kill them quickly because they will just became a burden. Besides, even if left alive, those babies would die in several days, let alone Patchouli type like this.
Alice is saddenen because she hoped the baby Patchouli would let this family take it easy when she left. No matter how she hoped, the baby dies.
Alice then took the baby's accessory and want to replace the baby so to not make Patchouli sad. Marisa doesn't like the idea. Alice and Patchouli type has different personality and if someone in the clan ever found out, Alice will be accused as scum who killed the leader's child and take over her place.
But worrying about her wife, Marisa accepted Alice's plan.
Ever since that day, Alice played her role as Patchouli. Everyone is nice to her. Child of the leader usually became leader too, so they really cared for her.
Alice herself kept thinking of herself as scum who stole the family and friends from Patchouli. Every night, the baby Patchouli came and call Alice a scum in her dreams.
The man is sympathizing. He asked if Alice is fine like this because sooner or later they will found out of her secret.
Alice asked back, what should she do ? Will Mister take her and be her family ? Of course that's impossible.
He think back. His apartment doesn't allow yukkuri pet. He's not obliged to take a yukkuri he just met as pet, and more than anything, he doesn't have that much money.
Even if he does, Alice want to stay in the clan because she's Patchouli-mama's little one.
Understanding that, the man go down the mountain after giving all the vegetables he brought with him to Marisa's family.
He thought, all of them are nice yukkuri, and thus it's tragic. If even one of them is a scum, then things wouldn't be like this.
Illustration: post #30244