How the Useless Me Became the Beloved of the Devilish Duke Knight - Chapter 4
Chapter 4 : Moon and Repair
For a moment, Elma did not understand what was being said. Although she was the one who initiated the proposal, it was not a normal occurrence for her proposal to be accepted. When she saw the cloth being offered to her, she finally understood that the man was going to entrust her with the job.
“Thank you so much….”
She tried to take it immediately, but it didn’t go well. The other person just wouldn’t let go. Confused, Elma couldn’t help but look at his face, only to find that he was staring back at her. Closer than before. The silver color seems to suck her in, reflecting Elma like a polished mirror.
‘What is it this time ? Is there something strange on my face ?’
The reflection in the man’s eyes makes her look like the same skinny servant she always is. Elma stiffens, finding it difficult to look away when their eyes meet this close.
She feels like she can pretty much understand now how the frog felt when it was stared at by a snake. No, rather than a snake, the image may be closer to a wolf or something.
“…Even a distance within the reach of these hands, huh? I never thought a day like this would come…”
After muttering something like that, the man finally let go of the cloth. Elma, who was debating whether to withdraw her hands or not, hurriedly stretched out her hands and managed to avoid dropping them.
She thought he was dissatisfied with something because he kept silently staring at her without handing it over, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. In fact, he even seems happy now.
‘He’s someone I can’t understand, even more than Father and Carol…’
While Elma secretly thinks such things, her attention shifts as she lowers her gaze to what’s in her hands.
‘This… it must be a really high-quality fabric!’
At first glance, he seemed to be well-dressed, but when she actually held his belongings in her hands, it was enough to make her tremble. She was able to understand that this was a completely different type of thing from what she used to have on a daily basis.
The fabric exuded a gentle softness while also feeling cool and smooth. It’s not hard, but it seems to be relatively solid, and it seems like it would be quite difficult to break it by hand. The occasional tingling sensation on the fingertips was characteristic of a material woven with magic.
‘I’ve never seen this fabric before, and the protective magic applied to it…it’s amazing. To think a day would come when I could directly touch such strong and beautifully woven enchantments.’
When observed under moonlight, it appears that it has two sides. When one side is up, moonlight can be seen through it, and when the other side is up, it cannot be seen through it.
‘I’ve heard of this… by combining a special weaving technique with layered magic, it is possible to create cloth that is difficult to see from the outside but easy to see from the inside.’
When she was working as a needleworker, she remembered the women she worked with saying such fairy-tale-like rumors.
‘I see, with this fabric, it doesn’t obstruct your view even if you cover your face, and it seems like you’ll be able to spend some time comfortably.’
“What’s the matter ? Is it still too difficult after all ?”
Perhaps it was because she was looking at it so curiously, flipping it over and checking the texture repeatedly, as if it were a rarity. The man who was watching over Elma called out to her teasingly. However, surprisingly, what Elma showed the man was an awkward smile.
“It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible.”
“Even though the moon’s out, but it’s still night and quite dark, you know? Is it really possible…”
“It’s fine…. I’m used to the darkness.”
Words of concern about needlework in a place where you can’t see are unnecessary for Elma. Warehouses, attics, basements, under bridges. Her place is mostly dark. It’s a regular occurrence that what’s in her hands are hard to see.
From the patched-up apron, Elma took out a sewing tool case about the size of her palm. The habit of carrying it around was formed during her time as a needleworker. It was an essential tool not only for her work as a needleworker but also for taking care of the frequently broken items in the Talkoza family.
Elma sat down and got to work. Thread the needle, adjust it so that it does not slip, and proceed so that the stitches are not visible from the inside or the front. When she had the chance to touch it earlier, she had already constructed the image of the finished product. She fixes the warped parts, adjusts them, and traces over any distorted parts. Fixing things is one of Elma’s few special skills.
The man, who had looked skeptical, was now wide-eyed as Elma silently began her work. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but upon seeing her earnest expression, he seemed to realize he shouldn’t disturb her.
Slowly, he also crouched down, making sure not to make any noise. With silver eyes fixed, he observed Elma’s profile and her hands moving smoothly without hesitation, closely watching the fabric coming together.
Before long, a little hum started. It was an unconscious habit that appeared when Elma’s concentration deepened, something so small that it seemed like it would be blown away by the night breeze.
The man put his hand on his cheek and listened intently to the soothing sounds. Elma suddenly became aware of the sound of the thread being cut. After blinking for a moment, she gently spread the finished cloth in front of her face.
‘Even though I’m the one who’s doing it, I’m really satisfied with the job.’
Encountering such high-quality fabric is a rarity in the commoner’s district. Reflecting on the brief opportunity she had to touch it before, the time spent threading the needle was truly fulfilling. A sense of accomplishment and a faint disappointment that it’s already over well up within her.
Hearing the man’s voice, Elma nearly jumped. When she’s focused on her work, everything else becomes invisible. Because she had been thinking only about the fabric, for a moment, she had completely forgotten about the client.
‘This is not good…. I’m usually working alone.’
“I’m sorry for keeping you waiting…”
There are times when she gets engrossed in her work in her room and fails to notice when she’s called, angering her father and sister. She turned pale, knowing that ignoring him was the worst thing to do, but the man tilted his head.
“Huh? Oh… I didn’t get bored at all. I had a lot of fun.”
‘Fun ? I was just doing needlework next to you, what on earth….?’
‘After all, he really is a mysterious man. And probably quite strange. It’s not that I dislike it, but… it’s an oddly uncomfortable feeling.’
“Can I take a look?”
Agreeing with a nod, Elma checked to make sure there were no remaining needles before gently handing it over. The man received the fabric and repeatedly ran his fingers over it, flipping it to inspect. He seemed just like Elma a moment ago.
‘I did a good job…. I think….’
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Translated by : Cutae30
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