Ch. 34 I’d Better Make Sure (2)
“We’re here, sister! Here!”
Mirabelle shouted as she pointed to the entrance of the new jewelry shop. Elena could not help but smile at her sister’s excitement
“Be careful or you will fall.”
Elena hurried to where Mirabelle was ahead of her. After Kuhn came to visit, Elena finished organizing the documents then left to enjoy the fresh air with Mirabelle. She had a mountain of work to do, but she didn’t want to give up these hours with her family. All her reasons for her suffering to was preserve this happiness.
The door of the jeweler’s shop opened with a clear, light sound of a bell. Mirabelle inhaled as she stepped inside the building. Whether it was new furniture or new goods, she always found the scent of a shop pleasing.
Elena watched Mirabelle walk inside, then turned her head to the fifteen or so knights who escorted them. Derek had posted more knights than usual after that day when Elena went missing. Elena didn’t refuse this time, knowing that Helen’s men might be following them.
“Please wait here.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
At Elena’s command, the knights stood upright in front of the shop without as much as a word. The were quite a sight with their weapons held tight in their grip.
Elena followed Mirabelle into the jewelry shop, thinking that the Blaise knights were not such a hindrance after all. It was mostly dark inside. However, the jewels in the cabinets were brightly lit, causing them to shine. Elena looked around silently for a moment.
“What kind of jewel is that?”
She turned to the sound of Mirabelle’s voice, and saw a necklace displayed near the entrance of the store. The pendant was studded with a red jewel about the size of a thumbnail, which drew attention from afar. It looked like a ruby, but the depending on the angle of the light it gave an unusual glimmer.
“You have a good eye. This is a necklace made of the finest diamond.”
The clerk speaking was wearing a neat black uniform. Judging by the clothes, Elena could see how much effort the owner had put into this establishment. Sooner or later, this place could become the most famous jewelry store in the south.
“This is a red diamond?”
“Yes. It’s very rare for it to be this shade of red. Colored diamonds are considered more valuable than white diamonds, but this one is of the highest quality.”
At Mirabelle’s admiring look, Elena looked at the necklace with fresh perspective. She knew that colored diamonds were more valuable, but she had never seen anything so vivid with her own eyes. Mirabelle spoke again with a curious expression on her face.
“How much is this necklace?”
“The amount is written here.”
Elena caught her breath when she saw the price tag the clerk was pointing at. It was the equivalent of a year’s living expenses for House Blaise. She knew that the prices of jewelry varied widely, but this was beyond her imagination. Mirabelle’s eyes widened at the price.
Elena hurried to approach Mirabelle.
“What are you doing here? Let’s go further inside and look at other things.”
“Oh, you’re here, sister?”
Elena smiled warmly when she approached Mirabelle. The quick-witted clerk took note of Elena and greeted her.
“Welcome. I’ll show you inside. Please follow me this way.”
Elena and Mirabelle followed the clerk further into the jewelry store. Just before that, she had trying to change the subject away from the red diamond necklace, and the clerk seemed to pick it up. She didn’t know for sure, but it would be rare even for an aristocrat to pay such a price for a necklace.
Elena and Mirabelle were guided down a long corridor into a small, luxuriously decorated room which contained a table and a comfortable-looking sofa. It was common for nobles to relax and drink tea in private rooms while they did their shopping. The size of the room depended on to the position and wealth of the nobles as well, and as Elena looked around she seemed to think the room they were given was not normal.
“Is there anything you’re looking for?”
“Hmmm– I didn’t really have anything in mind, so please show me everything.”
“Yes, madam. And what kind of tea would you like?”
Elena turned to Mirabelle.
“Is there anything you would like to drink?”
“I’ll have tea with milk.”
“Then I’ll have the same as well.”
“Yes. If you could wait here, please.”
The clerk went outside for a moment and then shortly reappeared, carrying a considerable number of gemstones in his hand. With familiar motions, he began to explain the gems he brought to the table.
“If you like the gems we have here, we can custom-produce at item for you, or can buy an already finished product. I’ll explain both, so please let me know what you would prefer.”
The clerk was about to talk about the jewelry and accessories he had just brought when–
A man came in with a small tap on the door, and politely placed the milk and tea on the table and left. After a brief pause, the clerk resumed his explanation.
“The most popular gem these days is topaz. This is topaz here, and sapphire next to it, and this is ruby and diamond. In the latest fashionable designs…”
This cleark was a fine talker. Even Elena, who had never done a lot of shopping, felt he was easy to understand. The prices were detailed below each item so it was not necessary to ask the cost for each one. She felt more satisfied when she could shop on a prepared budget. Elena quietly listened to his explanation before speaking up.
“This yellow topaz. How long will it take to make the hairpin you described earlier?”
“Oh, you mean butterfly hairpin?”
“It will take about a week.”
“We’re going to the capital soon, so could you deliver it there?”
“Of course. It costs extra for transportation and may take a little longer.”
Mirabelle, who had been listening to the story, interjected.
“You want to decorate your hair with a butterfly?”
“No. I thought it would look good on you actually.”
Mirabelle’s face turned red in an instant.
“Oh, no! We’re here to pick something for you. Why are you buying me something all of a sudden?”
“I’ll buy something for me, too. But while we’re here, I’ll get something for you.”
“You don’t need to…”
“When I went to Glenn’s wedding I said I would bring back a gift, but I didn’t keep my promise. I was going to take this opportunity to choose something this time. I want to buy it for you, so please accept it.”
She gave Mirabelle a loving expression and patted her head. Before coming here to the jeweler, Elena calculated all the money she had saved. She wanted to buy Mirabelle anything before she officially became married to Carlisle.
Mirabelle was still about to refuse, but she closed her mouth at Elena’s uncompromising gaze. When Mirabelle spoke again it was with a small voice.
“…Thank you, I’ll cherish it.”
Elena smiled and told the clerk to order Mirabelle’s butterfly hairpin. Mirabelle then piped up from her side.
“Let’s pick yours this time!”
Elena purchased a pair of emerald earrings Mirabelle had chosen for her. It was a finished item that didn’t need to be customized, so the clerk immediately packaged it. After the purchases were finished, Elena made to leave.
“Excuse me, but…you have a very unusual ring.”
Elena realized that he was talking about the blue bead ring that she had worn in all of her previous life. She thought he had been staring at her hand since she walked in, and it seemed like her suspicions were correct.
“If you don’t mind, may I take a closer look?”
There was no particular reason to refuse, so Elena lifted her ring-bearing hand forward. The clerk bent down and looked at the ring with a keen eye.
“I’ve never seen such a kind of bead before. If you don’t mind, I’d like to–”
“No, it’s not for sale.”
There was disappointment lurking under his smile. Elena already knew the bead wasn’t common. Taking no account of the clerk’s interest, she picked up the package with the emerald earrings.
“Mirabelle, how about we stop by the bakery before we head back home?”
“Yes. Let’s find something delicious like at the last tea party.”
Elena and Mirabelle walked out of the jewelry shop, holding hands tightly and pleasantly chatting.
The door closed with the same tinkling sound as when they came in. However, there was a gaze at their retreating backs. The clerk stood idly by the window, watching until Elena and Mirabelle disappeared. He was lost in thought as he stroked his chin with a severe expression on his face.
“…It’s just too similar.”
His thoughts still caught on the ring, he walked into the innermost depths of the jewelry shop. Unlike the fancy interior, the hallway became increasingly bare. When he stopped at a point and turned to a clock on a wall, something astonishing happened.
The wall opened, revealing a hidden area. The clerk spoke in a low voice into the pitch-dark space.
“Tell this to your master. I found something similar to what you were looking for.”
Then came an answer came from within the darkness.
“I will obey your orders.”
The clerk then turned his head, looking at the direction where Elena and Mirabelle had just been.
“…I’d better make sure for anything suspicious.”