25.5 SS2: Liliana’s Master
Side Story 2: Liliana’s Master
Kang, kang, kang—
—the sound of iron being struck echoed.
I had grown accustomed to Doga’s smithy. There, I could concentrate on my work.
Some people were staring at me as I worked.
“What is it?”
It wasn’t Doga who answered.
It was Grave.
“Is it that entertaining to watch me work?”
“It is, moreover…”
“I’ve always been curious about your talent. Liliana was originally an aristocrat, right? Did you hone your blacksmithing ability on your own?”
“Actually, I was taught by my master.”
I answered while hitting the iron.
“Eh? You have a master?”
“Yes, the court blacksmith before me. I became the disciple of that person.”
“What kind of person is he? Was your master strict?”
“That’s correct. He’s a tough person. It could be said that he’s angry all the time.”
While listening to my story, Grave thought to himself.
What kind of person did he envision?
“He was tough, but also very kind. He taught me a lot of things. Not just technique, but also the attitude.”
As I struck the iron, I recalled my master.
“How many times do I have to repeat myself!?”
“F, forgive me…”
That day too, an angry voice echoes from the smithy of the royal castle.
I had just become an apprentice. Everyday, without fail, he got angry at me.
“You’ll never be a good blacksmith in your life if all you do is imitate!”
“I, I understand!”
Even if he said that…
My master was trying to tell me that technique came not only from visual learning.
“Listen, Liliana. Think of yourself as a lump of iron.”
“As a lump of iron?”
“That’s right. Iron changes shape when it’s struck after being heated heat. The more you hit it, the more it’ll shed its impurities and turn into a sharp blade. The same goes for us blacksmiths. So, don’t just hit the iron senselessly! Hit, keep hitting until you have a sharp blade!”
“…Basically, you’re telling me to hit myself.”
“Precisely! Listen, if the creator of the sword remains dull—”
“—He kept telling me I wouldn’t be able to make a sharp blade!”
“…The blacksmith has to think of herself as a lump of iron…?”
“That’s why, I practiced while thinking of myself as iron. Thanks to that, my blacksmithing ability improved, but I also reek of iron.”
While I was speaking, I suddenly recalled an unpleasant memory.
“Hence, I became a woman who reeks of iron.”
“Why are you laughing?”
“Oh, no, don’t get me wrong. I’m not ridiculing you, it’s just…”
“What is it?”
“To be called a woman who reeks of iron—that’s just the worst, especially from a woman’s standpoint. However, to me, that’s the best compliment a blacksmith could receive.”
Grave said so and laughed apologetically.
…The best compliment for a blacksmith.
That was right, I could think of it like that.
“I’m sorry, I must’ve offended you. Just forget about it.”
Grave said so, but I didn’t think I would forget it.
Because he had made the nickname I used to hate become less unbearable.
I was a blacksmith.
Iron had to be heated and struck to become a sharp blade.
If my master was told that he was reeked of iron, he’d surely say, “Thank you!”
Can I become a proper, full-fledged, blacksmith?
***T/N: What’s dat mastah doing rn? More importantly, is he hot?
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