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Eleanora-san seemed quite pleased with the fact that a shop using my recipes would be opening in the capital.
However, in order for it to work out, I had to teach Zelef-san all of my recipes.
I had given him my pudding recipe some time ago, but it seemed like he had only managed to make it after failing numerous times. Unlike in Japanese cookbooks, there were no pictures in this world. Also, it appeared that I hadn’t relayed some parts of the recipe well enough. That was why we decided I would be personally teaching him this time around.
「Should we start now, then?」
「Would that really be okay?」
「There doesn’t seem to be a problem, since everybody already finished their cakes.」
As I said, all of the plates were already empty, and it was time for me to make an excuse to get away from here, so that I could save Hugging Bear from the queen. She hadn’t let go of it all this time and had managed to embrace it even while eating.
Thinking of how to rescue it, I glanced at the queen, who was now elegantly drinking tea with one hand while holding onto Hugging Bear with the other. Hugging Bear looked at me dejectedly.
「I’m going to save you, so wait for me,」I called out to it silently.
I then spoke up to begin the Hugging Bear Rescue Plan.
「Your Highness, I’m going to teach Zelef-san how to bake a cake now, so about Hugging Bear…」
「It’s fine. I will carry it.」
The queen responded and stood up with Hugging Bear still secured in her arms.
Umm, what was fine? Why would she carry it? Could it be that she was coming with us?!
「You shouldn’t bother Yuna and Zelef.」
「I won’t get in the way. I just want to taste-test Yuna’s recipes.」
The queen wanted to come with us because she wanted to eat more… Also, taste-testing wasn’t something a queen should do, right? Didn’t royal families normally have a poison tester checking their food before they ate it?
Well, that was just my own tale on royalty.
「I will go too!」
Now even Princess Flora was saying she would come with us.
Was this royal family going to be okay?
Not to mention, Princess Flora had already eaten two slices of cake. A small child shouldn’t be able to eat three slices at once.
「Well then, I will be heading back to work. Thank you for the meal, Yuna. It was delicious, as always.」
The king said before leaving the garden.
I wanted him to talk to the queen about giving me back Hugging Bear first, though…
「Okay, I’m going to begin the preparations for setting up for the shop, then.」
Eleanora-san said and followed the king out of the garden. I wanted to ask her, 「Eleanora-san, what about your job?」 but decided not to. She was the type of person who always did what they wanted.
「Yuna-chan, we should get going as well.」
The queen tapped me on the shoulder.
「I’m going, I’m going. Before that though, your Highness, please return Hugging Bear to me,」I protested silently.
Before I could do anything, the queen started to walk off with Hugging Bear resting its head on her shoulder, looking at me with a sad expression. Sorry, I couldn’t save you.
Once we arrived at the kitchen, Zelef-san closed and locked the door.
Eh, what was going on?
「This is to prevent information from leaking.」
Zelef-san answered my unsaid question.
There was indeed nobody else in the kitchen besides us.
「Whenever I’m making the food that you taught me, I always lock the door to prevent people from barging in.」
「Aren’t there other chefs that would want to come here?」
「This is my personal kitchen, so no other chefs will be coming here.」
Was it like this to prevent people from poisoning the royal family’s food?
If there were a lot of people in the kitchen, it would be difficult to figure out who added the poison. They had probably made this kitchen for the head chef only in order to prevent that from happening.
「Also, this kitchen was arranged as a place for me to make your recipes, and only I’m allowed to use it.」
Did I hear him right?
It would make sense for this place to be his private kitchen to make meals for the royal family, but he said this was just a place where he could make my food? Unbelievable.
Had they made this kitchen just to prevent the recipes from leaking? Well, that would explain why there hadn’t been any leaks so far…
Still, weren’t the royal family members’ lives more important than my recipes leaking out?
Maybe I should just pretend I hadn’t heard it…
I took all the required ingredients and utensils for making a cake out of the Bear Box and started to make it while explaining the process to Zelef-san, who was following along and taking notes. He asked some questions from time to time, but we progressed without much of a problem.
I wondered if Princess Flora and the queen were enjoying themselves. After all, all they did was watch me bake.
Partway through, Anju-san also joined in after she was done tidying up the garden.
「I see, so this is how it’s made. I have to say, you are indeed a skilled chef, Yuna-dono.」
「I think you’re amazing, given how young you are. Even if I were to compare you to my subordinates, your skills are in no way inferior to theirs.」
「You can’t compare her to your subordinate, Zelef.」
「I didn’t do such a thing. Also, those who have gathered here are all capable of making food for the royal family and the nobles. In a way, they are all good chefs.」
When he mentioned his subordinates, I immediately imagined them to be his apprentices, but it seemed like it was different in this castle.
Anyway, I didn’t really know whether I was amazing or not, but I could understand that he was praising me for my cooking skills.
「Bear-san is amazing?」
Princess Flora inquired.
「Yes, she is amazing.」
「I agree, she truly is amazing.」
Zelef-san and the queen both answered her.
「Bear-san, you’re amazing!」
「That’s not true at all.」
While the sponge cake was in the oven, I made some whipped cream, scooped a bit of it up with a spoon, and brought it to Princess Flora’s mouth, who ate it without concern.
As soon as the sponge cake was finished baking, I took it out of the oven, layered strawberries and whipped cream in the middle, then put some more strawberries on the top.
「Yeah, and it looks delicious.」
「Thank you very much, Yuna-dono. I learned a lot.」
「You can also try switching out the strawberries with other fruits that are in season. There are many things that go well with cream, so you should experiment a bit.」
「Okay, I’ll try out as many things as I can to see which ingredients match it the best.」
「Well then, it’s time to eat it, right?」
The queen said while looking at the cake longingly.
Yep, it made sense to eat it, but could they really eat more? Well, some time had already passed since they ate at the garden, so it should be fine, right?
I glanced at Princess Flora who seemed really happy.
「I will go prepare the tea, then.」
Anju-san said and left the kitchen.
「Zelef-san, can you get us some plates and forks?」
I asked, and he didn’t waste any time fetching them.
「I bet Zelef’s subordinates would be surprised if they were to see a bear giving orders to their head chef.」
The queen said with a smile.
Oh right, Zelef-san was the head chef of this castle, even though he didn’t look nor act like one.
Zelef-san ignored the queen’s comment and brought over enough forks and plates for all of us.
I proceeded to cut the cake and placed a slice on each of the plates. I made sure to make Princess Flora’s slice smaller; she wouldn’t be able to eat her dinner if she ate too much.
「Here, Anju-san, your share.」
I told Anju-san, who had just returned after preparing tea. Good thing Zelef-san had brought a plate for her as well.
「I still have the cake you gave me before.」
She hadn’t eaten it yet, huh.
「You can give that one to the kids, so join us.」
If I remembered correctly, there were some more children of Princess Flora’s age here at the castle.
「Is that really okay?」
「Anju, eat with us.」
「Also, please tell me what you think of it.」
「Thank you very much, everyone!」
After she distributed the tea (Princess Flora’s had milk added in), everybody started to eat the cake.
Now was my chance to get Hugging Bear back!
There was only one chair in the kitchen, and Princess Flora already had it covered, so everybody else had to eat standing up. Even though there was a table, it would be difficult for the queen to eat while still holding onto Hugging Bear.
As I had expected, the queen put Hugging Bear down on the corner of the table, so she could eat; Hugging Bear finally left her arms.
As she started to eat, Hugging Bear looked at me. I waited a bit and then nodded.
Hugging Bear slowly started to move and made its way to my side of the table while the queen was completely focused on her cake. When she finally noticed, it was already too late as Hugging Bear was out her reach, so it seemed like she was sending it off instead.
「Yuna-chan, I want Hugging Bear-chan back.」
「Don’t worry, your Highness, I’ll hold onto him for now, so please eat your cake.」
The queen continued to eat the cake while looking at Hugging Bear disappointedly. I wasn’t going to give it back even when she looked at it like that. Hugging Bear looked happy to be back in my arms. I would have to comfort it tonight.
After we finished eating, I had to answer some more of Zelef-san’s questions, and the day was slowly coming to an end.
The queen eyed Hugging Bear the entire time I was chatting with Zelef-san; she must have really liked it.
Well, Hugging Bear did feel rather nice to touch, and it was also cute.
I wondered if it was necessary to give the queen a Hugging Bear plushie, for the sake of Hugging Bear’s well-being.
How many plushies should I ask Sherry to make for me?
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