Extra 01: When Happiness Comes Around
“Ojou-sama. What are you doing with those sweets?”
“Sensei came just before noon. She gifted me them then.”
After lunch in the laboratory, Cordelia put the basket of sweets made by Fulvia on the table. Ronnie stared at the sweets as he said, “Ooh.”
Today, Cordelia discussed the mobile library plan, which had been interrupted last time, with Elvia and Fulvia before noon. I wouldn’t say that… the second meeting was peaceful, but they weren’t strangely tense.
(The mood would have changed a little if Otou-sama had smiled a little more.)
Otou-sama would have smiled when he was little, so Obaa-sama would know what he looks like when he smiles. Perhaps, it was hard for him to make an awkward vibrant expression because I was there, but it was hard to leave since I had put them together. Or, his poker-face might be frozen because he’s had it for so long.
Obaa-sama didn’t seem to mind, and it would be unfortunate if I break the mood with my weird concern. I just won’t worry about it too much. No matter how expressionless he is, Otou-sama will laugh when he wants to. And, his aura was gentle, so that’s enough for now.
“There’s a lot of sweets in there, but is there perhaps one for me?”
“Of course. Let’s call Lara and Emina too. We can eat it together.”
“Yay. That’s a butter cookie, isn’t it?”
“Yes. But we’ve just had lunch, so I’ll leave it here until snack time.”
Ronnie dropped his shoulders because he wanted to eat it now.
“Then, what are you going to do until snack time?”
“I think I’ll carve some soap.”
“Oh, are you going to do that?”
Cordelia smiled wryly at Ronnie who seemed like he wanted to say he’d forgotten. I couldn’t get around to it, so I’ve only worked on it a bit by thinking of the design.
“Why don’t you join me, Ronnie?”
“I’d like to see it when it’s finished, so please tell me when it’s done.”
Ronnie responded indifferently, but she didn’t mind since he had said he wasn’t interested in making it before.
(Now, let’s get started.)
There are different methods to drafting and carving. For instance, even with flowers, the method for carving roses and chrysanthemum are different. To carve roses you need to overlap the petals together, but for chrysanthemum, you overlap the petals while not letting them touch. I’ve also modelled soap after tarts and cakes, but in that case, I would have to carve the patterns faintly into the soap in the same way you’d cut patterns into katanuku cookies.
I plan on making prototypes of all the things I remember, to check the condition of the soaps, but that’s going to take some time. So, I’ll just make what I want to make first.
Cordelia thought, as she took a toolbox from the cupboard. There were soaps and a knife, which she had prepared beforehand, and a small, shallow, wooden box inside.
“Ojou-sama, you’re carving soap, aren’t you? What’re you using the box for?”
“I’m not going to be using this as a box, I’m going to be using this as a wooden frame. I thought I could make a wreath if I line up the carved soap in this.”
Of course, it would be beautiful even if I just make the wreath with soap, but it’s challenging to think of the design, and it’s difficult to make since a lot of connecting motifs are needed. I don’t dare to try it since it’s my first time making it in this body and I don’t know how the soaps are.
(And, it looks cute lined up.)
The gentle-coloured soap looks softer than it seems, and it would look nice on a wall… probably. But, that’s only if I make it well.
“Are you giving that to Sensei by any chance?”
“Oh my, how did you know that?”
“I thought you wanted to thank her for the sweets. And if you only wanted to check the soap, then you wouldn’t arrange it like a decoration after carving it.”
Cordelia nodded a little.
“Then, I hope you can carve a nice present for Sensei.”
“Snack time seems like it would be late if you don’t finish it.”
Cordelia picked up the white and light pink soap while receiving some support that left her with doubts about whether he really wished her luck.
The flower that she was thinking of carving now was cosmos. When making cosmos, you first need to make a base by carving the soap into a circle with the diameters of a flower. Then, the flower core is cut at the centre. After that, the outer circumference is divided into eight equal portions, the grooves are shaved thickly, and carved to look like petals. Finally, she needed to make flower veins that went from the inside of the petal to the outside to complete the carving.
“That was surprisingly quick.”
“Isn’t it cute?”
“It is. I thought… you would make something rougher.”
She hadn’t finished as fast as Ronnie had said, but it didn’t take long to make a motif like that. She repeated it and completed several white and light pink cosmos.
She picked up another soap once she had completed a set number. This one is a bright golden yellow. It looks like I’ll be able to make accents with this.
Cordelia cut the soap to about five millimetres and pulled out a small metal flower mould from the toolbox. She drew several lines from the centre to the outside on the yellow flowers that she had made a lot of but didn’t decorate them much. She had made these small flowers as an accent to balance out the big flowers, so she didn’t mind if they were plainer than the cosmos.
Cordelia then carved additional leaves. She made round leaves found on common flowers instead of leaves found on cosmos, but they seemed to go well together. Lastly, she arranged the soap into the small box to confirm the balance.
A small flower garden was completed in the box.
“Ojou-sama, do you like cosmos?”
“Yes, I do.”
She felt calm when she stared at the flowers, which suited the meanings of『Harmony』and『Modesty』in the language of flowers. Cosmos had different meanings in the language of flowers depending on its colour, but the white that she had just carved meant『Grace』and『Beauty』, and she thought it suited Fulvia well.
(I hope Obaa-sama likes cosmos.)
Cordelia, who put the flowers in the frame while thinking about a lot of things, asked Ronnie what he thought of it.
“It’s not bad… but isn’t it better to make it a lot more energetic, since you’re the one who made it?”
“Like by adding roses.”
The thing that Ronnie had said smoothly was a high hurdle.
Cordelia knew how to carve roses, but at the same time, she also knew how challenging it was. If possible, she wanted to avoid making it today since she hadn’t done it in a long time.
But, like Ronnie had said, if I want to make it more 『me』, then I should try. This is a gift for Obaa-sama. If I can add something that seems like me, then I want to do it.
(It’s okay if I fail. I should try to make it with all my feelings.)
I don’t have to add it as part of the wreath if I fail. The other disadvantage is that Ronnie would see something ugly, but that’s not a big blow. I’m worried about making it, but he did suggest it… and I agree with him, so I can’t just not make it.
(Alright, let’s do it.)
Cordelia readied herself and prepared a soap the same size as the one she’s used for the base of the cosmos and first carved a cylinder at the centre to act as the flower core. She carved the grooves around the cylinder deeper than she had with the cosmos. The core of the rose was much more complicated than the cosmos’, and she had to carve a lot of petals. She continued her detailed work to maintain balance while picking up her knife, putting it down and chamfering.
She finally finished the flower core, and it was now time to make the outside petals. She carefully dug out the petals so that they had volume and carved out the unnecessary parts at a calm pace.
Cordelia exhaled heavily at the end of the process.
I think a lot of time has passed since I started and finished this piece.
Cordelia asked Ronnie while handing him the rose she’d just made.
“It’s better than I imagined. I was surprised by the cosmos, but this surprised me more.”
“I’m glad I could surprise you.”
“It’s like it was made from stone. You’re good.”
She was glad that he was impressed, but she was gradually becoming embarrassed because he was looking at her work too seriously.
“… Mm, I made some mistakes on that. So, I’m thinking of remaking it once more for the gift…”
I think it was done well for something I haven’t made in a long time, but it itches to be praised that much. If I think I can make it better, then I should do it now.
“You still have soaps you have to test, right? Isn’t it fine to challenge yourself if you want to do it, Ojou-sama?”
“However, I’ll be happy if you could finish by tea time.”
“Then, why don’t you stop me if I get too enthusiastic, Ronnie?”
I’m looking forward to the cookies from Obaa-sama too. It’s reassuring to rely on Ronnie so that I don’t miss my chance to eat it. Ronnie replied with reliable words, “Leave it to me.”
Cordelia heard his reply and picked a light pink soap this time. She began making the rose again while paying attention to the places which she felt had been badly made before.
Ronnie asked Cordelia.
“But, making a soap wreath… I mean, are you thinking of making it into a circle? You can place it freely if you put it in a frame.”
“Isn’t round cute?”
“Well, it is… that’s all?”
“Well. And… it’s easy to arrange once I’ve decided on what to do?”
“… You’re surprisingly impulsive?”
Cordelia smiled silently at Ronnie. I do have a reason for making it into a circle, but it’s a little embarrassing to say.
A circle is a motif that represents 『eternity』.
I want Obaa-sama will continue to have a quiet and peaceful life… I chose a wreath with that hope in mind.
(A standard wood-based wreath would be cute, but Obaa-sama would be able to make it better.)
In that case, I wanted to make her a present that she couldn’t make. And if I was going to make a wood-base wreath, then I want Obaa-sama to teach me.
(If she could teach me, then I’ll like to give it to Otou-sama… But would it be difficult to display something in his room?)
Would he accept it if it’s small enough to fit on a drawer? While Cordelia was thinking, Ronnie was looking at the rose again as he rolled it in his hands.
“Do you want to try, Ronnie?”
“No, I’ll refrain.”
Ronnie didn’t have any desire to make one, even though he seemed interested. Cordelia shrugged since that was just like him.
“I just thought that it would be popular with young ladies. When I was watching you make it, it looked like it could be carved with light force.”
The effects of this custom-made knife might have made it easier to carve. It’s easier to carve with this knife because it had been adjusted with magic when it was created. But, now that I’ve checked the conditions of the soaps made by Eris firm, I think standard knives should be enough to carve them.
“Why don’t you make one for Hazel-sama? I’m sure she’ll be pleased.”
“Yes, I was planning to.”
And, if possible, I want to make it together… If she thinks like that, then I hope that it would become the start of a new trend. But these soaps haven’t been scented yet. It smells like clean soap, but I want to add different aromas to each soap. In the first place, the main reason why Eris Firm undertook the development of easy-to-carve soap was because of that.
“… And it’s about time. Emina will probably come soon to prepare tea, so let’s clean up,” Ronnie, who hadn’t forgotten the duty that Cordelia had asked him to do earlier, said.
“Thank you for remembering.”
“It was something I wasn’t going to forget.”
And, as Ronnie had predicted, Emina came to the laboratory with Lara not long after.
The cookies that everyone ate had a gentle taste.
The completed wreath was later delivered to Fulvia by Ronnie.
A few days later, Cordelia saw the wreath hanging outside the entrance when she visited Fulvia. She was relieved that Fulvia had liked it.
Cordelia gave Hazel the carved soap almost at the same time and received an immediate reply from Hazel saying that she wanted to make it together with Cordelia.
Apparently, her goal was moving towards success.