The person, who had suddenly appeared when the door opened, was a man wearing a felt hat that only covered the top of his head.
His forehead and ears resembled Master at the Royal Capital.
…… Ah, so this person is the dining hall head?
“Are you here to see me, Ojou-chan? I was a little tied up with something, so I’m a little late. Sorry.”
I quickly got off the coach and bowed graciously.
“I have come from the Royal Capital. My name is Ayesha. I have a letter from the Hen Inn’s Master. Please read the letter and consider the request, if you could.”
I gave him the letter and bowed very deeply once again.
My future is determined here. I want him to give me a good response……
The temperature in the room dropped a little while he was reading the letter and I brewed some tea for him as he sat on the sofa.
I put the cup in front of Master’s older brother.
Then I patiently waited opposite to him until he finished reading.
I stared blankly outside and saw trees that looked like they had a faint white haze to them.
(Are those cherry blossoms?)
The buds which were still hard looked as if they were hazy.
―― *CLING, SIP*
I heard the tea being sipped and my consciousness returned to the room.
Oops, I have to keep my attention here.
“The person written about in this letter is Ojou-san.”
He slouched over and stared at me with his black pupils as if he was assessing me.
I nodded slowly and stared back at him.
Then, Master’s brother gripped both his hands tightly, looked at the ceiling and nodded to himself.
“Alright, I’ll be your guarantor for inns, boarding houses or work. I’ll introduce you to it. He has an eye for picking out ingredients. Well, the same could be said for people… You seem to have reasons for why you’re doing this, but I’ll be your guarantor even if you don’t tell me your reasons. I’ll believe in what he saw in you. Don’t betray the man who believes in you.”
“So I’m being treated the same as ingredients? And having reasons… It’s not like I’ve done anything bad. I just don’t want to talk about my background. I’ll explain when the time comes.”
Now that my title as noble was gone, I couldn’t just remain silent and take things facing down. I need him to evaluate me properly. I stuck out my chest with pride.
He grunted and nodded; he accepted that too quickly.
“Well then, I’m Bobles. Nice to meet you. You probably know this, but I’m the dining hall head. I still have a little bit of work to do, so let’s continue this talk in the dining hall.”
Bobbles-san carried my black bag for me and left the visitor’s room, I left the room as well and followed him.
We left the entrance hall, went outside and went into the dining hall in a one-storey building on the east side.
When we arrived at the dining hall, and after Bobles-san instructed the apprentice chefs about how to prepare the food, we talked about where I would live. Then, a soldier rushed into the dining hall.
“We received a lot of potatoes when we were practicing on the outskirts,” The guard said quickly. Therefore, tonight’s meal would also consist of fried potatoes and since there was a large quantity of them, I ended up helping out… Thus, I was surrounded by a mountain of potatoes.
There were about 300 people stationed here as guards. There should be a lot of young men working here since it was a job that consisted of using one’s body, so it would be 10 potatoes per person… At least 3000 potatoes needed to be prepared.
After ten minutes, somehow, I was surrounded by a mountain of potatoes.
I was working with two guards as we did nothing but sift through this mountain by the water well and scrubbed away the small grains on the potatoes.
A soldier would also be troubled if they couldn’t prepare food on expeditions, so the guards helped prepare meals in turns. However, this was a job for lower rank guards.
Being surrounded by potatoes reminded me of the time when Tom-san maliciously told me to peel the potatoes at the estate.
I smiled as I recalled that and my face glowed.
The 2 guards saw me smile and their faces turned a little red.
Places where guards work, etc., have very few women; even if there were, then they would be tough women who acted like men.
Nevertheless, my smile captivated the guards, they also smiled and their opinion of me rose. It wasn’t my fault that they misunderstood that I could cook just because I was washing potatoes. The guards have strong delusions.
Should I say that it was good that I was helping out with dinner because I was washing the potatoes?
I cut the vegetables, passed it over and cleaned up like I was told to. Cooking and seasoning was done by Bobles-san, of course.
The white apron that I was given also improved my image and there was a long line in front of me when dinner was served at 6; even though I was only handing out trays. It was really inefficient for them all to be lining up in front of me just because they wanted me to hand them trays.
(They can just get their own trays, can’t they? I’m only giving it to them because Bobles-san told me to. That’s right, so that I can practice serving customers.)
It was the first time in my life that I smiled for so long.
If I looked at the people I was passing the trays to, then I could see a number of nobles standing among people who looked like they were the top brass of the Empire Guards. Luckily, there were a lot of elderly people who had retired from the forefront of the national defence and they didn’t care whether or not I was a noble. They only confirmed that I was a girl, “Is she the new girl?”
It was a good sign. If it was in Coolden, then people will look at me as just a commoner.
The crowd of guards disappeared around 8, Bobles-san also saved a portion of dinner for me.
Thick pork was sautéed in sweet and sour apple sauce. Crispy fried potatoes. Mushroom and vegetable stir-fry. In addition, the colouring of the potage was perfectly drawn out by the sweet carrots.
I ate dinner together with the apprentice chefs at the corner of the kitchen.
Everyone had staff meals except for me.
This was their way of thanking me for helping them. It was a hearty meal designed for the guards.
Yup, as expected of the food made from Master’s brother. It’s delicious.
After the meal, we left the cleaning up to the apprentice chefs and headed to an inn near Bobles-san’s house.
I didn’t feel helpless walking down the dim night streets because Bobles-san, who had a good physique, was with me. My stomach was full and I felt really safe.
“If you’re troubled, then rely on the guards and tell them that you know me.”
Ah, so that’s why he wanted me to… Hand out the trays.
It was so that the guards would recognise that I was Bobles-san’s acquaintance. I’m grateful that he’s well-known here.
“I have to write a thank you letter to Master.”
I whispered as I watched Bobles-san’s back.