|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“So…you want me to score brownie points,” I stated bluntly, and Ms. Christy chuckled.
“That’s the gist of it. Do you have a problem with that?”
“Better a hypocrite than no deed at all. If even a single child can be saved this way, then I believe it’s worth doing.” If they label us as self-serving philanthropists, so be it. I know at least that Ms. Christy isn’t motivated by such base emotions. That’s why I agreed, my tone more resolute than I’d expected.
“You have my thanks. I told them the visit would take place the day after tomorrow on Prayer Day. Bring some sweets with you.”
“Sweets? They don’t have to be store-bought, do they?”
“Well, not necessarily. Who were you planning to ask to make them?”
“No, that’s not it. I want to test whether my skills have rusted or not.”
Lana was humming an unfamiliar tune as she gleefully watered the flower beds. Well, it was less of a flower bed and more like a simple four-merte square outlined by bricks and featuring only three types of fragrant plants. Wanting to give her a task, I’d asked the gardener to create this flower bed in a corner of the garden. Though nothing had sprouted yet, it was heartwarming to see Lana, with her small frame, maneuvering a large watering can to tend to the seeds.
“Come on, you three. Sit down and let’s get this tea party started.” I beckoned, and after setting down the watering can, Lana approached me.
In a sunny corner of the garden under the delightful spring sky, a table with a sunshade and chairs for four were prepared for afternoon tea. These furnishings were easily foldable, allowing me the flexibility to host tea parties wherever I chose.
Despite being the ones who prepared it, Monika and Eren looked somewhat uneasy, standing behind their chairs and fidgeting without sitting.
“Alright, here they are. These are the sweets I’ll bring for the visit.”
With that, I presented sweets I’d made after a long hiatus from the kitchen. The unfamiliar utensils posed some challenges, but I managed to craft something satisfactory.
As I lifted the napkin from the plate, a soft, sweet aroma filled the air.
With three different kinds of baked pastries in front of them, these three maids of mine let out a squeal against their better judgment. Yup, yup. Girls sure are cute. One must feed them with sweets, or else.
Speaking of which, while these three pastries use fairly the same ingredients, they took different times and effort to make, and of course, I was talking about madeleine, langue de chat, and muffin.
“Now then, please provide me with feedback. If they’re not good, I’ll have to make some changes by tomorrow.”
The first to snap out of it was Monika, who hurriedly started to prepare the tea; next was Eren, who followed suit. Lana, on the other hand… well, someone sure gets enraptured by the sweet.
I chuckled, then sat down on my chair.
“You are not going to stand there forever, are you? Come, sit.” With several fragrant herbal teas placed before us, everyone finally took their seats as I prompted them.
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“…is this really okay? Servants like us aren’t meant to sit at the same table as you, milady.” Monika looked deeply ashamed, and that was when I set some pastries on her plate.
“It’s fine. I always wanted to try this kind of girls-only party, you see.”
“I see…” Monika wasn’t entirely convinced yet, but her eyes were glued to the pastries in front of her.
After placing the pastries in front of Eren and Lana as well — they were holding themselves back pretty well — I brought my cup to my smiling lips. “Help yourself before the tea gets cold.”
“Y-, yes,” Monika answered nervously, and Eren looked just as nervous; “B-, bon appétit.”
Lana, however, answered with an energetic “Bon appétit!”
Receiving their distinctive answers, I looked at them fearfully digging into the pastries I baked…aren’t you guys being too wary?
And the next thing I knew, all three of them were melting into smiles “““SO GOOD!!””” Ha-ha, I’ve won them over.
I took a mouthful of the madeleine and was fairly satisfied with how it turned out. I had limited ingredients and utensils, so I had to make some compromises; thank goodness it wasn’t too sweet and not too hard. It was just right.
“Do you think it’s okay to bring these to the orphanage, then?”
I asked them again, but these maidens were so busy shoveling down the rest of the pastries into their mouths that my words just failed to enter their ears altogether.
Yup…there’s no girl here.
I stared off into the distance, drinking from my cup under the early afternoon sun, and passed the time listlessly for a while.
In the end, my madeleines and other creations became so popular around the kitchen that I was forced to serve them for dessert after dinner. Because of that, the rest of the batch was eaten clean, and I had to make them all over again—this time with dried fruits and almonds in the mix. That immediately tickled the sweets-sensitive noses of the hungry ghouls of the mansion, and this new batch ended up in their stomachs again anyway. So, with the help of the attendants, I had to stay up practically the whole night mass-producing baked goods, and my tears couldn’t stop flowing.
Well, as a result, my visit to the orphanage ended in great success. The children welcomed me warmly, and they even gave me a handmade wreath and letters…
Oh, by the way,
“Jill, you should help in the kitchen making pastries and cooking every now and then. We can open a cafe under my management with your sweets lining the cabinet.”
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Ms. Christy began to consider this quite seriously.