Chapter 25: Lala’s Apology
It was around the time when the sky was getting white with the morning sun, just before the opening of the Saint’s cafeteria.
Since early morning, I had been simmering soup in a pot and kneading bread dough using strong flour.
As I absentmindedly kneaded the dough, I felt grateful that I was doing flour-based saint work.
At first, I mainly focused on long-term storage items that would not produce much waste during procurement, but recently, I have been deciding on the menu by buying leftover demon beast meat that adventurers have dealt with or damaged harvests that cannot be given to customers.
My experience in operating bazaars as a saint at the monastery and conducting soup kitchens had also helped me.
“I’m back. I’ve harvested wild plants and taken care of the fields.”
“Thank you! Good work.”
Synovidos, who was a little damp with morning dew, entered the kitchen with a light step.
“Wow, you have a lot of wild plants.”
I was happy to see the wild plants that Synovidos had brought in his arms. There are many herbs and medicinal plants growing naturally in the demon beast forest, so it’s great to be able to use them abundantly. Synovidos is amazing because he knows where everything grows in the demon beast forest.
“Are we having soup and bread today?”
“Let’s keep it simple. Since we have a lot of wild plants and plenty of root vegetables in stock, I thought I’d make a warm vegetable soup by mixing wheat flour thinly and making it thick and creamy.”
“Oh, that’s a great idea.”
“I think a soup made by simmering the meat of the beast Minota cow until it falls apart, a miso soup made with fish broth, and a white sauce would be good. For bread, let’s have two types: regular bread and rosemary bread.”
Synovidos listened to me with a smile on his face.
To be honest, soup dishes are my specialty.
During my time at the monastery, it was a challenge to make delicious meals with limited ingredients, and during the period when we couldn’t eat meat due to religious reasons, I served vegetable soup to the believers every day.
I miss that beautiful church under the blue sky. I want to go there again someday.
Suddenly, an image of traveling with Synovidos and Demon King-sama came to my mind.
Fufu. I wonder if the three of us can ride on Black Dragon-san’s back. Since we’re at it, I want Black Dragon-san to take on a human form and ride the train(?) with us.
――That’s what I was thinking at that time.
As I was thinking about that, the shop’s chime rang. It was still before opening hours.
“Is the owner here?”
It was a slightly muffled, bell-like voice of a woman.
“I’m sorry. We’re still preparing. . .”
As I wiped my hands with an apron and headed to the entrance, there was an unexpected person there.
“. . .Lala-san?”
“Long time no see.”
Lala-san, who was wearing her usual revealing black witch dress over a coat, looked different enough to be mistaken for someone else. Her defiant face was much paler than I remembered. The dark circles under her eyes were also prominent.
“I came to talk to you for a bit. Do you have time?”
“Um, well. . .if you’re asking if I have it, then no, I don’t.”
There was a mountain of things to do. However, I couldn’t ignore Lala-san, who suddenly visited with a serious expression.
Lala-san bit her lip tightly.
“Well, it’s natural to be like that if you come suddenly. I’ll come back later.”
“Oh, no, um. . .”
As I was flustered, Synovidos came over to us.
“Hiira-dono. Please leave the soup pot and bread preparation to me. I learned from Hiira-dono, so I can help a little.”
I guided Lala-san to the guest room on the second floor and prepared tea for two.
The rosemary-scented tea replaced the smell in the room.
“It’s a room that suits you.”
Lala-san took off her coat and sat on a chair, looking around and murmuring.
I sat on the chair in front of her with the tea set.
“Is there something wrong, Lala-san?”
“Hiira. The other day, you gave Synovidos lunch, right?”
“I’m glad he received it!”
“It was delicious. Really. . .I still love your cooking.”
I had heard that Synovidos had joined the Kasdar Party, so I had prepared lunch for Lala-san along with his bento. I had heard it from Synovidos when he returned, but it made me very happy to hear directly that it was delicious.
“I’m glad~! The key was to season the fish a little stronger so that when you chew it with the other vegetables, it creates a nice flavor. I was worried that I might have packed it too much, but since Lala-san likes tomatoes, I definitely wanted to include them.”
While I was happy, Lala-san looked like she was in pain, with a furrowed brow.
Taking plenty of time, Lala-san began to speak as if squeezing the words out.
“. . .I want to apologize to you.”
And Lala-san bowed deeply, almost touching the table.
“I’m sorry, Hiira. I was so rude to you.”
“Lala-san. . .”
“I kept complaining about the wheat flour dishes that you made by cutting back your saint abilities, considering the taste and nutrition. . .But the truth is, I gained weight because I snacked on sweets and drank wine before going to bed. I know I can’t ask for forgiveness, but I just wanted to apologize.”
“L-Lala-san, I’m not angry. Please raise your head.”
Lala-san slowly raised her head and looked down with a face that seemed about to cry.
“I did something that deserved your anger. You should be angry. Especially at the end, I practically expelled you while hitting you with a cane in a fit of anger.”
“I’m not angry. Really. Um. . .”
――Hiira carefully chose her words in her head.
“I’m not really angry at Lala-san. When I was expelled, she was deliberately acting hysterical and waving her cane around to prevent Kasdar from raising his hand, right?”