The Villainous Princess Wants to Live in a Gingerbread House - Chapter 6
“Putting the bell directly on the oven is better than putting the hourglass on it. Adding a function that can stop the oven automatically when the time runs out is also good.”
“No, you can’t. It takes a lot of money to turn the oven on again. That’s why we keep the oven running constantly all year for 24 hours a day at the palace.”
“You don’t have to pretend you understand what I’m saying when you don’t.”
Although Pavel said it on purpose, the girl just laughs.
As if she understood but just couldn’t be bothered to deal with it.
Pavel’s expression became slightly distorted.
In the meantime, the sound of the hourglass announcing the end of the eight minutes sounded.
Pavel, who had been nervous about the sweet smell that had been constantly rising from the oven for a while, hurriedly took out the dough he had put in the oven earlier.
The pitch black cake inside the white ceramic bowl was nicely split and revealed a crack.
A sweet and bitter scent tickled the tip of his nose.
Fortunately, before Pavel could let out a small exclamation unconsciously, the girl exhaled a gasp of surprise, saving his reputation.
“What…what is it, you chestnut sized brat? Why am you so surprised when you’re the one who made it?”
“It’s my first time making it.”
“…your first time?”
The girl replied excitedly to Pavel’s question, unable to take her eyes off the finished cake.
“My family’s extremely poor, so…I’ve never seen sugar or cream in real life before.”
At that moment, Pavel suddenly forgot what he was about to say.
The clothes the girl was wearing were very expensive, so he didn’t think that she would have that sort of background.
However, once you entered the palace, those sort of clothes could be obtained with something as small as a trick.
Regardless of how you lived before that.
But at the same time, another fact came to mind .
‘If this is your first time seeing sugar or cream, how are you able to make such plausible snacks in one go…?’
Then the girl suddenly stepped down from the stool and ran further into the kitchen.
“H-Hey…where are you going?”
What the girl had found from the corner was the stalk of a herb with green leaves, around the size of a child’s fingernail.
“What is that, what are you going to do with it?”
The girl cut off the leaves and placed them one by one on top of the finished fondant au chocolat.1
The sight of a dark coloured cake in a white ceramic bowl with a light green leaf on top was already extremely pleasing to the eye.
A groan flowed out of Pavel’s mouth as he tried to swallow his admiration.
Now that it had been baked and decorated nicely, it was time to try it.
Both the girl and Pavel quickly grabbed their spoons.
“Pavel’s also trying it?”
“Everything that comes out of my kitchen has to go through my mouth.”
“Pavel, no one is taking anything from the kitchen. You don’t have to be so vigilant.”
The silent Pavel waited a little while for the hot bowl to cool down before inserting his spoon into the cake.
Although the outside was crispy enough to crack a little, the spoon gently shoved through the gap, pushing out a sauce that flowed out thickly.
“What, has it not finished cooking?”
“Haa, it’s supposed to be creamy like this.”
The girl didn’t sound like she was lying.
Not waiting for Pavel’s response, the girl took a short breath and pushed the spoon into her mouth.
Asha closed her eyes and immersed herself in her emotions for a moment.
It has been a long time since she has last eaten sweets with such generous amounts of sugar and butter.
Even before she was reincarnated, she had hardly ever made sweets properly. She didn’t have the time to make them, nor the money to buy them either.
Asha made a face, as if she was falling apart for a moment before quickly adding another spoonful into her mouth.
‘If only I had one cup of coffee with this, then it’d be perfect.’
She wondered whether it was because it had been made with the palace’s quality ingredients, since despite being made with her clumsy skills, the cake made her feel as if she was melting after taking just one bite of it.
It was way too delicious.
‘Was the flavour a little stimulating because of my extremely poor diet? Also, I should’ve added a little more cream.’
This time, the portion of chocolate used had a higher content of cacao and a stronger bitter flavour, but the bitter taste turned out extremely well in the finished product.
But it also wouldn’t be a bad idea to make it a little more subtle and sweeter.
And when she looked up after emptying out half of her fondant au chocolat that she had made for the first time, Pavel was wearing a completely shocked expression on his face.
The teaspoon and fondant au chocolat in his large hand made him almost like a stuffed toy, with orange particles fluttering behind him like a halo.
Asha rubbed her eyes.
‘W-What, what is that?’
“This…What did you say this was called?”
“Huh? Oh, that… “
Asha who was hesitating for a while, decided that she’d go out shamelessly since he was someone who she would never see again anyways.
“Okay! Let’s call it Pavel Chocolate.”
“What did you say, you chestnut sized thing?”
“Anyways, I was the one who made it in the first place so I’ll call it whatever I want to. Since Pavel helped me make it, I’ll give it the name Pavel.”
“Don’t just slap the name of the imperial head chef anywhere!”
Asha acted as if she couldn’t hear him and took another bite of the cake.
Her heart, which had been wandering all day today, was warmed by the warm fondant au chocolat which she had just shoved into her mouth.
Asha, whose cheeks were still red from the residual heat of the oven, and had eaten half the cake, looked at Pavel with a desperate expression.
Pavel stepped back with a huff.
“Milk, or something cold.”
Hot chocolate cake and cold white milk.
As if he could imagine the harmony between them just from her words, Pavel silently poured the milk into the glass.
There were two glasses.
Asha cleanly emptied the bowl of chocolate cake without saying a word, and was momentarily drunk on the taste of it.
“…but do you not have any fruit?”
“This is the kitchen of His Highness, the Crown Prince. How could there not be such a thing? Of course it’s in the fruits and vegetables storage room.”
“Is there an orange in there?”
“Of course there is. What are you going to do with that…”
Pavel, who had been talking up to that point, quickly shut his mouth.
As he recalled the fruity taste of the bittersweet chocolate cake with the right balance of sweetness and acidity, his mouth immediately started watering.
“…what are you going to do?”
“Wouldn’t it be even more delicious if we made this cake with sugar that had been soaked in orange peels for a little while?”
Pavel and Asha made eye contact and simultaneously ran towards the cold storage room.
[ / / / ]
“Chef Marka! I need to take snacks to His Majesty the Emperor right now…Head Chef?”
The servant who had run so much he was out of breath, stood in the empty kitchen where a sweet smell drifted out from the open oven and looked around.
There was an urgent order from the top to bring a snack right away, but the chef was nowhere to be found, and only four finished cupcakes were laid out neatly.
It seemed like it had just been baked, the steam still rising from it.
“Wow, Head Chef. You’ve already prepared it, haven’t you? Thank goodness.”
There were even green leaves on top of the brown cake that was dark enough to look black, acting as a garnish.
As he got closer and smelled the fragrance, a sweet, and somehow bitter and antique scent came up.
Although it was the first cake he had ever seen such a cake, the servant still put two cakes onto his tray without a trace of suspicion.
The servant, who was agonising over what to bring for a drink, saw two empty cake bowls and half a jug of milk, and immediately filled the glass with milk.
And that’s how the servant left the kitchen faster than he came.
[ / / / ]
Alexei’s grandfather, Emperor Mikhail, skimmed through the report with a noble gesture that showed the traces of time on him.
In the meantime, Alexei, who had finished answering the Emperor’s question, was silently awaiting his evaluation.
“The war against the Noctis Elves is about to end. Karnov Neustadter has worked hard.”
The Emperor recalled the boy who was now fifteen years old, yet he remembered the cold purple eyes which he had thought could not possibly belong to a boy of his age.
When that boy had signed a contract with the Spirit of Death, he had also taken on a huge weight in order to maintain the balance.
And that balancing complementary weight was now with the grandson in front of him.
“But, I do recall there being a slave amongst the people Karnov saved. And you’ve asked me to absolve that slave’s sins.”
The Emperor tilted his head and asked.
Alexei answered in a soft and unwavering voice.
“He is only a child who has just turned ten years old. Although the sins of his parents are severe, as a servant of Igor Akinfeev, all he did was embroider as he was ordered.”
“Are you saying it is not a sin to be ignorant of the fact that what he was told to embroider were sentences that were calling for ‘darkness’?”
“…But ignorance is not the business of the common people, but the business of the ruler, right?”
“That ignorance created embroidery that caused the death of three hundred of my people. Who is going to pay for that?”
“The thing that kills is not a sword but the will of a man. Please punish that person.”
“An animal that bites a person is slaughtered, and a knife that pierces a person is broken and melted in a furnace.”
Alexei’s smile remained undisturbed, however, there were also no words that came out of his mouth.
The old emperor who watched on silently, suddenly opened his mouth, as if he was going to laugh.
“Even if you save that lowlife, do you think they will show you any gratitude or succumb to your mercy?”
“I didn’t think of that sort of thing. That lowlife’s parents have already died for their ignorance, and you’ve already killed Igor Akinfeev, who was the one who ordered it, and torn off his limbs.”
“So what are you going to achieve by saving that little one?”
The Emperor tilted his chin.
“The parents are the ones who were sentenced to death for bringing ‘darkness’ and secretly communicating with the Noctis Elves. That child will no longer be able to live in the North since none of the government officials would want to use him as a slave either.”
“Even if you put him in an orphanage, the orphans would stone him to death, and there would be no parents anywhere in the world who would accept him for adoption, so what if you save him? He’ll starve to death on the street regardless.”
The words of the old Emperor were too apathetic, and came to be sour.
Whilst Alexei was silent for a moment, the old Emperor merely shrugged and continued.
“Alright. Wasn’t that slave ten years old? Yuriel’s daughter is also ten years old now. Since they’re the same age, it’ll be easy for them to get along.”
“Although Yuriel’s daughter looked small and weak, she looked clever, so we’l leave that child in the Imperial Palace, and give the slave to Yuriel’s daughter to raise. That lowlife said he would especially determined to become a villain and take revenge, so he might even kill Yuriel’s daughter.”
For the first time, that smile that seemed as if were a mask faded from Alexei’s face, and his blue eyes froze.
With a sparkle of light in his eyes that resembled his grandson’s, the old Emperor met his grandson’s gaze.