Lindsay’s face lit up even more after she finished speaking, and she changed the topics immediately, as if she was embarrassed at what she had just said.
“Well, I think we are short on hands. I will help out.”
“Ah! Not at all, baroness!”
Marilyn became startled and carefully dissuaded Lindsay, who was about to roll up her sleeves. But Lindsay shook her head with a smile.
“That’s okay. It seems like you’re underhanded due to the friends from Ancona. I can help out.”
“Even still, I…”
Ring Ring Ring!
The bell on the kitchen wall rang loudly and interrupted her words.
It was a sign that breakfast would start soon.
“O, oh my! Now, now! Everyone, hurry up!”
The shock jolted Marilyn into hastily giving instructions to the ladies. Then she turned her head and realized Lindsay was still here.
The situation was quite urgent, but it wasn’t like she could ask Lindsay to help.
“I don’t mind anything, so let me help out. Even in Conrad Castle, I always helped out with the kitchen work during breakfast.”
Marilyn was forced to sigh and nod her head. What else could she do in this situation? It wasn’t as if she could refuse the words of the governor’s wife, and the situation was urgent.
“T, then… Forgive me, I will borrow your hands, baroness.”
“Of course. Ah, I can finish the soup. It’s for the Ancona warriors, right?”
“T, that’s right, baroness.”
A young maiden was struggling to stir a huge pot that was large enough to fit two or three healthy men. It was so tall that she had to stand on a chair to be able to reach the spurtle. She bowed her heads restlessly when Lindsay asked.
“Lady Conrad, that might be a little difficult…”
Marilyn spoke anxiously.
It was difficult work, sure, but most importantly, Marilyn could not imagine the governor’s wife doing such chores.
But Lindsay shook her head.
“That’s okay. I used to do this all the time in Conrad Castle.”
Lindsay rolled up her sleeves bravely and stepped up on the chair. She proceeded to stir to soup with experienced motions in order to prevent it from clumping.
Even though Lindsay had large chests, she had a small, slender figure overall. Everyone was surprised that she could easily handle the tool to stir such a large pot.
Lindsay sniffed, then turned her eyes to the kitchen table. There was a pile of smoked, lean lamb.
“May I put some of that in?”
“Ah, yes, yes. Of course.”
It was to be used in soup or with bread, so Marilyn nodded her head right away. Lindsay grinned as she poured in large chunks of chopped lamb into the pot with a large spatula.
“The Ancona warriors like to have a lot of meat in whatever they eat. They don’t mind if it is fish. They will love it even if you just grill the whole thing and serve it. And even though they are not picky, they are not fond of strong spices. You don’t need any pepper, just a little salt.”
“Oh! I see.”
Marilyn’s expression brightened at once.
Salt was common in Leus because of its nature as a port city, but some spices, including pepper, were quite expensive. Their exorbitant prices had caused Marilyn to worry about food costs.
Therefore, it was quite fortunate that the Ancona Orcs did not require any other spices than salt in their food. They were the biggest eaters in the whole residence.
In addition, it was even more pleasant to hear that they ate fish as well.
Leus was full of fish, even in the winter, and it didn’t take long to prepare grilled fish.
“Ah! Come to think of it, we have quite a few pollacks and perch left over from five days ago…”
A woman started speaking excitedly, then soon blurred her words.
The food would not have gone bad because of the cold weather. Besides, she had removed all the organs to prevent it from going bad. However, she couldn’t give the orcs something that she wouldn’t put out for humans.
In addition, there were more than a hundred fish in the storage.
But Lindsay nodded with a bright face.
“That will be good. Orc warriors grill fish to eat even five days after they catch it, and in mid-summer as well. Furthermore, the forest where the Ancona warriors lived was far from the ocean, so they wouldn’t have tried sea fish before. I think they will love it, why don’t you bake it right away?”
Marilyn turned her head at Lindsay’s words.
“Pollacks! Perch! Bring it all! Hurry up!”
The ladies resounded an immediate answer, and dozens of fish began to be baked in skewers.
“Oh my! You’ve truly saved us, baroness! The 7th regiment soldiers burst in so frequently that we bought large amounts of the fishes, but they haven’t been coming these days, so we had a lot left over. I was worried about what we were going to do with them, but you solved it in one go! Oh ho ho ho ho ho!”
Feeling a little more comfortable with Lindsay, Marilyn let out a laughter while bowing her head.
“Don’t mention it. I am so glad that it helped.”
Lindsay’s embarrassed smile caused smiles to bloom on the faces of the other women.
When they first got caught making a joke about her, they thought they would be fired from the kitchen and be punished by the governor-general.
Most of the women here were able to work in the kitchen thanks to their husbands’ jobs at the official residence. However, they were caught making fun of the wife of the governor, who was also a duke of the empire. It was a felony that could result in their entire family losing their jobs. Such events were common when Sagunda was governor.
But the pretty lady named Lindsay Conrad was different.
Despite her high status as the wife of a duke, she was not arrogant, and she did not treat anyone carelessly. She was different from immature ladies who considered themselves great and acted sympathetic towards them.
Since entering the kitchen, Lindsay had never acted as she wanted, or spoken rashly.
She always made sure to ask Marilyn beforehand, and she asked for Marilyn’s understanding as well. This meant that she recognized Marilyn as the owner of the governor residence’s kitchen, not just as a simple employee.
The kitchen was a woman’s sanctuary.
No woman would be happy to have another woman come into her kitchen and play master. Perhaps it did not apply to nobles who were served food on a golden platter since birth, but it was a very sensitive and important topic to those who worked in the kitchen. It held true for Marilyn as well.
Lindsay Conrad could do whatever she wanted in the entire residence, including the kitchen. No one would be able to resist her except the governor and his sister. Nevertheless, she did not abuse her power.
She was very considerate of Marilyn and the people in the kitchen.
“Oh my! Baroness, I can take care of this.”
“Baroness! The bread is done baking. Would you like to taste it?”
“Baroness! This is a specialty sauce that is only available in Leus. Do you think any dishes from the Pendragon family would go well with it?”
“E, excuse me, baroness! If you ever have some free time, could you teach me some famous dishes from the duchy?”
All the kitchen women, old and young, engaged in conversations with Lindsay and asked her for help. Just as Lindsay Conrad acknowledged and cared for them, they also accepted her as one of their own and the mistress of the residence.
“Of course! Anything you want. But I think I will have to spend some time with the ladies this afternoon...”
Lindsay spoke in a regretful voice. An older lady continued Lindsay’s words with a sly smile.
“And at night, you will have to spend some time with the governor-general!”
“Of course! That’s the most important thing for Baroness Conrad!”
“Ho ho ho ho ho!”
Lindsay’s face flamed up once more, and laughter flowed from the kitchen of the residence.
“Keho! What kind of fish is this?”
“I have never had such delicious fish in my life as an orc!”
“The soup is good too! I chew a lot of lamb!”
The Ancona Orcs went wild.
The meal prepared last night was inadequate to fulfil their hunger. There wasn’t enough time, so the ladies had grilled and steamed sheep and pork. But today, breakfast was abundant and scrumptious thanks to the women’s diligent preparations since dawn.
The meat wasn’t simply steamed or smoked like yesterday either. It was soaked in sauce since yesterday and prepared in conjunction with tasty ingredients. The smell of steamed fish and shellfish was enough to rouse everyone’s appetite.
“I can’t believe I’m eating meat for breakfast! Kuekuekuet! I think it’s a good thing we came out of the woods.”
“The Earth God says that the best time to go out is after a good meal! Kuekekeu…kkukeket!”
Karuta burst out into laughter at Kratul’s words. He had stuffed his mouth with three grilled fish, and his laughter soon turned into coughs.
“Eat slowly, there’s still plenty.”
Raven shook his head while looking at the orcs with weary eyes.
Karuta gulped down a large jug of beer at once and sent down the food stuck in his throat. He smacked the meat scraps stuck on his fangs with his thick fingers and said haughtily.
“Heung! Orcs with big fangs eat well, and orcs that eat well fight well. Scarecrows can only nibble because they only have a baby tooth. For eating and fighting.”
“Hmm, really? Then should we have a go after we finish eating? It’s been a while.”
Raven grinned with an answer, and Karuta flinched.
But soon, the orc stood up with a large grin.
“Not a bad idea. Actually, my bones have stiffened because I only had Killian scarecrow to fight for the last few months.”
Karuta’s gaze burned with fighting spirit, and Raven narrowed his eyes.
“Good. I’ve heard that Killian’s skills have improved considerably, so I guess I need to give you a reward as well.”
Raven’s gaze caused Karuta’s smile to deepen.
“Keueng! I am full now, so I will go out first and warm up. Eat slowly and come out. Keung!”
Karuta swaggered out after he finished speaking.
The morning’s incidence caused the employees and the 7th regiment soldiers to take on worried expressions. Karuta was the captain of the Ancona Orc warriors, and he was the biggest of them all.
No matter how renowned Raven was in his strength, they were worried whether the slender governor would be able to compete with the orc.
Marilyn, who had become quite close to Lindsay while preparing breakfast, approached Lindsay and spoke carefully.
“E, excuse me, baroness. Don’t you think we should stop them?”
“Hmm? Stop what?”
Lindsay responded with genuine curiosity, and Marilyn said in a small voice.
“I don’t mean to belittle the governor, but I am worried that something might happen. He needs to go to parliament today, so if anything does happen…”
“Ah, you do not need to be worried about that.”
Marilyn was dazed by Lindsay’s smile. How could she remain so calm when her husband was about to compete with a horrifying orc?
Lindsay continued with an innocent smile on her lips.
“Once upon a time, Karuta was beaten up by the duke and bruised his face. In Conrad Castle, Sir Killian’s egg… ah!”
Lindsay quickly shut her mouth with a blush. She had almost accidentally spoken about something so shameful.
“Egg… what egg?”
Unable to understand Lindsay’s words, Marilyn tilted her head. Other employees who were waiting to serve the meals also shared curious gazes with each other.
The answer to their question came from Isla, who sat across from Lindsay, eating silently.
“Sir Mark Killian, the first knight of the Pendragon Duchy, has only one egg. The lord smashed one of them during a bout they had.”
Leon had been paying attention to the conversation as well, and he spewed out the food in his mouth at Isla’s words. He had not been expecting such words.
A brief silence.
But it didn’t take long for the male employees of the residence and the soldiers of the 7th regiment to start trembling while their hands reached to cover their precious parts.Previous Chapter Next Chapter