༺ Tearful Tasting Event (3) ༻
The reason why the three countries couldn’t handle the snacks that six people had made was simple. It was because they were eating those after having dinner. How weak. They should’ve eaten with the determination to substitute it for a meal. To think they’d try to challenge the pastry circle with such a weak mindset.
Of course, they were the normal ones. I was eating these instead of proper food, so the abnormal one was me. And it wasn’t that they had challenged the pastry club. They were just unilaterally attacked with bread. That’s why I couldn’t push Villar any further.
In the end, I returned to eating most of them. Still, at least the number of mouths eating had increased. Yes, I was satisfied with that result.
Even though I have to chew on cookies during video conferences with the Minister and regular reports, I’m satisfied.
– Now that I think about it, the club fair will be held soon.
“Do you still remember that?”
– Unlike someone, I went to the Academy.
As the talk about the club fair was brought up, the Minister began talking while touching his chin.
I was wondering why someone who wasn’t going to come knew about the club fair, but after asking that question, I ended up being attacked by him. Whenever the topic is about the Academy, I’m always at a disadvantage. I momentarily forgot about that.
As I took a bite of a cookie, the Minister said to me.
– Didn’t you hate cookies?
What nonsense is that? He should know that I don’t have picky eating habits because we fought together on the battlefield.
I quickly chewed and swallowed the cookie that was in my mouth.
Why is he asking me questions while I am eating?
“It’s not like I don’t like it. I just don’t go out of my way to eat them.”
– You didn’t have one for the last two years.
He clicked his tongue and waved his hands at my reaction.
– Okay, okay. Don’t look at me like that. I’ve said too much.
“No, I reacted too sensitively.”
– Then why did you?
There was an awkward silence. I was embarrassed because of how sensitively I had reacted, and the Minister was probably embarrassed because he’d chosen the wrong topic to talk about. In truth, there shouldn’t have been a need for such a reaction, but humans can’t easily control their emotions.
After an awkward silence, the conversation returned to the club fair. I still haven’t told him about the collaboration with other countries.
I informed the Minister that we had arranged to bring some of the three countries’ forces inside the booth so they could focus on guarding their VIPs. After all, it would be a problem if they hurt or clashed with an Empire’s noble while walking around.
The Minister seemed to approve of the measure as he nodded a few times.
– A multi-national booth. That’s something I never imagined.
“Weren’t there occasionally foreign students in the past? It’s the first time we have such high-ranking people, though.”
– The atmosphere wasn’t good enough for international students to enroll in the Academy during my time.
Well noted, and thank you for sharing your story, Minister.
I casually nodded my head, only half listening to the Minister’s old story. It wasn’t particularly important. It seemed like the Minister mentioned it without much thought either.
– Anyways, good luck. Many people are going to go to the club fair.
– Don’t be surprised if some officials from the Administration visit as well.
With those words, the Minister unilaterally ended the communication.
How come he saved the most important detail for the end Did he finally become senile?
‘Please, just die already.’
That had been my desire since a long time ago.
The next day, I had to deal with the 2nd part of the report. Sadly, the Minister wasn’t the only person I had to report to.
“I thought that we’d need help during the club fair, so I asked for help. They will be familiar people, so don’t worry.”
Although it looked like an Advisor-member relationship from the outside, in reality, I was nothing less than a babysitter for these guys. If anything happens, I had to inform them immediately. Giving a report twice? How horrible.
Anyway, the reactions were varied when I conveyed the news that some of the three countries’ forces would be participating in the club booth. Louise was pleased simply because it meant more help, while Erich and Ainter had somewhat indifferent reactions. The problem lay with the other three.
Because Louise seemed to like it, they didn’t say anything, but their expressions said otherwise. Perhaps they were concerned about lower-ranked individuals being present where their (one-sided) romantic ventures are flourishing, or maybe they disliked the mere presence of outsiders who could even slightly interfere with their relationship with Louis.
‘They’re crazy, anyways.’
Those bastards probably didn’t know how much Villar had struggled before I contacted him. Even if their subordinates followed them like NPCs since birth, I hope they valued them a bit more.
“They willingly agreed to fulfill our unreasonable request, so we can’t afford to slack off. Everyone, do your best during the club fair.”
If interpreted bluntly, it meant they shouldn’t wander outside the booth and should stay put. We had even gathered escort forces, so if they went out and returned after getting hurt, both me and Villar might really go crazy.
“We’ve been looking forward to the club fair, so don’t worry!”
Fortunately, it seems they understood this level of speech. Led by Rutis, the members showed a positive response. It would be troublesome if people with a higher social standing couldn’t understand that. Thankfully, they had a bit of common sense.
‘Son of a bitch.’
I hated that I had to feel satisfied with only this much. What wrong have I done for me to have to control them as if they were Managers? At least in the Prosecutor’s Office, I had the Senior Manager and five Managers.
While feeling bitter, I looked at Louise. As her eyes met mine, she smiled and clenched her fists as if cheering me up. Okay, let’s do our best…
I also made the same pose while smiling awkwardly. The anger subsided.
“Let’s start. We’ve been making so much that I’ve started to get the grasp.”
As Erich said that, the pastry factory started to resume operation. In cases like this, I was glad there are only six members. From what I’d seen, others had at least ten members. If that were the case, I would need to throw away some of these.
‘It smells good.’
I was glad they were starting to get better. As expected, people improve with enough practice.
Even after separating the ones, I would send to the three countries, there was more bread left than usual. What you have to improve on is the taste, not the amount.
But thankfully, someone that could eat all of these with me appeared. This time, it wasn’t Villar.
“Sir Carl, do you like deserts?”
For some reason, Marghetta visited me after the club time was over. Her eyes widened after looking at the amount of deserts on the desk.
“No, not really. I was eating them because it would be a waste to throw away what the members made.”
Upon hearing my reply, Margareta nodded her head and carefully sat across from me. In truth, even someone obsessed with snacks wouldn’t eat this much. Marghetta wasn’t surprised for no reason.
“But what brings you here?”
“I wanted to ask if you have time.”
I tilted my head while looking at Marghetta, who asked that while smiling.
Until now, Marghetta had only visited me early in the morning. She probably wanted me to deal with things early since I was busy in the afternoon. Although I didn’t have much to do apart from supervising the club, Marghetta still respected my afternoon time. But why did she come so suddenly?
‘It’s not that I dislike it.’
I’m not sure what could have caused her to change her mind, since she’s a stickler for keeping her word.
“Yes, I have some time. But did something happen?”
“Since the club fair is nearing, I was wondering if I could also get help from Sir Carl in the afternoon. It’s nothing urgent, so you can refuse.”
I thought about Marghetta’s words and then nodded. Although it wasn’t urgent, she probably wanted to finish it as fast as possible. After all, you needed to have some space to deal with a situation if something happened.
“Yes, I have no problem with it.”
Marghetta replied while smiling. After looking at her, my gaze involuntarily went down to the snacks piled up on the desk. There was so much that there was nothing I could do about them.
I looked at Marghetta and then at the desert. Since she was a visitor, I should probably offer her something to eat.
“Mar, do you want to eat together?”
“Are there any that you’ve made?”
“That’s too bad.”
Seeing Marghetta chuckle, I let out a wry smile as well. My role is sufficient just to eat. It would be chaotic if I even start baking, It would be seven instead of six then.
“Then, could you give me one that you like?”
I was about to grab Louise’s cookies, but my hands stopped. To me, this was the most delicious one. However, based on the reactions of other taste testers so far, it often doesn’t suit their preferences. Is it fine for me to give this to Marghetta?
I didn’t think for much longer. This was the one I liked the most, and there was a chance that Marghetta would also like it.
“Here it is.”
In the end, Louise’s cookie made its way into Marghetta’s mouth. She ate it quietly and gracefully without any change in expression.
She even nodded. Yes, I knew that it would also suit someone else’s taste. I became happy and gave her a bit more. Marghetta didn’t refuse, and she kept eating. Her expression remained unwavering.
‘This is how it should be.’
Those who desire Louise’s love had to show this kind of behavior. Not Marghetta, who gave sharp advice to Louise, but the five clueless individuals.
The abnormal ones were the members of the club. As I turned my eyes from the club, people were normal.
“I apologize, Sir Carl. Although I’m the one who suggested it, I think it will be hard today.”
I felt warm for the first time in a while, so it seems like I’d been holding her back for too long. After eating a few more, Marghetta got up. Oops, it seems like I was too excited.
“No. It seems like I was the one who’s been rude.”
In the lair of the one-eyed, seeing the two-eyed made me extremely happy.
* * *
That night, in Marghetta’s room.
Marghetta, lying face down on the bed, trembled slightly.
As soon as she returned from the clubroom, Marghetta collapsed onto the bed, shedding tears and sniffling.
She’d been too greedy. Because she wanted to stay with Carl for a bit longer, she went against her own words and went to see him in the afternoon.
Although it was a bit embarrassing, she didn’t mind as long as she could stay with him for a bit longer.
Thankfully, Carl didn’t seem to be against the idea. Not only that, but the atmosphere was good. He even offered her some desserts. That’s how everything should’ve been.
”What should I do? It was horrible…!’
The taste was horrible. Unable to refuse in the face of his continuous recommendations with a smiling face, she kept eating. Desperately trying to control her expression, she couldn’t even express that the taste was unpleasant, afraid that Carl would be disappointed.
While eating, all sorts of thoughts crossed her mind. Did he give her such horrible cookies to scold her for not keeping her word? Or was it for pestering the already tired Prosecutor with her greedy desires? In that case, was he trying to push her away by recommending those dreadful cookies?
As soon as negative thoughts began appearing, tears threatened to well up. So, she struggled to get up, barely managing to leave the club room.
Did he begin hating her because she was too greedy? As her mind reached that conclusion, she began tearing up even more.
After seeing Carl receive her with a smile the next morning, such emotions melted down and disappeared as if it were snow on a warm spring day.
Marghetta Valenti. She was someone with a lot of self-confidence and, at the same time, an equally overwhelming sensitivity.