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Mother and Daughter
Queen Sisi chuckled as she looked at the table of dishes and the piping-hot food in front of her. She gleefully remarked, “I never expected Little Doggy to be a culinary master, as well. This was unexpected.
After dealing with twists, turns, bumps and hurdles – you get my drift – we finally finished preparing the official banquet for Queen Sisi. I bore in mind she wouldn’t like eating things that she ate before. Given her personality, she’d definitely prefer to eat dishes that she hadn’t eaten before, which was why I specifically prepared Chinese dishes. It was quite arduous to prepare them, and there were lots of missing necessary ingredients, but nevertheless, I managed to cook up a table of dishes that was basically Chinese cuisine. Additionally, I ditched the forks and knives for chopsticks that I specially made. As a safety measure, I also prepared spoons.
Owing to the fact that I had never taught anyone how to use chopsticks, Queen Sisi didn’t touch her dining utensils. She wouldn’t let me see her incompetence with chopsticks. Therefore, she sat there and observed me. I should’ve used a furtive way of telling her how to use the chopsticks. Not laugh at her. That is, of course, unless I contracted some sort of terminal disease and had a death wish or didn’t want to have Leah murder me after secretly kissing Veirya and Leah caught me.
I gently cleared my throat then checked on Leah, who was opposite me. Leah was in the midst of playing with her chopsticks. She treated the two lengths of wood as toys instead of dining utensils. I said to her, “Leah, don’t play with it. They’re called chopsticks. Papa once used them to eat. Don’t think of them as just two wooden sticks. Once you’ve mastered them, you’ll be able to deftly pick up anything. Here, let Papa teach you.”
I deliberately raised my voice at the end and purposely demonstrated their usage to Queen Sisi. Queen Sisi wasn’t an idiot. Therefore, she should’ve known what to do. I grabbed hold of Leah’s hand. I had her hold her chopsticks with her right hand and then showed her how to pick up food with them. Leah gave them a go, but I could see that she was nervous. She gripped her chopsticks extremely tightly. Her movements looked stiff and clunky. When she picked up a piece of food, she used all of her strength as though she wanted to torture the two lengths of wood.
As with everyone who uses chopsticks for their first time, Leah used too much force and didn’t get to experience their magic. After spending much effort to pick up a piece of food, she dropped it on the table. Dismal, Leah sunk down and sprawled onto the table to look at me with a pitiful gaze. I smiled and touched her head: “Relax. Don’t use too much strength. Leah, you only need to use a tiny amount of strength to use chopsticks. Relax and don’t use too much strength. Practice more and you’ll get the hang of it.”
Veirya stared at the chopsticks in front of her and fell into deep thought. She seemed to wonder how the two lengths of wood could pick up food. She watched me teach Leah and then tried to pick food up with her chopsticks. However, in that very instant, they snapped under the pressure of her fingers. Veirya innocently looked at the snapped chopsticks in her hands then looked up at me: “I think. This isn’t good. This utensil. Is very fragile. Can you. Really use this?”
“No, no, no, I truly doubt anyone back home used so much strength. You just need to use a tiny bit of strength… Veirya, I think they might not be suitable for you…”
I doubt there was a One-Slash Girl Veirya back home; I don’t think anybody ever snapped chopsticks with their fingers, either. Either chopsticks didn’t really suit Veirya or metal chopsticks would be a better alternative for her.
Veirya and Leah were doubtful. They seemed to conclude that chopsticks couldn’t be used to pick up food; they believed that I was lying to them. Queen Sisi didn’t try after seeing the two fail. She, too, looked at me, seemingly feeling that I was deliberately setting her up to embarrass her.
That being the case, I needed to prove myself. I may be poor with other things, but I was definitely well-trained with chopsticks after using them for twenty years. I did have to pick up the, apparently, best parts when the table was spun, after all. Consequently, I was confident with myself when it came to chopsticks.
I proficiently picked up the food that Veirya and Leah tried to pick up and put them in my bowl. I didn’t even spill a single drip of broth. I then told them about the pros of chopsticks. Hence, I went out of my way to choose a fish. It was very tough to use a fork and knife to cut up a fish. With chopsticks, on the other hand, it was simple. Leah watched in amazement as I dexterously opened the fish’s belly, deboned it and put the meat into her bowl. Her gaze for me was filled with admiration. Meanwhile, Veirya looked at her right hand again and spaced out. She looked as though she was reflecting on herself to determine if she did use too much strength.
Queen Sisi giggled as she watched me, but my success wasn’t enough for her to try. She was aware that my success didn’t imply she’d succeed, and failing as Leah and Veirya did wouldn’t make her happy. Therefore, she chose an alternative that I couldn’t comment on. She stood up and picked up the plates one by one. She scraped the dish into her bowl. Then, she mixed the food together to turn it into gaijiaofan. Finally, she began to proudly eat with her spoon.
I don’t have anything against gaijiaofan, but back home, only deliverymen made gaijiaofan the way she did!! Slamming different flavours together didn’t taste good!
“Mm… You know, Little Doggy, I think you should come with me, after all. I regret it somewhat now; had I kept you with me at the start, my quality of life could be improved.”
Apparently, Queen Sisi was a fan of it… Queen Sisi lowered her head and didn’t speak again, focusing on eating mouthfuls of food. Hopeless, I smiled. I stood up and used big plates to make Leah and Veirya their serves. Though I did that, I didn’t just pour it all on. I, instead, separated the food on two sides so as to avoid the flavours clashing. I’d say that was quite similar to take-away.
It was pointless even if the two mastered chopsticks. They were just my way of showing compassion for the past that I’ll never be able to return to. At the very least, it reminded me that life in this world wasn’t my entire life.
After dinner, I felt as though the three of them ate half-a-month worth of food stores. Fortunately, I took Veirya and Leah’s appetite into consideration. After dinner, Queen Sisi revealed a pleased expression; nonetheless, I also noticed she appeared to be searching for something.
“Little Doggy, I have yet to see what I also wanted to see.”
I placed down the dishes that I was clearing off the table and entrusted them to Anna. I chuckled: “Your Majesty, what other place would you like to see? It is late now, unfortunately, so how about we go tomorrow?”
“I haven’t seen the knight today. Are you saying that I will get to see her tomorrow?” Queen Sisi asked straightforwardly and chuckled. “Little Doggy, the knight came back here with you, didn’t she? We’re not in the imperial palace at the moment, and I’m in your area of jurisdiction. Neither my bodyguards nor ladies-in-waiting are present. We do not have any agreement to maintain secrets between each other, so be candid with me. Why are you hiding Angelina?”
“He. Did not,” Veirya answered before I could as soon as Angelina was mentioned. “He. Did not hide Angelina. Angelina. Is in her room right now. However, recently. She has not left her room. So. I do not know. Either.”
Queen Sisi paused. I knew that she had absolute trust in Veirya. It made sense for her to trust Veirya, for the reason that Veirya wasn’t the type who could tell lies. Queen Sisi just didn’t expect me to actually be innocent in regards to Angelina’s case. I didn’t have any intention to hide Angelina.
Queen Sisi didn’t look at Veirya but me: “Do you all really not know?”
I nodded: “Angelina has been in her room all the time as of recent. I didn’t say or do anything. Your Majesty, if you have business, you can go upstairs to see her. May I ask what you want to see her for, though?”
Queen Sisi chuckled. She then stood up and went behind Veirya. She gently pinched Veirya’s face and chuckled again: “Are you playing stupid, Little Doggy? Do you think I don’t know? Angelina and Veirya have always been incredibly difficult to tell apart. Even I can’t distinguish between them despite Veirya once having been with me all day and night. Up until now, I have only seen Veirya; or rather, this pregnant woman here. The two are identical, but I can only see one. Do you think I would believe you?”
“How could I possibly impregnate Angelina?!! Also, how could she have a bulging stomach in just half a month?!!”
I never expected Queen Sisi to suspect the current Veirya to be Angelina. If you think about it carefully, you’d understand. I said that I liked Veirya. I’d have a child with Veirya when we were in love. How could I impregnate Angelina just to put on an act? Moreover, even if Angelina did sleep with me, how could she be obviously pregnant in a few measly days?!
At first, I thought the statement was too stupid to even require thinking; however, Queen Sisi surprised me. Since Queen Sisi was oblivious to the matters between men and women, perhaps she truly didn’t trust me.
“No, no, no, my Little Doggy, I know you far too well. If you would kiss an elf, what would stop you from sleeping with Veirya’s mother?” Queen Sisi looked as though it was a given. She pointed upstairs and demanded, “Let me expose your charade. Veirya, if you’re the real Veirya, show me your loyalty. Go, Veirya, go and let me see your mother!!”
“That’s impossible!! I wouldn’t possibly do such a thing!!”
“As you command, Your Majesty.”
*Gaifan/Gaijiaofan – Typical Chinese fast food consisting of rice and fish, meat, vegetables or other ingredient. It’s existed as far back as to Western Zhou.
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