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Chapter 156 – The Young Lady Named Sophie Linier ~ Miscalculation of Gerald Forsius VI~
Author’s Note: It ended up being quite long, but this would be the end of the “Miscalculation of Gerald Forsius” arc. (/・ω・)/
The next day, the dining hall was noisier than usual.
The food portion was larger than usual. And above all, everyone who ate it was surprised at the aroma and taste.
“Eh, the meal for today is really good!”
“The portion is also larger than usual… is there some sort of festival today?”
Amidst the noisy cheers, however, there was a quiet corner.
There were several people of the gold star, silver star, and copper star sitting at that table, and the scene where several stars gathered and shared a table was a rare occurrence.
They were quietly waiting for the reaction of the black-haired girl.
“…How is it, Sophie-sama?”
The one who asked timidly was the head chef who managed all the meals that were served in this academy. Age-wise, he was older than Sophie’s father, but he was nervously asking the opinion of a girl who was eating on a small plate for tasting food.
While the gazes of people there were focused there, Sophie silently tasted and then nodded.
“It’s a wonderful taste! It’s amazing that you managed to produce such a dramatic change in just a single night. As expected of a person with a track record of making dishes for several hundred people regularly, your talent is exceptional!”
From the praise mixed with courtesy toward the older person, the head chef exhaled a mixture of relief and satisfaction then quickly returned to his kitchen.
As if that became the signal, the students of the copper star pierced their forks into their food all at once and began to eat vigorously.
“Yummy! It tastes the same as the meal that the young lady made!”
Conrad, who spoke with his fork still in his mouth, was considered the better among the bunch, since the other members were saying, “There’s a lot of meat! Meat! Meat!” “The meal is great!” as they desperately ate their meal and seemed to lack the vocabulary to speak about the taste.
Looking at the students of the copper star who ate at high speed, Sophie wanted to tell them “Make sure to chew the food well and eat slowly,” but after considering the food they usually ate wasn’t comparable to the amount of exercise they did in their daily activities, Sophie decided to not nag for the time being.
Instead, Sophie turned toward Firth and his friends of the silver star and thanked them with a smile.
“Thank you, everyone! Thanks to you, the policy change of the dining hall was settled quickly!”
As Sophie thanked them, Firth shook his head as he said, “Please don’t mention it!” Then he bowed instead.
“We also wanted to give our thanks for the opportunity to gain insight as silver stars.”
Yesterday, all the students of the silver star, including Firth, who was forcibly taken by Sophie, were gathered in the kitchen to help reform the menu. Moreover, Sophie even dragged the head chef and all the other staff who were present at that moment.
“But really, why did the silver star end up cooking?”
Since Marcus wasn’t there when it happened, he had no idea about the circumstances, so he asked while spinning his fork. It seemed he had already finished his meal.
“Oh my, is it weird?”
“After all, they are silver stars, you know? For the silver star, who takes pride in researching for the development of the nation, it’s amazing you managed to make them cook.”
If it was a normal silver star, they would definitely not help Sophie. Just for the sake of better meals, they were asked to use their high intelligence for cooking, which held the same meaning of hurting their pride. Normally, it would be something that they would hesitate to help with.
“What are you talking about, Marcus? Cooking is science and physics! The kitchen is the laboratory. There’s no way you can achieve prosperity for the nation if you can’t understand that! First of all, one needs to understand the various effects of the ingredients, then think about the best fusion of spices and their amounts to bring out the best condition. One also needs to think about the nutrition obtained by mixing multiple ingredients. A meal isn’t just about filling one’s stomach, you know? Unless the body secures enough nutrients to fuel and maintain its operation, it won’t stay healthy. The people need to be mentally and physically healthy, and this is essential for the development of the nation! Creating a dish that will stir one’s appetite over it through sight and smell is also important. This not only requires skill but also sense. There’s no way an act that requires a wide range of abilities could be shrugged off as ‘merely cooking’!”
“Okay, that was my fault. Cooking is definitely a science. So the power of the silver star is necessary!”
Marcus apologized, overwhelmed by Sophie’s words.
It was an apology of Marcus’ style that recognized the importance of speed and accuracy.
“That’s right! The same could be said with the pepper used in this pot-au-feu. Pepper makes its consumer sweat easier, which eliminates toxins in the body and improves blood circulation. There are nutrients in just a single spice. Even if it was just used a little, don’t you think it would open infinite possibilities if one delved into it?”
As her eyes shined with fascination, Sophie began to explain the dishes on each plate. That appearance was reminiscent of a lady admiring jewelry, but what she was actually admiring was pot-au-feu.
Was there another young lady out there who admired pot-au-feu that much?
After Marcus stared at the strange scene for a while, he silently glanced at Luca and asked,
“Hey, did she do this yesterday as well?”
Sure enough, Luca nodded quietly.
“So that’s why that old man actually helped…”
The head chef, who was famous for his eccentricity, showed a subservient attitude to Sophie, not because she was a purple star or an aristocratic young lady, but probably because he heard her remarks earlier, which made him understand the importance of his job. No matter who it was, they wouldn’t feel bad toward the person who respected their work and talked about its importance enthusiastically.
“That ojou-san is saying it with such passion after all. Well, most people will be rendered silent by that.”
It was easy for them to imagine the girl speaking with her fist held high, but in contrast to Marcus, who was exasperated about it, Lars had a big smile.
“It was amazing! It felt like Sophie-sama ruled the place! The content of what she talked about was about spices from other nations and the possibilities and importance of seasoning! I was impressed at how Sophie-sama didn’t deny what we ate until now. Considering what she usually ate, it would be normal to leak a complaint or two, but what was great about Sophie-sama is that she didn’t make the chefs uncomfortable!”
“That ojou-san would finish her meal no matter how bad it was after all.”
Even during the mountain exercise, Sophie finished all the portable foods, which were famous for their bad taste. The hard portable food, which was outright unchewable through jaw strength alone, was examined and tasted from various angles.
Sophie’s curiosity and sense of pursuit might make her feel more like a silver star than an actual silver star. Firth and the other silver star students seemed to understand that as well. Firth seemed to be completely inspired by Sophie and his eyes sparkled at the new insight.
“I thought spices were unnecessary ingredients used by upstarts to show off their authority, but I’ve changed my mind. I never thought just by adjusting the amount, the taste actually changed that much!”
“Spices are similar to medicine, in that they can be used as poisons or medicines depending on how they are used.”
In response to Firth’s words, Sophie put her index finger on her lips and spoke with a regrettable voice.
Even if many spices were imported from other nations, many chefs had no idea how to use them.
However, the usage of spice, which was considered a luxury good, was often forced by its owners to show off their financial strength, so in recent years, meaningless and excessive amounts of spices had been dumped on top of ingredients.
“Spices have to be used appropriately and at the right amount. I think this applies to everything. Food is a field that is often neglected because it is too close to people’s lives, but I’m glad that Firth and the others learned about its importance!”
“Yes, I felt the endless possibilities in compounding and formulating! I thought hunger was merely an obstacle in gaining knowledge, but as silver stars, we ought to think deeply about human function and its maintenance. I was embarrassed of myself for looking down on food and cooking before.”
Firth lowered his eyebrows and expressed regret for his failure, but soon changed to a cheerful voice.
“When I consulted with Lars-dono, there seemed to be a few gold star students whose families dealt with spices, so I was thinking of studying more on them.”
“Oh my, if it’s spice, I think my family could prepare it. When I can contact my family, I will request them to bring some.”
“An encounter with unknown spice… I’m looking forward to it!”
As Sophie settled her conversation with the bustling silver star students, she turned toward Marcus and reported happily,
“Marcus, it seems that everyone in the silver star will help in improving the portable food! We can make better things!”
Not only improving its taste, but they would also improve the preservation technology for all foods, such was what the silver stars suggested on their own. As Sophie reported so with a smile, Marcus made a vague smile.
“Ojou-san, you sure are really good at involving others. I really respect you for that.”
“Eh? Did you say something, Marcus?”
Looking at the girl who definitely heard what he said yet pretended not to, Marcus had a wry smile, but then there was a sobbing voice out of nowhere.
As everyone wondered and looked around, they saw Conrad, who was famous as the idiot of the copper star, clasping his fork in tears.
“Eh, Conrad, what’s wrong?”
Sophie called out in surprise due to his sudden tears.
“Uuh… to think I could eat this delicious meal from now on as well. I thought that the gold star was a group of money mongers while the silver star was a group of noisy fellows who dabbled in sophistry, but― thank you!!”
As Conrad expressed his gratitude with a joyful voice, Lars and Firth muttered at the same time,
“”He really put it in a terrible way…””
Perhaps because both of them were aware of what Conrad meant, both of them looked toward the floor at the same time and began to feel depressed.
Marcus hurriedly closed Conrad’s mouth.
“Conrad, you have to choose your words more properly. I told you how much of a hard time I’ve experienced because of that! ―Sorry about that, young masters. He’s just an idiot, so you don’t have to mind it!”
Apparently, Conrad was treated as a fool, which Marcus used to ask for forgiveness at the same time.
“No… That’s okay.”
“I just felt a slight pain in my chest, that’s all…”
The wounds seemed to be deeper than expected as Marcus’ follow-up didn’t bring them any solace.
The moment Sophie tried to talk to the two depressed people, a mocking voice echoed in the dining hall.
“This is why the copper stars are just so troublesome because they lack manners.”
The owner of the voice wore black clothes― He was a black star.
He glanced at Sophie with a wrinkled expression filled with scorn and immediately looked away.
Those chilly words seemed to be thrown at Conrad, who was the copper star, but he must have also meant for those words to be toward Sophie inwardly.
Even if Sophie was a daughter of a baron family, since she was granted the purple star, he couldn’t say sarcasm directly at her but he could do so toward another person near her instead. It was a cunning trick, but that wasn’t the part that Sophie was curious about.
Isn’t this voice…
[“――――she merely seduced His Highness, and she became a purple star?”]
It was the voice that said that and escaped before they got a clear look at who it was last time.
Since Sophie intended to use it as material to blackmail the person responsible, she made sure to memorize the voice, therefore, there should be no mistake about it.
“Daniel Beck-dono, you…”
Lars seemed to know his name, as expected of the gold star who remembered all aristocrats’ names for the sake of creating social networks.
Moreover, Lars’ tone seemed to say, “Not again,” which implied something like this happened before.
Lars didn’t report this to Sophie in particular, but perhaps they had several clashes outside of Sophie’s knowledge.
However, Sophie had no intention to denounce Daniel here. Since Lars didn’t report it to her, it meant Lars and the others could handle it well by themselves. If Sophie were to say anything, it would waste the effort of Lars and the others.
That was why Sophie intended to just let Daniel’s insult slide.
Indeed, as long as Daniel didn’t mention anything unnecessary, she intended to do so―
“To think you are so emotional because of a mere meal. There’s no manners or pride in it. Even if copper stars are mostly commoners, you are still students of ‘The King’s Sword’ after all, so you ought to have more dignity.”
“Mere… you said?”
Upon hearing the remark that Sophie found unacceptable, her eyes exuded a sharp light.
“You, what is your basis for disrespecting food and calling it mere? Eating is what allows you to live. Blasphemy toward food is blasphemy toward life!”
Sophie flipped her dress and with footsteps that sounded louder than usual, the purple star girl drew closer toward the black star, which made everyone present turn pale.
They realized her reverse scale was touched.
“That’s right. The pursuit of food means the pursuit of life! Humans used fire to cook. Harvested crops and stored them. The pursuit of better food is only sought by humans, why do you say it is ‘mere’? What is your basis for that?!”
“You didn’t notice its original value, yet you despised it and called it manners, what a peak of folly!!”
As Sophie sharply pointed out and denounced him, the black star trembled and took a step back.
The girl who kept her silence even from the disrespectful gazes of the black stars until now actually condemned someone loudly. It was something that he never expected.
The black star, who completely misunderstood the essence of the girl whose appearance was neat and pretty, was about to unleash further words of attack, but it was Marcus who stopped her.
Marcus got in between the two and turned to face Sophie.
With a well-built Marcus standing in front of Sophie, the black star student disappeared from her sight.
“Okay, okay, ojou-san. It’s only a waste of time to get involved further with that peak of folly. Just go to the courtyard and eat your lunch with Luca and the young master. You haven’t eaten your lunch yet, have you?”
“Hey Marcus, I still have things to say!”
“Ojou-san takes a long time to eat, so if you don’t eat early, lunchtime will pass. Isn’t it pitiful if Luca and the young master end up not eating because of that?”
Even if Sophie could eat her lunch later, Marcus knew the same couldn’t be said for Luca and Lars, so he mentioned the two on purpose.
Sure enough, Sophie seemed to notice that and said, “You’re right,” as she returned to herself.
As for Luca and Lars, who didn’t particularly mind if they skipped a meal but got their name mentioned, they showed expressions of confusion, but Marcus hurried them to go with his gaze so the two read the room and took Sophie to the courtyard.
When Sophie completely disappeared from the dining hall, Marcus turned to the black star and spoke with a rough tone,
“Don’t say something unnecessary! Even though that ojou-san isn’t particularly a glutton, she is noisier regarding food compared to most people! If that sermon continues as it is, do you have the resolve to listen to it for hours?!”
“That’s right! Sophie-sama’s value toward food is unlike unscrupulous people like us, she is avant-garde and innovative with the intention to reform consciousness toward food! Those who could only speak about rigid concepts should just stay silent!”
The one who spoke wasn’t only Marcus, but Firth as well.
Personality-wise, Firth usually didn’t raise his voice, but it was in the nature of the silver star to hate people who imposed their ignorance toward others, and he became talkative at such times.
Even if Daniel was a black star, as he was being strongly criticized by two directors and being looked at with gazes of criticism by the gold star, silver star, and copper star on top of that; he could do nothing but stay silent.
At a place a little away from there but still close enough to see the situation that took place properly, there were three people of the black star.
There was Keith, who was completely pale, Evert, who was sighing as he held onto his head, and next to him was Gerald, whose deep-sea-colored eyes glowed coldly as he made a short command.
“――――Gather all the black stars.”
Sophie : “Uhm, I wonder if my remark just now didn’t sound ladylike?”
Lars : “That’s not the case! (It’s Sophie-sama after all!)”
Luca : “(Since Lars said so, I guess it is okay for me to report it to elder brother?)”
There was nobody who had the role to retort among the 14-year-old group. (/・ω・)/
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