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Chapter 180 – Bear-san Learns About Zelef-san’s and Botts-san’s History

    Chapter 180 - Bear-san Learns About Zelef-san's and Botts-san's History

    Since the troublesome conversation continued, I decided to just get up and leave.

    I didn't understand noble etiquette, so I found it boring.

    Zelef-san felt the same way, so we promptly told them we had to start the food preparations and rushed out.

    We then told Meshun-san we got permission to start, so she took us to the kitchen.

    I wanted to see the girls first, but since I was holding onto the ingredients, I had to go to the kitchen before that.

    「This is the kitchen. Feel free to use anything inside. I will fetch you some help now, so please wait a moment.」

    Meshun-san said and left promptly.

    Zelef-san had requested for some people to help him with some basic things like fetching and washing ingredients.

    Gran-san had asked him how many people he needed, and Zelef-san had said that three people should suffice.

    I had thought that only three assistants was a bit insufficient, but he had explained to me that there wasn't that much he needed help with.

    「Well then, Yuna-dono, could you bring out the ingredients?」

    「You want me to take them out here? I can bring them out in the refrigerated pantry as well.」

    Well, that might also just give him extra work.

    「I will start the preparations immediately, so it will be easier to have them here for now. We can just put them away later.」

    I started to take out the boxes of ingredients in the corner Zelef-san had pointed out to me while he checked out the cookware.

    There would be about fifty people attending the party, mostly neighbouring nobles, merchants, and other influential people.

    That was a lot of food to prepare, especially considering that the guests had high standards.

    Just as I finished taking out all of the ingredients, the hallway in front of the kitchen got noisy.

    「Botts-san, you have to rest!」

    「Move! Gran-sama asked me to do this. I can't just go back on my promise!」

    「But, with your hands like that...」

    「There's no way I can leave the cooking to some random stranger.」

    「If you're talking about the chef who was brought here today, it'll be fine. Gran-sama acknowledged that individual.」

    「That's for me to decide. Open the door!」

    I heard coming from the hallway.

    From what I could gather, it sounded like the head chef of this residence, Botts-san, was rather angry.

    I guess nobody had properly informed him about the situation.

    While I was thinking about what to do, Zelef-san walked to the door.

    「Zelef-san?」

    「Any chef would obviously get angry knowing somebody took their job. I will explain this to him personally.」

    Zelef-san opened the door, so that Meshun-san and a man with bandaged hands could enter the kitchen.

    「So, you're the chef that...」

    The moment the man laid his eyes on Zelef-san, however, he stopped talking.

    「...Zelef?」

    「...Botts?」

    「Zelef, what are you doing here?」

    They seemed to know each other.

    Well, they were both high class chefs, so it made sense that they did.

    Even more, Zelef-san was the royal head chef, so I was sure many people had at least heard of him. Well, this time around, Zelef-san also seemed to know this man.

    「What do you mean? I'm the chef in charge of cooking for Gran-dono's party. You know, the one you were about to complain to.」

    「Eh? Zelef, you're the chef? Aren't you the royal head chef?」

    「I am, but I came here at Yuna-dono's request after hearing that their chef got his hands injured.」

    Botts-san looked at me, and then...

    「A bear?」

    「This is Yuna-dono, an adventurer. She's done a great deal for me, and that's why I agreed to help with this party.」

    「An adventurer? Who has done a great deal for you? And a bear on top of that?」

    He didn't have to split that sentence into three questions...

    Even I was now starting to doubt myself.

    「Zelef-san, you know this man?」

    「Yes, we worked together at a restaurant before I began working at the castle.」

    「At the time, Zelef was the head chef's assistant while I just worked as their subordinate.」

    Botts-san chipped in.

    Wait, hadn't I heard that Botts-san was the assistant?

    Meeh, I couldn't recall it well enough.

    「Yes, that was why the previous royal head chef even noticed me and invited me to work at the castle.」

    I see, so that was how Zelef-san came to be at the castle.

    「Still, I heard rumors that you became the assistant head chef after that, Botts. Why are you here now?」

    Ah, I was right, Botts-san had been an assistant for a while.

    「I got into an argument with the head chef and got fired.」

    「An argument?」

    「He kept blaming his own mistakes on the other chefs and harassed them. He would even sometimes hit them. Eventually, I got fed up and confronted him about it... Which didn't end well for me, of course.」

    「I don't recall head chef Morouge being that kind of person, though.」

    「Morouge retired due to age and was replaced by a chef named Borzak. This happened not long after you left. He is good at cooking but has a terrible personality.」

    「So, you argued against him and quit?」

    「I had the assistant position, so I endured for a while, but everybody has a limit...」

    「And then?」

    「Borzak pressured the Chef's Guild and made it impossible for me to find another job at the capital.」

    Botts-san started to get irritated. Was it because he was recalling his past?

    「I don't know what exactly he told the Chef's Guild, but rumors about me acting violent against my superiors started to spread, and nobody was willing to hire me.」

    「Why didn't you try to deny the rumors?」

    「I did, but the difference in influence between a head chef and his assistant was just too much. Most people believed him, as he's as good at flattering people as he's at cooking.」

    「And then, you came here?」

    「Yes, I was depressed about not being able to get a job and ended up drinking at a bar, where Gran-sama found me and took me in.」

    Wait, Gran-san at a bar? Did nobles go to bars...?

    「I need to make this party a success to repay at least a little bit of the kindness Gran-sama showed me when he took me in.」

    Zelef-san looked at Botts-san's hands, which were wrapped in a large number of bandages.

    「How are your hands?」

    「They will be fine, but I won't be able to cook for a while.」

    「I'm glad you're well enough to be able to say that.」

    Zelef-san said with a smile, making Botts-san laugh.

    「Yes, but I can't repay Gran-sama like this. It's making me hate myself.」

    「You were attacked, Botts-san. It wasn't your fault.」

    I finally said something. It wasn't Botts-san's fault that he had been injured.

    「Yes, I was attacked, but it's still my fault for going out on my own despite knowing that the Salbert family might aim for me. Gran-sama always tells me to take some guards with me when I go out, but I find that troublesome, so I normally go out on my own.」

    「Botts, I didn't really hear much about the situation, but is it really true that whoever attacked you is related to the Salbert family?」

    「There's no evidence, but based on the current conflict between the two families, and the fact that whoever attacked me aimed for my hand, that appears to be the case. Well, there's always the possibility of it being completely unrelated, but...」

    Botts-san said and laughed.

    Well, I was glad to see that he was able to laugh it off like this even though he had just gotten attacked and injured so recently.

    「I understand your feelings, Botts. Please rest and leave this to me.」

    「Zelef...」

    「Am I not good enough?」

    「No, I can leave it to you, Zelef.」

    Botts-san said, shaking his head slowly.

    「I will do my best, then.」

    Zelef-san said and sent Botts-san another smile.

    「Zelef, it's been a while, so would you mind if I watched you cook?」

    「Of course. We used to watch each other cook to improve all the time, after all.」

    「How nostalgic...」

    「Well then, I will show you how much I have improved in order to not betray your trust, Botts.」

    Zelef-san began to prepare the ingredients, with Botts-san watching him happily despite his injury.

    Soon after, three maids arrived to help Zelef-san with the basic preparations, and I realized it would be best for me to quietly leave the kitchen, so that I wouldn't interrupt their work.

    I went back to my room and found all three girls waiting for me inside.

    「Big Sis Yuna!」

    「I'm back. Did anything happen while I was away?」

    Well, from what I had seen so far, nothing should have happened, or I would have already heard about it.

    「Yes!」

    Oh, I was wrong. Noa seemed rather angry. Had something just happened?

    「Eh? Did that stupid noble kid do something again?!」

    「No, not him. When I woke up yesterday morning, you were nowhere to be seen, and Fina looked sad and all alone by the window. I asked her what happened, and I found out that Father asked you to find him a chef.」

    「Sorry for leaving without saying anything; it was an emergency.」

    「We know you had no other choice, but we were still lonely without you.」

    「Since you're back, Big Sis Yuna, does that mean you already found a chef?」

    「Yup, I brought an excellent chef with me. Also, it turns out he is Botts-san's acquaintance.」

    「Botts-san's acquaintance?」

    Misa pitched in when she heard Botts-san's name.

    「It seems that the two of them worked at the same restaurant at the capital a long time ago.」

    The world was a small place, huh.

    「If I remember correctly, Botts-san worked at a restaurant with a giant falcon stone statue in front of it.」

    「That falcon statue is the restaurant's symbol. I know this because it's a famous restaurant in the capital; I went there once with my family.」

    Misa and Noa then proceeded to explain that it was a high-class restaurant, where you had to make a reservation to eat there.

    So, Zelef-san and Botts-san had worked at a famous restaurant, huh.

    No wonder they were both able to cook so well.

    Should I try going to this restaurant sometime? The head chef had a bad personality, but that wasn't enough to stop me from tasting good food.

    The only thing I worried about was if they would let me dine in a such high-class restaurant wearing a costume?

    They might just send me away at the entrance. Yeah, maybe it would be better not to go there. No reason for me to get my feelings hurt over some food.

    「So, what were you three up to while I was gone?」

    「Nothing, really.」

    Noa answered while the other two just nodded.

    「With Botts-san getting injured and you going off to look for a chef, Father forbid us from going out by ourselves since it's dangerous to do so. That's why we had nothing interesting to do and just stayed inside this room.」

    「I'm sorry that you had to stay locked up inside.」

    Yeah, it would indeed be dangerous for them to leave the mansion even though we weren't sure if the person who attacked Botts-san really was from the Salbert family.

    There was no way I could force the girls to stay in the room any longer, so...

    「How about we all make some pudding, then?」

    「Pudding?!」

    「Pudding...」

    「We're going to make pudding?」

    The girls all seemed to be excited.

    Since I had prepared some for the king's birthday party, there should be no problem if I brought it out for Gran-san's party as well.

    「I thought serving some at Gran-san's party could be a good idea. What do you girls think?」

    「Yes, let's make it!」

    「I want to try making it as well.」

    「Me too!」

    The girls happily followed me to the kitchen.

    Author's Notes:

    Botts-san has finally appeared!

    Will he be captured by the bear, or will he be able to escape?!

    I have already thought of at least three ideas where I want to take his character, but I just can't decide. w
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