Chapter 239 Midnight Snack
After eating dinner, Anna carried a large batch of Bird Beak Mushrooms into the kitchen.
At her request, Maggie had collected these spotlessly white mushrooms in the Concealing Forest – they were different from common mushrooms, the Bird Beak Mushrooms commonly grows on top of huge trees, it survives by absorbing the nutrients from the trees, but it was also the favorite food of some birds species. Although it had a very delicious taste, and its fleshy umbrella shaft was as delicate as exquisite meat, with its relatively high growing place which made it hard to discover just by standing on the ground, there weren’t many people willing to climb the trees to pick these mushrooms.
Her mother would always gather some for her birthday, sometimes picking more and sometimes less, but always enough to make two mushroom dishes to celebrate her birthday. Compared to the usual moldy and coarse bread and bland porridge, its unique flavor was hard to forget. Although nowadays, she has no longer had to worry about not getting enough food to fill her belly, these days the food was always varied and plentiful, she still wanted to personally make this delicious food which could only be tasted in this small town in the western region and share it with Roland Wimbledon who was recently always so busy.
The flames in kitchen stove had already been extinguished, but to Anna, this didn’t pose any problem. She took some firewood from the side and threw it into the oven, and called her black flame, just a few moments later a vigorous fire already burned within its chamber.
At this time, Nightingale suddenly appeared from the wall, “Hey, what are you doing?”
“I want to make something to eat for His Highness, these days he is always staying up late to work. What about you?”
“Ahaha,” Nightingale began laughing in embarrassing, and touched the back of her head with her hand. “I just came to look for a snack to eat… I’m a little hungry.” After pausing for a moment, she curiously probed, “What are you planning to cook?”
“Well… honey baked mushrooms and mushroom soup,” Anna opened the bundle, revealing the Bird Beak Mushrooms inside, “They are Border Town’s regional specialty, do you want to try some?”
Nightingale nodded and then quickly asked, “Can you teach me how to make them?… I also wish to learn to cook them.”
“Yes,” Anna laughed, “It’s quite easy.”
After slicing the mushrooms, she took a lot of the mushrooms and divided them between Nightingale and herself. “First spread a layer of butter on both sides of the mushrooms, then carefully roast them on the fire until they are golden on all sided. Be careful not to roast them for too long, or else they will burn black.”
“Okay,” Nightingale said, took a piece of the Bird Beak Mushrooms and imitated Anna’s style of smearing oil on both sides of the mushroom. “Has His Highness recently always worked until late into the night?”
“That’s right, in order to find a place for the refugees, as well as drawing blueprints for new machines, he spends almost everyday after midnight before he goes to bed. There were several times when I’ve passed by his office, that I could still see the light of the burning candles from under the door.” Anna nodded once and then asked, ”You were gone for more than half a month, so you began to miss His Highness, right?”
Hearing the unexpected question, Nightingales hand slightly trembled, dropping the mushroom into the oil, “Uh… actually it was not too bad…”
“It wasn’t limited to only you; it was also the same for Lightning, Lily, Echo, and Wendy. They all were missing His Royal Highness; they said since there was not even a bathing place, they had all wanted to return at an earlier time,” Anna suddenly felt that the other’s expression had become somewhat strange, “Hey, what happened?”
“Nothing,” Nightingale said flustered, shook her head, took another mushroom and then said with an embarrassed smile, “actually it was like that, indeed… I also longed to come back.”
“Is that so?” Anna used her hands to directly pinch the oil coated mushrooms and threw them into the fire of the stove, “If it was me who have to leave His Highness for half a month, no, maybe even just a few days would already be enough that I couldn’t wait to see him again.”
The moment when she had met Roland Wimbledon within the dungeon, was the most incredible moment in her entire life, until today whenever she recalled this moment, her heart was would still fill with warmth and gratitude. If not for His Highness, even if she could have somehow lived on, it would only be a life in ignorance and confusion, just like those apathetic townsfolk.
It was His Highness who had taught her how beautiful the world truly was. No matter if it was because of the soy paste covered pepper steaks, or the “Theoretical Foundations of Natural Science”, the moment he had stepped into her life it had filled with all kinds of new stuff, allowing her to finally feel that she no longer was the same as those other people, but rather a unique and unmatched witch.
She was confident that the others sisters also felt the same – as long as they were in contact with His Highness for a long enough, it was impossible for them not to become caught up in his strange but clever ideas and his unique charm, this was what Anna believed without a shred of doubt.
“Oh, did I bake this for too long?” Nightingale raised her iron fork and showed that one side of the mushroom had already become burned.
“A little bit…” Anna couldn’t suppress her laugh, “Bird Beak Mushrooms is very tender, so it isn’t necessary to roast them for a long time, just test it some more and you will grasp it. For now, I will prepare the material for the stew. ”
Nightingale instead sprinkled the lightly burned mushroom with honey and salt and threw it into her mouth, “Well, it was still delicious.” Seeing how Anna skillfully mixed all kinds of herbs and other ingredients together, she asked curiously, ”Have you done this often before?
“Ah, marinating food, grinding flour, going to the nobles and ask for a seasonal work, helping to wash and shave the neighbor’s sheep,” Anna said, “Most of the time I was doing those kinds of odd jobs, the only exception was when I went to Teacher Karl’s college.” After pausing for a moment, she continued, “But when my mother had died, my father no longer let me go to the college, or even allowed me to leave the house in general.”
“All of that doesn’t matter any longer, it’s in the past now,” Anna’s eyes shined brightly like a sky-blue lake in the moonlight. “Compared with the majority of the other witches, I can already be considered as being very lucky, can’t I?”
Over the flame the thin pieces of in butter coated mushrooms slightly curled up, issuing a crackling sound. After sprinkling some salt grains on top of the mushrooms and roasting them until golden on both side, a fresh and fragrant smell soon began entering their nostrils. The mix out of the milky flavor of the heated butter and the unique flavor of the Bird Beak Mushrooms caused them to salivating. And with their final honey coating, the roasted mushrooms were finally ready. Whether it was the Bird Beak Mushrooms or the honey, both could be collected in the Concealing Forest, but even for the locals, if it turned out that there was a beehive on a cut-down tree, or Bird Beak Mushrooms at its top, it was considered a very lucky day.
When the pot with the stew release white steam, the two also completed their mushroom roasting and seasoning.
“That was a success, or at least it looks good,” Nightingale said, stuffing another piece into her mouth. “As it turns out I also have quite a gift for cooking… Pff! It seems this piece was a bit salty.”
“The time is also just right,” Anna stated after glancing at the night outside of the window, “I presume we should deliver it to His Highness now.”
“Would you please hand mine over to him?” Nightingale asked, clapping her hands together, ”Please.”
“Don’t you want to come with me?”
“I can’t,” she laughed. “Because I do not know what kind of expression I should show when I see him now.”
Anna was startled by the unexpected answer, but before she even could open her mouth to further ask about meaning of this sentence, the other had already disappeared into thin air.
Is it important what kind of expression I show? Regardless if I show a smile, am dispirited or wear an expressionless face they are all good, ah. Even when I had just come out of prison, had lost faith in everything, and had all my hope turned to dust, His Highness never became fed up with melif, so why does she want to avoid him?
Even after thinking about it for a time, it still felt incomprehensible to her. So, in the end, she only shook her head, picked up the tray with the mushroom dishes and the soup by herself and went to the office.