Novel Name : Bon Appétit

Bon Appétit - Chapter 26

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The bright day passed, and the sky began to darken. It’s almost time for dinner. Luana put down the ladle she had been using to stir the pot and looked out the window.
“Is there something out there?”
When Way asked, she shook her head.
“I was just looking around the garden to refresh my mind.”
‘Aren’t you looking at the garden too often?’
Way refrain from asking such a question. Since the morning, Luana had been acting like she had left her mind somewhere. She made a series of mistakes that she didn’t usually make when cooking, and she almost broke the jar she valued so much. She might have spilled all the precious spices if Way wasn’t next to her.
It is like that even now. After stirring the pot five times, Luana looked out again. As she looked in the direction, she seemed to be looking at the front door.
Only one person would enter the main gate around this time.
“Are you waiting for the duke?”
“No, I’m just looking at the garden. The flowers are so pretty.”
There were no flowers in the direction where she looked. Because not long ago, some part of the garden was turned upside down to be redecorated. It was only later that Luana realized that, and there was an awkward expression on her face, then she started stirring the pot again.
“It’s just,”
Way quietly listened to Luana.
“I packed a lunch box today. I’m just wondering how it went.”
“I see. If you are a cook, you are curious about the reaction when someone ate it.”
Luana, who had been sullen, brightened up. Then, now she started to look directly outside.
“The food will burn.”
“Ah, right!”
Luana was very busy. She stirs the stew while looking at the front gate. And not long after, the person she had been waiting for arrived. She quickly finished cooking the stew, put the lid on, and ran outside before Way could say anything.
A big black horse entered the main gate, and Luana stood at the door. The duke got off his horse and looked at Luana.
“How was the lunch box?”
Her face was full of expectations. The duke looked at her for a moment and then gave her the answer she was looking for.
“It was delicious. Your Majesty was also satisfied.”
‘Why is he mentioning the emperor?’
Luana looked puzzled. He packed it for him to eat alone, but he ate it with the emperor again. It was enough for them because she packed a lot anyway, but she felt it was strange.
“Do you usually eat with His Majesty?”
“He doesn’t have that much time.”
That means it’s an exception this time. Luana pondered, but only for a moment.
‘I guess he just wanted to eat together.’
As long as the duke protects her, she decides not to think deeply because there is nothing the emperor will do.
“And tomorrow, we’ll go to the imperial palace together.”
“What? Why?”
‘Could it be that he liked her lunch box that much?’
When Luana asked back in bewilderment, the duke replied.
“It’s because of Princess Ingrid’s matter.”
“Princess Ingrid?”
‘What about Ingrid?’ Luana tilted her head.
“His Majesty said she hasn’t eaten properly since she came to the empire.”
It was not until Luana heard it that she remembered some of the novels she had read. Ingrid did not eat for a while after coming to the empire because of her sorrow and revenge. She resents herself for losing everyone and for letting the kingdom go to ruin. She wanted to hurt the emperor who wanted her. That’s why she started fasting, which was close to self-harm.
Her body withered from starving, but Ingrid’s tenacity was still going strong. During her breakdown, she was still beautiful and radiant.
“I wonder if it would be different if you were there,” he said.
“I don’t think so.”
Luana denied the duke’s words. Although they had been together for a while and called her a sister, they were not close. Although she shares bloodlines, they’ve followed a completely different path since she was born.
It was such a shallow relationship, but it didn’t seem like Ingrid would get any better because of her.
“I’m not that close to my sister.”
“It’s His Majesty’s order.”
Luana tried to avoid it somehow, but it was the emperor’s order. There seemed to be no way to escape. She just wanted to hear an appreciation of her lunch box, but she got involved in a hassle.
“Okay, I’ll go.”
If she had to go anyway, it was better to go on her own.
“Aside from that, tell me how you feel about the lunch box. How was it?”
“Should I say that too?”
“That will boost my motivation to cook!”
Luana clung to the duke’s side and urged him to appreciate her.
“Your motivation… left up to me?”
The duke said that impatiently, but Luana seemed unwilling to give up. In the end, he had to talk about his feelings about each food in the lunch box.
“I’ll prepare something more delicious tomorrow.”
After Luana had heard all of his feelings, she turned back with a smile.
Ingrid stared blankly at the corner of her room. She saw a white shadow swaying slowly in her dim vision. However, the shadow was gone when she closed her eyes for a moment and opened it again.
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‘Everything is an illusion.’
She wanted to believe that, but sometimes it all seemed real. She felt as if her dead parents were beckoning at her. At that time, the hunger about to rip her stomach subsided for a while. What remained instead was terrible sadness and despair.
Why did this happen to her? The deeper she thought, the more she choked in agony.
“You starved again?”
A familiar voice came to Ingrid’s ear. It was the emperor. He glared at the maid disapprovingly, then turned his gaze to Ingrid.
‘My parents’ enemy.’
Even though she knew it, all Ingrid could do was stare at him.
“You’re picky.”
She wanted to rip his mouth off. But she knew she couldn’t. The emperor always had an escort knight, and Ingrid was nothing but a powerless woman except for her status as a princess.
There was nothing she could do.
She felt even sadder; her chest throbbed, and her heart aching. There were no more tears from her dry eyes. Ingrid quietly closed her eyes.
She heard the sound of the emperor left, and silence lingered for a long time. She fell asleep and fainted; then, she woke up after hearing someone’s voice.
“Oh, my!”
Somehow, she struggled to open her eyes to the familiar voice. It was her youngest sister, who she had not seen the face of for quite a long time. She was standing in front of her. Was it Luana?
“You let her starve to this point?”
When she called her name, she immediately responded.
“Yes, sister!”
“You’re alive.”
She was relieved that at least one person was still alive. However, the person who heard the word strangely frowned and closed her mouth.
Ingrid had many things she wanted to ask Luana.
‘How can you be so fine when you’ve been brought into the empire the same way as I did? Aren’t you sad that you lost your parents and kingdom? Don’t you want revenge?’
However, she couldn’t even drink the water properly, so her dry throat only hissed, and she couldn’t speak properly.
“Drink water first.”
Luana tilted the water cup to help Ingrid drink and relieve her throat.
“And eat some porridge. I’ll cook for you.”
After that, Luana was absent for a while. When she came back, she smelled a savory scent: the porridge.
“It’s peanut porridge. I ground everything in the dish, so it’ll be delicious. It’s a shame that there’s no sesame oil, but I couldn’t help it, so I made it without the sesame oil. But it was still edible.”
Luana helped Ingrid lean against the head of the bed. The smell on the tip of her nose was very good. But she had no intention of eating. She just wanted to clear her doubts quickly.
“Are you all right?”
“You lost everything.”
Luana looked perplexed at the remark. If she were to lose everything, she had only had old household items, perishable food ingredients, and a few patched clothes. She also lost her bed but liked her new home much better. She put down the porridge bowl and spoke quietly.
“Sister, what have you lost?”
“Everything. I lost everything.”
“What is that?”
“My last name, my parents, my people, my kingdom.”
“I see. It must have hurt a lot.”
She was hurt. She was in so much pain that she wanted to die.
“Then shall I tell you what I lost?”
Luana said slowly what she had lost. Ingrid, who was listening to her gentle words, found out that she and Luana had different things like she had the socks with holes. Her possession was shabby and would likely be thrown away before it got lost.
“What about your parents?”
However, their parents are different. She asked her with such a heart, but her answer differed from what she had thought.
“My mother died when I was born, and I was abandoned. I’ve never met my father before. The only family I had was my nanny, and she kept me safe. My father is not my family. Why should I cry at the death of strangers?”
Her heart sank. Still, the desire to shout that he was still her father and the desire to comfort her collided.
“So let’s not say you’re okay.”
In the end, Ingrid couldn’t say anything to Luana. Her faintly smiling sister looked so sorry for her that she couldn’t make it worse.
“First, let’s recover your health first.”
“And then?”
Ingrid asked in a low voice. There’s nothing she can do even if she recovers anyway. ‘Are you asking me to give up my revenge?’. When she asked the question, she drowned in depression.
The answer that came back was unexpected.
“I’m taking revenge.”
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“Yes, revenge.”
Luana spoke to her as she slowly blinked her eyes in bewilderment.
“Even if you try to do something, you need to be healthy.”
Then she held out the bowl of porridge.
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