Bon Appétit - Chapter 54
First, make a thin pie crust. After cutting it into long and square, stack the prepared sliced apples one by one and roll them up. After that, bake it, and done!
A rose-shaped apple pie that looks like it’s blooming!
Luana looked proud at the apple pie, but only belatedly did she comes to her senses. She chose a pie to make an ordinary dessert and decorated it to the fullest. However, there was too little time to make it again. This meant that she should serve the rose-shaped apple pie as it was.
‘Why did I do that?’
Somehow she thought she was a little too excited. Was it because she hid her identity and participated in a cooking contest? Luana groaned as she pressed her hand against her slightly pounding chest.
‘What if I get picked at this rate?’
Then the duke’s effort to hold a cooking contest will be in vain because Luana’s cooking didn’t lift the duke’s curse. If possible, it was best that someone other than her was chosen.
‘No, it can’t be like this.’
While thinking so, her hand took out the strawberry jam she had boiled herself and put it on the pie with a brush. Then the rather dull baked pie color turned red and began to look more like a real rose. Apple pie was by far very stood out among other desserts.
‘No, I don’t know yet.’
She should’ve made it tasteless, or else the duke will find out who she is, and everything will be over. She decided not to worry about it in advance. When Luana heard someone call her, she took the apple pie and went outside.
The Emperor, Ingrid, Duke, and Way.
She calmly put down the dessert before them and took a step back.
“It’s like a rose.”
First, when the emperor brought it up, others added a word.
“Yeah, it’s as beautiful as a freshly bloomed rose.”
“It looks pretty, but I don’t know how it tastes.”
The duke criticized, but the overall evaluation was good. The emperor holds the fork while appreciating the apple pie more. He then took a bite and put the apple pie in his mouth.
In an instant, his eyes widened.
“This… is delicious’”
“Yes, it’s delicious.”
Even Ingrid said that and ate more. Then the duke picked up his fork and ate the apple pie. He first felt elegant sweetness, followed by crispy pie, which made his mouth happy. The sweetness was balanced with the right acidity.
In short, it was delicious. The duke looked at Luana with surprise. Their eyes suddenly met. Luana tried to smile naturally and turned her gaze away. Fearing that her identity would be revealed, she was not confident to look at the duke face to face.
“It tastes great. What’s your name?”
The first compliment came from the duke.
The other judges and the audiences were surprised when they heard about the duke because it was his first positive evaluation. All eyes turned to Luana.
“Miria. My name is Miria.”
Luana said the name she made up with a voice as low as possible.
“Oh, my God, is it true that the duke said it’s delicious?”
“If my ears aren’t wrong, I guess so.”
“It’s a miracle.”
People chattered and tried to guess who Luana was. Since no one among the nobles recognizes her, so she is not likely to be a noble lady living in the capital. Then maybe it was someone who came from far away from the countryside?
“Couldn’t she be a commoner?”
“But her attitude looks graceful, though?”
“Is that so?”
Various stories were exchanged among the audience.
Meanwhile, the emperor passed Luana. Luana made a small fist and stepped down. The duke’s eyes followed her throughout her retreat.
‘Do I know her?’
Luana glanced at the duke, but she still had some worries. He just looked at her with a thoughtful expression on his face.
‘There’s no way they’ll recognize me.’
Gerald assured her. If Luana uses this powder, even her family won’t recognize her easily. Still, she was looking forward to it because they were the people she spent the longest time with after her nanny, but the duke didn’t seem to recognize her.
‘Is there a problem with your eyes?’
Luana felt bad for no reason. At the same time, she bit her lips which were about to pout out of habit. She was told not to do some actions by the butler because she was the key to knowing about the participants. Luana went outside through the waiting room. She cast her spell and went back inside.
After changing her clothes, she felt like a completely different person.
She took a deep breath and approached the judges’ seats, where the preliminary round was still underway.
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The butler greeted her. The duke, on the other hand, looked at Luana with a displeased look on his face and said,
“Where were you, and what were you doing?”
“Oh, didn’t you hear the butler? The competition requires a lot of manpower. So I took a look elsewhere for a while.”
“I heard that.”
‘Then what are you arguing about?’
Luana pouted her lips this time. Looking at the duke’s back of his head makes her want to hit his head. But she has no confidence in doing that in reality since It was also a matter where not only the duke was present but also the emperor. She couldn’t behave carelessly. No matter how well the duke looked after her, it was over if he hated her.
She bowed to Ingrid, who greeted her slightly with her eyes, and remained calm. Since then, many people have passed through, but there are no successful candidates. No one drew more the word ‘delicious’ from the duke’s mouth.
The day of the complicated preliminaries that many people talked about is ending. And without a break, the finals continued immediately.
Just like the preliminary rounds, the finals began in a freewheeling manner. All of them make their own best dish. Usually, it would be better to set and unify several menus, but the duke’s purpose is not to find a chef, so the theme was decided that way. Whatever they make, the duke just needs to feel the food delicious.
Luana kept her count. Thirty-six people came to the finals, and she had to go out on the second day. So her first day was a little more relaxed.
Above all, to hide on the second day, it was necessary to move somewhat in advance on other days. If the duke doesn’t see her that day, he’ll suspect her of being strange.
She is casually walking in a garden that is open to outsiders, when a man suddenly catches her eye. Everyone laughed happily while enjoying the competition, but the man was not smiling. No, he sometimes smiled, but it looked unnatural like a doll.
“For Your Highness The Duke! For the Great Empire!”
The man mingled with the others and shouted. But those eyes didn’t look happy. When she saw it, she remembered someone.
But he can’t be Ingrid because she is an ordinary human. Maybe he’s just someone with something to do. Thinking so, Luana turned around. When she returned to the duke, he called Luana with his hands clenched.
As she approached, he pulled Luana’s waist, sat her next to him, and leaned his head on her shoulder. And he said with a tired look.
“It’s painful to eat so many things that don’t taste good.”
“It’s still something you have to do.”
The duke sighed deeply as she patted his back to comfort him.
“How did you live on all this time?”
He couldn’t imagine before meeting Luana. He couldn’t even remember how he ate at the time when all the food felt terrible.
“What’s for dinner?”
“Are you going to eat dinner after eating this much?”
“Those are not even food.”
The duke grumbled a little. Luana shook her head to soothe the duke, and suddenly she felt a gaze. Someone was looking at her from somewhere.
‘Where are you?’
Turning her head, her gaze stopped at the butler.
He was looking at them with a smile. Why is he smiling so happily? She had doubts, but only after that did she realize. The duke put his head on her shoulder, and everyone else watched them!
Even if she saw herself like this, she would’ve thought the duke was dating someone She has been trying to stay away from him all this time, but she can’t believe she made a mistake. This is a big problem!
‘Let’s calm down for now.’
Calmly, Luana pulled her hand from the duke’s back and gently pushed the duke.
“A lot of people are watching.”
“Can’t I do what I want in my mansion?”
The duke, however, corrected his posture. As soon as Luana checked it, she quickly walked.
“Where are you going?”
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“I need to check something!”
She made an excuse and left quickly. From now on, she thought she should not approach the tired duke recklessly. If she does something wrong, they can create this situation again.
Her face burned for no reason at the thought that countless people would have seen it. But surprisingly, she didn’t feel bad. Instead, she felt better after all this time.
‘Why is this?’
The dull Luana couldn’t understand her feelings properly as she tilted her head.