Shinobu’s Specially Made Pudding (Part 2)
「My master…didn’t bother all of you, did she?」
Unexpectedly, it was a girl who appeared.
She was roughly the same age as Eva.
She had ruffled, light brown hair that was forcibly stuffed underneath her red hood, as well as adorable freckles on her face.
「Oh, it’s just Camilla. Did you come to pick me up?」
As soon as she saw the girl’s face, the witch look-a-like customer’s voice softened.
She beckoned the girl over and removed her hood before combing her hair with a hand comb.
「Master Ingrid, like I said, please stop touching my hair. You’re terribly drunk, aren’t you…」
As the girl, Camilla, was pushing her aside, the customer’s hood slipped off.
It revealed a beautiful woman with lovely silver-grey hair.
Her long hair was tied in a bun at the back, and her charming emerald eyes were clouded by drunkenness.
She seemed to be in her thirties, or maybe a little older.
The young Eva unintentionally let out a sigh when she saw her.
Nobuyuki’s voice reminded Shinobu that Camilla was also a customer.
「Ah, no, I…just came to pick her up, as I was ordered to.」
Eva thought so, too.
In the first place, it would be strange for a pub to serve food to a child.
「But, is there anything sweet here?」
The moment she heard that, something crossed the back of Eva’s mind.
Speaking of sweets, it was the witch’s favourite type of food.
「My master will eat sweets after she stops drinking. I will take that chance to take her back.」
「Sweets, huh?」said Shinobu.
「Dried fruits or anything else is fine. If you have something like that, could you give me some?」
Shinobu placed her index finger on her chin in thought, but it seemed that she couldn’t think of anything right away.
Since this store was a pub, it was reasonable to say that this was obvious.
There were no sweets to serve.
Eva felt a little relieved inside.
If there were no sweet things, this suspicious master and student would probably return immediately.
Just as Eva thought that, Shinobu clapped her hands together.
「That! There’s that!」
What? What was ‘that’?
Shinobu took out a rather small bowl from the refrigerator.
「Ta-dah! Shinobu’s specially made homemade pudding!」
Eva had never before heard of a dish like what Shinobu had described.
From what she could see when Shinobu was setting it up on the counter, could it be a cousin of the chawanmushi? The colour looked somewhat similar, too. Eva thought it must be something like a brother, a cousin, or some sort of relative to it.
However, was a chawanmushi sweet?
~Chawanmushi for comparison~
「Oh, pudding? It looks delicious, doesn’t it?」
「No way, Taisho. You can’t have any.」
「Ehh, but isn’t there enough?」
Shinobu disregarded Taisho, who was speaking in a quiet, sulky tone and seemed to be dissatisfied. She started to count the number of pudding servings.
「We have Ingrid-san’s share, Camilla-chan’s share, Eva’s share, and her siblings’ share.」
「Is that alright? There doesn’t seem to be a portion for you, Shinobu-san.」
「Taisho and I are fine.」
Shinobu said so with a smile, but Taisho had eyes that seemed to bear a hint of resentment. Since chawanmushi was Eva’s favourite, she would probably like the pudding, too.
「Here, Camilla-chan. Ingrid-san as well.」
「Eat it with them, Eva.」
A wooden spoon was placed in Eva’s hand as she faced the pudding.
It seemed that it was slightly different from chawanmushi after all. The container was cool and chilly, and it felt comfortable in her hands.
Eva scooped the first spoonful and was about to bring it to her mouth when—
「This is so good!」
Ingrid raised her voice excitedly.
When she looked over, she saw Camilla scooping up the pudding like she was in a trance.
To begin with, it was a miracle to see Ingrid acting like that. It seemed that she had hidden it somewhere within herself, but somehow, it was an adorable way of eating.
Eva thought about whether Ingrid could be a witch, but she gave off a different feeling when she looked like this.
~Ingrid and Camilla~
However, just how delicious was this pudding, really?
She brought the spoon of pudding, which was still hovering in her hands, to her mouth and held it there.
A silky smooth sweetness spread through her entire mouth.
She opened her eyes wide in reflex, and looked into the small bowl.
What on earth was this yellow food?
「Is it delicious, Eva-chan?」
「It’s yummy! Amazing!」
As she dug into the thick pudding with her wooden spoon, a dark honey-like liquid began to well up from inside the pudding.
She scooped a little out with the tip of the spoon and licked it. It was sweet too!
It was a different kind of sweetness from the yellow part.
Next, she mixed the two parts and ate it. This also tasted wonderful.
Finishing this blessing would be such a shame.
While Eva was eating carefully, so as to not leave anything behind at the bottom of the bowl, Ingrid suddenly began to laugh loudly.
「This pudding is really magnificent. It’s absolutely magnificent. It’s almost like magic. I want to get another one, by all means.」
「I’m sorry, Ingrid-san. There’s no more pudding left.」
「These are a present for your employees, huh…umu.」
She groaned a little, and then took out a small amulet from the sleeve of her robe.
「I received this from a certain female mercenary. It’s a miraculous amulet that lets you encounter unexpected people.」
「Is that also magical?」
Camilla responded to Shinobu’s question instead.
「Master-sama, did you talk about magic in this store too?!」
「Ah no, since it’s the night of the dual moons, y’know~」
「This is why they were spooked by us when we came over to the Old Capital, so please stop with that kind of thing.」
「Ye-yeah, I’ll be careful next time…」
Ingrid seemed to shrink when she was scolded by her angry disciple.
「Then, Ingrid-san isn’t really a witch, right…?」
「That’s right, Store Manager-san. My master may look like this, but she’s a skilled doctor, you know?」
According to Camilla’s explanations, they were living in the forest owned by Baron Branton until recently. It seemed that the reclamation of the forest had gradually progressed, so they crossed over the border and came to this town.
「So, how did magic come into play?」
「It’s something like a pastime for master. It seems like she is accurate once or twice, you know?」
「It’s not just once or twice, Camilla.」
「Yes, yes. I get it, so let’s go back.」
「But, the pudding…」
At those words, Shinobu politely bowed in apology before she could finish her words.
Even though Ingrid still felt regretful for having to give up the pudding, the remaining pudding belonged to Eva’s sisters and brothers.
Since it was so delicious, she wanted them to eat it, no matter what.
She felt sorry and averted her eyes from Ingrid and Camilla, while Taisho was grinning broadly.
He then opened the refrigerator and began to search for something deeper in the back.
He seemed to immediately find the thing he was searching for.
「Oh? There is another pudding here.」
For some reason, Taisho said this in a monotonous voice, and Shinobu turned around with a speed that they had never seen before.
「Eh, that, that pudding, erm…」
「Shinobu-chan, it’s impossible for you to consider not eating one yourself, so you went ahead and made an extra one, didn’t you?」
Taisho handed over the last pudding to Ingrid while glancing sideways at Shinobu, who seemed to have gone a bit teary-eyed.
「This is the last pudding today. Please take this and savour it well.」
「Ah, thanks. But, is this okay?」
「Don’t mind her. Please have it.」
Even though no voice of resentment leaked out, Eva did not fail to notice the twitch in Shinobu’s temples.
Shinobu had probably really wanted to eat the pudding.
Ingrid praised the second pudding as 「Delicious, delicious」while she cleaned it up beautifully, to the point that it wasn’t necessary to wash the container anymore.
It seemed likely that she would come to the shop again in the future.
After they both left, Eva spotted the amulet that had been left behind on the table.
It was an amulet fitted with a beautiful, ornate blue jewel.
Since the argument between Shinobu and Taisho about hiding the pudding was getting out of hand, Eva decided to secretly furnish the altar with the amulet.