The Vampire Empress.
The hours went by as we slept through the morning and evening before being woken up by Felice who was looking at me with a bright smile on her face, holding a letter in her hand as I tilted my head in confusion, “Is that a letter from the royal family?”
“Sadly, it isn’t a letter from the royal family, my lady but it is the reply from my father. He said he is willing to test the samples tomorrow on his manor and is willing to provide up to ten platinum coins or even more if the chefs he has thinks it is worth that much,” she replied.
It felt satisfying hearing the approving response from her father, it meant we have a chance to secure large funding for the town which I could use to secure my happy-go-lucky life in the future. The issue now is whether we can convince the chefs that it is worth the price.
“Has Iona arrive yet?” I looked around, “It should be more than enough time for her to arrive, right?”
“Iona has arrived thirty minutes ago; she is currently on patrol right now with a few knights but all the items you wanted to purchase are over there. She spent a total of one hundred and thirty silver coins for all of them,” she answered with her gaze on a leather bag over at the corner.
Trying to stand up, I felt a sudden weight on my lap before I soon realized Ayaka was still asleep on my lap, quickly lowering myself back to the sofa as I made sure the little girl wouldn’t wake up before turning towards Felice who understood immediately as she went over to the leather bag and brought it close to me.
Opening the leather bag, all the ingredients that I wanted were inside from the garlic, dough, and oil. It was the perfect amount which means all that is left is to make the bread which will be an issue since I want it to be as fresh as possible once it arrives there.
“How far is your father’s place from here?” I looked at Felice and asked.
“It is around an hour trip from here, my lady,” she replied.
An hour from here, that is enough time. If we make it around an hour or two before we reach the place then it should still be fresh especially if I heat it up a bit through magic which is super convenient here since all I have to do is imagine the result and the entire system will handle the process—naturally, I could also do process casting, but it would be timely which isn’t useful for battles.
The magic system here which I call ‘Alphian’ is basically a three-way system in which you have three different routes you can pursue: results, process, or procesults which as weird as the name sounds is a combination of both. Results casting is all about speed which is why they only imagine the result and the system handles the process.
Process casting is as you imagine, the caster must imagine the entire process step-by-step which enables them to have precise control over their magic but in exchange, you lose a ton of speed while Procesults is the odd one: it is more like imagining the results and process, but you don’t imagine the entire process, you simply imagine the part you want to change, and the system will try to fill everything in.
It has lesser precision than Process casting and slower speed than Result casting, but it has a higher precision than Result casting and higher speed than Processing which makes it a more balanced choice though that is all everyone knows and is stuck with, during my learning period of three days, I tried different methods and ended up being able to use all three casting methods which makes me an oddity.
Anyhow, we have strayed a bit from the topic. If we were to make the bread within an hour before our travel, then use a constant slow stream of magic to heat the bread up while we are on travel, then the bread should still be steaming fresh by the time we arrive.
“Iona will stay here then since Leo will be arriving tomorrow. In the meantime, the two of us will head to your father’s place early in the morning around seven in the morning… is that fine with you?” I asked before she nodded.
“I will send a letter to father ahead of time, is there anything else you need, my lady?” she asked before I shook my head.
“This is enough for me,” I stretched my arms with a happy feeling inside before two soft hands suddenly wrapped around my waist which surprised me a bit as I turned towards Ayaka who was looking at me with her eyes half-open.
Ayaka is pretty much the most adorable child I have seen in my lifetime; she is beautiful especially with her golden eyes and golden hair that made her look like some kind of precious gem that should be taken care of every day.
“Good morning, Mama…” she sleepily spoke which made my heart explode.
Her sleepy gaze towards me, that adorable voice—Aaaaaah! I feel blessed early in the night, but I kept myself at bay as I patted her soft hair that resembled golden threads, kissing her forehead as I replied back, “Good night, you mean. How about sleeping more? It’s still nighttime, after all.”
“Mhm… good night, Mama…” she replied with an adorable voice, causing my heart to explode a second time—to think that I, the Princess of the Vampire clan would be jumping around inside for an elven child… AAAHHH! I don’t care anymore about dignity!
Amidst my inner explosion, her eyes soon closed as she fell back asleep with Felice looking at me with a wry smile as she spoke in a soft voice, “My lady… your nose is bleeding a bit. Do you want me to call someone who knows medicine on the brigade?”
“No… don’t worry!” I replied before she nodded as I slowly carried Ayaka up on my embrace before looking at Felice with a nod, “You can go back to your room, for now, tell all the guards to rotate soon, and take a break. We will be sleeping first.”
“As you wish, my lady!” she saluted before I went up towards my room with Ayaka on my hands, placing her on the bed as I changed into my night clothes and laid beside the cute little girl, covering her with a blanket as the two of us slept through the remainder of the night.
The next day soon came by in a blink of an eye, Ayaka who was dressed in a beautiful white dress with golden accents that was magically refitted to fit her twirled around with excitement as the four of us including Iona and Felice started making the bread.
We had a wooden table in front of us, holding all the ingredients and tools we needed from the knives, chopping board to the tiny cups that we are using to hold the garlic. With the garlic on the cups, immediately, I covered it with oil before throwing in some salt and other seasonings which came from some of the knights who brought their own seasonings with them.
“Take a step back,” I mumbled before all of them took a few steps back before I started casting some high heat onto the garlic, roasting it until it became golden brown to which I immediately set it aside.
Taking the dough which had been resting for some time now then placing it on a makeshift baking sheet, I then started pressing out on the soft dough that felt fluffy before covering it with some cloth as I turned around with a smile.
Obviously, I had made a few mistakes left and there since I am not a professional chef but the procedures and ingredients were correct except for the dough which we bought instead of making our own to save us cost and time.
“We’ll have to wait for 15 minutes,” I said while sitting down on the bench as Ayaka looked at me with curiosity.
“Mama, what are you making?” she asked.
“I am making something called ‘cheesy garlic bread’” I replied before her eyes sparkled.
“Is it tasty?” she inquired before I nodded with a bright smile causing her entire body to sparkle which made me feel warm inside. Ayaka felt more like someone who managed to keep my inner sanity sane, the warmth she gave off even though she was only doing simple interactions is more than enough to keep me from rampaging around.
Not to mention, I have hardly screamed a swear word at anyone lately since she arrived. It’s more like my consciousness is being restrained from swearing because she is nearby which also made the knights feel a sense of relief to the extent that they would use her as a trump card when I am about to explode which indeed annoys me, but I couldn’t do anything at all.
Fifteen minutes soon passed by in a blink of an eye as I continued to poke holes onto the bread before taking the little cups with the garlic on it, pouring the garlic oil on the dough before squeezing the garlic themselves on it.
“Iona, can you hand over the cheese?” I looked at Iona who quickly nodded as she took out the medium-sized cheese from the corner, handing it over to me as I placed it on the chopping board before slicing the cheese with the knife.
With the sliced cheese, I imagined grated cheese inside my head before immediately the sliced cheese turned exactly as I envisioned. After the grated cheese was ready, I grabbed a lot of them and loaded up the entire baking sheet with the cheese until it was filled.
“Now, all we have to do is bake it,” I said while wiping the sweat on my forehead before taking the baking sheet and placing it on the medieval oven at the corner, covering it up before casting some fire magic onto the oven, ensuring the temperatures was around 246 C for ten minutes straight.
All of them were looking at the oven with anticipation, Ayaka was super excited to try it out since I had told them that we were to take half a slice of the bread for us to eat since why should we give all the samples to them while starving ourselves?!
“Mama! When will it be ready?!” Ayaka asked in an enthusiastic voice.
“It will be ready once it is ready, Ayaka,” I patted the cute girl’s head before she continued to look at the oven with deep anticipation.
And after ten minutes, we opened the oven before a beautiful bread awaited us. Taking out the baking sheet with caution, we placed it on the table before I took the knife from the table and sliced it in half, revealing the beautiful cheesy layer of the bread.
It looked ridiculously tasty, you could hear everyone’s stomach growl as I turned my gaze towards Felice with a smile, “Prepare the plates, we’ll have quite the breakfast today.”
She didn’t waste any time and ran out from the kitchen of the town hall before coming back with a few plates on her hand with kitchen utensils, while she placed the plates on the table, I sliced our share of the bread into a few pieces that were enough for us before placing them onto each of our plates.
After our share was now on our plates, I covered the baking sheet with a cloth before casting a spell that would run continuously on the baking sheet, heating it up to an extent that the bread would be warm while also having the baking sheet itself holdable.
“Now, it’s time to eat!” I said before all of them shouted in excitement as we took our share of bread and took a bite on it and almost immediately, the delicious taste of the hot cheese exploded on our tongues paired with the wondrous garlic bread. It was magnificent as expected from Neck Degovanni’s recipes!