Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 44
That night, Claude, his little sister, and their little brother ate in the attic. Their food was quite plain: white bread, bacon, potatoes cooked with cow bones, deer meat, and a few baked apples. Even so, Angelina was happy, and Bloweyk was even more pumped. He jumped about non-stop on Claude's bed. He even played hide and seek behind the pillows with Claude and Angelina.
Claude didn't know what his parents said to the pathetic shit, but Arbeit didn't come home again. His sister told him two days later he was sent to Sir Fux's manor and would stay there for the time being.
Claude started his equestrian training two days later. As the four friends already knew how to ride, they had a really easy time. They only took a week to clear the entire course, which meant they had that period open until the course was over and could go home earlier.
But there wouldn't be much to do if they did. It was better to ride more at school. They paid for it, after all.
Claude didn't want to go back home anyway. The atmosphere had gone off after that night. Neither of his parents said anything about him beating up his brother, but he still felt a little guilty, only because of the discomfort and distressed it caused his parents.
No matter what, Arbeit was still his elder brother. The fact that he didn't tell on him first, and instead beat him up in front of them was disrespectful to say the least. That's how he felt, at least.
Welikro and Borkal dragged him to the lake to fish whenever they weren't in school. They'd become hooked on fishing after their trip to the island. They looked like real addicts.
He didn't like to fish himself, but he enjoyed the quiet it gave him. That said, he didn't want to waste time by the lake, unfortunately it wasn't like he had anything better to do. Eriksson was caught up mending the fishing nets. He'd gotten into hanging out with women a lot more since buying that book, but Claude had no interest in listening to gossip all day long. He'd rather fish in quiet.
This day's fishing was quite unsuccessful, so Claude decided to head home early. He was surprised to find a guest when he got home. A man in his early twenties was talking to his mother. He had a small square cardboard box placed on the table. It looked like a gift cake from Lisa's Bakery.
He didn't stay long, though, and was soon gone.
"Who's he? Never seen him before," Claude said as he came closer.
"He's Mister Thomas, our new tenant. He brought us a cake to say thanks for giving him the room."
New tenant? He hadn't heard about anyone moving out.
"Oh, he rented the attic next to yours."
The attic? "What about Miss Christina?"
"That woman's gone. She's left town. Your father spoke to her boss and he's relocated her. She won't come back anytime soon, if ever," his mother's voice was hate-laden as she talked about the woman.
"She left this morning. Father gave her some money to shut her up… What a toxic thing. She'll definitely suffer divine retribution. No god would shield her..."
Claude didn't believe the woman actually extorted ten crowns from him. It was half a year of his salary! If nothing else, it showed how much his father wanted to keep things hush-hush.
"What are we having for dinner?" he asked, changing the subject.
"Oh, tonight? The usual. Your father said he wouldn't be home for dinner, and Arbeit won't be here either, so there's only the four of us."
"Hmm, why don't we have noodles? I make pretty good ones," Claude said confidently.
"You know how to make noodles?" his mother asked doubtfully.
"Of course. I learned it by watching. It's really simple."
He got to work immediately. He first washed his hands and cleaned the bowl, then poured flour into it, added water, and three eggs and mixed.
"Why did you add eggs?" his mother asked as she watched him, Bloweyk in her arms.
"It'll make the noodles taste like eggs," Claude said, kneading the dough.
He pinched Bloweyk's nose.
"Get down. You're six and you still want Mother to carry you? Aren't you ashamed?"
"Don't wanna, I wanna see Claude make noodles!"
"Can I watch too?" his little sister asked.
"Fine," Claude said with exaggerated exacerbation. "Watch carefully. The noodles have to be kneaded with a little more force. It'll be springier that way and won't stick when you bite it."
Too much water… Just add some more flour… Too hard… bit more water...
Claude was sweating by the time he finished. He felt like a clumsy housewife. He pinched a bit of the dough to check it at last, then showed it to his mother and sister.
"Feel it. This is how it should feel. The noodles they make at Big Fork aren't kneaded. They aren't really noodles, they're just wetted flour. They don't have any spring to them."
Too bad he didn't know how to thin the noodles properly. He could only press the dough until it was paper thin before cutting it into fine, long strands. He had bone soup cooking in another pot. They were originally going to cook potatoes in it, but now it was going to be stock for the noodles.
He cut the potatoes into slices and the broccoli into small chunks. There were too few vegetables in his home and they usually only had those most common vegetables that they'd simply toss into a pot to cook. He had no choice but to stir fry them with some salt and fry four more eggs before he started cooking the noodles.
He then got four large silver plates which they usually used to serve guests and placed the noodles at the center of the plates. After that, he added the potato slices and broccoli chunks around the noodles and poured some delicious soup on them before topping the whole dish off with a fried egg on top. Claude's beef soup noodles was finally complete.
It tastes great!
The little girl ate her share with a smile on her face. Both her eyes squinted into small crescents and a look of bliss could be seen on her face.
The chubby little boy on the other hand ate with his hands. He wasn't that good at using a fork, so he stuffed the noodles into his mouth before slurping the rest in.
"Wow, this really is good. You really outdid yourself there, Claude," his mother praised. But she turned and saw the large bowl of dough remaining and asked hesitantly, "Are you going to make the rest of it into noodles? Want to leave some for me to bake into bread for tomorrow?"
"That's fine. By all means, make some bread with it," Claude said, delighted, "I had forgotten that there'd only be the four of us for dinner. I made a little too much for us to finish cause I kept on adding flour and water. I was wondering what we ought to do with it. Thank goodness it won't go to waste."
After finishing a large bowl of noodles, Claude went back up to his attic, satisfied. Noodles were one of his favorite foods in his past life. Had it not been for the noodles he tried at Big Fork, he wouldn't have thought of trying to make some. In his previous world, all he had to do to get noodles was to buy them off the market. There wouldn't be a need for him to make them himself at all. He didn't really know how to make ramen either, so he had only made simple pancakes after he transmigrated.
He couldn't recall how noodles were made as most of them on sale in the market were machine-made. He only saw it once and it seemed like they only added flour and water to a machine and noodles came out of the other end, piping hot. That was somewhat of an impossibility for him to accomplish, however.
He loved to eat noodles, sweet potato vermicelli in particular. It was made by powdering sweet potato and adding some water into the mix. After that, starch was added in through a sieve and the mixture of dough would be pressed through a holed apparatus, forming it into long, hairlike vermicelli which would then be half-cooked and dried.
However, he wasn't sure whether the process could be used with normal flour. It might succeed, but he couldn't experiment with it at home. He figured that he could try it out at Eriksson's secret base when his father was away, sailing. That way, he would have enough space.
Making noodles was quite the troublesome affair. Claude had considered making different steamed buns but that would require yeast powder, something that was unavailable in this world. He recalled that making bread also needed yeast, so he made a mental note to ask his mother how she did it. If it was possible without yeast, he might be able to find a way to make steamed buns. Now, all he had to do was to find a steamer.
After losing himself in thought for quite a while, he snapped out from his food fantasies.
He was shocked to find that his father spent such a huge sum to get Christina to leave Whitestag. His father had stifled out the scandal from its very root.
Looks like Father is well-prepared to deal with matters such as these. Even though he looks like he suffered a huge loss on the surface, all he needed was for Miss Christina to leave town for a while. Even if she returns in the future and makes a huge fuss over it, it wouldn't affect our family's reputation one bit because nobody would believe her. Instead, they would think that she's intentionally making things up to slander our family and is probably doing so under the instructions of someone else...
But this will only work if that fool Arbeit doesn't cause trouble and seek out Miss Christina.
Even so, Claude was confident that his father would never allow such a thing to come to pass.
The matter was already over. Claude opened his drawer and took out the magic notebook and began translating it.