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BA Side Story 2: Chicken Cheese Gratin

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“Will you marry me?”

His gentle voice asked softly.

How would you describe the feeling of this moment? Luana couldn’t control her overwhelming emotions and gently pressed her chest with her hands. Otherwise, her heart felt like it was going to explode. She knew they would share the future together, but it felt different from being proposed in person. She was delighted and more than happy than she thought.

“Gladly.”

Luana answered Legion’s question without hesitation. Legion smiled brightly when he heard her answer. He proposed at the corner of a dark garden, but it felt like her surroundings were radiantly bright.

“I’ll make you happy.”

“I believe you.”

At that moment, everything in the world seemed just beautiful.

***

Yes, this is it. Luana took a deep breath over a large amount of chicken. It is one of the most essential ingredients in today’s dish, so she prepared it meticulously and carefully. So now all she needs to do is chop up the chicken! She took out the kitchen knife that was right next to her. Then, she cut the large chicken on the cutting board into small pieces.

Chop chop chop

The vegetables she had prepared in advance were also cut into similar sizes. How long has it been? When she came to her senses again, a large bowl of ingredients was piled up like a mountain.

The next ingredient is butter.

She added a little bit of butter and properly sautéed the chicken and vegetables. After that, put it in a bowl with the pre-made sauce and put the cheese lightly. Of course, the bowl was the kind that was okay to go into the oven. Although the portion was a bit large, it seemed that if she baked them one by one, she could somehow manage to finish cooking.

“Phew.”

It wasn’t until Luana got to that step she sat on a chair in the corner of the kitchen. It has been some time since Legion became emperor. She wanted to have the wedding as soon as possible, but she had already done the funeral of the former emperor and the coronation of the current emperor. It was impossible to have a wedding one after another, so it was postponed. Still, she had no complaints.

With the permission of the emperor Legion, she could freely enter and exit the Imperial Palace. In the beginning, Legion was busy, so that they couldn’t meet often, but time took care of that. Again, they were able to spend time together as often as before. It was a happy time.

“I was so happy.”

Luana muttered a small sigh and sighed deeply. It was a few months later that her happiness was broken. Her wedding is scheduled!

‘It was good in the beginning.’

She will be able to be with the one she loves all the time. She couldn’t be happier.

‘But if there’s anything I’ve overlooked,’

The Emperor’s wedding was on a different scale than the wedding Luana had ever imagined. Recalling only the simple weddings of her previous life, she was bombarded shortly after the announcement of her wedding.

Madam Lloyd.

She was assigned to assist Luana after the incident with Madam Safia before, and Madam Lloyd had a very gentle personality. Compared to Madam Safia, who always put Luana in a tight position, Madam Lloyd was an angel. Luana was so glad she was an angel, but she changed. 

“A wedding?”

When she heard the story for the first time, she opened her eyes wide and was surprised. And she gave her congratulations.

“Congratulations! You’re finally becoming the empress!”

For a moment, there was a warm atmosphere in the appearance of joy as if it were her job, and Madam Lloyd suddenly twisted her brows and began to get nervous.

“But the schedule is too tight. This is a big deal!”

It’s almost a month away, and you’re pressed for time? Harsh days began before she could feel the wonder. Because the wedding preparations were entirely up to the person who would be the empress, people would judge the empress by seeing how the wedding was prepared. So, at first, Luana also tried to do her best. She was going to try her best.

It was not easy to choose a decorative ribbon. She decides whether to use silk or satin ribbon for the vase to decorate the table. If she were going with one of the colors, what color would she combine it? Whether to cut the string long or short. Whether to roll the ends in a circle or loosen them. There was more than one thing to worry about.

When she grumbled and solved one dilemma, another problem soon appeared.

‘Oh, my God! I should have married Legion when he was a duke! I should’ve grabbed him a little more and done it in advance.’

It’s too late to regret. Luana had to rack her brain and move without a break. And eventually, she exploded like a bomb. She sneaked into the kitchen to avoid Madam Lloyd and touched the ingredients.

‘But I thought I would go crazy if I didn’t do this.’

Luana took another deep breath. She knew how meaningless it was to hide in the kitchen. She had escaped in this way several times already, so Madam Lloyd would now find her here any time. She slowly rose from her chair, brushing her apron.

When Madam Lloyd comes, she’ll say sorry and be dragged back to prepare for the wedding. Somehow, she was feeling frustrated.

‘Can I really become the empress?’

Legion said he would ease Luana’s burden as much as possible, but she began to overthink. The position of the empress did not seem to be just the emperor’s consort. Why was, in her previous life, the president’s spouse not called a national madam, then? She seemed to be no different from the Empress.

She was so depressed that she couldn’t even taste the gratin she had just made, but suddenly there was a familiar shadow in the kitchen appeared, but it was not Madam Lloyd.

“Miss Sarah?”

“Hi! It’s been a while since I stopped by.”

Sarah often looked for her in the duchy but did not come during her stay in the Marquis’ residence. She understood dangerous things could happen anytime. It seemed to be disappointing, but now that she was so happy.

“Oh my, did you make another new dish?”

“What? Yes. Chicken cheese gratin.”

“Can I try it?”

“Of course! Wait a minute. I’ll give it to you.”

Luana took out the finished gratin and placed it in front of Sarah. Standing in the kitchen to eat was sometimes uncomfortable, but she picked up the spoon without complaining. Then she looked down at gratin with sparkling eyes and took a big spoonful.

The melted cheese was slightly burnt on the top. But it tasted rather good because it looked more appetizing this way. Sarah picked up the spoon, cooled down the food slightly, and immediately put it in her mouth.

“Whoa!”

The taste of properly cooked vegetables, chicken, and sauce combined unfolded a fantastic harmony in her mouth. The vegetables were crunchy, and the chicken was chewy. However, the fact that cheese, an ingredient that can never fail no matter where you put it, was added amazed her.

“Delicious!”

Sarah put the spoon back into the gratin. She didn’t know how much she had missed Luana’s cooking. That’s the reason she has been holding back and came to find her, and she had such good luck. She quickly emptied the bowl of gratin, and Sarah smiled contentedly.

“By the way, Luana, are you having a hard time?”

Sarah was satisfied, but Luana, who provided the dish, had a dark expression on her face.

“It has been hard, you know.”

“What is it about? Isn’t it your wedding soon?”

“It’s exactly two weeks away.”

This is the bride’s face, who should be happy before the wedding. Did something happen? Sarah asked Luana carefully.

“Can you tell me what the problem is?”

“Well, it’s just that there are so many things to do. I think the position of the Empress is heavier than I thought. Is it okay if I go up there? That’s what I thought.”

“Ah.”

Humans are really complicated. How on earth is it that Luana, who is usually bright, becomes this depressed? All of this was Legion’s fault for not being able to make her happy. At least, Sarah thought so.

“Okay, then. Can I bring some gratin?”

Sarah asked, showing the basket with preservation magic she had prepared in advance. Of course, Luana nodded, and a few more gratin bowls went inside. And then, Sarah held out her hand to Luana.

“And one more. Do you want to go with me, Luana?”

There was a mischievous smile on her face as she spoke. She can’t go. She has to adapt to reality and work hard. Knowing this, Luana grabbed Sarah’s hand without realizing it.

And not long after that, Madam Lloyd came to the kitchen and knocked.

“Miss Luana? Is Miss Luana here?”

But there was no answer from inside. But Madam Lloyd was sure that Luana would be inside. Because Henry, who had always guarded her, was in front of the kitchen. So she boldly opened the door. Usually, this would not have happened, but now it is a very urgent situation. There was a lot of work to do in preparation for the wedding, which was two weeks away.

“Miss Luana!”

She called her name and entered, but no one was inside.

‘Did she hide?’ Madam Lloyd blinked. The kitchen had traces of what had just been cooked. Besides, Henry was still there.

“Miss Luana? You can’t do this.”

Madam Lloyd looked around the kitchen slowly. There were many places to hide in the kitchen if she gave up.

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