Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 1 Chapter 1 Part 14
Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
「But still, for it to actually turn all nice like that on your second try, that’s actually a sign of a true skill. Did you learn the recipe from scratch?」
「Yes, I in fact did. I happened to look it up in a cook book…… and the rest was basically adding ingredients with cups measured by eye. And that’s about it.」
「Can I have a taste of it? Wouldn’t that be a problem?」
Belfast’s sudden words made Warspite hesitate for a brief moment out there.
「Y-Yes…… Go right ahead……」
But then she just nodded her head, her cheeks blushing shyly.
Once Belfast received Warspite’s permission, she was fast to act. She took out a kitchen knife from one of the drawers and cut the cherry pie into even pieces. Once that was done, Belfast picked up a piece of the pie and slowly brought it into her mouth.
「…… Well? What do you think?
Belfast took a moment to properly bite through the pie, savoring its taste and swallowing it down. She then was ready to give Warspite her answer.
「To put it bluntly, it’s way too sweet.」
However, even so, the way in which that cherry pie turned out was completely different from those scones that made their debut at the tea party yesterday. It was way better and way more presentable.
And just when Belfast was about to praise Warspite for being able to do something that could be considered quite an achievement for a beginner cook……
「Why!? Why can’t I get it right!?」
Warspite cried out loud, throwing her fists into the air in a gesture of frustration, shifting her embarrassment-filled gaze from the pie on the table onto Belfast, and then the other way around.
It was then that Belfast thought that she needed to step in and say something to her, lest the kitchen could suffer some serious damage, worst case scenario.
「Warspite-sama. I would like to remind you that no one in this world can achieve mastery in a particular subject overnight.」
「Yes, I know! I know that all too well, but……!」
Warspite’s eyes widened greatly in the sudden outburst of emotions, and she took a deep breath as if she was about to say something more.
However, she stopped halfway through, as if realizing what she was about to do, and then she just mumbled to herself in a hushed voice.
「Warspite-sama. There is no reason to hold back with your words. Right about now we are the only ones in here. Only you and I, Warspite-sama.」
By making sure to emphasize on that fact, Belfast thought that she would be able to expose Warspite’s inner thought, to make her speak from her heart without reservations.
It is only natural to have things inside of your heart that you do not want others to hear about. That is why people don’t usually voice them out loud.
This was especially true in regard to Warspite, since she was the kind of person who would naturally be very reserved with her words and does not voice her thoughts all that much.
But it was precisely because she was like that that Belfast thought it would be beneficial for her to do that at least once.
And just as she was about to ask Warspite what was it that was buried deep inside of her heart,
「As long as you keep on trying, you are going to eventually reach your goal…… Isn’t that the way those things go? Isn’t that true for you guys as well?」
Warspite said those words in a hoarse voice while making a particularly painful expression on her face.
「Even if I were to repeat and practice every single day, there is also the notion of the sheer natural talent, I guess…… That is why I can never hope to be as good as you guys are! That is why the gap between us will never close!」
「…… Certainly, the amount of experience that one might have is an important factor…… But Warspite-sama, why are you so obsessed with comparing yourself to the members of the Maid Corps?」
「Because otherwise there is no meaning to it.」
「And why is that?」
At that moment, Warspite looked as if she wanted to run away and be anywhere else that was not here.
The corners of her eyes were filled with tears that seemed to make her look even sadder than she already looked.
「Surely you all must feel overjoyed when people keep on telling you that your sweets taste delicious, right!? At least it always looks that way to me! You are always smiling so bright, as if nothing in this world could possibly make you feel happier!」
「…… Umm, excuse me?」
For a moment, Belfast didn’t understand what Warspite was saying. However, when she eventually realizes that this was actually the weakness that she didn’t want to show to anyone else, she opened her mouth right away.
She then timidly asked her Warspite, partially because she was finding that fact hard to believe.
「…… Umm. This is, well…… In other words, you wanted to learn how to make sweets so that you could get praised the same way we do and feel the same kind of elation from that that we are feeling?」
Actually being able to hear her own thoughts being put into words like that, Warspite’s entire face turned beet-red in an instant.
It would seem that Belfast managed to hit the proverbial nail to the head with that previous assessment of hers.
While Belfast was at a loss for words upon realizing that, thinking to herself that this kind of jealousy and competitiveness was actually kind of pointless and would not bring the Old Lady anything good, Warspite herself wiped the tears that were accumulating in the corners of her eyes with her sleeve and then she started right at the cherry pie on the table.
「I just thought that someone like me…… That even when it comes to sweets-making, that it would be something that even someone like me would be able to pull off.」
「…… And I am going to keep that fact well in my mind, Warspite-sama.」
That being said, Belfast tried another bite of the cherry pie.
After all, just as they say, taste is a truly subjective matter. And depending on the taste of each and every person, one might find something nasty, while the other person is going to love that very same taste.
–––––– But still, a taste like the one of that cherry pie would not be nearly enough to be to Her Majesty’s liking……
After a moment of being lost in deep thought, Belfast went towards the fridge’s door.
「How about we try to make another pie, Warspite-sama? We still have a lot of time before dinner, so we will be able to do this before starting to make the necessary preparations. And with me watching you every step of the way, you might be able to make something even more delicious than that pie right here.」
After Belfast said that, the rest was simply a collaborative effort between the two shipgirls.
By having Warspite actually see the process of dough-making with her own eyes, and having her comment and speak up every time that something would catch her attention in particular, Warspite was able to slowly learn more and more about not only pie-making and scones, but also cooking in general. And with every step of the way, Warspite was listening closely and taking in the new knowledge just like a sponge would absorb water, even going as far as to take notes.
「Since when did you know so much about sweets-making, Belfast?」
When the dough for the pie and its filling were all finished and everything that was left to do was to simply bake it, Warspite suddenly turned towards Belfast and asked her that question.
「There is a whole lot of books available in the Port’s library, covering a variety of different subjects. While reading through those that were related to cooking, I have often tried to recreate the recipes that were listed in them. I have tried them over and over for days, and after a really long time I was finally able to reach a point where I am currently standing at. In the beginning, I was at a level where the things that I have made were not really all that suited to be presented to anyone, much less being eaten by others. And believe me, Warspite-sama. During that time I was even less skilled of a cook than you are now.」
「Hmm, I see. Does that mean that I might actually have a talent for baking after all!?」
「Yes, that’s what I am getting at. The possibilities are clearly there.」
With a slight chuckle, Belfast opened the lid of the stone kiln.
「Now then, please put the pie inside for now. And just as I said earlier, please leave it at a little distance from the center of the kiln, so that it won’t get burnt that easily.」
Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 1 Chapter 1 Part 14