Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 1 Chapter 1 Part 7
Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
[……I thought that it would taste good, since it was the very first time I was baking them in my life.]
While saying that, Warspite took another bite out of her hand-made scone, a sight that was slightly scary to look at.
[Warspite, you….. You seem to be just fine with eating those things…… But as to why that is, I have no clue at all.]
Once again, acting and speaking in a way that was far from her usual graceful demeanor, Hood stared at Warspite with an expression that could described as nothing but painful. Honestly, surviving those scones was more of an ordeal than having to fight against the Sirens inside of an unfamiliar Mirror Sea.
[Umm, Illustrious-sama…… How do you feel? Are you sure that you are okay? Would you like some stomach medicine as well?]
Belfast gently called out to Illustrious, who had finally regained her natural, calm and elegant demeanor.
[Ah…… Thank you for worrying about me, but…… I’m fine now, really. There won’t be need for any medicine.]
Even though Illustrious’s complexion was still slightly pale from the scone ordeal, she managed to summon a brave expression on her face. Prince of Wales, on the other hand, who also held the piece of the scone in her mouth, was holding onto her head with both of her hands as if she was suffering a tremendous headache.
[I…… I don’t know why, but I feel really thirsty for some reason. I could really use some nice and warm cup of tea right about now.]
Hearing out Prince of Wales’s request, Belfast politely bowed down her head.
And just like that, Prince of Wales reached out for her cup and started to drink the tea that stood on top of the serving cart that Edinburgh has brought with herself near the table.
Earl Gray. Darjeeling. Uva. Dinorah. Nilgiri. Keemun.
Among all of the types of teas available here, this particular Darjeeling had the kind of leaves that was from the first flush, and it was to assure the highest quality of the product that was picked right after its winter dormancy period, which was the most suitable time for picking it.
Darjeeling’s First Flush, which has a refreshing scent to the leaves, is perfect for a warm afternoon tea party, like the ones the Royal Navy was having today. So it was no wonder that it was decided almost right of the bat to use those leaves in particular as the main tea for today’s party.
[That’s right. Bel, if you could wait for just a moment.]
Elizabeth spoke to Belfast, who picked up a can of Darjeeling tea leaves and was about to open it.
[Yes? Is something the matter, your majesty?]
[For today’s party, instead of the tea brewed by you, I would like to drink the tea that was brewed by Edinburgh.]
[The tea that Nee-san…… brewed, Your Majesty?]
With the can of tea leaves still in her hand, Belfast looked at Edinburgh with surprise in her eyes.
Just then, Edinburgh pointed her finger at herself with a completely blank expression.
[Huh? Who? Me?]
[And is there anyone else named Edinburgh in here?]
Taking her own words for enough of an explanation and only as a matter of course, Elizabeth pointed her finger towards Edinburgh with her left hand and looked at the rest of the people gathered for the tea party who were sitting all around the round table in the middle of the courtyard.
[If memory serves me correctly, neither one of you had it before, hadn’t you? The tea brewed by Edinburgh? Actually, the tea that Edi makes tastes completely different from the one that Bel makes, as surprising as that might sound.]
[Certainly, at this tea party, I’ve never had a cup of tea made by a maid other than Belfast-san.]
As Illustrious admitted in a calm and collected manner, Prince of Wales slowly raised her right hand, perhaps a little interested in the topic that Elizabeth just brought to light.
[Umm, this is…… Will the taste of the tea really change depending on the person who is brewing it? Even if they are using the same kind of tea leaves?]
Elizabeth then leant forward while smiling in a devilishly innocent way.
[Oh, it is. It is going to change. And it will be beautiful change. Isn’t that surprising?]
[Hmm, I see. I would love to have that.]
With that being said, Hood looked at Edinburgh with eyes filled with expectation as she lifted her cup and said:
[While you are going to be at it, could you pour me a cup of tea as well?]
For a moment out there, Edinburgh just stood there and looked at the tea cup with a completely dumbfounded expression. Most probably she never would have thought that she would be put on a spotlight and made the center of attention quite like that.
When Hood called out to Edinburgh, worried that the maid was being so unresponsive for a moment out there, the maid finally realized that it was in fact her that was being called and she snapped out of it, her whole body shaking profusely before she gave a panicked reply.
[…… Ah!? Y-Yes!? What is it!? I’ll be right there!]
Answering while sweating profusely, Edinburgh turned towards the serving cart and started to look and rummage through the tea leaves that were placed there. At the same time she turned towards Belfast and whispered in desperation.
[W-Whatever should I do now, Bel!? I have been always leaving tea brewing to you, so I have no idea how to do any of that stuff!!]
[First and foremost, do try to calm down, Nee-san.]
With a lowered voice, Belfast searched for a can of Darjeeling tea leaves and placed it right on top of the cart, so that Edinburgh could have easy access to it.
“It’s not like you don’t know how the tea is brewed, is it? Then it’s just a matter of which tea leaves to choose.”
[B-Bel! Please help me! What should I do!?]
[Besides, it’s not like you have completely no clue how to brew a tea from leaves like that, isn’t that right? Then the rest is simply the matter of choosing the right leaves and following the procedure just like with everything else]
[B-Bel, if it was you who were to do it, what would you do?]
[Here you have the Darjeeling leaves that I was going to use ––––––]
[This is yours……!]
Just as Belfast was about to give Edinburgh some more advice, Elizabeth’s voice came from behind the two maids all of a sudden.
[Don’t help her, Bel! For today, I want Edi to choose the right leaves and prepare the tea from start to finish. She should be able to do at least that much, don’t you think?]
[My sincerest apologies, Your Majesty.]
Belfast quickly turned her body towards Elizabeth, and bowed down deeply in apology.
[…… And with that, I believe that this is all that I can do to help. Now then, please do your best, Nee-san. Break a leg.]
Managing to whisper those words into Edinburgh’s ear so that no one else would be able to hear them, Belfast turned around and returned to Elizabeth’s side, leaving her sister all on her own with the task that awaited her.
That way, Edinburgh was left completely on her own, with tears quickly welling up in her eyes, a lonely can of tea leaves being held in her hands.
[It’s good and nice and all, but I really have no idea what to do and in what order……]
Completely in a state of panic now, Edinburgh was picking one can of tea leaves only to place it back on top of the serving cart and pick another one right after that. And once she was finally able to decide on the right can, it served only the purpose of her starting to second-guess her choice, placing the can back on top of the cart and the whole process would basically start all over again.
And what’s more, it had to be right after that scone fiasco just now. Having witnessed such a disaster, it was only natural that Edinburgh was overcome with a looming sense of dread ––– she knew that she could not afford to make something half-baked here, lest she wanted to incur Her Majesty’s wrath.
As for Belfast, she was watching her Sister struggle in her own indecisiveness from the distance. Being in such a state, Edinburgh must have felt even more pressure than she would being sortied out on the sea fighting the Sirens. And of course, seeing her struggle like that, Belfast couldn’t help it but to feel nervous as well.
[A-Alright! This one! I’m going to go with this one!]
The tea that Edinburgh finally decided upon was Nilgiri’s Autumnal. The additional curry tea leaves originated from India, but since the time for their harvest was around the end of autumn, they were actually picked last year and were not of a very high quality.
Azur Lane: Episode of Belfast Volume 1 Chapter 1 Part 7