Chapter 113:

Ch 112: On to Pasta

I was Born the Unloved Twin

"Mix the wet ingredients in, add just enough flour to hold the pasta together. Too much and it will take too long to cook. It will either be undercooked or dissolve in the pot." Georgie instructs.

My little arms are exhausted and cramping. So I tag out and sit in the kiddy corner with Amar to simply watch this next part. Today's juice is tart cherry, ahh so much more refreshing and tasty when iced. I'm alive again.

With his bare hands, a flour-covered Lukas mushes the edible playdough in the side bowl while Georgie leads. My sturdy full-body aprons getting the test run in the kitchen both in normal and kiddy size.

Much more covered and useful than those flimsy excuses of costume kitchen aprons here. It comes with pockets! If the cut and design are oddly stylishly modern, then well...that is my generous contribution to this world.

The most important thing is if they're useful on protection and against messes.

The table is covered in a fine flour.

Pasta making is hard work, even the simplest kind of dough dumplings. There are no instant packages or ready-made stuff to pick up at the supermarket. Chemical food preservatives haven't been developed. Even premade items in markets can only be kept for a few days at most. If you want pasta, you really have to make the pasta from scratch.

Easier said than done. Ratios are hard, especially with the recipe changes per type of pasta. There are so many. The steps to making gnocchi are very different compared to some slurpable noodles and so forth.

Georgie leads the kiddy cooking class with patience and free time of no other employee. Separate bowls and piles of pasta dough are scattered about. It's very admirable how he memorized these things. I'm much older than him, my judgment is very impartial and honest. Chefs really have it hard in this world with no units of measurements, supermarkets, or online recipes.

Contrary to all the things my hardworking unofficial assistant does or is forced to do, he is still technically a Jr. cook.

"Jr.? I'm an adult already you brat!"

"Ah. I forgot that you're an 'adult'. So you're an official cook now, huh. You just look so young and babyish still. Right guys?"

"Uh-huh, you don't feel like an adult." Amar sips on juice.

"You're still cool right now Georgie but watch it!" Lukas points with a sticky doughy hand.

Georgie gives me, all of us, a look. One of pure disrespect, probably thinking unholy curses about 'brats'. Ah, good help is just so hard to find when you're three.

It can't be helped, he's just a teenager. His awful mouth is calling me a brat but I'm the one who can't see another other than a brat. I'm so much older than all of them in here. He's just a baby.

"Adults are weird! Georgie, don't run to be an adult!" adds in Lukas.

"I heard you can't be an adult till you can grow a full beard all over your face?" questions Amar, lies under his tongue.

What an awful thought. I'm working on skincare not beard care! Huh, but I suppose I shouldn't discriminate against facial hair among growing customers. Beards are a popular thing for many men? I know a lot of the troop members could use a good barber to neaten up. Or just more soap in general.

Urg, no no no my modern sensibilities. They strike again.

"Sacrilege! Georgie, you are forbidden from growing a horrible beard on that soft tender face I worked so hard on. I see your skin daily so I know you can't just yet but you know what I mean." I can't help it.

"Seeeee, you're like us, you don't even have your adult hairs yet!" Lukas agrees, even if I don't see where he gets his reasoning from.

"...." Wisely Georgie does not answer back to that.

Just don't. Sure you could refute that, but do you really want to? Have the body hair talk? Against these kiddies? Besides this is not the kind of talk I want to have tainting pure and good pasta.

I have not only been craving noodles lately, but I'd like it to stick into my sister's head what is pasta and what is not. Not I say!

It's not that I've been excused from my father's scheduled lessons today to escape to the kitchen, not exactly.

Rather I took my dear absolutely free twin by the hand this morning and walked her to Father's office quarters. Slamming the door to whatever maybe shady meeting he was covering up, I sat her down by his polished leather shoes and demanded he makes her smarter.

If anyone can do it, it has to be the nerd. I give.

It's only fair given the amount of homework I get right? Strike! I'm striking until we get a better distribution of homework.

I'm not just being petty from a lifetime of memories showing unfair work distribution. Really now, I don't blame Lily at all for missing out on ....practically everything, due to her chronic illness. Lilyanne could do whatever she likes so long as she was happy and healthy. Physical activity was out of the question, that's too dangerous.

Ooooooh no, boring lessons gave her headaches. Ooooh no she's feeling faint. Words are too hard to read. Time for bedrest against the perils of scrolls and books.

Fine! Okay, there's a bit of resentment there. Just a bit of it with a healthy reasonable load of envy.

Well haha, I solved problem number one. Her health!

No one saw that coming, not even myself. I'm still frustrated over that honestly. This body shouldn't be any different, anti-magic and all. It's just my soul and memories that's the joke here. On behalf of Rosalia, I slam my head in frustration occasionally. Probably more than is healthy.

Also on behalf of her, I shall berate Lilyanne's education where she understandably failed. Starting early, with no sick notes.

Seriously nerd, do something about her. Please. Do your job parenting. I don't know and don't care how just train her! The bar is already very low in my memories of her and has gotten even lower given her recent toddler behavior.

Contrary to what some awful people, usually men, say, ignorance is not a virtue. Not for women, not for anyone.

So thus, after I berated father for a quarter of an hour this morning, perhaps with a room of amused nerds and architects, I left my ward in his care with a lighter conscience. A strike I say! I refuse any more homework until Lilyanne makes some progress. She may be three but she's not getting away with it again.

It's just not fair.

"Rosa? That's 3 cups already. Rosa, you're drinking all the juice too fast again." Amar pokes at me, worriedly sliding the pitcher away from my reach.

"It's my house and my juice."

But I concede for I do have a slight habit of unconsciously drinking more when mad or thinking about something. Everything goes down like water. It's a good thing this is juice and not say alcohol.

Cherry wine is also very good, this season's juice will vat and mature well. The cherry wine here is very nice from Rosalia's memories. The troops and locals made lots of good fruit brews. From ports to brandies, so very yummy.

Because he is rude and undisciplined, the minion not on mixing duty fearfully slides the juice pitcher even further away from me. As if I were some juice-aholic fiend.

"Alright, that should do it. See the consistency? That's what you need for linguine type pasta, the 'noodles' that Rosalia likes." guides Georgie, drawing attention by stretching out the yellow egg yolk-infused dough.

"I like the gnocchi better." pipes up Lukas.

"And that's why we already made and ate those." patiently reminds Georgie.

"But it was so little!"

"We're making more. You kids demand too much."

"Soooooo little, we're hungry. That's why Rosa and Amar are fighting over juice because we're so huuuungry. There was no bacon."

"After this, I'll release all you little pigs to make your own pasta ok?!"

Lukas sighs but nods along with the rest of us.

Pasta is a little bit like juice or alcohol, it just all goes down so easily. The simple carbs seemingly disappear in the black holes of hungry mouths and growing bodies. Those pasta samplers earlier really were too little, as tasty as the variety was. They only make one feel even hungrier.

"Hurry up and finish then!"

"Alright alright we'll cut them up at this point. Normally they're only supposed to be a certain length-" Georgie goes over.

"I want them long." I interrupt, repeating my request.

"Yes Rosalia, we know you want them long. Rosa, no, get away from that knife. Rosa no!" my cooking assistant goes into babysitter mode.

Well, that's that, no chop chop for me. Somehow Georgie doesn't trust a toddler with a knife. Responsibly smart but inconvenient how I'm forced with supervision and the metaphorical kiddy gloves at all times. I can handle a knife just fine, have you seen what Grampa puts me through?

"Oh oh oh can I do it?!" waves Lukas, still sticky with flour and egg.

Georgie looks down with a greatly exaggerated sigh, stressed from the last few hours of fun times in the kitchen. The boy looks like he could use a good plate of pasta himself, maybe another face mask.

You're too young for stress wrinkles Georgie!

"I trust exactly one of you with a kitchen knife." he deadpans, giving up at wiping flour off his face.

"Awwww ok fine. Oh oh oh another of my tooth is loose. I'm going to get my adult teeth faster than all of you!" Lukas tags out, switching with Amar.

For some odd reason, Amar takes the cherry juice pitcher with him, getting it even further away from me. Hey, what gives?!

With one hand, Georgie flicks my forehead to sit me back down much to Lukas' obnoxious laughter. Apparently approving of cutting me off on the juice supply.

Everyone here is just so rude. It's hard to believe I was a feared villainess once a lifetime ago. All you low-level mobs are so lucky I've been reborn with another oh so generous persona. Especially you Georgie!

In another life, I suppose he would have moved on elsewhere for employment sometime after his adulthood ceremony and becoming a strong enough cook. I don't recall his name on the employment list after Rosalia became the acting lady of the household. Not that it really matters, I just guess that means sometimes between now in 7 years in the future, he will leave this villa for other better prospects.

It's true he's a pretty average sort of boy. Nothing very extraordinary, except maybe that he makes a divine risotto. As useful as he is to me, it's not like I picked him up with some prior cheat knowledge of who he will be.

It's just that he was the only one nice enough, or free enough, to play with a demanding baby that kept sneaking into the kitchens.

Watching him now feels odd, hands guiding a little kid on how to chop up pasta just right. Laughing, getting frustrated, biting his lip and blowing flour off his nose. It's hitting me that he's just a kid, high school age, making his own way in the world alone.

I heard his parents are still alive. He just doesn't talk about it. A lot of people don't talk about a lot of things.

Wasn't I the same?

What was I doing when I was that age? Where was I living all alone? I was still in school wasn't I, even though I was lucky enough to skip some grades? It feels like a stressed-out blur. I was always worried about something. All the coursework, keeping my scores up to apply for the money I did, just the daily money management of living alone. It's hard for anyone but something about it really felt unfair when you're just a teenager.

Mobs always have it tough. I get it because I was one. Life is filled with the majority of people like us. It's no fairytale.

Even now that I'm a supposed rich villain sort of character, I just don't get it. How sometimes the world just sets you up to lose. To blur and be forgotten.

I wonder if I've been forgotten yet.

I wonder if everyone has forgotten me yet.

I guess my parents...I bet they're still pissed I died before them. Can't show any more fiel piety with my paychecks if I'm dead yo. Ahaha ah I kid, I kid, there's my nasty sense of humor again. It's just my brother that has no choice but to really remember me.

Can't lie, even as a ghost I'd be pretty pissed if he doesn't offer me food and light me an incense stick once in a while.

I want to eat his fried noodles again, even it was oily as hell. I also miss mom's cooking, all the recipe-less Chinese noodle soups, even when she nagged at me the whole time. Ah, I really miss Mrs. Park's cooking, and she's even scarier. I miss a lot of things. It wasn't all bad, the hard life of another mob.

I just....kind of still feel bad. Like I left a lot of debts still unpaid to too many people.

Which is odd, since I'm sure I didn't owe anyone money. It's a very annoying sort of nagging feeling like I'm forgetting something very important.

Which is also very silly. Nothing regarding me is important, not anymore. It's all over.

The dead hold no debts.


"How about this one? Let's go eat at this one on my next day off!" a girl holds out her smartphone.


The phone screen was way too close to his face, but rather than push it away he pulled her in closer with the phone.

"The whole list?" he squints.

"No. This one, geez did you take out your contacts already?" she taps, not minding much of anything.

Jung-Joon nodded, pulling in the girl until she was mostly settled in his lap, getting himself comfortable on the couch. He yawned, feeling the fatigue of too much school work and not enough well anything else. He could knock out, but then Meng wouldn't come bothering. Not that she would ever be a bother, as he said time and time again.

"Uh huh. So show me properly." he mumbled, trying to charge up as much as possible. As much as she would let him. This was nice. This sort of peace in between. It was almost domestic.

"Put on your glasses you dork."

"Too far, besides I don't need them all the time." he waves off, hanging on.

"I'll go get them then, where did you leave them?"

When she makes to get off, strong arms only pull her back in again, all the way down. It was a little frustrating how much larger and stronger he's gotten than her over the years. But that was good for a growing boy Meng supposes. He wouldn't be as popular if he was a shortie like her.

"It's fine, show me." he lazily mumbled on the top of her head, arranging them together to view the smartphone screen.

"Ahhh, are you feeling shy about them? Did a pretty girl at school make fun of them? But you're so cute with them on. Ohhh should I go teach her ass a lesson and proclaim the 'megane' guy goodness? We can show her your brother's picture, that will work." Meng teased, reaching up to pat at his cheek.

Something Jung-Joon retaliated by pinching back at hers.

"Are you calling him hotter than me?"

"Absolutely. You're a brat and he makes a much better glasses guy. You could never and everyone knows it."

"Ah, he does have the twisted personality trope spot on."

"Let go of my face you little shit. Ow ow, you're going to make it uneven!"

"Sorry. Your cheeks are just so soft, it's kinda fun. Should I kiss it better?"

Without waiting for an answer, he quickly leans down, aims spot on. Only for his nose, lips, and front teeth to be met with the blunt cold surface of a smartphone. Meng giggles at the groan of pain, not minding how vengeful arms tightened around her. She was busy laughing, turning her weapon back on to the right app.

"Stop messing around. This one, don't the pictures look so good?"

"That was mean," Jung-Joon complained, much like a child. Burying his injured face and pride back in her hair. Resting his head in the delicate side of her neck. She let him get away with a lot more that way, when he sounded younger, like the years before. It was a double-edged weapon.

"Stop being a big baby, come on, look look. I'll pay this time ok~ Ah it just looks so pretty!"

Jung-Joon peeked over, more content to stay right there than to go out anywhere or to look at the contents scrolling on the screen. It wasn't exactly quiet or intimate, with the voices and noise coming from downstairs. The television was on, his family was definitely clattering around. They could come up any moment, and ruin his recharge time as they like. But it was enough. Staying just like this was enough. He'll take whatever he can get.

"Really pretty," he agrees, looking up in the wrong direction.

"Right? All the plating is done so well. Just look at the aesthetic of this place," she turns the screen so he could get a better look.

"Pasta? Is that what you're craving now?"

"Modern Italian! Waaah it looks so fancy. The lunch specials sound like a good deal, and we can split another dish. Ah but do we really want to split dessert? Hmm no, no we definitely don't. "

"We? Just us?" he smiles warmly, taking a good look at her phone for the first time. Attention previously much elsewhere, more on the peaceful present. The supposed near future plans were too far away, but it didn't sound so bad. Especially when it made Meng happy.

"Hmm yeah, it looks really good. Like a nice date spot, you're going to have to dress up real pretty for me too. Ok?"

"Don't be rude. I always look cute. Say it." she jabs at his chest, hoping it hurts.

It does. It always does.

"You're cute, you're always cute. I can't take it. Let's go on a date soon." he laughs through the pain, nuzzling tight.

Meng can't put her finger on it. Why she even wants him to look straight up so she can see those eyes, with or without his glasses on. Can't figure out why sometimes lately that dizzying laugh makes her feel how bittersweet must taste. The pulse underneath her fingertips was warm, beating too fast in tune to hers. It makes her think of things she shouldn't and beats hollow, echoes of something painful.

Something was wrong, and it would be foolish to think something as simple as pasta could fix it.

But what else could she do?

Awkward was weird. It was wrong. She wouldn't do that, wouldn't ever risk that. Not with him.

"Right?!" she leans in, pretending all was fine. Just like it's always been because this was fine. This was normal. Why wouldn't it be? "Let's go soon. Look, there's a wine bar that's-"

"And that should do it!"

Georgie sets the knife down with a clatter, scooping up the fresh cut pasta with some effort. When I look down, it's not a smartphone but an empty juice cup in my pudgy little hands.

My tummy feels hollow but I'm not really hungry anymore. Strange.

"This size should be about right, unless our young miss has any further demands for the day. Rosa? Rosalia?"


"Did you fall asleep with your eyes open again Rosa?! You're all quiet and weird and stuff."

I look up to see three set of eyes on me and my silence. Green, gray, and even brown.

Georgie's common brown eyes are light as a nut cake, pleasant and mildly sweet. My mother's are those of tumbled smooth genuine amber gems, perhaps with a surprise inside should you wish to pry. My grandfather's are the deepest pools of brown. They remind me of sunken chests best left undiscovered and a line of fizzy darkening malty beer flights, promising good and bad times all rolled in one night.

None are dark enough. Boring, everyday, nothing special, dark brown I used to see all the damn time. Brown so dark you think you were looking at the other side of the moon. None are the dark sparkling night sky and devastating black holes in them, full void, coffee served straight and piping hot just like he liked.

I must be crazy to still be seeing them when I close my eyes. In the back of my sight. I must be crazy to even be looking. Maybe I've already gone crazy when I died? Maybe I'm even crazier than the old man and just better at denying it?

"It's fine. That's fine. We can start cooking now. I'm really hungry. Can I have more juice now?"

Can it be changed into wine? Can it help me forget? Forget this thing I don't even know what it is?

My cup is filled before I even blink. I think pollen and allergies are upon us this season because my eyes feel very irritated when I do. Wetness already pooled at the rims.

"Sorry," says Amar, sounding guilty.

He should be, stealing my juice supply like that.

"Rosalia, are you really crying for food? Geez, really? Ah there, I don't expect anything from a brat, especially one as spoiled as you, there there."

Georgie picks me up like a pile of dough, not caring about getting flour all over me and my clothes. It completely defeats the purpose of making a tiny sized apron.

"I'm not. I can't control what happens when I'm hungry okay?" I rub my eyes dry, feeling the warmth of shame slightly rise to my face. Especially as Georgie rubs my back like he's calming down a child with a tantrum.

"Crrrrrrry baaaaby" whispers Lukas, still loud no matter what.

"Am not." I refute, mildly miffed in Georgie's hold.

"Yeeeees, you are."

"Nooo I'm not."

"YEeeeeeesssss you are!"

The annoyance of this strangely familiar banter actually distracts me from the unknown sadness welling up inside me. Unexpected but fine job little minion.

"Are you good enough for me to set down now, Rosalia? We can get to boiling and you all can eat faster." pats Georgie.

His arms and hands feel so large when I'm so small, despite him just being a brat. A brat that's technically an adult in this world. How awful.

"I wasn't even crying in the first place." I feel my head shaking. "Put me down already."

"Alright." despite what he says, he bounces me lightly for a minute more, still trying to comfort me to the point I feel my eyes rolling.

"Put me down, I'm not a baby. I'm fine. Get to pasta making already."

"Sure. Whatever you say young miss Rosalia the demanding," announces Georgie in a mock regal voice, finally setting me back my seat.

"Told you we was all super hungry! You have to feed her the blood, Georgie."


"....that's juice you brat."

"Blood juice!"

Alrighty then, Lukas has done his job to full distraction. I have no idea what just happened but it's over now and I have my cherry blood juice back. Great.

Almost silently, Amar pushes over freshly cut pasta dough, made even thinner during the time Georgie was supposedly calming me down.


I have threatened everyone scared shitless with my random tantrum. I can feel their fear for me increase in the utterly wrong way. This power is meaningless without respect but power is power and I am a tiny pathetic basically normal human.

"Pull them longer and thinner," I demand, despite the noodles being adequate.

"Ok." nods Amar, the kid strangely obedient. Great, now how do I train them like this all the time without sacrificing my pride?

"Make them chewier, pull."


"I changed my mind, they're too long now. Cut them shorter"


"But not too short it's ugly. Roll and pull more."


"It's because you took the blood juice away from the crybaby." taunts Lukas

"Sorry," squeaks Amar softly, to the point I almost feel bad for him. Just almost.

"We're out of bacon in this kitchen" I snap back at the other minion.

Now it's Lukas's turn to be rocked and comforted by Georgie. The hiccuping panic and cries caused by just the thought of no bacon. Who's the cry baby now?

Power is power. Even if it's petty.

Still pretty sweet, I sip today's juice in satisfaction. Let's get to work already. I really do want to eat pasta. We can even plate it all as pretty as a picture. I'll even be generous and show you how.



Bonus: Aftermath Judging



"When I said you three little piggies could make your own, I meant plates. Plates! Not....this!!!" Georgie nearly screams himself hoarse, hand waving to the mess that some poor employees will be left to clean up after.

Thank goodness for my citrus peel dish soap to make the job much easier.

Personally, I believe there is no such thing as too much pasta. Even where there is too much pasta. No such thing.

"I see no issue." I look away.

"Of course there is too much!?!!"

"Nope. Don't see it. Boys?"

"What's too much food? What does that look like?" asks Lukas, honestly ignorant on the limits to the human stomach.

"Needs more stuff." Amar contemplates, for the child likes his variety.

"Ah that's right. Georgie, be a dear and bring out some condiments from storage and bread in the main kitchen. Hmm, the hard cheeses for shredding."

"Are there bacon condiments?" adds in Lukas.

"No." I bluntly shut him down.

Like his epic battles with anything, including my overpowering mother, he just refuses to stay down.

"Well why not?!"


"Because why?!"


"Salted cured bacon doesn't need anything else to keep it." finishes Amar, much to Lukas's satisfaction.

"I knew it! Bacon is the best." the fair little blond nods, praising the fatty meat.

I wonder if he knows not all meat is categorized as bacon. I decide I do not care. Georgie is still imitating a famous painting in another world, The Scream.

"I leave for how long to bring you your 'judges' and you do what?! Use up all the pasta and, oh lord how much butter? It's gone, isn't it? All the butter in this place is just gone. And-" rambles Georgie.

"Yep! Not enough butter!" admits Lukas with no shame.

"That it is." I agree, really can't be helped with all the pasta we made.

"It was going to go bad anyway? You don't really store it?" Amar's head tilts the other way, as if vaguely remembering something.

"How do you store butter besides salting and the cold rooms?" I ask, lamenting the shortness of food preservation here in general. Life is realistically very hard in the past, even with magic. It's just not a fair substitute.

"Jars?" Amar says.

".....The container changes nothing dough head." I sigh, explaining to the child slowly.

"Um, you boil it slow? And only use the middle layer in the pot? Definitely not the chunky part on top." he thinks hard, nodding to himself.

"That sounds weird but I'll eat it still!" Lukas exclaims.

"Boil butter and just use ...."

It hits me like a loose waterwheel thrown by none other than Grampa.

Clarified butter! Oh my lord we could have been storing clarified butter all this time?! That's just pure golden butterfat with a higher temperature threshold while the storage and shelf life is just- AAfkdsdjlkf.

I'm very overwhelmed right now. I also just feel very dumb right now.

If we could store butter fats for the long term, that's really going to make things a lot easier. It would greatly ease any famines. Fats are necessary for the body to absorb nutrients. No lube jokes intended. I have to tell Father. Grampa. We need to start making stores of this shit in addition to our oils. From the sheep, the mutant milky goats, doesn't matter, it's a long-term storage item! It's not even hard to make?! Curse this backward vaguely medieval foreign world for drawing me into its pace! How did you all not think of something this simple?

"Is Rosa broken again? She's getting all muttery. Is she gonna cry again?!"

"I don't know?!"

"Well okay! It's okay because I know my pasta is the best so you should cry and you can all go nap now."

"But all you do is add bacon Lukas. You can't win like that?"

"Uh huh I can! It's the best and I'm the best."

"Are all you crazies flipping done? Can we eat yet?" comes the new arrival in the doorway.

Yuna barges in, grumpy yet cool looking as ever, but he's certainly sniffing the air all around. Nervously my little plain maid Abbey shivers somewhere behind Georgie, trying to calm him down in his ranting.

Oh goodie, the minions in training are assembled for now.

"Ahem, you can all eat first but then it must be plated and passed out. Georgie can send the portions to my family but you two are in charge of the rest of the kitchen and staff. Sample them out and tally up the points correctly alright?"

"Ye-yes Miss. Rosalia." immediately responds my maid.

"Did you not hear a single thing I just said!?" yells Georgie. Who honestly may have just ranted through my Rosalia translation filter system.

It was very busy thinking of the potential and application of clarified butter even in non-famine circumstances. Hmmm what about coconut oil? Should we work focus on the coconut supply down south as well? Ramp up and extend the road construction projects? Huh is Georgie still talking about something?

"Yeah yeah, we got it fancy pants. Let's get to it, I'm hungry. Show me what you brats got this time." grins Yuna.

I feel myself holding my nose even though there's no way a nosebleed would start just from that.

Ah, he's just a brat, even younger than Georgie. Who actually cleaned up quite nicely and has a certain lovely charm to him but there's something feral and just so naturally attractive about Yuna. Especially when he grins like that, full of confidence and sass. Good job me. Good job on scouting this absolute diamond of a rough-ling. He's going to break so many hearts. He's going to make me so much money modeling for my future projects.

Cuteness may rule the world but hotties definitely help. Very good job me.

"Take your forks," I present to Yuna, motioning for him to go free on the selections. For some odd reason, the makes Abbey shake even more.

It's a fork, not a weapon. We have established this. It was one time!?

There may be a mess here but it's an organized mess ok? We just need help getting the meal spread out for proper judgment. For these minions, we have three plates set up for a nicer tasting. Rather than the mini mountains of part tray pasta back there.

"This is the part where we're supposed to shut up now right? But it's really easy to find mine. It's the best one!" Lukas struggles to stay still.

"Yes now shut up already. Amar, you stop laughing. I said stop snickering already."

Lukas smiles too widely in his seat, far too excited about being proclaimed the winner. Oh the little fool, he knows nothing. For how can his obvious cheap bacon gnocchi compare to my refined tastes of multiple worlds?

Meanwhile, Amar has that soft cute little smile on again, the one where I know he's actually secretly making fun of us. How childish. Orecchiette? He only picked that because it's also called cat ears. children! All of them. Oh ho ho, I've got this in the bag.

Really it's no competition at all against these absolute children. But it's fun once in a while.

"Yeah that's fat. Fat and good. I'll get bored in a few minutes though." chews Yuna, shoveling gnocchi roughly into his mouth. He can intake more carbs than the others being an actual fighter.

"Um...I like all stuff inside the dough. They're fun to pop and eat. The bacon bits are crunchy." tastes Abbey, because you really can't go wrong with a rich pasta like gnocchi.

"Lukas....I'm just put some greens in here. Your mix is good....maybe...less salt since the bacon is already cured. The sheep cheese was a good choice. " Georgie sighs, unfortunately outing Lukas right away. Not like the bacon bits weren't obvious. Despite claiming he wants no part in this, Georgie still eats and plays along.

Lukas beams and I see his little ego puff like a souffle. No matter, like an improper souffle it shall pop and deflate into a sad shell against what's next.

"Oh shit there's a hell lot of shellfish in this. Oh shit this, oh you soaked this in some nice white wine. This is good pricey shit, move over."

Yuna drops the gnocchi like it was yesterday's trash for my linguine. Zooming straight to enjoy the perfectly steamed and pan-cooked seafood while twirling ribbons of the slurpable noodles. Ah now, this is pasta.

"Oh! Oh ho-how wonderful! I wouldn't ever think mussels would go so well with tomatoes like this but it's so fresh and lovely. The pasta chews *slurp* so yummy!" Abbey slurps down.

Amazing, pasta so good it's temporarily cured Abbey's stuttering.

"Hmm it really is chewier when pulled out like this. Huh interesting? I'll remember that. How much garlic is in the mussels? They were cooked separately definitely, the wine and butter work so well and is stronger in the seafood ....Rosalia did you use the overstove?! By yourself?!" Georgie nags.

"Shhhhh focus on the food. Keep talking about how great it is." I shush him.

"You mixed at least two wines in this you little- which wines did you open?"

"Ah so judgmental. Can't be helped with such a studious little jr chef." I keep having to counter.

"I'm an adult!" he screams.

"Less talky more linguine." oh teenagers, so dramatic.

From my side, I hear a muffled giggling as Amar holds himself back. How childish. Really no different than Lukas deep down. But I do feel pity for the child, he is only waiting to lose now.

Just look, the small batch of judges already slurped my plate down to the shells. While there's still half the gnocchi on Lukas's plate, Of course, I don't discourage or make fun of the other child. I'm not so evil. Merely grace him with my benevolence. Oh ho ho ho.

"You!!!" Yuna growls, surprising everyone. His canines bared and fork directly pointing straight to Amar.

Somehow the child doesn't look surprised at all, he tilts his head in a question but his calm smile and sleepy expression stays exactly the same.

"Whatever stupid little kiddy game you're all playing. You win. I'm taking all this now." Yuna says.



"But Yuna? You don't have to take that plate? There's more over there?" Amar points.

"Don't waste this on the others" talks Yuna with his mouth full, still shoveling green coated pasta down his mouth.

"What did you poison Yuna with?!" I feel like interrogating the kid by his apron.

"Nothing. Why would I poison anyone here?" Amar blows air out his nose and I feel the mockery in that helpless expression.

"Tricks! Yuna doesn't count because Amar tricked something and cheated again!" yells Lukas, backing me up.

"Um..." interrupts my soft spoken little maid, trembling under the pressure " ...may I?"

With an eye roll, Yuna gives up against the shy younger girl, handing down the plate so she may take a forkful of judgment. Rightful judgment.

"Oh. It-it's so soft! The orecchiette is-is so soft and te-tender. It smells so!!! It *sniff* smells *hic*really *sob* go-good*soob* ex-excuse me-eme!" my maid starts sobbing for no reason.

Something that terrifies absolutely everyone.

The power of a girl's tears is an absolutely horrifying thing. Too powerful.

After we get a hanky and a cup of juice for Abbey to calm herself down, Georgie can actually make an assessment. Breaking us all out of the lost and awkward mood.

Seriously what just happened?

Amar? Are you seriously poisoning the food? This kind of stuff only happens when it's your turn?!

"Roasted pine nuts. Ground roasted pine nuts is the strongest scent here, followed by olive oil and basil. Abbey's said her grandparents still live in a pine forest. It's the pine nuts, and the pasta shape really soaks up the sauce. It must have made her homesick." tastes Georgie, somehow piecing the mystery together. Amazing, my assistant can act as a food detective as well.

"*sob sob* I-I'm s-so-so-sorry! *sob sob*"

Before I can order her to calm down because there's nothing to be sorry for, Amar shakily apologizes. Which makes Abbey apologize more, which in turn keeps Amar saying sorry back and it's just a never-ending cycle of guilty sorries.

"Sorry, I didn't know it would make you cry. I'm sorry."

"No-no, I'm sorry. I shouldn't ha-have, you didn't- it-it was really go-good *sob* it's just *sob* reminds me-*sob sob*"

"Sorry?! It's ok, you don't have to cry?"

"Cool! Amar you made two people cry today! Without fighting or hitting them!? Whoa! Wait is it a girl thing or a crybaby thing?! Oh. Still, it's really strong, how did you do it?! Is it a secret technique? Did Vincent teach you?! I heard he makes babies cry without a word?!"

"I really don't know? I'm sorry."

"Shut up with the sorries! Who won?!" I snap, trying to bring things to order.

Georgie shrugs, still refusing to participate. Abbey is emotionally wrecked and sobbing in a corner. Yuna is a biased and probably poisoned grump still eating the suspicious kinda pesto pasta that ruined everything.

Guess we'll just have to let everyone else taste to find out. Get to it minions!

No not you Abbey, oh please stop crying? Please?! How do we stop a girl from crying? Someone fix this?!


Author's note:

Vote for your kiddy pasta- stop them from maybe killing each other in the arguments:

Lukas: Potato Gnocchi in Bacon Spinach Cream Sauce. You really can't go wrong. Gnochhi it's too difficult to makeand deliciously mouth sized. He even used bacon soup (it's bone broth you bacon fiend) in the sauce, whipped in cream and fried up thick cut bacon for it. Praise him for the bit of spinach, he's learning. It's creamy and rich- no shame. The most filling even without the meat content. Optional? Add even more cheese? A strip of bacon. If it was the mess hall of manly rowdy troop soilders he may have won on bacon alone. Voted most indulgent.

Rosa: Linguine With Shrimp And Mussels and Italian plum tomatoes. Admitedly heavy on the white wine but oh so good with the sweel succulent seafood cooked in. Add a glass of wine for further enjoyment. Buttery but bright and refreshing with those bits of tomatoes and capers. Could use red pepper flakes not gonna lie but you will have to make due with black pepper. The most expensive dish. Perfection on it's own. Sauce suitabe for dipping with bread, add cheese to your preference. Called the Most satisfying.

Amar: Orecchiette Pasta with Pesto. Kinda pesto? It's pesto. Addicting not drugs but might as well be pesto sauce that he totally learned from Georgie. Roasted those pine nuts and garlic though bc smell is his thing. Made use of those fresh herbs mainly basil. The light fats of olive oil. Just a bit of roasted walnut. The simpliest technically but oh so much details, smells the 'strongest'. Voted most addicting, especially those who love pesto.


Behind the scenes UT:

-Frederick Ventrella taking his youngest daughter to his wife to ask "How does it operate?"

-Maria loving her husband sooooo much she doesn't....sock him. "It's a surprise dear~"

-Lilyanne chooses whichever pasta has the most cheese. You can change her answer by adding more cheese to whichever plate.

-Alfsono already has people scheduled for clean up duty. Alfonso knows all.

-Frederick not a Bicchieri Ventrella knows exactly which pasta is his Chippy's without a single hint. He can just taste the money. You could blindfold him (oh no Maria no bad Maria down it was just no- Maria it's still daytime, Lilyanne is right there!) and he still knows.


What was your favorite part(s) in this chapter? Tell me below in the comments?

Thank for reading.