Chapter 57:

Ch 57: Grinding Stone

I was Born the Unloved Twin

"Darling, whatever have you done to our daughter's hair?"

"You'll have to be more specific my love, I believe we went over the hair cut at least a week ago now."

Hello, this is Rosalia again and I'm back to living my lazily productive life as the eldest young miss of the Ventrella household. Why am I talking to myself again? Eh whatever, gotta keep myself sane and entertained somehow.

It's dinner time right now and even though I'm very small I can sit at the table all by myself. Granted I need to aid of many seat boosters and cushions I have long been capable of staying upright and dining on my own. Not even Lilyanne gets that privilege yet, we're still working on that. She enjoys everyone doting on and feeding her though so it's not bad to let her just be.

Like father said it's been over a week since I got my hair initially cut. That turned out....traumatic.

I have since learned that if I brush down and keep my side bangs pinned or tied down with something, I can avoid looking like a chicken or similarly feathered bird. Lately, mother has been fond of using a bow or ribbon on me, which helps a lot.

Seriously what looks good on one person does not necessarily look good on others, do not attempt kpop idol hair when your face resembles a chubby mochi.

"Yes dear, while I still don't forgive you for that I understand the matching trim. What I don't understand Frederick is why you insist on turning our daughter into a mini you."


I spit out food before I can choke on it. When did I start becoming mini father? First the old fake barber and now mother, who else is seeing this?!

"Maria my beloved, I don't quite understand what you mean or how this is even connected to her hair."

"Frederick, my love and life, what I am asking is why in the world has our Rosa's hair become red?"

Choking, not eating but still choking. What do you mean my hair is red, I'm clearly a brunette! Rosalia has rich chestnut brown hair from childhood to when she grows up. She's Lilyanne's identical twin, though for some reason I can recall teen Rosalia being frustrated at how Lilyanne's hair always seemed fluffier.

What nonsense is mother going on about now?

"It's not red dear."

"Her hair is turning red darling! Just look at her next to Lily!"

Mother holds out a giggling toddler in a brand new dress that resembles a fluffy peach sheep. Yes apparently this is what mother has been up to while father and I were making our farm side escapes, she went shopping.

Lilyanne, and me by extension, now have an expanded wardrobe of frilly things we don't need.

It's very cute on Lilyanne though so I'll excuse it.

Though mother is holding out my little sister like she's the key piece of evidence in a court case I really don't get it. Lilyanne looks as sweet, lovely and dopey as usual. While I admit we're not as identical as we used to be as of late, she's still my mirror.

Father seems to take a double-take though.

"Well, I wouldn't say it's red still."

"Are you waiting for her head to turn into yours? What are you even doing Frederick love? I can excuse the boyish cut but certainly not dye."

"Maria my ivory and gold madonna, I do solemnly swear I had nothing to do with this."

"Oh Frederick, I wish I could believe you I wholly do."

Wait wait wait is there something seriously wrong with everyone's eyes or is it really me?

"Mother! Father! May I see a mirror?!"

It takes a while but mother's maids come carrying a large silver mirror.

At first, I don't see anything out of the ordinary. Obviously I look a little tanner from the summer playtimes excursion. I'm very boyish compared to Lilyanne, my hair is much shorter than her strong milk tea curls after that fresh chicken cut. We look like twin brother and sister instead of perfectly matching, no big deal.

Then I see it.

Highlights! WTF!?!

Somehow I have naturally red highlights!? Reddish?! And my tips! That isn't right, even though it's not exactly red it's obviously a whole different color next to Lilyanne! What's going on here!?

"What!!! When did my hair turn red!?!"

"Well Chip, it's not really red."

"Mother when did it turn red!?!?!"

"It's reddening, our daughter's hair is reddening. I love you but I blame you entirely Frederick."

"I really don't see how this is my fault."

Shut up father, as the natural redhead in the room you are is not allowed to speak! First, the matching chicken cut and now this! Obviously, you are the party at fault!

When did this cursed gene kick in huh? The original Rosalia did not literally have rose colored hair!

Seriously what is going on here?

Did I change so much that I butterfly effected my hair? Is this a magic thing? What if I've messed something up in the timeline? What does this mean?!

In the middle of my internal panic and monologue, my father's hand brushes through my short tresses in contemplation. He looks back and forth between and a curly-haired angel and a baby red chicken as if he could suddenly figure out what went wrong.

"It must be all the sun dear. Our Rosalia does enjoy being outside and she's not keen on her bonnets. Even my own hair turns in the summer, let alone the brightness I has when I was younger. I must have taken her out to the farmlands excessively as of late."

"Oh dear...yes I do recall our splendid youth. So it really is your fault."


"She won't really turn carrot red, will she? Oh my poor Rosa! No worries, Mama won't let that happen! Hats, yes we'll get more hats ordered! If you don't like your bonnets there are many more styles! Oh they'll be so very lovely!"

"Maria, light and love of my life, I know you mean well but isn't that just more shopping? And what's wrong with red hair? You said you like my hair."

"Oh Frederick, my dearest and most tender love, you know I do of course. I adore you and everything about you. And I'm so glad your beautiful head has darkened to your handsome auburn shade over the years. Oh, you're right darling, it will be fine even if Rosa turns into a carrot, she'll just grow out of it as you did!"

"...I wasn't that bad."

"Of course dear. I still love you."

Huh, that makes a lot less worrisome sense! Genetics and sun exposure explains everything.

I take a huge breathe and finish my meal while mother and father politely argue, or is it flirting? I can never tell with this gross couple?

Whew, no time mess-ups yet, just some sun-faded hair and a healthy tan.

What a nice body though, I've been playing outside so much and haven't received a single sunburn. How nice and refreshing compared to the years I spent shielding myself from the sun's rays in fear of darkening my porcelain fair skin.

Beauty standards are weird.

I should be more careful though, sunburns are unpleasant. Should I look into making sunscreen? Carrot seed oil and raspberry seed oil is supposed to have a high SPF, haha how ironic. They're all red themselves!

Write that down Abigail, we're testing that out later. Raspberries should still be available right now. We just need to get enough of the seeds to make oil! There are too many carrot jokes going around right now.

Father and I have since returned to the farm only twice for shorter day trips to oversee the progress on the construction of the new watermill and farming system. Father has unfairly ridden off to work on the farming community without me a couple of times but it can't be helped. He's the acting 'Lord', laaaaaame.

Well, it's fine, he does a better job than Grampa.

Word is slowly getting out that builders and craftsmen, or women, are needed with the implemented plans. I wonder if this will increase the economy of our land? It's too early to say yet.

I really didn't expect such work needed to be done nor for this farmland project to grow the way it did. But there's just so much lacking, it's hard to ignore.

Roads can easily be packed and graveled if not better paved, irrigation ditches dug, and heck some better outhouses? Why not? It's bearable with enough sawdust, greens and maybe some citrus. Human compost is still very risky but it's better than what people are doing with their waste right now!

Plumbing? Are sewers even a feasible thing? Maybe not right now.

S much to do and this is just the bathroom talk.

Father isn't stopping with his beloved butter churner either. He keeps drawing and drafting designs for different things.

While he doesn't really seek me out every day, I can't help but be curious. The good thing is that when I approach him first he doesn't bother hiding a thing and offers to let me look and ramble my thoughts as I please.

Personally, I can't make sense of half the things he's working on. There are so many wheels involved I feel like I'm looking at the inside of a clock tower. It's very cool looking though, very detailed.

More importantly, these things will actually work! Or the will eventually, give the craftsmen some wiggle room. I have full faith in Father's design despite only knowing about his skills for a short time.

He got his hand-crank butter churner made and it works perfectly.

Seriously wtf, I'm still so confused how this is happening? Out of curiosity, and pure simple greed, I've asked if he could possibly design and commission other things with all his wheels. It was a challenge he gleefully took all too seriously.

Father, aren't you a politician? Shouldn't you be back at court or something doing whatever it is noblemen are supposed to do? You'll be knocked out of the running for prime minister at this rate!

Even though I got him to start making me a variety of things already, I am worried for him.

Why am I seeing you around so often now? Go back to work!

But apparently focusing on his own home territory and physically improving it still counts as work. That actually makes more sense. What the hell do nobles do in court anyway? Besides arguing and scheming against each other that is.

Well not my business, I'm a toddler.

Until the building projects are more stable, I guess we'll just be seeing more of father around at home. As much as he teases me, it's not like we don't get along. How strange, when did that happen?

Wasn't Rosalia always intimidated by her perfect nobleman of a father? She really was a sad and misguided little girl, our father is such a nerd.

Mother is certainly pleased at least, which releases me from her overprotective supervision.

I'm still not used to her changed behavior. I get that she's more protective of me since I'm Lilyanne's battery lifeline but it's not that serious, even Gable said so. Please go back to casually forgetting about me mother, I beg of you. I'm so borrrrreeeed in your room all the time. I've even started counting the shoes, currently, I'm at 87.

Let me go back to my soaps and anti-famine research.

Fighting father! Go distract mother with your scandalous Mr. Darcy shirts! You're my best hope at the moment, I need my opportunities to escape!

Maybe go have a horseback riding or orchard picking date? Something?

I'm a brilliant event planner because my suggestions do work. Sorry Lilyanne, you'll be fine without me to play with for a bit right? Yes just take another nap and maybe vomit on the maids a bit, big sis has some work to do.

If I can't be out on the project sites of the farmlands as much as I like, and it's not charging day in the troops, that means I can get back to my personal projects!

I do not have a lab but if anyone asks, it's the stone store rooms outside by the kitchens.

Lilyanne and I are at the age where it's perfectly normal for wealthy children to have plenty of toys. Unfortunately, I am not a real child and these 'toys' hold no interest to me.

Seriously is that supposed to be a rabbit or something? Why is it carved from wood and filled with sand? I want something fluffy and huggable. The dolls here are just too creepy looking, keep them away from me. I don't care if grampa hand carved them, they look haunted!

Since I am an odd child, as of late father has been designing and working with the builders to make me my own requested 'toys'. More equipment! That's what I've been bothering him about when I peek at his work.

He gets to draw more wheels and butter churner spin-offs and I get some actual hardware.

It's a win-win for the both of us!

The larger items will take much longer to source the material and construct properly but I already have some smaller items made. For example, his 'butter churner' has been simplified to a hand crank whisk!

Soap making productivity is up and our arms and wrists are very grateful for the invention. Though I do know the chefs prefer my original classic 'whisk' commissions. We need to get more of those made regardless.

Another new favorite tool of mine is a kitchen-sized stone grinder! How absolutely rural right? Father loves it even more than I do.

I say rural but it's a greatly improved design between the giant oxen led stone mills and the mortar & pestle that the kitchen staff currently uses. The kitchen-sized grinder that I've had made is essentially a stone mill for rice and soybeans that I used before back then.

Just a shame we don't have soybeans, I miss tofu and soymilk. Also, it isn't rice season yet so we couldn't get that much from the farms. What a shame.

It has a very aesthetically pleasing minimalistic look on the outside but conveniently grinds very well. Far better than a mortar and pestle. I based the design on the smooth and pretty Japanese grinding stones I've seen before. They're all lovingly made by this world's professional stone meisters thus ensuring the quality of the stone and long term usage.

As you can tell, all sorts of craftspeople are not only going crazy over the additional paychecks but the designs themselves. It's not a lie to say Father created them since he is the one making sense of my charcoal doodles and rambling explanations. It's his final versions that get produced into actual things.

What an unexpected blessing. I can make soap and bread but it's not like I know the mechanisms that go into making butter cranks or milling stones. Having Father as a designer and liaison is a lot more convenient than searching for a competent enough craftsman who's actually willing to listen to me.

The only real issue is that my new toy is not only 'my' favorite.

My kitchen staff has been going crazy turning everything that can possibly get their hands on into powder or paste. There has been puree soup served at every single meal since we got this thing made. As tasty as the summer soup menu is getting, we can start a mushy baby food company at this rate.

Stop I want to use my stone mill too, stop playing with and dirtying my toy!

I've only commissioned two of these things but it looks like the Ventrella house will be needing more. A lot more.

The cafeteria staff is already asking for them, Mr. Boar even visited our mansion's kitchen the other day to play with the grinder.

"Excellent, like this we don't have to depend on deliveries for flour. We could essentially make our own."

"Um...yes but only in small batches really. Could you put....the grinder back down now?"

"Such an amazing thing, you could essentially make anything into flour. Anything!"

"As long as it fits into the top whole yes. I would recommend toasted seeds and- ack Mr. Boar you don't need to spin it!!!"

Truely bakers have strong arms, he's lifting and twirling with it so happily. I get it already, everyone wants their own personal food processor and mill.

"Hahahahah who needs wheat?! Say we can't have more wheat? We can make anything! Anything!!!"

Well, can't say I hate his enthusiasm. Work hard in your flour grinding research then Mr. Boar, it will be very useful I'm sure. I'll look forward to your progress. Fighting!

I suppose the artisans and craftsmen will be very busy for the foreseeable future, and so will I.

What happened to my lazy life plan? I wanna be lazy like Lilyanne too! Just without the whole being locked up by mother part.

Hey hey hey is it my turn to play with the stone grinder yet?


Listen to your boss, me! Gimmie back my toy people! Hey wait no, you really should not try grinding that, oh no, don't you dare dirty my toy! I'm telling father!

...Wait, what did I just say? What kind of cheesy child antagonist lines just left my mouth?

Oh no...I really am turning into a villain. A very ineffective villain though, seriously it's my turn to play! Shoo shoo I need this to make new soap!