Chapter 1-7 : Dinner At The Atwood House
In front of me, I saw a black object on my plate, a lettuce-like wild grass next to it, small pieces of meat floating in my soup, and water in a wooden cup.
（Is it black bread? And… is it just me or is this bread smaller than the hard bread I ate this morning? The soup is clear… It looks like it was made only from water and salt… And the chunks of meat are small…）
It’s not an appetizing meal.
On the other hand, there was a big chunk of roasted meat in front of Aaron.
「Today’s meat is from a deer I hunted in the Denis Forest. The deer was bigger than me, and it could jump a boulder with one leg. I hope you guys enjoy it.」
After he proudly showed off the roasted meat in front of him, he looked at his son-in-law, Alex, who was sitting next to him.
「Alex. Eat well and make my daughter pregnant!」
There was also roasted meat on Alex’s plate.
「Y, Yes, Aaron-sama.」
He replied to Aaron with an awkward smile.
No. For Mylia, it wasn’t an awkward smile… It was a creepy smile…
Compared to Aaron, Alex looked weak.
He has pale red hair and freckles on his cheeks.
His appearance looked like a college science student.
However, his skin wasn’t white.
Because Aaron always took him hunting with him every day, his skin became a little tanned.
「Bonnie, what’s wrong? You too. Eat properly and get pregnant already.」
Bonnie, who was tired of hearing her father rushing her to get pregnant every day, replied to him with a small voice with a forced smile.
When everyone saw her smiling like that, the atmosphere in the dining room suddenly became tense.
The only one who wasn’t aware of it was Aaron.
Saying that, Aaron immediately rapaciously devoured the meat.
He looked like a boss of a mountain bandit rather than an aristocrat.
Also, there’s no greetings before eating.
When Mylia looked sideways, she saw her mother, Ella, praying in a low voice.
「ーーCelis-sama, thank you for your blessing.」
Then, she picked up her spoon and started eating.
The others were also praying.
There was no conversation.
The atmosphere was so heavy that a happy family dinner seemed to be just an impossible dream.
（If he goes hunting every day, why doesn’t he let us eat more meat!?）
While complaining in her head, Mylia took a bite of her black bread.
（Hard! What the heck is this? A stone!? Hauu…. My teeth hurt…）
It was harder than the bread she ate for breakfast.
She tried to soak it in her soup and took a bite.
Then, she had no choice but to put the whole bread into the soup and stirred it around.
If she didn’t do this, she wouldn’t be able to take a bite.
Suddenly, her mother, who was sitting diagonally on the opposite side of the table, glared at Mylia.
Chloe realized it and hurriedly poked Mylia with her elbow, then finally Mylia raised her face and noticed that what she did was bad manners.
She then immediately stopped stirring the soup.
（Ehh… It’s impossible to eat this with the jaw of a little child, though…）
She decided to leave the black bread soaking in the soup.
No one seemed to be blaming her anyway.
However, Robin, who sat next to Ella, wiped her mouth with a handkerchief and saidー
Then, she took a bite of her hard black bread elegantly.
Her fine dress and black bread made a weird combination.
Mylia found it funny and smirked unintentionally.
（She looks like a poor woman trying to act like a wealthy lady.）
Robin saw Mylia’s smirk and squinted.
She then turned to Aaron and saidー
「Father, don’t you think it’s a waste to provide this pipsqueak meals like us? I think one meal every two days is enough for her.」
Aaron raised his face while chewing the meat and replied vaguely.
At first glance, it looked like Aaron didn’t really hear what Robin said, but actually, he didn’t get along with her.
Being surprised by the sudden turn of events, Mylia could only look at Robin and Aaron’s faces alternately.
（Eh? Ehhh!? One meal for two days!? Are you kidding me!?）
「Am I wrong? A person who’s not doing anything has no rights to eー」
Suddenly, Chloe interrupted Robin with a loud voice.
「ーMylia, it’s okay to soak your bread in your soup. I don’t want you to hurt your teeth. If you soak it like this, it will RETURN to a soft state.」
Aaron, Alex, Bonnie, Ella, Robin, Jasmine, and Penelope.
Everyone stared at Chloe all at once because it was rare for her to talk out loud like that.
「It will return?」
Mylia was also surprised and instinctively asked back.
「Yes, it will RETURN to a soft state.」
After saying that, Chloe glanced at Robin.
The word “return” was kind of forbidden in the Atwood Family.
The reason was Robin has made a very disgraceful record in aristocratic society by ‘cheating on her husband, divorcing, and returning home’.
This fact has not yet been leaked to the royal capital because it was only a marriage between rural aristocrats, but it would eventually spread if they didn’t hide it well.
Aristocratic society was full of gossip after all.
While biting her bread, Robin trembled with her face bright red.
「Has your bread RETURNed to a soft state, Mylia?」
As she tucked her hair behind her ear, Chloe asked Mylia with a smile.
（Return… return….. Ah! Return home after divorce?…. So Chloe onee-chan said it out loud on purpose…!?）
「Un. It almost RETURNed to a soft state.」
When I said that, Robin glared at me intimidatingly.
（Uwaa… she looks so scary… we might have angered her too much.）
「Oi, you two. Stop saying that.」
Said Aaron as he stabbed his fork into his roasted meat and pointed his knife at Mylia and Chloe.
「Aaron-sama is right. Don’t say that so lightly.」
Said Alex, trying to act like a good son-in-law.
However, he didn’t realize that agreeing with Aaron just meant that he acknowledged the scandal Robin made.
Being shamed even more, Robin clicked her tongue out loud.
「Alex-sama, please be quiet!」
Being glared at by Robin, Alex shut his mouth immediately.
「Just eat quietly.」
Feeling a little bit uncomfortable, Aaron said so, and then continued eating.
「I’m sorry. I’ll be careful next time.」
Chloe and Mylia apologized, but Robin didn’t stop glaring at them.
She seemed to be very annoyed with their perfectly synced actions.
（Uhh… she’s still glaring at me… Oh well, I’m glad that it looks like I won’t be starved in the future…）
Thanks to Chloe’s interruption, the discussion about providing Mylia only one meal every two days was averted.
However, the atmosphere in the dining room got even worse after that.
Robin kept glaring with intimidating eyes; Aaron devoured meat like a boss bandit; Alex kept silent after making Robin even madder; Bonnie was depressed; Ella, Jasmine, and Penelope showed no concern from the beginning.
As if the god of death was here, the air around the table was cold as hell.
（Eating hard and bad-tasting food in this kind of atmosphere… this is the worst…）
The lettuce-like grass was very bitter.
The soup was a little salty, and for some reason, an animal-like smell drifted from it.
（Ahh… I miss the yakiniku I ate with grandma at Jojoen when I was in middle school…）
Jojoen was the most famous Japanese yakiniku restaurant.
*/jojoen.co.jp (not sponsored btw)
Miria and her grandma had lunch there once.
At that time, Miria was having a hard time in school.
Her grandma took her to the restaurant to make her smile again.
Eating yakiniku at Jojoen was a wonderful experience for Miria.
She could feel heaven in every single bite of meat.
（Compared to that delicious yakiniku… I can feel hell in every bite of this meal now…）
Thought Mylia while chewing her soaked black bread with no expression.
Because wheat couldn’t be cultivated in this region, people here rarely ate bread.
The ones who could eat bread oftenly were only the Atwood Family.
However, the bread they got wasn’t fluffy bread, but hard black objects with nutritious grains mixed in.
Experiencing such a terrible dinner, Mylia’s determination to get out of this family was getting stronger.