Lantern Against the Wind - Chapter 121
When Elena entered the kitchen, she was able to see that the people working in Logan’s kitchen were struggling from a lack of working hands. They needed all the help they could get since many maids and servants had gone missing after the rumors began. The word throughout the estate was that Logan had suddenly gathered children as well as women from the poor villages and was using them as his shield in his battle against Gareth. Logan had done his best to control the rumors once he was aware of their circulation, but he had not been able to keep the people quiet. The rumor then transformed into one that warned commoners of possibly becoming Logan’s shield once the women and children were dead. The frightening hearsay was powerful enough to prompt people to escape, not just from the villages but from the castle as well. For this reason, without enough people to maintain the workflow, the kitchen was a mess.
“Hey, you!” a woman finally called Elena a long time after she had lingered around the cart that was unloading ingredients at the back door of the kitchen. “You want work?”
Elena nodded hastily, her face stained with soot. “Yes. What should I do first?” she asked.
“Get that and start preparing it,” the woman ordered, pointing to a chicken.
Elena stepped into the kitchen and moved as fast as she could to kill the chicken, pluck its feathers, and prepare it to be cooked. She became tasked with even more things to do before she was finished with the chicken.
“You, take care of this.”
“Hey, move this here.”
While following orders, Elena looked around her surroundings, wondering where Lenoa was. It seemed that the women here were preparing an early dinner, but the lady of the household was missing. Elena continued to think as she completed each task as fast as she could, gradually becoming part of the staff in the kitchen. Her diligent nature was relieving the maids who were struggling to keep up, letting them breathe.
Once things were not as hectic, the woman who had called Elena in the beginning beckoned her. It seemed that she was the head maid.
“What’s your name?” the woman asked.
“It’s Madel,” Elena replied, her face indistinguishable from the soot that covered her face.
“Hm, I’ve never seen you around before,” the woman narrowed her eyes.
“It hasn’t been long since I moved here. My husband found a job here as a soldier… so I naturally moved with him. We haven’t even found a place to sleep yet…”
“Really? You should have sought work in the castle earlier—Lord Logan would have fed you and given you and your husband a place to stay.” The woman clicked her tongue and asked, “Why did you decide to come here at a time like this?”
“W-what do you mean?” Elena asked back, stuttering on purpose to feign ignorance about the current situation.
“Oh, so you don’t know. It’s a mess here. They’ve been taking all the men they could for the military,” the woman explained.
The woman looked at Elena for a moment with pitiful eyes and said, “Well, I’m pretty sure our lord will win, but he’s fighting a mercenary named Gareth. I don’t know how strong he is, but Lord Logan has been struggling for quite a while now. I don’t even want to know why they’re fighting in the first place, but the current situation is just a mess right now… The lord even had to drag all the women and children from the poor villages to use them as his shield.”