Chapter 7:

Chiffon, the Adventurer

The Wanderblood Princess and Sir Try Hard

Sunlight beamed down, the warmth invoking a yawn aimed toward the clear sky. The cool, crisp air was enough to send a slight shiver down Chiffon’s back before her body temperature could keep up. But nonetheless, she loved the feeling of exiting the castle grounds.

No matter what troubles that came about her morning, she could simply sweep it aside once the openness of the outdoors greeted her. She tipped her head at the castle guards stationed at the gate, bidding them adieu for the morning. And as always, they bowed and gave her a knowing smile as she went briskly past them.

“Safe travels, Your Highness.”

“Take care, for I shall return stronger,” she replied.

They knew not to worry about their wanderlust princess, having been bested in a display of strength several years ago when she barely stood up to their chests. Royalty was just built differently. And that reassurance gave Chiffon the confidence to charge out into the world each day.

Yet, the feeling of a ball and chain dragging upon the ground hindered her steps just the slightest. Before, her heart bounded with joy upon the first steps into town, the feeling akin to a child being freed from her mandatory studies for the holidays. But now, she kept wanting to look back, expecting eyes firmly upon her and whispers of judgment.

After all, now she knew that she was constantly followed. Five bodies, camouflaged in the surroundings, kept a constant watch on her. After she left her father’s room, they disappeared, back to their duty. Like insects buzzing around foliage, unseen unless someone dangerous was to step right into their web.

“Where to, my princess?”

Chiffon rolled her eyes. There was still one pest that was left out in the open. A cockroach that couldn’t be squashed. He would merely scurry away in an instant, leaving her wondering where he would pop up next. It was better that Caramello remain in her sight, lest he bring about another surprise to ruin her day.

“Making my rounds.”

“Oo, can I come? I take it Your Highness wishes to deal with some pent-up stress?” he said, pointing to the long-handled mallet gripped tightly in her hands. A cumbersome weapon like that would hardly seem appropriate for a delicate, thin girl such as her, but Caramello’s mind entertained no such thoughts after their deadly duel yesterday. Just like how it was brandished, it gave her a sense of command.

“Whose fault do you think that is?”

“If the irritation in your voice is any indication, then I will have to strive to do better.”

“Better at what? Invoking my desire to maim you?”

“Why, if that is the type of play that you prefer, then I shall make note of it….”

“Y-You! Don’t write that down!”

Chiffon reached back and grabbed Caramello roughly by the collar. If she removed her bracelet, surely, she could lift him up and wring his neck until an unsightly snap occurred. But Caramello’s eyes suddenly narrowed as he bent forward, next to her ear.

“Princess, perhaps you could calm down a bit. I am aware of the mask that you painstakingly display in public. Would it not be best to leave such advances upon myself in private?”

His whispers pricked her ears and tickled her spine. Immediately, she was made aware of the scene that she was putting on and the people who were casting their gazes in their direction. How shameful it must look for an esteemed person to roughhouse her servant in broad daylight.

Just think of what would be done behind closed doors!

Chiffon’s mind flew off on a tangent, her cheeks suddenly aflame as her lips quivered in shock. How many times had it been that he turned the tables on her already? Far too many and too easily, if asked!

Not wanting to slander her image further, she hastily let go and switched modes, giving off the best imitation of a frail maiden who had been wronged by a man. Her lips puffed, brows furrowed, and shouldered hunched over with her arms together like a pouting child. She looked like she was about to cry.

Although Caramello knew that it was all an act, he had few words in response to a girl sulking so cutely. If he teased her further, then he would become the villain.

“Very well, I shall endeavor to be kind on occasion.”

The rest of the walk passed by without so much as a peep from Caramello, who simply trailed behind the now-bubbly princess. She was thrilled to have prevailed in one exchange, despite the unfair tactics thrown. Yet, a small victory she would still take, given her mood.

On the other hand, Caramello didn’t mind at all. That was just one more thing to make note of and prepare for the next time. He continued watching her from a distance, giving her temporary free reign while observing the girl in her natural environment.

“Good afternoon, Your Highness!”

“Ready to trounce some beasts, I see. Better leave a bit of the spoils for us, you know!”

“Take care, Princess Chiffon!”

There was no question that the people of the kingdom adored their princess. Chiffon sauntered down the busy streets as the citizens made an open path while greeting her. Her hand gracefully waved at the crowd. She responded to those greetings with sweet words of her own. Her very presence sparkled like a gem among a tide of people.

She loved the attention that she received. It gave her confidence in the person she was. And the spring in her step had erased all traces of the sourness she held before. Caramello marveled at how quickly her mood could shift and how irritation could be masked with practice.

The bold, commanding girl that marched forward like a hero toward battle was a stark contrast to the pompous, dreamy girl from before. Knowing that gave Caramello all the more incentive to tease her, but at a more opportune time.

Before long, the two arrived at a large building bustling with activity. Gruff, sturdy men entered and exited the doors, the latter looking a bit tipsier than the former. A barmaid stuck her head out the window and yelled at a pair of men who were briskly making their escape.

“Ey dipshits! Where’s ma tip! I ain’t gonna give ya service the next time, ya filthy cheapskates!”

The clanking of their armor was the only response that she got, causing her to growl in annoyance before ducking back into the bar.

The scent of booze didn’t linger upon all those that came out. Some exited with focused eyes, their minds engaged upon their next task as they marched toward their destination. Their intentions were as clear as their armor was fancy and polished.

If the people visiting this location didn’t make it clear, then a sign saying Adventurer’s Guild made it unquestionable. This was a place to fill their pockets with gold and their bellies with booze, success or not. Hardly suitable for someone of royalty.

Yet, Chiffon waltzed through the doors like a regular, leaving Caramello to arch a brow before entering the place himself. Past the doors was a large open lobby. Grand as the building itself, the place was then split into three distinct areas.

The tune of an offbeat piano immediately drew Caramello’s gaze to the right, its player tapping the keys like his mind was disconnected from his ears. Several glasses resting upon the table next to him spoke volumes of his artistic melody. Several tables and chairs were scattered about, enough to seat a small army. And while it was still early in the morning, there was no shortage of people willing to get buzzed before heading off for a job, bellowing out their grievances.

“They got me fetching the hides of 50 wildebeests. You hear that! 50! Five freaking zero!”

“Hey, at least you don’t gotta be stuck on a boat fishing up Rainbow Sturgeons for dem purdy scales. But money’s money man.”

“That doesn’t mean I have to be sober to do it.”


Drinking made a tedious job more tolerable. Not that Chiffon would purposefully do so herself. Her palate was a bit too refined to enjoy the sharp and bitter brew that hit her tongue the one time she tasted it. And the face she made as a result was far from fetching. Seeing as she couldn’t let go of her carefully crafted airs, consuming such poisons had no purpose if not medicinal.

Next to the tavern, a neatly dressed woman with spectacles was attending to a tall, muscular man, who proceeded to pull out items one by one from his bag – tails from beasts, gemstones, and shiny trinkets – likely spoils from his own adventures.

The woman eyed each object, drawing mental calculations in the air with her finger, before counting a pile of gold coins on the counter and pushing it towards him.

The counter where they stood next to served as an exchange. Those that had fulfilled their requests came here to claim their rewards. And often, they merely needed to bring small proofs – tails, fins, wings, claws, and the like – of their slain targets to verify the deed.

Chiffon saw the man sweep up a portion of the coins and shove it into his pocket, pushing the rest back toward the woman. The exchange counter doubled as a bank for its patrons, keeping funds that unnecessarily weighed down pockets safely in their possession. The last thing that people needed was to drop their hard-earned money in the heat of battle.

These were but momentary distractions, as royalty lacked any need for such services. Chiffon’s main goal was the bulletin boards on the left. Upon the soft wood were dozens of papers tacked on, with people circling the area to find a suitable job for themselves.

Requests were placed there by just about anyone, looking for a little help for their situations. Anything from finding lost items to getting rid of stray pests could earn hardworking folks a few meals. However, Chiffon walked right by those; they were far below her capabilities.

And as she did, heads turned toward her. They greeted her like the townsfolk did. Even within these walls, she was their star. Men twice as tall and limbs as thick as her torso gave a salute to their Wanderblood Princess. Because in comparison, she could decimate tens of them.

Her steps led her straight to a fancier and less cluttered board, where even the quality of paper used was a distinct grade higher. Her eyes darted back and forth anxiously, hoping for something to catch her interest. Not boars nor bears nor any other natural creatures of the wild. She wanted something different; her mood called for it.

This was a board for the special adventurers, the strong and the skilled. Often, such requests were handed out by agents of the kingdom, asking for help that outclassed the typical adventurer. Rewards from these were lavish, with adequate risks to account for them.

“Well, well, if it isn’t our favorite princess, bored out of her mind.”

“Why, if it isn’t my favorite swordsman, bothering said princess instead of being on the job. Good day to you, Sal.”

Chiffon turned toward the man, an aged veteran who felt completely comfortable approaching royalty. His white hair and wrinkled brow belied how little age had slowed him down. But one look at his chiseled limbs made anyone resist thinking of him as an old-timer.

“There’s never a time when I can’t take a break to pester the daughter of an old friend. Especially one hell bent on following in her father’s footsteps. Too bad you just missed Peppa. We just got back from a job past the Gruyere Alps. He would’ve wanted to see your cheery face.”

“A job that took you two into another kingdom entirely? Whatever could such a request ask for?” she asked, a clear air of jealousy around her. They could travel as far as they wished, unlike her.

“As it happened, a good friend of mine, Viscount Limburger, accidentally dropped a nice sword while fighting a dragon. And then, the blasted beast flew away. By the time we tracked it down, we had gone through deserts, forests, and mountains chasing after it. Tell me, have you ridden a dragon?”

“Of course not, I’m not even of the age to steer my own carriage. Taming a horse is the best I can do.”

“Well, there’s no way around it if you stab the sucker and off it flies. I was holding onto my sword for dear life while Peppa was trying to shoot it down, trying not to stab my behind with arrows. He only hit me three times-, say who’s this chap that’s lingering around behind you? An admirer?”

Chiffon turned around, seeing Caramello waving lightly at them with a look of amusement. He had been silently observing their conversation, drawing Sal’s gaze. For a moment, she had completely forgotten about his presence.

“He’s… my knight…”

“Ah, so the time has come! Won’t that be a load off Vaniglia’s shoulders!” Sal’s expression brightened, not catching the hesitation in Chiffon’s words.

“Good to know that he isn’t just some bum following your cute frame. Though, I would say that he’s dressed well enough to give a chance.”

“Excuse me, but I take pride in being a bum up until yesterday, thank you.” Caramello found his chance to interject into the conversation, giving a bow with his strange proclamation.

“Ah, wait. Your knight is a commoner? Well, fancy seeing that.”

“Yes, yes. I am but a lowly commoner, striving for significance among great people. Such as yourself, Sir Sal. Would you kindly grace me with an introduction, Your Highness?”

Chiffon stepped back in surprise at Caramello’s sudden humbleness. It made her unsettled, but nonetheless, proper introductions were a necessity of manners.

“This man is Salvador of House Marquesote, an old friend of my father’s. They once adventured together, along with Pepperon of House Friggitelli.”

“Peppa’s a real good shot with the bow, but it’s hard to make up for the strong, three-man-cell we once were in the good ol’ days. I imagine being a king is a step up though.” Sal reached out for a handshake, which Caramello accepted cordially.

Members of nobility becoming adventurers were hardly a surprise, especially the relatives of the family head. Naturally, members of an esteemed house served as their lord’s arms, using their abilities to serve their kingdom. This included the requests placed upon this special board.

“Interesting… I can see that you’ve got a certain hold on little Chiffon already. For a man gifted enough to trounce the competition, I very much am looking forward to hearing of your future exploits.”

Sal approached Caramello, giving the bowing man a clap on the shoulder. He responded with an air of respect.

“I shall endeavor to bring amusement and praise-worthy thoughts upon your honorable self. Princess Chiffon is well protected with me by her side.”

“That makes this Uncle thrilled to hear. Good luck on your requests. And see you around, Princess.”

With a wink, Sal walked past them, presumably to take on his next adventure. All that was keeping Chiffon’s jaw from dropping was her biting down upon her bottom lip.

So he can be polite when he wants to be! But then… why does he treat me so!?

Chiffon’s look of astonishment was brushed off as Caramello looked back up with a grin. The purposeful grin of a two-faced child who had just deceived one parent over the other. Chiffon felt like he could convince her to sell her own soul if she wasn’t careful.

Her heart pounded as he took two steps forward, giving a snide grin as he stared at her with his red eyes. She had no idea what he planned next. The man was unpredictable and deceptive.

“So… what do I have the pleasure of seeing my dear princess slay today?”

Pope Evaristus
Steward McOy
Kya Hon