Chapter 12:

Expectations of You

The Wanderblood Princess and Sir Try Hard

When Chiffon caught up to him, she felt like only half of herself. The other portion remained glued upon Caramello’s back, watching as his black hair lightly dangled over his blue overcoat. She knew not what to say in response to what had happened at the inn, so she swallowed her words, hoping for him to speak again.

But he did not. There was silence as they walked right out, into the streets and ignoring the momentary glances of those who recognized her by sight. The hushed realizations were lost on her, drowned out by the steady footsteps of her one and only knight.

He was the only one in the whole kingdom – to know of everything and still embrace her gently. As annoying as his behavior was, she felt her heart skip beats.

Chiffon realized. She wanted his attention. Wanting to discard her pride and reach out, to bridge the distance and walk by his side… but she couldn’t.

He barely turned to look at her, hailing a carriage to take them to the castle. He simply nodded and beckoned for her to enter first, a trained formality, before climbing in himself. Even as the carriage began to move, his smile remained cemented on his face, and his sharp eyes flicked back and forth, as if analyzing the situation. After several long minutes, the atmosphere became so cold that she couldn’t help but give off a shiver.

“I can take a hint. Somewhere in my words, I must have hit a sore spot for you to simply give me the silent treatment. While I do not believe that I have spoken in err, perhaps I have not taken your feelings into account.”

Caramello’s eyes softened. They no longer held the forcefulness from before. Chiffon was a bit flabbergasted. He was apologizing because he had misinterpreted her state of shock for anger. Though she felt like correcting his mistake immediately, she held her tongue. Her desire to watch him stew in the few grievances she could invoke was stronger.

“I see… I will take your silence as an acknowledgment. But understand this, I have my duty. And if you come to regret accepting me as your knight, then that is your choice-”

Chiffon couldn’t stand it anymore. She leaned forward at once and placed a finger right up to his face.

After I bared my soul to him, shared my past and its gruesomeness, you don’t get to back out on me! Not a chance!

Her eyes were furious at the thought. He had to take responsibility for it all. Seeing Caramello sweat for the first time, Chiffon felt an odd sense of satisfaction as she sank back into her seat. She was spelt from her long day. But more than that, she felt intoxicated by the flood of emotions that bombarded her, a literal course of ups and downs, making her heart pound furiously even while sitting.

Half of her mind remained firmly stuck on Caramello as she studied him like he did her.

And even when they got back to the castle, the remaining half of her could only undergo practiced motions paved from repetition. She had no heart left for anything else. It had been pinned to that donkey of a man, where he wouldn’t think to check.

With her mind absent, her princess mode fully kicked into gear. She was a flower trained to be admired and not to be handled. The aura that she gave off was so polished that the servants greeting her simply took it in stride and delved no further in their inquiries. Even those that noticed her change of attire clammed up from the glow of charisma emitting from her.

During that time, Chiffon had eyes for no other person. She stared and stared and stared, wondering if Caramello would turn back and suddenly surprise her. And it mildly disappointed her that he didn’t.

Before she knew it, she was before her bedroom door. Day had turned to night without her notice, the sun setting only because Caramello had told her so.

Chiffon lightly pushed open the door, revealing an elderly maid that was slightly miffed.

“There you are, Princess! You’re late! When the King and Queen wondered about your absence at dinner, all I could do was march up to your room to find you. But there you are! Come along now, I’ll ask the servants to reheat your soup and carry on with the courses.”

“Ah, Catherine. I-I’m not hun-”

“Pish! Only the first day and lover boy is taking you out on a dinner date? I can clearly see that isn’t the case. Pale as you are famished! You look like you haven’t even had your afternoon tea, so get going or you’ll get an earful from your mother!”

Catherine seemed to have a sixth sense about her. That was likely because she had raised her since birth. Chiffon knew it was inescapable, so she merely sighed and pivoted toward the dining hall. The scolding voice of Catherine remained behind, aimed toward the one who was supposed to be keeping tabs on her.

“I tried,” he simply said, nonchalant even amidst the bite of a sharp-tongued nanny.

Very hard, Chiffon wanted to turn and add, but she couldn’t bring herself to. She wanted him to suffer just a bit for how he made her feel.


Nighttime was insufferable.

Just when she thought that her routine had washed away the irregularities of the day, the quietness of her room dragged it to the surface all over again.

Chiffon laid in bed, eyes wide open, staring at the door. Part of her wondered, Would he slip into her room again tonight? But quickly, she discarded that thought. It wasn’t proper of a lady, much less one of her status.

Fairy tales of mysterious men paying noblewomen visits under the veil of darkness tickled many hearts. Not even a Royal was immune to them. Expectations and desires grew, the more fantastical reality approached.

Perhaps, he would surprise her again, just like he has been doing.

Chiffon glanced over at the wall, now completely mended. Just that morning, she had smashed a large hole, but a little bit of magic and servant elbow grease turned it into an illusion. She was never more appreciative that a god’s blessing could even spur talent in menial labor.

But despite the lack of visible evidence, the memory of a rude awakening was still fresh on her mind. She hated him at first, but now, she wanted him to come.

Her hand reached toward the door, beckoning it to open from mere thoughts. The anticipation of Sir Caramello waltzing in chilled her fingertips like fresh dew come morning. Her hand trembled, so much so that when she realized it, slipping them back under the covers caused her to jump with a yelp. The coldness of reality pricked her.

Yearning for such company seemed foolish, like a child alone in the dark. Chiffon believed that she had overcome that. The strength that she displayed during the day blew away any medium of fear, like a star lighting the way forward.

“But stars don’t simply shine, they burn.”

Caramello’s words echoed in her head. He had not simply seen the brightness that she put on, day after day. She suffered as well, burned by the flames of her passion. And yet, he still reached out to touch it, unafraid that he could be burned himself.

In one day, one single day that seemed insignificant amidst the span of 16 years, Sir Caramello had managed to make it unforgettable. But she refused to admit that out loud.

So she waited, and waited…

Eventually, the stars lost their shine and the silence lifted, the sky steadily brightening before her eyes. Chiffon had not slept a wink. She had waited all night for a guest that didn’t show up.

With a sigh, she leapt out of bed and greeted the day, settling for welcoming that instead. She opened the window, stared out at the beautiful city, and rushed back in to change her clothes. Her normal routine didn’t pause on the account of sleeplessness, save for a heavier coat of eyeshadow to cover the circles that the night left her with.

When several knocks on the door sounded, her heart sprang with joy, only to be mildly disappointed that the clink of a cart rolled forward. Tea would brighten her mood and drive the yawns away. That was a suitable expectation, tempered after a long night.

“No surprises today, I see! No holes in the wall! No early morning death auras! I see that you have decided to give the boy a chance.”

“If I hogged the workers every morning, they would never have to worry about their income. But sadly, Catherine, a princess must be thrifty with the kingdom’s coffers.”

Chiffon accepted the cup of tea and gave it a sniff. The flowery tones of Darjeeling blew away her weariness, enough so to sprout wings upon her back. One all-nighter was nothing in the face of herbal magic.

“Thrifty, you say? After returning home with that new dress? That shade is one that is definitely not part of your wardrobe.”

Chiffon froze. Something so unique would hardly escape the notice of her maid, Catherine.

“That is… I-”

Looks good on you, is what I would say if I didn’t know that you hated red, but seeing as you wore it anyway, the boy must have put you up to it.”

“Yes… he bought it for me after the other got dirty.”

“Well, isn’t that nice? You like him enough already to brush off a bad present. I guess I should tell that other chap you fancy that his dress isn’t need-”

“Wait, there’s another ready?!” Chiffon shot up excitedly. Her eyes sparkled with life now, rather than merely surviving the day. “Lord Scho, I should go visit him today!”

Catherine sighed. If there was anything that could motivate the young princess, it was sweets and cute attire. And in the case of the latter, one person captured her full attention. The young lord of House Lebkuchen, Schokolade.

His family held the title of Duke in the kingdom, but that mattered little to Chiffon. What she cared most about was the line of fashion crafted by its young lord. She had met him when they were children, her interest in cute frills instantly making her an avid fan of Lebkuchen-style clothing. And ever since her first meeting with Schokolade, whom she called Lord Scho, she would make excuses for visits, if only to try out the latest designs.

Her body trembled as she fought to gulp down the tea. Her speculations went into overdrive as to what she would model next. But obviously, she couldn’t display such favoritisms in public, so she bit back her giddiness before speaking again.

“I mean, I hope that Lord Scho has time in his busy schedule to accommodate me. I would be ever so delighted to see his next work of art.”

“I will contact him and let you know if he has a moment to spare,” Catherine said, resigned to the task that she anticipated upon mentioning it. “But first, why don’t you and your knight proceed to breakfast?”

“Sir Caramello? Would you happen to know where he is?”

Chiffon received a strange look from her maid, who simply cocked her head and looked past her. Finding it strange, Chiffon turned around to see Caramello sitting on the windowsill, his back leaning casually against the frame.

“W-W-What are you doing there?!” Chiffon threw her teacup at him. Fortunately, her bracelet was still on, allowing him to catch the hurled porcelain. Catherine let out a sigh of relief.

“I’ve been here since the knock on your door, but I guess you never noticed.”

“Notice?! What are you even doing there, instead of the door?!”

Caramello brushed his hair back before stepping inside. For a moment, he had become one of those thrill seekers looking to steal away a lady. However, it was morning, and they were in the midst of company.

“I heard noise from your room in the middle of the night, and since your door was locked, I decided to take a stroll upon the roof. After peeking in to see that you were fine, I must have fallen asleep out here, under the stars. You should really give it a try. The night sky is quite inviting.”

The next thing that Caramello knew, a teapot crashed against his head, sending shards everywhere. Warm tea doused his fair features, but he didn’t seem to mind. He merely took out a notebook and pen.

“Darjeeling from Eindhoven. A lovely choice.”

“I should have replaced only the cups…,” Catherine sighed, regretting that she had made orphans by choosing to bring a new set.