Chapter 25:

To Have Your Cake… - (END)

The Wanderblood Princess and Sir Try Hard

For those looking upon the castle at dawn, one might notice a glimmer high above. The shine of a crown upon golden locks stared out an open window, the lovely face of a princess staring wistfully at her kingdom.

But soon enough, one’s gaze would be drawn to the red glare that sometimes hid emerald eyes, and to the fiery red dress that fit her appearance. By now, everyone knew the characteristics of the Wanderblood Princess, the beauty that could crush her foes and lick the blood on her hand afterwards.

Chiffon no longer bothered to hide such urges. If they couldn’t accept both elegance and strength in one, then that was their own problem.

“Awake early and dressed today, I see!” The door opened with the sound of a cart rolling into Chiffon’s bedroom as normal. “That eager to see your new knight? A first, I might say!”

“Catherine, it’s not every day that I meet someone hardy enough to keep up with me. Of course, I am excited for the ceremony.”

“Still, you roughened him up plenty. The poor boy is still sleeping off his injuries. Not even the kingdom’s best apothecaries can heal someone as careless… and dutiful, I might add… as one who would shoulder all your whims. I realize that you have to quench your thirst for blood, but think of the consequences of breaking your retainers.”

Chiffon simply rested her head upon her hands, elbows against the windowsill. A satisfied smile lingered on her lips, which she slid her tongue over.

“I couldn’t help but have a taste when he tried so hard for me.”

“Well, before you go running off to greet the lad, morning tea for you.”

Catherine placed a teacup on the table next to her, which Chiffon picked up to take a sip. Accents of fruit danced on her tongue, almost like bubbles from champagne. Darjeeling from Eindhoven. Her favorite, no matter how her other tastes had changed.

“Shall I bring him a cake as well?”

“That would be a nice gesture. But tell me that it isn’t because you are the one that wants it?”

“Guilty, but only half so… after all, red velvet is a flavor that I hold closely to my heart.”

Catherine merely shook her head as Chiffon trotted out the door, her eyes dreamy despite the reddish glow. No matter how she changed, the princess’s desires would always be transparent. She was a handful, no matter how dolled up.


The morning sun beamed upon the face of a handsome man, causing him to flinch in his sleep. If it was merely that, then a state of slumber would return to him. But the weight of the bed shifting called out to him. His eyes clenched in anticipation. The feeling of something sharp slid across his neck before a pair of lips sucked upon the fresh wound.

The man frowned.

“This again? First thing in the morning?”

“But I brought you a treat to make up for it.” Chiffon looked up from his neck, a thin smear of blood on her lips.

“You beat me up yesterday, calling it a test of sorts. And now, you’re drinking my blood like some strange beast… How am I supposed to treat this as a ‘healthy relationship’, hmm?”

“Your face says that you don’t mind. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have so willingly offered yourself to me yesterday. I only acted out of mutual desire.” Chiffon grinned.

“Yes, I wonder how that kind of quirk developed… I don’t recall much of anything to be honest. When I saw your face… I heard a voice inside of me, an earnest desire to ‘protect you’. Somehow, it also lets you walk all over me.”

“Our little dance yesterday was quite fun, was it not?”

“Until you broke a rib or two. You hit damn hard! I was afraid that I had offended you!” The man rubbed around his stomach, checking to see if his bones had reset properly.

“Disappointed that you fell short?”

He went silent for a moment. Chiffon got off the bed and reached for the cake that she brought. His next words sent a shiver down her spine.

“It’s just… you weren’t wearing red yesterday… And now that I’m seeing you in it today, I couldn’t help but wonder how beautiful you’d look fighting in it.”

Chiffon smirked. Plating the cake, she offered it to him without turning her gaze back. A light blush reddened her cheeks, which she tried to hide.

“I see… thank you for the compliment, Cara-, Sir Knight. I am sure that there will be an opportunity soon enough.”

Chiffon held back her tongue. She would utter that name no longer. It was buried along with the crimes of the past. The man before him was an entirely new person, sometimes Caramello and sometimes Fragolo. They had been set free, joining hand in hand.

“I wonder if I can ever get a good hit on you. The piddling Blessing of Knight only makes me one step stronger than a commoner, right? I’m still leagues away from a Royal.”

The boy clenched his fist, feeling the divine energy flowing through him. He could be considered strong compared to most, but that paled in comparison to the girl before him, who he had sworn to protect.

“Make up for it with the effort of two men. You are capable of trying that hard, at least.”

Chiffon felt bubbly from his enthusiasm. She was glad that bringing him back worked out so well. Very few people in the kingdom knew the secret of the blessings. Particularly that one must die to receive a blessing that they were not born with.

Chiffon had killed Caramello and Fragolo, for the sake of reviving him as a noble. And since the man before her no longer held the memories of the two, he was a brand-new person, but keeping the fondness they held for Chiffon.

It made it easier for the King to convince the kingdom that Chiffon had received a new knight, rather than repair the reputation of the Schichttorte Clan. He only needed to tamper with the memories of a few people.

Chiffon stared into the innocent eyes of the man before her. They carried none of the darkness from before.

The ritual had detangled any blessings that were loosely bestowed upon Caramello. The souls of the familiars that Chiffon had slain were isolated upon his revival, leaving only Caramello and Fragolo clinging to each other.

They were now conjoined, two souls housed in one body. And that gave him the strength of two, which made him stronger than every other Knight. A few personality swings were hardly enough to tell that they were different people.

She smiled as she ate her cake, as did he. The man before her had no clue. Perhaps, a single other voice in his mind felt more normal than multiple.

Either way, he was no longer plagued with the urge to take revenge on her family. That was the solution she had come up with to stay together.

Caramello and Fragolo had received their wish – remaining as Chiffon’s protector, catering to her whims and enjoying a life free from conspiracies. Chiffon couldn’t wait for things to get back to normal.

“How’s the cake, Sir Knight?”

“Lovely. Red velvet really hits my tastes for some reason… But I can’t help but feel like you should be calling me something else. Something more distinctive than ‘Sir Knight’.”

Chiffon reached over and dabbed at his neck with her cake, popping the red-tinged morsel into her mouth.

“Sir Try Hard, then?”

All she received was a stiff smile. It took her everything not to kiss him.

‘Normal’ was certainly not what you would describe the two of them. But that was fine. They would carve a new normal instead. An imperfect set of holes just for their sake.

Tradition could starve or stuff itself. Chiffon would have her cake and eat it too.

A slice that loved her grace and one that loved her strength – with both, she would make do.

Try Hard (END)

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