I put this one off for ages lol. Hope you guys enjoy~
Word Count: 1,559
Characters: Haru, Lily, Stella, and Erwin (the OG cast~)
Ah... That smells really good.
It's been too long since I've baked anything. The Great Void is a huge factor, but on top of that, being a SoulWorker gives me zero moments to rest. I've luckily found a small window in between solving the problem with the Blazing Void in Rucco Town, and I wanted to spend my free time baking.
It took a few failed attempts of burned cookies, adding too much salt in them, or using one too many eggs, but now I finally have the perfect batch! I used to bake all the time before the void happened... At least I'm certain I did. I suddenly felt the urge to do it, so I probably used to be a pro in the kitchen, right? Admittedly, it was a little hard to do now that my memory is so rusty, but I managed in the end.
The main reason why I wanted to do this was to give the Luckforce a special thank you for all the hard work they've done for Rucco Town. It's located right next to the Great Void and they usually don't have SoulWorkers like us around to defend it. They deserve a sweet treat at the minimum! I wish I could do more; if it wasn't for my leisure time being so short (and food being rationed a bit here in Rucco Town), I'd probably try to whip up a proper meal.
I planned to give them the cookies today while they're still warm. The problem is that I spent the entire day trying to make a decent batch. It's literally the middle of the night and I'm still awake, excited that I finally baked something edible and visually appealing this time. Everyone's probably asleep right now...
I sighed. "So much for that idea," I muttered to myself. It should still be ok if I give them the cookies tomorrow. I waited for the cookies to cool and put them in a cloth napkin, and I placed the warm sugary bundle in a woven basket. I covered it with another cloth napkin for good measure. There we go! I can easily wake up in the morning and carry it to them just like this. I hope they'll like my cookies.
For now, I'm exhausted...
Baking is a lot of hard work, too.
When I woke up, I heard mumbling... It has to be a hallucination. Y'know, like the ones you get when you're still sleepy and stuff from a dream you can't remember? No one else should be here; this little apartment Glain lent me was mine and mine alone.
It's still really early... I'm going back to sleep.
"...Fine. If... certain..."
The voices aren't stopping... Maybe they're real? Who'd even be in here? /How/ did they get in here? Is it maybe one of Mad Edgar's tricks?
I have to investigate... I swallowed, and cautiously got out of bed already preparing to summon my Soulum Sword in case things start going south.
I cracked my bedroom door and peeked through the small opening...
I can make out three human figures standing in the kitchen area. My eyes needed to adjust to the brighter light out there and-
Oh. Oh no.
...I forgot to lock the door, didn't I? Please don't all be gone. Please let there still be some cookies left...
There's no use to be stealthy anymore. I'm not in danger, but I can't say the same to my precious cookies...!
"Guys! Don't eat them!" I yelled and practically busted my bedroom door down. I worked so hard making them for Luckforce!
The culprits were caught red-handed. Erwin and Lily paused and watched me in confusion. On the other hand, Stella's nose twitched as if she was on the verge of tears...
"What? We thought we could eat these..." Lily stopped long enough in the middle of eating a cookie just to say that but went right back to munching away on it. Didn't she hear me?
"Yeah. Leaving your door unlocked with them sitting in the middle of the kitchen is pretty much an invite," Erwin added with a smirk. At least he had the decency to stop completely unlike Lily, but really?! He looks so smug! He knows he's wrong... They shouldn't have just barged in even with the door unlocked!
Poor Stella showed the most remorse. She shuffled up to me, sniffed, and muttered quietly, "I'm sorry... But they are really good, and Erwin and Lily said it was ok to eat them..."
Aww... I can't stay mad at her. She looks genuinely regretful, so I pat the top of her head in hopes of cheering her up. "It's ok. You were only listening to the others."
The 'others' got a knowing glare out of me. Stella was completely oblivious.
"She's not wrong. Like I said before, we really thought it was fine. Who else would they have been for if not for your trusted comrades?" Lily said in a matter-of-fact fashion, "...plus I don't pass up on cookies."
I shook my head. "Even so, that doesn't excuse you guys barging into my place out of nowhere."
"Ah, no worries about that," Erwin interrupted with yet another excuse, "We had a reason to be in here. Another Blazing Void popped up in Candus City and we need to hurry over there. We came to get you, and the rest is history~"
...That one was pretty valid.
There's no point in being angry anymore. What's done is done. I sighed again. "Ah... I guess that's fine."
I just woke up, but I'm feeling exhausted already from the thought of making these cookies again. What if I can't get it right like these ones? And I'd be wasting even more precious resources just making cookies; it's not like we have an infinite supply of food back before the Great Void happened.
"Umm... Who was supposed to eat the cookies, Haru?" Stella still seemed a bit saddened. I can tell she was trying to brighten up for me; I'm starting to feel sorry for her feeling sorry about me if that makes any sense~
I did my darndest for her and smiled as much as I could. "They were for the Luckforce! But it's ok. I'll just have to try to bake them again... And uh, you can keep eating the cookies now. They're almost gone anyway."
"Ok! I'm gonna make it up to you again someday!" My trick must have worked because she went right back to normal... and she promptly went to town on the rest of the cookies the others hadn't eaten.
"Whoa... Hold on..." Erwin's eyes grew wide and they locked on to me, "You're telling me you baked them? They're not from a store or... whatever?"
"Yeah," I casually replied.
"Geez, now I feel really bad," he rubbed the back of his neck and broke his gaze to stare at the floor.
"I don't. They were delicious. Thank you, Haru," Lily said it in a very polite tone all smiley and happy, but that wasn't kind at all...
"I'mf going foo helph you make a new baaatch~" Stella offered in the middle of chewing the last few cookies. She swallowed before continuing, "It'll be my way of making it up to you! Just tell me what to do!"
"Aw, that's a great idea! Thanks, Stella." I grinned back at her.
Since Stella brought it up... Making the other two help me in the kitchen would be sufficient payback. They ate my cookies, so they should replace them!
My eyes traveled between Erwin and Lily. They already know what I'm about to say without me having to take a single breath.
"So..." I urged them.
"I... guess I'll help bake, too, even though I really don't want to get in the kitchen," Erwin agreed quite easily, "if a lady's in trouble, it'd be rude for me to refuse."
"Thanks, Erwin." I smiled at him. He managed a weak one back; haha, he's really not looking forward to it~
"And you, Lily?" I asked.
"If you think I'm going to slave away in some hot kitchen, I'm not going to-"
"Pleaaaaase Lily? It'll be more fun if all of us help!" Stella begged her.
She paused and stared at Stella for a few seconds... And shortly after, she sighed seemingly annoyed by everything.
"Fine... Just stop looking at me like that. Give me something easy to do I guess..."
She can act all high and mighty but deep down, I know Lily actually wants to help... probably.
"Then it's settled! After we fix the Blazing Void in Candus City, we're baking more cookies~" And with 4 of us, nothing could possibly go wrong!
"Yay!" Stella pumped up her fist.
Lily and Erwin, in contrast, shared uneasy glances with each other.
C'mon, they need to be more positive. We got this!
...So after we cleared the Blazing Void in Candus City, we squeezed in a little baking time. Having 4 people in the kitchen certainly made things really lively~
Stella insisted that we put way more sugar in the cookies, Lily said that all recipes have secret ingredients, so she slipped in 'some spice,' that no one knew the name of, and Erwin said he had green tea cookies before so he wanted to add green tea in... Like he actually poured green tea in the dough before we mixed it all together. The liquid kind.
A really nice, pungent smell wafted out of the oven when the 'cookies' (if we can even call them that now) finished baking.
I don't think the Luckforce is ever going to get their dessert now...
A/N: I really hope I got Lily, Haru, and Stella's personalities down! I know their general ones, but I haven't played those characters. Apologies if they seem a little off.