“Hmm...” With the tip of her tongue peeking from the corner of her lips, the silver-haired girl stared at the blank paper before her. In her fair hand was a quill. Beside it was a bottle of ink. “How do I start?”
She tilted her neck from side to side and blinked her large blue eyes a few times. Each time she swayed her head, her smooth hair would brush her small shoulders clothed in a dark-green dress with a white collar. Her roundish face was a child’s. After all, she was a girl at the age of six.
“Ah! That’s it!” Then the girl began writing with gleaming eyes.
“Lara, your spelling is wrong.” Beside her, on a chair joined with Lara’s, was a blonde-haired girl at the age of fifteen. “This too.” Then she placed her fair finger on Lara’s misspelled words.
“Ehhh. But Lily, I’ll have to write it all over again.” Lara pouted.
“It’s fine,” replied Lily with a smile. “Just keep writing and I’ll point out what to change later.”
“Isn’t that the saaaaame?” Then Lara leaned her chin on the wooden table.
“I’ll tell her Majesty you’re being lazy again.”
Lara quickly snapped from her posture and turned to Lily. “Don’t! Don’t tell Mama!” she said while shaking Lily’s hand wrapped in Brent’s official maid outfit colored in deep-blue and white. “I can’t play with Rudolf if you tell Mama!”
Rudolf was Lara’s pet dog.
“I get it, I get it.” Lily raised her hands in surrender. “Just continue with what you’re writing and revise it later.”
“It’s a promise!” Lara glared.
“Promise.” Lily smiled wryly.
Sigh. How long would it take before Lara grows up? Did mother felt the same when she was taking care of her Majesty? Maybe I should get some advice… Lily, Erina’s daughter, thought while Lara was writing.
The year 1523, 2nd day of the first month of Spring.
Happy 25th birthday! I asked Lily and the maids around the palace what to give as a present. Oh, Papa too! But Papa just smiled when I asked. Maybe he did not remember? Maybe he does not have a gift yet? Anyway, they said that it is better to give something that you don’t have. Or just give anything that I liked. But I don’t want to give my pet! And I like cakes! So, does Mama like cakes too?
“Maybe he didn’t remember huh?” Amelia said with a gentle yet eerie smile plastered on her face. She was seated on a couch, cradling a baby with golden strands of hair to sleep. It was her third child and second son, Milton Brent.
Her body, for some unknown reason, remained somewhat slim even after her third time giving birth. But needless to say, she had grown in various parts of her body. And she was now a Queen that many envied.
“Say, Erina, have you heard of anything unusual around the palace recently?” She glanced at the woman opposite her.
“No, I haven’t.” Erina lightly shook her head. Compared to what she had looked like before, she was slightly plump. After all, she now had two children with Gust. “Anyway, what would you do about Lara’s gift?”
“Simple.” She then carefully rose to her feet and approached a nearby crib. Afterward, she shifted Milton in her hand and kissed him on the forehead. Then like holding a candle on a windy day, she laid down Milton inside the crib. “I’ll make the cake with Lara.”
“Huwaaaaah!” Like a dog who missed its owner, Lara was excitedly running around her chamber when Amelia came to fetch her. “Cake! Cake! Caaaaaake!”
“L-Lara! Don’t run!” In a panicked state, Lily was preparing herself if in case Lara trips and falls down.
“It’s okay Lily, let her burn her excitement for a bit.” Then Amelia turned to her side and said, “Go on, Randell, you can play with elder sister Lara.”
Gently, Amelia urged the silver-haired Randell from behind. “Cake too?” he asked with his green irises reminiscent of Maxwell.
“Of course.” Amelia smiled.
“C-cake!” Then Randell, a four-year-old boy, ran to Lara’s side with a wide smile.
“B-but your Majesty...” Lily glanced back and forth between Lara, Randell, and Amelia.
“Randell! We’re making a cake!” Then Lara ran to Randell and joined their hands.
After a few more minutes, rather than Lara or Randell, Lily was exhausted.
Later on, Amelia, Lara, Randell, Lily, Erina, and some other cooks and maids were inside the palace’s kitchen.
“Your Majesty,” called one of the cooks.
“Don’t worry, we can handle ourselves. You can continue with preparations for this evening.”
After Amelia sorted out the issue with cooks and maids wanting to make the cake for her instead, she made them prepare the ingredients.
“Lily, can you help Randell sift the flour? Then Lara, grease the pans for me.”
“Yes, your Majesty.”
They promptly split the task.
Amelia was mixing butter and sugar in a bowl. On the other hand, Erina was cracking eggs and separating the whites from the yolks. As they did their task skillfully, they watched over the three.
“Oooooh!” Randell was amazed. He was tapping the sides of the sieve that Lily held.
“Go on, Randell. You can do it.” Lily couldn’t help but smile. Little by little, the built-up flour on the sieve lessened.
“Done!” Lara raised her hand with the brush. On her face was an unfaltering smile. “What’s next?”
“Oh, that’s fast. Come here then, let’s make the icing.” Amelia then gave the mixed sugar and butter to Erina. To which Erina accepted and mixed with vanilla extract and the egg yolks.
It was but a simple time of bonding.
Amelia made the icing with Lara. Lara enthusiastically beat the mixture with the wooden spoon. It did not take long until, “Waaah! Making cake is hard!”
And so she surrendered the task to Amelia. Then while Amelia was on it, she showed how to properly beat the icing. She stirred it with enough force. All the while, Lara was fixedly staring at the icing that gradually took form.
On the other hand, Erina poured the flour into her bowl. She then passed the bowl to Lily and Randell. And of course, Randell, envious of how Lara was enthusiastically mixing her bowl, did the same. Partway, he gave up and dipped his hand into the batter.
“Randell, no!” Lily hurriedly grabbed Randell's hand, but it was too late. Randell was already licking his hand covered in batter.
While Lily was cleaning Randell’s hand, Erina grabbed the bowl with a wry smile. She then proceeded to mix the batter properly.
“Is it done yet?” Lara asked as she peered into the stone oven. This time, Amelia was holding her shoulders from behind.
Meanwhile, “Randell… You shouldn’t be eating the icing alone...”
Time passed and they began to cover the cake with icing. During the process, both Lara and Randell scooped a part of the icing and ate it. At that point, they were reprimanded by Amelia.
But their spirits immediately lit up. It was because the cake was sliced into parts.
“M-mama.” With a plate in hand and a slice of cake on it, Lara approached Amelia. “I realized you made the cake I was giving to you… But here, you can take my slice.”
In response, Amelia turned to the side with her hand over her lips. Her shoulders trembled shortly. She was trying to repress her laughter. Lara was offering her plate while holding her tears. Snot was also peeking from her nose.
“I-It’s fine Lara. You can take it.”
“B-but, but. Your present.”
“Then.” Unable to take it, Amelia began laughing softly. She reached for a nearby fork and took a part of Lara’s cake. “Ah, now I’m full. Lara, can you eat it for me?”
Then like a light that broke through countless clouds, Lara’s smile curved into a smile. “Thank you, Mama!” She then placed the plate aside and hugged Amelia. A few seconds after, she broke free, grabbed the plate, and began eating.
“Ah! Mama’s cake is the best!”
“Best!” Randell added, his mouth smeared with icing.
Later that night, after the small feast was held, Amelia returned to Milton’s room. There, she cradled Milton and fed him through her breast. At the same time, she leaned her body on the man beside her.
“Milton inherited his hair from you, didn’t he?” Amelia asked.
“And his eyes from you,” Maxwell replied, his arms wrapped around Amelia’s shoulder. “He’s the complete opposite of Randell.”
“So was the cake good?”
“...” Quietly, Amelia turned her sight to Maxwell. She stared at him with an unfaltering smile while pinching his side.
“No, no, no. I’m not saying it won’t be good since you made it,” Maxwell hurriedly remarked. “It’s the complete opposite, trust me.”
“I heard you haven’t prepared anything today aside from the feast.” Abruptly, Amelia changed the topic.
Amelia heaved a sigh. “It’s fine. It’s enough for me that you’re here rather than the front-lines.”
“Ah, no. I did prepare something, but...”
“Hmm?” Amelia tilted her head.
“It’s just.” Maxwell grabbed a small box from his waist. “It’s just that I needed your concern for it to happen.” Then he lifted the box’s lid. “Amelia, will you marry me a second time?”
Amelia closed her eyes for a few seconds. When she lifted her eyelids, she said with a smile, “So you want a fourth?”
“Ahahaha.” Maxwell laughed dryly. “Maybe?”
Again, Amelia sighed. “Fine. I wouldn’t mind.” Then she leaned her head on Maxwell’s shoulder.
Maxwell lifted his hand reached for Amelia’s chin. Gently, he lifted it and closed his lips.
However, “What are you doing?” instead of caressing Amelia’s, it caressed her palm. “The kiss can wait for the wedding, you know? Don’t be in a hurry.” On her face was a mischievous smile.
Happy Holidays! I'll probably take a break for a while.