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Peacetime Dreams

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Teddy always assumed someday he'd go on adventures instead of settling down and studying a trade. His parents always told him that he was acting like a child, but he didn't mind. They were at peace, and he could explore the world at his leisure.

Luckily, his new best friend Daniella liked the way he thought – or she just wanted to make sure he didn't get into trouble – so she would accompany him on some of his excursions. Today, she brought a picnic, which wasn't very adventure-y, but he didn't mind. Today they were resting by their town's namesake, Blood Pool (which Teddy had taken to calling Master's Lake instead, given how clear and blue it looked now). “How about we have lunch now?” Daniella asked, setting the basket down as she sat next to her friend.

“Sure!” the young man said as Daniella took off her giant hat and fluffed out her hair. The young wizard began rooting around in her basket as Teddy flopped onto the pebbles of the shoreline and took in the wind. He closed his eyes and spoke: “Thanks for coming along, Daniella. It's nice having you with me.”

“You're welcome. I wasn't busy with anything, so it was no trouble at all.” Teddy cracked open an eye and looked at her with a smile on his face. She didn't stutter as much anymore, although when she was excited she tended to trip over her words. He hoped this new change was because she was more comfortable with everyone in town.

The wizard turned to her friend, noticed him looking at her, and immediately became flustered. “...Here,” She said slowly, deliberately, “Some bread.” She pulled out a fresh, still warm loaf from the basket and ripped it in half before offering one to Teddy.

Daniella was fighting her flustered stutter, Teddy assumed. He sat up and took the proffered broken loaf with a smile. He then saluted her with the loaf and took a bite.

...Woah. “Did you visit Mom? It tastes just like her bread.” He thought she was still scared of his parents, at least when she wasn't with him to give her confidence.

Daniella pursed her lips, but the embarrassed smile wasn't lost on Teddy. “Oh, no. She's on business in Fillmore now, it wouldn't be this fresh. I- uhm. She's been teaching me how to bake. It's... it's my loaf. My first real loaf on my own.” She looked up at Teddy expectantly. “...Do you like it?”

It's delicious!” Teddy shouted suddenly, surprising both of them. He chuckled softly, apologetically as he took another bite and spoke around the crumbs. “I love it. Thanks a lot, Daniella. It's hard to imagine that this was the first time you've baked it.”

Daniella reached up to grab at her hat's brim, but, finding that she had taken it off, so she used her hands to cover the rising blush, and instead slapped herself with the other half of the loaf. “Thank you...” she began, her shoulders heaving as she fought the tears. Teddy looked at her shuddering form, reaching out to place a hand on her shoulder. It snapped her out of her crying, and she took a deep breath and wiped her eyes. “I-it's just... I couldn't practice baking when I was young. I-I mean, I'm happy I could learn my magic, but I never managed to learn to be, you know... normal.” Teddy's face fell, and Daniella elaborated quickly. “No, I know. No person really is normal, I'm just saying... I envy you and the other villagers, and how you grew up in such a peaceful land, protected by the Master. So I wanted to learn to do something...” She looked down at the bread and back to her friend. “...something like your mother.”

Teddy smiled sadly, in understanding. “Well, you did that and more. Having a picnic by a lake with some bread, that's as normal as you can get.”

Daniella's blush had lessened, but her smile was brighter than ever. “Well, we've struck out alone for a few days, braving the elements together without anyone else to help or assist us.” She leaned in, close enough that Teddy's eyes widened in surprise at how forward she was being. “That's as adventurous as you can get.”

...Teddy laughed out loud, enough that Daniella blinked in confusion. “That's true! I suppose we both found something that we can want out of life!” He looked at his best friend in the world as she began eating her own half of the loaf. “And the best part is that despite how different our dreams are, we can follow them together.”

Daniella nodded around her loaf, but she couldn't stop her tears from flowing again. This time, Teddy let his own tears fall, and the two cried silently in unison, both from thankfulness to the Master for allowing them to live in peace, as well as joy that they were together. They both had faith that such would be true until the end of their lives and beyond.