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taste of sin is something to acquire

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"You smell like sweets."

I set aside my share of documents, leaving the space in front of me open. Any other person would need to smack the mountain of papers a metre tall to the side if they want a peek at Ceo's current state and might as well earn his consecutive kicks in their face, so I cannot appreciate my sensing ability enough. He stiffens for a second, then struggles to keep the pen in his hand running and his voice somewhat firm to avoid suspicion.

"Must be Ice's. I just had some."

I stand up and lift one fifth of the papers out of the way. Ceo freezes again.

"Sun is unaware that Brother Storm has a fondness for blueberry pies as well."

I gather another two fifths and stack them upon the first patch, settling back on my seat and pretending to sift the papers with great concentration. Part of Ceo's face is visible, but he tries to duck his head in little advantage of the remaining stack. Obviously, such attempts are rendered futile by my unusual range of sight.

"It's not bad. ...Also, I don't really have time for chatting. If you don't want to help me with paperwork anymore, you can go now."

How fishy. The usual Ceo would cry tears of joy when someone volunteers to share his burden of endless paperwork, and here he sounds like he cannot wait to chase me off. With my trademark smile, I push resolved three fifths to the side and lead his last stronghold in my direction. Ceo's face pales; despite that, he makes no effort to stop me from taking in the papers.

"These should be the last", I jot down some edits.

"I still got lots to deal with." He hurries his response.

"Deadline is next Sunday", I promptly sort the papers into their respective categories. As they are divided into six stacks, the individual height greatly decreases and the great Storm Knight gives the space of the table a hopeful check accordingly. A handful of people know that I can look past most obstacles; still, it is mentally comforting to build some sort of barricade between me and them, no matter how useless.

After a long while spent in silence and second thoughts, Ceo straightens himself and walks away from the chair, climbing onto his bed. He turns his back against me and waves me off.

"Time for a nap then. Your help for today is much appreciated."

So he thought I could be dismissed when my greatest concern is left unanswered. I quickly move the chair close to his bedside and continue squinting at his back.

A few minutes pass by; as Ceo must have realised I am yet to leave, he gets up and yells in my direction.

"Sun, what the heck? You're going to watch me sleep or what?"

"God of Light led Sun to place great faith in the bond between Twelve Holy Knights, that it's natural to treasure our brothers above all worldly distractions. We should be together in suffering as much as in delight; although important matters that involve the present and future of the Church as well as the kingdom occupy Sun's mind, it saddens Sun to leave any brother alone in his ordeal that Sun can't personally atte-"

"Stop", Ceo grunts, "If you say another word, I'll kick you out of my room. Literally."

The bonding sessions between my face and his foot are remembered well, so I decide not to resume my speech. He mentions nothing regarding whether I have to get out on my own, which should enable me to stay so long as my mouth is sewn shut.

"...What's your problem?"

"My blueberry pie," I solemnly declare via psychic magic instead.

Ceo flinches slightly, then he steers his eyes to anywhere but my face.

"What about it? ...Anyway, the one you should ask about that is Ice, not me."

His nervous tone and the sudden diversion strengthen my conviction.

"I ordered Adair to get the pie, but Ice said there is none for me today. And other holy knights on patrol reported the only person who visited Ice's room before Adair was you."

It puzzled me as well to discover that Ceo might have been involved with the disappearance of my daily joy. Each Holy Knight has their reserved share of sweets, and Ice never denies me my portion save for two instances of precedent unlikely to occur again because I did learn my lesson, kind of. Barring Roland who is too dead to tell difference in normal food let alone confections, no other Holy Knight can tolerate the level of sweetness in the sweets specially given after my taste either. What on earth could be Ceo's motive...

To my surprise, his facial veins puff up... Colours have remained a foreign concept ever since I lost my physical sense of sight, but from that I can picture Ceo's reddened face at this very moment. Suddenly, I feel a pang of guilt. Perhaps Ceo got carried away and ate my pie; sweet preparations are a good boost when work squeezes your brain dry after all. Even though I started correcting my own documents thanks to my diligent student's friendly reminders more often than before, I still dump two thirds or half of them on Ceo whenever I get the chance. Old habits die hard, and I am also getting advanced in years, which makes old habits harder to die.

That aside, it has been years since Ceo last blushed like this. His eyes and his mind have been always too tired to register the presence of any lady properly, unlike how he missed no chance to shrink behind my back back then as the group of clerics passed by. Hey, he perfected his winking all thanks to me, and in return I value my champion of a pushover. Cough, I mean my most trusty assistant. Anyway, thinking back, the sight of him blushing was rather endearing. Cough. I mean, I totally understand why some clerics at that time commented on how cute he was.

Back to the matter at hand... I realise Ceo already departed from the bed and stands like a statue in front of the cupboard.

"...Deatheo?"

That nickname yields not even the slightest response from him.

"Um... Ceo? What's wrong?"

No answer whatsoever. I extend my sensing to the contents of the cupboard and find out some weird makeup of deformed elements in an odd shape that resembles... a ruined cake? Now I gained a whole new understanding on the matter, vaguely so.

"Is that..."

Ceo takes a deep breath and releases it sharply.

"For you."

The next second, the creation suspected to be a cake is placed on the table behind me.

"I asked Ice to teach me, but apparently I'm hopeless with baking."

He breaks into a sad smile.

"Guess my best place is truly next to heaps of reports and documents", he drops himself on the chair, forming an arch with his hands on the table for his head to duck under. "I knew it's a bad idea... Just that I wonder if I can, you know, make you look... happy. But I'm unlike Ice, or Judgement... or Hell."

His revelation disorients all my thoughts. To be honest, it makes me uncomfortably and unreasonably pleased. However, now is not the time and I am unwilling to dig the topic deeper just because we are at it. I know what I ought to do, though.

Scooping up the cake from the table, I swiftly walk to the door.

"W-Wait."

I turn only my head.

"Brother Storm, it's no good to take back what you've given to the others. It's mine now and I've waited so bad today for my sweets, so I won't let you stop me."

Ceo's face spells out worry.

"But Su... Grisia, what if you get a stomachache?"

Trying not to imagine the consequence brought by the monstrous cake in my hand of which structure frightens me the more I examine it, I flash the smile that has a history of successfully reassuring thousands of unwitting commoners even in darkest times.

"My recovery ability as the Sun Knight is the strongest. What is there to worry, Brother Storm?"

After that, I jog gracefully back to my room, bracing self along the way to meet a sad fate. At least, the last glimpse I got of Ceo was that the corners of his lips lifted up shyly and he seemed to blush again. I am hesitant to manage better than this, but I see no reason not to do him a token gesture of appreciation once in a while.

 


 

That day, I learned a life-threatening lesson.

No, it should be life-saving, because now both he and I know how his cakes can kill.