Rebekka: Challenges (pt. 17)

As promised, when it came time for the Last Meal, Rebekka was in one of the kitchens of the garrison making a luxurious double-layered Raspberry and Lemon cake. It helped after a long day to get one’s mind away from the violence and despair.

After the ambush, there was nothing but grueling training exercises. Even a few battle formations were drilled and that was before a shower could be taken. But now Rebekka was freshened and had sloughed away the events of that day. Aside from the cake, there was also a thick gravy she was cooking, a roasting gamefowl in the oven, crisping rolls, a hearty vegetable stew, and several other delicious and delectable items. Was it only her to do the cooking, though? Goodness no! She thankfully had the wonderful help of her new friends.

“Yorin dear, please get the radishes from the storage there,” Matina said and sipped the stew she was attending to. Of all the people in the homey little kitchen, she was probably the most active. As far as Rebekka knew, this was the private kitchen that she and Yorin owned. This meant that they could have a bountiful amount of foodstuffs at their disposal, but that also meant that Matina had the run of the place.

“Oh, and I’ll need those radishes rinsed also,” she tacked on.

“Ouch! Mason!” Tweedy protested. “That really hurt you know.”

“This isn’t for tasting yet,” Mason replied with her stubby little nose in the air.

“You could have said that… Oh, hold on there’s a little something on your face.”

He wiped away a smudge of blue icing from Mason’s cheek, causing her to blush.

“Don’t think that wins me over,” she told him.

“And who said I was trying to win you over on anything, hm?”

Mason’s blush deepened and she turned from him with her nose up once again.

Rebekka chuckled and continued to decorate her cake. Matina’s sigh caused her to get distracted again though.

The squab woman was wistfully reminiscing from the look of it, staring off in space with a smile on her face.

“I remember when I was young like that once ago,” she said in her daydream. Yorin placed an armful of radishes in the sink nearby, and muttered, “Oh yes, of course… about a century ago.”

About as offended as a wet hen, Matina planted her fists to her hips. “Yorin,  just because I am ten years older than you, doesn’t mean I’m old.”

“Of course, you aren’t old,” he replied waving a radish around. “You’re just, you know, older.”

“That’s right. I’m older and that’s all there is to it.”

“No, not quite. You can’t be older without old.”

“Tish tosh, Yorin. Talk to me when you are more mature.”

“As mature as the old goat you are? I think not.”

“Now, Yorin you go too far!”

“But I’m only teasing!”

“Doesn’t matter. I have told you about this once and before. No one—” She pointed her ladle at him. “and I mean no one wants to be an old goat.” She resumed stirring her stew.

“Alright, alright. I understand.”

“Hmph, you’ve said that one before.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t understand it.”

Just then there was a knock on the door. Everyone in the kitchen stopped their tasks.

“Oh, I wonder who that could be,” Tweedy said knowingly and went to get the door.

Rebekka looked to Swish for an answer but she shrugged. Thumble, though, seemed to know because he began chuckling as he resumed peeling his bucket of potatoes.

“Tweedy this better not be another one of your tricks,” Swish said but from her tone, any could hear that a scolding was brewing.

“Now, Swish,” Tweedy said taking the door’s handle, “Why would this be a trick of mine?” He opened the door and revealed Finch. The young man was obviously nervous about something, but when the door opened, his face filled with a delighted surprise.

“Oh, so this wasn’t the wrong place,” he said pleased.

“It sure isn’t,” Tweedy replied. “Won’t you come in? We’re in desperate need of a few hands.”

“I don’t know, Tweedy,” Mason said skeptically. “I don’t think we need a stable hand if you catch my gist.”

The two of them started up a chortle together, while the rest of everyone shook their heads at such a banal pun, but wearing grins, nonetheless. Well, everyone, besides Swish. She was doing her best to stay out of sight. It was ironic. When she wanted to be invisible, she wasn’t.

“So, what is it that I can help with?” Finch asked.

“Glad you asked, Mr. Greer,” Yorin said, pouncing on the opportunity. “You can rinse and prepare these radishes here.”

“Ah, ah, ah, Yorin,” Matina quickly stepped in. “That is your job.” She went on to address Finch. “Over here dear, just stir these pots here to make sure nothing settles to the bottom and sticks.”

“B-but- how could you…” Yorin asked looking just about heartbroken.

“Oh, hush. I’m coming over to help you,” Matina told him. “You can be such the fuss bucket.”

Rebekka added the last dollop of icing on her cake and proudly looked over it.

“Now that’s a sight,” she said beaming. “I haven’t made a cake like this in years.”

“And in all places…” Tweedy muttered. “Oi Swish! Mind giving me some help over here?”

“And why would I want to do that when I’m doing this?” Swish asked.

“Which is what precisely?”

“Umm… well I was doing something with dough…”

“You were. Past tense my dear sister. Now come over here and help me chop these vegetables.”

“But you’re almost done aren’t you?”

Tweedy gave a patient sigh. “You forget the radishes.” Swish grumbled and began to stomp over. “Goodness, I have no idea why you are so forgetful tonight. There you go again. You’re forgetting the knife!”

“Don’t you have the knives?”

“Why would I have the knives? Am I a craftsman?” He got back to chopping his vegetables, but added, “ They’re over by the stoves…”

And over by the stoves was also Finch, who at the moment was happily tightening his apron about him with one hand and plucking a ladle from its wooden peg with the other— a very awkward sight to see.

Swish grew beet red and shot Tweedy a scowl. Fortunately for him, he had turned away. Rebekka realized what craftiness Tweedy was up to and laughed to herself. She would have helped the poor girl out, but… she wanted to see what unfolded herself.

After seeing that her scowl had no effect, Swish took a breath and walked over to the rack of culinary dishes.

“And I’ll also need a few more bowls,” Tweedy requested.

After a sigh, “Excuse me, Finch,” Swish said quietly. “I uh need um… a bowl there. And a knife….” She pointed to the cupboards.

“Ah, a bowl? Sure thing!” Finch answered jovially and made a move to open the overhead cupboards.

However, when he went to open the cupboard, it wasn’t just the one that came ajar. All of them at once burst open and the dishes within came tumbling out. And they all would have gone clanging to the floor if it weren’t for Rebekka.

Saluaus,” she muttered, and the dishes stopped in midair. Right after, squeaky devious laughter and rowdy cheers were heard. Up, in the cupboard, were scores of small 4-inch-high people. They would’ve been cute… if they weren’t armed with makeshift weapons and shields. They were pixies; impish, tenacious, pranksters that had nothing better to do than irritate those larger than their race.

Rebekka frowned and with the flick of a finger, muttered, “Be gon.”

And with a pop, pop, pop! and a few squeaky yelps, the pixies all disappeared.

“Pixies,” Yorin spat. “It’s unfortunate that we have such an infestation of them. That was some quick magic there, Rebekka. Weren’t for you, there’d be a mess to clean up.”

“I’m surprised. I actually managed to pull it off,” Rebekka said and began collecting the dishes from where they floated.

“Terrible little monsters,” Swish said helping Rebekka with the task. “Almost as bad as someone I know.” She sent a glance at Tweedy. This time around he saw.

“What are you lookin’ at me like that for?” he asked.

“You know what. If I weren’t your sister I would swear you were just an overgrown pixie.”

“What’s wrong with pixies?” Mason asked. She was just about done with placing her cookie batter on a sheet. “Sure, they’re a bit mischievous, but Jude and I have always known how to live with them.”

“I’m sorry to say, but each one I manage to catch, I get rid of,” Yorin said and with a sharp nod.

“Don’t tell me you kill them!” Mason cried.

“Heavens no!” Matina exclaimed. “I wouldn’t let him even if he dared. But honestly, I don’t think he has the heart for it.”

“Heart has nothing to do with it. It’s all about logic and justice,” Yorin said. “Pixies aren’t a nuisance that needs to be killed. I simply relocate them.”

“Oh, say what you like Yorin. I know you better than that. You have a heart bigger than most…  No matter how much you try to hide it.”

“I do not.”

“Are you saying you don’t have a heart? Now Yorin—”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”

“What is it that you meant then?”

“Urgh… Such an impossible woman…”

As Matina continued to humor herself with pestering poor Yorin, Rebekka and Swish finished clearing up the floating dishes and returned them to their rightful place.

“And that’s the last one,” Swish said, closing the cupboards.

“Oh, good,” Tweedy said, “now you can come and help me over here.”

“Help yourself. Rebekka and I need to have a talk.”

Rebekka sent a lifted eyebrow her way. Swish pointed a thumb towards the balcony. (Yes, the kitchen actually had a balcony.) Rebekka suddenly understood. She wanted to talk to her about something, but about what…

“Talk about what?” Tweedy asked nosily.

“Some girl stuff. None of your concerns,” Swish replied beginning to push Rebekka towards the balcony’s entrance.

The last thing Rebekka heard was Tweedy muttering to Thumble, “Girls and their ‘problems’, right?”

(to be continued…)


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If you may have missed the last chapter Click Here for: Rebekka: Challenges (pt. 16)

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© 2021 Alison Bankroft

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