“Maybe we should send these extra pies to our beloved prisoner,” I said to Sky, licking my spoon. “They’re not good enough for my standards, but far too good to set out for the urchins. Besides, don’t you think you’re being a bit cruel to that woman?” Sky sent me a glare that had ‘Back off’ written all over it. “I never pegged you for the type that would stoop to their level, Sky.”
“Something had to be done. You were the one talking about throwing her over the old city walls. And I’m not stooping to her level, we’re just putting her in time out.” Sky clenched her fist as she poked at the dozen or so pies that sat on the table in the LLL kitchen. Test pies, most barely picked at. “How can you ruin a crust so bad?” She remarked, pointing to the blackened, tough dough shaped to resemble a crust.
“We should get one of Kaylee’s pies after we’re finished here. It’s a shame hardly anyone in this city knows how to bake a proper pie.” I sighed, imagining a steaming raspberry pie with a light, flaky crust. “Perhaps the perfect pie boy just doesn’t exist in New Babbage.” I closed my eyes and leaned back in the chair, now only listening to Sky’s footsteps on the floor. “I guess you’re relieved that Phaedra’s under your eye?” I opened one eye to glance at Sky, who sat down in the chair next to mine, grinning from ear to ear, and closed her eyes as well. Soon all that could be heard was the crackle of the fire, the ticking of the clock in the hall and the far off clanking of machines setting the city alive.
I had begun to accept that we might have to settle. It was nearly evening and no one had come by about the position since a few hours previous. I coughed and shooed a fly away from my face. “Best shut the door soon or the oil gnats will be after the pies,” I suggested, making no indication that I was to move from my seat. Sky nodded with a small ‘mmhmm’.
Off in the corner off my mind, I pictured a man setting foot in our small kitchen, taking off his hat and saying in an exotic accent that almost made me wonder if the Spanish Embassy had left him behind, “You look for a baker, no?” I nodded to myself, as I drifted off into my dream, thinking something like that would never happen here in New Babbage. I felt Sky jab me in the side and muffled a small, “Oww,” before opening my eyes to look at her. Sky was pointing across the table and when I looked, I let out a scream and fell backwards, toppling my chair over.
The man standing before us repeated himself. I propped myself on my elbows, still laying on the floor with my skirts in a mess around me and blinked. “You take a tumble miss. I help you,” he said calmly, extending a hand out to me. I took his slightly rough but firm hand and in an instant I was on my feet.
“You’re a baker, sir?” I asked.
“Si, baking is a family profession.”
“And your name…?”
“Juan Roberto Fernandez Delgado de la Cal Ramos Rios at your service, senorita,” he answered, ending in an elaborate bow.
I rubbed at my eyes again and then looked back at Sky who was grinning. “Well then, er… Juan?” I questioned, he nodded, “Juan, bake us your best pie.”
By the end of the night, we not only had a new baker, but also enough pies to feed all of Academy for weeks. There was only one more task, I remembered as I thought about my previous baker’s fate.
“Juan, hand me a pair of sheers would you?” I asked. If he was so determined to have my hair, then he would have it. Bunching my hair in my hand, I ran the sheers through it at my shoulders, making several passes. I took a piece of twine, wrapping it tightly around the center of the bunch and set it on the table. “Be a dear and have someone send this to the Berithos residence.”