Twilight Baker

BY : Darkwolves
Category: +A through F > Atelier Rorona
Dragon prints: 1562
Disclaimer: I do not own the Atelier series and i make no money by writing this story.

Chapter 1- Twilight Baker

 

In all of her life she had never once have thought this is what fate had envisioned for her. Less than a year ago she had just been an apprentice tending to the workshop under the guidance of her alchemy master.

Then one day a royal messenger arrived to deliver an order that the workshop was to be shutdown immediately. Rorona later discovered that the minister and the king had decreed that if the workshop could demonstrate their ability to perform their duties then they would allow the workshop to remain open. Atelier Rorona, even in her wildest dreams would she have imagined this time last year that she would become the owner of the workshop herself and instantly be called upon to take it upon herself to protect it.

A year had passed since that day. Rorona had already completed three of the tasks set before her, but still the looming threat of foreclosure lingered above her head. Now her latest task saw her busy preparing food for the Arland Annual Festival, a celebration held at the close of every year. This particular task was something which touched something very deep and personal to the young girl as almost all of her life she had maintained a single passion above all else, pie baking. Yet despite her love of the art, and the skill she applied to each craft, her Master had forbade her from creating pies through baking, only alchemy. And so now, with the yearly festival approaching, she saw an opportunity to combine her twin passions in service of her kingdom.

That was why she had spent the last few days enclosed within her workshop, hunched at her desk rifling through the pages of yet another alchemy text in search of something she could create using alchemy to present for the festival. So far her search had yielded mixed results but nothing to her benefit. Each of the recipes she had found were either too advanced, requiring materials and techniques she had never heard of, or would likely prove too ‘specialist’ for most people, meaning the ingredient list called for either wolf tails or Audra livers. Both would be unlikely to improve her reputation with the townspeople. So her search continued, although she was beginning to wonder if she was ever going to find something approp-

Her hand suddenly froze, her gaze inexplicably drawn towards the title of the latest page she had stumbled across, the words ‘Twilight Pastry’ were written in faded black ink across the page. Reading further on the book detailed the necessary ingredients and concoctions, most of which appeared surprisingly feasible if a little obscure. The last section ended with the description ‘A tasty treat that will realize the true desires of anyone who eats it’.

Rorona rose from her chair in a triumphant leap, it was settled, she had found her synthesis.

 

***********************

Another day came and went, consumed entirely by mixing, boiling and stirring in the cauldron to create the very first batch of her latest advancement in the craft of pie making. Laid out on her desk before her was the first sample of Roronas new concoction, the Twilight Pie. From the outside it appeared as any normal pie would be expected, a perfect circle of flaky brown crust. However cutting inside it revealed a dark centre of tranquil blue filling glowing dimly with a cerulean light unseen in normal baking which hinted at its mysteriously unknown properties. Rorona took the first slice in her hand, eager to sample the first taste of her work She brought the treat to her lips and-

Pupil” a voice called out to distract Rorona from tasting her creation. Turning to face the voice Rorona was stunned to find her master, Astrid Zexis, standing across the workshop. Master was unique in that she seemed to possess this uncanny ability to appear as if from nowhere at any time and any place, to this day Rorona had been unable to see her coming. “What are you up to this time?”

“Master!” Rorona responded instinctively to her master’s presence “I…” she stumbled.

“Have you been baking again?” Astrid spoke with poisonous suspicion lacing her lips. “What have I told you about that?”

“No master” Rorona was swift to defend herself and counter her Masters suspicions. “I made it using an old alchemy recipe I found” Rorona displayed her craft to Astrid like a child presenting their work for a parent’s approval.

Astrid simply stared down at her with judgemental eyes. “Let me try it” she said flatly.

Rorona eagerly prepared a slice and presented it to her master as if an offering to a deity. Astrid accepted the gift and after a careful analysis, as if checking whether the seemingly tasty creation truly was edible, she took a cautious bite. Chewing it softly the flavour cascaded across her tongue, a plethora of favours unveiling.

“Well, how is it?” Rorona eagerly awaited her master’s judgement.

A devilish glint emerged in Astrid’s eye as her body began to waver unsteadily. “You know…” the woman’s speech seemed slurred and uncoordinated, as if she was struggling even to remember her own words. “You really are cute”

“Master?” the sudden change struck fear into Rorona, Master always so calm and controlled suddenly seemed to be having difficulty simply remaining upright.

“Heh heh, Ror...on...a” Astrid giggled. She began shambling forward with an uncoordinated gait, her unsteadiness finally reaching its peak as she stumbled forward, the sudden support of her pupil allowing her to descend to her knees rather than collapse unceremoniously onto the floor. “So cute, so pretty”

“Master, what’s going on? Are you ok?”

“It’s so warm” Astrid replied, staring blindly off into the distance. “And these clothes” Astrid’s hands clasped the tie of her cloak between her fingers. “They’re so tight and warm”

“No master!” Rorona was quick to clasp her Masters hands before she could continue further.

Rorona quickly moved over to her desk, frantically searching for the reference text which held the original recipe, she began leafing through the pages I search of the one she wanted.

‘Twilight Pie’

Reveals your true self and allows your greatest desire to be reality.

WARNING: Ingestion may cause sudden and drastic personality changes. Only to be administered with full knowledge of its effects. No known antidote to symptoms. Effects typically dissipate within 24 hours of consumption dependent on potency and individual variation.

As she read it her heart began to sink as the stark realization of what she had done swept over the young girl.

“You really are such a cutie” Astrid cooed softly. Rorona was stunned into silence as she suddenly felt the weight of Astrid’s arms falling upon her shoulders for support. “Fourteen” Astrid seemed almost mournful. “I miss those days, mature enough to understand the world, but not jaded enough to lose that glint of youth”

“Master, what are you talking about?” Rorona tried to turn to face her master, feeling the woman’s grip on her shoulders slowly slipping away as she turned just as Astrid’s hold released and she fell kneeling before her student. “Master” Rorona quickly dropped to her knees to stare into her Masters eyes, like this she seemed so innocent, so fragile. Her greatest desire must have been to not be so mean all the time, to finally be able to be nice to her student. In that moment Rorona felt herself wish that she could have stayed like this at least for a little while, but she knew that would be wrong, she had to change her back.

“Master” Rorona cupped Astrid’s cheeks in her hands; she felt tears welling in the corners of her eyes. “I’m so sorry I poisoned you with my pie and let you do all those things” Rorona sniffed, wiping the tears from her eyes, rousing her courage from deep inside of her. She knew now was the time she had to be strong. “You’re going to be like this for a little while, but I promise I’m going to take care of you. I’ll do the cooking and clean the workshop until you’re all better and...” Astrid cooed softly beneath her breath, as if readying the courage to finally speak her mind. “Master?” Rorona asked with genuine concern on her lips, drawing herself closer to try and make some sense of the stifled noises. “What’s wrong?”

Astrid could not contain herself any longer and suddenly burst into a fit of laughter which sent her pupil reeling backwards to land in a painful heap on the floor in front of her. “Oh how I wished I could have held out a little bit longer” Astrid’s laughter finally settled, allowing her to finally make her confession. “You never poisoned me” Astrid giggled through quivering lips. “You cooked it too long and destroyed the potency of the hallucinogen, your pies a dud”

“How did you know?” Rorona asked. “I found the Twilight Pie recipe in an old reference book covered in dust and...”

“Oh, I was making that one before I was barely a woman” Astrid pulled herself to her feet, settling the ruffles and creases of her outfit. “It was always a lot of fun at parties”

“But” Rorona was stunned into silence; it was all she could do to maintain her composure as she pulled herself to her feet. “Why would you make me think I had done that to you?”

“I recognised the recipe and decided to play a little trick on you, but honestly I just wanted an excuse to do all those things” Astrid simply giggled with a devious smirk on her lips. “You just proved so damn gullible I just couldn’t resist”

“That was mean, Master!” Rorona snapped.

Astrid merely yawned in the face of her pupil’s impotent rage. “I think I'm going to take a nap and isn’t it time back to work, you have got a feast to prepare for. Oh and by the way, cooking and cleaning are your chores anyway so i don’t know why you felt you needed to tell me you’d do them until was better.” With the last word Astrid swiftly departed into her personal quarters leaving her pupil little choice but to return quietly to her Alchemy.

 

**************************

A knock at the door roused the young alchemist from her work, only now realising that several hours had already passed since she had returned to preparing food for the festival. “Come in” Rorona called out, adding the finishing touches to the next stage of her synthesis. She turned to find the owner of ‘R and T Sundries’, Tiffani Hildlebrand, standing before the door of her workshop.

“Hello Rorona” Tiffani said sweetly. “I just came to deliver your order from the shop”

“Oh yes” the realisation dawned upon the young girl. “Come in, Ms. Tiffani” Rorona placed the vials of her freshly prepared chemicals down by her cauldron to talk with her guest. “How are you today?”

“I’m well, thank you Rorona” Tiffani replied. “Are you ok, you seem remarkably downbeat?”

“I’m afraid I’ve been busy preparing food for the festival” Rorona admitted with a weary sigh. “I did have a new pie recipe I was going to show them but Master said I made it wrong and it didn’t come out the way I’d planned”

Tiffani noticed the freshly baked pie sitting atop Roronas desk. “Is this the pie you made?”

“Yes, that’s it” Rorona remarked off handily.  “I found a recipe in an old textbook and decided to make it. It’s called the ‘Twilight Pie’”

“Sounds exotic” Tiffani mused. “May I try some?”

“Sure, it may as well not go to waste” Rorona prepared a fresh slice of pie, handing it to her guest for tasting.

“Ooh, looks tasty. So what was it supposed to do?” Tiffani took her first cautious taste.

“Something about revealing a person’s greatest inner desire and changing their personality but Master said I baked it too long and it lacked the potency necessary to-” Rorona slowly trailed off as she saw the glint emerging in Tiffani’s eye.

“You know” Tiffani whispered beneath hushed breath. “You really are cute”

 

********************

Rorona hysterically scrambled back to her desk, frantically searching for the recipe text.

May cause sudden and drastic personality changes, effects typically last 24 hours… but may remain for several weeks dependant on the potency of the formula and individual variation-

“Roronaaa” Tiffani cooed softly as she slowly crept silently on her unwitting prey, draping her arms across Roronas small shoulders. “There you are” Tiffani’s fingers interlocked, securing her arms around Roronas swan like neck and ensuring no possibility of escape for the young girl. “There you are, I’ve got you now” Tiffani began to pull Rorona backwards, out of reach of her tome.

“Ms Tiffani?” Rorona pleaded. Tiffani’s unfettered hands, unrestrained by the subtle morals and restraints of society, roamed freely across Roronas thin figure, until they came to rest atop Roronas petite mounds. “Hey, don’t touch me there!” Rorona yelped sharply. But it seemed that her cries of protest were in vain as no one was within reach who could help her, yet still she persisted.

“Pupil, will you keep it down in there” the voice of her master called out for her silence.

“Master, help me!” Rorona pleaded once more as Tiffani’s hands dared bind her ever tighter.

Rorona heard the distinctive click of the lock of her Masters personal quarters, finally her Master emerged out into the workshop. “Yes what is it? Oh!” a devious smile emerged across Astrid’s lips. “Oh, am I interrupting something?”

“Master, help me!” Rorona pleaded.

“What happened here?” Astrid asked. Her gaze passed to the slice of freshly eaten pie sitting atop her apprentice’s desk, and her agile mind was quick to form the pieces together. “It seems that you are rather more of an alchemist than I first thought”

“Master!” Rorona pleaded. “Whats going on?”

“Delayed effects, concentrated potency” Astrid shrugged her shoulders. “Could be anything really” her off handed dismissiveness suddenly faltered. “I can see I’m not needed here, I’ll leave you two alone” with her final word made Astrid moved gracefully across the workshop, her apprentices cries for assistance falling on deaf ears.

“Master!” Rorona called after her master one final time, the harsh crash of the closing door the only response to her calls.

“Now” Tiffani’s roaming hands swiftly regained their perch on her young captive. “You are all mine”



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