DuGorge was not pleased with the failures that kept stacking up for him once he returned to the Dark Chefs' secret base in Tethe'alla. Leo and Sauri returned on transport dragons, both battered from their lost battles against both Adam and Eve Voraci. Darla had disappeared without a trace, DuGorge lost several tons of good Meltokio steel that he actually paid for, and the doll was lost to him, too. He threw a fit that forced his lieutenants to run for their quarters.
"This is going to push back production and preparation for at least another season." DuGorge steamed as Ginger stood by him in his office, filing her nails in boredom. "Isn't there anything else you can get from the Wonder Organization, Ginger?"
"Nope. There's nothing new." she replied and gazed off into the distance, "And security's been heightened around the entrances to the Wonder Organization Headquarters. They won't let even the Wonder Chef appear too close to them."
"Then track down that little brat and his friend, and get that Recipe out of them one way or another! You were trained for that sort of thing; do it!" DuGorge snapped at her. Ginger rolled her eyes and pushed away from the desk.
"Okay, fine! I'll tail them and see what I can swipe, but I'm not making any promises. The doll may be easy to manipulate with the right carrot dangling in front of his nose, but the Wonder Chef isn't as easy to mess with. Not after that Flanoir fiasco and our recent disaster." she warned. DuGorge waved her away as he studied the papers on his desk and muttered irritably to himself.
Heading down the corridor of the base, Ginger thought to herself as she considered everything she had been learning. The Dark Chef Alliance was up to something big that, oddly enough, she wasn't fully aware of; everything that was being collected were the basic ingredients in making sweets and desserts; and the Wonder Organization has been acting more erratic than usual. All signs pointed to a catalyst that was definitely messing with the order of things; a catalyst named Gluttonious DuGorge. She stopped at the end of the hall and waited in the shadows, her cape pulled around to hide her. Unlike DuGorge, who wore the bright red cape to mimic the Wonder Chef, hers was a dark shade of navy blue meant to blend into dark corners.
After a few minutes of waiting, she was rewarded with the sight of the Master Chef leaving his office. Once he was well out of the way, Ginger made her way back to the room and picked her way into it with the nail file she'd been using. She began her search for the notes on DuGorge's plans in his desk, sifting through papers and small recipe cards.
"Let's see, the steel goes to equipping the cooks with top of the line utensils... iron for the many cauldrons and pans... the sugar and satays are for..." Ginger murmured and paused in shock. Her voice just seemed to fail as she reread the checklist. Numbly, she picked up another sheet and compared the two lists. "Not just satay. This stuff too. All of it is going together." she murmured softly and clenched her hands together, crumpling the two papers in her fists. "They can't possibly do this... not to all those..." She closed her eyes, thought on what her family had taught her, the faces in her memory who would remain only memories as Ozette had been wiped from the world. "This will not happen." she hissed, glaring at her fistfuls of paper, "I will NOT let this be what destroys me and my family!"
Ginger left the office in ruins, her Berry-licious Bombers turning the entire room into smoldering ashes. Alarms sounded as Dark Chef agents poured into the halls, searching for the source of the commotion. Even DuGorge was back on the scene, racing to see what had happened. He stopped before the office, the startled expression on his face illuminated by the flames that shot from within the room.
"Who is responsible for this?" he demanded, looking around at the cooks that scattered to find out who had caused the explosion. The spy stood at the end of the hall, glaring hatefully at the Master Chef until he noticed her. "You? How dare you turn on us, Candy-Maker!" he hissed and signaled the other Dark Chefs, "Get her! Don't just stand there roasting your marshmallows! Get that traitor and bring her to me!" The agents flooded after Ginger in a wave, and she dashed down the hall towards the transport dragon pen. She threw handfuls of candies over her shoulder, masking her escape routes with clouds of flour and powdered sugar. The crowd of agents halted their chase, coughing and choking on the clouds as they lost their direction in the thick white smoke.
"That's it! No more of these lies, no more of the espionage! No more risking others in this centuries-old family feud!" Ginger growled to herself as she darted into the pens, hopped onto a dragon and flew from the base as fast as it could go, leaving behind the Master Chef to glare at her receding form.
The dragon made its way to a nearby mountain, where Ginger had it land on the summit, then dismounted. She pulled the hat from her head, growling almost viciously at everything it represented, at the idea that she once stood for it and supported the twisted cause it harbored.
"I freaking quit! There's no way I can keep working for an ego-maniacal idiot out to destroy everything!" Ginger finally shrieked and hurled the hat to the winds. Following its fate, her dark blue fork was thrown over the cliff. The spy ripped off her cape, screaming in a fury as she ripped away the buttons and badges of office. Moments later, the dragon made its way to Hima, the best place to start the search for Wren and Caleb, leaving behind the shredded remnants of a Dark Chef uniform.
The Tower of Mana had been reduced to a crater and a half tower. Caleb sighed as he looked down at it. It was just like the Triet Ruins in the desert, but this time he'd have to make his way down through the top of the tower to reach the bottom level where the books were located. Wren blinked and stepped back, shaking his head.
"I'm not going in there. It's too unstable." he remarked flatly.
"Chicken." Caleb muttered as he began to make his way down the pit towards the tower. Pepper followed after him, her mind still on the idea of learning to speak in a way that the two men she traveled with could understand. Wren scowled, then began his own trek down the crater after them.
"I am not! I'm just a lot more cautious than you are." he said defensively.
"Suuuure you are. You're cautious about everything except when it comes to girls." Caleb remarked with a grin as he reached the bottom with Pepper and began clearing away an entry. Wren turned red.
"Caleb! Not this again!" he exclaimed.
"All this running around to stop DuGorge... you know you only did it 'cause you wanted to see her again." the doll went on, "Which would have been all fine and good if she'd been anyone other than a spy for the Dark Chef Alliance. Man, you pick the lousiest chicks!"
"I didn't do it just to see Ginger! I did it to save the world!" Wren yelled as Pepper joined in with tossing aside rubble.
"And yet DuGorge got away with the stuff."
"Not all of it! And I would have had him if...!" Wren shouted and then sighed glumly, "I would have had him if Ginger hadn't come in and sicced those dragons on me."
"Hmm. I suppose this means we really can't trust her. She keeps luring us into traps." Caleb mused as a doorway began to open for him. "We should avoid her from now on."
"But she also gave me the candies that stopped the dragons!" Wren protested, "Doesn't that count for something?"
"You are such a virgin." Caleb sighed with a shake of his head. The entrance was cleared and he peeked inside. "Looks messy, but we can still work our way down from here to find that library." He looked back at the blonde, who stood fuming behind him, and frowned. "Wren, think about it for a second. She tells you what DuGorge is doing so you can go and stop him. Then she shows up and turns on you when you think you've got an easy victory. Then, when DuGorge is about to win, she turns on him on the sly and lets you get away. But she still runs off with them to do it again later." he chided, trying to get his friend to see things logically, "What does that tell you?"
"That she needs my help to understand who the real bad guys are!" Wren told him firmly. "And stop calling me a virgin!"
"Fine. Then you're an idiot. It means she's playing the Dark Chef Alliance and the Wonder Organization both like a couple of saps. It's all just a game to her." Caleb shot back in annoyance and grabbed a lantern from the pack, lighting it. He held it up and sighed again, giving his companion a more sympathetic expression. "And when things become a game, there's always a loser in it. Don't be that loser, Wren. Don't let Ginger play with your mind... or your heart. It's games like that that take people's lives." he added softly.
"This is all too confusing. If she's just doing that, then why join the Dark Chefs? Why be a member of one of the groups she's 'playing' with?" Wren questioned as he followed Caleb into the tower, Pepper picking up the rear as she sniffed at the walls and structures.
"Maybe it makes the game more fun? Who knows? Just stay away from her from now on." Caleb answered sternly as they began the walk down the long, winding stairs to the bottom level, careful to watch for broken steps and crumbling debris that sifted down from overhead. He glanced up at the cracks that snaked along the walls and ceiling, then softened his tone. "Everyone, keep as quiet as possible. We don't want to cause a cave in." Wren looked glumly at his shoes as he followed the doll down the steps.
Maybe Caleb was right and Ginger wasn't looking to be rescued from her fate as a Dark Chef agent. But why else would she go to the trouble of searching them out to give them valuable information? And she did give him the jelly beans that stopped the transport dragons from frying him to a well-done crisp. But it was Ginger who made the dragons go after him to begin with, and all under DuGorge's command... So whose side was she really on?
"Miss Candy-Maker. Maybe if we had a cooking duel, I'll find out what you're really after." Wren murmured, "But I have to find out why my cooking isn't as up to par as it used to be. What is it that I'm missing? Once I know, then I can stop all of DuGorge's plans, once and for all." Caleb glanced back at him and smiled briefly before returning to the quest at hand, the archival of the seals of Symphonia.