Tales of Rogues 6 - A Colorful Rainbow

"…OMG!" Skye whispered, pressing her ear up against Vanessa's room wall. "Do you hear that?"

"Hear what?" Vanessa's attention perked to Skye, watching her expressions change frequently. "Keep in mind that I don't have my ear pressed up against Karen's room wall."

"…No. That slut!"

Vanessa had an idea with what Skye was referring to, and if she was correct... Oh Skye.

"Skye, please. Is this really necessary?"

"Completely and absolutely." Skye affirmed, peeling herself from the wall for a moment to wave Vanessa over. Vanessa sighed reluctantly, giving in to pressure and pressing her ear against the wall.

She couldn't believe what she heard.

It was beautiful. Her voice… was absolutely beautiful.

"She's… singing." Vanessa whispered. It sounded so haunting, so sad… and yet so captivating.

"It's horrible. We're the captains of this ship; we dictate what does and does not happen on this ship!"

"And singing… is a bad thing?" Vanessa frowned.

"Not at all." A male voice entered the room, Vanessa and Skye's eyes widened at the user. Michelin. Vanessa blushed awkwardly, withdrawing from the wall.

He didn't have his shirt on; as per usual when he had joined the Rogues. The man was used to the colder temperatures of the Lands of Ice, so extra fabric wasn't necessary in his eyes when he traveled the skies.

"WOwza." Skye said aloud, immediately covering her mouth, Vanessa looking at her friend in horror.

"And may I ask why you ladies are listening in on my beautiful wife?"

"Uuh..." Skye squeaked, recomposing herself. "Thought I heard her scream!" Michelin raised an eyebrow, perplexed.

"And you didn't rush to her aid because...?" He crossed his arms. Vanessa rolled her eyes, sighing at her companion.

"Skye is incapable of admitting that Karen is an amazing singer." Vanessa replied, before Skye dug herself into a bigger hole. "I'm most certain that she'd stop should she be aware that we're eavesdropping on her, so…"

"Like when you play the violin sometimes?" Michelin smiled.

"Yeah, just like that… wait, you eavesdrop?" Vanessa felt her cheeks burn.

"Your music is as enchanting as Karen's singing, Vanessa. It would be a tragedy NOT to listen, should an opportunity present itself."

"You sound just like Piers… He'd say something like that, I'm sure." Vanessa chuckled.

Skye snorted. "Well, I have talents too ya know."

Michelin's lips curved upward in amusement. "Like?"

"Obviously you're too stupid to not notice my natual abilities, Michelin." She shot back.

"Like your amazing pronunciation on words. Very classy." Vanessa grinned. "Kidding aside, you're a great dancer and you have no equal in the gunslinger department, so you should have no worries."

"Don't make me sound like a froo, Vanessa…" Skye whispered a warning. "Dancing is hardly a recognized talent."

"Ah, yes. I nearly forgot that you did in fact have a talent." Michelin teased. "As I recall, you are quite good at dancing."

"Mhm." Skye said nothing more on the matter, not wanting to get into any examples.

"Well, ladies, I must be off. Karen did ask me to join her in a reading. Going to learn about some pretty interesting rock formations today!"

"Wee, sound's exciting." Skye rolled her eyes. "Have fun ...not."

"Have fun doing nothing." Michelin retorted. "Good night to you, Vanessa."

"You too, Michelin." Vanessa voiced her goodbyes, Skye grumbling as she went. "What's wrong?"

"Damn Michelin… thinks he's so suave and cool…"

"That's because he is…" Vanessa trailed off; having seen the ugly look Skye gave her at that statement. "Did you see Julia on your way here? I want to talk to her about something."

"Julia? Yeah yeah, I saw her." Skye rolled her eyes. "Said for me to tell you that if you specifically at any point felt like talking to her about something to screw off." Vanessa's expression turned deadpan.

"Oh yeah, I'm sure." Her voice dripped in sarcasm.

"Piers was also wanting a word with you as well." Skye said, feeling a little foolish for not mentioning that before. "I forget what it was about though. Ah, whatever." She shrugged. "He'll find you at some point."

"Really?" Vanessa sounded a bit interested, but it was switched with a laugh. "Yeah, he always does manage to find me, wherever I may be."

"Yeah… creeper." Skye stuck out her tongue. Vanessa just shook her head.

"So what are we to do now, or would you mind if I took some time to speak with Julia and Piers?"

"Julia really, really doesn't want to talk to you, you know." Skye said it with the most serious face she could muster, attempting believability. Vanessa could see right through it. "Better just go to Piers when you head out."

"As you wish." Vanessa rolled her eyes. "Wonder what he wants this time?"

"Being you, it could be anything." She winked, knowing full well Vanessa would catch on to the hidden meaning.

"Skye!" A crimson line flushed her face immediately. "I'm sure it's nothing like that."

"I'm not sure either, t'was only a guess." She laughed. "Yeah, go. I'll be fine."

"I do hope you're going to stop eavesdropping on Karen now…" Vanessa took a moment to head back to the wall, listening intently. "Actually, they're talking about volcanoes. Right up your alley, eh Skye?" She winked.

"Totally." Skye headed towards the door. "I'll be in my room if you need me. Have fun talking to Brunette Ho A and Sun Roasted B."

"Will do. See you later." And with that they went their separate ways.

Skye headed into her room, shutting the door lightly. She should have figured Vanessa was slightly interested in the redhead; she was bound to be eventually. Piers overall wasn't a horrible guy, and he really did like Vanessa. Well, good for them. She frowned, thinking about the possibility of their relationship advancing. If that happens... she supposed she should have been happy about it. Yeah she should be... Damn, since when had she cared about those two? Stupid Piers. Why couldn't he simply be silent about his feelings for her curly haired friend! Then again, he was being true to his emotions. Skye couldn't help but smirk. If only she were as brave as he.


"Julia?" Vanessa called, knocking on the door to the guest bedroom. "Are you there?" She heard a quick shuffle towards the door, and a click to signal that the obstacle was being unlocked. It swung open, a soft smiling face there to greet her as it did.

"I am. Please, come on in." The dark garbed woman moved out of the way so Vanessa could enter, which she did. The brunette quietly closed the door behind her. "For what do I owe the pleasure of such a visitation?"

"I just wanted to see how you were doing." Vanessa started, though Julia silenced her for a moment by directing her to sit on the bed. Julia herself took up roost on the desk chair. "And I know this is irrelevant to everything, but your hair looks really nice down."

"You're too kind." Julia responded, though she appreciated the comment. "It mostly just gets in the way, which is why I tie it back most occasions."

"Maybe you shouldn't do such activities that involve your hair being tied up all the time?" Vanessa said; a hopeful expression on her face.

"Nice try." the woman smiled, her arms lightly crossed. "I have a duty I must attend to, you know that."

"I know…" Vanessa sighed, clearly aware of said duty but trying to ignore it. She didn't feel like it was the most necessary position, not when she was among friends. Julia already knew how Vanessa felt about it. They had many discussions before concerning that matter, after all. "Has there been any word?"

"From Sheryl? No." Julia shook her head. "Neither she nor Cade have reported anything since they went on their own adventure."

"I really wish that you had gone with them, Julia." Vanessa appeared disheartened. "I know the oath you swore and the obligations you have, but I do wish that could have been put on temporary hiatus for them."

"They'll be fine." Julia reassured her. "If they run into any trouble, I will know. Don't stress about it."

"Okay… thanks." Vanessa brightened slightly. "Do you feel like baking a cake with me?"

"I am hardly a gourmet chef… and at such a late hour?" Julia appeared curious, though uncertain.

"Yeah, just thought you'd like to do something fun, though… I guess you'd have to pull your hair back for this one." Vanessa laughed. "Can't have your hair in the cake, after all."

"And why not? I'd certainly like some of me in that wonderful cake you're going to bake."

Julia smiled, hoping she'd appreciate her humor.

"In making it, sure thing." Vanessa teased, grinning. She got up from the bed and headed for the door. "Meet me in the kitchen in ten? Piers was looking for me apparently; want to see what he wanted."

"I will be there in ten." Julia promised. Vanessa knew she would be there, too; right on time. Julia was always punctual for an occasion, regardless of whether it was mere social or serious business.

"Oh, and Julia?" Vanessa paused in her stride for a moment to turn back and face Julia. "Thanks for the reassurance." Julia nodded respectfully, and then Vanessa left to find a particular red-head.


Skye took off her bandana, unwilling to have her hair bound to it. Taking a brush to her blonde strands, slowly she made her way down from her scalp to the tips. Brushing her hair was a great way to reflect, thanks to a reality slap. She still refused to think of the unspoken subject, not willing to go down that path again. A weekly occurrence it was for her, a realization that wasn't as bad as she made it out to be …but. It was simply an inconvenience. Pushing a simple emotion out of one's head could leave someone rather tired and cranky on occasion.

Skye leant her head on her desk. With Cade out on his adventure with Sheryl and Vanessa busy, she really didn't have a close companion to talk to. She would have mentioned Piers, however he was bound to be with her at this point, so the mere thought of his availability would have been pointless.

…And the Prince was the last person she'd want to converse with.

Skye made her way to her bed, readying a clipboard with a piece of paper. Did she forget to tell Michelin she was quite good with sketching? Skye laughed at the thought, pressing the newly sharpened pencil onto the paper, ready to make a new line. Or was she? She thought about what she wanted to sketch. Maybe a small strip of her and Karen? Nah, she had done too many of those. The results of those ideas had come in handfuls before, currently lingering under her bed. If Karen or Vanessa saw the contents of those comics, she'd be beyond screwed. Oh! She had the perfect idea! Skye and Karen: In, "You're driving me insane!" -

-"Hello?" A persistent, yet light knock echoed from her door, causing Skye to jump unexpectedly, ruining her piece of paper with a thick gray line. She threw her clipboard aside in frustration, soon grabbing the door in the same manner.

"What." Her blue eyes narrowed at the regal figure before her. "I'm busy."

"I see." He said, taking a deep breath. "I was wondering if you'd like some company, since everyone else is doing their own thing."

"Clearly not if I haven't gone looking for you myself, now." She crossed her arms. "You'll have to find a new last resort for company. Sorry for the inconvenience."

The Prince rolled his eyes, a new expression for the pirate to see. "Would I come and seek you out simply because I'm lonely? I think not."

"Whatever, I'm not playing head games. You coming in, or not?"


"Piers?" She softly rapped on his door with the back of her hand. "Are you there?"

"Always for you, my Nessa." His voice spoke from behind. She jumped, having not realized he had snuck behind her. How had he managed to do that? She was always aware of a pending ambush… maybe she was just tired. He hugged her from behind, his chin on her shoulder. He tilted his head, looking at her with soft hazel eyes. "I've been looking for you, you know."

"So I've heard." She giggled, letting her fingers travel up and down his exposed arms looped around her. "For what do I owe this pleasure, dear Piers?" Piers simply gave her a grin full of pearly whites, almost looking a bit embarrassed.

"Well, I had this absurdly random craving for a cake, so I was wondering if you'd like to make one with me or… something like that." It was true; he had been craving it ever since he saw the makings in the cupboard a short time ago. He also had a random image of putting icing on Vanessa's nose… he really hoped she would say yes.

"That's quite a coincidence; I was desiring the same thing. I will accept your proposal, though I do hope you don't mind if Julia joins in? I asked her first if she wanted to make one with me."

"That's fine." He replied cheerfully, doing his best to hide the initial disappointment as he became aware they wouldn't be alone. He had nothing against Julia, but he wasn't sure if he could be as silly as he was imagining if she was there… "The more the merrier." She could sense the momentary pause he had felt at the mention of Julia, but she didn't question it. She knew he would have rather they done it by themselves.

"I told her I'd meet her in the kitchen in ten. Let's go." Vanessa slyly slipped her hand into his and dragged him down the hallway. The quest for the cake was underway.


"Erm, Skye?" The Prince before her looked around nervously, the mess of books and clothes surrounding his feet as he entered the room. He had realized the pileup particularly around the door, as if to keep out unwanted guests. "I don't believe I've ever set foot in your… abode." Prince Marion said, a hint of nervousness surrounding his words.

"If you don't feel comfortable, feel free to leave." She eyed the Prince, immediately shaking his head in response.

"No, no. I didn't mean to offend you." He paused. "Although, why all the books by the door?"

"Don't have a better place for 'em." She shrugged. "Better doorstoppers than anything else."

"Oh! Right!" He said aloud, pulling some papers from his pocket, as he handed them to her. "This is what came to see you for. Someone left you some notes in the kitchen. Saw them on my way out and figured I'd drop them off."

Skye took the sealed envelopes, not really sure who they could be from. Anyone she'd want to talk to was right on the ship, with the few exceptions of the Glacians that were residing in the Lands of Ice.

"Thanks." Out of curiosity she opened the one on the top first, breaking the seal expertly with a finger. She pulled it out, and at her confused expression Marion started to worry.

"I don't get it… is someone intentionally trying to make their handwriting as unrecognizable as possible?" Skye huffed. "I've seen how everyone writes; no one's got a style as shitty as this."

"What does it say?" Marion was genuinely confused. She rolled her eyes and passed it to him. "Carry forth, ye adventurous spirit, and wander unto the place utensils dwell." He frowned. "The kitchen? But I was just there."

"Well, it's better than sitting around and doing nothing, I suppose." She shrugged, taking back the note from Marion before unceremoniously dumping both it and the other sealed letter on her desk. "I'll read the other later. I want to see what this is about."

"Ah, in that case I suppose I will see you later then –"

"Hold up, you're coming with me." Skye cut him off, making sure she had his attention. "If this is an ambush, I want some backup."

"Are you that paranoid that civilians of Nasrad would be out to get you?" Marion questioned, looking confused. "I'm aware that we're docked right now, but I doubt that any would board the ship to then simply leave a letter in the kitchen for you."

"That's how the masterminds do it." Skye said jokingly as they began their short walk to the kitchen. "Lead you into a false sense of security with logic like yours and then… BAM!" She punched her fists together.

"Valid point." Marion admitted. "And being that it is of a handwriting we have never seen before…"

"I was kidding, Prince." Skye groaned. He could be so gullible sometimes. "No one in their right mind would board the Red Rogues ship… or any pirate ship docked, for that matter." They paused when they reached the hallway leading to the kitchen. It was entirely unwarranted, but they both felt a tad bit nervous. Skye casually took a step slower to be behind the Prince, pushing him forward to take the brunt of whatever was to come. "After you!"

"H-Hey, that isn't fair!" Marion stumbled, catching himself with the frame of the kitchen doorway. Three pairs of eyes stared up at the spectacle in confusion. Marion blushed, straightening himself while taking a moment to turn and glare at Skye. "Behold the true sinister evil… of friends baking a cake together."

"What?" Skye slipped through the small free space of the entryway, catching a glimpse of the group in the kitchen. Vanessa, Piers, and Julia were pulling out the makings for a cake. There was nothing lurking in the kitchen… just members of the crew.

And a cake. She almost felt disappointed.

"Hey guys!" Vanessa said cheerfully, pulling out bowls for them to mix the ingredients in. "Care to join us?"

"Was it you that left the invitation in the kitchen?" It would make sense if she did. Vanessa's face glazed over in temporary confusion.

"Invitation?"

"I found one here while I was walking by." Prince reported, looking puzzled. "We didn't recognize the writing… looked very archaic."

"My writing is fashionable, thank you." Piers replied, seeing all eyes on him. "I would not settle for anything less. Must have been Julia."

"My my, what a presumptuous guess." Julia pulled out three eggs, reading the recipe carefully. She did not want the first dish she would make with Vanessa to end in failure. "Though quite a correct one." Skye's mouth twitched. Julia had sent the invite? She didn't believe her. Skye went over to the counter, pulled open a drawer, and took out a pen and a pad of paper. She thrust it in front of Julia, whose brown eyes just glinted in amusement. "While I do consider it a compliment that you don't believe me, I suppose I will have to prove my case." Julia handed the eggs to Piers before taking the pen. She wrote the same sentence twice. One was luxurious with its perfect swirls and carefully crafted letters; the other was the chicken scrawl that Skye recognized from the note before.

"You're too good at being sneaky." Skye remarked, pouting. "And you don't use such talents on escapades with us, a true shame…" Julia laughed playfully.

"Just thought you'd like to join in the fun." She gestured to the countertop with the waiting ingredients. She glanced over at Marion. "You too, Prince."

Seeing as Julia was distracted, Vanessa had headed in Skye's direction, unexpectingly hugging the blonde from behind.

"I missed you." She said, nuzzling her nose into Skye's neck.

"Aaaw."

Skye turned to face Vanessa, giving her a proper hug. She had noticed Piers' look of jealousy, however ignored it. 'Sucks to be Piers', a personal quote which in turn made her giggle.

"Don't we need other ingredients for the cake? All I see are eggs." Not like she had really scanned the countertop; her eyes were still on Vanessa, who was still smiling as she pulled away.

"Are you blind?" Piers scoffed, before reflecting on the irony of that statement. Skye did wear glasses for a reason. "Everything's gathered right here."

"You forgot the margarine, Piers." Vanessa teased, pointing to the refrigerator. Piers ignored the implication of his mistake and quickly retrieved the missing object. "All right, here's the game plan. I'll butter and add flour to the base of the baking pans, Skye will break the eggs, Julia will measure the olive oil and water needed, and Piers, you get to mix it."

"Piece of cake." He grinned. Vanessa rolled her eyes at the pun.

"I do hope you're aware the mixer is broken. You'll be doing it by hand."

"Bugger."

"What about me?" Marion asked; feeling left out.

"I have an especially important task for you, Marion, not to worry." Vanessa felt light as she saw his face brighten. "The cake is nothing without icing, don't you agree?"

"That it isn't." Julia piped up, pouring her liquid substances into the bowl accordingly, passing it along to Skye. "What kind of icing is it going to be, Prince?"

Marion looked over at Vanessa, expecting an answer.

"White. I figure the cake can act as a creative canvas." She handed him some white sugar while at the same time directing his attention to the milk sitting on the counter. Vanessa then showed the crew multiple colored tubes; pre-made icing it appeared to be. "And these are our paintbrushes!" Piers snorted.

"That was corny." And cute, he thought, though he didn't verbalize it. His sparkling eyes said it all.

"Not like you're any better most times." Skye pointed out, cracking open the eggs with the ease of a professional. She passed the bowl to Vanessa, who dumped the cake mix in one quick motion before handing it to Piers. He blinked, knowing that he would have to put his heart into it if he was going to impress her. Vanessa would require nothing less than perfection before she'd allow the mixed substance into her prepared baking pans.

"I have not the slightest what you're on about, Skye." Piers grumbled, grabbing a spoon and tightening his fist around the handle as he prepared to plunge into menial territory.

"Course ya don't." Skye smirked at the annoyed expression Piers wore. She saw Marion efficiently making the icing and then wondered… what were they supposed to do now? She vocalized this to Vanessa.

"Well, you and Julia can pour the batter into the pans, and then… well, guess we'll have to wait a bit for the base to get done in the oven first." Vanessa shrugged. Making a cake was not too difficult with one or two people; she found it harder to give five people an even amount of work to do.

"Can't you do it?" Skye pleaded. "I don't trust ninjas."

Vanessa rolled her eyes, overseeing the work from her standpoint; near the oven. She watched happily as everyone did their job to the best of their ability.

"I'm not a ninja." Julia frowned.

"Um, yes you are. That's why we don't get along... DUH!"

Piers couldn't help but laugh. The classic pirate versus ninja argument, of course. He felt proud when he had mixed the ingredients together thorough enough that Vanessa had stamped her seal of approval on it with a thumbs up. He felt elated as he watched Julia and Skye sluggishly pour the contents into the pans (neither had trust in each other, and Julia did not initially start pouring because she was certain Skye would pull the pan out from under the bowl), but it got done and Vanessa placed the evenly filled pans on racks in the oven. She set the timer and then turned to face the waiting group; Marion having already finished the icing in a separate mixing bowl only a moment ago.

"So… what do we do now?" Marion asked, coming to stand beside Vanessa near the oven.

"Well, we could play a game." Vanessa suggested. "Cards or word games?"

"Ohhhh I got one." Piers snapped his fingers. "Truth or Dare. Vanessa, I dare you to kiss me."

"How straightforward." Julia commented, joining the conversation. "However, I do believe she is allowed the option to choose, Piers."

"I do." Vanessa pondered. She thought about her decision, everyone waiting anxiously. "Alright Piers, I pick dare."

"Wait... What?" Piers flushed, surprise by Vanessa's unexpected answer. She headed toward him, holding his hand. "I want you to close your eyes." She whispered lightly.

Piers closed his eyes in anticipation, trying to not look too anxious himself. Only then, he hadn't been more let down.

"I don't think kissing his hand is what he was going for, Vanessa." Marion added. Julia let out a chuckle.

"No fair." Piers said, opening his eyes.

"Oh? You were never specific." Vanessa winked, eyes glimmering mischievously as she beheld his disappointed stare. He straightened himself though, cursing that she could take his dare as literally as she did. If she wanted specific, he'd get her… next time. "Guess it's my turn to ask someone then, eh?" Vanessa looked over the other people in the room. Depending on what they chose, this could be some primetime to get to know some of them. "Marion? Truth or Dare."

"Truth." He replied without hesitation. She figured he would be like that.

"How did you meet Karen?" It was something she always wondered.

"Bumped into her while I was uh… taking a trip through the city when I was eleven." Marion paused, wondering if he should reveal that he had caught people bullying her and he was only 'out' because he had run away for an afternoon of freedom. "I had never seen anyone with hair like hers before, and I found it silly that others disliked her for it, so… I talked to her for a time. A fun conversation from what I can remember." He would not mention that he had pushed the bullies out of the way from behind, grabbed Karen's arm and ran like he had a flock of wyverns behind him. They were chased, but they managed to escape. "My turn now?" Vanessa felt like his story wasn't entirely accurate (his face always looked a bit funny when he altered the truth to suit him), but she wasn't going to press him on the matter. She nodded.

Marion scanned the room, looking at the faces of each individual before him. There was one individual however who hadn't given him any eye contact since this game started. This could end up being quite fun.

"Skye? Truth or dare?"

"Truth." She simply answered. There was no way he'd ask a question of any importance. He lacked the brain capacity.

"What's your favorite color?"

"Green." Skye rolled her eyes. She figured it'd be something stupid like a favorite color. "My turn. Julia, truth or dare." The brunette almost seemed surprised that Skye had chosen her. Then again, depending on what she chose…

"Truth." Why not? Julia had deduced that Skye wouldn't ask anything personal of her. Knowing the pirate's usual personality, she will likely just mock the Prince for his weak question.

Julia was right.

"What's your favourite number?" Skye said this with a completely serious face.

"Fifteen." She would not explain the significance of why she liked this number; fifteen being the age she was when she first met the people that would later become some of her closest friends. "I suppose it ends with Piers, hmm? Truth or Dare." She had no idea what to ask him, or what he'd choose. Julia would have to wait for his answer.

"Dare." He said hopefully.

Julia could easily work with this. She held her finger up, pointing at each crew member. "I dare you to give..." She paused, as she pointed to herself. "ME, a piggyback ride around the room."

Well, that's not what he was expecting at all. It had come to his attention a long time ago that Julia was wary of men; or at least that was his conclusion as he had never seen her allow any guy touch her before. Even Karen was not that stingy; she'd at least accept some hugs on occasion. Julia… he had always known to have a very deep sense of personal space. It almost felt like a privilege that she was trusting him enough now to touch her.

For a piggyback, of all things.

He bent down, allowing her to hop on. He could sense her initial discomfort right away (was she really trying to battle a phobia instead of simple fun?), but he didn't give her a chance to think about it as he sprung into action, racing around the room as she held onto his shoulders in a vice grip. She was very light; probably the lightest of the girls though she had a few years and height on them. Must have been the way she dressed. She preferred convenience.

Piers was almost surprised that he had spent as much time reflecting on her character as he did, since he had never really thought about it before. Their escapades around the room had been halted by the reoccurring ding of the oven; Vanessa pulling out the baking pans with a satisfactory expression on her face. They would still have to wait for it to cool down before applying the icing, but it wouldn't be too much longer now.

"This cake is going to taste absolutely amazing! Julia squealed, hopping off of Piers' back. She ran to the oven, however careful to not be in the way of the grand unveiling. Julia adored cake; that was no doubt in anyone's mind.

"I hope I did a good job on the icing." The prince hoped aloud, both Piers and Skye hearing his comment.

"You better. I worked hard to crack those eggs." She replied jokingly, causing him to frown. Skye pulled a face. "I was kidding, geesh."

"It's hard to tell with you."

Piers nodded. "It's the truth." He replied as backup for Marion's statement. "Pretty sure you can't mess up icing, man." He patted the Prince's back.

"God, it's not like his best friend died. " Skye threw her head back, her voice increased in volume. "It's icing, get over it."

The Prince let out an unhappy sigh. "Easy for you to say. All you did was crack a few eggs!"

"And pour the batter into the pans! Don't forget that!" She smirked. "I was trusted with a harder position than you."

"For the love of Arcadia, shut it you two." Vanessa getting tired of the potential argument, decided to take the cake out, hoping that the others weren't getting restless. "It should be okay to ice it now!" Vanessa letting the tips of her fingers graze the cake's surface. The temperature was perfect. Well, perhaps still a bit too warm, but the patience of her colleagues felt like they were wearing thin. She directed them over to the squeezable pouches, each taking a color as she applied the icing Marion had made onto the cake. It was a perfect texture, and though she was right in that the cake still could have waited a bit longer (she had a furious, silent battle on one end), she managed. The only remaining color left was… red. They had saved it for her, aw.

They all hesitated, waiting for her to say something. Did they want her to give decorating tips? As an incentive, she drew Skye's face and her hair bandanna on one side. She had started to draw the Red Rogues flag with red icing when the others joined in.

"Oh noez, here comes the enemy shipz!" Skye took the blue icing and sketched a rather horrid looking Albatross III coming for the floating Skye head, as Julia (with her yellow icing) drew the sun.

"I drew Glacia!" Piers grinned, pointing to the hill of purple icing near the Albatross III. "The Blue Rogues must've just left."

"Not funny." Marion pulled a face, adding green clouds next to Julia's sun. "Hardly a work of art." Vanessa drew her face near Skye's, both wearing enthusiastic grins despite the oncoming giant blue mass of ship beside them. Julia was busy adding the various different weapons each member used on the sides of the cake – a laborious process, but she managed.

The end result of the cake, when all was said and done, well…

"Looks like a rainbow puked on it." His deeper voice was unexpected; so engaged were they all in their activity that they jumped at the addition of another resident of the room. Scratch that, two residents.

"Michelin!" Karen sounded shocked, appalled at his comment. "I think it looks adorable."

"Oh, of course they show up once we're done." Skye grumbled. "Useless bastards."

"You should check out the Glacian mass on the side." Skye chuckled, Piers joining in.

"It's quite the purple mass of puke if you ask me." He grinned.

"Is this a joke?" Karen eyed Prince Marion, shrugging in response.

"I tried to stop him." he grinned awkwardly, Karen not buying his attempt.

"Would you like some cake?" Vanessa asked with the knife in her hand.

"I'll grab the plates!" Piers offered, taking a stack of seven dessert plates from the shelf.

"And I'll help! Julia joined in, grabbing seven forks from the dishware cabinet. The group of seven crowded around, each in line for cake. Michelin surprisingly was allowed at the front of the line, him asking for his purple mass of a homeland to be on his plate. Karen liked the Albatross III drawing, so Vanessa cut out the ship plus a half of Julia's sun. Julia in turn wanted her friend to be on her slice, so Vanessa had her face cut out with the other half of Julia's sun. Prince Marion was the last in line, having two plates in his hand. Skye was setting up the chairs around the table to accommodate everybody, so he asked for the end part of the Albatross III, and a piece with a single green cloud.

The group more or less stood around the dinner table with the exception of Karen and Michelin. Vanessa smiled as Julia commented how wonderful it was for them all to be here together (with the exception of Cade and Sheryl) eating cake together. Piers happily devoured Glacia as Marion handed the green cloud cake piece to Skye, commenting that she should like it because it was her favorite color. She rolled her eyes, however accepted the piece. Vanessa had made sure to keep the best picture on the cake to herself, as she smiled down at her piece, and her missie smiled back.