Well, I was convinced into picking up the slack on the Wonder Chef/Caleb series of fics for ToS, which means I'm juggling a lot more fics than I'm comfortable with, but at least these ones were completed long ago. So they were never posted anywhere. Go fig. Adam's story is companion to Caleb: Center of the Storm, as the events in both occur at about the same time, running parallel until they reach the Wonder War event. Now, because things from Caleb's future is a little different from the series I've written so far here in his past, we can just blame ToS2 for that, since its timeline crashed with the one I had for my fics and so I had to speed up the events in the history Caleb has in his modern form. Did that make any sense? Oh well. I'll try to keep both of these updated at the same time. Also, anyone interested in reading the complete Cast From Paradise poem should be able to find it on my dA gallery. ht tp: / digi-dolphin .deviantart. com/art /Cast-From -Paradise- 31802503

Ch 5

DuGorge studied the maps spread on the table as Eve's image appeared on a nearby projector within a large office in the Famine Temple. She bowed in deference as she announced her arrival. The Master Chef grunted in acknowledgment and made no other motion for a few minutes. Eventually, he sighed and stretched, popping a few joints.

"The weather here is horrid. Why couldn't that idiot First Wonder Chef and his dwarven buddies have built this temple somewhere more temperate? I swear, sometimes I think Eru wasn't as intelligent as legend says he was..." he complained and looked over at the young woman, brightening upon seeing her, "Ah, Eve. Lovely sight you are. Do you have any idea how many idiots I have under my command? I swear, I'd kill for a good general right about now." DuGorge made a face as he looked back at his maps. "These things are basically useless now that the worlds are united. Land-masses are in places they shouldn't be, new lands materialized out of nowhere to get in the way of my shipping routes, and my incompetent troops are late delivering some of the candy shipments to the cities of Tethe'alla." He tapped the end of his nose thoughtfully and shook his head. "This would be so much easier if I had the Wonder Fork in my possession. Which reminds me... dear Eve, how did things go in the Wonder Organization?"

"They've allied themselves with you and denounced my brother only a few hours ago. He made an escape, but I..." Eve went silent for a moment and the Master Chef raised an eyebrow at her, "...I managed to throw one of the daggers you gave me. I believe I made contact." she finished reporting, "My father has been growing suspicious of my actions and is currently away from the base. And according to eyewitness reports, Adam no longer carries the Wonder Fork." DuGorge frowned.

"Well, where the hell is it?" he demanded. The whole reason for sending Eve back into the depths of the Wonder Organization's hidden base was to get hold of the artifact and bring it back to him. If it wasn't there, then...

"The Council is sending cooks out in search of the Wonder Fork. Also, there has been a breach in the vault. According to the Council, the only item that was stolen was a Cruxis Crystal." DuGorge's interest grew immensely at her words, eyes going wide as he moved toward the projector in disbelief.

"A Cruxis Crystal? Aren't those only worn by the Chosen? How did the Wonder Organization get their oven mitts on a Cruxis Crystal?" he exclaimed. What would possess Cruxis to give one of those precious stones to the chefs? Had it ever been worn? Who was it intended for? There were far too many questions being brought up from that one bit of new information. Eve shook her head, neutral expression unchanged.

"I don't know. It was something I was not informed of at any time. However, the Council had intended to attach the Crystal to Adam in hopes that it would allow them to control him." she answered bluntly, "May I recommend locating the Crystal first so that you have control of the Wonder Chef?"

"Sauri and Leo aren't doing anything useful for me here, so I'll send them to search Sylvarant for the Cruxis Crystal." DuGorge mused, rubbing at his chin as he considered the changes this would make to his plans, "And is your dear brother still alive? I do hope that dagger only slowed him down, not killed him. I still need the Ultimate Recipe." He looked back at the maps with a frown, arms folding over his chest. "Therein lies the true power I desire. Ruling this world is nothing compared to holding the power of the Ultimate Recipe in my hand." he growled softly.

"... He is alive. Weakened severely, but alive. It will soon be morning in Sylvarant; twenty-four hours will have passed since my father left this base. If the two of them meet, your plans here will surely unravel." Eve reported, her first words coming in halting tones. DuGorge frowned and turned back to her.

"Eve, are you hesitating on giving me information about your brother?" he questioned in suspicion. Was the Exsphere losing control over her? He couldn't have that; the Wonder Chef's twin knew far too much to be lost to him now. If she broke free of his control, he'd have to go through the trouble of imprisoning her. DuGorge would rather not subject a lady to that, especially one who had been a popular model in Tethe'alla.

"No, sir. Whatever I know about Adam I delivered to you completely." the woman replied easily, posture still as stiff as ever. It didn't suit her, in the Master Chef's opinion, but even he couldn't dictate how she would hold herself under the dominance of the stone.

"Then are you hesitating on following my instructions in regards to the condition of your precious twin?" DuGorge pressed, dismissing that thought in favor of confronting his suspicions of the woman. Eve went silent at the question. "Answer me, Eve." he growled, hands tightening into fists as he glowered at her, never mind that she was thousands of miles away.

"No, sir. I will do... what you command. You... are my master." she returned in that same halting voice, eyebrows furrowing together delicately. It was obvious now; Eve was attempting to fight the Exsphere, but only when her twin's welfare was the subject. He glared harder. "My brother is an obstacle in your plans. I will... eliminate... that obstacle..." she finally managed to finish, closing her eyes as the stone at her neck shone brightly. Her expression smoothed back out and when she opened her eyes, they were dark and empty again.

"Good girl. Now, I can't have Estéfan further empowering that brat. Not when things are so close to fruition. My candies, despite my troops' incompetence, will soon be available all over the world." DuGorge announced imperiously, "The Heroes of Union will die, the governing parties of this world will either be dead or enslaved to me, and all the warriors that could stand against the Dark Chef Alliance will also be dead. The Wonder Chef is in a position to leave this battle, as well as this world, forever. Especially if he remains clueless to all of the powers of the Wonder Fork. There must be more to that utensil that I don't know about. I must learn those secrets myself!" He paced back and forth in front of the projector, muttering to himself. "Eru's mastery over the Wonder Fork was legendary, unmatched since his suicide, but I will match and surpass that mastery once I have it back! There's got to be a way of getting to all of its power!"

"Sir, orders?" Eve asked. DuGorge stiffened and spun around to face the woman.

"Estéfan has a penalty to pay for what he did to me." he hissed, stalking forward, closer to the projector, "The number one reason why I live to steal the title from his wretched son, why I crave seeing the Voracis writhe in the flames of their burning kitchens, is because of that half-elf loving bastard." He tightened his hands into fists again, imagining them gripping Adam's neck as they choked out his last breath. The thought made him bare his teeth in a smile that looked more like a grimace. "I will carry out my father's last wish and rip the Wonder Organization to shreds so our family can take back what rightfully belonged to us! I will not allow that man to strengthen his son! Not when I'm on the brink of success!"

He whirled around on his heels -he was always one for dramatics, he knew- and gestured outward towards the rest of the temple. "Eve, return to the temple immediately. We're going to prepare the troops for the siege on Hima. We'll destroy the base completely, burn it to the ground!" DuGorge declared savagely, "Once the Voracis find out that their precious Organization is on the brink of destruction, they will come to save what they can of it. And when they do... that family will burn with the last of Eru's twisted legacy!"

"Do you wish for me to join them?" Eve asked and the chef looked up at her in sudden surprise and concern, "To complete your plan, the entire family must die. I am of that family." DuGorge shook his head, a smile slowly growing on his face as a new addition to his plans started forming in his mind.

"No. I have other plans for you, my dear." he murmured slyly, "In the event that I am unable to wield the full might of the Wonder Fork, my own sons shall. For that, I need someone who is closest to matching your brother's ability to have as a bride." He reached out and chuckled, brushing his knuckles against the illusory blonde's cheek, "And who closer than his very own twin sister?" Eve bowed her head, folding one arm over her chest in salute.

"I... understand, sir. I'll return at once to Flanoir. Eve, out." she replied and the image flickered away.

Adam woke to someone shaking him by the arm and sat up in shock before cringing in pain and falling back onto the pile of grass that served as his bed.

"What? What? Ow! Stop it! I'm awake! What do you want?" he yelled angrily, "Make your own damn omelet!"

"I already did, idiot, but you were having a nightmare and were yelling stuff a little tyke like Ardee shouldn't hear." Fredrik told him sternly and glanced back at the wide-eyed little chef clutching a piece of toast in his hands. Adam sat up, looked at the boy in confusion, then groaned in self-disgust, passing one hand over his eyes.

"What did I say?" he grumbled, dreading whatever was coming.

"It was weird. You were yelling 'Al dente, you piss-head, al dente'." Fredrik murmured to him, "Now, what the hell is going on in your head that you would have to scream at a beginner cook about pastas? You're the Wonder Chef; you teach cooking with a gentle form!"

"Agh... no, that was me. I'm the beginner cook, back when I couldn't cook to save my own skin sometimes." he muttered and sat up, wincing a bit at the pain in his back. "Ardee? Are you okay?" The boy whimpered, holding his buttered toast like a shield. Adam looked at him sadly. "I'm sorry, Ardee. But I told you, I'm not who you think I am." he told the little chef.

"Y-you're the Wonder Chef, sir. The leader of the Wonder Organization and the savior of the culinary world. Everyone depends on you to save us all from the Dark Chefs." Ardee stammered and his expression changed to pity, "Just like the Chosen One's job. That must bring a lot of pain and anger."

"Yes. Yes, it does." Adam agreed softly and stood with the Asgard chef's help, "You can see the damage it does. Look at me now." He smiled weakly as Ardee scrambled to his feet. "I'm a wanted man now, Ardee. A criminal by the laws of the Wonder Organization. I've broken the pact with Cruxis, I exposed our greatest secret to someone who isn't my successor, and everything just started falling apart for me the day I became Wonder Chef." Adam paused, frowning slightly as he reconsidered that. "Well, actually, I guess it's been stewing since the day Kvar hit me when I was just a child." he amended with a one-shoulder shrug, "It's just taken until now to reach the boiling point and finish me off."

"Sir?" Ardee squeaked, eyes growing huge and wide with alarm and lack of understanding. The other cook frowned as well, hands on his hips as his brows furrowed together in confusion.

"Adam, what are you saying?" Fredrik asked, concerned by Adam's words. It sounded like he was saying he was doomed to this fate from the very start. The blonde stepped away from the group and looked down at the dying embers of the cooking fire.

"I'm saying that there's no point to me continuing to lie about this. Not anymore, now that everything I've done to help this world has caught up to me at last." he remarked calmly, gazing at one last stubborn flame cling to a bit of kindling before finally dying away, "My end is coming... no, it's already here." The other two cooks looked at each other in growing concern, then stared back at the young chef. Adam sighed and gazed skyward, holding back tears that threatened to fall. "The Wonder Organization is dead, Ardee, and you and my family and my supporters and even Fredrik there... all of you are all that's left of it. And that is pathetically small compared to the combined fury of the Dark Chef Alliance and the Royal Order of Master Chefs."

"What does that have to do with anything?" Fredrik demanded. Ardee nodded fiercely.

"Yeah! It doesn't matter how many people those backstabbers have on their side!" the boy declared hotly, "You're the Wonder Chef! Even if we're not the Wonder Organization anymore, we'll still follow you into battle...!"

"No!" Adam snapped sharply, shooting them both a glare fierce enough to make them both jump and clap their hands over their mouths, "No one is following me into anything! Battles and wars lead to death and destruction; I won't have more people die because of me." He watched them for a moment, his expression slowly melting in a forlorn one, then sighed and looked out at the land, ignoring their startled faces. "I want to save this world from the Dark Chefs and the Royal Order; from their madness, from their intent to use our recipes to hurt this world, from everything that could use what food is in this world to destroy it." Adam murmured, one hand reaching up to grip at his injured shoulder before moving to trace over the near invisible scar on his face, hidden by the fringe of hair he kept swept over his left eye. He smiled after a moment and finally looked over at the two chefs, eyes bright and sparkling. "I'm going to protect Ginger from the Dark Chef Alliance, I'm going to free my sister from enslavement, I'm going to save the world! And I will gladly die doing it!" he finished cheerfully, "And when I die, the fighting will end! You'll have peace again, guys; won't that be wonderful?" He laughed as the two cooks gaped at him in disbelief.

"That's crazy! You don't have the strength to continue walking around, what the hell makes you think you can save the whole world?" Fredrik snapped back incredulously, shaking a fist at the still grinning blonde, "And you're not going to die! How the hell is that gonna fix anything? We're taking you to Izoold, we're getting a mage to finish healing you and we are going to hide you away somewhere until this whole stupid thing blows over!"

"Wonder Chef, sir!" Ardee cried, throwing out his hands in a gesture of pleading, "No! You... you can't die! You're our inspiration! Without you, the hopes and dreams of all cooks around the world will die too!" He shook his head, tears running down his face angrily, "I can't allow it, sir! I'm sorry! Your father needs you, your family needs you, we all need you! Why are you willing to throw yourself away for that stupid Dark Chef spy?" Adam softened, shaking his head slightly.

"Funny thing, Ardee. I... feel something about her... for her... She may have been our enemy once, but she's traveled with me for a couple of months or so and... things are different." he murmured, a faint blush coloring his cheeks as he glanced aside, smiling at the memories of those travels. Fredrik scowled as the boy chef looked confused, head tilting one way.

"You are an idiot!" the Asgard chef yelled, face turning red, "Are you telling us that you're planning to die just 'cause you're in love with some chick that was hired to kill you?" Jolted out of the peaceable nostalgia, Adam glared at him askance, visible eye twitching slightly as he folded his arms over his chest with only the slightest wince of pain.

"I didn't say that!" Adam protested even as his blush deepened, "A-Anyway, she wasn't hired to kill me; she was sent to lead me into an ambush. That's old history; she's completely reformed now!" Ardee wailed louder, still traumatized by the events of that day so long ago. "Ardee, stop it! You're a Wonder Cook! Wonder Cooks don't cry like that!" the chef scolded in exasperation, turning in place to face the boy and planting his hands on his hips to appear more in control, "You have to be strong now! There's no way you can go to Alvanista by yourself, so you'll have to travel with Fredrik until the two of you can get there. Then tell my father that I've gone to fulfill my last duties as Wonder Chef and I won't be coming back."

"No! I won't! You're not gonna die! You're not going anywhere! You're too sick to do anything!" Ardee yelled back, waving his fists at the young Wonder Chef in a tantrum, "How can you save the world when you don't have the strength? You can't do it!" Adam pulled the black box from his pack and showed it to them, a grim look on his face.

"This will give me all the strength I need... and probably more." he told them and opened it. Fredrik and Ardee peered into the case at a shining red stone set into a yellow-gold mount shaped somewhat like a winged figure. Ardee blinked in confusion as Fredrik's eyebrows lifted in surprise.

"What is that? It's pretty." Ardee remarked, eyes wide and shining with unshed tears and awe.

"A Cruxis Crystal! What are you doing with a Cruxis Crystal? That's a religious thing and last I checked, it's the religion that was gonna get us all killed." Fredrik exclaimed in shock. Adam lifted the mount and stone from within the box, studying it as it lay in the palm of his hand.

"It's my Cruxis Crystal. Three years ago, I was captured by Mithos Yggdrasill and they put this on me to turn me into an angel. After two weeks of imprisonment, I managed to escape and returned to Hima, where my father had some dwarven friends help remove this thing." he revealed, dropping the box carelessly as the other two chefs gasped in shock. Adam pulled the tattered red cape over his head and dropped it onto the ground as well, then began unbuttoning his shirt.

"What do you think you're doing? We've learned what those things do to people!" Fredrik exclaimed in alarm, unable to bring himself to move out of fear of the gleaming stone in the blonde's hand, "The best you can hope for is getting your soul sucked out of your body like someone slurping up spaghetti!"

"I've had that happen to me already." Adam returned in an unnaturally calm, almost conversational tone, smiling over at him, "It's not so bad, if you don't mind the part where you can't really do anything other than just exist there like that."

"Wonder Chef! You can't!" Ardee cried, hands grabbing at his own head in dismay and horror. Adam focused more intently on the mount and stone in his hand as he held it before himself, trying and failing to ignore the voice in his own mind wailing out to stop, to throw the thing away because if Caleb ever found out about this, the doll would probably be furious.

"I can, and I will. With this Cruxis Crystal, I'll have the strength to save the world, for all of you who deserve to live in it more than me. Caleb, I'm so sorry." he whispered and shut his eyes tightly, pressing the mount against the base of his neck. A strange violet light rippled over the stone and the yellow-gold of the ore, the runic characters carved into the wings of the mount glowing softly, then fading as Adam pulled his hand away. The Cruxis Crystal remained attached to his skin, shining in the light of the morning sun.

"Now you really are gonna die." Fredrik sighed in disappointment, "You are a complete idiot. Love does that to people, Ardee. You remember that. People do the stupidest things when they're hot for a girl." Ardee nodded in agreement, cheeks puffing as he glared hatefully at the little stone now attached to his idol's body.

"I heard that." Adam muttered as he flexed his hands and tested his limbs, "Well, whatever it is that it does is working. I'm feeling better already, and I should be healing soon. All that's left is to figure out my plan of attack and hope this thing doesn't suck away my humanity before I get it all done." The Asgard chef shook his head and looked thoughtful.

"Ah, have you met your uncle yet?" he asked and the blonde shook his head, confused by the sudden change of subjects, "Okay, then let me tell you about this little miracle candy that I was told to spread around Sylvarant." Fredrik pulled the recipe from a pocket and handed it to him to look over. "I got it in Asgard from an old couple who say some girl in torn up blue clothes was frantic about it getting to other cooks. They made some copies but then a bunch of crazy chefs in blue uniforms showed up, trashed their kitchen and ran off with the copies they made." He rubbed his head ruefully. "I barely made it out with my copy, mostly 'cause I was renting the dragon for my trip when the whole thing happened." he sighed.

"This is Ginger's work!" Adam cried in shock, recognizing the handwriting and the description. He looked up from the paper at the older cook, surprised expression still on his face, "The Dark Chefs attacked Asgard to stop this recipe? Why?" Why would DuGorge want this candy under wraps when he had no problem with Ginger using her other recipes in battle?

"What kind of recipe is it?" Ardee asked, puzzled by the subject change as well.

"It's a candy that makes people feel really good when they eat it." the Asgard chef explained offhandedly as Adam returned his attention to the paper and read the ingredients to himself.

"This isn't normal candy; this looks like medicine. Powerful herbal medicine disguised as candy. A third of the ingredients counter various common poisons, another couple here counters addictions..." he muttered thoughtfully and jerked his head up as a feeling of dread suddenly came over him, "Fredrik, these candies... have you seen what they look like?" The older man blinked in surprise at being asked such a question before rolling his eyes upward in recollection.

"Yeah, they look like gels... same color as your eyes." he finally remarked, gesturing at the paper in Adam's hands, "Eat one and they make you feel like you took a taste of heaven. If Sylvarant sold these to Tethe'alla, our money problems would be over in no time!" The blonde had already stopped paying attention by then, color draining out of his face.

This was the recipe to the candies Ginger gave him to cure him of the poisons that made him sick in NeOzette and Meltokio. Adam stared at the paper in his hands as everything seemed to click into place. The candy in Sybak that Caleb bought were Ginger's recipe, but not made by her. Each time he got sick, he'd been eating those candies. Ginger's expression of guilt when she helped him the first time, her sudden abandonment of the Dark Chefs, her need to get validation for her candy recipes, the thefts of the dessert items all over the world. This was what she'd been trying to warn him about, and like an idiot Adam didn't listen in time.

"That's the Dark Chefs' plan." he whispered in realization.

"Sir?" Ardee piped in, baffled by the events and the look on the Wonder Chef's face just as Fredik chipped in with a 'Come again?' with a blank expression on his face. Adam shook his head and stared at the recipe in his hands.

"I know what's going on now! I should have seen this coming!" he exclaimed, one hand gripping his head as his thoughts raced to the end result of the plot, "The Dark Chef Alliance is going to use candy to poison the world!" He shook the paper at them for emphasis, "This is the antidote to the Dark Chefs' candy! This must be what Ginger meant by a candy that equaled the power of the Ultimate Recipe! Candy that cures everything to save lives!"

"That explains all those candy stores opening in Tethe'alla." the Asgard chef muttered darkly, taking back the paper to study the ingredients with a new awareness, "They're trying to open here, too, but they're up against stiff competition. These candies are already being sold here, so Sylvaranti poisonings shouldn't be too big a problem."

"No, but I have to worry about Tethe'alla. Right now, they're more powerful than Sylvarant. If some of those candies are as addictive as I think they are, and the nobles over there eat them..." Adam pointed out and closed his eyes in pain, hand rising to press over his hidden eye, "Oh, Goddess... they're going to use Tethe'alla to start a war with Sylvarant. DuGorge will tell the nobility to wage a war for more candy. A new famine will rise, and the Dark Chefs will hold all the food that's left in their tight little hands." He opened his eyes, face pale as he lowered his hand to face his friends. "DuGorge will rule the world by taking control of the food supply. I knew it! He who holds the bounty of the land, wields all power in his hand." he quoted in a hollow tone, shoulders sagging as the weight of his realization finally settled on him.

"This is big." Ardee murmured and shook his head, "Too big. There's no way the few Wonder Cooks left on our side will be able to stop this without the powers of the Wonder Fork. We need you to teleport us all to those candy shops before they start selling candy!" Adam flinched at the reminder of the giant utensil and folded his arms protectively over his chest, glancing aside to avoid looking at the little Wonder Cook.

"I... I don't have it. I gave it to Ginger." Adam revealed uncomfortably, squeezing his eyes shut as the memory of that horrible cooking battle came back to flaunt his failure as Wonder Chef to him again. Ardee blinked and opened his mouth to demand why. "She beat me in a cooking battle." the blonde told him firmly before the boy could speak, glaring at him before looking away again, "She beat me fair and square, and the deal was that I would renounce my title to her if she won. I did."

"You're lying!" Ardee cried in denial, tears starting anew as he stepped back, shaking his head as though to dislodge the words from his ears and pretend he'd never heard them.

"No, I'm not. I'm not the Wonder Chef anymore, and since the Wonder Fork won't respond to her that means only one thing. There is no Wonder Chef at all; I will be the last one." Adam disagreed and picked up the torn and bloodied cape, gazing at it sadly before his expression grew more determined. He gripped the fabric tightly, then turned to face the boy chef, holding the ruined cape out to him. "When you reach my father, give this to him. Tell him his son is dead. It would mean a lot to me if you deliver this message for me." he remarked softly, then looked at Fredrik as Ardee stared at him in disbelief and shock, numbly taking the cape into his hands. "Fredrik, I need you to copy that recipe for me. I know what it is I'm going to do to stop the Dark Chefs from making more poison candy."

"This is nuts, man." the Asgard chef grumbled as he got to work making the copy, "I'm almost afraid to ask what you're gonna do."

"There's very little anyone can do about the candies that are already in stores except pray that they don't cause as much damage as the ones that are coming next." Adam began determinedly, "Fredrik, you continue passing this recipe around; Ardee, you help him until you can get to Alvanista. Once there, tell my father I died and that this candy must be made and spread all over Tethe'alla immediately." He held up a hand to halt Ardee's protests and explained himself, "He'll focus on that better without me to worry about, and if everyone believes I'm dead, then I can't be used against them if things don't turn out well." He accepted the copy and slipped it into his pack with a murmur of thanks. "Meanwhile, I'm going to go and start giving the Dark Chefs some payback for the sabotage they put us through." Adam went on planning aloud, shouldering his travel pack as the pain in his back finally receded to little more than a dull ache, "I'll infiltrate their base in the Famine Temple and use this recipe to put counter-ingredients into the cooking vats so the Dark candy loses its effectiveness."

"And how are you going to sneak into a base full of thousands of Dark Chefs?" Ardee demanded, shaking the bloodied cape at him, "I still can't believe you're making me tell everyone you're dead!" Adam grinned, a strange shine in his visible eye as he stood before the two chefs without the hat, cape and fork that made him recognizable as Wonder Chef.

"Easy! I'm going to join the Dark Chefs!" he laughed. His companions yelled at him in a fury, raging at the sheer lunacy of the idea. "Hey, you can blame the Council of Gourmet Chefs for giving me the idea." Adam pointed out with a smile, "If a traitor I am branded, then a traitor I shall be! I'll become a Dark Chef and sabotage their candies on the inside. You guys have to help the Wonder Cooks stop the candies that are already out there and cure anyone who might be affected, paying special attention to royalty and other people in positions of power." He snapped his fingers as a memory struck him, "The Pope in Meltokio! He was the one who helped DuGorge get the ingredients for all this! Start with him and work your way out. There's got to be others who have addictions that need to be broken!"

"You're going to be recognized going in there." Fredrik grumbled with a huff, kicking dirt over the remnants of the campfire in his distaste for the plan Adam had come up with, "You're very well-known to them, being the spike in the punch for so long."

"I'm going to disguise myself, of course. I'll get new clothes, maybe steal a Dark Chef uniform like Ginger took one of ours... I'll be fine!" Adam remarked brightly and headed for the winged dragon, "You guys get going already! I have a lot of work to do! And if you see Ginger, don't you dare tell her what I'm doing!"

"How about telling her you're in looove with her?" Fredrik called up spitefully as Ardee packed away the stained and tattered cape, sniffling at the idea of everything forcing such a cruel fate for his superior but refusing to give in to crying again. He'd been entrusted with a job to do by the Wonder Chef and he'd be damned if he didn't do his duty, even if he still thought it was stupid.

"You do and I swear I'll find a way back from the dead to haunt your cooking pot!" the blonde chef yelled back and flew away.

"This is insane." Fredrik muttered with a shake of his head, "Well, Ardee, let's hurry up and do our part here. We can catch a boat from Izoold to Venezzia and then catch a ship to Alvanista's port. There's plenty of other people around here that are spreading the recipe besides me, so let's go straight to Adam's dad and tell him what's going on."

"What are we going to do?" Ardee whispered as he mounted the dragon with the older chef, "The Wonder Chef wants to die to save the world. I thought the reunion of the worlds was going to make everything better, not worse." He sniffled again as he looked back at the receding dot in the sky. "I don't want you to die, sir; you're like a big brother to me, to all of us. We all love you, too; doesn't that mean anything to you?" he added sadly before turning to face forward on his own mission.