"Did I ever tell you 'bout the time I baked a hundred cakes in twenty minutes?"

Evvy looked up from her pile of sparkling stones. She scoffed. "I'll believe that when I see it."

Briar raised an eyebrow. "You know I can cook."

"I don't know that you can bake," Evvy retorted.

He plopped himself down beside her, and said, "It was Tris's fault. She made a bag of flour explode."

This made Evvy's head jerk up, shocked at the waste. Briar nodded knowingly.

"Rosethorn and Lark were due back in maybe thirty minutes, so we didn't have time to squabble. Sandry and Daja were all for burying it, or tryin' to stuff it back. Rosethorn would have noticed, though, so we decided to bake cakes with it instead."

"I refuse to believe that it went well," Evvy said, deciding not to mention that she did not believe Briar and his siblings hadn't squabbled. He'd mentioned their arguments too many times before.

He didn't argue. It was obvious, from the look on his face, that he couldn't.

Evvy just wondered why he had bothered telling her that one ought to do everything possible not to waste food.

Briar's eyes were far away, but they twinkled in amusement as he recounted a bright memory. "Here's what we did. Sandry circled our part of the room to keep our magic in, and we - that's me and Sandry - spelled the floor so that our magic wouldn't hurt it. Then Tris called up wind and water, and she and Sandry started mixing them with the flour we'd put on the floor. I was all for adding more sugar and honey but they wouldn't let me.

"Daja made this grid of fire... I can't remember its name now, something about a talisman... and we passed the mixture though it a couple of times. The big chunk kept dripping into smaller pieces, 'bout the size of my hand, though, so we decided to make the cakes that size instead. It took us maybe five or ten minutes to mix everything? The rest of the ten minutes before Lark and Rosethorn arrived, that was all baking, tryin' to get everything finished.

"One of the vines told me when they were coming back to Discipline." (Always post look-outs when you were getting in trouble at home and didn't want anyone else to see; she understood now what the moral of the story was.) "We'd only just finished gathering all the cakes before Rosethorn and Lark walked in."

Evvy, examining a bloodstone from her collection, decided that she couldn't wait to meet his siblings, some day, if their experiments with magic were always this interesting. And anyone who decided to bake cake using magic, despite not being cook mages, had to be wonderful. Or amusing, at the very least.