-Continent of Ravashira, year: 812-

Mid-summer, it is a very festive time of year for Ravashira. It's said that in the early days of summer the empress Rhulan vanishes from her castle and appears on the western shores. From there a festive caravan, practically a parade escorts her back across the continent, passing through many cities along the way. This has resulted in two traditions; the first is something mostly the youths partake in, the sky watching carnivals. Some believe that the empress flies from the Metal Castle clear all the way to Angelerio with out escort and maybe with out even using a vehicle.

This results in many towns holding sky watching carnivals to see if they can spot her. The second is festivals held in the cities the empress's caravan passes through on the way back. The citizens fill the streets just to see her sitting atop her float like mobile throne and her escort of soldiers and golems. Merchants have sales and great parties are held on the streets and high above in buildings as all the social classes watch her go by.

This night the caravan passes over the Silver Bridge, a vast mystical bridge connecting the massive metropolis of Sae-City with Osopika across the Archae Sea. The crowds cheer as the giant mobile throne comes off the bridge into the streets of Osopika. The empress sits atop a golden throne high above on the mobile throne vehicle, elaborately decorated with royal colors. She sits on this throne, clad in a black dress, at her side is a bowl filled with various fruits, strawberries, raspberries, and some types of melons. Standing beside her is General Atvose. A noble man wearing silver armor and a blue cape; with his streamlined black sideburns flowing into his mustache along with his facial features and build one might think him a man of Spanish nobility; if this world had a Spain that is. His broadsword at his hip, always at the ready to serve the empress.

*sniff* Rhulan's nose twitches.

"Something the matter your highness?" asks Atvose.

Rhulan lifts her hand indicating for the caravan to stop. A most unexpected sight to the thralls of people on the sides of the roads behind the guard rails who shout up to the empress, just wanting to be noticed.

Rhulan stands, exciting the crowds more, all except for some merchants trying to sell their goods; such as a humble young woman with long blond hair in peasant maiden garb selling sweet cupcakes.

"wa?" she stammers finding herself and a tray of her cupcakes suddenly floating in the air towards the empress.

Rhulan merely gestures below with a (come here) of her hand and both the maiden and her baked goods float up and land before the empress. The maiden pauses a moment in disbelief, never having seen the empress so close before, and with her baked goods on their tray in her hands.

"oh," she says suddenly and drops to one knee facing the ground, "my…my apologies your majesty."

Rhulan reaches her hand out, a cup cake floating off the tray into her hand. The maiden tries not to look up as the food she spent all morning preparing to sell at this festival is sampled by the very ruler of the world.

"mmm," says Rhulan as she sets the cup cake with a bite out of it beside her fruit tray.

She reaches her hand out and floats another one over to join it.

"and one for later," she says.

Rhulan looks down at the trembling maiden, "Such a pretty young thing as you," says Rhulan, "should not be dirtying your gown by bending on one knee."

"Atvose," she says as the maiden rises but continues to look down at the tray she holding, "take the tray and have our men send down payment for it and these delicious sweets to that restaurant…"

She looks at the maiden, and with the tops of her fingers gently pushes her trembling chin up as Atvose takes the tray, "My dear," says Rhulan, "that business you were standing in front of is your business correct?"

"Y…yes, your highness," stammers the maiden, fearful to make eye contact.

"Good," says Rhulan as she nods to Atvose who has one man take the tray and calls another to take a bag of gold down to the ground, something the maiden knows is much more than the value of her simple serving tray and a dozen cupcakes.

Rhulan gently takes the girl by her hand, as a prince might lift the dainty hand of a princess. The maiden stands stiff as her body floats into the air, and bit fear full as the empress floats her over the side of the mobile throne transport. Rhulan gently releases her, their finger tips brushing as the maiden gently floats out and down like a dainty petal towards the ground where she was. Her father, an old chef with some white in his thick mustache rushes over to her, "are you alright?" he asks as he hugs her, and smiles showing her the bag of gold that had beaten her down to him, "we're rich."

Rhulan smiles and laughs slightly as she retakes her mobile throne and Atvose resumes his position next to her. She waves her hand in the air indicating for the caravan to continue. As it moves through the town and out of sight the humble bakery finds its self flooded with people wanting to taste the cupcakes that made the empress pause for a bite.

******

That night after the bakery has shut up shop a young man enters.

"Sorry we're clo…oh Wren…"

She rushes over to the tall man with dark black hair and matching mustache, both matching way too well with his black swordsman guard uniform and white trim, a rapier even at his side.

"Something wrong Sharon?" he asks even as she cuts off his words with a kiss and a tight hug.

"Hey Wren!" says a young blond man coming down the stairs, a man Wren knows as Sharon's older brother Daniel.

"So," says Wren, "as much as I love affectionate greetings, I was only gone a few hours to watch the parade route, you'd think your sister thought I was gone for a year or something."

"Hey," says Sharon, "don't act like that, or no Imperial Delight cupcakes for you."

"Imperial Delight?" asks Wren looking about confused.

"Father's idea." says Sharon, "I'd call them give me a heart attack cupcake."

"About gave me a heart attack," says Daniel, "one moment I'm flirting with this…I mean fetching a customer a drink the next I see my sister floating into the air."

"Hold on," says Wren, "floating…okay…what happened?"

He looks at Sharon with a concerned expression.

"A blessing," comes the somewhat withered voice of her father, "you kids out here talking about a heart attack. I thought the empress was about to whisk my only daughter away before you got a chance to marry her."

"Now father," says Sharon, "don't be badgering Wren about his proposals to me right now, he just got off work, and it's been a stressful day."

"and going to stay that way," says the father, "our Imperial Delight Cupcakes," he is practically in tears, "to think your dear later mother's recipe would, with of course your own secret ingredients, would garner the attention of the empress herself."

"Mom's not dead dad," says Daniel, "she left you remember, she lives on the other side of town."

"Shush boy," says the dad, "I'm having a moment here."

"Sharon," says Wren, "so what happened?"

"Oh my," says Sharon, "you wouldn't believe it, the empress herself, lifted me onto her transport and bought a whole tray of my cupcakes."

Wren's head snaps back, "really?"

He shakes his head, "I…don't mean any disrespect for your cooking of course dear."

"It's true!" shouts the father jumping in, "my precious little girl's sweet
cupcakes…er…I mean the Imperial Delight Cupcakes, are a gold mine, that old sorceress bought a whole tray's worth…and the tray…gave us a whole bag of gold worth a million times the value of that old tray."

"She didn't look old to me," says Sharon remembering her beautiful face, "She didn't look at all how I thought she'd look up close. No disrespect to her highness of course."

"Of course," says Daniel, "isn't she supposed to be like a goddess or something?"

"eh," says the father, "sorceress, goddess, who cares, she loved my daughter's cupcakes, which means everyone will want some. We're going to be filthy rich!"

Wren smiles watching his bride to be's family celebrating and discussing this most unexpected luck.