It had been a few months since learning the raw power of Pandoria's electricity. Zeke often practiced with her in the courtyard, day or night. He was a spectacle among his people…even if he was a bit clumsy at first. Balancing the sword upon his back was one of the first things he tried to do. Often times he would adjust it frequently to redistribute the weight.
Pandoria had certain power over her weapon as well, and that would be part of every training session. At first the attempts almost seemed dangerous. Handing it over to her would take far too long in the heat of battle. They had agreed for Zeke to toss it to her, which ended usually with her dodging the tip of the blade while it sunk into frozen ground.
But there was a trust that built up after a few times, and Pandoria reached her hand now triumphantly in the air, catching the hilt without hesitation. The small crowd watching them applauded, she took a swift bow and then sunk the sword into the ground. She released the hilt, turning it into her baton, swirling it a few times before unleashing a mighty storm onto a innocent bystander snowman. Its form quickly melted under the force.
The next morning, stiff and sore from the accomplishments, Zeke was roused once more by Pandoria's tight grasp to his arm. She had snuggled alongside him in the dead of sleep, like most nights. He gently touched her face, not shrouded by the cover of her glasses and brushed a few of her bangs away.
She stirred gently just as Zeke had time to process what was coming up. He gulped softly as she gave him a gentle gaze before placing her spectacles back on. "Good morning my Prince…" She told a bit embarrassed that she had once again been at his side in slumber, "Sorry about that…"
"It's alright. I don't mind. The company is enjoyable." He chuckled, "Boy do I have a treat for you!"
"Why's that?" She asked, stretching with a yawn as her tail twitched awake. She placed her hat back upon her head, and the moment it touched her it lit up brilliantly.
Zeke quickly changed in an area of privacy and cleared his throat, posing slightly as he stepped back out, "It's nearly been a year since we've been together as Blade and Driver. I thought that we could do something fun to celebrate! No training, no fighting, no running errands for that stubborn mess of a father I have."
It was true…while Pandoria was around the Emperor was using his power a bit…selfishly. He tended to have Zeke run commoner's errands, while Pandoria tended to Genbu's movements in the cloud sea. It was almost as if he was trying to separate them at times.
The Blade perked up slightly at the news and beamed, "Really? What's the plan?"
Zeke held up a finger, "Give me a moment!" He turned around dramatically and started to rummage through his closet. He tugged out two long fishing poles, with tangled wire and hooks digging into the fabric of his clothing.
Pandy blinked her bright emerald eyes at them, and placed her hands offensively upon her hips. "Fishing? Really? THAT'S how we celebrate our anniversary!?"
Zeke felt his face suddent become hot with shame, and sweat line the back of his neck. "W…Well I just…"
She snatched a pole away and huffed as she started to untangle the wire. But a smile eventually found its way to her face, "How did you know I love fishing?"
"Ah!" He felt relieve flood over him, "Lucky guess I suppose."
"With you around…I sure feel like it!" He puffed out his chest.
She shook her head, "That was extremely cheesy my Prince."
It took a bit of maneuvering as the two made their way from the highest point of Tantal to its lowest point, where the castle's rocky base sat in the center of a mostly frozen lake. It was the start of spring, although difficult to tell with the still icy landscape. But the temperature was warmer and the water was slightly exposed.
Zeke huffed as he pulled out a wooden boat, throwing it onto the shore of the lake. "Go ahead, I'll jump in afterward."
Pandy glanced at the flimsy looking thing, and could only picture what might happen next. "Maybe you should get in first…I feel like you would just fall flat into the water and freeze to death."
"Maybe so…" He shrugged, taking her suggestion. Surprisingly she was strong enough to shove the boat onto the open water and leap inside, landing with it shaking just a bit. "Pretty sturdy! Did you make this?'
"Yeah, a little while ago actually. If there's one good thing my old man taught me it was how to do stuff like this. We used to fish when I was little. I thought at least for my big 17th coming up he would have offered to do something at least."
Pandoria pouted, "What's his problem anyway? He seems grumpy?"
Zeke sighed, getting the first pole situated. He strung together the hook, placing a wiggling grub on the end and handed it to her, "He's scorned…mother died just a few years ago to an illness. And because of our relationship with other countries, we weren't able to get a cure and the rest is history." He sighed, "I miss her terribly."
She held his arm softly while she grabbed the fishing pole, "I'm sorry Zeke."
"It's okay. These things happen." He fashioned his own rod together and tossed his hook into the water. They sat for a while in silence, back to back. Pandoria began to feel chilled from the winds, so the prince promptly threw a fluffy wool blanket over her shoulders. She caught her first fish, celebrating wildly.
Zeke didn't. He sighed, crossing his arms with the pole between his knees and started to doze off. Pandoria pouted, knowing he wasn't really having much luck getting a fish to bite. She carefully moved her tail into the water, and produced a small amount of shock. A few fish floated up onto the surface and with a swiftness she hooked one onto the end of his rod.
She gasped and shook him awake, pulling it from the water, "Look my Prince! You caught one!"
'Wuh?" He jolted awake, staring at the large bass on the end of his string, "Yes! The Zekenator will not go hungry this day!" He pulled it back in, cocking an eyebrow, "Although…do you smell something delicious?"
She gulped slightly as she hid away some of the other fish she had zapped. "Uh…must be you imagining how tasty these are gonna be!"
"Right!" He chuckled, "Well I think that's good enough for today! Let's haul these puppies back ashore."
She saluted, "Aye-aye my captain Prince!"
As they returned to the castle kitchen, Zeke glanced at a few non-perishible ingredients he had left out earlier that day. A hand found its way to his forehead, "Oh by the Titans!'
Pandoria was startled by the sound he made and leapt back slightly as she placed the fish into the sink to be washed. "What's wrong? Did we forget something at the lake?"
Zeke shook his head, "No, not at all. It's actually a tad bit embarrassing." He turned to her and sighed, "Might as well spit it out. I was going to bake you a cake, but I forgot about it entirely."
She giggled slightly with a shrug, "It's okay. We can just do it together!"
"Jolly brilliant!" He held up a fist, and she did so too, the two bumping it togeteher, "I can see your brightness comes from more than just your attire."
The prince gave a small chuckle, "Alright! Let's do this!"
The baking was a complete disaster. Zeke knocked most of the pots and pans free from their holding spots in the shelves. Pandoria attempted to carry the eggs over and dropped two upon the floor. Flour was spilt upon counters, Blade and Driver alike. The over did not want to cooperate with heating.
But somehow, between them, a lovely and moist chocolate cake from oven. Pandy whipped up a quick and simple icing, and the two spread it together along the surface in crudely drawn patterns. Finally, dirtied and exhausted, they sat down to a fish meal prepared by the royal chef. For desert the cake was presented. Pandoria held up a finger, shaking her head before Zeke started to cut it. Curious, he held back and waited for her.
She found a few candles, and placed them into the surface. The prince choked back tears as she carefully lit them aflame, the glow reflecting upon her spectacles. She hummed a little song for him, and he began to sob softly. She placed her hand on his back, "Happy birthday Zeke."
"T…Thank you Pandy." He muttered, wiping away tears on her petticoat. She pat his head, and helped him to make the