Piece Of Cake

Entry by: Corone

25th September 2015
Piece of Cake

Gaston had always thought summer was the best time to be a King's Musketeer. The palace gardens were in bloom and the days were warm and sunny. The king was surely in no danger today, as he enjoyed music in the upper gardens, leaving Gaston to pass by the kitchens where he might run into Eloise. As he walked the colonnade Gaston passed several servants taking cakes and wine up to the king's party. As expected, one of them carried a delicate slice of strawberry cake, renowned as the king's favourite.

It seemed that the king never seemed to do anything without food, even though the peasants starved. There was much wrong with the country, but Gaston had taken an oath to protect his king. He was a soldier, not a politician. But he dearly hoped that one day the king might do something to help the less fortunate, even though his advisors like Richelieu seemed to work hard to keep him uninformed.

As Gaston neared the kitchens, Eloise came round the corner with a tray in her hand, part of the procession of servants bringing delicacies up to the king. Gaston caught her around the waist as she came past, drawing her into an alcove where he kissed her passionately. Eloise returned the kiss, without dropping the tray, but had to push Gaston away reluctantly.

"I'm busy," she grinned at him.

"The king can wait my love, but I cannot."

"Were I carrying anything but strawberry cake, I might agree my darling."

Gaston finally looked at the tray Eloise was holding, the cake there was almost identical to the one that had passed by him before. Even the king rarely had two dishes the same. A cold panic began to roll over Gaston, and he took off after the previous servant as fast as he could.

It was a long run to the upper gardens and as he came in sight of the king's party Gaston saw the servant walking back towards him. He had already delivered the strawberry cake, and while there was a distance between them, their eyes met and Gaston knew it must be poisoned.

He was about to shout a warning but the assassin had a plan. He quickly drew a sword from one of the nearby musketeers, taking the guard completely by surprise.

"That musketeer is an assassin! Guards! Protect the king!" he yelled as Gaston came running towards them sword in hand.

The musketeers guarding the king didn't quite know what to do, especially as there weren’t very many of them. They gathered to protect the king but none of them knew who the servant-assassin was, or could recognise Gaston at this distance. The king, secure in the knowledge that nothing could ever harm him, observed the scene with interest as he selected his next baked delicacy. His hand wavering over the strawberry cake the assassin had so recently delivered.

Gaston skipped past the first guard and engaged the assassin full on. Instead of meeting the assassin’s blade he barrelled straight into him, knocking them both spinning to the ground and past several musketeers. It brought him precious steps towards the king and dazed the assassin. But the moment of confusion was brief, and the assassin was quickly coming at him again with his blade.

“Protect the king!” yelled the assassin, as he thrust his blade at Gaston.

“He’s the assassin!” shouted Gaston in reply, needing all of his skills as a swordsman to defend himself.

As the assassin had planned, the other musketeers did the only thing they could do. They gathered closer to the king to ensure his safety, as the two men duelled with lethal blades got ever closer. Many of them recognised Gaston, but could he have turned traitor? These were dark times, and many had broken their oaths in recent months as unrest grew in the capital.

The king continued to observe, safe behind his men. He even inquired of the queen which man she might place a wager on winning the fight. After finishing off an apricot tart, he reached towards the tray and took up the strawberry cake.

Gaston noticed the bright pink delicacy out of the corner of his eye, but the distraction was enough for his opponent to drive his sword into his shoulder. Gaston winced and his guard dropped. The assassin grinned, moving closer for the kill. With Gaston dead it would be easy to blame him for the assassination.

There was only one move to make. As the assassin lunged, Gaston stepped slightly sideways and dropped his sword. The assassin’s blade entered his side, but he grabbed the man’s collar. He let the momentum carry them both backwards into the ring of musketeers, twisting to throw the assassin onto the table of cakes. Bakery went everywhere, jam and blood scattering the area in equal measure. Within seconds, blades from the musketeers surrounded them both. But the king was only momentarily distracted from the delicious strawberry cake in his hand.

The assassin and Gaston lay together in a pile, but at the feet of the king, Gaston bleeding from two vicious wounds. As the assassin pulled a small blade and moved in to finish him, Gaston reached up with the last of his energy and snatched the cake from the king’s outstretched hand. As the assassin fell upon him he buried the cake in his face. Shouts went up from the company as the king was hurriedly pulled away from the fray. The assassin remained poised over Gaston, dagger raised for a final coup-de-grace.

But then he stopped, his mouth foaming behind the pink fondant and icing that covered him. His eyes went wide as he realised how much of the deadly poison in the cake he’d accidentally swallowed. Doubling over in pain he shuddered, and in moments he was dead. Gaston lay on the wreckage of the table, hurting from far too many wounds and covered in confectionary.

“What on earth?” dismayed the captain of the guards as he knelt next to Gaston. “How did you uncover the assassin’s plot

“It was a piece of cake” replied Gaston as he allowed himself to gently pass out.