On the morning when Fescu left Solas Lunias, Daiis was relieved to see Darnda much more chipper than he'd expected her to be. She gave her father a kiss on the cheek and announced that she’d return sometime later, and pleasantly said goodbye as she walked out the door, no doubt to give Fescu one final farewell.
So Daiis was completely surprised when Darnda promptly returned home. He heard her coming down the road, loudly grumbling complaints about Fescu and how horrible he was. He braced himself for the most stormy fit of temper ever displayed by his sweet daughter as she paced around the house, ranting loudly. Her viciously sputtered utterances were fragmented so Daiis could not decipher precisely what had brought on Darnda’s angry storm of tears, except that it was more or less about Fescu.
Eventually Darnda exhausted her fury. She found some disgruntled form of comfort in a basket full of cream-filled doughnuts, onto which she fiercely slathered chocolate and maple icing before forcing them into her mouth with great ferocity.
The tantrum had been bad enough, but seeing Darnda mixing the maple and the chocolate icings by using the same knife and the way in which she consumed his baked works of art without savor was more than Daiis could handle. He sat down next to his daughter and carefully placed a hand on her shoulder. “Darnda, dear, what’s the matter?”
Darnda swallowed her mouthful. She wiped stray tears from her face with the back of her hand and sniffed. “Fescu is horrible and stupid and selfish!”
Daiis nodded patiently. “Yes, I heard that part. But you’ve known he’s horrible and stupid and selfish all your life, and it’s never distressed you until now. Why?”
Darnda choked back a sob and she began slapping a carelessly abundant amount of frosting onto a new doughnut. “Fescu’s such a fool! He needs all the help in the world to fulfill his quest and he won’t let me help him! I’m much more resourceful than he is, and much smarter, and more talented—and he knows it—yet he absolutely won’t let me help him!” She took a morose bite out of the grotesquely frosted doughnut.
Daiis sat quietly, trying to work out his daughter’s problem in his head, watching her eat what was meant to be a beautiful pastry. After painfully watching her take one more bight, Daiis snatched the doughnut from Darnda’s hand, grabbed the knife, and scraped a large portion of the frosting off. It fell onto the clean table with a splat. “Darnda, if you’re going to make yourself miserable,” he said as patiently as he could as he smoothed out the icing, “at least make the doughnut pretty. This behavior is extremely unlike you! There, now it’s better.”
Darnda, unaffected by her father’s obsessive display, retrieved what was left of her doughnut, which now had a flowery pattern swirled into the frosting. She continued eating with tears streaming down her cheeks. Daiis asked softly, “How were you going to help Fescu? There really isn’t much you can do for him now.”
“I was going to go with him,” she cried. “But he said I couldn’t and he refused to explain why! He kept making silly excuses about how dangerous the quest is and yet he is quite capable of taking care of himself and other such nonsense. And he ordered me to go home like I’m some sort of pet. Oh, he makes me so angry!”
Daiis suddenly sat upright, chest puffed, with a stern look on his face. “That quest is too dangerous, Darnda! If you’d gone with him I would’ve hunted you down and dragged you back home!”
“I know the quest is dangerous, Father! That’s the reason Fescu needs me to go with him!”
“Absolutely not!” Daiis affirmed, ferociously scooping the frosting from off the table onto a doughnut he stole from the basket. “It really is a shame that Fescu was banished. He’d just started showing signs of intelligence. He gave you that bouquet and had the sense to keep you from danger when he knew you’d be willing to jump right into it with him. Although if he were really smart he’d just move to a new town and have you meet him there so you can elope. It really is a shame, really it is. That banishment threw off all of my plans for you two.”
Darnda nearly choked on her doughnut. She turned to her father, who was brutally slapping more frosting onto his doughnut and shaping it into messy flowers. She exclaimed, “You’re the reason Fescu gave me that bouquet? I can’t believe you’re still trying to arrange my marriage behind my back. And Fescu of all people is your choice?”
“As far as I know Fescu managed to give you that bouquet all by himself.” Daiis scowled when he explained, “I resigned myself to the thought of you and Fescu being a match ages ago, since you two have always been inseparable. Fosco and I discuss it every now and then, because he’s hoping you’ll be his daughter-in-law. I suppose I got too used to the idea and now I’m upset that I hyped myself up for nothing after all this time. You two would’ve been a perfect pair, but it doesn’t matter now. There are plenty of men who’d love to marry you, and I’m sure you’ll choose someone interesting.”
Darnda stood, her fists clenched as she glowered down at her father, who was now chewing vehemently on his newly-frosted pastry. “You say that Fescu’s quest is too dangerous for me, and yet you’ve happily been contriving ways to get us married?”
“Darnda,” Daiis argued, “marriage isn’t going to kill you like Fescu’s quest very possibly could! Your mother and I have never been at risk of falling off a frozen cliff or being cooked alive in boiling lava during our years together. Fescu was being a responsible friend in sending you back home. I don’t understand why you’re so upset with him. I also don’t understand why you’re unhappy that I’d hoped you two would marry, since he’s no longer here and therefore you’re no longer at risk of falling in love with the idiot. Unless you do want to marry him, then by all means chase him down right now and tell him to give up his quest and elope with you to another kingdom.”
The reminder of Fescu sending her home caused her to raise her voice. “I would never marry a fool like Fescu! I would never run off to elope with him in some far off city, not when he’s going to boss me around like a child and claim that he doesn’t need my help in the face of danger! I’m not even going to wish him luck on his selfish quest!” To emphasize her feelings, Darnda swiped another doughnut, slopped a knifeful of frosting onto it, tossed her hair and marched outside to go to the bakery.