In their world, Kantaro was one of the blessed 'plates' - neither fork nor cake. The forks, destined to eternally seek out cakes to match their taste, were often lonely and desperate. The cakes were frustrated in that they were only sought after for their taste, not their heart. Therefore, he was happy to be in between - not due to any of this love nonsense, but because if he were a fork, he'd not be able to taste anything but another person.
And how could he exist in a world where he could not taste mamekan, parfaits, anmitsu? Those poor souls who sought out a taste in the world that they were told was extraordinary beyond compare, and yet, they could not taste the delicate, incandescent flavors of ohagi or savarin.
Truly, he was blessed to be as he was.
It began with a comment that was slightly more heated than normal.
"I noticed that you have never posted about hot chocolate. It is a delightful winter drink, meant to be enjoyed with someone. However, given that you are always ordering for one in your posts, one might wonder if Sweets Knight is indeed without someone to share it with. - Sweets Princess".
Clearly baiting. Kantaro ignored it, glancing over at Dobashi at her work station. He wouldn't dignify the comment with a response.
But then there was a gentle "ping!" from his email - another comment had been added.
(He refused to admit that his eyes blinked over quickly whenever he saw the "[Wordpress: New Comment On]" email notification in search of the name Sweets Princess there. The thought of seeking out her name never even crossed his mind.
"What a shame that a Sweets Knight is alone is in his castle. Who can rescue a knight from his own loneliness?"
Kantaro closes the page with more speed than he'd like to admit.
Loneliness! She must be one of those cakes or forks, eternally seeking another to fulfill their life’s destiny of pleasure. All they ever spoke of was searching and the indescribable joy of finding another.
But not him. He had his taste buds, and thus, his purpose for living. Anything- or anyone- else simply wasn’t necessary.
His next post detailed the deeply moving black sesame ice cream taiyaki he had experienced in between his last sales visits. In his vision, he had been splitting open the red sea to find the Open (Black) Sesame that he sought. His Promised Land lay there, nestled among a crunchy, golden exterior, with nutty, savory sweetness inside.
He did not mention how in this fantasy, there lay a Sesame Maiden, bathed in dripping black sesame ice cream, melting off of her thighs and chest. In his vision, she extended her hand and whispered, "Open Sesame, Sweets Knight."
Seeing her pale, smooth thighs, he wondered if what lay between was as sweet as the black sesame ice cream melting around it. He imagined falling into her embrace, and then sliding down her chest, hands spreading sticky-sweet cream down her breasts as he sought to open the floodgates below.
He normally did not shy away from describing his visions in his blog - after all, the vision was part of the eating experience. However, he felt that this was, perhaps, something he ought to keep to himself.
“ Sweets Knight,” said the comment on his censored Open (Black) Sesame post, “ This was lackluster. Not like you at all. Surely there was more to your vision than you were willing to describe. Was there someone else there with you in your Promised Land? - Sweets Princess”
Curse her and her powers of observation. She was closing in, a crow circling above him, the beautiful sheen of her black feathers/hair blinding him to the important things in life- his sweets.
“I am alone in my Promised Land, with my sweets, ” he typed back imperiously. “ I need not another there, when the sweets will hold me in their soft, flavorful embrace.” He set the comment to post in a few minutes, when he was sure that they would be in their weekly staff meeting and Dobashi would clearly see him sitting there taking hand-written notes and not at his computer.
Not that it mattered, unfortunately - she was onto him, and that small red herring would be nothing in her quest to expose him as the Sweets Knight. But he could continue to fight the battle as long as he could.
They filed into the staff meeting room, and Kantaro was surprised to see stacks and stacks of letters and envelopes on the table, set up into paired workstations.
“Letter-mailing campaign!” hollered Miyake unnecessarily as he stood at the front of the room, folding his hands in front of himself looking pleased. “We’re doing more outreach to other prefectures, and we’re introducing ourselves with a friendly, personalized letter.”
“This just says, ‘To my dearest future customer’,” observed Dobashi.
“That’s personalized!” said Miyake defensively. “Anyway, I’ve paired you up, the list is on the whiteboard. One person stuffing envelopes, one person licking envelopes. Chop chop, get to it!”
“This is a waste of our time,” muttered Kantaro as he settled down at his station which, he noted on the whiteboard, was also Dobashi’s. Curses.
“I will be stuffing the envelopes,” he immediately said as she settled down next to her. He knew the boss was too cheap to buy those envelope-wettening sponges, and Miyake already paid for employees, so this seemed the logical, if rather unpleasant, solution. However, he didn’t want to ruin his taste buds with the terrible envelope tang, and thus, it was on Dobashi to do so.
“Ah, I see, your taste buds are too precious to waste on this terrible task,” said Dobashi, and she arched an eyebrow at him in challenge, awaiting his response. “Saving them for better treasures later, perhaps?”
“Hmph,” he responded, not giving in, and he almost took glee in her disappointment. You will not conquer me, Sweets Princess!
He stuffed the first envelope and handed it over, and watched as Dobashi stuck out her tongue and ran it over the envelope, long, slow, and enticing.
He was a plate . He did not desire such things, he felt no want in his veins beyond the thrills he sought as he hunted for the next delicious dessert.
She turned to him, and the envelope wavered, wafting a breeze towards him, and he shuddered as the most delicious scent he’d ever smelled in his life struck him. If he were not sitting, he surely would have fallen to his knees.
For a brief second, he feared he would fall into his imagination world as he did when he tasted sweets.
What… what sorcery…
It didn’t make sense. He was a plate . He had taste buds that allowed him to experience all that the world of food had to offer. It was not possible that he was a fork.
But the evidence was plain in front of him, and a whole bakery could not have smelled as enticing as this barely-licked envelope mere centimeters from his face.
His mind raced, and he ached, he yearned , to grab ahold of the envelope and rub it all over himself like a perfume sample, covering himself in the sweet, alluring essence he craved more than any sweet he’d ever touched.
“Kantaro-san, are you unwell?” asked Dobashi, that offensive tongue boldly licking another envelope she had stuffed herself while Kantaro was caught in the whirling vortex of her unfathomably delicious bouquet. “Everyone, I believe Kantaro has fallen ill- I’ll be taking him to the doctor.” She grabbed his arm, still holding the envelope she had just licked, and hauled him out of the office as Miyake blinked and said, “Oh- ah- well - Takarabe-san, Yamaji-san, take their envelopes please…”
Kantaro could not breathe .
All he could smell, overwhelming his senses, was the envelope clutched in Dobashi’s hand, and he knew that the fluid from her licking the envelope was merely a ghost of what he could possibly taste, if he were to have her.
They were in the hallway, Dobashi holding his arm and looking up at him. It was silent- and then there was a ping and buzz as her cell phone lit up in her pocket.
“Don’t look at that,” said Kantaro suddenly, knowing it was his comment saying he had no need for another in his Promised Land.
Because now, he realized he did.
She smiled at him, and he knew then that the war had been won - the Sweets Princess had brought the Sweets Knight to his knees, had torn off the flimsy mask he had been parading around in.
It was a defeat that he had not known he needed.
“I don’t understand how this is possible,” he blurted out. “I’m… a plate. You know this. You’ve read my blog posts, you know the ecstasy I am in when I am eating sweets.”
“You are clearly something more than that,” she purred, and he had to fortify himself to not sink to his knees, now knowing what lay beyond her sensible pencil skirt and tights. “Truly someone who has broken the boundaries of our genetics, someone worthy of the title Sweets Knight. Will you take me as your Sweets Princess?”
Of course he would. He had no choice, but even if he did, he would choose her, again and again.
What fantasy land would he be transported to, he wondered, if he were to taste her?
Would he ever be able to return to the desserts of the table once he had tasted the sweets between her thighs?
She had taken him back to her apartment, as he could not find his way back to his own if his life depended on it.
He normally observed everything with a journalistic, critical eye, but if someone asked him later if her walls were white, gray, blue, or yellow, he would say they were a blur as he stumbled through the door. She was calm, serenely moving about her kitchen as she collected two small plates and forks, setting them on the counter as she turned to open the fridge.
“What do you have in there?” He dizzily collapsed at a chair at the table. Was this what forks felt like around their cakes? Shivery, nothing but a trembling creature of want.
He had known desire before. He had been a child with his grubby hands pressed against the glass of sweet stores, out of sight of his mother’s watchful eyes. He had eagerly waited in line at the grand opening of sweet shops, stomach fluttering with joy as the doors opened.
But this… this was his whole body, cradled between the hands of a woman who had succinctly defeated him in their battle, and that somehow made his defeat taste sweeter.
“Nanaya matcha chocolate, from Shizuoka Prefecture,” she said, smiling as she placed the box she’d taken out of the fridge. “Their new line. You haven’t tasted it yet.”
“What… what is this?” he asked as she brought over the box and, using the delicate toothpick it came with, set three squares on his plate.
She smirked, her clever eyes alighting with joy as she set squares onto her own plate as well. “Foreplay,” she said simply, and took a square, enveloping the chocolate and toothpick with her mouth.
He could not withhold his groan as he saw her lips slide over the toothpick, and he startled as she then reached over and stabbed it through one of his own squares. “Open up,” she commanded, and he was helpless as he did so.
The matcha chocolate was bitter and light, with the weight of the savory matcha flavor backing it as a strong foundation. He immediately fell into his dreamland, but then was struck then, as his tongue touched the plastic toothpick, by her taste.
He was falling through fields, tea bushes for kilometers as he raced through them, his hands trailing along the soft leaves as he ran towards a figure in the distance.
He knew it was her. It had to be her- her curves as delightful and clear as the curls of the leaves he was touching. The world was light green and bright, and the dirt beneath his feet was crumbles of sweet chocolate as he leapt into her arms, drowning, drowning in the taste of the matcha chocolate and her.
He awoke from his daze what must have been minutes later, as his plate was clean, as was hers. He was panting, looking at her with growing heat in his belly as she, damnably beautiful Sweets Princess that she was, eyed him with triumph.
"What comes next?" she asked, a challenge in her eyes as she put down the toothpick.
He stood up and walked over to her chair, pulling it out with her in it. She gasped as he easily maneuvered her to face him.
"Dessert," he said, and dropped to his knees.
He made quick work of the skirt, tights, and undergarments, sliding them off of her legs and casting them aside.
No grand opening, no four-hour long wait, had ever built up anticipation in him like this.
What awaits me, behind these gates?
“Only sweet heaven knows,” he murmured as he spread her thighs apart and entered dreamland.
Immediately he was cast back into that same field, the taste of matcha still on his tongue, but now, the rolling fields were the curves and dips of Dobashi’s body. The gentle slopes of the tea bush fields were her breasts, her hips, the sweet mounds of her ass and thighs. He ran, he ran so deep into them, plunging his hands into the bushes and extracting the delicious matcha, combined with the crumbs of dark chocolate earth below.
He rolled down the fields, his body melding with the matcha, the chocolate, the rise and fall of the hills as they pulsated beneath him. He became one with the tea bushes, his face shifting green, his hands and body melding into the sweet, sweet earth as the winds blew above him.
He heard rumbling from above, the building of the break in the storm, and he welcomed it, hands outstretched, crying to the sky, eager to taste whatever it had to give him.
The leaves rattled, the ground shook, and from above, the heavens poured down rain to satisfy the earth as Kantaro lay there, laughing, body wracked with ecstasy as the hills embraced him, beautifully, sweetly, wildly so. What a wonderful world, he thought, that he could have his cake and eat it too.