A challenge at eating Lucentian pancakes had been a longstanding offer between Kai Linaa and Ladrei. Ever since the guildlord had been privy to Kai Linaa's vehement adoration of Lucentia's national fare, he sought to dispute her title of greatest pancake eater and was inclined to invite her to his home to settle the matter. He had heard of her episodes of weakness while in Frewyn: succumbing to an inferior sort of pancake, thicker and with less flavour, merely to quench her insatiable need, but in Ladrei's estimation, these lesser substitutes would not do. As his family, Kai Linaa must have the best Lucentia had to offer, and he would see the extent of her appetite.
He wrote to his sister requesting her presence in Lucentia capital on a most pressing concern of who could eat more pancakes in one sitting, and as he knew himself to be the reigning champion on the guild, he was certain to triumph with regard to her as well. He knew the diet of the Haanta from Ghodhina, and from the Den Ashan's description, Ladrei was made to understand that the food of the islands was designed to make one's stomach smaller and one's appetite decrease over time. He was certain to win this wager based on this intelligence alone but another point would secure his success: Unghaahi, who came with Kai Linaa everywhere she went, was the Sanhedhran champion of health, and where an occasion such as an eating competition was promises, Unghaahi was certain not to approve. His sanction of the event would curb Kai Linaa's habits, enforcing all the guilt a mate of the most hale specimen in the world ought to feel, and here Ladrei knew his triumph was secured.
His letter was gone and returned within the day, and Kai Linaa would be in Lucentia with Unghaahi the day after next.
Ladrei began to make all the necessary arrangements for their stay of finding a bed large enough for the grey colossus, finding suitable food to keep him well while Kai Linaa should gorge on the delights awaiting her, and notified their father of the stipulations of their visit. They would meet him at Raneca's cafe where the battle of the between siblings should take place, and before Ladrei's preparations could be completed, the day had done and Kai Linaa and Unghaahi were arrived. He entreated them to meet him at the cafe so that Iraiya could finish the last of the arrangements, and with another scheme forming in his mind, Ladrei invited Arkastino and Nidello to join him.
The two menacing-looking elves waited until they were far enough away from the guild to pose their familiar inquiries to their lord and most intimate friend.
"Where are we going, Ladrei?" Arkastino asked.
"You'll like this mission, Arkastino," Ladrei said with an expectant smile. "I had you in mind when I planned this."
Arkastino's eyes glowed with sudden happiness. "Where are we eating?"
"Ah, you should be asking what we're eating instead."
"Tell me it's Vondeva's."
"No, not this time. Something a little lighter."
Arkastino paused. He deliberated as to what could be lighter than five kinds of meat together on one plate, and when he realized the direction in which they were walking, he said, "How many can I eat?"
"As many as your appetite will allow you to," Ladrei said with a clever grin.
Arkastino did his utmost not to express his overwhelming joy at being permitted to eat as much as liked courtesy of Ladrei but found it difficult not to suppress such elation when he considered that his object was Lucentian pancakes: those thin, crispy delights, rolled and topped with various sauces riled his sensibilities, and he hummed with eagerness, rubbing his hands together as he contemplated which kind he would be eating first.
"Don't have too many of those," Nidello warned, pointing a finger in his partner's direction. "Remember what happened last time."
"I remember," Arkastino rejoined. "I ate very well."
"And then you decided to have two bottles of licorice wine to finish your meal."
"And," Nidello said heatedly, "I was left cleaning up after you." He glared at his partner for the remembrance of the coated floors and ruined walls and narrowed his gaze to impress the point that having their home in such a state should not happen again.
Arkastino could not deny the damage he had done to the outfitting of house that day and made an abashed smile. "I made up for it," he cooed at Nidello.
He had done, and most pleasantly, and for this, Nidello was forced to forget his pouting. "Even so. Ladrei, please, no wine this time?"
Ladrei made no promises on that account, as he was uncertain as to whether he should not like some himself, but he did promise to make certain that Arkastino would spend a fair amount of time digesting before returning to the guild for the evening.