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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)

TITLE: What the Cake Won
By Amy Michelle Wiley


The tlayagi was lumpy. Pepisa gripped the metal whip and beat at the oily mixture until her hand cramped. With a groan, she pried her fingers from the handle and stood back. Finally. No sign of a single lump.

“Why are you playing with my good ingredients?” The cook materialized behind her, a bulk of scorn.

“I’m making a flat cake for the Dillypoot Fair.” But the cook was already gone and Pepisa’s voice echoed to an empty room.

Her hand shook as she poured in the spices. It was a stupid name for a delicious cake. Who cared if the top was perfectly flat?

Everyone did, though. It would be judged just as much on that as on the taste. But—Pepisa’s heart stuttered—if she won, the whole county would notice Pepisa Garlwer.

The cook slammed into her back. The woman grunted. “Do something useful or get out of the way.”

Pepisa squeezed away and glided her knife over the batter. It looked smooth as ice. For now. Any jostle could make it burp into a lump.

Why did she even try?

At last the timer chimed, and she stared toward the oven. Finally Pepisa stumbled forward and looked.

It was still flat.

She pulled it out, daring to breathe, daring to almost hope. She drizzled glaze over the top, her confidence strengthening as the topping hardened.

No one heard her squeak a request to be excused for the afternoon. Outside she gave a squeal. Did she really have a chance to win? The path to town was bumpy and long, but she floated over it with eyes only for the cake box.

A scream ripped through the air. The deep guttural bellow of an animal, followed by the sharp cry of a man.

Pepisa’s senses widened. There. A mountain of green scales reared to her right, full of writhing coils and furled wings. Rumors flashed through her head, stories of a wounded dragon living in the Taqipolt Flatlands.

The creature was focused on the only shelter in the flat field. The man crouched behind a rock, watching the monster of death stalk closer.

Pepisa set the cake box down and drew out her dagger. She eased closer, noticing the dragon’s chest swell. “Watch out!”

Too late. Flame roared from the dragon’s mouth, engulfing the rock and the grass around it.

But there! The man staggered out of the smoke, still alive.

The girl gasped for breath. Already the beast would be ready to send another blast.

The man stumbled. He fumbled at his waist for a weapon.

No time. The dragon’s belly puffed again. Pepisa’s brain yelled at her to flee. She let it scream. Scream to give her adrenalin, courage. Her dagger flew through the air, finding its mark in the dragon’s scales.

The beast flipped his head. A stream of acid poured from the hole in its throat. It lunged toward the man, seeming unbothered by the wound. It sucked in another gust of air.

It coughed, smoke fluttering from its mouth. Steam sizzled from its neck.

Pepisa laughed. “I hit its fire gland!”

Her voice drew the beast’s gaze. It snorted.

Great. First time all day she got noticed, and it was by a dragon.

The man yelled. A whip snaked out, wrapping around the dragon’s thin neck, razor-sharp.

The green head rolled, fighting hard. But it was fighting for air, not against the man. Its eyes lolled back and it crashed to the ground.

Pepisa moved forward, her legs wobbly “Are you all right?”

The man turned toward her. His whiskers looked singed and red blisters showed through, but it didn’t look severe. Mostly it looked… handsome.

She looked away.

“I’m okay.” He began cleaning and coiling his whip. “It cornered me. But you,” he met her gaze, “you came out of nowhere. Saved my life.”

Pepisa shrugged. She had already spent enough of her life standing back, doing nothing much.

He lept to his feet. “Where were you headed, my lady? May I escort you?”

My lady? Her cheeks flushed. “I was going to the Dillypoot fair.” She found the box and eased off the top. The cake was still flat. Not a single bubble. A dim reminder of her desire for the whole county to know her name, her skill.

She set the box between them. “Let’s rest and have a snack first.”

What was a county of strangers, after all, when one had the attention of a kind dragon slayer?

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This article has been read 670 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joe Moreland01/11/13
I was almost at a loss as to how to comment on this entry. I love Pepisa and I love the story, but I was confused in the beginning because I didn't realize that it was not a story set in current times. At first I was expecting something along the lines of Hell's Kitchen type of story. The names, like Garlwer and Dillypoot Fair, started to make me wonder if this was set in an alternate universe, and the dragon finally confirmed it. But until then, I kept wondering. She set off on the road to the Dillypoot Fair, but I wasn't sure if she was driving, walking, riding or what. It's definitely very well written, and I once I got to the end and was able to put all the pieces together, everything fit together perfectly and I was satisfied with the story. But you kept me on my toes all the way there. :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/11/13
This is a sweet story. I could so feel the MC's fears and feeling that she needed to do something special to stand out. I think we all have a little bit of Pepsia's in us. This was a delightful read.
Ellen Carr 01/12/13
I very much enjoyed your story and the drama of the dragon and Pepisa's attack on it. And the cake with the flat top came to a good end, shared instead of judged at the fair. A very creative take on the topic.
Sarah Elisabeth 01/13/13
Score! Loved this unique message of how sometimes not getting what we thought we wanted was the best thing for us. I'm sure he thought more than her cake was a winner :-)
lynn gipson 01/13/13
Wonderful story,wonderful ending and just a delight to read. I want to know more. Does she get the guy? Excellent.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/13/13
Delightful story!
Danielle King 01/13/13
Awww, how could you be so unkind to a poor dragon. I really hoped you would feed him a slice of your flat cake.

Apart from that I was truly captivated from beginning to end. I love your words... bulk of scorn,Pepisa's heart stuttered, burp into a lump. They are so descriptive. (I might steal them.)

The ending has a good twist with a hint of romance. How about part 2 next week!
Lynda Lee Schab 01/14/13
Ridiculously creative and perfectly on topic. Totally threw me for a loop with the dragon and fantasy angle, but in a good way!

Loved it! Well done!
Eddie Snipes01/14/13
Very gripping story. Great job!
Lillian Rhoades 01/14/13
Now I know why your name pops up in some of the most read articles in Faithwriter archives. :-)

Bea Edwards 01/14/13
Fabulous fantasy-Loved all your creative touches, twists, and turns!
C D Swanson 01/15/13
We want more! Tell us what happens now? Inquiring minds NEED to know. LOL. Great writing and wonderful tale.

God bless~
Bonnie Bowden 01/16/13
Inventive and creative. I enjoyed your story immensely.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/18/13
Congratulations on ranking 25 overall!