Death was content with exchangng letters with Tide, developing more and more his character of little prince and indulging in that imagination. And as the little prince was getting more trustful with the cook as he got to know him better, he was also getting to know Tide more comfortably.
Tide still held his uncertainties and hesitance about Death after their disagreement, but it seemed it suites him as well, just like the night he met Senecio - to pretend there's no malice looming above their heads, and that there is no past or pain standing between them, but they are just a child and cook, sharing a simple life where there were no stakes or fears of world's end involved. Since vampires were only working through the night, through the day he was rather free, and so he took care to add a lot of little touches to his notes - he seemed to like to personalize them and not speak seriously, so there were always some little doodles around the paper, much unfit for letters for former Spirit King, but perfectly fit for letters sent to little prince. He seemed especially fond of drawing little cakes and cookies, and drawings were simple and certainly not a work of art, but it was fun to look at them, as they were playful and innocent, much like drawings of children, focused on food, one of thing's demon found delightful. Every now and then, with a new note, through Xia Tide would send a cupcake from the kitchen along with the message, excusing in the text that the little prince is growing and he should eat plenty of sweets to grow strong and tall.
Death did not do anything straining that day. He was just sitting by the pond, and writing the letters helped him take his mind off things. But the later letters started to get a bit more serious, allowing himself to express his fears through the character of a child, when he wouldn't do that as himself. "I got hurt on the trip with father," he wrote. "It hurts a lot and I'm a bit scared it will never heal. Is it silly, to think that?"
Tide's heart ached a little with that. Through the letters, he had seen a more frail, insecure side of Death, and understood more of how hard it was for Spirit to admit weakness, even like this. He gazed at paper quietly for a moment, before he took a deep breath, and took a leap and wrote sincerely, expressing his thoughts easier when he could speak as a kind cook, not as a healer.
" Oh, little prince! It saddens me when you belittle your feelings. It's okay to be afraid. When it hurts a lot, it's okay to feel unsure, and you shouldn't berate yourself for feeling that. There is nothing silly in fear, as it's but the natural feeling when we're in great peril or pain. Don't drown your feelings. It's okay to fear, but do not let the fear grow into despair and panic - for do you remember when you'd be little and fear that they were monsters under the bed, but your father would come in and check, and reassure you there's nothing there and lull you to sleep? You learned with time that there was nothing there, a bit more each time he'd come to you. It's the same here. You're not alone in the room with the monsters, little prince. Your father loves you so dearly, and like he chased monsters underneath your bed, he'll reassure you anew. Don't force yourself to pretend it's like nothing. It's not, but give it a chance, please, little one - and when you start to heal, you'll see there was nothing to fear, after all. Until then, I'll bake you all the goodies your heart desires, and your father will give you a million hugs and cuddles, so it won't be that bad and you'll get better in no time, you'll see. "
Tide's reply didn't come late - demon right away put his thoughts to words, as he was sure of how he felt regarding this, at least.
" Little prince
It's okay to fear monsters all around you - but don't forget that monsters are not yours alone. If they threaten our beloved little prince, they threaten all of us. You can fear freely - but know that you are not left to suffer under their hurtful hands on your own, and everyone that loves you will keep them at bay and be the keeper of your sleep. Please, do try to find comfort in knowing that. We can all fear them together - but there will be nothing to fear once they're all defeated and gone. I won't lie - monsters can be terrifying and strong. I would be scared too. We want to keep you safe more than our fear wants us to run away. As long as we live, we'll fight with them -because we don't want them to steal your future. If they steal it from you they would also be stealing you from us - and we don't want to lose you. As long as we live, no monster will dare touch you again, and hurts from those that already did will heal slowly, but they will with enough sweets and care, you'll see.... We'll defeat them, and once we fight of every single one of them, there'll be nothing for us to do, but look forward to a restful life with no pain, full of sweets and Un-birthday cake. "
Tide shook his head quietly, tracing the page thoughtfully with his hand. He wrote his reply then, this time, using a white piece of paper.
" It would be a bit of a downer, wouldn't it... " the note read" ... if I were but nice to you because you were a little prince, don't you think? Wasn't it a burden, when people were nice to you for being a Spirit King? I am happier when I'm just Tide, and when you're just you. Royalty is really overrated when it comes to hanging out - it's depressing when people respect you the most for your status, not yourself. Besides, it's nice to comfort little prince, but I find more pleasure in friendship with adults. I'm more glad you're you. "
Despite he didn't write the reply to the little prince, the handwriting was the same, and there was a little drawing in the corner - of a little kitten.
" Sure! I just realized that beside the cupcake here and there when I',d send you notes too, I haven't eaten any meal today... I just rarely feel like eating all that much when I don't have someone to eat with to share the lovely meal. Some days, it just feels too depressing to eat on one's own... I'd gladly join. What food would you like me to bring us? Depending on which, it may take a moment to cook if it's more complicated, but I'm sure that whatever you feel like having, we can dig it up in sir Falcon's kitchen. "
At the bottom of the white paper note, there were many cute tiny doddles of cakes, cookies, and various undistinguishable little meals in many steaming pots and plates, filing whole bottom of the page.
It took a little longer for this reply, as Xia and Tide probably left for the kitchen. A little later, Death could hear footsteps. They stopped before the entrance of the door, and only little fox entered with the brief note.
" I picked out some of the food I thought you may like. Sorry, it took a little while, we waited for chilli to warm up on the stove as I was too anxious to warm it myself not to burn it and mess up the taste - since I noticed you like it, I made an arrangement earlier today with cooks that there's always some chilly ready for you when you desire it. I as well picked up couple spicy pies you like, couple cakes and cookies I like, and, for the dessert, I also brought ingredients for ice cream - Xia really likes it, and I brought enough to make for us all if you'd like to have some too. "
Since it was obviously written in more haste not to have Spirit wait too much, this one didn't have too elaborate drawings, but it did have a couple of quick doodles of above-mentioned foods.
Despite the pang of sorrow that he felt with the pained tone of Death's voice, Tide had to snort a little through his nose at the statement.
" I'd just feel rude.. " he admitted little faintly, as he shyly went in. " If I just barged in without being invited first... " He entered the little tent, and Death could see his hands were full, for there were many baskets he was somehow managing to carry and balance out, full with food... and the baskets themselves were decorated with pink bows and ribbons that demon must have had time to put while he waited for chilli to warm up.
Tide gazed at the baskets in his hands with sudden insecurity, as he indeed, realized that it's an impossible amount of money for a child to eat and he didn't think of that while packing.
" Kid... The kid is growing. " he stuttered suddenly then, as his brain seemed to freeze as he couldn't think of a good excuse. " Little Prince has to grow tall and strong, and recover from the injuries he got on his last trip with father, " he whispered. " That's why the cook Tide Over brought him plenty of food, so he can grow tall and strong... "
Tide didn't know what to make of that request, as it was a little vague for him to figure out, as he got stuck in language part.
" Hm, so.... You want to eat everything that was meant for Little Prince, or everything that was meant for Death, then?" He asked timidly, trying to figure out which he meant." Can I... Sit down and unpack the food? Then, you can see what from what I've brought you feel like eating, and me and Xia can eat what you don't like, and what we both don't like, we can throw as meal to SImbelmyne's pond." He tried to smile a little." So, you see, no food is wasted so you don't have to keep yourself from being picky. You can just pick what you crave most. "
"Sorry for misunderstanding, I just wondered what you would say is Little prince's favourite food. I don't know myself... That's the funny thing about being human, you forget a lot of childhood memories, and they remain forgotten even when you become a spirit again. Yet they are there somehow... they form much of who you are as an adult. One could say that some of the memories that are most important are those you don't actually remember..."
" Perhaps..." Tide nodded a bit. He slowly sat down on free place, and began putting down the baskets." You know, children's brains take long to mature. As children grow, it gets rewired, growing, shifting, changing... The changes lead to first memories being wired differently, as ways children and adults remember are built different. It's fascinating." He encouraged conversation, while slowly unpacking." That's why accessing child memories is chaotic and hard. It's less coherent. Like, it's hard to remember how you used to play as a child... And then you fig out some old toy at the attic, and remember you used to adore it and cuddle with it at night. It's easier to remember vague things when you are faced with phisical impulse - whether it's an old toy, a fairy tale book, taste or scent. " He smiled a little." It can be nice thing, full of surprised. If you're curious what you used to livke eating, you should try lots and lots of different human food... Even if it's hard for your mind to force itself into it, the taste remained. It can be an a little fun hunt, trying to hunt down the food you used to like..."
" Oh, in that case, here." Creature grinned a little." What do you say on this one?" He pointed at one basket where there were three different meals of various meat and vegetables." Princes are generally welthy, so they could often lot of meat and expensive spices. That could be a good start. And if it turns out it's none of those, we can try again and again to find the right ones. There are millions of recipes. Hey! What do you say we seek permission to visit the archives of the city? They must have some recipes from the time you lived here as a human. We can find those and make them! If not archives, SImbelmyne's priests stored lot of their own memories within him, maybe we can tap into some of his memories to find out what recipes we're common for nobility in time of your childhood. I'm curious what you liked to eat too..."
Tide wasn't sure how to respond to that.
" That's okay, too... " he just murmured, appearing a little unsure of what he should do. He felt a little freer with Xia, and so, he took a couple of fruit he picked for her, and seemed pleased and soothed to watch little creature nibble on them, caressing her fur behind ear lightly, the way she enjoyed it. Critter ate and purred quietly in thanks, with every nice fruit he'd give her.