Craes (CV: Yonaga Tsubasa) is one of Gerda’s childhood friend, though he only moved to the village when he was 5 years old. Kai was his first friend and he actually disliked Gerda at first. He works at a restaurant. Craes tends to act before thinking. He starts to recognise people with bad intentions due to the curse. This follows from the Common Route.
On the way to Yellow World, we actually see a flashback: a young Craes going to get a flower for Gerda. But he falls off the cliff and passes out. He thinks to himself that he doesn’t want to die yet, as he realises that he really likes Gerda. He hears a voice (daemon), who offers to help him. However, he’s merely extending his life for another 5 years. Once the time comes, he’ll be back. Craes wakes up, clueless as to why he’s here as Gerda finds him. In the end, he wasn’t able to give her the flower as all the petals have fallen off. He wants to give it to her the next time he finds that flower.
Back in the Yellow World, the prince and princess parade down. Anxious to see the prince’s appearances, Gerda twists a lamp post. Everyone is shocked, including the prince who was just nearby. Gerda sees that he does look similar to Kai, but he isn’t Kai. The group don’t gain further information, and when they return to their lodgings they’re surprised to see the prince, Alfred, waiting for them. He explains that there’s a ball the day after tomorrow, and hopes that Gerda can appear in place of the princess. They’d received a threat a week ago, and passed it off as a joke at first. But it started to come everyday no matter how heavy security was. The ball is a special event held every year, and the princess, Natalia, can’t afford to not participate. Midway, she will go and change dresses and there will be in outflow and inflow of guests. Security will be loosened as a result so it’s likely that they will attack then. He hopes that Gerda can change places then, and will have guard secretly watch over her. They note that they’re using Gerda as bait though, in order to draw out the culprit. Alfred knows that he’s asking a lot, and is willing to give her anything in return. So Gerda asks him about the key, and he gladly offers it in return. So she agrees, and he asks her to come to the castle tomorrow. He allows one of the others to accompany her.
After Alfred leaves, the rest start to voice their disagreement and concern. But Gerda doesn’t want to just be protected, and wants to do it so that they can save Kai, rid of the curse and return home soon. Eventually, everyone except Craes is convinced. That night, Gerda can’t sleep and happens to hear Craes leaving the room. She finds him outside, where he questions if she’s really going. Gerda stands by her decision, wanting to do something. But Craes finds that he’s the one who isn’t doing anything – she was the one who snuck into Liselotte’s room. Orva holds the knowledge, while Aje is skilled in fighting. On the other hand, he can only cook. Hearing this, she replies that his food gives them the energy, and also asks him to come to the castle with her. Craes agrees immediately, promising to protect her.
The next day, they tell the rest of their decision. When they arrive at the castle, they are led to Alfred. Natalia also pops in to greet them, but soon dashes off for another appointment. They hear further details from Alfred, and Craes is still worried. Gerda does her best to reassure him, which makes him ask whether she’s working hard for the sake of saving Kai – and not so much for the curse. He knows that he isn’t as reliable as Kai, but wants her to rely on her. Gerda corrects him, for he’s not a replacement for Kai. She also thinks that he’s more than reliable. For the rest of the day, somehow Gerda finds herself being overly self-conscious of Craes even though he’s acting as per normal. That night, Craes sees a shadow in the garden and goes to check on it. Gerda chases after him and outside they find a group of people. However, the bottle drops from her pocket which alerts the group and they disperse immediately. She feels bad but Craes tells her not to mind it as he picks up the bottle for her. He notices that she isn’t looking well, and offers to stay by her side till she sleeps.
The next morning, Gerda gets ready as she changes into a ball gown. Natalia apologises to her, and also reveals that she needs to appear in this ball every year so as to appeal to everyone as Alfred’s future wife. Even now, there are people who are unsatisfied with her, and also eyeing her position. The position is not confirmed to be hers, and so she doesn’t want to give into any of their threats. After she’s finished changing, Craes enters the room and Alfred encourages him on to say the words he was taught. Embarrassed, Craes calls her a beautiful princess and offers to take her hand. As Gerda is unsure of how to respond, Alfred laughs at the back. When she finally takes his hand, Alfred has Craes escort her out. Gerda reassures him once more, as she leaves to take over Natalia’s place.
It switches to Craes’ perspective, as he’s still worried about leaving Gerda alone. After all, he followed her here so as to be able to protect her. He’s the only one here with her now, so he decides that he has to take action after all. Back in Gerda’s perspective, she walks down a corridor by herself. There’s no one at all, as if to easily lure out the culprit. True enough, people appear to capture her. Gerda manages to resist one of them, and escapes. But none of the guards are in sight. Even though she reassured Craes, she’s still scared as expected. Just then, Craes appears to protect her with…his fry pan. He successfully chases them away, but they are outnumbered and soon find themselves encircled. Craes protects Gerda as he takes a blow from one of their attacks. At that moment, the guards finally appear and a worried Gerda calls out to Craes as he blacks out.
We have a flashback of Craes’ childhood. The reason why he started to cook was simple: his father was busy with work, and his mother was busy taking care of his younger twin brothers. So he started to cook so as to help them out, and somehow got engrossed in it. One day, Gerda spotted him cooking and her joyful expression made him feel warm inside. Later, he brought her the scones he had baked, alongside some jam and tea. Gerda praised his skills, saying that his family must be the happiest to be able to eat such delicious food. In response, Craes promised to make it for her any time – he’ll aim to be a chef that can make the most delicious food in the world. On that day, he had realised his first love and his dream for the future. He wanted to see more of Gerda’s smile.
Gerda wakes up and so relieved to see Craes awake that she hugs him tightly. Alfred and Natalia happen to walk into the scene, which causes the couple to quickly separate from each other. Alfred then thanks them again, as they have caught all the culprits. He had not expected the culprit to have infiltrated as one of the servants. Some of them had caused a ruckus elsewhere, that’s why it took the guards longer to come to Gerda’s rescue. He feels apologetic for having brought danger to Gerda in the end. But as promised, he gives her the key – which is actually the clock hanging around Natalia’s neck.
As Craes continues to recuperate for a few days, Gerda insists on taking care of him – including the task of making him tea…which he forces himself to drink. Later in the day, they head down to the greenhouse but get locked inside. Craes reassures a worried Gerda, and she starts to see him differently. Before, she always saw him as a younger brother. When Craes asks how she thinks of him, she replies that he’s bright and warm like the sun. She feels at ease by his side. Though he’s happy to hear this, he admits that he’s gotten greedy and doesn’t want to just be childhood friends anymore. He would like to be the only one to make her smile, and doesn’t want others to steal her away from him. He wants to be someone special to her, and confesses that he likes her as a woman. Gerda is unsure of what to reply, and an awkward silence follows. Due to this, Craes apologises. Just as Gerda’s about to reply something, a maid opens the door looking for them.
As they return to their rooms, Craes thinks to himself that he never wanted to trouble Gerda like this. He decides to act as per normal, and thinks that it’s fine as long as she’s happy and he can remain by her side. Gerda ends up not sleeping the whole night, for she wants to give Craes a proper answer. The next morning, Craes tells her that he’s fully recovered and to forget about what he told her last night. He doesn’t let her give a reply about last night, and quickly switches the topic. Gerda is fully aware of his intentions, but would like him to smile naturally like he did before. Whenever he sees her now, he always looks troubled.
That night, Gerda sees Craes together with Natalia in the garden. He’s acting as per normal, yet when he catches sight of her his expression changes. Unable to take it, she quickly excuses herself to return to her room. Craes comes to find her, and questions why she’s about to cry – it doesn’t suit her at all. Gerda returns the question back to him, citing his recent behaviour around her. Craes replies that he doesn’t like seeing the person he loves sad, and Gerda voices her similar feelings. Both of them freeze at her words, as Gerda slowly realises the meaning of her words. She confesses quietly that she likes him. Craes is delighted, and happily hugs her. He promises to treat her right, and can’t wait to tell everyone of the news. He shares with her why he was talking to Natalia – he was actually consulting her about their relationship.
A few days later, Craes has fully recovered and they go to find Orva and Aje. But they find them arguing, as Orva says that they shouldn’t travel anymore. They won’t be able to do anything even if they make it to the White World. He asks Gerda to pass him the key, and Aje quickly comes in between and tells the couple to leave first – they’ll catch up later. Mildly confused, the couple does as told and leave for the Green World. Once more, the daemon appears to check on their progress before disappearing. On the way to the Green World, Craes surprises Gerda one night by making pancakes to cheer her up. Another night, Craes watches Gerda sleep and the daemon appears out of nowhere. He sees that Craes seems to have forgotten everything, and disappears without clarifying anything. Craes doesn’t know why he feels so uneasy, and dismisses it.
They arrive at the Green World, but Aje and Orva still have yet to catch up. Craes decides to pick some ingredients for the night’s meal, but they see a tall man with a spear. As he and Craes are on each other’s guard, the man suddenly collapses to the ground. Craes guesses that he must be starving, and instantly offers to whip something up. He gets even more fired up when the man suggests that he may poison him. When Craes is done, the tall man is impressed and gulps everything down. He then listens to their story, but they decide not to tell him about the changes in them brought about by the curse. The man offers to bring them to his people, as thanks for the meal. There, they learn that the man’s name is Bayser and also meet Fine, the head of the mountain bandits. After Fine listens to their story, and lets them stay at their place. When questioned about their relationship, no one believes Craes when he explains that they’re lovers.
The next day, the mountain bandits are hunting for food while the couple wait. They find a field of flowers, which delights Gerda. But she is also reminded of Kai, and Craes reassures her. He also asks what Kai is to her, as he admits that he used to think that she liked Kai. Gerda replies that Kai is an important friend, as are Orva and Aje. She tells Craes not to hide the fact that he’s uneasy, for she wants to make him happy too. As she gazes at the flowers, she is reminded of the past and makes a flower crown for Craes. He’s happy, but thinks that it’s more suitable for her. He remarks that they used to be like siblings, as with Kai. Hearing this, Gerda emphasises that Craes is the only one she likes as a man. This embarrassed him, but he also attempts to take this chance to kiss her – only to be interrupted by Fine and Bayser. They discover that the other mountain bandits had been watching them from the start. Fine advises them not to head any further behind this field.
Later that night, Craes tells Gerda that he wants to see what’s beyond the field – there may even be clues of the key. They do so after dinner – and the atmosphere is totally different. It’s cold and the plants have all withered. Just then, Kai appears before them saying that he came here only to check on them on orders of the Snow Queen. Gerda tries to make him come back to his senses, but he only apologises and tells them not to travel to the White World – they won’t be able to defeat the Snow Queen. This was the path he chose and so he tells them to return without him. He leaves a confused Gerda behind, and Craes chases after Kai. This switches to Craes’ perspective. He catches up with Kai, who has observed that they’re a couple now. He explains that the Snow Queen is only interested in the glass shard inside of Gerda. When Craes constantly tries to persuade him, Kai loses his cool as he points out that Craes doesn’t know the reason behind why he went to the Snow Queen’s side – and that Craes is lying to everyone too. This leaves Craes speechless, and Kai takes his leave.
Left alone, Gerda is soon approached by the daemon. He only tells her that Craes is hiding something from her before disappearing. Not long after, Craes returns and Fine and Bayser come looking for them. They don’t reproach them for coming here, and explain that the Snow Queen has taken over this area so it’s not wise to come here. Later on, Fine reveals to Gerda that the necklace she’s wearing is actually the key. She now knows that they aren’t bad people. However, it’s also a remembrance of her father so she couldn’t easily give it away since her men need to be convinced too. As such, she has a condition. If they win in a game of arm-wrestling, then she’ll lend it to Gerda. Gerda thinks that she has a better chance of winning, since none of them knows about her strength. But Craes wants to do it, so she anxiously watches him challenge Bayser. She realises that this must have been how Craes felt when she went to steal Liselotte’s key, or replaced Natalia in the ball.
Craes loses, and he feels bad to Gerda. She quickly stops him from challenging again, and says that she’ll do it this time. After all, she doesn’t want to always be on the passive side. Naturally, Gerda wins with the element of surprise too. Craes happily hugs her, but the couple fall over instead causing both of them to be embarrassed. Gerda decides to tell Fine the truth, but the latter insists that it’s her win in any case and gives her the key. That day, they hold a celebration, as well as a farewell banquet. The next day, they prepare to leave for the White World but Gerda is still bothered by the daemon’s words. She confides this in Fine, who advises her to directly ask Craes.
After they leave, Craes confesses that he’s been hiding something from her. He’s still scared to tell her though, and Gerda attempts to give him courage by saying that she’s done the same to him too – such as not telling him that she broke his cup, secretly ate his cake and so on. She says that she’ll accept everything of him, and is willing to wait till he’s ready. Craes thanks her, and promises to tell the truth when everyone is present. As they reach the border of the Green World, the three keys shine and lead them on to the entrance of the White World. They arrive at a cave, and upon passing through it they see a castle in a distance. The daemon appears, and remarks that he never said that the Snow Queen will remove the curse for them – the only other way is to get rid of her. He disappears and before the castle Ivan approaches them. He offers to lead them to the Snow Queen, as she’s willing to see them.
Inside, Gerda immediately demands for her to rid of the curse, and to return Kai. The Snow Queen asks Gerda to follow her to talk about it elsewhere, saying that she only needs to talk with the people who are cursed. Moreover, she can’t stand liars. This confuses Gerda, but Craes merely tells her to go ahead and that he’ll talk to her later. There, the Snow Queen says that she can’t easily remove the glass shard – she tried to do so with Kai but failed to as it has become a part of their bodies. Instead, she wants Gerda to pledge loyalty to her and stay by her side – that way she’ll still have its power. She also remarks on how she was deceived by Craes. Gerda shakes her head in response, saying that it must have been hard on Craes too. She’s sure that he has his own reasons. Everybody lies, and those may be hurtful ones or kind ones. She’s sure that Craes didn’t have any ill intentions. The Snow Queen refuses to listen on, so Gerda begs for her to not to anything to Craes. The queen agrees to let him return to their village, but Gerda must stay with her in return – if not she’ll use force in any case. Gerda agrees, and asks for some time to say goodbye. When she’s alone, the daemon appears and is surprised that she is suspicious of him. He realises that his magic over them is gone as the queen’s powers are more powerful here.
When she returns to Craes’ side, she lies to him that it’ll take some time for the Snow Queen to remove the glass shard, and for him to return to the village first. She doesn’t know why he lied to them, but it’s now her turn to do so in order to protect him. But Craes refuses to leave her alone, and takes her hand instead. He knows that she’s worried about him, but he can’t possibly leave her when she looks like she’s about to cry. He drags her out of the castle, and hides when Ivan comes looking for them. He promises to protect her, and to do something about it. After all, the reason he lied was so that he could travel together with her and be with her. Just as Gerda tries to convince him otherwise, a strong gust of wind blows pass and she passes out. Craes sees Ivan carrying Gerda away and Kai stops him from chasing after them. Craes tries to talk sense to Kai, but when it fails he uses force instead. If Kai’s existence now is harming Gerda, then there was no point in him making that sacrifice in the first place. Just then, Aje and Orva show up as they’ve finally caught up with them. Orva tells Craes to go after Gerda, while they bring Kai to the entrance. He feels bad for having caused them trouble before.
At Gerda’s side, she wakes up to find the Snow Queen about to punish her for breaking the promise. Though she has the bottle from Liselotte to nullify her magic, she can still use physical force on her. She takes the sword from Ivan and is about to attack Gerda when Craes jumps in. He tries to convince the Snow Queen that there is more to just power, and even breaks his own bottle. The queen feels that she’s a symbol of fear now – so without any power everyone will make light of her. Craes replies that he won’t think so, and Gerda follows his lead and breaks her own bottle too. She adds that despite the change in her due to the curse, Craes still accepted her. The Snow Queen finds it hard to understand their actions, and says that if they remain with her she may became just as strange as them. She is willing to let them leave. Before they do so, Gerda tells her that anything can happen in the future. So if she changes, she may be a different “Snow Queen” then. The Snow Queen agrees that she does feel much calmer, and tells them to return to where they belong.
Outside, the couple go to meet up with the rest. But Craes hears the daemon’s voice, who says that he’s come for his payment from 5 years ago. Upon recalling everything, he quickly asks for some time to talk to Gerda. He asks her if he has become more of a man now, and she agrees that he has – especially in how in directly confronted the Snow Queen. She kisses him too, thinking that it would convey her feelings much more than words. Craes thinks to himself that she’s special to him, and that surely he’d fall for her no matter how many times he is reborn. He apologises to her, and collapses to the ground.
That day, Gerda carried Craes to the rest where they did their best to tend to him. He woke up an hour later, but didn’t seem to remember Gerda anymore. She tried visiting the Snow Queen another time, but the latter said that it had nothing to do with her. Without knowing the reason, they all returned to the village but Craes’ memory of her didn’t seem to return. In present time, Gerda continues to visit the restaurant but with Kai – to give her courage. She’s grown used to seeing his smile disappear upon seeing her. From Craes’ perspective though, he always sees them together and finds it hard to think of them as just friends. It’s as if they’re showing him how well they get along. Though they say that he and Gerda are good friends too, he just can’t remember anything. All Craes knows about her is that she likes flowers, cakes and sweet things – and seems to smile a lot around Kai. As Craes starts cooking, he wonders why he became a cook. He can’t seem to recall, but recently he’s always been baking cakes.
One day, Gerda enters are sees a cake he had just baked. He lets her try it out, so that he can hear her feedback too. Gerda is reminded of the past, and gets excited when she thinks that he has remembered the past. Seeing her reaction, Craes wonders if she will smile at him too if he recalls everything. Somehow he starts to feel nervous around her, and is happy to see her smile around her. It’s the first time he’s felt this way, and gradually they start to talk more to each other. One morning, Craes visits Gerda as he gives her a huge sunflower. He doesn’t know what she likes, but seeing the flower made him want to give it to her to cheer her up. Gerda thanks him, and comments on how it’s similar to Craes – being like the sun. Craes replies that he feels similarly about her, and confesses that he likes her. Though he knows that she’s sad that he doesn’t remember the past, he’ll do his best to make her smile so that she’s no longer saddened by it. Gerda returns his feelings, and thinks to herself that even if he doesn’t have his memories of her there are still things that won’t change – that she’ll keep falling for Craes.
The Snow Queen appears and tells Gerda that his soul has been taken away by the daemon. He no longer exists in this world, and soon his body will start to disappear. But if Gerda wishes to be together with Craes, she can take back her words from before and allow them to remain here. Gerda requests her to do so. Though she feels bad to the rest, she wants to stay by Craes’ side. The Snow Queen freezes the couple in ice, as they now lie side by side for eternity.
Craes is a cute character, and I think how his relationship with Gerda developed was cute too. As a heroine, Gerda was proactive and direct in her feelings too. The CGs were pretty and so was the music. But…what I didn’t really get was the confrontation with the Snow Queen. It felt anti-climatic and it also means that in the end, their curse still remained with them? Or it disappeared? Either way there was no mention of it in the happy end. It was a bit disappointing to see it swept under the rug like that since that was the whole purpose of their journey. It kind of gets overshadowed by Craes’ pact from 5 years ago, as after all, that’s the problem that’s more relevant to him. That’s not saying that I didn’t like the happy and bad ends. It just left me a bit confused.
I also want to add that the Red World chapter is really too long. I know that they probably spent the most time there but…it started to feel draggy after a while. I thought that the Yellow World chapter was still okay, while the Green World chapter went by in a flash. The White World chapter was pretty short too, but then again I supposed nothing more could have happened. Also, it was a bit of a miracle that Aje and Orva could’ve caught up lol. I did hear that Craes’ route was just okay, and I really do feel the same way. I mean it was cute romance but hmm…that confrontation, yeah. Anyway, I’ll be moving on to Orva’s route next and I heard that many do not like him…so we’ll see how it goes.