Chapter 0:

One day, Pecan started working at a witch cafe.

Witch Cafe Wisteria

There is a quiet, safe, and dusty little city with sandy roads called Reingale which neighbors the slightly dangerous, yet bustling port of Seabirche. A short distance away from the road that leads to Seabirche is a cafe.Bookmark here

Of course, a cafe on its own usually isn’t enough to pique the interests of the average person unless you, reader, are one of those folks who enjoys cafe hopping. However, it might please you to know that this particular cafe is just a bit different from the norm. Or at least that’s what everyone had heard once the cafe had popped up in sleepy little Reingale.Bookmark here

“Yoooo! We’ve got NOTHING to do! Sooo let’s just like like... find EVERY cool place in the city again,” a slightly chubby, brown-haired late teen shouted in suggestion. Her companion, a petite blonde with short hair, went right along with the idea.Bookmark here

As they made their way through Reingale, they passed by the city’s college, an establishment aged by only seven years. Their response to the pretty new campus was a quick, rather immature gesture of disapproval. After expressing their displeasure over such a scholarly institution, they continued on their merry way as if nothing happened.Bookmark here

“I actually heard there’s a witch cafe this way. But uh... I dunno, sounds gimmicky,” the blonde teen hummed as the two walked the sandy trails.Bookmark here

The brown-haired girl smirked at the blonde, wiggling her stubby little fingers around like a spider. “Oooh, spooky! But like, what does that mean?!” Before the other could guess, she continued, “Are there gonna be like old ladies dressed as witches saying like, ‘drink this coffee in five minutes or I’ll… oh, what do witches do? OR I’LL… put a spell on you!” She could do nothing but shrug, giving up on thinking of anything better.Bookmark here

At this, her companion shook her head, her wavy dyed blonde locks wiggling with the movement. She chortled in a deep, mocking yet good-humored voice, “You built that up so much and now I’m just disappointed.”Bookmark here

“Yoooou, Ms. Pecan, expect way too much from me.”Bookmark here

The two continued their completely supportive chatter as they made their way around the city. As soon as the cafe came into view, they paused.Bookmark here

“Oh whoa. Ama, is that it?” the young woman named Pecan asked in slight awe, “Look at those flowers…”Bookmark here

The cafe’s front was nearly covered with hanging, deep purple wisteria flowers. A bit of hanging ivy had been kept away from the wisteria as it adorned a small portion of the cafe’s front. A hanging sign that read “Witch Cafe Wisteria” gently swung with the breeze. Yep, no denying it, the sign said it was a witch cafe so it must have, indeed, been a witch cafe, right?Bookmark here

The young woman named Ama briskly walked in front of the cafe’s window and peeked inside, “Yeah, I think it is-- look at what’s inside! This looks so COOOOOL!!” Before Pecan could look, Ama already had her hand on the door handle. Pecan took a small glance into the window as she passed. Since Ama was holding the door open for her and already saying ‘hello’, she figured it’d be better if they both walked in at the same time. She wouldn’t want the person inside to welcome them twice, after all.Bookmark here

“Hello,” said a smiling woman sitting behind the cafe’s counter, “Welcome to Witch Cafe Wisteria.” Bookmark here

The witch-hat-wearing woman spoke in a clear and calming voice. She wore a vest over a white shirt with poofy sleeves which contrasted with her darker skin. She wasn’t an old lady like Pecan and Ama had been expecting to see. That really was just an old stereotype, once they thought about it. Instead, the woman behind the counter was maybe in her twenties. Along with the welcome, her appearance relaxed the visiting girls quite a bit. They thanked her for the greeting and curiously took note of all the plants around. There were pots of them everywhere!Bookmark here

“Look at the plants! I feel like I’ve walked into… into a… like a… plant... home!” Ama exclaimed, really just speaking just to speak (as she often did).Bookmark here

Pecan took in all the sights and apologetically raised a hand to the woman, “Uh, promise we’ll order. We just really like your uh… plants”.Bookmark here

The woman’s smile grew, “It’s all good. Feel free to chill”. For some reason, hearing the woman speak in such a mature way yet spout slang made Pecan freeze for a second. However, she still made sure to thank her for her hospitality.Bookmark here

“Soooo, what type of things do you sell? We heard that this is a witch cafe! Do you, like, temporarily turn people into frogs and stuff? Illegal things? What’re we working with?” Ama asked, unable to rein in any tact.Bookmark here

Pecan nudged Ama, “Hold on, don’t be rude”. Ama raised both of her hands as if to apologize.Bookmark here

However, the woman simply chuckled, “Nah no. None of that.... You can’t turn people into animals. Can you imagine... the shock a body would go through, zapping from one size to another right away...? I would think that would off someone.”Bookmark here

The girls thought about it for a bit, taken aback by how logical those musings were. At that point, they realized that it might be better to just not mention any of their assumptions about witches.Bookmark here

“That’s true. But uh... what’s the witch part then? Uh, of the cafe, I mean,” Pecan asked.Bookmark here

The woman nodded, “I make tea... with magic...!”Bookmark here

“What kindsa magic?” Ama asked.Bookmark here

“You know… the type for the soul. This stuff...!” The woman tapped on the menu.Bookmark here

At this, the girls became confused. “Uh… Good Luck, Direction, Braver-Tea… okay, doesn’t help. I’m still lost”.Bookmark here

The woman looked frustrated for a short second, but then she leaned over the counter and smiled, “Why don’t I just show you when you’re ready to order? It’s… hard to explain.”Bookmark here

Ama shuffled up closer to the counter excitedly asking, “What does each thingy thinger do??”Bookmark here

“Thankfully, my sister recently wrote out what they all do... specifically. I have my Good Luck Tea-- brings you good luck, Direction Tea guides you where you need to be--”Bookmark here

“Oh my gosh! I want that one!” Ama shouted. Pecan reminded Ama to use her inside voice and Ama gave a quick ‘sorry’.Bookmark here

“There’s also Braver-Tea, which does in fear and anxiety quick but doesn’t last long. Knowledge Tea, which slowly ups someone’s knowledge… Wisdom Tea, which is a little different than Knowledge Tea-- maybe it’s best for me to just explain the drinks you’re interested in?”Bookmark here

Pecan hummed to herself in thought, “Uh… yeah. That’s probably a better idea. Actually, I think I’ll get the Good Luck Tea anyway”.Bookmark here

“NO MA’AM,” Ama shouted, “We need to figure out what we’re going to DO with our lives! Luck isn’t going to help with that! Direction will.”Bookmark here

Pecan groaned at first and made a face at Ama’s thoughts, but eventually she agreed to get the Direction Tea, “Fine. You’re right for once”.Bookmark here

“Oh, well… that makes it easier for me,” the woman said as she pulled a few jars from behind the counter. She gently placed each jar on the surface and grabbed a bowl to put on top of a burner. With a quick hand, the woman opened the lids on the jar, added her ingredients, and then whisked them together in the bowl with a stirrer. Pecan and Ama watched the process, mesmerized mostly by how fast she moved! When everything seemed mixed together, the woman grabbed two cups and poured the mixture into each.Bookmark here

She placed the cups side by side and looked up at her two customers. “So… this is the part that’s hard to explain.” She held her hands over the cups, palms upwards as if grasping something, and then flipped her hands to hover over the mixes. Suddenly, the air shifted slightly, and the contents of the cups glittered a bold hue of blue.Bookmark here

“Whoa!” The girls exclaimed as they watched their drinks glow. After a few seconds, the sparkling ceased, and the drinks looked just like normal tea.Bookmark here

“How did you do that? Uh actually, what even was that?” Pecan asked, amazed by what she had just witnessed. Ama was equally amazed, but she could only ask incoherent questions.Bookmark here

The woman furrowed her brow a bit, “Well that’s the thing.... I can’t really put it into words. That’ll be seven godas each though!”Bookmark here

Not realizing that the woman had effectively changed the subject, Pecan and Ama quickly went for their wallets. You can’t not pay someone for their services after all. “Oh! Uh, right. Here, Ama, I’ve got it,” Pecan said as she whipped out her wallet and handed the woman two ten goda papers.Bookmark here

“Awww, thanks. You’re the best,” Ama cooed, grabbing her cup. She took a sip of her drink and continued, “This is good! And that witchy mixing stuff was super cool!”Bookmark here

Smiling as she tapped away at the cash register, the woman nodded, “Thank you. So if you ever want any tea or coffee, you can hang here. Or… you can go to my other cafe, Witch Cafe Camellia. My sister keeps up with that one. And of course… I’m Derry, the owner of both. Here’s your change”.Bookmark here

“Okay! I’m Ama! This is Pecan!” Ama said with a grin.Bookmark here

Pecan took her change and huffed at Ama, “Yeah okay I can introduce myself, you know-- hey, uh… isn’t this change wrong?”Bookmark here

“Hm?” Derry looked genuinely concerned.Bookmark here

Pecan counted out her money again. “Yeah, you just gave me uh… seven godas back. You gave me extra.”Bookmark here

“Oh whoops...! Here,” Derry, the witch, said as she took back the money and gave Pecan back one five goda bill.Bookmark here

Seeing that it was only one bill, Pecan looked unimpressed, “Uh. Now you’re short one.” Ama was having a giggling fit at that point. However, this was a serious matter! Sure, it’s important to pay for the services and goods you order, but it’s equally important to exchange the correct amount of change!Bookmark here

“Alright... short just one.” Derry said nervously, attempting to minimize such an important problem. A person could do a lot with one goda! Despite committing such an offense, Derry pressed a bunch of buttons on the old-fashioned cash register. Nothing happened.Bookmark here

Pecan shuffled close and leaned across the counter slightly to see the buttons on the register. “Uh. See that button three down from the red button? That’s… the one to open the register”.Bookmark here

Derry thanked Pecan and gave her the one goda from the register. Crisis averted. Ever so suspiciously, Pecan took the goda and noticed a bit of nervousness from Derry. What owner doesn’t know how to ring someone up or work their register? Was she the only one working at the cafe?Bookmark here

“Okay,” Ama began, “let’s go sit! I wanna sit near the window! It’s aesthetic! Look at it!”Bookmark here

Being one to appreciate nice aesthetics as well, Pecan gladly grabbed her cup and thanked Derry again as the cafe owner herself avoided eye contact with her for a while. For the rest of their time in the cafe, the new customers enjoyed looking around at all the space’s decor and drinking their Direction Tea. There were a few other customers who came in, so they didn’t have the pleasure of hanging around in the place nearly alone. This was fine for them though. Every time Derry made a drink for someone, Pecan and Ama leaned back in their chairs to watch.Bookmark here

Ama kept saying things like, “She moves super fast,” “She must be, like, a pro,” and ”I wonder if she trained in a witch barista school or something! Ooo that’d be cool!”. Pecan couldn’t help but wonder something similar. Sure, there were other witches or mentions of them in the city, but the two girls weren’t familiar with them.Bookmark here

They had so much fun watching Derry make the drinks and fumble with the register that they hadn’t noticed the time.Bookmark here

“Really? This place has no food?” Pecan asked, mostly to herself.Bookmark here

Ama breathed out a cartoon-ish laugh, “Ohhh my gosh. You’re hungry, PecoPeco?”Bookmark here

Pecan crossed her arms and went on the defensive. “You’re not? We’ve been here for a while”.Bookmark here

“Hmm, thaaaat’s true. Well, how about we go somewhere to eat? My treat this time ‘cause I like feeding the voracious PecoPeco!” Ama nearly sang out.Bookmark here

“Enough with that nickname, but uh yeah, let’s get some food”.Bookmark here

With that, the girls made their way to the door, shouting goodbyes to Derry on the way out. Pecan lingered outside of the door for a few seconds and then started walking with Ama as soon as she looked over to her to see if she was coming.Bookmark here

“What’s up? Forget something?” Ama asked.Bookmark here

Pecan shook her head. “No. I dunno. It was just uh… kinda comfy in there”. Bookmark here

With that, the two girls headed over to their next destination for a bite to eat before calling it a night.Bookmark here

The following day’s weather was fortunate to receive a soft breeze and clear skies, much like the previous day. The day after that was similarly granted such a splendid gift. The same buildings sat in the dusty town of Reingale, and the same amounts of crowds were passing through on their way to Seabirche. On the surface, all was the same.Bookmark here

On one of those days, Pecan was walking to the witch cafe on her own. A sense of nervousness filled her chest so completely that she was just about ready to combust. As the cafe came into view, she stopped to admire the front of the building. There it was again, Witch Cafe Wisteria. She clenched her nails into her palm and trudged onward. After inhaling slowly, she made her way into the establishment with as much confidence as she could muster.Bookmark here

“Hello-- welcome back to Wisteria!” Derry chirped.Bookmark here

Pecan reluctantly made her way to the counter as she used every ounce of power in her body to calm her nerves. She spoke as smoothly as she could just to say, “Thanks”. After breathing for a bit, Pecan started shaking off her jitters and adjusted her throat, “Yeah, so I’d like a uh… a Good Luck Tea, please”.Bookmark here

“You’ve got it.” Derry quickly prepared the tea for Pecan. Of course, Pecan was just as amazed as the first time.Bookmark here

The ingredients were different, but seeing the liquid inside the cup glow different colors for each recipe seemed to fascinate Pecan the most.Bookmark here

“And here it is…! That’ll be… seven godas, please,” Derry said. As Pecan fetched her wallet out of her pocket, Derry looked around quickly and asked, “Your friend… didn’t come back with you?”Bookmark here

With a glint in her eye, Pecan nodded to confirm Derry’s observation. “Nope. Funny you ask about that.” Derry tilted her head a bit at Pecan’s comment.Bookmark here

“We had to part ways. Ama suddenly decided that she would up and go to Haridosii,” Pecan explained as she counted her money.Bookmark here

“Oh wow, that’s… far,” Derry began, “She did order Direction Tea though, so I guess something about Haridosii… must be pulling her in for one reason or another.” Though, as she focused her attention on the register, she wondered to herself if she had possibly made their batch a little too powerful.Bookmark here

“I figured. So, I just kinda saw her off yesterday morning and wished her well,” Pecan started as she accepted her change back from Derry, “Even though we’ll probably never see each other again, we still had a lot of good memories, so it’s uh… fine. If it’s the best decision for her future, then I’m happy she’s doing it.”Bookmark here

Derry smiled, but wondered why Pecan was still just holding her change in her hand instead of putting it back in her wallet. “That’s wonderful… you’re such a good friend”.Bookmark here

Pecan uttered a weird sound, took a swig of her drink, and continued as if she totally hadn’t made the noise at all, “But uh! It’s also made me think about where I’m supposed to go. I feel like the Direction Tea led me back to this cafe so that I can make the best decision for my future”.Bookmark here

“Oh. Well… that’s wild.” Derry interjected, not completely convinced.Bookmark here

“I think I really want to learn witchcraft,” Pecan said, determined. “I’m really interested in it! Every time you do it, it’s just so amazing. I can’t help but watch. So… are you hiring? And if I worked here, could you teach me some? Uh, witchcraft?”Bookmark here

Derry hummed to herself in thought, “Well, it’s not exactly… a walk in the park to do this stuff you know”. And that’s true, it usually wasn’t.Bookmark here

“That’s fine. I’ll just keep trying every day. Plus, uhh, no offense, but I think you need to hire a cashier.” Pecan waved her change a bit to indicate that something was wrong.Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“You gave me five godas back. I gave you ten. Should have been three back.”Bookmark here

It was the money problem again. How many times was she going to mess up the change? She was going to be losing money if she kept that up. For a while, the two stared at each other until Derry piped up, “Do you think… you’d be good with paperwork?”Bookmark here

“Yep. My parents used to run a rental service for a while. I helped out with ringing people up and paperwork all the time,” Pecan revealed as she handed the godas back to the mildly incompetent owner.Bookmark here

Derry nodded goofily and softly laughed as she gave Pecan the correct change with much gratitude, “Yeah. Okay, yeah. Sounds like I should probably hire you. Let me… hit up Kera for a uniform”.Bookmark here

With this, Pecan internally celebrated, but she flashed a confident smile externally, “Thanks! I’ll definitely do my best”.Bookmark here

Thus, began Pecan’s story of learning witchcraft while working at Witch Cafe Wisteria.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.