Chapter 2:

One day, a tired fisherman visited.

Witch Cafe Wisteria

The city of Reingale puts a rather unique emphasis on history, so today, we’ll open with a short history lesson. Some twenty years ago or so, Seabirche and Reingale were once one big city where just a long road served as a bridge from one community to the other. There was never really a sense of unity. The only residents who seemed to travel from the cheaper housing prices of Reingale to their nautical jobs in Seabirche were those in the fishing industry. All other residents seemed to be at odds with each other. Eventually, the two sides separated and became their own cities.

Despite the split, both cities now work together on many issues and treat each other as great neighbors. The road separating the two locations is regulated by both cities, and everything seems to come together well. Yet, you’ll see a few small remnants of a time before the split, or perhaps a few problems that the split seemed to hide. History is all about cause and effect, after all.

With our history lesson out of the way, let’s continue our story. Our history lesson’s purpose will become apparent soon enough.

It was a regular day at Witch Cafe Wisteria, where Derry was teaching Pecan about growing herbs to be used for the teas. They were both planting seeds for herbs into a long planter. This particular instruction wasn’t difficult for Pecan to comprehend, but she had also never grown anything before. Her father tended to any plants in the house, so she had never had any chances to try. She was pretty excited to bring life into the world in a way that didn’t involve giving birth for the time being, or perhaps forever.

“And… that’s it. We just have to wait and see if they’ll grow,” Derry finished her explanation of herbs, tapping the dirt on her gloves back into the planter.

Pecan followed suit, asking, “So uh what happens if these don’t grow?”

“We… would have to start over is all,” Derry cheered with a healthy dose of optimism. Thankfully, no unhealthy doses of optimism as those could really cause some folks to become unmotivated. Hopefully, no owner or manager would bombard their employees with unhealthy optimism.

There was a long silence following Derry’s words. Finally, Pecan’s sigh brought noise back into their space. “It feels like there are less people coming in these days,” Pecan said in a tone that was laced with hidden concern beneath the guise of a bored facade.

“Well, the first weeks of a new place tend to be busy… just because people are curious. We’ll be fine though!” Derry said with even more cheer in her voice.

“And how do you know that?” Pecan asked. “What if people uh… you know, just don’t want to come in for some reason?”

Derry laughed to herself before answering Pecan with a question, “Why would they not want to come in?”

“Uh… well, I don’t know. I did read a little bit about witches though. Looks like a lot of people don’t like them too much,” Pecan explained.

For some odd reason, this seemed to surprise Derry. Perhaps she had been living under a rock until just now. “Huh? In Seabirche, we were received alright with Witch Cafe Camellia. I don’t think that’d be a problem”.

“So uh... I read a little bit on that too. Apparently, Seabirche is just more open since they get more people from all over”.

Derry stared at Pecan for a while, but Pecan was becoming dubious of Derry. How can you not know what you’re getting into when you set up shop in a city?! Obviously, at least look into the crowd! Don’t just open your doors expecting a repeat!

Pecan noticed that Derry’s smile was growing and was likely about to say something with that unhealthy optimism that this text warned of before.

“No,” Pecan began, “No no. If people don’t like witches, they’re not just going to find it in their hearts to something something yadda yadda”.

Derry pursed her lips together, pacing around the cafe as the lack of customers was suddenly starting to hit her. She rushed over to the phone and dialed a number quickly. Upon the person on the other end answering, Derry uttered, “Monika! Are… witches not accepted over here?” After the person on the other end answered, Derry wailed softly. “Oh no. Thank you. It’s nice to have met a fellow witch like you then. Bye...”

She turned to Pecan, stared, and then suddenly whimpered.

“REALLY? Please don’t tell me you’re only thinking about all of this now,” Pecan asked.

“Yeah,” Derry answered sadly. This triggered Pecan’s facepalm function, saved for only the most ridiculous of situations. A moment passed of hearing the crowds walk by outside, definitely not coming in. As Pecan thought about it, everyone who had come in had been, what many might call, eccentric or at least needed a little more assistance than the average person. Even Pecan and Ama weren’t exactly considered as women who fit into society’s norm. They were the type who, among other uncommon things, would check something out despite warnings anyway.

“Oh gee, I just… didn’t even know. What kinda meanies-- I don’t harm anyone-- not on purpose at least,” Derry whined.

Another little note to add to our little history lesson. Reingale was, indeed, a bit less open when it came to certain topics. Especially on sour topics they’ve had some type of history with. However, as mentioned before, Reingale had recently constructed a college seven years before. The college crowd did tend to be more open, and they were slowly growing. However, the majority of Reingale residents were, in fact, not students at the college. As for Seabirche, the amount of folks with differences was so vast that it usually wasn’t worth it and took too much energy to be wary of one another. This was one of the many reasons that the two communities ended up splitting up in the not-so-distant past. Unfortunately, Derry didn’t bother looking into that. Let’s not shame Derry too hard and continue with our story.

Pecan took a deep breath. “It’s okay. You can’t please everyone. But uh… now I think it’s gonna be best to plan around that obstacle”.

Derry nodded. They both looked around the cafe, thinking about what they could possibly do. Pecan eventually spoke up. “Hey, how about we open the door. You know, like keep it open when we’re open. Even if it's just uh… halfway”.

“Oh… why?”

“Because it makes it seem more welcoming,” Pecan stated. “When you have a closed door, it’s uh kinda like ‘hm, I dunno if I want to know what’s behind that door’. I think”. Pecan really was just brainstorming stuff at that point, not knowing if she was correct at all, but it sounded good, so Derry nodded violently in agreement.

So, the door was fully opened. What a pleasant breeze.

“Is there anything else we can do?” Derry inquired. “Let’s… keep thinking”. Pecan agreed with that idea. They volleyed thoughts around as they aimlessly walked around the store. This process was something Pecan enjoyed a lot. When her parents ran their rental services, she would always help them brainstorm ideas about what they could rent next. Unfortunately, it was easy for folks to dip town and never return on a trip across the ocean since Seabirche’s ports were just a road away. They eventually closed their shop and began working for other companies. Pecan thought that was going to be their family business for life, but that’s how life goes. Them’s the breaks, as they say. Despite loving the witchcraft part of it the most, Pecan was secretly thrilled to be able to put the skills she had gathered with her parents to use.

As the two pondered their options, a burly man dragged himself down the road in front of the cafe. With a tackle box in one hand and a bag of fish in the other, he slowly tried to get over feeling like his legs were made of seaweed. He had a long walk until he could reach home. That is, the homes were all more toward the other side of the city. He stopped and stared at the sign of the café lethargically for a while, not noticing Pecan and Derry staring him down like vultures. The women were thirsty for customers at that point. They moved out of sight before he could spot them as he lugged his legs, equipment, and fish into the cafe.

“Welcome to Witch Cafe Wisteria,” both of the cafe employees called out as he walked in.

“...Thanks…” he responded to the greeting tiredly. He grunted as he placed his belongings on a nearby table and sighed. He didn’t move for a while and simply stared into space.

Pecan and Derry glanced at each other, both thinking, “Is this guy going to be okay?” All of a sudden, the man’s body fell forward slowly, his head softly landing on the table. It was as if his body was making the shape of an odd bridge.

“Uh… is that… allowed here?” Pecan asked. Establishing a clear ‘no zombies’ policy was beginning to seem like the first order of business on Witch Cafe Wisteria’s To-do list.

Derry hummed to herself, thinking. “Well, let’s see”. She walked over to the man’s table and stood over him for a short moment. She wondered how she was going to approach the situation. However, she figured it out and shook the man awake gently. He tiredly opened his eyes, staring Derry down. Perhaps he looked a little ticked off, but it was hard for Derry to tell.

“Hello…! You’ll get a crick in your neck if you sleep like that,” Derry chirped out.

The man raised his body upward to stand up straight, revealing himself to be only a little taller than Derry. Neither of them said anything as the man inspected Derry’s hat with his eyes. “So… this is that witch cafe”.

“It is,” Derry confirmed.

The man sat in the chair belonging to the table his items were placed on. He sighed deeply and rubbed his temples before speaking again. “So… I work down at the ports… it’s a lotta walkin’. Always tired”.


“Yeah. Sometimes… can’t make it home. Got robbed last week… ‘cause I was sleepin’ in the road”.

At this, Pecan made a noise of worried surprise. She had already seen the man become a human bridge, so it wasn’t too far off for her to imagine the guy face down in the dirt somewhere, getting his pockets picked. This guy was an extreme case of dead tired.

“That’s… rather dangerous,” Derry said, concerned.

“Yuh,” the man mumbled. “Witch? Somethin’... to get me home at least?”

Derry thought for a moment and then walked behind the counter, “Yes. I have something for you.”

She started preparing a drink for the man, working at her usual fast pace. “I know you got robbed, so you still have to pay, but… I’ll let you have it for less today. That cool?”

The man made a simple noise of confirmation.

Derry mixed everything together into a bowl and fanned the flames under it. After letting it boil for a while, she started to ground more of the ingredients together. As she extinguished the flames, she grabbed a cup. She let the mix cool slightly and poured everything in. She then waved her hand above the cup in a serpentine motion and then hovered her hand over with her palm down. The drink glittered a thrilling orange and then changed back to its normal color.

Pecan hadn’t seen this beverage made before, so she had watched the entire process intensely.

Instead of having the man retrieve the drink, she grabbed the cup and walked it over to him, placing it on the table once she arrived.

“Here you go,” Derry sang. The man sluggishly reached for the cup and put it up to his lips sloppily. He took a few gulps of it and then took a break, resting his head on the table. When you’re tired, sometimes you really do just need rest.

Or so, that’s what would be the expected thoughts, but suddenly his head jolted upward as he looked at the cup. “What is this?” he asked.

“Tenaci-Tea,” Derry answered. Pecan briefly thought to herself that the names of the teas were sometimes just so laughable. Derry was sure they sounded good.

Derry continued, “That’ll be… four godas”.

The man fished out his wallet, drinking the beverage with his other arm. Pecan rushed over to take the man’s payment.

“Take five,” the man said, downing the rest of his drink. “Tenaci-Tea, it wakes you up?”

Derry tilted her head, “Hm, well it definitely has caffeine… but it’s actually a tea that increases your willpower for a short time. You just have a strong will to make it home okay right now, so that’s what’s happening”.

“Interestin’-- short time?”

“Yes. It’ll wear off in about… thirty minutes to an hour, so while I’d be happy if you chilled here for as long as you’d like, it’s probably best to go quickly if you want to make it home safely,” Derry explained.

Understanding that it was a good time to get a move on, the man hopped up and grabbed his belongings. “Thank you. I guess I’ll head out quick then.”

“No problem. Have a safe journey home. Witch Cafe Wisteria always welcomes you.”

At this, the man smiled and said, “Right. ‘M Barely. If this works out, trust me, I’ll be comin’ here a lot”.

Derry smiled right back, “We look forward to it. If you ever need us, I’m Derry, the owner, and…” she turned to Pecan.

“And I’m Pecan. Uh. I’m just an employee,” she said. Though she did a lot more than what the typical employee of an establishment might do.

“Got it. Bye, Derry. Bye, Pecan”, the man called out as he set off back down the road.

Pecan had already grabbed a rag to clean off the table Barley had sat at.

The two cheered. “That went well!” Derry said.

“I wasn’t sure what the heck was happening at first, but it’s fine!” Pecan exclaimed. “Also, uh, shouldn’t he maybe just buy that from Witch Cafe Camellia?”

Derry shook her head, “Miits can’t make that”.

Pecan thought about that for a second and then snapped her fingers. “We could market the heck out of that. ‘Each cafe has different drinks’ or something”.

“Oh… trust me, what we can offer is definitely different.” Derry nervously chuckled. “Miits… can’t use magic too well, so she usually just doesn’t. A lot of the regulars I had from there have told me they’ll stop by here sooner or later”.

Pecan wore a dubious expression. “So you’re saying the other witch cafe… you know, with witch in its name, doesn’t even have magic beverages?”

“They have some. Miits just focuses on… the taste of… things… more than the magic,” Derry explained.

Pecan was a little confused, but she didn’t press it any further. That was a good idea she wanted to try for herself though. Her magic wasn’t all that great, but if she made the best darn drinks one could ever have then she was sure she’d be okay until she finally got all the magic recipes down.

“...I wonder if we can drag more fishermen in here then,” Pecan wondered out loud.

Derry enthusiastically nodded, “That sounds like it might be a good idea!”

And so, Pecan and Derry continued their brainstorming of ideas for the cafe.