Witch Cafe Wisteria
One fine day at Witch Cafe Wisteria, Pecan was practicing making magical teas with Derry watching over her steps. Since Derry was still not all that great at explaining the process to Pecan, the practices usually didn’t go too well. Even though Pecan would study witchcraft quite a bit at home, she would often avoid practicing, feeling that she wasn’t really getting anywhere when it came to learning witchcraft. However, she was also supposed to practice making the beverages even if she couldn’t infuse them with magic. It was becoming the one thing that she wasn’t putting her all into, which wasn’t that great of an idea considering the cafe was… well… a cafe. A cafe which sold beverages.
So, the forced practice session Pecan was participating in that day was set up by the not-exactly-helpful Derry. She recognized that Pecan just wasn’t understanding her teachings, but she wanted her to at least still try since that’s why she came in the first place.
“Well, you’ve… gotten hella good with measuring! You’ve even got it down by sight,” Derry said as encouragingly as possible.
“Thanks,” Pecan said in her sarcastic tone, which one might call her signature tone at this point. Her success in picking the right ingredients was mostly because of Derry’s sister, Miits. After Derry told her about how Pecan was struggling, Miits had sent a written note with the ingredients and the exact quantities for each drink that both cafes served. She also wrote a list of herbs and their magical properties for Pecan. What a stand-up gal Miits was!
As Pecan poured the contents into a cup, she questioned her witch teacher, “So uh how about I ask again where I’m supposed to pull from?”
Derry groaned, knowing she was unable to properly explain what was happening with the magic. Understandably, it was a tough topic to grasp!
“Hm?” Pecan hummed knowingly, throwing her head back to look her teacher in the eyes.
Derry leaned on the counter with her arms crossed, taking in a hard, irritated inhale. She then pointed to the area around her stomach. “Somewhere… around here”.
“Uh huh. Yeah. I thought so. It moved again,” Pecan said with a bite to her words. “Look, you don’t want me to waste ingredients, but these sessions totally do, so… uh...”
“But… you still need to practice or you won’t learn.”
Pecan made a low whining sound and shifted her focus back on her practice drink. Well, Derry’s words were true, but perhaps this was not helping much either.
“Trust me, it’ll click… eventually,” Derry cooed reassuringly. Except she had said it to Pecan so many times before that it didn’t feel very reassuring.
Nonetheless, Pecan continued. She clapped her hands twice over the cup and flipped one hand over to hover it above the mixture. About half a minute passed before she let her arm fall back to her side as nothing happened.
“Alright. Maybe try... clutching your stomach,” Derry suggested.
Pecan already knew that wouldn’t work since she had tried it before. She tried again anyway. Of course, it didn’t work. This was followed by many other suggestions that were equally not helpful and not successful.
“You’ve done it a few times before… iust do that,” Derry said impatiently.
Pecan sighed, “I’m trying. I don’t even remember what I did the other times”.
Before Derry could suggest some other wild action, a boy walked into the cafe. Pecan was relieved since at the rate they were going, the next suggestion was probably going to be something about sticking an appendage in some type of orifice. Hopefully not, but one never knows what others are thinking. It was best that the session ended there.
“Welcome to Witch Cafe Wisteria,” Pecan and Derry said until Derry realized who it was. “Oh, hey Millan”.
Millan was a dark-skinned boy who, like Derry, was wearing a witch hat. However, his witch hat was white and much smaller. His clothes were odd; there were layers stitched on to each other in a childlike way. Pecan wondered if he had made his own clothes.
“Hello, ma’am,” Millan said politely, walking up to the counter. “Are you busy?”
Pecan hurriedly responded to him, wanting to get out of the situation she had been in, “Nope. Come on in. What would you like?” Derry closed her eyes for a few seconds in slight irritation, recognizing immediately that Pecan was trying to avoid practicing yet again.
“Actually, grandma sent me over to ask Ms. Derry if she had these?” He pulled a note out of his pocket and handed it over to Derry.
Derry read through it quickly and then nodded, “I think I have a lot of these. I never really finished unpacking, so I think a lot of them are still in moving boxes. Do you mind… waiting a while?”
“Yeah, that’s okay. We’re not busy or anything. Grandma’s just doing your thing,” Millan replied.
“Okay, gimme a bit,” she said. She was leaving to the back and then suddenly stopped as if there was an invisible obstacle in front of her. She turned back to address Pecan, “Keep practicing. You liked the Good Luck Tea… right, Millan?”
“Yeah. It was alright,” Millan responded.
Derry nodded, “Great. Pecan’s fixing one up right now. Give that to Millan... alright Pecan?” With the seemingly invisible object apparently cleared, Derry disappeared into the back room, letting the door behind her close with a solid shut.
“...What…” Pecan mumbled. She looked over to Millan. This kid sure was going to be disappointed. “Uh…”
Millan eventually spoke up as he watched Pecan stare, annoyed at her ingredients, “You knoooow… the drink isn’t going to finish itself”.
“Huh?” Pecan wasn’t sure if she heard the kid correctly. Surely no child would say something in such a mocking way!
Millan leaned on the counter, putting his elbows down as well so he could rest his head in his hands. “I mean, you’re gonna put magic in, riiiight? I heard from grandma. You’re the girl training to be a witch, riiight?”
“Uh… yeah?” Pecan wasn’t sure if the kid was being a little rude on purpose or not. She was pretty sure he was.
“Okay,” he began, “Then put in the magic”.
Pecan looked over Millan warily, and then tried to infuse magic into the drink again. No dice.
“...I don’t think you did anything,” Millan pointed out.
Pecan sighed, “Well yeah. I don’t really know how to do it. I don’t know why she’d-- urgh...” She raked her hair back a bit and sighed again. Now that she was supposed to give her practice drink to a guest, it was more frustrating for her to fail now that she wasn’t brand new to the job. Oh, the horrors of improper training and high expectations!
Most of the other guests Pecan had at that point were forgiving of Pecan’s mess ups, and Derry was usually there to infuse the mistakes with magic. However, this little rascal, Millan, was different. He smirked and stood up straight, giggling at Pecan. “Wow. You can’t even do that?”
“Uh, excuse me? This isn’t easy stuff,” Pecan said, letting a child get to her a little more than she might have wanted to admit.
Millan flashed a mocking grin at Pecan, “I could probably do it though and I’m only tweeeelve, you know”.
“Pfft. Okay, this isn’t just something you do. It’s witchcraft. It’s an art (or something). You can’t just try it once and be good at it, okay?” Pecan explained.
At this, Millan smiled a cocky smile and pointed to his hat, “This hat ain’t just for show, heh heh! I’m a first level witch, dude”. Indeed, it wasn’t for show. It was quite the achievement for a small lad such as himself. Nonetheless, Pecan wasn’t privy to any of the usual “witch mumbo jumbo” as some would call it.
“I honestly thought it was a party favor. What, was it? A candy box prize?” Pecan asked with as much sarcasm as she could muster. Her signature tone had made its appearance once again.
Millan tilted his head and stared at Pecan. “Nooo... I had to take a test. Duh”.
Pecan thought about the idea of an official test. Witch test? What did you do? Previously, she would have thought it’d involve waving wands around, but now that she knew better, she wasn’t quite sure how it’d work.
“You suuure talk a lot of mess for someone who can’t put in easy stuff like luck,” Millan continued. “And a drink? In a cup like that? That’s basic level medium stuff. Yeah, you should probably step up your game, dude”.
“I’m obviously not a dude. You’ve called me that twice now,” Pecan retorted.
“Okay, ma’am.” Millan said, leaning to look into the cup. Pecan didn’t exactly enjoy being called ‘Ma’am’, but she recognized that Millan used it to be polite. She decided to see it as respectful rather than mocking… though it was very much mocking on Millan’s part when it came to Pecan. “You already mixed, I think. I dunno though ‘cause I don’t make tea.”
Pecan crossed her arms and huffed, “Yeah. I’m good on that part. It’s the next part”.
“That’s funny,” Millan laughed. “Even I know that after that you just have to bring everything up to your hands and put it all in. Should drip down kinda.”
“You say that as if it’s easy,” Pecan rolled her eyes. Though, oddly enough, it made more sense than how Derry had explained it many times before.
“Well duh. ‘Cause it is.” Millan clapped his hands twice as a demonstration. “When you clap and stuff you feel everything in your hands already. Then just change it to whatever feeling like luck or whatever you’re putting in”.
Pecan stared at her hands, and Millan realized that he forgot to add another ‘duh’ at the end of his explanation. He threw in his last ‘duh’ quickly and left it at that.
“It still sounds easier said than done,” Pecan said in an almost mumble. Thankfully, Millan’s hearing was not exactly bad, so he was able to catch it.
He smirked, “Well, you’re kinda really bad at this, so I know you wouldn’t even try it. You’d think you’re too cool to try, huh?”
“No, it’s just that I think before I do things. I’m going to do it. Just give me a second,” Pecan tried to explain, though it actually was the case that she was too prideful to try what a twelve-year-old told her to do until he called her out on it.
So, after staring at the cup for a couple of seconds, she tried again with what Millan explained. She clapped twice and hovered her hand over the cup. Nothing happened.
She was about to tell Millan something along the lines of ‘I told you so’, but Millan was quick to say, “Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who give up after doing it one time?”
“No! I was about to say that I was just going to try it again,” she lied. Despite the lie, she tried again. Pecan clapped two times, feeling the tingly pain from her hands making contact, and then she hovered both hands over the cup, channeling her thoughts into luck. The air shifted slightly, and the contents of the cup gave off a very faint, blink-and-you-miss-it glow.
Getting excited, Pecan tried the same thing again, focusing more. This time, the cup’s contents started glowing a less faint yellow and then went back to normal.
“Wait wait wait, that was consistent. Those were two consistent reactions!” Pecan cheered.
Millan smiled and then smirked, laughing in a cheeky manner, “Ohhhh look. So cool”.
Pecan turned up her lip and glared at Millan, “Okay. Quiet, you. I’m making progress and I’m excited. Let me have my time”. Considering all the failures she had before then, perhaps it was understandable to allow Pecan to have her triumphant victory. Millan raised his hands in defeat snarkily, deciding to sit down at one of the tables, watching from afar.
With Millan effectively out of the way, Pecan practiced continuously. As she hoped, it really was consistent! The more she practiced, the brighter the cup’s contents would glow.
Finally, after trying about twenty-seven more times, Pecan managed to infuse the correct amount of good luck into the beverage, assured by Millan as he said, “Yep, that one was perfect”.
“Finally!” Pecan shouted, exhausted. Clapping hard fifty-four times or so would make anyone’s hands tired. Feel free to try it.
“Yeah! Finally!” Millan fake cheered.
Expertly ignoring Millan’s tone, Pecan tiredly nudged the cup toward the edge of the counter, “There you go. Enjoy”.
“Heh heh… I don’t think Derry’d want me to have thaaaat,” Millan warned.
Pecan shrugged wildly, becoming a little unhinged at that point, “Uh, why??”
“Mnnn… well, you put good luck in every time it shined even a little.”
“Yeah. Plus, sometimes, you were usiiiing... two hands? That’s double luck going in.”
That must have been some wildly lucky tea. Pecan grimaced, “Urrgh”.
“I’ll still drink it though, heh heh,” Millan laughed out, standing up to walk back to the counter.
Shaking her head, Pecan picked up the cup to put it beneath the counter. “Heck no. I’ll just make a new one for you. I think I’ve got it now”. With that, Pecan whipped up a new cup of the Good Luck Tea for Millan. This time, she made sure to use one hand. As she had hoped, she was able to infuse the tea correctly once again. She was honestly ready to cry in joy, but she did everything she could to hold back her happy tears. Though, of course, there is nothing wrong with crying out of joy!
“Thaaanks. I guess you leveled up today,” Millan said jokingly. “You just gotta keep doing it and then it’s easy.”
Pecan nodded and averted her eyes. “Yeah. Uh… I guess I should thank you for that a little. So… thanks. Sorry about my attitude.”
Millan stared up at Pecan and drank some of his beverage as Pecan could see the cogs turning in his head. Suddenly, he wore a smug expression and said, “I wasn’t helping you. I was just showing you how much more I knew than you. Duh.”
“This cocky kid,” Pecan mumbled to herself as Millan went back to the table he had been sitting at.
Once he finished his drink, Millan walked back over to the counter and placed his cup down for Pecan to take. “So what are you gonna do with the tea with a bunch of luck in it?”
Pecan looked down at the cup that was behind the counter and thought for a while. “I have a good idea.” Pecan grabbed the cup and walked it over to the planter with herbs growing in them. They were growing relatively well. Pecan poured the drink into the planter and walked behind the counter again. “Now they’ll grow uh luckily, and we’ll have a lot of herbs or… yeah”.
“Or they’ll die. Too much of a good thing can be bad,” Millan pointed out. That was definitely possible and was a fair point!
“Thank you for your positivity and optimism,” Pecan said dryly. At least it wasn’t that unhealthy optimism!
After a little while longer of waiting, Derry finally came out of the back room with a box. “Sorry...! I ended up sorting things on an oops... but I found everything on the list!”
Millan walked up to Derry as she was rushing over to give Millan the box. “It’s okay, Ms. Derry. Though, my grandma says it’s really not good to make people wait like that if you don’t have to”.
To be fair, Millan was right. Making people wait, especially just because one had the random urge to want to organize their space, was not a great thing to do. Still, hearing Millan say that ticked her off.
However, Derry kept a smile on through her conversation since she was usually a good hostess. “My apologies... Hopefully Monika can use these. She’s been hella helpful, it’s my pleasure to help her out”.
“I’ll tell her that. Thaaanks, Ms. Derry. Please don’t sort things on other people’s time next time! Thanks for having me! Bye!” Millan called out. Then he turned to Pecan before he walked out and said, “You’d better keep practicing.”
As soon as Millan left, Derry turned to Pecan and asked, “Why... was he so rude… yet oddly polite? He was a bit of a brat... don’t you think?”
“Yeah, he was kind of a brat,” Pecan began. “But hey, look at what I can do!”
Pecan set up for another cup of Good Luck Tea. She went through the entire process and was able to infuse the beverage with magic correctly once again. Derry enthusiastically clapped as Pecan smiled at Derry, still incredibly happy that she was able to do it right yet another time.
“Oh… wow! Congratulations! All that practicing is paying off!” Derry exclaimed.
Pecan placed her hands behind her back and swiveled from left to right bashfully. “Well, kinda”.
“See... I knew my teaching wasn’t so bad! You finally were able to get it!” Derry beamed.
No no no no no. At the same time, Pecan still wasn’t about to admit that some twelve-year-old had to show her how to infuse the magic that Derry, a master witch, had been trying to explain all that time. So, at least in her head, Pecan continued to think ‘no no no no no’.