Chapter 6:

One day, a traveling bard visited.

Witch Cafe Wisteria

Quite a few days had passed since Pecan had created her first spell!Bookmark here

Though she was technically going backwards, the push inspired her to think of all the many different spells she could make, mostly with drinks. Derry had given her the thumbs up to experiment with a lot of the cafe’s many, many, MANY ingredients. So, a lot of Pecan’s time was spent writing down spells, what their intentions were, and which ingredients should have worked best for what she meant to create. Bookmark here

At first, she was focused on making wonderful scent combinations and later delicious taste combinations. She was learning the names as she became used to using each ingredient!Bookmark here

So there, in Witch Cafe Wisteria, were Pecan, Derry, and Barley. Pecan was about to concoct some type of mock spell for eternal youth as Derry watched over. Of course, Derry said that immortality was not only not achievable but illegal if achievable. Witch Cafe Wisteria was officially a no immortals and no zombies allowed establishment. Nonetheless, Pecan was drafting a spell for it with the intention of not using it.Bookmark here

“Eternal youth isn’t even immortality though, uh… not exactly I think,” Pecan complained, not exactly trying to get Derry to change her mind, but more so to question things for the sake of questioning them. It’s good to question the world around you every now and then.Bookmark here

Barley scratched his head and gave his two cents, giving Derry his cup before grabbing his belongings. “I mean, ya kinda can die but it’s kinda cheatin’ the system, yeah? I’d think it’d get ya in trouble”.Bookmark here

“You get it, Barley. I’m not fixing up the rules, that’s just what they are,” Derry shrugged. Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’m not like trying to break the rules. I’m saying... uh… maybe it just isn’t real immortality,” Pecan elaborated on her point, continuing to jot down ideas for this mock spell. “But see you later, Barley! Don’t get robbed”.Bookmark here

“Bye, Barley! Catch you later!” Derry called out as Barley stepped out of the doorway.Bookmark here

“See ya! Ha hah! Yeah, I’ve been makin’ it home fine offa this stuff!” he called back. And then he was off!Bookmark here

Derry cleaned Barley’s table as Pecan continued to draft her spell, that is, until someone else walked into the cafe.Bookmark here

“Welcome to Witch Cafe Wisteria,” came the expected greeting.Bookmark here

“Mornin’,” said their guest as she slowly made her way to the counter. Before she could order, another guest walked in. Bookmark here

Pecan and Derry shouted out again, “Welcome to Witch Cafe Wisteria!”Bookmark here

Two customers at once! It had been a while since there had been more than one customer in the cafe at a time!Bookmark here

“May I have a Knowledge Tea, please?” the first customer asked, pulling out her wallet.Bookmark here

Derry nodded, and--Bookmark here

“Welcome to Witch Cafe Wisteria!”Bookmark here

Another customer! Three full bodies who weren’t Derry or Pecan! This was shaping up to be a grand day already!Bookmark here

However, our witch and apprentice quickly realized that perhaps it would be better for only one person to greet anyone who came in. Three guests were easy to handle. Derry made their drinks and Pecan rang everyone up. It took just a bit of time though. It seemed like the Knowledge Tea was selected for all three customers for some reason. Bookmark here

“Oh shoot. Is this because of the uh… the customer spell I did? I thought that thing was done?” Pecan asked, worried that she had somehow unbalanced the world with an illegal spell of some type. It might have been possible! Bookmark here

Derry shrugged slowly, looking over the customers enjoying their beverages. Perhaps she had messed up and made Pecan’s spell far too effective. “I was pretty careful about that one… so I wouldn’t think so”. Bookmark here

Suddenly, more customers started walking in. This forced the witch and the apprentice to quickly change tactics. Pecan accepted the orders of each customer, rang them up, and took their names. She slowly added to a list for Derry to mark off as she finished each. Thankfully, they became comfortable with their system in almost no time. Bookmark here

“Hello, again,” said Seigan, approaching the counter and making his second appearance at the cafe. It was still within a week’s time of his first visit!Bookmark here

Derry smiled brightly, “Welcome back! It’s really chill that you came again!”Bookmark here

Pecan waved at the same time and said, “Hey. Nice to see you back.”Bookmark here

“Usually, I would rather only come every so often,” Seigan began, ”but I happened to be passing by, so I had to ask for another Wisdom Tea.”Bookmark here

As Pecan rang up Seigan’s order, she smiled triumphantly, “So, notice anything different today?”Bookmark here

“Yes, you are in a better mood than last time.” Seigan pointed out.Bookmark here

Pecan grimaced, definitely wishing that Seigan had not remembered that or at least would have pretended not to. Not that one can just forget such an upset Pecan. “Uh no but yes but uh sorry thank you-- but I was talking about the… uh… the-- the cafe.”Bookmark here

“Oh…” Seigan murmured as he looked around, “There are flyers up at the college. They all probably saw them.”Bookmark here

“I kinda sorta forgot about those. So that’s why they’re all here,” Pecan said in a tone that was a little too relieved. This time, they weren’t around because of an illegal magic mishap! That was reassuring. Bookmark here

As Pecan and Derry knocked out their orders, they looked over the crowd. It was a relatively mature yet lively bunch. Bookmark here

After there were no more orders, Derry re-organized the counter while Pecan instantly rushed to clean the floor, push in chairs, and curiously check in on what most of the guests were doing. There were so many people-- some standing while others were sitting and studying. It sounded like they were all talking at the same time. Some people were asking questions to their friends, but if Pecan heard them, even if she didn’t see them, she instinctively answered them.Bookmark here

“Did you see the cups changing colors? Do you think it’s a lighting effect?”Bookmark here

“It’s not a lighting effect,” answered Pecan in passing.Bookmark here

“I’ll have to come back here to get the Good Luck Tea next week.”Bookmark here

“I wonder if they’ll get mad that we’re all studying here.”Bookmark here

Pecan responded to that with “We don’t really care”.Bookmark here

“They’re open pretty late. Nice.”Bookmark here

“When are we going to do the human sacrifice?”Bookmark here

“Uh what-- we don’t do that here (I think),” Pecan replied. Some of these folks were maybe a little weird.Bookmark here

“Oh my gosh, some of the names of these drinks though.”Bookmark here

And so on. It was not what Pecan was used to, but it was a bit exhilarating to have so many people in at the same time for once! In fact, there was someone else peeking in from the doorway to add to the people count! Pecan was about to welcome him, but as soon as he made eye contact with Pecan, he smiled and then dipped out of view. Bookmark here

Between him and the person asking about human sacrifice, she was beginning to think that maybe this could actually be a group of weirdos. After there wasn’t anything left for her to clean, she moseyed her way back behind the counter where Derry seemed to be thinly veiling her excitement. “Look at all these folks! I have to... get used to all the chatter!”Bookmark here

“Yeah, it’s really different than usual. Even from when Ama and I first came.” Bookmark here

Before they could get too far into their thoughts, the man who was peeking in before walked into the cafe and was greeted with the customary welcome. He had a confident gait and was waving and smiling at everyone he locked eyes with. Of course, these people all seemed a bit confused, wondering if they knew him. He was quite handsome, as many might say, but that doesn’t stop anyone from being confused if said handsome man waves to strangers. His old-fashioned clothes seemed to contrast with the more modern clothes of the college students, yet fit in right with the city itself. On his back, he wore a lute which seemed very safely and snuggly attached to a strap. Bookmark here

He finally made it to the counter and waved both of his hands to our witch and apprentice in the friendliest way he could manage. “Hello!! Wow, what a nice place you have here! You’ve accumulated quite the audience! That’s great! Quite the success!”Bookmark here

“Thank you,” Derry said appreciatively. Pecan simply prepared to ring up the man’s order.Bookmark here

“Actually, my name is Hao! I’m a traveling bard-- or that’s what I call myself! Here to always be the star in your day! Nice to meet you!” the bard named Hao revealed. Bookmark here

“Pree sure the two of us have met before, Hao,” Derry said just a little cautiously. It’s a bit uncomfortable to go through a re-introduction, after all.Bookmark here

Of course, Pecan didn’t have the same cautiousness as her mentor. Pecan also spoke up from behind the register. “Yep. Even I’ve met you.”Bookmark here

At this, Hao looked over Pecan and Derry with a bit of concern, but quickly laughed it off. “Well, nice to meet you AGAIN! Hey hey, don’t worry! If I forget a face once, I’ll never forget it again!” It was incredibly hard to hear it, but Pecan could faintly hear him tack a quick, worried “I hope” on at the end.Bookmark here

Suddenly, he gripped the counter and beamed, “Speaking of things NOT to forget, I’m playing some shows next week! If you both can, come out and see me! Noon time at the fountain! Should make you smile!” Bookmark here

Pecan gazed down at her spell writings. She had scooted them aside once the guests started coming in. “Uh sorry, this cafe doesn’t run itself and my goal’s to draft three spells a week, so I have to study that stuff”.Bookmark here

“Same. I... usually have to stay here,” Derry pointed out while mulling over Pecan’s words for a short second.Bookmark here

“I getcha! If you’re on lunch break though, come see me for a second, ‘kay? I’ll brighten your day!” Hao said with a wink. Bookmark here

Mostly to herself, Pecan quickly said, “Uh… eating lunch is already the brightest part of my day, so...”Bookmark here

Not hearing Pecan since she mostly spoke aside, Hao was finally ready to order. “Anyway! Do you have anything for a master bard? I know, I know. It’s hard to accommodate an excellent shining nova, so it’s okay if you don’t!”Bookmark here

Derry nodded excitedly and pointed to the menu behind her. “We do have something for master bards. We have a drink called Creativi-Tea”.Bookmark here

Pecan stifled a laugh and proceeded to pretend she didn’t do any such thing. Sometimes, even if she’d heard the names before, she couldn’t help but laugh at them. Bookmark here

“It’s a drink that promotes creative thought by using ingredients like Horehound and Citronella,” Derry continued to explain, grabbing her jars from under the counter with much eagerness!Bookmark here

“Oh,” Hao began, “I probably shouldn’t get it though. I’d like to reach my highest potential on my own!” Bookmark here

In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Pecan noticed Derry widen her eyes and shake her head quizzically, but she quickly giggled and offered the bard another option. “I can make it without magic too.”Bookmark here

At this, Hao nodded and agreed to such an arrangement, ordering the non-magical version of Creativi-Tea. So, Pecan rang him up and Derry brewed his tea. Since there was no one behind him, Hao watched as they made his ordinary tea. Just watching someone create something can be rather calming, after all, so it didn’t seem strange. Bookmark here

Once Derry was finished making Hao’s drink, she gently pushed it over to him with a smile, telling him to “enjoy”. And so, Hao took his drink, thanked our witch and apprentice for their service, and sat down at an empty table.Bookmark here

As he sat, he eventually started making eye contact with people and smiling at them again. At some point, he even began sitting with other cafe guests, striking up conversations with them. It seemed like he had spoken to everyone in the cafe!Bookmark here

Pecan observed as she cleaned the tables once the crowd started to dissipate. After the cafe was clean, Derry encouraged Pecan to continue working on her spells, and so she happily took up such a suggestion. She was just about finished with her eternal youth spell.Bookmark here

Seigan made his way to the counter to return his cup, carrying his book bag in hand. “Thank you so much. Maybe I will stop by during a break in classes again. Another day, of course”.Bookmark here

“Any time, Seigan. See you later,” Pecan said with a smile as Derry and even Hao also bid him farewell. Bookmark here

Derry went to clean the rest of the tables so Pecan could continue working on her spells. Meanwhile, Hao nursed his drink as he watched Pecan from the distance as she jot ideas down on her paper. Bookmark here

Eventually, Derry approached Hao. “Are you hanging all day?”Bookmark here

“Yep yep! The inn I'm at's kinda stuffy! I'm staying here until bed!” Hao smiled up at Derry, but then quickly adopted a slightly nervous demeanor. “That’s okay?”Bookmark here

Derry nodded. “That’s chill. Stay as long as you want”. At this, Hao became relieved and laughed, drinking more of his tea right after. Bookmark here

And so, a long time was spent with Pecan writing, Derry cleaning things here and there, and Hao sitting around. That is, until Hao came up to return his cup and ask, “What are you working on?”Bookmark here

Pecan took the cup, put it in the sink, and then showed Hao her paper full of scribbled and crossed out words and numbers. “Drink spells and stuff.”Bookmark here

“That’s amazing! Can you make me a drink spell?” Hao asked.Bookmark here

Pecan narrowed her eyes at Hao. “Didn’t you… uh… ask for your tea with no magic? Change of heart?”Bookmark here

“Mmm not a spell FOR me,” Hao began, “Something that… hmm… something that helps people be their own sun!” Bookmark here

Pecan seemed confused by this request. It was not often that people wanted others to become a large, flaming mass, after all!Bookmark here

Noticing Pecan’s confusion, Derry walked up to the counter. “So good vibes?”Bookmark here

“Yeah!” Hao confirmed, “Something that helps people have good vibes!”Bookmark here

Pecan nodded in understanding. “Okay. I think I can do that. Though, Derry, I totally like how you explained that, but when it comes to your own explanations… uh...”Bookmark here

“That wasn’t vague though,” Derry said aloud as she pondered what Hao had said. However, it was, indeed, pretty vague. “Anyway, you know how you’re breaking it down?”Bookmark here

With a short moment of thought, Pecan began writing down a few ingredients that should have worked well for a good vibes drink. She gave her paper to Derry so she could look over it. “Is this… uh… good vibes enough?”Bookmark here

Derry checked each ingredient carefully and then smiled. “A coffee! With these ingredients… it should work well!”Bookmark here

“Do I get to try it?” Hao asked with much excitement. Derry confirmed with him that it would be fine for him to test it much to his delight.Bookmark here

Pecan squinted at Hao, tapping her fingers on the counter. “With or without magic? I’m pretty confused with you.”Bookmark here

“I know, right?!” He said in an oddly proud tone. “Me too because I think I’ll try it with magic this time around! If it’s good vibes then it sounds fun!” Pecan was still unsure where Hao’s breaking point was for magic, but she waved it off. She would be able to test a spell… with a test subject!Bookmark here

Derry walked behind the counter and started grabbing the ingredients for Pecan as Pecan prepared a bowl. After consulting her notes nearly forty times and taste testing as she went, she was able to combine everything the way she wanted to. She had successfully created a drink with a base of mainly coffee and chicory. However, she made sure the rest of the ingredients made the drink taste sweet. After Derry infused magic into the tea with a glow of green-yellow, it was complete! Bookmark here

“Alright, Hao, it’s all good to go. I think it’s… uh… yeah, it’s probably fine. No dying allowed, got it?” Pecan said as she moved the drink closer to Hao.Bookmark here

Hao nodded enthusiastically and took a sip. “Oh, this is good!” He continuously took sips of the drink.Bookmark here

“How does it taste? What do you feel?” Pecan asked with Derry leaning in curiously as well.Bookmark here

With a thoughtful hum, Hao chuckled as he took another sip. “It’s like it gives you that feeling you get when you know everything’s going to be alright!”Bookmark here

“Wow… that sounds killer!” Derry said with her smile. “Sounds like a helluva spell, Pecan! Congrats!”Bookmark here

“Should I test it with the magic too?” Pecan asked, prompting more of the mixture to be made. Bookmark here

So, the three ended up drinking more and more of the coffee, only able to praise the drink after a while. It became unclear if the drink was just really good or if that toxic positivity that keeps coming back was clouding their judgement! Nonetheless, all three had decided that the coffee would be on the cafe’s menu.Bookmark here

“Name it Hao’s Drink!” Hao suggested, to which Pecan and Derry very optimistically rejected, saying that there would one day be an even better drink that was more worthy of such a name!Bookmark here

Derry hummed in thought, swaying back and forth. “I have the perfect name!”Bookmark here

Pecan smiled as wide as possible and took another sip of her drink. “What’s the perfect name, Derry?”Bookmark here

“Positivi-Tea!”Bookmark here

“It’s coffee!” both Pecan and Hao were quick to point out. Nonetheless, Positivi-Tea made it on the menu at Witch Cafe Wisteria!Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.