Witch Cafe Wisteria
It was a peaceful day at Witch Cafe Wisteria, one which brought very few customers inside the wisteria draped doors. As was usually the case during those times, Pecan took advantage of the easy-going pace and worked on more spells. With her pen in hand and a sheet of paper already full of scribbled out ideas, she was working through her spells at a rather speedy rate today. She was becoming so accustomed to the tastes, scents, and magical properties of each ingredient that it felt like she hardly ever needed to think about anything anymore. It was as if she was starting to “just know” what would go well with what. That’s a skill which came with a lot of trial and error, no doubt.
Meanwhile, Derry was giving Pecan time to work on her spells, cleaning anything that Pecan would usually clean right away. She understood that it would likely remain a relaxed type of day. She hummed a melody to herself as she pulled herbs and such from boxes for a little restocking. The cocoa was low for some reason, but she wasn’t too worried about it. She knew that Pecan had thought up a hot chocolate recipe while she was away once and figured she had accidentally used too much. Something like that!
It really was an easygoing afternoon, but the relative silence and not much to do would change soon enough. That would be because young Millan had come to visit for the day.
“Welcome-- hey, Millan,” Pecan called out to the little witch boy. Derry waved and welcomed the fellow witch as well.
“Hiya! Thank you, ma’am,” Millan called back, walking up to Derry. “Grandma sent me to ask if you had any cedar.”
Derry nodded and bent down to grab a jar. “Here we are. How much does she need?”
“She said an ounce if you can,” Millan replied, looking over to Pecan. She tried to ignore his stare as Derry happily packed a small jar with cedar.
Much to Pecan’s dismay, Millan wiggled on over to the front of her side of the counter. “What are you doing?”
“Just... uh... spells,” Pecan began. “I just finished this one and wanted to test it out.”
Millan raised his eyebrows with a small amount of shock, catching a glimpse of Pecan’s paper. “Hoooonesty spell, huh? Okay.” Yet there was a lot of suspicion in his voice. Derry handed him the bottle of cedar and smiled as he said thank you and stuck it in his oddly-sewn-on shirt pocket.
Despite already receiving what his grandmother needed, he didn’t leave and instead watched Pecan grab the jars containing her spell’s ingredients.
“What? You’re just going to watch?” Pecan asked, hiding her nervousness. She would have been fine with Millan watching if it wasn’t for Pecan remembering that he had told her to keep practicing. That is, to keep practicing the magic part of spells and not the ingredients part! Well, at least she could say that was because of Derry’s idea to start from scratch. Plus, she was learning a lot about ingredients so it should have been fine!
“Yeah,” Millan responded, watching with his arms on the counter.
Derry softly clasped her hands together and grinned. “That’s good. We’ll have opinions from two witches today.”
Pecan wasn’t exactly as pumped about it as Derry was, but she accepted the situation. She looked over Millan for a second and then smirked to herself as she said. “By the way, those clothes look a lot like Jenni’s work.”
“Huh? Oh yeah.” Millan huffed dismissively and avoided eye contact with Pecan for a short moment. “I couldn’t find any other shirt today, so I wore this one.”
Pecan laughed a little, feeling there was something off about that explanation. That wasn’t the first time he had been wearing a shirt that Jenni had sewn, after all. It seemed like something a lot more than not being able to find another shirt. However, that’s none of Pecan’s business.
She let it go, focusing on her spell. With a few mixes of ingredients, the drink was finished in no time! “And there we go,” Pecan said, stirring the drink a bit.
Upon inspecting it, Derry nodded. “That should work well. Did you... want me to try to drop it with some magic?”
“Uh maybe not this one,” Pecan mumbled.
Millan perked up curiously, looking into the cup. “Wait, you’re not going to actually put magic in it?”
Derry laughed uncomfortably, “Pecan... can’t really put any in yet. We’re working at it.”
“Yeah we... uh...decided I’d start from scratch.”
Millan furrowed his brow and crossed his arms, looking back up at Pecan. “Uhhhhhh why? Yooou were getting it?”
“Well, I was getting the Good Luck Tea-- sometimes, but then I couldn’t get it for like anything else,” Pecan explained. She felt just a little guilty. Now that she was talking to Millan, it seemed like she hadn’t been making as much progress as she felt she was making.
As Derry shrugged, Millan squinted at both the mentor and pupil. Eventually he sighed and tapped the cup. “Try it!” At Pecan’s confusion, he elaborated, “Try to make it a real honesty spell.”
Remembering that Pecan had mentioned Millan helping her understand the Good Luck Tea, Derry became interested in this proposal. “Would you… be able to get her hip to it?”
“Probably not, but she’s gotta practice,” Millan said rather sternly.
Pecan could only stare at her unfinished spell. How was she going to put magic in it? She still wasn’t even sure why the Good Luck Tea’s magic only seemed to work when it wanted to. With a sigh, she looked into the cup. “I really don’t know where to start,” she eventually said.
“Like the Good Luck Tea, just honesty this time,” Millan suggested, clapping his hands in demonstration.
With that, Pecan shook her head as she clapped her hands together, felt the tingling pain, and then placed her hand over the cup. As Pecan expected, nothing happened. She tried again and again, groaning through the process, and yet still… the magic wouldn’t go in.
Derry was about to speak up, perhaps something using that toxic positivity. However, Millan spoke before she could get any of her words out. “You’re doubting.”
“You can’t have doubt and honest at the same time. Can’t work, you know?” Millan pointed out. “Doubt’s messing up the energy.”
Derry nodded enthusiastically as if she had been saying that all along. She had not.
“Aaaaand I don’t think you’re feeling the honesty at aaall,” he continued. “Ya gotta feel!”
Derry piped up, “Right! You have to... feel!” It was still pretty vague. Feeling was one thing, and infusing magic with that feeling was another!
“Uh… this isn’t actually as helpful as you two think it is,” Pecan murmured. “I didn’t really feel good luck when I did it back then so...”
“You probably felt it... without realizing it. Wishing yourself luck… it’s a strong enough feel to wish for without thinking too tough,” Derry pointed out.
Millan stared up at Pecan and then hummed in thought. “Let’s try something! If you feel something, put it in, alright?” Pecan confirmed her limited understanding of these equally vague directions. How does one even feel honesty?
“What do you think of with honesty? First thing,” Millan asked.
Pecan thought briefly and answered, “I think of a politician uh not being honest.” Not that all politicians were dishonest, but if that was Pecan’s image then it couldn’t be helped.
“Okay!” Millan began, “Clap and feel the energy! Close your eyes!”
She did. Her clap brought the tingling pain to her hands and she kept them over the cup.
“Once you feel it, flip those over and put it all in, but think of the politician. Don’t doubt yourself.”
Millan continued, “Think of the politician. He’s been lying.” He locked eyes with Derry and jerked his head toward Pecan.
“This guy has been giving witches a bad rep… telling everyone… that a sickness going around is all ‘cause of witches!” Derry began. “But it’s actually because… a company he’s secretly kahootsing with is polluting… and he’s down with that!”
This scummy, imaginary politician was definitely ticking Pecan off. What a terrible guy!
“What’re you gonna tell him?? Say it out loud!” Millan shouted, pumping Pecan up as much as he could.
Pecan clicked her tongue on the roof of her mouth and yelled, “TELL THE TRUTH, SCUMBAG!!”
“Flip your hands over!” Derry exclaimed. Pecan did just that and flipped her hands over, opening her eyes at the same time. She was able to see her honesty spell sparkle with an off-white, beige-like hue.
With the success of this spell, Derry clapped with much delight, even hugging Pecan in absolute excitement as she squealed. She was actually speechless until she managed to belt out, “Your first magical spell… from scratch!!” Even Millan offered congratulations!
It was beginning to hit Pecan. She had drafted a spell AND infused magic into it all with her own hands. She was stunned for a moment, but she suddenly bellowed an odd victory screech of some type. Or really, it was about half groan and half screech. It was a bit hard to tell what is was, but a victory screech, nonetheless.
“Wait uh wait I need to see if I can keep doing it a-and I used two hands then,” Pecan said, worried that it was just a fluke. That would have been rather heartbreaking for Pecan!
Millan and Derry watched as Pecan successfully tried her spell over and over again and then moved on to the magical teas on the cafe’s menu. She tried everything she could try!
The verdict was out: she was able to infuse every single one of them. Of course, her attempts weren’t without mess ups and mistakes here and there, but she was able to retry and succeed after some adjustments.
As she infused the last drink on the menu, watching it glow its unique hue, Pecan threw her face into her hands and screeched again, causing Derry and Millan to jump in shock.
Derry hugged Pecan again and shook her playfully as she said, “I’m so psyched that you got it! Good job, Pecan!”
Millan also clapped genuinely. “Yeah, thaaaat’s a big step. Nice.”
However, Pecan didn’t allow her hands to leave her face. The two witches wondered if she had somehow gotten her hands stuck. They threw out such a silly idea once they heard Pecan sniffle behind her fingers. Millan frowned at Derry, his shoulders rising in discomfort.
“Oh? Pecan… what’s wrong?” Derry asked as soothingly as she could manage. Pecan shook her head, hands still glued to her face as she sputtered out that nothing was wrong. Little did she know, there was a lot more wrong than she might have guessed.
“Thank you, Millan... T-Thank you, Derry...” came the muffled words from behind Pecan’s hands.
As Derry let Pecan out of her embrace, the apprentice began to wobble, revealing her cherry red face and damp eyes as she tried to use her arms to find her balance.
Quickly, Derry guided Pecan to a chair. “Watch it! You... used a hella lot of energy.”
“Yeah, you still don’t have it all under control. It’s gonna poop you out,” Millan said, elaborating on Derry’s point.
Pecan sat there, looking a little hopeless in the chair, sniffling and crying.
“You did… some killer work today.” With a proud smile, Derry pet Pecan’s head. “You should probably take the rest of the day off. Maybe tomorrow too.”
Pecan tried to hide her face from Derry and Millan as much as she could with her strength. She quietly mumbled, “But the cafe…”
“I’ll just be in here vibing,” Derry began. “We’re probably not going to be busy today or tomorrow anyway, so you’re good.”
She then turned to Millan. “Can you help me make sure Pecan gets home okay?”
“Yeah, okay,” Millan agreed.
And so, Derry placed a sign on the door to the cafe which stated that Derry would be back after an hour or so. She and Millan walked Pecan to her home, making sure to grab the key from the apprentice so Derry could lock up the cafe without her.
It would still take a lot of practice to perfect the use of energy, but Pecan had done it. After a long journey of trial and error, Pecan was able to infuse magic into spells. She was on her way to becoming a full-fledged witch.