Chapter 11:

One day, a woman who once sought knowledge visited. Part 2

Witch Cafe Wisteria

Witch Cafe Wisteria now had three whole employees working under its comforting, wooden roof. Or at least Derry and Pecan hoped it was comforting. That is, it wasn’t always easy to tell how others perceived your cafe.Bookmark here

It was Jade’s third day of working at Wisteria, and her presence had actually been quite helpful in Pecan’s case. While Pecan preferred doing any cleaning, such duties were mostly falling onto Jade. Being a quick learner, she was even able to mix the drinks though she couldn’t infuse magic into them. That was allowing Pecan to have more time to practice energy control. Such practice mostly involved Pecan attempting to move energy around in different amounts.Bookmark here

However, every now and then, Jade was interested in learning the magical properties of each ingredient.Bookmark here

“Hmm hmm hmm, my underling wants to know the magical properties of comfrey?” Pecan asked with a teasing laugh.Bookmark here

Jade narrowed her eyes. “Must you do this upon every encounter?”Bookmark here

“Yes, darn it! If you can talk like a pretentious novel then I’m going to do what I want to do too,” Pecan snapped with a sneer.Bookmark here

Jade tapped the very small jar of comfrey. “I particularly wish to know why it’s here, as it’s professionally suggested to refrain from consuming comfrey.”Bookmark here

“...Wait uh… really?”Bookmark here

Derry swooped in and took the jar. “Whoops…! I didn’t mean to put this out here... it’s for a class I wanted to teach.”Bookmark here

“How to Kill Someone 101?” Pecan asked, really starting to question if there was anything else down there that wasn’t supposed to be eaten. What type of dastardly classes could Derry have been planning? Perhaps the person in the college crowd who kept asking about human sacrifice knew something that Pecan didn’t!Bookmark here

Derry shook her head with a laugh. “No no. Comfrey is safe to put on the skin... I wanted to draft up a lotion-making class.”Bookmark here

“Oh okay. The heinous lotion-making class,” Pecan said, thinking about the conversation they had before about classes. “So, you’re already going for it.”Bookmark here

“Yep...!” Derry nodded excitedly. “Well… not right away. I just wanted to have this in advance.” She held up the jar and went off to the back room.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, Jade was kneeling as she perused the jars. She silently muttered the names to herself. “Pecan… among these ingredients, is there any particular herb that will produce negative magical effects?”Bookmark here

“Uh… not really?” Pecan answered as she arranged the jars in front of Jade. Not having the comfrey jar there had left an empty space and it was bothering Pecan to no end. Empty spaces are meant to be filled, after all. Usually.Bookmark here

Jade continued looking over the jars intensely. “Are you memorizing them all?” Pecan asked her.Bookmark here

“That’s correct,” she said, standing up. “As of this moment, I have succeeded in doing just that. I desire to understand the magical properties.”Bookmark here

“Are you uh… trying to make your own spell?” Pecan asked.Bookmark here

Jade nodded.Bookmark here

Pecan smiled smugly and crossed her arms as she leaned against the counter. “You know, I can totally let you borrow some of the things I was studying with.”Bookmark here

At this, Jade became curious, stepping closer to Pecan-- not that the space behind the counter didn’t make their distance to each other close enough already. “Such material explains the magical properties?”Bookmark here

“Sure does.”Bookmark here

“Then if you could, I would appreciate such an offer.”Bookmark here

Some time passed before a customer came in. It happened to be Seigan, back for another Wisdom Tea.Bookmark here

“Hey, Seigan. Welcome,“ Pecan greeted the man quite casually. He thanked her and walked up to the counter. Since Jade didn’t greet him at all, Pecan turned to the green-haired woman and said, “Uh, hello? At least say ‘hi’ or something”.Bookmark here

“Ugh.” Jade sighed. “Hi.”Bookmark here

Pecan wasn’t happy to hear such an insincere greeting towards someone who was one of their most frequent customers. Really! There had to be a sense of professionalism and friendliness somewhere! “Um hey no. How about... say that again with less of a ‘do I want to work here or not’ attitude. Thank you.”Bookmark here

“It is fine,” Seigan said, not wanting more tension building up around him like once before. Seems like he had the ability to do that. Or perhaps it was just because he was there so often. “I would really just like the Wisdom Tea.”Bookmark here

Pecan sighed in exasperation. “It’s about respect,” she said as she prepared the tea.Bookmark here

“My apologies. Welcome,” Jade muttered as she curiously watched Pecan make the tea. Pecan side-eyed her as she mixed the ingredients together. Eventually, she looked up at Seigan and asked, “You seek wisdom?”Bookmark here

Seigan was a little taken aback by the woman who at first didn’t seem to want to speak to him but apparently wanted to ask him questions. Nonetheless, he answered her. “Yes, I do.”Bookmark here

“I advise you to proceed with caution,” Jade warned as she watched Pecan’s movements. “Understand what it is you wish to accomplish with wisdom”.Bookmark here

“Uh… yeah, he does,” Pecan said, infusing the magic into the tea. She really was getting better the more she tried! “And there you go.”Bookmark here

Jade held out her hand for the payment and Seigan quickly fished seven godas out of his wallet, asking, “You used to study at the library, right?”Bookmark here

“I did. Go consume your tea,” she nearly shooed the man away. Quite rude. This was not the customer service Derry nor Pecan wanted their guests to experience!Bookmark here

Pecan placed a hand on Jade’s head and smiled in irritation. “Sorry, Seigan. I’ll deal with this one.” She quickly turned Jade’s head toward her own as Seigan took a seat. “You need to work on that or else just go be bitter somewhere else.”Bookmark here

“...I don’t wish to exhibit any bitter behavior.”Bookmark here

“Then cut it out. Derry wants to have a welcoming community type of cafe, not a cafe where the community isn’t welcome,” Pecan began. “Okay that sounded better in my head, but uh… you get it.”Bookmark here

Jade looked over to the back-room door and said, “On the subject of Derry…”Bookmark here

“Don’t you change the subject on me, young lady.” Pecan said while trying to sound firm.Bookmark here

“I’m thirty.”Bookmark here

“Oh,” Pecan mouthed. She had been expecting Jade to be in her twenties still, but she brushed off her slight surprise. “Well, that’s uh... that’s still young and don’t change the subject still.”Bookmark here

“I understand. I’ll work on the problem.”Bookmark here

Pecan huffed and crossed her arms. “Good. I just want to make sure my underling understands.”Bookmark here

Ignoring Pecan any further, Jade opened the backroom door, staring inside for a while. Eventually, Derry called out with, “Oh... Sorry. I’ll be out in a flash.”Bookmark here

And she was! True to her word as many ought to be! “Sorry... I wanted to put all the things for the classes together.”Bookmark here

From then, the cafe shift proceeded as a typical day. A few more customers did come in. For the most part, it was decided that Jade would brew drinks while Pecan infused the magic. The bespectacled woman really was quite good at remembering all the ingredients, so Pecan couldn’t help but be impressed!Bookmark here

Aside from that, the day ended on a rather uneventful note, but sometimes that’s a good thing. We can’t always have eventful days, or we might tire out.Bookmark here

The next day, Pecan brought her study materials for Jade. She was able to read through them so fast!Bookmark here

“So, you learning anything?” Pecan asked while sweeping the cafe’s floor.Bookmark here

Jade nodded. “Of course. However, as you previously explained, it seems there is a lack of ingredients which carry negative properties.”Bookmark here

Derry cocked her head to the side. “What are you trying to make?”Bookmark here

Jade scanned the study materials as she spoke. “I wish for a spell that will allow me to lose intelligence.”Bookmark here

And there was dead silence. Pecan was wondering why anyone would want to lose such a thing while Derry was trying to figure out how to break the unfortunate news to Jade.Bookmark here

“That’s… not happening. Can’t happen. Not permanently,” Derry said.Bookmark here

“Not permanently?” Pecan repeated. It sounded like something that shouldn’t be touched in Pecan’s opinion, so something about it seemed like it probably shouldn’t have even been brought up.Bookmark here

Derry shrugged. “Well... can you imagine if someone was going out making people lose intelligence...?”Bookmark here

“Oh okay. So it’s one of those illegal spells?” Pecan questioned. Derry confirmed hesitantly, not wanting Jade to get any ideas.Bookmark here

Unfortunately for Derry, Jade, indeed, got ideas. “If I consent, how does the legality change?”Bookmark here

Derry was quick to elaborate, “Illegal always.”Bookmark here

“The legality of a temporary spell with consent...?” Jade asked.Bookmark here

“Uhh you mean the legality of wasting time having less knowledge for like a day max?” Pecan began. “Sounds like something someone would have to pay me for.”Bookmark here

“It’s… not exactly illegal…” Derry reluctantly answered.Bookmark here

Perhaps Pecan’s thoughts were what the average person would feel as well. Who would want to know less than they did yesterday? Well, apparently Jade did.Bookmark here

“I wish to subject myself to such a spell.”Bookmark here

Pecan stared at Jade in disbelief.Bookmark here

There was a long, uncomfortable moment of silence as Derry pondered the request. She shrugged after a while and said, “Well, just know it’ll only be for a little bit.”Bookmark here

Jade nodded. “I understand.”Bookmark here

So with that, Pecan watched on dubiously as Derry grabbed ingredients from below the counter. Pecan looked over the jars and realized that they were the ingredients for the Knowledge Tea with the exception of cayenne pepper. The preparation was exactly the same! She wondered if Derry was about to pull a joke on Jade by just giving her even more intelligence. That would have been a very crummy thing to do!Bookmark here

However, as Derry began preparing for the magic infusion, she chanted words so low that neither Pecan nor Jade could hear. Perhaps it was their imagination, but it seemed like the room had gotten darker for a short while. The cup’s contents glittered an odd dark purple before returning to its normal state.Bookmark here

Jade downed the drink quickly.Bookmark here

“Jade, you’re going to want… to sit,” Derry said motioning to the chair.Bookmark here

And so she did, but nothing happened. Well, not as far as Pecan and Jade knew. However, Derry was ready to put the spell to the test.Bookmark here

“You just sit there for a bit,” Derry ordered. “And Pecan, keep an eye on her, okay?” With that, Derry popped into the backroom.Bookmark here

Pecan agreed to do so, but then came the really delayed response of Jade, “Okay”.Bookmark here

“What-- oh,” Pecan realized that that must have been a part of the spell. Very interesting. Eventually, she shrugged and started practicing her energy control again.Bookmark here

Soon, Derry returned from the back. “I had to finish what I started from the other time,” she said with much pride. “Also, I’ve been wracking my head about that cold beverage thing!”Bookmark here

Pecan nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah. We still have to uh… just figure that out.”Bookmark here

“So… you’re not feeling the herb infused water,” Derry said. “No iced tea either.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s special enough. It has to be something really nice,” Pecan said.Bookmark here

Jade seemed rather confused. She looked between the two and then spoke, “Water-- ahh.” She suddenly stopped as if there was something on the tip of her tongue. She took a while to try to remember what it was she was trying to say. However, Pecan didn’t have the patience for that.Bookmark here

“No water. It’s boring,” Pecan declared, filling in whatever it was she felt Jade was going to say.Bookmark here

Derry held a finger in the air as if she had an idea-- and she did have one! “I was checking out the seed milk. We’re low-low, but Merald says there’s another shipment coming at us.”Bookmark here

“Yeah?”Bookmark here

“Mmhm. And so I got to thinking... what if we made some more seed milk heavy drinks?” Derry suggested.Bookmark here

Pecan hummed in thought and folded her arms. “Uh… how do we get them cold though?”Bookmark here

“I’ll have to invest in a cold box… and ice!” Derry explained excitedly.Bookmark here

With a snicker. Pecan said, “What? Don’t call it by the historic name”.Bookmark here

At this point, Jade was completely lost. She just couldn’t keep up with the conversation. What the witch and apprentice were saying wasn’t exactly difficult to understand, but the spell seemed to take a huge hit on Jade. She was starting to become rather frustrated.Bookmark here

“What are you two talking about?” she asked angrily.Bookmark here

Pecan scoffed. “Really? Drinks. You know, since we’re a cafe? What are you getting upset over?”Bookmark here

Derry pat Pecan’s shoulder and gave her a hinting look. Thankfully, Pecan picked up on it and put her hand up apologetically.Bookmark here

Jade tried thinking through what was happening, but eventually she gave up as soon as a customer came in.Bookmark here

“Welcome to Witch Cafe Wisteria,” Derry and Pecan greeted their new guest: a tan girl in her mid-teens who looked just a bit uneasy.Bookmark here

She walked up to the counter slowly.Bookmark here

“How can we help you?” Derry asked politely.Bookmark here

The girl looked down and finally found the nerve to speak, “Sorry… I was just wondering… if you had… any… love potions…”Bookmark here

“Why? You have a crush?” Pecan asked.Bookmark here

She nodded shyly, looking down again. “I... want to tell them... how I feel, but… I can’t…”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah, just force them to like you,” Pecan muttered.Bookmark here

“I don’t mess with love potions, but I do have something that might help you out. It’s called Braver-Tea,” Derry began. “It should hit you with that confidence.”Bookmark here

The shy girl seemed slightly disappointed, but then she nodded. “I… I think I’ll… take that…”Bookmark here

Derry smiled widely. “Perfect,” she said as she turned to Jade, “Your time to shine, Jade.”Bookmark here

Jade just sat on the chair looking confused.Bookmark here

“Grand idea,” Pecan said with her signature sarcasm. Derry held up a hand as if to tell her to wait. The witch pulled Jade off the chair.Bookmark here

“Go ahead, Jade. You’ve made this one a few times,” Derry cheered.Bookmark here

However, Jade just stood at the counter, not moving. Eventually, she picked up a cup--Bookmark here

“Bowl first,” Pecan said, correcting her. So then Jade put down the cup and picked up the bowl. And she just stared. And stared. Pecan couldn’t believe it. She had been able to pick up how to mix the drinks so quickly before. It was as if she had just forgotten everything. Seeing her seem completely lost was just… upsetting. Her underling, even after she had taught her so well, didn’t seem to remember a thing.Bookmark here

Derry grabbed the ingredients for her and placed them on the counter. “There you go. That makes it easier.”Bookmark here

However, that didn’t help either. She continued to stand there, and the cafe’s guest simply stood looking as confused as Jade was. Soon, Jade began to shake.Bookmark here

“I don’t know…” she said solemnly.Bookmark here

Derry gave her a pat on the shoulder. “I know. Go ahead and sit back down.”Bookmark here

While the girl looked concerned at first, she brightened up a lot more as Pecan took Jade’s place. “Yeah. Don’t worry. We’re uh training her. Braver-Tea it is. What’s your name?”Bookmark here

“Leticia?”Bookmark here

“You sound unsure of that, but that’s okay.” And so, Pecan mixed all the ingredients as Jade watched from her chair and Derry watched over the spell. This one was easier for Pecan to infuse with magic. She saw Leticia right in front of her looking ever so timid, she was able to imagine her confidently with no problem, which very much helped Pecan infuse the magic into the tea. With two snaps of her fingers over the cup and the palm of her hand hovering above, the tea’s contents shone a brilliant red.Bookmark here

Leticia gasped in awe and covered her mouth, hoping no one heard it. “That’s… that’s amazing…”Bookmark here

“I know, right? This tea’s immediate but temporary though, so remember that,” Pecan said as she edged the cup toward the guest. Leticia thanked Pecan and handed Derry her payment.Bookmark here

Turning to Jade, Derry asked, “Sorry... but how much back?”Bookmark here

Jade stared at the godas in Derry’s hand and furrowed her brow, absolutely frustrated. “I don’t know…”Bookmark here

“Three,” Pecan pointed out. And so, Leticia received her change, drank her tea, and gave Pecan her cup after finishing.Bookmark here

She pumped her fist though a bit shakily. “I’m going… I’m going to do it…”Bookmark here

“Good luck, Leticia,” Derry called out as the guest left.Bookmark here

Pecan followed Derry’s lead, “And if they say no then uh… confess to someone else.”Bookmark here

After she left, Derry and Pecan turned to Jade. She wasn't looking too happy. For most of the cafe's remaining open hours, Derry and Pecan left Jade to herself as she was becoming more and more frustrated with each interaction. That was an easy way to soil one's day, so they felt it was best to go about it in that manner.Bookmark here

Finally, sometime near the end of the shift, the effect of the spell wore off.Bookmark here

"Already?" Pecan asked. "I was kinda liking the whole uh not using big, pretentious words thing."Bookmark here

Jade rubbed her temples and sighed continuously.Bookmark here

"Well, Jade, how was it?" Derry asked.Bookmark here

"Frustrating. Humiliating…" the green-haired woman responded, placing her head in her hands. "My uncertainty over what I desire has manifested its repulsive head."Bookmark here

Derry rubbed Jade's shoulder comfortingly. "It's all good. Take your time exploring it."Bookmark here

With that, Derry sent Jade off early. The witch and apprentice cleaned up, and that was the end of the day's shift.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.