Witch Cafe Wisteria
Another hot day was haunting Reingale, but thankfully for Witch Cafe Wisteria, their new drinks were catching on okay enough. That is, there were quite a few more guests visiting than usual. Such a development was always great for a budding cafe!
The college crowd seemed to like the cold seed milk drinks the most, coming in crowds every now and then to have a taste.
Unfortunately for Pecan, it was just a bit difficult for her to keep up as she would become rather tired after infusing magic in just a few cups.
Thankfully, the crowd died down before the sky became dark. Jade went ahead and dealt with the last guest, who wanted a non-magical drink, much to Jade's pleasure.
"Pecan…" Derry said just a bit menacingly.
"Whaaat?" Pecan asked, mocking her tone. She knew what was coming.
Derry huffed and crossed her arms, "You didn't rest enough again…"
Jade heard the two bickering, though it really was more like a one-way lecture. However, that was Jade's chance!
"Pardon, do you mind if I modify your beverage in the slightest manner in order to ensure the healthiest combination of ingredients?" Jade asked with a practiced smile. She was becoming a lot more friendly-- or at least she was becoming good at pretending to be friendly.
The guest in front of the counter shrugged. "If it ain't extra then I don' care."
"Splendid," Jade silently cheered. She mixed the drink without following its original recipe and prepared it as an iced, seed milk drink. "I beseech you… inform me of how it tastes."
The guest took a sip of the drink and… their eyebrows rose in surprise. "Yeah, 's pretty good!"
Jade beamed but sucked her lips in so she wouldn't draw too much attention to herself. "Mm… right. For subjecting yourself to this experiment, this beverage's total will be merely five godas."
"Sweet," the guest said, smacking their five godas on the counter. "Thanks."
It was around that moment that Merald made his return to the cafe. However, something was different about him.
"Welcome, Merald," Jade called out. Derry also welcomed the merchant.
Merald smiled and made his way up to the counter. "I know you're closing soon, but I wanted to come in to--"
"He's not shaking," Pecan weakly pointed out. If one listened closely, quite the happy note could be heard in the apprentice's voice. Perhaps she meant well, but really it might not be polite to point out such things. However, Merald took it in stride.
"Ah, ha hah, yes. I came here to… to thank you for that tea, Jade," he said.
Both Derry and Pecan nearly whipped their heads right off their necks to look over at Jade-- though such an action only made Pecan dizzy. The drink modifying spotlight stealer merely kept eye contact with the merchant.
"My pleasure," Jade began. "On a circumstance of coincidence, I had the experience of working with anxiety patients until my fellow staff and volunteers felt the need to remove me from my position."
Merald smiled and laughed awkwardly. "Well, it's too bad about that, but I'm glad you were able to help me at least!"
Jade returned his smile and laugh.
After Merald left and everyone said their goodbyes, it was time to close the cafe. However, Derry had some questions for her green-haired employee. Meanwhile, Pecan went right to work, cleaning the cafe while looking like a rag doll. It was quite the sight.
"Alright. Talk. What did you change and why?" Derry asked. Using a different recipe was a serious matter, after all!
"Well," Jade began as she grabbed a paper and Pecan's pen to write down the modifications. "You may utilise this recipe. I had a strong desire to craft nutritious beverages after seeing how helpful all of your recipes are."
Jade continued, "However, after this evening I have made a decision. I shall relinquish my position at Witch Cafe Wisteria."
Pecan, hearing such a revelation, began cleaning a lot slower as she listened. It sounded important!
"Oh… you can change things up. You're not in trouble... but maybe just let me know before you… change things?" Derry explained in confusion.
Jade shook her head. "The truth is, I have made the decision to establish my own cafe. A health cafe."
"Really?" Derry and Pecan drawled out dubiously.
"Yes. I have come to realize that perhaps I have only desired to utilise my knowledge for prestigious projects. However, I've discovered… there are other ways my knowledge can come in handy. I believe I enjoy this particular way," Jade explained.
The witch and apprentice stared at the green-haired employee-- pardon, non-employee for a long time until Pecan finally asked, "Not in this city though, right?"
"Perhaps in this city," Jade calmly confirmed.
Those were fighting words! Well, maybe not intentionally. However, a health cafe and a witch cafe were possibly going to be direct competition!
Derry placed her hands on Jade's shoulders. "Jade, I am… happy you found a path you'd like to follow… but a rivalry??"
"Yeah! Don't you see how hard we're working??" said the near dead Pecan.
"I am confident that our cafes will coexist efficiently."
"Uh no they won't!"
And the very calm conversation continued late into the night. However, in the end Derry and Pecan had no choice but to accept what Jade's newfound dreams were made of. They all wished each other luck and closed for the night, wondering what the future would hold.
As for the next day, well… the temperature improved quite a bit! Pecan was ready for a long, productive day of working at the cafe. However, when Pecan came in for the day, Derry had other plans for her apprentice.
"Pecan… I'd like you to take the day off today."
Pecan frowned and looked around the cafe, "But it's been getting busy… and we'd end up short a lot of godas..."
"I'll be good. Look what I got," Derry pulled out ye olde abacus.
"Uh, really? Would probably be easier to use your fingers at that point," Pecan pointed out.
Derry moved around some of the beads on the abacus with a pout. "But this is fun… Anyway, like I said, I'll be good. We have bigger crowds at Camellia."
Pecan really would have rather worked, so she gave one last push. "But I'm already here and I'm already off every other weekend so...uh…"
"Nope. You keep using all that energy… and overworking yourself." Derry began, "You can practice control if you want, but go to bed on time for once if you do and no infusing."
"No… go outside. Take a walk or… something. Sleep all day-- whatever it takes. Just go charge yourself up."
So, Pecan was kicked out of the cafe for the day, and thus Pecan's Restful Day Off began.
Except, she wasn't really sure what to do. First thing was first: she was going to change out of her uniform. She walked back home wondering if maybe her parents were in the kitchen after being told that they had the day off as well. Of course not, they were at work as per usual.
She made it to her room and switched to a more casual outfit. That would be her favorite mint colored, short sleeved, hooded shirt along with her grey capris. It definitely didn’t match the more common Reingale old-fashioned wears. Perhaps not the most outstanding outfit, but comfortable for sure, and comfort on a day off was essential in this case. So, Pecan grabbed her messenger bag and headed for… nowhere in particular!
It had been a while since she had walked around the city on her own. She used to go around with Ama, but seeing as Ama was far away in Haridosii, she would have to just spend the time alone. Then again, she did consider a lot of the guests of the cafe to be friends in a way. If she ran into any, she wondered if they’d do that thing people do where they either pretend not to know you or just awkwardly keep their conversations brief.
Since she had time to think about it, she was starting to wonder how old everyone was. She knew Jade was thirty. Maybe Barley was older than her? What about Kera? She had found out through the power of constant prying that Derry was twenty-four. Perhaps Kera was the same age as her?
As she walked down the sandy streets of Reingale and pondered such a boring topic, she saw two of the youngest guests on her list in the distance. She was about to call out to them but could hear their voices from where she was. She was far more interested in eavesdropping, which is something one shouldn’t usually do, but if that was what it took for Pecan to rest then Pecan was convinced that it needed to happen!
Jenni handed a shirt to Millan as she bounced around. “That’s it!”
Millan inspected the shirt with a smile and nodded. “Wow, you’re really getting good at this, huh?”
“Uh huh!” Jenni said. “You can have it! It’s for you!”
Pecan could see the very slight expression of someone who really did not want such a shirt, but he politely cradled it under his arm. “Coooool. Thanks!”
“You can keep it-- and and I’m gonna make another one for you in… hmm two months!” Jenni decided.
Millan laughed and gave Jenni’s head a little pat. “Okay. You’re doing good, so keep doing your best, okay?”
“Okay! I’m gonna make stuff now!”
And with that, Jenni was off, running back home. Millan sighed, but didn’t notice Pecan creeping up on him.
“So… I saw that,” Pecan said teasingly, causing Millan to jump a little. Millan didn’t comment aside from a small sound, not sure exactly what Pecan saw. He wouldn’t incriminate himself! Oh no, he was much smarter than that. “You’re actually a pretty good kid, aren’t you?”
Millan shook his head and made a small “hmph” as he tucked the shirt more safely into his arms. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s just… polite to support people and stuff.” Not exactly liking even his own reasoning, he dipped out with a “my grandma needs me back at the shop”.
But Pecan smiled because she knew that Millan had been supportive of her own witchcraft journey as well, even if he pretended not to be. She really was appreciative.
She was also quite hungry. Sure, she had eaten breakfast about an hour and thirty minutes before, but she figured it was time for a snack. Pecan dove right into a little food shack and ordered a few sandwiches. Those should have held her over until lunch. Then she had a thought: maybe her day off would be well spent if she had a solo picnic!
With that, Pecan explored the city for different foods, placing them all in her messenger bag. A very handy bag indeed. She did expect to run into some of the other guests from the cafe as she walked about, but Millan and Jenni ended up being the only two she saw out on the roads.
After a long while of trekking, Pecan had gathered quite a few entrees for her solo picnic: sandwiches, apples, fish cakes, actual dessert cakes, and a few containers of vegetables. It was always important to eat vegetables, after all.
Soon, she found herself near Witch Cafe Wisteria. She considered going in to see how everything was going, but she knew Derry would probably get mad. Instead, she snuck by the cafe, cautiously looking in through the door as she passed by. It looked like Derry was talking to someone jovially. It seemed like she was doing okay. She was a bit glad that she didn’t lock eyes with Derry or else the café owner might have even been a little ticked off that she had even dared come near the cafe on her day off. She was just passing by though. Honest!
As she walked down the road of the cafe, she passed by the sign shop Millan’s grandma ran. She figured if she saw the kid again, she’d smirk at him, but it seemed that they kept their door closed.
She continued walking and ended up in front of a textile shop with its door open. She wondered if it was Kera’s shop. Curiosity getting the better of her. She decided she’d get some type of cloth to sit on regardless of who was running the shop.
Fortunately, it was Kera’s shop! “Hello-- ah, Pecan!” Kera greeted the one she recognized as Derry’s little blonde apprentice.
“Hey! I just wanted to uh… stop by?” Pecan said. “Derry wanted me to take the day off to uh… rest.”
“Oh, that’s good! Witches need a lot of rest, so that’s important,” Kera said.
Pecan tilted her head and furrowed her brow, “Wait, they do?”
“Of course. It takes a lot of energy,” Kera explained. Pecan stared at Kera with a questioning expression, but the seamstress laughed and answered what she assumed Pecan was wondering. “Oh, I’m not a witch. I just know from Derry and Monika.”
“Huh. I’ve never met Monika… Jenni’s not here?” Pecan started looking around for Jenni. It was usually hard to miss the loud child!
Kera giggled as Pecan looked around. “Jenni’s taking a nap. She was sewing, but that always puts her right to sleep.”
With an “oh”, Pecan stopped looking for the sleeping child and instead looked around nervously at the cloth around the shop. She couldn’t find prices on anything, so she was starting to wonder if all the items were too expensive for a price tag. As they say, no price tag means it’s too expensive to bother asking.
However, Kera was not a poor businesswoman. She wasn’t about to let someone come in, look nervous about prices, and then walk out. “Were you looking for anything specific today?”
Pecan was starting to wonder if Kera could read minds since she seemed so quick to pick up on what Pecan wanted.
Cautiously, Pecan replied, “I’m …uh… gonna have a… uh… solo picnic? I actually just came to get like a… um… like a sheet or something.”
“That’s all?” Kera asked, holding up a finger, telling Pecan to wait. She headed to the back and came back with a cloth that had been cut in a weird shape. “Jenni’s done with this one. It should work for just one person!”
Pecan nodded in satisfaction. “Yeah. That should work. Uh… how much?”
“You can’t be serious.” Kera laughed out. She handed the sheet over to Pecan, turned her around, and then patted her on the back. “Go enjoy your day off picnic, silly.”
“Oh shoot, wow. Thanks!” Pecan called back to Kera.
“Remember that for the next time your family has to buy some cloth!” Kera happily called back. With that, Pecan was on her way again.
She knew where she wanted to have her picnic. Onward she walked on the dusty roads. She passed all the homes of the families in the fishing industry, all the little businesses, and even by Witch Cafe Wisteria again. And soon she found herself walking the road toward Seabirche. Now of course the road was rather long, and she would only actually visit Seabirche on a carriage, but for now, she was content setting up her cloth in the sand next to a little pond that she had always liked playing by as a kid.
She ate her many sandwiches, desserts, apples, and such as she watched all the people go by. Sure, a few red ants crawled onto her makeshift picnic blanket every now and then, but overall, it was a relaxing solo picnic.
The end of her restful day was coming to a close, so Pecan packed up her cloth, threw out her trash, and decided to head home. Her parents were already asleep once she arrived. She took a quick shower and then jumped right into bed. She was sleeping early tonight, and it sure felt nice after a great day of rest.
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