Some of the Mofuwa are not included simply because I do not think I know them well enough to do them any justice. Yet anyway.
The light was the first thing he noticed.
There was warmth on the little main street.
Even with the clouds.
Even with the rain.
He wasn’t sure how long he’d been walking, but it had been growing dimmer the whole time. Dusk was settling in all around him, that much he knew. But he didn’t know when the rain had started either. Cold and heavy, not a deluge, but it had a certain relentlessness. Or was it his imagination?
He walked onward, damp and chilled, with no particular destination, until he realized the step he’d just taken was bathed in warm light.
Someplace was still open. At this hour.
Drawn like a moth, he turned off of the street and staggered for the entrance.
The first person he met was just outside, sweeping the patio. She paused, though, first having noticed the rain starting to fall and then noticing him approaching. She had bright red-orange hair, a distinctly vulpine coloration, kept in twin braids draped about her shoulders, secured in its style with clips that looked like daisies.
She regarded him sternly from a distance, but as he approached, her face softened into a broad smile with distinctly prominent canines. “Hello there,” she said gently, angling the broom as though peeking around the other side of the handle. “Welcome to Mofuwa.”
As he crossed the porch, the rain he’d been soaked in poured off of him, as though he was still being rained on, even now under cover.
“Don’t worry,” she said, peridot eyes watching as he grasped the handle of the pale blue front door. “”It’s very warm here. We serve smiles all day.”
The place was organized with tables to either side, a service counter in the back with all manner of drink making apparatus, and next to that was a glass walled section seeming to lead out back. The walls were muted pastel colors, and the lighting seemed kept low and moody. A few patrons were scattered around, quietly sharing drinks and conversation.
He walked up the middle, headed for the counter. Two women were working, both rather remarkable looking in their own right. One, the taller, had pale green hair done up in a very business-like bun, sharply contrasting her dark skin tone, as well as the stone colored apron she was wearing over a button down dress shirt and black leggings. Pink hued glasses rounded out her appearance, through which she seemed to be intently watching the other employee.
The green haired woman’s co-worker had voluminous dark hair in a sort of a fluffy bob cut, but with asymmetrical bangs cut on a dramatic angle. A strip of said hair was a vibrant blue, same as her eyes, with an adjacent strip colored a bright purple. Her apron was also purple, and was slung over a cropped, long sleeved henley and lilac colored jeans. Perhaps the sharpest contrast to the woman with the green hair was that she seemed almost… designed specifically to smile.
Which she did, immediately.
“Heeeeeeeeelo,” she greeted the newcomer. “Welcome to the Mofuwa Cafe, serving smiles cozy style. Feel free to browse the menu, I’m Kalce, your humble barista, ready to take your order whenever.”
He looked up at the menu board. Some of it seemed ordinary enough - Teas in various types, Coffees in various preparations. But there was a funny smear of orange around coffee, as though it had been crossed out in orange, but rewritten, several times. Then under coffee, in green chalk, was written.Lisa. Please stop crossing out Coffee and underlining Tea.
-ManagementHe stared at this note. It was easy enough to read but it took a little longer to comprehend. The rest of the menu was a little more atypical.
“What is ‘Bun A’?” he asked.
“It’s a bunny but sassy.”
He blinked, dumbfounded.
“You know like–” Kalce turned to the green haired woman. “Aaay, bun, AAAaaaaaay! Right, Rera?” Rera nodded patiently. Something she must have heard a few times before. But Kalce was undeterred. “It’s an experimental bun. It changes every couple days or when I get a new idea. Right now, it’s a spicy cookie bun.”
He wasn’t too sure about that. “Then what’s Bun ‘B’?”
Kalce’s eyes lit up. “A Bun ‘B’ is a Blessing! It’s a special surprise bun and every one comes with a blessing to brighten your day!”
He looked toward Rera for guidance. If she had any, she wasn’t offering any. Returning his attention to Kalce, he began “Do you—”
“Du hast.” He looked sharply back at Rera, who reacted to him with a shrug. Maybe he’d imagined it…
“Do you have coffee?”
“Yeah! We—” Kalce stopped and looked behind herself and up at the board. “Oh. Yeah, It’s still up there. Good. Yes we do.”
“I’ll have a coffee and a Bun A, please.”
“Comin’ riiiight up.” Kalce busied herself collecting his order and Rera stepped up to the register to handle payment. She didn’t say anything else except the amount. He still couldn’t tell if she’d said anything before.
A clink caught his attention as he was pocketing his wallet. He looked over and saw Kalce cutting cookie dusted pastries apart with an iridescent knife. She plated it, picked up a cup that had been receiving a drip of fresh coffee, and presented him proudly with his evening snack.
“Your boss seems kind of scary,” he murmured to Kalce.
“Who? Rera? Naw, she’s a big softy! She’s just always looking out for me.”
“I’m not the boss, either,” said Rera, having overheard him. His shoulders slumped, realizing she had. “I take no issue with your assertion, however, Kalce is the captain of this ship.”
“Oh, Truuuuuuuue,” agreed Kalce. “It is my place. But. It’s really our place. And you’re welcome to it.”
“Thanks.” Taking his things, he retreated and took a seat in an emptier area by the door with a good view of what was going on. Across from his spot, a duo occupied two plush chairs, separated by a couch. One was playing a handheld console, which seemed somewhat dwarfed by his broad shoulders and head of shaggy brown hair. He seemed intent on what he was doing, such that the pull strings on the hood of his jacket danced as he put his whole self into whatever it was.
Across from him, there was a figure in a black zip up sweatshirt, heavily hooded. They looked up, but instead of eyes, bright green goggles stared back at him. A gloved hand lifted the goggles and revealed two sleepy looking, mischievous eyes. They turned as a pink haired woman with the flowy sleeves delicately picked up one of the cans scattered around.
“Thanks, Iro,” said the goggles girl, in a voice just tinged with chaotic energy.
“Thank you, Eeewow,” chimed in the man in blue as well.
“Hey Sade, hey Mista These,” said Iro, in a tone almost the polar opposite of Sade’s. She then picked up another, and ultimately all six, before getting up and starting for a bin. A metallic sound drew both his and her attention back. He was shocked to see there were already four more cans, as though they’d appeared out of thin air. Iro was shocked too, letting out an audible “hrrrrk” of surprise.. “Check, Sade, how many have you had?” asked Iro, incredulously.
“It’s not me, it’s just Sade,” said Check, holding up a bottle. “I’m just having water because I’m being good today.”
“The fires of evil genius need fuel,” insisted Sade. Iro returned from dumping the first batch of cans in the bin and contented herself on the couch between the two, taking first from her bag a tablet, then a stylus, and then one, two, three pink jelly bean shaped rabbit toys and precisely stacking them one on top of each other on the table. Each had a black ribbon pinned to one ear, just like the one that was holding her own ponytail together.
“I thought only brought one today…” he heard her wonder to herself.
Just then the front door opened. The orange haired woman he’d encountered before came in, leaning her broom against a bin and pulling off her plum colored apron. “Lisa!” called out Kalce, spotting her as she was breaking down a shipping box with an iridescent box cutter. “Thank you!” A gust came through before Lisa could close the door. “Ooh, it cooled down outside!”
The pink haired woman jumped up, fluffy pink blanket in hand, and bounded over to Kalce, tossing it over her head from behind and wrapping her up in it with a triumphant sounding “hompff!”
From somewhere under the blanket he heard Kalce protest. “Help me I’m being bullied! I’m being eaten!” before she broke down into already familiar feeling laughter again.
He ate his pastry.
He drank the coffee.
It was nice here…
With a start, he noticed movement to his left. The man in blue had gotten up and was passing by his table. He stopped, and reached for his empty mug. “I’m headed up. Take your cup for ya?”
“Uh, sure…” he replied.
It wasn’t what he said, or how he said it.
It was that his fingers ‘clinked’ when they picked up the mug.
He watched as the man in blue walked up to the counter. He set down the dishes and Kalce, who was in front of the counter wiping it down, thanked him. “Thank you very much, Mista These.”
“Do you need any help cleaning up?”
“It’s okay, it’s not that much.”
“I guess it’s true. You do clean up nice. Got’em!”
Kalce slapped the counter with the cleaning cloth in mock outrage. “Everyone’s bullying me today! Why?!”The rain continued to beat down on the cafe roof. Rera looked around critically as the lights faltered with a single flicker. She scanned across the seating area.
The bulb over their newest patron seemed to be struggling. He sat, slumped in the smooth bucket seat, staring. Everywhere else was fully lit, yet around him, the light seemed to fade away…Rera touched Kalce’s arm, getting her attention. “What’s up, Rera?”
“I think,” said the green haired woman, “our new customer could use this.” She handed Kalce a small plate with a starfruit on it.
“Oh, did he order something else? I forgot!”
“No no, it’s okay. It’s just on the house. I think he could use a boost.”
“Special order,” agreed Kalce. She took the plate and skipped out from behind the counter. He didn’t even look up from the table until she nudged him with a “hey”. Then he looked up.
He frowned at her. Did one of her eyes have more… purple to it than blue…?
“Little something extra,” she offered him, setting the plate down. “I hope you don’t mind but, we noticed you seemed a little down, so we wanted to offer you a Blessing Bun. On the house.”
He picked up the fruit. It fell apart in his hands.
It was cake.
“And every Blessing comes with a blessing,” continued Kalce. “And here’s yours for today:”The cake tasted nice, spongy and citrusy.“It looks like you’ve come a long way.
And maybe this one isn’t quite your day.”He closed his eyes and the room faded from sight and mind. But he did see something. It seemed to be a woman, confronting a creature of some kind. It didn’t seem to have a body. The only way he could perceive it was to ‘see’ where there suddenly wasn’t light, as though she was staring down darkness itself. From somewhere, he still heard her voice.“But though the times may be feeling rough.
Don’t forget, you too are tough.”It was Kalce, with her black hair streaked in blue and purple, but with two short, bold, pointy rabbit ears. A little crystalline crown sat at an impossible angle not quite on her head. It lazily turned in space, attached but weightless.
Her little daikon eyebrows moved as her brow furrowed.
Her smile drew in.
But the kindness in her eyes remained.
Even as her jacket suddenly burst into a shimmering cape.
Even as she raised a fist and light lanced out of her clenched fingers, forming around her hand into a hilt, and extending into an amethyst blade.“Face whatever weighs on you.
You have the strength, you know what to do.”The hilt guard’s parts clicked a tiny click.
And it sighed a tiny breath.She looked at the blade as she drew it back, as if to say “I know”.“And know in your heart we’ll see it through.”She swung.
The darkness exploded, consuming everything.
He opened his eyes. And immediately closed them again. There was so much light around him. Where was he?
More cautiously, he hazarded another look around. He was right where he’d been sitting, but the chair was gone, pushed back clear to the next table. The place looked transformed though. It was so dazzlingly bright, and the walls that had seemed so pale had such cheery colors. Peering past his feet he saw the whole bar was pink! The walls were mint. And it was so warm and comfortable…Past the bar, the night looked cool and clear.
The rain was gone.“Careful,” continued Rera, as she and Kalce helped him to his feet. “Floor’s still wet. You slipped and knocked your head a little. Just take it easy.”
“Sorry,” said Kalce with a sheepish smile. “I guess I made my Blessings a little too strong this time.”
“No,” he replied, confused by the sudden strength of his own voice. “It was… delicious.” His feet squeaked on the tile floor. “And thank you for the words, too. You’re too kind.”
“Naw,” she smiled. “It’s nothin’! Blessings always come with Blessings, no extra charge.”
As Kalce pulled his chair back over and moved him to a spot that was dry underfoot, Rera queried him. “You feel all right?”
“Yeah, actually,” he said. “Better, even. If you can believe it.”
“Good. Disathare avoided.”
He blinked. “What did you say?”
“Disaster avoided,” repeated Rera. She gestured for Kalce to follow her to the front of the shop. “Kalce, a word?”The newcomer looked around with opened eyes. There was so much he hadn’t noticed before for some reason. The decor was adorable. There was a neon sign on the wall that declared it would be “Good Vibes Only.” There were rich colors everywhere. Everyone’s clothes were so strange and unique. He suddenly realized he’d eaten strange and delicious tasting things.
Rera led Kalce into the back room behind the bar. The back room was very different from the front store, all minimal and glossy and silver edged and black. White tape held important notices on the walls. A desk held and organizer and business documents, all mostly cared for by Rera. Small corner shelves held little planters with the only color accent in the room - branches bearing cherry blossoms. Edge lighting and a desk lamp provided the only illumination. The single thing bridging the front and back of the cafe was a well worn, cropped letterman style jacket, charcoal colored with several bright patches on it and its blue and purple, respectively, sleeves. It was draped
“What’s up?” asked Kalce as Rera closed the door behind them. “Is something going on?”
“Yes.” Rera hesitated. Kalce noticed, but didn’t say anything. It was very suddenly unlike Rera to be uncertain. “Kalce, we’ve been here about a year now–”
“TRUUUE. Oh my gosh you’re right it’s anniversary time! We should do something! Like a party. Or a grand re-opening?”
“No, Kalce, that- well yes those are both good ideas I agree. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.” She sighed, thinking very hard.
“Why did you bring the box cutter in here?”
“Kalce, I need you to focus.” Rera put her thumb and first finger to her temples. “What part is going to be the least shocking…”
Kalce looked at her expectantly.
“Kalce.” Rera took a deep breath. “You are a queen.”
“You’re a queen!”
“No. Kalce. Thank you by the way but no, you ARE a queen.”
“I’m… a queen?”
“The Chromatic Queen. Also. You are a warrior.”
Kalce tucked her chin suspiciously. “A warrior…”
“And a rabbit.”
“You are the queen of the Realm of Rabbits. I am your trusted retainer rabbit, ReRa. And you are my protection during this… extended holiday we’ve been on. Well deserved, of course! You wouldn’t have come here without a valid reason. It’s just that you… you were in a situation where you needed a… a bit of a break, so we star hopped to Earth and—”
“Yes, we call it Star Hopping.”
“WE?” The color started to drain from her face. Her pupils started to constrict, even in the dimly lit room.
“We couldn’t let you come alone, of course.”
“WHO is WE?”
“Kuroma and I.”
With a burst of waves like a summer sidewalk, a tall, muscular man draped in a royal purple sash and a white, bib style top popped into existence where ReRa had tossed the box cutter on the desk. He stretched, blinking strange, inverted dark eyes and waggled white hair eyebrows and waved hello.
Kalce started screaming.
“Kalce, please calm down, I can explain.”
Kalce’s screaming intensified.
Kalce did not stop.
ReRa looked at Kuroma. “We don’t have time for this.” Kuroma shook his head in agreement. ReRa leaned past Kuroma, and delicately danced her fingers over a patch of a familiar yellow crown sewn on to the left sleeve of the jacket next to him on the desk and as she lifted her hand, a shimmering blue, crystalline crown emerged, fully formed, from the two dimensional patch. “This won’t hurt a bit,” she assured Kalce, who was still screaming and staring at Kuroma, and with one decisive movement planted the crown on the right side of Kalce’s head, just off of center.
In the blink of an eye, a thousand years of history flashed through Kalce’s mind.
She promptly blacked out.
Kalce saw a vision of an impossibly intricate gem, suspended in space. It was familiar to her. It belonged to her. She belonged to it.
It reassured her just on sight, glinting with sourceless light, hinting at an inky ocean of power within.A voice called out to her.
“Take a breath. Open your eyes.”
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think over in the Discord :)Stuffwhy