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Rickard Blunt

The Quiet Coffee Shop

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My first contribution to the writer's forum. Please be kind ;)

 

The Quiet Coffee Shop

It had seemed like such a good idea to escape the noise of the common room and retreat to a quiet cafe in the city in order to work on a particularly devious essay for @Random Professor@.

 

You had been getting on well, and were beginning to look forward to an excellent mark on your assignment, when a ferocious looking woman stormed through the door, clearly in a terrible temper. The shouting and screaming that followed were distracting enough but once crockery begins flying through the air you wonder if you should do something.

 

Exit 1:- Leave quietly. Leave the couple to it and go to the library instead.

Success:- Quickly gathering your papers and pens you slip out of the door before getting drawn into this rather public argument. Flustered, you head back towards the school, desperately trying not to forget all of the excellent ideas you had for the essay. One thing for sure is that you won't be spending any more 'quiet time' at that cafe.

Result:- +1 Stress.

 

Failure:- No failure.

Result:- Not applicable.

 

Exit 2:- Diplomacy. Interject in the argument and see if you can assist with a resolution.

Success:- You calmly interrupt the screaming woman and ask her politely what the problem is. Much to your surprise she collapses on your shoulder in floods of tears!

 

In as much as you are able to determine, from the words sobbed by the woman between gasping breaths, she had been doing her husbands laundry when she discovered a receipt for a diamond necklace in the pocket of his breeches. Since he has not presented her with such a gift she came to the conclusion that her husband had brought the necklace for another woman.

 

Turning to the man, who emerges from behind the shelter of the counter once it is clear that the barrage of cups and saucers has come to an end, you ask him, rather sternly, to explain himself.

 

Flushing with embarrassment the man reaches sheepishly into his pocket and produces a small velvet box which he offers to his still sobbing wife.

 

“I bought this for you a couple of weeks ago but one of the stones was loose and the jeweler only just finished mending it.”

 

He opens the box towards his wife and the unmistakable glitter of a diamond necklace flashes in your eyes. With yet another sob, this one of relief and surprise rather than anger, the woman takes the box and embraces the man in a hug so tight his face turns rather red once again.

 

The man and his wife thank you most graciously for helping to settle their “little quarrel” and tell you that you will be welcome to visit their shop any time you find yourself in the city, free of charge of course!

 

You settle back down to your essay as the man begins to tidy up the sea of broken china. His wife brings you a sticky bun and a fresh mug of coffee, she even corrects a couple of spelling mistakes in your essay. As you head back to school you feel content that you have not only helped the couple but are sure that your essay will score top marks with @Random Professor@.

Result:- You have gained access to the "City of Mineta – Quiet coffee shop".

 

Failure:- You approach the sobbing woman and ask her what is the matter. Rather than calming down she turns on you instead, sending a barrage of saucers in your direction! Diving for cover behind the counter you land next to the owner.

 

“My wife.” He says with a wry smile. “She's got a fiery temper but she usually calms down in an hour or so.”

 

You sneak a look round the counter at your abandoned essay only to have to duck back quickly as a coffee pot is thrown with some precision at where your head was. You settle back down behind the counter where the owner is reading a newspaper apparently oblivious to the shower of crockery shards raining down around him. With a sigh you realise that you are just going to have to wait until the apoplectic woman calms down so that before you can make your escape.

 

Flustered, you head back towards the school, desperately trying not to forget all of the excellent ideas you had for the essay. One thing for sure is that you won't be spending any more 'quiet time' at that cafe.

 

Result:- +1 Stress. +1 step to Danger Sense.

 

Exit 3:- Incantation Spells. The woman is clearly dangerous, or mad. Knock her out with a well-placed spell.

Success:- With a precise flourish you send forth a narrow blast of air which knocks the woman flying clear off her feet, collapsing against the far wall with a groan. Turning to the shop owner, expecting to be rewarded (or at least thanked) for dealing with the aggressive intruder, you are shocked to find him pushing past you with a mix of anger and concern on his face.

 

“Flo!” he says in worried tones. “are you all right Flo?”

 

The man cradles Flo in his arms and turns a steely gaze on you.

 

“Get out of my shop you young hoodlum.” he says, an air of menace in his voice “and don't come back or I'll be calling the guard on you.”

 

Beating a hasty retreat from the shop you hear him mumbling the words “attack my wife... she would have calmed down soon enough... Wizards think they can stick their noses in everywhere... No better'n children”.

 

You realise on your way back to school that you have left half of your essay in the cafe. Not wanting to return so soon you trudge towards the library knowing that you have a long evening ahead of you if you are going to get your essay finished on time. Still, at least you weren't arrested for assault.

 

Result:- +1 step to Incantation Spells. +1 Stress.

 

Failure:- You begin to trace the phemes for your spell when a wayward coffee pot almost takes off your head. Losing concentration, your spell goes high, blowing a small hole through the ceiling. The woman turns towards you, a look of shock on her face. The cafe owner too looms up, from behind the counter where he was taking cover, with fury in his eyes.

 

Before you know what is happening the two of them are throwing crockery at you whilst shouting all sorts of abuse, some of which is most certainly not suitable for young ears. You quickly gather up your things and beat a hasty retreat.

 

Perhaps you shouldn't go throwing spells around without finding out what is going on first?

 

As you trudge back towards school you reflect upon the time you have wasted and rub your head where a particularly well-aimed saucer has brought up quite a lump.

Result:- -1 Vitality. +1 step in the Insults skill.

 

Location: City of Mineta – Quiet Coffee Shop

Hidden down a quaint little back street this charming cafe offers a pleasant and relaxing place in which to spend a few quiet hours, reading, finishing homework or just watching the world go by. Provided you can put up with the occasional rows occurring between the proprietor and his wife of course.

 

Visitors to the cafe can expect to gain one step in the character study skill from watching patrons coming and going and one step in a random cookery skill as you sample the excellent selection of cakes and drinks on offer.

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Thanks for the compliment Legate. I have given it some thought and have included a fourth exit below.

 

Exit 4:- Athletics. Leap to the proprietor's aid and intercept the flying crockery.

Success:- In an astonishing display of grace you leap onto the counter between the cafe owner and his irate assailant. Moving quickly you are able to catch the next two missiles and the third comes in so slowly that you actually have time to pluck the coffee pot from the air and place it down on the counter intact.

 

Looking up you see that the woman is holding a saucer in her hand, staring at you open mouthed in amazement. You notice that her eyes are red, as if she has been crying, and in her other hand is a small piece of paper.

 

The proprietor emerges from behind the counter and approaches the woman cautiously.

 

“What's the matter Flo?” he asks.

 

“I f..f...found this in your p..p..pocket” she stutters, holding out the paper.

 

To your surprise the man smiles and reaches into his jacket.

 

“And you thought it was a present for someone else?” he says bringing out a velvet box and holding it out to her. “Surely, after all these years, you know that you are the only one for me?”

 

The man opens the box and you catch a glimpse of a beautiful diamond necklace.

 

“I bought this for you a couple of weeks ago but one of the stones was loose and the jeweler only finished repairing it this morning.” he adds.

 

With a huge sob of relief and happiness the woman embraces her husband and gives him a passionate kiss.

 

Not wanting to distract the couple from their reconciliation you gather up your things and head back to school feeling happy that you were able to help them resolve their little argument. You still haven't finished your essay but in your current mood you are sure that it will not take long to get your ideas down on paper.

Result:- +1 Courage, +1 Romance.

 

Failure:- Deciding on bold action you leap for the counter top, hoping to position yourself between the man and his attacker. About halfway there you realise that you have underestimated the distance. Your knees contact the edge of the counter with a sickening crunch just as a flash of pain in the back of your head flips you over. The last thing you remember is the floor heading towards you at speed.

 

...

 

You wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. A cold cloth has been applied to the back of your head and your knees are throbbing. The woman who had been throwing the crockery is bent over you with a look of motherly concern on her face.

 

“I think he's starting to come round” says the woman to someone behind you.

 

Turning around you see the coffee shop owner lean his broom, with which he has been clearing up shards of broken cups and saucers, against the wall and approach you with a warm smile.

 

“I appreciate you trying to help us son.” he says “When Flo gets upset most of my customers just leave as quickly as they can.”

 

You glance at Flo who blushes and lowers her eyes.

 

“You've got a couple of nasty bruises on your head” the man continues “I think you should probably stay here for a little while and then I shall make sure you get back to school safely.”

 

Now that he mentions it you do feel a bit dizzy. You mumble something about having to finish your essay as Flo brings you your bag and papers.

 

“I can help you with that.” she says kindly.

 

Flo proves to be really rather clever and between you you work on the essay whilst her husband provides a constant stream of hot drinks and fresh, sticky, buns. When you finally leave a couple of hours later, still dizzy and sore, your bag contains a completed essay which you are sure will score you high marks with @random professor@. You also have a standing invitation to visit the coffee shop whenever you are in town, free of charge of course!

Result:- -2 Vitality. You gain access to “City of Mineta – Quiet Coffee Shop”.

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