Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-five
The air in the town definitely smelled like coffee. Lots of it. And everyone—the old people on their porches, the farmers lounging by the fence, the beautifully ragged children playing—had some variation of it. There was tea, alcohol, honey…
Regis nudged me down a turn in the dirt street. More houses—all stained wood, glass, and metal window bindings—and their occupants watched us half-heartedly. There was a general feeling of ease everywhere. It all seemed to be emanating from a building with long windows and a gold-lettered sign. I stifled a laugh. “ ‘Monkey Place’? What do monkeys have to do with their slogan?”
“It’s memorable. Do elves drink milk?”
I shrugged. “We can, but we generally don’t like it. It gives us stomach aches.” I dashed ahead and pressed my face against a window. The occupants were mostly human, but there were also some goblins, a night elf, and a couple half-breeds. Lanky twins with pale hair, narrow noses, small eyes, and fuzzy arms manned the shining counter.
I followed Regis inside.
Regis inhaled deeply. It had been a few months since he’d been here last; nothing had changed. The lacquered redwood, shining steel equipment—a perfect blend of home and advancement.
The baristas waved.
Cloudwillow hopped up and down. “What are your names?”
They grinned. “Monkey,” they said together.
Cloudwillow looked to Regis. He nodded. “Monkey,” he said firmly.
One of the twins rubbed his hands together. “Good to see ya back. A regular?”
Regis nodded. “And a—”
“Ooh, ooh, can I order mine?”
Regis glanced down at the elf. She squinted up at the menu, mouthing flavors and sizes. He turned back to the counter. “And a small, single shot soy decaf hazelnut latte for here.”
Cloudwillow put her hands on her hips. “That’s not what I wanted.”
“I’m not ordering you a large, caffeinated anything.”
Cloudwillow pouted. “Please?”
“No.” Regis led her to a booth. Their drinks arrived within a few moments. Cloudwillow cooed over the swirling design in the foam and cradled the mug in both hands. Before Monkey returned to the counter, she nodded approvingly. "Nice time magic."
Monkey bowed. "It comes with practice."
Regis watched, amused as Cloudwillow noisily sipped. She put down her mug and giggled. A thick foam mustache curled around her mouth.
An impulse to mimic the elf gripped him. He brushed it aside and drank slowly. Savoring the rich caramel flavor, he closed his eyes.
“I was wondering when you’d be back.”
Regis knew what he would see if he opened his eyes. A small goblin, with rocky skin and a pack filled with wares. Without opening his eyes, he took another sip. “Hello again, Skong.”