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My Cup of Tea

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There’s nothing like a cup of tea, Clorica thinks, as she sets the kettle down to boil. Tea is calming; the perfect way to start the day, a great afternoon relaxant, and a warm beverage right before bedtime. There's a calming aura to drinking tea, and an almost  prestigious imagery that follows it. Though Clorica never cared if it was fancy or not; she enjoys tea for its taste, and how there are so many types and variations. She likes the way tea makes her feel in the moment.


The people of Selphie are a lot like tea, Clorica hums thoughtfully, languidly navigating the cupboards in Valkanon’s office, trying to decide what tea the staff will start with today. She likes the way the people make her feel as well, much like tea.


Clorica pulls out a teabag containing Earl Gray. She thinks Valkanon is a lot like Earl Gray. When people think of tea, they think dignity, posh, stature; those who drink tea are well versed and sophisticated, and one of the first teas to come to someone’s mind of that nature is Earl Grey. It’s pungent; there’s a sweetness, but also a tang when drinking it, and most importantly, it packs a punch. When the townsfolk think about the strength and sophistication of Selphie; the pride and backbone to the town, everyone agrees it’s Valkanon. He’s the perfect butler: refined, charming, sweet, but he too packs quite the punch...a mean left hook, in fact. Clorica giggles, thinking about how many times she and Visnal were on the receiving end of his scoldings, and a box to the ear felt like being struck by lightning. Despite that, Clorica and Visnal respect and love Valkanon like a father, and she knows he sees them as his own kin. Clorica ponders having Earl Gray for breakfast, but something catches her eye, and she puts the teabag back.


She pulls out another teabag, this one label Thai. Thai tea, a perfect sweet blend, usually accompanied by milk and sugar. Drinking Thai is like being wrapped in a warm blanket, made of love. It’s best prepared cold, as adding the milk adds a creamier texture, though Clorica doesn’t mind it hot either. Drinking Thai tea reminds Clorica most of her partner in crime--that is to say, housemate and coworker--Visnal. Visnal is like a dear brother to her. He’s clumsy, goofy, awkward, but boy does he try. And Clorica honestly appreciates how hard Visnal works at everything, even if he doesn’t always succeed. It’s his kindness, and determination; his willingness to help others that Clorica knows how loving he is--and how loved he is in return. She knows if she has a bad day, he’ll be at the ready to listen, or to offer her a cup of, well it’s not really what she’d call tea...but it does the job of cheering her right up. Clorica enjoys Thai most because it’s enjoyable any time of the day. In fact, she thinks this would be the perfect drink to begin with, until she remember the milk has spoiled and there won’t be a delivery of fresh buffamoo milk, until after their meal. Dejected, she puts the bag back, but promises to return to it later that day.


Clorica notices a bright bag of magenta colored leaves. She reaches in and pulls it out: Hibiscus Tea. Can be enjoyed hot or cold, though Clorica prefers it cold. And with Honey. In fact, Hibiscus honey Iced tea is one of her favorite drinks in the summer. It’s even better when she shares it with her closest friend, Amber. Amber, who is obsessed with flowers and is just as sweet and fragrant as any floral drink. Her bright personality and sunny disposition is that perfect drop of honey to sweeten any bitter taste, and when Amber shoots you one of her signature, joyful grins, it’s as bright and vivid as the pink hue of the hibiscus. Clorica always feels happy when she’s spending time with Amber; her best friend. Clorica wouldn’t mind having Hibiscus iced tea for breakfast, but iced tea is better served in summer, and it’s getting closer to winter now, so something warmer would be more preferred. She could always make regular Hibiscus tea, but she’d rather enjoy that with Amber than anyone else; it’s their thing. She puts the bag back, and searches the cabinets for something else.

Clorica pulls out a tin can of Matcha powder, and her mind instantly wanders to Forte. Matcha is dignified, ceremonial teas usually have matcha tea served at them. And Forte, being Selphie’s knight, the true protector of the town, is very much dignified. And yet, despite it’s bitter taste, Matcha tea is usually accompanied with sweets, like Dango, Manju, or Mochi. And that sums up Forte very well. On the outside she is strong, tough, brave, courageous, a true knight. But on the inside--while she is still all those things--she has a sweet and adorable nature that’s she’s too embarrassed to admit. But without that sweet, confectious side of her, without the Dango, or Manju, or Mochi to accompany it, Matcha tea would not have such a delicious contrast. Without her sweet underlining, Forte would not be the same. And Clorica loves her tough on the outside, sweet on the inside, friend.


Sadly, Clorica doesn’t think there will be any Wagashi at the dining table, so she puts the matcha powder back. Reaching back in, she retrieves a bag containing...tapioca balls? Clorica giggles. Kiel. Kiel is Bubble tea. Sweet on the outside and in. But there’s also a bit of a surprise inside him. You look, and from outer perspective, you see someone innocent and adorable, but when you suck up that first Tapioca ball, you’re left a little speechless. It’s not a bad or good taste, it’s pretty flavorless in itself, it’s more about the texture that gives pause. You’re not expecting it, even when you know it’s coming. And Kiel has that kind of personality that makes you stop, even when you’ve known him all your life. There’s a mature side of him that people don’t see when they look at his cherub face, but then he also has a devilish nature that stumps you too. You typically know what you’re getting when you look at him; a kind, gentle, loyal friend, but there’s always that surprise waiting for you...and leaving you coming back for more. Because bubble tea is fun, just like Kiel.


Clorica puts the bag back. She bends down to the next cabinet level, and pulls out the first bag she sees. Chinese Sencha tea; a gift from Xiao Pai and her mother on Valkanon’s birthday. Clorica frowns, and immediately puts it back. Bitter tea to start wouldn’t be the highlight of her day. She could say the same for Leon. Not to say she doesn’t like Leon’s company, or that he’s a bad person. Leon can be very interesting; but the thing about Leon is you have to find yourself in the mood, because sometimes his words have a bitter sting if you come at him unprepared. If you’re not ready to face a scathing insult, or promiscuous pick up line, you’ll find yourself disoriented, and more than a little peeved off. That’s why it’s best to prepare yourself. Sencha can be bitter, but it can also be very earthy. And Leon is down to earth; he never sugarcoats things, so sometimes a little blatant honesty is just what Clorica needs, especially when it comes to her butler training. She prefers Sencha in the afternoon or at night, and she enjoys conversing with Leon in the late noon or early evening, as that is when she feels he is at his best.


Another strange addition to their town that comes to mind is Dylas. The quiet, sulking man who comes across as very bitter upon first introduction, but gradually warms up to you as time goes on. Green Tea; that’s what Clorica would say. Green tea because of the bitter flavor, because Dylas isn’t the easiest stallion to tame (Lord knows he would kill her dead if he heard her metaphor), but also because of the health benefits. And deep, deep down in his tsundere heart (he would dig her body up, bring her to life and kill her again), Clorica knows there’s a man who deeply cares about the well being of his friends and family. How he serves the inn food and works to stop Porco from eating it all, how he converses with all his friend’s and offers them well meaning, if albeit harsh, advice. Or in some cases of generosity, fish he caught from the rivers and lakes earlier that morning. Despite his cold outer shell, there’s a tenderness in his heart that strives to care for those he treasures dearly, and though he’s hard pressed to admit it, Clorica knows he deeply cares for the people of Selphie.


Then there’s Doug, sworn enemy to Dylas...and maybe secret lover; honestly, bets are still off. But if she compares Dylas to Green Tea, then she’d say Doug is Masala Chai. Sweet, but also peppered in spice. He tries hard to act like a tough guy, the hero, the rogue, but see how he acts when Blossom is at his side, and you know he’s a big softie underneath. It’s probably because he sees her as a parental figure. Remembering that, Clorica frowns, turning the chair tea over in her hand. Doug isn’t always as sweet as he tries to hide, and a look into his past shows that bite he’s also holding back. That cinnamon, peppercorn spice waiting to sneak up and catch you off guard. On the surface Masala Chai looks like a delicious cup of chocolate milk, but one sip and you know you’ve made a mistake. She puts the bag down. She hopes one day soon, Doug can find more of that sweetness in his life that he was robbed of.


Reaching back in, Clorica pulls out a stem of cut Lavenders. “Oh, what’s this doing here?” she asks, only to herself, wondering if Valkanon put it in here by accident. Than again, Valkanon always brags about making the best, homemade Lavender Tea. And Clorica does admit, his lavender tea really is up there among others. Every time she takes a sip, she feels like all her muscles are unwinding and she’s transported far away, where the sun is always shining, and it always smells great. It’s the same feeling she gets when she listens to Margaret’s music, that feeling of calm and joy washing over her. Even the smelling great thing is still there, as the wind blows, and the shampoo from Margarete’s hair carries in the wind, filling the area with fragrant, floral delight. Lavender . Clorica believes everything in the world could be at peace if everyone just listened to Margarete playing. She’s worried to know what would happen if she drank lavender tea while she listened to Margarete play? Probably astral project into another dimension and never come back. Chuckling, Clorica tucks the stem back into the corner, deciding to test this theory on a later date, with other willing participants to accompany her.


Pu’re Tea: mellow, earthy, not too caffeinated. A healthy drink, chock full of nutrients to help the body and mind. Clorica stuffs a bag of the tea into her pocket. Nancy and Jones have been asking her to bring some more of it by, and she honestly couldn’t say no to them, even if she wanted to. They’ve saved her life, as well as everyone else's, more times than Clorica could begin to count. Certainly Forte’s and Lest’s the most, with the way those two throw themselves into danger. Nancy and Jones are always looking out for the town of Selphie, doing the best job they can do as medical professionals. Keeping everyone in peak physical fitness, and mentally sound, and even going far enough to help those outside the town of Selphie. Truly their concern for health and well being go above and beyond any other doctor and nurse that Clorica has ever known. Not that she wants to ever say no to them.


Clorica presses a finger to her lips as she considers each tea bag again. Choosing what to start off with is a lot tougher than usual. “Oh, how about this one? I like this one.” A voice gently coos in her ear, and Clorica’s eyes widen as a hand reaches out and grabs a bag of tea off the shelf. She turns her head, and finds Lest’s chin practically resting on her shoulder as he reaches into Valkanon’s cabinet.


“Uhh? G-goodmorning Lest?”

Lest looks at her without turning his head and smiles. “Good morning Corica. Visnal came to wake me up. He says you were taking a long time to choose this morning’s tea so I thought I’d come help you, if that’s okay?”


Clorica puffs out her cheeks, “I wasn’t struggling to make a choice...I was just thinking…”

Lest laughs, a warm, bubbly sound that churns Clorica’s stomach, nervously. She swallows and says nothing, as he asks, “Yeah? What were you thinking about?”


Clorica ponders whether or not she should tell him. It seems a little odd to admit it; if it had been someone like Amber, Amber would have understood perfectly, but she doesn’t know if Lest will feel the same, or find it silly, find her silly. But Lest is very kind and she knows that he would never tease her about any of her strange musings, no matter how whimsical or surreal they could get. “I was thinking about how everyone in Selphie is like tea.”


“Oh Yeah? How so?”

Clorica picks up a random tea bag and pretends to examine it as she explains, “Well tea has different flavors, pungencies, and even textures. Tea can be hot or cold, enjoyed in the morning or at night. Tea has so many different facets, and when you think about the people of Selphie, you can pin them each to a type of tea. I guess that probably seems a little strange to compar--”

Lest cuts her off with a nod, “No, no, that makes perfect sense. I know exactly what you mean. Like you, you remind me of this.” He holds out the tea he had picked up earlier and turns it so she could read the label.


“Chamomile? Why Chamomile?” Clorica inquires.


“Isn’t it obvious?” Lest laughs, and again when Clorica puffs out her cheeks at him.


“I don’t see what’s obvious? Explain it to me. And don’t be harsh,”

Lest shakes his head, the last titters of laughter subsiding. “I wasn’t insulting you, I promise. I like Chamomile. Chamomile is calming. It helps you sleep, especially after a long day of stress, it’s good for your body, physically and mentally, and it’s just the perfect drink to unwind with. You’re sort of the same in that regard; being next to you, I feel instantly at ease. Even if things have been tough on the farm, or I feel drained from battling beast, when I talk to you I feel comforted; like all my problems and pains have melted away. I think you’re good for me too.”


Clorica feels the heat rise to her cheeks, and she rubs a hand over her face, unconsciously. “Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say.”

“What about me?”


“Huh? What about you?”

Lest playfully checks her hip with his own, “I meant what tea am I? You said you had a tea for everyone of Selphie, so what about me? What tea would you say I am?”

Clorica knows, of course she knows. Because Lest isn’t tea at all. He isn’t calming, far from it, when Clorica is near him, she feels awake and jittery. Like every cell is vibrating with caffeine, and her legs bounce and her hands shake when he’s near. She always feel out of her comfort zone when he’s in her space; like she’s being jarred from some peaceful slumber into the real world, and she’s not ready to face it.


...But it’s not a bad feeling. It isn’t a feeling she hates. It scares her, it’s a huge uncertainty, but not one she wishes wouldn’t exist. She’s can’t compare this feeling to anyone else. This wide awake, antsy state; she’s never experienced something quite like it before. Sometimes she wants it to stop when he’s near, but she misses it when he’s gone. Or she doesn’t like how it turns into something bitterly black in her stomach, when she sees him with one of the other girls, but then warm and sweet, when he hands her her favorite; a slice of homemade, apple pie. She can’t decide whether this strange flavor is something she wants to get accustomed to, or forget. She does know one thing though.


“I think today we’ll have coffee with our meal,” She reaches far back into the cupboard and pulls out a tin can containing coffee beans. She nods at Lest, and passes him towards the kitchen, where she knows the grinder will be.


Lest turns and calls back to her in disbelief, “Hey, you never told me what tea I was; is that good or bad?”

Clorica stops and turns to regard him. She doesn’t say anything for a long time that Lest begins to shift his weight uneasily from one foot to the next. Finally, Clorica smiles, her usual dreamy grin, and quits her teasing, “Would you like to join us for breakfast, Lest?”


Lest sighs and shakes his head, wondering if Clorica has changed the subject on purpose because she doesn’t know, or she won’t tell him. Then he returns her smile with one of his own, and nods. “Sure, I’d love to.” He strides towards her, taking the coffee beans from her hands, aware of the brief contact when their hands touch. They both blush, and look away. “Tell me how I can help,” Lest says to his shoes, but glances up from behind his bangs to offer her a bashful smile.

Clorica nods, her cheeks pink with affection, as she motions him to follow her to the kitchen. She feels wide awake and jittery, but there’s something in her hyper aware state that also feels so at ease.


Yes, Lest is not like tea at all.