Royal & Justice
They stand on the edge, breathing in the ocean’s smell beneath them, their arms spread out. They take a deep breath, close their eyes; when they open their eyes, the wind captures their blonde hair, and it blows out behind them. On the palm of their hand, which they face upward, orbs of blue magic forms. They slap their palms together, and the orbs turn into one larger orb. It floats above them, and on their backs, a pair of metallic wings appear. Royal lets out a shout of glee, then jumps from the cliff, shoving their hands to their sides and soaring through the air.
Café Marjorie is a busy place in the early morning. And it’s even more so today, as New Autumns’ Festival draws near. Each year, it is a celebration of the ending of one season and the start of another. It is a festival of prayer, a festival of thanks, and a festival of much dancing and drinking. Especially the latter after the main celebratory ceremony is over with. In the bathroom of Café Marjorie, Justice puts her dirty blonde hair up into a tight pony, touches up her makeup, and adjusts her white vest and skirt- the uniform of all works (though the owner and the managers wear an all-blue ensemble). She puts a tight smile upon her face, then stares into the mirror. The face of a girl with green eyes and bronze skin with a look of determination stares back at her.
Time to go and beg for money, Justice thinks and briefly tilts her head back, wishing she could be doing anything else right now. But what choice does she have? This was the only place that would hire her straight out of the academy. She takes one last look at her outfit, adjusts the black tights, and leaves the bathroom.
She makes her way to the hallway between the right-side dining room and the kitchen. At the end of the hallway, she turns right, the only direction she can go. This leads her to the back room, where she hurriedly clocks in and puts on her apron. Justice’s boss- what was her name? Lexie? Lisa? Lemon?- walks in.
“It’s a busy day, Justice. Get out there, please.”
“Good morning, ma’am. And I am. Wouldn’t want to miss the rush.”
“No, definitely not- you’ll get tipped handsomely by the gentleman at table five, if you’re nice.”
“Aren’t I always?” Justice leaves, clutching her fist as the door closes.
She goes back down the hallway, and midway, there’s a doorway to the kitchen. Inside, the six cooks are bustling around from the stove to the countertop, to the fryer, to the stove again. Two are making coffee and stand by the machines, pouring the hot liquid into ceramic mugs. When one of them spots her, they point to the counter beside them.
“The red mug goes to table ten, the blue mug to table six, and the black and white mug to table five.”
So it begins, Justice thinks as she grabs a tray and places the cup upon them.
Royal flies through a cloud on purpose, wanting to know what it feels like. They spread their arms out and whoosh– the cloud splits apart, and water clings to their skin. Royal laughs but shivers as the cold air hits their skin.
“Maybe I shouldn’t do that again,” they say through their laugh.
Below them, the ocean hits the shore, and from the shore, a town rises. Royal lands on the roof of Café Marjorie, their tennis shoes finding purchase on the hard surface. They throw their red blazer off and take off their sweatpants, revealing a white shirt and black slacks. Royal climbs down the fire escape and enters the restaurant from the back entrance. Quickly, they clock in and put on the black apron, tying up their long hair into a knot that sits low at the back of their head. Justice passes them as they enter the kitchen.
“You’re late, Royal. The boss is in a foul mood, and she won’t be pleased when she finds you.”
“I know, I know. But I did it, Justice- I went to the cliffs- you know, the mountains about 30 minutes from town?- and I flew! Also, don’t fly through clouds.”
Justice pauses from picking up a plate of turkey, bacon, and eggs. “That’s good, Royal! It explains why your hair is wet. Now take a tray, grab some plates, and come on. Table five is becoming a handful.”
Their boss barges into the kitchen, shouting at one of the chiefs. “Has anyone seen Royal?”
“They’re right here!” Justice shouts and glares at Royal, “there was- um, there was traffic.”
“I did collide with a goose. Also, watch for birds.”
“Shut up, Royal,” Justice says under her breath.
“Well,” their boss says, “I’m glad you made it. Now grab a tray. Justice, I need you to grab me a bottle of wine from the cellar.”
“I’ll get to work immediately,” Royal replies, then turns to Justice with a grin. Justice rolls her eyes and walks past them.