Clove stands confidently, framed by big green leaves and white flowers. They are the alecost flowers.
Clove: Alecost! After the fermentation base.
Pepper puts her hands on her hips.
Pepper: Even though we can’t make magical alcoholic drinks?
Clove puts a finger to her chin.
Clove: Oh. Well, plenty of other things need fermentation. I’m always buying it.
Anise: Pepper, it’s better than anything else you came up with.
Pepper crosses her arms. Anise tenses up, looking the other way. Then there is a panel of the same alecost flower.
Pepper: Not like you had any good names either. So, the Alecost Group it is!
Clove: See ya, Peps, Anise.
Pepper is back in the grocery store, in front of the juice cases.
Lily: More juice?
Pepper looks up at Lily- she was sitting on the floor. Then she stands up, clasping her hands together just below her neck.
Pepper: Yep! I’m working on a second potion, now that Clove has said the first was great. Tomorrow I hear back from the witch council, too, about the business…
Lily is a mix of unhappy and nonplussed.
Lily: You’re going to sell the potions, huh… Burnt yarrow. I don’t believe it.
Pepper tries to look surprised.
Pepper: Yeah… me neither.
Lily holds her hands out in front of her, looking at them.
Lily taps her pointer fingers together, looking to the side.
Lily: Say, can I help? If you can’t make it at some point? I know I’m not as good as you at potions, but…
Pepper: Really? That’d be great. I’ll send you the recipe.
The forest is dark. Priorri sits in zer rock circle.
Priorri: Hey, hey, Pepper. My little renegade witch.
Pepper kneels on one knee, holding out a jar.
Pepper: Hi, Priorri. I have my first two potions. Juice potions, I mean.
Priorri: Ooh! Ooh!
Priorri leans to lick the juice up. Pepper clasps her hands together, holding her breath.
Priorri: MMMMmmm! Yeah! That’s the stuff, kiddo!
Pepper raises her eyebrows.
Priorri’s eyes narrow.
Priorri: I can see it now- you’ll do great. I mean, your sacrifices have always been better than the others…
Pepper covers her eyes with her shirt sleeve. A few tears make it down her cheeks.
We step back and see the whole scene.
Priorri: Hey, hey, don’t cry now. You’ve got a long ways to go.
Pepper: Right. See you next month!
The moon hangs in the sky, not quite full. The stars shine brightly above the trees.
It is night at Pepper’s apartment. The ceiling lights cast a dim glow on Pepper and Anise.
Pepper: So, are the ads out?
Anise sits comfortably at the table. Pepper waters her plants.
Anise: Yep. We have a recruitment poster at the nursery. I asked gyms to put up the ads, too.
Anise turns her attention to another matter. One panel shows a silhouette, with a red bowtie, forcing a drink down another silhouette’s throat.
Anise: Say… a friend said they saw Clove forcing someone to drink the potions a few weeks ago. Back when you were testing it out.
Pepper looks at Anise, grimacing.
Anise: Yeah. I wonder.
Anise sits quietly, waiting.
Pepper looks at her plants.
Pepper: Clove has always been really friendly to us. But it’s true I don’t know her all that well.
Anise looks down.
Anise: I don’t think we should trust her. We can find other ways to test the potions.
The alecost flowers stand tall in the dim light.
Anise crouches, using magic to grow a plant in a big greenhouse. She is in work clothing.
Boss: Hey, Anise-
Anise runs over to where Boss is. Boss is on their hands and knees, looking at the ground.
Anise: What’s wrong?
Boss: Ugh. Ouch.
Anise: What’s wrong?
Boss is sweating, eyes wide.
Boss: I took that orange juice stuff Pepper made, you know? I don’t feel so good.
Anise offers a hand to Boss. Boss looks at it blankly.
Anise: Let’s get you outside.
Boss lays on a towel in the middle of a grove of trees.
Anise: I’ll call Pepper over to assess…
Pepper appears, with a bag.
Pepper: Sweet violet! What happened?
Boss: That rotten orange juice is making my insides squirm.
Pepper sits on the grass, crossing her legs.
Pepper: Huh? But it shouldn’t… I had some myself and it was fine.
Anise: You haven’t been around here in the last week, either.
Boss closes their eyes.
Boss: Some kid gave it to me. I don’t know who. Said she was working with you, Pepper… She came by and asked if I knew you.
Boss puts a hand to their shirt.
Boss:Ooohh! My stomach!
We see inside Pepper’s bag. She has various materials.
She looks down at Boss.
Pepper: Let’s heal you, first. I have my small cauldron. Anise, go get elder berries, alexanders, and meadowsweet. Plus the usual seashore potion base.
Pepper gets out a chopping board and a little wrapper of plants.
Pepper prepares the potion in a small portable cauldron.
Boss stands, stretching out. Anise puts her hands on her hips.
Boss: Whew… that’s much better.
Anise: Pepper, did you give your recipe to someone?
Pepper holds her bag with both hands, frowning.
Pepper: A friend. She’s not as good at potions as me, but this recipe is super easy.
Anise holds her fists close to her chest.
Anise: You don’t think…
A side view of Pepper shows her frowning.
Pepper: I’ll have to talk to her.
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