"So this is 'coffee'? How interesting!"
"It's not that interesting, but it's good," Dojima consented, chuckling behind the rim of his mug.
"But it is interesting! To think this bitter drink comes from simple beans…"
Elizabeth was a strange one. Not two months ago Dojima had stumbled upon her in this very café, trying to order a biscuit from the clerk but having no money. Dojima, ever the gentleman, footed the bill for her, unknowingly binding her to him forever.
Since that fateful day Elizabeth came every Thursday without fail, waiting for Dojima's shift to end so they could spend time together in the cozy coffee house. She was endlessly curious, and the twinkle in her eye reminded him so much of Nanako.
Still, she was a very strange woman indeed. He could remember their first conversation as if it were yesterday…
"So, what do you do for a living?"
"Yeah. What kind of job do you have?"
She raised a hand to her lips in thought, looking as if she was asked to solve a particularly hard equation. "Oh, I understand! I serve Master Igor in the Velvet Room."
"The Velvet Room?" Dojima questioned. "Never heard of it."
Elizabeth's face morphed into her standard cheery smile. "Oh, I doubt that you would have. It's very small. It's located on Tatsumi Port Island, actually! There's one here too, where my sister Margaret works."
Dojima frowned. He'd lived in Inaba nearly his whole life; how could he have not known of it? "In Inaba? Where?"
"Just a couple blocks from here, if I am not mistaken! Beside the Yomenaido Bookstore."
"Ah. Right…" It became clear to him that Elizabeth was not local, and had likely only come here to visit her sister. That was the only explanation for her incorrect statement, unless all of the stress from work was getting to him. He doubted it was the latter, though. "Do you enjoy it? Your job at the Velvet Room, I mean."
Elizabeth's eyes softened a little, her smile never faltering. "I do, quite a lot. We don't get many visitors, but those that do come by are very special to me."
"So, Ryotaro. What can you teach me about this evening? I would love to hear more about your career in detecting."
Dojima broke into boisterous laughter, setting his coffee down heavily to avoid spilling it. "Not detecting, but I am a detective. A kind of police officer, you could say. It might be a little confusing, but I'll explain it to you. Did you ever hear about the kidnappings that happened in Inaba not too long ago…?"