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"We have the tastiest tea and the craziest company in all of New York City and Wonderland combined. Ladles and Jelly spoons, Toys and Swirls, I'd like to welcome you to 'The Mad Hatter's Tea House'!" Luna announced with a huge grin pulling at the corner of her painted lips as she bowed deeply at the waist. In one hand, she held her tattered old top hat, a present from an old friend of hers, and in the other was a cane made of rusty tea spoons that balanced a tea cup on the end.
People of all ages had crowed and crammed themselves in the small tea house for the grand opening, having read good reviews in the papers from a few columnists who'd been given the privilege of sampling the woman's wares. They were all seated around large, flat topped writing desks which had some form of riddle painted on top of it. 'Why is a raven like a writing desk?', 'How doth the little crocodile improve it's shining tail?' or 'The more of me you have, the less of the world you see. What am I?'. While the members of the public drank up and chatted, a few tried to answer them while others took in the whole shop.
The roaring fireplace on the west wall staved off the coldness that jumping Jack Frost had brought with him and hanging above the large grey mantle, there hung a tapestry which depicted some great war unknown to all. The Eastern wall was filled with four bookshelves that went from the ceiling to the floor, each filled to the point of overflowing with old, musty smelling books though a friendly caution warned people from touching them. Further back was a small platform where the woman had stood, large pillows lining the space.
As the eccentric looking owner straightened herself out again, her long mahogany coloured curls flipped behind her shoulders, cascading down her back like a waterfall. After running a hand through to straighten them out, she tossed her hat into the air. Many kept a close eye on it, watching as it fell and flipped until it landed on her head, settling at an almost impossible angle. Unknown to her, someone was watching the familiar parlour trick.
Sat at the very back, closer to the door than the small stage in the corner, was an old friend of the unhinged woman. This friend knew everything depicted in the woven masterpiece above the fire as he'd fought in it himself. As he watched her, so comfortable in this strange new world of hers, he couldn't help but smile. She hadn't change much from the young girl he had grown up with.
Adjusting the brown hat on his head, so a shadow covered his face, he carried on watching from the back.
"Now, as this is the official opening, I'd like to have a chance to win you all over so everybody's first cup is completely free, a present from me to you. Those who are wearing hats tonight will also receive any treat of their choice." she explained, causing the Hatter at the back of the room to grin beneath the rim of his hat. If there was one thing that he couldn't resist,in that world or theirs, was her baking. That woman knew how to make a good cake so without a moment's hesitation, he began to peruse the menu in search of anything that could wash it down.
"Calming Chamomile. Joyful Jasmine. Elderberry Excitement. Pomegranate Pick-me-up. Lemon Lift-me-up. Honey Happiness. Raspberry Relaxation. Cranberry Courage. Orange Optimism. A Cranberry Chaos and Blueberry Banana Bliss Twist. Mmm." he mumbled to himself. Though it took him a few minutes, he finally managed to settle on what he wanted. Once the waitress had scuttled off to place his order, he settled back to watch the woman who, in the time it had taken him to choose, had gathered all of the children in the shop around her. Each one perched on a large pillow, looking up at her with bright eyes as she sat on the 'stage', her legs crossed.
The way her eyes shimmered as she told long forgotten stories from their home world made him smile while he ate and drank. She hadn't changed in the slightest bit, despite everything that they'd been through. Luna had managed to keep a tight hold of her childish innocence, remaining every bit of the child he'd always known.
Once he'd finished, he carefully raised from his seat and left.
After everyone had gone, she wandered around the shop that she'd managed to get her hands on after stepping into this new world but, on the table at the very back, a black smudge caught her eye.
How doth the little crocodile improve it's shining tail?
It pours the waters of the Nile on every golden scale.