Chapter XIV: The local tavern and its special menu
The two arrived at a tavern; “The Local Tavern”. “A rather uncreative name for a tavern, if you ask me.” The first impression was not as mind-blowing as the other first impressions the boy had had since he came into this strange world. After all, the tavern the two visited looked like any other wooden house he had seen in this city with the exception of a sign in front of it, bearing the name of the restaurant. “They could have thought of a better name, I give you that, but just wait until you had their steaks. You will thank me later.” “I have to admit, just the thought of eating real, not genetically modified meat is mouthwatering.”
They headed inside the building and in it where they were greeted by a big fireplace in the middle of the room providing warmth to the few patrons eating and drinking there. “Greetings. Pick a table, Lotta is gonna tend to you soon.” Following the invitation, the boy followed Raina to a table further back in the room, where they could have a little privacy; in case Johann had questions.
He took a good look around the tavern and after all, he found himself impressed yet again. Like in the Borsheim’s shed, the walls where covered in various shields, swords and axes; one looking rougher and more badass than the one before it. Every weapon appeared to have been used in battle before and it seemed as if every sword and every hammer, every murdering device, had its own story to tell. “So, what is the story behind those weapons on the walls?” “Oh that is a tradition for our people. Basically, if there is a war of a big battle of some sort, they gather the weapons of every warrior that fights in the battle and dies for his home. It is a great honor to be remembered in your local tavern.” “Wow. You people really love fighting and battles.” “Our whole culture revolves around it, many times I wish it was different, but I can’t change my people.” The atmosphere of the conversation had suddenly gotten gloomy and since the boy had no idea how to react, he just went with the first thing that came to mind: “At least it makes for cool decoration, I guess.” The girl realized, that she had made it difficult for him to respond without sounding ignorant since he had never seen real combat and she came to the conclusion to just leave it at that.
“So what do you want to eat? I think I will go with a normal steak today.” “I have no idea what the menu is; I think I will just pick the same as you.” Just in this moment a waitress arrived, took their orders and a little later they already gotten their meals. A huge piece of meat, medium grilled, so soft it almost dissolves on one’s tongue when chewing. Only being used to genetically modified meat that tasted like someone had taken wet cardboard-boxes and seasoned them with artificial spices, the taste of this fresh juicy steak felt like being in trance. For a moment his body went completely numb and he forgot how to speak. After a few more bites and taking the time to process the flood of sensations, he finally noticed the potatoes that accompanied the steak and a mug that had been standing beside his plate this whole time. He grabbed the mug and put it close to his nose to identify its contents by the smell. Carefully swinging the porcelain container in circles revealed that it was a golden brew, the color of ginger ale, with the exception of the white foam on top of the fluid.
“Are you gonna drink that or would you rather shake it a little more?” “I was trying to figure out what this is. I don’t like jumping into something without knowing anything about it.” “You are kidding right now, are you?” The girl smirked as she found the irony amusing and then explained: “This is beer. Don’t tell me, you did not have this back home.” His eyes widened in disbelieve. “Are you serious? This is beer!? I always wondered what it tasted like and why people where so upset when alcohol was banned back then.”
Now the girls eyes widened. No endless wars, death and no alcohol that only made the men long for fighting even more. Slowly Johann’s home began to sound like a better place to live in than the boy made it out to be. She wanted to ask him why alcohol was banned but just assumed that it had to be because of its effect on people and that this could not be healthy, so she just warned him: “Watch it. You never had alcohol, right? You get this to a meal here usually so most people are used to the effect of it and developed a high tolerance. You are definitely gonna get drunk, if you drink this too fast. I am not going to carry you home, boy!” “Okay, I will take it slow. But still, I am excited how it will taste.” He raised the mug to his lips sipped a little of it only to quickly put the mug back down on the table. His facial expression could only mean one thing: Disgusting.
Yet again, the girl burst out in laughter. “How do people like this? Oh my god, it is bitter. It is good this shit was banned.” “I never really understood it myself but you get used to it. Don’t worry there are other kinds of beverages too.” She was relieved that he did not like the beer as this meant that he would most likely not get drunk any time soon and become a nuisance to her.
They continued enjoying the meat and talked about other kinds of food and which they enjoyed the most; teaching each other a little about their homes.