Result 10 – Part 3

Confused and with no specific plan now, you figure you should think about what you’re going to do for dinner. You don’t really want to have to resort to your snacks; you could try out one of those other eateries that you discovered earlier. Then you remember that you wanted to try the first food place that you found yesterday during the day, to see if it’s any less busy. But now, after your experiences so far, you’re almost certain it’s also going to be another horrific experience. Three out of three so far; do you really want to make four? Are you willing to risk it for the sake of science and so as to not miss an opportunity? Or is the risk too high?

A reckless haze comes over you; at this point, you feel like a grizzled veteran and it can’t get any worse; if it goes badly it’s just more of the same, but if it goes well, that would be a pleasant surprise.

Feeling defiant, you retrace your steps back to the high street and locate the shop. There are a few people waiting in line, but it’s nowhere near as busy as it was last night. When you finally have your order and take a bite, you almost laugh at how bad it is. Except you’re too busy crumpling up your face and trying not to wretch to do that. You can’t even tell if it’s worth the extra money in comparison to the other shop. But, you tried it, hated it, and you will not regret never knowing for sure. As before, you eat what you can and leave the rest. Then you leave the place, vowing never to set foot there again. Again, you’re starting to feel a little nauseous, and your earlier feeling of recklessness has been replaced. Why can’t these people just make decent food and stop causing you to waste so much money?! You decide to go back to the hotel to sleep it off and mope in peace.

Just as you make your way into the lobby of Slaryn House, you run into Ameronis who is on her way out. She takes one look at your annoyed face and chuckles.

“What happened this time?”

You announce that Derna can’t cook and she laughs.

“Ah, still no luck? That’s too bad. Here; why don’t you come out with me? We can check out that bar you mentioned and see if Derna is as bad at producing drinks as they are at producing food.”

You have nothing better to do and you hadn’t considered judging the drinks, so you agree to tag along but decide to first change your outfit for the approaching evening.

Later, the two of you find yourselves in Josey’s bar, a slightly cramped little place on one of the side streets just off the main high street. It’s relatively busy despite how early it still is, but you don’t get any concerning vibes from the place; it’s clean and tidy, nicely decorated, has a large warm fire burning, and the serving staff seem friendly. Producing the leaflet, you step up to the bar to order a drink. The leaflet only entitles you to one discounted drink, but seeing Ameronis, the bartender; a stocky man with short salt and pepper hair, stern brown eyes, and a mostly white, neatly trimmed moustache, who refers to her as ma’am, and turns out to be Josey himself, offers her a discount as well. She gives him a regal smile and thanks him, then asks him to suggest what drinks you might enjoy. He suggests a few, and you both end up with a couple of drinks each. Ameronis notably opts for drinks that have low or no alcohol in them. You decide to try one with and one without.

Inside Josey’s

The powerful essence of your first drink blasts you in the face the second before you take your first sip, and the strong fizz hits you as well the second after. Rust-coloured and with a gentle foam, it’s ice-cold and has a very intense flavour; fruity and full-bodied. It’s actually really good. At least Derna has this going for them.

You take a sip of your other drink. It’s not as fizzy as the first but it too has a strong flavour and is sweet and spicy. It’s also quite nice and comes in a larger serving than the first. Already you’re starting to feel a bit better.

Ironically, it’s Ameronis’s turn to get a less-than-ideal experience; she describes her drinks as weak and bland, with both of them being more savoury than sweet. She does like the emerald-green colour of one of them though.

Hearing that you enjoy your drink but Ameronis does not enjoy hers, Josey offers her a small free sample of the spicy fruit juice that you have. She graciously accepts his offer and she too enjoys this beverage. She refuses to allow him to swap her drinks for this one without charge though; he’s already been too kind.

You continue to sip your drinks and listen as Josey talks to Ameronis and makes polite conversation; asking if you’re both from out of town, how long you’re staying, and what you think of the place so far. Ameronis tells him that you’re staying for a while and are just trying to get the feel of the place but have been struggling to find decent food so far.

Josey immediately suggests that you try some of the shops on the high street including the one that you went to earlier today, but you are quick to blurt out that the food in those places does not sit well with you

He thinks for a moment and suggests that, if you don’t like Erclean food, you should definitely look for food outside of this area; the high street goes through the Erclean Quarter, an area with a high population of people from some distant land called Er Clee. As a result, many of the food shops here specialise in their cuisine, but it’s not for everyone.

Your mind flicks back to the other eateries you saw earlier; maybe there IS hope for them after all. You thank him for the advice and make a note of two other food places he suggests for you.

You mentioned that you went to see the Bloodlines play earlier. Ameronis asks how it went and Josey snorts; Ameronis looks between the two of you and asks if it’s that bad; Josey says that he’s never seen it but a couple of the actors, loud and annoying, have been stopping by periodically and he would prefer they didn’t, though he won’t talk about them much more than that. You wonder which ones he could be referring to.

Ameronis asks you for your opinion of the play. You finish your first drink, move back to the second, and attempt to summarise the play and your thoughts about the performance. It wasn’t good but, it wasn’t… bad? It was definitely… “entertaining”, although probably for the wrong reasons. And you don’t want to get started on all of the plot holes and nonsensical elements. But you do, and within five minutes, the two of you are in a fit of giggles as you attempt to unravel the mysteries of the story. You’re feeling pretty great right now.

Josey continues attending to the other patrons as necessary but pops in to dismiss the play more each time he hears another plot hole that you bring up. He offers to refill your first drink but you decline. You still have a little of the second one left.

Afterwards, seeing as the play isn’t to his liking, you ask him what he does for entertainment when he’s not working. He laughs somewhat nervously and suggests that the things that he would find entertaining would certainly not be the kinds of things that you, refined, high-class ladies, would be interested in. You wonder how refined he would consider you to be if he knew about your camping out in the wilderness, fighting bandits on the road and beating up thieves in alleyways.

Ameronis attempts to convince him that she’s seen and done a lot in her time and is always looking for new things and that people or activities that aren’t always considered squeaky-clean tend to be the most entertaining, but he insists that you both would be better off looking for entertainment elsewhere. Ameronis looks at Josey.

“Josey, my dear, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of brawls, brothels, and back alleys.”

You notice that Josey turns a little red but Ameronis continues.

“But fine; will you at least tell me if there is a decent place to play cards around here? I do like a good game of chance.”

Josey recovers as he thinks for a moment. There is a rival bar nearby (which he encourages you not to buy drinks from), that frequently hosts a bunch of people who drink and gamble most nights. He warns that the stakes are usually quite high, but they tend to be a relatively friendly bunch despite that, and how rowdy the place usually is. They tend to only meet up later in the evenings though. He gives her the name and location of the bar on one of his own business cards. She takes it and thanks him.

Looking over it, she casually mentions to you, loud enough for him to hear, that she is considering checking out The Pit later tonight; perhaps if she can get enough money from this new place, she can bet on some of the fights. Josey immediately looks horrified.

“If you have a good eye, you can easily make a small fortune. Unless they’re fixing the fights of course.” She turns to Josey. “Do you know anything about The Pit?”

He stares at her, opening and closing his mouth like a fish before stammering.

“Well, I… I don’t know about match-fixing… It seems pretty regulated from what I can tell…”

Ameronis claps her hands together.

“Great! Even better” she turns back to you. “You get less money from regulated fights, but it makes it easier to figure out who you should bet on. And, regulated fights are much less likely to let fighters go too far; it’s always a shame to see such strong and handsome young men get beaten to a bloody pulp, or even killed in some cases… Well, it looks like I’ve got my evening planned!”

Josey looks somewhere between defeated and amused.

Glancing out of the window at the slowly fading light, Ameronis thinks for a moment.

“You said you didn’t eat properly at that place? How ’bout we go and grab something from one of the new places, then go check out “Stardust” for a while?”

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