The tavern looked like a simple pub. Seriously! Nothing out of the ordinary. Inside there was a bar, surrounded by high stools and a couple of massive wooden tables and. Everything looked cozy and clean. Several people were munching some food from plates of clay. I made my way to the table closest to the fireplace and put my spear against the wall. Immediately I was approached by a cute snub waitress in some old-fashioned dress. I can't even describe it really. I understand less about women's clothing than I do about types of snakes.
"Two pints of dark beer, spicy chicken wings, and some bread."
"Right away." The girl shot me a glance and sailed away towards the kitchen seductively moving her hips... I couldn't really tell if they were swaying or not, because those hips were mesmerizing!
"You made it!"
I was joined by the raid leader, who was crushed under a piano not so long ago.
"How do you like the town?"
"Well nobody's trying to kill me. The people are friendly! I even got robbed!"
"I hope they didn't get away with any valuables."
Suddenly I noticed my bag crawling in, all bloody and gleaming with satisfaction. At the same time, the waitress appeared with our beers and placed them in front of us.
"This is what he got away with," I pointed out the crawling bag to Morgen, 'Well, let's drink to their memory!"
We drank. Wooow, Momma! Chocolate stout! This is what heaven tastes like!
"Can I sneak a peak?" my companion nodded in the direction of the bloody bag.
"Sure, but it's safer if I do it." I pulled the bag away under the table, so as not to scare away the customers, and produced the Head. Morgen starred at Freak-head. Freak-Head starred back and suddenly smiled, baring a hundred razor-sharp teeth. Morgen leaped back, unsheathing his sword and flipping the table in panic.
"He's no Motherfucker, he's Freakhead. My friend and comrade in arms. And garbage disposal. Don't worry, he's great. And it seems that he's paying for our party today!" I added when I saw a heavy purse fall out from his jaws.
"I believe you," Morgen exhaled, rearranged our table, and gulped down the rest of his drink.
"Where did you get him?"
"It's a long story, I'll tell you later."
Right then, the waitress sailed into view, handing me my plate of chicken wings and bread. The tortillas were superb (especially after a diet of raw meat), but the wings disappointed me.
"Pretty girl!" I slipped the waitress a coin, she rewarded me with a quick glance, 'Call the innkeeper! I'm gonna teach him how to fry chicken wings!"
A fat man with a huge bushy mustache lumbered out of the kitchen and exclaimed: 'How can I be of service, my lords!"
"I need access to the kitchen, a shit-tonne of chicken, the biggest frying pan you got and another pint of this fabulous beer!', I handed him a fistful of coins, 'I am about to demonstrate an ancient recipe! Morgen, you stay here, I'm off to build my appetizer empire! And call your friends, I've got my mind set on having a heck of a time."
Having said this, I confidently strode in the direction of the kitchen. It turned out to be quite alright: I was somewhat afraid there would be some sort of high-tech setup, but I was relieved to see a reasonably normal steam-punk kitchen and a disgruntled cook, who definitely wasn't happy about my intrusion.
"Martha, our venerable guest was just ...
"My dear sweet Martha. I'm deeply sorry for visiting unannounced" I quickly started pushing the innkeeper outside. 'I want to give my friends a taste of an ancient recipe of my family. It's over three hundred years old, I mean the recipe is. And it's never been cooked in this reality before! I am once again referring to the recipe. So all I need from you is a little help and permission to organize my own fixer-upper in your kitchen."
The lady gave me a warm smile... Only on the third time around.
"And what does the esteemed gentleman require?"
"Chicken legs, chicken wings, or any other meat you got, and, please, show me your assortment of spices."
I was pointed toward a large cupboard. After some time of digging around, I managed to find soy sauce, hops, and black pepper. Just what the doctor ordered. It looks like the developers didn't burden themselves with creating new freakish fantasy flavors, which made my job a lot easier. Suddenly my attention was drawn to a small tightly closed jar containing a bright red powder.
"What have we have here, Martha-girl?"
"Careful, milord! That's an alchemical ingredient! We use it to..."
But I already had a taste.
"Daaaaamn... Helluva kick..." Tears burst out of my eyes in small rivers, and I coughed out several small jets of flame. I gulped down the rest of my beer, and all was well.
OK, let's get kicking. I snatched a large bowl and mixed the stuff I found together. After some experiments, I deduced that the Alchemy pepper reacts the way it does only when in contact with saliva, so I lavishly threw it in as well. After that - several tablespoons of flour for density. I didn't need breading. It just had to be thick enough not to drain off the meat. In the meantime, the cook finished cutting up the chicken.
I dipped the first helping into the sauce and threw it onto a heated and oiled pan. In a few minutes, my eyes began to water mercilessly, and I could tell that my dish was just the right kind of spicy.
The hall of the tavern was already getting overcrowded. I managed to find my way back to my seat and saw a short, stocky man, brandishing a huge ax behind his belt and a no less impressive beard, who was seated in front of me.
"Fillin, or normally Oleg, Pleased to meet ya!" I reached out to greet the dwarf.
"Bulldozer, normally Ivan." - he clasped my hand, and I felt a pitiful crunch.
"Hey! A fellow compatriot! The appetizers are inbound, how about you and me see if the posterity hasn't forgotten how to hold their liquor?"
"Gladly! Let's see how the Ancestors used to party! Innkeep! Bring us your finest Dwarfish Vodka!"
I accepted the bottle he brought handed the owner of the tavern a dozen gold coins and asked if it was enough to ensure that all the guests the time of their lives.
"Of course, milord. I'll immediately give the necessary instructions. Having said this, he scurried off in the direction of the kitchen.
"Well..." - I exclaimed pouring the vodka into shot glasses - "Let me teach you, my young friend" - I dropped the shots into paints of beer - 'the art of consuming Morra Grogg."
The dwarf's eyes bulged in amazement.
"Go on! Bottoms up! Or don't you respect me?!"
We drank in front of an impressed audience, followed up with some chicken wings and exhaled two jets of flame in sync!
"Have fun, gents! My name's Oleg Fillin, and today I'm celebrating my rebirth!"
After a fourth beer or so I catch myself telling a story.
"So there I was three hundred years ago applying to my University, the Bauman State, and I couldn't pick a faculty. It's sort of interesting in one, the other offers room and board, and in the third, you are assigned to a science paper right upon admission. You see back then I was sure that I would grow up to be an engineer or a scientist. But finally all my doubts and second thoughts were laid to rest by this guy near the admission board, who seemed to be suffering from Turrete's syndrome and said the following:
"C-c-c-come on! FUCK! You can join the R-r-r-r DICK Robotics and C-c-c-c-CUNT Complex Automation!"
He didn't even need to ask me twice, I was sold. So that's how I satrted to dabble in Dick robotics and Cunt complexes!"
The audience exploded in laughter.
Another pint and I'm demonstrating FreakHead. Predictably everybody rushed for their weapons, but before shit hits the fan, I manage to pour half a bottle of vodka into my comrade. He wriggled free and tentatively wobbled across the table and chased his drink down with an empty beer bottle. The crowd buzzed with respect.
My head's all fuzzy. Somebody invited musicians.
At the head of the table, Ivan was ranting on to a bunch of onlookers sometimes bursting with emotion and waving around his pint.
"So her Pops, right, he's stands there and says to me: "You, hic, are a worthless mangy jerkoff, and that's all you'll ever be. So go on get your ass outta here!" So that's wuh-what I did. Stricken with grief, I enlisted my sorry ass, and that's how I got into the Robotic Airforce Division.
After the second African campaign I came back a hero, you guys remember that shitstorm, right? Well after our RAD boys and the ecologists were done with the place, there was nothing left but vegetation and animals. Any-hic-way, so I'm back in Ustyug, and my brothers-in-arms gave me a hand with this next part. So they dropped me out of the stratosphere in my "Petrel" right in front of her house. In case you don't know it's a one-hundred-tonne-battle mech. Plus the comm guys back on the mothership owed me a favor, so they hic tinkered a bit with the ship's commlink, so I was able to boom my own love poems through the ship's sonic suppression modules! Haha-Hic! I blew out all the windows in the entire district!! So her Dad, right, walks out of the house, the fucking nerd that he is, with his head held high. Our legendary stand-off was ruined by the sight of his knees trembling and the shitstains on his trousers! And my Mary ran past him to greet me. I warned her about my secret operation in advance. So when I crashed out of orbit she hid in a bath full of water and waited for my poetry to blow -hic over. So out she runs, in just her nighty on top of her wet and beautiful body. I snatch her up on my shoulder, salute her Dad, jump back inside the cockpit and blast off straight back to the orbital base. It took nearly half my annual bonus to compensate the neighbors! We were married that same day! Right in orbit! And eventually here Dad turned out fine, sure he was playing the smarty pants, but as soon as we had a son all that grim facade melted away!"
Well, posterity sure knows how to have a hell of a time.
Another blackout, and now I'm dancing with the waitress on one of the tables.
In the yard, a group of people is playing soccer with a panicking chicken. FreakHead is in goal, covered in blood and feathers.
Morgenhand and his friends organized a log throwing contest.
Somebody got a beating.
The Prof is drinking some green and glowing beverage and is joyously going on about a unique historical find and the grand perspectives of the potential insights. I barely pieced together that he was talking about me.
The same Prof is now under the table fraternizing with FreakHead and letting him drink the liquid from his cup. My monstrous Head's eyes roll around, and he begins munching down chicken wings and burping fire. The Professor is so happy that he gives FreakHead his spectacles.
Now I'm in the Town Square, and I'm going on about the unity of the working class and the peasants, and I was actively urging the townsfolk to overthrow the unjust local regime.
The Prof backs me up, waving around his beer cup with speeches about a bright communist future appealing to a bunch of historical facts and fictions.
Baron Zagrald's elite guard and death squads are defending the castle against a full-blown siege.
The Baron is now tied up in front of me. He's a stumpy dumpy dude, and his face is covered in scars and as I am explaining to him the mechanics of planned economy surrounded by a battery of empty bottles he's eyes begin to glow with an unhealthy enthusiasm.
I announce the Baron to be the new General Secretary, and I topped my speech off with another round of unity of the working class and the peasants. I almost feel the gravitational pull of Karl Marx is spinning in his grave.
A sensual whisper in my ear, an ardent body slipped into my arms.
A run through the town...
A warm bed and the crazy primal dance of two bodies intertwined in heated ecstasy.
My awakening was very pleasant. A head of curly ginger hair was snuggled up to my cheek. A thigh was thrown over my stomach. And no signs of a hangover whatsoever. I'm liking this place more and more by the minute. But I think I'm repeating myself. What happened yesterday? I'm able to piece together just bits and pieces. The girl next to me stirred awake and quickly smooched me in my cheek and neck. Well, when it comes to adventures, I'm always feeling up to them. The blanket slipped down to the floor. After assessing the situation, the girl slowly began relocating her kisses lower. OOookay, I decide I'm gonna settle down in this town.
At this moment the door into my room creaked slightly ajar and from behind it peeked a humungous head with a black shovel-like beard. The uninvited guest looked around, put a finger to his lips, and disappeared, closing the door behind him.
In fifteen minutes, the girl gave me another kiss on the cheek, draped herself in some sheets and slipped out of my room. On her way down the stairs, I heard her say a loving "Hi, Dad." I quickly put two and two together, located my pants, and started to get dressed. The door swung open, and the owner of the head stuffed himself through the doorframe. In his hands, he held a hammer a little smaller than me.
'So what's your name, my dear man?"
"Fillin, nice to meet you!" - I put my arm forward in a greeting gesture.
The blacksmith shook my arm but wasn't keen on letting go. There came a quiet crunch. I counted several fractures. My guest gave me a remorseful glanсe and said:
"You're fucked, Fillin."
He jerked me towards himself while raising the hammer above his head. I pulled back leaving a fistful of freshly sprouted owl feathers in his grasp. The hammer barely missed my face. I lounge to the window, but Vakula manages to cut me off. I begin to panic. Another swing of the hammer just misses my knee. I dodge towards the door but get cornered again. I evade another blow, latch onto the ceiling and start scuttering away like a cockroach. The blacksmith's blow greases my chest and sends me flying into a wall. I'm gonna be turned into raspberry jam now.
I kick Vakula in the groin, roll over his back as he doubles over and smash into the window with my shoulder. Pieces of broken glass pierce my skin. Freedom!
I run through vaguely familiar streets only to hear a roar of anger behind me. I swear it better suited a full-grown grizzly than a man. While on my morning jog, I begin to notice that the passersby are smiling joyously and waving at me. I seem to have killed enough brain cells yesterday to omit the reason why my reputation is "Friendly" left and right. I don't even have my cape on!
Here's the tavern. What I see makes me trip, and I'm nearly sent flying face-first into the pavement in amazement.
The sign with the horned donkey is gone. In its stead, there's a huge bright red transparant with the likes of Stalin, Putin and Che Gevara. A crossed hammer and sickle of gigantic size are nailed to the face of the building. And a short, concise sign underneath saying "Revolutionary HQ."
Just as I was finished trying to comprehend the view in front of me, my knees were pierced by two crossbow bolts.
And as I collapsed to the ground, the last thing I heard was a loud "In the Name of The Holy Inquisition!"