Once again, in Zaejin

Continuing “Recently, in Zaejin”

It had been a long week. Some would consider collecting data on unknown mushroom species in a hostile environment an epic task with little reward, Tassarion was still pleased. It was time for a well deserved rest. He entered the tavern formerly known as “Turnip Daily”.

“Welcome to Tyri’s Tavern” the barkeeper shouted, snapping out of a state of extended inactivity.

“Kind of empty here, isn’t it?” Tassarion observed, letting his gaze wander around the empty room. “Wasn’t there a lot more business going on just recently?”

“Yes, locals are still getting accustomed to the new Management”. Somehow the room darkened for a moment, as if reacting to something that must not be named.

“Well, I’ll have a Casual Cider, please”, Tassarion ordered, ignoring the signs of impending doom.

“There you go!”, the barkeeper complied, in half the former time and enthusiasm.

Tassarion’s hand stopped slightly short of the glass. “It’s half empty?” he pointed out.

“Half full!” the barkeeper corrected, in what sounded like a well practiced manner.

“Why is it half… full?” Tassarion inquired.

“One of our glasses is cracked. It leaks whenever it gets filled up more then half.”

Tassarion waited for the rest of the joke. It didn’t come. “You didn’t consider replacing the broken glass?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“We want to offer our customers the best experience”, the barkeeper replied as if reciting something learned by heart. “Replacing the glass would have taken longer, so Management decided this approach would serve you best”.

“Okay”, Tassarion grumbled, “in that case I’ll take a Ranked Rum instead”.

The barkeeper shoved a heavy mug towards Tassarion, staying suspiciously out of striking distance.

“This is also half empty!” Tassarion exclaimed. “It’s even made of heavy duty glass, it can’t possibly crack, even if you hit it with a Mountain Crusher!”.

“Uh, yes, but it’s still made of glass”, the barkeeper whinced. “It’s magic! No, science, definitely science! You wouldn’t understand.”

“But I’m still expected to pay the full price, right?” Tassarion figured out, beating previous customers by at least half a drink.

“Yes”, the barkeeper admitted, carefully scanning Tassarion for any lethal weapons suitable for throwing. Seeing none, he continued. “It may look like a price increase, but it really isn’t. If it does look like one, it’s entirely unintentional.”

They both stared at each other for a minute. Tassarion blinked first. “Suppose I came here to enjoy a drink, is there anything that you would recommed?”.

“You’ll want this Arena Ale then!” the barkeeper said, eagerly placing a foaming tankard in front of Tassarion. A full wooden tankard, as Tassarion duly noted.

“Enjoy it while it lasts” the barkeeper added in a low voice, “Management plans to improve the recipe”.