Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Nexterie 8: Refectory

Mirrored from Sythyry.

I scampered forth, an eager bunch of dragon heads, and followed the recipe. The third door on the left opened onto the mess room, a small rectangular room with rounded corners, with four metal tables and sixteen mushroom-shaped stools bolted to the floor, and a grille and a slot upon the wall, and a badger and a ghost on two mushrooms. I spoke the required phrase to the grille. It responded, “Dr̻o̐mmu pson̑tie̛ v̕h͕͒e͖nc.” in buzzy tones. «Language» said that the incantation «Cuisine» had told me was “May I have the condiment assortment with the stew please“, and the answer was “Coming up in a moment, please“.

“By Ghorsam’s ironic earplugs, it’s Tllith, emerged from the virulent virtue-violating embraces of Vong, and speaking in some lunky limulent language! How are you feeling, Tllith?” called Hditr.

“Hi, Hditr and Eric! I think I’m sane again. Hungry, though. I wonder if that’s a side effect of «Cuisine».”

Hditr snorted, “More like a side effect of sleeping for a week. I want to ask you, is that what happened the other time you got a domain sigil?”

I shook my left head, on the advice of «Language». “No, I just talked a lot. That’s not too unusual. Also I got the sigil tatooed in six sessions. It wasn’t such a shock”

Hditr nodded her furry head back. “Slow as a slug in syrup. They say that’s the route to sanity. Quick as a quacking quasit, that’s to get the most power, and boiled bollocks to your brain, right?”

“That seems about right so far,” I admitted. Chitinous appendages pushed a metal tray through the slot. I took it in two mouths, and carried it to Hditr and Eric’s table. It was not a dragon-height table. I had to rear up on four legs to get the tray onto it. Hditr grabbed it with one hand, which I appreciated even if I’m quite sure it wouldn’t have spilled.

I crouched and leapt onto one of the mushrooms Eric gave me an odd look. “Hey there, Tllith. There’s a pedal to make it go up and down, you know.”

“I don’t know!”

“The way you were getting your food and speaking the local lingo to the steward, I thought you’d been on one of these boats before,” he said.

“«Cuisine» and «Language». I’m cheating totally with magic all over,” I said, and started slicing up hard ship’s biscuits with my claws and and otherwise following the recipe.

Eric said, “Oh, right. I’m still not used to magic. I have an easier time thinking of this as some super-advanced spaceship with a high technology food replicator.”

“Nope. We’re in the mucking multiverse of magic, and that’s the ship’s spidersen steward Ghomfuu back in the galley, picking hard-as-halite biscuits out of a wooden box and reheating this stinking slumgummery stew on a spirit lamp,” said Hditr. She ate a spoonful of it with a sigh.

I tasted it. It was bland and inoffensive, a thick slurry of lentils and carrots and onions and tomatoes, rounded out with marjoram and bay and red wine. “It’s not that bad, but the mustard and vinegar help a lot.”

“How the humping halloon did you rate mustard and vinegar? Hey, can I have the pepper sauce if you’re not going to have it?” she said.

“Well, I just asked for it, in the right language. Maybe the steward doesn’t speak Ilmalang. Go ahead on the sauce, but…” I started.

“I’ll just do the dousing deed right away!” She snagged the bowl of honey-catsup, upended it onto her stew, and stirred it in in an instant, and took a spoonful. “Oh, sexually-swinging swine! It’s sweet sauce, not pepper sauce!”

“… it’s not pepper sauce,” I finished.

“Finger-fucking fangflayers, it’s not pepper sauce! Why didn’t you tell me that earlier, while I was grabbing it off your tray and interrupting you just like a jaspered jout so you couldn’t tell me?”

“Not a good combination?” asked Eric.

“Ginger gum and gargled gammon is not a good combination. This is a downright bad combination,” said Hditr. She ate a second spoonful, with a pitiable expression on her face and considerable mock effort choking it down.

“Behold the power of «Cuisine»!” I cried, and cast the mightiest food-spell I had ever seen cast. Also the second food-spell I had ever seen cast. From the luminance of my magic the catsup oozed out of the stew and poured back into the cup it had come from.

“Ooh, I behold, I behold like a believing badger babe! That’s a timely trick,” said Hditr. “Could you score some of that vinegar from our scorpionistic spidersen steward for me?”

“Sure,” I said, and gobbled two more bites of stew and softened biscuits with each head before hopping down off the mushroom and speaking a «Language»-translated incantation in whatever heavily-inflected tongue that was to the steward. In a moment I returned to Hditr with tots of mustard and vinegar.

“Well, thank you kindly, dragon! You’re worth your pay, sure!” she said.

“You’re not paying me,” I noted.

“Well, fine. You’re worth the occasional oscillatingly-orgasmed gift, then. Happy? Who eats catsup with lentil stew, any-the-fuck-how? Or caramel syrup, by Rogalia’s rogering rodents?”

I lifted one head from the stew to ask my domains, and answered Hditr with, “Savory stews with sweet sauces are characteristic of the Bunfi — or Bun̮phíd͖a̦la̯̽ if you want to please them by saying it right — cuisine.”

“Wonder wicks, and thank you kindly. Where are the Bum-fucks, and how do I stay the food-fearing firefarts out of their restaurants?” asked Hditr.

“I have no idea,” I said. “Neither of my domains is that good with geography.” (It turned out that Bunfi are one of the main ethnic groups on Ixange, and there was nothing in the least surprising about an Ixange-based world-ship serving it.)

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