“Isn’t that the Japanese way?” Bayani asked.
“Not exclusively,” Himeko told him. “It could be anybody’s way, if they cared enough. Plenty of other cultures do things with the amount of detail that we do. We are simply the ones with the reputation for it.”
The subject quickly changed to what was for dinner. A different barmaid was soon sent over, this one a little older than the ones who had been pestering Bayani. She did not seem to care that he looked exotic, like the others had, and was not impressed by the warm tone of his skin, nor his accent. Neither did she seem to like that fact that none of them ordered alcohol to go with their food. It seemed to hold up their story about having limited funds, though, so they paid no mind when she walked away grumbling about cheap guests.
“We could have ordered ale,” Himeko noted, “and they never would have batted an eye.”
“That was pretty common in medieval times,” Cerys told her. “I don’t think Professor Harrison would have liked talking about it, but a lot of us looked it up on our own.”
“The old dirty water explanation,” Peter said. “I wonder how the water here is.”
“Well, there was clean water in the pitcher upstairs, so I am feeling hopeful,” Cerys said.
“This realm doesn’t seem so bad,” Bayani added. “Aside from the flirtatious girls, it seems like it has all the nature of the Middle Ages without so much of the bad things.”
“Well, that and the lack of consent in coming here,” Peter reminded him. “Besides, Earth had the Black Plague, and right now I’m not seeing a lot of difference between that and these noir beasts.”
“Not being able to go out at night is kind of a problem,” Bayani admitted.
“I don’t even know how good the medicine here is,” Peter added. “The second someone suggests leeches or blood-letting, I’m out.”
“I won’t argue with you there,” Cerys told him.
“Maybe I should order some cider,” Bayani said suddenly.
All eyes went to him.
“You’re kidding, right?” peter asked him, grimacing at the thought of it.
“Why not?” he replied, looking his boyfriend in the eyes. “Then it will be easy for you to take advantage of me.”
Peter looked taken aback, and then shook his head hopelessly. “I cannot talk to you when you are like this. Can your jokes at least be tasteful?”
“You’re right,” Bayani said with a wink. “You cannot take advantage of the willing.”
“Seriously…” Peter began, groaning. Then he looked into Bayani’s puppy-dog eyes and sighed. “Have all the cider you want, but I’m not having this conversation out here.”
“Fermented apples, fermented grapes,” Bayani began.
“Fermented potatoes, grain, and sugar cane,” Cerys added for him.
“Why should I drink any of that silly stuff?”
Peter bit his lip in order to keep from smiling. “You are silly enough as you are.”
“Stop that, stop that, it’s tooooooooo silly!” Cerys called out suddenly.