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October 10, 312 H. E., an hour before sunset

Land of Fools, Cross-Domain Terrain


“Sauerkraut Soup” Inn

Carte Du Jour:

All prices are indicated in standard soldos (1/100 of the gold sovereign).


Vodka Ordinary (100 gram) – 2 sol.

Vodka Ordinary (1 liter) – 20 sol.

Chianti Ordinary (1 liter) – 10 sol.

Vodka “Crystalline” Artifacts-Infused (1 liter) – 30 sol.

Pale Ale (Jug) – 2 sol.

Dark Beer (Jug) – 2 sol.

Fungal Ale Craft Brewed (Jug) – 4 sol.

Kvass (Jug) – 1 sol.

Coffee Freshly Brewed (Demitasse) – 1 sol.


Jellied Vampiric Tentacles in Aspic Au Jus Gourmet Style – 2 sovereigns.

Spermatic Ventricle of Malignant Pimpled Wart Hog Stuffed with Green Cabbage – 1 sovereign 50 sol.

Creacle Stewed with Carrot Chernobyl Style – 60 sol.

Meat Balls Eupeptic – 4 sol.

Chanakhs from Pikachu with Fresh Vegetables – 45 sol.

Slowpoke’s Flesh with Dumplings – 40 sol.

Barbecue Fleshy (Flesh IIQ < 70) – 20 sol. per brochette

Barbecue Fleshy (Flesh IIQ > 70, Flesh Legalized) – 40 sol. per skewer

Barbecue Fleshy (Flesh IIQ > 70, Flesh Smuggled) – 50 sol. per skewer + negotiable with management

Azu from Meat Cuttings – 10 sol.

Cheese from Incubator’s Milk “Maternal” – 3 sol.

Fungal Potato Fried – 3 sol.

Sauerkraut Soup Ordinary – 3 sol.

Sauerkraut Soup Extra Ordinary – 6 sol.

Vegetables Served on Separate Dish – 2 sol.

Cherry Plum Sauce – 1 sol.

Walnut Sauce – 1 sol.


Fuck-Headed Wood Pecker, Lactic, Denigrated in Charcoal Roaster Grill by Artisanal Recipe, King-Size (the specialty of the house for 4 dinner guests) – 5 sovereigns, time of execution of order – 8 hours.


Smashed Crockery, Per Piece – 10 sol.

Obnoxious Misconduct (Urination and Defecation in the Shared Saloon Inclusively) – 50 sol.

Vandalism of Cabinetry, Equipment and so forth – at prime cost + 20%.

Brawl with Inn-Goers with No Grievous Bodily Injuries Inflicted – 1 sovereign.

Brawl with Security Guards with No Grievous Bodily Injuries Inflicted – 2 sovereigns + indemnification for emotional distress.

Grievous Bodily Injury or Mortification of a Waiter or Other Employee of the Inn with IIQ < 70 – at prime cost but no less than 5 sovereigns + 20% in the favor of the inn.

Grievous Bodily Injury or Mortification of an Inn-goer with IIQ > 70 – reimbursement by the codes of the underworld + 20% in the favor of the inn.

Brawl with Management – the amount of the damage is estimable by the management.

Blasphemous Desecration of the Holiest Religion Aggravated by Disesteem of Codes – On-The-Spot Forfeiture of Available Property and Gang Raping.

Have a Pleasant Rest!

The gate to the “Sauerkraut Soup” inn was hammered together from larchen sawn timber fastened with screwed-on wrought-iron crossbars. Three-edged forged-steel barbs menacingly targeting at the guest's lower limbs protruded from below. The narrow latticed observation slit embrasure seemed extremely uninviting.

Basilio glanced up in the vesper sky - it was growing dark. He pondered for a while. The check-in with the “Sauerkraut Soup” was an indispensably inalienable element of his mission. Furthermore, he ravenously famished whilst peregrinating. Peripheral synthesis of adenosine tri-phosphate reinvigorated the organism but it did not compensate nonrenewable devitaminization, paucity of microelements and other nutrient additives. Last time he supped adequately in the pedobear’s den. A sufficiently considerable period of time has elapsed from thenceforth.

However, the fastidious feline was extremely reluctant to socialize with autochthonous folks. It is not that stalkers were altogether unobservant of codes of conduct, but they were notoriously disreputable even throughout the Land of Fools, dwellers whereof could scarcely be shocked by ill breeding. The cat likewise chanced to intercommunicate with this fraternity: on several occasions he purchased exotic artifacts from them to satisfy the requirements of the Piedmont Kingdom, and could re-confirm from his first-hand experience that disreputableness of artifact raiders was considerably well-earned.

Anyway, it was indispensable to usher in. Having resolved to act as the situation permits, Basilio toggled his vision into the X-ray spectrum and peered behind the door. A massive large-boned creature typical of cavicornians was situated therein. Insofar as it was evidenced by its skeleton topology, it alighted on the floor clasping an obtuse cumbersome object, in all likelihood, a bastinado, on its lap.

Basilio synchronized the spectrum into visibility frequencies, elevated his pair of goggles, knocked on the gate, and instantaneously recoiled on two steps rearwards preventing his hind paws from being maimed by the spikes. The gate flung open lustily. A muscular ox clasping a bastinado was deployed behind it.

“Yes, what gives?” bellowed the ox.

“Yes, yes, ream your ass”, courteously, ritually responded the cat. “Is there anything edible and potable available in your emporium?”

“Your drinks were quaffed last night”, the ox inclined his head flaunting copper armored antlers.

“And what if I glean some?” the cat drew nearer roughly calculating how to better neutralize the churlish beast without crippling him gravely.

“They will bust the holy fuck out of you rather” vowed the ox. However, he backed off.

Slithering softly past the ardent bovine carcass, the cat pussyfooted through the shorter obscure aisle and found himself in incommodious premises with some wall-mounted hooks, adjacent to the door. Steady noise interruptible with ejaculations and cachinnations wafted from behind the door. The cat re-synced and fine-tuned the range into X-ray wavelengths and beheld an ample saloon crammed full with multiform and multiple-sized fluctuant ossifications. His attention was particularly riveted to someone’s massive skeleton in the left-hand corner, and the slender petite skeleton by the farthest edge of the elongated scintillating strip, most probably, the bar counter.

Basilio toggled into the red segment of the visible frequency spectrum, and ushered in.

Generally, the saloon proved to be precisely identical with what it seemed from behind the door: ample and congested therewith, for it was windowless and jam-packed with haunters. The premises were illuminated by some wands protruding from out of wall-mounted overhung supports. The wands were ostensibly incandescent although they irradiated no warmth. Furthermore, in the infrared spectrum they loomed opaque. Seemingly, these were some artifacts from the Zone.

The cat stood on the smaller platform elevated above the flooring at about two meters. The wooden staircase, which Basilio inexplicably disliked, was ushering downwards. Having augmented standard vision with high-frequency wavelengths and radiation, the cat beheld that the third stair-step from above was unhinged and impaled upon some sort of an axle, evidently, so as a fortuitous visitor whilst endeavoring to tread thereon should trip over, tumble and collapse downward. Calculating the trajectory, the cat detected the table whereat a massive ox, a sibling to the one who saluted him at the threshold, was relaxing over a jug full of frothy beer.

The bovine table was the smallest one. All other dining places were designed to accommodate five or six persons. A suspicious-looking coterie ensconced by the very edge of the aisle: a provocatively grinning buxom zebra was gambling at cards with a gozman, toxic even visually. An antelope tranquilly pined over the liquor-glass. Some musk-rat, felonious and scraggy, gently stroked and fondled her by the knee. A nursery of raccoons-debauchees and fornicators was cavorting nearby, they endeavored to chorus the anachronistic vintage ode “vultures de-hibernated early in the morning, pandiculated, flatulated”. Sniffing at the circumambient air the cat was persuaded to acknowledge that raccoons were somewhat correct: it was not the redolence of rosebuds that hovered around the saloon.

The premises were isolated with the elongated bar counter. The aisle-way conducting toward the water closet loomed on its left. The corridor ushering into the adjacent room, the billiard room, as judged from what Bas could discern through the wall, was situated on the right-hand side thereof.

The cat descended gingerly obviating the insidious stair-step, and sashayed to the bar counter. However, scarcely had he completed five steps when somebody tugged at his trouser leg.

“You trod on my toes, whoreson!” snarled the muskrat half-upping.

The cat slightly elevated his pair of goggles.

“I untrod your toes. But I punched you in the eye”, he uttered irradiating a hair-thin laser beam into the left-hand pupil of the muskrat so as not to blind him for life but to merely combust the retina.

The muskrat wailed chokingly and clutched his eye. The cat grinned, pawed at the glass from the tabletop and smelled it. Water was in the glass.

He reached the bar counter unadventurously, although glances of habitués were riveted on his dorsum transfixing it like needles.

A marmoset or, perchance, a simian was wiping glassware with his tail behind the bar counter. The pectoral name badge “Boba Susych” was affixed on his grizzled wool.

“Wellness and goodness”, Basilio saluted him in accordance with consuetude of the Land of Fools.

“Neither fuck nor nastiness. Have you paid your bill for the alcohol last time round?” snarled Boba continuing to fumble with glasses.

“Last time round I was gone”, said the cat.

“Are you a first-time goer or who? Get the hell out of here. Alcohol is not dispensed to first-time goers in here”, the simian grew even less amicable, “or request more decent gentlemen, perchance, they will regale and you will pay for all”.

“Last time round I was gone, and the time before last you were gone”, the cat squinted aiming at him, “for that you will pour me vodka now” with these words he sheared off the simian’s left earlobe with his laser emitter.

Boba’s jaw dropped. He speechlessly snapped it shut, groped the ear, glanced down at his fingers, sniffed at them. His muzzle contracted into a sort of grimace.

“Two soldos per fifty gram”, announced Susych extracting a labeled phial with a deft manoeuvre of his prehensile paw. “Discuss pricing policies with those who pay you”, interrupted him the cat who had already intuited how to properly position himself here.

The pony shot glass of icy vodka whereon a folium of sweet basil herb lay surfaced on well-polished glossy mahogany. The cat tossed it off, chewed up the tiny folium and chased down alcohol with it. The vodka was mediocre but it compensated energy losses.

“And whoever shall pay for the handsomest you?” queried the bartender.

“You decide. I shall take a seat for right now”, the cat beckoned at the remote dining-table whereat a lone, bachelor wolf hound in stalker’s outfit was sitting over a sprat.

“You ought not to go yonder”, spoke the simian softly, mussitatingly.

At that instant the door swung open with a snap and a luxuriously caparisoned black-maned stallion pranced up on the ladder landing platform. The spring-autumn leather coat and the bridle rein with the ornamental snaffle bit were particularly gratifying.

The stallion glanced around the saloon haughtily and snorted audibly.

“The first-time zone-bound goer”, Susych commented pensively, “Do you think he will lapse in the warp or not? Ostensibly, he ought to”.

Basilio intuited that Boba was referring to the wobbly stair step as the “warp”, and made an equivocal, arbitrarily construable gesture.

The stallion obviated the warp intact. He descended the staircase in two major strides straddling the entrapment. He obviated the bovine table equally accident-free and proceeded to squeeze his way to the bar counter approximately mimicking the itinerary of Bas.

“You trod on my toes, shit-fucker!” yelled the muskrat as he upped.

The rants which were wafted into the cat’s ears were evocative. He unmuted auricular directional microphones. He grew curious.

In the meanwhile the scenario unfolded. Scarcely had the steed attempted to extricate himself when instantaneously a well-muscled, irascible lion with piebald mane plaited in dreadlocks pounced out - surfaced from out of somewhere on the flank.

“I hear noise all right, but where is the fight?” he enquired.

“Well, you see, some bastardized lowlifes are gate-crashing. They trample on feet like on parquetry”, the muskrat informed against the stallion.

“I did nothing!” the stallion has already intuited that he embroiled in a mess but it has not yet dawned on him how much profoundly.

The lion advanced on the stallion, having half-opened his jaws, and braved him. The stallion did not shy but he was discernibly uncomfortable.

“Young gentleman, you erred thrice”, roared the lion, “Firstly, you pranced hither. Secondly, you trod on the toes of the esteemed creature...”

“Let him validate that I trod!” the stallion endeavored to belatedly appeal to codes.

“And thirdly, you overtly accused esteemed creatures of bullshitting”, predictably concluded the lion.

“Do not molest the colt! Do not maltreat him! But what are you doing!” the ample-breasted zebra shrieked frenziedly. The muskrat, without twirling around, seized her by the mane and tugged vehemently. The latter spluttered and hushed.

“Don’t bullshit me...” the balky steed neighed shrilly but instantaneously sputtered and wheezed. The cat squinted, re-scanned the situation in ultra-short waves and beheld a strip of ferrous metal: apparently, whilst the lion was diverting attention, somebody lurked stealthily from behind and was currently holding the stallion at dagger point prodding the razor edge under his shoulder blade.

The notorious wolf hound, who was keenly invigilating the situation, abruptly tautened himself, resiliently scrambled to his hind paws and surprisingly airily ambled through the aisle between tables.

“Am I bullshitting? You, jaded bastard, have you hurled an accusation at me?” the muskrat was swollen with ire. The stallion struggled to neigh something, however, at every endeavor the razor menacingly stirred under his shoulder blade so the unlucky creature only gasped for breath.

“So, everybody had witnessed”, heralded the lion, “this bastard ascended to our dwelling, misbehaved himself, violated the codes and insulted esteemed creatures. He cannot validate anything whatsoever. I opine that he is a mere thug. Would you tell me, gentlemen” he inexplicably accosted the raccoons “if thugs are welcome in here?”

“Thugs are unwanted here! We ourselves are thugs!” growled the raccoons.

“The voice of the people is the voice of Godmother. Hey, Boba!” vociferated the lion through the entire saloon howling down the tumultuous crowd with his stentorian throat, “Enquire in the kitchen at what price they purchase horseflesh?”

“I’ll get right on that!” the simian shouted back but did not budge. He was evidently well-familiarized with the plotline of the role-playable mummery.

“Halt!” barked the wolf who eventually reached the scene of the incident. “Hey, you there”, he accosted the muskrat. “Stop badgering the guy. He is a first-time goer, and is clueless about our traditions”.

“What is your relationship to him?” the muskrat bristled, "Is he a spawn of your brood? He doesn't look like one, anyway…”

The wolf neared the stallion, half-rose on tiptoes and half-embraced him by his broad shoulders.

“He is coming along with me to the Zone!” he barked so that the entire saloon might hear. “He is my mate! He comes along with me!”

“Are you his matching-key?” the lion shook his mane. The stupefied steed nodded.

“If I were you, bro, I wouldn’t have taken this horse shit along with me even as far as to the latrine”, roared the lion. His outward appearance suggested how acutely reluctant he was to release the prey from his claws.

“But I am telling you that he shall return intact and with a loot”, the wolf said unflinchingly, “Will you trot back unscathed and with a loot, colt?” he questioned the steed. The latter re-tossed his head, this time round more vigorously and unhesitatingly.

“And until we come back, he is under my protection”, summarized the wolf.

“Well, if so... Consider that clemency is granted unto thee”, the muskrat alighted, “Count yourself fortunate, lad. Hey, wolf hound, if he is your matching-key, he must stand treat”.

“He stands treat!” howled the wolf, “Boba, write down on this table! Grab a seat. Take the load off your hooves”, he offered the nonplussed stallion with well-feigned friendliness, “Well, what about a tankard of beer to welcome company?”

The puss averted his eyes. Subsequent doom of the feckless steed was self-evident.

“I pity the guy”, the marmoset sighed hypocritically “the wolf hound is a nefarious creature. He profiteers off artifacts from devious warps. His matching-keys are cremated like firewood in “incinerators”… Art thou zone-bound?”

Basilio opted not to deny the obvious and nodded.

“As I can see, you are a first time goer, but a somewhat streetwise one. Take a seat over there”, the simian stirred his unscathed ear pointing to the right from the bar counter whereat a small-size vacant dining-table with an overturned jug in the midst was located.

“Is that a reservation?” enquired the cat, “I did not pre-book. Although...” he squinted inspecting the ambience. The table seemed innocuous throughout all bandwidths and ostensibly did not portend any unexpectedness whatsoever. Nevertheless, the cat was inexplicably reluctant to sit down at it. He was inured to trust his intuition implicitly. Consequently, he reached the adjacent table whereat a haughty, grey-grizzled male goat of tall stature was sitting solemnly over a bowlful indolently re-masticating a briquette of baled hay.

It was rumored that the hircine substratum was somewhat frowned at throughout the Land of Fools generally and the Zone particularly. Yet, nevertheless, hircine flesh was not spurned as disreputable. Even more so, this particular goat was portlier, in a luxurious stalker’s accoutrement, with a stylish jingle bell through his nose. Furthermore, the hilt of some formidable sharp-bladed weapon with mosaic ivory on-lays protruded from behind the goat’s left shoulder. Even the grey goatee beard was jauntily tied in a dashing knot which was somewhat portentous.

Basilio, however, opted to waive etiquette. He merely neared the table, pulled out the chair and ensconced himself.

“Art thou invited?” bleated the goat quizzically ruminating hay.

“Thou art uninvited either”, the cat reminded him “Nevertheless, thou art seated. Anyway, I perched likewise. What do they feed on here except hay?”

The goat peered at the cat very probingly so that Bas even mused if the drabber one was clairvoyant, if he was scanning his brain. However, the goat, even if he beheld something, did not ooze it out anyway. He merely half-shut his eyes and relapsed into silence.

“Boba!” summoned the cat, “Send someone over to me, I’d like to place an order!”

In the meanwhile the goat unclosed his eyes wherein a certain verdict was legible.

“Take the malignant wart hog”, he recommended quite affably, “it is well-cooked here, and they add palatable cabbage thereto. However, it is costly, although, it is not you who will pay the bill. Incidentally, have you decided who will feed you? On the house – forget it”.

“Well, let the house opt who will pay. The persuasion is on me”, the cat shrugged his shoulders.

“Oh, really, that is, you are insomuch tough? But why then the toughest you did not sit there?” the goat pointed his horn at the dining-table with the overturned jug.

“I disliked the place”, said Basilio.

“Mm...” drawled out the goat unbaling a fresher bale of hay, “You may well be right. Under the jug there is an “extinguisher”, this is such an artifact”, he deigned to explicate “a not particularly baneful one. Merely, it discharges any batteries down to zero. So, you might forfeit your laser devices, electric-powered cat.

Scarcely had Basilio retorted mordantly, when a cateress, a rather ingratiating fulvous bitch came over to the table. Regretfully, turbidity was undulating in her bleary eyes: maidenly IIQ was balancing on the verge of the lowest threshold of mental sanity or so. A frayed pet collar with a metal buckle thereon was dangling around her neck. As judged from the inscription engraved thereon, she was registered on Boba as his privately-owned electorate.

“Tell Boba, let him cook the malignant pimply wart hog, one portion”, the cat enunciated slowly and distinctly.

The doggess suddenly relapsed into torpor. A sort of corrugation, the symptom of intense mental exertion, wrinkled her smoothened tawny brow.

“But it is unavailable”, the bitch finally yelped, “it has been eaten”, she spread out her forepaws.

“Are there any vampirish tentacles left?” the goat questioned sternly.

The lass’s appearance signalled bewilderment and cluelessness.

“What is available then, lacerated cunt?” grunted out the goat.

The bitch yawned petulantly denuding her fangs. Obviously, she agonized over each mental effort.

“The menu is available”, she eventually whelped, “Probably, the menu?”

“Mm... but, probably, you”, the goat smirked lewdly in the hircine style and nictitated at Basilio, “Would you like this bitch?”

The cat screwed up his face in revulsion.

“As a matter of fact, I intended to dine”, he reminded.

“Well, this is precisely what I am talking about? You are carnivorous, anyway. How about fresher meat? Hey, Boba!” he yelled, “Do you need this flea-infested cunt any longer or she can be cannibalized in the kitchen?”

“You need not”, Basilio abruptly interrupted him “I loathe canine flesh”.

“Do you cherish some racial prejudices?” the goat let his amber eye rove, “or your religion tabooed it?”

“I am basically feline, anyway. Canine odor ruins my appetite”, explained Basilio. “A little mouse or a rat is a different matter”.

“A rat? This is an idea. Boba!” bleated the goat, “Have you pickled the rat?”

“I did. It has been soaking for twenty four hours in vinegar pickles!” Boba shouted back “An ordinary portion?”

“Double”, requested the cat.

The obtuse bitch-cateress still stood blinking dumbly. Basilio spanked her on the bottom - she gratefully wiggled her tail - and sent her back to where she came from.

“Perhaps, we can have a quick one?” suggested the goat, “to our acquaintance?”

Basilio roughly estimated his strategies. The goat might be helpful as a source of intelligence. The soul was yearning after relaxation. In addition to that, it was somewhat tawdry and inappropriate to perpetrate certain acts sober-headedly. And as far as the fact that it will be indispensable to perpetrate them is concerned, the cat not in the slightest degree doubted that any longer.

“We can have a king-size one”, he resolved, “which one would you prefer?”

“Crystalline”, recommended the goat, “it is Perdu-Monocles-infused”.

“And what is the good of it? the cat opted to clarify, “does is distil?”

“No, it produces the effect of distillation”, authoritatively elucidated the goat, “that is, it renders it ostensibly drinkable”.

“Well, let it be “Crystalline””, acquiesced the cat, “Incidentally, my name is Basilio, Persecutor, Expert Problemist”.

“An expert on problem solving or on problem spawning?” the goat squinted.

“Either way round”, said the cat having pondered a little, "in these terms, I am a Multi-Skilled Generalist".

“Fair enough. Septimius Popandopulos”, the cornuted one introduced himself. “I have a niche over-specialization: Scapegoat Sodomizer".