Kaden stared at the two glasses of drink placed in front of them and wrinkled his nose in slight disgust. "These are fruity cocktails, right?"
"I suppose you can identify it as such, albeit I'm a bit surprised that you know what to call it when you don't seem to like alcohol." Owen pointed out and then smiled. "It's a special blend, I can assure you. Plus on top of that, since it's free, I do not think you have any qualms about drinking it?"
"Unless it's poisoned or something." Kaden grumbled.
The Bartender shrugged. "There's not much business to run if I do that, one does need a good and healthy reputation after all."
Lyra the Thief looked up at the man's face and felt a realization come upon her. She carefully took out her dagger from her belt and drew her blade on herself—a thin red line erupting on her arm. She winced but her gut instincts already told her what to do.
"What the hell, Lyr—"
"Shut it, Kaden." She picked up one of the glasses and took a sip of the green one, a refreshing taste lingered in her mouth like a burst of slightly tangy apple. Afterwards, she checked her wound which had already begun to heal up rapidly.
"Like any healing potion then… except it's delicious?" Kaden said, not sounding positively impressed. "I mean, I guess you can give points for that, but in a life and death situation, nobody's going to complain when their potion tastes like mildew if it gets the job done."
"If it tastes like mildew then the potion you're drinking sounds contaminated." Owen scrunched his nose at him. "A tip for any Adventurer or Traveler, do store and cap your bottle properly. The effects do wane when you leave it exposed to the air."
"Everybody knows that." Kaden said with a hot face, but then pointed to the glass in front of him. "So are you saying that your alcohol potion's efficacy is the same as regular potions? But even if they were, why aren't people coming over here to buy these from you and not an alchemical shop?"
"Does it mean they're not cheaper?" Lyra coughed. They were a little low on coin for Kaden to be complaining about when the man should be nicer to the Bartender, at least to get a discount. "We're not all as well-versed about potions as much as Kaden tries to sound like he does."
"Hey, I know enough!" the man protested.
The Bartender chuckled and waved a hand. "It's not a problem at all, Miss. I think it's actually great when people do ask questions, it means that they're interested. Now may I ask what kind of potions do you have on you right now?"
"... Well, we have some healing potions, and a mana one for our Mage friend." Kaden shrugged. "He has a good mana well, so he doesn't need much."
"Standard potions then." the Bartender nodded. "How about you take a sip of this then."
Right after Kaden drank it, he stuck his now-blue tongue out and made a face. "Ugh, I don't like—"
"Such a kid." Lyra rolled her eyes.
"How do you feel?"
"I'm not sure."
A glass flew at him at breakneck speed, which ended up hitting a wall at the end of the bar and shattering into pieces. Kaden had instinctively dodged it and glowered at the Bartender, "Hey what was that for! You should read your own rules, pal."
"I suppose your mind hasn't exactly caught up to speed, then." Owen rubbed his chin. "Fascinating."
Kaden frowned. "What's that supposed to mean… wait, this drink you gave me is a Potion of Speed? Of Haste?" The man looked at his half-empty glass, and it was half-empty for him, before glancing at the Barbarians at the other end of the counter. If they had been chugging this, then an attempt to attack them wouldn't have been easy.
"The Marauder who came here didn't know what hit him back then," the Bartender sighed. "It was a good thing that there's always a lot of ice on here, we had to place his hand inside of a bucket of ice and go out in the middle of the night to wake up a Healer and do the job of reattaching it."
"You can't just use a potion?"
"It's a little bit more complicated for a healing potion to do the trick, maybe a Potion of Regeneration could have done it, even without the hand since it would grow on its own."
"... I don't really think there's any Potion of Regeneration now though."
"If you know which people to ask, most have it stored up in vaults and magically locked chests and bases. However, I do admit that's out of our menu for that very reason, it's hard to replicate." Owen chuckled. "We're doing our best to improve the catalogue of drinks and beverages."
The Bartender's relaxed recounting, made even Lyra a bit queasy. And yet the truth was out—potions were actually a bit expensive. Maybe really expensive for the average person.
Most families did try to have at least one healing potion stored for emergencies, but other than that, it wasn't like some Adventurers and Mages could keep drinking healing and mana potions like water.
But this man was able to serve drinks to people here that had effects similar to potions that were rare and expensive?
It was insane.
Even if the blue cocktail drink of speed was diluted slightly than the actual one, most people would have had to earn some intense amount of gold to purchase the real thing. Now she could understand why it had taken a certain amount of effort to actually get information about this place, and at most, it had been just a tiny clue.
And yet, even if this actual bar and the way it operated was enough to make any Adventurer drool at a chance for trying and testing potions, the actual man operating this bar was enough of a reason to go here even if you weren't interested in drinking.
The third rule of the bar of not acknowledging the bar's existence and that of the people who stay in it might contribute to creating a place where even less than favorable men and women could come around—but it seemed more like a rule just to hide away his identity and keep other people's back off from him.
Which made perfect sense for a man of his caliber.