87. A Pair of Grunts.
We went back to town after a day of beachside leisure. Since we’d yet to find a place to spend the night, we began looking for one right away.
And as for Fran’s sand castle? Yeah, I didn’t really have any choice other than leaving it there. I mean, I wanted to demolish it, but then Fran started staring at me with a pair of tear-filled eyes, so I couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. That said, we at least filled up the hole Urushi dug out — with magic, of course.
We ended up spending more time at the beach than I was expecting; the sun was already far past its halfway point. Given the time, I decided to give up on trying to find a place on Dharz’ main street, so I had Fran venture into the city’s alleyways in order for us to check out some of the cheaper inns.
And that was when it happened.
We were being tailed.
Specifically, two men were following us around.
『They don’t seem all that great at concealing themselves, so they’re probably not that strong.』
『Let’s head somewhere without any people first.』
『Urushi, stand by in Fran’s shadow, alright?』
Fran turned the corner and conveniently ran into a dead end. Sure enough, the two men showed themselves soon after.
「You lost, little lady?」
「We can help you around town if you want.」
The way they called out to us made it seemed like they were accustomed to saying those exact lines. I guess their strategy was to first corner the person before making them lower their guards by speaking in a kind manner.
「Aw, come on, don’t be like that.」
Race: Blue Cat
Status Level: 17/50
Transportation of Goods: Lv 2
Commerce: Lv 2
Pickpocket: Lv 4
Short Sword Arts: Lv 3
Detainment: Lv 2
Crude Iron Short Sword
Earrings of Silence
Race: Blue CAt
Status Level: 22/50
Assassination: Lv 2
Silent Actions: Lv 3
Short Sword Arts: Lv 4
Throwing: Lv 2
Shadow Slip: Lv 2
Ring of Dexterity
They were totally small fry. The only thing that even remotely caught my attention was the assassination skill that the second guy had, so I quickly gave it a once over.
Rarity level 3
Raise the damage of the first hit performed by a percentage equal to the skill’s level. Only activates if the user performs a surprise attack.
So it maxes out at 10%? That’s not that bad. A 10% boost to my telekinetic catapult would be quite devastating. Unfortunately, skill taker’s going to be on cooldown for another 75 days, so I can’t really jack it from him. The reason for its super long cooldown was because I used it to take Unsealable away from the Lich. Unsealable was of rarity level 8, which meant meant that skills without levels would be treated as ones that were completely maxed out.
Anyways, just looking at their statuses pretty much told me that they weren’t exactly what you’d call decent people.
「Ya know, getting lost round these parts is prettty easy.」
「Not lost. Needless concern.」
「Come on now…」
Crisis detection activated right as the man’s expression began to warp. He no longer was trying to put on the airs of a good natured guy that just happened to have a criminal-like face.
「One more step and will treat as enemy.」
「Won’t get out unscathed. Best to run.」
「Shut up and get over here you little shit!」
「Gyahahahaha! This one’s got a lot of spunk.」
「Make sure you don’t hurt her. Her price’ll drop if you do.」
Man, you know, every single blue cat we’ve ran into has been like this. Literally one hundred percent of the blue cats we’ve met have been nothing but scum.
Fran silently draws me and gets into a battle-ready stance.
「Huh? You wanna fight punk?」
「Oh, you think you’re tough shit, you little brat? We’ll kick your bitch ass!」
The two men leisurely laughed at Fran. Evidently, they didn’t feel the slightest bit threatened. That was about to change. We were going to make them beg for their lives.
「Warning was given.」
I activated parallel processing and began casting magic the moment she finished speaking. The skill’s effects allowed me to easily fire off two different spells at once.
I sealed off their path of escape with earth magic by blocking them in with two different walls before soundproofing our surroundings with wind magic.
This way, there wouldn’t be any witnesses.
『Don’t kill them, alright?』
『Oh, you know, I just wanted to ask them a thing or two.』
The two men were thrown into a state of confusion by the sudden series of spells. The merchant didn’t even take up a defensive stance or anything. He wasn’t prepared for anything even remotely like this.
There were a few noises as Fran dashed around and hit the two men in turn.
Annnnd it was over. That was it. Both men lay on the floor unconscious. The warrior had managed to put up a little bit of a fight, but Fran was just too far out of his league.
『Tie them up for the time being, I guess.』
I created a few threads for her to use. The threads I made weren’t all that strong, I’d yet to master the skill. That said, each was still about as durable as a rope made of hemp.
What I wanted to know was their backgrounds as individuals. The two blue cats had seemed to say that they wanted to sell Fran, which implied that they were underground merchants that’d kidnap people and turn them into slaves against their will.
Given that we were in a portside city, I’d say that it was fairly possible for them to gather a bunch of slaves abducted from the Kingdom of Kranzel and have them shipped off by sea. I recalled Fran saying that she went through a similar sort of experience, after all.
The blue cat tribe’s slave merchants were Fran’s bitter enemies. And thus, I too acknowledged them as enemies. We might end up facing off their organisations some day in the future, so it’d be a pretty good idea for us to gather up every single possible bit of information we could.
『So yeah, that’s why.』
I was thinking of having a clone interrogate them while Fran kept watch outside, but my plans were quickly shattered as the girl in question started to kick the two men.
「Ugh… what the hell…」
「Shiet bro, what happened…?」
The two men were frightened by the 3 meter tall wolf that appeared out of nowhere. They tried to run away, but both their arms and legs were bound, so they couldn’t even so much as stand up, let alone escape.
Fran seemed to be fuming with a sort of silent rage, but it didn’t last for long. She almost immediately interrupted their screams and began to speak.
「Y-you think you can get away with this, you lil punk? You know who you just messed with? You ain’t leaving this city with your head on your shoulders! You li- argh!」
Fran kicked the merchant right in the face as he tried to speak in protest. Blood immediately began spurting from his nose.
「Shut up. Only speak to answer questions.」
The two men immediately fell silent upon exposure to Fran’s complete and utter lack of mercy. They were obviously terrified.
「Are you illegal slave merchants?」
「W-What are you talking about gurl? W-We don’t even know what that thing yous saying is.」
「W-We merchants gurl, good hearted ones.」
Yeah no. The principle of falsehood immediately revealed his words to be lies.
『Fran, I’m a hundred percent sure that they’re lying. They’re definitely a part of the business.』
「Are the slaves somewhere in the city?」
「I already told you that we don’t know shit gurl! Chill!」
『That’s a lie too.』
「Nn. Are there more of you?」
「Come on! We don’t know nuttin! We swear!」
「Might not torture… if you talk.」
「Come on! How many times have we told you that we don’t know nuttin!? Man, what’s the matter with you!」
「Yea gurl, he right. 」
「Hey gurl! Daz not cool! Come on, cut a brotha some slack!」
「This wolf likes human flesh. Livers from live prey. Favourite.」
Urushi slobbered all over one of the men whilst letting a low growl. It was as if he was declaring that he was about to enjoy a meal. The two men immediately paled in response.
「Spill it. Unless want to be eaten alive.」
「Man, come on, I was just saying that I don’t kno- Arghhhh!!」
Fran drove me into the back of the warrior’s hand, and slowly began grinding me deeper though his muscles.
「Hey man, you alright?! This stupid bitch ain’t – Argh!」
Fran kicked the merchant’s face yet again, this time, completely pulverizing his nose in the process.
「Shiet? Ain’t dat some super high tier ass healing magic?」
Fran pulled me out of the warrior’s hand and healed him. The wound I made instantly disappeared, and was once again filled by flesh and bone. And as she did, a slight glimmer of hope appeared on the blue cats’ faces.
They determined that the girl wasn’t actually going to kill them, that there was no way a mere child would intentionally commit murder. They hoped that there would be some sort of convenient and logical reason that would allow them to keep their lives.
But Fran’s words completely crushed all their overly optimistic expectations.
「Lucky. Not the type to die easily. Now can use Fire Arrow.」
The warrior’s carbonized hand was once again healed back up to its normal state.
「Won’t let you escape. Not with an easy death.」
Screams of despair escaped the men’s mouths. There was nothing they could do to get away from Fran. They weren’t even permitted to die so long as she continued to heal them. All that awaited them was a life of eternal torture.
「L-Listen here gurl, we gotchu a deal! We got lots of gold stored away, ya know!」
「Alrihgt, alright! What if we gave you-」
「Stupid? Want information.」
「G-Gurl, we said we ain’t got an- arggggg!」
Fran kicked the merchant for a third time and broke every single last one of his front teeth.
「Skill. Can see through lies.」
The two realized that they had no other choice but to talk, and so, they soon began to answer Fran’s questions in an honest a manner as they could.
Our suspicions were spot on. Dharz was home to one of the blue cat tribe’s underground slave markets. Slaves captured from all over the Kingdom of Kranzel would be gathered here before they were shipped off to the Kingdom of Reidos. Apparently, their base of operations used to be Barbra, but the country caught on and crushed it.
Thinking about it, I’m pretty sure that was exactly what happened to Fran. She was probably abducted from some foreign country before being sent to Barbra for processing. The country probably caught on right about when she arrived there, and thus, they decided to move her to another base somewhere else in Kranzel. We probably met whilst she was being shipped over to Dharz.
The Kingdom of Reidos buys slaves for quite the price, so the merchants had been using Dharz as a point of transportation and processing for 10 odd years now.
And so, after learning all that, we asked them the hideout’s location, the number of slave traders, and the number of slaves.
「H-Hey, we’ve told you everything now, so you can let us run free, right gurl? You gunna help us, right?」
「We’ll change! We swears it !」
I heard their pleas, but ignored them. Immediately after obtaining all the information we needed, I cut their necks right off their heads with a single blade of magical wind.
They’d probably tell their organisation about Fran if we let them go, and I didn’t exactly feel like it was a good idea to have some sort of underground organisation after us. And I mean, they were the kind of people that kidnapped and sold children, so the world was probably better off without them anyways.
I put their bodies in my dimensional storage for the time being. Now that I think about it, the insides of my dimensional storage have really started to get all messy and chaotic lately…
「Nn. Thanks Master.」
『Don’t sweat it.』
『Well, that depends. What do you want to do?』
Yeeaap, I figured she’d say that. I originally wanted to have her wait somewhere while I made a doppelganger and raided the place with Urushi, but I already used it earlier when we were playing around by the seaside. Much to my announce, I actually couldn’t use Doppelganger Synthesis again till the day after tomorrow.
『You should probably at least wait till night time.』
『How about we go find somewhere to stay first.』
It took us quite some time, but we were eventually able to find ourselves a room at cheap inn. There, we waited until it was time to begin our assault.
Note: Clone = the ones from his crappy skill. Doppelganger = the ones from the SP skill. Just to be clear, they’re separate skills and only Doppelganger Synth has a longer cooldown.