174. Blue Pride
A group of what seemed to be adventurers had gathered in front of Aurel’s manor. I didn’t know exactly who they were or why they were here in the first place, but, I could at least tell that they were only barely organised. They kind of resembled the hoodlums one would normally find loitering around in front of a convenience store. The only two members of the group that looked to have even the slightest bit of decency were the ones I presumed to be their leaders. There was a male and a female, with the latter looking to be around 17 or 18 years old.
I didn’t really get what they were doing; the two were standing right in front of the guards with their arms crossed. It kind of looked like they were waiting on something, but I couldn’t really say for sure as to whether or not that was the case.
Looking a bit closer allowed me to realize that the female was some sort of catkin. The same applied to the rest of the group’s members as well.
『What’s wrong, Fran?』
（All Blue Catkin.）
『Wait, really? All of them?』
『I guess we’d best be on guard then,』
I didn’t think that they’d just attack us out of the blue, but hey, better safe than sorry.
Getting through the gate looked to be a huge pain, but I still figured it’d be fine. Aurel was apparently supposed to be really influential amongst beastkin, so I didn’t think we’d have to worry about them trying to pushing through the gate even if the guards did let us in.
『Let’s just ignore them and keep a move on, regardless of what they say.』
I was a bit worried despite the fact that Fran had agreed to my suggestion because she had hesitated before replying. Oh well, whatever. I figured I could always just teleport us through the gate if worse came to worst. Aurel seemed to have taken a liking to Fran, so we probably wouldn’t be treated as trespassers or intruders so long as we explained ourselves.
Fran briskly approached the gate whilst keeping her guard up. She made use of the Presence Isolation and Stealth skills in order to make herself as difficult to notice as possible.
The male Blue Catkin were rather weak, so we were able to stop ourselves from attracting their attention so long as we avoided any direct lines of sight.
That, however, was slated to change the moment we actually tried entering the property. We would have to speak with one of the gatekeepers in order to gain access, and doing that would expose us to the teenage girl and her companion.
Oh well. We could probably just ignore them or something.
「Huh? Oh, hello Fran. Feel free to enter.」
Wait, they let us in? I was expecting them to have to go speak with a few other people and double check stuff first. We’d only ever been here once, so I really wasn’t counting on us being allowed in just like that.
「You are. Master Aurel told us to let you in and prioritize you over all else.」
「The only other person we’ve ever been told to treat like that was Erza.」
Huh, I guess he took much more of a liking to Fran than I’d thought. Well, works for us, I guess.
「Nn. Will be entering then.」
「Hey, what gives!?」
「Yeah, what the hell is the meaning of this!?」
Both the male and female blue catkin standing by the gate raised their voices in protest as a result of the fact that Fran had easily been let inside.
The girl’s expression warped from one that seemed to be waiting for something while stumped to one that was more so resembled an antagonizing glare.
「How come she gets to go through like that? Why do we have to wait even though we went out of our way to visit so we could exchange greetings?」
「Do you have any idea how long we’ve been standing out here?」
「I’ve already told you that you can’t meet Master Aurel unless you’ve a prior appointment. You were the ones that insisted you wanted to see him no matter what.」
「Come on! We’re Blue Pride! Don’t you know how famous we are on the the Khrome Continent?」
「I’m our boss’ proxy. Making me wait is basically the same thing as making our boss wait!」
The way they were boasting made it sound like Blue Pride was supposed to be a famous group of mercenaries whose very name inspired fear, which, given that they were from a different continent, could very well be possible.
「I don’t care.」
However, their influence failed to extend past their area of origin. Here, their name seemed to be just like any other, as the gatekeeper just casually shook his head and denied the girl entry, which in turn caused the veins in her forehead to swell in anger. If I were to offer an opinion, I’d say that she was acting in an unbecoming manner. She ended up getting all mad because the gatekeeper had basically ignored her proclamation of how great she supposedly was. The emotional way in which she reacted was one that you really couldn’t call anything but lame.
「We are granting Fran access because she is one of our lord’s honoured guests.」
「Haaah? She’s just a black catkin, and a little girl at that.」
A moment of pondering led me to realize that the group’s name, Blue Pride, indicated that it was probably comprised solely of Blue Catkin, which in turn meant that it’d probably probably be best for us to stay as far away from them as possible.
My assumption was only supported by the way they looked at Fran. Their eyes were filled with contempt; it was obvious that they didn’t think highly of her.
「So you’re saying that this Black Catkin is more important than we are?」
「Just to be clear, her race has nothing to do with the fact that we’re letting her inside.」
「She is simply one of our master’s honoured guests. By extension, insulting her is no different from insulting our master.」
Aurel’s two gatekeepers spoke in turn, with one supporting the argument made by the other.
「What are you saying!? Can’t you see that she’s a Black Catkin!」
Man, you know, this is why I hate Blue Catkin. I couldn’t recall us ever meeting one that actually didn’t look down on Black Catkin. They all just seemed to believe that every single last member of the Black Cat Tribe was useless, and that Black Catkin only existed so they could be sold into slavery and whatnot. Moreover, none of the Blue Catkin we’d met thus far had seemed even the slightest bit opposed to the idea. It’d almost seemed like it was something that came to them naturally.
『Let’s just ignore them and go.』
It didn’t really show on her face, but Fran had her foot on the gas and was ready to slam the hell out of it. She’d probably hit the limit of her tolerance if they said another one or two things.
『Urushi, push Fran forwards!』
I pulled Fran forwards with Telekinesis whilst Urushi pushed her from behind; the two of us worked together in order to get her to move before she lost her temper. Unfortunately, our efforts didn’t really amount to much, as Fran and the Blue Catkin girl glared at each other regardless.
『Come on, let’s just get out of here.』
Fran reluctantly agreed to move after Urushi and I made a few more desperate attempts.
Starting a fight here and now wasn’t exactly be what I’d call a good idea.
That, however, didn’t mean that she was going to let them off for looking down on her and her kin. She turned around right as she made her way through the gate and activated the Coercion, Intimidation, and Domination skills all at once whilst also directing at the girl and the man standing beside her a powerful wave of bloodlust.
The girl’s face paled as fell flat on her butt, whereas the man ended up taking a few steps backwards. All of his companions immediately ended up springing to their feet in surprise before sending their glares in Fran’s direction. Though they tried, they were unable to hide their fear of her.
As mercenaries, and hence, people experienced in the art of combat, they were able to recognize Fran’s overwhelming power.
Fran calmly walked through the gate as she took note of the fact that the out of breath Blue Catkin girl behind her had muttered something in a lifeless tone.
『Look at you, all smug and stuff…』
『That wasn’t a compliment, you know?』