We were currently back at the inn; 30 minutes had passed since we met the Beast Lord.
『Want to just call it a day?』
Fran, whose face finally had its colour restored to normal, shook her head. It seemed she’d fully recovered after staying away from the Beast Lord for long enough.
『You sure? Don’t force yourself, alright?』
「Nn. Will go take bath.」
Fran liked baths, so having one for a change of pace sounded like a pretty good idea.
It would take her at least half hour to return. Normally, I would use the time she spent in the bath to practice using my skills, but today was going to be different. I happened to have a certain something else in mind.
『Hey Urushi, let’s go appraise the Beast Lord and his companions.』
『Let’s go hang around the guild, appraise them the moment they leave it, and then run the hell away.』
『Don’t sweat it, it’s not like we’re going to go pick a fight or anything.』
Urushi was scared of the Beast Lord, and therefore not exactly willing, but I insisted anyways because I wanted to know more about his abilities, especially seeing as it was possible for us to encounter a worst case scenario in which we ended up antagonizing them.
We needed to know if they had any skills that’d aid them in a pursuit. It’d be difficult to escape them if they did, but fairly easy otherwise. The former of these two possibilities implied that there was a chance we’d have to devise ourselves a few schemes ahead of time. There was also the fact that examining their skills in more detail would allow us to learn about what we might end up having in the future.
Things were looking pretty good so far. Goldalfa and the Beast Lord were both the more combat oriented types. Neither really had too many skills that’d help them in a chase or search. The ones they did have were rather high level, but still not enough for them to actually prevent us from escaping them. Hence, all our issues lay with the other guard and the coachman, both of which I’d missed the chance to appraise.
There was also always the possibility that the Beast Lord had a ninja-like covert ops division protecting him from the shadows.
『Don’t worry. We won’t need you to get really close to them or anything like that. In fact, it’d be better for us to stay rather far away.』
『Let’s try looking for them real quick. We’ll just totally back out if they’re not in the guild anymore, alright?』
Urushi’s fear of the Beast Lord made him reluctant to go with the plan I suggested.
Welp, just asking him didn’t work. It looked like I had to try giving him the carrot.
Apparently, you weren’t actually supposed to train dogs through a reward or merit based system, as it’d lead to them only doing things when also given treats. That said though, the same probably didn’t apply to Urushi. I knew that I myself wasn’t always exactly conscious of the it, but Urushi was in fact a Magic Beast, and not a dog.
『Well, how about this. I’ll make you some super spicy curry after we get back. It’ll be so spicy that even Fran’ll find it too hot to eat.』
Sweet. Looks like he’s taken the bait.
『Alright! Let’s do this!』
I situated myself on top of a roof that happened to have a good angle on the guild not too long after I finished negotiating with Urushi.
My wolf companion was hidden in a position a bit further distance away. It was safer for me to be alone. I was just a sword, so most people wouldn’t notice me so long as I made sure to use Presence Isolation. It didn’t even matter whether or not they happened to have Appraisal Detection, as they’d probably just think of me as a mysterious item that was capable of appraising things at most. Besides, it probably wouldn’t even come to that. Appraisal Detection simply told its user that they were being appraised. It wouldn’t be able to pinpoint me as the thing doing the appraising in the first place. Plus, they probably wouldn’t be able to trace me back to Fran even if they did. Who in their right mind would suspect that the sword she was carrying around was the same as the one that’d appraised them?
That said, one could never be too careful, so I made sure to shrink my body down as much as possible whilst also changing its shape.
『Hmmm, should be good.』
The form I took was like that of an odd looking metal ball, and hence, functioned for more than enough of a disguise.
The reason I had Urushi accompany me is because I needed a pair of feet to get around town. I was a sword, so I kinda couldn’t just randomly head out. I mean, I’d considered using a doppelganger, but, my doppelgangers’ skills had their levels reduced, which in turn would make me more susceptible to being discovered. I figured stealth was more important than anything else at this point in time, so I chose that over the ability to carry out the whole operation alone.
The Beast Lord’s presence was a fairly obvious one, especially seeing as how he wasn’t trying to hide his presence. Thanks to all that, I managed to sense him fairly easily even from outside the guild.
After thinking about it a bit, I realized that the Beast Lord hadn’t actually seemed all that intimidating at all when he was riding the carriage earlier in the day. The discrepancy between the two states caused me to immediately question it. Had he been trying to hide his aura back then? Or was it the opposite? Did he just recently decide to start seeming all terrifying because he had to deal with Dias or something?
Welp, Dias seems kinda young and all, but he is still technically an old man. Hopefully the guy doesn’t give a heart attack.
One of the only issues that I could really see with this whole plan of mine was the fact that I didn’t know how long the meeting was going to last. Ideally, I wanted to get back before Fran finished with her bath, so we probably only had around another 15 minutes.
The other thing that could totally mess up my plans was the possibility of the Beast Lord’s party choosing to leave Dias’ room through the Dokodemo Door they used to port into the guild in the first place. I wouldn’t even so much as have a chance to appraise them if they didn’t leave through the Guild’s front door.
Fortunately, I soon discovered that my worries were needless, as I sensed that they began moving, and more specifically, heading in the direction of the building’s entrance.
『Alright, I’ve only got one shot at this. I’m going to have to get the hell out of here the moment I finish appraising them.』
It probably wouldn’t be an issue if none of them had Appraisal Detection, but you know, just in case.
『There they are!』
The Beast Lord stood at the forefront. He was immediately followed by Goldalfa. The shorter guard we spotted earlier had taken up the rear. The coachman guy was missing, so I decided to just appraise the third guy and call it a day for now.
『Fuck yeah! It worked! I’m out of here!』
I executed the escape plan I thought up just in case they happened to have skills that would allow them to chase me down. That is, I warped over to Urushi, grabbed him, and started spamming Long Jump in the inn’s direction while also consciously hiding my presence. I figured I was probably going a bit overboard, but ended up carrying it through just in case. I chose the safest possible option because peeking at the Beast Lord’s status had caused me to feel a bit nervous.
It turned out the last guard was just as ridiculously strong as I’d been expecting him to be.
Race: Beastkin (Grey Rabbit Tribe/Silver Rabbitkin)
Status Level: 74/99
Sole Sense: Lv 4
Digging: Lv 2
Espionage: Lv 2
Recovery Magic: Lv 8
Moonlight Magic: Lv 4
Presence Detection: Lv 7
Presence Isolation: Lv 4
Space/Time Magic: Lv 4
Kicking Techniques: Lv 4
Kicking Arts: Lv 4
Blink: Lv 4
Purification Magic: Lv 3
Resistance to Abnormal Status Conditions: Lv 4
Vibration Sense: Lv 3
Resistance to Mental Abnormalities: Lv 7
Staff Techniques: Lv 5
Staff Arts: Lv 6
Earth Magic: Lv 3
Leap: Lv 4
Soil Magic: MAX
Support Magic: Lv 5
Magic Resistance: Lv 8
Magic Detection: Lv 4
Automatic MP Regeneration
Crescent Moon’s Crest
He Who Protects
A Ranked Adventurer
Silver Moonstone Staff
Crescent Moon Rabbit’s Robe
Earth Spirit’s Mantle
Suction Magic Ring
It looked like the Dokodemo Door he had came from his job in the form of an innate skill, and was actually referred to as the Dimensional Gate skill.
Man, that was nerve racking.
It seemed I messed up and ended up eating up a bit too much time, as Fran had gotten back before us.
I immediately recognized the state she was in as a bit abnormal. The lights were off, and she was on top of the bed with her face in her knees and her arms around them.
『Hey Fran, why are the lights off?』
Fran rushed towards us the moment we called out to her. She then wrapped her arms around Urushi and buried her face in his fur.
『Woah. What’s up?』
『What’s with you all of a sudden?』
Her words were in direct contrast to her expression. Her eyes were red, and she seemed rather uneasy. It looked as if she’d just been crying.
She didn’t end up cheering up and smiling until after Urushi started to lick her.
That was when it finally hit me. The Beast Lord’s strength had totally broken her will, there was no way for her to have already recovered from it. She’d merely been putting up a front so she wouldn’t worry me.
And then there was the fact that we were just flat out gone by the time she got back. She wasn’t in exactly what I’d call mentally secure right now, so she ended up in a state of anxiety; she worried that we’d abandoned her.
And hence, Fran, a girl I’d always thought to have nerves of steel, had ended up crying.
I was assaulted by a sense of guilt. It was all my fault. I could’ve just appraised the Beast Lord’s guard whenever. There wasn’t really much of a point in going out of my way and doing it now of all times, even if I did feel a bit worried that we’d end up making enemies of them. I shouldn’t have acted on my impulses. I shouldn’t have let Fran all on her own.
「Not problem. But sleep together tonight.」
『Huh? Wait, what? You’re talking to me, right?』
『But I’m a sword you know? I’m not exactly what you’d call huggable.』
『Well, as long as you’re fine with it.』
And so, I ended up spending the night as Fran’s body pillow. I mean, I did have a sheath and all that, but I was still technically a sword, so… I didn’t exactly see how it was even the slightest bit comfortable, but whatever.
Fran ended up falling asleep wrapped in Urushi’s fur while also desperately clinging onto me with both arms.
『Welp. I got nothing to do.』
I wasn’t exactly able to mess around with my skills given that I didn’t want to wake Fran up. The only thing there really was for me to do was to stare at her face as she slept.
You know, this doesn’t seem too bad from time to time.