TSKD 196

Kiara’s After Story

「Hold on kid. Hey, you assholes. When you said Kiara, did you mean the old lady? You know, Grandma Kiara?」

The Beast Lord’s inquiry caused Sennec to respond in a bit of a suspicious tone.

「Grandma Kiara?」

「She’s taciturn, blunt, and proud, but a ridiculously skilled Black Catkin swordsman nonetheless. I know she’s an old lady, but I can’t remember how old. You happen to know off the top of your head, Royce?」

「Lord Rig, asking for our master’s age is no different from tying yourself a noose.」

「How ’bout you, Gold?」

「I’m pretty sure she’s in her late 60’s.」

Goldalfa’s response seemed to match with what we knew about Kiara. She was 15 years old 53 years ago, so she should currently be around 68.

「Based on what we’ve heard, I’d say the Kiara you guys are talking about is our master.」

It seemed that, unless I was misunderstanding things, Kiara was actually the person that’d taught Beast Lord to fight. Fran had come to the same conclusion, so she ended up closing in on him in order to demand a clearer answer.

「Explain circumstances.」

「You do know I’m the Beast Lord, right? How about ’bout you reword that a bit so it’s more polite.」

「Explain.」

「Oh god damn it. Fine!」

The Beast Lord began fondly speaking of his memories shortly after one last expression of indignance.

Apparently, the first time Rigdis met Kiara was in the earlier days of his youth. Back then, she’d been a slave that served the imperial court. Her duties mostly focused around garbage disposal. At the time, he’d still been like any other young, mischievous Beastkin. That is, he thought the Black Catkin to be inferior, as per his father’s wishes.

But that all came to change. His opinion of the race took a complete 180 degree turn not too long after he turned seven.

An incident occured.

A summoner from a hostile nation managed to summon a magic beast in the royal palace. Back then, the Beast Kingdom had been at war with a neighbouring country, hence, most of the palace’s more competent fighters had been sent to the battlefield. As the guards and soldiers responsible for the palace were relatively weak, the place was basically instantly overrun. Both Goldalfa, who’d just enlisted, and Royce, who’d only just started learning magic, had been dealt serious wounds.

The situation looked grim. None of the troops left within the palace’s confines were capable of dealing with the Tyrant Saber Tiger that’d invaded it. To Rigdis, it had seemed like he was left no choice but to abandon the palace.

Or at least that was how he felt until she took action.

A Black Catkin slave ended up doing what none of the soldiers could and took down the Magic Beast. The Tyrant Saber Tiger itself wasn’t a particularly strong one, it was still young, and yet to reach maturity, but it was still a C rank threat regardless.

Thus, he simply failed to process the fact that she’d easily slain it while armed with only a mop.

Bearing witness to the Black Catkin slave’s technique had caused Rigdis to take interest in her. He snuck around and eventually managed to speak to her, only to find that she was named Kiara, and that she had a blunt, straightforward personality. At the time, Rigdis hadn’t had any friends, so he immediately grew attached to her.

The mix of his attachment to and admiration for her caused him to ask her to take him as her disciple, and so, she soon began teaching him the art of combat.

Her instruction was ridiculously tough, but proved more than effective as it caused Rigdis to become much stronger in a fairly short period of time. Noticing his rapid progress, both Goldalfa and Royce followed his example and became Kiara’s disciples.

Since Kiara couldn’t be seen instructing the group in public, they were forced to train in a secluded area away from the public’s eyes. Specifically, the location they made their own was the garbage disposal site, a place that smelled so awful it automatically warded off any and all unwelcome visitors.

Rigdis had offered Kiara freedom, but she firmly refused it. His father had threatened her and told her that he would murder her tribesman should she escape.

The only reason Rigdis’ father had let her live was because he’d suspected that she would come of use in the future.

Learning of her circumstances caused Rigdis to begin wondering why the Black Catkin were treated as they were. He started to investigate the mysteries surrounding their inability to evolve while also functioning to protect them.

Upon reaching adulthood, Rigdis was informed of a secret known only to the royal family’s members, a piece of information that revealed why his predecessors regarded Black Catkin the way they did. With said secret, he also learned the reason why the Black Cat Tribe’s members had become incapable of evolution.

「My old man told me everything because he wanted to open my eyes to his cause. Wanted to tell me to stop doing something as stupid as protecting Black Catkin.」

But it didn’t work. In fact, telling Rigdis the truth had the opposite effect his father had been hoping for, as, to him, the truth simply reinforced the idea that looking down upon the Black Cat Tribe was nothing short of a mistake.

Thus, Rigdis and his father ended up in conflict for many years, with the former eventually beating out the latter through a coup.

(Master?)

『Doesn’t look like he’s lying.』

Something this important obviously called for verification through the Principle of Falsehood. Using it allowed me to determine that the Beast Lord’s words were almost entirely free of lies. The only times my lie detector ever went off was when he insulted Kiara or called her by a nickname that made it seem like he didn’t respect her. Conversely, it didn’t go off when he referred to her as his master. In other words, all the Principle of Falsehood had done was inform us that the Beast Lord was a veritable tsundere. [1]

「Kiara, doing what now?」

「Our master has gotten old, so she’s effectively retired and just living within the castle. She spends most of her time sleeping, but will occasionally see to our soldiers if she feels up to the job.」

Royce followed up the Beast Lord as he paused to take a breath.

「The royal palace has moved on from looking down on Black Catkin. None of the people that work and live within it are willing to insult them any longer.」

「That’s impossible! Black Catkin are an inferior race! Why else do you think we Blue Catkin have been pushing them around for all these years!?」

Sennek responded to the rabbitkin’s words with a violent shout.

「The palace functions off a meritocratic system. We don’t evaluate people based on their race, only their competence. Though, I admit we’ve been giving the Black Catkin a bit more leeway to make up for all that they’ve suffered.」

The Beast Lord casually refuted Sennec’s declaration.

「I assume you haven’t heard about what’s happened to the Blue Cat Tribe as of late.」

According to Royce, most beastkin had recently started ostracizing the Blue Cat Tribe. There were two reasons that functioned as the driving force behind the aforementioned movement. The first was that most other beastkin had a bit of a hard time trusting the Blue Cat Tribe knowing that they’d sold other Beastkin into slavery. While most other Beastkin did indeed look down on Black Catkin, they never went as far as treating them as slaves. The reason the Blue Catkin’s treatment of the Black Catkin was so much harsher than all the other tribes’ was because the Black Catkin used to have a higher social status than the Blue Catkin. This caused the Blue Catkin a lot of grief, and led to them going wild the moment their social positions were flipped.

The second reason was because the Blue Cat Tribe was regarded to be in decline. Their business dealings allowed the Blue Catkin to live luxurious lives, so few became true warriors, and even fewer trained themselves as hard as Zefmate had. As a result, the number of Blue Leopardkin had plummeted far beyond just a noticeable degree. This, in part, was the fault of the Beast Lord’s ancestors. The Beast Lords of the past had ordered the Blue Catkin to become slave traders and persecuted all that dared disobey. Hence, most of today’s Blue Catkin were the descendants of slave traders as opposed to the descendents of warriors.

In other words, most other Beastkin looked down on the Blue Cat Tribe both because they were weak and because they were repulsive from a psychological standpoint.

Fran didn’t really care for the details nor Sennek’s reply, so she ended up asking more about Kiara instead.

「Happy as long as Kiara is alive. Okay to tell other people?」

「Other people? Whaddya mean other people?」

「Dias and Aurel, Kiara’s acquaintances. Worried about her since didn’t know what happened to her after she was taken away by Beast Lord.」

Hearing Fran’s question caused the Beast Lord to nod as if he had come to a sudden understanding.

「Huh. I guess that’s why they’ve been treating me with that hostile ass attitude. That explains that. Yeah, I don’t mind at all, go right the hell ahead. In fact, how ’bout I tell them myself right after we’re done here. Was planning to pay the both of them a few visits anyway.」

「Nn. Do tell」

「I’m pretty sure you have lots to ask me, but I’m too busy for it right now. I’ll answer all your questions after the tournament’s over, so check in with me once it’s done.」

「Got it.」

「Aight. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how you do. Show me that you’ll at least be capable of getting to the fourth round. There won’t really be a point in me telling you anything unless you can.」

The Beast Lord grinned at Fran in an intimidating manner, but this time, she didn’t freak out. In fact, she responded to him by speaking in a motivated sounding tone.

「Planned to win from start.」

「Hahahahahahah! You hear that, Gold? Royce?」

「It sure is nice seeing a young fighter all pumped up and motivated.」

「Indeed, but I won’t show her even the slightest shred of mercy should we meet in the ring.」

「Bring it on.」

「Buhahahaha! I like the way you talk smack, even to Gold and Royce. Fine then Fran, come visit me after you’ve won the tournament. I’ll look forward to seeing you then.」

The Beast Lord let loose a hearty laugh before entering the tent in which the remaining Blue Catkin were being kept.

This caused Fran’s expression to change to one of worry, so Royce ended up ushering her off.

「What happens from this point onwards is the Beast Kingdom’s business, so how about you head home for now?」

「What do to Zefmate?」

「Disobeying the Beast Lord is a crime, but I doubt Rig will do too much to harm Zefmate. He’s taken a liking to him, after all.」

「…Got it.」

The Beast Lord was the kind of guy that tended to be a bit rough around the edges, but the fact that he liked Zefmate meant that he probably wouldn’t execute him or shove him in some sort of prison.

Royce’s words seemed to have offered Fran enough to allow her to relax, so she bowed to him before finally turning around and leaving the area.

『Welp. Looks like we’re going to have to at least win ourselves three rounds if we want his approval.』

「Nn! Master. Will try hardest from now on.」

『Sure thing.』

「Nn! Will win for sure!」

_______________________________________________________________
[1] I’m too lazy to translate Tsundere.

Tl;dr, this is tsundere: “I-It’s not like I like you or anything okay! S-So don’t get the wrong idea!”

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