Vs Goldalfa — After
We were called over to the VIP area in which the Beast Lord was situated shortly after we defeated Goldalfa. We could’ve actually just refused him, but Fran ended up consenting to the offer because she was offered food.
「There you are.」
「Nn. Wanted to see me?」
「Well yeah, I mean you’re one of them legendary Black Heavenly Tigerkin, ain’t ya? No way I wouldn’t want to check you out after figuring out all that.」
The Beast Lord carefully observed Fran as he spoke, an action that ultimately led him to furrow his brow in confusion.
「Yeah, I don’t get it, I’m not really seeing it… At first I thought it was just ’cause you were a bit too far away for me to really tell…」
「I feel the same. She seems just like any other Black Catkin to me.」
The Evolution Concealment skill seemed to be capable of doing one hell of a fine job, as neither Roche nor the Beast Lord could actually tell that Fran had evolved. Both were left in a state of confusion due to the discrepancy between their current impression of her and what they’d witnessed earlier.
「Mind me asking how the hell you’ve managed to cover it up like that?」
「Your Majesty! Asking a question like that is not only rude, but also a breach of her privacy!」
「O-Oh come on…」
The Beast Lord seemed extremely curious because he couldn’t figure out exactly what the hell was going on. That said, I wasn’t really planning to let him in the loop. I figured that telling him would probably end up causing us more trouble than it was worth further down the line and that it’d be better for us to refrain from doing so.
Fran, however, disagreed.
「Willing to tell.」
『W-Wait, Fran, hold up!』
（Got an idea.）
『Care to share?』
（Just leave to me.）
『You uh… sure?』
Fran seemed to be insisting that she knew what she was doing, so I ended up yielding and allowing her to do whatever it was she’d thought up.
「But only under certain condition.」
「Oh? What kinda condition?」
「Looking for God-tier Blacksmith. Will tell if told blacksmith’s location.」
Her idea was a pretty good one. The God-tier Blacksmith’s location was something extremely valuable, and thus, most likely confidential. In other words, it was unlikely that the Beast Lord would be willing to tell it to Fran under normal circumstances even if he was looking out for the Black Cat Tribe and its members.
His personality seemed to indicate that the opposite was quite possible as well, but one could never really know for sure. Plus, having a bargaining chip was pretty much always better than not.
（Master, activate Principle of Falsehood.）
The best part about the idea Fran came up with was that it allowed us to gain at least some information regardless of whether or not the Beast Lord lied. All he needed to do was assent and we had ourselves some profit.
「…I will leave this decision entirely up to you, Your Majesty.」
「Oh hell no, you’re not getting out of this! You think about it too unless you want Royce on our asses for making another dumb decision.」
The Beast Lord ended up deciding to tell us what he knew after discussing it a bit with Roche.
「…Close in a bit.」
The Beast Lord used his fingers to gesture at Fran in order to tell her to approach him, an act that clearly indicated that he not only knew about the blacksmith in question, but also wanted as few people to hear what he was going to say as possible.
「I’mma just flat out say that the Beastkin’s Country’s got one.」
He whispered right into Fran’s ear. His lips were so close to her that even I started to feel a bit uncomfortable. I felt the urge to chop the filthy things off if they so much as touched Fran.
Fran responded to him as I entertained a rather violent thought.
「Really, but the dude you’re looking for is a moody little bastard. He’s real hard to deal with, and I can’t really say whether or not he’d even be willing to see you.」
「Still okay as long as told location.」
「He’s the type of guy that doesn’t really hold much respect for authority. He basically doesn’t even care that I’m a king. I’ll still write you a letter so he knows I sent you, but just be warned that it might not really make a difference.」
「Really? Big favour.」
「Yeah, it’s whatever. Now tell me that thing I’ve been curious about.」
「Nn. Got it.」
Hearing about the Evolution Concealment skill caused the Beast Lord to start brooding.
He and Roche had even started debating whether or not it was something that Black Heavenly Tigerkin would learn upon evolution.
『He was telling you the truth. He not only knows where the guy is, but also plans on introducing you to him.』
（Then will need to go to Beastkin’s Country.）
『Sure seems like it.』
Fran went silent because she’d started conversing with me telepathically. The two other beastkin, however, took this as a sign that they’d accidentally left her out of the conversation because they were too focused on their own devices. Thus, Roche ended up apologizing.
「Sorry about that. We will be leaving it at that for now. Thank you once again for providing us with a valuable piece of information.」
It seemed like there was a good chance they’d want to ask us for more details after the tourney came to an end.
「I would like you to have these, though not necessarily as an expression of gratitude.」
Roche handed Fran a pair of tickets.
「These tickets will allow you access to reserved seating. I believe you wish to watch the remaining matches, correct?」
「S’cause you’ve already made a name for yourself. Everyone’ll probably recognize you immediately if you go sit with everyone else, and that’d just be a huge pain in the ass.」
「And that is why we would like for you to have those tickets. The reserved seats are located a fair distance away from the regular seats, and the individuals that have the rights to them are far more polite. Sitting over there will assist you in keeping out of trouble.」
「Thanks. Why two?」
「The other one’s for that familiar of yours, the one that had Gold all distracted and shit.」
「His Majesty immediately declared that he wished for your wolf to be seated after seeing it. Obtaining the second ticket was quite the task.」
「Please, do not worry about it. My troubles were entirely the result of His Majesty’s high-handedness.」
「Oh come on man, what the hell? You’re making it look like it’s all my fault.」
「How is it not? Oh well, I do not particularly mind as your actions did not result in any harm. You will, however, have to deal with Sir Solbard later on.」
「Yeah, yeah, I know already.」
Urushi’s ticket had apparently belonged to a noble from the Beastkin’s Country. Said noble had been visiting on his own as opposed to as a member of the Beast Lord’s party. However, the Beast Lord had basically forced the man to sell his ticket regardless.
He’d made up for it by inviting the man over to the VIP section, a result the person in question was actually quite happy with given that he was basically handed a chance to build a better relationship with the Beast Lord.
「We had originally secured a single ticket as we had suspected that you would likely not want to remain in the VIP area.」
The atmosphere in here was a bit stiff, and more importantly, Fran herself wasn’t really able to relax. She’d yet to be able to let her guard down around the Beast Lord and his companions.
Fran got ready to leave the VIP area with a huge platter of the food she’d taken from it in tow right about when the noble Roche had mentioned approached it.
She’d offered to pay for what she was going to eat, but the Beast Lord ended up dismissing the notion and calling the platter a reward she’d earned given that she’d beat Goldalfa. And so, we ended up leisurely getting ourselves ready to watch the matches to come.
The reserved seating area was full of nobles and other people with a tonne of spare cash. A bunch of them spotted us immediately, but they didn’t end up saying anything, quite possibly because they were afraid of us. Or rather, of Urushi.
He still seemed to be feeling the rush he’d gotten from the super intense battle we’d just fought, as his face had a bit of a wilder look on it than usual. Honestly speaking, it was a bit terrifying to look at. I didn’t really bother asking him to fix it because it kept people away, and all in all, ended up functioning as a convenience.
『So the next match still hasn’t started yet?』
We’d kinda destroyed the arena. The staff had to repair it before the next match began.
I’d considered the possibility that they’d have like a reigning champion or something carry in a giant ass ring into the arena, but that wasn’t what’d actually happened. They were instead fixing everything through the application of Earth Magic. To that end, the person responsible for the repairs was currently drawing some sort of magic circle.
It took about twenty minutes for them to create an entirely new arena and bring in the next pair of contestants.
Today’s second match was between Amanda and Erza. I honestly wasn’t sure which of the two we were supposed to be rooting for.
Their battle began before I was actually able to make up my mind.
Amanda began moving around the Arena and attacking with her whip while Erza stayed centered around the same area while waiting for a chance to throw a counterattack.
I couldn’t help but enjoy spectating the two of them as they fought. One’s whip was raging within the barrier’s confines as would a dragon, while the other’s mace was cleaving holes in the arena every single time it was swung. There was but only one issue…
That one issue was the fact that the buff manwoman would moan each and every time he was struck with the whip. I couldn’t help but begin debating whether or not Fran was actually old enough to be watching the two go at each other.
I felt like I most likely would’ve directed her attention elsewhere and disallowed her from watching if we weren’t going to end up fighting the winner.
I expected the match to last quite a while given that Erza had both high defenses and the Pain Conversion skill, but I was wrong.
Amanda swung her whip in a downwards arc and sent Erza flying. He’d passed out by the time he landed, which made sense.
Not feeling pain was useful and all, but one would still eventually lose consciousness and control over one’s body should one take way too much damage.
「I can’t believe it! Erza, Ulmutt’s Hero, was defeated with ease! Well, that’s an A ranked adventurer for you! This round goes to Amanda of Hariti!」
I was surprised to hear the caster openly declare that as the city’s hero. It seemed that Ulmutt’s people were a lot more accepting than I’d been giving them credit for.
『Did you manage to catch that last attack of hers…?』
『Yeah, same here.』
Amanda’s whip moved so quickly that I hadn’t even been able to fully keep track of it from afar. Fran and I were both starting to worry that we wouldn’t be able to repel her attacks.
『Looks like our next match is going to be one hell of a tough one.』
 Assuming male, but gender is not stated. Japanese can do that without it sounding out of place, awkward, or even really intentional.