The Rumoured Black Lightning Princess
We turned over to the merchants after eliminating the lesser wyverns that’d been chasing them, but they weren’t capable of providing us any sort of immediate response. Instead, they simply trembled on the spot as they stared off into the distance.
They didn’t seem capable of averting their gazes from the destruction we’d just caused. Honestly, I couldn’t really blame them. I’d gone a bit too far.
「It looks like… we made it…」
「So about that reward…」
The merchants’ faces paled. I couldn’t really blame them. What they just bore witness to was something prone to leaving the average person in a state of shock, and the price we named clearly hadn’t helped. There was a fair chance they’d interpreted our offer as a sort of threat instead.
「The three of us have about 50k Golde on us in total.」
At first, I thought that they had quite a decent bit of cash on hand, but then I realized that it was pretty much the norm given that they were merchants. Furthermore, their tones seemed to imply that they didn’t think it was nearly enough to pay for Fran’s services.
「Huh? Really? Are you sure?」
「Nn. Because caught in attack.」
We ended up using the fact that they’d ended up inside the surge of winds that followed Kanna Kamui as an excuse to lessen the cost despite the fact that we’d healed them afterwards.
「T-Thank you very much!」
「Y-You really saved us.」
「We would’ve died without your help.」
They were grateful even though we ended up taking all the cash they had on hand, which seemed to imply that the market price for our services was much higher than just that.
We parted with the merchants and headed on our way. We knew that they were heading in the same direction as us, so we ended up killing all the magic beasts we ran into along the way and clearing a path for them. That said, it was more so something we did just because we felt like it as opposed to something we chose to do in the spirit of service.
It didn’t take too long for us to experience a second interruption after dealing with the first, as we came across a group of people large enough to be considered a roadblock. The group seemed to have come from Barbra’s direction, and were heading in Ulmutt’s. I had a bit of a hard time identifying them, as they were a bit too organised-looking for adventurers, and too lightly equipped for knights.
Most of them seemed to be on edge, and some even had their weapons drawn.
Though I called them a roadblock, they weren’t actually in our way. We could easily just pass them by so long as that was what we wanted. I was fairly inclined to choose that exact option because I didn’t really want to get us involved in anything too troublesome.
『Nah, let’s not. They might end up misunderstanding our intentions if we do.』
The reason I said that was because they seemed to be able to see us. There was a chance they’d assume we chose to run away from them if we took a sudden turn. That said, I didn’t really know the group’s purpose, and there was a pretty good chance that they hadn’t any good intentions.
『Make sure you’re ready to fight at any given moment if need be.』
Urushi lifted off the gas and slowed down as he approached the group. Seeing him close in caused the group to immediately ready their weapons.
A few of the weapons that’d been drawn were bows, but fortunately, we didn’t suffer any attacks regardless. As far as I could tell, their actions were driven by two separate reasons. The first was that they were able to sense that we weren’t giving off any bloodlust. The second was that they’d managed to retain their composure despite being rather weak as individuals. Most of them were about as strong as the average E ranker. The man leading the group seemed a bit stronger than the rest of its members. He seemed like he was a D ranker, but only just barely made the cut.
Most of the group’s members were focused on Urushi; many hadn’t even noticed Fran. But again, I couldn’t really blame them. A massive, hulking magic beast had basically just ran straight at them, after all.
Neither Fran nor I thought of Urushi as anything more than just a cute pet, but that didn’t really go for anyone that didn’t know him.
『Hey Fran, it’d probably be better for you to get off Urushi and walk for a bit.』
「Nn. Got it.」
『As for you, Urushi, you should probably dive into her shadow.』
The act of Urushi shrinking himself down and entering Fran’s shadow caused a few of the group’s members to let out a few shouts of surprise. Fran didn’t really pay their reaction much mind, as she kept moving towards them regardless.
I got myself ready to teleport us out at a moment’s notice. My plan was to move us up into the sky so we could wipe them out with magic if they turned out to be hostile.
Fran started from about the 50 meter mark and approached at a rather brisk pace. The group wasn’t able to react until she reached the five meter mark. Only then did the man that stood at the group’s front finally call out to her.
「W-Who the hell are you!?」
「What the hell was with that wolf just now? And why the hell didn’t you greet us at all!?」
「Wait, wait! Hold on kid!」
I’d kinda been expecting to be able to just ignore the group and move on, but I wasn’t really sure if that was the best course of action given that we had no idea as to who they were.
「How about fixing that attitude of yours? Don’t you know that we’re the Dimuyr Mercenaries?」
Oh god damn it. Are all mercenaries like this or something? Why did they think we’d know them?
The man immediately started throwing questions at Fran without pause. He asked who she was, where Urushi went, and if something had happened a bit further down the road.
He seemed to slowly grow more and more irritated over time because he didn’t like Fran’s attitude. His voice gradually got louder and louder as a result.
『Hmmm… It’d probably be best for us to just leave after ignoring him some more.』
Or so I thought. We couldn’t actually put my plan into action because a second group, the rear guard, caught up with the first right as we began to move. They clearly belonged to the same organisation and much to our annoyance, ended up in our way.
I began building up my magical energy as I watched the situation unfold.
「What the hell are you doing?」
「Nothing special pops, er, Division Leader. I’m just interrogating someone that seems suspicious.」
「Interrogating? Why the hell would you do that? We’re being paid to wipe out a group of lesser wyverns, not interrogate someone. Did you run into a scout for a band of thieves or something? 」
It seemed that the person leading the rear guard had a higher position than the guy that’d first addressed us. He also seemed to be the first guy’s father seeing as how he’d called him pops.
「Well, no, but…」
「Then why the hell are you bothering!? Stop fooling around and wasting time!」
「O-Oh come on! Just give me a second! I was about to start intimidating her into spilling the beans, so I’ll get it done real quick!」
Well, well, well, what do we have here? He wanted to intimidate Fran? Did I hear that right? I guess that means we should beat the crap out of the guy that called out to us before using the rest of his mercenary band for target practice.
The division leader seemed to immediately catch onto the fact that Fran and I were itching for a fight.
He pushed his son and subordinates aside so he could get a better look at her. His face paled the moment he did. He immediately reacted by turning towards his son and smacking him in the face.
「Gaahh! W-What the hell was that for, pops!?」
「God damn it! You’re an idiot! I can’t believe you’re so goddamn stupid!」
The boss guy hit his son over and over until the younger mercenary lost consciousness. None of the other mercenaries seemed to understand the cause of their leader’s sudden outburst, and as a result, ended up staring in surprise.
Likewise, we also ended up staring because we didn’t really get what was going on. My only guess was that he’d somehow mistaken Fran for some sort of influential noble.
「I-I’m terribly sorry! My subordinate was acting without the band’s permission, I swear that we had no intention of making an enemy out of you. Please forgive us.」
It seemed the division leader really had mistaken us for someone else, as he ended up kneeling and begging for us to spare him.
「What the hell are you lot doing!? Lower your heads and get on your knees right this instant! I’ll have anyone that disobeys fired on the spot!」
The order was a bit of a ridiculous one, but it contained within it a sense of authority that forced the mercenaries to obey.
「Again, I’m terribly sorry for my subordinates’ attitudes. Please, Black Lightning Princess, forgive their rudeness.」
It turned out that he hadn’t actually mistaken us for anyone else. He knew who Fran was and that messing with her would spell his end.
「W-Wait, that’s the rumoured Black Lightning Princess?」
「I heard she doesn’t show any mercy to anyone that shows her any hostility…」
「Yeah, and she even erases all the people that disobey her…」
The mercenaries began to gossip as they as they caught wind of Fran’s identity, but a single glare from their commander ended up silencing them.
「Nn. Can go now?」
「Have a safe trip!」
Surprisingly, the mercenary commander ended up giving us his blessings as he saw us off. They hadn’t caused us any harm, so I didn’t actually see any reason for us to retaliate. That said, I was really curious as to why they were that afraid of us. I really wanted to learn more about the rumours people were spreading about us.
The rest of our trip went rather smoothly, we reached Barbra without experiencing any further interruptions.
『Well, we’re here. I guess we should go visit all our acquaintances and check in on Old Man Gallus.』