In Search of A Ship
Gamud led Fran back up to his office in order to give his disciples a bit of time to cool down.
「Thanks for today, you were a great help. Sorry it ended up taking so long.」
「Not problem. Also learned.」
「Did you really?」
「Nn. Thank you very much.」
Fran bowed to Gamud in an expression of gratitude.
At a glance, it seemed that Gamud had only made the request because he wanted us to beat down his disciples in order to curb the extent of their arrogance, but it was actually more than just that. He wanted Fran to learn a similar lesson. It was as if he was indirectly telling her that he didn’t want to see her get conceited. He wanted to make sure she was aware that there were stronger fighters out there, and that she would die if she didn’t remain aware of her own limits.
She picked up on his intentions even though I hadn’t mentioned them to her, hence why she chose to respectfully thank him.
「I dunno why you’re thanking me. You were the one that helped me out, after all.」
The guildmaster turned his face away from her out of embarrassment, an act that essentially verified his intentions.
「Nn. Still wanted to thank.」
「…You’re still young. You’ve got plenty of time to grow, so don’t push yourself too hard, you hear?」
Fran thanked Gamud one last time and accepted the request’s payout before finally turning heel and leaving the Adventurers’ Guild.
『Alright. It’s finally time for us to find ourselves a ship.』
「Nn. Search immediately.」
『You two sure seem pumped. Did something happen?』
「Tonight, curry. Io.」
「Can’t be late. No matter what.」
Fran and Urushi looked at each other and nodded in perfect sync. It was almost as if their appetites had somehow allowed them to communicate while forgoing the need for words altogether.
They were motivated for all the wrong reasons, but I didn’t really mind so long as their attitudes would help us find a ship sooner rather than later. That said, I didn’t want us boarding anything too sketchy. We could always come back tomorrow if we didn’t manage to find anything decent by dinnertime.
『I hope we’ll actually be able to find something with the Beastkin Country’s crest on it.』
Finding one would make things more convenient because the Beast Lord had given us that one thing, but honestly, it didn’t matter too much. It seemed that Fran, or rather, the Black Lightning Princess, had become famous enough even in Barbra for us to get ourselves an escort job with ease.
I was more so concerned as to whether or not there would be any ships headed towards our destinations in the first place, and how big they were if they did actually exist.
Personally, I was hoping to board a larger ship, preferably something on the scale of an ocean liner. I wasn’t really all that confident in a smaller ship’s ability to make it all the way over to another continent.
While size was important, it wasn’t the only thing we had to take into consideration. We also had to consider the crew’s attitude. The Black Cat Tribe was apparently no longer being looked down upon by the country itself, but that didn’t necessarily mean that all its citizens felt the same way. There wasn’t really much of a point in boarding a ship whose crew consisted mainly of people that discriminated against Fran and her people. The captain’s attitude was of particular importance, as it would dictate the manner in which his crew operated.
「Nom nom. That ship?」
「Nom. Woof. Nom.」
Fran and Urushi were both fully aware that they were going to have curry for dinner tonight, but they still ended up choosing to chow down on a couple curry flavoured skewers as they looked around for a ship.
『Did you happen to see a really nice looking ship or something?』
「That. Looks tasty.」
『Oh. That’s what you meant.』
The catgirl slowly drifted towards a nearby stall, seemingly attracted by its scent. The dish being sold had quite the interesting appearance to it. They folded up a bunch of dough in a conical shape before slapping something that kinda looked like Qeema Curry with all its liquid drained on top. It was kinda like an ice cream cone, but made with curry instead.
Both my companions happily shoved the stuff down their throats instead of actively looking around. It kinda seemed like I would have to take care of all the actual searching.
We spent a bit more time in the port’s general vicinity as the two gluttons I was accompanying went around buying and eating whatever they pleased. During that time, I managed to spot two different ships with the Beastkin’s Country’s crest, but I didn’t particularly want to board either of them.
My reasons were as follows: the first ship seemed worn down and belonged to a really small company hoping to profit from international trade. All the crew members were relatively low level, and the same went for their sailing-related skills. I didn’t feel like it was safe to board, in fact, I was more or less convinced that it was going to sink. The second ship was in much better shape, it looked prim and proper. The same, however, couldn’t be said for its crew. They couldn’t be called decent regardless of how you looked at them. They weren’t really pirates just yet, but they were definitely getting there. We couldn’t trust them. Boarding their ship was clearly a terrible idea.
As we hadn’t found anything, we ended up wandering around the port for a bit longer, at which point in time we were greeted by a male merchant.
「Are you maybe looking to escort a ship?」
「How can tell?」
Though we were on guard at first, we soon came to understand that our goal was fairly obvious to the average bystander. Most immediately recognized Fran as the Black Lightning Princess because she happened to be a young Black Catkin girl with a wolf at her side. In other words, they recognized her as an adventurer instead of just your everyday average girl.
She’d very obviously been looking at the ships that happened to be around, so the merchant had put two and two together and came to the conclusion that Fran needed to cross the sea. It was fairly typical for adventurers to take on escort missions in order to hitch rides, after all.
「That’s why I approached you. What do you think about escorting my ship?」
Hiring an adventurer as strong as the Black Lightning Princess would not only secure the man’s cargo, but also allow him to promote himself as a prestigious merchant. He sweetened up the deal by not only offering us a ride, but also a pretty decent reward along with it.
Though the offer was quite promising, we couldn’t take it without first sorting out a few facts.
「We were planning to set sail for the continent of Reddina.」
The merchant looked quite disappointed, but ended up backing off shortly after Fran shook her head. I’d expected him to be a bit more persistent, but it seemed he was the type that knew that getting on Fran’s bad side wasn’t that great of an idea.
He wasn’t the only merchant to speak to us. A few more tried asking us the same thing, but unfortunately, none of them were headed to Chrom, the continent in which the Beastkin’s Country was located. Still, we kept looking around and didn’t give up. In the end, it took us about three hours looking to finally find a ship whose destination was in line with our own.
I didn’t know too much about ships myself, but, the bit of knowledge I’d managed to pick up from a certain pirate-themed manga told me that the ship in question was probably a galleon. It had five masts, and was definitely one of the biggest ships moored at the harbour. It even had a Beastkin’s Country’s crest on it, namely one decorated with a crown, meaning it was a ship that worked directly under the royal family. The sailors on board seemed disciplined, but lively nonetheless, as laughter often boomed from atop the ship’s deck — a sign that the environment they worked in was at least decent. In other words, both the ship and its crew seemed like the kind we could put our faith in. Moreover, they would probably accomodate us if they could because we had Royce’s ID card on hand, so I decided to try asking to see if they could let us on board.
『Hey Fran, how about checking that ship out?』
「Nn. Got it.」