Boarding Decision Made
We began moving towards the ship we had our eyes on, the massive galleon with the Beastkin’s Country’s crest on it. Its size made it seem like the type that wouldn’t have too much trouble crossing the ocean.
『Hmmm… We’re probably going to need to talk to the captain. What do you think we’ll need to do to get ourselves a meeting with him?』
「Call out to crew?」
『That’s definitely an option, but I’m not really sure if the crew’ll know anything about you…』
The crew’s members weren’t merchants or adventurers, but sailors. They spent most of their time at sea, so I highly doubted they’d know much about Fran at all. That in turn meant they probably wouldn’t be willing to call for the captain just because she, some random little girl, told them she wanted to meet him.
There was no guarantee they’d actually know the ID Fran had was the real thing either. They could easily call it a fake and dismiss us. The captain, on the other hand, probably had the ability to actually discern that it was genuine.
『What do you think of sitting around until we see someone that looks like they might be a bit higher on the corporate ladder and then just calling out to them?』
「Nn… Will call now.」
『Whatever works for you works for me.』
Fran’s method was straight forward, but it still did work, especially seeing as how there wasn’t really a need for us to go into this thing with a plan in the first place. More importantly, Fran wanted to get this done and over with as soon as possible. She really didn’t want to be late for dinner.
The sailors seemed to be in a meeting of sorts, but both Fran and Urushi ran up to them and attempted to get their attention regardless.
「H-Hi there. Did you n—」
The sailors had responded to Fran in a light-hearted fashion, but ended up immediately stopping and freezing up when they caught sight of Urushi. They then immediately began looking back and forth between the two without continuing what they were saying earlier.
Both their faces were clearly decorated with expression of shock. Fran didn’t really pay them any mind, and instead, moved onto asking for their boss.
「Adventurer, named Fran. Want to talk to captain.」
I felt like she could’ve been a bit more careful with how she introduced herself. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they turned her away because of her poor mannerisms.
But much to my surprise, they ended up doing the exact opposite.
「A-Alright! Give us just a second!」
「I-I’ll go grab the captain!」
A part of me felt like they probably recognized Fran.
「Y-You said your name was Fran?」
「A-Are you perhaps the Black Lightning Princess? The one everyone’s been talking about lately?」
My suspicions were on point. They really did know exactly who Fran was.
「S-s-s-seriously!? Wait, I could’ve sworn the rumours said the Black Lightning Princess had evolved…」
The sailor’s words reminded me that Beastkin were able to discern whether or not another Beastkin had evolved. It was a function that clearly worked even amongst different tribes given that Fran was able to discern that both Aurel and the Beast Lord had evolved.
Fran, however, had the Evolution Concealment skill, meaning other Beastkin wouldn’t be able to tell whether she was just a Black Catkin or actually something more. Hence, the sailor must’ve felt confused by the discrepancy between what he saw and what the rumours had told him.
There wasn’t really much of a point in Fran explaining her circumstances, so she decided to ask her a question of her own in order to move the conversation forward.
「Evolved Black Catkin. Never seen before?」
「I-I’m from the Beastkin’s Country and I meet a lot of beastkin because of my line of work, but I can’t say I have.」
It seemed that Fran really was the only evolved Black Catkin out there, which did make sense in its own right. One would need to kill either 1000 Evil Beings or a single A ranked Evil Being in order to undo the curse. It was very unlikely that anyone would end up accidentally fulfilling either of the two conditions.
And honestly, the second way of undoing the curse was basically just there for decoration. The only way for an unevolved Black Catkin to solo an A ranked Evil Being was to have a miraculous stroke of luck.
The other condition, hunting down 1000 Evil Beings a piece, was the much less difficult to achieve. There was a chance that the other Black Catkin could eventually evolve if we spread knowledge of it far and wide. The stronger ones could even find themselves evolving into Black Heavenly Tigerkin.
It’d be possible to defeat an S ranked Evil Being and undo the curse on a species wide level so long as enough Black Heavenly Tigerkin came to be; there was definitely a chance for the Black Cat Tribe to one day remove its curse.
Having the entire race actively hunt down Evil Beings was something that benefited the gods. In fact, the whole point of the curse was to make the Black Cat Tribe repent through battle to begin with, but the Beast Lords of old had disallowed the Black Catkin their penitence.
Fortunately, the current Beast Lord was nothing like his predecessors. The situation would probably change for the better once he started disseminating information regarding the Black Cat Tribe’s current evolutionary conditions. Of course, we couldn’t leave it all up to him. We too had to make sure we spread the word once we reached the Beastkin’s Country.
The sailor that’d left brought over an important looking man as I continued to contemplate the Black Cat Tribe’s situation. His massive frame, which spanned a large area both horizontally and vertically, was decked to hell and back with huge burly muscles.
He was wearing a captain’s hat atop his head, specifically the kind you’d typically expect a pirate ship’s captain to have. The only difference between his hat and a real pirate’s was that the skull had been swapped out for a crown bearing version of the Beastkin’s Country’s crest.
「Oh? Are you perhaps the Black Lightning Princess?」
「I see, I see. I’ve heard quite a bit about you from all the merchants passing through the city.」
He started off with a rather grim expression, but he quickly replaced it with a friendly smile after seeing Fran nod in response to his words.
「So what’d you need me for?」
「Nn. Looking for ship. Going to Beastkin’s Country.」
「Were you wanting to board our ship as a guard for the trip’s duration?」
「Hahaha! Great, looks like we’ve got ourselves one hell of a reliable escort then.」
「Okay to board?」
「’Course it is. I can tell just by looking at you that you’re one damned strong fighter.」
The captain seemed to be quite decent in combat himself seeing as how he was able to discern that Fran was strong with just a glance.
With all the pleasantries out of the way, we decided to show him the emblem we’d gotten from Royce.
「Huh. You’ve even got one of His Majesty’s IDs…?」
「I’d assume so, seeing as how you’re the Black Lightning Princess, but I’ll have to run it by to check if it’s actually real a bit later on.」
「The Adventurers’ Guild will get mad at us if we don’t make sure the request goes through them, so we’re probably going to have to get that handled. You mind tagging along?」
It seemed the captain couldn’t actually employ us on the spot, but he was more or less willing to do the equivalent. Having the guild handle the request was also beneficial to him in the sense that it’d allow him to verify Fran’s identity.
It also seemed like he was planning to hire a few other adventurers as well just so he could have more hands in the case of an emergency. We didn’t really see any problems with it, so we accompanied the captain to the guild and accepted the request the moment it was done being processed.
「We should be setting sail in three days if all goes well.」
He wasn’t too sure about the precise date because it could change based on magic beast sightings and the weather. Storms in particular tended to be a major source of delay.
「Got it. Will go to ship in 3 days.」
「Sounds good to me. It’s good to be working with you.」
Fran and the captain exchanged a shake of hands before going their separate ways. We probably wouldn’t see him again for another three days. That said, I was already looking forward to boarding that huge ass ship of his.