Everyone started introducing themselves after the C ranked party, the Iron God’s Breath, finished apologizing to Fran.
At first, I thought that they didn’t actually need to go as far as prostrating. However, the combination of the willingness with which they did it and the jock-like impression I got from them made me feel that to them, it wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary.
Their overbearing attitudes seemed to have entirely vanished. They instead had started to bow submissively over and over as if to make up for their mistakes. It seemed that Mordred’s statement, his proclamation that Fran was far stronger than he was, had left a pretty deep impression on them.
I was honestly surprised that one word from him had caused their attitudes to change so drastically. Most other adventurers would still doubt Fran’s strength because she looked the way she did. A bit of further consideration led me to realize their willingness to accept Fran’s strength came from their trust in Mordred. They seemed absolutely certain he’d never lie to them.
Although Mordred’s subordinates didn’t really question the authenticity of his words, I did. Fran was definitely stronger than him, but she was only really way stronger than him in her awakened state. The way I saw it, he was an accomplished Magic Warrior skilful enough to match even Colbert in single combat. He’d make for a dangerous opponent if we didn’t take him seriously.
「And these are my four party members.」
「「「We look forward to workin’ with you.」」」
「Nn. Same. Will also introduce again. C ranked adventurer. Fran. And Urushi.」
「Woah, that wolf just came out of nowhere!」
「I-It rose from the shadows!」
「Well then. He looks quite strong.」
Unlike his subordinates, Mordred remained calm even though Urushi, a decently powerful magic beast, had appeared seemingly out of nowhere. In fact, he even ended up smiling after affirming the wolf’s strength, as if to express he was glad to see another fighter amongst our ranks. I really did have to take my hat off to him. All the other adventurers had backed off and just stared at the Darkness Wolf from afar.
「I guess I might as well introduce everyone else. First up’ll be these guys. They’re Red Earth, a D ranked party.」
「It’s good to be working with you.」
Though the party’s leader seemed to be the formal, uptight kind, the same couldn’t be said for its two other members. They both gave off a much more laid back impression. I couldn’t help but notice that everyone in the party had green scales growing on their arms and faces, a feature that apparently clearly denoted them as serpentkin. I couldn’t help but feel that they were a bit weird, not because they had scales, but because they all seemed to be a part of the exact same demographic. Their well built frames were all about the same size be it in height or width. Likewise, they all wore twin swords and had similar-looking faces.
「Ahahahaha. That’s cause the three of us are brothers. We’ve been wandering the world and adventuring together for quite some time. It’s been a while since we last went home, so we decided to take this escort mission so we could head back for a bit.」
Their appearances weren’t all they shared. All three of the serpentkin had been taught by their father, so they’d ended up with the exact same skillset. The uncanny resemblance they bore to one another led me to suspect that they were probably triplets. The only real way for me to tell them apart was to look at their hairstyles. I didn’t really think that to be too reliable, so I decided to appraise them each time we spoke to them going forward in order to make sure we knew which was which. For the record, the uptight leader was actually the oldest of the bunch.
Though Red Earth came off as a bit intimidating, I found that they were actually pretty decent people. They didn’t seem to hold any prejudice against Fran’s tribe.
「These last three belong to the Crystalline Defenders, an E ranked party.」
「Fancy seeing you again.」
The last three adventurers were actually our acquaintances. In fact, they were still quite fresh in our minds because we’d only just sparred with them a few days ago. They were Miguel, the greatsword user, Liddick, the earnest spearman, and Naria, the female archer.
「Oh, you guys already knew each other?」
「Kind of. She crushed us in a spar just a few days ago.」
「Right, you guys were the guildmaster’s apprentices, huh? Man, I’m jealous. I would’ve loved me a chance to spar with the Black Lightning Princess. Well, I’m glad you know her. Makes things more convenient.」
Though the Crystalline Defenders barely counted as our acquaintances, I still preferred having them over someone we didn’t know for the sole reason that they’d already come to understand that Fran was strong.
「Well, the truth is, sparring with you taught us just how weak we really were.」
「Everyone talked a bit, and we realized that we were starting to get sloppy because of how big our party was. Having nine whole people just ended up making us feel too relaxed.」
「We decided to split into three smaller parties so we could start training ourselves again from the ground up.」
Apparently, they hadn’t actually wasted the lessons they’d learned from fighting Fran. They’d realized that something was wrong and immediately acted on it.
「Okay. Good luck.」
「We’ll do our best!」
「Thank you very much for both the instruction and words of encouragement!」
The captain’s first mate pulled Fran and Mordred aside for a quick discussion after everyone introduced themselves because he’d recognized them as the two most influential members of the group. The other adventurers didn’t seem to mind, as they’d left after stating that they’d go along with whatever the pair decided.
「We should probably figure out how we’re going to handle the chain of command. Any ideas on your end? As for me, I don’t mind either way. Feel free to take over if you want.」
Mordred was the type of guy that valued ability, or more specifically, strength in combat, over all else. He was more than willing to yield his position to Fran, but honestly, both Fran and I lacked the skill set necessary to fill it. The lava mage was much better suited to the job. Hence, we ended up rejecting his proposal.
「Bad at giving orders.」
「Alright, go on.」
「You take command. Want to be treated as autonomous unit.」
Fran had basically said that she wanted to just be able to do whatever she wanted in response to the situation at hand. In other words, her proposition was a selfish one that allowed her to retain her freedom while also casting away all the troublesome responsibilities that came with taking charge.
「That’s fine with me, but can you make sure you check with me when you’re going to start acting on your own?」
「Nn. Will be prudent.」
「You’re stronger than me, so I’ll try not to give you orders if I can, but I still will if we get into the kind of emergency that calls for it.」
Mordred heaved a heavy sigh, but ended up agreeing to go along with our idea nonetheless. It seemed that we were going to be fortunate enough to do as we wished for the most part.
「It looks like the two of you have wrapped up your meeting, so, Fran, why don’t I show you to your room?」
「I’m sorry in advance, but, it’s going to have to be just a bit on the smaller side.」
「No problem. Just need bed.」
「I don’t think you’ll need to worry about that. There’s no way we could possible treat you that poorly.」
One of the sailors led Fran to her quarters. The room she was assigned to was a private room meant for the ship’s stronger fighters; its close proximity to the deck made it easy for her to get to wherever she needed as quickly as possible in the case of an emergency.
「This’ll be your room.」
「Nn. Looks good.」
「Good to hear. I’m glad you like it.」
The sailor seemed to think Fran was complimenting the room just for the sake of it, as he seemed a bit ashamed of it throughout the conversation, but she and I honestly both really liked it.
It was a bit on the smaller side, but that was literally my only complaint. It was a private room with a clean bed, some drawers, a closet, and a decent looking desk. There was even a magic lamp suspended from the ceiling. It was way better than the cheap inns we usually stayed in.
Though with all that said and out of the way, the one thing that really iced the cake was the round window decorating the room’s outside wall. It was exactly the kind of window you’d expect to see on a seafaring vessel. A single ray of light streamed in from it and illuminated the room’s otherwise dim interior. That was all it did, but, that alone was enough to really emphasize that we were in a ship’s cabin.
Fran seemed to like the room’s ambient atmosphere, as she sat herself down on the bed and started swinging her legs back and forth. The expression that decorated her face was clearly one of excitement.
「I like this room.」
『Yeah, me too.』
She laid down and started rolling back and forth on the bed until she eventually tired herself out.