A Journey Aboard a Horned Carriage
Editor: Also SupremeTentacle (This is going to change soon! I’ll be done going through the applications as soon as I’m done with my upcoming milestones.)
The horned carriage we were riding in rattled as it travelled down the highway at a pace a horse-pulled vehicle could never match. Its destination was, of course, Argentlapn, the town closest to the Scorpion Lion Woods’ most traversable subsection. Although we were working as guards, we were basically acting in the same manner as would any other passenger. We wouldn’t need to do anything unless we were subject to an attack.
A calm atmosphere filled the carriage’s interior. It was a strange mix, one that was somehow both relaxing and festive at the same time.
“Would you like a snack, milady?” One of the passengers handed Fran a treat.
“Thanks,” Fran gratefully accepted with a nod.
A second and third passenger soon imitated the first and offered Fran a couple treats, which again, she accepted. Her acknowledgement of their offerings caused the other passengers aboard the carriage to react with joy. Speaking of the other passengers, most of them were older, unevolved individuals well past their prime. It was precisely this status of theirs that caused them to view her as an idol to worship and pay her a near superfluous amount of respect. The fact that she was a black catkin, a member of a tribe known not to evolve, only amplified the admiration they they held for her all the more.
In other words, the festive mood had stemmed from Fran’s presence. She was being celebrated for allowing the older beastkin to breathe the same air as her. That said, they had given her too many offerings for her to hold; the many snacks presented to her ended up getting laid out in front of her.
The older individuals weren’t the only ones aboard the coach. Some of the grandchildren were too. One would normally expect children to look upon the mound of snacks with greed or envy, but they weren’t. Like their grandparents, they too were too busy idolizing Fran. As far as they were concerned, she was a hero. The combination of their grandparents’ attitudes and their instincts as beastkin had deemed her as such.
Young, innocent sounding cries of “Ebolving ish so cool!”, “I wanna be like Fuwan!”, and “Awesome!” filled the carriage as toddlers scrambled about and admired her.
Again, the atmosphere was peaceful and relaxing. But alas, it wasn’t to last.
“M-Monsters sighted!” The coachman shouted in panic as he spotted a group of enemies up ahead. The contents of his message caused the passengers to curl up in fear and direct their gazes towards Fran, as if begging for her to bring them salvation by resolving the situation.
“Milady, please! Eliminate the beasts!” The driver raised his voice again as he regained a bit of his composure.
“Nn. Got it,” Fran nodded as she stepped onto the coachman’s platform and looked ahead.
“T-Thank you very much!”
Ten odd german shepherd sized dog monsters looked to be waiting for us a bit down the road.
“Can’t just break through? Only around 10.”
“I-I’m sorry milady, but I’m ‘fraid that ain’t gonna be possible!” The coachman replied.
That wasn’t quite the response I was expecting. I knew that the dogs were monsters, but the Dual Horn was still the size of a god damned rhino. I assumed it would be able to just smash the dog like creatures out of its way and keep moving.
A bit of a closer examination revealed to me why I’d been wrong.
Species: Venom Dog
Dog type monster
Pursuit: Lv 3
Roar: Lv 1
Enhanced Sense of Smell
Magical Poison Fang
The monsters were called Venom Dogs. Their stats were quite low, but they were capable of delivering toxic bites through the use of their agility. Moreover, they would then use that superior agility stat to kite their foe around until it succumbed to their venom. It was an effective strategy, and one even the Dual Horn was prone to falling victim to given the sheer number of Venom Dogs. There was, however, a fairly simple solution. All we needed to do was obliterate the enemies before they closed in on us.
“Don’t slow down,” Fran ordered the driver as she got into position and lifted me into a combat ready stance.
“A-Are you sure?”
“Nn. Just leave to me.”
“Y-Yes ma’am!” Though he seemed to lack confidence, the driver still ended up obeying Fran’s commands because she’d evolved and he hadn’t.
“Alright, let’s do this!” I telepathically shouted.
Fran launched me towards the monsters as I boosted my velocity with telekinesis. The attack was swift; I pierced through two of our enemies’ cores and absorbed them with pinpoint accuracy. I then used a mix of wind magic and sheer telekinetic force to prevent them from escaping before tearing through them one after another.
I grabbed their corpses and shoved them into my storage immediately after defeating them. Venom dogs were quite weak. They probably weren’t worth too much, but I decided to loot them regardless, just in case.
The coachman seemed to want to say something about the fact that the monsters had vanished in an instant, corpses and all, but ended up rescinding his comment because he didn’t want to spoil Fran’s mood. He instead heaved a sigh of relief and thanked her, to which she responded by nodding lightly as she returned to the vehicle’s interior. There, she found herself showered in shouts of gratitude and praise.
She responded to them one by one at first by stating that she hadn’t done anything impressive, and that she was just doing her job, but was eventually overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and forced to retreat back to the coachman’s seat.
She’d already fulfilled her duty and showed off just how strong black catkin could be, so there wasn’t really any issue with her retreating. That said, she still made herself an excuse and stated that she was repositioning herself so she could better remain vigilant of any additional monsters.
“Haha, they sure have kicked up a fuss.” The coachman smiled wryly. The passengers had been quite noisy, so he knew exactly what had just happened.
The only thing that followed her reply was silence. The driver recognized that there was a large rift between her social status and his own and thus, remained silent and didn’t really try talking to her. That said, he didn’t seem particularly bothered by the silence. He simply continued to look straight ahead and direct the dual horn along the road before him.
And just like that, 4 hours flew right by.
“Town spotted,” Fran commented as she awoke from a nap.
“You’ve got some really good eyes! We’re just about coming up on Argentlapn,” the driver replied, surprised.
It took a good bit of time, but we finally reached our destination. There was only a single group of monsters on the way. Fran didn’t really have much to do. The combination of her boredom and the vehicle’s gentle shaking caused her to end up napping atop the driver’s platform for most of the trip’s duration.
“Adventurers’ Guild in town?”
“A pretty big ‘un. It’s right by the town’s entrance, so you’ll prolly see it soon.”
Unlike Greyseal, Argentlapn lacked a space specifically intended for horned carriages. Our vehicle had ended up pulling up beside a stagecoach just outside town.
The passengers began to get off shortly after the vehicle reached its destination. They each thanked Fran and then the driver in that order as they left.
“We owe you our lives, milady!”
“Bai bai Fuwan!”
She responded to them with the usual “Nn,” before departing from the drop off area.
To be honest, having people treat us like that is kind of draining. It looks like we’re going to have to put up with it if we want to keep bolstering the Black Cat Tribe’s place in beastkin society though…
I felt the urge let out a mental groan as I entertained the thought, but was interrupted by Fran before I could.
It looked like I wasn’t the only one. But still, it wasn’t really an issue. We were sure to grow accustomed to it in due time.