Raymond opened up a large map and handed it over to Fran.
“Schwarzkatze is located near the foot of these mountains that serve as our border,” he said. “It’s a three to four day journey by horned carriage, but I suspect that you have means of covering that distance more quickly. In that case, I suggest that you make a stop at Greengoat. It is one of the country’s largest trading hubs. Many major roads converge on it.”
“And here is that letter of recommendation that the Beast Lord instructed me to write for you.” He handed Fran a letter adorned with a fancy wax seal.
“I believe that is everything on the agenda. If you have no further concerns, I shall excuse myself here. May your journey be safe and prosperous.”
Raymond exited the room. He was gone and we had everything we came for, so it was time for us to go too.
“Will be leaving too,” said Fran.
“Aww, already?” asked Kiara.
“Nn. Bye Kiara, Guen.”
“Bye Fran,” said Guendalfa. “And uhh… about that thing… when we first met…”
“Nn. No problem. I forgive you.”
“Hmm? What’s this?” said Kiara. “Why is she forgiving you, brat? What did you do to her?”
“N-Nothing! I didn’t do any-”
“Guen picked a fight”
“Gahhhhh!” Guendalfa covered his head with his hands and cowered down on the floor.
Fran explained in detail our first encounter with Guendalfa, starting with him being an arrogant son of a bitch and ending with Fran flooring him with a single punch. After listening to our story, Kiara directed a furious gaze at Guendalfa.
“I can’t believe you!” she shouted, drilling her fist into the top of his skull “Why are you still so obsessed with your uncle?”
“I’m not obsessed!” he stammered. “I couldn’t care less about that traitor. He-”
“That right there is what makes you a goddamn snot nosed brat! You’re over 20 years old and you’re still throwing a tantrum over Gold leaving. It’s an honor to serve the Beast Lord, and you shouldn’t think of it any other way.”
“No buts! Stop being so goddamn immature. I know you’re just mad he left the tribe without telling you first. Get over it already.”
Guendalfa couldn’t find a way to retort, so he just sat angrily on the floor with a frown on his face. Kiara turned to the maid, Mia.
“Mia. Get this snot nosed brat out of my room.”
“Understood, Lady Kiara.”
Mia grabbed Guendalfa by the collar and dragged him out the room. Kiara turned back to Fran and gave her a hug.
“Do come back and visit,” she said.
“Nn. Kiara, don’t push self to hard.”
“Hahaha! I can’t promise you that. I’m trying to evolve, after all.”
“Nn. Then push self just enough to avoid death.”
It seems both Kiara and Fran are the type of people to constantly push themselves to their limits to achieve their goals. I can protect Fran along the way but the same can’t be said for Kiara. I hope she stays safe, for Fran’s sake.
“I won’t die,” said Kiara. “I haven’t felt this alive in years!”
She shifted towards the open door.
“In fact, I feel so great that why don’t I just get a head start on evil beings. I think I’ll just accompany you an-”
“Not so fast, Lady Kiara.” Mia suddenly appeared behind Kiara and grabbed her by the shoulder.
“Goddammit Mia! Let me go! How did you even get back here that fast? I thought I told you to remove that snot nosed brat.”
“I had a feeling that you would try to bolt while I was away so I just dumped him in the hallway around the corner.”
After a brief struggle, Kiara gave up trying to escape the maid.
“It looks like I can’t go, so won’t you stay with me a bit longer?” she said.
“Can’t. Need to leave.”
“I see.” Kiara smiled gently. “In that case, do visit again!”
With that, we exited Kiara’s room. We turned the corner and found Guendalfa still sitting on the ground and sulking, so Fran asked him to escort us out. Guendalfa seemed to perk right back up and he happily accompanied us out of the castle and stuck with us all the way until we reached the city’s front gates.
“Well then. Be safe, Black Lightning Princess.”
“Nn. You too. Stop picking fights.”
“Haha yeah. I kinda learned my lesson the hard way.”
Once outside, Fran summoned Urushi in his large form and mounted him.
“Go Urushi! Go!”
Urushi raced through the sky. We left the capital around noon. Only after travelling for about eight hours could we finally see some city lights emerging from beyond the horizon.
“It’s pretty late Fran. I think that’s Greengoat in the distance. Let’s touch down there and find an inn where we can have a meal and get some rest. We can continue travelling in the morning.”
“Nn. Urushi, descend.”
2 hours later, Fran lay contentedly on the bed, just having finished dinner.
What the hell was that? We got through this city way too smoothly! Nobody batted an eye when we arrived at the town gate and the guard let us through without issue. Nobody gave us shit at the guild when we were selling our monster mats either. Nor were we disturbed during the check in process. I swear to god, I’m so used to Fran getting harassed that being left alone actually bothers me more. Oh shit, did I just totally jinx it? Is something terrible going to happen to Greengoat now?
“Master, what’s wrong?” asked Fran, half asleep.
“Nothing really big. I think it’s odd that no one in Greengoat’s messed with us yet.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“It’s not. I’ll let it go.”
I decided to put the matter aside and let Fran get some rest. Surprisingly, the next morning was just as uneventful. We managed to set off from Greengoat without a hitch.
So nothing actually happened while we were in Greengoat? Well damn, I guess there really is a first time for everything after all.
As soon as I thought that, Fran and I spotted two adventurers standing on either side of the road about twenty meters from where we were. They weren’t doing anything besides just loitering around and suspiciously scouring their surroundings. We were currently riding Urushi so we slowed down and kept our guard up because they directed their gazes at us, but again, nothing happened. As we passed them we saw that the two adventurers were not beastkin, but human. I thought we were in the clear after we passed them by, but then three more adventures on horseback appeared from the side of the road and stopped in front of us, blocking our way forward. Two more came out and stopped behind us. We were surrounded.
“Whew. We managed to make it here in time!” said one.
“Yeah! What the hell is that wolf? It’s crazy fast!”
“The guys on the ground should have signalled us sooner.”
One of the men dismounted.
“Oi you! Are you Fran, the Black Lightning Princess?” said one of the adventurers.
He made an ugly smile. The other 4 adventurers dismounted and moved inwards, tightening the circle around Fran.
Are these guys seriously attacking us when Urushi is out in the open? He’s even in his large form. Are they brave? Or just plain stupid?
“Well then. It may be a bit sudden but you will forfeit your life here!”
“If you want to curse something, then curse the day you were born a beastkin!”
The five adventurers each reached into their bags and pulled out a large purple ball. I appraised them.
“Fran! Those balls create poisonous chunks of fog that weakens everything in them. It’s probably too weak to affect you but I think I’ll teleport you out just in case. Urushi. You have the Nullify Poison skill. Go waste them.”
The men threw the balls straight at Fran but I teleported her high into the sky before they reached. The adventurers’ stats were so low that I felt like I was watching them in slow motion. After missing their target, the balls exploded, covering the area below us with a thick purple fog.
“Did we get her?” said one of the men.
The next moment an enormous black shadow emerged from the fog and scooped up the man in its jaws. After violently shaking its head side to side a few times, the shadow loosened its grip and sent the man’s chewed up corpse flying.
The other four turned tail and ran but Urushi was much to fast for them. Two of the men got their heads bitten off and the other two were pinned under his massive paws. The first two men who were monitoring the road were pierced by spears of Darkness Magic.
I checked our surroundings as we descended to see if there were any more attackers, but it was just those seven.
“Good boy!” said Fran.
Five out of the seven men were dead. The last two were bound to bleed out within a couple minutes. I quickly healed them but left them under Urushi’s paws. Fran kicked them awake. They put up some resistance but our tried and true process of Fran beating them half to death then healing them over and over made them quickly loosen their tongues.
“I really don’t know who hired us! I never saw his face!”
“The guy just left us the money as well as these poison balls.”
“Told us that these could subdue even the mightiest beastkin.”
“He fucking lied to us!”
“Please don’t kill me! I was set up!”
“Master. What do?”
“I think we should take them to the guards. They aren’t a threat anymore and they don’t seem to have any more companions, so it’s safe to hand them over. They were probably disposable pawns or something. I’m not too sure why they were actually after us in the first place, but if I had to guess, I’d say they were probably just sent out to harass you. There’s no way anyone with half a brain could expect goons on their level to take us out.
We headed back to town with the two goons hanging limply from Urushi’s mouth.
“Master, something wrong?” Fran tilted her head as we closed in on the city’s gates.
“N-Nah, it’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
Holy crap, I can’t believe she almost noticed. I can’t tell her that being attacked by these guys actually made me feel relieved…