“Next time I will surely win! You wait and see!”
With those parting words we separated from Mare and Kuina and made our way towards the town of Roserraccoon. We asked them to come with us but they declined. For some reason the two of them wanted to avoid the town. Maybe they were involved in some sort of incident? Regardless we decided to let matters be and head towards the town ourselves.
“They were surely a lively pair.”
“Nn. Will win next time.”
“Nn. Both of us.”
Our encounter was definitely a fruitful one. I got to see a hella gorgeous maid and Fran met Mare, the first person in her age group capable of putting up a good fight. We won the spar, and Mare didn’t seem like the type of fighter to pull her punches, but I wasn’t certain we would have won a serious death match. She was clearly holding onto some final trump card at the end. This fight will definitely encourage Fran’s growth as a warrior down the future. My only worry is that she may become too much of a battle junkie.
After walking for a distance, we spotted walls rising out of the horizon.
“Master, town spotted.”
“Yeah and it’s pretty big too. The walls are impressive. This is probably Roserraccoon.”
As we approached the town we noticed a commotion outside the walls. Although it wasn’t strange for a town as large as this to be noisy, it was strange to see so many people milling around outside the walls. As we approached we saw that all the people were adventurers. There were about thirty of them, all trying to board the same horned carriage. Fran called out to one of the adventurers.
“Hah? The hell do ya want ki– WHOA HOLY SHIT!”
The man took a glance at Fran and cut himself short. He froze, one foot on the horned carriage, the other still on the ground, his eyes bulging out of their sockets.
“My ba-” he coughed. “My apologies.”
He clearly cleaned up his act the moment he saw Fran. He probably realized she evolved.
“Okay?” asked Fran.
“Yes,” he said. “We’re currently tasked with escorting a noble. Our destination is a town down south.”
“Adventurers for guards? Not soldiers?”
“Yeah. All the knights and soldiers are headed to the border. There aren’t any to spare.”
It seems there were some extenuating circumstances in this case. Normally a noble will be escorted by knights and soldiers unless they wanted to travel incognito. In that case they would hire adventurers as escorts, but having a full entourage of thirty people was antithetical to staying under the radar. I urged Fran to continue questioning.
“So many people, cause trouble?” asked Fran.
“Well this amount is to be expected given we are escorting the princess herself,” he said.
“Yeah. The guildmaster decided to go over the top with this escort commission.”
It seemed the guildmaster was trying to please the royal family by sending the princess a large group of guards.
“In fact you can see her over there,” the adventurer said.
We looked over towards the direction he indicated. There stood a girl in a very ostentatious, out of place dress.
Maybe we should go talk to her… We are pretty heavily indebted to the Beast Lord, after all.
That said her entourage was giving the surroundings quite the stink-eye.
“What do?” asked Fran telepathically.
“We might as well get closer and check things out.” I said.
Fran thanked the adventurer and we headed towards the princess. As we approached we suddenly felt something terribly wrong. A chill ran down our spines. It felt similar to when we were made subject to Coerced Camaraderie in Ulmutt. But maybe not that specifically. Were we appraised by the princess’ guards? Probably not since the sensation was very brief.
“Fran back off a bit.”
We backed away about twenty meters and the offputting sensation disappeared. I then used magic perception and found some sort of active skill covering the entirety of the princess’ surroundings. I decided to try appraising the situation. I had to be very careful in case one of the guards had appraisal detection, I didn’t want Fran to be accused of a serious breach of privacy. It’s best to stay out of trouble.
I first made a copy of myself while still hiding behind Fran. I switched places with that copy so it looked like I was still on Fran’s back. Then I shrunk all the way down to about the size of a ping pong ball. Finally I teleported to right above the princess. Making myself smaller was harder than making myself larger, so I probably couldn’t keep this form for long. I recalled what Kuina did and made an illusion to blend into the sky behind me. I was able to get an appraisal but what I saw was really odd.
Name: Nemea Narasimha
Species: Red Catkin/Golden Lionkin
Status Level: 45/99
(Acting: Lv 7)
Singing: Lv 5
Court Etiquette: Lv 6
Presence Detection: Lv 5
Sword Techniques: Lv 5
Sword Arts: Lv 5
Shield Techniques: Lv 2
Shield Arts: Lv 4
Poison Perception: Lv 4
Fire Magic: Lv 5
Dancing: Lv 5
Princess (Royal Guard)
Divine Silk Dress
Appraisal Disguise Ring
Bracelet of Substitution
Why the hell is there some stuff in parenthesis? There’s a bunch of notable stuff like acting, royal guard, and even an appraisal disguise ring. Is the stuff in parenthesis things that are disguised that my max appraisal and Eye of Empyrea can see through? I can’t be certain since there might be stuff hidden behind an even stronger layer of disguise. Another confusing part is the “Princess (Royal Guard)”. I can’t tell if it means a guard of royal blood or a guard that specifically attends a person of royalty. I wanted to investigate further but appraisal disguise obscured any further details.
Either way, the princess looked really weak considering she was that Beast Lord’s daughter. Though, I guess it’s a bit unfair to compare her to someone that’s S ranked. Besides, she’s actually pretty good for a sixteen year old. The only real issue I saw was that her skill levels were low compared to her status level. Maybe someone carried the hell out of her? I highly doubted that the Beast Lord would powerlevel his daughter but that was the only way to explain the discrepancy.
Wait! Wasn’t she supposed to be fifteen? Did her birthday just pass?
I concluded that the source of my malaise was the appraisal disguise ring. She probably was not someone too suspicious given that the guildmaster was showing her out. Appraising some people around her, I found them to be court ladies and attendants so that made things seem even more legitimate. There likely wasn’t any danger in approaching her.
I slowly made my way back to Fran.
“Looks like we’re in the clear. We can go greet her”
“Nn. Got it” she replied.
Since there currently was only one evolved black catkin and it was well known that it was a little girl, they should instead realize she was Fran. The Black Lightning Princess nickname was a good as identification and provided us a decent social standing in these parts.
We approached the princess and this time got close enough for her to notice us.
“Oh. Are you perhaps the Black Lightning Princess?” she asked.
“Oi watch your mouth!” a guard shouted. “You are to address Her Highness with respect!”
Apparently he didn’t like how curtly Fran responded. But the princess reproached her guard.
“Stand down!” she said. “Do you recall that my father specifically ordered us to receive her graciously?”
Apparently the Beast Lord already arranged for stuff ahead of time. Shiet, thanks dude.