Fran and I were both eager to get on with the day, so we headed over to the Adventurers’ Guild as soon as we finished our morning routines.
“Good Morning Fran,” greeted the receptionist.
“Are you planning to head to the castle right now?”
“Understood. Please wait a moment while I go retrieve your guide.”
We found a seat in the guild’s lobby while we waited. There wasn’t much to do besides observing the guild staff members as they went about their day-to-day activities, so we resigned ourselves to watching them.
“Hey babe! Won’t you do dinner with me tonight?”
“Hmph. Like you don’t say that to every girl you meet.”
“Hey! Isn’t this way to cheap for these materials?”
“Nah, they’re in terrible shape so they aren’t worth crap.”
Most of the receptionists were conducting themselves rather unprofessionally. Their default approach was to deal with the adventurers as casually as they would their buddies. Fran was the only one they treated with courtesy and respect.
We were currently the center of attention and received many a curious glance from the adventurers around us. In spite of that, we remained undisturbed. Anyone that tried to approach us would immediately be stopped by one of the guild’s staff members. We eavesdropped on their conversations and overheard them claim that there were orders to ensure Fran was left alone.
We couldn’t help but wonder why the guild was preventing people from approaching us, but we didn’t want to bother the guild’s staff while they were busy, so the question remained unanswered until one of the staff members approached Fran and served her a cup of tea.
“The guildmaster’s ordered us not to let anybody bother you,” she said. “You are the only evolved black catkin, and adventurers are a curious bunch, so he was concerned that you would be subject to the discomfort of becoming a circus attraction.”
Preventing curious onlookers from bothering has eliminated the chance that an unfortunate confrontation would ignite between Fran and some newbie ignorant of her strength. It was a preventative measure that not only allowed the guild to protect its adventurers from getting hurt, but also benefit us by keeping the morons off our backs. It was a win-win situation.
The guildmaster is doing us a favor here, so we better thank him later. Though, it seems being left alone is making Fran awfully bored.
The receptionist we first interacted with returned by the time Fran had finished her cup of tea, our supposed guide in tow.
“Guendalfa?” said Fran.
Fran was frightfully bad at remembering people’s names but even she wouldn’t forget the name of someone she met the day before.
“Yeah, I heard about that little scuffle you had with him yesterday,” said the receptionist. “If you would like, I could make arrangements for a replacement guide. What do you say?”
If they heard about yesterday’s fight, why bother bringing him out in the first place?
While I was thinking that Guendalfa suddenly prostrated himself in front of Fran. Seeing him with his his hands, face, and knees all pressed against the floor really emphasized the sheer size of his frame. He was so massive that he was still taller than Fran even in his current state.
“My deepest apologies, Black Lightning Princess!” he shouted, digging his forehead into the ground. “My unseemly actions yesterday were truly regrettable.”
His attitude had taken a full 180.
“I am uncertain if this will suffice as compensation but I offer my services to you during the entirety of your stay in the capital,” he said.
I was deeply suspicious of him just trying to get closer to Fran again for some banal revenge plot but his eyes were full of sincerity. A single glance was enough to convince me that his actions had been driven by earnesty and earnestly alone.
“Ate something bad?” asked Fran, creeped out.
“After being blown away by you and then lectured by my buddy, Brass, I have realized how deeply shallow I have been behaving,” he said.
“Brass was the gate guard that carried me off yesterday.”
“Yes.” Guendalfa raised his head. “Black Lightning Princess! I plan to use this opportunity to turn my life around. But first I must show gratitude to the one who opened my eyes. Please let me be of service to you.”
“What should we do, Fran?” I asked her telepathically. His change was so sudden that it left me at a loss.
“Nn. Don’t care.”
It seems she no longer bore any animosity towards Guendalfa. A good night’s sleep had been more than enough for her to forgive him. While we had our internal dialogue, the receptionist whispered in Fran’s ear.
“The rhinokin are a tribe of warriors,” she said. “It’s natural for them to show respect to those who defeat them in combat. On top of that, you are an evolved beastkin while he is not. His respectful attitude is completely naturally.”
So basically he’s a musclehead that believes power and strength are everything?
“Also, he’s the son of the rhinokin patriarch,” continued the receptionist. “His face is well known, he has standing, and some authority. He is probably the best guide you could get.”
In the end, we decided to accept Guendalfa as our guide. He seemed to have seriously reflected on his actions. Sending him away and finding a new guide seemed like more like a waste of time than anything.
“Look forward to working with you,” said Fran.
“No, it is my honor to be of use to you,” he replied.
“I know you want to go to the castle, but could I perhaps interest you in a tour of the capital? I was born and raised in Vestia and I could take you to the best spots around town.”
“No thanks. Person want to meet as soon as possible.”
“I see. Is that person in the royal castle?”
“Nn. Black catkin: Kiara.”
“Master Kiara? Understood.”
“Yes. I have been her disciple since I was a child.”
Given that his former attachment to Goldalfa, one of Kiara’s disciples, his relationship with the old black catkin came as no surprise.
“Understood. I will introduce you to her,” he said.
“Leave it to me.”
Guendalfa stuck his chest out proudly as he nodded. He seemed really confident. I was almost inclined to think that we could actually trust him to get the job done.