We walked back to Greengoat with the two remaining adventurers hanging from Urushi’s mouth. We were greeted by one of the guards as we approached to the gate.
“Didn’t you just leave?” he asked.
“Nn. Dealt with business.”
“Wait… What’s with those two guys being dragged by your wolf?”
“Business. They attacked me. Here to turn them in.”
“Y-You were attacked!? Are you hurt in any way?”
The guard gave a sigh of relief.
“Thank God! This is definitely strange though. There shouldn’t be any bandits in these parts anymore. The Beast Lord subjugated them all last year.”
“Not bandits. Assassins. Were targeting me specifically.”
“Assassins!? P-Please wait a moment. I must notify my superiors immediately.” He turned to the other guard. “Go get the squad leader immediately!”
The second guard took off. We handed the two adventurers to the remaining guard, who tied them up, dragged them to the guard tower, and dumped them into a jail cell. By the time he returned, so had his partner, their boss in tow.
“Black Lightning Princess!” said the squad leader. “Are you unharmed?”
“That’s good news.” He turned to the guard that had stayed. “You! What’s the status report!”
The guard recounted to the chief everything that we told him and that he had thrown the assassins in prison.
“I see.” The squad leader turned to Fran. “Rest assured, we will find those responsible for this despicable attack immediately. I will also have this matter conveyed to the town’s lord right away. May I serve you some tea in the meantime?
He guided us over to the guard tower and ushered us through the front entrance. After climbing a set of stairs, we were seated in a reception room. Compared to the reception mansion in the capital this room was quite shabby, but it was probably the best room that they had.
“Oi you lot!” shouted the squad leader. “Go grab the finest tea that we have! And something for her to eat!”
One of the guards at the entrance dashed back downstairs. After a few minutes, he returned carrying a tray with a teapot, a porcelain tea cup, some first flush tea, and an assortment of jams and honey. The guard poured a cup of tea and handed it to Fran alongside the honey and a spoon.
“Is it to your liking?” asked the squad leader.
“Nn. Not bad,” said Fran.
“Thank you very much!”
Two more guards entered the room carrying a large platter with a silver covering right as Fran finished her first cup of tea. They gently placed the platter in front of Fran and removed the lid.
What the hell!? What’s up with that massive steak!? Are they seriously serving that with tea?
Nobody else in the room seemed to share my disbelief. Fran happily munched on the steak as the rest of the beastkin guards stood by just in case she had any sort of request. It seemed that, to beastkin, steak and tea were a natural pair.
I guess being a glutton is a beastkin trait, not exclusive to Fran. Wait, Fran could probably down two or three of those so she’s probably considered a glutton even among beastkin.
Fran was approaching her last bite when we could hear the sound of heavy footsteps racing up the stairs. The footsteps stopped short of the door, and then the person quietly knocked on the door, as if they remembered their manners at the last minute.
“Enter,” said Fran.
“Please excuse my intrusion. Are you the Black Lightning Princess?”
“I am Marmanno, lord of the city of Greengoat.”
The man spoke with a loud voice that filled the room. He was a large man with bulging muscles and had a large sword hanging by his waist. I quickly appraised him and saw that his species was green goatkin.
What the heck? He doesn’t look like a goat. And did he name the freaking town after himself!?
“I received word of what happened and decided to take a look at the situation directly.” He turned to the squad leader. “What’s the latest status update?”
“Sir! My subordinates have reported that we are currently interrogating the suspects.”
“Basharian bastards,” said the goatkin. “I’m certain it was them.”
“I concur,” said the squad leader.
“Get them to speak even if you have to pry their finger nails off to do it! Don’t let the mastermind escape. Capture him by all means necessary if you find him. He had the gall to attack the Black Lightning Princess, a veritable hero, so make sure he pays the price!!”
Wow, this burly ass dude considers Fran a hero? He’s not even a black catkin.
“Roger that sir,” replied the squad leader. “I have already dispatched soldiers to the scene of the crime.”
“Very good. What about searching the city for suspicious characters?
“That…” the squad leader faltered. “I’ve already sent two squads to locations in the town where ruffians are known to gather, but we just don’t have the manpower to search the entire city. Most of the garrison has been deployed to the Basharian border.”
“Damn those Basharian bastards!” bellowed the goatkin, slamming his fist onto the table. “Deploy the knights. Have them comb this city from top to bottom!”
“Is that okay sir? Wouldn’t that compromise the security of the castle?”
“That is of little concern! They harmed the Black Lightning Princess! I will make those Basharian bastards pay! No matter the cost!”
I doubt that searching the city will turn up any additional clues. If all the mastermind wanted to do was harass Fran, then by now they would have skipped town. Though, it looks like the lord and his guards are getting fired up, so it’d probably be best for me to hold my tongue for now. It would be rude of me to dampen their enthusiasm.
“So Black LIghtning Princess,” said Marmanno, “would you stay with us until we finish investigating these assassins? I will host you in my mansion and provide you the most luxurious accommodations I can offer. We can dine together and trade stories from the battlefield. What say you?”
“Master, what do?” asked Fran telepathically.
“I think we should turn him down. He seems like an honest guy but we don’t have the time to sit around and wait for them to catch a criminal that’s probably no longer in town.”
Fran gently declined and we made our way out of the guard tower and through the gates of the city. Once outside, Fran brought out Urushi and mounted him.
“It looks like we got held up a bit, but whatever. Let’s go!”
Urushi started speeding northwards from Greengoat. He was running faster than normal trying to make up for lost time. After travelling for a few hours, we spotted a river at the foot of the mountain range.
“Master. Up there. That river.”
“Yeah. Right beyond that river is Schwartzkatze. But we shouldn’t cross it just yet.”
“It’s just in case we’re being tracked by the same dude that sent those assassins. Let’s throw them off our trail.”
I had Urushi double back and head south for a bit before turning eastward and making a wide circle around the village. Once we were north of the village, we ran forward for a little ways before ducking behind some bushes. I then teleported all three of us back to where we first saw the river.
“Alright. That should be good. Let’s cross that river.”
Beyond the river, we found a crossroads with two diverging paths. We took the path going west and followed it until we found a reassuring sight.
“Master! Black catkin spotted!”