The banquet had evidently exhausted Fran quite a bit. She got out of bed a good bit later than usual the next day. There wasn’t anything in particular for her to do, so she started wandering around the village after eating her fill.
Everyone Fran passed bowed to her. The action was a clear indication of their reverence. This respect was most obvious in the older folk, as many even took to their knees the moment they laid eyes on her.
“It sure is quiet around here.”
“Nn. Just fields, nothing else.”
Schwartzekatze was a farming village. The many black catkin that lived here spent their days tilling the fields. Only a select few were hunters; most of the village’s meat came from peddlers and travelling merchants. And since the village was poor, it couldn’t afford to buy much, so most of its members basically ended up being herbivores.
The younglings were especially thin and frail. Their frames were so lacking in meat that I was worried whether they would actually be capable of living on given how infertile the surrounding land was. It didn’t look to me like they were capable of lasting.
Most of the older black catkin had lived through the previous Beastlord’s reign. Though they were still cowardly, they’d known that they were going to be used as decoys and meatshields, so they’d at least built up their muscle mass and whatnot. They were unlike the youngsters, that’d known that they’d never need to step on the battlefield. That, combined with the fact that they thought they were weak, had totally robbed them of the will to strengthen themselves.
That was why they’d spent their lives slowly tilling away at the fields. And that was why they’d never learned ambition. None of them had ever considered trying to evolve prior to Fran’s advent.
Those that did want to evolve needed to kill a thousand evil beings. But of course, that wasn’t the only restriction, it was merely the one placed upon them as punishment. They still needed to hit level 45 before they could actually awaken. And the way I saw it, none of the tribes members had possessed the conviction to go through that much combat.
Despite that, Fran wasn’t worried, and for good reason. Unlike me, she’d known of the issue from the start. I was sure that she not only thought about it, but also came to the conclusion that it was impossible for the tribe’s attitude to take a sudden 180. It seemed that she didn’t expect any other black catkin to evolve within the next few years. It was possible that it’d even take several decades for one to fulfill all the necessary conditions.
“Want to do one thing.”
“Want to teach magic training method.”
All one needed to do to evolve was kill a thousand evil beings and cap out their level. But all that would do was turn one into a Black Tigerkin. To become Black Heavenly Tigerkin, it was necessary to not only learn lightning magic, but also boost one’s MGC and DEX stats. Grinding out stats wasn’t too hard. All you had to do was work stat specific training segments into your routine, and you’d more or less be home free. Lightning magic, however, was much more difficult to obtain. Casting lightning magic required not just an affinity for the element, but also a high level in both fire and wind magic. It would be very unlikely for another Black Heavenly Tigerkin to pop up unless the Black Cat Tribe trained its younger members in the art of magecraft. Fran knew that leaving behind the techniques required for such an act would benefit her species greatly.
“Yeah, I don’t see why not. Go for it.”
Amanda had taught us everything we needed to know about magic-oriented training. I was confident we would be able to pass that knowledge on so long as we bundled it with a few hands-on examples. And so, Fran began to search for the village’s chief. The village was fairly small, so it didn’t take long for her to catch sight of him discussing something with a bunch of the tribe’s younger members, a serious expression decorating his face all the while.
“Good morning, Black Lightning Princess.”
“Everything’s just fine, thank you. A few of the youngsters had said they wanted to start training, so they came to me for advice, and we were talking it through.”
The youngers in question were ones whose faces I recognized. They were members of the group that’d joined Fran on her goblin-slaying expedition.
“W-We want to get strong!” one said.
“I don’t know whether I’ll actually ever manage to evolve, but I want to try. I’m sick of just running away,” claimed another.
“As for me, I’d just like to get strong enough to at least protect myself and everyone else around me,” added a third.
It looks like Fran really did succeed in influencing them.
Hearing their opinions led my cat eared companion to contently nod before opening her mouth to speak.
“Got it. Good timing. Had idea.”
“I might be pushing our luck here, but are you perhaps willing to train them?” asked the chief.
“Kind of? Will teach how to learn magic.”
The Black Cat Tribe as a whole had long forgotten the techniques required to awaken one’s magical talents. And because of that, its members thought that gaining the ability to cast magic would be akin to living a dream.
“I-Is it really possible for us to learn magic?” asked the chief.
“Probably. Not all will have affinity.”
“Yes, but some will, right?”
“Nn. Wind and fire probably common.”
Lightning magic was effectively the black cat tribe’s speciality, so it only made sense for many of their members to have an affinity for fire and wind.
“Anyone already can use magic?” asked Fran.
If such a person existed, then we could make the task easier on ourselves by turning them into the village’s mage instructor. Unfortunately, it seemed we’d gotten our hopes up. The chief had responded by telling us that there was simply no way a village as rural as Schwartzekatze would be home to a magic caster. Mages were in high demand all over. There was no reason for anyone with that much talent to stay an area surrounded by nothing but infertile land.
“Ok. Then gather villagers.”
“R-Right away! I’ll grab everyone available!”
Fran tried to tell the chief that there wasn’t any issue in waiting until the villagers were done with the day’s work, but he ran off before she could.
It only took ten minutes for him to return. He’d ended up gathering almost 200 black catkin. They were gathered and seated around Fran, their eyes full of hope and anticipation. Every single last one of the villagers was present, save for those that absolutely couldn’t leave their posts.
“Will teach how to train magic,” said Fran, nonchalantly.
“Yes ma’am!” Most of the black catkin replied at once. Their voices thundered throughout the village at a volume I’d never imagined possible from a group as timid as they were.
And so, Fran’s lecture began. Its contents pretty much mirrored what Amanda had told her when she was just starting out. She told them to work with fire and flame on a daily basis, to stare at it, approach it, and even touch it while resolving oneself to be burnt. She explained to the tribe’s members that they needed to accustom themselves with fire to the extent of seeing it in their dreams if they wished to cast fire magic.
Hearing her explanation had caused the entire black cat tribe to go silent.
I guess the training must’ve sounded too harsh and fanatical.
The only one to speak was the chief.
“A-And doing that will allow us to learn how to cast fire magic?”
“Nn. If affinity.”
“Understood. I’ll prepare a place for our tribe’s members to train immediately.”
I’d thought that Fran would have to give a bit more insight into the theory for the tribe’s members to actually believe her, but I was wrong. They’d all easily been convinced. They didn’t worry about whether or not they would actually be able to tolerate the training. Nor did they concern themselves with its effectiveness. They simply took in every word she said and believed her.
Fran continued explaining everything away in her usual tone. The tribe was getting riled up despite the fact that she herself didn’t sound particularly excited or enthusiastic. They continued listening to her until her lecture came to an end, their eyes filled with a fiery passion throughout.