< Running Away from the Hero! 156 #18. What did I even do? (5)>
All the carefully laid plans had a tendency of going astray at some point.
For instance, plans made at the end, or the beginning, of the year usually falls by the wayside eventually, don’t they?
You’d cook up a plan for the entire year, then buy one of those diaries that cost an arm and a leg despite having nothing written inside. On top of that, you’d also buy the planner just in case.
While feeling chuffed about yourself, you’d start writing your resolutions for the coming year in those diaries and planners, then tell yourself that you’d definitely succeed this time.
As for the resolution itself, its contents would largely be similar person-to-person.
This year, I will study something-or-rather. This year, I will start that diet. This year, I will get a qualification for this-and-that. This year, I will read X number of books in a month!
You tell yourself that, make all sorts of plans, then do your best to carry them out.
…Only up to the first quarter of the year, that is.
By the time the heat of Summer arrives, the diary with only the first portion filled out would sit there covered in dust, its pages forever destined to be left blank. And this diary with only the events of January and February written on its pages would get discarded come the end of the year when you go out to buy its replacement.
This cycle would continue to repeat itself forever.
However, this act wasn’t completely meaningless. Well, at the very least, the employees of the diary manufacturer would get their monthly salaries, so there’s that.
Besides, me not sticking to the resolution was because of my own whims changing over time, not due to someone else interfering with my life, anyway.
Unfortunately, though… What’s happening right now wasn’t because of my mind changing, but other people butting in to ruin my plans. And this act of ruining my plans was totally irreversible, too.
“It, it’s Sir Hero!”
“It’s the Hero of Light, Sir Swinn!”
A massive crowd of cheering people could be seen rushing up to us.
Kkyah~, just how did they recognise this idiot’s face from so far away?
Man, your vision must be 20/20 or something. Are you all perhaps the descendants of the Mongols?
What a scary village this was, one that might conquer the entire world someday!
-Master, master. I thought your disciple was the Hero from the Order of Nature? So why is he the Hero of Light now?
-How should I know?
The hero later told me that people gave him that title because of his blonde locks and his penchant for using a golden-hued sword aura.
Hearing that explanation only made me more curious about why he wasn’t called the Hero of Gold instead, though. However, I decided to not bother asking since even the hero himself didn’t seem to know.
Whatever the case might be, I still got the feeling that his ‘title’ would be rather helpful towards manipulating information in my favour.
“Sir Hero, bandits raided our village and kidnapped some of our womenfolk, sir!”
“Not only that, but orcs also raided us and robbed us of our food supply!”
“And on top of that, our evil feudal lord forcibly confiscated the meagre food remaining under the pretext of collecting tax…”
“And even goblins…”
Villagers clung to the hero and began to whine about their plight.
Damn, every single story they told him sounded pretty serious. As if they all received correction from the Hero Effect (passive).
-Master, this world is so scary…
-My sentiment exactly.
Being a bandit in this world was a very challenging life choice to make. You see, there was a good chance of monsters roaming around in the mountains.
A gang of bandits usually formed when people, who couldn’t stand the tyrannical ways of their evil lords, chose to flee and gather as a group. Some were criminals that couldn’t live normal lives among regular folks.
It was safe to assume that most of these gangs didn’t have anyone with professional military training under their belt. Which meant their combat prowess wasn’t all that better than most regular citizens.
So, to say that such a gang of bandits could survive in the wild mountainside populated by monsters?
Now that would be a tall order, indeed.
Of course, it was more common to find a mountain with no monsters living on it. But that would, in turn, imply that the security issue with that particular region was rather excellent. A safe place, in other words.
When monsters were too scarce to give the soldiers any practical combat experience, it was not unusual to see their target shifting over to bandits, instead.
It wasn’t for nothing that there was an old saying of, “Being a bandit is tougher than being a mercenary” in this world.
But to my surprise, some bandits decided to raid this village. Not only that, orcs, an evil feudal lord, and as an additional bonus, even goblins, too!
Such a comprehensive set list of gifts would be rather difficult to see in one’s lifetime!
And the damn hero…!
“It’s quite alright, everyone. Something like that happens often in life, after all. I shall take care of them.”
…Accepted them all without even batting a single eyelid!
-Master, he even said these things happen often, too.
-I always figured it’s only my surroundings that have lost their damn minds, but as it turns out, my life so far has been a blessed one.
-Master, could it be that the village we lived in happens to be the safest one in the entire world?
-That’s a good possibility, actually.
The odds of running into such a comprehensive gift set would surely be lower than the former Sword Star living next door to me under the guise of a kind grandpa.
I couldn’t see any tall, imposing mountains forming great mountain ranges anywhere nearby. But to think that orcs and bandits were co-existing side by side in a land of flat hills like this!
The empire’s scholars must be clamouring to get here as soon as possible, wanting to research and publish their findings right away!
“Well, instructor. You will come with us, yes?”
“…You want me to go there with Alice?”
“I believe it will be safer for her by accompanying us.”
I’ve been feeling a bit of an urge to explore the village, so my initial plan was to sightsee and wait for the hero party’s return. But it seemed that the hero wanted us to act together with his party.
“Is this because you’re worried about me fleeing?”
I asked him directly, hoping to probe him a little. Now normally, when being asked like that, you’d answer no, but…
That should’ve been common sense, but my conversation opponent happened to be my former disciple.
“What a straightforward reply that is, Sir Hero.”
“It’s all thanks to your teachings, instructor.”
The sight of him calmly nodding away came across as rather confident and bold.
“You want to take such a frail child to a dangerous place like that?!”
“Instructor, there’s no place in this world that’s safer than by your side.”
This kid… Just because he’s gotten a bit older, he doesn’t want to give an inch, huh?
“And the safest option for us is to have Alice and I remain in the village.”
“Which also happens to be the easiest way for you to escape from us, too.”
“Hah-ah… Very well. If we accompany you, everything will be sorted, yes? However, do you distrust me that badly?”
That unhesitant answer made me crave for the metal bat’s disciplinary mode, but beating the hero up in this place would only make me the enemy of every villager.
As such, I needed to hold it in.
-As soon as we put some distance from this village, beat his ass up.
-Aaahaaang, master you the best~.
The metal bat had been suffering from the… lack of fulfilment ever since we left Yugrasia.
My daughter stayed vigilant to protect the cat and Coco, so even if the metal bat wanted to beat those two up a bit, it didn’t enjoy much freedom to do so.
However…! My daughter was the typical cold-hearted rural girl who was warm and friendly towards her family but uncaring towards strangers!
And that was why the hero was fated to become the metal bat’s meal as soon as we put this village behind us.
Completely oblivious of the cruel fate waiting for him, the hero was putting in his best effort again.
So much so that you could start playing BGM of [The Hero~ dun dun~ is doing~ dun dun dun~ his best today~!] and it wouldn’t be out of place at all!
The first thing to happen in our amended itinerary was… Utilising the infiltration technique I taught him, the hero sneaked inside the lord’s castle, exposed all the corruption and unsavoury things the feudal lord was engaged in, and then arrested him and every single one of his close cohorts.
After accomplishing all that, he then wrote a letter addressed to the royal court of this kingdom as the Hero chosen by the Order of Light. The royal court promptly took possession of this territory and executed the corrupt feudal lord.
[Proofreader: I thought it was the Order of Nature. He did a whole explanation on why he was called the Hero of Light even though he was from the Order of Nature… But I shall leave it]
All this took about five days total.
However, the letter took three days to reach its destination so, in reality, it was basically one day for the hero to deal with the matter, and then the extra day was for the executions.
The very next day after he finished dealing with the evil feudal lord, the hero didn’t even bother to take a break and dashed straight towards the mountains.
And like earlier, he fully utilised the pursuit and tracking technique I taught him to discover the hideout of the bandits and the orc nest in the wild.
Finding bandits and orcs who didn’t know any pro techniques was like taking candy from a baby for our Sir Hero. I mean, he even managed to track me, after all! Sure, I was in a hurry and could only do a rushed job of erasing my tracks, but he still did it, didn’t he?
The hero infiltrated the orc nest in the mountainside and then, without anyone’s help, he systematically slaughtered the orcs and recovered all the stolen food.
As for the bandits, he set fire to the bandit leader’s hideout, and after confirming that the elf and the priest safely rescued the kidnapped villagers, he turned the entirety of the mountainside into a sea of flames.
“Sir Hero, this…”
“Hill, we can’t save everyone. You know this.”
What we were witnessing was a hellish spectacle where living people were being burned to death.
Hill the priest watched this horrifying scene and called out to the hero in lamentation, but the latter resolutely brushed aside his companion’s concern. As expected of my disciple.
“It’s impossible to save everyone. Those people only know how to survive by hurting others. If we let them be, sooner or later they will try to sacrifice someone else to keep surviving.”
“Do you not regret your choices, Sir Hero? There are other possibilities, after all.”
“No, I do not regret anything. I’ve experienced it far too many times by now to do that.”
The hero’s words reminded me of a certain dude who, despite claiming to be a magus himself, used guns to kill other magi. But the smirk plastered on his face was more like that gun-toting magus’s son, the crimson-robed archer.
Good thing I realised that quickly, though. If not, I might have ended up becoming a ‘spirit’ to hunt down the past you. Or something.
“I don’t care about anything else, but do ensure that the forest does not catch fire, Sir Hero.”
“I know, Selena. You don’t have to worry about it.”
In the midst of this horrible scene, I even got an opportunity to confirm the elf archer’s nature when she expressed her worries about the forest catching fire, not about people going up in flames.
-I dearly hope that my daughter won’t learn such rotten personality traits from that woman.
-Too late, master. She’s already been homeschooled by you. And you have easily one of the worst personalities in the entire continent, too… My poor little sis, there’s no hope for her nao…
-What are you trying to say about my teaching method?! I mean, I’ve been teaching her the bestest, most comprehensive homeschooling curriculum that you can’t find anywhere else, you know!
-Suuuure thing. No one in this world will teach you how to beat up a prince or methods to distinguish scions of high-ranking nobles. That is sooo true.
-But that is the best way to stop the most dangerous events from happening in the first place. Let’s be real here, you can’t learn something like that from anywhere!
-That’s because there’s no need, master! Events like that don’t happen to regular people, you know?! All this is happening because it’s you, master! You’re the problem!
I so badly wanted to deny it but couldn’t.
That’s because I had already encountered every conceivable type of calamity imaginable. Those events might not have been on the level of Hero-class, but still!
-Nope, not true! Even the hero doesn’t have it as insane as you, master! You’re marked by that Imperial Princess sister, marked by the elves, and now, even the gods have marked you, too! Wait a minute, what the heck? I didn’t even include your disciples in that list, but it’s already this ridiculous?!
-N-no, hang on a bloody second! My trials aren’t on the level of Hero-class yet! I’m telling you!
My heart began burning down to cinders just like the corpses of the bandits burning vigorously away.
“Dad? Why are you covered in a cold sweat like that?”
My daughter, with the metal bat behind her covering her ears, lightly tugged at my sleeve while tilting her head.
Since I didn’t want my girl to listen to the screams of burning people, I picked up a branch from nearby and scribbled some words on the dirt below.
[Well, all this playing around with fire is making me want to pee, you see.]
“Eiiiit, dad! You’re such an idiot!”
My daughter scolded me for playing around with fire even though I was a grown-up and all.
Even so, I couldn’t tell her the truth when she had always been scared of a large-scale fire. Not to forget, she had to witness the scene of our farmlands going up in flames only a few days ago, too.
[My bad, my bad.]
I quickly scribbled my apology on the dirt, then told the metal bat to get somewhere as far away from here as possible.
About ten minutes later…
Never mind the bandits, even their hideout had turned to piles of ashes by then. The hero flicked his hand once, prompting all the flames to go out instantly.
I made a comment at that. “You have completely tamed the flow of magical energy as your own, Sir Hero.”
“It’s all thanks to your teachings, instructor.”
This punk, he’s still saying that it’s all my fault and stuff?
-But master, the problem with that is… it’s all true, isn’t it?
-Hah, this damn talent of mine. It really…
-It’s your disciples’ talents, not yours!
Hey, it’s all thanks to me that their talents had a chance to bloom in the first place.
No, hang on. Before all that, though. I couldn’t help but notice that every action this hero punk had made so far was based on all the things I taught him in the past.
-Heh, to think that the evil organisation was the best place to train the hero! What a shocker, master.
-I knew it. Every knowledge learned is useful in its own way, huh.
That’s why I prayed that those ‘sundry’ subjects I had to learn back in my middle and high school days would come in handy sooner rather than later.
I mean, seriously now. Some other people became archmages or some kinda cheat magicians through their math skills, you know!
-Master, you still haven’t let go of that impossible dream of becoming a magician until now…?
-Well, becoming a magician is a man’s romance, after all.
Someone once told me that a man could become an archmage when he turns thirty. But, uh, did it not apply to me because my previous life was also included in the equation or something?
“It’s finished now, instructor.”
While I stood there thinking about any potential link between my previous life and this one, Sir Hero walked up to me and said something. He had already finished putting out the conflagration and even checked to see any embers were still remaining.
“You don’t seem all that conflicted, Sir Hero.”
“I only did what had to be done, after all.” The hero shook his head while maintaining his usual expression. It was as if nothing of importance had happened here. “Now then. Shall we make our way back down the mountain?”
“Yes, let us.”
The hero displayed a rather mature, dignified air just then.
Of course, plenty of heroes ended up being broken after persisting in this path. However, he was one of my former disciples, so surely he’d take better care of himself without me worrying about him.
Besides, my daughter is far more important than him, anyway!
I held my daughter’s hand and followed the hero from a bit of a distance to climb down the mountainside.
With this, we probably were finished dealing with the matters plaguing that village. Ah, wait. There were the goblins too, weren’t there?
A villager informed us. “The knights dispatched by this kingdom have already dealt with the goblins, Sir Hero.”
Oh, oooh! It seemed that things were finally turning in our favour.
This was noticeably different from a certain other world where knights didn’t want to deal with goblins since those monsters were seen as weak mobs.
“And also… some important people from the kingdom are here and they wish to speak to you, Sir Hero.”
“Is that so?”
This kind of thing seemed to be a regular occurrence because the hero simply nodded and headed to the village chief’s house without much fuss.
And in that house…
“Please, Sir Hero! We beg of you to hunt the dragon down!”
“Please, save this kingdom!”
…We somehow got saddled with a dragon raid quest.