The cost of sponsored chapters have been reduced to $10 from $20.


 < Running Away from the Hero! 163 #19. Life is a continuous escape (4)>

Proofread

 

#4 Their circumstances: a certain hero’s circumstance.

 

I began realising that something was not quite right about a week after defeating the dragon.

“Hmm? Why haven’t they called me yet?”

Even today, I found myself lazily rolling around on a comfy bed. However, I still realised that no one had come to summon me or look for me ever since I had that one-time meeting with the king of this nation.

“This is so weird…”

A dragon had been killed. Not just any dragon either, but an elder dragon that had lived for twenty thousand years.

This must’ve been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this kingdom.

The normal course of action would’ve been to travel to every corner of this kingdom with the rescued princess and wave my hands at the gathered masses a little to calm the uneasy public sentiment. That would be during the day, and during evenings, I’d be summoned to all sorts of high-class social gatherings to greet various aristocrats.

That’s what I did after killing twenty ogres in that kingdom to the west the last time. But even after killing a dragon, no one asked me to do something like that, so…

“…Could it be that the ruler of this kingdom is bad at doing political stuff?”

This situation was making my head tilt sideways all on its own.

In fact, my head tilted so much that it was now buried in the comfy bed, but let’s keep that as a secret between us, shall we?

“Well, this is good for me either way…”

The profession called ‘hero’ came with pitifully little days off.

After finishing one job, you hope to get a tiny little break, but then… Bam! An oracle hits you!

Even the itinerary would be like, go to the far west from the eastern-most area you were in. Then, after you went west, they tell you to go back east, before being told to go to the west, again!

Seriously now! Why can’t you just, you know, hire lots of heroes so that I don’t have to travel so much!

Since we worked together with magic towers, we could potentially use their teleport magic circles. Unfortunately, magic towers didn’t exist in every corner of the continent.

On top of that, more than a few magic towers were located in remote areas with zero population, so sometimes it was faster to just walk to our destination!

Thanks to this, every hero out there had to get used to roughing it out in the wild. And that’s why we simply couldn’t win against the temptation of the highest class luxury beds like this one.

Anyone who wishes to treat heroes well? Prepare luxurious beds, then!

All heroes secretly hanker for a comfy bed to sleep in, you see!

As I rolled around this way and that on the bed…

“Sir Hero? Are you in?”

“Yes, I am.”

The princess’s voice came from beyond the door, so I quickly jumped up from the bed.

“May I be permitted to enter, sir?”

“Of course!”

I got slightly nervous, causing my voice to get a bit high-pitched as a result, but she probably didn’t notice it.

“You are also doing well today, Sir Hero.”

“Ah, yes. It’s all thanks to the kingdom’s kindness that I am enjoying a comfortable stay.”

I wasn’t just paying lip service here. They were really pampering me during my stay.

Most of my days were spent doing nothing but rolling around on the bed. Meanwhile, the kingdom even prepared an empty training hall for my exclusive use, too.

Hell, they even provided the service of bringing me food straight into my room when I’m hungry! All I had to do was summon a servant waiting outside of the room.

I knew it. If you’re a hero, you gotta hunt a dragon at least once in your life.

These last few days taught me that, indeed, your performance meant everything in this world!

“Sir Hero is the saviour of our kingdom, after all. Within the powers of the kingdom, we should do everything we can for you, Sir Hero.”

The princess smiled in a rather beautiful way while looking right back at me. However, I felt this ominous chill run down my backside just then.

“I’m grateful for your kindness, Your Highness.”

“Oh, no. It is unnecessary to thank us, Sir Hero.”

Even so, only a third-rate would show that on his face.

Thanks to a smile naturally breaking out on my face, it seemed that the princess failed to notice anything.

Besides all that, though. Just what could’ve caused that foreboding just now?

Could it be that the instructor was trying to flee again?

But I had already told Hill and Selena to intensify their monitoring of Alice just in case. Unlike me, those two seemed to have become rather close to the little girl, you see.

“In any case… Did something happen, Your Highness? Suddenly paying me a visit like this and all.”

Was the kingdom-wide national tour about to finally begin or something?

I mean, even if this kingdom’s political system was broken, the nobles should’ve still lodged various requests until now.

“No, not at all. But I’m a little disappointed by that, Sir Hero. Yesterday, we promised to meet again today, didn’t we?”

But the reply coming back in my way was in the form of her adorably complaining.

She puffed up her cheeks slightly and frowned in mock anger. But even a dummy could tell that she was putting on an act.

“Oh. My apologies.”

Even as I apologised, this odd feeling didn’t want to leave me alone.

When the dragon attacked this kingdom, did the creature’s breath attack land in a… not so good place or something? Did that cause the massacre of all the nobles involved in politics?!

By now, more than a few places would’ve called out to me, yet the only person I’ve met until now was just the princess.

“Hmpf~. Sir Hero, what could possibly be on your mind even though I’m right here beside you?” The princess slightly turned her gaze away at my apology and asked me while sounding a little peeved.

And I ended up spitting out what’s in my mind, which wasn’t like my usual self. “It’s just that aristocrats wanting to meet me would show up by now, you see.”

“Ah! So that was your concern! The royal court has been blocking all of their attempts in consideration for you, Sir Hero. Because we’ve prioritised Sir Hero’s comfortable stay in our kingdom.”

“…Ah.”

I had to admonish myself a little just then.

Repeatedly rejecting the requests of the nobles would’ve placed the royal family at a great disadvantage, after all!

They were doing all that for me, but here I was, thinking that the royal family of this kingdom was useless in politics!

“I can only express my gratitude at Neidon Kingdom’s kindness once more.”

“But Sir Hero, we are not strangers anymore, yes? It’s quite alright.”

We were indeed complete strangers, but no need to point that out right now, methinks.

Since I had nothing much to say, let’s just smile and brush it aside.

Just like yesterday, my chat with the princess lasted for about one hour. The topics ranged from the tales within the kingdom to things more personal in nature.

Most of the things we talked about were things like the royal family feeling troubled by the nobles continuously sending wedding invitations or my instructor helping them with coming up with new types of snacks. A range of things about that wide.

“I had no idea that my instructor was talented in cooking, as well.”

“Ah, yes. Desserts created according to Sir Naruan’s instructions are quite high-class and, apparently, beloved by the ladies-in-waiting and maidservants of the court.”

“Oh, I see.”

“We have received help various times from Sir Naruan these past few days.”

That made sense since my instructor was employed in the imperial court once upon a time, after all.

The unofficial top dog in the imperial court, the Imperial Princess, was still obsessively chasing him even after all this time so yeah, one shouldn’t doubt his skills being top-tier.

“I see. As his disciple, I feel proud that my instructor has been a great help to the kingdom.”

Unfortunately for me, I still had no idea even at this moment.

No idea what kind of help the princess was receiving from the instructor.

No idea that all this was his underhanded scheme to escape from me!

And about two weeks after that day…

Right until I finally got to meet someone from the royal court who wasn’t the princess…

Like a naïve idiot, I relaxedly spent my days without realising that I had become a caged bird.

 

***

 

“Thank you, thank you so much! Sir Saint!”

“Ah, no. It was nothing at all.”

Our dear Shuttle-gun was smiling gently at a woman tearfully thanking him. [1]

“Well, then. Next person, please!”

The soldier dispatched by the royal court saw the tearful woman leave, then called out to the next person in line to step up.

This time, it was an old man in his seventies. He received the healing magic from the saint and like the woman before him, shed tears of gratitude while walking away.

And then, the soldier called for the next in line again…

-Master, this whole thing totally sucks.

-As expected of a shuttle…

Watching the continuous repetition of the exact same event gradually sapped my, and the metal bat’s, energy.

“Halt! It’s time for a break!”

“Sir Saint needs a rest, everyone!”

Our dear Shuttle-gun was a human, after all.

His warm smile was still there, but his gradual exhaustion was getting more noticeable now. The soldiers dispatched by the royal court quickly moved to block the crowd and loudly announced a break in proceedings.

Well, the patients needing urgent care were taken care of first, so I figured that the remaining citizens wouldn’t raise the voice of discontentment anyway.

-If they do complain, then they are just a shameless bunch, master.

-If kindness continues on, people start to think that it’s their right. If it was your turn to get the treatment only for it to stop without warning, you will forget that this was a free service in the first place and start complaining right away.

In that sense, you could easily tell that the subjects of this kingdom trusted their royal family quite a lot.

From the information I managed to collect while participating in the free treatment service, it seemed that the popularity of the royal family among the kingdom’s subjects was quite sky-high. That included the prince, who showed up to inconvenience us rather greatly back then, as well as the Ice Cream Princess who got kidnapped by the dragon.

Rather unfitting for royals, they would often appear before their subjects and regularly performed acts of charity.

That’s why, when the dragon came crashing in and kidnapped the princess, some citizens volunteered to join the expedition even though they were trembling in fear!

And this was why my plan was progressing along quite smoothly, too!

I greeted the soldiers. “Thank you for all your hard work, everyone.”

“Not at all, sir. It’s all thanks to you, Sir Naruan, and Sir Swinn that our kingdom managed to survive the calamity.”

“Not only that, to think that Sir Hill Shuttle the Saint would personally treat our citizens…”

“As expected of the people from the Order of Nature overflowing with benevolence!”

Hey, you’re actively insulting me right now…

Besides all that though, the Order of Nature is overflowing with benevolence, you say?

One or two folks saying that would be nothing more than casual nonsense you could just dismiss out of hand. However, we’ve been hearing that from basically everyone, so could it be that the goddess, the hero, and the saint over here were the only weird ones in the Order?

“Is it alright for me to chat to the citizens?”

“Of course, sir!”

The hero punk stuck Mister Shuttle and the elf next to my daughter, but too bad, my purpose right now wasn’t to flee.

Even if I ran away now, they would no doubt capture me in no time at all. So, there was no need to do something unnecessary and make them even more suspicious of me!

No, what I needed to do right now was to create unbreakable shackles that would hold the hero punk down in this place!

“Well, then. Do you all remember where I stopped in my tale?”

“When the evil dragon kidnapped our princess!”

“Ah, I see. Thank you for that.”

Words of gratitude didn’t have enough of an impact, so I followed up with gifts of biscuits baked by the maids of the royal court, too.

I could even guarantee the taste since I leaked the secret recipe given to me by the chefs of the imperial court.

“Thank you, Sir Sage!”

These young kids seemed to know a fair bit of etiquette because they bowed their heads to me first before sharing the biscuits among their friends to eat.

“Well, now. Why don’t I start my tale, then? Once Sir Hero found out about the princess’s kidnapping…”

Even if the princess wasn’t beloved by the subjects, my stories would’ve turned her into a superstar.

But her popularity in this kingdom was already at its peak even before I began!

As such, all I needed to do here was just add a little bit of spice, and that was enough for the kids to get utterly engrossed in my storytelling.

The tale involved the kidnapped princess and the dashing hero rescuing her. The hero who also happens to be her lover!

Sure, he was not originally her lover, but you still needed to add some spice if you wanted to complete a delectable tale for all ages.

The kids were listening to my story with such great intrigue on their faces!

Looking at them reminded me of my daughter’s face. Reminding me that we haven’t spent a lot of time together recently…

Please wait a little bit more for me, my dear child… The moment I successfully shackle that insidious hero, I swear to take you and bounce outta this damn kingdom!

“And so, the evil dragon was defeated. Her Highness the Princess and Sir Hero returned to the kingdom to live happily ever after.”

“Woaaaaah!”

These kids were at the age where they would’ve enjoyed these kinds of tales regardless of what. But then, they already knew that my story was based on actual events.

How could they not know? A massive dragon flew right past their heads not too long ago, after all!

How scared would they have been?

A massive bundle of pure terror only heard in legends was flying right past their heads!

But when the brave hero slew the dragon, that terror instantly transformed into respect and awe of him.

To think that he bravely faced such a massive creature all by himself when humans were supposed to be too weak to do so!

Not only that but to save his beloved (at least in my fake story) princess, too!

“Sir Hero is soooo cool!”

“As expected of Her Highness’s boyfriend!”

A few kids overflowing with empathy and emotion even broke down in tears from my tale.

This much was a massive success in my book.

And it wasn’t just some kids listening to my story right now. Unlike these kids, the adults listening in from the side knew who I was. And they’d be under the impression that my tale was all true.

Technically speaking, I wasn’t lying here, of course. Excluding the setting of the two protagonists in love with each other, I was simply reporting on what I personally witnessed and experienced, wasn’t I?

The kids and adults leaving one by one began spreading the rumour quite enthusiastically.

Some would talk about it while drinking with their buddies. Some would use it as a bedtime story for their own children, while some would present what they heard to bards at a suitable price, too!

As a result, I heard that a revamped version of my tale, spiced up to become an even more heartwrenching love story, was doing its rounds near the royal capital as we speak.

The originators of this particular version were various bards, of course! These folks, who lived or died according to their gift of gab, turned my tale into an even more fantastic fairy tale before spreading it around. Even though my tale mostly consisted of dry facts, minus a few additions!

As expected of folks who made a living through telling stories – they could easily figure out what happened to be the most trending topic right now!

And so, the bards throughout the kingdom began spreading the Hero of Light Sir Swinn’s epic tale while maintaining its solemn and emotional core.

“Thank you for helping out today as well.” Our dear Shuttle-gun, who worked like a slave ant today, smiled at me and expressed his gratitude.

Poor guy, failing to notice that my plan was gradually progressing forward every time we came outside the royal castle.

“Ah, no, Sir Saint. My apologies for not being more helpful.”

“I heard that you’ve been entertaining all those waiting to receive my treatment, sir. That alone has been a great help to us.”

Seeing Shuttle-gun‘s genuinely grateful expression caused a pang of guilt to stab me in the heart just a bit. But quitting just because of this would make me a failure of a former employee of an evil organisation!

“It’s just a way to pass the time, Sir Saint.” I, too, smiled back at Shuttle-gun.

Of course, I didn’t forget to gently remind him that I’d be in his ‘care’ for tomorrow, as well!

And so, with every passing day, the hero punk’s popularity soared higher and higher until it could pierce the heavens. But he never made a public appearance even then, further enhancing the air of mystery surrounding him.

And around the time the fantasies involving the hero had reached a fever pitch…

“When should we start, Sir Sage?”

“Mm. I think now would be an ideal time to start working on the nobles, Your Highness.”

The princess and I began winning over various nobles to our side, one at a time.

 

[1]: “gun” is basically the Korean version of “kun” in Japanese. Pronounced as “goon”, it’s an affectionate honorific usually attached to a male friend of the same age or someone younger.

Click Donate For More Chapters
Next Chapter(s) on Patreon