Since Vindath is complaining. I decided to post an additional chapter. Pfft!!

< Evade the Hero and Flee! Side Stories – A certain imperial princess’s reminiscence (21) >

 

#30 Their circumstance: A certain plotter’s (?) circumstance

 

Inside a pure-white room…
This spotlessly clean room was adorned with various beautiful works of art, and the furniture was just as gorgeous as well.
However, an individual sitting on a pure-white couch to match the pure-white room was the sole exception that stained the beauty of this place. This man completely ruined this room by simply being there.
“I knew it. I’m so meticulous.”
This huge man was holding a flute of red wine in one hand. He might be huge, but not a single trace of exercise or training could be spied on his rotund figure.
If a certain butler working for an Imperial Princess saw this man’s face, he’d no doubt go, “Just one look, and you can tell that this fatso is a high-ranking noble. But he’s also your typical two-bit villain who lusts after the female lead only to get completely annihilated by the protagonist!”
The fat man’s facial features were still distinct enough. However, his eyes were filled with vivid greed while his lips were twisted in a mocking grin. Now that was a typical face of a man who drooled after someone else’s things while haughtily looking down on everyone else!
And his personality was a wonderful match to his face, too.
“With this, my great plan has taken another step forward.”
He raised the wine flute sparkling in crimson colour and congratulated himself for his meticulousness.
“What a perfect plan that was, if I say so myself! Kill the envoys of the empire to prolong the war in the central region, then drag the empire into the conflict, too! And then, once the prolonged war depletes the Karuan empire’s resources, the soldiers of the Merdeia Kingdom under my command shall destroy them!”
Kuh-euh~!!!
The man brought the wine to his lips and savoured its taste. He continued to picture the end result of his so-called perfect plan.
He imagined the scene of the empire’s flags burning down. He imagined himself planting the Merdeia Kingdom’s flag in the empire’s capital. His imaginations sent shudders of pleasure down his spine, causing his figure to tremble noticeably.
He’d ascend from the peerage of the duke and become archduke… No, more than that! He pictured himself establishing a new empire with his own two hands.
“Once I get my hands on the empire, even the royal family won’t look down on me anymore. When that happens, the princess shall be…!”
In this fat man’s mind, the second princess of the royal family, famed for her beauty, was already his wife.
“Once I acquire the princess, I shall also be eligible to enter the succession race. Which means it’s more than possible for me to take the throne, too. No, hang on! By then, I should’ve already finished destroying the empire, so doesn’t that mean I will be an emperor instead?”
Even though none of these things had happened yet, this fat man didn’t doubt for one second that the outlook for his future was bright.
Too bad for him, that rosy future…
“My lord! Duke Raisha, sir!”
…got shattered into million pieces by a man urgently rushing inside the room.
“My lord, we got found out, sir!”
“About what?”
“The truth of our role in the massacre of the empire’s envoys has been uncovered, my lord!”
“W-what did you say?!”
Thud!
The man sitting on the white couch, Duke Raisha, quickly tried to get up only to slip and crash straight into the floor.
“My lord! Are you unhurt, sir?”
The red wine spilt on the couch and the Duke’s clothes, dyeing them red.
“Don’t mind that and keep talking, man! Just how the hell did we get found out?!”
“I do not know, sir. But according to the intel from our agents, the investigation team sent by the empire apparently has uncovered irrefutable proof of our guilt, my lord!”
“Say what?!”
“The news has spread everywhere, and almost everyone near the Peleros Kingdom is aware of it, my lord. As a matter of fact, it’s safe to assume that every citizen has heard of it by now!”
“D-dammit all to hell!”
Realising that his so-called perfect plan was not so perfect anymore, Duke Raisha chewed on his lips before exploding in a fit of curse words.
At this rate, his perfect plan would definitely go down the drain. No, it’s actually worse than that!
The Karuan Empire would definitely demand answers from the Merdeia Kingdom. Even if they were enemy nations, the kingdom didn’t have the justification this time, so it’d have no choice but to punish Duke Raisha severely.
“Bloody hell! Just how did they find out?!”
If the Imperial Princess’s exclusive butler heard that, he’d no doubt retort with, “Why on earth do you think we won’t find out?”
Unfortunately, Duke Raisha was not in the same room as that exclusive butler.
“There’s no way that the assassins I raised made a mistake somewhere!”
The duke had dispatched all of his assassins, raised and trained by ‘him’. That was why he firmly believed that this plan was perfect. That it could not fail.
“…Could it be? A spy among our midst?!”
Yes, there’s an enemy spy among us. Without that explanation, it makes no sense that my perfect plan has failed like this!
While still believing that his assassins and his plan were perfect, Duke Raisha quickly issued new orders. “We have a spy in our midst! Find all suspicious bastards and execute them! And dispatch assassins once more, this time to the Peleros Kingdom, to kill the empire’s troops!”
“M-my lord?! To kill the empire’s troops? That’s too dangerous!”
“As long as we can steal the evidence of our involvement, no one can prove that we are to blame! Don’t forget, the Karuan Empire is our enemy! As long as there’s no evidence, the royal court will side with us!”
“U-understood, my lord!”
Duke Raisha watched his underling hurriedly dash outside the room, then began gritting his teeth. “Damn imperial bastards! I shall not fall for your schemes!”
He didn’t even realise that he had already fallen for the scheme by biting the bait.
This moment eventually led to a certain exclusive butler finding out about Duke Raisha’s existence. And then, that butler and his liege would go on to provide their wholehearted support to the overweight duke.
Known as the Honorary Commander-in-Chief of the Karuan Empire, he’d become the result of the project to create this world’s version of RenXa MuXXguchi! [1]
The curtains for the birth of the Merdeia Kingdom’s last commander-in-chief were raised on this day. And his name was Commander Relli Gius lu Raisha.

 

#31 Their circumstance: A certain villain’s circumstance

 

I was rendered speechless by a rather shocking scene before my eyes.
“Wowsers, this…”
I stared at the collapsed and unmoving figures of the black-clad people on the ground. They were dressed like assassins, but I should make sure, just in case.
“Hey. These people, they are definitely assassins, right?”
“Most likely, sir.”
“You sure? I mean, these people?”
“Mm, well…”
The wizards who defeated the assassins along with me couldn’t find a suitable answer to my question and clamped their mouths shut.
“What the hell? Fine, let’s say they sneak-attacked us in broad daylight because no one expects that. However, what’s up with their outfits?!”
Do you know what the common thing between the PoXer RanXers and all the mobs that appear in their shows is? It’s their costumes. [2]
Whether it’s the PoXer RanXer or the mobs, they all show up wearing skin-tight spandex. The only difference between the two camps is the colour scheme: the heroes were colourful, while the mobs were kitted out in featureless black spandex.
Even if hundreds, nay, thousands were battling away, costumes helped you with differentiating the good guys from the bad guys. That’s how important one’s attire was when trying to announce who you were. It was not for nothing that you were supposed to change your clothes when putting on a disguise, you know!
But these punks, they…
“Aren’t they openly announcing themselves as assassins?!”
Their outfits loudly declared, “We’re assassins!” even at a casual glance. Even if you were looking at them from afar, you could still tell that!
Black mask and hood to cover their faces, clothes designed to make it harder to see their physical size but also to conceal and carry weapons…
Their attire was a bit flabby and unattractive but still afforded the wearer excellent movement.
And to finish off their looks, they were dominated in colour black from the top of their heads all the way down to their feet. Even a blind could tell that they were assassins just from their appearance alone!
And people like that jumped out of a forest in the middle of the day.
“Could this be some sort of a trick?”
“That’s a possibility, Sir Ast.”
“You think so, too?”
These black-clad folks displayed pretty agile movements, and the way they chucked daggers around all screamed, “I’m an assassin!” but, uhm… Should I say that there’s something ever so slightly lacking about them?
“Hey, I was wondering about something. Are the assassins of our empire on the same level as these guys?”
I briefly wondered if all the regular (?) assassins employed by governments around the world only amounted to this much. Well, I was a pro at things like this, so my perspective could have been a bit warped.
“Eiii, there’s no way, sir. If we’d been fighting against imperial assassins, then even if they attacked in broad daylight like this, several of our team would’ve died for sure.”
“Oh. So we do have assassins, eh?”
“Huph?!”
The wizard replying to me hurriedly covered his mouth, but that ship had sailed already.
But it was all good. Assassins were must-have employees for any government out there, but that didn’t mean you should officially acknowledge their existence, after all.
Besides all that, though? The empire’s assassins must be pretty good since they are allegedly capable of killing several wizards on the level of the folks accompanying me.
Which means… I should get out of that place before they come for my head one of these days. Oh, before I do that, I should at least finish my job first.
“Mm… Well, you did capture them alive, right?”
“Yes, sir. They were all too weak, and some might be on the brink of croaking out, but well, I don’t think any of them has died yet.”
“Is that so? Well, then. Let’s thoroughly search them, shall we?”
Once I said that, the sorcerers with disinterested faces began stripping the assassins currently lying on the ground like dead logs.
We deliberately came to this deserted mountain road to lure our attackers into the open. Which meant we didn’t have to worry about eyewitnesses, but it didn’t matter even if someone did see us.
I mean, that’s how it was with assassins, right?
They were orphans brought up as killing weapons, and officially they were already declared dead, to begin with. Since they were supposed to be dead in the official records, they also couldn’t enjoy the protection of human rights.
“Sir Ast? I just found a token of Merdeia on the…”
“Sir, I also found one!”
“On this one, too!”
“…What the hell? This sounds more and more like a trap now?”
Were assassins supposed to carry around items that proved which organisations they worked for? My organisation forbade that, though. Wait, could it be that Howling was the weird one?
“Let me clarify something here. Are assassins supposed to carry on their persons items to identify themselves?”
“Of course not, sir.”
I could only nod at the wizard’s reply.
Both Dame Reia and the Imperial Princess had been treating me like a crazy man for a long time now, which made me question my own sanity. But I bloody knew it. I was the only one with common sense among us!
“Sir Ast? I found this suspicious-looking bottle from this guy.”
“H-hey, don’t open that! Can’t you tell that’s poison from just looking?! Look at that skull on the bottle! Why were you trying to open that, you dummy!”
And so, we rummaged through the assassins and got ourselves not just tokens of the Merdeia Kingdom but various goodies like poison, weapons and even gold coins.
Heh, if this was inside a game world, users would’ve definitely targetted these assassins to farm juicy items. That’s how much of a fat-cat mob these idiots were.
“Kuk… What is the meaning of…”
While we were gleefully dividing the gold coins among ourselves, one of the assassins finally regained consciousness.
“Uh? He’s woken up. Beat him up!”
“Y-you bastards?! How dare you do this to us?! Do you even know who we are!”
Never mind speechless, I forgot how to speak for a moment there when that assassin brazenly yelled at us.
“Dunno. Besides, is it okay for an assassin to go around declaring who they are?”
“Kuwaahk?!”
Since they were supposed to be assassins – they did attack us, after all – we had tied up their wrists and ankles. Which meant that they couldn’t even stand up, and it also meant that even a weak butler like me could easily trample on them.
“Ah, that’s right, there was that thing, no? Hey, let me ask you something. You know what this is?”
“T-that, that is…?!”
I took out the small bottle with a skull drawn on the side. “Well, a certain dummy tried to open it earlier, so I did my utmost to stop him. And judging from your reaction, I did the correct thing, then.”
I smirked deeply as the assassin’s complexion paled instantly.
I continued to grill him. “Okay, so. What is this thing?”
“I, I don’t… D-don’t come closer!”
I only pretended to pull out the bottle’s cork a bit, but the assassin still freaked out and tried to crawl away from there.
“Hey, guys. This punk can still move. Step on him!”
“Ku-waaahk!”
Wizards’ physical specs were inferior when compared to knights, but compared to your regular magicians and sorcerers? It’d not be a stretch to say ‘on the level of a swordmaster’ in that case.
I sneaked closer to the assassin with the skull bottle as he was subjected to a group beating performed by a group of well-trained and healthy men.
“N-no, you mustn’t…!”
“Alrighty, then. If you don’t talk, I’m going to drop little bits of this thing on you.”
I threatened the assassin by turning the cork ever so slightly in front of him. As expected of a dangerous poison, his reaction was as visceral as you could imagine.
“Y-you crazy bastard! That, that thing is Grim Reaper’s Breath! Just one whiff of that poison can kill you instantly! That’s how powerful of a poison that is, yet you… Kuwaaaaahk!”
“What the f*ck?!”
These insane sons of b*tches?! Just what the hell were they thinking, putting something that dangerous inside a glass bottle?!
“Kuwaaahk?! I’m dying! I’m dying!”
“N-no, that’s magic glass! The poison won’t leak out that easily!”
“Hey, you dummy! Say that sooner, will ya!”
“But you tried to open the lid even before I could say anything!”
I observed the assassin’s state for around five minutes to confirm that he didn’t die, then retrieved the bottle. As a bonus, I also didn’t forget to tightly push the cork in even deeper into the bottle.
“You’ve been asking if we know who you are for a while now, right? Looks like you’re itching to tell us, so why don’t I grant you a special opportunity to talk?”
“You think I’ll talk?!”
“Hey, you were the one who asked us first. Since we don’t know who you are, be kind and tell us already.”
I picked up several articles laid out on the ground and placed them in front of the assassin.
“Hey, this is a dangerous object, while this one isn’t.”
“Oh, oh! So, there was a method like that, sir.”
And so, we began bringing all the dangerous articles to surround the assassin’s vicinity.
“W-what are you scheming, you bastard?!”
“You can talk once you feel like it. Having said that, I won’t stop you if you wish to uphold your principles and integrity.”
After finishing the job of surrounding the assassin with beautifully dangerous objects at a fixed distance, I asked the wizards to drag away the still-unconscious assassins to someplace far away. Then, after joining them, I…
“Well, then. Shall we have some fun, starting now?”
“Sir Ast? What fun are you talking about?”
“Guys, pick up a suitably sized rock and… chuck it over there. But don’t hit the dude, got it?”
To set an example, I picked up a rock and threw it. The rock accurately hit the glass bottle, issuing a clear clanging noise.
“Like that.”
Tiiing!
“Y-you insane bastardddd!”
“Ah, that’s right. It might be a good idea to cast defence magic around us first, just in case. Well, then. Cast the magic and start throwing rocks, everyone.”
Splash, splash? Oops, I mean, ting, ting, ting, ting~!
If I mimicked the noise anymore, I’d probably start playing the frying pan game or something. And that tempting noise continued to ring out in the crisp mountain air.
“Y-you insane bastards!”
Initially, the wizards were not that good with throwing rocks but now? They seemed to have taken a liking to it since they became rather diligent with searching for rocks to throw in our near vicinity. Naturally, the assassin’s complexion paled with fright while watching this happen.
“As expected of magic glass. Pretty tough, ain’t it?”
“Sir Ast, we ran out of usable rocks in our surroundings. What should we do now, sir?”
“Start using your magic, then.”
“Eh? Will that be fine?”
“Yup.”
“Y-you’re all insane!!!” The assassin screamed desperately as he watched the materialised magic spells float up in the air.
“Well, start firing, then.”
“N-no, wait! I’ll talk! I’ll talk, so please stop!”
“Nah, it’s fine. We have other people besides you, so you don’t have to trouble yourself like that, Mister I’m-full-of-principles-and-integrity. I shall… ah, right. Sorry, since I don’t know your name, I don’t think we can make a headstone for you.”
“N-no! Please! Stop!”
And so, thanks to magic spells flying towards him, the assassin confessed to not just his identity but also to everything he knew.
I knew it. What a bunch of easy marks.

[1]: That’ll be Renya Mutaguchi, a Japanese general during WW2. He was in charge of the Battle of Imphal where the Japanese army lost 55,000 soldiers out of 85,000 under his command. That was the worst defeat suffered by the Japanese at the time.

[2]: I don’t have to tell you what they are, right? *starts singing Go Go Power Rangers~*

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