< Running Away from the Hero! 155 #18. What did I even do? (4)>



Once upon a time, a famous philosopher named Zhuang Zhou lived in China during the Warring States period.

There’s this famous story involving him. One day, Zhuang Zhou had a dream. He was a butterfly in that dream, flitting and fluttering around the flowers all happy and the like, but when he woke up, he had returned to his human self.

Now normally, you’d go, ‘Oh, it’s just that kind of a dream…’ when something like that happens to you.

But as expected of a philosopher, Mister Zhou began wondering, ‘Did I become a butterfly in the dream, or did that butterfly dream of becoming Zhuang Zhou? I cannot tell!’

What followed after that was some hardcore-level philosophising stuff well beyond my pay grade so all I could remember from this tale was the old proverb of ‘butterfly fantasy’.

Oh, there was another thing that I did remember. Wasn’t the ‘butterfly fantasy’ thing used to express the attainment of unity in one’s mind with nature? Or was it the inevitable futility of life itself?

“Dad, are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine, dear.”

My daughter’s voice brought me back from the pit of the philosophical abyss to the real world.

She still looked unsettled, so I gently patted her head. Her anxiety-ridden eyes began to calm down a little.

“I’m scared, dad.”

“It’ll be alright.”

She buried her face in my chest, and not too long afterwards, I felt some wetness in my chest area.

“No need to worry, my child.”


There was a good reason why my daughter was crying, while I was thinking of some high-class whisperings like the ‘butterfly dream’, though.

“It’s finished, everyone.”

“You worked hard, Sir Hero.”

“It was nothing, really.”

The hero pulled his sword out of the corpse and bowed slightly in my direction before stepping back. His sword was stained with dark crimson blood.

Of course, not just his sword but our surroundings were bathed in a pool of blood, too.

“Hah-ah… Orcs, is it.”


Monsters with pig faces that I often ‘saw’ online in the past.

Although, most of those times were in the games published by Bl*zz*rd or, ehem, in those works of literature depicting lustful orcs kidnapping young female knights to ‘break’ them in some shady locations…

Not just in fantasy literature, but also frequent extras in game-based web novels, orcs! But when you actually start playing some games, they don’t even appear all that often for some reason!

I’m not exaggerating, though.

I don’t remember ever running into the likes of orcs while playing Ara*, Maple Leaf, and not even in Ma*nogi! [1]

What stunned me even more, though, was that it was even harder to spot a single orc in this world where these piggy monsters existed for real.

But that was understandable. It was all because orcs came equipped with stunningly below-average intelligence.

You’d find a few folks among the demon races that seemed to resemble orcs outwardly. However, the real orcs often designated as monsters were really stupid.

That’s the only reason separating the orc-like beings of the demon race from the orc monsters.

The Orc Hero capable of using sword aura only came to acquire this power instinctively after surviving countless battles and not through some thoughtful training, so do I even need to say anything else now?

Without any semblance of intelligence, you can’t craft weapons.

So the orcs used weapons taken from their human victims or clubs made out of nearby trees they had yanked out.

But, we shouldn’t forget that orcs were born with monstrous strength and sturdy physique that allowed them to exhibit excellent combat abilities.

As such… it was rather difficult to find orcs out in the wild.

Unlike goblins that were weaker than humans, orcs couldn’t be killed by regular folks. Without exception, knights and soldiers had to be mobilised.

The thing was, though, mobilising an army required a lot of time. You’d need to confirm the scale of the enemy, then prepare for supplies and spare equipment for your men just in case, etc, etc.

That was not applicable when subjugating orcs, though.

Whether that was back one year ago, a decade ago, a century ago… or even a millennium ago! That’s all thanks to orcs being stupid and not knowing how to advance their civilisation.

It was fine to just check the orcs’ numbers and the state of the army’s equipment before engaging in combat.

On top of this, orcs were great enemies to get some real-world combat experience from, too.

Most blades belonging to orcs were chipped or worn out, while their clubs wouldn’t kill a well-armoured knight unless the blow landed directly on the target’s head somehow. That’s how low the orcs’ level was!

But then, orcs’ excellent instinctive movements made up for their lack of intelligence, making them tough enemies to handle for newbie knights.

Low risk of death, but strong enough to make it a tough battle…

There couldn’t have been a more ideal opponent to practise your craft for newbie knights, then.

So, whenever some orcs showed up near a remote, distant village, every knight in that territory would trip over themselves to volunteer and go there!

Ogres were too scary to fight unless an expert sword aura user was among your party members. Goblins were too weak to even serve as training opponents. Compared to those two, orcs were being hunted down so quickly that they might be declared an endangered species at this rate!

But something even more shocking than that happened to us. During our journey with the hero party, we happened to come across such rare and endangered orcs three times. In a week!

“We are not getting ambushed as often lately, instructor. Lady luck is smiling at us, it seems.”

The hero wiped the blood off his holy sword with practised movements, discarded the bloodied handkerchief, then sheathed the weapon.

“Sure, if you say so…”

While staring at the hero, I fell into another bout of deep contemplation.

Mister Zhuang Zhou said he couldn’t tell if he was a butterfly or Zhuang Zhou after waking up from that dream. But it seemed that I could modify that saying a bit and apply it to my current situation.

“Is it the case of monsters being attracted to us because of the hero, or is the hero simply heading to where monsters are…?”

So far, we’ve fought five orcs. But in between these encounters, we fought goblins seven times and even ran into an ogre, too.

For reference, the number of times I saw monsters during my many years of stay in the previous village was ten times. Ten goblins in total!

In other words, I couldn’t simply write what’s happening to us as a coincidence at all!

“Dad? What are you mumbling about?”

“It’s nothing important, dear.”

Honestly, I was beginning to earnestly ponder whether the true axis of evil in this world was the hero party or not. There was no need to explain that to my lovely daughter, though.

“Dad, is this normal for so many monsters to appear in the wild?”

“I’m not sure, dear.”

I picked my daughter up with one arm, then used my other arm to shield her eyes from the bloody corpses littering the ground.

Do your best, my arm. Even if I’m getting on in age, it’s still uncool to say my thirteen-year-old daughter is too heavy to lift up, after all!

“Dad, I think the world is as scary as you told me.”

“That’s why you must always remember and do what I told you, okay?”


I patted her head two times more, then picked up Coco and the cat following me – or more correctly, my daughter – and handed them over to her, too.

Let’s be honest here, if this world was truly teeming with monsters like this, then instead of my daughter, I’d have encountered monsters back in the great mountains.

Practically no one lived in the great mountain range. Even in such a remote location, most of the monsters were still regularly hunted down by the knights and the army, and sometimes even by the evil organisation, for ‘training purposes’.

So, witnessing these many monsters roaming around a regular road had to be an abnormality of some kind, for sure.

Simply thinking back to Yugrasia should be enough to tell you that any regular monsters could be slaughtered rather easily by a single summon called out by a student.

Yet, so many of such monsters showed up before us like this?

Either some unknown dark magician was carrying out an evil scheme of theirs, or a demon king ranked 71st in the pecking order had to be in the middle of dungeon defence nearby. If it was none of the above, then there could be only one other explanation.

It’s all because of the damn hero right next to me! I bloody knew it, staying near an existence called a hero was a sure-fire way to shorten your lifespan.

“As I thought, we need to escape as soon as possible.”

While reaffirming my resolve inwardly, I reorganised the carriage and waited for the returning hero party.


#2 Their circumstances: a certain hero’s circumstance


Crackle, sizzle…

Only the embers dancing out of the campfire illuminated the dark night sky.

“Hmm. It’s about time he tries to escape from us…”

While rummaging through the campfire, I sneaked a glance at the carriage.

“That can’t be, hero…” Hill responded while wryly smiling back at me. “Sir Naruan already agreed to join us in this journey, didn’t he?”

“Sure, he verbally agreed to it. But the instructor will definitely try to escape sooner or later.”

This old instructor of mine even dared to flee from the empire. Obviously, someone like that would think that it’ll be rather simple to lose the two men and elf watching over him.

The instructor was only pretending to journey with us because of the young girl he calls his daughter, and a not-so-insignificant threat of all the religious orders working together to hunt him down. That’s it.

“You must never think of my instructor as a normal human being, Hill. He’s totally capable of easily running circles around devils, at the very least.”

“No way that’s true.”

No way, my ass. Even the high-ranking devil got scammed into a slavery contract the moment it descended, didn’t it!

“You were also a victim, so can’t you already tell?”

“W-well, that…” Hill stuttered while cold sweat trickled down his face, then he sneakily avoided meeting my gaze.

Even the holy sword of a religious order was incapable of defending against the metal bat’s strikes. Yet Hill managed to withstand those hits for five minutes straight, so he fully deserved my, and everyone’s, respect.

“Just what on earth is that thing…”

“Well, it’s a scary something, alright…”

Hill and I began shuddering where we sat.

If Selena was here with us instead of out scouting the area, then she’d start shuddering in heebie-jeebies, too.

Just where did the metal bat’s limits lay, I wonder?

In terms of pure damage alone, it’d be around the same as the wooden bat. H-hold on. In terms of pure pain that you couldn’t experience anywhere else in this world, they were on equal footing, weren’t they?

The thing was, I’d have long blacked out when the wooden bat was hitting me but with the metal bat, that didn’t happen.

My body was already well acquainted with the horrors of the wooden bat by now. But when that metal bat was hitting me, it was trying to tell me that… ‘Oh, it seems like you’ll need to get hit ten times worse if you wanna black out this time, son’.

To make matters worse, not only did the metal bat speak, it even took on the outer appearance of a young girl, too!

Hell, I was confused about what to do when some unknown little girl suddenly ran up to me, you know!

A girl that looked frail and cute began hitting me while making ‘toushi, toushi’ noises, and the resulting pain couldn’t have been from this plane of existence.

Seriously now, I was getting curious about just what kind of a mindset you’d need to cook up such a combination.

Well, we were talking about my instructor here, so it’s kind of understandable, I guess!

“In any case. We need to have rotating guard duties for all three of us and keep an eye on the situation. However, don’t check up on my instructor, but his daughter, Miss Alice. No exceptions. The moment she’s gone will be the same as him being gone, too.”

“Do you believe so, Sir Hero?”


For now, we had to keep a wary eye on the instructor.

At the very least, until I see No.1000 or another agent capable of subbing her joins us and start journeying alongside him!

If No.1000 saw the instructor, she’d rush up to me and start sneakily asking about what the heck was happening here.

When that happened, all I needed to do was patiently explain everything to her, then lead the instructor around by his nose before handing him over to Her Highness! Oh, and make sure to escape afterwards, too!

That’s why we simply had to hold onto my instructor until we could dump him in the empire’s hands and flee from the scene.

Why flee, you ask? Because, if something goes wrong somewhere, even I could end up as a set meal with him and meet with misfortune!

“Sir Hero, just what did you learn from Sir Naruan?”

“Hill. Whatever you can imagine right now, stuff I learned from him easily exceeds that. Be honest with me, do I really look like a regular hero to you?”

“Well, uh…” Hill made the face of someone who had too many things to say at once.

I chuckled back at him. “It’s a total no, isn’t it?”

“Correct, Sir Hero.”

Hmm, answering so resolutely like that does make me feel a bit weird inside, you know.

“…In any case. There must be a reason why we’re headed to Ruibela City Alliance like this.”

“But Sir Hero, I thought it’s because of Alice?”

Alice was no ordinary human girl.

So not ordinary that even us three, who had witnessed and experienced so many things as a hero party, got shocked when she transformed during her sleep.

She was a mixed-blood child born between a human and a demon race.

A child shunned by both the humans and demon races was being called ‘my dear daughter’ by the instructor. I have to say, that did surprise me a bit.

However, the truth was…

“I don’t think she’s the real reason.”

That was that, and going to Ruibela was something else.

There were plenty of humans, especially among the members of the clergy that served various gods, who held the extreme opinion that we should kill anyone from the demon race on sight

What a good thing it was that the Order of Nature placed utmost importance on achieving harmony with everything, and that it got along so well with the elves, too. Otherwise, Hill and the instructor would’ve gotten into a massive fight right there and then.

And that fight would have ended with us on the floor, writhing away as the metal bat pummelled us mercilessly.

“But Sir Hero. Sir Naruan’s love for Alice is genuine.”

“Yup, and that’s why I suspect something else is in play.”

Sure, the instructor said something about Alice’s parents potentially being in Ruibela and that’s why we needed to go there. However, that place was established by warriors whose purpose was solely to stop the advance of the demon race.

They were originally war heroes of the empire or some other kingdoms, or even aristocrats who had attained similar levels of military achievements. Despite their backgrounds, they continued to fight against the demon race in the frontlines until they decided to settle there for good.

Simply put, people harbouring the most resentment and hatred against the demon race in the entire continent could be found in that city.

Even if it involved the matter of Alice’s parents, the instructor wouldn’t dare to go to such a dangerous place.

“How can you be so certain, Sir Hero?”

“I’ve learned how to survive from him, that’s why. If it’s a place I don’t want to go, then my instructor will definitely avoid going there, no matter what.”

I received all sorts of training for my continued survival. But no matter the type of training we received, what the instructor said remained broadly the same.

‘Before you’re forced to utilise this knowledge, stop getting into situations requiring them in the first place. That is the best and the simplest evasion method.’

‘There’s nothing more idiotic than bravely meeting your demise in a losing battle. Just flee when you have the chance. Even if you fight until the very last moment, it’ll be for eff all when your enemies decide to erase all evidence.’

‘Let me tell you, all the surviving members of our evil organisation have experienced fleeing at least once in their lifetime! Fleeing isn’t something to be ashamed about, but the correct choice to preserve your life!’

The instructor basically repeated those words to his disciples every single day.

And we the disciples got to fully understand his important lessons after repeatedly experiencing some things that made us wish to escape from life itself. All at the hands of the bat, of course.

That’s why, without a shred of doubt, I knew that the instructor would flee if he spotted an opening.

“Even an army tens of thousand strong failed to capture my instructor. That is precisely why I’m gonna use that point against him.”

“S-Sir Hero?”


“Sir Hero, I told you not to laugh in such a sinister manner!”


“Sir Hero!”

And so… my laughter mixed in with Hill’s desperate yelling continued to ring into the night sky until Selena returned to the camp.



[1]: Ara*, as far as I can tell, refers to Arami Puzzventure, a mobile game developed by NCSoft. Maple Leaf seems to be referring to another Korean mobile game called Maple Leaf Cultivation. As for Ma*nogi, it refers to an MMORPG called Mabinogi developed by Nexon.

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