Evade the Hero and Flee! 174 #20. This World Doesn’t Want to Leave Me Alone (3)>
#2 Their circumstances: Ria el Nermia’s circumstance
I was staring at the mirror.
A fairly pretty face, but bob-cut brown hair with messy, split ends that didn’t suit such a face…
And then, a pair of clear blue eyes, but deep dark circles immediately below that definitely didn’t suit those eyes…
The reflection in the mirror would’ve been judged as a beauty by pretty much anyone but, several parts about that face didn’t quite feel right for that evaluation.
“Just how did my life…”
That beauty in the mirror, the person named Ria el Nermia – me – could only sigh under my breath.
The way I looked at the situation made this story seem like a stranger’s, but too bad, it was my tragedy, no one else’s.
“Just where did it go wrong?”
I must’ve gone insane.
I should’ve just acted like an ordinary daughter of a noble family by getting married and quietly living out my life.
But back when I was still young, I ended up crossing a river that could never be uncrossed, all thanks to my really immature bravado.
No, hang on. I did have an opportunity to go back, didn’t I?
After meeting an unforgettable instructor named Naruan in the evil organisation, Howling, and coming back home… If only I behaved myself and quietly received the bridal training from my mother then prepared for my engagement like a regular daughter of noble…
If I had done that, my current life wouldn’t have been all that bad since I was returning after recovering my family’s seal. I probably would be living a fairly content life doing what I want with a husband of my own choosing, too.
But back then, I made such a foolish, immature decision.
Although, I couldn’t have imagined what was in store for me back then, if I’m honest.
That was understandable since I was in the evilest organisation in the empire, Howling. And more than that, I even met the evilest instructor within that organisation, Naruan, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
And… I even met that bat, too!
Which meant that I had nothing to fear anymore!
It wouldn’t have been a stretch for me to think this way back then. I mean, all those top talents from the top four academies in the empire looked like little kids in my eyes and all.
Ah, except for Yugrasia’s students, of course.
No one could’ve imagined it, though.
Who would have imagined that the instructor being chased by the empire chose to hide inside one of the four imperial academies? The places that could legitimately be called the core of the empire’s education, no less?
And as the legendary summoner, Nicerwin Arwen, to boot!
Even though I saw him up close, I couldn’t see him as the instructor.
Instructor Naruan’s face, as cold as ice, and Nicerwin Arwen’s face smiling warmly away were physically the same but, something about those two faces prevented me from connecting the dots somehow!
T-that’s right, it wasn’t my fault. I’m telling you, it was not my fault!
-Get a hold of yourself, master! Your hysterical fit is about to take over again!
Just as I began grabbing my head, Surtr hurriedly tried to talk me out of it.
“Ah, ahhh… Why… did it have to be…”
The beautiful woman in the mirror was broken now.
The brown hair visible through the streaming tears was all messed up, while the expression was distorted so horribly, too.
Anyone witnessing my current condition would think that I’ve lost my mind.
Well, considering everything that I went through until now… Mirua looking all normal and the like was the abnormal one here.
Let’s just give up.
Just give up, and pray for our instructor to get caught as soon as possible.
After washing my face to get a hold of myself, I began combing my hair only to remember that I was supposed to go to sleep anyway. So I stopped and lied down on the bed.
I couldn’t sleep properly for the past three days and nights as I was helping Mirua organise the group of agents that would arrive there later.
Surprisingly, Mirua was ‘perfect’ as the leader of an organisation.
She planned everything beforehand, noted every little piece of information and opinions, then issued sensible orders based on them.
She worked so diligently that she rarely slept at night, making her an ideal superior you’d love to have!
Of course, even though she didn’t have enough time to sleep at night, she still made sure to have five meals a day and snacks in between without fail, too. Which gave me a serious case of goosebumps… for a different reason!
Normally, there should’ve been other agents helping us out but, I was the only one available at the moment who could assist Mirua.
She set off immediately with a handful of elites right after receiving the news of the instructor’s location being discovered. And I was the only magician capable of sending communications among the party.
Once I lay down on the comfy bed, sleep began washing over me.
I didn’t have much to do, anyway.
‘No, wait – I do have one job that I need to do, don’t I?’
My role as a magician was to construct magic circles designed to summon other agents the moment our instructor was discovered.
The plan was for the agents to summon me, the only magician in the group, using the mediums on their persons, then said magician – me – would summon the combatants, including another magician, belonging to the main unit currently headed to this location.
That magician would then summon another unit, and then another magician in the different unit would summon another unit…
Using one magician to summon a near-endless number of units to capture the instructor – that was Mirua’s plan.
After she learned of the info that magic didn’t work on the instructor, Mirua researched and came up with this strategy that efficiently utilised magicians while excluding them from actual combat.
It was impossible for an individual to summon designated agents without prior preparations, but the empire’s technological prowess made such a feat possible.
No, hang on. Her Imperial Highness ruthlessly pressured the magicians, the core of said technological prowess, to invent this technology, so…
Would it be more correct to say that this was more like her power at display?
Whatever the case might be, using nothing more than a small accessory to set one’s coordinates ahead of time was a truly revolutionary technology, indeed.
“All these things mean nothing if the instructor is not found, right?”
We were talking about that instructor, after all.
Just ten of us… No, since I wasn’t involved, only nine agents were currently searching for our instructor right now.
Worse still, agents had to be dispatched to every nearby kingdom, too, meaning that one agent had to comb through an entire kingdom. As such, it should be difficult to locate even an ordinary person, never mind someone as slippery as our instructor.
“That’s why it should be fine for me to get some sleep, right?”
-Just rest already. Right now, you’re just making excuses to yourself so that you can have a guilt-free sleep.
Surtr accurately pinpointed the essence of the issue at hand, making me tut softly. Then, I took off a bangle from my arm.
It was a medium meant to summon another unit. As such, it was not some slender little bracelet but a heavy and large bangle almost on the level of a small shield.
It’d be too cumbersome to keep wearing it while sleeping, that’s for sure.
“Well, then. Wake me up at a suitable time, please.”
-Do not use your summon as an alarm clock, master!
I could hear Surtr’s complaints, but it didn’t work on me after the comfy bed and the pillow successfully managed to seduce me.
And with the bangle that kept me tied up like some kind of a shackle gone from my arm, it felt even more like I was finally liberated.
Yes, this feeling of liberation…
These refreshingly cool winds must be the winds of liberation…
This was no longer on the level of ‘cool’ anymore.
Cold. So freaking cold!
These winds were no longer cool and refreshing but bitterly-cold blizzards that wanted to rip my skin off.
Only then did I finally realise it.
I finally realised that I was not lying on a warm, comfy bed but somewhere outdoors.
“W-what is the meaning of this?!”
I opened my eyes while yelling out loudly at the sudden cold blizzard, and at the same time…
“Hey, wait a second?! Why are you looking like that?!”
A woman was looking at me with a panicked expression on her face. No, hang on, that’s not a real woman but my former classmate, the hero in drag.
It was Swinn, currently living a life of almost slave like me!
“I was working until earlier, so I thought about going to bed, and… Eh? Instructor?”
I replied in a half-dazed state, then tried to figure out my current situation by turning my head a little. That’s when I saw a very familiar face, and my mind snapped awake in an instant.
T-t-this idiot hero…! Did he really manage to locate our instructor this soon?!
B-but, why now! I had already finished washing up and changed my clothes, you know! I even took off my bangle, too! Why did it have to be at this exact time?!
I mean, why couldn’t you summon me while I was contemplating whether to take the bangle off or not!
“…Time for a smackdown.”
The moment my gaze met the instructor’s, he said those words while raising his arm.
There was no need to mention it, but well, his hand was unsurprisingly wielding that silver thing of…
“N-noooooo, I don’t wanna!”
-C-calm down, master!
Surtr tried to calm me down, but obviously, I couldn’t do that.
How could I calm down in this situation?
That’s the bat! And not just any bat, but the metal bat that’s so much stronger than the wooden bat!
“Y-you hero bastard! Get beaten up alone, will you?! Why did you have to summon me here, too?!”
“N-no, wait! Hurry up and summon the others already!”
But the bangle is on the bed! I left it beside the pillow!
But before I could say that out loud…!
The metal bat heading in Swinn’s direction suddenly changed course and went for my head.
Our instructor heard that word and instantly changed his target… That’s what happened!
I roared out in anger. “You did that deliberately, didn’t you!”
The hero yelled back. “What are you on about!”
I managed to barely buy myself time by sacrificing Surtr, then hurriedly tried to concentrate my magical energy into one spot.
“A short distance tele… Kkyaaaahk!”
For a moment there, the entire world went blank.
Even before I could complete my spell, the pain suddenly slammed into me, causing the gathered magical energy to scatter. No, wait. If it was merely scattering away, I could always regather the energy at any time.
But the magical energy was gradually starting to circulate backwards, transforming into a fatal poison to eat away at my insides.
In any other times, this dangerous situation would’ve turned me into a cripple.
But the backwards-circulating magical energy began dissipating almost instantly, only to be replaced by this mysterious energy entering my body to heal all the internal injuries caused by the magical energy going out of control.
“I, I don’t wanna…”
My body was getting healed, but my emotions were falling off a steep cliff instead. That’s because I realised what this ‘healing’ actually meant.
“What, or who, were you trying to summon without my permission?”
In the end, I plopped down on my butt from the rush of this endless fear.
In the meantime, our instructor walked right up to me!
“Ah, ah… It, it’s not… No…”
No, you’re wrong. I was just trying to run away by myself, and I never even once thought about summoning anyone!
I needed to say those words, but my mouth failed to say what I wanted to say after my eyes saw the instructor and the silver something gripped in his hand.
“W-what is that?! That’s no longer a bat, isn’t it?!” Swinn cried out from somewhere behind me.
It was as he said. That silver something in the instructor’s hand was truly monstrous-looking now.
Without a doubt, the part he was holding looked like a handle of the metal bat, but above it was a whip… No, more like a tentacle that’s wiggling back and forth!
And that tentacle had separated in many different strands, one of them wrapped around my ankle. I couldn’t hold back my repressed tears anymore and cried out at this horrifying scene. “P-please, spare my life…”
Surtr’s summoning had already been cancelled, and the demon wasn’t responding to my calls.
I could only guess what’s happening to Swinn from his screaming coming from behind me. Regardless of what, though, it seemed that I couldn’t count on his assistance.
Which meant that the only thing I could do right now was begging my former instructor to spare my life.
“Why are you yapping on like that, child? When did I ever try to take away your lives?”
Right at that moment, a truly gentle smile filled up the instructor’s face.
That smile was so similar to the expression Nicerwin Arwen of the Yugrasia academy had shown me.
Was there hope for me, then?
Was he thinking of sparing me?
I was genuinely thinking that to myself, but if Surtr was still around, it would have shouted at me the following words:
-You stupid master! Even after everything you went through, have you still not learned your lesson yet! Haven’t you realised by now what that bastard means when he says he’ll not kill you?!
Unfortunately for me, the metal bat had already incinerated the brave Surtr capable of telling me the truth.
However, even if the demon was still around, my ankle was captured by a part of the metal bat. Not even it could’ve saved my life in this situation, anyway.
Oh, you want to know what I mean?
“Instead of dying, let me beat you up a little.”
“N-no, I don’t wannaaaaaa!”
It meant… this was a sorrowful situation where I’d get beaten up regardless of what happened.
“Uhehehehe! Yes, my long-awaited feast!”
I left behind the metal bat saying some ambiguous things while beating up my former disciples, then walked up to the carriage with my daughter inside.
“Is it over?”
“More or less.”
Inside the carriage was the cat, already transformed into his humanoid appearance, and Kkokko cautiously scanning the surroundings as if it was anxious about something.
Bloody hell? Did the metal bat punk influence the dragon hatchling, too? From somewhere, a manner of speech that sounded oh-so-familiar and not exactly what I wanted to hear entered my ears.
“Is it over nao??”
“Yes, it is.”
Evens so, Kkokko was hugging my daughter as if it wanted to protect her, so I figured that it’d be okay to let the creature’s manner of speech slide.
Besides all that…
“My daughter sure is amazing.”
This carriage was certainly one of the most advanced, luxurious vehicles with minimum shakes and rattles. And on top of that, I laid out a lot of straw to hide how luxurious the carriage was and disguise it into something more ordinary. My modifications would have lessened the shaking even more and made it comfier to ride in.
But, like how an earthquake would still damage your building no matter how well you’ve engineered it, the hero’s sneak attack this time was not an ordinary one at all.
Even then, my daughter didn’t wake up and continued to slumber away!
Was she like, the sleeping princess in a forest or something?!
Dammit, doesn’t that mean some random prince would show up one day to steal the lips of my daughter?!
“No, my benefactor is still a human. It wouldn’t make sense for her not to wake up in the current situation.”
However, the cat was quick to dispel my daydreaming.
“At first, she was anxious, but after I explained to her the situation on the outside…”
-My dad will take care of everything! So, it’ll be alright!
“…That’s what she said before going back to sleep.”
Something struck my heart hard just then.
What’s this? My daughter, isn’t she way too adorable!?
If it was for my daughter’s sake, I thought I could even kick the living daylights out of a demon king.
Even though I had no idea that my thoughts were foreshadowing what was about to happen in the near future!