Valentine’s Day Bonus Chapter
Evade the Hero and Flee! 176 #20. This World Doesn’t Want to Leave Me Alone (5)>
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“Thank you for all your hard work, sir!”
“No, it’s nothing much!”
“It’s been my honour to meet you, Sir Hero!”
As expected of the frontline against the demon race threat, each and every soldier we encountered had military discipline perfectly drilled into them.
But, even to such soldiers, the hero was an object of envy!
No, let me clarify that. Ruibella the City Alliance was renowned for treating heroes better than any other kingdom on the land.
Way back when the City Alliance hadn’t even been thought of, the war against the demon race was at its most brutal peak. Ruibella was on the brink of being overrun, but several heroes worked together to rescue it by defeating the demon king. Hence the preferential treatment for heroes to this day.
In this place, many heroes fought together, and just as many had fallen.
To pay respect to all the fallen heroes, each city in the Alliance erected monuments in their honour. Residents were taught from a young age that they could have only survived thanks to the sacrifices of all these brave heroes.
That’s why even those self-claimed heroes, not the ones recognised by the religious orders, could get good treatment in the City Alliance as long as they were well known or had achieved great military accomplishments in the past. Yes, this was the Heroes’ Paradise!
And the hero receiving the most attention in the continent right now was this punk with me right here – Swinn, the holder of the grand title, the dragon slayer.
And that hero was currently…!
“Pretty older sister? That oppa is a pervert, right?” 
He was currently under the metal bat’s ‘supervision’ while being treated like a pervert by my daughter.
“H-hey, hold on…!”
“Dear Alice? Listen, you mustn’t associate yourself with a pervert like him, okay? I just put on some pyjamas and was getting ready for bed, but he suddenly summoned me without any warning. He’s a dangerous pervert like that.”
“Heeeik?! Trash! Pervert! Pedo! He’s an unsavable maggot!”
“…Um, Alice? Who taught you to say stuff like that?”
“Dad said I must shout like that when a pervert shows up, you see. Oh, and…”
“He said I must let big sis Aru punish perverts like that!”
“H-hey, wait a dang second!”
“As expected of my little sister! You remember your lessons so well!”
The noise-cancelling magic had been deliberately disabled from the carriage, allowing me to listen to the hero punk’s screaming.
There weren’t any people around us, but it was still near the entrance of a city, and someone with a good hearing could be nearby. Since that’s the case, should I speed up a bit?
“Let’s go, Brownie and New Brownie!”
My whip smacked them in the rear, causing Brownie and New Brownie purchased in a nearby village to neigh noisily.
The new horse wasn’t as well-trained as Brownie, but it was still the best breed in that village, and we paid a lot of money for it. As such, we began moving at a fairly good knock.
“Big sis, the pervert’s been defeated!”
Along with the noise of someone’s soul leaving his body, my daughter’s entertained voice came out of the carriage.
“N-ng… That is amazing…”
No.17 used her trembling voice to praise my daughter next.
It sounded like she got scared after witnessing a person getting beaten up by the metal bat right in front of her eyes.
“Ng! I knew it, big sis Aru is seriously amazing!”
“You’re amazing too, little sis!”
“R-right! Alice is amazing, too!”
My daughter hummed happily before bursting into a peal of laughter. I could tell that she liked No.17 quite a lot. Actually, I was getting a bit worried after seeing her call my former disciple ‘big sis!’ and growing too close to the latter!
I was beginning to get nervous that at this rate, No.17 might fall under my daughter’s devilish charms, too.
-I don’t think that’ll happen, master.
-No, it’s possible with my daughter’s devilish charms. So, keep an eye out, will you? And make sure to monitor the hero punk properly, too!
-Mm… You worrying about that is an even bigger waste of your worries, though? The odds of my little sis growing to like the hero should be almost zero per cent, I think?
The odds nearing zero per cent were the real danger here.
The thing about a lucky bastard was that he’d still get what he wants from a free draw with 0.1% odds in a pay-to-win gacha game. Even though an unlucky bastard with ten times better odds would never get what they want even after sinking their entire monthly wage into the draw!
-…Not sure what you’re talking about there, master, but why did you go with the examples of 0.1 and 1%? Shouldn’t it be more like 0.1% and 10% when talking about stuff like this?
-It’s for the sake of realism.
Historically speaking, the odds of all these gacha games were below one per cent.
The evil game developers lowered the odds until it reached the lowest decimal point possible, then even manipulated the system further to ensure that you’d never get that item you always wanted. The situation was so bad that it was mystifying to see someone actually win something!
That’s why we needed to be mindful… no, doubly cautious since the odds of my daughter falling for the hero were not absolute zero!
Since time immemorial, you’d often find those stories… Stories where, in the first chapter of the first volume, a red-eyed princess knight-type character is seen naked by the protagonist and starts calling said protagonist a pervert, only to fall for him just a little by the second half of the volume!
My cute daughter surrounded by the pink-pink aura had already maxed out her ‘heroine power’ by now, so yeah, we needed to keep our wits about ourselves!
-Awww, looks like my little sis will never get married at this rate… It’s so sad. Although, even I don’t like the idea of her marrying this hero for some reason.
The hero let out a scream reminiscent of a frog getting stomped to death. My daughter giggled in enjoyment at that.
And so… the hero screamed like that around three times, I think?
Thanks to the hero who screamed once every day without fail, we got to establish the rule of one day = one scream. And that helped me to calculate that we had been travelling for three days.
And at the end of the third day, we finally reached our destination.
“…The final city, Burbelion.”
Allegedly, each and every single resident here was an elite combatant rivalling what the empire could produce. This territory, no bigger than a county ran by a count of an ordinary kingdom, already possessed eight swordmasters and five archmages. In other words, its role was supposed to be the strongest shield of humanity!
-…But master, it’s so weird, isn’t it?
-Well, yeah. Why is the strongest shield of humanity worse than Yugrasia?
I was getting this feeling that Yugrasia’s students could easily overrun this place with their strengths alone without the help of the professors.
Once that thought settled in my head, the fortified walls allegedly stained crimson by the blood of demons looked like regular brick walls with some red paint on them. Meanwhile, Burbelion’s regular citizens, allegedly strong enough to win against three soldiers from other kingdoms, literally looked like any other regular citizens to my eyes.
-I knew it, the empire is the crazy one.
-Nope, more correctly, only those places that have connections to you, master.
When you put it like that, it sounds like everything’s my fault and that kind of hurts my feelings, you know?
Hey, I haven’t done anything wrong, you know?!
“Halt! Stop your carriage, now!”
When we got near the gates, two soldiers in full alert pointed their spears at us and closed the distance. In other cities, guards wouldn’t have threateningly pointed their weapons and walked up to the travellers, but beyond the fortified walls was the boundary separating the human side and the demon side of the continent.
Simply put, that was basically the Military Demarcation Line!
A regular person would have no reason to go across the gate, in other words. However, we did have a good reason right now, so…
“Hello there. I’m the agent of Goddess of Nature, Hero Swinn.”
“When you say you’re Hero Swinn… Could it be that you’re THE dragon slayer, Sir Swinn?”
“The one who fought alone against a dragon to rescue the Neidon Kingdom’s princess!”
The eyes of the two guards opened super-wide.
Even though there was some distance between here to Neidon, to think that they still displayed such reactions!
“It seems that the news has spread to all corners of the continent by now. Which means you won’t be able to avoid the fate of marriage the moment you’re apprehended, my disciple.”
Just as one of the guards quickly ran off to call their commanding officer, the hero punk spat out a soft little gasp of sadness.
He must’ve sensed it by now.
We were in Ruibella the City Alliance, where the war against demons took precedence above all else. On top of that, these guards belonged to Burbelion, the stronghold nearest to the boundary keeping the demons out.
So, if these folks knew about the hero’s tales, it indicated that the entire continent already knew about the love story between him and the princess.
“You need to think this through, my disciple. If it’s Mirua, then she’s fully capable of handing you over to the princess if the Neidon Kingdom presents her with s special and appetising cuisine.”
“That trade condition is a total nonsense, but it sounds a lot more convincing because of Mirua’s involvement, instructor.”
“I wonder about that. Will it really remain as just convincing nonsense and nothing more?”
“I dearly wish to believe that, but I’m scared to death because she might really hand me over!”
The hero replied in a slightly louder voice, prompting the guard monitoring us from a bit of a distance away to approach us. “Did something happen, sirs?”
“No, it’s nothing important.”
The guard leered at us with a faint whiff of suspicion in his eyes, but maybe the favourable treatment of heroes was to thank for, he eventually returned to his post without suspecting anything too deeply.
“…This is all your fault, instructor.”
“You butted your head in first, disciple. Besides, you’re being chased by a mere small kingdom in the north. I’m being chased by the empire. The empire!”
Mentioning the empire was effective in shutting up the hero punk’s mouth.
“I beg your pardon, but are you the hero, Sir Swinn?”
“Yes, I am.”
However, he soon had to reopen his firmly-shut mouth once more. That’s because the guard who left earlier came back with his commanding officer.
“I’m Baron Burbelion, currently in charge of managing the gate, sir.”
“Burbelion? Does that mean…?”
“Ah, no. It’s not as grandiose as you think, Sir Hero. All the commanding officers tasked with managing the gates were granted the surname of Burbelion, you see.”
That surname is not only your new name, but it’s also the badge of your honour and life itself – or so explained the commanding officer of the significance of his surname.
He continued on in a noble, sombre voice. “From the demon race’s view, this city would be the first human city. However, every Burbelion soldier… No, every resident here understands full well that the moment this city is overrun, the demons will begin stepping onto the human continent. That is why we call this territory the final city, sir.”
Hints of pride began filling up the officer’s voice, and the hero nodded along. “You’re amazing warriors.”
“Hahaha. Well, we are just shabby little amateurs compared to Sir Swinn that defeated a powerful dragon to save a beautiful princess.”
The proof of being a hero – the holy sword, the golden sword light and even the emblem of the religious order – had been confirmed by this point in the inspection. That must’ve been why Baron Burbelion’s expression was filled with so much goodwill at the moment.
“Regretfully, even if you’re a hero with such accomplishments, you still need a very good reason if you wish to pass through this area, sir.”
However, what he said next didn’t have a single hint of goodwill or consideration.
“Even if you’re the hero, sir, this place is the frontline against the demon threat. We cannot open the gates carelessly, sir.”
Since ancient times, you could more or less tell the level of soldiers by looking at their commanding officers.
This man wasn’t even the feudal lord of this city. However, even a low-ranking noble tasked with managing the gates was already this hardcore, so it’d be safe to assume that no one in this city was going to accept bribes.
I figured that without the hero accompanying us, it might have proven to be rather troublesome to cross this gate.
Was this the case of so-called a silver lining in every cloud or something?
“I see. The reason why I came here is…” The hero began reciting the scenario we cooked up ahead of time.
Which included: he had received an oracle from the Goddess of Nature, and he simply had to go beyond this gate to eliminate the threat on the other side.
And that this whole adventure would take quite some time.
He stressed the bit about us needing to go to the other side to eliminate the potential demon threat.
“And we’ve already received the cooperation of the Karuan Empire, as well.”
“Yes, he’s correct.”
No.17 stepped out of the carriage, then nodded to reaffirm this ‘fact’.
“And you are…?”
“I’m Ria el Nermia, Sir Baron.”
“Could it be…! The second daughter of the Nermia House and the master of the Great Demon of Fire?!”
For some reason, the murmuring of the soldiers was a lot louder this time compared to when the hero introduced himself earlier.
As expected from the power of a beautiful woman, then.
Since she looked pitiful in her pyjamas, I bought her a couple of nice clothes, and as a result, she looked tidy enough to give off a favourable first impression.
Indeed, it was worth going the extra mile to select disciples with good looks, wasn’t it!
“Yes. This is the will of my liege… Her Highness the Imperial Princess.”
No.17 faltered a bit when bringing up the Imperial Princess, but the metal bat exiting the carriage with her wordlessly tugged at her sleeve, prompting her to resume the acting as if nothing was wrong.
As expected of my disciples. With how good your acting chops are, you probably can make a living through whatever you choose to do!
“The Order of Nature and even the empire…?”
Even if this was Ruibella the City Alliance, ignoring the Karuan Empire that provided sizeable support was a foolish thing to do.
Not only that, but even a Goddess’s oracle meant to aid humanity was added on top, too. So, how could a low-ranked noble stop this party from moving forward!
“We require the lord’s permission to open the gates. Is it possible for you and your companions to wait for a little while, sir?”
Baron Burbelion asked that before leaving for a few minutes. He soon came back, though, accompanied this time by a slightly taller muscle dude.
“I’m the marquis in charge of Burbelion, Sir Hero.”
This individual respectfully greeting the hero even managed to surprise me a little.
The guardian that protected the final city, Burbelion!
Although not a huge territory, its unique characteristic meant pretty much every kingdom in the land acknowledged the marquis. But, rather unfitting for his status, this man looked almost like a mercenary for hire.
“If it’s the unfathomable will of the Goddess of Nature and the unyielding courage of the hero fearlessly marching into the evil demons’ lands, then well… Not even those insidious demons will be able to stop you, oh brave hero. I shall pray for your fortunes in war.”
This guy had none of the reactions usually displayed by the majority of other nobles. No, he was courteous. Utterly courteous.
With every single one of his actions and gestures filled with respect toward the hero, the marquis ordered the soldiers to open up the gate.
-Master, don’t you feel aaaany pang of guilt when checking out all these people earnestly living their lives?
-Nope. All I can think about is how easy it’d be to pull a fast one on them.
-Where did you even throw away your humanity…?
This metal bat punk? She had been repeatedly bringing up my humanity recently, and that began getting on my nerves a bit, but for now, leaving this place took priority.
To prevent any unexpected situation from breaking out, I stationed the metal bat to stand even closer to the hero and No.17.
“Thank you for your consideration.”
The gates opened wide, and my two disciples climbed back inside the carriage. As their ‘coach driver’, I subbed for them to express our gratitude to the soldiers before exiting through the open gateway.
The gates slammed shut right after the carriage exited the gates. I glanced at the doorway behind us for a little while before shifting my gaze back to the front.
“…It’s the same, isn’t it?”
Despite its moniker of the boundary against the demon race, things didn’t seem all that different to me.
The white landscape covered by the falling snow; trees without leaves visible here and there only added to the sense of desolation.
“So, from here on… it’s the demon continent, is that it?”
This was how I got to set foot in the land of demons.
: In Korea, women use ‘oppa’ to refer to their ‘older brothers’ or older male counterparts.