Evade the Hero and Flee! 177 #20. This World Doesn’t Want to Leave Me Alone (6)>

 

 

#3 Their circumstances: A certain hero’s circumstance

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I continued to fidget with my hair.

Ha… hahaha… What could these things be, I wonder?

A pair of dark red horns could be felt poking out from there.

As soon as we stepped foot inside the demon continent, I was forced to put this headband on. Did the instructor think that a thing like this could really fool the demon race?

No matter how well made they were, even I thought this would not work.

“Besides all that…”

So, this was the land of the demons that I’ve been hearing about, the demon continent?

It’s… a lot more plain than I thought, actually.

Trees I’ve seen plenty of times before, and the white snow blanketing said trees… And even the brown soil faintly visible in the tracks left behind by our carriage.

Things I was seeing right now were not that much different from the part of the continent we had been living in, which didn’t really match all the rumours I’ve heard over the years.

Mm… Could it be because it hadn’t been all that long since we left Burbelion?

Sure, we had travelled quite a bit on the carriage, but if I wanted to, I should be able to return to Burbelion in no time at all.

However…

“Ng? You have a business with me~?”

“Nope. No business at all!”

I turned my head just a little only to spot the dancing silver hair waving in front of my face.

This thing looked similar in age to the little girl playing with a cat and a dragon over yonder, but one must never get fooled by its external appearance.

This was the legendary ego weapon. A legendary weapon that not even me, a bloody hero, had witnessed!

Unfortunately, I did not want to witness this bloody weapon.

No, before all that. I did hear that the ego weapons could talk, but never in my life did I hear that they could morph into humanoid forms and move around of their own volition! Never mind that they could beat you up on their own whim, too!

Why did I have to learn the secret that no one else knew until now?

Should I blame my brothers for sending me off to the evil organisation?

Maybe I should have remained back home and gone on a blood purge of my siblings instead of becoming the hero?

Right. If I had done that, then I wouldn’t even be in this place, right?!

Fine, I’ve made up my mind. If I go home, it’s rebellion time!

How many still-active heroes… No, how many heroes in history would have stepped foot in the demon continent? Probably not a single still-active one, I’d wager. And, even after including every hero from every religious order found in history books, I should still be able to count them all in one hand!

Compared to this insanity, rebelling against my family would be a kid’s play.

Yeah, that’s it. That had to be it.

And so, I continued to think about my future while looking outside through the carriage’s window. But then…

“…Mm?”

It was right at that moment that ‘something’ flashed brightly in the distant snowy field, and an object began materialising there.

…Which happened to be a demon with short black hair and horns.

“What the…?”

Did we get discovered already?

But well, I did think something was strange in this place. Unlike Burbelion, which was called the final city, we haven’t seen a single artificial structure despite having ventured so deep into the demons’ territory.

This was the border, so… at the very least, wouldn’t it be normal to spot a watchtower or two around here? That’s what I thought, but hell, an enemy actually used teleport to show up directly like this?!

So, this was the land of the demons?!

“She’s injured.”

“…You’re right.”

However, the demon fully revealing herself was definitely not in good shape. Her expression was a complicated mess of various emotions, while her body was filled with countless small to large wounds.

“Well, if it’s our instructor…”

“He’ll ignore her and carry on… Ng?”

As No.17… No, I mean, Ria and I were chatting away, the carriage suddenly came to a halt.

“It can’t be…?”

“There’s no freaking way, though?!”

Anyone would’ve thought this situation was suspicious.

If that demon had appeared in the path of the carriage, our instructor was fully capable of simply driving the vehicle right over the poor girl, so why…?

“Come outside.”

Just as I dazedly stared outside the stopped carriage, the instructor suddenly called the metal bat outside.

‘Wait, could this be…?’

‘An opportunity to escape?’

For a moment there, Ria’s gaze and mine met and, despite not exchanging a single word, we began growing in anticipation after sensing something inside us connect.

“Whatcha all doing? Hurry up and get off your butts already!”

Of course, that anticipation flew out the window the moment the metal bat got up and demanded us to follow after her.

“Let’s go.”

“Ng.”

While sensing the metal bat’s hand patting me on my back, I lightly jumped off the carriage.

How unfortunate this was. If only there was a bit of distance between the metal bat and me, I could’ve fled from here.

“Instructor, what are you thinking of doing to that woman?”

Our ‘target’ finally noticed us. Her eyes hurriedly darted around.

As soon as she saw us, she expertly got into a defensive stance, making me think that she had some skill. However, it didn’t seem like she had any intentions of attacking us.

Unfortunately for her…

“Obviously, beat her up.”

Our evil instructor seemed to be filled with the thoughts of beating that demon girl into a pulp.

“I’m sorry?”

“But, how come?”

We only just entered the demon continent, yes, but it was still the demon continent. To put it simply, nothing good would happen to us, a group of humans, if we got noticed in this part of the world.

Our instructor should know this better than anyone, yet for him to even consider such an action?

Never once during our time under the instructor’s tutelage had he ever done anything like this before.

“If it was a regular demon, then I wouldn’t have even bothered. But that girl is the princess of the demon race.”

But what the instructor said back to us caused a great deal of shock to both Ria and me.

“She’s the princess of the demons?!”

“Wait, you also know about the demons, instructor?”

Could it be that the evil organisation was cooperating with the demon race? However, I was pretty sure that I hadn’t heard of such a thing before.

In that case, this could only mean that our instructor’s information network had even infiltrated the demon territory, too. I heard that he was acquainted with various races, including elves and dwarves, but to think that he even had connections within the demons, too!

“How do you know that, instructor?” Ria asked our instructor with a slightly trembling voice.

She must’ve been quite surprised by this development, too. But that would be an obvious reaction in this situation because it implied that our instructor had knowledge of the mysterious land only appearing in ancient literature!

“It’s my intuition.”

“…I’m sorry?”

But the instructor’s reply to us landed a different type of blow to our minds.

“Now normally, that’s how this kind of stories unfold, you see. That’s the trope.”

“Wait, are you telling us that a demon suddenly appearing out of nowhere and turning out to be the demon king’s daughter is the trope?!”

The princess of the demon race meant that she was the daughter of the demon king, the ruler of the demon world. What were the odds of someone like that suddenly popping up in front of our eyes?!

Not just anyone, but in front of a hero, no less!

However, our instructor declared confidently as if he was 100% certain of it.

“Even if you’re right, wouldn’t this be way too dangerous if she really is the demon king’s daughter?”

That girl might be young and currently injured, but let’s not forget that she was the child of a king overseeing the entire continent.

In a certain sense, a king controlling the only kingdom possessing an army stronger than the Karuan Empire!

Unlike humanity, many demon tribes rallied under the single large umbrella called the ‘demon race’. That’s why all the humanoids in the continent had to combine their strength to defend against the demons.

“No, it’ll be alright.”

Unfortunately for us, the instructor looked far too relaxed right now.

“But, instructor! She might possess some kind of a holy relic like a sacred sword. And it’s possible that she’s hiding a magic tool or something.”

The demon race also believed in a deity.

Demons should also have holy relics such as holy swords, kinda like the Exereon I got from the Order of Nature. The demon king was referred to as the agent of the demon god, so the descendent of such a figure should definitely possess at least one or two such relics.

No, hang on! That girl was the princess, so at the very least, she should be carrying an emergency magic tool on her! That’s why it was possible for her to teleport this far by herself, too!

“None of that matters, Sir Hero.”

“Wait, aren’t you underestimating that girl a bit too much?”

Our instructor always had been super-careful and thorough while dealing with everything, yet this was unlike how he usually behaved. That made me anxious just a bit.

However, it turned out that our instructor was still the same person.

“What do you think is the most important thing in a battlefield? Overwhelming strength? Or an excellent head on your shoulders that can even overcome that strength?”

Since those two options came out of the instructor’s mouth now, they couldn’t be the correct answers.

If it was only one person fighting, then the individual strength or smarts could have decided victory or defeat. But if the battle involved hundreds, thousands, no, tens of thousands, then…

“The difference in the commanders, and also…”

“…It must be information.”

Once upon a time, the Merdea Kingdom possessed enough national strength to rival the empire’s military might. But it got duped by the empire and ended up appointing the wrong individual as its commander-in-chief, resulting in all of its resources going down the drain in only one battle.

The ‘wrong’ commander in charge and incorrect information pushed a kingdom to the brink of annihilation.

The instructor replied to us. “That’s right. There are other factors, but for now, one of those two is the answer.”

The demon girl before our eyes was alone. Since that’s the case, it would be the difference in information.

Which meant…!

“We know about our enemy, but she doesn’t know anything about us.”

“Hah…”

“Euh-euk…”

The moment we figured out what the instructor was saying here, I involuntarily groaned while Ria sucked in a deep breath.

“Older sis? Did something happen to you?”

Even before I noticed it, the metal bat had trotted over to where the demon girl was while tilting her head.

And then…

“W-where is this place? Is this where humanoid demons live? Could that Agg…”

“Shoryuken!”

“Kkyaaaaaaahk!”

We watched the metal bat rise up in the air as soon as the demon girl opened her mouth, and…

Ria and I couldn’t bring ourselves to keep watching the massacre unfold and turned our heads away, silently praying for that girl’s happiness in the afterlife.

 

 

#4 Their circumstance: Belegrea’s circumstance

 

The space changed in an instant.

The previous space filled with the stench of blood and screams morphed into a landscape of chilly winds and white snow.

“Mekel…”

Even so, a figure of a certain lizardman still lingered on in my view.

Mekel. My father’s loyal retainer… and also my loyal retainer.

The individual who always protected me from my side since my father’s passing. And someone I might never see again…

I quietly murmured his name.

“…No, I must live.”

That’s right, I must survive.

I desperately wanted to go back, but there wasn’t any way to do that right now. Since that’s the case, I had to survive like Mekel told me to and make sure to stop Aggreahrt.

Only after those thoughts entered my head did I begin to notice everything in my surroundings.

Tree branches being whipped around in the cold winds, then footsteps from four pairs of feet walking across the layer of snow…

I turned my head towards the footsteps and discovered four humanoid demons approaching me, their eyes locked on me.

“Am I in the humanoid demons’ territory?”

Most of the humanoid demons followed me, but the leader of the rebels, Aggreahrt, was also a humanoid demon. I couldn’t be certain that no humanoid demons followed his will, either.

I quickly got back up to my feet, then picked up my sword.

They could be regular civilians, so I couldn’t just brandish my weapon carelessly at them, but I still assumed a stance to draw my sword at a moment’s notice.

If the opponents became hostile and attacked me, this stance should allow me to defend myself with the quick-draw technique that my father taught me.

The fastest attack I learned from my father, the master of swordsmanship! Its speed was so fast that not even Aggreahrt dared to let his guard down.

“Older sis? Did something happen to you?”

Unfortunately for me, I ended up relaxing my guard for a moment there when a silver-haired child ran up to me first.

It was certainly impossible to discern a demon’s age from their appearance only. However, the quartet were humanoid demons. Plus, the silver-haired girl’s trot and her innocent expression could only have belonged to a child.

The young man and the woman behind the silver-haired girl must’ve been a couple, and the middle-aged man in between the duo must’ve been the girl’s grandfather.

In that case, did Mekel teleport me to a village of definitely-normal humanoid demons?

“W-where is this place? Is this where humanoid demons live? Could that Agg…”

That conclusion entered my mind, causing me to lower my guard completely, and then…

“Shoryuken!”

The silver girl didn’t miss that opening and leapt up, landing a solid blow below my chin.

“Kkyaaaaaaahk!”

Right at that moment, the whole world went blank in my view.

What’s this? What? What could it be?

“Uheeheeheehee!”

Smack!

“Kkuuuhhhhhk!”

Right at that moment, a scream that didn’t sound like mine escaped from my mouth.

It felt like my mind and body were acting separately.

But, even in this situation, my mind remained clear, allowing me to analyse what was going on.

I realised that this incredible physical pain was caused by the silver-haired girl grinning oh-so innocently in front of my eyes!

“Whoosh, whoosh! This sound is not being made by my mouth, okay?”

“N-no, but! Your mouth… Kkuuuhk!”

Smack!

That girl’s fist smacked my face.

“Toushi, toushi. This sound is not being made by my mouth, mmmkay?”

But, but! Only a person’s mouth can produce that kind of a sound, you know?

Too bad for me, the courage required to say that out loud no longer existed in me.

“Are you… going to hit me again?”

The pain gradually taking over my soul made me forget that I was a princess, the daughter of the former demon king, and look up at the silver-haired girl on top of me with begging eyes.

Did my actions get through to her?

The silver-haired girl smiled brightly and nodded as if to answer my expectation. “Yup!”

Smack!

And so, another punch landed on my face, signaling the start of the silver-haired girl’s beatdown.

An… endless… beatdown…

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