< Evade the Hero and Flee! 190 #22. Well, this is merely the beginning (5) >

 

I climbed down the temple’s entrance in airy steps and walked on the road. Soldiers tried to accompany me as my escort, but I used a light little wave of my hand to stop them, only permitting two priests to come with me.
“It is my honour to serve you, sire.”
“Where would you like to go, sire?”
I pointed at Ria while replying to the priests. “My disciple knows the way. Let us simply follow her guidance.”
Ria also left the temple to show me the way.
The two priests nodded and silently stepped back, then began following me.
“Kuwaaaaahk!”
A familiar scream could be heard. It seemed that we had already reached our destination.
“D-Don’t kill me…”
And soon, we were treated to the sight of the hero crawling on the ground.
“Aaaaahng? You know me so well, yet you still dare say that! This big sister never killed anyone, I’ll have you know!”
Next up, we saw the entrance of the metal bat snickering away right behind him.
“No, I… Just… kill me…. Kkuwaaaahk!”
My entourage and I watched the hero crawl around and cry out in despair. A little while later, Belegrea silently spectating the carnage from some distance away walked up to me.
“Is this to your satisfaction, sire?”
After I became the demon king, Belegrea’s attitude underwent a complete transformation. Wanting to test her loyalty, I assigned her the role of monitoring the hero and Ria. And what do you know, she successfully handled the task.
“Yes. Well done. I shall also rely on your help in the future.”
Belegrea wordlessly bowed slightly at my reply and went back.
Since I also had nothing to say to her, I shifted my attention to the metal bat currently mounting the downed hero for a good ol’ ground-and-pound.
“C-can I go now, too?”
“Yes, you may go. Good work. Our itinerary for today is complete, anyway. You should try to get some rest.”
“Y-yes…”
Ria, who could legitimately be viewed as the MVP in apprehending the hero alive, sneakily slunk away from here, too. It seemed that her mental trauma was reactivated after witnessing the metal bat beating up the hero while making the familiar ‘toushi, toushi’ noises.
“Oh, and don’t try to escape, Ria.”
“O-of course…!”
Ria’s complexion paled in an instant as she quickly fled from the scene. She was acting like someone was chasing her down. Of course, she was still one of my disciples. That’s why I didn’t forget to signal Belegrea to silently monitor that girl.
Belegrea managed to stop the hero, so it should be a cinch for her to stop Ria.
“Still, that was too close for comfort, wasn’t it?”
Since the image of the hero wielding his sword was so strong in my head, I ended up unconsciously forgetting that I did teach him how to cast magic.
Honestly, if it hadn’t been for Ria, this situation might have turned into a very dicey one for us.
“I dunno who raised her, but she sure has been raised well. She’s quite commendable, indeed!”
Ria managed to detect the flow of the hero’s magic energy even from so far away, then quickly analysed the nature of the magic spell and determined that he was trying to use short-distance Warp.
And what can I say about her talent in magic that allowed her to not only predict where the hero would warp to, but also send the metal bat there in time? Sure, the metal bat was not a living entity, but still!
Most important of all, all these happened in only ten seconds after an enticing reward of one exemption from the metal bat’s beating was dangled in front of her face!
“Kuwaaahk!”
Thanks to this excellent disciple of mine, we were able to prevent a naughty disciple from making an ill-advised getaway. People finding out that I’m over here would be a bit troubling. No, make that very dangerous.
Even if this was the demon continent, the Imperial Princess was fully capable of forming something like the human alliance to invade as long as she had confirmation of my location.
“He must be kicking himself, then.”
I could more or less guess what the hero must’ve been thinking to himself. He probably believed that this would be his final chance at escaping. And that’s why he immediately took action.
As a professional escape artist, I had to admit that his decisiveness was quite admirable. Too bad, not trusting his comrade stuck in the same situation as him, Ria, became the massive stumbling block he couldn’t overcome.
Any other ‘normal’ people would have tried to win Ria over to their cause first. For one, she was a direct descendent of the House Nermia, one of the top magic-user families in the empire. Two, she was also one of the top students in Marsis, widely acknowledged as the best school for magic in the empire.
Oh, wait. Ria supposedly dropped out of Marsis after the school lost in the imperial tournament or something, didn’t she? Even if that was the case, she later became the student council president of the number one academy in the continent, Yugrasia, anyway. Instead of falling lower, her stock has gone up even higher.
In any case! No matter who it was, they would have to admit that Ria was one of the top talents out there. A kind of comrade who could help you become more fearless as long as she was by your side!
But to the idiot hero, she wasn’t one of the strongest magic users in the world. No, she was actually a comrade who was there to experience the worst part of his life together with him. They have been backstabbing each other since their young age, and that’s why in the hero’s head, she became an enemy that could betray him at any given moment.
Faith. Trust. Such things were a necessary virtue for a hero. But I made sure to separate and dispose of such concepts from his head a long time ago.
“I, I’m sor… Kuweck!”
I frowned a little when the hero cried out pitifully and collapsed. If this had been a normal day, sure, I would’ve been just fine. But after becoming the demon king, I had to witness similar scenes as this one play out all day long thanks to the long queue of the demon race folks wanting to get beaten up. Crazy bastards, even asking for numbered tickets just so that they could get beaten up!
As I thought, it was time to use the authority of the demon king before things get even more tedious!
“You two. Once it’s over, bring that guy to me.”
“Yes, sire.”
As expected of the demon king’s authority. The power of this position!
If this was any other time, I would’ve had no choice but to wait until the metal bat was done with her violence before picking up the hero’s carcass. But now, I didn’t even need to raise a finger. I could just order the faithful priests of the Demon God’s temple to deal with it.
That’s because I was the proxy of their beloved Demon God! One command from me, their master, and they would have to throw away their lives!
I muttered. “It seems that the granting of mercy will have to stop for today.”
“Sire. We shall send the waiting ones home.”
Over one hundred folks had to be sent back home, but no one here questioned me for it. That goes to show how much authority my words possessed.
Kuh-huh~! Was this the reason why the imperial family members fought so intensely to become the next emperor? To savour the incredible taste of power?
I might even have to give up on the dream of living a farmer’s life with my daughter if I get too addicted to this taste. That’s how joyous it was!
“No, I won’t do that. Rather than being a demon king with a ton of things to do, the uncomplicated farming life with my daughter is so much better!”
Besides, one of the biggest problems plaguing us, my daughter’s demonic sex appeal, got nicely resolved after we entered the demon continent.
The human continent operated with the human kingdoms as the centre, but the demon continent’s society functioned with the individual tribes as the focus.
Each tribe operated with their chieftain as the centre. Above the chieftains was the demon king. In other words, there was no one higher than me in the pecking order.
If any demon dares to fall for my daughter’s demonic charms and tries to cosy up to her, I’ll simply execute that fool in the name of the Demon God.
If it’s for my dear daughter, I’m sure the Demon God will allow this little bit of transgression. Probably.
“For now, I’ll just let it go and take it easy.”
I’ve already finished drawing up my plans after running into Belegrea. And I’ve achieved the first goal in the plan by becoming the demon king. That was crucial for the future.
The final goal was to have Belegrea succeed me as the demon king, then I’d get to live a simple, honest life in some remote corner of the demon continent. All I needed to do to get there was for me to take it easy and slowly advance forward.
Of course, to get there, I’ll…
“…Although it’s annoying, I’ll have to work for a while.”
No one was pursuing me right now. Even the Imperial Princess would have a hard time believing that I managed to cross over to the demon continent. And even if her people managed to trace the signal from Ria’s collar, any sane-minded human being would never think that I’d cross over to this place.
“Sure, since it’s me and all, she might suspect that I have entered the demon continent. But she likes to overthink most of the time, so she will think that I’m trying to trick her here.”
If I was to list people in this world who evaluated me highly, then the Imperial Princess would no doubt be one of the top three. However, I was not as smart as everyone gave me credit for.
It’s just that I relied on things I picked up in my previous life and the metal bat capable of winning everything once it lands a hit. And some incredible individuals capable of turning dogsh*t nonsense into reality happened to be accompanying me, too. And that’s about it.
However, the Imperial Princess didn’t want to acknowledge that and tried to see through whatever little trick I might have hidden up my sleeve. And in the process, she’d often shoot herself in the foot.
Such a mental state being fatal had already been proven through the event of 3 Sunbun… no, through 3 stacks of boulders. [1]
The Imperial Princess was not in the demon continent. Which meant there was only one existence in this part of the world that could prove to be a hindrance to my plans – Aggreahrt!
“Everything will come to an end once we get rid of that punk!”
I’ve already amassed as much information as possible on Aggreahrt, all thanks to Belegrea. He sounded like a tiresome individual to hang around with, but, as your superior officer, you couldn’t ask for a better man. Or a demon in this case.
And his combat prowess was more than good enough for the position of the demon race’s top commander. The demons considered physical abilities as the best qualification, after all. Must be a trait of a tribal society, I reckon.
But he also possessed excellent intellect, which didn’t really match his physical prowess. In other words, Aggreahrt was a true genius that excelled in both the physical and academic side of things!
As an ally, he’d be more trustworthy than anyone out there. But as an enemy, he’d prove to be the most cumbersome opponent in your life.
It’s really too bad that he was diametrically opposed to me, a peace-loving man, as the leader of the radical faction!
“As such, I better kill him as soon as possible.”
The longer things drag on, the more advantageous it’d get for me since justification was on my side. But I was slowly getting on in years.
I wanted to start my retirement as soon as possible. It didn’t matter if our house was a small little wooden hut. I’d love to live with my daughter and not worry about anything important for the rest of my life if I could help it.
For the sake of achieving this modest dream, I decided to use the greatest hidden weapon of the demon king.

 

#5 Their circumstance: A certain Aggreahrt’s circumstance

 

Griiiit…
My teeth began grinding all by themselves.
My hand holding the letter was trembling almost out of control, too.
I seriously considered ripping up this damn letter into pieces and killing the priest that delivered it to me, but…!
“Is this really the will of the demon king after he received the Demon God’s oracle?”
“That’s correct, sir.”
I glared murderously at the demon priest standing haughtily in front of me, but the bastard didn’t even flinch once.
We act only for the sake of the Demon God, so they say. The group of individuals willing to sacrifice themselves for that purpose was the priests serving in the Demon God’s temple.
Even if this priest was about to die, he’d smile and welcome his death while saying that he was finally on his way to the Demon God’s embrace. Meanwhile, his death would result in the fury of not just the Demon God’s temple, but all the other temples in the demon continent.
Attacking Belegrea first resulted in many among my fellow demons viewing me as their enemy. And my subordinates that believe in my cause and follow my will would swiftly turn their backs on me if I laid my hands on this damn priest.
But, I…
“Really? This is really his will?!”
“That’s correct.”
I stared at the priest nodding away before looking back at the letter.

<Oh, dear Aggreahrt! The one who defies the will of the Demon God!
You believe you’re following the Demon God’s will, but how can a mere demon fully comprehend the true intentions of our great and noble deity!
You’re merely deceiving yourself.
You simply decided to trade the name of the great and noble Demon God to create a suitable pretext for yourself. To satisfy your desire to become the next demon king!
Ah, aaaah…! Oh, you foolish one!
Your foolish ways even managed to anger our benevolent Demon God!
Our great and noble Demon God has thus sent me to stop your ambition. And to answer her commandment, I must kill you.
However, our Demon God is magnanimous.
So magnanimous that she still loves you, even after you dared to besmirch her name for the sake of your ambition! So much so that she’s willing to grant an opportunity to a sinner such as yourself!
Our great and noble Demon God has spoken thus: if you willingly take your own life, she shall pardon all your sins.
Oh, Aggreahrt, you foolish one!
You now have two choices. One, follow the great and noble Demon God’s command and willingly take your life while shedding the tears of repentance. Alternatively, you can choose to reject and deny me for the sake of fulfilling your ambition.
And that is for you to label me a false demon king, a conman merely using the name of our great and noble Demon God.
Now, choose.
Will you believe in our Demon God and follow her command? Or will you start a new civil war among the demon race just to satisfy your ambition?
Whichever you choose to do, I swear in the name of our Demon God that I shall calmly accept your choice. That is the will of our great and noble Demon God, after all. This is also my duty as the servant of the Demon God’s will.
But the moment you suspect the sincerity of my declaration, I swear to attack you without mercy.

From the servant of our Demon God, Marcus.>

Death.
This… was supposed to be the will of the new demon king who received the Demon God’s oracle.
“Is this demon really… Is he really the new demon king who received the Demon God’s trust?”
“The servant of our great and noble Demo God, the new demon king Marcus went through the Demon God’s Blessing ceremony and emerged unscathed. And he even personally showed us the Demon God’s grace and mercy. He let us experience this otherworldly pain to wake us from our foolish ways, yet our bodies were left with not a single scar or an injury!”
The priest explained passionately as spittle flew out of his mouth. I could only groan under my breath while listening to this nonsense.
This was the absolute worst.
It didn’t matter at this point whether that new demon king was really chosen by the Demon God or not. I had no doubt in my mind that these priests would do exactly as that new demon king tells them.
“Have I been wrong all this time?”
“Yes, Sir Aggreahrt.”
I closed my eyes.
Have I really been walking on the wrong path until now? Are you saying that this path was not what the Demon God wanted from me?
-No, you’re not wrong! That punk is the fake one!
“Kuh-huk…”
A painful moan leaked out of my lips. That’s because a voice filled with an overwhelming level of willpower slammed straight into my brain just then.
If this was any other time, I would’ve believed that the voice of our great, noble Demon God had finally reached me, but things were different now.
Was this voice really that of our Demon God? Or maybe it was just an imaginary voice created by the ugly part of my heart. Such suspicion bubbled up in my head.
-No, wait! You gotta believe me! That punk is a fraud! And that letter is a fake, too! You mustn’t kill yourself! Stay strong, Aggreahrt! My dear servant!
“Kuh-wuk…!”
Was this really the Demon God’s voice?
But… Why was her voice reaching me only now, even though I’ve been desperately searching for her guidance all this time?
-I’m really sorry about that! I promise to speak to you more often from now on! That’s why you must stop those abominable bastards no matter what!
The voice slamming into my head once more almost made me faint on the spot. However, this powerful, unrelenting thought grabbed hold of my consciousness, not letting go. It said, I must follow her. I must do as the voice says.
Was it really the Demon God’s will? Or a liar’s voice created by my feeble heart facing down my imminent demise?
-Argh, I’m telling you, I’m the real deal!
The voice entering my head was gradually losing its dignity. Nevertheless, I still picked up on this unquantifiable sense of desperation from it.
-Just try to hold on for a little while longer. I’ll select the real apostle and send them to your side soon!
That voice sounded way too desperate to belong to a deity. But it was still enough to make me say that I shall not recognise the new demon king to the priest delivering the letter. Even though this new demon king successfully survived the Demon God’s Blessing!
“I do not acknowledge this demon as our new king.”
I immediately regretted saying that, but it was too late by then.
“Such foolishness, Sir Aggreahrt…”
The priest tutted briefly before leaving my office. For a moment there, I seriously debated on whether to stop the priest or not, but the milk had been spilt already.
Nothing would change even if I stopped the priest now.
“Which means it’s really a civil war.”
A war that would become more disadvantageous for me the longer it drags on.
From the remnants of Belegrea’s faction that I haven’t taken care of yet to the alliance of the temples centring around the Demon God’s temple, and finally, all the citizens that believed the Demon God…
The longer this war drags on, and the more rumours make their rounds among the populace, it’ll become progressively harder for me to win.
In my estimation, I probably have only about a month. But it also meant that, as long as I kill the one called Marcus within a month, I should gain an opportunity for myself, too!
“All chieftains, listen to me!”
There was no time to waste. I needed to contact the chieftains through the communication magic tool to inform them of the start of the civil war.
“From this moment on, we shall unite to punish the swindler Marcus, who claims to be our new demon king!”
The moment I finished declaring the start of the war…!
KA-BOOOOOM!!!
The demon king’s castle I was in… blew up.

[1]: Whew, wow. Two references here, one fairly well known and one very obscure. The first one, “3 Sunbun/삼연벙”, refers to an infamous pro Starcraft match between Lim Yo-hwan aka SlayerS_`BoxeR` and Hong Jin-ho aka [NC]…YellOw that took place on November 12th, 2004. It’s an abbreviation of “three sets of continuous bunkering”.
The second term, “3 stacks of boulders/삼연돌” is… As far as I can tell, it originated from a Twitch stream of a Korean Dark Souls player who got repeatedly punted around by a series of boulders on a staircase of a dungeon. Don’t ask me which game, cuz I’ve never played a Souls game before. But, watching the streamer flail about helplessly, trying to navigate through the staircase, was hilarious.

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