< Evade the Hero and Flee! 201 #23. Policy Meant for My Dream! (8) >
#7 Their circumstance: A certain team leader’s circumstance
Just like always… I’m looking forward to my payday.
I rushed all the way back to the border region to get this secret stash of my salary. How can I not look forward to it when I risked my life to get this!
With a buoyant mood, I opened the pouch, and then…
…And then, met with a bitter disappointment.
“I need to get a job this month, too…?”
My reduced salary isn’t going back up at all. And it seemed that this month would be yet another tough one to get by.
“This is all Ria’s fault…”
To think that girl would abandon her precious team leader and run away! The reduced salary from that incident and the extreme changes in the demon continent combined as one-two punches to give this poor me a hard time with the lack of funds.
“Sniffle! Should I go ask a nearby fried chicken place if they have a job for me…?”
In the past, I could’ve earned some money by hunting down rampaging monsters in the countryside… But nowadays, monsters were on the brink of extinction and even that money-making avenue has dried up.
“Instructor, you meanie…”
This was all because of the demon king, Marx… No, because of my instructor!
While building this thing called the highway, my instructor, uh, instructed the demons to subjugate all the monsters that could potentially damage the newly-built roads.
Ordinary demon race folks were happy about that, saying things have become safer for them, but people like me who earned a living through mercenary work? We ended up jobless almost overnight.
The demon continent’s monsters were far more vicious than their counterparts in the human continent, and they also fetched quite a high sum, so the monster subjugation work was a popular job among the mercenaries, you know!
But now, all the former mercs were either running fried chicken shops, frying chickens or taking up part-time jobs of delivering said fried chickens.
“Hiiing… Those jobs are all difficult, though…”
I would be among the very first to meet the freshly-fried chickens, but I can’t even touch them?! Would there be anything crueller than that in this world?!
“Ah, I wanna eat more fried chicken…”
Yes, the fried chicken tastes so good.
One of the main reasons for my constant lack of funds was that I’ve been buying lots of fried chicken lately.
If the fried chicken only had one flavour, I’d probably have grown tired of eating it, but… Thanks to far-too talented Minister of Chicken Department Lady Alice, new sauces were constantly being introduced on the market, and I… I just can’t get enough of them!
“The new addition to the menu this time is the Onion Chicken… I-I guess I’ll find a place to stay instead of a job first.”
Fried chicken and onions, is it…?
That combination should not work at all, but our Minister of Chicken Department, Lady Alice, always brought a new paradigm to us without fail.
The last combination I thought would never work was fried chicken and spring onion… However, the revolution of the so-called ‘Spring Chicken’ remains to this day a monumental paradigm shift that still sends shivers down my spine.
Lady Alice is truly amazing. No, make that utterly divine!
Hooray for fried chicken! Hooray for Minister Alice! Hooray!
“…Heok?! N-no, I can’t!”
I also went astray like this last month, ended up spending all my money and had to camp outdoors for three days straight.
Only one year ago, most of the demon continent was in a similar state of affairs as a kingdom in the rural outskirts. Even then, a backwater village in the remote corner of said kingdom! Some tribes even called natural caverns their home, too.
But my instructor managed to transform the demon continent in just one year.
Buildings and the educational environment rivalling the empire’s top cities were created, while shops selling fried chicken sprang up in every village in the demon continent even though no such shops could be found in the empire… No, not just the empire, but the entire human continent!
I knew it, my instructor is a fearsome person.
But the problem with such a transformation was camping outdoors as I have done became an odd thing to do these days. And I couldn’t even catch food in the wilds as most of the lands nowadays had an owner.
An era where it’s become harder to procure food without money? The demon continent seemed to have become far too dreary these days.
“Now isn’t the time to mop around like this.”
I tucked the salary pouch away in my inner pocket and turned around to head back to the Demon God’s temple where my instructor was staying. However…
I sensed a vibration coming from a magic tool stashed within my inner pocket. I pulled out the faintly-vibrating crimson jewel and glared at it.
To find a better reception, I began dashing around everywhere. This tool emitted a specific type of pulse to reduce the risk of eavesdropping but that made it harder to get a good reception. However, just who am I!
In the end, I had to leave the village near the border and reach the fortress walls separating the two continents. That’s where I finally got a good enough reception to communicate.
“It’s Mirua here~~.”
-You sound the same as usual.
Hiiing… Since she’s my employer, I tried to sound as friendly as possible, but my conversation partner doesn’t seem to have one iota of desire to become my friend.
-Your current location is… Mm, good. I’ve more or less confirmed it, so come closer to the fortress wall.
It seemed that the transmission from the magic tool was used to pinpoint my current location. Well, my employer said so, which means I must believe her.
I travelled within the shadows and stuck close to the fortress wall. Even if the time now was early dawn, this place was still the border region separating the humans from the demon race. I must avoid getting spotted by the soldier uncles tirelessly toiling away even today.
-Here it comes.
Yessir, I’m glad to have you!
Although I would’ve loved to shout that out loud, the fortress wall was plastered with several powerful magic spells. I had to focus my attention on staying undetected at all times.
How long did I wait in that position, I wonder? One minute felt like one hour as I waited. And after enduring that torturous wait, a ray of salvation finally came down from the heavens above.
I lightly kicked the air to jump up, caught the falling pouch and rapidly hid within the shadows once more. Before anyone could notice me, I speedily distanced myself from the wall.
This might set off those magic spells applied to the wall, but I’ve already made preparations to ensure that the hard-working border patrol uncles wouldn’t be unduly troubled.
I left behind two birds where I was standing earlier. Those birds were commonly found in the border region, so the soldier uncles should assume that the alarm was erroneously set off by some birds and not a person.
Of course, that’s not important to me right now!
I cautiously opened the pouch as my heart pounded away.
-Did the items arrive unscathed?
The employer’s voice came out from the magic tool just as I opened the pouch. I promptly began nodding away enthusiastically.
Yes, they arrived! The best-possible items I could ask for are here!
-I can’t hear you. Did the transmission cut out?
“Ah, no! The pouch did arrive! I’m always thankful! Big sis~! I love youuuu!”
It seemed that I got momentarily blinded by the splendour of the golden light coming from the pouch. To think that I dared to not reply to my precious employer’s question! That’s a straight fail as a subordinate, isn’t it!
-I don’t need your love.
The reply I got was so cold-hearted.
Hiiing… So uncaring still! But, oh well. The amount of gold and jewels is certainly not uncaring, so I guess it’s all good.
-Give me the status update.
That was an order from my great employer.
I smartly organised everything I knew, including the demon continent’s state of affairs, then informed my dear employer of only the essential bits. I even added in-depth explanations like the good employee that I was since my dear employer had never set foot in the demon continent before.
My employer must’ve been deeply moved by my full-on customer satisfaction drive because she praised me in a deeply satisfied voice.
-Nice work. Keep up with your good work in the future, too.
My employer was not known for handing out praises, yet she praised me just now! Now’s my chance!
“P-please put more in the pouch next time, ma’am!”
My heart began pounding hard once more.
W-what should I do? The employer gave me a lot this time, but I dared to ask for even more! She… won’t reduce the budget while saying I’m being too insolent, right?
I waited for my employer’s reply as my heart quivered nervously.
-Very well, I shall consider it.
Yesss! I did it! With this, my dream of one fried chicken per day will become a reality! My dear employer seldom sends me my wage, but when she does, it’s a lot of money, you see!
“I love you, Big Sis Sia~!”
-I’ll say this again, but I’ve no reason to be called a big sis by you… I shall continue to rely on you to provide me with information as a double agent.
My employer must’ve been feeling embarrassed because she quickly ended the transmission. But it didn’t matter since the funds had correctly reached me already!
“Hhhhng~ fried chicken~ I’ll have chicken today~ and fries as a side, too~~.”
A hum escaped out of my mouth all on its own. I quickly returned to my lodging and slipped under the covers, hoping for the morning to come as soon as possible.
And when I opened my eyes again, its was morning already!
For the sake of an enjoyable dinner tonight, I had a light breakfast. I then summoned a carriage to quickly head to the demon continent’s capital city where the demon king’s castle was.
There was a considerable distance to the Demon God’s temple, but now that we had this highway thing, I could arrive there in only around a day, you see!
The empire was famed for having some of the best roads on the human continent, yet it still couldn’t build a road network of this magnitude.
I knew it, my instructor is someone incredible.
Sure, I ended up jobless because of him, but my respect for the instructor still mushroomed nonstop whenever I was travelling so comfortably like this.
As a team leader, I also would like to become someone like my instructor.
“Mm… First of all, I should get some fried chicken… No, I mean, gather information near the demon king’s castle…”
My generosity had increased proportionally to match the increased funds. And that’s why I was currently riding alone in the most luxurious carriage available.
While rolling around in the vast interior large enough to just lie down and sleep, I tried to organise everything on my agenda, only to realise how many required my attention. Of course, the most important one was my meal… or not. Yes, it’s to collect information!
“First stop is the demon king’s castle, then the Demon God’s temple where the instructor is. And then… check the situations for individual tribes, and, and… Mm…”
Yup, this can’t go on. I gotta request Her Highness to increase my salary during my next communication with her.
Travelling around the demon continent, is it!
Even if I travel in the cheaper carriages from tomorrow on, the travel expense will no doubt be a killer to my finances. My meal budget will decrease if that happens, and I certainly cannot allow that!
The instructor forbade the accumulation of private property, and that had a knock-on effect of lowering the price of goods. Even so, what’s lacking was still lacking in the end.
“We’ve arrived, miss.”
While I was seriously pondering how to get a salary raise for the next time, the carriage driver uncle alerted me that we had arrived at the demon king’s castle.
I took out a silver coin and tipped the chicken-head driver uncle. He’ll probably buy delicious fried chicken for his kids with this tip.
When I saw the birdmen race eating fried chicken for the first time – more specifically, the Chickenmen tribe – I was shocked quite a lot. But I had to nod along and accept the reasoning that chickens were simply livestock while the Chickenmen tribe was a demon race.
I mean, being unable to eat fried chicken just because the birds look similar to you is just too cruel, don’t you think?
Even though the carriage ride was pretty comfortable, it was only natural to stretch my limbs after climbing outside. After confirming that that fake demon race horn was still attached to my scalp, I entered the capital city of the demon king’s castle.
“Mm… First of all, a place to stay…”
I looked around to find today’s lodging.
If my instructor was responsible for transforming the demon continent, then the demon responsible for putting his policies to practice was the current demon king, Belegrea.
In other words, the capital city the demon king Belegrea calls home was where all the demon continent’s policies were enacted first!
This was the starting point of the city development policy, so the state of the lodging found here was fundamentally great. But there were also a lot of travellers coming here, making it difficult to find a place to stay.
If I spend a bit more, finding a place should be feasible, but if I was seen carrying too much money on me, folks would suspect me of being someone wealthy and start questioning me. And I’d get a chunk of my funds ripped off as the so-called tax, thereby making my financial situation even worse. That’s gonna be too troublesome for me.
I didn’t buy and wear clean but worn-looking clothes all this time for no reason, you know!
This happened just then. A demon kitted out in a black priest uniform that symbolised the Demon God’s temple began approaching me from afar.
It could be just a coincidence, but well… For some reason, he was staring at me while heading straight in my direction. Before all that, though… Did our eyes meet just now, too?
For a moment there, I wondered whether to run away or ignore the dude and walk straight past him. However, it was not a good idea to get marked by the Demon God’s temple if I wanted to stay on this continent.
My instructor was with that temple, so who knows what might happen!
“Excuse me, miss. But you…”
When I looked at the priest with a surprised face that implied I didn’t expect him to grab me, he began scanning me from top to bottom, nodded sagely, then said something quite incomprehensible.
“I can sense the aura of our great, noble Demon God from you, miss!”
For a moment there, I… I had to wonder if this priest was a con man… or a con demon.
To say that he could sense the Demon God’s aura from a human like me! I heard the chants of ‘Oh, our great Demon God!’ and ‘Oh, our generous, merciful Demon God!’ oftentimes while living in this part of the world, but to think that she’s generous enough to share her divine aura with a human who’s been living on the demon continent for less than a year!
Isn’t this god pretty much similar to the so-called Donation Angel my instructor told me about? Oh, hang on. Comparing a deity to an angel is a bit weird, isn’t it? So, uh, Donation God, then? The God of Donation, the Demon God!
“Miss, I see that you follow the will of our great, noble Demon God. Indeed, you…”
What the priest said after that, though, left me so speechless that I ended up dazedly staring at him, my jaw falling to the ground.
“You… have the qualifications to become a demon king, chosen by the Demon God herself!”
And so… I somehow became the second human chosen by the Demon God to become a demon king.