< Running Away from the Hero! 158 #18. What did I even do? (7)>
“Keep running, horsie!”
My powerful whipping caused the horses to scream loudly.
“Dad, it’s too fast!”
My daughter’s yell-like voice resounded out, but it couldn’t be helped at the moment.
A horse-drawn carriage was slow. Yes, it was quicker than a person, but that place was the royal castle of a kingdom. My pursuers could easily procure excellent breeds of horses to catch up to us in no time at all.
My opponent this time was the Order of Nature.
No one knew when they would figure out I was gone, but, as sure as the rising sun, those driven bastards would definitely come after me.
“With this, other religious orders will also come after you now, master. Isn’t that right?” The metal bat giggled in delight next to me.
I nodded back at her. “Probably. However, I’m far more scared of an elder dragon.”
Honestly speaking, I’ve only heard about dragons in stories… Ahem, well, I have seen a live one after paying seven silvers, but in any case!
This was my first time checking out the remnants of an elder dragon’s battle.
No, hang on a second. Did that even qualify as a battle? Judging from the extensive damage, it seemed more like a one-sided beatdown, didn’t it?
In times like this, fleeing is the best way. No, scratch that, fleeing without looking back is the only way!
“Master? There’s something ahead of us?”
“On a mountainside like this?”
I had utilised all sorts of flashy skills to make our carriage travel through the mountain roads normally inaccessible to carriages.
Here I was, taking on the risk of the carriage wheels breaking down to brave these roads, yet there was a person in the middle of nowhere like this?
“Hmm… Am I seeing it wrong… Looks like she’s wearing some disgustingly expensive clothes…?”
“Nope, master isn’t wrong~! And that’s a really cool maid uniform, too!”
Not even the maids of the Imperial Court wore clothing like that.
The maids, charged with taking care of simpler chores, were all commoners, unlike the ladies-in-waiting who mostly came from aristocratic backgrounds.
No matter how much education the maids received, they would fundamentally find it hard to get used to working in such flashy clothing.
“It’ll be wiser to ignore that, right?”
“Well, if it’s you, master… There’s a gooood chance of you getting tangled up in some weird incident in situations like this, so yeah.”
How unfortunate, but the metal bat’s words were rather on-point.
That was why we should ignore that maid and be on our way, but then…
“Wait, isn’t that… magic…?”
Blue lights suddenly flashed, and then… a wall of ice was generated before us.
“Give me a break…”
Surely there couldn’t have been all that many people wearing flashy maid uniforms capable of shooting magic like this.
“Please help us, sir. My name is Serel di Keinel, the exclusive lady-in-waiting serving Princess Vera.”
Seeing how she greeted us while maintaining decorum in this kind of situation, she definitely was an aristocrat, alright.
Well, she did say she was a lady-in-waiting. Not just any, but the exclusive lady-in-waiting serving the princess, no less. Meaning, it’d not be a shocker if she turns out to be a high-ranking noble, too!
“Her Highness Princess Vera has been kidnapped by the evil dragon, Aruketai, sir.”
Ng, I know already.
I was accompanying the princess’s older brother not too long ago, after all.
“Princess Vera was…”
Even though I clearly was uninterested, Serel di Keinel was trying to tell me all the ups and downs of the situation.
Hey, miss? The only ‘Vera’ I know is an ice cream company. And that’s enough for me, thanks. 
That’s why I better make her get rid of that wall of ice, then knock her out with the metal bat to the back of her head…
“There they are!”
“The carriage is over there!”
-We got discovered~?
The maid reacted immediately to the voices coming from afar! “Over here!”
“As expected of Sir Hero’s teacher!”
“Indeed. Sir Hero told us that his instructor would already be on his way to chase down the dragon, and he was right!”
What kind of a series of puppy barkings is this sh*t?! Me, chasing down a dragon? Me?!
-Sounds like the hero got clever there, master? I mean, he kept raising your stock as his dear instructor, so to confess that you fled would be a bit, you know.
-To think that that idiot has gotten this crafty!
If the hero truthfully told everyone that I had run away, we might not have any pursuers coming after us.
Well, they would’ve had to focus all their attention on the upcoming battle against the dragon, after all!
But what if he said that I was chasing after the dragon, and that’s why they must hurriedly follow after me? Surely the kingdom’s whole dang army would be chasing me down with everything they’ve got!
Just as I began to seriously contemplate beating up everyone present and flee with my daughter in tow, the damn hero bastard rushed towards me while waving his hand.
-Okay, master. It’s time to choose! A kingdom’s army and the hero party versus a twenty-thousand-year-old dragon! Aaand your answer is~?
-How about neither, and I just flee to the other side of the continent with my little girl, instead?
Over a hundred combatants were visible behind the hero.
Judging from the state of their current equipment, they all seemed to be elite fighters. Hang on. Considering the class of this kingdom, they must’ve been the strongest combat force this nation had!
“Did you say they are the Hero Party?”
“Yes, Lady Serel. This gentleman here is the Hero of Light, Sir Swinn who will rescue Princess Vera!”
The maid uniform-wearing woman began shedding thick drops of tears and began thanking us out of the blue. “Thank you… Thank you so much, Sir Hero… And also Sir Hero’s teacher, I’m truly grateful, sir!”
No, you don’t have to thank me.
Because I have no desire whatsoever to rescue your ice cream princess! That’s why you should just let me go!
“Well now, instructor. We have plenty of eyewitnesses here today, so… I think it’ll be better for you to also participate in the meeting that will take place in the royal castle, in-s-truc-tor.”
Mister Hero chewed out those words in a voice filled with seething emotion.
-Master, he’s pissed! The Hero is pissed because master ran!
-What the hell, he’s the hero, and that’s why he got saddled with a dragon raid, so why take it out on me?!
-Just venting, I guess?
Hey, I should be the one venting in this situation!
How dare he even think about taking his noble and lofty teacher to a dragon raid featuring a 100% mortality rate?!
-Heh, master. Because you’ve been such a lofty teacher, maybe the hero can’t tell the difference? Like, since you’re so lofty, he just wants to send you to somewhere lofty, too? Like heaven?
Kyah… You know what, I didn’t think of that.
A teacher so noble and lofty that his disciple wishes to send him to somewhere noble and lofty, too! Like afterlife!
“Alice has agreed to go with us, so please, let’s be on our way, instructor.”
This son of a gun, did he just dare to use my daughter’s name?
-Threatening us with my little sister?! Master, let’s just beat his sorry ass up here and run!
Even the metal bat who fondly called my daughter her little sister seemed to have gotten angry at the hero’s declaration.
Since all these idiots were destined to be KIA during the dragon raid, I might as well let the metal bat handle them now and then…
“…Very well. Let us head back to the royal court.”
“I’m sorry?” The hero became much flustered at my quick reply.
“What are you all doing! The ice crea… no, I meant Princess Vera has been kidnapped by the despicable evil dragon, and we cannot afford to waste time like this!”
“Y-yes, of course…?”
My rather forthright yelling seemed to have plunged the hero into an even deeper fluster.
-You’ve finally gone insane, master! To think that you’d willingly go along with a dragon raid, of all things!
-No, this is actually an opportunity, instead! I may get to bury that damn hero once and for all in this place!
-I-it can’t be?
-That’s right… It’s the ‘Kill with a borrowed knife’ strategy! I shall do my best to assist the hero so that he… can have a one-on-one showdown with the dragon!
-A human fighting a dragon one on one? Is it even possible to survive that?
-It’s impossible, and that’s why I’m making him do it. Still, he’s the hero of the Order of Nature, which is optimised towards ensuring one’s survival. As long as things turn out in his favour, he might get to keep his life in the end.
-Yeah, when it’s in his favour. Like, reaaaally in his favour, master! The only outcome waiting for him is to die, you know! Master, you’re so despicable! You villain!
-Nope, I’m a former villain!
At the very least, the battle against the dragon should buy me enough time to flee.
If the hero dies, then oh well, that’s not my responsibility at all. Wouldn’t you agree, oh dear Goddess of Nature?
“We don’t have much time! Our opponent is an evil dragon! You must think about Her Highness Princess Vera who must be shivering away in fear even as we speak!”
“Even though our enemy is a dragon, to think that he would prioritise her highness…!”
“As expected, now that’s the kind of mindset befitting Sir Hero’s teacher!”
“Sir Hero of Light must’ve been able to achieve so much all because of such a great man’s teachings!”
-Uwaaaahk?! What are they even talking about! That’s all dog poop nonsense that doesn’t even suit you, master! H-hey, everyone? You’re being fooled! I’m telling you, you’re all being scammed right now!
The metal bat began screaming inwardly after listening to the declarations of the nearby knights and soldiers.
Around the same time, the hero punk was staring at me with an expression of a man who also wanted to scream. But he couldn’t scream at all because of all the eyes watching him right now.
Seeing how his lips were bobbing up and down like a goldfish, it seemed like he wanted to say, [Just what have you done, instructor?!] to me.
Kid, you brought this upon yourself.
That’s why you should’ve just let me go, nice and easy.
“Everyone, my disciple is saying that we need to hurry up with reorganising the personnel and return to the castle! As such, please hurry!”
“Sir Hero has commanded us! You heard him, hurry up!”
The princess’s lady-in-waiting kitted out in the flashy maid uniform would ride in our carriage. Meanwhile, the others began climbing up on their own horses.
“What are you doing, dear disciple? Didn’t you say it earlier yourself? That we need to quickly return to the royal castle?”
Before climbing back on the carriage, I sent a mocking grin in Sir Hero’s way. He was still staring at me in a pure daze.
“Well, now. All these people are waiting for you and you alone, Sir Hero. Let us depart, then.”
And the fate waiting for you is…
A one-man dragon raid that would go down in history as a legend, regardless of how it turns out!
#4 Their circumstances: a certain daughter’s circumstance.
The clunking carriage eventually stopped its advance.
I quickly climbed out of the carriage and tried my best to calm my tumbling insides.
“Is it travel sickness? Should this big sis pat you on the back?”
The big sis saw me and walked up to me while smiling radiantly. But her mouth was saying something very scary.
“What are you getting disappointed for, though?!”
Even though the big sis tutted unhappily and backed off, I still vigilantly kept my eyes on her while patting my chest down.
It felt like we’ve been constantly riding on the carriage recently.
Sleeping inside the carriage, waking up in the carriage, climbing off only to get back in the carriage…
After our home got burned down, it’s like the carriage has become our new home.
“T-this is why dad said procuring a house for me is so important…”
Honestly, I was so disappointed back when dad took away a portion of my pocket money. He said that he’s depositing it for the sake of buying me my own home later on.
But I didn’t know that having a home was this important!
Dad kept saying that only hardships waited when leaving one’s home, and he was right all along!
“I need to listen to dad more.”
Once my insides had calmed down a little, I tightly held Misha and Coco and ran up to my dad.
Since I was holding Misha and Coco, I had to be extra careful when entering my dad’s wide-open arms.
It felt like I hadn’t hugged my dad in such a long time, too.
Even though I could hug him whenever I want until recently, like in the mornings, afternoons and in the evenings, you know!
“Dad, it’s like you haven’t been paying attention to me lately.”
I tried to whine a little while in my dad’s arms.
“I’m sorry, my child. Unfortunately, an annoying hero has latched onto us, you see.”
“That hero is so despicable!”
I thought that heroes were all cool and kind people, but to think that this hero was a bad guy who wrecked families!
“Dad, how long are we going to accompany the hero?”
After Sir Hero showed up, we’ve been practically living out of the carriage, travelling everywhere.
I know that he’s my dad’s former disciple and that he’s doing his best for this world. But dad told me this before.
A commoner should live like a commoner!
And my family was as normal (?) as you could get, a typical family of commoners.
That’s why it’s no good for us to hang around such an ignorant and uncouth hero!
Dad said that, since ancient times…
You should never, ever get close to the likes of imperial families or royal families, high-ranking nobles and their scions, plus…
People who seem to have shady pasts and finally, even the heroes!
But now, my dad who taught me that has to travel here and there with a hero in tow?
And from what I could hear, it was all to fight a dragon, too.
But don’t they know how cute a dragon can be? Just looking at our adorable Coco should tell you how cute they are!
Even if there was a bad dragon with a similar name to the big sis, Mister Dragon should understand where we’re coming from if we scold him harshly enough.
But if that doesn’t do the trick, we could always have the big sis discipline the dragon a little bit (?), and everything should work out fine.
“I’m sorry, my child. But soon enough, we should get to grow crops again, like how we used to.”
I looked up at my dad with sparkling eyes.
Farming is so enjoyable, you see. Yes, it’s really hard and so tiring, but farming with dad is still so much fun!
And it feels great when the little guys we worked so hard to raise grow up so big and strong and eventually become our tasty food!
That great feeling was something only the farmers who have cultivated the land would know.
“Yes. That’s why, can you be a little more patient until then, my daughter?”
“Thank you. You’re such a good girl. Good girl.”
I waited for my dad while eating delicious food in the royal castle. I even used my fingers to count each passing day, too.
And around the time my ten fingers were about to run out, a rumour began spreading in the castle.
That our brave hero was about to embark on a journey to hunt down the dragon!
#5 Their circumstances: a certain hero’s circumstance
Where did it go wrong?
“Sir Hero, hooray!”
“Let the blessings of the gods be granted on the Hero of Light, Sir Swinn!”
I was stepping forward under the shower of encouragement coming from the cheering crowd.
“To think he’d announce that he will deal with the evil dragon Aruketai all alone!”
“You will never find anyone more courageous than Sir Hero in this continent, no, in our recorded history!”
“Indeed, he’s the role model for every hero out there!”
After returning to the royal castle, I got swept up in one thing after another. And by the time I regained my wits, the rumour about me going solo to hunt the dragon down had already begun spreading throughout this kingdom.
“The great and noble hero, the Hero of Light Sir Swinn is bravely stepping forward!”
“His Majesty Our King, hooray! The Hero of Light, Sir Swinn! Hooray!”
This kingdom’s king declared loudly while politely bowing his head to me. And with that, I found myself travelling to the temporary lair of the evil dragon, Aruketai, for a one-on-one showdown. My party was accompanying me.
…How the heck did the things end up like this?!
: The ‘Vera’ ice cream company MC mentions is actually Baskin Robbins, an American ice cream company that’s rather popular in Korea. In Korean, it’s “배스킨 라빈스”, and the Koreans combine the first two letters – 배 and 라 – to refer to it as ‘배라’. However, our MC is mixing up 배라 with 베라 (Vera).