< Evade the Hero and Flee! 169 #19. Life is a continuous escape (10)>
A young man with radiant golden locks and a face that anyone would’ve found handsome was princess-carrying a beauty with pink hair.
There’s nothing to see here, though!
This man, who would have easily passed as a male lead in a movie, was none other than the damn cat that always wandered around my daughter. And the beauty in his embrace was none other than my dear daughter!
Dammit! Only I am allowed to carry my daughter like that, you know!
This damn cat bastard…
I will overlook it this time due to the current situation being what it is but next time, I shall punish you with execution by the metal bat!
The cat punk started shuddering out of nowhere but that must’ve been because my warning had gotten through to him.
-Wuiiing? But master, you haven’t said anything to him, tho?
-The thing is, your instinct will be the first to pick up any whiff of misfortune about to hit you.
-Hey, what are you implying about my metal bat state?!
What do you mean, what I’m implying? You’re basically the worst imaginable calamity to every lifeform in existence, excluding me.
“Well, now. Shall we get going, then?”
“Hold on… Will it really be possible? To outwit a whole kingdom, I mean. Is such a thing really doable?”
The cat punk made a cramped face as if he was feeling a bit worried.
While looking at him, I made a confident expression and declared, “It’s just the security network of some backwater rural kingdom! Of course I can’t break through it!”
The cat began tilting his head this way and that just then. He began frowning a little, his expression showing how confused he was. He must’ve been wondering if his hearing played a trick on him.
“Wait, you… Did you just say that you can’t break through this country’s security?”
“That I did.”
Obviously. No matter how small, we were still talking about a kingdom here.
Even a dog would eat half in front of its home before going back inside, so how much would a ruler of a kingdom eat before going back in? 
Just one word from said ruler could bring out countless combat personnel. Traps both physical and magical in nature were hidden everywhere, too. Yet you want me to break through them all?
Well, if it was me alone, then yes, I could’ve done it but, with my daughter and other sundry dead weight weighing me down, it’d be almost impossible.
“What are you even talking about?! Didn’t you say we will run away? But if you can’t even break through their security network, how are we supposed to do that?!”
The decibel of the cat’s voice grew louder and louder. But he had to come down from his agitated state and lower his voice when my daughter, still being carried in his arms, murmured in her sleep and squirmed around a little.
“Were you trying to escape when you didn’t have any means to do so?”
“Of course not. We’re still escaping, alright. However, it’s not against who you think.”
The cat now looked like he couldn’t understand it at all.
Uh-huh, would you look at this idiot?
Since time immemorial, the most important thing to remember when trying to escape was… making sure to differentiate between the one you were trying to escape from, and the one you didn’t have to worry about.
Thinking that even those harmless folks were your enemies while trying to escape would only result in decreasing the range of your escape options!
That’s why you needed to strictly differentiate between your enemies and non-enemies.
Non-enemies were important existences that could potentially turn into your allies, after all.
“Yes, we’re fleeing from this place, but we are not fleeing from this kingdom.”
“Indeed, the ones I’m trying to get away from are the agents of the empire and also the hero punk, not this kingdom.”
Seeing that dazed look on the cat’s face, it seemed that he had not even considered the simple fact of this kingdom not being our enemy.
“Actually, this kingdom is our ally. Their goal is to capture and tie down the hero to them, after all.”
I wanted to escape from the clutches of the evil hero. And this kingdom’s princess wanted to make said evil hero as hers.
Our end goals were different, but our relationship was still what you’d call symbiotic. That’s because the hero getting captured by the princess was the best outcome for both her and for me.
“In that case, why did you even escape in this manner?”
“It’s to ensure that the hero punk doesn’t suspect anything.”
From what I had observed from the hero’s behaviour until now, he seemed to be under the impression that I was trying to escape from this country, not him.
That’s why he could even yap about escaping together with him or something earlier.
“Rather than trying to evade him and flee, it’ll be far better to create an environment where he can’t escape himself.”
Despite trying to run away several times, I had experienced getting caught every single time. Still, those experiences helped me realise something.
This hero punk wasn’t tracking me, but my daughter’s location, instead!
And after arriving in this kingdom, I watched him openly monitoring my daughter. That’s when I had an epiphany that this punk was using her to keep an eye on me.
That’s why it was time to use that against him.
“Alright. All of you, use that hole to get to the other side.” I addressed the cat while pointing at the doghole dug out ahead of time.
“What about you?”
“I still have something to do.”
The bait to lure the hero had been cast, so now was time to prepare a suitable rod to reel the fish in.
“You should run into some soldiers when you reach the other side. But don’t panic and follow their instructions.”
“Ah, wait. You will need this, too.”
I pulled out a fur hat from my inner pocket and put it on my daughter’s head. Her horns made noticeable protrusions on the hat, but I figured that no soldier would bother to point out the oddity in the current situation.
“Hurry on, now! There isn’t much time. Hurry!”
The cat then lightly shook my still-sleeping daughter to wake her up.
If the hero finds us in the middle of all this, all my plans would go down the drain. Therefore, I hid myself in the shadows and quickly travelled towards the royal castle’s front gate.
“You’ve arrived, Sir Naruan.”
The princess had already finished mobilising the knights and magicians and had them on standby next to the gate by the time I got there.
“All preparations are complete, Your Highness.”
“Is that so… Even though I didn’t want to believe it, it seems to have been true all along.”
“I can only apologise for my useless disciple, Your Highness.”
“No, please don’t apologise, sir. Without you informing me ahead of time, I would’ve been oblivious to it all, Sir Naruan.”
A grieving beautiful woman was a sight for sore eyes, indeed.
But the overwhelming majority of beauties I’ve encountered so far turned out to be crazy b*tches, so this sight failed to sufficiently tickle my sensibility.
Hang on a second. Even this princess was a crazy b*tch when judging by her actions, wasn’t she?
“We don’t have much time, Your Highness.”
The princess nodded, then issued a command. Countless agents of the kingdom filed out of the front gate and headed to where the doghole was located in the wall.
That hero punk always acted under the assumption of me trying to run away from him. He probably thought that covertly following me would be the best option for him in a situation like this one.
That’s why, in that very moment that I began planning my escape, the very first thing I did was to inform the princess that the hero was trying to run away from her. Then I promised to lend my aid to stop his escape attempt.
And the result of that cooperation… was this!
Hill emerging from the doghole first stared at us, his brows shooting up high.
All sorts of magic had been cast already to cut off any noises from leaking out of this space. On top of this, an illusion spell also ensured that we couldn’t be seen until they had fully emerged from the doghole.
All thanks to these factors, the first thing Hill saw when he raised his head was an army of at least several thousand men!
Not getting shocked by this unbelievable spectacle would be strange, indeed!
“Please come this way.”
Hill couldn’t even resist when some knights grabbed his arm from the side. That’s how he got caught first, then Selena the Elf was next. She displayed a similar reaction to Hill while getting dragged away by the knights.
“Your Highness. I shall now move on to the next phase of the plan.”
“Yes. Thank you. Please toil a little bit longer for our sakes, Sir Naruan.”
The princess added that she’d definitely repay this kindness at a later stage, then slightly bowed her head before moving away.
Of course, I had no desire whatsoever to wait around for that repayment.
That’s because I was not planning to return to this dang kingdom, no, the entire northern region for the rest of my life!
I mean, look at that scene! This scene, that evokes a sense of deja vu in me!
Years ago, it was me instead of the hero punk stuck inside a group similar to this one. And if I dally any longer, I would find myself in the exact same situation as him, too.
As such… I better join up with my daughter, already safely evacuated to elsewhere, and flee from this place!
Have a nice life, oh my dear disciple!
I wish you all the happiness in life with the Ice Cream princess by your side!
#12 Their circumstances: A certain hero’s circumstance.
Ah, sh*t. I’m screwed.
The first thing I saw after crawling out of the doghole in the wall was the sight of the captured Hill and Selena.
And on top of that, the smiling face of the princess, too?!
“Were you planning to go somewhere, Sir Hero?”
“A-ah, well, you see…”
The princess’s smile was truly, breathtakingly beautiful. Well, she was called the most beautiful woman in the north by all the nearby kingdoms, after all.
Even the dragon tried to kidnap her based on her fame alone. That’s how beautiful she was!
I couldn’t help but wonder what number of people who’d love to see the smile of such a beauty. Must’ve been super high. However, I was frozen stiff like a rock the moment I saw that smile.
That’s because… I’ve come to realise that, no matter how wonderful the smile of a beautiful woman was, it’d come across as spookily eerie when a heavily-armed army of thousands, nay, tens of thousands, was serving as the backdrop.
“I beg your pardon? Were you thinking of leaving and going somewhere, Sir Hero? All the while abandoning me?”
Her blue hair and eyes seemed to sparkle under the moonlight within the darkness. This scene was also mesmerisingly beautiful, but even then, another instinctive realisation dawned on me.
…If I fail to escape from here, my life as I knew it would be over, in a variety of ways!
“W-well, I was… out strolling?”
“Oh, my! Is that so? What a coincidence, as I was also out strolling, Sir Hero. Would you like to accompany me, then?”
Strolling under the moonlight, with an army behind you?
Did she really think I’d believe her?
H-hang on a minute. If that was true, then hell, wasn’t that an even scarier prospect?
“A-ahahaha, although it’d be my honour, I was already thinking of ending the stroll and retiring for the night, Your Highness. It’s unfortunate, but how about I take a rain check on your offer?”
“Yes, indeed it is unfortunate. Since Sir Hero emerged from the hole I have created, I wanted to believe that you wished to see me. Was I wrong, Sir Hero?”
I thought the instructor was responsible for that hole since the traces of the spirit lingered around it, but to think that the princess was responsible for the hole’s creation?!
In that case… could it be?!
“Is my instructor nearby, Your Highness?”
“Sir Naruan? He needed to attend to another matter and has left already, at least for the time being, Sir Hero.”
That meant he was here until not too long ago.
Dammit! I never imagined that he’d join forces with the princess even in the middle of his own escape attempt!
It made sense, though, since the princess didn’t know about the empire hotly pursuing the instructor even as we speak. It would’ve been a simple matter to scam her in that respect.
Dammit! How could I have failed to consider this possibility?!
“Unfortunately, it seems that we will have to delay our stroll to another day as you said, Sir Hero. Well, then. Shall we return to the castle?”
The pair of blue eyes gleaming under the moonlight was staring straight at me.
I was now basically a frog trapped in front of a snake. I desperately thought about, ‘What should I do to escape from here?’ but no useful solutions popped up in my head.
“The nights in the north can get very cold, so it’s very inadvisable to stay outdoors for too long, Sir Hero. Especially more so when we’re in the middle of winter. Your comrades are waiting for you, so shall we return now?”
The princess smiled ‘demurely’ while extending her hand towards me, but my feet didn’t want to budge an inch. My whole body had become paralysed from a pair of eyes even chillier than the cold winter winds of the north.
“Goodness me. Really now, Sir Hero. You’re unexpectedly high maintenance, aren’t you?”
The princess ‘demurely’ raised her hand, prompting the knights surrounding us to slowly close in on me.
Dammit! Do I need to abandon Hill and Selena and make my escape from here alone?
But where should I even escape to?
I could use my power to fight back but the bitter truth was, a hero fighting against a kingdom for no logical reason would never be accepted by anyone.
Wait! Wasn’t this, like, a justifiable act of self-defence?
N-no, that wouldn’t work. Because of my instructor’s scheme, the news of the princess marrying me has already spread to the rest of the continent as if it’s an undeniable fact, hasn’t it?!
The current me basically looked like a hero trying to flee in the middle of the night after not wanting to take responsibility for his actions, after all!
So, if I resort to violence here… I’d be no different than a dead man walking, socially speaking.
It’s over. My life… it’s over!
But this happened right at that moment.
“You want my help?”
…A voice of salvation reaching my ears, that was.
“Want my help or not?”
I couldn’t see her yet, but that voice was still way too familiar to my ears nonetheless.
She replied in a displeased voice, prompting me to plead in a desperate cry. “N-no, that’s not it. Please help me, dear Lady Mirua!”
“Alright, then. However… you gotta help me track down the instructor, got that?”
Right then, a black shadow suddenly popped out between Hill and Selena and enveloped them in the blink of an eye.
The soldiers next to them were getting flustered after their hostages were taken away. In the meantime, the shadow that had swallowed up Hill and Selena popped up right next to me before spitting both of them out.
“W-what was that?!”
While Hill and Selena were panicking from how they suddenly ended up next to me, Mirua finally revealed herself in the open and stared straight at me. It was as if the army of thousands didn’t even exist in her eyes.
“Where is the instructor?”
“Sir Hero, may I ask who that woman is?”
Was she curious about the identity of Mirua who suddenly appearing out of nowhere? Or was she ‘curious’ about an unknown woman suddenly choosing to appear in front of me? Whatever it was, the princess in the distance spoke with a voice filled with skin-pricking coldness.
The quiet little voice coming from right next to me, and the chilling voice coming from some distance away… Duuuude, both of them were so bloody scary!
“Mirua, it might be a better idea to get out of here first, don’t you agree?”
“No, our instructor first.”
“He’s already gone! And we need to hurry after him! That’s why we gotta get out of here first and then talk!”
“Tch… That’s why I came first, but… he’s not here…” Mirua grumbled unhappily while pulling something small from her inner pocket. Then, she brought it close to her lips. “Transfer.”
That one word from her caused the surrounding space to distort and soon, the surrounding scenery also rapidly changed. That’s how I got to successfully escape from that deadly situation.
“It’s only until we catch the instructor. You will be working under me until then.”
…Even though I got caught by someone else right afterwards!
: This is an old Korean idiom, and it means that you’d feel braver or have an upper hand while inside your home turf.