< Evade the Hero and Flee! 172 #20. This World Doesn’t Want to Leave Me Alone (1)>

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“Whew… That sure took us a while.”

We ran and ran some more, finally reaching Ruibella the City Alliance at a crazy speed.

The war between humans and demonkind happened quite some time ago. Since this was the frontlines against the demons, the entry procedure and inspection was fairly strict. But, thanks to Princess Vera giving us the Neidon Kingdom’s token, we could enter the city faster than other folks waiting in line.

-To think that the guards dare to hold people up so annoyingly like this! This is all useless, isn’t it? The demons still invaded your home and our place, anyway!

-Well, that’s true.

Not just the cat and the dragon, but I also threw in the metal bat inside the carriage since my daughter had the potential to become a big issue during the inspection. But the dang thing began complaining for some reason.

But then again, we still had to endure thirty minutes of inspection despite possessing a token issued by a kingdom and even handing over a letter urging the guards to let us through quickly.

During the inspection, the soldiers obviously had to check out the inside of the carriage, so the metal bat had to come out. And her complaints were stemming from…

-And I was this close to winning, too!

-Sure, sure. It’s unfair, I know.

The soldiers investigating inside messed up the game of omok drawn on the floor, and that’s what she was complaining about! [1]

-No, seriously, I was winning! They stopped me from displaying the dignity as the older sister back then, you know!

-What the?! Stop trying to display the ‘dignity’ of an older sister that way, you dumbass!

-Eeeiiil! Master, you have no idea! Five sets, the first to win three sets is the victor, and we won two matches each! And in that situation, I was about to get an exhilarating come-from-behind win!

The most exhilarating thing in any best-of-five match that I could recall was… three straight losses in a row.

Yup, nothing’s more empty-feeling and ‘exhilarating’ than such a memory, alright.

-I could’ve won… I could’ve won for sure!

-That’s enough from you. Can’t you have another match in our lodging later?

-B-but, if we restart the game, it kinda feels like I’ll lose…

The metal bat continued to complain that such a thing would only lower the dignity of the older sister.

What the hell. If losing in a game of omok was enough to lower your older sister dignity, then how low was it, to begin with?

If winning in omok was enough to elevate your dignity, then you should just give up already!

“Well, then…”

While lightly driving the carriage, I searched for lodging where we could stay for the night.

The roads in the middle of the city were quite well constructed, allowing me to take it easy with controlling the horses while enjoying the surrounding scenery.

-Wouldn’t it be better to quickly bounce outta here, master?

-Sure, I did tell the hero that we were coming here. However, he got the short end of the stick plenty of times before, so he must be suspecting that I have run off elsewhere. That’s why we won’t get caught even if we take our time resting our weary bones.

-But what if we get caught while doing that?

-You’ll beat them up, and then we bounce.

An army from another nation showing up in the vicinity of Ruibella City Alliance would be very eye-catching.

Even if Neidon was a minor kingdom, it was still a kingdom. So to see its influence not even working a bit here… That just indicated that other kingdoms would also not exercise much authority in this place.

As such, the first set of people to make a move would be diplomatic in nature. And I predicted that right after the diplomacy would be a small number of elites covertly infiltrating the city!

The truth was, I was weak against a numbers game compared to a few elites. Having said that, I didn’t think anyone could win against gang-up tactics!

“In any case. That’s why I’m pretty sure that we can take at least one day off and relax to our hearts’ content!”

As it turned out, my prediction was correct.

You see, I found a slightly more expensive inn where our carriage could be stored so that our horses could rest and then… we spent not one, but two whole days of relaxing rest in the inn!

For the first time in a long while, I got to spend some healing time with my precious daughter buying and eating delicious things. We then bought emergency provisions and a few other items to fill up the carriage before departing from the first city.

“But master, you seemed to have bought a few expensive things? Will this really be okay?”

“The currency of human society is unusable among the demon races, so might as well.”

The reward for ratting out the hero to the princess… Keu-hmm. What I meant to say was, I was the teacher of her lover about to go on a lengthy journey, so she gave me a handsome amount of travelling expenses.

Besides that, I had been secretly withdrawing from our slush funds while living with my daughter. We still had quite a lot of change left over from that, too!

However, it’d be dangerously eye-catching to use human currency in the demon’s lands, so I decided to spend the majority of our money here.

“And besides, we still have the currency accepted by every nation in the world, gold nuggets, anyway.”

There were also some gemstones stored safely away.

As I thought, nothing beat gold and gemstones as your emergency funds when trying to escape. They were the best types of travelling funds since they were worth a lot despite their small volume.

So, it’d be more beneficial for us to buy magic stones to operate this carriage and magical tools that could make our life on the road that much more bearable. Well, we did have magic power batteries in the form of the cat that could freely use magic any time he wanted and Kkokko, who possessed an enormous quantity of magic but didn’t know how to use it yet.

“Well, you came up with this, master, so we won’t be at a loss, I guess.”

“Of course, of course. Ng?”

And so, as our carriage was crossing a pure-white snowy field…

“Ng? Master, isn’t that a person? Why would anyone be loitering around here?”

“No one should be insane enough to become a bandit in Ruibella, so…”

Let me explain this one more time – monsters and bandits were excellent targets to experience real combat for soldiers and knights.

Especially more so for Ruibella City Alliance, the frontline of the ongoing conflict against the demon race – they would be seen as truly precious experience points!

That’s why the folks who’d happily lead an army to conquer a bandit hideout or a monster village nearby was none other than Ruibella City Alliance.

Which could only mean…

“An armed robber, is it?”

Things like bandits that gathered in one location and grew their power didn’t exist in Ruibella. However, this was still a place where people lived, so it was impossible to disregard the dangers humans posed.

Even though the City Alliance boasted a very low crime rate thanks to its powerful army and stringent laws, I shouldn’t assume that this place was completely free of crimes.

An idiot who couldn’t win against the momentary greed and cause an incident would always appear wherever people lived, you see.

“Is it a woman…?”

The various parts of her clothing were torn and worn down while her head was deeply lowered, making it impossible to confirm her face. Even so, her golden locks and voluminous dress made it a bit too difficult to see her as a man.

“Master, what now?”

“Well, isn’t it obvious…?”

In this bitterly cold winter, that woman kitted out in thin-looking clothes was abandoned in the middle of nowhere.

Even at a casual glance, that dress looked high-class, so she must’ve been a noble or a daughter of a well-off merchant.

That’s why…

“We ignore her and keep going!”

“As I thought, master is human trash!”

Worrying about something annoying like that? I mean, didn’t it look like it’d saddle me with a sudden scenario quest or something, no?

Fleeing was my number one priority right now, not trying to level up through a dumb quest or such!

That’s why I’d prefer you to hand over such a quest to a hero or two passing by, thereby buying villains like me extra time to flee.

“Didn’t you say you’re not a villain anymore?”

“It now has a modifier of ‘former’ attached, but I still have my priors, you see.”

“To think that a man with a shady past is my master… Having said that, his present and future aren’t all that great either, anyway.”

A man with a terrible life!

The metal bat muttered that, but I ignored her and accelerated the carriage instead.

“Please help me!”

She must’ve heard the sound of the incoming carriage because I could hear her fine voice shouting towards us. But while listening to her…

“Keep running, Brownie, Blackie!”

…I mercilessly whipped the horses while loudly roaring out ‘Giddy up!’

Neeeeeiiiiigh!

“Uh? Huh?!”

Getting hit was painful whether you were a person or an animal.

The horses screamed and began galloping even faster. As for the woman in the distance getting flustered by this development, she…

“Stop them, wall of ice!”

…proceeded to create a massive cliff of ice right in front of the rushing carriage.

“Son of a gun?!”

For an instant there, I was reminded of the incident during the dragon hunt not too long ago.

“But it’s different now!”

Back then was a rugged, dangerous mountain path that no regular person could ever hope to traverse. And now, despite all the snow, we were on a flat piece of land!

A measly wall of ice like this cannot stop me!

“This is the carriage technique of the former imperial court carriage driver!”

Using brilliant hand movements to manipulate the reins this way and that, I intricately controlled the carriage.

That crazy bi*ch was capable of using a powerful magic spell like that without any trouble. Yet, she was standing all alone in the middle of a field in a tattered dress?

Her backstory must’ve been one hell of an epic tale. And to think, she dared to hinder my escape with such an annoying backstory!

What an evil bi*ch she is!

“Just because someone interrupted his escape, master turned a poor girl into an evil bi*ch…”

I could hear the metal bat’s dismayed voice coming from my side, but I roundly ignored her.

You say that woman is not a normal person since she could suddenly raise a wall of ice in front of our carriage?

You say this is a dangerous situation where we could die if I fail to dodge that wall and crash straight into it?

You say my expectation was on the money and that woman is not normal?

“…Huh?”

I went around the wall of ice with a fantastic cornering manoeuvre, then looked behind at where that insane woman was. But by then, she had disappeared like a mirage.

“Where did she go?”

“Master, in front!”

The metal bat’s shout prompted me to turn my head back. That’s when I saw a certain person standing on the back of Brownie, one of the horses pulling our carriage forward.

“It can’t be… You?!”

Because this figure was standing on top of a galloping horse, his long golden hair and helm of the dress were flapping powerfully in the winds.

A face that wouldn’t have been strange to be mistaken for a beautiful girl… But still giving off that strangely familiar feeling!

“Yes, instructor. It’s me.”

Seeing that weirdly hollow smile on his face made me finally realise the true identity of the ‘insane woman’.

“You’re supposed to be a hero, so why were you standing there looking like that?!”

“This is all your fault, instructor!”

His voice was sharp and angry, which didn’t suit his hair whipping in the air or the voluptuous dress. And that voice made me flinch for a moment there.

“Could it be… the empire?”

“Yes. Your guess is correct.”

Ah, we’re screwed.

To think that the empire would have extended its tendrils to this part of the world!

“I thought the princess had captured me, but then the leader of… No, wait, Mirua helped us to escape. Except that I was captured by a different entity afterwards.”

He swiped the air with his hand, causing the carriage’s speed to visibly slow down. That little momentary swipe of his hand was enough to precisely severe the connection between the carriage and the horses.

Quite literally, swordsmanship verging on the level of superman!

“And that’s why I ended up in drag and had to go around here and there while waiting for your arrival, instructor.”

Now that the carriage had been separated from the horses, it was only inevitable the vehicle’s speed would slow down.

The hero leapt off from the back of the horse, and as the distance between us gradually closed up, the carriage’s speed continued to fall.

Hell, it even kind of felt like the carriage was creeping towards the hero right now!

A superhuman level of swordsmanship and even high attainment in magic, too?! Just where was the limit for this punk’s abilities?

-But master, why are you so surprised when he’s strong enough to hunt a dragon?

No, well, back then… He was beating up the dragon like some kind of a caveman, and that’s why I couldn’t see it, but now? This kid’s swordsmanship and magic casting turned out to be very sophisticated.

Accurate and fast, with no wasted movement or energy; he was accomplishing whatever he wanted with only the minimum expenditure.

He wasn’t merely born with a humongous magical power but even knew how to use it proficiently, too!

“Thanks to you, instructor… many things happened to me. Yes, indeed. A lot of things.”

The carriage had come to a complete stop.

The hero met my stare, then pulled down something attached around his throat.

“…A collar?”

“Yes. Mirua… No, No.1000 put this collar on me right after rescuing me from the princess’s clutches. She said that it’s a special item crafted in the empire. It’s cursed with all sorts of restrictions and even a tracking beacon, too. But that’s not all. Mine even has another unique function of…”

Snap.

The hero tore the collar apart before tossing it away at an empty space.

“In case I break it off, it even has a built-in function of automatically creating a summoning magic circle to capture me again.”

“Son of…?!”

The moment that small collar landed on the ground, rays of bluish light flashed before a magic circle began materialising.

“It’s too late now, instructor.”

“Dammit!”

Just how much did the empire’s technology advance?! To think that breaking off a little collar was enough to create a summoning magic circle!

A summoning magic circle was a type of magic that forcibly summoned a designated individual!

It didn’t mean to summon some mythical creature but a person existing in this realm, so it was basically the same as teleport magic. Other than the ‘forced’ part, of course.

That’s right. The important thing to remember in this case was that this magic forcibly summoned the designated individual to this location.

“…Uh?”

“Huh?”

And the person appearing before my eyes and the hero’s after the wall of blue light subsided was…

“Nnnng?!”

…No.17 wearing ordinary-looking pyjamas and making a stupefied expression.

“W-what is the meaning of this?!”

“Hey, wait a second?! Why are you looking like that?!”

“I was working until earlier, so I thought about going to bed, and… Eh? Instructor?”

It’s unfortunate that they were in the middle of a conversation, but…

“…Time for a smackdown.”

“N-noooooo, I don’t wanna!”

“Dammit?!”

A hero in drag and a magician in her sleepwear!

Before the hero, who drew possibly the shortest straw available in this situation, could regain his wits, I grabbed the metal bat and leapt up in the air to beat up two of my former disciples.

 

[1]: Omok is a traditional game played on a Go board using Go pieces. The board’s size is 15×15. However, it can also be played without the board, just using a pen and paper.

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