Evade the Hero and Flee! 181 #20. This World Doesn’t Want to Leave Me Alone (10)>

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“Kuh~uh. That’s beautiful.”

I stared at the gleaming crimson hand seal imprinted on the paper. It sure was very nicely done, maybe because it was done by a pretty human… oops, I mean, a pretty demon girl.

“Sob…”

Yup, this was a good trade.

My trade partner must’ve liked this deal a lot because she softly sniffled away after sealing the contract.

-Uhh, master? Don’t you think those are tears of despair and regret?

-Hey! Where in the world would you find more favourable conditions than these! She’ll become the next demon king as long as she hands over a bit of land and helps me manage it, you know!

-But that big sis is making a face of someone who lost everything, master?

-Nope, that’s the face you make when you get everything you wanted.

We were talking about the demon king here. The demon king, a ruler of an entire continent!

I didn’t know the exact numbers for the total area of the demon continent or how many resources it had. But, when assuming it’s largely similar to the ‘other side’, the position of the demon king must be as lofty as the emperor of the Karuan empire.

Here I was, promising to give her that position on a silver platter. See how wonderful this contract is?

-Master, if it reeeally was a wonderful contract, you wouldn’t have to use a Geass scroll in the first place.

-You’ve become pretty proficient at chewing me out lately, haven’t you?

-I learned from the best, master. You!

Yup, I raised a dang tiger, didn’t I?

Honestly, this dang metal bat had been annoying me so much lately that I couldn’t help but wonder if my true enemy was this little punk all along.

I might’ve understood where her insolence was coming from if her stress level had been rising up, but that wasn’t true, was it? When adding up all of her recent victims, we’d almost get the total of the ‘main protagonist in a novel’, after all.

Starting from the hero, an elf, a priest, a dragon, and even the daughter of a demon king, too!

With such a collection, never mind venting her accumulated stress, she should be dancing around in pure bliss by now.

Hang on a minute. Maybe she behaved this way because it’s been too much fun for her lately?

“What are you planning to do, instructor?” The hero walked up to me and asked that. He was making a face of a part-time worker who had a ton of things to say but couldn’t utter a single word out of fear of getting fired.

“What do you mean, what? We’ll help the demon king’s daughter so that she can claim that position for herself.”

“But… don’t you think it’s strange for humans to interfere in the politics of the demon world?”

“Not in the slightest. Besides, not doing anything will mean the demon race invading the human world. Are you just going to sit back and watch that happen?”

“Well, no. But…”

“If Shuttle was here, we’d have been showered by the oracles of the Goddess of Nature by now. We’d be urged to quickly help this daughter of the demon king to defeat that Aggreahrt or whatever, then bring peace and harmony to both humanity and demonkind!”

Belegrea, the demon king’s daughter, told us this – the goal of Aggreahrt, the instigator of the rebellion, was to create a world only for demons. And to achieve this goal, he sought to start another war between humans and demons.

Just how many innocent people would get hurt if that was allowed to happen!

Like what happened during the last great war, countless people would lose their lives on various battlefields. And to feed the army during the lengthy war, farmers all over the land would have no choice but to surrender their crops, too.

That would lead to a shortage of food and people dying of starvation. And since this would be a war between humans and demons, the scale of devastation could very well be several times greater than other wars.

Now that such unprecedented danger loomed over our world, what would be the job of the hero, I ask you!

To protect world peace, the hero must step forward to eliminate Aggreahrt that chose to walk the path of destruction. Then, he must endeavour to install the girl who loved peace and harmony – Belegrea!

-To summarise, since he’s a hero, he must fight to protect the world? And master, you’ll be on the sidelines, gladly mopping up all the benefits you can get your hands on?

-This is all for the sake of this world. For this world, I say! This lifeform called the hero is supposed to overcome all sorts of trials and tribulations for the sake of our world, you know!

Just as we stepped foot inside the demon world, the demon king’s daughter miraculously appeared before our eyes! This had to be a divine revelation, some god’s way of telling us to fight for peace and freedom.

-Besides all that. Take a good look at the demon king’s daughter. She’s pretty, right?

-Master, could it be that… since you couldn’t find a suitable partner among humans, you’re thinking of marrying a demon…?

-Not me, dummy, but I’m thinking of tying her up with the hero punk over here. Since the beginning of time itself, it’s always been like this. If the demon king has a son, the story would end up with him and the hero duking it out to their death. But if it’s a daughter, all sorts of other storylines get added on top, eventually leading to the climax of the hero and the daughter entering that sort of a relationship.

-Why does it sound like you’re trying to insult every demon king with daughters, master?

Of course not.

Since the dawn of time, the sub-species of humanity called ‘hero’ had this tendency of getting in bed with the demon king if the latter happened to be a pretty girl. And if the demon kings had pretty daughters, the heroes would end up with them, instead.

Was it because of a father’s instinctive love for their girls or something? Why was every demon king with daughters such goody-two-shoes? That’s including Belegrea’s father, too. According to her, he worked hard to maintain peace instead of pursuing war against humans despite ruling over the most prosperous era in the demon race’s history.

“Instructor, isn’t there a possibility that this demon girl is deceiving us?”

Unfortunately, this hero of ours didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about fighting for world peace. To think that he’d break the resolute silence he had been maintaining for so long with those churlish words. What a foolish kid!

“Do you honestly think anyone can come up with such a story after receiving the metal bat treatment?”

“…Ah.”

Only those who had experienced it knew the true depth of the pain inflicted by the metal bat.

Just one hit caused all strength to abandon your body. But that was merely the start; two, maybe three, hits were enough to let you have an out-of-body experience. Heck, you could even see how one’s body would move according to one’s consciousness!

Could someone come up with a sad tale about themselves mostly composed of lies while stuck in such a situation? If they were capable of pulling off something like that, then it was only polite for us to fall for the ruse.

“Anything else you wish to add, my disciple?”

“Do we really need to eliminate this person named Aggreahrt and install the former demon king’s daughter as the new demon king, instructor?”

“Yes, we do.”

“Is there no other way?”

“No, not really.”

“Is this truly for the sake of world peace?”

“Absolutely.”

Let’s get one thing clear: the world at peace would automatically make my life peaceful.

Sure, I still had to flee to the demon continent despite the world being largely in peace. Even so, peace was absolutely crucial. During the war, it’d become cumbersome to travel between villages, for one thing.

Back in the days of the previous great war, I was affiliated with the imperial court, which granted me a certain level of authority, making things a bit easier for me. But to a regular farmer, a war zone would be an environment no different from hell itself.

-Master? You gotta break yourself out of the mistaken belief that you’re a regular farmer, master.

-Hey! Where would you find a farmer more ‘regular’ than me in this world?!

I mean, except for my daughter’s backstory, the unique characteristics of our pets, and my strange fate of getting tangled up with the hero, I’m very normal, you know!

-Master, you know just as well as everyone else that none of those qualifies as normal, now don’t you?

-Kuh-huk…

This is all the fault of the hero. If only this dang hero hadn’t tracked me down! I would still be stuck in a remote corner of the human continent, preparing for the new year’s crops while generally enjoying my days with my dear daughter by my side!

Yes, it’s all because this punk chased me down while mouthing some nonsense about oracles and whatnot, and that’s why I had to travel to the demon continent like this!

Now that I thought about it some more, one of the causes also happened to be this punk making the princess fall head over heels in love with him, isn’t that so?!

Yes, it was the fault of this punk all along!

“Well, my disciple. It’s time to save this world.”

I said that with a serious look on my face. The hero punk also nodded, seemingly having come to grips with the sacred duty entrusted to him.

-Oh, and it’s not because of me gripped in your hand, master?

-Probably not.

Besides, just what kind of people were heroes? Weren’t they the breed of brave men and women who were ready to discard their own lives like a pair of worn-down sneakers for the sake of world peace!

Sure, the hero punk’s eyes were currently glued to the metal bat but, he must be thinking about throwing away his life for the sake of world peace.

I’m right, aren’t I?

I believe in you, oh dear hero!

 

 

 

#7 Their circumstances: a certain hero’s circumstance

 

World peace?? What kind of a dogsh*t am I hearing now?

I mean, c’mon! Heroes wanting to risk their lives for world peace are a-dime-a-dozen, you know.

Haven’t I hunted down a dragon recently? Not just any dragon either, but an elder dragon that lived for not one thousand, not ten thousand, but twenty bloody thousand years!

But why am I being saddled with this kind of trial? Are there no other heroes alive in this world or something?

As far as I know, there are thousands of self-proclaimed heroes actively toiling away throughout the land, while the religious-order-acknowledged heroes numbered almost one hundred, so why!

Why does it have to be me?!

…Could it be because of the instructor?

No, wait. If I keep digging deeper and deeper, then the true culprit had to be my siblings that forced me into Howling in the first place.

If I ever get a chance to return to the empire in the future, I swear… I shall crush and annihilate my family.

If they had been a Grand Duke family, then it wouldn’t have been possible, but as a ‘mere’ ducal family, they should not be able to avoid punishment if many of their unsavoury secrets get exposed to the imperial court.

I might have spent far more days outside the family than inside, but I still felt confident about finding out my family’s secrets.

How? I could just exchange the info on all the first-rate eateries I’ve discovered during my travels for Mirua’s help in getting my family’s secrets!

I believe in you, Team Leader Mirua! If it’s you, it should be easier than breathing for us to acquire all the secrets a ducal family wishes to bury deep in their closet!

I don’t know why I feel this way, but you can definitely do it. You fully deserve my faith in you!

Of course, I should assume that the odds of Mirua not being aware of first-rate eateries I had discovered in my travels were close to zero. Even so, I had seen all corners of the continent thanks to the divine oracles. If I combed really hard through those experiences, I should know at least one place she had never heard of. One at a minimum, three if I get lucky.

That should be enough to motivate Mirua, I thought.

“Excuse… me.”

While I was mulling my options on how to rain down even more calamities upon the Raina Ducal Family, the former demon king’s depressed-looking daughter called out to me from right next to my sitting position.

Currently, she was in the same boat as me, our instructor’s sla… Ahem, I mean, a travel companion. Belegrea whispered to me in a tiny voice. “What will happen to us?”

Hmm… How should I answer her? Like… from a ruined noble family, now taken away by a slave merchant? Right, this atmosphere fit that explanation perfectly, wouldn’t you say?

Besides, did you just ask me about what fate awaits you? A dude who’s been riding in said slave merchant’s carriage before you joined us?

…What the hell? What’s up with this nonsensically perfect comparison? And how unfortunate it was that the comparison also happened to include me!

“What do you mean, what?”

Belegrea’s eyes staring at me were faintly trembling.

‘Wow, those eyes sure hold lots of emotions, don’t they? I can see her anxiety, anticipation, despair, and even hope, too.’

Once upon a time, I, too, made such an expression. I often made that face while staring at a certain someone, but the end result always remained the same.

Aha. So, this was what it felt like. This feeling was the whole reason why that certain someone answered me in such a manner.

A chuckle automatically leaked out of my mouth as I answered her. “Obviously, we…”

“We…?”

My bright smile managed to wash away negative emotions like anxiety and despair from her eyes.

Ah, that’s right. I was a hero. Well, the label of a hero came with a certain image, didn’t it? Like, an image, a symbol, of self-sacrifice for the greater good.

That’s why it’s time to teach her about our cruel reality. Teach her that our fate had been sealed the moment the metal bat began hovering right in front of our faces.

“…We are f*cked, that’s what.”

That moment when her expression fell headlong from the heights of hope to the depth of despair, I… I felt this strange satisfaction.

Was this feeling the reason why our instructor showed us a glimmer of hope every now and then?

We’d dash madly forward at the distant ray of hope, only for it to disappear when we reach the spot. And that ray of hope would shine in the far-off distance once more.

Since there was the light, we rushed forward with the belief that there would be an end to this tunnel. Unfortunately, that light was not a beacon of hope but merely a torch wielded by our instructor.

When I managed to reach him, he’d slyly retreat, and when I stopped to take a breather, he’d slyly get closer and make me believe that I could finally reach the light. Yes, it was that kind of light!

The thing was, though, I was not our instructor. I was not the former instructor from the evil organisation nor a professor from Yugrasia.

I was a hero. I didn’t become one out of my own volition, but people still looked up to me and respected me. Of course, I knew that Belegrea before me was not a human but a demon. Even so, I was a hero, and I had the duty to rescue this wandering soul.

I spoke up. “Does it feel like you can escape somehow? Does it feel like there’s still some hope left for you?”

Her eyes were steadily getting darker and darker.

Good, it seems that you’re pretty quick on the uptake, then. This is the only ‘hope’ I can give to you.

“Yeah, well. Sorry, but no. If that was possible, you think we’d be sitting here next to you?” I first pointed at myself, then Ria next to me before shaking my head. “Yup, it’s impossible.”

“Then, then what…”

Belegrea’s raven hair and those black irises that suited her hair so well… I stared at those eyes seemingly possessing an extra layer of something else that surpassed mere concepts like colours. And then, quietly nodded as an affirmation. “Yeah. Giving up now will make it easier for you.”

“How, how can that be…”

I shifted my gaze away from the despairing raven-haired girl and looked at the other end of the carriage. The metal bat must’ve heard everything we were talking about just now, but she pretended to be none the wiser.

That little evil silver-haired creature was currently playing with the pink-haired Alice. A golden-furred cat was lazily curled up on Alice’s lap, and a dragon with the weird name, Kkokko, were chatting away with the two girls.

At a casual glance, this scene resembled the very picture of tranquillity and peace. But amidst that peace were the metal bat, a Succubus, and a dragon.

Holy cow. To think that such a tranquil-looking scene would suddenly resemble a nightmare the moment I thought about their true identities!

Ha. Ha. Ha…

“Yup, we’re all finished now.”

We had already crossed a river that couldn’t be un-crossed.

Whether it was a threat from the Goddess of Nature or whatever, I should’ve just ignored them all and chose to get chased around the human continent instead. Why, oh why did I go after our instructor and get myself into such a nonsensical situation?

“You only figured that out now?”

The familiar voice of Ria came from next to me, sounding like she had already resigned herself about everything. Actually, the way she refreshingly smiled looked rather cool to my eyes.

I replied. “Well, it’s like, I knew the truth in my heart but just didn’t want to admit it.”

“I get where you’re coming from.”

“It’s not like we can go back now anyway, right?”

“Hahaha, you’re right.”

Hahaha, hohoho…

Ria and I began chuckling like the good friends that we were.

“This, this has to be a lie…”

Only Belegrea was still rejecting her new reality, but it was only a matter of time before she realised the truth, too.

Naruan, Ast, Nicerwin…

Ah, wait. He’s calling himself Marcus now, isn’t he?

In any case, it didn’t matter what his current name was, because Belegrea would soon learn that…

…With our instructor choosing to butt into her business, she’d better forget about living a life of common sense. More than that, she’d never get to enjoy a normal life from this moment on.

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