< Evade the Hero and Flee! 192 #22. Well, this is merely the beginning (7) >

 

#6 Their circumstance: Aggreahrt’s circumstance

 

The castle began rumbling and shaking as loud explosions went off. The rocking of the building was so bad that even Aggreahrt boasting extensive training under his belt could barely stand upright.
Judging from how the castle rumbled at a fixed interval, this couldn’t have been a natural disaster like an earthquake but something artificial, an attack of some kind – that’s what Aggreahrt perceived.
“Can it be? But that can’t… be…”
Once he realised it, a soft gasp left his lips.
Currently, there were three factions hostile towards him.
The first faction was the moderates led by Belegrea. This group was probably most hostile out of the three towards Aggreahrt, but without their core, Belegrea, to lead them right now, it’d be hard for them to work together.
The second faction was a group within Aggreahrt’s own clique opposing his actions. Several chieftains disappointed by Aggreahrt’s attack on Belegrea came together to form their own small faction. Although not large, they weren’t a clear enemy to him like the moderates, making their group rather difficult to deal with.
But this faction didn’t have a clear pretext to physically attack Aggreahrt other than throw around some disparaging remarks in his way.
Since that was the case, only one faction remained.
“No, it surely cannot be…”
The most cumbersome enemy out of the three factions… The largest and most influential religious sect in the entire demon continent, the Demon God’s temple! The sect that the entirety of the demon race believed in!
This faction was built around the demon king allegedly chosen by the Demon God herself, and it wished for Aggreahrt’s death from the get-go.
This faction attacking Aggreahrt’s camp was a foregone conclusion. However, he was still taken aback, and there was a good reason for that.
“Didn’t that happen not too long ago?!”
The messenger from the Demon God’s temple only left Aggreahrt’s office not too long ago, and that’s why he was so shocked.
Indeed, it couldn’t have been more than ten minutes. That wouldn’t be enough to reach the nearest city, no, the nearest village from the castle even if it was Aggreahrt moving at full speed.
Unless an army centred around an archmage was outside the castle, this level of continuous attack wouldn’t be possible unless the enemy had been preparing their armaments for quite some time.
“It can’t be…?”

[But the moment you suspect the sincerity of my declaration, I swear to attack you without mercy.]

Right at that moment, Aggreahrt began recalling the last chilling words written on the letter from the demon king allegedly chosen by the Demon God.
“He already finished his preparation when he sent that letter?!”
Aggreahrt suddenly realised how scary his enemy actually was.
There was no such thing as ‘negotiation’ to the demon king. He would simply punish those rejecting his hands of mercy right there and then, that’s all.
That was shockingly decisive. And it shook Aggreahrt all the way down to his core once more.
“Is he really following the will of the Demon God, then?”
Not even the terms, daring and bold, were enough to describe such decisiveness. To think that that man would start bombarding the symbol of the demon continent, the demon king’s castle, just because of a single rejection!
Aggreahrt couldn’t help but start thinking, ‘He must be this bold in his decisions because he can hear the Demon God’s voice!’
Too bad for him, though, since Aggreahrt had already crossed a river that couldn’t be uncrossed.
“Lord Aggreahrt!”
Realising the severity of the situation at hand, Aggreahrt quickly began arming himself. Just as he was finished putting on his armour, one of his subordinates staggered into his office, looking clearly injured.
Aggreahrt asked without even looking back. “What’s the situation?”
The subordinate began his report. “We’ve been gathering combatants with chieftains as our core to prepare for a counterattack, but we’re having great difficulty due to the enemy’s intense, unending bombardments, my lord.”
“Counterattack? Chiefs wanted to do that under such heavy bombardments?”
“Yes, my lord. They said that attack was the best form of defence, and…”
“Those fools!”
Aggreahrt, who wasn’t fazed by the bombardment, couldn’t help but frown angrily at the report. He was the top commander of the demon race. As such, he was well aware of the individual chieftain’s combat prowess and personality.
“If it’s those muscle-brained martial art-loving fools, then they must be thinking of breaking through the bombardment head-on!”
Aggreahrt might be a warrior, but he never overlooked the importance of tactics and strategies. Ever since he was a young boy, the history between the demon race and humans intrigued him. That’s why he was well aware of how the demons were superior in strength but still lost to humans in the realm of strategies and tactics during the various skirmishes throughout history.
Unlike humans and their history overflowing with tactics and all sorts of schemes, demons purely relied on their powers to end their conflicts. That was the reason for the demon race losing all the time.
And this was the difference between Aggreahrt and the leader of the moderates, Belegrea.
Belegrea determined that demons would always taste defeat when invading the human continent since they couldn’t receive the Demon God’s assistance. But Aggreahrt determined that demons could still win without the Demon God’s backing if tactics and strategies formed the foundation of their invasion.
Having determined that, Aggreahrt worked hard to implement this idea among the demons for almost a century, but now…
“M-my lord, they might be thinking of another way to…”
“If those idiots were capable of something like that, demons would’ve taken over the world a long time ago!”
…But now, he realised that it was an utter waste of time trying to change the minds of the chieftains!
“Bloody hell…! The Four Heavenly Kings were the only useful comrades by my side, but to think that they have all gone missing!”
Aggreahrt gritted his teeth while recalling the four strongest, most loyal combatants under his wing. He deeply lamented that they were not here with him right now.
The chieftains of the dog-man and wolf-man tribes that could be controlled by him to a certain degree. And then, the only ones capable of making strategic decisions among Aggreahrt’s faction, the chieftains of the flame dragon and the snake-man tribes!
If only those four were here… Other chieftains wouldn’t have made such a dumb decision!
“Tell everyone to…!”
Aggreahrt was about to issue an order for the others to hide behind some covers and wait for an opening, but the loud screams coming from outside his office firmly clamped his mouth shut.
“Kkuwaaaaahk!”
“S-save me… My, my leg…”
“G-get out of the way!”
“Dammit!”
It was already too late. It sounded like the muscle brains had already finished gathering combatants and tried to charge at the enemy.
While thinking about the chieftains that only knew how to order ‘Attack!’ and ‘Charge!’ Aggreahrt lifted his greatsword and slammed it against the window frame. “This is my command to all combat personnel. Give up on protecting the castle and spread out. There’s a good chance that our enemy has already stationed their combat force in our rear.”
“U-understood, my lord!”
“Combatants that managed to escape the bombardment will aim to take the enemy from the rear to the best of their abilities. As long as we kill the one proclaiming to be the demon king, we will have a shot at victory.”
Aggreahrt spoke up to here, then jumped out of the window he just shattered.
“Dammit!”
He couldn’t do much other than curse out loudly at the sight of bloody lumps of meat that couldn’t be called corpses anymore. This was nothing more than a one-sided massacre.
“L-Lord Aggreahrt!”
“All of you, retreat! Hide behind the sturdiest, largest cover you can find!” Aggreahrt angrily roared at the demons that noticed his arrival.
Even as he spoke, blue lumps of concentrated magic energy continued to rain down on his position. Even someone like Aggreahrt would have a hard time defending against such attacks yet those chieftains were still stupidly rushing forward nonetheless. He inwardly swore to re-educate his subordinates properly if he emerges victorious from this battle.
“Their bombardment is well-coordinated, but we still have a chance! Taking out only five cannons minimum will disable the enemy from firing so consistently at our position! I shall destroy the nearest cannons, so chieftains, follow after me once the enemy bombardment slows down!”
Aggreahrt roared out his new command, then began charging toward the nearest source of the bombardment. His speed belied his heavy armour and the massive greatsword!
He maintained this impressive turn of speed and evaded the incoming bombardment, eventually reaching the nearest source of the attack, but then…!
“Sky Cutter!”
That’s when he came face-to-face with humanity’s hero right in front of the demon king’s castle in the centre of the demon continent!

 

#7 Their circumstance: A certain hero’s circumstance

 

Who am I, really? And why am I even here?
Such philosophical questions danced around in my head nonstop, but then…
“…Kuh-huk!”
I no longer had the leeway to harbour distracting thoughts once I tried to defend against the incoming attack.
“Die!”
I tried to slip past the incoming attack and counterattack from the side but my plan ended in failure when the opponent’s greatsword came down unbelievably quickly.
This guy… he was easily one of the strongest I’ve ever fought. I had a feeling that out of everyone I ran into recently, only the Sword Star could rival this hulking demon!
“There was a talented individual like you among the human-like demons? Which village are you from?”
My opponent seemed to evaluate me quite highly, too. Although, there was this one thing that made me sigh in disappointment.
“I’m Swinn of Raina.”
“Raina? There was a city of the human-like tribe like that?”
And that was… This big guy’s eyesight didn’t seem to be good at all. At this point, I had to assume that poor eyesight was a race-specific trait for all demons.
“Yeah, well, there is.”
I nodded while touching the fake horn. What a miracle it was for this dang thing to not fall off during this intense battle. But then again, it was apparently manufactured by the absolute ‘worst’ race in the whole world, dwarves, so I had no choice but to accept my defeat here.
Dwarves were the absolute worst since they were the best race for manufacturing evil things capable of threatening this world’s existence, you see!
“Could it be a new settlement? But to think that such a place managed to raise a warrior of your calibre!”
“We have a pretty deep history and tradition, though?”
I ended up grumbling a bit at the demon’s ignorance for turning the historic Raina house into a newly-established village. Even though my family had its roots from the founding of the empire and all! Honestly speaking, though? I kind of understood where he was coming from.
If I was a real demon, even I would never imagine that the enemy in front of me was a human hero.
“Stop lying to me. There exists a village of human-like demons that I’m not aware of? One with history and tradition?”
The demon frowned a little and glared at me, but I had no obligation to resolve his misunderstanding.
“I don’t care if you believe me or not.” As soon as I finished replying, a stupidly huge mass of magic energy shot forward above my head. “Don’t you think this is far more urgent for you to deal with?”
“You bastard!”
The way this demon charged straight at me after only a minor provocation made me think that his body and mind would be easy pickings for my instructor.
How should I describe this… He’s quite powerful, but his mind was far too rigid?
“I knew it, all the education I got was rubbish.”
All the common knowledge I learned during my youth back home and the information I picked up after leaving home and joining the Order needed to be amended in full.
The leader of the enemy, famed for being an outstanding commander in both literary and martial arts, was this straightforward and inflexible. So, I have to wonder, will the demons really resort to vile schemes like what we’ve been taught to believe until now?
I had to ask that question in my head since the top commander was fighting even more honestly than a regular human knight, you see!
“Boulder Splitter!”
I tried to attack with the most straightforward downward chop in the Order of Nature’s swordsmanship, but then…
“…Psyche! It’s actually the Sword of Thorny Vines!”
“Kuh-huk!”
My opponent dodged with a quick movement, but my sword aura slammed down like a flexible reed and still managed to carve out a chunk of his thigh flesh.
“How cowardly!”
“If you think that was cowardly, you shouldn’t even think about attacking the human continent.”
The empire was home to several individuals ‘educated’ by none other than my instructor, who had no rival in all things vile and underhanded in the entire continent. No, make that ever since the creation of this world itself!
Those people were tormented and tortured by unimaginable methods, which led to them developing genius-level talent in unleashing suffering in others. And then, those who trained under them naturally inherited said talent.
One of the symbols of this vicious cycle was Yugrasia, and it continued to produce monsters every year. These graduates were all brought under the empire’s care for the sole purpose of capturing my instructor. Actually, I should say it’s the Imperial Princess and not the empire, but whatever.
“I promise you this. No matter which army the demon race will meet in the human continent, nothing but death waits for them.”
“You know nothing, you bastard!”
What do you mean, I know nothing? At least I can tell what your skill level is when you keep insisting on using way-too obvious sword attacks even in the current situation!
“Even so, you’re pretty strong, aren’t you…? Make that seriously strong.”
The moment our swords collided, I was forced back three steps.
Sure, I was unable to receive the divine blessing right now, but that took away nothing from all the trials and tribulations I have experienced in my life. For example, the bat or my instructor. Whether that bat was the wooden one or the metal one, it didn’t matter!
In any case, I survived and grew stronger in that hellish environment. Even so, I was being forced back by the enemy in terms of pure strength and magic power.
While I was battling Belegrea earlier, I couldn’t bring out 100% of my true power due to my nervousness and all the pressure I was under. But now? Despite calmly using all of my abilities, I still didn’t think I could win against this guy.
I inflicted him with various shallow wounds, but that’s about it, really. Such wounds might help me if the battle gets drawn out, but my magic energy reserve will run out first before that happens.
I managed to solo an elder dragon, but it looked like I wouldn’t even be able to win against a much-weaker demon.
“Although, I don’t need to win this.”
Another round of heavy bombardment forced the demon to clench his teeth and began swinging his greatsword even faster.
Time was on my side. All I had to do was drag things out, and the bombardment coming from the rear should eventually kill the enemy.
“You bastard!”
“Don’t be like that. I also don’t want to do this, you know?”
“Are you making fun of me!”
The demon seemed to have given up on defending as he terrifyingly swung his greatsword. I was merely telling him the truth, but he refused to believe me. What a lonely world this was.
His sword strike filled with killing intent came swinging in my way while the powerful aura solidified on the blade.
A technique to physically launch the solidified aura? It was possible to attack long-distance with this technique like magic, but the magic energy consumption was too high, making it impractical to use all the time. However, its effectiveness was unquestionable.
“Hey, I might really die here!”
I watched as the massive magic cannon near us became nothing more than scrap metal in an instant. That made me think, ‘Hey, isn’t this getting a bit too dangerous?’
“You bastard, you still dare to mock me!”
What the heck? I only blurted out that I might die because that was a distinct possibility today, so why are you getting so pissed off? You don’t seem to have much patience, dude.
Fortunately, there’s a very good item to fix a person with a short fuse like you.
“You should be more careful with where you step.”
I was talking about the best item in the world that taught you how futile your life was!

 

#8 Their circumstance: A certain demon’s circumstance

 

The bombardment continued on, followed by a seemingly unending stream of wretched screams. I watched this nightmare unfold and shuddered in terror, but then, our sovereign finally stepped forward.
As he has always done, our sovereign stood at the front of the battle. And as usual, he rescued us from the danger.
“Lord Aggreahrt…!”
Watching the gallant back of our sovereign, I… No, we finally regained our courage.
He always brought us victory. If we follow his gallant back as he leads from the front, then, as usual, we should emerge victorious once more.
“Let’s go!”
The magic bombardment still came flying in overhead, but we roused up our courage and began advancing. Even though our comrades next to me evaporated from the magic projectiles, none of us looked back and continued to march forward.
One by one…
We didn’t pay any attention to the gradually decreasing number of our comrades and chose to simply run forward to catch up to our sovereign. And when we finally reached the nearest source of the bombardment, we got to see ‘it’.
“Die, you bastard!”
We witnessed our sovereign unleashing his strongest final attack on a blonde-haired human-like demon… and said blonde demon grinning mockingly at the incoming attack!
“You should be more careful with where you step.”
The moment the smirking blonde demon said that, I used all my strength to cry out at the top of my lungs. “My loooooooord!”
My sovereign had failed to notice it, but from where I was, that thing was clearly visible. I could see a pool of silver liquid wiggling right below my sovereign’s feet!
“Rising Dragon of Salvaaaaaaation!”
A small fist emerged from the pool of silver something as a yell exploded forth. My sovereign tried to withdraw his sword in panic, but the blonde demon didn’t permit that.
The golden sword light wrapped around and entrapped the sovereign’s powerful materialised aura. The sovereign couldn’t withdraw his weapon in time because of that and allowed a silver-haired girl to smack him in the chin.
“Kkkuwaaaaaaaaahk?!”
And we were given the opportunity to hear a primal scream exploding out of my sovereign’s mouth just then. A scream that none of us thought was possible to come out of him!
That one attack decided the victor of this battle.

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