< Evade the Hero and Flee! 195 #23. Policy Meant for My Dream! (2) >

 

The preparations proceeded quite quickly.
The overflowing wealth of the Demon God’s temple was put to good use to rebuild the demon king’s castle into something even more flashy than before. Messages were sent to all the other temples, ordering them in the name of the Demon God to attend the coronation. That alone was enough.
The best-quality material from all corners of the demon continent was being brought in every day to repair the demon king’s castle. Meanwhile, many temples found throughout the continent began sending envoys.
This world might not have social media, but rumours still had a way to spread everywhere. Just like the old proverb from my ancestors about the legless horse travelling a thousand leagues! [1]
Then again, half of all the demons were in Belegrea’s faction, to begin with. Obviously, they would’ve known what was going on. And the remaining half was in the now-dead Aggreahrt’s faction, so unless they were as blind as bats, they must’ve realised the truth by now, too!
“Do you really think your scheme will work, instructor?”
“Everything is according to Demon God’s…”
“I’m sure that might work with the demon race, but it won’t fool me, sir. And I certainly don’t have a reason to fall for it, too.”
Ria’s glare had gotten a lot colder lately. I sneakily averted my gaze away from her.
My workload had increased, sure, but her workload had increased three times… no, make that five times worse than before. She wasn’t even an office worker, yet she now had to do overtime, too!
My conscience had no choice but to acknowledge the depth of her rage.
-M-master, you… actually have a conscience?!
-Hey, you! You’re getting too shocked by this, you know!
The metal bat’s shock and agitation transmitted through our mental link were far too strong for my liking. She wasn’t trying to put me down like usual, but really was freaking out right now.
-B-but, I thought you discarded your conscience back in the human continent, master!
-Hey! Where would you find a more conscionable man than me! At the very least, I’m in the top five, I’ll have you know!
-But we’re in the demon continent, master! And there are only three humans here! Obviously, you’ll be in the top five, then!
Dang it, she saw right through me. I was being clever with the top-five comparison and tried to fool the metal bat with it, but she didn’t fall for it.
-This is Goddess Aru’s power of observation! Thanks to an evil master, this goddess’s eyes can now see through all sorts of lies!
What a pride-filled reply that was.
If she had been standing next to me in her human form, I thought the metal bat would stretch that flat chest of hers while trying to put on airs. Since she was just a lump of metal in the first place, I didn’t know where her eyes really were. But if I come out and say that out loud, she and I might end up in a war of words.
If this had been in the past when I could’ve easily run laps around her, then fine. But now, there was a risk of getting hit by her painful counterattack, so I should be the adult in this situation and back off.
This was what people called the strategic retreat. I might yield this particular battlefield, but I shall triumph in a different one.
Indeed. Right now, I don’t need Lu Bu (the metal bat), who was basically useless in internal affairs. But I certainly needed someone like Xun Yu, who worked hard at home and contributed significantly to the governance of his country!
“This is all for the sake of world peace.”
The words I came up with after much brain-racking to appease the troubled heart of my own Xun Yu were…
“Lies.”
…Were shot down mercilessly with a single word.
“W-what do you mean, lies!”
Not even a kabocha would’ve been this firm and decisive! [2]
Even I became a little flustered at how assured she was with her reply.
“Achieving world peace from the demon continent? Do you honestly expect me to believe that, instructor?”
“The demon continent is also a part of our world, is it not? It all depends on what we do in the demon worl…”
“Yes, sure. I already know.”
I tried to continue on with a speech I prepared just in case, but Ria abruptly cut me off and brazenly stared straight into my eyes.
-I… I’m being cowered…!
-Keuh~! Master is being pushed back by his disciple? I guess you’ve lost your edge now, master.
My disciple is all grown up. But maybe she has grown up too much! Well, I guess the adorableness of their teen years wouldn’t stay the same as they enter their 20s. After all, there have been far too many incidents during those years… Years that could either be too long or too short, depending on how you wanna look at it.
This girl matured into her current self somewhere where I couldn’t watch over her. And now, she was mature enough to corner me, her dear instructor, to this degree.
Sniffle… As her teacher, I feel so gratified about… My foot! She was already a dangerous individual that lorded over one of the top ten Great Demons, to begin with. But now, her danger level has gotten even higher!
-Master, from where I am, most of her life’s events were related to you or your surroundings, you know? In other words, you definitely ruined this girl’s life.
-But, that can’t be! I personally raised her back in the organisation, and thanks to me, she was able to enter Yugrasia Academy, and after that, she…
…Hmm. She got captured by the Imperial Princess and was forced to join a criminal organisation that shouldn’t be allowed to exist, the Kidnap Ast Squad.
-After that, she got summoned against her will during her sleep, and now, she has to take care of the demon continent’s internal issues!
…When listening to this chain of events, it honestly felt like I’ve been leading a trash life so far.
-It’s not just your feelings, master. It’s the truth!
Thanks to the metal bat making an utter mess of my conscience, a small gap was pried open in my iron-like mental fortitude. Ria didn’t miss that opening and mercilessly began digging in.
“What is your true objective, instructor?”
“Well, that…”
Since I had my wisdom, it didn’t take me long to construct yet another perfect-sounding pack of lies, but I had a feeling that it would not work on this girl right now.
When stuck in a situation like this, being upfront might yield a better result.
“I merely wish to enjoy a comfortable life. A life where no one tries to interfere.”
“I see. Understood.”
“Mm?”
Fearing that Ria would not back off that easily, I prepared myself to lean on my daughter’s cuteness and create a Korean soap opera that you couldn’t watch without shedding emotional tears. But Ria accepted my explanation quickly, and that caught me totally off-guard.
“A-are you happy with just that explanation?”
“Yes, instructor. I’m in charge of dealing with most of the issues, and naturally, I learned all about those things you ordered Belegrea to carry out. There seemed to be quite a lot of dangerous things in your orders when viewed from the standard of the human continent, instructor.”
Of course, they were dangerous. Very dangerous. I mean, I was saying the concept of the social class should be thrown to the dogs and that everyone must live on as equals.
You don’t need any social status. Simply follow the command of the ruler chosen by the Demon God herself!
Say something like this in the human continent, and you’d immediately get burnt at the stake by the paladins dispatched by a nearby religious order. If the paladins were feeling charitable, then you might taste the nobles’ full course torture meal instead.
Ria continued on with her observation. “However, this is the demon continent. This doesn’t concern us, does it?”
Indeed, that’s why it didn’t matter. In a certain sense, what Ria said could be seen as heartless. Even then, that was a reply worthy of my disciple.
“However, I have a request, instructor.”
“What kind of a request?”
“If this matter works out as intended, then… I’d like to head back to the other side of the continent.”
Ria’s unyielding eyes staring at me didn’t even tremble once. If I said no to her here, she’d probably resist me with everything in her power.
There was the option of beating her up senseless with the metal bat, but doing so would mean all the humongous piles of work on her desk falling down on top of me, instead.
And if I’m being honest, it was seriously challenging to cover this girl and the hero with just the lone metal bat. If it hadn’t been for their psychological fear of the metal bat that went beyond mere mental trauma and had evolved into something even worse, one of these two would’ve escaped from me by now.
“Let’s say we do, then you…”
“I swear not to say anything to the Imperial Princess. I’ll clamp my mouth shut and lead a quiet life.”
I could only chuckle hollowly at how she expertly snatched away the words on the tip of my tongue. Her eyes were resolute as if she was driven by belief. Even so, I noticed her tightly-clenched fists trembling ever so slightly.
Despite her fears, she couldn’t give up here. She must’ve thought that this would be her last chance. That’s why she tried to overcome her fears and bravely stepped forward!
“I shall allow it.”
“R-really?”
Ria’s eyes were sparkling so brightly as if she didn’t expect me to agree so quickly to her request.
I nodded again to reaffirm. “As soon as I step down from the position of the demon king, I shall permit you to leave the demon continent.”
Well, I already had the hero as my go-to gopher so there’s no real reason to keep a risk factor near me, no?

 

#1 Their circumstance: Ria el Nermia’s circumstance

 

“Hah-ah… Hah-ah… Hah-ah…”
The moment I stepped into my room, a heavy panting broke out of my mouth.
My heart was pounding madly away.
So terrifying. Terrifying, but…
“…But, I… I did it!”
Finally, I could unfurl my tightly-clenched fists. They were so soaking wet that actual sweat drops trickled off my palms.
-Congratulations, master!
“Sniffle…”
When Surtr sincerely congratulated me, I inadvertently plopped down on the floor.
The handsome substitute teacher told me this some time ago:
‘The instructor once said this to me. If you could transform that fear into courage, then… Then, you can achieve anything.’
I remembered those words while buried in my new work. And those words gave me the necessary courage.
The substitute teacher made a distant expression and said, ‘As soon as the instructor told us that, he pulled out the metal bat… And that was when we learned for the first time the existence of the metal bat.’
How terrified was I when those words entered my head while asking the instructor to let me go home!
I even began thinking, ‘Ah, it’s over now. I’ll spend the rest of my life here…’
In the end, though, I am free.
-No, to be more specific, you’re scheduled to be freed.
“You’re right. So, let’s finish everything as quickly as possible.”
The sooner we hold Belegrea’s coronation, the closer the date for my departure will get, too!
Once I get back home, I swear to stay in the family home forever. I’ll request grandfather and spend the rest of my life researching in the magic tower’s basement.
But if he says no, then I’ll just ask mother and get married to a powerful, prominent family right away. I have long discarded my foolish daydream of not getting married until I become an archmage, after all!
It’s about time I get married, anyway.
The average age for marriage in the empire’s top four families was on the higher side. Even so, most of them would already be engaged to someone by now. Only I didn’t have something as common as a fiance.
“As for my husband… I guess younger than me?”
People around my age, who haven’t married yet? The number of such people was extremely low. And most of them were, rather mysteriously, all working for Her Majesty the Imperial Princess.
“Right, I’ll give up on a man with a similar age as mine!”
Everything would be over if I get connected to someone from that circle again!
I mean, how hard was it for me to earn this freedom?!
I had to infiltrate deep into the demon race’s territory, so much deeper than anyone else in humanity’s history. But that wasn’t even the end of the story, as I was now dealing with tasks of far more importance than what the demon race’s princess was doing.
In one sense, I was a traitor to humanity. But on the other hand, I have somehow achieved an incredible feat when viewed from humanity’s history!
“I’ve done and seen everything that life can offer. And it’s about time I lead a normal life.”
-Indeed, master.
Even a Great Demon that lived for thousands, nay, tens of thousands of years acknowledged my life’s ups and downs. I entered the evil organisation at a young age and encountered the instructor, then entered Marsis afterwards… only to re-encounter the instructor during the empire’s academy competition.
To survive, I had to enter Yugrasia only to end up in a strange organisation controlled by the empire. And after that eventful ride, I was forced to enter the demon continent and become the right hand of the demon king. Right now, I was basically the prime minister who managed the demon continent’s affairs.
Write an autobiography of my life, and people would slag me off for lying my head off. Write a novel about it, then people would evaluate me for being very creative.
That’s how nonsensical my life sounded.
-But that will be over soon!
“You’re right! It’ll end soon!”
I burst out in a happy yell at Surtr’s declaration.
Yes, it’ll be over soon! This horrible, crazy life will end soon!
“What will end soon?”
-H-how in the world…?!
“Obviously, I’m talking about this nonsensical li… Huh?”
I was so lost in this overwhelming happiness that I assumed the voice coming from right next to me belonged to Surtr. But that mistake lasted for only a moment.
That voice sounded way too different from Surtr’s, after all. No, more than that, the voice itself was physical in nature, not transmitted directly to my mind.
And that voice sent a deathly chill down my entire body.
“H-h-how…?”
My jaw went slack from the presence of someone who shouldn’t even be here. We were in the demon continent. A continent where humans didn’t live. No, a place where humans shouldn’t even be present!
That’s why I had let my guard down.
Even though I’m a human being, too! Even though I’m in the demon continent!
“Of course the team leader will be where her underling is!”
Ehem~!
While proudly pushing her chest forward, the team leader of the Kidnap Ast Squad, Mirua, grinned brightly in satisfaction.
“Okay, so~, what will end soon?”
“T-t-that, well…”
“Ng? What is it? Is it something you can’t confide in your dear team leader?”
For a moment there, I fell into a dilemma. Should I tell Mirua everything, or should I try to escape and alert my instructor?
I mean, the instructor’s influence and power are far greater than hers in the demon continent, aren’t they? Besides, the metal bat is here, too!
“Ng? You can tell your reliable team leader, you know? Get it off your chest, and it’ll get so much easier for you~.”
However, the way Mirua nonchalantly munched on a piece of jerky in the Demon God’s temple smack dab in the middle of the demon continent was…
I ended up confessing everything to her as if I was under a hypnosis spell.

[1]: The Korean word for “words” is the same as “horse”, hence the proverb of legless horse(words).

[2]: There was a Korean pun here that got lost in translation. A kabocha (sweet pumpkin) is called “단호박” while ‘firm and decisive’ is “단호”.

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