< Evade the Hero and Flee! 204 #24. Why Does it Have To Be Me? (1) >
Stuff like torturing wasn’t necessary.
“That’s all I know!” Mirua cried out in surrender while prostrating on the floor. Just one hit from the metal bat did the trick.
She began confessing everything she knew in great detail even before I had a chance to ask her. From the number of combatants the Imperial Princess had dispatched to capture me to the overall budget of the plan itself, Mirua told me everything, including the information on Sia… which I hadn’t even considered before!
“I’ve got to hand it to you. To think that you were actually two-timing the Imperial Princess with Sia…”
Even I was not ballsy enough to pull that crazy thing off.
“Ehehe~… The economy is rather tough these days, and I gotta pull two jobs to put food on the table, you see…”
The way Mirua poked her tongue out and went ‘Teehee~!’ was outwardly cute enough, but the contents of her confession were definitely not adorable. Like, none at all.
I mean, really. She somehow managed to walk the tightrope between two personality disorder patients with similar looks and temperament, so… Yup, Mirua must be totally nuts, then.
I continued on with my questioning. “Okay, so. How much did you tell them about me?”
“Well, things like how you were now the demon king, and how you were creating this thing called a republic, then how you were creating one million demon kings… About that much?”
Aha. Hahaha, I see. So, it was only that much, huh? It’s not as bad as I thought…
“…is what you thought I’d say, no?! You dumba*s, if you told the Imperial Princess that much info, she practically knows everything about me now!”
“Kyahk! Kyaaak! No to violence!” Mirua shielded her head and began screaming.
That sight forced me to lower my raised hand about to strike down on her. However…!
“I’m sorry. Please hit me as much as you want.”
The moment I called for the metal bat, Mirua changed her attitude incredibly quickly.
So, I replied to her just as quickly. “Don’t feel like it.”
Obviously, I had no obligation to humour her.
“N-no, I don’t want this!” Mirua cried out and suddenly vanished into thin air.
Huh, I never taught her techniques like that, so where on earth did she pick that one up? If she were to sneak-attack me one day, I’d probably get taken out without offering any resistance. Of course, that’d be the case if we were still on the human side of the continent.
“Kkyahk?!” Mirua let out a short cry and tumbled to the floor.
The thing was, I wasn’t alone in this place. This room was filled with some of the strongest folks on the demon continent, so escaping from here should be impossible even for someone like Mirua.
I pointed at her. “Beat her up.”
“W-wait a minute, please!”
“We can talk later!”
Mirua urgently extended her hands in surrender, but the metal bat had already fired a punch at her face by then.
Aru’s punches had been honed to perfection after coming to the demon continent. Mirua couldn’t even prepare herself on time and had to obediently yield her cheek to the incoming small fist. A pig squeal escaped from her mouth, and the metal bat’s pummelling began raining down on Mirua’s huddling figure.
I issued a new order. “All of you, leave us alone. Candidates must be flustered by this development, so go and try to calm them down.”
“T-thank you, Your Majesty!”
The group of several chieftains, Rarelaika and Belegrea acting as my guard, shuddered at the sight unfolding before their eyes before stepping outside the room. They all had first-hand experiences with what it’s like to get beaten up by the metal bat. And that must be the reason for their hasty retreat from here.
“Stop,” I ordered the metal bat, and the latter looked back at me with a disappointed face. That thing once told me that different people tasted differently when hitting them – and it seemed that hitting a human after such a long time was a good palate cleanser for her.
“Even so, you need to stop.”
As the metal bat was a non-living object, she couldn’t produce saliva, but she still pretended to spit on the floor before backing off.
I glared at Mirua. “That was pleasant, yes?”
“Please, just hit me insteaaaad…”
Now that surprised me. To think that she could say something rather sensible after all that! Must be a first, then.
Most of the time, the majority of victims would go, “Please spare my life,” or “Just kill me instead…”
I knew it, this girl is no ordinary punk, alright.
“I’m not a violent person, Mirua.”
“Hiiing…” Mirua became tearful at what I said.
Her tearful, upturned eyes were trying to plead with me, telling me how deeply hurt she was, but…
“You dared to sell my info to the highest bidder, but I see that you still haven’t learned your lesson yet!”
“N-no, wait! Please spare my life! I don’t wanna die!”
She tried to writhe her unmoving body this way and that on the floor, probably hoping to appeal her pitiful case. Which was… the case of a living creature wanting to keep living on, that is!
“I don’t remember saying I’m going to kill you, though?”
“N-no, I don’t wanna…!” Mirua screamed in terror as the metal bat slowly approached her. Too bad, her body was already beyond the control of her mind by now.
Honestly, I was surprised by how she could still cling to her consciousness and hold a conversation with me until now.
…Even that would soon.
“Big sis? To say I’m gonna cherish all the memories we shared, we haven’t shared that much, have we?” How unfortunate~! The metal bat declared thus, then began shadow-boxing with the empty air. “Whoosh, whoosh! You know, I’m not making this noise with my mouth! Yes, it’s the sound of my fists slicing through the air~! If only you stayed under my master for one more year, you too could’ve learned this dark art for yourself…! Too bad the evil organisation was destroyed before that…”
“I, I already learned about that from my subordinates, so I don’t need it! I’m being serious!”
“Eeehng? Ah, that reminds me. The summoner school students all became your underlings, right? Is Big Sis Aris doing well? She was one of the beeest feeling victims I’ve ever tasted, you know! Don’t feel too disheartened, though, ‘cuz you also feel pretty great yourself!”
Mirua tried to escape somehow, but the metal bat still triumphantly sat on top of her as if to say it was time to give up.
While exchanging opposing screams, the metal bat’s fists began raining down on Mirua’s body. Well, when I say ‘rain’, I was trying to be more artistic there since it’d be rather boring to say ‘one-sided massacre’!
With the harmonious noises created by Mirua and the metal bat serving as the backdrop, I leisurely picked up my teacup filled with now-cool tea. While drinking it, I tried to organise all the thoughts swimming inside my head.
“…What a scary b*tch.”
And the result of all the organising was that… I bloody knew it, the Imperial Princess was insane. How mad must you be to cook up a scheme to put demon horns on a person’s head and send them to the demon continent?
“That’s not something a man who already did it and acting like a demon king should say!” The metal bat still didn’t forget to tackle me even during the beatdown session.
“You’re being noisy.”
What a relief it was, then, that the metal bat had someone else to focus her violent energy on this time! She must’ve thought that spending some quality (?) time with Mirua was more important than retorting to me. How can I tell? From how quickly she agreed with me and began making that ‘toushi, toushi’ noises with her mouth!
“Eh-whew. Must be nice, being a non-living object with no worries whatsoever.”
Here I was, trying everything in my power to survive, yet that metal bat just did whatever she pleased.
“Uhehehehe~he! Being faithful to one’s desire! That is the true essence of this goddess, Arcadia!”
“Sure, sure. Is that right…”
Let’s just leave the so-called goddess to her desires, while I should focus on coming up with a plan as soon as possible.
My first course of action was to pay a visit to Belegrea, the de facto ruler in charge of politics, military and administration. Along with everything else, in all honesty. My aim was to find out the progress on the construction of the border walls.
“Belegrea, how far along is the fortress wall construction at the border region?”
Considering the empire’s firepower, these walls would probably not do much, but still! There was a world of difference between not having any versus having them. At the very least, the time the empire took to destroy those walls would be enough for my getaway!
“If you were referring to the overall progress, then it’s about 40% complete, sire.”
“40%, is it… How long until completion?”
“At least one year, if you take into account every project currently underway, sire. But, if we were to hasten the construction as much as possible… We will still need half a year, at least.”
“Half a year…”
Depending on your perspective, that could either be considered too long or pretty short. However, considering it’s the estimated time to finish building fortress walls, that was still a stunningly short estimation. Something only possible thanks to the manpower… Oops, I mean, the demonpower of the demon race.
This miraculous act could only be possible due to the demons possessing physical stats incomparably higher than humans. On efficiency alone, the demon race workers constructing the fortress walls would be equivalent to human knight corps containing several swordmasters working together with a regiment of magicians.
Let’s say there’s a giant boulder that could only be moved by many normal humans working together. Or, maybe it’d require some devices or contraptions to move. However, some demons could pick such a boulder up with one hand. Demons could also use magic to instantly handle all the building materials that would’ve usually required many hours.
“I see. Well, do your best to complete the walls as soon as possible.”
I left Belegrea bowing her head, then sought out my former disciple, the hero. He was currently managing the ‘101 DalXatian’ project… Oops, I mean, ‘ProduXe 101’ on my behalf. If I personally went there, the demon king candidates would be too distracted to give it their all, so I chose to summon the hero instead.
Mm… Yes, that’s right. That’s how deep my consideration was. And no, it’s not because I’m too lazy to walk down the long-ass steps of the temple. Definitely not!
“Did you call for me, sire?”
“Yes. First of all, I thank you for all your hard work. You exceeded even my expectations.”
“It was nothing, sire.” The hero replied like that, but his eyes clearly said that he was expecting a reward from me. It was kinda like, ‘You let Ria go, so let me go, too!’
Well, he did fish me a pretty useful worker, so I guess I can humour his request. Not for free, of course.
“We are in the middle of a very important mission. And you already know what it is – to create one million demon kings.”
“Yes, I know…”
Judging from how he nodded while looking disappointed, it seems that our hero has finally learned the virtue of patience.
-Master, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say giving up, despair or even resignation instead?
-You just stick to your job, okay?
The metal bat still didn’t miss the opportunity to get smart with me, but I ignored her and continued dangling the carrot my all-grown-up disciple desperately wanted.
“The ones being trained right now are merely the starting point of my grand plan. Only by these candidates turning into splendid demon kings capable of leading their future juniors will I consider my plan a success. This means the first generation must be stronger than anyone. Wouldn’t you agree? That will be your job. Make the first generation the world’s strongest. And when you successfully achieve that goal…”
“W-when I do…?”
Just as the hero swallowed nervously, I smiled and finished the rest of my sentence. “I shall release you, as well.”
The moment I said that…!
The hero’s attitude transformed into that of his senior from the organisation – more specifically, back when Rein was entrusted with a bat!
“I shall carry out your will, sire!”
He swore to complete my grand plan while totally resembling a Demon God believer receiving a divine order from the leader of his religion.
#1 Their circumstances: A certain hero’s circumstance
I took in the sight of 100 demon kings. What an absurd notion that is, but here we are.
Only one demon king should have existed in the demon continent, but a hundred of them were… No, wait. That number should be 102 after including my instructor and Belegrea, no?
What’s even more shocking is that… this number will swell even higher in the future. As a human hero following the Goddess of Nature’s will, I should be doing my best to stop the number of demon kings from increasing. A demon king was the worst enemy of a hero, after all!
“Who cares about that.”
A deity couldn’t be killed. But I certainly could. No, let me correct myself. I won’t get killed. Not really. Instead, it’d be more like, I will be subjected to a level of pain beyond the description.
Whenever the metal bat beat me up, I used to seek out the goddess that I usually forgot about. Since she picked me as her hero, wouldn’t the goddess try her best to save me? That was the single ray of hope in my heart.
But that hope proved to be a lie. Only pain remained. So, I chose to forsake the goddess and only believe in my instructor.
In the distant past, my instructor told me this: the nearby fist should take priority over the far-away law and order. You need to survive first before you start thinking about reporting the crime.
That’s why, oh the Goddess of Nature who might be watching over me right now? All this is your fault for not saving me in time.
That was my mindset as I slowly walked up to the podium and looked down at the candidates below. And then, I…
“The demon race is facing her worst crisis yet!” I stared at the 100 future demon kings and spoke as the loyal retainer of Marx chosen by the noble, powerful Demon God. “A spy from the insidious humans has infiltrated our midst. With a fake identity, she managed to fool all of us. And unfortunately, the fake must’ve murdered the true demon king candidate originally meant to come here.”
That wasn’t true, of course. Mirua got lucky – or unlucky – by randomly getting picked as a candidate. Even though I thought she was rather perfect as a candidate, the rest of the demon king wannabes would feel discouraged by the fact that a mere human was selected under the same criteria as them.
So, I figured that making up a lie about one of the candidates’ murder would bring about a sense of danger in the rest and keep their fighting spirit blazing for a while longer.
“The crafty, sneaky humans always have been drooling over our land. Our land, watched on by our great, noble Demon God!”
The great, noble Demon God, eh? I’ve been saying that name for so long that it became second nature to invoke it. I was now worried about this habit getting me into trouble later on after I crossed over to the human continent. Imagine me crying out, “Oh, our great, noble Demon God!” in the middle of the Goddess of Nature’s temple…!
Of course, I should worry about that after I actually manage to cross over to that side first.
“That’s why we must become stronger. What do you think was the reason for a human spy to come here? It can only mean one thing – the time has come! The time for their invasion, that is!”
Actually, that invasion was more like a war of minds between the Imperial Princess and my instructor, who became the demon king to avoid that crazy woman… But there’s no need to say that out loud, now was there?
Honestly speaking, the marriage between those two could potentially bring reconciliation and peace between the humans and demons, but what do I know?
I must apologise to all humans and demons out there, but I’d never say that out loud. The moment I say that, the metal bat would mercilessly beat me down, you see!
“Yes, that’s why we must become stronger. And I shall make sure to strengthen you. Stronger than ever before!”
Yes, yes, I know. I know that your sacrifices would actually be for my escape from this place, but whatever.
“Now, all of you. Are you ready to follow me?!”
“Yes, we shall follow!”
“We shall follow you, Lord Swinn! The warrior of our great, noble Demon God!”
“Oh, our great and noble Demon God!”
Hah. Remember that you all willingly said you’ll follow me.
“I shall engrave your determinations to my heart! Not only me, but even our great Demon God will remember this moment!”
That’s why, don’t regret it later, okay!