< Running Away from the Hero! 152 #18. What did I even do? (1)>
“Why don’t we take a break here?”
We’ve been running for one full day.
Although we still hadn’t crossed the border yet, no human should be able to catch up with our speed!
Even if we were talking about THE hero here, there’s no freaking way he could catch up when he also needed to worry about his two companions!
“Alice, we’re almost there!”
Sure, I might be an expert at driving carriages, and I even laid some straw on the floor to make the journey a bit more bearable. Even so, there was not much I could do about the shaking of the carriage itself.
My daughter’s bum must be hurting by now, so we might as well take a short break here!
“Ah, we’ve already arrived, instructor?”
…That’s the reason why I stopped the carriage, but the person jumping out of the vehicle wasn’t my dear daughter.
-Why is the hero coming out from there, master?
-How should I know?!
To make things worse, the hero smiling awkwardly wasn’t the only one.
An elf making a prim expression also leapt out of the carriage, then followed by the priest climbing off while cautiously grabbing the carriage’s railing!
-I, I actually worked for free as the hero party’s coach driver?!
-You know, I heard a ton of stories about the hero party, but it’s the first I hear about a coach driver being counted as a member, master~!
That’s not it, you silly lump of metal.
Historically speaking, what kind of a party was the hero party?
To put it simply, it was a dangerous party that automatically became people’s target of envy simply by walking past them.
To all the attention whores out there, such a party would prove to be very useful. However, I had no desire whatsoever to join a party that every annoying Tom, Dick and Harry wanted to cling to while pleading to be saved.
I was getting ever so closer to half a century in age, so no freaking way I’d volunteer to slave away every day fighting monster threats.
If the threat was around the level of orcs, fine. But things like ogres? No swords would penetrate their hides, you know?
And it was the hero’s destiny to fight the final boss in the form of either a dragon or a demon king.
To a common man like me, that’s basically the same as purchasing a one-way ticket to the netherworld.
I mean, my current life’s parents also met their demise simply by being near a bloody hero, didn’t they!
-I get it, master, so deal with it already. How about smacking them in the head and quickly bouncing outta here?
Now that suggestion was tempting, alright. However, I had to question whether or not that punk would even obediently get smacked around by the metal bat.
Unlike the self-proclaimed heroes, the heroes summoned by the religious orders were the real deal. My uncertainty stemmed from the fact that most of these ‘real’ heroes received a bucket load of god’s blessings to display a gobsmacking level of growth.
They would either be a swordmaster or archmage, while possibly mastering one or two other side professions to boot, too.
That punk already displayed signs of incredible talent during his days in the evil organisation, so to receive the divine blessing on top, too? Yup, he’s definitely the worst calamity imaginable for all the villains out there.
-But master, you’re the worst calamity to that worst calamity, aren’t you?
-That was intentional, you know.
From a young age, my disciples grew up while getting beaten up by the bat. And that instilled the fear of the metal bat deep down into their souls.
It was all thanks to that experience that the hero punk was stealing glances at the metal bat right now.
As an added bonus, the priest staring at me while making the exact same face as the hero was in the same boat, too.
Just like that, a weird little bout of silence drifted along between the hero party and me.
As we continued maintaining this uncomfortable silence, my daughter climbed out of the carriage and jumped into my arms.
“Oh, my dear girl. Was it okay for you in there?”
“Yup, I was sleeping all this time, you see!”
“Ah, so that’s what happened.”
When I patted her head, she began smiling innocently away.
“…What’s up with your expression, though?”
However, the brave hero stared at our heartwarming scene with an expression resembling a certain magical girl who cried out, ‘If the Soul Gem gives birth to the witch, we’ll all end up dying anyway!’ before starting the ‘team kill’.
What the heck? Why are you making that expression of no hopes and dreams of the future?!
“…It’s nothing.” The hero replied while sneakily avoiding meeting my glare.
Still, I should behave like the great ocean and let it slide.
“Alright. It seems like everyone has disembarked from the carriage, so…”
I lightly picked up my daughter by her armpits, trudged right back up to the carriage and placed her inside.
“Ng? Dad, we just got off the carriage so why are you putting me back inside?”
“Well, there’s a place we need to stop by for a moment, you see. The horses might kick around a bit while we’re on the move, so be a good girl and hold onto the corner over there, okay?”
After making sure that my daughter went over to the corner of the carriage with a cat and a dragon in tow, I oh-so naturally settled down on the carriage driver’s seat.
While the hero party members stared at us in stupefaction, I whipped the horses into action and left the trio behind.
Hey, who’re you calling your dang instructor?!
Well, sure. It’s slightly true that Sir Chosen Hero did spend some time as a trainee back in the old evil organisation, but still!
As such, let’s pretend that we’re all strangers, alright?!
The horses, surprised by the whipping, broke into an explosive sprint.
…Actually, it did start running, but the carriage wasn’t moving forward at all.
I ended up muttering to myself, “What’s going on here?”
“H-hey, Hill! Hurry up and get on!”
“Crazy son of a…?!”
The damn hero punk was holding onto the carriage, preventing it from moving from the spot.
Seriously?! This carriage is being pulled by two horses, you know? Two horses, for crying out loud! So how can a single guy keeping it dead still make any sort of logical sense?!
“Should I go and smack him?” The metal bat sitting next to me tilted her head.
Smack the hero, is it? One wrong move here could make things pretty dicey, but if we don’t attack him now, then huh, a journey of fools accompanied by the hero would be in store for us.
No need to ponder my options for too long, then.
“Go get him.”
The metal bat lightly leapt off the carriage and waddled cutely up to the hero.
“Keu-euhk… Eh? Who are you…?”
“Aru pu~nch ★!”
The wretched scream heralded the carriage exploding forward.
Although dangerous, I still leaned to the side and peeked behind the moving vehicle to catch the sight of the hero rolling around on the dirt.
-I’m on the carriage, master!
It seemed that the metal bat managed to climb up on the carriage in the nick of time.
“Run, horses! If you give it everything you’ve got, I’ll give you tasty carrots later!”
Sure, the carrots I’m talking about might not be as tasty as the organic carrots my daughter and I cultivated with our hearts and soul. However, the carrots from my village still tasted pretty good, I’ll have you know!
Maybe the horses heard me because they loudly neighed and continued to rush ahead. Or it could also be my whipping hurting them, instead. Who knows.
-Master, something’s chasing after us?
-What? What is?
“Hey, yooou! Stop right there!”
“What the fu…?!”
I could see the elf running right next to the carriage now.
The way turquoise-hued something clad the elf’s figure did look kind of impressive. The two horses had to pull along a carriage, but they were still running at full tilt. Yet this elf woman still caught up to us in the proverbial blink of an eye?
As expected of the hero’s party, then. This absurd ability befitting the member of the monsters’ den!
“Sir Hero needs your strength, sir!”
“I only wish to lead a relaxing life, miss.”
I whipped the horses two more times, but there was no hint of our speed increasing any further.
Meaning, we were already dashing forward at the top speed.
It seemed that losing the elf would be difficult at this point.
“Hah-ah… Fine. Understood.”
Even though I felt sorry for whipping the horses so much, I still brought the carriage to a halt as a rueful expression filled up my face.
“You made the right call, sir.”
The elf sighed in relief while watching the carriage come to a stop.
And just as the elf did that…
“Hey, sis? Older sis?”
“Aru pu~nch ★!”
…The metal bat smacked her down.
“But master, is it rea~lly okay to do this?”
“Well, we’ve already smacked the hero, so his party members? Too late now.”
“Heehee, it’s all good for me, tho! Hey, big sis? This sound isn’t coming from my mouth, you know~!”
Currently, we were on a deserted mountain road.
I briefly spectated on the sight of a fallen elf and the metal bat on top of her busy shouting ‘toushi, toushi’ with her own mouth. Now that’s a nostalgic sight, alright.
At first, the elf screamed and begged, but it didn’t take her long to start cursing like a sailor.
The metal bat cutely retorted. “Oho~, so even the people of the forest know how to swear?”
“But it looks like you’re the one making the elf swear, though?”
“Haaahng? And who was the one responsible for making me like this?!”
The metal bat said something that might arouse some serious misunderstanding while climbing back up on the carriage.
“Well, it’s dangerous in a spot like this, so…”
If we were in a large nation that had established relations with the elves, I wouldn’t have been worried. But in small kingdoms like this one, elves and dwarves were still treated as slaves.
Having said that, these idiots enslaved folks from the same race as them, so nothing stopped them from enslaving different races, now did it?
That’s why I picked up the elf and placed her behind some thickets out of the way.
You see? This is how kind I am, so I wish you could stop bothering me altogether.
-But master, what if wild animals or monsters attack her?
-If I start worrying about that too, then you better start calling me a saint, got that?
I had no reason to go beyond what I had already done for a stranger.
And so, I left behind the unconscious elf and dashed ahead on my carriage.
I forced our pace a bit and continued to rush ahead for three days straight, stopping only for a brief rest here and there. And on the third day, we finally managed to cross the border.
“I’m sure this is far enough.”
For the sake of speed, I even had to change the horses twice during the mad dash.
Even if that party was a collection of monsters capable of matching a carriage’s speed, it should be impossible for them to run constantly for three days straight.
That should’ve been the case, so how come…?
“Why are you lot coming out of there?!”
We stopped the carriage to set up camp for the night. But just as we got ready for supper, I ended up screaming at the top of my lungs after witnessing the hero and his companions climb out of the carriage.
#1 Their circumstances: a certain brave hero’s circumstance.
Seeing the flustered expression on the instructor’s face brought a warm smile to my own face.
“We figured you might do something like this, so we installed a teleport gate inside the carriage.”
I asked Selena ahead of time and, while hiding in the carriage earlier, we had her install the necessary magic circle.
A teleport gate connected through Hill’s holy magic!
Its stability was incomparably better than some teleport gates of your average magicians!
Instructor asked us in disbelief. “Are you seriously telling me that only you three managed to activate a teleport gate?”
“We have enough magical energy, you see.”
Now normally, you’d need many magic stones or lots of people to help you with activating the teleport spell.
But each and every one of us in the party possessed a stupefying quantity of magical energy!
Despite being famous for her abundant magical energy reserve, Selena was still the weakest among the party, as my own reserve and Hill’s divine energy pool had already transcended the level of mortals by now.
“Well, instructor, shall we now…”
The moment he called out, a hand came flying in like a streak of light. And that hand belonged to the silver-hued girl who beat the living daylights out of me three days ago.
“Wuiiing? You dooodged!”
“W-wait, please listen to me first!”
I had a revelation when she hit me back then. This girl, she… was the metal bat.
There’s no damn way that punches thrown around by some random little girl would hurt this much!
In that case, this creature had to be the worst of the worst demonic soldier in the guise of a normal human being!
As such, we had to come up with a plan.
The thing was, I’ve been thinking about how to respond when confronting the metal bat, you see.
“Instructor, I had a chance meeting with No.1000 some time ago.”
“With… that kid, you say?”
The way to confront the bat, the first and the only way…
“Yes. I’m not sure if you know, but she’s currently serving Her Imperial Highness.”
…And that’s to never, ever, directly fight it!
“Is that a threat?”
“There’s no way I’d threaten someone I deeply respect, instructor.”
As expected of the quick-witted instructor, he immediately figured out what I was getting at as soon as I said something.
Time to add extra spice, then.
“Also, my colleague here, Saint Hill, received an oracle as well. If you don’t accompany us on this journey, you will be making enemies of every existing religious order, instructor.”
I wasn’t lying here.
Although I conveniently omitted the part [I will be the one declaring that], it was still technically true that the instructor would be declared as the enemy of all religious orders by choosing not to help us.
“Every religious order, you say?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
I replied with a bright smile on my face, yet for some reason, both Hill and Selena were making flustered expressions instead.
Hey, you two. Why are you staring at me like that?
You only glare at bad guys with those eyes, while you only scowl like that after someone scammed you, you know?
Didn’t you two get pummelled by the metal bat, too? Don’t tell me, you still haven’t woken up yet even after that ordeal?
“…That’s why you must accompany us, instructor.”
“Yes. Otherwise, the arrest warrant for you will be issued throughout the continent, sir.”
This, too, wasn’t a lie.
If the Imperial Princess was indeed… as unique as what No.1000 told me, then she’d definitely do it. No, hang on a minute, if it’s the Miss Worst Tyrant in the Imperial Court, then she wouldn’t even bat an eyelid.
My instructor obviously understood this.
No, hold on. Since he had worked with her before, surely his understanding of the Imperial Princess’s quirks must be incomparably greater than mine?
“And so, what will you do, instructor?”
Honestly, I was scared.
The silver-hued girl was still gauging the mood, waiting for her turn. But if she pounced on me again, I was quite confident of escaping from here if I gave my all.
If this direct threat didn’t work on the instructor, then forget about some oracle or whatever, I’d rather escape from here and save my life first!
“Hah-ah… I don’t have a choice now, do I?” The instructor sighed softly, then nodded slowly. “I’m Naruan, the former instructor of this idiot here. I’ll be in your care from now on.”
My dear ol’ instructor who introduced himself this…
“…He escaped again?!”
Just as we finished setting up camp and went to sleep, he abandoned the carriage and escaped into the night.