< Running Away from the Hero! 154 #18. What did I even do? (3)>

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“I’m a clergyman of the Order of Nature, Hill Shuttle, sir.”

“Ooooh…”

This goddess of nature, it seemed that she had a pretty good sense, after all. [1]

“You seem quite capable of casting powerful healing magic.”

The hero butted in just then. “The Order of Nature has declared Hill as a saint, instructor.”

“I-it’s an embarrassing title, isn’t it, sir.”

Kyah~, this hero. As expected of the former trainee of the evil organisation!

The ‘saint’ of nature had gotten tamed by the hero, and now, he had to carry around magic tools to acquire proof at all times. And his name was even Hill Shuttle, to boot!

“You are amazing, Sir Shuttle.”

Keuh~! That sure rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it.

“N-no, not at all.”

“Don’t say that. You’re indeed amazing. You have what it takes, Sir Shuttle!”

It was rather funny to see the priest making a sheepish face in embarrassment.

-Master, you’re so full of evil.

-But, his name is Shuttle, you know?

-Ng? What about it?

Huh, would you listen to this oblivious kid who’s been living under a rock?

She doesn’t even know how the game of life is played, it seems! I guess her life so far has been in vain, then.

-I don’t get what you’re saying, master, but it’s all good since I already have ‘beaten up’ my life’s goal!

-Oh, is that so.

For future reference, the metal bat’s number one best life ‘beat up’ was taken up by the esteemed daughter of Aris.

Hmm, didn’t the metal bat say the pleasure of killing two birds with one stone was unforgettable or something?

The second spot went to the Imperial Princess, who had her mouth firmly shut throughout the beating to not appear weak to anyone.

The metal bat also said that you wouldn’t understand the pleasure of hearing the pained moan leak out of firmly shut mouths unless you actually start beating people up.

…Having said that, beating up on an imperial princess would be an impossible fairy tale for commoners like me!

Besides, I did not hit her! It’s this punk that started hitting the princess all on its own!

Aaand then, the hero idiot occupied the third spot. The spots behind him were occupied by Sia and my other disciples.

The ones to get the worst evaluations were the dwarves. Apparently, their exterior was too tough, and the sensation of hitting them wasn’t all that good.

“I’m Selena.” The elf stared at the metal bat and me with eyes filled with dissatisfaction before bowing her head ever so slightly.

“They are all my comrades, instructor!”

Once their introductions were dealt with, the ‘brave’ hero tried to re-introduce himself.

“…Aren’t you too far from us, Sir Hero?”

“…No, this here is perfect for me, thanks.”

He introduced himself with a loud voice from about twenty metres away.

“Did I hit him too much…?”

The hero visibly flinched every time the metal bat moved even slightly.

“To think that a grown-up man with the title of ‘hero’ is frightened silly by a little girl after she beat him up.”

“Dad! Even if it’s you, dad, you shouldn’t say that! You’re at fault this time, you know!”

“My bad, my bad.”

I quietly tutted while staring at the hero, but what I got in return was my dear daughter’s stern admonishment.

That made me a little sad, but her puffed-up cheeks looked so gosh darn cute, so I ended up gently patting her head and apologising.

“I’m forgiving you only because you’re my dad.”

“Yes, yes. I understand.”

She grinned happily as her mood improved significantly, prompting me to keep patting her head.

“I’m Naruan, who handed down a few techniques to that useless hero over there.”

“And I’m his daughter, Aru!”

“I’m Alice, everyone! These little ones are Misha and Coco!”

After I introduced myself, the metal bat and my daughter followed suit and introduced themselves next.

“Nyah~.”

“Hi!”

The cat seemed to still be wary of the hero party, but Coco seemed to be in a good mood because it greeted them with a wagging tail.

“A-ah, yes. Hello to you too… Eh?”

“What in the name of?!”

The priest was making a good-natured smile while greeting my daughter, while the elf remained taciturn while just nodding away. However, their expressions gradually became dyed in pure shock and astonishment.

“The dragon… spoke?!”

The elf gasped out in pure disbelief while staring agog at Coco, so I asked her in a tone that implied if there was a problem here. “Is this your first time seeing a talking dragon, miss?”

“Yes, it is indeed my first time?!”

“It definitely is our first time!”

The two of them were about to rush at me to start some kind of an argument, but they froze up after spotting the metal bat standing before me.

Uh-huh, I see that they lack discipline, then.

Since ancient times, your party could only be qualified as a real hero party if one of your members or the backers happens to be a dragon. Heck, you should have at least faced a dragon as an enemy or something!

“I-it’s a real dragon?!”

So, to think that these two were making faces of people who had never seen a dragon before!

-But master, when was your first time seeing a real dragon?

-Back when it hatched from the egg I bought for seven silvers in the market, obviously.

-Aha. Can I ask where you got that thick adamantium coating on your face from, master?

-Working for the evil organisation automatically levelled me up in that regard without me noticing it.

Since I couldn’t level up my magical powers, I might as well level up on things like this.

“A dragon this small… is it still a hatchling, sir?”

“Yes, it is.”

I decided to graciously accept the metal bat’s retorts and the freaked out hero party members.

This would be good training for me, anyway.

It is extremely challenging to have your mind and mouth do two different things simultaneously, after all.

“Could it be… that you actually hunted a dragon down?”

Are you mad? You think I’d be ballsy enough to have a showdown with a monster among monsters, a dragon?

“No, I did not.”

“In that case… did you steal the egg from a dragon?”

“No, that’s not it, either.”

After leaving the organisation, I stole nothing… Hmm… wait… I guess I did?

Even then, after Yugrasia… well, there was that time I sneaked some alcohol out from the flask of the former Sword Star gramps and mixed it with some water… Mm…

That’s right, I haven’t done any stealing after leaving the village!

-But master, it’s not even a week since we left the village, though?

-It’s still not a lie, isn’t it!

“Then, just how did you…?” The elf muttered as her eyes trembled unsteadily.

Unlike humans who tilled the land to live, elves usually lived in harmony with nature itself. That’s why they often came in conflict with various dragons, or so I’ve heard.

According to what the dwarf elders told me, the dragons were akin to neighbourhood thugs that ripped money off from the dwarves. However, to the elves, the overgrown lizards were like invaders that suddenly showed up out of nowhere to forcibly take away the elven lands.

I guessed that the former was like bullies back in high school ripping you off for lunch money, while the latter was similar to getting your house demolished without your consent.

Whatever the case might be, both elves and dwarves harboured everything from minor hostilities to massive fear of the dragons.

As such, I better deal with this misunderstanding as soon as possible. “I bought an egg for seven silvers in a market one day, and this dragon hatched from it.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m sorry?”

The most often-heard question back in the Korean military, ‘Please say that again?!’ could be spied on their expressions right now.

It was getting annoying, but I should repeat myself one more time.

“I bought the egg for seven silvers in a market.”

“Uhm…”

“Lies!”

The priest and the elf making the exact same faces until then reacted in a completely opposite manner next.

The priest’s jaw dropped as a dazed expression filled his face. Meanwhile, the elf exploded in rage and began yelling at the top of her lungs. “Do you honestly expect us to believe in such nonsense?!”

“Of course not.”

Even I wouldn’t believe in such a tale. Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it’d be no different from a stray mutt barking at a wall.

Hell, if anyone could buy a dragon in a market for seven silvers, then humanity would’ve conquered the world and started a war with the gods already!

“Even though you know, you still…!”

“Yes. Even though I know that, I still said it. Don’t you think I would have a good reason for doing that?”

The clearly agitated elf suddenly clamped her mouth shut at my counter-question.

She must’ve realised it by now – realised how utterly unbelievable what I said was. Not even an idiot would fall for such a lie.

Despite knowing that, I still said it out loud, so that could only mean…

“No way… it’s true?”

The elf’s expression finally matched that of the priest next to her.

“Yes, it’s all true.”

While making a wry face, I glanced at Coco.

Not sure what it was so happy about, but the dragon was looking back at me while making a similar smile as my daughter.

“Grandpa~!”

Having said that, its manner of speech had this waft of the metal bat’s stink, didn’t it?

[Proofreader Note: The Metal Bat’s manner of speech is no longer reflected in the translations, but is unique.]

I knew it, the strict upbringing played a crucial role in its development, after all.

-Haaahng? What’s wrong with the feminine form this goddess deigns to use, master?!

-A fool who hasn’t even tried cafeteria food but still speaking in cool kids’ slang should just shut up. [2]

-Cafeteria food? What’s that?

Although, those weren’t the cutting-edge latest slang but ones from a far more peaceful time back when I was a youngster eating cafeteria food…

-The Cutting Edge? There’s something like that, too?!

For some reason, her voice seemed to be brimming full of anticipation.

But if I explain it to her now, my headspace might get drowned out by her barrage of slang words, so… Yeah, let’s not tell her.

-Nooo, tell me!

-Get lost.

-You meanie!

Hey, this isn’t my first time being a meanie, right? Since time immemorial, being a meanie was a virtue of being a villain.

Besides all that…

“And I still need to speak to that idiot over there, too.”

The idiot hero standing some distance away was craning his head while intently staring at us. He must’ve been rather curious about the contents of our discussion.

“Come over here. Now.”

I didn’t speak too loudly, but my beckoning gesture must’ve gotten through to him because the hero did come a bit closer.

“T-this is close enough, yes?”

The distance of twenty metres had changed to… fifteen.

“If you want to die today, then sure.” While saying that, I pointed at the metal bat then drew a line below my chin.

If he was dumb enough not to recognise the meaning of this gesture, then well, we’d no choice but to physically teach him.

“Heeeek!”

Thankfully for everyone here, the hero didn’t seem to have forgotten about me, after all.

“Y-you called, instructor?”

“We’re more or less finished with our introductions. So, what are we supposed to do now, hero?”

“Sorry?”

“Since you’re a hero and all, surely you have a set itinerary to follow?”

From the beginning of time itself, a hero was an existence that had to work nonstop for 24 hours a day.

They had to do the stuff gods told them about. Nearby kingdoms requested them frequently for assistance. And if you even dared to take a small break, civilians showed up uninvited and got you involved in all sorts of accidents and incidents.

For a reference, just how many heroes showed up during my time in the organisation?!

Destruction to the property beyond one’s imagination, plus constant reporting from the concerned citizens! Just how hard did the organisation have to work to minimise all those losses!

“For now, we don’t have any, instructor.”

The thing was, though, the hero standing before me was my disciple.

“Oh, I see.”

Something like this would’ve been impossible for a ‘normal’ hero chosen by the religious orders. From what I hear, even those self-proclaimed hero wannabes would constantly be mired in an endless series of accidents and incidents, yet this fool…

He had nothing to do, apparently.

I asked again. “Does that mean we don’t have a special destination we must get to, either?”

“That’s correct.”

“In that case, isn’t it fine for me to just go on my own way?”

“I’d like that more than anything else in this world, instructor. But…” The hero made a deeply-earnest face while saying that. That expression… it seemed that he really wanted to put some distance between him and me.

I made a suggestion. “…Let’s just go on our separate ways, shall we?”

“But, uh, because of the b*tch of a goddess I must…”

“Didn’t I teach you to be fearless even in the face of a potential divine punishment?”

“Instructor, at the end of the day, I’m still a human being. Even for me, facing off against every religious order is impossible.”

“I did not raise you to be such a weakling!”

From the very beginning, I raised him as the evil organisation’s trusted member who’d be strong enough to fight the world, so how dare he say that!

But then, the hero yelled back. “No one needs a fool who can’t recognise when it is time o flee! Instructor, I’m just doing as you taught me!”

Ah, wait. I did say something like that once upon a time, didn’t I?

Thanks to my teachings, there had been a few… escapees among my disciples but no casualties to speak of.

I retorted back. “That was true back when your job description was different. From this moment on, it’s fine to let go of your fears and act like the real hero that you are.”

“No, instructor. What I learned during my time as a hero was that… nothing is more valuable than what you taught me, instructor!”

That seemed about right.

The villains and the heroes shared a couple of common points, after all. One, they didn’t know when and where they might die, and two, they had a fair number of enemies to worry about.

“Dear hero, you can now forget about my teachings.”

“Your teachings saved me every time I was in mortal danger, instructor. How can I forget something like that?”

“How about, like this?”

Shuffle…

“Ahaha… I guess forgetting it might not be such a bad idea, instructor.”

When the metal bat walked up in front of me with airy steps, the hero rapidly tried to change his tune.

“You learned well, hero.”

The way he hurriedly stumbled back from the spot seemed rather urgent, though.

But that moonwalk was so accomplished that not even Brother Michael would’ve bettered it had he descended to this world. [3]

“No need to learn anything, instructor. Getting hit once or twice is all that’s needed for you to know!”

The hero quickly backed off to the distance of about five meters, then began paying especially close attention to every little movement the metal bat and I made.

“Hah-ah, fine. This means that it’s fine for us to decide where we should head next, doesn’t it?”

“Y-yes, until we receive a new oracle.”

I glanced at the hero who was nodding away in the distance before entering into a deep pool of thoughts.

For now, returning to the empire was beyond impossible.

Even the villages of demi-humans, labelled as extremely dangerous by the human kingdoms, were out of the question.

And those nations allied to the empire were too much of a gamble, too…

“What’s this? Why does it feel like I really have no place left to go?”

“Master, it’s not your feeling but karma for all your misdeeds until now~!”

“Dang it…”

Wait. Now that I thought about it some more, wouldn’t this hero idiot have unsavoury characters pursuing him, too?

What if we find ourselves surrounded one morning after waking up?

-Master, you’ve been planning to flee anyway, so what gives?

-That’s true, but there’s always that one in a million chance, right?

Life was all about timing.

Even if you have cooked up a perfect escape plan, it’d mean nothing if you got caught before you could actually do something.

-Should I just deal with them now and leave?

-Being so meticulous is both your plus and minus point, master.

The simplest and the best way was to kill everyone to leave no witnesses behind. But this party was made up of a hero and a saint dispatched by a religious order.

Their eyes and ears were basically the goddess’s eyes and ears.

If I did kill the hero and the saint, then the gods would jump on this opportunity to issue a brand-new oracle.

An oracle that went something like this!

-Go and apprehend the despicable murderer who killed the Order of Nature’s chosen hero and saint!

If that happened, my very last resort, the secret voyage to the demon continent, would become impossible to pull off.

“In that case… there is one place we can go, so let us head there.”

“Where is this place, instructor?”

There was just one place where the influence of the religious orders was comparatively weak. On top of that, not even that Imperial Princess would dare to perform any military-related manoeuvres in that location unless she had gone completely nuts.

-But master, if it’s that older sister, she might?

-Hey, shut up before you jinx it!

While inwardly shutting off the metal bat’s loose lips, I told the hero of our next destination. “Ruibela City Alliance.”

That was the name of the only city situated on the border to the demon race.

 

 

[1]: “Hill” is written and pronounced the same as “heal” in Korean, and a shuttle is a Korean slang term denoting school kids who are forced to deliver things like bread to those who bully them, i.e. bread shuttle. So, the mc’s referring to ‘heal shuttle’ in this case.

I kinda assume they mean heel, like the bottom of a foot, which in english theater can be a term for a villian that’s there to make people hate him/her and get beaten up. But I’m not sure so I’ll leave it as heal.

[2]: “cafeteria food” in Korean is 급식 while the ‘cool kids slang’ is 급식체. As you can see, it’s a play on words. So the metal bat misunderstood the slang as food.

[3]: In case you didn’t get it, Brother Michael is referring to Michael Jackson.

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