15-12. Hero in the Labyrinth
Satou's here. In games, there is a technique to throw off the rhythm of players who have grown accustomed to the same enemies appearing. by revealing an unexpected enemy The super popular Zombie Hazard game uses it effectively.
"Then I'll be going ahead."
"Un, say hello to Hayato for me okay."
I bring only Lady Karina with me into the labyrinth outside of the [Sub-space].
Arisa and the others are going to join us once they've fixed up their equipment.
They're probably going to rest a bit since there's a light bath set and some light meals on the table.
During our absence, a large amount of doppelgangers have occupied the relay base.
Thoroughly enough, they're acting as [fallen friends with serious injury] in order to lure the hero to approach them defenselessly.
"E-enemies desuno? Raka-san--"
『--Karina-dono, pay attention to the surroundings in alert. Unfortunately, my enemy search function cannot find any sign of the enemy. However, if Satou-dono has said so, then there must be enemies nearby.』
Raka advised Lady Karina who was shaken.
It'll be troublesome if we meet the hero in battle so I exterminate them all at once with Remote Arrows.
I rain down the Remote Arrows on the doppelgangers pretending to be corpses in front of us, turning them into milk-white liquid.
The surprised lady Karina hugs my arm.
Seeing people and their clothes melting probably feels bad even though she's seen it before.
"It's all right Karina-sama. The enemies have all been disposed of just now."
Lady Karina looks relieved, but now her eyes are spinning after noticing the fact that she's hugging me.
The impregnable fortress pair, Arisa and Mia aren't here, so I decide to enjoy the situation for a while.
"Hero-sama! The relay base has suffered great damage!"
"Look for survivors! There might be monsters lurking, so always have someone with magic probe equipment with you!"
I could hear the hero's voice on the other side of the hall, they can't see us due to an obstruction.
I pull Lady Karina by hand toward the hero and his party.
There are pillars of stones and burnt wreckages in the center of the hall so the view here is bad.
"Hero-sama! There are people on top of the cliff."
A knight wearing black armor pointed at us and shouted, a woman wearing silver armor muttered my name quizzically.
The girl with the silver straight hair is Lady Ringrande, the [Sky-tearing Witch], one of the hero's follower. She's the big sister of Sera the [Oracle Miko] who's in my solitary island palace, the daughter of the duke and also a bit of a siscon.
I waved my hands at her and jumped down the cliff.
Lady Karina followed while holding down her fluttering skirt.
"Why is Satou in this place...."
Wariness floated in Lady Ringrande's eyes, she puts her dominant hand on her sword's grip.
When we've come close enough to have a conversation, I open my mouth to greet them.
"Good day, Ringrande-sama, for this occasion--"
"Hero-sama, over here!"
While I was saying my condolence, a black knight appeared, together with Hero Hayato.
His macho handsome face looks exhausted due to the long-term labyrinth exploration and his battles with the demon lord.
His blue armor is also dented and dirtied, the brilliance of [Hero] that I saw back then has lost its luster.
"I-it's hero Hayato-sama in flesh desuwa."
『Karina-dono, I do not mind if you are delighted, but do not let your guard down.』
Lady Karina reacts like a fangirl when she sees the hero, it's probably because the education she's gotten from Earl Muno the hero researcher since childhood.
While feeling heartwarming looking at her, I turn back to the hero.
"Hayato-sama, please excuse me for my long silence."
My eyes met the hero's while saying that with a smile.
His eyes somehow remind me of the time when I was in a development death march.
They remind me too much of eyes which resent everything in the world, wanting sleep, peace, and liberation from work.
I should have come to help him sooner.
I repent the fact that I had left the hero alone in my mind.
"--It's you this time huh."
The laugh which doesn't suit him at all bothers me.
"Hayato-sama, what's the matter?"
"Take this, Satou!"
The hero drew the holy sword Arondight and swung it.
The hero's technique which I haven't seen for a long time is faster than before.
I evade the blue light extending from the blade.
『Gununu, as expected of hero's technique.』
Lady Karina and Raka who seemed to have taken the after-wave of the attack screamed.
Lady Karina seems suspiciously happy about it.
It's hard to understand, but as a hero fan, is she glad for taking the attack with her body?
Still the technique's focus is worse than I expected.
The after-wave of the technique he showed me back then would have not gone toward Lady Karina.
"Shining Strike Rush."
With the help of Flickering Movement, hero Hayato appeared before me.
The holy sword Arondight in his hand releases striking blue light.
"Oops, that's dangerous."
He wasn't aiming at my heart or other vital parts, but the sword strikes were going to pierce my lung and shoulder so I inadvertently evaded.
"Hmph, evading my blow like that, you damn impostor!"
"It's the real one you know?"
"No impostor would admit being one."
--Well, that's true.
They were probably attacked by doppelgangers many times before reaching here.
I keep the hero company to release his stress for a while, and when he had begun to run out of breath, I hurled him away.
The hero fixed his posture mid-air and landed on the ground.
"You can see that I'm the real one if you just appraise me you know?"
"Guess I have to...."
I'm intrigued as to why he didn't appraise me from the beginning, but doing that should prove my innocence now at least.
"Rin, be on guard with drawn sword."
Lady Ringrande and the black knights are encircling with drawn swords, and then the other hero's followers showed up behind while being supported by the black knights.
The 21th princess of Saga Empire with luxurious blond hair, Maryest Saga the [Witch] and the big breasted heartwarming-type, Miss Loreiya, a priestess of Parion Temple.
The last one, Seina the hero's scout is in the back with serious injury.
It seems Seina is guarded by the black knights of Saga Empire and red-armored knights dispatched by the weasel crown prince.
The scout-type adventurers whom they seemed to have recruited in Dejima Island are continuing their search in the hall and the surroundings.
There's no one who looks like the engineer dispatched by Weasel Empire.
They probably only showed up in the beginning and then left the rest to the red knights, never actually entering the labyrinth.
"--He's unmistakably the real Satou Pendragon."
The hero declared so after staring at me for around 30 seconds.
"I'm sorry, Satou."
I stopped the hero who was going to apologize with dogeza and asked why he suddenly attacked without appraising first.
"We were attacked by doppelgangers who took forms of Rusus and the others before getting here."
"After we dealt with them, we saw bodies of the relay base members in the passage, and when we checked them some directional antipersonnel mines (Claymores) exploded, seriously injuring Seina and the others."
"After that the doppelgangers persistently attacked us many times by posing as our acquaintances."
I see, so Hero's suspicion was nurtured in order to set up me and hero to crush each other....
"Furthermore, I need at least 10 seconds to see through the doppelganger's identity. It picks up fake information if I only glance lightly."
I see, so there's such a trap too.
My AR reading showed both [Human] and [Doppelganger] so it didn't trouble me, but if that's the case with him then I can understand.
But then, he can just appraise for 10 seconds right?
That question was answered by what the hero says next.
"Moreover, a guy who shouldn't have been here was accompanied by a woman while not even holding a sword nor a wand, that was way too suspicious."
I forgot that I've stored the fairy sword that's usually on my waist in my storage since it was dirtied when I dealt with the vampire.
Magic and magic edge are enough to take care of common monsters after all.
I honestly apologize to the hero.
"I came here with my companions so I had left all the battles for them to take care of."
Next, I asked Lady Karina to demonstrate her rock-crushing fist and Raka's protection.
"Both of you are level 50 huh. You really worked hard."
I felt slightly guilty to hear the hero said that, but Lady Karina behind me was overwhelmed and turned red.
"Pochi can smell Master's smell over there nodesu."
I could hear Tama and Pochi's voices, so I call them aloud.
I use the [Magic Hand] to receive the girls who waved and jumped down the top of cliff.
The vanguards landed on their own just fine.
"Hayato-sama, excuse me for my unsightly appearance."
Arisa coped with the hero's gleeful smile with formal graceful tone and behavior.
Tama and Pochi put their hands on Arisa's forehead in panic, going, "Fever~?", "Oh no nanodesu."
Liza who's read the atmosphere picks up the two away.
"Bringing children to this place?"
"They must be disposable slaves."
I heard such conversations from the black knights.
Hero nonchalantly glanced at Liza and Tama, and then opened his eyes wide.
"Don't tell me, you... used Fiend Drug?"
What's this suddenly?
Rather, your face is too close.
"Then why are some of these girls' level at 62?"
The hero vigorously swung his arm and asked passionately.
It seems that Arisa has put the [Thief God Harness] which she always wears on Liza.
Although, in this situation, I don' think he would react differently even if he saw Pochi's and Liza's titles.
"Pochi worked really really hard nodesu!"
"It's all thanks to Master's wonderful equipment and support."
The beastkin girls answered in my behalf.
"We were just continuously battling monsters almost to the point of making them go extinct in Selbira Labyrinth and destroyed a monster domain."
I didn't say anything about the Blue Territory since Saga Empire's black knights and Weasel Empire's red knights are here.
After pondering for a while, the hero stares at me with an earnest look.
"Satou, I have a favor to ask."
"Yes, if it's within my power--"
Thus, us team [Pendragon] undertakes the duty to subjugate the demon lord together with hero Hayato's party.
Of course, I'm fully planning to do things behind-the-scenes.