18-6. Tales of Hero Hayato (3)
"Man this is so awesome. Definitely would get a spot in the World Heritages list."
Once we overcame master Burume's special training course, we went to the [Dungeon of Heroes] located near [Temple of Heroes] where I got summoned.
I'm not using a wooden sword this time, instead the holy sword Arondight which has been lying in my [Inventory] since my summoning is in my hand.
Same with other equipment, I'm wearing holy armor and holy shield I got together with the holy sword instead of training equipment.
Feel like I'm finally getting promoted from soldier-in-training to hero now that I've got these hero gear on.
"The heck's that?"
"Make no mistake, Hayato. This is a property of Saga Empire bestowed by Parion-sama."
Subac and Zayan replied with whatever, while the serious knight Jerid corrected me with his serious face.
This guy is a third son of a duke house, he's got a road paved in gold ahead of him yet he's chosen to be on the frontline and volunteered himself as a hero attendant.
Befitting of someone who volunteered to such a dangerous job, he's a model knight who excels in both offense and defense, I've stolen this guy's shield art plenty.
As for swordsmanship, I learned both this guy's Saga Empire's formal school and Zayan's practical combat swords styles.
"Don't make a racket now folks. This place is no training grounds, you hear me?"
Master Burume brought back a slender beauty, a stern hot old man, and a cheeky-looking girl.
"These guys are coming with you on your dungeon expedition today. Go on now, introduce yourselves."
"Nice to meet you hero-sama, I am an archer by the name Shyaryi--"
"Geh, it's Ogre Bow."
"Fer' real, ain't she went off somewhere looking for whales or something?"
Subac and Zayan turned their faces away while whistling when the beauty glared at them.
I noticed something when I saw the well known woman.
"Long ears--are you an elf!?"
"No I'm not. I'm a longearkin (Booch)."
Shiaryi smiled wryly as she corrected me.
Apparently, elves in this world have slightly pointy ears, unlike the image of elves being small girls with long pointed ears prevalent in Japan, those would be longear-kin, a different race altogether than elves.
"Asking elves-sama, 'Aren't elves supposed to have long ears?', is the highest taboo to them, so please be careful. They rarely leave their [Forest], but there are always exceptions, like Diva Shiriltoa of Shiga Kingdom's capital, and Sebelkea-sama the [Mountain Crusher], who assumed the position of an attendant of the previous hero."
The princess warned me.
"I'm Rokos. An A-class adventurer working as a scout. And this girl--"
"I'm Seina! A B-class adventurer, also a scout!"
The hot old man is 44 year old, at level 42.
The boku girl Seina is on the short side for a 18 year old, but her breasts are above average. She's quite high leveled at 39 for someone so young.
"B-class? Are you sure we should be taking a second-rate here?"
"Yer' Rokos's pupil, aintcha? Go forge yerself first."
"What did you say! Don't you make fool out of me!"
"Quit it, Seina!"
Seina who overheard Subac's complaint snapped, Rokos stopped her by grabbing her on the nape.
"This girl might be a B-class, but that's not due to her lack experience or skills. It's her age. Adventurer Guild doesn't accept A-class adventurers under 20 year old."
"Oh right, think they got that rule or sumthin'?"
"They do! It's cause first hero-sama said things like [A-class starts once you're an adult], they changed the rule to 20 year old, and it's still on even now!"
I agree, getting barred because of age restrictions sucks.
Subac looked confused, "Ain't adult 15?", but the first hero probably set it on Japan's standard.
"I got it. I have no issue if she can handle herself. Welcome to our group."
Man, can't get used to this way of speaking.
Can't wait to pile up achievements and go back to my usual style.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Elevator in a dungeon?!"
There was an old-style elevator at the end of a gas lamp lit passage.
"Elevators are everywhere in hero-sama world, aren't they?"
"They are, Loreiya-san."
Priestess Loreiya said with a gentle voice.
It's apparently rare in this world, everyone besides the princess and knight Jerid looked nervous as they boarded. Master Burume? That granny is the same as always.
"It's quite, deep."
The elevator is taking us to a deep floor.
"That is because floors up to floor 20 in [Dungeon of Heroes] are intended to nurture attendant candidates. Hero-sama and his attendant candidates will be using floor 21 and below."
"Both I and Maryest-sama have had experience on upper floors for knight training purpose during winter slack farming seasons."
Knight Jerid supplemented the princess.
"Slack farming seasons? What's that got to do with ya nobles and royalty?"
"Well. This dungeon is created by god Parion's miracle, however the monsters roaming its inside are created by surplus mana collected from cities. It's only usable during times when there are extra mana around to be used like in during slack farming seasons."
I don't really get it myself, but it seems to be quite an interesting for everyone cuz they're listening attentively.
"It's not in the season now tho'?"
"That is because hero-sama is present. His majesty the emperor has collected mana from the empire cities just enough to run the deep floors."
Is emperor like the mages' boss or something?
I imagined him like a Roman's emperor or America's president myself.
"The time for talking is over."
As master Burume said that, the elevator also stopped.
"Oh lookie, our welcome party's here already."
A group of bizarre pig-nosed creatures with bloodshot eyes gleaming in the dark were crowding in the opposite side of a hall the elevator brought us out to.
My analysis skill tells me they're monsters called Demi-Orcs.
"Orcs huh--eh just small fry."
"Don't let your guard down. We are on floor 30. Those must be a greater variant of orcs."
Subac and Zayan cracked jokes while readying their weapons.
I too took up my weapon and proceeded ahead with the two.
These demi-orcs' levels range from 28 to 31.
Numbering in more than 10 from what I could see.
"It's a mixed group of Demiorc Butchers and Demiorc Berserkers. Butchers will throw their kitchen knife-shaped swords at you, watch out. Berserkers will come slashing at you and their allies. Don't let up now."
Scout Rokos and priestess Loreiya put themselves in a formation to protect the princess.
"Subac, Zayan, get into those demi orcs and make sure hero-sama deals with only one! Your highness, refrain from using magic, Loreiya use only recovery. Shyaryi, stop any orc that slips through Subac and Zayan from approaching the hero!"
With master Burume's order, we moved out.
Getting pampered is mortifying, but I'm not childish enough to complain here.
I'll overcome this trial and make them know this kind of treatment is unnecessary.
Thus how I silently fired myself up as I drank my saliva to quench my dried throat.
I run ahead as a vanguard after shouting that.
Once I got close enough, I activated the skill I recently learned [Flickering Steps] and closed the distance to the demi orc, ambushing it.
Its hatchet sword grazed my face as it began swinging without warning.
I reflexively jumped too far away when I dodged the attack, Master Burume's rebuked me.
"Don't piss in your pants now, hero!"
Riding on the momentum of my yell, I swung my holy sword diagonally from shoulder down.
After a peculiar sensation of forcefully cutting steel, a gross feel of cutting meat came next. I was assaulted by a sudden impulse to throw the holy sword away, but I put more strength into my navel to bear it.
Warm red blood spilled out of the cut orc, splashing my face, dyeing my vision red.
"Don't let the blood get you! Lots of monster blood is toxic. Dodge those blood spills like they're attacking you!"
"Master... Not even a word of praise for your pupil's first campaign?"
"I see you're doing fine if you can talk back. As for Subac and Zayan who needlessly get blood on them, look forward to a double special course once we're back."
"Dangit, I'm taking Jerid and Hayato with me!"
Subac and Zayan shouted like they were about to cry at master Burume's heartless ultimatum.
The scene was so familiar I ended up smiling with tears in my eyes.
"Hero-sama, please do not suppress your feelings. Let it all out when you need to."
Priestess Loreiya's bountiful chest hugged my head.
A soft feeling wrapped my head. Subac and Zayan were wailing noisily, but for me her hug gave me a mysterious sense of relief like a mother's embrace than anything perverted.
"Sorry about this, Loreiya-san. I'm OK now."
Loreiya finally called me by name just like the guys.
I felt a bit shameful but she might have felt closer to me after I showed a weak moment.
"--Those monsters' bodies vanished?"
The weapons the monsters were carrying also vanished.
Only blood left on the ground assured me that they were no illusion.
"This dungeon is a special case."
"Monsters outside and in other dungeons usually leave behind their bodies and belongings."
The princess and Loreiya taught me.
"Did you not teach him during the lectures?"
"I'm sorry. I had forgotten to give that lecture."
The princess bowed her head when master Burume asked her.
Well, it's obvious at a glance anyway, no problem at all.
"Burume-dono, the next group of monsters are approaching."
Rokos who had gone off to scout ahead warned.
"Alright, for the next one, just fight like usual."
Master Burume's haphazard order signaled the start of the fight.
My first battle was pitiful, but from this fight on I recalled my time in master Burume's rigorous training and did better than before.
By my fifth fight, I could easily cut down the enemy.
By the tenth, I finally had enough leeway to observe the surroundings.
--Seriously, these attendant candidates are all freaking monstrous.
The longearkin Shiaryi accurately shot through monsters' eyes in the heat of battle, the princess's lightning magic mowed down groups of monsters, the scout Rokos found every trap without fail and saw through all the enemy's advances.
"Feels like Seina and me are the only normal people here in this party."
"Hey, Hero-kun. Don't lump me together with you, okay."
Seina seemed annoyed at me lightly hitting her head, she brushed my hand away as she protested.
This girl just made a blunder of bringing along a huge group of enemy during her scouting.
I was trying to cheer her up because she seemed down in the dump from Rokos's scolding, but that was uncalled for it seemed.
After several failures and learning moments, I experienced my first level up by the time we cleared the very first floor.
"My body feels kinda ticklish."
"That's a level up."
"You've got it already? As expected of hero-sama."
I could only shyly grin back at everyone who congratulated me.
These ticklish level ups increase your basic stat points and skill points, but unlike the people of this world, heroes can choose where to allocate those points.
Since master Burume warned me to postpone that until after we get out of the dungeon, the level up doesn't really feel real to me.
We cleared floor 31, then I got my second level up after many more fights on floor 32.
As my base level was 50, level up doesn't happen frequently.
But still, I can't get over how my exp bar so easily gets filled just by defeating monsters when doing that extra hard training barely adds any.
The training I did under master Burume and the sparring matches with the guys should have been richer experience-wise.
"You're incredible, Hayato-sama. Oh god Parion, your hero is growing up well."
The princess and Loreiya-san were the first to congratulate me for my level ups followed by everyone. Master Burume included.
Except for one person.
"I can't accept this! How could hero-sama level up twice when my level is lower than him! Don't higher level people require more experience to level up?!"
Seina the scout was pouting.
"You can't accept it, Seina?"
"Rokos, did you not explain about hero-sama to this girl?"
"Nah, I did. This stupid pupil of mine simply forgot about it."
Scout Rokos and master Burume looked at each other.
"Listen well, Seina. Heroes are loved by god Parion which accelerates their level gains compared to ordinary persons. Even us ordinary persons have a varying rate of learning between individuals, don't we? It's the same principle."
"Master Burume, an ordinary person?"
"Must be another kind of ordinary than the one I know."
"I can hear you guys!"
Subac and Zayan's honest impression raised master Burume's eyebrows.
Since I had the same impression in my head, I bent over along with them.
"Level ups for heroes-sama are said to be three times as fast as the average. In exchange, it takes a huge toll on their body, thus please tell me immediately if you don't feel good, Hayato-sama."
Loreiya said that with a motherly smile.
We kept making good progresses on the dungeon and by the third raid on month three, we finally arrived near the last floor.
Maryest-sama, Shiaryi and the other members even call me by name now.
All of it thanks to the stupidly high capacity of hero's [Inventory].
Even I couldn't believe my eyes when ten months worth of food and water for 10 people went inside it just like that.
Our days in the dungeon finally came to a close when I reached level 60.
"That much should do so long as you don't go up against greater demons or demon lord outright."
Master Burume gave her approval.
"And since other members have broken through level 50 as well, it's time to proceed to the next phase."
Master Burume declared so and took us to Parion Temple.
"Miko-dono, we're here for the ritual."
"Understood. Hero-sama and his attendants, please get on the circle line in this magic circle. Everyone connected by the circle."
Urged by the oracle miko, we got on the circle as pointed.
"O exalted little goddess. Grant your blessings unto your servants, hero of salvation and his attendants."
A light blue light pouring down from heavens wrapped me and the guys once the prayer was recited.
The guys held out their hands, then talismans manifested in those hands.
Analysis skill tells me those are [Divine Talismans].
"Congratulations. God Parion has recognized you all as hero Hayato-sama's attendants."
With this, 'candidates' finally got struck out of their titles, and we had a formal ceremony to inaugurate them at the Temple of Heroes.
I smile at the friends I will entrust my back on from now on.
"We're all in this together now!"
With them, I can even fight demon lord.
At the time, I had absolutely no doubt in that conviction.