18-9. Tales of Hero Hayato 
『Oh this is not looking good dyesu.』
The yellow demon tore up its own fingers and produced three mid-class demons and nine lesser demons from them.
『Go stall him dyesu.』
As ordered by the yellow demon, the created demons went to attack us.
Once I beat two mid demons and five lesser demons in one blow, the third mid demon and the rest of the lesser demons took some distance away from me and started to snipe me from afar.
When I tried to use this chance to go after the yellow demon, they went and blocked my way.
They destroyed the terrain with excessive magic, and they would blow me away with gales if I tried jumping in the air.
I would have been long gone if it weren't for the rainbow lights.
Time keeps ticking.
This can't go on forever.
I can sense the rainbow power is disappearing inside me.
I cut apart the protruding terrain and even the gale trying to blow me away as I rushed at the yellow demon.
I exterminated the lesser demons that got in my way, and then just when I eradicated the third mid demon that put up a layered barrier, my time was up.
The rainbow light has disappeared.
My body won't move from the backlash of performing superhuman feats.
『I knew it, that was a time limited power dyseu.』
The yellow demon sneered.
I saw it producing two whirlpool of fiendish flames in both its hands. It's hopeless.
『Killing you outright won't be fun. The longer you despair the funner dyesu.』
My Analysis skill told me this hopeless situation got even worse.
The yellow demon erased its flames and buffed up the surviving four lesser demons with overt support magic.
The buffed up lesser demons that have gotten many times stronger slowly are approaching me.
Am I gonna die here.
I can't even protect my friends, and perished in the hand of a greater demon's underlings...
"--Don't give up Hayato!"
Several arrows rained down the leading lesser demon.
Shiaryi aimed her bow and arrow even when she's bloody all over.
"Don'tcha forget about us--Buster Hacker!"
Subac and Zayan who should have been cut in two eliminated one lesser demon each.
"...I made it in time somehow."
I saw Loreiya kneeling down.
Apparently She had healed Subac and Zayan with holy magic.
The last lesser demon slipped in between Subac and Zayan.
Swinging its great sword-like transformed arms overhead at me.
An argent tornado swallowed the lesser demon.
An argent knight rushed up and pierced the lesser demon with a magic sword as he yelled.
"Good grief, you'll always stay a half-wit without me around."
Jerid put up a manly smile with his half-dead body.
The lesser demon is crumbling under him.
"Can always count on my man."
We both exchanged a high five with our barely lifting arms.
『Wonderful camaraderie dyesu.』
A metallic sounding clap resounded in the battlefield.
"We'll buy you time."
"Jerid, Hayato's in yer' hands."
Subac and Zayan stood up blocking the demon's way, covering me.
"N-no! We're all returning alive together!"
"Yeah would love that."
"Got no other choice, see."
The two turned around slightly, looking at me with eyes of men resolved for death.
"Leave this place to us, you go on ahead!"
Subac and Zayan walked up to yellow demon.
Jerid shouldered me and ran in the opposite direction.
"N-no! Wait, Jerid!"
"Get it, Hayato! We cannot lose you."
I get it in reality.
That yellow demon isn't an opponent you can fight with a wounded body.
I burned the two's figure in my mind until the very end.
Jerid slipped and tumbled down when we got out of the grotto.
Loreiya who was running right behind us gave some sort of magic potion to Jerid.
I just realized that Loreiya had been carrying the fainted Shiaryi on her back.
Rokos who's following behind is shouldering Seina.
『Oh my my, are you done running away dyesu?』
The yellow demon emerged from the grotto.
"Looks like my turn's up."
"No, it's our turn."
Next to Rokos who readied his weapon, the roused up Shiaryi staggeringly readied hers.
"Loreiya, take care of Hayato."
Jerid passed me to Loreiya then he took some sort of medicine bottle from Item Box.
"Jules Verne is arriving soon. Take Hayato away on it."
As Jerid drank down the medicine, a red light wrapped him.
"Hayato, this is farewell. Make sure you beat the demon lord."
"Don't fret over us too much."
With Jerid, Shiaryi, and Rokos's voices behind us, Loreiya ran off carrying me and Seina.
"JERIDDDDDDDDDDDDD! SHIARYIIIIIIIIIIIII! ROKOSSSSSSSSSSSSS!"
Shouting their names was the only thing I could muster up.
What a hero am I.
I'm just a powerless boy.
At the end of my sight was the subdimensional ship, Jules Verne emerging out of a torn argent boundary.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Subac, Zayan, Jerid, Rokos, Shiaryi...."
I muttered the names of my friends who lost their lives in the clash against Yellow Demon.
Loreiya, Seina and I were saved by master Burume and Maryest who came to our rescue on Jules Verne.
We couldn't save anyone else.
Forget me saving anyone, they were the ones who saved me instead.
If only I went about it better, we could have all got away intact...
"Hayato, wanna go out for a stroll for some refreshment?"
"I don't feel like it."
"Hayato-sama, how are you feeling? If you like, I could use Healing Miracle to--"
"Leave me alone."
Maryest and Loreiya came to cheer me up, but I was full of self-loathing I couldn't respond to them. I'm starting to hate my immaturity.
"You're still down in the dump?"
This time it's Seina huh.
Just leave me alone for awhile.
Seina lifted my face with her hands and turned it toward her.
Seina's big eyes are staring at me.
Seina looked like she made up her mind and got her face closer--.
"YOUUU--BIG DUMMY OAAAAAAAAAAFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!"
A shocking impact hit my cheek.
Did I get hit?
Should I yell that not even my dad ever beat me here?
No wait, my dad beat me up all the time, so that's not right...
"What are you--"
Just as I tried to protest, Seina hit my other cheek with another fist.
"Who are you? What did you come here for?"
That's right. I'm a hero.
I chose to be a hero to answer the little goddess's wish.
"Yes, you are a hero. Or do you not want to save the world now?"
--Hayato-chan, what do you want to be like when you're all grown up?
--Me? I wanna be an adult who saves those in trouble!
That's right. That's what makes me me.
As I recalled what's important to me, I slowly raised my face.
My eyes met Seina's.
"Are you, awake now?"
She's wrapping her fist with her other hand and murmured with a half-crying half-smiling face.
"Yea, that was pretty effective."
I noticed as I said that. I feel more clear-headed than I thought.
Perhaps I had always wanted a punishment, not consolation.
"That's a better look on your face."
I asked Seina what happened while I was shutting myself off.
Apparently Master Burume took responsibility for the collapse of hero party and got dismissed. I protested the decision, but it fell on deaf ears.
As if they were saying that I had no say, being a hero who lost to a mere demon.
"Hayato, don't look so glum, we're here for you."
"Yes, Hayato-sama. Believe in yourself chosen by Parion-sama and god."
"Listen to Seina and Loreiya. Chin up."
Seina, Loreiya, Maryest supported me.
"I know. We're gonna start anew from zero--no, it's not zero. I--this great me got you girls. We're all the greatest, we'll definitely beat down this demon lord. Let's believe in it--no believe in me, come!"
I don't care if it's a mere bluff. I've made the resolve to be a true leader that guides my comrades, from now on I will call myself [Ore-sama (great me)].
"First we gotta get more comrades."
"Very well. I shall recruit people from among Saga Empire knights--"
I stopped Maryest who was about to stand up.
"This time this great me's gonna look around for comrades myself."
Can't leave it all to others.
So I've decided.
"Then let us head to Earkin Sanctuary first thing first."
"It's Shiaryi's and Subac's hometown."
When I told her that I didn't want to pick someone due to connections, she replied back strongly, "That's not it."
"Earkin are often said to be a race of combatants, they are also known to have served previous generation heroes."
Apparently, there were only a handful of heroes who didn't have an earkin as their attendant.
We jumped on Jules Verne and went to Earkin Sanctuary with Maryest on the helm.
...So we did, but it was quite a heavy journey.
We're never letting Maryest taking the control stick ever again.
Thus Seina, Loreiya and I swore.
"The 333th Cup of Hero is now starting!"
With a bunny-eared bunny girl costumed onee-san's shout, hoarse and shrill yells echoed in the venue.
Everyone here is an earkin. Full of bear-eared people like Subac, long-eared like Shiaryi, and even cat-eared and dog-eared people like you see in anime.
I was excited to see cat-eared and dog-eared little girls when we first arrived, but I quickly learned the uniqueness of this place.
Everybody I met, be it young, middle aged and even elderly, every single one of them had forged bodies, and all of them immediately and gleefully challenged me to an arm wrestling match or a real match the instance they saw me.
"Do you wanna be an attendant!?"
"Don't you dare fall behind those hornkin!"
My ears hurt.
"What's a hornkin?"
"They are a race of people that look like humans with horns, just like Deer-horn Zayan. At first they all lived together with earkin, but due to a number of reasons, they now live in their own hornkin sanctuary. They are also a race of combatants."
As I watched the intense battle royal unfolding before my eyes, I could see how that renown stuck.
A longear-kin who had climbed a tree defeated everyone who got close to the tree with speed rivaling Shiaryi.
"Oh she looks like Shiaryi. Perhaps she's a relative."
It's not only her face, her nonchalant-ness and relentlessness are also similar.
"Hayato, look over there. Those two."
"A bit rough on the edges, but they've got quite the sense."
A pair of wolfearkin and a tigerearkin women routed a line of men in a very good combination.
There were other strong men but only these two and the longearkin girl that calmly shot out arrows could possibly join us.
In this world, rather than how you look outwardly, it's level, skills, arts and battle senses that decides the outcome of a battle, thus watching one first hand is ideal.
"Wiyaryi is a natural choice, but are you sure you want to let our village's problem kids join?"
The chief ward of the sanctuary said that back when we went to him after the battle royal ended.
By the way, the longearkin girl, Wiyaryi was indeed Shiaryi's cousin.
"Picking us up huh, you know your stuff!"
"We wanna see your strength first. Let's have a match, hero!"
The tigerearkin Rusus and wolfearkin Fifi may not look similar outwardly, but they're two peas in a pod inside; battle junkies who could only be satisfied by battling.
I ended up fighting them due to their demand, but once I showed the gap in our strength and level, them being level 40, they agreed to be my attendants.
More than agreeing even, they went straight to clinging on me.
"Earkin and humans can make children. Hero's children will be strong for sure."
"Dunno how ya do it, but mom said the man would come on their own if ya just keep watching the ceiling!"
Fifi and Rusus clung all over me.
They're a bit too clingy. I was surprised when they went at me buck naked on the very first day, saying something like making children to succeed the next generation is a longearkin's mission or something, but once I reproved them seriously, they thankfully stopped their approach.
Might be disappointing as a healthy young man though...
"This is Jules Verne!"
Unexpectedly enough, Wiyaryi had interest in piloting and maintaining Jules Verne.
Since no one, including Maryest, could teach her how to do maintenance, we planned to find someone in Saga Empire's old capital to be her teacher once we're back.
"This great me's gonna be the tank, Rusus and Fifi physical attackers, Wiyaryi a ranged attacker, Seina a scout, Maryest a mage attacker and Loreiya in charge of healing and support."
I pondered our party formation while counting my fingers.
"I want someone to hold the center position. Someone who could use magic as well as Maryest would be best."
"That's a tall order if I ever hear one. --Do you have anyone in mind?"
"I do. Fit to a T."
I gave a positive to the stunned Maryest.
"Don't tell me--"
"Oh yeah, I'm telling you."
I'm going to scout that obnoxious cheeky woman.
Shiga Kingdom Duke's daughter, Ringrande.