35 A test of strength.

(Honjou Masayuki Pov)

Masayuki used to be your everyday school kid. One time when walking home from school he discovered that he was no longer in his world. It all had happened in a flash, the moment he blinked he had appeared in a different world.

Trying to find his way around the new place he had found himself in, he ended up awakening a Unique skill called Chosen Hero. It was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to him, and at the same time, he hoped he had never awakened it. The skill gave him several benefits. One of them being Heroic Comprehension, which allowed him to understand any language, saving him the trouble of not being able to communicate with the people in this new world.

After protecting a girl he had just met the Unique skill awakened fully and it gave him the following skills

Heroic Aura: It released an overpowering aura that made lesser enemies freeze in place. And there is a high chance that they will be awed by the aura and be ready to follow the orders of the user.

Heroic Compensation: It gives the user huge luck, causing all of his attacks to be critical attacks. This effect also applies to allies. It also has the added benefit of making any action or words from the Chosen Hero to be interpreted in a positive light by those around them.

Heroic Charm: It rouses the hearts of anyone watching the user in action, reducing their fear and stimulating their bravery. Anyone affected gains increased trust in the user. As another effect, anyone defeated by the user will be compelled to join them as their companion. This effect applies to all non-undead monsters.

Heroic Action: It assists in the path of becoming a hero.

Masayuki could still remember it clearly when the voice of the world informed him of these skills. If it wasn't for it he probably would have gotten beaten to a pulp. Somehow after he acquired it he ended up getting pushed around by his newly gained followers. He had become an adventurer and his name had spread throughout the world as the "Lightspeed Hero Masayuki".

To many other people, this would have been the best life that they could have asked for, but for Masayuki… He felt a bit like a fraud. He was called Lightspeed hero because people believed he defeated anyone so fast that he moved at lightspeed, but in truth, he did nothing. Every person he fought either just dropped down and surrendered because of his aura or was taken care of by his companions.

Not only that but even when he wanted to get a moment of peace he got pushed around to do "Heroic" stuff. By this point, he had gotten used to it, yet it still made him wonder what life as a normal person would be like. The "MA SA YU KI" shouts the public screamed whenever they thought he did anything cool had burned into his head. Every time he heard it he felt like a birthday kid having to stand in front of everyone while they sang Happy birthday.

This had become his daily routine, going around with his party and standing around while they took care of everything. Just his presence there was enough to lower the morale of the enemies for a quick win.

This had gone on until a letter appeared right in front of him. It had literally appeared from out of nowhere and dropped down in his lap. It read.

"Hello there Masayuki, I assume you are an otherworlder right? Your name sounds Japanese. Anyways, a fellow otherworlder here. I heard about all that you have been up to and it must be pretty exhausting right?

Anyways, I have an invitation for you. Since I came into this world I have built my own city, it has many things from our old world. Food, bathrooms, hot springs, you name it. If it wasn't for limited technology we would have video games but for now, we only have manga that I was able to recreate.

Pretty soon we are going to have a festival in my country and I wanted to give you an invitation. The country is Tempest, in the forest of Jura. Feel free to drop by if you want to take a vacation from all the hero work.

Also, you might hear that I am a demon lord. I'm not sure how familiar you are with things just sort of happening but it kind of just did. I came back to my city after visiting Englisia and by the next day, I was a demon lord. Crazy how stuff happens right?

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Rimuru Tempest.

Forest of Jura, Tempest.

Date of the Festival is…"

Masayuki's eyes widened as he read the letter. "Crazy how stuff happens" could it be that he was like him? Manga? Food? Now he was sure he had to meet with this person named Rimuru. Actually, he remembered some members of his party talking about how a new demon lord had appeared in the forest of Jura. Maybe if he talked to him they could find a way to solve his "Heroic" condition.

His thoughts were interrupted when some food and manga appeared out of nowhere. The food he saw almost brought tears to his eyes, how long had it been since he had eaten food like this? And the manga was "The Singular Part" His favorite manga that was about a boy who wanted to become the pirate king along with his crew the Straw Sombrero Pirates.

After he finished eating the food he burst out from his room and said

"We are heading to Tempest!"

"Leader is going to defeat the new demon lord!" One of his team members, Bonnie, shouted out.

"No, I am not!" said Masayuki with a smile. "Let's go"

Sadly his mood soured listening to his party talking about how "modest" he was for keeping his attack on the demon lord a secret.

(Rimuru Pov)

I was currently riding Ranga around the Labyrinth with Ramiris on my head. She was using my horns to steer me and I would steer Ranga around following the directions she led. Since I was in a really good mood I went along with it. I was carrying the fox that had been rescued from Clayman in my arms. I had given her the name Kumara and she was currently sleeping. We were heading towards where the insects I had rescued where to check up on the progress.

"Look at how perfectly organized the labyrinth is! I spent many days working tirelessly to organize it to what it is now. The perfect place for training, with my newly created resurrection bracelet no one who wears it is capable of dying inside of the dungeon. And with Veldora releasing his aura monsters are beginning to appear inside of it, so feel free to send all the newbies around to learn." Ramiris was speaking with pride in her voice.

Since it was clear she was looking for praise I decided to "pat" her head.

"Wow, you did such a good job! I can see why you are called the Queen of the Labyrinth"

"Argh, stop, you are crushing me." she said as she pushed my hand away. "Are you making fun of me?" She said with a flustered expression.

"Hmmmm, no I don't think I am. Good job Ramiris"

Changing the topic hoping I wouldn't notice her embarrassment we finally entered the room with the insects. And I was quite surprised to see their growth. They all had grown in size and taking a look at their magicules they appeared to be way stronger since the last time I saw them.

[Report. The subjects, Zegion the beetle, Apito the bee, Jouzu the assassin bug, Maimai the mantis, and Silk the spider are getting near to their first evolution.

After focusing a portion of the magicules released by Veldora directly at them their evolution speed has been increased.]

"How is it going! You all look to have grown stronger since you started staying in the labyrinth. Want to give it a test?"

They all started circling around me excitedly. I had spent a long time with them since I had first rescued them all. Since I knew how big their potential was I made sure to train them every once in a while. They really enjoyed every time we trained, or in the way they saw it, played. Since they had yet to acquire a humanoid form there wasn't much I could teach about physical combat but I had helped them to use their skills better.

"You know the rules already. Go all out and don't worry for me, I'll be fine. I won't use any of the skills you do and no skills that are unique or higher unless you use them first. If you do good I'll give you a reward. Kumara, Ranga, Want to join?"

"YES MASTER" Ranga said with excitement. His tail was beginning to wag at supersonic speeds but he quickly controlled himself so he wouldn't blow Ramiri's away with the winds he created.

Ramiris flew to a safe spot and then gave me a thumbs up to let me know she was ready to watch.

"Alright," I said as I drew a circle with a 5 feet diameter (~1.5 meters) "If you can get me to step out you win."

Standing in the middle I looked at Ramiris.

"Ready! Set! GO!" She shouted.

At that moment a cocoon began to form around me. It was made by Silk with expert usage of Universal thread. Every single thread that formed the cocoon had different effects that worked to create the deadliest weapon. Corrosive, burning, freezing, shocking, a little bit of everything. Before my vision was blocked by the threads I saw Ranga and Jouzu disappear into the shadows.

Activating a skill I hadn't used much since I got it from Charybdis I destroyed the threads around me.

'Laser look'

A bright red beam cut through the corners and kept on changing direction to cut the rest of the threads holding the cocoon together with the use of control particles. A knock-off version of Darkseid's Omega beams.

Sensing the electricity above me I created a shield using the earth around me just in time to block it. Zegion had already learned multi-layered barrier from me and was using it so I couldn't just tank the hit with it.

The moment I blocked the attack Ranga and Jouzu emerged from the shadows next to me and attacked at the same time from my left and my right. Jouzu had his syringe-like mouth aiming right at me with some dangerous-looking liquid dripping out and ranga was attempting to bite me. I activated body armor on both my hands and stopped them right as they were about to reach me.

All acting at the same time Zegion launched towards my front with his horn aimed right at me with great speed. A white ape that had been summoned by Kumara was above me with a fist that was covered in the wind element which enhanced its strength ready to attack me. And behind me was Maimai with his blade-like claws ready to cut me.

They had all focused their attack at this moment. Apito was high in the sky and was shooting poison needles at me. The wind and thunder element was going all out of control in preparation for a strike. Shadow spears created by Silk were all around me. I hardly had time to process everything since Raphael was under no Unique skills or higher category. But I did have time to think of a plan.

My hands were both busy, and Maimai behind me was using shapeshift to make his claws sharper and easier to maneuver, so shapeshift was out. But there was something new that they had yet to use.

'Astral body'

With the knowledge I had gained about souls from Asmodeus and Raphael I was able to gain better control of my astral body, which was something akin to a bridge between the soul and body. Emerging from my body a ghostlike version of my current form emerged. Except it had six arms, one pointing at each of the monsters.

'Magic Control. Ice area'

'Magic Jamming'

A large blast of cold magic struck everyone at once. The Magic jamming stopped the skills that were prepared from working. Everyone who had surrounded me got launched backward and their bodies were mostly frozen. With magic jamming still active They couldn't use their skills to break out from the ice.

"5!" Ramiris shouted.

Zegion and Ranga, as the physically strongest, began to attempt to break out using only their physical strength.

"4!

3!"

Huge cracks began to appear on the ice that was trapping them

"2!

1!"

0!

Rimuru Tempest wins!" Ramiris said as she cheered on and began clapping.

Zegion and Ranga were too late to break the ice, Ramiris had declared the winner. Once they were immobilized or could no longer fight the countdown would begin. After a second had passed all the ice broke away.

"Hahahahaha, that was a pretty short fight, though I will admit that you almost got me for a second there. You all have grown really strong, I am proud of all of you. You have earned your rewards before I leave. For now, how about we do another round?"

I felt the excitement for battle begin to grow in all of them and they all stood up ready to fight once again.

"Master," Zegion said through thought communication. "Could you please teach me Magic Jamming?"

Walking up to Zegion I placed my hand on his shell.

"Of course, but let's wait until after we are done sparring ok?"

I could swear I almost saw a smile on Zegion's beetle face.

"Ok"

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