Chapter 96: Cautious Instructions
After reading the sheet of paper, I stared closely at an unconscious Seiya.
…No, you know…How was he “Perfectly Ready” with that state…? Wasn’t this occurrence quite bizarre…?
While I was engrossed with my own thoughts…
「Miss Lista!! Look at that!! 」
Kiriko was pointing towards a different place. I was fully astonished when I saw it.
All of the images that we saw on the water buckets changed dramatically! It seemed that the earth snake cameras outside of the fortress retreated immediately! All of the images transformed into videos that showed an underground labyrinth! Furthermore, there was a button-like projection that I’ve never seen before on a rock desk!
「The military basement room just changed into a dungeon room that connects to a huge underground labyrinth…!」
John Dae spoke with a stunned expression on his face.
「We are at the bottom of the labyrinth. It seems that we’re at the 30th basement level. That means that we aren’t in immediate danger. However, it was written on that paper that if we follow the instructions, we’ll able to defeat Ceremonic even though the hero has fallen. But, how can we follow his instructions?」
Then, the earth snake, who brought the letter buried in the ground, dived into the floor as if it understood John Dae’s words. After a few seconds, the earth snake appeared again but with a scroll attached to its body.
「Is…Is this the instructions? 」
The moment I tried to pick it up, dozens of earth snakes with scrolls came out of the ground!
I was so shocked that I yelled aloud. Then, the earth snakes went to a specific area and gathered all of those scrolls together on that spot. Before long, those scrolls transformed into a mountain of endless scrolls.
「He must be kidding me! Are all of these scrolls his instructions!? 」
John Dae shouted in astonishment. And, I agreed with his surprise. I mean, when he had the time to write that large amount of instructions in the first place!? Actually, wasn’t it natural that he fell down with fatigue and overwork by doing all of this!?
After I gazed fixedly at Seiya with stunned eyes, an earth snake gave me a scroll. There was a sentence written inside.
『If I’m dead, advance to Page 108. If I’m not dead, advance to Page 266.』
「Wha…What is this!? This thing looks like a Game Book!! 」
「Game Book!? Goddess!! What is that!? 」
「It’s a type of book that was extremely popular a long time ago in Seiya’s world! Choices usually appear in the middle of the text, and you’ll advance to the page that matched with your choice! Since the creation of interactive games that could be played on TV, the Game Book became completely out of use!」
「Ah, I don’t know what you’re talking about!! 」
「You were the one who asked me about it!! 」
「Yo…You both! Please, calm down! Anyway, let’s proceed to the page as instructed by Mister Seiya!」
「It’s Page 266 because Seiya is alive…Shall we search for it? 」
I was taken aback when I stared at the huge pile of scrolls. But then, I heard a noise and saw that an earth snake was bringing a specific scroll on its mouth. I picked up the scroll. It had the number “266” written at the bottom of the page.
Ah. The earth snakes would bring me the specific scroll if I spoke the number of the page aloud. How convenient.
I read the following text.
『I want you to abandon your idea of “let’s wait until he regains his consciousness”, just because I’m not dead, there’s a possibility that I’m bedridden. But, you have the will to defeat the Emperor Ceremonic on your own. Well, I’ll tell you what do to from now on. Don’t worry, my instructions are so easy to understand that even monkeys would understand it perfectly.』
It was rude of him to compare us with monkeys…!
『I’ll start with a brief explanation about the underground labyrinth. There aren’t any traps from the top floor to the 5th floor. It has a maze-like configuration. This is time-consuming, but I want you to be familiar with the labyrinth system for the time being. I want you to read the scrolls that the earth snakes will bring to you from now on. I hope that I can answer your questions with my instructions.』
Kiriko and I obediently received the scroll manual that the earth snake gave us. Yet, John Dae headed for a monitor set up in a water bucket.
「John Dae? 」
「No matter how much he is a visionary hero, there’s no way that he’ll predict every possible scenario. Besides, didn’t he write those scrolls before he even met Ceremonic? There’s no guarantee that we’ll succeed. So, I’ll keep an eye on Ceremonic’s movements.」
「Bu…But, Mister John Dae! Just look at this! This part says, “Proceed to Page 68 if Ceremonic has an instant movement skill”!」
「Im…Impossible!! How could he foresee that!? 」
「I’m sure that he thought about several possibilities before he met Ceremonic. It seems that Mister Seiya has an incredible foresight. Ah, it says other things! If Ceremonic is a beast type proceed to Page 2687, if it is a vampire type proceed to Page 4743, and then…Here! In the case it is a two-faced type proceed to Page 7878!」
「What the hell is that!! That’s no longer a matter of foresight!!」
「C’mon! Just shup up! All right! John Dae, you should keep a watch on Ceremonic from now on!」
After that, Kiriko and I continued to read the scroll manual and we proceeded to make choices according to Seiya’s options…After a while, John Dae shouted to us.
「Hey! Ceremonic is going down the stairs to the 6th floor! She cleared the maze so quickly!」
She moved a lot faster than what I expected. Of course, she must’ve used her instant movement skill to teleport rapidly. However, Kiriko and I had already finished reading the scroll manual by then.
I approached John Dae and I peeked at the water bucket. From what I saw from the video, the 6th level was a simple passage with only two corners next to a staircase. It was quite simple when compared to the previous level, which was complex like a labyrinth.
Of the two heads, the disturbed-haired Serena spoke with an annoyingly tone.
「It was a long maze. 」
The other head, big sis Monica, replied to her.
「But, we moved instantaneously through it…Ah? What is this sound? 」
My eyes moved to the side corner of the video upon seeing something odd. A huge round rock was rolling towards Ceremonic! But, she wasn’t that surprised or upset!
「Eh, did he set up rolling rock traps? What should we do? I can’t see the other side because it’s blocked by that rolling rock, and I can’t teleport because I don’t have any visibility.」
I realized it when I heard Serena’s words.
Seiya guessed it right! So, that meant that Ceremonic could only “move to a location where she must see it first”!
In the meantime, Ceremonic turned around to avoid getting hit by the rolling rock! But then, she noticed that another huge rock was rapidly approaching her from the other side!
「Okay! She’s gonna get crushed by those rocks! 」
John Dae spoke with a joyful tone…
「Up there, Serena. We’ll make it through if we consider the diameter of the rock. 」
She disappeared for a brief moment…When I thought that she was gone for real, I noticed that Ceremonic was clinging up to the ceiling of the passage.
「Ugh! She dodged the rocks! 」
「She…She looks like a spider…! 」
The two rolling rocks didn’t crush Ceremonic. They just collided with one another and stopped moving because of the direct impact. John Dae was trembling with frustration, while Ceremonic laughed triumphantly. But, on this moment, I pushed the button on the deck.
John Dae wavered his body upon hearing a tremendous roar. The video in the water bucket became pure white as if it were covered with smoke.
「Wha…What was that just now!? 」
「It is Seiya’s instructions. It was written, “press the button if the enemy avoids the rolling rocks”. Those rocks are a remotely controlled Bakudan Rock.」
「That means that he assumed that this enemy could avoid those rocks…! So, that’s why he created remotely controlled Bakudan Rocks…! Just how paranoid is he…!?」
We stared at different angles from the videos shown by the earth snake cameras. Before long, we could see that Ceremonic’s dress was torn apart because of the explosion. Serena screamed aloud.
「It hurts…My back hurts a lottttt!! 」
「Calm down, Serena. It’s just a little burn. 」
「Da…Damn it…!! I won’t forgive him for this…!! I will kill the hero, the hero’s comrades, and every single human left on this continent!! I’ll kill them all!!」
Serena was cursing and swearing at us. I was scared, but I tried not to listen to her rants. Therefore, I asked Kiriko the following question.
「Kiri. What’s next? 」
「Well, let’s see. “If a physical attack works on the enemy, go to Page 8193”…」
I read the new instructions brought by a new earth snake.
『After crossing level 7th, a myriad of arrows are set as traps to inflict damage on Ceremonic. It’s time to move the enemy to a corner. There should be a time lag until the teleportation skill is activated again. Aim at it and press the button to summon the beehive.』
Ceremonic went down the stairs from the 7th to the 8th level on the underground labyrinth. The burns on her back weren’t that serious.
…At the 8th level. In front of Ceremonic’s eyes, the ground raised up violently. It was clearly a trap.
Ceremonic used her instant movement to make a shortcut. She reappeared at the corner of the screen. After she turned around and proceeded ahead by walking a few steps, Ceremonic’s complexion changed dramatically. Suddenly, small holes appeared on the wall.
I pressed the button as instructed by Seiya. As soon as I pushed it, countless of arrows were released from the small holes and directed towards Ceremonic! It was useless to run away! The absurd amount of arrows attacked Ceremonic from the front, back, left and right sides!
As Seiya predicted, she took a longer time to activate her skill. Ceremonic was protecting both of her heads with her arms crossed.
…It was really like a beehive. Even so, Ceremonic stood still after the rain of arrows finished attacking her. Under her feet was a huge pile of broken arrows.
…Ugh! Her defense power was high! None of those arrows managed to pierce her body!
Serena spoke after spitting to the floor.
「Hmm. That was just a scratch. 」
「No, it wasn’t, Serena. The arrows were poisoned. We have to burn the wounds right now in order to prevent it from spreading any further…」
「Ugh! That bastard hero…! 」
After a while, Ceremonic, on which she appeared on the 9th level, proceeded slowly to see if there were no traps. She didn’t use her instant movement skill of teleportation.
I looked at Seiya’s instructions.
『From now on, Ceremonic will continue to dive in the underground labyrinth with cautiousness because of subsequent traps. However, there aren’t any traps on this level.』
Monica’s face, which was tense at the beginning, suddenly brightened up.
「Serena! I see the next staircase! 」
「Yeah! There was nothing on this area! Damn it, how does he dare to play with us like this… 」
However, the moment she touched the first step of the stairs…
Ceremonic screamed extremely high! Countless of needle-like swords stuck out from the floor of the stairs imperceptibly!
John Dae was shuddering upon watching this sight.
「So, there was a trap on the stairs that connected the 8th level with the 9th level…!」
「This…This really took me by surprise! 」
「Well, let’s see. According to the supplement of his instructions, that trap is made of “powerful needles using the material of the Platinum Sword”…」
Ceremonic shouted aloud in a form of extreme rage. I noticed that a large amount of black blood dripped from her feet.
「Damn you heroooooo!! 」
Afterwards, a variety of traps was set up on the next underground level, the 10th level. Pitfalls…Spears coming out of the walls…And the place where Ceremonic finally managed to arrive after dodging some of the traps was, however, a dead end. The mud wall had a forehead drawn on it with some kind of ornaments. A sentence was written there.
『Four legs in the morning…two legs at noon…three legs at night. Please write the answer of this creature’s name.』
A pen was placed under the forehead. Ceremonic’s younger sister Serena twisted her neck in confusion.
「What a bothersome game. The next staircase won’t appear if we don’t solve this damn mystery…But, what’s the answer? I have no clue.」
Still, Monica raised the corner of her mouth.
「I know what the answer is. 」
「Really, big sis Monica! 」
「Yes. The answer is… 」
Suddenly, there was a roaring sound coming from that weird forehead! The video of the earth snake camera was also disturbed!
Just when I thought out loud, 「What was that!? 」, an earth snake came to me with a different scroll.
『At the end of the 10th level is a “trap that explodes while the enemy is thinking about solving the problem”. By the way, the answer is “Human”. That’s all.』
I felt something cold that spread throughout my spine.
「Wha…What a completely outrageous trap! 」
「Ye…Yes! This type of trap showed the bad character of a human being!」
Even though that trap wasn’t exactly created with fair play in mind, the effect was successful. Ceremonic’s left wrist disappeared because of the explosion!
「My…My hand isssssss…!」
When I looked closely at her, I noticed that, besides losing her left hand, the burn on her back spread further on her skin, and her legs were also injured! She became a mess!
「Great! If it keeps going like this, we’ll be able to get rid of her without much difficulty before she reaches the 30th level!」
I nodded in agreement to John Dae’s words. As I slipped through the scroll manual, I saw that the upcoming traps were going to become more intense and more treacherous after the 10th level.
…As expected of Seiya! He was Perfectly Ready even after falling unconscious! It really seemed that we could defeat this enemy on our own!
…After she lost her left hand, the wall that exploded collapsed into fragments and the passage to the next 11th level appeared.
After seeing it…
One of the Ceremonic sisters laughed mischievously.
「Wha…What’s going on, big sis Monica? 」
「Ridiculous. This is extremely ridiculous. We don’t have the need to keep playing with the hero’s stupid game, not anymore…」
「But, we won’t reach them if we don’t go through the stairs, am I right? Aren’t they at the bottom floor?」
「It’s fine, Serena. We don’t need those stairs. Just…Yes, that’s right. We only need a new power that will allow us to go to the lowest floor where the hero is hiding. Yes, just like the same time when we gained the new power by killing our young sister Shanak.」
Ceremonic’s right hand grabbed Serena’s face.
「No…No way!! You’re kidding, right!? Big sis Monica!? 」
「Serena. This time, I shall sacrifice you for our sake. 」
I heard a dull sound from the video. When I looked closely at it, I saw that Serena’s face got crushed! Her nose was disfigured in a horrifying way and her eyeballs popped out of her face.
「Wh…Whoa…! Weren’t they companions…? 」
Monica began to laugh like a mad woman next to her sister’s crushed face.
「Ahhhhhhhhhh! I’m sorry my dear younger sister Serena! But, with this, I will take the Empress Ceremonic to a higher level! I know that you’re seeing me through your earth snakes monitors! Now, you and I are finally connected by your mechanisms! This means that I’ll be able to reach you on the lowest floor through this connection!」
Then, the hand of Ceremonic stretched towards the video where we were seeing from an earth snake camera.
「…Wha…What she said is really that possible? 」
The moment when John Dae looked right at me…
「Oh…Oh no…! 」
Kiriko shouted in a panicking way. Beyond Kiriko’s sight was the hand of Ceremonic that stuck out of the water bucket!
Ceremonic forcibly tried to crawl out of that distorted space with a devilish expression on her face! It was a very terrible and horrifying scene as if the devil was coming to get us!
「Teleportation that moves through the space…“Dimension Step”…! 」
Kiriko and John Dae were petrified upon seeing this disturbing sight.
「It is a shame. But, the traps that you’ve set up for me won’t work anymore. 」
Then, Ceremonic’s hand grabbed my face before I could react.
「Now, you’re going to die with a suffering of 100 times more, no, of 1000 times more than the suffering you’ve inflicted on me…!」
It was a desperate situation. However…On that precise moment, my face became sand and disappeared completely! Not only my face! All of my body transformed into sand and scattered on the floor!
Ceremonic was astonished. John Dae and Kiriko, who were supposed to be beside me, already turned into sand.
…In the meantime. John Dae, Kiriko and I were watching this scene from a video installed on the wall.
John Dae finally uttered some words beside me.
「He…Hey!! What the hell is that room!? 」
「It was a fake military room prepared by Seiya. He created some clay dolls exactly like us.」
「I…I fully understood that…But, Ceremonic killed her sister and gained the power to move between the earth snakes cameras on which we were watching!? How on earth was that earth snake camera connected to the fake room and not with this room!?」
「Look at this. 」
I showed John Dae one of the pages of the scroll manual.
『Ceremonic may crawl out of the monitor like a ghost through the eyes of an earth snake. In preparation for that time, I blocked the connection by sandwiching another video point between the earth snake camera and the water bucket. By the way, the place where you are now isn’t the lowest level of the underground labyrinth. The military room is located on an isolated place over a few meters away from the location of the underground labyrinth. All of the images that you saw from the water buckets belonged to the connection between the fake room and the underground labyrinth. Once the video has been corrupted, the image line disconnected from that sandwiching linkage.』
I spoke to John Dae, who was in a loss of words.
「This is the biggest trap of the underground labyrinth, the “Proxy Room”!」
Awesome Seiya!!! I loved this chap!!! What about you readers?
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!