Fourth Outer World Story Series: Basilisk of Ice Sculpture - Chapter 24
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
“Let me begin by saying that this is a test, but it is also a real battle. You must be conscious that the only way to handle whatever is in there or whatever crisis can develop is to be inside it.”
In front of the mirror, which is roughly 2 meters high and one and a half meters wide, instructor Suzunari addresses the group of people lined up in front of it.
We, on the other hand, who are listening to the speech, are… wearing various expressions. The majority of the people are nervous, but there are some who give the impression that there is nothing to worry about, while others are excited to the point of being bizarre.
As for me… I would say I am somewhat excited.
After all that has transpired, I would have thought I would be a little more agitated, but mysteriously I am more relaxed.
“I’d like to add that you are neither heroes nor warriors that have fought in the past. Your survival should be your top concern, and you should be aware that your worst mistake would be to put other people in danger by overworking yourself in an effort to succeed. Do you understand!”
In response to Instructor Suzunari’s speech, everyone responds with a salute and a loud voice.
“The first unit of candidates for the Security Organization eradication squad will now undertake the official admission examination!”
Each of us then touches the mirror, which serves as the entrance to the “Maze,” and plunges into the “Maze”.
“No signs of nearby enemy activity. No sign of any allies.”
“Nor any sign of any mechanism in operation.”
The three of us who have entered the “Maze,” namely, myself, Toki-san, and Sora-san, are sent into a small room with a wooden floor and metal tubes lining the walls, and as is customary when entering the “Maze,” we check the situation around us as we stand back to back, confirming that nothing is amiss.
It is clear that after entering the “Maze,” we have not yet experienced any monster assaults.
“So, what are our next steps?”
“We will have to proceed from the nearest place, as is our usual practice.”
“Running around aimlessly is a foolish course of action.”
Sora-san is alert and puts her hand on the door of the small room… which is a plain door with handles and hinges attached to a line of metal cylinders.
At the same time, I set bullets in my sling, and Toki-san sets up her shield in preparation of an unexpected onslaught.
Furthermore, when it comes to investigating the “Maze,” you never know where you will be sent first, and even if you have already explored the maze, the structure will change from time to time, rendering the search point meaningless.
“Then, let’s go. There are no signs of enemies beyond the door.”
“I’ll open the door!”
Sora-san opens the door and leaps out into the space beyond it to ascertain the direction to the right, followed by Toki-san who jumps out to determine the left-hand direction, and finally, me who spring out to begin concentrating power in my right eye to be ready for anything that may come.
“I found a three‐forked road ahead of us. The adversary is not present.”
“My side seems to be a dead end with only a normal passageway extending along it.”
“We will move with caution to the three‐forked road that Sora-san found.”
We are now in a passageway that appears to be an exact continuation of the small chamber we were in earlier.
We are left with no option as to which to choose, though, as one side is a dead end and the other is a three-forked road.
As a result, we head in the direction of the three-forked road, conceal ourselves in the corner of the passage, and only look at the ends of the three-forked road with our faces.
“To the right is a crossroad.”
“As for the left side, the distance goes a little further and then turn left?”
“Wait a minute… the one at the crossroad has a trap at the intersection.”
“It’s a little far, so it’s hard to tell, but I suspect it’s a trap like a noisemaker, Toki nee-chan.”
“So that will mean when we step on it, monsters will gather… huh. Can it be deactivated?”
“Akira onee-sama, I am sorry to say, but it seems to be incorporated into the foundation of the ‘Maze’, so I believe that it is impossible to disarm it. The only countermeasure is to avoid places where the sound is heard.”
“I understand. Then let’s head to the left.”
We turn left at the three-fork road, and I ask her to look around the corner ahead of us in light of Sora-san’s report that it would be better not to set it off.
Beyond the corner is a door attached to the left and right walls, and a humanoid monster… called Soldier standing in the opposite direction from us with both arms as swords, the rest of the joints thickened, and the rest of the body thin like a stick.
“Is the Soldier’s core the head?”
“Yes. In human terms, there would have been a red crystal at the eyes.”
“Then, should we finish it off? Since there’s no other enemy in sight, it is safer to eliminate it right away.”
The three of us back away from the corner and begin discussing the plan to take out the Soldier at the end of the corner.
I subsequently begin counting with merely my fingers.
Being the first to jump out of the corner, I use the power of my right eye to turn a part of the Soldier’s body into ice to halt its movement.
To be candid, I would have liked to freeze the monster to death, but it appears that it has a very strong resistance to this sort of power.
The Soldier’s posture is disrupted when Toki-san rushes forward with a shield that has been fortified followed by Sora-san smashing the Soldier’s head with a similarly reinforced hammer, causing it to be reduced to a clay ball.
It seems that the Soldier has been killed.
“Keep an eye on your surroundings! We’ll move out as soon as we retrieve the materials!”
But when Sora-san tries to express her joy without any restraint, I remonstrate with her.
The reason for my remonstration is simple. This is a “Maze”. A moment’s lapse of carelessness or negligence can prove to be deadly, and there is no way we can be complacent in a place like a passageway, where no one knows what might pop up at any given moment.
“What about the doors on both sides?”
“No traps on either side.”
“I’ve already collected it.”
“Good. Open the door on the right and move inside.”
I run over to them, while they investigate the doors on the left and right and recover a part of the clay that the Soldier has changed into.
It is reported that the clay that is converted when a monster has fallen can be processed with the power of some Gods to create a variety of tools and equipment, but it is generally kept a secret from the public; even I was unaware of this in the past.
This is why it is recommended to gather as much clay as possible can after defeating a monster.
Moreover, this knowledge is not made available to the general public in order to prevent individuals from being overcome by greed and entering the “Maze” without any capability to fight.
Indeed, it is unattainable to defeat a monster without training, which makes sense.
“There’s another small room.”
“I have confirmed that there is nothing in the small room.”
“Let’s all go inside for now. Safety first.”
We three enter the room once Toki-san has opened the front door and Sora-san has assessed that there is no threat within.
I double-check my equipment just to be on the safe side.
“My equipment is fine.”
“The same goes for me…”
“I’m in the same boat. Then let’s take a deep breath. There is still more to be done.”
Having assured ourselves that our equipment is in good condition, the three of us take a deep breath to calm ourselves down and lightly rest our bodies.
The anxiety that comes with unknown circumstances can be more nerve-wracking than anyone can imagine.
If you take a break after realizing you are fatigued yet do not know what will happen, that would likely mean your future is already set in stone.
“All right, then, let’s continue, shall we?”
They both nod their heads in accord with my words.
The “Maze’s” exploration is still in its early stages.
There is a change of schedule, there won’t be any releases on weekends
Check out other Outer World Story series in order: Outer World Story: The Black Mist that Devours (First series), Outer World Story: Pumpkin Sorcerer (Third series), Outer World Story: Basilisk of Ice Sculpture (Fourth series)
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