Fourth Outer World Story Series: Basilisk of Ice Sculpture - Chapter 45
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
My first glimpse of the area is outside the east gate of Japoterasu, a grassy field spreading as far as the eye could see, along a footpath between rice fields, wide enough for two horse-drawn carriages to pass abreast, extending far beyond the horizon.
The tips of what appear to be mirror stones could be seen peeking slightly through the gaps in the vegetation and along the pathway.
It seems that the area outside the east gate is indeed the site of a cluster of mirror stones.
“I can see them now.”
“Sora. Any reaction?”
“Yeah. No doubt about it. It has been transformed into a ‘Maze’.”
After running for a while, several large mirror stones protrude from the ground, and figures of people who seem to be members of a unit specializing in mirror stones become visible near it.
That is apparently the “Maze” in question.
“Are you the team that specializes in mirror stones?”
“A-Ah, that’s right. Who are you?”
“We are the Special Operations Squad of the Security Organization. Director Nihyo sent us on a mission to swiftly conquer the ‘Maze’ in which the Mirror Stone Specialized Unit is said to have been swallowed and to rescue them. You guys are the Mirror Stone Specialized Unit, right?”
“Is that true! That’s great! Oh, yeah, that’s right. We are the Mirror Stone Specialized Unit.”
Having driven the “Frozen Cloud”, I approach the person I assume to be the Mirror Stone Specialized Unit to clarify their affiliation and confirm that they are the intended unit.
They appear to be the people we are looking for.
Now, I could dive right in, but there are a few things I need to confirm.
“First, how did they get swallowed up?”
“When special sand was being applied to the mirror stone’s surface, four persons were swallowed. Fortunately, one of them landed close to the exit, and he is now explaining what transpired inside.”
“May I have further information?”
“In fact, go ahead and ask him.”
After that, it takes some time for us to hear from him about the situation inside the “Maze”.
According to him:
Inside the “Maze” is a wilderness with no ceiling or walls in sight, and because of the vastness of the place, it feels more like another world than a “Maze”.
With no walls or ceilings to be sighted, the interior of the “Maze” is a vast wilderness that seems more of another world than a conventional one due to its structure.
Nevertheless, as a “Maze,” the place is bound to contain monsters and traps.
So, the member who was able to escape was dropped off alone in a remote place, therefore, he has no idea what happened to the other members of the team.
“I see. Then, would it be better to go in with the ‘Frozen Cloud’ on board? What do you two think?”
“I think that would be an excellent idea if Akira-san’s exhaustion is not an issue.”
“It would be fitting given the presence of rescuers, I suppose. In the event of necessity, three persons could fit in the sidecar.”
“I understand. So let’s proceed and ride the ‘Frozen Cloud’.”
“Please do so.”
In light of the information within and the nature of our mission, I determine that I should bring the “Frozen Cloud” inside the “Maze,” and Toki-san and Sora-san concur and board the “Frozen Cloud.”
The “Frozen Cloud” can possibly be brought into the “Maze” if we enter it in this state.
“Then please watch out for my companions.”
“Oh, and do pray that they will be safe and sound.”
“Let’s do our best!”
We are escorted off by the Mirror Stone Specialist Unit as we enter the “Maze” onboard the “Frozen Cloud” after confirming our equipment.
“There are no signs of enemy movement around.”
The first things I feel once entering the “Maze” are the harsh sunshine bearing down on me from above and the dry wind hammering on my body.
I take a look at the surroundings.
The place where we now seem to be a plaza-like area separated from the surrounding space by black stone pillars and beams erected on all four sides.
“It really looks like a wilderness as far as the eye can see…”
“Indeed, it doesn’t give off the impression of being a ‘Maze’ at all…”
“But it is unquestionably a ‘Maze’. And compared to outside, the range of farsightedness is substantially less.”
The view outside the hall periodically displays withered grass, dead trees, and an elevated plateau, but it is essentially uniform throughout, a far cry from the “Maze” that is often linked with the concept of restricted space.
This location remains a “Maze,” nonetheless.
In fact, Sora-san’s farsightedness is limited, and I sense a peculiar atmosphere of a “Maze”.
Perhaps, if the exploration goes on for a little while, monsters will start to be encountered.
“Sora-san. Is there anything unique about the place as far as your distance vision is capable of seeing?”
“Wait a minute… hmm. There is nothing in particular. Neither gates, nor monsters, nor ‘boxes’.”
“Hmm. If so, I suppose we’ll have to proceed at appropriate intervals while being wary of the environment…”
“I guess so. That’s the only way.”
“Well, I’ll continue to be vigilant, and you take care of the defense, Toki nee-chan.”
Sora-san becomes more alert on the sidecar as I begin to pour a little power to the “Frozen Cloud” so that it may move at any moment, and Toki-san maintains her shield ready in case an assault takes place at any moment.
So, I am going to check the cold storage device of the “Frozen Cloud” but… it has enough cold air stored, and it can be used for an attack in case of emergency.
“(Then, please take care of it, Ys.)”
[Oh, count on me.]
When the stone beam dividing the hall from the outside is reached, the “Frozen Cloud” starts its run and slowly dives under it.
And the moment we are completely through…
“What the hell!?”
The sunlight that is pouring down towards our bodies has evidently intensified.
If we don’t hurry, things might really turn south…
Check out other Outer World Story series in order: First Outer World Story: The Black Mist that Devours, Third Outer World Story: Pumpkin Sorcerer, Fourth Outer World Story: Basilisk of Ice Sculpture
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