Labyrinth’s Encroachment Part 5
Despite his unwillingness, Dino advanced to face Beretta and Zegion . Both sides locked eyes for a brief moment . 『Well then, let the fight begin!』 Ramiris gleefully started the battle . Dino wasn’t as much of a battle maniac as Pico or Garasha . Rather, he thought it was a pain . But it couldn’t be helped . Dino decided to fight properly . If only it was that simple . Dino had tried to leisurely dodge Beretta’s fist, but as if it was not bound by its original shape, the arm twisted after Dino like a snake after its prey . (He looks humanoid, but only on the outside! His body should be a doll, but it looks like he’s completely fused with that body!)In just that short exchange, Dino revised his evaluation of Beretta . Dino had easily defeated the old Beretta, but the current Beretta couldn’t even compare to his past self . (More importantly, he grew way too much in such a short time…)Gabil and Gerudo’s growth was bad enough, but to think that even Beretta had grown stronger . And Zegion hadn’t even joined in yet . Dino wanted to just throw his hands up in defeat . Because he was lost in thought, Dino didn’t realize that the ground beneath him had turned into a swamp, until it was too late .
‘Oh, shit!’ he thought . But his feet had already sunk into the ground . Beretta had manipulated the earth . 「Hey, I’m sure you didn’t have this ability before!?」「Is that so? Well, I do now . 」 He was knee-deep into the ground, but it was only the beginning . The ground solidified and turned into liquid metal . It was a trap that even Dino would find hard to escape from, even with all his strength . Dino had been so wary of Zegion, that he never expected Beretta’s sudden growth . His plan was to neutralize Beretta first before facing Zegion, but that plan was becoming less and less likely . Zegion was approaching . Zegion’s fist was still as sharp and fast as ever . As his legs couldn’t be moved and he didn’t have any evasion technique, Dino tried to parry with his left arm . *Paf* . The blow was surprisingly light . Rather, it was too light . His body felt no pain . But that was not the case for his soul 「It… hurtsーーーー!!」 Dino cried out in pain . Dino was a spiritual life-form, so naturally he had『Pain Nullification』 . Despite that, his soul screamed in pain, as if the pain was mocking him . 「Y-you bastard! You’re not Zegion, are ya!? Pulling an underhanded move like that…」「Fufuu, how foolish . You have only yourself to blame for being tricked . Is there even a point in using a normal attack against an opponent who has high resistance against damage? But, if you were so worried about Zegion-sama, then my attack would be easier to land . Surprise attacks are surprisingly effective, you know?」 Zegion ― no, not Zegion . It was Apito, who disguised as Zegion by using his ability, who answered while sprouting out a smile .
And then, Zegion’s appearance transformed into a beautiful insect type Majin . Although the effect of『Instant Death』 didn’t activate, it seemed the effect of『Sharp Pain』that was one rank lower than it worked . If he had seen it coming and resisted the attack, there wouldn’t have been a problem . But having taken the full brunt of the blow once, resistance was futile . That was due to Apito’s ability, Anaphylactic Shock . That single hit had robbed Dino of his resistances . 「How dirty! Two-on-one was already unfair, that’s such an underhanded attack!」「Silence! There is neither fair nor foul in combat . If you win, you live, and if you lose, you die! That’s the ironclad rule . 」 Apito rebuked Dino . Dino couldn’t even refute such an radical survival of the fittest mindset . Even Beretta was taken aback slightly by Apito’s extreme logic . If Arnaud and the other Holy Knights were here, they might have commented「Can’t you be a bit gentler and let him finish what he’s going to say?」 . But for anyone who didn’t know Apito, her attitude would come as a surprise . Apito was normally docile in front of Zegion . Now, however, she was greatly elated to be Zegion’s representative . There was no longer anyone who could rein her in . Apito sprouted a sadistic smile and raised one of her beautiful hands towards Dino . 「Wa-wait a minute!Can we talk this out?I’m sure we’ll come to an understanding, we just need to talk!」「Ah, that may be true . Well, die!」 Apito smiled compassionately, listening to Dino shriek out his plea . And then, she stabbed him, with the same smile on her face . 「OWWWーーーーーー!! Ple-please wait! It hurts! I’m really hurting here!!」 Dino screamed, tears in his eyes . However much he wanted to run, his feet were still trapped in the ground . 『Ohohohohohoho! Serves you right, Dino-chan!Whatcha think? If you apologize, I just might forgive you, you know?』 Ramiris laughed as she watched Dino scream in pain . 「Are you telling me to betray Velda-sama?」『Oh? You catch on quick, don’tcha? That’s right!』「Idiot, you know that’s impossible, don’t you!?」『Hmm… You can’t? Why? I’m just asking, why did you obey that guy?』「You, the reason why is… it’s because I can’t go against Veldanava-sama!」『Dino, think about it carefully . Veldanava and Velda are not the same, right?』「Huh? Why are you asking something so obvi…」 (Hm? Obvious? No, wait… . . Velda-sama is Veldanava-sama, right?)The more they spoke, the more Dino felt a sense of incongruity . Sensing a contradiction in his words, he became lost in thought . 『Whatever . Anyway, I’ll make you reflect more on your crime of betraying my pure and innocent heart!Well then, Beretta-san, Apito-san! Please finish him off!』 Dino’s scream rang throughout the room . In the end, Dino was given no time to think, instead faced with repeated attacks from Apito .
−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−− Ramiris’s mirthful laugh echoed through the control room . She was happy to vent her frustrations by tormenting Dino . Ramiris looked at the large screen with a very satisfied expression . 「Well, Should I forgive him with just this?」「Didn’t you go too far there?」「Don’t worry, it’s fine . Dino is tougher than you think, you know?」 Benimaru asked with a sigh while Ramiris replied, a bounce in her voice . One of her objectives was to get her revenge on Dino, she wouldn’t just stop with just this . 「But I wonder… That guy named Zero, do you think he’s really going to move as Rimuru said?」「Judging by how Velda cast Kazaream aside, I’m pretty sure Rimuru-sama’s right…」「I see, then as I expected, Velda is not Veldanava . Dino also missed that . I guess, he probably thought ‘I’m too sly to be tricked by anyone!’ or something like that . How silly of him, right?」「Eh, ahh… . . Yeah, I guess . 」 Benimaru nodded in agreement . He decided to change the subject . 「At any rate, Zegion truly is amazing . It was a breeze for him . 」 If they truly wanted to, Zegion and the other defenders would be able to dispose of Zero before Zero could encroach the labyrinth . Everyone in the control room knew that . But by Rimuru’s orders, they had enacted such an elaborate plan . Their plan came from a discussion between Benimaru, Ramiris and Rimuru after Rimuru warned them of Velda’s plans to capture the labyrinth . 「Zero encroached the labyrinth and stole its power, just as Rimuru predicted . 」「Of course . I can’t imagine Rimuru-sama’s predictions being wrong . 」 Shuna proudly nodded in response to Ramiris’ murmur . 「As for the prediction of Zero’s next action,Wouldn’t it be difficult for him to maintain his own self once he fused with the labyrinth or something?」(B)「Yeah . I already detached more than half of the labyrinth, it would be a big problem for him once he absorbs everything!Honestly, it won’t be bad if he slowly assimilated it as he encroaches it, but trying to absorb everything in one go would blow away his mind . 」(R)「I see . So, what did Rimuru-sama say?」(S)「To put it briefly, since Zero will encroach the labyrinth, Rimuru asked us to isolate him with the labyrinth as the bait . At that time, we don’t know whether Zero will remain sane, but his reasoning will surely be affected . 」(R)「Therefore, once the labyrinth is isolated, we let him get attacked by Zegion . Rather than waiting for him to come out, we smoke him out . Rimuru-sama was anxious about Zero and Zegion facing off, but Zegion was more than willing . 」(B)「That’s right . In the end, it was Zegion’s complete victory . 」(R)「―I understand that much . However, WHAT DID Rimuru-sama SAY?」(S) Benimaru and Ramiris took turns answering Shuna, but they avoided directly answering her question, instead speaking in a roundabout manner . Shuna became irritated and raised her voice . 「Uh . Didn’t he say that we might see his true nature?」「That’s right . Not Zero’s true nature, Velda’s . 」 Ramiris and Benimaru finally answered . In short, once Zero fuses with the labyrinth, he would gain an absolute advantage against anyone within . At that point, would he not start attacking, regardless of friend or foe? That was what Rimuru predicted . The plan Benimaru and the others came up with was to use Zegion to instill terror into Zero .
As a reaction, Zero would wish for the power to be able to oppose Zegion . Blinded by that desire, Zero would begin to prey upon everything in sight whether they friends or foe . That was their plan . 「That’s why, just before Zero’s assimilation rate reaches 100%, we plan to evacuate everyone . Zero, gripped by fear and hungry for power, will definitely attack Dino’s side first . 」(B)「Exactly! By the way, it’s almost 98%, so it won’t be long now . 」(R)「Is that so? As one would expect of Rimuru-sama . However, what if Zero still has some reasoning left?」(S)「Then I’ll throw the isolated labyrinth into the『Infinite Corridor』!」(R) 「I see」, so everyone in the control room understood the plan . If they could win Dino over before Zero finished his encroachment that would be even better . “But, even so―” Shuna suddenly realized that Rimuru’s reason for rejecting an all-out attack wasn’t convincing . In the first place, if they could eliminate the intruders by counter attacking, there wouldn’t be any reason to let Dino be attacked by Zero . (If that’s the case, what is Rimuru-sama’s true intention?)Shuna widened her eyes as she watched Ramiris frolicking around . (Could it be… he doesn’t want to kill Dino-sama―）Rimuru and Dino had gotten along well; they often joked with each other . So had Ramiris . They parted as enemies, but Rimuru didn’t wish to kill Dino . Although it she wasn’t sure whether it was a request from Ramiris or it was Rimuru’s intention from the start, Shuna had a hunch she was right . If that were true, then she could understand Ramiris’s attitude and the aim of such a convoluted strategy . Then, all she had to do was to see it through to the end . They only had to wait for Dino and Zero’s next moves . (Whatever the result will be, everything is dancing in Rimuru-sama’s palm . )Shuna nodded in satisfaction as she looked back towards the big screen . In truth, Rimuru hadn’t thought that far when he gave his orders . He had warned about the encroachment of the labyrinth from the predicted ability of the completed『Evil Dragon Lord Azi Dahaka』 . And the only orders he gave were to minimize casualties, based on the actions he predicted Zero would take . Rimuru didn’t expect that Zegion would corner Zero like that at all . But Shuna was right about one thing: Dino’s treatment . He only discussed the matter with Ramiris and didn’t tell Benimaru . And that was why he left it all to Ramiris . ◇◇◇ At the same time that Ramiris and Benimaru finished their explanation, Zero, spurred by Zegion, furiously worked to finish his assimilation with the labyrinth . 「The assimilation rate has reached 99%! All members prepare to evacuate soon!」 Ramiris shouted, and Benimaru issued the command . As ordered, the assault force, having been forewarned, transferred back to to the control room . Once Zero’s assimilation completed, it was highly likely that any transfers would be obstructed, so they had to do it at the last possible moment . And so, the operation succeeded . 「I have returned now, Ramiris-sama . 」 Representing the assault force, Beretta announced their return . Everything went as planned . 「Ok, thanks for the hard work!In accordance with the enemy’s actions, the isolated labyrinth is to be ejected into the『Infinite Corridor』as planned . However, on the off chance that it fails, we will enter an all-out battle . It goes without saying that it’s dangerous to let the enemy come to this place . Everyone stand by, ready to attack again, just in case that ends up happening!」 Everyone showed acknowledged Benimaru’s words . How would Zero move and how Dino would respond to it?They had to wait and see . There was a high possibility that an intense battle would occur, depending on what happenedOf course, there was no one in this room that would be unprepared . 「Lastly, it goes without saying that Rimuru-sama’s survival is to be kept as a secret like before . 」 With that said, Benimaru concluded his orders . Naturally, they couldn’t expect help from Rimuru, nor did they plan to do so . They were ordered to defend the labyrinth, and were prepared to devote their body and soul doing so . Those feelings were shared by everyone who gathered in the room . Just as Rimuru was keeping an eye on Velda’s movements, Velda was tracking Rimuru’s movement too . That was the reason why Rimuru decided to not return to the labyrinth . Ciel had pointed out the possibility that the entire labyrinth would get segregated the moment Rimuru choose to appear inside the labyrinth . It would be possible if it was Velda’s ability . Ramiris’『Labyrinth Creation』 was a very flexible ability, but it needed an anchor to this world . If it lost that anchor, the labyrinth itself would drift away into the space between the dimensions . Ciel had asserted that since it was possible for Rimuru to do so, there’s no reason Velda couldn’t . If that happened, escaping from that inter-dimensional space was possible, but it would take too much time . By the time they returned, the world would have meet its end, which would spell their defeat . Rimuru had said so and explained about it to Benimaru and the othersBenimaru recalled such words and nodded greatly . (Don’t worry, Rimuru-sama . I will protect the labyrinth even if it costs my life!)Benimaru resolved in his heart as he turned to look at the big screen . Ramiris also similarly pondered . (Dino, you idiot . Really, what are you doing at such a crucial moment…)Their plan was entering the final phase . Dino’s group was bait to lure out Zero . If Zero retained his sanity, he might cooperate with Dino . There was also a possibility that Dino would accept his fate as Zero’s food . But―― She hoped that it wouldn’t be a boring outcome like that . (Hey, Dino… Can’t we just fool around and experiment with things like before?)That was her wish . She believed in Rimuru’s strategy . And so, She wished like a prayer, that Dino would return as her friend once again .  無慈悲な抵抗破壊因子(アナフィラキシーショック) Mujihina Teikou Hakai Inshi (Anafirakshī Shokku) Ruthless Resistance Destruction Factor . Anaphylaxis is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction . Anaphylaxis causes your immune system to release a flood of chemicals that can cause you to go into shock — your blood pressure drops suddenly and your airways narrow, blocking breathing .