This chapter has been split into two pages
Chapter 72: The Trap
“Here it comes! The Idol’s coming!”
I raised my head at Tena’s voice. She was right; the shape of the titanic Idol I’d seen not too long ago was clearly visible. The way it gradually grew in size made it just as clear that it was drawing closer.
“Everything going smoothly over there?”
My question was directed at Leonora, who was stationed right beside me, indulging in the view of the Idol just as I was.
The countermeasure we chose to adopt – namely digging a giant hole for it to fall into – was meant to be a means of driving it into a corner, but the truth of the matter was likely not quite up to par. After all our target, despite its mobility, wasn’t a simple living creature – it was an Idol. If we couldn’t even compare this to shooing some beast until it was cornered and ensnared, we certainly couldn’t say that we were hooking ourselves into it and spurring it on.
To boil it all down, we were just digging a hole where the Evil God Idol’s route would move through and waiting for it to draw closer. Naturally, should the Idol decide to veer off course, then we would have dug the entire pit for no good reason and that would be the end of that. That made its trajectory all the more vital.
Leonora took some time to mull the situation over, but was eventually able to muster her confidence. She gave me a nod.
“Yes, it’s going well. If things go on like this, it should definitely pass through the trap we’ve set.”
That was good to hear. If I’d heard that the thing had gone off course, my mental state would’ve been drenched with icy sweat.
“I see. Could you do me a favour and tell him that?
“Oh, sure. Got it!”
I asked Orlaine, who was standing right next to me, to go and take up contact with the Pope, who was still in the middle of taking command, directing the progress of the trap’s construction. She nodded and ran for the area on the opposing side of the approaching Idol, to the area where the pit was being dug.
“By the way, Lady Anri… May I ask a question?”
“What is it?”
Tena decided to question me while I was still looking at Orlaine’s retreating figure.
“Let’s say that the Idol does fall into the hole. What do we do then?”
Come to think of it, while we’d already made the decision of capturing it by having it fall into that pit, we’d left just about every other aspect vague and fuzzy.
Before we could even go further, we had to ask ourselves whether having it fall in would even constitute as a capture. There was no point if it crawled out of there when it did fall in.
First of all, no matter how many believers and followers were dispatched to dig the hole, there was a certain limit to how much could be done overnight. In any case, it was unlikely they could dig one of a size that would allow the Idol to just slip in without issue. It could gulp it up to its thighs at best.
If we didn’t have anyone who could utilise Earth Magic, then it was unlikely we could even get that far.
Using my own body as a reference, it was clear to me that any obstruction that reached up to my own things wouldn’t be overcome unless I raised my legs by a good portion or tried to use my arms to lift myself out. Since the Idol only seemed to ever move forward, I could imagine it being unable to proceed once it was buried up to its thighs.
But I still couldn’t count that as an absolute. It was just as possible that the Idol would, upon coming into contact with the pit, would just continue moving forward and destroy it all in the process.
“For now, we’ll just bury it until it can’t get out.”
That was why we had to have it fill up the hole in a way that would prevent it from escaping. That much should be enough to keep it from moving.
But, since the Idol’s outer appearance was almost a carbon copy of my own, just the thought of that imagery was enough to make me feel off.
“Right. What do we do after that?”
“I haven’t given it that much thought, but how about stopping it by looking into the mechanism behind the way it moves…?”
Just what kind of principles did that Idol use to move? The way that clump of metal could walk forward without any real joints was a mystery beyond me. If we could just understand that much, we might become able to put a stop to it without too much of a fuss.
If I was going to be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for that.
“What if we can’t look into it?”
“I think the only thing we can do then is to destroy it.”
My reply to Leonora’s query is immediate. If we were really unable to figure out how to stop it, then that would be our only option.
I wondered if the worry etched into Tena’s face was because the Idol looked just like I did.
To tell the truth, the cold-blooded destruction of something that shared my looks certainly couldn’t be described as a pleasant notion, but there was little I could do about that at this point. And besides, I hadn’t put in all that much empathy for the thing. I’d live.
“Well, you’re not wrong. That really is our only option. That Pope might have a few things to say about it, though.”
“Then I just have to convince him.”
“Please do that. Also… this place isn’t safe anymore.”
While we’d been busy with our conversation, the Idol had closed a huge gap between us. It was in a position close enough to make its entire being visible.
Since it was quite likely that we’d all be crushed under its feet, we decided to retreat.
We had to hide close to the hole if we wanted to be sure that the Idol would fall inside. And in case it didn’t fall in, then we had to make preparations for battle. We’d gone far out of our way to prepare an ace, but I really didn’t want to use it if we didn’t have to.
Casting one final glance toward the direction of the Idol as it continued to draw closer, I could see that it was surveying its surroundings while walking at its leisure.
Just then, I felt a draft of unease wash over me.
“Hey, what’s the matter? We have to get going now or we won’t make it.”
“Uh, right.”………………………………………………..Continue on Page 2
Urged on by both Tena and Leonora, I followed after them as we all retreated to the back, my unease refusing to let up.
◆ ◆ ◆
The hole we’d prepared was, admittedly, a bit shoddy. Then again, digging a hole that enormous in a single night and as quickly as possible didn’t offer much leeway. The followers hadn’t just been up working all night, they had spent the entire night on heavy work well removed from any city. Having come this far in spite of all that, I was nothing but thankful to the entire body of believers present.
The top of the pit was covered by countless chopped down trees that had been laid on their side, and it was incredibly easy to deduce that they were covering an entire pit with just a single look.
Well, that wasn’t quite true. Anyone the size of the Idol would easily notice, but anyone the size of a regular human being wouldn’t see much more than trees acting as bridges over a large ditch.
To be blunt, this trap would only ever fool an enormous Idol that just moved forward like some sort of automaton.
“Do you think this’ll work?”
Hidden in a thicket close to the pit and waiting for the Idol to fall inside, Orlaine turned to me and posed a question. There probably wasn’t much sense in hiding from a non-living entity like the Idol, but it might have been more of a matter of the mood.
“I’ll certainly be anxious if it doesn’t…”
Like I’d mentioned earlier, this trap really fool anyone apart from that Idol with its robotic movement. To put a different spin on the subject, it would fall for the trap because it was little more than a mechanically moving Idol.
It would be fine. It had to be.
The issue now was that no matter what, I just couldn’t shake the unease that had come over me earlier.
“Here it comes.”
Leonora’s voice invited me to look toward the hole, and there I could see the Idol drawing much, much closer. It would only take a few more steps for it to be in a position where it could fall down the hole. The Idol approached slowly, while… looking around…?!
It was looking around?! Even though it wasn’t supposed to have any will of its own?!
Now that I thought about it, it had been moving in a way that suggested it was taking in its surroundings earlier. That was why I’d become so nervous, so uneasy.
The first time I’d ever seen it, it hadn’t even seemed to be aware of its surroundings and had been content to just walk forward. Perhaps it had been in some half-lucid state due to the rather recent blessing it had received, or maybe it had gained sentience later on while it was walking about.
That reminded me; there had been an interesting titbit of information included in the description I’d seen in the Idol’s status.
“While it appears to have no life, it possesses an unimaginable well of intellect.”
While I hadn’t paid much attention to that little aspect in favour of others, the word ‘intellect’ had definitely been there in writing.
That wasn’t good. If we assumed that the Idol was capable of rational thought, then everything was going to fall into disarray.
“Lady Anri! The Idol, it’s…”
Almost as if it was deliberately trying to cement my fears, the very Idol we’d assumed would just move forward and fall into the hole stopped right in front of the pit and observed it, taking a good look at the trap we’d set for it. From where it stood, it was more than obvious that it was being vigilant and weary, that it had indeed noticed the hole.
We had failed.
And to top it all off, Tena’s earlier cry called attention to the way its head moved with a metallic screech to fixate on us.
Its eyes shouldn’t have been functional, and neither should its ears have been. Just what kind of mechanism was this thing operating under? Well, we certainly didn’t have the spare time to try and puzzle out the secret behind that.
Our first plan, our plan to have it fall into a hole could no longer be executed.
“Forget the first plan, we’re moving on to the second.”
“It can’t be helped.”
Upon my declaration, Leonora, Orlaine, and the Pope darted out of the thickets and moved toward the Idol. Our second plan… the plan to destroy the Evil God Idol was about to be put into action.
Of course, having them fight on their own while I stood as a spectator on the sidelines just wouldn’t do. Although I did have to admit that I personally leaned toward that idea.
However, unlike the others that were fighters by nature, Tena and I really didn’t have much in the way of battle experience. Charging in to face the Idol with the meagre experience we had was just unfair for everyone, and I’d like if if others could grasp that.
“R-Right away! I understand!”
Seeing how nervous Tena was, I was half-tempted to say something to her. But, honestly, I was rather nervous myself. All things considered I was, after all, far less experienced than she was overall. But now that we were pressed with our backs against a wall, telling her that wouldn’t do much good.
That in mind, we raced toward the hidden ace we’d prepared.
◆ ◆ ◆
Some distance behind the thicket we’d been hiding in, a large, pitch black armour kneeled on the ground. That was the floor boss of the twelfth level of the dungeon aptly named the Evil God’s Sanctuary, the Anryl Armour. One of two, in fact.
That’s right. Enshrined in front of us were two sets of armour, both black as night. Both were forged of orichalcum that had been blessed with divine protection that made them both an incredibly powerful pair of jet black living armour. There was one difference that set the two apart: one had been modelled for male use, while the other was an armour designed for females.
The former was the aforementioned floor boss, and the latter was something that had been prepared only recently.
The Anryl Armour was a type of armour that could move out of its own accord; it was a monster that would seek out any invaders and eliminate them. However, it also allowed a passenger to board it and pilot it from the inside.
Regardless of that, it couldn’t be controlled by any average Joe. The only individuals qualified to be passengers were those that were, in some manner, connected to the Evil God. The only ones in this world capable of meeting those qualifications were, I believed, Tena, Myself, Imperial Death, and my divine counterpart.
Considering its relations, the Idol that was right in our field of vision was another possible contender, although I very much doubted that it could even enter the armour by virtue of its gigantic frame. That would make it the exception.
When Orlaine and the others had gone to conquer the dungeon, Tena had even been instructed to wear the armour to cover them. When that had happened, the results she had reaped were enough to – temporarily – force the incredibly immature dream party of the Demon King, one of the Four Heavenly Kings, and the hero into a bit of a dilemma.
Also, just by allowing us to cover more ground without having to expose our defenceless bodies, even people who had next to no natural fighting prowess – such as Tena and I – could majorly soften the blows of any opposing forces. Conversely, it might have just made things harder for those people that did engage in battle on a day-to-day basis. Who knew.
Tena saw that she boarded the male armour – now named Anryl Armour Mark I – as she had already made use of it in the past, while I made sure to slip into the Anryl Armour Mark II.