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Chapter 228 Labyrinth’s Encroachment Part 3
They were slowly coming to an agreement, ignoring Dino’s scream.
Thinking that, at this rate, it won’t turn out well for him, Dino started speaking of the plan he just thought up.
“Wait, how about this? A knockout competition? Let’s fight one on one and let it decide the outcome. How about it?”
To Dino, this was his last resort.
Being told by Zero to buy them some time, he had to be persistent somehow.
If a fight breaks out in this situation, in 8 or 9 cases out of 10, it will end in Dino’s defeat.
Rather, if one were to speak of Dino specifically, he probably wouldn’t last a few minutes.
(This isn’t funny at all. If those two are my opponent, I won’t even be able to achieve my biggest goal, to stay alive…)
He had to have his way here some way or the other–that was what Dino thought.
If they were to fight one by one, it would buy him time and moreover, if things go well for him, Zero’s preparations will be done by the time his turn comes up.
(But even still, nobody would listen to an insect like me normally. After all, it would be too convenient for me—)
Dino thought that it would be impossible after all but…
[Yep, okay! That is better for us too so—]
[Oops! Ignore that. It’s nothing worth thinking about! And so, I, Gabil, will be going first then~!]
Benimaru and Ramiris were having an interesting conversation.
Looks like the other party was also looking to buy time but even then, the situation was favorable for Dino.
(So far so good! Looks like luck is on my side!)
And like this, without even inquiring into Ramiris’s conversation, he was honestly happy that his suggestion was accepted.
And as such, the fight had started in the form of pro wrestling*.
The first two to fight were Gabil and Pico.
The fight had turned into an aerial one as the two moved about in three dimensions.
Their weapons also resembled closely, being spears, and the fight was going on well.
(Wait a minute, this guy… his abilities have increased abnormally, haven’t they?!)
Pico was deeply astonished.
Compared to when they had a bout before, he had gotten so tough that it felt as if it was a different person.
His abilities were drawing near that of Pico’s — close to that of an awakened demon lord level.
Although she had her doubts, Pico properly gauged the situation. And like that, they went on intensely fighting mid air for a while.
Pico had confirmed Gabil’s growth and wasn’t underestimating him anymore as someone below her.
After a while into testing each other’s strength, it looked like they decided to go all out.
Both Gabil’s Flame Breath and Thunder Breath didn’t work against Pico. Neither did Pico’s Black Thunder and Heaven’s judgement work against Gabil.
Pico’s Heaven’s judgement is actually a very troublesome ability, inflicting all the damage the user has done to their previous opponents to the target. However, Gabil sealed that ability using his Ultimate Gift: Pierrot Star (The Frivolous) Rewrite Fate.
Even Pico couldn’t hide her surprise anymore.
“You-! Are you kidding me?! Why don’t you die? This is ridiculous!”
“Rude!! Are you that discontent with me not dying? But, I also have my reasons for which I can’t afford to lose. Forgive me, little girl!”
Although he had gone and said that, inside, Gabil was dripping with sweat.
After all, he had suddenly used his trump card, Rewrite Fate.
Judging from the fact that that ability, which automatically negates any kind of damage and can only be used once a day, had activated automatically means he would have definitely died from that attack.
(This is bad. This is extremely bad! I am at my full power but that girl looks as if she still has spare energy…)
If she were to use that ability once again, it would definitely result in Gabil losing his life.
However, Pico was also in a state of confusion.
Pico was being wary of Gabil and had used her strongest attack, as well.
(That guy… it is ominous how he still looks to have that much vitality. He stayed composed while getting hit by my attack and it doesn’t seem like he took any damage. This is troubling, if that didn’t work, I don’t really have a decisive attack anymore—)
And well, like that, she was also troubled inside.
But in reality, Pico still had spare energy but as long as none of her attacks work, the fight will have to be decided by close range combat.
She thought that if it comes to that, it would take up too much time.
If that happens, no matter how much Dino is making a gamble to buy time, Zero won’t be able to make it in time — Pico concluded.
This is the enemy’s territory — although they were having a one on one, the situation wasn’t equal.
As long as Pico and the others don’t have more reserve strength, it wouldn’t mean a thing even if they were to win. It would be dangerous to consume it all here.
There’s no guarantee Ramiris and the others will hold their end of the promise and there’s also a substitute on standby at the back.
She also thought of the possibility that if she were to go all out, she might also be done in immediately by some hidden enemy.
(It was reckless to attack with just us 3 in the first place! Dino can’t be relied on either—)
She glanced at her ally, Dino, but maybe because it wasn’t his turn yet, Dino was relaxing while watching them.
(That idiot, he really thinks it is not his matter!)
Anger filled Pico’s heart.
From the start, it would be fine if they were just able to buy some time for Zero. Thinking that, Pico abandoned thinking of the future.
“I will decide this with my next move!”
“Just how I would want it!”
Seeing how both of them didn’t have any flexibility, both decided on settling the fight with their hidden techniques.
The two clashed.
And at in an instant, got blown away.
As if to demonstrate the destructiveness of those powers, both of them were hurled back and crashed into the ground, without even being able to defend themselves.
[Alright, over! And the result is, dra-w~!]
And with Ramiris’ announcement, the first battle was over.
The result was a draw but it seems like there was a big difference in the breakdown.
Gabil had wounds all over his body and was unable to continue the fight.
In contrast, Pico was only pretending to have taken huge damage.
“….Oi. What, did you hold back at the end?”
“Ah, you could tell? Well, after all, if I don’t leave some strength for later, I can’t escape from here, can I?”
“I see. Looks like you have realized my objective, huh?”
“Isn’t it obvious? You… how long do you think we have been together? I can see straight through you.”
“Okay, okay. Then it’s fine. It’s stupid hanging out with Zero’s suicidal plan so we will escape with the opportunity so keep your eyes open.”
“Got it~! It also looks like Gracia has noticed so she will probably buy some time too against that tough guy, I think?”
“Really? That would help. To be honest, my opponent is really no joke. That Zegion dude is seriously bad news… Really, I want to just escape right this moment, you know? That guy probably won’t get a joke either…”
“W-well, do your best, I guess? It depends on how hard Gracia tries, though.”
Such a conversation was taking place between Dino and Pico while Gracia was making her way to the battlefield.
Pico ended the fight with energy to spare.
Dino also believed that was for the best.
Dino was also wondering if it was okay put trust on Zero.
In this situation, it could be said that Pico’s choice was correct.
“Alright then, you probably can’t be at ease but rest for now.”
“I will take you up on that.”
Pico started resting and Dino looked towards Gracia.
Letting out a sigh, Dino concentrated on the next battle.
The second fight was between Gerudo and Gracia.
As this was a battle between two parties excelling in defense, it wouldn’t be as flashy but it will surely turn out to be a fight between experts with solid ability.
Against Gerudo’s Meat Crusher and Huge Shield, Gracia was equipped with an orthodox longsword and a round shield.
After having evolved, Gerudo’s abilities to fight individually had also gone up.
Although he has his eyes set mostly on defense, he has quite some offensive abilities as well.
However, as there was a need to gather up strength for a while to use it, it wouldn’t hit Gracia.
In the first place, Gerudo’s Ultimate Skill: Gourmet King Beelzebub is an army scale ability.
It is on the complete opposite side of individual skills — it is an ability to raise the standards of his allies.
And as such, it became equal to Gracia’s all purpose type defensive ability.
Compared to Pico, Gracia had a good balance of offense to defense.
On top of equal defensive skill, she had stronger offensive skills than Gerudo. It was supposed to be Gracia’s battlefield of overwhelming advantage.
“You bastard, blocking every single one of my attacks. I can’t underestimate—”
“Even so, I am someone who has received the title of Barrier Lord from Rimuru-sama. Know that you will not be able to go past my defense.”
With masterful abilities, Gerudo beautifully blocked Gracia’s attacks.
And that wasn’t all.
In contrast to Gracia, who was supposed to be excelling in offense, Gerudo’s attacks were gradually accumulating damage to Gracia.
Having lived for a long time, Gracia had built up a mountain’s worth of experience but when speaking of the density of his experience, Gerudo was also not lacking.
Although he didn’t quite stand out in Tempest, Gerudo had never slacked off and always trained his skills. His abilities had now reached the top-tier.
To the point he could rival Albert in terms of defense.
And, even his attacks, comprising of big movements and pretending to hide his weak spots, were also traps to lure in the enemy.
As expected of Gracia, she had seen through that and didn’t try to attack carelessly.
(I was thinking of buying some time but… This, I don’t think I have the leeway to be holding back anymore.)
Gracia praised Gerudo on the inside.
And just like Gracia had predicted, the battle turned into a deadlock naturally and slowly became plain…
As mentioned above, their fight was truly wonderful from the eyes of an expert.
However, from the perspective of an amateur, it was extremely boring.
“I am already tired of this…”
A small child muttered selfishly in the control room.
Gerudo and Gracia’s fight was truly simple, without any ultimate moves or magic.
It was nothing near interesting to a child, who couldn’t read the level of skill between the two experts.
“Hey, let’s just call this a draw and start the next match? Isn’t it time to torment Dino a bit?”
“Are you stupid?! Don’t you also need to buy time, Ramiris-sama?”
Benimaru retorted to Ramiris’ foolish idea.
Seems like it was starting to become a pain for Benimaru to use honorifics against Ramiris as his tone was starting to sound quite vague.
He was quite a bit vague from the start but it seems like he doesn’t even care now.
“Hey, vice commander?! I need you to call me the best commander! …But yea, I guess you have a point. Well then, I don’t mind, let them continue!”
“Yes, yes, and then? How does the progress rate look now?”
“Hmm, let’s see, the progress has crossed 90%. In just a bit, our preparations will be complete. And Zero’s encroachment seems to be at 70%. ‘Cause we started preparing after having heard Rimuru’s thoughts, we will easily reach our goal!”
“Alright, that’s good. Then, we just need to wait a bit more.”
Benimaru and Ramiris nodded at each other.
As Ramiris looked satisfied, Benimaru turned to face the screen again.
Benimaru was thinking it was preposterous to stop this fight.
Gabil’s fight just now was so disappointing that Hakurou and Agera even said that it’s confirmed that he must go through training once again. But, Gerudo’s fighting style was wonderful.
Benimaru, unlike Ramiris, liked this kind of fights between experts and was entranced by it.
It seems like Gracia was above in terms of ability but Gerudo’s strenuous efforts to fill in that gap was amazing.
And thus, the tension of the fight had reached the climax–
The end was near.
Gerudo and Gracia kept clashing intensely with their weapons.
The momentum had accelerated and the fight was not even close to being plain anymore.
Due to the impact caused by the exchange of overwhelmingly strong strikes, with each stroke of sword, the ground tore up and the atmosphere turned chaotic, creating large gusts of wind.
Captivating everyone watching, the two continued their fight as if they were dancing.
And then came a moment of silence.
Everyone present there thought that the next attack will be deciding the fate of the battle.
“As I thought, that retreat was an act, huh? I didn’t think an attack like that would be able to go past your defense but—”
“Hmm. I didn’t have that much of a leeway but your attack wasn’t that strong to make me retreat. Besides — we won’t retreat without orders. Everything will be as Rimuru-sama wills.”
“Fu. So I was the one being cornered, eh? Looks like I had lost before the fight even began. Very well. I have lost this time. I want to withdraw here, will you accept?”
Standing facing each other, Gracia offered to forfeit.
Gerudo became perplexed, as it was unexpected to him.
[Okkay~! Then, the winner is Gerudo~! Now, Dino, come out! I haven’t forgotten your poor behavior towards me the other time. Now it’s my turn to thoroughly crush you!]
Without paying any heed to Gerudo, Ramiris’ heavenly voice declared the result of the battle.
Although it seemed like Ramiris’ personal desires had mixed with the announcement there but the decision had been made.
It was a godsend for Ramiris, as she was bored but Benimaru was disappointed.
Seems like Benimaru also doesn’t have any complaints since the other party declared their forfeit themselves.
“Is that okay…? I felt like you didn’t quite go all out yet, though?”
“I don’t mind. You have also just evolved and don’t seem like you can perfectly use those abilities yet. I would like to decide once and for all at a place both of us can truly go all out.”
Gerudo and Gracia exchanged glances and smiled at each other.
And like this, the second battle had also come to an end.
As she returned to Dino, Gracia muttured,
“This is bad, Dino. That guy has also become absurdly strong. I would’ve had trouble even if I went all out, no doubt. I probably wouldn’t have lost if I went all out but I would have exhausted all my energy and would have not been able to participate in any more battles.”
“Right? As there seems to be more strong ones here, exhausting all of your energy is the same as suicide.”
“Pico is right. You also be careful, alright?”
“Yea, got it…”
Saying that, Dino advanced forward.
However, his steps felt heavy.
(Or rather, isn’t Ramiris just aiming for me here? Telling me to not exhaust all my energy — it isn’t like I will be doing that ‘cause I want to. I am also reluctantly going to fight… Alright, while fighting Gerudo, I should buy some time slowly…)
[Ah, Gerudo. You’re tired, right? You can withdraw!]
Dino was thinking of something unfair but looks like Ramiris had beat him to the punch.
Gerudo meekly decided to withdraw and tapped out with Zegion and Beretta.
(Darn it all! You saw through my plan!?)
Although he was complaining in his heart, he couldn’t do anything about this situation.
The enemy were Beretta and Zegion.
To be completely honest, they weren’t some enemy Dino could win against.
There, he suddenly thought up a plan.
“Ah, right! I will also withdraw—”
However, that plan was flatly rejected by Ramiris.
Having the look of a dead man, Dino faced Zegion and Beretta.
And then suddenly, a small doubt came to his mind.
(Hmm? Did that Zegion guy have that little energy?)
Dino could grasp that change, as he had fought him once before.
However, Dino didn’t have the time to be thinking about such a thing.
The time of his fate which he had been trying to prolong had announced its beginning.
(Darn it! That Zero. Hurry up! You can’t come complaining to me if you don’t make it in time!!)
Or rather, it would be Dino who will be in trouble if Zero doesn’t make it, though…
Letting out a sigh, Dino reluctantly took his stance.
(Proofreader: * Lol! I’m imagining Gabil in a Lucha Libre mask… �)