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Chapter 229 Labyrinth’s Encroachment Part 4
At that moment, Ramiris muttered silently,
“Ah, the isolation has been completed.”
Suddenly, as if it was a trifling matter.
Hearing that, the surrounding people started moving hurriedly.
At the same time, Benimaru too–
[Did you hear, you fools? From this point on, the labyrinth’s support effects are absent. You won’t be resurrected if you die so brace yourselves! Rimuru-sama won’t permit any of you dying so act accordingly!]
He sent a thought transmission to all the allies intercepting Dino and the others on the 75th floor.
Everything was going according to plan.
Everyone who received the transmission showed no signs of unrest, they accepted it as completely natural.
Hearing that transmission, there was one who began their action.
Quietly and precisely.
The plan had entered the final phase.
Zero was gradually progressing the labyrinth’s encroachment.
Absorption rate had crossed 90%.
There was no feeling of joy in him, what pushed him forward was just the fact that accomplishing the task given to him was of utmost importance.
If the enemy gains immortality inside the labyrinth, they should just get rid of it.
That was Velda’s plan and that is precisely why the Ultimate Skill: Evil Dragon Lord Azi Dahaka existed.
It was an ability originally created to counter something like the labyrinth, a skill which can exhibit supreme dominance in an area.
On top of that, it wasn’t something incomplete like the ones given to Vega or Footman, with all the battle data until now, it was the complete version.
In front of Aji Dahaka, which had turned into an ability close to the ‘One Who Eats Planets’, even Ramiris’s labyrinth couldn’t resist and ended up being trampled over by Zero.
(Hmm, less resistance than I had expected, eh? I guess that is also natural. Nobody would even be able to imagine an attack to the labyrinth directly. By snatching away the enemy’s base itself, I will purge these fools who sit cross-legged in their territory of absolute dominance. That will lure out Demon Lord Rimuru and we can take down all their forces at once. As expected of Velda-sama. It is a perfect plan—)
Abiding by Velda’s plan, he steadily went on encroaching in the enemy’s base, the labyrinth.
If he just takes away the labyrinth from them, he will also be able to grasp all authority inside the labyrinth.
He ended up saying out unintentionally.
He wasn’t expecting a reply or anything but–
“Don’t be so full of yourself. Know that the likes of you will not be able to end this labyrinth.”
In the empty space, a cold voice resounded.
No, there was something.
Zero’s consciousness caught onto something that would normally be impossible to detect.
It was one butterfly.
A butterfly with a beautiful light was fluttering in the sky.
And then, the butterfly’s silhouette became hazy and slowly took the form of a person.
Into a warrior’s shape armored in jet-black adamantium.
“–Who is it? Floors above 60 are under my rule. I did not feel anyone invading.”
“Simple. I have been here from the start, that’s all there is to it.”
“…I see. That was a blind spot. You might have lived if you kept yourself hidden till the end. But, in the end, it’s only a matter of sooner or later. Become my food and die.”
Zero thought that a weakling had come revealing himself because he was scared of being trapped inside.
Zero didn’t realize that the “weakling’s” words revealed he had realized Zero’s plans…
The encroachment of the labyrinth was going steadily with the rate over 90%. Turning the energy of the labyrinth into his inexhaustible supply, he would be able to create as many evil dragon beasts as he liked.
The few dragons he created all attacked their prey at once and disappeared with a flash of light.
“How? To be able to bury my dragons so easily… So you’re not just a scaredy-cat who was hiding. I am Zero, the one commanding the heaven’s army to destroy this country. I will acknowledge you as an opponent to be defeated. State your name!”
Judging from the fact that he didn’t come attacking Zero during the time Zero was taking the 60th floor, Zero was still underestimating his opponent.
Thinking that if this guy was to obstruct him, he could’ve done it way before.
However, the being standing in front of Zero possessed combat ability far higher than what Zero assumed.
After all, that being is–
“My name is, Zegion. Humble servant of the Great Demon Lord, Rimuru-sama. I have been crowned with the name Mist Lord.”
The strongest one, who defends Ramiris’ labyrinth.
Following orders, Zegion faced Zero.
The labyrinth, which they are charged with protecting. Zegion will not forgive anyone who stains the labyrinth.
And as such, it was inevitable.
And that is how Zegion and Zero’s fight had begun.
The reason why Zegion didn’t attack in the first place was evident.
Because he had been informed that it was Rimuru’s orders.
If it was not so, he wouldn’t have stayed silent and let this invasion go on.
Yes, although this was rare for him, Zegion was angry.
“Zegion? That’s a name I haven’t heard. I guess you are one of the upper echelons of Demon Lord Rimuru? Diablo, Benimaru, Shion, Gobuta and Ranga. And Beretta, was it? There’s also Souei, Gabil and Gerudo who are famous. If you were one of them, I might have enjoyed this fight a bit…”
Zero boasted, confident of his overwhelming superiority.
However, it didn’t take long for him to realize that that was just his misconception.
“Idiotic. If your enemy is in front of you, you should look at them and judge their strength. However — I guess you’re correct about just one point, that you won’t be able to enjoy this fight.”
Comprehending the meaning of Zegion’s reply, Zero made an uninterested face.
It’s not that Zegion had much feelings, he wanted his enemies to think that he did.
He slowly stood up and took his stance.
“Are you sure you should have waited for my preparations to be complete? Your confidence probably lies on the labyrinth’s absolute immortality. But can you really say that that is guaranteed to work? Because you have the guarantee of reviving even if you lose is the reason you can challenge others to a fight without even caring about the difference in strength. I shall teach you, that that way of thinking is wrong! Because–”
That was all he could say.
Zero’s aim was to unsettle Zegion by letting him know that he had taken away the labyrinth’s immortality but Zero couldn’t achieve that goal.
Because Zegion had already reached the limit of his patience.
Death to the beings who pollute the labyrinth!
That was the imperial command given to Zegion by Rimuru, it was his meaning to life.
Although he had heard and understood the explanation from Benimaru, about how their plan was to let the enemy take a part of the labyrinth, he couldn’t stay calm tolerating it.
The act of polluting the labyrinth was the same as infuriating him.
As Ramiris’s preparations were complete and a part of the labyrinth’s isolation was done, there was no need for him to endure it anymore.
Zegion released his feelings of anger to silence Zero’s words.
Receiving an intense impact, Zero stumbled.
He didn’t quite receive any damage as he immediately thrust his shield forward but he still couldn’t cancel out the immense momentum.
The impact was due to Zegion’s kick.
He had closed the gap between them in a moment and the origin of the attack could be seen from his raised leg.
He then slowly lowered his leg while keeping Zero in his sight–
“You’re tough. Shall I make it a bit stronger next time?”
As he said that, Zegion disappeared.
Zegion’s super fast movements slipped through Zero’s perception.
Thanks to the combat training inside the labyrinth, his fighting techniques were evolving day by day.
By combining many different abilities, especially ‘space-time control’, he had devised his own hand-to-hand fighting technique.
Being able to grasp that Zegion’s movement the first time is close to an impossible task.
By activating his Ultimate Skill: Master Shield, Zero was able to escape danger narrowly.
Even if it’s an attack which can’t be seen, it doesn’t hold any meaning in front of Zero’s ultimate defense.
His shield abided by his will and blocked off all the attacks.
While being protected by that absolute defense, Zero reflected upon his underestimation of that being called Zegion.
(To think someone as strong as this still existed… Demon Lord Rimuru, can’t underestimate him…)
But Zero was confident that his master, Velda’s prediction is correct without a doubt.
There’s no way a Demon Lord, who has this strong of an underling, would die right off the bat.
While thinking that, he also analyzed Zegion’s abilities.
He could predict that Zegion was probably a spiritual life-form from his overwhelming mobility.
Because someone who is a slave to the flesh can’t move like that.
However, even if that were so, it wasn’t like Zero had no ways to attack.
(His hand-to-hand combat is wonderful. But, that’s all!)
Just someone who attacks recklessly. There is no way he could break through Zero’s defense.
That’s how Zero evaluated Zegion and lost interest.
“That was so-so. I shall show you my power, in exchange for letting me have a little fun! Eat this, ‘Zero Field Wave’!”
Zero released with absolute confidence, the wave of annihilation.
It was an inverted wave which turns all waves, meaning the frequency of all kinds of energy, to zero.
That also applied to living beings, and angels or demons weren’t any exception either.
In fact, the higher the level of energy the being possesses, the stronger the wave’s effect will be.
Although, it was necessary for the user to have equal or more energy than the one they use it on.
Zero possessed even more energy than an awakened demon lord.
Even when compared to the Four Heavenly Kings, he possessed more energy than everyone of them, except Dagrule.
Zero Field Wave was the strongest attack Zero could use, with all his energy.
Even if it’s Zegion, in front of that sure-kill attack–
“Futile. That is an attack which converts one’s own energy to waves, am I correct? It was splendid how it adjusts to match the targets, cancelling out the frequency immediately, but at the end, it’s just a frequency inversion. I see that it is of the same fundamentals as your automatic defense. An attack of that level won’t work on me.”
He was about to confirm the effects of his sure kill attack of annihilation but–
Seeing Zegion stand there, unwounded, Zero felt anxiety for the first time.
“Impossible, you understood it’s theory with a glance?! Not only that, to negate Zero Field Wave, which turns all living being’s energy to zero–”
“Ridiculous. It’s also a wave, that negates another wave. If so, all I need to do is flow with it. Not opposing the flow and identifying with it is, in fact, the truth of the universe. It’s dreamy and simply elegant. To me, seeing through your wave was nothing but a trivial task.
–You would be nothing more than trash to Rimuru-sama or Veldora-sama.”
The moment Zero used his ability to convert his energy into waves, Zegion had used ‘Illusion King Mephisto’ to create an illusionary world.
The world, in which even the flow of time can be distorted by Zegion’s will, by his imagination.
With this ability, it was no trouble for Zegion to analyze Zero’s annihilation wave and deal with it.
“Kugh! But, just because you blocked my attack, it doesn’t mean a thing since your attacks don’t have any effect on me!”
Zero decided on prioritizing the labyrinth’s encroachment instead of attacking Zegion.
He thought that it would be possible to trap Zegion in the labyrinth’s ‘Infinite Hallway’ after taking the labyrinth’s power.
“The charade downstairs should also be over by now. I shall also end this.”
Not paying any heed to Zero’s calculations, Zegion simply followed his own feelings.
In other words, he struck Zero with his fist in anger.
“An attack like that won’t work, I sa–”
Zero was just about to say it won’t work but he was cut off in the middle.
Following Zegion’s imagination, the core of Zero’s absolute defense, his shield (Zero), was broken.
“Wha-!? Impossible, this can’t be!!”
An impossible scene had developed before Zero’s eyes, which broke all sort of common sense.
Each and every shield (Zero) he kept making to block Zegion’s fierce attacks kept getting destroyed.
Only the afterimage of Zegion’s armor could be seen as he attacked Zero from all directions.
Getting a premonition of danger, Zero deployed ‘Master Shield’ with full energy.
“It’s futile. Your abilities probably boast absolute strength in the material world. However, in the spiritual world, it is meager. And because of that, it turns out like this.”
Zegion’s right hand shone.
All the shields (Zero) protecting Zero’s body got destroyed clean off by Zegion’s ‘Dimension Ray’.
(But, I somehow endured his attack.)
Breathing heavily, the moment he thought that–
Zegion disappeared like the mist and kicked him from behind, piercing through him.
Zegion had charged the kick with waves.
The annihilation wave Zero used on Zegion just a while ago was thrown back at him.
But Zero dealt with it immediately and stopped it to the point where only a part of his energies got annihilated. The way he dealt with it was wonderful.
However, Zero had also perceived that he had reached a situation where it didn’t even matter.
The despairingly huge difference in strength between Zero and Zegion.
That wasn’t due to a difference in energy, it was due to the difference in their levels.
Zegion’s left fist started releasing a dull-colored glow.
Zero realized his defeat in a moment and took the best possible action he could there.
In other words, escape.
(I don’t have enough power to fight with that monster! I will take this labyrinth, and by eating the prey on the lower levels, I will–)
Zero promptly assimilated his body with the labyrinth and headed towards the lower floors.
Right after, he lost connection with the part of his body which he abandoned.
It was exterminated by Zegion.
Not having felt anything like this before, which he was experiencing the first time after being born, Zero accelerated the encroachment of the labyrinth.
He was trapped by the compulsive idea that he was being chased by something.
And then, his absorption of the labyrinth was over and he got hold of the labyrinth’s power.
He could then feel a large energy inside his body, in the inner portions of the labyrinth.
Zero was delighted and moved forward towards the prey to strengthen himself.
Zegion pulled back his left hand and glanced towards the lower floors.
Confirming Zero’s escape just as planned, he muttered ‘mission accomplished’.
Just like Benimaru and Ramiris had requested, he cornered and let Zero escape.
(Everything is as Rimuru-sama pleases–)
Rimuru’s profound strategy was something Zegion couldn’t think of.
Zegion, who had thought of it like that, felt no need to think any further.
All that’s left is to prepare for the single possibility in a thousand of the plan failing.
Zegion quietly started walking towards the hole to the lower floors his attack had created.
At the control room, everyone was lost for words.
It hadn’t even been 3 minutes since Zegion started moving.
But still, the report came in easily that the mission was completed.
Maybe because they had isolated the labyrinth that the fight scenes couldn’t be displayed on the big screen.
And as such, they couldn’t do anything other than imagine what kind of a battle had taken place but one thing they were sure of was that it was surely overpowering.
“As I thought, he probably didn’t like the plan of letting them encroach the labyrinth…”
“Right… Looks like Zegion was seriously pissed. We should be glad he let him live according to the plan.”
“Well, that’s of course because Zegion is calm unlike you. Well, if I hadn’t spoken of Rimuru’s name, he probably wouldn’t even listen…”
“Yeah… He probably wouldn’t have listened to my orders either so I think it was right to speak of Rimuru.”
“Right? But I still didn’t think he would be this pissed…”
Saying that, the two of them nodded.
As if to agree with the both of them, everyone in the control room were also nodding.
“But, why did Rimuru-sama give such an order?”
Shuna asked, which was rare of her.
The one who answered that was–
“You will probably understand if you keep watching!”
In that moment, at that place, Ramiris was the only one who realized the reason behind such an intricate order.
Even Benimaru didn’t completely realize the essence of the order.
Or rather, maybe only Zegion had realized.
Everyone in the control room could only nod to Ramiris’ words.
In a short while, the plan inside the labyrinth would welcome its end.
Even without hurrying, the result will be clear in a while.
Preparing for that moment, all of them started their work once again.