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156. Meeting in the Labyrinth
Armoured Corps chief Calgurio advanced his troops with the utmost confidence.
After consulting with his advisors, a magic tank squad was to advance as vanguard and bait.
Even if Storm Dragon Veldora appeared, the Aerial Fighter Legion’s 100 airship fleet would counter it flawlessly.
That force was thought to be more that enough to conquer all of the west side.
After all, the 100 airships a.s.sured complete dominance by each carrying elite mages to the maximum capacity.
In addition, even though the 300 airships carrying the Beast Corps did not have many offensive mages, they specialized in logistic support so it was not a problem.
With both teams simultaneously attacking, Calgurio’s Armored Corps would achieve great success and honor.
Thus, Calgurio laughed heartily at the prospect of his power further increasing in the Empire.
As the enemy fell for the bait, the main force was to boldly make its appearance and commence the attack.
Even though they were at the border of the military nation of Dwargon, their movements would not be detected.
It was also not guaranteed that this nation would contact its allied nation, the Monster Country Tempest.
In any case, it was already too late.
Even if they were to send troops now, they were too far, and timewise, would not be able to make it.
Even if they were too busy with their experiments and regretted it, it would be too late.
(TN: I don’t know. Original: 術中に嵌ったと後悔しても手遅れなのだ。)
Plus, even if they were guarding all routes, they would be spread far too thin to actually be a hindrance.
Everything was going according to plan, victory was in Calgurio’s hands.
At that point, on the off chance that the military nation Dwargon tried to help the Monster’s Country Tempest, their neutrality is nulled.
If that happened, he would then overwhelm and destroy both nations.
Then, a well awaited report came.
The vanguard squad sent as bait reported that, the monsters of Tempest had come out.
They number not much more than ten thousand.
The report verified that it was one the enemy’s main forces.
The enemy easily fell for the trap.
They seem to be much less intelligent than he thought, and, failing to guess his invasion route, split up their forces.
Reconnaissance had determined that Monster Country Tempest, had prepared 120,000 – 150,000 troops.
Among them, those that could be considered military units should not even be 50,000.
Therefore, as the enemy here number around 10,000, their plan was likely to have all the routes covered and stall for time.
With such a pathetic force, forget stalling for time, even the vanguard can finish them off.
As expected of savages, monsters that do not comprehend the importance of information gathering, this was their utmost level of planning.
If Veldora doesn’t appear, they are fated for defeat.
Before the frontal forces arrive to trample all over them, Calgurio would quickly fell the enemy base.
Calgurio ordered to halt covert operations and advanced his army towards the capital of Monster Country Tempest.
Although there is the matter of the dwarves possibly taking military action, that was determined to no longer be a problem.
In fact, Calgurio was immersed in imagining the faces of the of the panicked enemy as they finally noticed his army.
In the end, with no sign of reinforcement from Dwargon, they would head for the Labyrinth in the Monster Country Tempest’s satellite city.
They beasts most likely gave up upon seeing the Empire’s might, thought Calgurio.
That was obvious, after all, the Empire boasts a great army of 700,000.
In addition, despite being fully armed, they marched are an unprecedented speed.
This modern army was at a strength beyond the imagination of the dwarves with their backdated technology and arms.
Magic and science.
With their fusion, based on a new cutting edge combat system, the strongest corps was born.
That was the Armoured Corps led by Calgurio.
In Monster Country Tempest, at the location of the Labyrinth city was nothing save for a single structure.
That, in fact, was the entrance to the Labyrinth, and other than a staircase to its depths, there was nothing more in the vicinity.
This scene was different from what was initially reported, and apparently, the merchants and adventurers on the west side all ran away with the Empire approaching.
If that was the case, rather than let the enemy use them, it was likely that the beasts erased everything.
They probably feared the possibility of looting.
This in reality was a clearly a strategy to hurt the enemy by preventing the enemy from procuring food.
Calgurio spits out.
For soldiers who received enhancement surgery from ‘Otherworld’ science and magic, it is possible to perform optimally without food or water for a week.
Food packs made with energy balance in mind were created to provide each unit with energy for a single day.
Each unit, carrying a small storage pack, was provided 10 such food packs.
Considering such measures taken prior to arriving, there was no loss in performance in the Armoured Corps even if they could not manage to collect food from this town.
Food intake was optimized by making sufficiently small and easy to use food packs.
The problem of potable water was easily solved by drawing water through magic.
To hope that the supply chain was a weakness of this great army was simply too naïve.
(Ha! Demon lord or not, in the end, to think they’re only capable of such shallow thought!)
Ridiculing the plans of his foe, Calgurio was certain of victory on this battle.
First he would put a foothold in the satellite city of Monster Country Tempest.
Building a base there, he would subjugate the west side with a smooth flow.
If he didn’t hurry, the Beast Corps advancing from the north would diminish the scale of his achievement.
If Veldora were to come out, there would be the need to stop it, but the Storm Dragon had made no sign of showing up.
Speaking of which……
While Calgurio was resting in a tent of the provisional headquarters, he was surprised to not receive any reports from the vanguard.
After the first time, there was no more communication.
According to the communications mage, the magic concentration in the Great Forest of Jura was apparently interfering with the magic communication waves.
As this is a demon lord’s domain, that much was to be expected.
The remaining enemy troops may have even come back and fighting had already broke out.
(Even so, judging from the first troops we encountered, reinforcements should also be fodder.)
There was no need to worry about the vanguard, so Calgurio would stopped thinking about it.
Just in case, he ordered an Reconnaissance to look into the matter and dropped the thought.
The issue now: Whether to advance to the capital or the labyrinth.
Normally, felling the capital would be given priority.
It was close by, so first was defeat the demon lord and then, beat the labyrinth.
Even if Veldora showed up, it’s a simple matter of calling the Airship fleet.
Though communication was impossible for now, they could easily signal them using magic bullets.
Unlike on land, airspeed was so high that the waiting time would be negligible, so there was no need to fear the purportedly weakened Storm Dragon.
The mage reported that, the Monster Country Tempest’s capital had a defence barrier set up around it.
Even using the Magic Canceller Device to break the barrier, it would soon regenerate, so there was no point.
It seemed to be pretty strong. Rather than breaking in, it would seem to be easier to destroy it from the inside.
Even though the Magic Canceller Device was excellent against offensive magic, its rather weak at beating barriers.
That being the case, now would be the time that the remodelled Armoured Corps takes center stage.
Reconnaissance reported that the monster troops were stationed right in front of the capital.
They were the main force of 20,000 high orcs.
No problem at all.
Calgurio and his advisors all never doubted their certain victory.
After all, they had a great army of 700,000.
Victory usually being a.s.sured with 3 times the force, with more that 30 times more troops, they had no doubt at all.
“Can’t we just attack both places at the same time?”
The advisors who were n.o.bles of the Empire expressed the opinion.
There were no objections.
There was no need to pointlessly disagree and create anxiety, as there was no rush.
Rather, Calgurio was equally interested in the treasures that lay within the labyrinth.
In the end, sending off 200,000 troops to capture the capital, he, with 350,000 were to head into the Labyrinth.
Anyway, it was a simple strategy of overwhelming the labyrinth with immense numbers.
There being no objections, there’s really no doubt that what they were most interested in was the short-term profit, rather than capturing the capital but……
Being a.s.sured of victory, Calgurio and co. put their plan to action without realizing their greed.
Thus, in Monster Country Tempest, 200,000 troops would advance towards the capital, and 350,000 would focus on capturing the Labyrinth.
These foolish souls would descent the stairs they could never again climb back up.
With the absolute conviction of filling their pockets to the brim with the treasures of the Labyrinth, they advanced.
The Labyrinth grants pa.s.sage to all.
But, with Safe Mode now turned off, there would be a never before seen h.e.l.l befallen on its visitors.
One of the innermost rooms of the Labyrinth.
A place where a secret meeting room could be found, that even Rimuru didn’t know of.
For the first time, because of the Master of the Labyrinth, Ramiris’ emergency remodelling, the most powerful denizens of the Labyrinth were gathered.
The reason: a meeting concerning the annihilation of the fools who dared to invade the labyrinth.
But in reality, the purpose of the meeting was of a very different nature.
The gathered, they were those who were called the 10 Lords of the Labyrinth.
Ramiris’ aide, Labyrinth janitor, dungeon master Beretta.
4 groups of the Lords.
Floor 90 guardian, Nine-head-k.u.mara.
Floor 80 guardian, Insect Emperor Kaiser Zegion.
Floor 79 floor boss, Insect Queen Apito.
Floor 70 guardian, Ghost King, Immortal King Adalman.
Floor 70 vanguard, Ghost Knight, Death Paladin Albert.
Floor 50 alternating guardians, Gozurl and Mezurl.
Both of them were also partic.i.p.ating for some reason.
Realizing the strength of their fellow Lords, it felt as if they were shrinking.
They, who had thought they could win against anyone, now faced a reality as they recognized the clear difference in level.
As for Beretta, though he was only a.s.signed to ch.o.r.es said – Later, Rune Master Gadra would become one of the 10 Lords – but……
Anyway, those sitting down currently were the 10 Lords of the Labyrinth.
Knowing that irresponsible Ramiris, that name would not stick.
Normally, all of them wouldn’t gather here, but since it was an emergency-like situation, Ramiris invoked her authority, and as a result, for the first time, the whole team had gathered.
Well, Veldora was sitting leisurely on the middle seat but, the other Lords were gathered for a sole reason.
That who amongst them, other than Beretta and the Storm Dragon, was the strongest.
This rivalry burned stronger when Demon Lord Rimuru personally praised Alderman and granted him a higher rank.
Every one of them wanted to prove to be the most useful.
With the lower floors not receiving much action, those Lords were most affected.
So there was a backlash.
Particularly the 2 females, Apito and k.u.mara, had an dangerous relationship.
Zegion was calm, and Alderman was burning with ambition.
However, they did not truly hate each other despite their poisonous auras.
In the end, even though they were all aiming to prove themselves, they wouldn’t go around sabotaging each other’s efforts.
These people gathered for the first time, but it was surprisingly quiet.
Facing the Empire’s invasion of the Labyrinth, their hostility towards the enemy took precedence over their rivalry.
“Lords, you’ve done well to gather!
Today, this Labyrinth faces its greatest crisis since it’s grand opening!
With that, let me hear your thoughts!”
The words my Ramiris signaled the start of the meeting.
“Ara? Isn’t that obvious-” (TN: k.u.mara ends her line in -orin su)
“- a Ma.s.sacre of course.”
Cutting off k.u.mara, Apito continues.
“This time, can you not send the action to my floor?
These days, Apito has been happy fooling around with the Holy Knight right?”
“Say what! That weakling, any more and I’ll die of boredom!”
As they glare at each other, a different kind of tension fills the room.
“Kuhahahahaha! Lets stop the bickering. And be at ease.
This time, everyone shall get a chance to fight!
First, I figured anyone who can pa.s.s the 60th floor
would be a worthy enemy but……
It was annoying so I stopped.”
“Yea that’s right! Just like Shishou (TN: Master) said, waiting for them to cross all the 50 floors is seriously a pain -ne?
Normally it’d be ok, but with their numbers, it looks like it’s gonna take a while.
So tell you what, well send in 10,000 of ‘em to each floor from the beginning.
If you’re lucky, someone strong might come along in y’know?”
With those words from Veldora and Ramiris, the others’ shown a glint in their eyes.
“So you mean…… everyone gets the chance?”
Asks Alderman, to which,
Ramiris made an exaggerated nod, and continued with the explanation.
Each of the Lords would receive 10,000 troops at a time.
Floors 61 – 70, 71 – 80 and 81-90 would get filled 100,000 each.
And the remaining would be sent to floors 51 – 60.
There were around 350,000 troops heading into the Labyrinth, so they would be distributed in this fashion.
“And then, Gozurl and Mezurl are on standby on floor 30 to eat up the ones that can run back up that far ‘kay?
And even if you up and die, you can always revive so, work hard -ne!”
With that, the Lords got super motivated.
“So, does Rimuru-sama know about this?”
Zegion broke his silence and spoke.
And Apito was surprised.
Insect Emperor Kaiser Zegion was a silent man, he never really had much to talk about.
he seemed to be receiving combat training from Veldora for a while, and recently it looked like they were close to being evenly matched.
Veldora was admittedly very strong, and other than his loyalty to Demon Lord Rimuru, He was a man who only cared for strength.
“Ehehe, we’re keeping it a secret! So, lets surprise everyone -ne!”
Ramiris said with an innocent smile.
But in reality, together with Veldora the two were hatching a devious plot – mainly to surprise Rimuru --
It was always like that, and the one’s who were involved suffered.
“Oi oi, Rimuru-sama won’t get angry later right?”
Albert asked, worried.
Veldora and Ramiris a.s.sured him.
Seeing Beretta was averting his gaze, Albert gave up.
Well, it probably wasn’t too big a deal, he thought.
I just need to beat the enemy.
In theory, a battered enemy is easier to beat, but we can revive.
There was no need for wait for them to tire out battling monsters on weaker floors.
“Very well, I concur that we simply need to win.”
Zegion said with a nod, and the matter was settled.
Ramiris and Veldora looked at each other with an evil smile, and the others pretended not to notice.
After all, it was the first real battle with the full force.
Whatever the case, in truth, none of them were going to let go of this chance.
To unleash the true horror of the Labyrinth unto its invaders, the ten Lords returned to their respective floors.
And so, these denizens of h.e.l.l wait patiently for their soon to arrive guests.