I updated the links. You need to locate chapters from the series page
Magi Craft Meister 535
16 The Demons’ Mastermind Arc
“Here, Mr. Alectus. Drink this.”
Ann took a small bottle of Hourai Island’s Pelshika Juice she had brought on her in case of an emergency, and handed it to Alectus.
After drinking about 100 milliliters of it, Alectus was rejuvenated as his fatigue vanished completely.
The one most surprised by this was Alectus himself.
“Amazing…! What kind of secret medicine is this? My fatigue is completely gone!”
“I’m glad to hear that. Let’s carry on ahead.”
It was still too early to stop for a chat, so Ann urged Alectus to keep moving. Alectus didn’t ask any further questions.
The ceiling here had returned to its normal height. The party was grateful for not having to crouch anymore.
This corridor was about 20 meters long, and it curved slightly to the side.
The corridor led up to something that looked like a small hall.
“There still seem to be a few more traps ahead.”
Reiko carefully looked into the hall. It was empty and circular, about 10 meters in diameter. The ceiling was about 4 meters high.
There were no decorations inside, just a metal floor, ceiling, and walls.
Another corridor was visible at the opposite side of the hall.
“I can’t think that there are no traps in here. But we can’t turn back now.”
Their destination seemed to be after that corridor past the central hall.
“I’ll make a barrier and take it with me as I go first.”
Protected with a barrier, Reiko wouldn’t be caught by most traps.
“Be careful, sister.”
Still, Ann couldn’t help but wish for Reiko’s safety.
Protected by her barrier, Reiko broke into a dash across the corridor…
The floor at her feet sank about 1 centimeter deep. Since she hadn’t detected any underground cavities, she had no way to predict something like this.
The tips of Reiko’s shoes got caught, and she suddenly found herself unable to move. At that moment…
The ceiling of the hall opened and a viscous substance fell from its opening.
It was a translucent substance similar to birdlime. Rather than covering Reiko herself, the birdlime-like substance covered her barrier.
It didn’t frighten Reiko, but her face still seemed bitter due to her being called by surprise.
Though its binding force was rather weak, it was still very bothersome.
The substance was elastic and couldn’t be shaken off. Since it had also covered the floor, if Reiko were to move, she could trample and fall, and then she would be covered in the substance herself as well.
“W-What should we do?”
Alectus was completely flustered.
“This is very, very troublesome…”
Just as Ann was thinking the same thing as Reiko, she received an instruction from Laojun.
“…I see, so you want to use that?”
As the same indication must have been relayed to Reiko as well, she remained completely motionless.
Ann then proceeded to use the most powerful spell she had at her disposal.
Alectus went white with surprise. Ann had let loose a powerful Fire Magic spell on Reiko.
The spell “Firestorm” covers its target with fire. The birdlime-like substance that covered Reiko’s barrier and surrounding area was immediately disintegrated by the fire.
Ann adjusted the range of the flames well so that there was no major damage to the walls or ceiling.
“A spell of this magnitude shouldn’t pose any danger to my sister. Besides, she’s well guarded by her barrier. But that substance, on the other hand…”
Just like Laojun deduced, the substance would be highly flammable, so the “Firestorm” destroyed it completely in a matter of seconds.”
Reiko smiled as she dispelled her own barrier.
“It went really well.”
She then walked across the hall towards the other corridor and called Ann and Alectus to join her on that side.
They too walked across the hall while under the protection of Ann’s barrier, and eventually reached the entrance to the other corridor, where Reiko was waiting for them.
“You saved me, Ann.”
“Don’t mention it, sister. It was all thanks to Laojun’s indications, after all.”
After this brief conversation, the three of them started to walk along this new corridor.
＊ ＊ ＊
“What an obnoxious trap…”
On Hourai Island, those words came out of Jin’s mouth almost as if he had spat them out.
“My Lord, you may see them as traps, but they’re nothing more than a defense mechanism to protect what’s ahead, rather than something to simply deal with intruders.”
“A defense mechanism, huh.”
“Yes. I believe the concept of a ‘dungeon’ as mentioned by Reiko would actually include elements from a maze, though this place they’re exploring feels more like a straight line road ahead.”
“I see. Now that you mention it, there weren’t any choices for them to take along the road.”
“That’s right. Even so, these mechanisms have been quite inconsistent. The lightning trap was quite ostentatious, whereas the chlorine gas one was truly evil. It’s like they’re not on the same level with one another.”
“But doesn’t that make sense? When it comes to dealing with unknown intruders from other lands, it would be better to have all sorts of different countermeasures and hope that at least one of them would work against them.”
“I see, you do have a point. …But I still think that whoever built these mechanisms, merely adapted already existing mechanisms in this structure to fit their needs.”
“Yeah, it does look that way to me as well.
Everything would probably be revealed once Reiko and the others reached their destination.
＊ ＊ ＊
The new corridor was slightly slanted downwards and went ahead in a straight line.
“Our destination should be up ahead.”
After walking down this new corridor for about 30 meters, a door came into view at its end.
“It has to be after this door.”
The three of them stopped about 10 meters ahead of the door. There weren’t any soldiers or guardian golems anywhere near it, and there didn’t seem to be any barriers protecting it.
“I can’t say there won’t be any traps, though.”
“What kind of trap would they have set up down here…?”
It was highly unlikely they’d reuse a trap that has been already defeated on the way to this place.
The traps used so far were pitfalls, lightning traps, poisonous gas, a birdlime-like substance, and a golem army. They had already covered all aspects of physics and magic.
“There has to be something essential to Father’s concept of a ‘dungeon’…”
Reiko decided to use her Mana Comm to ask Laojun about it. Of course, since Jin himself was there as well, he offered his own thoughts.
“I don’t even want to think about something like it, but… What about a trap that can send intruders to a completely different place?”
“Something like a warp trap, huh?”
That information was immediately passed onto Ann and Reiko.
“Something that could send us somewhere far away the moment we cross that door, right? Then, to prevent it…”
“We’ll have to use the Ether Jammers.”
There was another reason why they couldn’t be too careless about exploring this place. Back in Capricorn 1, Istalis, Shion, Netros, Lucas, and Jin (‘s Substitute Doll) were waiting for their safe return.
“Ether Jammer, activate.”
“Ether Jammer, activate.”
Ann and Reiko activated their Ether Jammers at the same time. Reiko then slowly approached the door.
Nothing happened on the way, and Reiko safely reached the door itself, where she found a lever that seemed to open the door. She pulled the lever…
And nothing happened.
“Perhaps it operated through some kind of magical power. And now that we’ve used our Ether Jammers, the lever doesn’t have enough energy to open the door.”
Ann probably wasn’t wrong about that theory.
“Then… I guess we have no other choice.”
Reiko grabbed the door’s knob and pulled with all her strength.
However, far from being opened, the knob came off, making a loud noise.
“It was quite fragile after all.”
Reiko had no choice but to pull out her “Peach Blossom”. The noise they’ve made had already given them away, after all.
She slashed at the door without any reservations.
The door was left with a big X-shaped slash, which Reiko then kicked.
The door’s lock mechanism was probably destroyed along with Reiko’s slashes, as the door itself was blown away with an even louder noise than before, completely revealing the mysterious room that it had been guarding just a few moments ago.