As walls quickly begin to rise all around us, I fear the possibility that the room might close in on our group. When a wall burst from the ground directly to my right, an image of a wall rising below our feet and crush us into the ceiling enter my head.
“No, you won’t!” I say as I prepare to evoke a spell
“Mano-san don’t!” Kiel shouts out as he grabs my shoulder
I was prepared to ignore him, but I look over my shoulder and see that he is staring at me with a face that says “Trust me!” I suppose this wouldn’t be the first time acting before I knew everything about the situation made things worse. This time around I’ll trust his expertise.
The ground below us suddenly shakes in an odd way. It moves us backward, and a wall rose where we once were.
Are we safe until preparations are done then? I can’t imagine the dungeon would move us out of the way if the intention was to crush us.
The rumbling and sounds of moving stone begin to calm, and one by one the final walls of stone manifest.
“Let the trial begin!” I hear the clown-like statue yell out as trumpet sounds play behind his voice
He really likes to make a show of it, doesn’t he?
“The trial is a simple one. A maze! Though the set up was pretty A-maze-ing as well don’t you think?” He says in a joking tone
I’m beginning to really question the taste of the person who designed this dungeon.
“Your trial is a bit tougher! You are not allowed a single mistake, you must always move forward. If you take a step backward or turn around you fail.” He continued
A buzzer noise played when he said ‘fail’. Is this really meant to be a game show or something? Also, I guess that means I’m not allowed to hit a dead end then. Is it even supposed to be possible to be able to make your way through a maze without hitting a dead-end unless you already know the correct path?
“So I just have to get to the end, without having to turn back? Any other rules?” I ask loudly
I don’t exactly know if he can even hear me. There should be quite a lot of solid stone between me and him.
“Fuu fuu fuu, no other rules are needed. With this, the bad children will be sent home.” The clown statue states confidently
“Mano-san, maybe we should apologize! We really won’t be allowed into the dungeon if we fail here!” Kiel begs from behind me
That isn’t fair… I trusted him didn’t I? I wonder how long it will be until they learn to trust me in return.
“It seems your friends were separated from you during the trial’s preparation. Since you accepted the trial, whether they go to the next floor will be pending on you as well. Until then, I will keep them here as well.” The clown says in a sudden shift in tone
Why does he suddenly sound different?
“I won’t keep them for long though! After three hours I will return them to the previous floor and they will have to do the trial as well to pass!” The clown says in a condescending voice
And suddenly he sounds normal again.
“Don’t worry about that. It won’t take me nearly that long.” I say as I walk forward to the first wall blocking my path
“Don’t get cocky! This trial has made grown men cry!” The idiot-clown says in a confident manner
Isn’t he the one getting cocky?
“You really should have made more rules. Fal-Kei-Tera Earth manipulation!” I say placing my hand on the wall
To my will the stone begins to bend aside, making a small archway for me to pass through.
“Wha?! Cheater!” The childish clown cries out
“Whoa!” Kiel yelled in surprise
Didn’t he see me make the stone tower? Speaking of which, I wonder if that’s caused a disturbance yet? With how tall I made it, you can probably see it from the main road. Don’t things like that usually become wonders or tourist attractions? Though, they may want to remove the pile of charred River Crays next to it first.
“I already told you, you should have made more rules. I wasn’t told that I couldn’t use magic or modify the maze.” I say as I proceed
One by one the walls move aside and a path forms. It’s quite lucky actually, that they didn’t shift us left or right. Since we only moved backward, I still know exactly where the stairs leading downwards is located. They should still be straight ahead.
“Maou so smart”
“I was gonna say that!”
Mak and Kay begin to argue.
I suppose we really do still have two children with us. Though technically Bik, Mak, Kay, and I are all about the same age. We were all born less than an hour apart… Though if I was summoned here, I suppose I would be much older than them.
“Kue! Fine, I can bend the rules too!” I hear in a temper tantrum like voice before the world around us begin to shake again.
Once again, we are forced onto the ground as we all attempt not to fall. Mak and Kay fall into each other, while Bik, Kiel, and I all crouch to the ground first.
The room grows silent far faster than it did before, and no walls around us visibly move.
“The path from this point has been changed! There are now twice as many walls between the exit and you!” The sore loser clown yells out
“That may be useless, but it still pisses me off!” I rebuke
I place both my hand on the ground and focus
“Fal-Kei-Tera Earth manipulation!” I yell out
A crack flows from the point my hands touched and goes into the next wall. As it crawls up the wall a series of cracking and crumbling sounds being to resound in front of us. The crack in the wall begins to expand as the two halves of the once whole wall begin to separate. More than just the wall in front of us however, all the walls up to the exit have opened in the same manner.
By the way, I could have done this the entire time. I thought I would rub in my victory by making my path look elegant and easy.
“KUU!” I hear the defeated-clown let out in frustration
Really though, looking at the walls put between us and the door it’s hard to believe he ever intended to play fairly. Some of the walls are so close together that I don’t know if I could even fit between them towards the exit.
When I reach the stairway, a victory sound plays.
“Any other trials or are we free to enter?” I ask
I try to keep my bragging to a minimum since I do feel like I cheated a little.
“…No, the trial is completed. You and your friends will be allowed to continue. You will be allowed to traverse the dungeon without being monitored. Automatic defenses will still activate if you cause trouble, however.” His voice changes a bit again, and he responds in a more sullen tone
What is that supposed to be? I prefer it whatever it is.
The entire room begins to rumble strongly, and all the walls begin to lower simultaneously. I see Kera and Gero emerge from behind them. A golem is also standing next to them but isn’t attacking. That isn’t my golem so whatever happened to the one I made? Is that one meant to be guarding them? Or was it to make sure they didn’t try to leave, or do the trial themselves?
“Took ya’ long enough. You wouldn’t believe how they treat their guest around here.” Kera says jokingly as she points over her shoulder at the golem
Gero doesn’t approach us, however. I think for a moment about the things I said to him, to see if I can remember why. I notice he is still keenly staring at the golem that was guarding them.
I’m having a harder and harder time figuring out his train of thought by the day. I wonder if that bump to the head is related.
“… Come on Gero, we are about to descend to the next floor.” I say waving him over
gero “Yes, Mano-sama.” He says turning away from the golem immediately to bow at me.
I’ve got to tell him not to do that if he ever comes into town with us. Sure I’m meant to be a princess and all, but it’s just embarrassing to be bowed to in public.
“Maou’s magic was awesome!” One of the imps yells behind me
I turn to see him gesturing at Kera. Is that Mak? Honestly, I still have trouble telling them apart.
“She went like pow on the wall, and it just moved out of the way! Then she went all cratchacha on the floor and the huuuuge cracks showed up!” He excitedly recounts
“Seriously?” Kera says as she looks at me with a worried expression
I bet what’s going through her head is “How can I get away with pranking her if she is getting so strong?” It’s written on her face quite obviously.
“Mano-san… It’s getting really hard to seem like I’m contributing when you do things like that.” Kiel says dejectedly hanging his head