Chapter 16 Tower of Trial Tower of Trial There are 11 People! (Fourth Floor)
Tower of Trial fourth floor. Three hours and 55 minutes until sunset.
We--I'm in the front, next is Celica, then the tavern's old man and lastly the big man--are walking in a two meter wide and tall passage.
The stone wall is wet with water. The moist air feels stagnant.
Since I'm a God of streamlet, I'm close to wind and water, but for some reason, the water around here feels unpleasant.
It feels like they're quiet, or rather. It seems they're already under someone else.
Nevertheless, we can't stop now.
We'll be disqualified if we can't clear the trials within four hours.
After several twists and turns, we arrived at a strange room.
It's only about 10 meter wide, but several dozens of meter long. A long and slender room.
Moreover, mirrors occupy the whole wall, ceiling and floor.
I can't see the exit.
I stare with Truth Sight.
【Mirror of Magic】 Mirror that transmits 100% of magic and magic power. It cannot be destroyed with physical attacks either.
Fumu. Looks like they're normal mirrors besides their effect.
I don't see any trap in the room.
"The mirror can transmit magic.... In other words, looks like we're going to fight against enemy good with magic."
"It stinks of traps, Keika."
"Careful with magic attacks. Hide behind my back if we fight."
I advance ahead carefully.
Walking while having my hand on the Tachi's grip, ready to draw it anytime.
The air is damp like usual. As if they coil around you.
And then Celica raises her voice behind me.
"Keika-sama, the entrance is."
When I turn back, the place that should have been the entrance is covered in mirrors.
"We can't go out unless we clear this trial huh. Be careful."
And then we continue deep into the room.
There's no exit. No door. Every direction is covered in mirror.
There's a pedestal on the back wall. A stone statue is situated on top of it.
A beautiful woman. There's butterfly-like wings on her back.
"Is that a fairy?"
"That appears to be the case."
And then suddenly, there's a voice. It sounds beautiful yet sorrowful.
"Welcome, Egg of Hero. I will be announcing the trial for you."
I pull my Tachi while watching the stone statue.
"Fine. Come at me from anywhere. Can't promise ya I'll clear it honestly tho'."
"I do not mind no matter what tactic you use. Then here is the trial. Defeat your fake companions, fetch the gem in their heart, and put it on this pedestal. You can go to the next floor if you do so."
Celica screams right after I muttered that.
When I look back, I see numerous swaying blond hair.
I quickly counted 11 people.
"What on earth is happening...?"
"Why am I this...."
Their looks are exactly the same. Their voices are exactly the same.
11 Celica look at each other anxiously.
That wasn't the end.
The old man also increased. There's 11 of him.
"Lots of, me....?"
"What the hell happened."
I turned back at the fairy statue.
"....Don't tell me, I have to defeat these?"
"Yes, this is the trial. You have to defeat only the impostors, leaving only your companions."
I look at the 【Real Celica】. Her eyes are shaken with anxiety.
"What a sickening trial."
They probably want to mentally torture the hero by making them kill their friends.
After shaving off physical and magical strength, next is mental strength huh.
This might be traumatic for weak-hearted heroes.
And then one Celica stepped forward.
Her eyes with long eyelashes are closed as if she's braced herself.
"If it's for Keika-sama's sake, I do not regret parting with this life."
I can clearly see which ones are fakes by looking at their status with Truth Sight.
The one who stepped forward is a 【Fake Celica】.
Guess it's better than having them attack.
I stab her with my Tachi.
Dosh, a dull sensation is transmitted to me.
Fake Celica's noble face is grimacing in pain.
She spills out blood from her mouth.
It felt raw, like I just stabbed a person.
I reflexively looked at her status.
It really was a 【Fake Celica】.
She's smiling while spilling blood.
"Keika-sama, please become the hero.... I'm really glad to have met you...."
Tears flow from her pained blue eyes, she coughed blood.
Tension is rushing in the mirror room.
The Celicas put their hands on their mouths, their noble faces look sorrowful.
The girl collapses on the floor.
Her blond hair is spread out like a fan.
The body didn't disappear.
I'm standing dumbfounded.
The statue speaks.
"What are you doing. Quickly scoop out the gem in her heart and put it on the pedestal."
"What! You mean I have to dissect her!"
Celicas and the old men are shaken.
Even the real Celica is frightened.
--This is.... Keeping at this means doing as they want me to do....!
I sit down where I am.
"All of you, sit down along the wall apart from each other."
Celica and the old men moved as I ordered.
I'm lost in thought.
This isn't only going to whittle the hero's heart, it's also going to destroy the companions' trust on the hero.
Even if this is just a trial, could you still trust a hero who indiscreetly kills someone who looks exactly like you?
Moreover, in order to scoop out the gems, the hero has to dissect the body in front of the real one.
And for 10 bodies.
Even if they're companions who have fought together, and even if they believed in the hero, 『But he's doesn't have a problem killing his friends for the sake of trial』 will probably get tucked in the corner of their minds.
Even if they clear this trial, their distrust toward the hero surely won't disappear.
I observe the dead fake Celica.
Its feel and presence were exactly like a human.
I could only feel relieved after seeing the status displaying 【Fake Celica】 many times.
If even I feel insecure.
I want to believe on the real Celica and old man, but they probably feel conflicted.....
They must be suffering in fear of me killing them by mistake since the impostors look really alike.
I have to clear it as soon as possible.
Just how does this magic work?
It should be hard to control this remotely.
Is there someone beyond these mirrors?
Not being able to use Senrigan is painful.
What should I do?
I look at each of the people sitting along the wall.
Celicas and the old men hardened every time our eyes met.
Even the real ones were nervous.
And then my eyes stopped at the statue.
Just whom is this statue modeled after?
I look at it hard.
【Cursed Fairy Statue】 Statue modeled after fairy. Actual size.
Cursed and sealed because she rebelled against the demon king.
Fairies don't die. They reincarnate once they lost their life.
However, I didn't overlook it. The floating status.
I flick the item status at once and look at the status.
Class: Fairy Magician Lv 99
....It's as if she's living.
Its magic power has been largely consumed.
That means this statue casted the magic huh.
Suddenly, the word petrification floated in my head.
Come to think of it, it's strange for a statue to have Vitality status.
Looks like it's worth a try.
I call Celica who's looking at me anxiously.
"Celica, prepare the Ground Holy Water."
She rummaged through the rucksack and took out a bisque bottle. She's bringing it to me with her blond hair fluttering on the back.
The holy water we bought to fight against Lapisia.
We only bought one, but this is probably the right time to use it.
And then--the other Celicas began to move after a slight pause. With a bottle on their hands.
"""Keika-sama, here you go."""
"Everyone besides the first Celica, don't move!"
The Celicas stopped.
Only the real one came to my side.
"Keika-sama.... What are you going to do?"
"Wait a minute."
I take the gourd on my waist and hang it above the stone statue.
"Pure streamlet flowing through valleys Wash evils away Cleanse--<<Purification Pure Water>>."
The stone statue shines.
I check with <<Truth Sight>>.
【Fairy Statue】 Statue modeled after fairy. Actual size.
Sealed because she rebelled against the demon king.
Fairies don't die. They reincarnate once they lose their life.
--Alright, the curse has been removed.
"Now, the Ground Holy Water."
"Yes, here you go. Keika-sama."
I reach out on the bottle Celica presented. Our fingers touched then.
Her body twitched and stiffened.
Her large blue eyes are moist with regret and self-loathe.
I smile and pat Celica's head. Glossy blond hair.
I gently pat it many times.
Strain loosened up from her delicate body.
"I'm sorry, Celica. Everthing's fine."
Celica muttered with a sweet painful voice. She doesn't separate away from me even after giving the bottle, standing right beside me with her finger gripping my Wafuku's sleeve.
Looks like she's afraid to get mixed in among the impostors again.
I open the bottle's lid and splash it on the statue.
Yellow lights sparkle and wrap the Fairy Statue.
And then, just when the light became stronger, the statue on top of the pedestal crumbled. Long green hair spread out.
Celica is surprised.
"Eh, what on....!?"
I get close, crouch down and lift her. Since she's only wearing thin clothing, her slender limbs are visible.
However I can't feel her life energy.
"Orphelia, is it. Are you alright?"
She opens her eyes in my arms. Big eyes with jade pupils. They were out-of-this-world beautiful.
"Aah..... How many years have it been since I could talk of my own will.... To think there would be someone who could undo the demon king's curse...."
"Were you controlled?"
"Yes, that's right. My power of bewitching fog was."
--That magic was of that huh. I see.
I make my palm shine and speak.
"I'll heal you now."
She feebly shook her head.
"There is no need to. My life is eternal. Now that I'm liberated, I will reincarnate to the next generation."
"Is that so.... Do you have any wish?"
"Strong Hero-sama. Would you please defeat the demon king?"
"That's what I'm planning to do. It'll take time though."
Cause I won't be able to become a God if I don't carefully make people feel obliged to me.
Then, Orphelia smiles like she's read my mind.
"Thank you. However, you must obtain the thing hidden in the Fairy World."
"You mean I can't defeat the demon king without that?"
"Yes, it's as you've guessed."
"I see. So you went through this hell because you kept silent about that huh."
The demon king was afraid. In order to prevent something that can defeat him fall into the hero's hand.
The fairy's beautiful face clouds over.
"How many heroes have these hands killed.... My heart felt like it would break."
"That demon king probably wanted to extract information by breaking your mind."
"I'm very thankful to have met you. ...please receive my power."
"....I don't particularly need others' power."
"I beg of you. Please think of it as substitute of money offering."
I felt that there was nothing I could do to persuade her once she spoke of 『Money Offering』.
Thus I obediently accepted it.
Then Orphelia puts her hands on my cheeks. Cold chilly hands.
Those hands suddenly became warm. A light filled with affection.
Power flowed into me.
I look at myself with Truth Sight. There's a new skill.
Fairy's Blessing: Nullify Instant Death Nullify abnormal status Luck+30% Permission to move in the Fairy Boundary
"Please, I leave you with this world."
"I got it."
Orphelia's body is wrapped in white mist, and then disappears.
Gems fell down on the mirror floor.
When I look around, the impostors have all disappeared.
Celica mutters anxiously.
"Keika-sama, are you alright."
"I feel like taking a break. It ended quickly after all."
--And I made Celica experienced something painful.
However, Orphelia's voice echoes.
"Please hurry, Hero-sama. There's no more time."
"Hm? We should still have around three hours don't we?"
We had four hours when we arrived at this floor.
I'm sure only around one hour has passed since then.
"Time flows faster inside this mirror. It's already evening outside. There's only around an hour before sunset."
I look at the old man. The old man takes out his clock.
"What the hell! The needle is moving like mad!"
"Kuh! Let's hurry!"
We gathered the gems scattered in the mirror room.
A door appeared when we put them on the pedestal.
We enter the door.
My body felt like it was pulled upward, we got warped to the last floor.
A passage made of stones.
At the back of this dungeon, there is something releasing an ominous presence that can be felt even without looking.
I tightly grip my fist.
"Big Man, forward."
The big man steps forwards with resounding footsteps.
I take the hood that hides its head.
There's a stone golem under it.
--A countermeasure for petrification. Wonder if it'll go as planned.
"Now then, this is the last one."
"Let's do our best, Keika-sama."
Celica nods with swaying blond hair.
The old man speaks while looking at the clock.
"One hour remaining."
We continue onward in the dungeon with the golem leading.