Metro Labyrinth Chapter 1.1: Waking Up

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A/N: 3/11 – Changed Tamiko’s appearance to match the LN version.



 I feel a faint flash of light through my eyelids.


 Toward the whitish circle of light, the fragments of my fragmented awareness slowly gather.



 My head is heavy. I am too dazzled to open my eyes. I cannot breathe properly.



(…… Me?) (MC)


(……Who am I?) (MC)



 It was such a question that was addressed to no one, finally put into words in my head.


 *Breathe*, *Breathe*, I could only hear the sound of myself breathing.


 Soon, the answer appears, like small bubbles rising to the surface of the water.



(I’m—Abe Shuu.) (MC =>Shuu)



 In the grayish darkness, I fumbled through the information about who I am.


 Born on January 9, I just turned twenty-three. Never married, no girlfriend.


 Height 175 cm, weight 65 kg.


 Company-employee. Sales department of a web advertising company. First-year freshly graduated—soon to be second year, I guess?


 Graduated from the Faculty of Economics at a Houji University. [T/N: No Idea where/what Houji University (法治大学) is.]


 Born in Gyoda City, Saitama. I’m currently living in Kanamecho. [T/N: He’s living in the northern area near the Tokyo Metro.]


 My father is a company employee. My mother works part-time at a supermarket. I lived with my parents and grandmother until I moved to Tokyo.



(And then……well? What was I doing?) (Shuu)



 Last week, I fell off a balcony and was rushed to the hospital.



(When I woke up, my dad and my mom were there…) (Shuu)



 My right arm and leg were fractured. I was hospitalized immediately. A total of three months of recovery.


 The back of my chest is rapidly becoming colder.



(I did something stupid. I was so drunk that I fell off the balcony.) (Shuu)


(I’ve put the company through a lot of trouble, too. I hope they don’t fire me.) (Shuu)



 I strained my eyelids and forced them open.


 A whitish light flashes into my eyes. It is so bright that the backs of my eyelids start to feel irritated.



 It is not fluorescent light. The ceiling and walls are covered with a thick layer of what looks like moss, which emits a dim white light as if it were a special paint. I have never seen such a form of lighting.



(I’m not in a hospital room… right?) (Shuu)



 I moved my eyes to look around. It’s a space of about four-and-a-half tatami mats across a rock wall, a lousy place to call a room.



(…Where am I? What’s going on?) (Shuu)



 The myriad of questions that pop into my head is blown away by the sight of the blue-blackish substance covering my body.


 I was encased in something that looks like a cocoon. It looks like I’m in a chrysalis or now spider food.



“Woah!” (Shuu)



 In a panic, I rip it off. It was sticking to me as if it had roots, and it was stringy, making me feel uncomfortable. I scrubbed it or scratched it with my fingernails to remove it.



(…huh?) (Shuu)



 The right arm is moving normally. My legs, too.


 When it is removed, I can see my pale skin exposed. I am naked, with no hospital gown, no underwear. There was no cast that had held the fracture in place, and there were no surgical scars that should have remained on my arm and leg.



 I think I was admitted to the hospital about …… ten days ago.


 My family came to see me. My friends from college, my boss and colleagues came to see me.


 But – I can’t remember what happened after that.


 When did I get better? And with such a clean recovery.



“What the hell is this…?” (Shuu)



 Barely audible, my throat seems to be recovering some of its functionality.



(I mean, I’m really myself, right…?) (Shuu)



 Was I reborn as a different person with my memories intact?


 I can’t be certain because I don’t have a mirror, but the shape of the fingernails on my hands, the somewhat crooked middle finger, and the hair on my arms are not out of place. The color and shape of my slack nipples, and my lazily hanging thing has the size and rightward bend that seemed to belong to my own body.


 So, the wound had healed completely without my knowledge, and I was also left alone in a place like this?



“… doesn’t make any sense at all…” (Shuu)



 At any rate, I try to stand up. I wobble for a moment, but my thin legs somehow support my body.


 I stagger out of the room through the hole in the wall in front of me.



 There is a hallway where one adult can stand and walk. To the right is a dead end.


 I walk along the wall to the left (it is a rough concrete-like wall), and at the end of the wall is a large pile of rubble with a hole in it that I can bend down to crawl through.



 We crawled on all fours through it and emerged into an open area.



“…The subway?” (Shuu)



 It is a circular tunnel. On the ground leading off to the left and right, what looks like the remains of tracks extend into the tunnel.


 The walls are cracked, crumbling, and covered in moss or mold. Horizontal holes, which look like vents, are spaced at equal intervals.



 The room is glowing a faint white light in places, and it is bright enough to see tens of meters into the distance. The light is dim and hazy, and the light is unevenly distributed and unequal in luminosity.


 At the end of the road, where the lights have been cut off, it is pitch black. A fresh gust of air caresses my back and makes me shiver.



(This is a subway tunnel… right?) (Shuu)



 Let’s leave aside why I’m out in such a place. I’m not likely to find out now that I think about it.


 Anyway, looking at this weathered atmosphere, perhaps more time has passed than I thought.



(That’s like ten or twenty years? Like Urashima Taro, huh? How old am I now?) (Shuu) [T/N: Urashima Taro is the protagonist of a Japanese Fairy Tale. Who was rewarded for a good deed when he becomes a guest in the Dragon Palace, but when he returns to land he realized that a hundred years have already passed.]


(No, it makes no sense at all. Someone please explain this to me.) (Shuu)



 In the meantime, is there anyone anywhere? Should I go outside?



(Can I go outside in the buff?) (Shuu)


(It’s a sure-fire ticket for an arrest. I’m going to be fired. If I’m still affiliated with the company.) (Shuu)



*Step* *Step* I can hear footsteps and something that sounds like a growl.



(Oh no, oh no, that sounds really bad.) (Shuu)



 I try to rush back to the hole I was in earlier, but the sound of footsteps turns into a thumping sound as they kick the ground, closing in on me in the blink of an eye.



“Grrrawr!” (Creature)



 The barking comes directly behind me. I turn around. I’m on all fours, with my ass on full display and neither my butt nor my balls were covered.



“…are you for real…?” (Shuu)



 It’s a dog or a wolf.


 And a rather large one at that, about the size of a tiger or a lion.


 It has gray, rugged fur, a long tail, and pointed ears.


 Even its sharp fangs and claws are intimidating.



“…umm…” (Shuu)



(What the hell is this? It’s a little too big, isn’t it?) (Shuu)


(I mean, a wolf in the middle of Tokyo? This should be impossible, right?) (Shuu)


(A dream? A robot? CGI?) (Shuu)



“Grroar!” (Creature => Wolf)



 It turns its bloodshot eyes towards Shuu and drool drips everywhere. It’s completely real. It was reality.



“Wait, umm, sit down—” (Shuu)



 The wolf pounced on me, ignoring my immediate command as a matter of course.


 The wolf’s jaws were wide open.




“Hii—!!!” (Shuu)



 Its fangs sink into my left arm.



“AAH!” (Shuu)



 It hurts. It hurts. I’m dying. I’m really going to die.



(This is not a dream at all. This is real.) (Shuu)



 Anyway, I frantically shake it off. I hear a crack, and the wolf pulls away. The blood-soaked area around my mouth glistens with each chew.


 The flesh under my wrist is gouged out, and blood is pouring down in a steady stream.



“Aa……AAAAAAH!” (Shuu)



 The pain and fear make me feel faint. I feel like I’m going mad.



“GROAR!!” (Wolf)



 Once again the wolf jumps on me. With its big mouth open, as if it wants to take another bite.


 The lunge should have been extremely fast, but it seems to be slowing down.



I’m going to die.) (Shuu)


What is happening!?) (Shuu)



 I unconsciously thrust out my right arm. As if to protect my head.



(I don’t know what’s happening.) (Shuu)


(But—I don’t want to die!) (Shuu)



 At the moment when I thought strongly with tearful eyes, I felt something gathering in the palm of my hand.



“Haa!!!” (Shuu)



 Then, blood splatters— the wolf’s.


 A long, thin, sharp object is thrust into its wide-open jaws.


 It is a pure white sword that has grown out of the palm of Shuu’s hand.


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