Metro Labyrinth Chapter 10: Gargoyle


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~3rd Person Perspective~



At present, Shuu has mastered thirteen Fungal Skills.



 The sixth Fungal Skill, [Hypha Hammer].


 It is now his main weapon along with the mycelium sword, as it was used in the battle with the Ogre.



 The seventh Fungal Skill, [Electric Ball].


 It is a yellow version of the burning ball, and when it shatters, an electric current shoots around it. It is a bit like lightning magic.



 The eighth Fungal Skill, [Hypha Great Shield].


 Unlike the [Hypha Shield], which is a small round shield, this is a large rectangular shield that looks like something riot police would carry. It is slightly inferior to the [Hypha Shield] in terms of durability, but it is light for its size and it can protect a wider area. It is a useful ability to protect oneself from flying objects.



 The ninth Fungal Skill, [Enhanced Leaping Ability].


 It can temporarily increase the strength of the leg muscles (or the strength of the mycelium?). The effect lasts only for a single jump, and continuous use requires a lag time of about three seconds. There is also a side effect of slight muscle pain if overdone.



 The tenth Fungal Skill, [Sensory Spores].


 The spores are spread and can detect everything in three dimensions within a radius of 50 meters. Once the spores have been sprayed, they stop feeding back to the brain after about three minutes. The spores are also physically draining, even if in small increments. Although it has some limitations, it is still a cheat ability that sets it apart from other Fungal Skills.



 The eleventh Fungal Skill is the Mysterious Mycelial Ball.


 It is green with a white cross pattern. The effect is unknown; throwing it, breaking it, or eating it does not change it in any way. Animal experiments, including those on Shuu and Tamiko, have revealed only that “it is not poisonous when eaten” and “that it has a medicinal, soothing taste”. Since it is similar to the [Healing Ball] that also has a cross-shaped pattern, it is assumed that it has some medicinal properties.



 The twelfth Fungal Skill, [Smoke Screen Ball].


 When broken, this ball of mycelium disperses gray smoke. It is useful for escape and distraction, but disaster ensued when it was tested in our hideout.



 Thirteenth Fungal Skill, [Beast Repellent Spores].


 You can feel the minuscule spores being scattered around like [Sensory Spores]. At that time, Ghost Wolves and Goblins Stopped approaching. Since it had no effect on Ogres and Orthrus, it is assumed that the effect is to “scare away Metro Beasts with lower levels”.





~Shuu’s Perspective~



“I’m not trying to be egotistical, but I’ve gotten pretty strong too, and I’ve learned a lot of fungal abilities. I’ve also achieved my goal of surpassing your mother’s partner’s level. Even if I can’t beat the boss now, I feel I can fight a little, gather information, and run away if things get dangerous.” (Shuu)


“Mother’s partner is level 53, squeak, and he still couldn’t beat it, squeak. Abeshuu is surely as strong as he is, squeak, but you could probably beat it if you are a bit stronger, squeak…” (Tamiko)


“That’s the case… I think it’s better to experience battling it once and check patterns and devise countermeasures for the future. Since I have defensive hyphae and [Regenerative Mycelium], I will not die even in the worst-case scenario.” (Shuu)



 I’ve been living in this metro for three years already. I’m not in a hurry now, but I’m more than equal to the Metro Beasts on this floor. It is not inappropriate to set a new goal of aiming for the boss.



 Still, Tamiko seems uneasy. For her, it is a nightmarish opponent who took away her beloved mother before she met me. It was natural that she is still traumatized.



 So I rubbed her belly, and she says, “I’m being serious, squeak! Don’t toy with me, squeak! Stop, stop… don’t stop..!”



 So, Tamiko had only one order to give before I challenge the boss.



“If you can beat the boss of this floor, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“There is a boss on this floor? I’ve never heard of it.” (Shuu)


“Not really a boss, more like a stray monster of a Metro Beast, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Stray Metro Beast?” (Shuu)



 According to Tamiko’s mother, it was a Metro Beast that was originally located on a higher floor. It somehow wandered onto this floor, and when it tried to return to its original home, the boss on the 49th floor prevented it from doing so, leaving it alone on this floor. It survived and grew stronger, and now wanders around alone as a so-called “Evolved Individual” – an individual that has acquired outstanding strength over the years.



“That… It feels familiar…” (Shuu)



 Somehow I feel sympathy welling up. Like we should be comrades rather than enemies.



“The only thing that I can say is that it’s a good test, squeak. It would be safer to kill it first, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“I see.” (Shuu)



 Then, the story is different. The risk of being attacked by a powerful enemy on the way to the boss challenge should be eliminated in advance.



“So what kind of beast is it?” (Shuu)


“Gargoyle, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Oh, that sounds familiar.” (Shuu)



 You see them all the time in video games and manga. It is a so-called moving demon statue.



“It’s a big fat bat with a stone arm, squeak. It flies through the air and is very scary, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Bats… In the past I often saw them in the countryside.” (Shuu)



 It reminds me of the evening sky in Gyoda. It was somewhat nostalgic. [T/N: Gyoda or Gyouda is a city in the Saitama Prefecture famous for the Oshi and Gyouda Caste.]



“I’ve hardly fought any flying creatures so far. I’ll have to be careful.” (Shuu)



 I think I need to hunt it down in order to challenge the boss without any regrets, or at least to get a head start in preparing for the battle.



“By the way, how high is its level?” (Shuu)


“Mother said it is about level 53, squeak.” (Tamiko)



 Almost equal to my current level. Still, I can’t make a simple comparison, but in terms of ability, it’s at least below the Boss Slime but above Ogres and Orthruses.


 Okay, I slapped my knee and nodded.



“Let’s go tomorrow. If we can hunt that one, the next one will be the Boss Slime.”





 The right side of the main street is the domain of goblins and ogres, while the left side is the domain of ghost wolves and Orthrus-wolves with two heads. The main corridor is one of countless connecting paths between both of them.


 The wolf army and the ape army. Except for the goblins, there seems to be little camaraderie between the two species, but the two camps often clash with each other, as if they are still dogs and monkeys.



 It seems that the stairs to the 49th floor can be reached from either side, but we decided to go from the wolf side, which is less troublesome. They are more cautious than the “Ora, ora” apes, and they have some intuition to gauge the strength of their opponents. In addition, we have the 13th fungal skill, the [Beast Repellent Spores]. At the very least, the Ghost Wolves are unlikely to attack us.



 Tamiko had only been there once four years ago, so she did not seem to remember the way perfectly. We went in a familiar-looking direction and turned around when we came to a dead end.



 We wandered through rooms strewn with stalactites, narrow passages by waterways, and the nests of insect-type Metro Beasts. We wandered around for more than three hours, landing in all kinds of places. We bump into a few enemies who are immune to [Beast Repellent Spores], but we reach today’s destination unscathed.



“Here, squeak…” (Tamiko)


“Here…” (Shuu)



 It is a deserted space. The ceiling is high.


 There is a small puddle of water under our feet. And there are huge columns at equal intervals. They are concrete columns.


 The sound of water dripping from somewhere. The air is cool and pleasant. It is dim and musty but has a solemn atmosphere like an underground temple. It reminds me of the underground drainage canal in Saitama.



“I didn’t know such a place existed…” (Shuu)



 Once again, I am reminded of the insanity of “Metro Flood”.



“It’s supposed to be somewhere in this area, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Okay.” (Shuu)



 I walk forward, avoiding the puddles of water, sending out [Sensory Spores].


 Nothing moves within a fifty-meter radius. I looked deeper into the room and at the ceiling, but could not see anything that looked like a creature.



 Maybe it is not at home right now. Or perhaps it is somewhere, breathing quietly, watching for an opportunity to attack any intruder.


 I swallow my spit and wipe the sweat from my hands. Hiding behind a pillar, I look around and listen carefully. I brace myself for anything unusual.



 Carefully, quietly.


 The opponent is almost equal in terms of level. But if I underestimate them, the fight is over before I can take on the boss.



“…Hmm?” (Shuu)



 Large rocks are randomly lying in spots.


 Some look like the wreckage of a collapsed pillar, while others are rugged chunks of rock that seem to have been brought in from somewhere else.


 There was a faint creaking sound.



“…Abeshuu…” (Tamiko)


“Tamiko, hide until I’m done.” (Shuu)



 The deafening sound is hard to discern its direction due to the echoes. However, I can tell that it is coming from very close by.



(……it’s here.) (Shuu)



 Shuu dodges something that came diagonally from behind without even looking back. At the same time as the sound of the wind passed by, he spun around and threw a [Burning Ball] from his fingertips.


 Boom! A small explosion echoed. The creature that jumped up and dodged it was the creature that had been mimicking a rock lump until a moment ago.



“Giiii!” (Gargoyle)


“…Damn, that’s huge.” (Shuu)



 It was larger than I had expected. It was not as tall as an ogre, but with its flapping wings spread out, it could have been seven or eight meters tall. It looks hard to raise its huge body, as it moves its wings up and down.



 It looks more like a bat or a dog with a pointed nose like a Doberman. Its arms are joined to its wings, and its feet are full of sharp, stiletto-like claws.


 Although it is too dark to see clearly, the surface of its body is gray, reminiscent of stone. Only the tongue, which peeks out from the tip of the mouth, is reddish in color. The right eye and ear are covered with scar tissue from a burn-like injury. They might be the scars of a battle it once faced.



(Uh, it’s scary…!) (Shuu)


(This guy is really strong too…!) (Shuu)



 I don’t have Tamiko’s [Risk Counter]. However, I have gained the experience of battling to the death with countless Metro Beasts over the past three years.



 My intuition, based on that experience, tells me that this guy is strong. If I underestimate it, it will easily eat me.



 I hold out my [Hypha Great Shield] in my left hand and my [Hypha Sword] in my right. The terror that sits in the pit of my stomach is replaced by the pain of it cramping.



“…No hard feelings.” (Shuu)



Summary of Shuu’s Fungal Skills (level 54)


01: Regenerative Mycelium

02: Hypha Sword

03: Burning Ball

04: Hypha Shield

05: Healing Ball

06: Hypha Hammer

07: Electric Ball

08: Hypha Great Shield

09: Enhanced Leaping Ability

10: Sensory Spores

11: Mysterious Mycelial Ball

12: Smoke Screen Ball

13: Beast Repellent Spores



Summary of Tamiko’s Fungal Skills (level 28)


01: Enhanced Hearing

02: Hypha Shell

03: Risk Counter

04: Hardened Front Teeth



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