Metro Labyrinth Chapter 113.3: Noa Falling Into The Abyss

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 Noa stands up silently. Spreading her palm, showing the back of her hand to the others and me, she lightly waved her hand in front of her chest.


 Then, I could see something glittering in the light of the lamp in the living room.



“Woah, no way—” (Shuu)



 It is a Spore Dispersion type skill. No way, even Noa has [Charm]—I immediately covered my mouth in panic. Even the fake loli was secretly confused, and I have no confidence that I would not fall if Noa used it on me. It’s going to be so embarrassing.



“Abe, this is not [Charm],” said Utsuki. “I think it might be [Life Spores]… It’s in the [Healer] system.”


“Yes, it seems so.” (Shuu)



 I take my hand away from my mouth, believing that it was not [Charm].



“What is this Life Spores?” (Shuu)


“When inhaled, it strengthens the body’s internal organs, temporarily increasing energy and endurance.” (Sou)


“Ah, so it’s a buff-type ability.” (Shuu)



 It is tasteless, odorless, and hard to tell, but as I was told, I did indeed feel a little less tired (though it may have been a placebo effect). Tamiko, who inhaled deeply and loudly, started shadowboxing, “It-is-o-ver-flo-wing-squeak!” A series of squirrel punches cut through the air sharply.



“Hey, Noa, you know what? A [Healer]’s Dust Skills is a natural ability you know? Compared to [Strengthening Spores], it’s said to be plain, but if you’re going to dive in the metro for a long time, you should have one in your team. It will come in handy.” 9(Kure)



 Before we knew it, Kure was calling Noa and frowned, but she sat down without saying anything.



“Unlike my [Herculean Strength]—” Kure said. “Since the target is not limited to yourself, the effect is slightly weaker, but it’s more convenient for party cooperation.” (Kure)


“I see.” (Noa)



 Anyway, should I say that I’m glad it wasn’t [Spirit Ball]? It seems to drain her physical strength tremendously, and strange memories cross my mind.



“So, you don’t remember learning it, Noa? I mean, didn’t you notice that your back was hot while were in Ouji?” (Shuu)


“…I would have noticed if I had, but I don’t have any idea…” (Noa)


“……I see……” (Shuu)



 —So, the Ikebukuro branch began to question the credibility of Noa’s various statements, such as the fact that she had acquired Fungal Skills that she didn’t remember, and the Ikebukuro branch was shaken as to whether it was okay to issue a transfer permit.



 They seem to have a close relationship with the Sugamo branch, and if the pretend not to notice that they handed over the seeds of trouble without hesitation, it will affect the trust between the branches. They even plan so far as to provide the guild headquarters with information and consultation on how to deal with the situation.



 In the end, however, the situation did not turn out to be so serious. It was the word of one of the branch’s leading figures–yes, it’s Giran Taichi.



 He came to the defense of Noa’s personality and work ethic and offered very plausible speculation that perhaps the harsh experience in the Ouji Metro’s depths had brought out her latent potential. He also graciously encouraged her transfer, and today all the procedures were finally completed.



“Mr. Giran told me that, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. …It’s not normal, I don’t know why this happened to me… I just don’t know what I am anymore…” (Noa)



 I could only put my elbows on the dining table and held my head.



“So, when I came home, I was surrounded by strangers… They said something about Mr. Shuu’s mistress or something I didn’t understand, so my head was already in a mess…” (Noa)



 I opened my eyes and glared menacingly at Utsuki. Utsuki shakes her head from the uncomfortable stare.



“Even with the food just now, I really wanted to serve the taste of my hometown in a normal way… However, somehow it turned out to be a mess, and I gave you a bad impression even though we are finally back home together… I’m sorry…” (Noa)



 Noa hangs her head with a few tears in her eyes.



“…No, Noa it was not your fault.” (Shuu)



 I don’t know if it’s a normal mindset for girls around the high school age to be so anxious that they start blasting garlic dishes.



 I finally understood Noa’s feelings.



 A mysterious power dwells in her that she doesn’t even know where it came from. She must have felt fear and anxiety as if she were no longer herself.


 She was so anxious that she hurried back home, where her friends were waiting for her, only to be greeted by a stranger, a fake loli. It looked like I took advantage of her absence to bring a woman into the house, not knowing what to expect–no wonder she was so desperate.



(I knew I should have taken her with me, even if I had to force her.)



 It was a regrettable error in judgment. I should not have let her out of my sight after all. As it turned out, it was a lot more difficult than I thought.



 What’s even more frustrating is that the pervert wolf scored good points. I feel grateful that it’s all thanks to him, but I also have a selfish repulsive feeling that I’m being presumptuous like a creep. Or rather, feeling jealous, damn it.



“…I’m sorry, Noa.” (Shuu)


“…why is Mr. Shuu apologizing…?” (Noa)



 That apology includes the fact that I had kept things a secret from her.


 Yes, I already had a guess. The reason for the strange things that have happened to her.



 The shadow that lurks inside of her, a shadow that looks like a demon–has revealed itself in Ouji. There is no other explanation.


 And surely Noa herself has unconsciously sensed this presence. That is why she is so anxious.



 I sat down in front of Noa and grabbed her face with both hands.



“Eh?” (Shuu)



 Disregarding the bewilderment, I brought her face closer to mine.



“Hey, Mr. Shuu!? What are you!?” (Noa)



 When I look directly into her face, she turns red with embarrassment.



“Um I’m sorry, I just…! I can smell the garlic!!” (Noa)


“It’s mutual.” (Shuu)



 Behind me, the three of them are screaming three different things. Tamiko: “You’re a virgin, but you’re sexually harassing her, squeak! Kure: “Why only Ms. Ikari, it is not fair! Me too, me too!” Utsuki: “Oh, I’m going to go prepare the bed.” I glared at them to shut them up for the time being.



“I’m sorry, but I’m actually serious. I’m going to say something weird now, but Noa will you be quiet and listen to me?” (Shuu)


“Huh? Ah, yes…” (Noa)



 I sucked inhaled and once again peered into Noa’s eyes from the front.



“—Sparkle.” (Shuu)


“……eh?” (Noa)


“Sparkle, come out if you’re there.” (Shuu)



 For a moment, the room is silent.



“Um, Mr. Shu–” (Noa)


“Sparkle, I know you can hear me. You’re there, aren’t you?” (Shuu)



 Noa stares back at me with a puzzled look in her eyes. What could I be talking about?



“What–” (Noa)


“Come out. I’m here, I want to talk to you, Sparkle.” (Shuu)



 The puzzled Noa suddenly closes her eyes.


 Then, her body has gone limp, and she doesn’t even move.


 I gently let go of her hand and watched with bated breath along with the other three.



“…Shuu.” (Sparkle)



 The same voice as Noa came out from Noa’s lips.



“Did you call for me?” (Sparkle)



 But it sounded completely different from Noa’s usual tone.



“…Sparkle.” (Shuu)



 Noa opened her eyes――no, Sparkle smiles serenely. It’s a smile that borrows Noa’s face and is full of mysterious charm.



“Me–!?” (Sparkle)



 There, she stops speaking and is stunned.


 She puts her hand over her mouth and huffs out a breath, and in a flash, her face contorts into despair.



“…Bad breath… Impossible… Coming back like this…” (Sperkle)


“Wait, wait, wait.” (Shuu)



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