Metro Labyrinth Chapter 124: [Magic Woman]

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A/N: 1/21 – Changed from [True Machine] to [Magic Woman].

T/N: This arc broke my heart. I don’t like translating this arc. I will try to power through with this arc’s translation, the next-next arc makes me feel good and I can’t wait for more Tamiko and Noa.



 After the explanation of the rules by the referee, Hakuou and I distance ourselves from each other.



 With the elimination of the ring, the entire sandy area, with a diameter of more than a hundred meters, is the ring. Standing like this, it seems much wider.



 The enthusiastic cheering for Maria Hakou was as loud as ever and there were even people chanting “Ma-ri-a! Mar-ri-a!” The momentum of the Komagome cheering section, convinced of victory, only increased as the game was about to begin.



“Abeshuuuuuuu!” (Tamiko)


“Mr. Shuuuuuuu!” (Noa)



 And, interspersed amongst them, familiar voices. If I look in their direction, I can easily spot them in the packed stands–Noa and Tamiko at the top of her head. Next to them is also Utsuki with a complicated look on her face (perhaps wondering which of us she should cheer for).



“Mr. Abeeeee!” (Obuchi)


“Good Luuuuck!” (Yui)



 A familiar voice from another direction. When I turned around, I saw a huge pig demihuman holding a cat with one arm and waving his arm about. It was Obuchi and Yui. They had come, too.


 In his waving hand was a Chihuahua, or rather, a stuffed toy of the Xolotl tribe. I wondered if they had bought it at Ouji, or if they were the ones who had set this up. I would like to hear their story later if they were both safe after the match because Yui bit him on the throat as if he had touched the cat’s “don’t touch there” switch.



“Get her virgiiiiiiiin!” (Midori)


“If you lose, for the rest of your life you’ll be a virgiiiiiiiiiin!” (Aoi)



 Two women’s voices with a rude filter, exactly the same voice tone. Were the Shishkaba sisters there too? I didn’t look back.



“Mr. Abeeeeeeee! Do ya beeeeeeest!” (Kaya)


“““Abe Brooooo!””” (Kurano)



 That weird dialect is Ms. Kaya, and the “Abe Bro” is Kurano Atsushi, a fellow Sugamo member, and are those the younger members of the Rikugi Village patrol?



 I don’t know where they are, but Mr. Konno and the landlord should be here (I would like to think that they are not so dishonest as to bet their pocket money on the other party). Kaike, the guild staff, and even my fellow hunters.



 The same was true at the opening ceremony. People who should never have seen each other or spoken to each other were cheering for us. They were raising their voices to Maria’s call.


 They were calling our names. Most of them called out, “Abeeeeeeeeee! or, following the twins’ example, “Virgiiiiiiiin!” there is also a little boy who is yelling like the twins, but I can tell that they are really feeling it.



“You’re pretty popular, too, even though you have a forgettable face.” (Maria)


“Well… I am the local favorite.” (Shuu)



 Athletes and idols often say, “The cheers of my fans have given me strength.” I had never had such an experience, but I had always thought dismissively that about 90% of such statements were just pretty words or lip-service. I had never had such an experience, and I thought I never would.



 But–actually, like this, receiving the voices of thousands of people.


 How could I not be inspired? It can’t be helped at all, you know?



 I clenched my fists. Gritted my molars. Ready to confront Hakuou straight on, bracing myself.



 —At that moment, I forget about the two heroes who are watching from the guest of honor’s seat.


 The rest can wait until afterward. Now is the time to face the opponent in front of me with everything I have.



“…and see the same look on your face as when I punished that pipsqueak. I’m sure I’ll be entertained.” (Maria)



 Hakuou held up one hand each of the things she had propped up on the ground–thick, vertical, iron-shaped great shields, about the same size as my [Great Shield] (I guess it’s called a riot shield). Two of them, one in each hand.


 The silvery-white surface of the shield shimmers in the light. It is made of “holy silver”—in other words, mithril.



 I clear my throat. This is the “Holy Silver Puppet Shield,” from which her title, “Holy Silver Puppeteer,” is derived. Is it just my imagination, or does it seem as if the intimidation she exudes is increased several times over just by holding the shields?



 The referee looks at the two of us alternately. “Are you ready? Are you ready?”



“Positions, positions…” (Referee)



 Just like that, he swung his fan. I caught something with [Sensory Spores]. Sight, consciousness, is poured straight ahead.



“Ready…”  (Referee)



 I bend into a crouch. Hakuou simply stands arrogantly in front of her shield.



“–start!!!” (Referee)



 Finally, the gongs ring to start the match.


 Before the reverberation ended――my fist was about to reach Hakuou’s sight.





 The unique skill synonymous with hers, the [Magic Woman], is well-known, even to the children of Komagome.


 The essence of it is almost completely laid open. And for those who oppose it, it is the greatest chance until it is completed.



(I must win first!) (Shuu)


(An ambush!) (Shuu)



 It’s a pity to even not even pull out the [Katana]. While jumping horizontally with [Leaping], I clad my fish with [Iron Fist].



“Raaaaah!” (Shuu)



 With a roar, I slammed my silver fist into Hakuou in a straight line.


 The sound of the clash of metal against metal, and the response of the fist that struck with my strength and weight—Hakuou’s eyes widened.



“–Fufu, you’re impatient.” (Maria)



 Hakuou is laughing on the other side of the shield.


 I cannot move.



 It wasn’t because I was surprised at the unexpected hardness of the mithril shield I hit with my hardened fist.


 I never thought I could destroy it with a single blow. In order not to give a chance for [Magic Woman] to come out, or rather, I intended to rush until the shield was broken.



 But the reason I couldn’t land a second blow was because My Arm Was Firmly Gripped By A Mithril Arm That Had Sprouted From Her Shield.



“Fuc-!” (Shuu)



 Just as I readied my left hand and was about to strike the mithril arm away, there was a thud from the side! And a side impact punched me in the face. My body was blown high, and I fell to the ground and rolled around.



“Guu!” (Shuu)



 I leaped to my feet and stop by gouging the sand with one knee.



“…Being beautiful can be too much, men cling to me before I’m ready. Sorry for pushing you away.” (Maria)



 Even though I’ve never done that to anyone in real life. Don’t make jokes about me being needed to be pushed away. I will never do such a thing in real life. Still, it seems like I’m going back to a battle of attrition.



 More than that, I kept my eyes on her shield. Not only from the left shield that caught me but also from the right one, an arm was growing out of it. The one that hit my face.



(A failed surprise attack, huh?) (Shuu)



 But this was to be expected. Just as I had chosen to take her by surprise based on my previous information, she had also prepared a counter to such an attack. She was prepared to take that risk as well.



“‘I’m going to make your nose bleed and grind your head in the sand,’ didn’t you say that…? How does it feel to have your words come back to you?” (Maria)



 I did not respond but roughly wiped the blood from my nose with my sleeve. The bleeding has already stopped thanks to the [Immortality].



“The first blow you just struck, though, was quite good. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get serious… so don’t be in a hurry and let me watch for a bit.” (Maria)



 Hakuou spreads her shield, which still has arms, to the left and right.



 —and countless lines run across its surface, creating an uneven surface like Jenga.


 The shield is disassembled and reassembled into a completely different form, making clinking and rubbing noises.


 Arms, torso, legs, and head. A body clad in silvery white armor materializes, with the dizzying speed of a robot in a science fiction movie.



“…thanks for the wait. This is [Magic Woman].” (Maria)



 What was completed was――two Mithril dolls standing side by side with Hakuou.





 The “Holy Silver Puppet Shield” of the [Puppeteer] Hakuou Maria is a “board” made of puzzle pieces of mithril alloy.



 And [Magic Woman] is the name of her Fungal Skill that produces [Thread Doll], and at the same time, it is also the name of the armored doll that reconstructs the disassembled “Holy Silver Puppet Shield” and wears it.



 The puppet is a hypha mannequin the same height as her, which is controlled by strings connected from her fingertips. It is in the same category as Tamiko’s [Squirrel Avatar] and the [Craftsman] system’s [Avatar], (which, without the armor, might be exactly the same size as her), but her puppet is not only more powerful and faster, but also more precise in its movements, much tougher… But her power, speed, precision of movement, endurance… All of these things set her apart from the rest.



 She has a unique skill derived from the fusion of Fungal Skills, leaving her with very few. It is the highest ability in the soft hypha system of [Puppeteer].



 However, because of the soft hypha body, they are inferior to hard hypha in terms of durability. That is compensated for by the mithril armor that covers their entire body.



(Isn’t that… unfair?) (Shuu)



 The regulations may be that only two pieces of armor can be brought into a match, but it is true that there is some kind of loophole. I’d like to give a shout-out to the judges who allowed this.



(I mean… just how much Mithril are you using?) (Shuu)



 I’ve heard of alloys, but the mass is so great that I suspect that this woman’s monopoly is the cause of Ouji’s mithril depletion problem. I’m starting to feel resentful that I had to go to the depths because of her.



 Well, thanks to that, I got my Hihiirokane. I also got mithril, and I ordered protective gear for Tamiko and Noa from the Sugamo craftsmen. I created a [Katana] and then [Great Shield] and clad both in [Light Blade].



“[Light blade] and hypha weapons…” Hakuou continued. “As I heard, you have the ideal style for a general-purpose [Holy Knight]. But… you should understand, right?” (Maria)


“…you’ve fought those kinds, haven’t you?” (Shuu)


“Correct answer. So, if you want to beat me, you’ll have to exceed my imagination.” (Maria)



 As she lightly raises her fingertips that are connected to the hypha thread, the [Magic Woman]’s hand had hypha sprout and formed a weapon. The fact that dolls can use Fungal Skills is also different from Tamiko’s [Squirrel Avatar]. It’s more like my [Asura], it might be similar to something like an extension of the limbs.


 The [Magic Woman] on the right has a spear with a blade at the tip, something called [Axe Spear]. On the left side, there are thin needle-like swords in each hand, if I’m not mistaken it’s a [Rapier].


 The weapons used by the puppets are not made by Mithril but by their own hypha. In that sense, I have a feeling that they are subtly trying to comply with the regulations.



 Anyway, it seems that she is fully prepared for battle. She has three Fungal Skills, including the [Magic Woman], so unless there is a hidden gem that Utsuki and Mr. Giran don’t know about, she should now have all of her skills in place.



“Now… let’s get started. A battle worthy of tonight’s main event.” (Maria)



 The two [Magic Woman], their mithril fragments rubbing together, set up their weapons in front of them.


 I, on the other hand, moved half of my body behind the [Great Shield] and prepared for the attack.



“Oh, now you want me to initiate the attack?” (Maria)



 “Phew”, I let out a big sigh.



“I’ve prepared a lot of things here, so I thought I’d show you the results first.” (Shuu)



 I haven’t had a close fight with Mr. Giran and Kure in Ikebukuro for a while (I was in danger of Kure being too close in the true sense). It was a one-on-two training for this moment.



“…Okay, I’ll give you a ride. However–” (Maria)



 Hakuou grinned and twitched her fingertips with the strings attached to them.



“If it’s something boring, I’ll end it quickly, okay?” (Maria)



 The next moment, the two [Magic Woman] run out as if they were bursting out of the room.


 In the blink of an eye, they close the distance between them and me and attack with their weapons raised to their fullest.



Hakuou Maria (42)


[Puppeteer] level 78


Fungal Skills: [Magic Woman] [Axe Spear] [Rapier]


Fungal Ability: [High-speed Formation] …Improve the formation speed of “hypha objects made by Fungal Skills” such as hard hypha and soft hypha.



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