Metro Labyrinth Chapter 128.1: Moldy Bread Man and Barren Man

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~3rd Person Perspective~



“Whew, I feel refreshed, squeak. I feel very refreshed, squeak.” (Tamiko)



 At the same time Noa exits the restroom, Tamiko, next to her, unlocks the door with a click, and then walks over the top of the door and lands on Noa’s shoulder.



“Good work, Sis. Don’t leak any residual pee from the impact of the landing.” (Noa)


“Heh, what are you talking about? I’ve got everything out, and I’m ready to get it on, squeak!” (Tamiko)



 The squirrel punch hit the sky with a small, lively whump. If this was Shuu’s shoulder, she would say “Yeah” and move to his left shoulder without saying a word, Noa was a little envious and a little not envious at the same time.



 At the washbasin, Utsuki and Hagumi were washing their hands and fixing their hair. They are having a lot of fun. Utsuki is slightly taller than Hagumi, and they seem to be friends (with 40-years-difference in age).



“Hagumi, you look like you’re having fun.” (Noa)



 Noa ask her smiling face in the mirror, and she blushes.



“No, uh… it’s my first time doing something like this…” (Hagumi)


“Like this?” (Noa)


“Such as going to the toilet together with everyone… or chatting in the restroom…” (Hagumi)


“Ah… Hagumi, you’ve never been to school, have you?” (Noa)



 In fact, she doesn’t even have friends who are close to her age. Noa, who became a Free Folk, couldn’t go to school either, but she didn’t feel particularly lonely because she had some childhood friends in the village.



“But… it’s almost over… it’s over for today…” (Hagumi)



 Noa doesn’t miss the lonely mutter under Hagumi’s breath.


 Hagumi turned to face the three and lowered her head.



“Today… it was a lot of fun. Thank you, big sisters.” (Hagumi)



 Utsuki immediately turned her head away and sniffed. It seems to be true that the older one gets, the looser one’s tear glands becomes.



 Noa bends down to meet Hagumi’s gaze and gently touches her shoulder.



“I’m grateful to you, too. It was fun being friends with you, Hagumi.” (Noa)


“…friends?” (Hagumi)


“Yeah. We played together and ate yakisoba. We’re friends now, right? So, let’s play again.” (Noa)


“…again?” (Hagumi)



 Tamiko jumped into Hagumi’s palm.



“This time you can go watch the tournament, and have a good time with friends., squeak Soon, you’re going to be as healthy as everyone else, and you’re going to have a good time with more people, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“…Yeah! Promise, Sis!” (Hagumi)



 A dazzling smile returned to Hagumi’s face. Noa holds Tamiko close to her chest as her tail twitches and sighs, “Ah… what a nice fingeri…!”





~3rd Person Perspective~



 After the seventh match, it was time to prepare for the closing match.



 Many spectators were out of their seats, and the aisles behind the stands were crowded with people. The joyful bustle of the crowd is just like a festival itself.



 Lines for the restrooms and concession stands. People are raising paper cups to each other in the eating and drinking areas and ranting loudly about their impressions of the game. The savory smell of yakisoba and takoyaki, the smell of alcohol lingering in the nose, and the smell of cigarettes wafting from the smoking area.



“Come on! The final match is finally here, the first day to tie the knot! Who wants to bet on Abe Shuu!?”  (Voice)



 Kawataro, who was leaning against the wall, was slightly distracted by the sound of a voice announcing the deadline for betting on the winner of the final round.



(The odds are… 1.2 and 5.3, huh?) (Kawataro)


(That’s a big difference.) (Kawataro)



 Naturally, there seemed to be a much larger number of people who were betting on Hakuou Maria. If this were not Abe Shuu’s home city, the difference might have been larger.



(If it were me, I would bet on him.) (Kawataro)


(I’ll bet on that man for sure.) (Kawataro)



 In terms of ability and performance, Hakuou is definitely the better player. Everyone understands that, and Kawataro agrees.



 However, the true nature of that young man Abe is…. If their commander’s guess is true, it would explain his mysterious strength and explosive power that could do anything. He has the potential to blow away any differences in level or experience.



 However, Kawataro is aware of his lack of luck. Gambling is like throwing money down the drain, and he can’t bear to get himself involved in it. Well, it might not be a bad idea to harass him, but unfortunately, I don’t have time for that.



“—Hello, hello! Boom, boom! It’s time for the commander’s dispatch. Check!” (Commander)



 Suddenly I hear a voice in my ear.



“If you can hear me, do an imitation of Mr. Mujirami, who is at the base. Yes, make a bad face and say ‘kehihi’.” (Commander)



 He must not be able to see it, but Isaki, who is standing next to Kawataro, is making a serious, vulgar expression.



 [Whispering]. It is said to be an ability to attach hypha to the eardrums of a target and deliver their voice even at a distance, but this is the first time Kawataro heard or seen it. The Fungal Skill usually loses its effect after an hour or two, but this one, which was attached before the opening ceremony, is still in effect, perhaps because it is such an ability or because the user is that man.



“The moment of the show is approaching, and the commander is about to make his move. For those of you who are getting anxious as the moment of execution approaches, here’s some good news. Toroko and I have secured the target ‘piglet’. Let’s go with plan A.” (Commander)



 Isaki looks surprised. Kawataro’s mouth relaxes slightly.



(Somehow.) (Kawataro)


(Is it really possible to go with plan A?) (Kawataro)



 Plan A was originally a low-probability plan.


 Secure “hostage candidates related to high ranking people” in the venue without being noticed, and the closing ceremony will be held. It’s easy to say, but no matter how they do it, it’s “haphazard”.



 In a venue crowded with such a large number of people, they had to capture a target whose movements they did not know. And in order to minimize the possibility of them being discovered, they could only move at the last minute, just before the end of the tournament.


 Even so, the reason why they have always placed the highest priority on “A” is because it is the plan that requires the least amount of sacrifice.



(If we do B or C.) (Kawataro)


(I don’t know how much damage those will cause.) (Kawataro)




“I know [Piglet] is the biggest name among the targets, but it doesn’t have much of an impact on the picture. …So, I’ll continue to go for [Miracle Girl]. If you guys catch a target too, please bring them along. It may be a waste, but the more pieces we can use, the better.” (Commander)



 They haven’t been able to get the combination of Kawataro and Isaki yet. In the end, Kawataro was annoyed that he was relying on that man, but now he doesn’t have to push himself too hard, so he is relieved.



“The meeting time is five minutes before the closing ceremony… If it’s business as usual, there will be an interval of two or three minutes after the last match. …Oh, and I forgot to mention—Engawa and Kohada, it looks like they’ve been caught by security.” (Commander)



 The two take a deep breath at the same time, their faces stiffening.



“I could only see them from a distance, but I’m sure they’ve been captured. I have no idea why or what the charges are, but I’m sure they won’t release them, at least not until after the festival. …Whoops, hey there, deputy commander. Don’t try to rescue them, okay? No, no, don’t look that scary, they won’t be killed anytime soon.” (Commander)



 He is not beside him, but he has been right about everything so far. So just barely, Kawataro just ground his molar.



“I’m sure Engawa and the others are thinking, ‘go over my dead body!’ The festival is going on as usual, and there are no signs of the bigwigs sneaking off to take shelter. That means Engawa and the others haven’t spoken up yet, right? They’re watching over us from the other side, waiting for the moment your long-cherished dream comes true.” (Commander)



“They’re not dead.” (Kawataro)




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