Metro Labyrinth Chapter 128.2: Moldy Bread Man and Barren Man

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~3rd Person Perspective~



“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)



 If it wasn’t for the crowds around them, Kawataro felt he might have raised his voice. He was even more annoyed by the Commander’s carefree happy tone.



“For that reason, we will carry it out with only the faces gathered at the appointed time. If I were the only one, if it were just me, I might get a little sidetracked, but please forgive me if that happens, okay? That’s all for the commander’s dispatch. Next time, ‘Cross Border Brigade’, finally gets their revenge, Duhwell sutando bye !” (Commander)



 The voice trailed off with unintelligible words. [T/N: It was supposed to be unintelligible, but it was just English in postapocalyptic Japan.]



“…Mr. Kawa, Engawa and Kohada…” (Isaki)



 Isaki’s face paled. Kohada and him are best friends of the same age.



“…we can’t do anything right now.” (Kawataro)




 They don’t even know where they are, and there is nothing they can do to help him.


 From the beginning, this is not a battle that looks ahead. Kawataro thinks about the two of them and believes it’s better for them to remain restrained.



“…Let’s be quiet. If we can secure ‘piglet’, they won’t overdo it—” (Kawataro)



 At that moment, a chill ran down Kawataro’s spine.



 His eyes—meet those of a man standing in the crowd a few meters away.



 A tall man, older than Kawataro, wearing a flashy silver jersey.


 He has a fearless face with tanned stubble. His long white hair is slicked back and he wears sunglasses on his forehead.


 It was a face he has never seen before, but he heard a lot about its features. The most famous hunter in this city.



 –He was found.



 He doesn’t hear his voice. But his smiling mouth certainly says those words.



(“Shooting Willow”.) (Kawataro)


(Shimoyanagi Heiya.) (Kawataro)



“Isaki! Run—” (Kawataro)



 When I turn around, Isaki is assembled on the floor. It is another hunter.


 He immediately produced a [White Bullet] and grasped it with his thumb to shoot it— and at the same time, he realizes that Shimoyanagi is approaching right in front of him. He was so close that Kawataro could smell his cigarette breath.



“That’s no good, you can’t just pull that out here.” (Heiya)



 Kawataro’s thumb was caught and twisted. He grimaces in pain as he attempts to produce a [White Bullet] in his left hand, but before that, a knee kicks up between his legs and knocks him to the floor while writhing in agony.



“Buu… Agh…” (Kawataro)



 All Kawataro could do was groan from the intense pain and shock. He felt the rush of onlookers gathering around him, and Shimoyanagi replied with a smile, saying something like, “I’m sorry for bothering everyone.”



“They were a little tipsy and got a little drunk. You should all drink in moderation.” (Heiya)



 The citizens who knew him laughed and said, “Mr. Shimo, you’re tired! You get drunk and rowdy all the time, too!” They were all laughing as they left.



“Well… I guess you guys can come with me. I’ll serve you a pork cutlet served on top of a bowl of rice.” (Heiya)



 Kawataro is on his face, his arms twisted, and the thumbs of both hands firmly connected with special rings for restraints. As one would expect from a veteran hunter, he knows how to restrain a [Sniper]. Perhaps it was because they were so far above our level, but they were restrained efficiently and couldn’t even move.



“Um… we didn’t do anything… is this some mistake…?” (Kawataro)


“Oh? It’s bad manners to act ignorant. Here–” (Heiya)



 Suddenly, his vision darkens. His sunglasses are on Kawataro’s eyes.



“Haha, it suits you. Doesn’t it look just like your wanted list? Right, Kawataro.” (Heiya)



(Why and how?) (Kawataro)



“The one next to you is… (rustle)… I guess it’s this, Isaki. That loli hag has a good memory despite being ancient. The other kids were just like her description.” (Heiya)



(Other kids?) (Kawataro)


(Coincidence, or—?) (Kawataro)



“Well, it’s no mystery. I was sure you guys would come here, so I took the time to look around steadily with people, that’s all.” (Heiya)



(In a place this big?) (Kawataro)


(With this many people?) (Kawataro)



“…What the heck. As expected of a middle-aged man who’s on the brink of senility, it’s an unreasonable idea. But I have help.” (Heya)



 A pair of pink athletic shoes appear before Kawataro’s eyes. When he looks up, he sees a woman with soft hair standing in front of him.



“Mr. Shimoyanagi, there is no doubt about it. The moment you said his name, the colors of turmoil and fear swelled up. This person is the person on the wanted list.” (Kaike)



(Mind-reading, huh?) (Kawataro)



 Kawataro has heard of such a Fungal Skill or Fungal Ability. The Commander of their group has a similar ability.



“It looks like you didn’t get caught in the checkpoint at the entrance, but it’s finally the end of the festival and you’re ready for your scheme? It looks like your true nature has leaked out. Hey, Kaike.” (Heiya)


“Yes, I could clearly see… A dark determination and conflicted colors of his determination turning to malice….” (Kaike)


“Several other people with similar powers have been dispatched by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Metro Church. I feel sorry for you.” (Heiya)



 Kawataro grinds his molars. I know that, but it’s unpleasant to have someone else point it out.



“You know ‘do-not-let-them-cancel-the-festival’ is an order from the top. We’ve caught every suspicious person we could find, and most of Rikugi Metro’s friends have been thrown in jail. They’re eating katsudon in the jail right now. Katsudon is perfect because it is a symbol of justice and equality.” (Heiya)


“…Mr. Kawa…” (Isaki)



 Isaki looks at Kawataro with tear-streaked eyes. Kawataro can only do a little shake of his head.



“…Hey, did those guys throw up anything?” (Kawataro)


“I don’t know. Well, I don’t know, but we’re going to find out.” (Heiya)



 After all, Kawataro raised them with great care, there is no way they would fall for a cutlet over a rice meal.



 The hunter’s guild and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government basically do not use torture and other rough methods. They understand that it is not cost-effective (although it is rumored that the Metro Church still often does it).



 However, they have their own ways of getting suspects to confess. If they are taken in for questioning, I doubt they will be able to keep their mouths shut until the closing ceremony.



(Think, think of some way.) (Kawataro)


(At least a way to let the Isaki escape—) (Kawataro)



 And the sound of footsteps rushing toward them. Kawataro is suspected to be security staff. Kawataro was forced to stand while being restrained from behind by Shimoyanagi, they were surrounded by seven or eight people. As expected, there is no way for Kawataro to overturn this situation.



“Kawataro,” Shimoyanagi said, “Have you ever read ‘Moldy Bread Man’?”



 It’s a very popular series of picture books for children. I don’t particularly like it, but I’ve at least read a few of them.




“I’ve wondered about it ever since I was a kid. Why doesn’t Moldy Bread Man move before Baren Man kills the mushrooms? Every time he shows up after the residents and the forest have been damaged, he just throws a Moldy Punch and that’s it. We just have to make sure they can’t do anything bad again, and the world will be at peace.” (Heiya)




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