Metro Labyrinth Chapter 128.3: Moldy Bread Man and Barren Man

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“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)



 There have been series in which the old nemesis and the hero teamed up to fight a huge evil, but it is true that 90% of Barren Man’s job is to harass society.



“The world doesn’t revolve around you villains. We’re crawling around on the ground protecting the city, just like you’re sneaking around in the shadows. Whatever you guys are up to, I’m sorry, but we’re going to crush you with everything we’ve got the ‘Cross Border Brigade’.” (Heiya)



 The expression on Kawataro’s face disappears.


 “Kuku”, and a low chuckle welled up from the back of Kawataro’s throat. He just rocks his body, and he laughs quietly.



“…what’s the matter, what’s funny?” (Heiya)


“…I’ve been thinking about this too. How can Moldy Bread Man think he is righteous without any doubt? Maybe Barren Man’s evil deeds are ‘for the greater good of the country’s future’ or ‘the planet’s environment’, right.” (Kawataro)


“He seems just to enjoy doing bad things, doesn’t he?” (Heiya)


“Well, you know, so it’s a matter of ‘what if’.”



 Barren Manis an annoying bad guy, simply portrayed as such in the story.


 While yelling out an incomprehensible line, “Irohanihoheto!” He even has a line “I’m Mekkin this world barren and conquer it.” [T/N: “Irohanihoheto” most often used for children’s songs to demonstrate musical scale. Mekkin means sterilization & sterile, a more clinical word. So, I used barren because Sterile Man is too funny/weird/awkward.]


 What exactly does he have in mind when he sets out to conquer the world? Kawataro does not recall any in-depth description of this, at least not in his memory.



“He does not give a clear motive, or perhaps he is deceiving even the readers. No, what I’m trying to say is, maybe the important thing is to talk about it. Find out why they are doing what they are doing, find out why they are doing what they are doing, work out a solution, and try to reach a settlement. If you just punch them in the face with a Moldy Punch every time without asking them what’s going on, you’ll just accelerate the vicious cycle of hatred, won’t you?” (Kawataro)


“That’s a very villain-like excuse. Your top priority should be to avoid doing evil things.” (Heiya)



 Kawataro spat out. He shook his head repeatedly.



“That’s not true, it’s not true… Then, who will judge the evil done by the righteous, I wonder?” (Kawataro)



 He strained to tear the restraints from his thumbs. The ring bites into the skin and flesh, and blood drips down the arm, but it doesn’t matter.



“—‘Cross Border Brigade’… ‘did-not-exist-in-the-beginning’!!!” (Kawataro)





~3rd Person Perspective~



 When Noah and the others left the restroom, two guards were waiting for them in the corridor.


 The first is a small, skinny guy. A small, thin man in his forties with a slightly thinning head of hair. It is a familiar face.


 He is Susuyama, secretary to Mayor Sugamo. He was there when Old Man Uni’s horn was transferred.



“Oh, young miss. You’ve come to this place?” (Susuyama)


“I’m sorry… I had to use the restroom…” (Hagumi)



 This is the third floor of the Martial Arts Centre, the southwestern, reserved area for the important parties.



 The octagonal shape of the Martial Arts Center is roughly divided into eight sections. The shaded areas are reserved for management and security staff and are not accessible to the general public.  The entire third floor is off-limits to the public; the entire east side is reserved for the Governor and Founder, while the west, south, and north sides are VIP areas for the exclusive use of guests.



 The southwest area, where Noa and the others are now, is also not a normal place for them to enter. However, because of the power of the mayor’s daughter, they were allowed to enter together. Perhaps because the closing ceremony was about to take place, there seemed to be no one there but Noa and her friends, and they were able to enjoy the luxury of using the private restrooms.



“I’m glad I found you. Your father was looking for you.” (Susuyama)



(Why are they look for her?) (Noa)



 Noa inwardly questioned the words. They had told Dr. Nomaguchi that she was going to the restroom here, and he had returned to report to the mayor. Maybe they simply did not meet.



 —and the moment Noa’s eyes met Susuyama’s.



(……eh……) (Noa)


(……what is this……) (Noa)



 I don’t understand it myself. I don’t know–but I feel something tightening in my chest.


 Something in the depths of his eyes–it’s indescribable, and it makes my heart flutter. I can’t look away, as if I’m being sucked into it.



“…come on. The closing ceremony will be soon, and I will take you to your father.” (Susuyama)


“Ah, yes… I’m going…” (Hagumi)



 Noa turns her head around.


 Hagumi behind her is gripping the hem of Noa’s jacket.



“What is the problem?” (Noa)



 Noa asked in a whisper, bringing her face close to Hagumi’s.



“…I don’t know why, but Mr. Susuyama is a little strange today.” (Hagumi)



 Hagumi replies in an almost muffled voice.



“Strange?” (Noa)


“I don’t know, but neither Papa nor Mama have noticed… He’s kind of scary recently…” (Hagumi)



 When Noa looked up, Susuyama only smiled softly. He doesn’t look much different from her impression when he cried with joy when Shuu handed over Old Man Uni’s horn.



 Or perhaps it is because they are so close, and because they are children who are sensitive to the moods and attitudes of adults, that they can sense something about him.



“—hidden, squeak.” (Tamiko)



 Tamiko mutters on Noa’s shoulder.



“Hidden, what is?” (Noa)



 Tamiko’s hair bristled in alarm.



“That old man… his level is hidden, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Eh–” (Noa)



 The smile disappears from Susuyama’s face.  Looking dumbfounded, his eyes are wide. And he, “he” nods his head several times, his body shaking in laughter.



“Ah, I see… The Carbuncle tribe’s [Discovery]. I was completely off guard. I thought I have a perfect performance.” (Not Sususyama)



 His tone changes drastically. Then his gait changes, like he is someone else.



“Well, there seem to be users. Nowadays, they almost never go outside, so I thought it was impossible. Ah, I’m really bad at this!” (Susuyama?)


“Mr. Susuyama?” (Guard)


“What–” (Guard)



 Susuyama’s hand grabs the two guards by the neck as he speaks to them.


 In a short moment the two men, choking for breath, try to grab Susuyama’s hand to pull them away, a dull thud echoes out.



“Oh, I killed them. I was trying to hold back until the show. It’s your fault.” (Susuyama?)



 The two men’s bodies crumple helplessly, and they are kicked aside by the man’s feet.


 In the meantime, Noa and the others move out of the way and position themselves to protect Hagumi behind them.



“But, oh well. It’s almost time for the show. So, let’s get our heads back on straight!” (Susuyama?)



 Noa pulls out a [Dagger].


 Tamiko bares her front teeth with a “Shhhaaaa!”


 Utsuki pulls a red hypha ball on her fingertips.



 The man who imitated Susuyama’s appearance,



“Let’s go, operation start, kidnap the target ‘Miracle Girl’!” (Susuyama?)



 He spreads his arms wide and a menacing inhuman grin sliced his face.



“The rest of you–so, do you want to die? Alright! Irohanihoheto!” (Susuyama?)



A/N: Moldy Bread Man: “You can’t eat my face, so eat this manjuu instead!” [T/N: Manjuu is like a mochi with read bean filling.]

T/N: It’s starting! Wooo! I translated this first because I really need some palate cleanser. Metro Labyrinth is still one of my favorite series, so it really grinds my gear when Shuu loses his character development. This arc will end in a high note, in my opinion, but the next arc will come after a volume of intermission chapters. Come on more bad*ssery please!

Another note, I prefer the way “I Reincarnated as a Spider So What?” introduced their side characters and antagonists. The author introduced them in parallel with the MC’s growth and development using unsynchronized timelines building up sympathy for the side characters/antagonists. Love that series.

Anyway, sorry Kawataro, you should have been introduced like Sparkle. I kind of want Sparkle to be a normal companion. 



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