Metro Labyrinth Chapter 129.1: Research

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A/N: 8/22 – Noa’s Fungal Skill’s name was changed from [Binding String] to [White String].



~3rd Person Perspective~



 Even Tamiko’s [Risk Counter] cannot see the level.


 —As far as Noa knows, that is the same irregularity as the Beast King Satou, whom she said they met sometime ago along with the Demon Disease Bandit and in Rikugi Metro encounters.



 She was told that the two guards were not professional hunters but were level 20 or so. Although they were beginner-level hunters, someone would have to be at least an expert-level hunter to grab the head of the men without making giving them time to make any resistance.



 A middle-aged man in a suit with thinning hair stands in front of them in a clownish pose. Is this Susuyama’s true nature that has been hidden from them until now, or is it something else entirely that is pretending to be Susuyama? They don’t know anything at this point.



“Heh, are you still going?” The man said coolly. “Don’t the weak warblers realize that this is a frightening falcon in front of them? Ah, that’s Aesop’s fable, you know?”



 They don’t know Aesop’s Fables, but Noa does.


 A mysterious malice emanating from that thin body. An ominous bloodlust that seemed to crush you just by standing in front of him. They know that this man is unfathomable.



 It is as if a blade is being placed against her neck, and Noa cannot even move her body. Tamiko on her shoulder and Utsuki behind her feeling the same.



“Well, I don’t have time to worry about you. If you give me the young lady, I will let you go. But if you really want to die–” (Susuyama?)


“Run away, Hagumi.” (Sou)


“Run, squeak!” (Tamiko)



 Utsuki and Tamiko spoke weakly.



“B-But… I…” (Hagumi)



 Her voice is weak and trembling. Hagumi is crying.


 Hagumi says she can’t run yet. Her physical stamina and muscle strength had not yet caught up with her recovery from the illness, and in the first place she had never ran since she was born with the serious illness.



“…S-sisters…” (Hagumi)


“…please go. Go get someone.” (Sou)


“This time, Hagumi… will be the one to save us, squeak.” (Tamiko)



 Words to push her back when she is frightened. Or to wipe away the guilt of leaving her friends behind and running away alone.



“Go on!” (Sou)


“Run, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“Ye-yes!” (Hagumi)



 Hagumi’s feeble footsteps move away, encouraged by the two girls’ angry voices.


 —but the man.



(……why?) (Noa)



 For some reason, he is not moving. Even to try to stop Hagumi from escaping, even if to attack Noa and the others who are standing in his way.



“…Huh? Oh, so, are you declaring that you will let my prey escape?” (Susuyama?)



 He just pasted a wry smile on his face while fiddling with his jaw.



“Well, that’s foolish. The [Miracle Girl] kidnapping plan.” (Susuyama?)


“…foolish…?” (Noa)



 Noa is confused of his words.



“Well, well, it’s not foolish. However, to be frank, it’s a high priority, but it’s not an essential plan, and I’m more interested here.” (Susuyama?)


“Here?” (Noa)


“Oh, I mean, like, retrieving data from research that’s been left unattended for a long time?” (Susuyama?)



 Noa does not understand what he means.





(Why?) (Noa)


(For quite some time.) (Noa)


(Why are you looking at me?) (Noa)



“The guards will be here soon,” Utsuki said from behind Noa. “If you want to escape, now’s the time to do it. Unfortunately, Sugamo’s and the headquarters’ elites are all here today. They’ll beat up a kidnapper like you to a pulp.”



 It was a bluff, but the way she kept her voice from sounding like a bluff, as one would expect from a seasoned veteran.



“That’s right… With that girl’s legs, it will take at most two or three minutes for reinforcements to arrive.” (Susuyama)



 *Pop* Susuyama tilted his head, and it made a loud popping noise.



“We don’t have much time either, so let’s finish this quickly. So, they won’t miss—” (Susuyama?)



 Two [Daggers] thrown from Noa’s hand interrupted Susuyama’s words.


 The tips of the two daggers, with slightly off-timing, come close to his nose. But they slipped through without a second thought, as Susuyama slightly moved his head from side to side.



“—oh.” (Susuyama?)



 The [White String] attached to the end of the dagger’s hilt with [Sticky Thread] caught on his neck.



“Oh.” (Susuyama?)



 Noh’s hand swung the dagger around, and at the same time as the string was entangled in his arms and torso…




 And Utsuki’s [Fireball] that hit the man directly exploded.



“–what?” (Noa)



 The moment Noa feels the loosening of the restraining cord in her palm, she cuts off the cord and pulls out a new [Dagger]–faster than Noa can pull one out, a fist has been extended, bursting through the explosive flame, grabs Noa’s head.



([Extended Arm]–) (Noa)



 Before she can shake it off, Noa is slammed into the floor her forehead hitting first. The stone material shatters and scatters, and at the same time, her vision and consciousness go dark.



“Noa—pigyaaa!” (Tamiko)


“Wha-Ugh!” (Sou)



 Two short screams are heard one after the other. As Noa gathers her strength and raise her face, she sees in her flickering vision that Tamiko is lying limp on the floor in a pool of blood, and Utsuki is covered in [Piercing Needles] all over her body like a hedgehog.



 It’s over.


 Just a few secondsthat much time.



“–Ugh…!” (Noa)



 She is grabbed by the hair and her head is forcefully lifted up.


 Susuyama’s face is right in front of her. He crouched down and looked into Noa’s face.



“Twenty points, huh.” (Susuyama?)


“…a…?” (Noa)


“The combo was a typical “craftsman” fungus combo, but the sharpness and technique were on another level. I admire the guts it took to realize the difference between the two of us and to surprise me. …The biggest downside is that you didn’t have the guts to take a swing at me, I’ll give you points for that. fufufu.” (Susuyama?)



 There is not a single scratch from Noa’s attack. On the contrary, even though Utsuki’s [Fireball] hit him directly, there wasn’t even a single burnt mark on his skin, or even his suit.



“Isn’t it too much to rely on the training method? Hey—–xxxx” (Susuyama)



 For a moment, Noa’s thoughts stop. Her face and wide eyes is reflected in Susuyama’s eyes.



“…How… that name…?” (Noa)



 At her question that is barely whispered, Susuyama simply smiled without answering.



“Rather than that, I’d like to ask you a question. How did you feel just now?” (Susuyama?)


“…eh…?” (Noa)


“I told you earlier that I would let you off the hook if you gave me the girl. What did you think then? Didn’t you think that was the best thing to do?” (Susuyama?)


“…what…?”  (Noa)


“You were having a good time in the toilet, you know. Friend… Ever since you lost your foster parents, you’ve lived a lonely life without trusting anyone. wasn’t that your way of playing friend to get the better of the children?” (Susuyama?)


“… uh, huh…” (Noa)



 Susuyama licked the blood that was dripping down Noa’s cheeks.



“When that loli and the hair ball tried to let the young lady escape, you were the only one who was not surprised. You were calm and cold, and you were just observing my behavior. Ah, of course it’s unnatural, right? Rather a hunter. It’s rather natural for a hunter, since you were the one who was closest to me. But.” (Susuyama?)



 Noa wanted to shake off his hand, and she wanted to stick a [Dagger] into it.


 Is it because of the injury, the fear, or the fact that she can’t move her body–?



“Since you were still a skin-and-bone kid, you’ve been taught the harshness of reality and how to survive on your own. At the same time, outside the metro, you were always told to hate evil and be a good person. Have you ever had any doubts in your mind? Did you ever have any conflicts? Did you really want to risk your life to protect your friends?” (Susuyama?)



 For a moment, Noa felt a chill in the pit of her stomach. Her lips trembled and she couldn’t speak.



(Impossible—) (Noa)


(How could–) (Noa)



“Well, should I ask you something a little easier to understand? For example–” (Susuyama?)



 *Thwap*, and his left hand grabs something in the air. A bushy tail hangs from his hand.




T/N: Gaaah! No!!! Tamiko! Die Sususyama!




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