Metro Labyrinth Chapter 129.2: Research

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~3rd Person Perspective~



 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.



“Igi, gigigi…” (Tamiko)


“Sis…!” (Noa)


“The tanuki is sleeping, no, a squirrel was sleeping. So, it’s an [Avatar] lying over there? Isn’t it a cunning trick to disguise furballs?” (Susuyama?)



 Noa tries to tear off the hand that grabs her hair. But her hands are weak, her nails can’t dig into his skin. Noa is tossed and smashed headfirst into a wall.



“You’ve been getting along so well with this furball, haven’t you? Is that right, Miss?” (Susuyama)



 Gyuu, his fingers squeeze. Tamiko desperately struggles to break free from his hand.



“Gigi–ngigigi…” (Tamiko)


“So~? Just like a rat, this is harder than before. Are you level 40? Oh, I have it too, [Discovery]?” (Susuyama?)


“Hi, Higi…!” (Tamiko)


“Here hey, do your best, keep doing your best. What was the thing you said before ‘Run, squeak’?” (Susuyama)



 His hand is squeezed harder and harder.



“Whoa? Is this thing important, more important that yourself? Just a few more seconds before it pops like a tomato. Don’t you feel unlucky you didn’t buy your safety? What do you think, huh?” (Susuyama?)


“Pigyah… ahhh…!” (Tamiko)



 Tamiko’s face contorts, and blood spills out of her mouth. You can hear a crisp, dry sound.



“…Sis…!” (Noa)


“Pyaah… ahhh…” (Tamiko)




 And then—Kaboom!


 —The man’s back is in flames.



“Hah!?” (Susuyama)



 At that moment, as if the spell was broken, Noa jumps in. She slashes Susuyama’s wrist with her [Dagger] and rips Tamiko’s body from between his loose fingers.



“— Kuku, [Guidance] huh.” (Susuyama?)



 As if the fire on his back is nothing to worry about, and Susuyama flaps off his suit and gets to his feet.



“I thought you were just a bonus, but you have a rather good Fungal Ability, don’t you? Loli elf.” (Susuyama?)



 Utsuki, covered in blood and full of needles, stands in front of Noa when she turns around. At the tip of that finger, a number of mycelium balls are circling in an arc.





 Throwing hypha balls in the Ball Skills are covered with a very small bit of spores. An amount and size barely visible to the naked eye.



 When the mycelium ball is released, it follows the caster’s intention and corrects the trajectory until it reaches the target.



 Without knowing this, a caster who throws a hypha ball for the first time and sees it land on the target will usually have the mistaken impression that they have “surprisingly good control” or “sense”. Such was the case, for example, with amateurs from the deep metro area.



 In reality, there is an auxiliary effect of the spores. Of course, it is not so powerful that it can forcibly correct the trajectory if you throw it willy-nilly, and it is only a very slight assistance that even the person himself is unaware of.


 And it is usually said that there is no way to train its efficacy – except for those who have the Fungal Skill of [Guidance].



 [Guidance] is the ability to increase the effectiveness of those spores to an extreme degree. Once proficient, it is possible to greatly increase the range, or even make them fly through the air like luminous insects or fairies. It is one of the rare abilities that hunters in the [Illusionist] system are eagerly wishing for.





“–Ha!” (Sou)



 At the signal of an outstretched index finger, red hypha balls fly in a swarm in formation.


 They diverge up and down, left and right, and land on Susuyama from all directions. Flames and pillars of fire fill the corridor, and hot air scorches Noa’s cheeks as she lies on the floor.



“Ms. Utsuki!” (Noa)



 When she got up and ran over, Utsuki’s body swayed. Noa hurriedly grabbed her shoulders and supported her.



“…Noa, take Tamiko and run away…” (Sou)



 Tamiko is passed out in Noa’s arms. Her limbs are bent, and she is weakly breathing.



“But–” (Noa)



 The hot air blows once more. The two girls look up and see a man standing right in front of them, still unharmed.



“Kakaka… Are you finished playing with firecrackers? You can do that kind of thing at the Arakawa riverbank.” (Susuyama?)


“…[Barrier] huh… I guess it’s a bit impossible with my [Fireball]…” (Sou)



 [Fireball] was blocked by a wall of spores just before it touched his body. All the front and blind spots were guarded. She can’t even find a wound, let alone bleeding, on Noa’s slashed wrist.



“Noa… I can’t move another step…” (Sou)



 A puddle of blood has formed under Utsuki’s feet. It would be difficult to stand without support.



“Run away… I’ll buy you some more time…” (Sou)


“But…” (Noa)


“So, you’ve been spreading [Charm] everywhere for a while now? That’s pretty useless, Loli Elf’s flirty tricks only work with your old friends.” (Susuyama?)


“If the two of you die here, Abechi and Master will kill me anyway…” (Sou)


“Ms. Utsuki…” (Noa)


“So… go… go now!” (Sou)


“You’re not going to escape.” (Susuyama?)



 At the same time that Utsuki held out her hand in front of her, Susuyama also produced a hypha ball on his fingertips. Yellow—[Thunderball] huh?



“It’s a relatively rare ability, and you have both. But they’re useless.” (Susuyama?)



 A [Thunderball] with a faint sparkle of spores flew and rained down on the three.



 When the three of them regain consciousness, they find that the area is filled with the smell of burning flesh.



 Noa and Utsuki, who had been hit by multiple blasts, fell on their backs, and Tamiko, who had flown out of Noa’s hand, lay limp and motionless.



“Oh, that still didn’t stop your heart, huh? Small fries are the most annoying things in fights.” (Susuyama?)



 Noa hears a man’s voice above her head. Her vision is blurry, and she can’t see well, but it’s probably that devilish smile again.



“Well, I was going to revive you even if your heart stopped. I think I still have some use for you.” (Susuyama?)



 Susuyama’s hand grabs Utsuki’s head.



“So… let’s go to the next test.” (Susuyama?)



 Fingers digs into Utsuki’s temple.



“This is the next twist! Let’s see. ‘Can a princess with the blood of a villainous royal family shed tears over the death of a friend?’ Wahahaha!” (Sususyama)


“…stop…” (Noa)



 Noa desperately reaches out and grab Susuyama’s ankle. She has no strength left, no strength left to use any Fungal Skill.



“Hey, hey, you’re looking like you’re about to cry. That’s not a lie, is it? Don’t do that, will you, please, because you’re changing the test?” (Susuyama?)



 Utsuki’s skull creaked and her blond hair was reddish-black.



“Think carefully. I want your heartfelt opinion. Are your tears real? Is your grief a deception born of hypocrisy? Tell me… the last of the bloodline of the Ikebukuro dynasty.” (Susuyama?)


“…please… already…” (Noa)



(Please.) (Noa)


(Stop.) (Noa)


(This person.) (Noa)


(Anyone–) (Noa)



 Utsuki’s skull must be shattered. The fingers reaching her brain as he squeezes her head like an apple,


 —just before.



 Noa sees a black flash.



 At the tip of Susuyama’s hand, a black iron-colored sword collides with the [Barrier].


 And the sword easily slashes through the barrier and passes through.



“–!” (Susuyama?)



 Susuyama backsteps and just barely avoids the first blow that breaks through the barrier.



“Sha!” (Susuyama)



 However, the swinging up of the returned sword follows. Cutting off his right arm that holds Utsuki.


 Susuyama, who slid roughly on the floor and landed, caught a glimpse of his missing right arm from the elbow down and clicked his tongue.



 The man who appears slowly lays Utsuki’s body on the floor after catching it in mid-air and readjusts his sword to his right eye again.


 The strongest hypha sword on earth, the [Indestructible Sword] that only one person in the entire hunter community can possess.



“—-I’m sorry to keep you waiting. It’s all right now.” (Yoshitsune)



 Kang Yoshitsune, the wielder, says in a cool voice.



Utsuki Sou (48)


[Illusionist] Level 37


Fungal Skill: [Fireball] [Iceball] [White Staff] [Charm]


Fungal Ability: [Guidance]



Kang Yoshitsune (21)


[Holy Knight] Level 57


Fungal Skill: [Indestructible Sword]




T/N: Die Susuyama! Save Tamiko, quickly! I know they’ll be alright, but it’s still frustrating when Tamiko is hurt.



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