Metro Labyrinth Chapter 132: Closing Ceremony 2

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“I was worried that you would cancel the closing ceremony because I had given you a lot of hints beforehand. As expected of the two most powerful rulers on the country, I am grateful to you for coming out and not running away.” (Susuyama?)


“You would have taken action regardless of whether we were there or not. If you are who I thought you are.” (Chuuta)


“Well, it’s our very first meeting, isn’t it? It should be nice to meet you, right?” (Susuyama?)


“That’s why I wouldn’t let them call it off until you came out. I didn’t want a repeat of the Nippoori city. Now that I think about it, you must have been involved at that time too.” (Chuuta)


“Hmm, what are you talking about? I don’t know about that old thing.” (Susuyama?)



 The conversation between Susuyama and the Governor of Tokyo was disturbing. The founder took a step back and watched in silence.


 Despite this bizarre scene, the buzz in the hall was at its peak today.



 A mysterious intruder suddenly appears from the basement of the arena (though some citizens may know him as Mayor Sugamo’s secretary). The man announces the start of the closing ceremony.



 Even I, who was right in front of him, could no longer comprehend the situation. It is only natural that the audience who witnessed this would be speechless, confused, and frightened.



  But then,



“Who the f*ck are you?!” (Audience)


“Susuyama! What the hell are you doing?” (Audience)


“You’re not in charge!” (Audience)


“Get off the stage!” (Audience)



 The shouts came from everywhere. As expected of residents of a world where dungeons and monsters exist, they were very brave.



 Susuyama looked around at the audience and shrugged his shoulders in disgust.



“I know I’m not wanted here, either. But, let me talk to you for a moment, all you wise citizens of Sugamo.” (Susuyama?)



 As for me, watching Toroko who was standing next to him. She’s wearing the same jersey as the management staff, but is it possible that she’s trying to disguise herself? Although I feel that the way of misdirection is clever, is it that it was unexpectedly effective?



 Susuyama (temporary) attacked Noah and the others, aiming at Hagumi. The fact that this girl is connected to the mysterious man who was behind the event suggests that the incident at Rikugi Metro is also connected to today’s event.



 The artificial outbreak of the Baphomet Colony. The creation of “Family” matured individuals. If it is this man who has been pulling the strings behind the scenes, then…



(Could it be?) (Shuu)


(Impossible!) (Shuu)


(–a demon?!) (Shuu)



“Oh, yes. I haven’t introduced myself yet.” (Susuyama?)



 Kin! Kin!


 White sparks scatter near Susuyama?’s head. The things repelled by [Barrier]—hypha bullets that lie on the sand.




“Hey, hey, hey, people are still talking, aren’t they? You pricks who can only shoot peashooters should stay out of it! Hey, Mr. Governor?” (Susuyama?)



 The Governor quickly raises his hand. He raised his hand to signal to the [Snipers] in the audience.



“I should have told you not to touch them until I give the signal. What if we hit a hostage?” (Susuyama)



(Hostage?) (Shuu)



 I immediately noticed the presence of a hostage. The [Sensory Spores] have caught this unseen outline.



 The moment Susuyama?, who was grinning, waved his left arm holding a loudspeaker, the noise suddenly changed into a collective gasp.



 Susuyama’s right hand grips the man’s collar as if he is dragging a carry-on bag. He is a small, slightly plump, well-dressed young man.



 Next to him is Troko, also holding a small girl in his arms and holding a knife to her neck. “Hagumi!” I hear the mayor’s voice screaming in distress from somewhere. [T/N: Letting Toroko live is now biting you in the ass, huh, Shuu?]



 Visually, it looked as if it had suddenly appeared out of thin air. Perhaps it was a Fungal Skill called [Invisibility] with the ability to become invisible by literally covering itself with spores (this is the first time I’ve actually seen it).



“No, no, our hope is just dialogue. In order not to be disturbed like before, I was accompanied by the two individuals who are very kind to me so that I would not be disturbed like I was just now. Mr. Margame Donta, the chief of the Ikebukuro Tribe, and Miss Hagumi, the daughter of the mayor of Sugamo. Oh, don’t worry, they’re both just sleeping soundly. For now.” (Susuyama?)



 You targeted that girl as a hostage for this? I can’t help but feel the vileness in the fact that he went to the trouble of hiding her with [Invisibility].



“Well, I was in the middle of introducing myself. I’m the leader of an organization called the ‘Cross Border Brigade’, so you can call me ‘The Commander’. By the way, for some reason I’m borrowing the face of Mr. Susuyama, the secretary to the mayor of Sugamo, but I’m not Mr. Susuyama himself. He is probably sleeping somewhere right now.” (Susuyama? => Commander)




 The “Cross Border Brigade” – that’s the name that Shimoyanagi once mentioned.



“I’m sure you’ve all heard rumors about the ‘Cross Border Brigade’, right? It’s one of those urban legends, albeit a bit minor one. They are a terrorist group that wants to get to the other side of the wall that covers this country and secretly conduct subversive activities against the government and religious order that advocate the Three Major Taboos… Well, the actual situation is a little different, but I’ll explain that later.” (Commander)



 The murmur turned into muffled groans.



“The founding of the organization is eight years ago. The founding members were a former hunter from the city of Asakusa and nine children from a certain Free Folk village who adored him. Toroko, who is standing next to me, is one of them. Yeah, except I’m not the ex-hunter.” (Commander)



 Toroko, who was introduced, does not look back at the Commander, nor does she pay attention to the crowd surrounding her, but simply stares up at the governor, or at the founder behind him.



“In fact, they didn’t even name the group at first. It was only about three years ago, after the publication of a book talking about ‘The Dark Side of New Tokyo’, that they began calling themselves the ‘Cross Border Brigade’.” (Commander)



 What are you talking about? But no one follows. The Commander clears his throat and continues.



“The book contained the urban legend of the ‘Cross Border Brigade’ that I told you about earlier. Although it was not entirely eyebrow raising, though the episode of the purge was based on an actual incident that took place in the past. Yes, the founding members of the Brigade were involved in that incident and became the model for a phantom terrorist group called the Crossing Border Brigade.” (Commander)



 The atmosphere in the hall was changing, and Susuyama?, the leader of the group, looked around and chuckled with satisfaction.



“The incident took place in the village of Hikifune, a Free Folk’s community on the eastern edge of New Tokyo. It was their hometown – a tragic village that disappeared from the country eight years ago without anyone knowing about it due to a horrific purge by the public authorities. Here she is, one of the survivors.” (Commander)



 The dull, stifled groaning turns into a hustle and bustle again.



“I joined them about a year ago when they asked me to help them, like a hired hand, so to speak. I took pity on their situation, and I helped them in order to take revenge on the people who brutally slaughtered their families and compatriots, and even covered up the fact. The ringleader is here in this hall right now. He is right in front of us.” (Commander)



 The leader of the group puts the loudspeaker near Toroko’s mouth. After a short pause – Toroko points the knife in his hand forward and points with the tip of the blade.



“… you are the one who gave the order, right? The one who attacked our village.” (Toroko)





 Walls surround the entire perimeter of New Tokyo.



 The height and thickness vary from place to place, but it is said to be at least 500 meters high and 100 meters thick.



 It is a rugged grayish-brown structure with a texture similar to concrete. It was not built by human hands. It is one of the structures brought about by something beyond human knowledge, just like the “Metro Flood” and large-scale land movements that occurred during the “Tokyo Judgment” one hundred years ago.



 One hundred years after the cataclysm, the wall is said to be slowly changing and expanding without people’s knowledge, just as structural changes in the metro areas and the birth of new metro areas are still occurring.



 The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Metro Church, both of which are the central government of the country, have established “contact with and interference with the Wall” as an inviolable taboo for all the citizens of the country. Specifically, entry and residence within a 500-meter radius around the wall is prohibited, as is direct contact with the wall, such as surveying, damaging, or climbing the wall.



 Although the prohibition is stated, in reality there are only a few people in total who monitor the wall, and direct contact, which is the most serious offense, does not lead to execution.



 Nevertheless, very few are willing to commit them (no matter what the motive).


 There is only one reason for this – the “Threadweavers,” or any animal with sporangia in its body, is not supposed to be allowed near walls.



 Although there are individual differences (between individuals and between species), as soon as they get within about 500 meters of the wall, they develop a definite physical condition – nausea, chills, fatigue, general aches and pains, and so on. The symptoms rapidly worsen as the distance to the wall shrinks, and in some cases, death may result.



 This is believed to be caused by the malfunctioning of the mycelium and sporangia in the body. However, it is still unclear why such symptoms appear when people approach the wall. Various theories have been put forward, such as “some kind of special electromagnetic waves are emitted,” or “psychological suggestions instilled in us at an instinctive level that affect our bodies,” but none of these theories has been proven.



 This also works in the sky. Birds and insects cannot fly over the wall (domestic flying animals do not need to migrate outside the wall to pass through the changing seasons). The same is true for human beings. Before the “Demon War,” there were some who tried to force their way over by balloon or other means of flight–but at least no one returned to the Wall or let them know that they were safe. At any rate, the state authorities were warned.



 At any rate, the Wall has been an untouchable taboo for creatures in this country from the very beginning, even if the state authorities did not warn them.



 But–there are exceptions.


 There were a few creatures that could live in the vicinity of the wall without being affected by it.



 Most of them were common species widely distributed throughout the country, and individuals born in other areas did not show the same characteristics. Only populations born in areas near the Wall had acquired “tolerance” to the Wall, due to factors such as genetic predisposition and adaptability to the environment in which they were born and raised.



 Most of the resistant individuals were insects and small animals, which have fast reproduction and growth cycles, but a few cases of medium and large beasts were also observed. And—some humans as well.



 The village of Hikifune, with its modest dwellings near the boundary of the off-limits zone.


 The Free Folks living quietly there were all a group of resistant people who could operate even near the wall.



 The metropolitan government and the Metro Church confirmed their existence in the year 91 of the Tokyo era.


 Although surveys of the entire area near the wall had been conducted long before that, the discovery of the group was delayed because the area was like a hidden village deep in Aokigahara.



 The two organizations decided to investigate and monitor them in secret, keeping their existence a secret from the public.



 The villagers lived in a place where the observers could not stay for long periods of time, and they hunted and gathered without any change. This was unthinkable according to conventional wisdom.



 They tried to make direct contact with the villagers, but they were unwilling to have anything to do with outsiders, and they could not be lured with goods or money. They lived a modest life relying on the bounty of the surrounding land and the nearby metro and wanted nothing more. It was a completely closed world, a world that was complete only to them.



 About five years after they began monitoring them, they discovered that as the generations advanced in the village, they tended to become slightly more resistant of the wall. The children were approaching the walls competitively and even trying to show off their growing distance to the adults.



 Upon receiving this report, both organizations took action at about the same time.



 The metropolitan government proposed a move to a more inner-city location. With the guarantee of a more affluent life.



 The Metro Church tried to preach its doctrine to them and welcome them generously as “blessed ones of the metro”.



 Naturally, the villagers rejected both proposals. They said they could not leave the land where their ancestors had been born and raised, and that they beg to be left alone.



 The Tokyo Law, which forbade access to the Wall, was “a rule decided by someone far away” for those who did not have a family register. Or, even if the rules and ideas behind them were for the “safety of the people and protection of their lives,” they were just a useless concern for them, as they were less susceptible to the Wall’s influence than anyone else.



 Still, they were more than a little uncomfortable with the stubbornness with which it was imposed on them.



 They wondered how getting any closer to the wall would be detrimental to their religion’s deity.



 Negotiations continued in parallel, with neither side giving in.



 Both organizations sometimes hinted that they would take strong-arm measures to carry out the eviction, but the villagers remained unyielding. They were able to remain strong because of their geographical advantage and, in a sense, their pride in being “protected by the wall”.



 Then December of the 99th year of the Tokyo calendar arrived.


 On that day, a group of people entered the village without a sound, clad in pure white like snow.



A/N: Sorry!!!

Next chapter, for sure in the next chapter, the “Grand Tournament Arc” will be completed!!!


T/N: I’m kind of conflicted that I’m not as sympathetic to Toroko and Kawataro. I think a few intermission/idle talk chapters would be beneficial to introducing sympathetic antagonists. I’m already sympathetic to Sparkle who is endlessly chasing after Shuu. Sparkle’s journey from a parasite to a being with emotions is really awesome. I am grateful the author introduced Sparkle before their debut.



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