Metro Labyrinth Chapter 133.i5.2: Underground Tournament 3

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 Originally, the festival had been heavily guarded. Although thorough inspections were carried out to enter the city, including luggage checks, identification, declaration of address for Free Folks, and an increase in the city entry tax, this did not prevent terrorists and bandits who attacked the mayor’s residence from entering the city.



 As a result, checkpoints were further tightened after the eve of the festival, and all Free Folk and those with stamps indicating criminal records were prohibited from entering the city. The stores in the backstreets and the events that Hamada Clan had planned were completely deserted. Hamada complained that he had not been able to get the 30% of the earnings he had hoped for, and the “Strangely Naked” was probably in a similar state of shock.



“I was imagining that they were having financial difficulties and were trying to conclude a territorial dispute, but there was no reason for your boss to agree to that, was there? It didn’t seem like he was in that kind of trouble unless he was after them from the start.” (Kure)


“I’ve never heard of that…” (Koichi)



 Hamada disliked the “Strangely Naked” guys who didn’t care about tradition, saying, “Yakuza bastards can’t even be on the windward side of chivalry.” It is hard to believe that Hamada has any intention of bringing them under his control, but if his intention is to restore the good old order in the backstreets by restraining them without causing any trouble, it would be just like Hamada to do so.



“I don’t have any evidence to support this, but I have a feeling that the “bigwigs” as you call them are involved in this. Well, it’s none of my business.” (Kure)



 Koichi has not been told about the background of the incident. If Osaki is involved in this case, what does that mean? Koichi has no idea. He was tempted to ask Hamada, but even if he knew that, it would not change what he had to do.



“Ah, erm… What about the other one?” (Koichi)


“Hmm? … Oh, I meant you.” (Kure)


“Eh, me?” (Koichi)


“I’ve been thinking about you since the first time we met. You look somewhat like someone I know well.” (Kure)



 Koichi is bewildered by the unexpected flow of the conversation.



“The feeling grew stronger the more we sparred together, and the earlier conversation convinced me of it. You are – just a little bit, but you are alike. You resemble the person I love most in the world right now.” (Kure)


“That’s…” (Koichi)



 “It’s that person.” Koichi thought. He is not sure what to say, and is hesitant to say it out loud.



“Yeah, that’s right. It’s Shuu.” (Kure)


“I see.” (Koichi)



 When Kure put it into words with a straight face, Koichi felt like he was hit with something hard.



“He too–in terms of innate talent, I don’t think he’s as blessed as the people around him are.” (Kure)


“Are you serious? He’s such a talented guy.” (Koichi)


“Well, I don’t doubt that he is extraordinary to some extent. Even so…If you ask me if he has enough sense to stand shoulder to shoulder with geniuses who stand on the top stage like Hakuou Maria and Kang Yoshitsune. I don’t know.” (Kure)



 It is a surprisingly serious assessment, but Koichi understands that Kure is neither flattering nor slanderous when it comes to this sort of thing. So he gives no exception to the rule when it comes to Abe Shuu.



“Then… is it because Abe Bro is gifted in Fungal Class or Fungal Skill that’s why he is strong?” (Koichi)


“I’m not going to deny that, and on the other hand, it can also be said that this is one of his talents. But… that is not his essence.” (Kure)


“Essence?” (Koichi)



 Kure heads to the porch and opens the shoji door. The door was closed during practice to prevent noise from leaking out (to prevent complaints from the night workers in the neighborhood), so the breeze coming in felt cooler, if a little lukewarm.



“He knows his weakness and mediocrity. That is why he keeps thinking desperately, keeps trying, how to win, how to survive. No matter how difficult the situation, no matter how powerful the enemy is, no matter how much he wants to despair. No matter how many times he gets scared, breaks down, and falls to his knees, he can get up again and keep struggling. And there is his determination and desire to do so for himself and for those he cares about. I believe that is the essence of his strength.” (Kure)



 Looking back at Kure’s profile, perhaps because of the sunlight streaming in from the west, he has a look on his face that Koichi has never seen before.



“It’s only been three days, but I thought I saw a little bit of that sparkle in your eyes during our training. No matter how many times you have been knocked down and how many times you have given up, no matter how many times your confidence has been shattered, you have been able to get up and come back at me again. Even though you knew the difference in strength between us, you still kept thinking and devising ways to get back at me. You took advantage of my weakness earlier, too, when you should have noticed it long ago.” (Kure)


“Um… I see.” (Koichi)


It made sense to me to know that you are one of those people who are trying to be strong for something important. It’s a spark that I didn’t have in me. …If you can continue to be like that, you will be stronger and a better man, I assure you. I guarantee it.” (Kure)


“Oh, I’m, thank you…” (Koichi)



 I’m sure it’s a compliment he gives to the – but is it self-consciousness that makes my buttocks itch?



“… Oh, I hope you don’t misunderstand. I didn’t mean it that way. I’m often misunderstood.” (Kure)


“I-I see.” (Kouchi)


“I’ve noticed recently that I seem to be subconsciously attracted to people who have qualities that I don’t have in myself. Regardless of gender or race.” (Kure)



 I’m curious about the word “race,” but it seems to be anything goes.



“…or there, the image of the person who was most important to me—no, that’s fine. Forget it.” (Kure)



 Once again, I catch a glimpse of the same expression as before. The same look again, envy or fragility.



“But there is a difference between longing, envy, and love. I have someone in mind. I can only see his bu—backside now.” (Kure)


“You were about to say butt right now.” (Koichi)


“You’ll understand when you know true love. You only need one… butt to make you strong.” (Kure)


“I won’t be doing that.” (Koichi)





 The next day.




 Shaking off Hamada’s protests, Kure went out to the metro. Kouichi had no choice but to accompany him.



 They spent three days in a small metro, known as the West Sugamo Metro, a short walk from the west gate of Sugamo. The two spend three days there.



 Kure mentioned, “A technique that can’t be tested against humans.”



 Koichi is scared to death when he sees the tragic end of the Green Goblin who was used as a test subject.



 At the same time as he is glad that it wasn’t him or Dago who will be targeted by this, at the same time he felt the strength of the opponent who “he knows very well” that he had no choice but to lift the ban on the technique that he has sealed until now. Koichi was left worried.



 The “Tokyo Underworld Tournament” in Sugamo is located in the basement of an old, abandoned factory on the outskirts of the industrial district outside the north gate.



 The stage is far cruder than that of the Martial Arts Center. The stone floor and walls are damp, the air is musty, and the venue is so small that it could only hold 200 people and be packed liked sardines. In the center is an octagonal ring surrounded by rusty wire mesh.



 The audience is a wide variety of people from neighboring cities, ranging from the wealthy to politicians. Those who don’t want their identities known are usually wearing masks or disguises, as if it were a costume party.



“They are wearing masks that are in poor taste.” (Kure)


“Huh? Sure.” (Koichi)



 Kure, wearing a goblin mask just like at the Grand Tournament, receives Hamada’s cheers of “Please!” After climbing over the wire mesh and standing in the center, cheers erupted from the audience.





 The floor is concrete with a hard layer of sand on top. It felt similar to the ring at the Martial Arts Center.



 After entering the ring, Kure Izuho checked the size of the ring, the feel of the wire mesh against his back, the angle of the lights, and waited for his opponent to come to him.



 Eventually, the clown-masked referee – a professional judge who is a member of the Underground Tournament – extends his hand and points. The man is just about to come down from the wire fence.



“—sorry for the wait.” (Enemy Fighter)



 Once again, cheers fill the hall, and in the midst of them, Kure calmly observes.



 Like Kure, he is bare on top and wears flashy-colored trunks underneath. He wears white bandages on his hands and feet.



 If Kure’s memory serves him right, he is now forty-six years old. His brown skin, covered with scars, looks more resilient than his age, and his hair is still dark and youthful.



 He is about a hundred seventy-eight centimeters tall. The difference in height is about two or three centimeters, but the difference in reach is clearly more than that. His limbs are long and slender, as if he were an insect.



 Conversely, his muscles are generally thinner, and Kure is probably seven or eight kilograms heavier. The difference in weight is not going to be much of an advantage here, though.



 Kure sure that he’s not mistaken in remembering that his body shape looks different from what it used to be. Perhaps this current body shape is a direct reflection of his fighting style.



 According to preliminary information, he is level 63, which is almost the limit for a normal Fungal Class. In other words, he is definitely in the top class of all [Fighters].



“Long time no see, Izuho.” (Enemy Fighter)



 The scars on his face are numerous. The streaks running from the corners of his eyes look like tears as he grins.



“You’re wearing something weird. Are you still the same old weirdo?” (Enemy Fighter)


“It’s been a long time–uncle.” (Kure)



 He calls himself Kazama Tommy now, but his real name is Kure Tommy.



 He is the adoptive brother of Kure Izuho’s father, Hijiki, who was to become the second head of the Kure-style martial arts.



A/N: Next time, maybe I’ll finish the story.

5/13 – I’m not sure I can finish it anymore.

T/N: Author-san wrote lots of amazing story arcs. Except the last story arc has an annoying flaw. But anyway, I observed that the author has been focusing on the light novel. So, I hope they act like All-rounder Healer and Reincarnated Aristocrat’s Authors and continue their series after a break here and there. 



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