Metro Labyrinth Chapter 134: Secret 1

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 Noah’s [Life Spores] is more convenient than expected in the Metro exploration, which forces us to march dozens of kilometers if we try to reach the deeper levels. It is a high school girl-made powder that restores one’s strength just by inhaling it. If you say it out loud, you’re out, so I should keep my mouth shut and not think of it.



 Inhaled spores are said to generate special nutrients in the body for a certain period of time. It is a temporary effect like an energy drink, not a magic that allows you to work as much as you want without supplementation, but it reduces the number of breaks and speeds up the speed of travelling.



 It is very nice to have a companion with this kind of ability. Thanks to this, we were able to reach the deepest 27th floor of the Gokokuji Metro in a little over a day.



 As someone who used to use the Yurakucho Line, I am very familiar with Gokokuji, and along with Myougadani, it is popular as a “hunting ground for beginners” among hunters in the center of New Tokyo.



 This place is known as “Sand Metro”.


 From the first to the twenty-seventh floor, most of the terrain is composed of sand and rock, and the wind from somewhere is blowing dust everywhere. Mycelium plants resembling cacti are scattered about, and the only source of water on any floor is a few crude ponds called oases.



 —It sounds like a harsh environment, but in reality, the temperature is not that high (in fact, it is much hotter on the ground now), and if you have a map of the metro area and are prepared for your desert trek, it is not so harsh.



 The metro beasts that appear in the area are only about level 30 at the deepest floor (except for the occasional Matured), so even beginners can safely challenge them by forming a party, which is another reason for their popularity. Although not suitable for gathering materials for earning money, it is an ideal training ground for beginners to raise their level.



 However–sometimes uninvited guests do sneak into such a place.



“No, no, no, no…” (Shuu)


“Squeak, squeak, squeak…” (Tamiko)



 Along with scorpions and mummies, there is no doubt that it will be in the top 3 of the ranking of monsters that tend to appear in desert areas in RPGs, the so-called giant earthworm-type monsters.



 It was swimming in the ground making it rumble. I am sneaking a peek at it from a rocky outcrop some distance away.



“The biggest one is 20 to 30 meters long. It’s much bigger than that, isn’t it? It’s like 50 meters or something, right?” (Shuu)


“It is also around level 60, squeak. That’s something else, squeak.” (Tamiko)



 Its name is Wormjaw.


 It is a foreign beast that appears in this deepest layer once every few years. It has a special skin that allows it to swim at high speed through the sand, and a vicious jaw that can easily crush even hypha weapons.



 Last week, it was confirmed that it was once again haunting the place, so my party and I received a quest from the Sugamo Branch to subdue it before the young hunters in the village are harmed.



 “We’re looking to other branches to help us take it down, and we’ll pay you even if they do,” he added, “It’s a level that a team of around level 40 can handle, and a master hunter should have an easy time.”



 I believed the staff’s presentation and accepted the contract, but when I arrived at the site, I found a monster that looked a size or two bigger and nastier than the one I had been told was swimming leisurely through the sand.



“Oh!” (Shuu)



 Wormjaw’s head dived down, and then, like a rising dragon, it rose up vertically, scattering a huge amount of sand.



 Leaping above it is a sand lizard (level 30 or so). The five-plus meter-long lizard, which had been launched high into the sky, fell, flapping its four legs, and was sucked into Wormjaw’s jagged, tooth-lined mouth.



 Chomp, chew, and swallow. With a peristaltic motion, it settles into its belly.



“… Right now, it’s the strongest on this floor, isn’t it? It was just a bite…” (Shuu)


“I’m not going to let them eat my cheek pouches, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Even if you get eaten, you can still come out as poop.” (Shuu)


“How dare you mention poop to a maiden, squeak! Shaaa!” (Tamiko)


“I’m sorry, but is it a problem that I jump from side to side when I hear a joke that makes me laugh?” (Shuu)


“We just got here, too—” (Hunter)



 The one who interrupted was a hunter in his mid-thirties who had been dispatched from the Kagurazaka branch. A middle-ranked trio of men and women, they seem to have received the same subjugation quest.



“I heard that this was the same as usual, but when we finally saw it, it was like that…” (Shuu)


“The strength of the target for the defeat was different from the prior information, which is quite common. It is not something that can be measured with a scale.” (Hunter)



 No, but at least I wanted accurate information about the size. If I had known it was such a monster, I would have asked for a little more.


 The reward is not so high this time because it is a guild request, not a private one. Instead, it seems to lead to promotion evaluation, but is the guild always this stingy?



“The guys from Ikebukuro were also here, but they’ve gone somewhere.” (Hunter)


“I don’t mean to be rude, but after seeing that, I’m not going to make it, am I?” (Hunter)


“I’m glad we were able to meet up with you guys, but to be honest… Even a bunch of average hunters are going to be a drop in the bucket against that.” (Hunter)



 I wouldn’t hesitate if the match was decided by level alone, but the difference in specs as living creatures was to the extent that even the expression “physical gap” was obvious. When confronted head-on, how far can “human skills” really bridge the gap?



“–But Mr. Shuu can do it.” (Noa)



 The one who opened their mouth was Noa, who had been silent until then. All eyes are on her.



“Well, well… Level-wise maybe, but if it’s that big…” (Hunter)


“But isn’t he stronger than Maria Hakuou?” (Hunter)


“Well, well… that one is something special, and the different frame…” (Hunter)



 Kagurazaka Trio’s eyes turned towards me this time. Those are quite the evaluating stare.



“…you said you came from Sugamo, right?” (Hunter)


“A hunter with a carbuncle… No way, you’re the ‘Sugamo’s Golden Rookie’…” (Hunter)


“He’s over level 70, and moreover, he won against the ‘Komagome Witch’… Is he really…?” (Hunter)


“If I recall correctly, your name is…Abe Squeak…?” (Hunter)


“It’s Shuu Abe.” (Shuu)



 It was only a little more than a week after the Grand Tournament, but rumors spread fast in any era.



“Why is Sugamo the strongest hunter in a place like this…” (Hunter)


“Also, Sugamo’s Strongest Virgin, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Shut up, Tamiko.” (Shuu)


“It certainly seems like it’s not an ordinary Wormjaw…” Noah said. “But, with Mr. Shuu’s power, I think he can beat it. Or rather, if Mr. Shuu can’t do it, no one can beat it.”


“I’m sorry… I’ve heard of its weaknesses, but if it is that big…” (Shuu)



 The most notable characteristics of Wormjaw are its extraordinary defense and regenerative abilities. It is said that a half-hearted attack cannot even scratch its skin, and no matter how much of its flesh is cut off and its body is broken up, it will heal itself in no time at all.



 Therefore, the only way to kill it is to “remove its head” and “quickly destroy its head to the point where it cannot be regenerated.” Since they cannot be destroyed without going that far, they are indeed considered to be the “subordinates” of one of the Beast Kings.



“The girth alone must be at least five or six meters, maybe more. It would be impossible to take its head off with a single blow, wouldn’t it?” (Shuu)



 If it’s a normal Wormjaw, I doubt it, but if it’s that thick, even the blade length of the accumulated [Katana] won’t reach half the thickness.


 It would be nice if it could at least stop moving for a few seconds, but with that huge body and that speed, that would be unreasonable.



 However, if we were to rush in with no plan, it could lead to a terrible battle between the “Master Threadweaver” and the Beast King’s “subordinate” to see who was truly immortal. If possible, I would like to fight a smarter or more human-like battle.



 Noa puts her hand on her chin and falls silent. She seems to be thinking about something. When she looks up a few seconds later, a lightbulb seems to switched on her brightly lit face.



“I’ve come up with a good idea. I feel like we can do it.” (Noa)


“Really?” (Shuu)


“Let’s get some people together, the people from that Ikebukuro, and some of the younger people on the upper floor.” (Noa)




T/N: Wee! New Arc.




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