Metro Labyrinth Chapter 139: Fungus Ball

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T/N: Title can be both Fungus Ball and Fungus Testicle.



 As we headed towards the west gate, the meeting place, even Yoshitsune’s eyes widened.



“Well, well, aside from Mr. Kure, you have an elf and the representative of Sugamo, too? What a splendid lineup you have here.” (Yoshitsune)


“I’m not going to be a hindrance,” said Ms. Aomoto.


“Nice to meet you, Mr. Good Looking. Thank you for helping me the other day. I can thank you in plenty of ways when we get to the inn,” said Ms. Utsuki.



 By the way, her motive was that she had time to spare. She was already free from her sister’s bondage because Hakuou Maria had left a few days before, saying that she would not be back for a while for work. Even if she tried to fish for a man, it would not go well in Komagome because her sister’s influence was too strong, and she had been spending her free time in solitude “even though it is the season of love,” so this trip to Nakano is like a vacation for her.



“Well, I don’t mind a lively atmosphere, and I feel safer when there are a lot of people around. So let’s get started, are you ready?” (Yoshitsune)



 He grabbed my wrist and held it tight. Wait a minute, I wanted to raise my hand.



“Mr. Abe, what’s wrong?” said Yoshitsune.


“…we have to leave today, right…?” (Shuu)


“Yes, but do you need to do something else?” (Yoshitsune)


“…Do you know what day tomorrow is? It’s Friday, August 30th.” (Shuu)



 I think about the amount that would be deposited in the guild’s vault.



“The last Friday of the month… If it was a hundred years ago, it would have been a day when we would have finished work early and rested. In fact, it’s an urban legend, and I’ve never seen anyone do it. …I don’t really care about that, but tomorrow, the rewards for the quest will be transferred.” (Shuu)



 I think about a thin notebook with “Abe Shuu” written on the cover – a bankbook from Sugamo Bank.



“I’ve never seen this amount before, so I was planning to go to the bank first thing tomorrow morning to update it. I’ve been looking forward to it, I’ve lived for this day.” (Shuu)


“Mr. Abe…” (Yoshitsune)



 I said as I tearfully clung to Yoshitsune’s collar.



“Hey, please, Yoshitsune… can’t we postpone our departure just one day? I want to lie on the tatami mat, counting the digits in my bank book while smiling. I want to eat white rice while looking at it, and before I go to bed, I want to dream of taking a money bath with the bankbook under my pillow… I may never get a chance like this again… so…!” (Shuu)



 The ostrich car departs with the half-glazed me on the back of the wagon. Yeah.





 The highway on the west side is almost like a direct connection to Ikebukuro, but until a little while ago it was almost like an abandoned road with no people.



 There is one reason. The recently discovered West Sugamo Metro was located near the road, and low-level Metro Beasts that crawled out of the Metro had taken root around the road. Thanks to this, the pavement is in a state of disrepair compared to the north-south streets, and even now, only a few people can be seen passing by.



“Well—” said Ms. Aomoto. “We’ve already exterminated the area, and we’ve stationed a guild member at the entrance and exit. There’s a permanent residence built for them. Soon it will be bustling with traffic again.”


“What about the Metro?” (Shuu)



 As I recall, the entrance was restricted to hunters from the Sugamo branch, and only those who had received subjugation and investigation quests were allowed to enter.



“The construction near the entrance and the investigation of the lower level are in progress, and soon it will be open to the general public. You guys can give it a try–well, for now, it’s a beginner’s metro with even lower levels than Gokokuji and Myogatani.” (Aomoto)


“I don’t care about that… I just want to get the road repaved as soon as possible…” (Sou)



 Ms. Utsuki shrewdly stuck next to Yoshitsune, who was holding the reins on the coachman’s seat, but I was already sick due to the strong shaking and rattling. The first time I rode in an ostrich car in the village of Rikugi, I became sick to my stomach.



 The rest of the four members of the group were riding in the back of the wagon with baggage that seemed to be a souvenir for Nakano. The wagon was not designed for this number of people, so it was a bit cramped, but if the need arose, we could simply unload the muscle guy.



“Even so, to be directly appointed by His Excellency the Governor of Tokyo… As expected of the ‘Master Threadweavers’, it seems that you have something in common.” (Aomoto)


“Oh, what do you mean?” (Shuu)



 As for this time, I am aware that the furball on my shoulder is her favorite. The others are just extra.



“Well, I’ve always thought you were a mysterious person, but I never thought you were a survivor of the same ancient civilization as His Excellency… I didn’t know you were a hero, and I challenged you to a Sumo match. I’m ashamed of myself for making you take it.” (Aomoto)


“No, no, it’s nothing like that. I’m just a newbie on Sugamo.” (Shuu)


“Well, as a representative, I guess I still have to keep on trying to improve my skills so that I can compete with you…” (Aomoto)



 Ms. Aomoto’s words were short, and she showed an uncharacteristically weak smile.



(A rumor I overheard in the guild.) (Shuu)


(Was it true?) (Shuu)



 Since her close loss to Mr. Giran in the preliminaries, Ms. Aomoto has been feeling a bit low on confidence.



“Umm… Ms. Aomoto, I wanted to have a long talk with you too.” (Kure)



 Kure whispers to Aomoto. I made a mistake with the volume of my voice, and he was able to hear it perfectly.



“What is it, Mr. Kure?” (Aomoto)


“You seem to be very obsessed with Tamiko.” (Kure)


“No, I am not obsessed… I just wish to support a certain member of the guild… I wish I could support her, who is unfamiliar with human habitation…” (Aomoto)



 I thought that was a bit of a lie at this stage.



“No, there is no need to hide it. Love comes in all shapes and sizes, and it can’t be a sin to think of.” (Kure)



 I wish they could have had this conversation somewhere else.



“You’re like a comrade-in-arms to me… and I’d be happy to help get you two together if you want.” (Kure)


“Is that true, Mr. Kure?” (Aomoto)


“Of course. If you win over Tamiko, the day may come when I can ride on Shuu’s shoulder, which has become an empty seat.” (Kure) [T/N: LOL.]


“That’s never happening.” (Shuu)



 The ostrich car is going smoothly, and afternoon, the gate of the Ikebukuro territory comes into view. Here the ostriches, humans, and a squirrel take a lunch break.



“It’s still hot and humid, so we need to give the ostriches plenty of water and food.” (Yoshitsune)



 Saying that Yoshitsune patted the three ostriches that pulled the cart. I also patted them. The feathers were so soft to the touch that I wanted to nuzzle my face into them.



 Having experienced summer for the first time in a century after coming out to the surface, felt that there was a slight gap between me and the people of this era regarding “hot weather”. It’s true that hot things are hot, but I’ve never experienced the heat wave phenomenon of 100 years ago, when people said, “I don’t want to take even one step outside.” At that time, I thought that it would be like saying, “Isn’t this year a cool summer?”



(What about greenhouse gases, the ice age, etc.?) (Shuu)



 Since my knowledge of such things is about the same as anyone else’s, it would be pointless to even think about it. It may be simply because the concrete jungle has been destroyed.



 We are planning to go to an inn near Shiinachou Metro by the end of the day. After lunch, we still had some time to spare, so we decided to visit Mr. Giran’s place again.



“Heh… you mean that self-proclaimed Lord Tsuruhashi?” (Yoshitsune)



 Yoshitsune’s eyes clearly become those of an avenger. Full of hostility towards the person who stole his ball.



 Mr. Giran’s mansion is surprisingly located a short distance from the Royal Castle. It is a house with a reasonably large garden, but it has a simple, humble atmosphere for the residence of the tribe’s leading figure.



“Oh, you are here again?” (Mitani)



 Ms. Mitani, the housekeeper who was sweeping the hedges, called out to us before we did. She is a round plump in her fifties, and she seems to be a house member to Mr. Giran, who is a single aristocrat.



“If it’s my master, he just came back yesterday and left again. I wonder where he is and what he’s doing… Would you like to go up and wait for him?” (Mitani)


“Ah, no, I just stopped by here.” (Shuu)



 Although these days we have become Ms. Giran’s stalkers, Ms. Mitani always welcomes us warmly. If we had more time, we would have enjoyed her tea and homemade cookies, but we decided to leave for the day.



“Oh, that’s right. Please wait a moment.” (Mitani)



 Saying that Ms. Mitani dashed off toward the house. Not just me, but Tamiko’s cheeks were puffed up with anticipation as we wondered if Mitani would bring some sweets as a souvenir.



 When Ms. Mitani eventually returns, she offers us a bag of cookies and a letter.



“When the master returned, he said that if you came while he’s gone, he wants me to give this to you.” (Mitani)



 On the plain envelope, “Lady Ikari Noa” is written in skillful handwriting. A letter here too?



 Noa timidly accepts it, lips tight, and opens the envelope.





~3rd Person Perspective~



 The day before.


 Just before noon, when the sun rises to its highest point. In the city center of Ikebukuro territory, near the west gate.



“– Just looking at that fur makes me feel hot and irritated.” (Maria)



 A beautiful “black-eared long-haired dark elf” dressed in a pure white high-class jersey called out to Giran from behind. She was Komagome’s hunter, Maria Hakuou, aka “Holy Silver Puppeteer”. Even under the scorching sun, her makeup was in perfect condition.



“Thank you for coming, Ms. Hakuou.” (Giran)



 Giran bowed his head respectfully. He doesn’t complain about her being over an hour late for the appointment. He is happy she is here.



“Hmph… I wonder how useful I can be right now. Today I’m empty-handed because my puppet’s armor that was destroyed by that virgin is being repaired.” (Maria)


“It’s rare to see a senior make such a statement.” (Giran)


“Oh, you’re being cheeky. Even if I look like this, I am trying to understand it myself, don’t you know? I don’t know what the opponent… this time if it may be a hero’s ghost extermination.” (Maria)



 Even though she said so, there was no hint of hesitation in her expression. The noble queen would not let go of the man who hurt her beloved sister.



“So, you’re not saying that I am alone, right?” (Giran)


“If you were asking me out on a date, I would love to, but that’s not going to happen this time. Well, there are only a limited number of rankers that can talk to me, and—” (Maria)



 Giran turned around,



“What does that mean? You think you’re allowed to come later than me?” (Giran)



 Hakuou also turned to where Giran’s pointed nose was pointing.



“—hng.” (Maria)



 She frowned openly.



 The strange appearance of the man stood out even in this street, which was not very populated at this time of the day.



 Their head was covered by a black turban, and the only thing exposed were their sharp eyes. Their thick black cloak was also open at the front, exposing their naked upper body. It is not as if they are trying to look cool, maybe at least a little. He does not wear under armor or a jacket, regardless of whether it is snowing, or icicles are standing.



 He is a foot shorter than Hakuou, with morbidly thin legs peeking out from his arms and knee-length pants, and a thin chest and abdomen. At his waist is a gourd-shaped water bottle that looks like two spheres strung together. The painted surface is a dazzling, shimmering gold.



 The man stopped in front of Giran and Maria and looked at them with slanted eyes assessing them.



“I’ve been waiting for you,” said Giran. “I am extremely humbled by your efforts, Master.”


“Umu, don’t worry. I won’t forget the promise of a joint party with the Ikebukuro Girls when it’s over, dog boy.” (Man)



 He is a “mage” belonging to the Akabane Tribe branch.



 Last year, he was ranked 8th in the national hunter ranking.



 He is also known as “Dignified Fungal Balls”. Real name unknown. [T/N: I will call him “Balls” for now.]



“As usual, you still have a nice body, you dim-witted girl with black ears. Come on, say my name.” (Balls)


“I will never say, sexual harassing old man.” (Maria)



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