I stepped in and jump up the
stairs for the first time in two years.
The 49th underground floor of the
Outsuka Metro, the boss’s hall.
As before, the boss slime
stands stolidly in the center of the room. As usual, it is a dirty, dark brown
(…It’s getting a little
bigger, isn’t it?) (Shuu)
Maybe it’s just my trauma that
makes it look bigger. Or maybe it has grown even more in the past two years.
In any case, it’s the same
with me as I also grew. The Slime silently captures my now more confident
According to our previous
research, the slime seems to recognize its surroundings by sensing light and
vibration. In other words, it has sight, hearing, and touch.
And then, a tentacle reaches
out. It makes a shadow from above my head and swings down without any
preliminary movement. It easily craters the floor on which I was standing.
“Still no hello?”
Even though I have grown more
than 10 levels since the last time I was here, it’s still too dangerous for me to
take it head-on. However, as I grew, I can now avoid it a little easier than
I tried to close the distance
at once, but in the blink of an eye, five tentacles appeared. They swell and
I dodged them and used my
great shield to block the others.
With a swing from my Hypha
Sword and one of them is cut off.
The tentacles, perhaps
startled, are pulled back. The tentacles sway from side to side as if it is
looking over the boss’s body to see what is going on.
The tentacle that fell to the
floor goes berserk, eventually dissolving into a liquid and scorching the
floor. An unknown smell rises up.
“…I can work with this.”
The Hypha Sword and Great Shield
that I held are then clad in a pale light.
My fifteenth Fungal Skill, [Spore
The ability to make the Hypha
Weapons created by the fungal skill to be covered with Spore Light—a
mysterious light that I named for simplicity’s sake. This dramatically improves
the sharpness and durability of swords and shields. The sword is now capable of
cutting through even the thick flesh of an Ogre with a single swing, and the
shield is capable of repelling the flames of an Orthrus. It looks like a magic sword
or a beam sword, and it tickles the middle school kid sleeping in my heart.
Incidentally, it could not be applied directly to the body, nor could I put it
on a stone knife. The only thing that it could work on was things made with mycelium.
The Spore Light of the Hypha
Sword, which had cut off the tentacles, was decreasing. It is probably due to
the acidic solution, but the blade is still intact.
Although the acid might be
stronger than that of the Intermediate Slime, the fact that I was able to cut it off is significant.
In other words, we are finally
at the starting line.
With this, we were finally in
the game. We can now unveil our other secret technique without any worries.
“Look here you Bean Bun Bastard!”
Then I focus my consciousness
on my back.
The mycelium is produced from
a little above the shoulder blades.
They converge to form a pair
of arms. The mycelial arms are long, thin, and bone white, reminiscent of a
Sixteenth Fungal Skill, [Hypha
It took me two whole months to
be able to use these arms as if they were my own. Now I can weave patterns
using string, brush my teeth, and play with Tamiko using them (Tamiko made a
misleading plea, “Touch me with your real fingers, not with a toy…!”).
It is not only a simple
increase in my number of hands. These arms can use the same Fungal Skills my
real arms could.
The palm of the mycelial arm
produces a mycelial sword. It is an Inception trope to create another mycelial
weapon from a mycelial tool.
Now there are three swords and
a great shield.
I then apply [Spore Light] to
both swords. The blade of the swords glowed with a bluish-white light. It is
truly a magic sword, now there are a three-swords. I’m ready.
Now, to continue from where we
“—Round 2.” (Shuu)
The number of tentacles
further doubles to eight. An Intermediate Slime had at most three or four
tentacles, but this was indeed the boss. If my [Hypha Arms] had the ability to create six arms, my
brain might melt.
Even if I have four arms, the
opponent has double mine. I can’t stop my body from trembling.
(Don’t be afraid, focus. The
opponent has no preliminary movement.) (Shuu)
(Because it has no joints, it
can twist its limbs as much as it wants.) (Shuu)
(Still, there are only a few
complicated movements and feints.) (Shuu)
(Focus and reflexes, remember
the time in the table tennis club in junior high school!) (Shuu)
Tentacles spread out in a
flash, and they rain down on me. Then one that delayed its timing chased after
me as I jumped sideways. I tilt my shield to my side and cut it off with a slash
from my Hypha Arms.
“Yeah! Come at me!”
I provoke it, but I can only
feel dread inside. It was dangerous, and if my defense was even delayed for a
moment, I would have been blown away.
Tentacles attacked from all
directions. I detected the tentacles with my [Sensory Spores], ran around with
my [Enhanced Leaping Ability], and took advantage of the gaps to cut off a tentacle.
The fluid leaked from the cut
cross-section, but it was quickly covered by a membrane and regained its
That’s fine. Because that is my
After dissecting the Intermediate
Slimes, I found that they roughly have three layers.
The outermost membrane. This
is the slime’s own cells, covering the fluid inside. It is a high-performance
muscle that can expand and contract freely, and even if damaged, it regenerates
The second layer is the fluid
layer. It is viscous and dissolves anything it touches, the very symbol of its
The third and innermost organ
is the nucleus. It is a sack filled with various internal organs and brain-like
sensory organs (although I have no idea which is which). The sporangium was
also there, and it tasted worse than the other beasts (it tasted bitter and
acidic which can only be stated as unpleasant).
According to Tamiko’s mother’s
information, and as a result of our experiments with the Intermediate Slimes,
there was no doubt that the third layer was its vital point. Destroying it
would kill the slime.
However, to do so, the second
layer of fluid would be the biggest barrier. This is the armor that blocks and takes
in the attacks, as well as the fangs that melt and devour enemies.
Thinking back on the
Intermediate Slimes, with the mass and digestive ability of a Boss Slime, I can’t
reach its internal layer with half-hearted attacks.
It would have been nice if I
could have learned a more penetrating long-range Fungal Skill, but I had
nothing like that on hand.
There was no point in begging
for something that was not there. I had no choice but to defeat it with what I had
at my disposal.
To do so, I had no choice but
to steadily and honestly chip away at the barriers, little by little.
The target is its fangs
themselves—in other words, its tentacles.
The tentacles that stretch to
gouge out my head are slashed down with my Hypha Arms.
A pincer attack from both the
left and right. I dodge to the gaps one by one, weaving and slashing through them.
Then I blow up the torn tentacles with my [Burning Ball].
The tentacles are cut and it
stood still. A droplet of liquid appeared on the tip of the tentacle, and a jet
of its acid shot out. A tentacle is blocked by my great shield as I thrust it into
the ground. Just before the spray comes from behind me, I summoned another shield
and leaped back.
“Hah, hah…” (Shuu)
It is getting harder to
breathe. The air I breathe is acidic and unpleasant. The stone floor around the
area is cratered from the acid that has been splashed everywhere.
My body feels heavy. I cannot
replenish my dwindling [Spore Light]. I am running out of stamina.
I don’t know if slime has the
concept of fatigue. Nevertheless, the slime’s body is clearly shrinking as I continue
to cut off its tentacles and dodge the dissolving liquid. The volume of the
fluid part of its body is decreasing.
We know from repeated
observations and battles with the Intermediate Slimes that it is not
inexhaustible and that replenishing it requires time and the ingestion of
nutrients. Its weapon and shield are steadily being whittled away.
I wonder how long it will take
to reach its internal organs. But—I too, am at my limit.
“Ok, end of Round 2! Time
I detached my [Hypha Arms] and
moved away across the wall with my [Enhanced Leaping Ability] powered up to the
fullest. Releasing a [Smoke Screen Ball] from both hands and I dive straight
down the staircase to the 50th floor, hiding behind the smoke.
“Tamiko! I’m back!”
“Welcome back, squeak!”
With Tamiko and our supplies
in paw, I go down one more landing just to be safe. This way, neither the
tentacles nor the wave of acid will reach her.
“*Wheeze*, *wheeze*… I
need a time out…” (Shuu)
I sit down and take a bite of
the sporangium from the bag.
“You’re good, squeak! Have
some water first, squeak!” (Tamiko)
Tamiko comes running up to my shoulder
with a canteen, shoving the tip of the water bottle into my mouth.
“Work on your footwork, squeak!
Squeak around him with your footwork! And when it squeaks near you, go in nice
and deep, squeak!” (Tamiko)
“How about some seconds?”
With each bite of the
sporangium, strength returns to my body. The taste and rawness of the
sporangium sink in. Oh, no, I’ll need to have another.
“Tamiko… maybe we
should run away.” (Shuu)
“Their mass is getting smaller,
and its tentacles are getting weaker. If I make it a bit weaker, I might be
able to hold him down while you look for the exit switch. We don’t have to bother
to take the risk of defeating it.” (Shuu)
If I put all my abilities into
defense and use [Smoke Screen Ball] and [Enhanced Leaping Ability], I can
probably get his full attention. That would buy Tamiko plenty of time to find
the switch. In addition, Tamiko has a fifth Fungal Skill, [Camouflage]. She
could search for the switch while ensuring her own safety.
Or we might still try to win
the battle even as we continued to fight. But that would entail a certain
amount of risk. There was no guarantee that the slime would not have other
tricks up its sleeve, or that the slimes under its control would not return
If we prioritize going out to
the surface, now is our chance and not waste it.
“…That’s true, squeak…”
I know how she feels. The man
is the killer of her mother and her partner. She did everything to reach this
However, her own front teeth cannot
reach the enemy. It’s sad to stand on the side as I swing my sword. I should
have understood it best.
“…If Abeshuu believes
it, that’s fine, squeak. It’s best to be able to reach the surface, squeak…”
Tamiko looks to the ground and
hugs her bushy tail tightly.
I grabbed the bag and chewed
on my third sporangium. I’m hungry and exhausted like a player on a baseball
team. I grabbed Tamiko’s cheeks and stretch them.
“…I’m just a timid
person, and when I get a little stronger, I get carried away, and I’ve been in
trouble and almost died. Tamiko has been angry with me a lot. I got in trouble
with the boss because of that, too.” (Shuu)
“I’m sorry, but I’m in good
shape again, especially with such a big sporangium in front of us. I’m sure
it’s possible to get one or two levels or learn one or two fungal abilities. Isn’t
this a great opportunity?” (Shuu)
“And if things go as they
are, the slime’s territory will get bigger and bigger. After that, the oasis
and Oldman Uni may be invaded. We’ve been indebted to them for the last five
years, so we have to give back in the end. However, we won’t be able to do it
if we don’t win.” (Shuu)
I poured the rest of the water
on my head, and I stood up.
“That’s why—I’ll show
you my cool side. Tamiko, watch your mother’s killer’s death.”
Tamiko wiped her eyes. She
climbed up onto my shoulder and slapped me on the cheek.
“Go! Let squeaking go Shuu!”
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