Metro Labyrinth Chapter 151: Koyuki

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“Oh, Sect Leader!” (Huri)


“Why are you outside!?” (Alf)



 Huri (human) and Alf (Carbuncle) came out in a panic.



“Village chief, chief, why is this happening… The village is in a mess!” (Sect Leader)



 The duo of old men who are questioned by the Sect Leader with a lovely voice and a reverent tone.



“Well, maybe,” said Utsuki. “You’re here to rescue me from captivity?”


“Uh, that’s right.” (Shuu)


“Kyaa! At my age, I’m treated like a dainty princess! This is this!” (Sou)



 She wiggles around and pokes me with her elbow. In fact, I’m not going to be honest and say it’s an excuse, but this old hag.



“Um… are you Mr. Abe Shuu?” (Sect Leader)


“Oh, yes.” (Shuu)



 The Sect Leader bows her head while on top of Utsuki.



“I am sorry for the great disrespect our village has done to you all… And as you can see, Ms. Utsuki is safe and sound. I can only apologize for the fact that I detained her unjustly… but please spare your anger and put it aside for this occasion.” (Sect Leader)


“Ah, yes. It’s fine as long as she’s safe.” (Shuu)



 The fact that the most decent person in this place is this fluffy girl who jumped in is a little embarrassing as a human.


 What can I say, she is a very beautiful (from my point of view) squirrel girl. Her pure white fur makes her look mysterious. I feel like advising her not to ride on such a dirty portable shrine.



(I heard she was ill.) (Shuu)


(She looks surprisingly healthy.) (Shuu)



“I mean, can I not come outside with the person who was detained?” (Sect Leader)


“That is–” (Huri)


“Sect Leader!” (Alf)


“Furthermore…” (Sect Leader)



 The Sect Leader looks back at the grandfather duo and shakes her head slightly.



“I can no longer hide from these people. And…” (Sect Leader)



 She looks up to me. With straight, clear eyes.



“…Mr. Abe… Well No, I think it is in the best interest… of this village, and by extension, this country, to let you hear our story.” (Sect Leader)



 The guards skillfully disperse the residents, and the fight is over for the time being.



 Yoshitsune, who looks bored after being pulled back, and Sudou, who is battered with bruises and scratches, says, “Well, let’s leave it at this for today.” Aomoto, who was holding back the fierce attacks of the Carbuncles by herself, wiped her nosebleed saying, “Your paws and tails were splendid.” and Kure came all the way over to me and said, “Good job, Shuu. You’ve gotten stronger again, you know?” I returned the roaming hands with an [Iron Fist].



 I feel a chill on the nape of my neck. Diana is standing there as I turned my head. The [Spider Legs] have vanished and the last mysterious incident has subsided, but the look in her eyes is still sharp.



 Wiping off the dust from her jersey, she approached me with long strides.



 —It was a good fight, your punches worked.






 –You just had your life saved, if I was serious, you wouldn’t be here now.



 I imagined a line like that, but she just passed me by,



“—later.” (Wanda)



 Leaving only that single word.



“Abeshuu!” (Tamiko)


“Mr. Shuu! Are you all right!?” (Noa)



 Noa comes back from the back of the office. With Tamiko on her head and for some reason Tarochi on her shoulder.



“Tamiko, your injuries—you’re really injured!” (Shuu)



 I created [Holy Healing] on her head and squeezed the juices. She just squeaked, “Yummy, squeak. Yummy, squeak.”



“It’s not a big deal. I was just playing with Granny Kinami, squeak.” (Tamiko)



 Kinami had met up with Diana on the other side of the room, and the two of them were talking about something.



“I was playing with her, but you were in a fight too, right? I’m sure it was a pretty serious fight.”



 Even if she’s the deputy captain of the guards, she’s the leader of the Carbuncle guards. There is no doubt that she is skilled among her race.



“You must have been amazing, Sis. You fought against Ms. Kinami and multiple subordinates alone and even beat Ms. Kinami who went all out.” (Noa)


“Seriously! Tamiko, you’re amazing!” (Tarochi)



 That one word was not good enough.



 On the top of Noa’s head as the stage, a solo performance by Tamiko who has puffed out her cheek pouches has begun. “Here we go! I ripped the slow guys and threw them! Terar and throw!” However, as her excitement grew, an obvious exaggeration entered, and it seems that Kinami manifested a dark tail from the hatred of her youth.



“That’s where I am! Covering my aura into my sword! Swoosh! Swoosh!” (Tamiko)


“I understand, that’s enough.” (Shuu)


“I’m the best! Nakano’s Queen, squeak! Queen-sqeeeeaaak!!!!” (Tamiko)



 The heat has reached its peak, so I grab her with one hand and rub her belly with my thumb. “Oh… don’t treat me like a cheap girl…!” Then, she was immediately knocked out.



“You! You have shamed my daughter! I’ll get you!” (Tarochi)



 With one hand, I caught Tarochi who jumped at me and rubbed him. “Oh… Tamiko, I’m sorry for being a cheap father…” Like father, like daughter.



“Mr. Shuu, Mr. Yoshitsune seems to be calling you.” (Noa)


“Oh, really?” (Shuu)



 It seems that Yoshitsune and the others had finished conferring with the Nakano bigwigs. Huri and Alf are looking somewhat uncomfortable amongst the gathered crowd.



“Well–” said the Sect Leader. “I know that you are all tired today, so I would like to ask you to come to the shrine tomorrow morning. We can continue our conversation there…”


“Eh, is it okay? Isn’t it a sanctuary?” (Shuu)


“Yes… I will explain the matter.” (Sect Leader)





 The next morning.



“Once you are closer, it’s really huge…” (Shuu)


“I wonder if there’s a big squirrel… Or big acorns, squeak…” (Tamiko)



 The sacred tree in front of us was a skyscrapper. The height of the tree is more than 200 meters, and the solid base that supports its abnormally large body seems to have a circumference of more than 250 meters. If it’s a fantasy world, it’s definitely going to be called a world tree.



 In terms of height alone, it is not as tall as the Tokyo Tower, let alone Tokyo’s Sky Tree, but it has a strange presence that is different from that of an artificial structure. The smell similar to the oasis of the Outsuka Metro is so thick that it is almost intoxicating.



“I’ll be waiting for you over there.” (Butler)



 Sudou, the guide, points to a building that looks like the main hall of a shrine, standing slightly near the base of a large tree. It seems to be the shrine where Sect Leader lives. The tree behind it is too big, making it look small and cozy, but when you get closer, you can see that it is quite large in its own way. It is probably not too small for the three girls and the human caretaker.



 Sudou climbed a few steps and called out to the back of the door. There is a reply that seems to be Diana’s, and the door is opened from the inside.



“Excuse me…” (Shuu)



 The wooden floor’s gaps filled the place cool air. The decorations are minimal, and in the back is a simple altar. Enshrined there is a huge dried branch of a tree. It was probably a broken branch of the sacred tree, but it was still the size of a marlin tuna.



“Welcome to our shrine. My name is Koyuki, and I am in charge of this shrine.” (Sect Leader => Koyuki)



 The one who bowed deeply with her hands on the floor was the Sect Leader. Is Koyuki her name? Her miko costume with red strings and white fur accentuates her mystique, making her look like a real messenger of the gods.



 Behind her, Huri, Alf and Diana are leaning against the wall at a little distance. Kinami is also there.



 When me and the others sat down in front of her,



“…why are you on that side?” (Shuu)



 Next to Koyuki, Utsuki waved her hand.



“Why didn’t you come home yesterday?” (Shuu)


“Well, girl time is quite exciting. Right?” (Sou)


“Yes. I had a great time last night, Ms. Utsuki.” (Koyuki)



 They looked at each other and laughed. Somehow, they seem to have hit it off perfectly. Huri and Alf’s clearing their throats made Koyuki straighten her back in a hurry.



“Ms. Utsuki is—” said Aomoto. “I thought that you were imprisoned because of the crime of intruding into the village’s internal affairs.”


“Yeah, well, that’s true. They caught me and tried to interrogate me, but they made a mistake trapping someone into confessing. Am I getting too old?” (Utsuki)


“Usually, if such a thing is discovered, we will take measures to ban all of you from entering after you leave, but Ms. Utsuki… is acting independently of everyone’s intentions, and is in this Nakano Village. I heard that you were quite close in regard to the secret… So I decided to let her in the shrine…” (Koyuki)


“Secret?” (Shuu)



 When Koyuki lifts her finger, a thin thread is generated there. What was twisted together was a hypha ball with a white and black marble pattern. The size was less than one third of Shuu’s.



“Fungal Skill [Oblivion].” (Aomoto)


“[Oblivion]?” (Shuu)


“It can hypnotize the person it’s fed to, manipulate their memories, and induce new thoughts.” (Koyuki)


“Really?” (Shuu)


“I’ve never heard of that,” said Noa.


“It’s a rare skill of the mysterious Carbuncle tribe, huh… Interesting,” Kure said.


“The effect is not as strong as you might think, and it depends on your level and compatibility… but it can make you forget the information you have learned in the village and discourage you from visiting the area again.” (Koyuki)


“No, it’s scary enough…” (Shuu)



 In a sense, it’s scarier than those offensive type Fungal Skills. About the same as Utsuki’s [Charm]. In that sense, is it a similar combination?



“Twice in the past… Both to gain something–I decided to use this power to force a person who was looking around, taking seriously the suspicion that there was hidden treasure in the unexplored village, away from the village. Although it is truly selfish, I tried to make Ms. Utsuki do the same, but when I heard the story directly, Ms. Utsuki was too aware and too knowledgeable to forget everything. …The use of [Oblivion] is no longer a solution…” (Koyuki)



 Utsuki proudly sticks out her flat-wall. Me and the others hadn’t heard anything, but what did this fake loli notice and what did she know?



“Wouldn’t it be quicker to just quietly erase her?” Yoshitsune said.


“If it had been Ms. Utsuki, we wouldn’t have suspected it either, since we would have assumed that she died in her sleep,” Kure said.


“Shut up, muscle-brained handsome guys. Koyuki is a very kind-hearted child.” (Sou)


“…and about Mr. Abe…” (Koyuki)


“Huh? Me?” (Shuu)



 Shuu was startled at the sudden conversation.


 I stare at Koyuki for a few seconds. I was bewildered by her clear gaze.



“…No, in any case… That’s why I was going to release Ms. Utsuki and invite everyone here… But before I could tell everyone about it, this happened due to a misunderstanding. I’m really sorry for the inconvenience caused to everyone.” (Koyuki)


“It’s okay, Koyuki. It was our muscle-brained barbarians who started the fight anyway.” (Sou)


“We have the same blood on our hands.” (Koyuki)


“We made a hole in the roof of the town hall. We’ll help you fix it.”



 Huri and Alf glared at Diana and Kinami. Together, they nod their heads lightly.



“So–” said Yoshitsune. “Does this village’s secret have anything to do with our mission and the letter that the Governor entrusted to us to give to you?”


“…not to me.” (Koyuki)


“Eh?” (Yoshitsune)



 Koyuki closed his eyes for a few seconds, took several deep breaths, and lifted his head.




“I am… the ‘Sect Leader’ that everyone in the village calls, but at the same time, I am just a substitute to the true Sect Leader.” (Koyuki)


“Substitute?” (Yoshitsune)


“…the Sect Leader that truly protects the sacred tree and this village… the person to whom the letter should be handed over is not me, but someone else.” (Koyuki)



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