Metro Labyrinth Chapter 154.1: Only Balls Can Win

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“—so.” (Suzuki)



 Beast King Suzuki, also known as ‘Fresh Blood Weasel’, looked at me and Utsuki alternately while lovingly stroking the back of the leopard Karu who was leaning towards her.



“What does the famous rookie and the Beast King’s apprentice want with me?” (Suzuki)



 Utzuki and I looked at each other. Completely freaked out, we give each other a look that says, “After you.”



“Ah, umm… I received a letter from the Governor of Tokyo…” (Shuu)


“Oh?” (Suzuki)



 Suzuki dexterously held out the envelope I had been keeping warm in my pocket and deftly picked it up with the tip of her sickle-like fingernail.



“Sect Leader, if I may be presumptuous–” (Wanda)



 Diana stepped forward to help her open it,



“No, this is enough.” (Suzuki)



 Suzuki stops her and points the letter toward Kaeru.


 He accepted it with a snap,


 –He munches on it and gulps it down.



“…eh?” (Shuu)


“Hmph, that black-hearted old man. If he wants to abuse me, he should come and lower his head himself. I’ll do my best to turn him away.” (Suzuki)


“No, wait a minute! Sorry, throw it up! Please throw it up!” (Shuu)



 I pleaded while clinging to Kaeru’s neck. I don’t want to let go until they spat it out even if they are growling in irritation. Oh, super smooth coat.



“Don’t worry, I know what your superior is up to. All you have to do is report that his request has been denied.” (Suzuki)


“No, but, I mean, you haven’t even read…” (Shuu)


“I don’t have to read it. There is only one thing that the man would bother to write to me about, and I’m afraid I don’t want to help him with that.” (Suzuki)


“What is it…?” (Shuu)



 Suzuki didn’t answer, narrowed her eyes and turned away. Kaeru’s teeth biting my head started to hurt, so I left them for now.



“Even so, hmm, how did he realize that I was here? Well, otherwise he wouldn’t be able to send his most excellent sword to such a remote place.” (Suzuki)


“Oh, Sect Leader,” said Diana. “I don’t know anything… His Excellency might not have said that…”


“I don’t doubt you now, Wanda. You and Sudow were never informed of anything, were you? That’s how that clever man operates.” (Suzuki)


“A way of operating?” (Wanda)


“Hiding his true intentions, or perhaps showing a glimpse of it, makes you read deeply into the fact that there are two or even three layers of hidden intentions behind it… That wicked man enjoys toying with people’s hearts like that. That kind of thing doesn’t change at all, just like Nari, it’s useless just to take anything from him seriously.” (Suzuki)



 It’s a pretty mean thing to say. Judging from the way they talk I wonder if they have a long-historied relationship.



“Abe Shuu, that man, he’s trying to drag me out to the battlefield.” (Suzuki)


“Eh, battlefield?” (Shuu)


“Oh, he’s finally going to start. A great war with the whole country to fulfill his long-cherished wish.” (Suzuki)


“War… Does that mean fighting with some tribe? Or maybe…” (Shuu)



 The Second Demon War, breaking out. Just imagining it makes my mob-face freeze.



 What kind of war would require the help of the Beast King? I have a bad feeling that we are getting caught up in an irreversible direction.



“… Whatever it is, either way, it has nothing to do with me. I have no intention of putting myself in danger for his ambitions. I have other things to do, like my mission to keep my beloved fluffballs safe here.” (Suzuki)


“No, I mean, umm…” (Shuu)



 If the answer is no, it doesn’t matter to me. The quest is to only deliver the letter and get a reply.



 However, Ms. Weasel didn’t read the letter and fed it to Kearu. I wonder if this is really enough to accomplish the quest. I am afraid that if I tell the Governor honestly, he will go on a rampage.



“Lady Suzuki… Did you abandon your original mission?” (Sou)



 Utsuki timidly asks. Suzuki sniffs.



“That old woman who claims to be a disciple of that old fish, how much did your master say to you?” (Suzuki)


“…You and Satou are brother and sister apprentices who once studied under the same ‘Master Threadweaver’.” (Sou)


I said, “Seriously?”


“It was a long time ago. We parted company after the attack on Akihabara 40 years ago and have never seen each other since. It seems that he has been keeping track of my movements through the smell of water, but I no longer care what happens to him.” (Suzuki)



 Again, there was another swarm of bladed words, but I couldn’t understand why, so I put it on hold.



“Now please… any information about the ‘Ghost Shrine’…” (Sou)


“The journey to the truth is just an empty journey. If it ends up being just a matter of self-satisfaction, I have decided to spend the rest of my life for the sake of those I love. A situation that a deep-sea fish who has been a loner all his life will never understand.” (Suzuki)



 Utsuki bit her lip in disappointment, or maybe frustration.



“Little girl. You are a citizen of the new world, but do you want answers from the old world?” (Suzuki)


“No, well, it’s going to be a disaster, or if I might say…” (Sou)


“Umm, what are you talking about now, why the derailment…?” (Shuu)



 It wasn’t just me who wants to interject, but Diana and the others also had a slightly troubled face. It seems that they can’t keep up with the “double entendre talk of individuals who are chasing the mysteries of the world”.



“Fufu, I’m sorry Abe Shuu. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt nostalgic. I heard an old familiar name, and then I met you, who smells like our teacher.” (Suzuki)


“Me…?” (Shuu)


“You may have a different face and a different temperament, but there is something about you that reminds me of that man. He gifted us words and emotions… Tategami Pipin.” (Suzuki)



 Tategami Pipin–a name I’ve seen several times in the history books.



 He was one of the first “Master Threadweavers”. He was the first chief of the Shibuya Tribe and the first Chief of the Hunters’ Guild. Such a big name in human society was involved with the two beast kings.



(With someone like him?) (Shuu)


(Do I look like him?) (Shuu)



“Ah, come to think of it, I just remembered one thing. That man said something like this… Abe Shuu, have you ever heard of the term ‘Carboniferous’?” (Suzuki)





~3rd Person Perspective~



 Back five days ago.



“…Carboniferous…?” (Giran)



 Giran asked back what he had heard for the first time.



“Hey, hey, hey. In this country, in this country, geology and world history are almost obsolete.” (Tsuruhashi)



 The Commander of the “Cross Border Brigade,” who calls himself “Tsuruhashi Minato,” twisted his asymmetrically blanched face into a grin.



“It was 350 million years ago… when there was not even a shadow of humanity. The surface was covered with primeval forests, the atmosphere was filled with much denser oxygen than now, and amphibians and arthropods from the oceans were the rulers of the earth… Even if you say that to someone from this country, it doesn’t feel real, hyahyahya.” (Tsuruhashi)


“What are you talking about?” (Giran)


“You know what coal is, right? It is a rare resource that is mined in this country. It’s called flammable rock. I don’t know what the origin of the metro is, but usually, trees buried in the ground are transformed into coal over a period of mind-boggling number of years. The name ‘Coal Age’ comes from the fact that you can dig a lot of coal from the strata of this period.” (Tsuruhashi)



 The Commander clenched and unclenched his palms as he spoke. Giran knew Tsuruhashi Minato, who often made the same gesture. If he dared to imitate them, it would have to be a fine eye for detail.



“According to our common sense, when a tree dies, it rots and returns to the soil, right? But in the coal era, trees did not rot but were buried in the ground. Why? Because there were no fungi that decomposed the cellulose and lignin that made up the dead wood. The end of the Carboniferous was brought about by the evolution and development of fungi. But that’s all I learned from an old friend of mine.” (Tsuruhashi)




 Unless this man is spouting some kind of unscientific nonsense, what he is saying now must be knowledge he inherited from Tsuruhashi Minato. He sounds as if he heard it from the person himself.



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