Metro Labyrinth Chapter 16: The Sun

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 I sent my [Sensory Spores] to the hall. The boss hasn’t moved from the same position I left it.


 I have never seen it move from that spot before. It is the president of a black company who just sits around and waits for everything to come to him. I don’t want to be his subordinate.



 I have two more sporangia in my bag. I intend to keep trying until I run out of them. If I run out of supply and become exhausted, I’ll have to start over.



(…I wonder how fast he will recover from the reduced fluids?) (Shuu)



 Its main diet is a stray metro beast every day or two. I wonder how much it recovers by absorbing small fries. I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that it can recover on its own over time, ignoring the law of conservation of mass.


 If there is a way to recover in a short period of time, it would be necessary to finish them off at once. Then the odds of winning would go down, and the option of running through the door would come up again.



(…Well, now is definitely the good time to do it, especially with its volume reduced.) (Shuu)


(I will do as much as I can. Well, I promised to show my partner how honorable I am, right?) (Shuu)



 I then summon my [Hypha Sword] in my right hand, a [Hypha Great Shield] in my left hand, and two other [Hypha Sword] in both [Hypha Arms].



“Then, I’m going to go with a bang.” (Shuu)


“Abeshuu, be careful, squeak!” (Tamiko)



 I ran up the stairs immediately. As soon as I exit the staircase, I readied my shield and jumped to the right to avoid being splashed by the acidic liquid.



“Well, what now…?” (Shuu)



 The boss did not react at all. The boss didn’t even move or send out a tentacle. It is completely still. Like a dirty lump of sh*t.



(…Maybe it is dead?) (Shuu)



 The boss rippled as I take a step forward. I took a step back in surprise.


 Three tentacles protrude like thorns. Then, with a shriek, the tentacles spit out a thread and wrapped around to the shape of black spines, just like sea urchins.



“Eh—” (Shuu)



 The tentacles are swung down. Boom! The heavy blow shatters the floor as easily as stepping on Styrofoam.


 My Hypha Arm slashed at the tentacles while I flicked off the scattered bits of rock with my shield. The hard thud of two hard objects colliding with each other echoes through the air, and a numbing sensation reached my back. The sword covered with [Spore Light] is stopped in mid-slash.



(Hey!) (Shuu)


(Tsk, is this its Fungal Skill!) (Shuu)



 Another tentacle aims at me, once I stopped moving. By using [Enhanced Leaping Ability], I evade to the side and slashed again followed by the Hypha Arms. Bodily fluids spilled everywhere, but I didn’t cut off the tentacle.



“Damn!” (Shuu)



 The three tentacles howled as they are swung through the air. I devote my focus to evading.


 Its Fungal Skills to harden and create spikes? Is it only able to create three at a time, or is it due to the lack of physical strength or mass?



 The movement itself is slower than before because of the increased destructive power. The number of moves is also reduced, and even if the spikes widen the range of the attack, I can still dodge the attacks.


 However, it is difficult to cut them off as before. This does not reduce the slime’s volume.



“So–” (Shuu)



 The part of the tentacle covered with its Fungal Skills is only about half of the tentacle. If I close the gap and cut it from the root, I can reduce its mass through there.


 I slipped through the three tentacles, jumping and tearing one of them. At that moment—a jet of liquid shot from its body.



“Woah–” (Shuu)



 I immediately clock it with my great shield. My shield clad in [Spore Light] is not immediately dissolved.


 The [Sensory Spores] catch the tentacles approaching from behind. It’s a pincer attack. Even if I use [Enhanced Leaping Ability], I cannot change direction mid-air.



“Kuh!” (Shuu)




 My Hypha Arm released a sword, grabbing the tentacles. And using their momentum to push up my body and avoid the attacks as they flew past me.



(Crazy! I changed my direction!) (Shuu)


(I probably look cool right now?) (Shuu)



 While I was thinking of such stupid thoughts, the tentacles began attacking again. I quickly move out of their way.


 The revived tentacle turns into a spike again and comes at me in three waves.



 Time to avoid them again. Tamiko is right, footwork is the key. Dance like a butterfly and scram like a cockroach.


 And then, when there is the slightest opening, close the distance and cut off the tentacles like a praying mantis.



 What I have to do is the same. Steadily, over time, I will chip away at the opponent’s capacity. Finally, to thrust this sword into its core–



“Ahhhhhhh!” (Shuu)



 While screaming and shouting, I run around the boss.


 Even though my skin is burned by the acid splashes and my flesh is gouged by the spikes.



 Don’t stop, keep swinging your arms, keep on slashing.


 My consciousness is distilled to focus only on the battle in front of me.



 The haze of my thoughts disappears and my vision clears.


 I desperately tried to grasp what is waiting for me at the end.





“Hah, hah…” (Shuu)



 How long had it been since the start of round three?


 I had stopped counting the chopped tentacles after ten.



“…I can finally see it…” (Shuu)



 The body of the slime had now shrunk to about half of what it had been at the start. Behind a layer of dirty brown bodily fluid, a faint reddish-brown oval organ is visible. I know that this is the slime’s fatal weakness.



 The tentacles have shrunk to half their initial size and have lost most of their power and speed. There is only one left as if it does not have the mass to sustain three of them.


 —One more slash. I can reach it by sticking the sword with my Hypha Arms. That’s it.



“So, it’s about time—?” (Shuu)



 The body of the boss began to shake. And it grows thorns on the top of its body. It turned its body into a f*cking M-O-R-N-I-N-G-S-T-A-R!!! [T/N: Yes, the author wrote it this way.]


 The boss’s body sinks into the ground and then recoils and leaps. It leaps up to just near the ceiling. Then, with the spikes facing down, it falls towards me.


 The floor caved in with a resounding crash. As I jumped back, the impact and wind pressure hit me.



“This is the last one!” (Shuu)



 It compacts itself again and then jumps horizontally. Spikes grow on the side facing me. It’s an attack that says, “I’m making a pincushion out of you no matter what.”



 The wall-crushing thrust is so powerful that if it were to hit me, it would not only skewer me, it would tear me to pieces. Even if I try to counterattack, if I carelessly get grazed by it, it will take my entire arm with it.



 The boss compresses and bounces. Compress, bounce. Like a bouncy ball trapped in a tiny space.


 Some of its bodily fluids are splashing around. It, too, is slowly losing parts of itself.



“Ahhh! Damn it!” (Shuu)



 I desperately avoid it. [Smoke Screen Ball], [Burning Ball], [Electric Ball]. I would use all of my abilities to distract the opponent and make it more exhausted. That’s all I can do.



 ――I realize that I am enjoying this quite a lot.



 Perhaps it is because I am within reach of victory.


 There was never a moment when I wasn’t scared of this guy. I’m still walking a tightrope, holding on for dear life.



 –Yes, I’m alive.



 I’m alive. I’m still alive, just barely holding on.



“Hahahaha!” (Shuu)



 I burst out laughing. I realize once again that I have this crazy side to me.


 In a corner of my mind, I think to myself, “I can never go back to being an ordinary office worker.”





 Eventually, the slime begins to slow down.


 The volume of the slime, which has been reduced with each rush and collision, has shrunk to about one-third of its initial volume. The momentum of the rush is reduced by half, and it takes longer for the slime to turn around after it compresses itself.


 My physical strength is also at its limit. My [Hypha Arms], which originally lasted for a couple of minutes, have withered and peeled away from my back. I do not have the strength to create a new one. I can only swing my sole Hypha Sword in my right hand.



“Abeshuu!” (Tamiko)



 Tamiko shouted from the stairs.



“Come back here again, squeak!” (Tamiko)



 It’s a tempting and reasonable suggestion. If I took a break until round four. After a little rest and food, victory would be almost assured.


 If I think about it calmly, I should do this. Now that the boss is exhausted, I can easily escape.


 There is no cowardice in the battle for the survival of the fittest. I understand and accept that much. I have been a weakling for many years.



(However—) (Shuu)



 It’s not necessary at this moment, and I feel stronger.


 I’m sure I can next blow will be the decisive blow.


 My body is exhausted. However, my consciousness and nerves are now sharpened to the very tips.


 Now is the climax of the battle. I am that confident.



“—ready.” (Shuu)



 The boss compresses itself. More and more to get more energy.






 A mud-colored sphere covered with spikes rushes straight at me.


 At the same time, I step forward.


 The floor is cracked. The boss is flying from the crater it left. I slide towards it.


 The boss passed overhead, only a paper-thin gap lies between us.


 The tip of my [Hypha Sword] that I pushed up, plunged deeper.


 The momentum almost takes my arm with it. My arms creaked as if they might break my bones.



“–Ahhhhhhh!” (Shuu)



 Still, I pushed through with my sword.


 Squeezing everything out of my body.


 Putting everything in and thrust my arm.



“――――” (Shuu)



 A silent piercing moment comes at the end.





 A large number of bodily fluids fall down. Behind me, there is a scraping sound on the ground.


 I looked back slowly.


 The boss is halfway to the ground and does not move to make its next move.


 The blow from earlier reached its vital spot. I felt it as I thrust.


 Its fluid-filled body relaxes, as its bodily fluids spill out and make a sizzling stream. And its core is exposed.


 The body continues to twitch as if it is still alive.


 I do not care that the soles of my feet are burning (although it really hurts), and I moved closer to its body.


 Summoning another [Hypha Sword]. I squeezed out another [Spore Light].



“—No hard feelings.” (Shuu)



 The blue light trails a line. Straight, as if drawn with a ruler.


 Nothing moves in the room, leaving only Shuu in the quiet hall.





 It’s over.


 It’s finally over.


 I slumped down on the floor.



“……I won……” (Shuu)



 A sense of accomplishment bubbles up. My emotions are about to explode. The feelings swell in my chest and go out to my throat.



(I won! But…) (Shuu)



 I don’t have the energy to express it. The pain of the wound under the process of regeneration, and the fatigue and hunger that has been lapping at me, are causing a slumping emptiness throughout my body from the relief I felt.


 Tamiko approaches me. She stands before the carcass, the killer of her mother and her partner.



“…How pathetic, squeak…” (Tamiko)



 She stops her foot, which was about to step on the slime’s core.



“…But… I no longer have any regrets, squeak…” (Tamiko)



 Her drooping shoulders shook. And she sniffs.



“Tamiko.” (Shuu)



 She looks back and jumps into my chest. Pressing her head and body against me.



“Abeshuu… Thank you, squeak…!” (Tamiko)


“Hng… (You’re drilling my nipples).” (Shuu)


“Abeshuu did it… I’m glad, squeak…!” (Tamiko)


“Hng. (Sure).” (Shuu)



 While patting her back with my finger, I looked up at the ceiling.




“…Let’s go, Tamiko. Let’s see the sun on the surface.” (Shuu)


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