Metro Labyrinth Chapter 166: War Begins

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~Tarochi’s Perspective~



“–Now, the break is over. Let’s go, everyone.” (Kumagai)



 Kumagai clapped his hands, and they sat up and started walking again. All of them had stiff expressions on their faces and their steps were heavy, but none of them complained or swore.



 Not even half a day had passed since they were ordered to evacuate immediately to Nerima, abandoning their native village with only the bare minimum of household goods. Countless lines of wagons and foot traffic continued to silently advance along the road leading to Nerima.



“My dear people… Please listen to me. My final wish…” (Suzuki)



 The majestic beauty of the white beast was her true nature, which she rarely showed in public. With tears in their eyes, they hung their heads and simply accepted the words of the “Real Sect Leader,” whom they adored and worshipped, in silence.



“…Phew, Phew…” (Tarochi)



 I my fur, which was tangled with sweat, and kept moving my feet to keep up with the formation.



“Hey, hey, don’t overdo it.” (Guard)



 The man from the guards picked me up but I said, “Let go of me! Let go of me!” The guard threw me into the carriage, ignoring my resistance. There were several old people with crooked backs and a white-haired Carbuncle girl on board.



“Thank you for your hard work, Mr. Tarochi.” (Koyuki)


“Ah… Sect Leader…” (Tarochi)


“No, I’m just Koyuki now… Today is the end of my role as Sect Leader.” (Koyuki)


“Oh, I see…” (Tarochi)



 An old man offered me a small carbuncle-sized cup of water. I accepted it with a bow and drank it slowly. The water is tepid, but the sensation of it soaking into my parched throat is pleasant.



“It’s embarrassing… but that’s no excuse for my daily inactivity.” (Tarochi)


“What, you are not that heavy. A potato sack is still heavier.” (Elder)


“You can stay here for a while and deal with the old men, you will be more useful that way.” (Elder)



 The old people laughed openly, and I responded with a wry smile. Then, I sat down next to Koyuki and decided to give up to the rattling and shaking of the carriage.



“…Lady Koyuki.” (Tarochi)


“Yes.” (Koyuki)


“By now… those who remained in the village…” (Tarochi)


“The Sect Leader said it would be afternoon at the earliest. Yes if that is correct… it may have finally begun.” (Koyuki)



 Imagining my hometown engulfed in the fires of war, and my compatriots being consumed by those fires, I clenched the fur on my knees.



“…Wasn’t there an option to run away with everyone?” (Tarochi)



 They know that a formidable opponent will attack them. Do they have to go out of their way to pick a fight? Isn’t it a kind of thing less important than their lives? Shouldn’t they have given them their land, possessions, or whatever they had?



“Certainly… Then at least at this moment, their lives may not be threatened.” (Koyuki)


“Then–” (Tarochi)


“But this is a big war that can no longer be avoided. If they do not fight, there will be other places flooded with blood. And it will eventually come down to the very existence of this entire country…” (Koyuki)



 The Real Sect Leader also said that. If they don’t stop here, the country itself may perish.



“That is why they chose to do what they did. They chose to resist with their own bodies and win the future with their own hands…” (Koyuki)


“…Even so… My daughter is only ten years old…!” (Tarochi)



 When we left the village, I could not even exchange words with my daughter, Tamiko. In the event that anything should happen to her, we will never again–



“Why does my daughter… Tamiko have to fight…!” (Tarochi)



 She is still a child. I was finally able to meet her alive. Why does that girl have to carry such a burden?



“…No, I understand. I don’t have the right to say that… I don’t have the strength to fight. I am not even good enough to take attacks on her behalf…!” (Tarochi)



 It was the first time since that time that I cursed my own powerlessness.



 I couldn’t stop Kinko from leaving the village at the hunter’s request. I couldn’t keep up with her.



 If I only had the power, I could stay by my daughter’s side. If I can’t protect my daughter at a time like this, do I have the right to call myself her father, or can I face Kinko?



“…fufu.” (Koyuki)


“…?” (Tarochi)



 Koyuki smiled a little and gently put her hand on my hand.



“I was just a little kid when I talked to Ms. Kinko. I don’t remember much about it, but I thought she was cool. I really did.” (Koyuki)


“…Yes, I think so too…” (Tarochi)


“Ms. Tamiko said, ‘I’m going to protect Mom and Dad’s home, squeak! I’m going to be the first, squeak!’ She really was Ms. Kinko’s daughter.” (Koyuki)



 I could barely choke back a sob. Unable to hold back, tears spilled from my eyes.



“Ms. Tamiko, whom Ms. Kinko risked her life to protect, brought Sir Abe and the hunters to the village. Is this also fate?” (Koyuki)



 Koyuki’s hand was shaking faintly as she squeezed Tarochi’s hand. Still, she smiled and nodded.



“Let’s believe… Sect Leader, Sir Abe, everyone will surely protect us. Ms. Tamiko, Nakano Village, and the future of this country–” (Koyuki)





~3rd Person Perspective~



 The first thing Watanabe felt when he pried open the crust of the Shinjuku Metro and stepped out onto the surface for the first time in fifty years was a sense of discomfort,



 —It felt strange.



(Is Suzuki on the surface?) (Watanabe)



 The best prey, a fragment of the five compatriots who shared their birth. Through a trivial coincidence, He found out their whereabouts for 30 years, and decided to pick them up himself. Watanabe had no intention of staying in this lair anyway, because eventually the “Master Threadweavers” would use all their strength to attack.



 But the ultrasonic transmission from the “Conductor” told Watanabe that the scent had already left the metro where it had been hiding and appeared on the surface.



(–why?) (Watanabe)



 According to Watanabe’s assumption, there were two ways they would go: “stay in the metro and cower,” or “escape to hide again.”



 Since the scenting was complete, even if they chose the latter (even if they had been exposed), they could still be pursued. If this was the case, then a siege, fighting back in a limited space, would be the most likely way to survive.



 In anticipation of this, half of the more than 500 “Conductors” were sent to the metro. Watanabe’s plan was to buy time for Watanabe’s main body to enter the metro from the surface.



(Are you plotting something–?) (Watanabe)



 The reason Suzuki actually came out on the surface was to “evacuate the people of Nakano and build an interception system,” but Watanabe had neither the wisdom nor the materials to think that far ahead. Watanabe did not know about the relationship between Suzuki and the people of Nakano, nor about the unprecedented number of fierce fighters who had gathered with her.



 Anyway, Watanabe’s self-satisfied doubts were drowned out when he saw the person in question for the first time in 30 years.


 The image of her standing far below him was exactly as he had remembered form that day.



(Today is the day that her soul will be mine.) (Watanabe)


(Together under one sun.) (Watanabe)



 Soon after the battle between Watanabe’s avatar and Suzuki and the other three began, a message came from the “Conductor” in the underground metro.



 –Several hunters were seen in the metro.


 –Just in case, the elimination started.



(Hunters underground?) (Watanabe)



 Were they hiding a force? Suzuki herself had been above ground?


 Watanabe was once again driven by doubts,



“Damn it! Get out!” (Tsuruhashi)



 The blue beasts released by the man with the burnt face fell prey one after another to Watanabe’s first wave of attacks. Unable to resist, the man ordered his pawns to retreat, and they, along with Suzuki and the other man, retreated deeper into the village.



 Not only Suzuki, but those two men are quite skilled. He knew that, for he had smelled a good soul from the very beginning. It was a smell similar to that of the highest-ranked human, “Master Threadweaver,” which he had smelled before.



(I won’t let you escape.) (Watanabe)



 —Unconsciously, the corners of Watanabe’s mouth twisted into a grin.



“Boaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!” (Watanabe)



 With a roar, Watanabe began to descend the slope. While scattering countless beasts like slobber.



Watanabe doesn’t know. At that time, the burnt-faced man’s mouth was also distorted with a grin.



T/N: So, the beast kings are related in some way. More mystery to uncover, I guess.



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