Metro Labyrinth Chapter 28: Boss Murasugi vs Forbidden Spell User

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 I look down at the bandits below. The difference in elevation is about two meters.



 The two men I had hit with my hammers are still down, and there were only eight left.



 First of all, I want to get rid of all but the boss. The spearman, whose right eye had been blinded by Tamiko, and the hatchet wielder in the center front that has levels in the double digits. These men are my first priority.



 There are three others holding bows. Their strings were pulled so tight that they looked as if they would be plucked at any moment. I have to be careful with these guys, too.



 I hold out my right hand and thrusts it forward.


 I held up my index finger.



“Bla…” (Shuu)



 A [Burning Ball] is generated on my index finger.



“A……” (Shuu)



 Subsequently, another [Burning Ball] is generated on the middle finger.



“Aze…” (Shuu)



 Then, another [Burning Ball] appeared on my ring finger.



“Most……!” (Shuu)



 Then, a [Burning Ball] on my pink finger, followed the others.


 Finally, a [Burning Ball] is produced on my thumb, and now five [Burning Balls] are all present.


 My dream of casting a forbidden spell has now come true.



“Kafri–, um, well, oraaaaah!” (Shuu)



 I forgot the name at the last minute, so I used a roar to cover it up. The mycelial balls are released from my fingertips scattering into the square, creating a rumbling explosion and five pillars of fire. [T/N: It was a Dragon Quest spell apparently. Blazemost Kafrizz in English or Merazouma in Japanese.]



“Waaaah!” (Bandit)


“Gyaaaa!” (Bandit)


“Fire!” (Bandit)



 The direct hit did not come true, but the three were blown away by a blast and one’s clothes were ignited. The plaza quickly becomes confused, and in the meantime, I jumped off.



“Here he comes! Do it!” (Kidnapper)



 The only two people who could immediately react to the boss’s shouts were the two double-digit level bandits. Each of them brandished a weapon in their hand, and they lunged at me, doing a pincer attack from both sides.



 A spear was aimed at my chest. I dodged the spear just in time to trip him and snatch it from the side, snapping it off forcefully. I then thrust the tip of the spear into the spearman’s thigh. With an elbow to the head resulted in a short groan as he knocks him down.



 The hatchet wielder come at me next. I grabbed the blade between my fingers stopping it. Smiling wickedly at the man whose eyes widen in surprise, and with a single blow, the hatchet leaves my opponent’s left hand, which grows a beastly white claw. It’s a Fungal Skill.



“Ungh!” (Shuu)



 I dodge it as they try to gouge my eyeballs, then I grabbed their wrist. I squeezed it in anger. *Crack*! With a dull crack, his wrist is compressed to the size of a snack sausage. Then I punch his face as he screams to silence him.



 Without pause, an arrow enters the range of my [Sensory Spores]. I flick it off with my bare hand and throw an electric ball in return. The yellow mycelium ball lands under the archer’s foot, and with a flash of light, an electric current is sent through him. The archer crumples forward.



“Hii!” (Bandit)



 One of them chickens out and runs away. Two more runs after him.


 —The boss’ claws tear at their necks. Blood spurts out like a water gun, and the three fall without even crying.



 The blaze of the first [Burning Ball] subsides, and the area returns to the dimness of when the only light was from the bonfire.


 Only me and the boss are standing in the middle of the clearing.



“It all happened so fast. A bunch of small fries are still small fries, no matter how many there are, they’re useless.” (Kidnapper)



 The boss licks his blood-soaked claws with the tip of his tongue, and then slowly approaches me.


 The madness in his eyes momentarily overwhelms him.


 The eyes are not like those of a beast, but full of the malice and murderous intent of human desire.


 It is so disgusting, so filthy, so horrifying.


 –From here on out, it’s a realm I’ve never experienced before.



“I take back what I said before. You’re some like, ‘I’m awesome! I’m special! Look at me!’ I live for the sake of ripping out the intestines of trash like you. It’s a waste to keep you as a slave.” (Kidnapper)


“I see.” (Shuu)



 I summon my [Hypha Sword] and [Hypha Shield].


 I kill the trembling in my hands. Fear has been covered with anger.



“I understand what Noa was saying. Someone like you… can’t be left alive.” (Shuu)



 The two confront each other in the center of the square.


 The boss’ lips lift into a sadistic grin.



“Hyi~hyi~, let’s go!”



 He readied the claws on both his arms before kicking the ground.





~3rd Person Perspective~



 It was a year ago that Murasugi, the boss of the bandits, fell into his current position.



 Originally, he lived as a farmer in a village belonging to the Kameido Tribe.


 His life was not particularly inconvenient. The land he lived on has been his family’s for generations, it doesn’t flood and produced good vegetables, and the metro to the south was across Kameido, so there was no need to worry about an invasion of ferocious Metro Beasts. His father and brother were both hard workers, and the inhabitants of the same village were all good-natured people who were like family.



 Among them, he was the only one who was different.


 Ever since he was a child, he loved to torture beasts in the forests and mountains. He loved violence, the screams of beasts, the color of their blood, and the color of their intestines.



 Since both of his parents were both [Peasant], Murasugi believed that he was one of them. Even if a [Peasant] had to work hard to raise their level, the ceiling was only high enough for anyone to reach. Therefore, he had no desire to actively hunt Metro Beasts, but only to indulge in his hobby of torturing weak creatures. He was half jealous of the hunters who were able to eat such tasteless prey.



 However, when he was fifteen years old.


 When he ate the sporangia of a wolf that he had trapped and killed, he accidentally developed his first Fungal Skill.


 It was the moment when he first realized that he was not a [Peasant]. Murasugi took this as a divine revelation that he was special, and rejoiced like a beast.



 For the next year, he devoted himself to hunting easy Metro Beasts, training to the reliable level of 10. Then, over the objections of his family, he became a hunter belonging to the Kameido Tribe.



 At first, he was ridiculed as a country [Craftsman] who could not read or write, and it was difficult to find a partner. In the first two years, he raised his level to 18, during which time he learned to read and write at least a little from the guild officials. Finally, he had his first partner. He was younger than him both in level and age, but he was a pleasant young man who had also come from a farming family.



 The first month of working together went well. He cared for and respected his first partner. But his roughness and cruelty could not be concealed even if he tried. His partner began to feel uncomfortable with the way he would aggressively take on even the smallest, most inexperienced of beasts, and then split his guts open with a smile.



 Eventually, several big arguments broke out, and in a fit of rage, he killed his partner. That was the first murder he had ever done.


 The sight of his partner’s throat slit and motionless thrilled him in a way he had never felt before in his life. He climaxed twice as he toyed with the corpse, as he usually did with Metro Beasts. He realized that killing hunters who were stronger than a Metro Beast… was the ultimate purpose of life he had been searching for.



 By the time he was 40, his level had reached 55, and he was somewhat well-known in other branches outside of Kameido. He was approaching the peak of his life.


 He had killed more than 20 hunters with his own hands. When he killed his partner, he reported it as a death in the line of duty in the Metro and left no evidence.


 But then…



 One day, when he was about to attack a hunter who was acting alone in the metro, he was subdued by another hunter.


 For some time he had been suspected by his colleagues under the radar. The “tasty-looking prey” that he was about to seize was a decoy that the volunteers had prepared in order to uncover the monster’s true identity.



 He was outnumbered, regardless of the difference in level. He was beaten on the spot.



 He was beaten to a pulp, his legs were broken, and his head was about to be chopped off when he pleaded with the hunters for his life. He told them that he would never kill again and that he would put up with being eaten by the beasts.



 The hunters cut off his arms and gave him what he wanted, deep in the metro, where the chances of his escape were slim to none. The beasts that had humiliated him so much would devour him and return him to the metro. The hunters left, telling him that this was the greatest opportunity for redemption that could be given to a lowlife.



 However, the result was that he survived and escaped the Metro. It was the work of some luck, terrible hatred, and persistence.



 He lost both arms, his position as a hunter, and his Fungal Skills to kill prey.


 Still, he did not give up. He let his wounds recover in a secluded place and searched for a way to fight even with the loss of his arms. He left his hometown of Kameido and arrived in the distant land of Outsuka, where he joined a group of incompetent thieves.


 He thanked the gods for his good fortune to enjoy a second chance at life.



 So was the fact that it was Obuchi who he had first captured. Not only was the gold he had in his possession valuable, but he was also a skilled man in his own right. His disposition of valuing his partners more than himself was perfect for a slave.



 He thought he would be a valuable first piece for their planned attack on Sugamo City.



 Murasugi’s goal was to raid the mayor’s mansion in Sugamo City and steal the elixir.



 This was information he had obtained from a merchant he had captured and killed. The mayor’s daughter is suffering from a serious illness. A few decades ago, it was even called a curse, an incurable disease that cured the mycelium in her body to harden before eventually leading to her death.


 In order to cure the disease, the mayor has ordered all kinds of medicines from all over the world. Among them was a secret medicine that could regenerate even lost limbs like a lizard.


 If he could get his hands on it, he would be able to regain all the arms and strength that the hunters had taken from him.



 Sugamo is heavily guarded. A hundred [Peasant] would not even be able to break through the walls.


 However, a few hunters would be able to do so. They could sneak in under cover of night, raid the mansion, and steal the elixir and properties.


 To do so, the task at hand was to increase the number of his pawns.



 And today, a new hunter was found. Murasugi was pleased to see how he fought off seven of his men in a matter of seconds, and he thought he could use him. If he could use them, he would be able to get closer to his goal in no time at all.


 To do so, he took advantage of the moment and snatched his partner.


 Sure enough, he came in alone. It was as if I had the second piece of the puzzle.


 –I was supposed to work.



“…change of plans.” (Kidnapper => Murasugi)



 The man in front of him uses not only [Katana] and [Leaping] but also the [Fire Ball] and [Thunder Ball]. He clearly has a high-ranking Fungal Class.


  There is no need for a sword that can injure you if you wield it.


 We have to get rid of them here.



 Murasugi licks off the blood on the tip of the left claw. He then thrusts his right claw into the pouch tied around his waist, guiding his gaze toward us. A powder spills out. It is a paralyzing poison powder, from the Zabuntake mushroom. It is the same powder that was mixed in the smoke screen when he kidnapped the girl hunter.


 The yellow powder adheres to the tip of the knife. If poison is injected directly through the blood vessels, the victim will be incapacitated, unless he or she has a [poison-resistant] fungal capacity.


 Imagining the thought of stirring the intestines of this immobilized man a minute later, Murasugi licks his lips.


“Heh~ heh~, let’s go.” (Murasugi)





 [Leaping]. It is one of the few Fungal Skills that can be used by Murasugi, whose arms have been robbed.


 Precisely closing the gap as he slides on the ground, and running with his claws ready.


 Just a scratch. That will decide his victory.


 Abe’s [Katana] collides with the claw. It’s his sword tried to cut off his claws, but it was a gallant try! The claws were twisted with a shearing sound, and the sword is knocked off.



“Hah!” (Murasugi)



He swung the other claw. Abe dutifully uses his [Round Shield] to catch it, but Murasugi slides it shallowly across the surface, aiming at Abe’s outstretched arm, which is holding the [Katana].



“Kuu!” (Shuu)



 Just before that, Abe increases the distance by kicking away.



(–he blocked it.) (Murasugi)



 He was very aggressive. It was as if he didn’t want even a scratch.



“…well, that’s poison, right? You’re trying to be sneaky. Did you think you didn’t notice it?” (Shuu)



 The skin crawled.


 It should have been in a complete blind spot when he used the powder. He should not have been able to see it.



(How did he notice it?) (Murasugi)


(Can he see from behind?) (Murasugi)



“…Heh~ heh~ what do you mean?” (Murasugi)



 Murasugi grinned and laughed. His left claw also pierces the bag.



“I have these kinds of arms you know? Can’t you let me have a little handicap?” (Murasugi)


“That’s true. You probably can’t even wipe your ass.” (Shuu)


“Hihi, that’s not true. As long as you get used to it–” (Murasugi)



 As if interrupting the conversation, Abe now closes the distance from the other side. The first is a sharp swing down.


 He caught it by his claws, but it was heavy and pushed against him hard.



“Raaa!” (Murasugi)



 His aim was to break the claws, not Murasugi himself. Abe swings with all his might.


 However, even though the blade passed through, the claws were not even dented.



(Heh~ heh~ of course. I’m proud of my skill.) (Murasugi)



 High-level [Hypha Weapons] boast sharpness that can cut through iron and steel. Even so, Murasugi’s is a gem carved from a Magic Iron Bone that can only be mined in the depths of the metro. He has been using it since before he lost his Fungal Skills and has had it suck the blood of countless beasts and humans.


 Murasugi made it permanent by sticking it directly into the bones of his arms. It is now part of his body, both in name and in reality.



 He delivers a return blow to the surprised Abe’s face, but the guy shakes his head and yells, “Noo!” He dodges the blow with a twist of his head.


 As he was about to back away, Murasugi closed in on him.


 Murasugi’s weapon has a smaller reach. He was at a disadvantage if he moved away, but his body was a bonus target.



“Kuu!” (Shuu)



 As expected, Abe was unable to swing his sword and was unable to attack.


 The claws attacked at close range in all directions, but Abe used his shield to block them and his quick reflexes to evade the attacks.



(That’s some ridiculous reflexes.) (Murasugi)


(Is he really just level 45?) (Murasugi)


(Rather isn’t he faster than me?) (Murasugi)



“—But.” (Murasugi)



 He can tell by the way he moves around. Abe is an amateur at fighting against people.


 He is a typical hunter fool who has only dealt with dim-witted beasts.



 He pays too much attention to the claws and with a half step instead. The moment Abe is slightly out of rhythm, the claws aim at his arm.


 —then *Clink*! And the claws are repelled.



(What?) (Murasugi)



 Abe’s fist, from hand to wrist, has a silver shimmer. As if covered with a metal skin. With that, he swatted it away.



([Iron Fist]?) (Murasugi)


(How many fungal abilities does this guy have?) (Murasugi)



 [Katana], [War Hammer], [Leaping], [Fire Ball], [Thunder Ball], [Round Shield], and [Iron Fist]. At least seven.



(He definitely has a high-ranking Fungal Class–) (Murasugi)


(Isn’t it a little too strong and versatile?) (Murasugi)



 Since he mainly uses [Katana]and [Round Shield], it is almost certain that he is a [Holy Knight]. However, there are many other useful skills in his lineage as well. The current Murasugi is too dazzled.



“…how unfair?” (Murasugi)



 Most of his are taken away, and he can only use [Leaping] and [Hearing].


 Hatred and jealousy are ablaze in his chest. His body trembles with rage. His clenched teeth grinding has become audible.


 I have to kill him no matter what it takes.



 I’ll make sure to poison him. Then, when he is unable to move, I rip open his belly. I will pull out its internal organs one by one while it is still alive.


 I’ve made up my mind, I will do it.


 If I don’t, there will be no tomorrow for me.



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