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“…so bitter…” (Shuu)
My tongue appeals to me that this is a bad thing for humans to eat raw. I spit out the powdery contents along with the crushed shell.
I look around for something else. It would be great if there was some fruit, but unfortunately, nothing seems to be growing here that would provide calories. It’s a precious oasis, but it’s not all that perfect, is it? The food situation must continue to be a top priority.
“…Still, this place is really bountiful.”
Not including the water and low-calorie foodstuffs, the resources here are invaluable to Shuu.
Take, for example, dead grass. The slender-stemmed plant, which looks like a member of the grass family, grows wild. I picked up a piece of dead grass and pulled on it. It is soft but firm and sturdy enough to be used as a string. If I gather enough of it, I might be able to make a bed of straw.
I also noticed a plant with large leaves like a banana tree. When I touched it, the leaves were soft and the edges were not prickly. This would work.
I tied a string of dried grass around my waist and hung down a banana-like leaf I had picked. The leaf skirt is now complete.
“…No, it’s not yet complete.” (Shuu)
My backside is fully exposed and my front is also saying hello through the gaps. In fact, looks-wise, it is more obscene than being naked.
Well, there are plenty of materials to make a waistcoat. It is not so cold that I have to hurry to make a jacket, but I would like to start by hiding my private parts, leaving the nudity behind, and becoming an Adam of the Outsuka Metro.
“Tamiko, are there really no wolves coming here?” (Shuu)
“No, not really, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Why? There’s water, and it looks like they can get food.” (Shuu)
In the wild, beasts will congregate near water. Not only as a precious source of water but also for the sake of prey that comes there.
“I don’t understand it either, squeak. My mother says that the smell of the plants here keeps the Metro Beasts away, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“The plants repel the beasts, really? Why is that?” (Shuu)
When it comes to meat-eaters, Shuu is one, while Tamiko, despite being a squirrel, was munching on sporangia. But there is nothing repellent about this place. The difference may be due to the presence or absence of intelligence, or to the difference in species.
“Besides, there’s water everywhere around the Metro, so maybe it doesn’t have to be here, squeak. I like it here because of the beautiful water, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“I see.” (Shuu)
In the passageway leading up to this location, there were also places where water was flowing out or trickling from what looked like plumbing. Regardless of the origin of the water, it seems that at least in this area (as long as one does not worry about sanitation), one does not have to worry about having to water for a while.
“So, what do you say we take the plunge and move here?” (Shuu)
“Well, I don’t think we should do that, squeak. It’s not as if they won’t come, and if they do, there’s no way to get out, squeak.” (Tamiko)
While a property with a fully equipped kitchen is attractive, a safe house is more secure. There is no substitute for the safety of your life.
“Now, I’m going to go and pick some flowers, squeak. Excuse me, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Oh, I think I need to go pee, too.” (Shuu)
Let’s build a facility to do our business in the hiding place as well. I think we could pile up dirt and grass at the end of the hallway.
Survival life has just begun, and the challenges are piling up.
Starting that time, we will be spending time building our living quarters.
Traveling back and forth between the hideout and the oasis, making sure there are no beasts in the vicinity. Stockpiling wild plants, mushrooms, and acorns, and making beds out of the dead grass we brought in.
We sharpened reasonable stones with my Mycelium Sword to make knives and gathered up good leaves to make a waistcoat. And collecting dead branches for firewood—and so on.
“…It’s hard to make a fire huh…” (Shuu)
Tried to build a fire, but failed. There are no good wood branches that can be rubbed to create friction, and the wood being used is apparently too wet.
I’m not sure how long a bed of dead grass would last hygienically, since the environment is so damp. If I could make a fire, I would be able to keep it dry.
Another issue. I want to secure food that will fill us up with energy. And so…
The moment he catches it at the edge of his vision, Shuu’s body springs into motion and he grabs the prey in his hands. The captured gray rat squeaks and begs for its life in a pitifully shrill squeak.
(…Just now, wasn’t I really amazing?) (Shuu)
I have demonstrated agility that surprised even me. I captured a swift wild animal in one try.
(I could never have imagined such athleticism in the old me.) (Shuu)
(Are these the benefits of leveling up?) (Shuu)
On the first day, with the Ghost Wolf sporangium, Shuu went from level 1 to level 3. According to Tamiko, the game-like common sense that “the higher the level, the stronger you are” seems to have been true in this situation, which means that his physical ability has also improved by that amount.
“Now, do it now, squeak! No mercy, squeak! Do it, do it, squeak!” (Tamiko)
This squirrel relentlessly lords over her partner to finish off its own brethren. “I’m sorry”, he mumbles quietly under his breath and then slides his stone knife.
Fresh meat will have to wait, and this time it’s the sporangia they’re after. He cuts open the belly of the dead rat and, with the help of Tamiko, carefully opens it.
“…so tiny.” (Shuu)
What was taken out was a small white sphere the size of a grain of rice. It was a little too small compared to Ghost Wolf, which was the size of a ping-pong ball.
Since there were two of them, I shared them with Tamiko. No matter how I try, I can’t help but eat it in one bite. It melts in my mouth in an instant, but the raw texture is very distinctive.
“…Ah, but somehow, I feel a little more energetic now.” (Shuu)
There is a sensation of warmth rising within the body, which had been feeling weak from hunger. Of course, I am still as hungry as before, but I do feel a little more invigorated.
“Sporangia are the best, squeak. The more you eat, the stronger you become, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“…Sporangia are not only found in rats but also in bats and insects, right?” (Shuu)
“Of course, squeak” (Tamiko)
“Maybe we can safely level up by hunting lots of rats and other weaker ones without having to hunt Ghost Wolves and other stronger ones?” (Shuu)
“It’s hard to say. They are very weak, and their sporangium is also very small. Even if Abeshuu is a little bit stronger than them, it will take you many more days to get up to the next level.” (Tamiko)
She disrespected me again, so I retaliated by rubbing her nose. “Aaah… My bad, squeak…Kyaaa!” she said as she fell and surrender.
“However, I’m sure you’re right, how many tens of thousands of rats is that going to take…?” (Shuu)
In other words, a confrontation with the tougher Metro Beasts is inevitable.
Along with the maintenance work on the safe house, keeping watch in front of the entrance & exit is also a daily routine.
We will hunt only the weak-looking beasts that come to this area alone – and for this reason, we will stand by ready to spring out at any time.
“If I have to hunt, it will be either a Ghost Wolf or a Blue Goblin, squeak. Both of them are the weakest among the Merto Beasts on this floor, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Blue Goblins? Oh, there are goblins!?” (Shuu)
The poster child of the fantasy world, a lowly small fry character in the hall of fame of the monster world. So Goblins actually exist in Tokyo?
“They are the shaggy, shaggy, ape-like creatures, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Oh… I see.” (Shuu)
So, the apes became monsters and are now called goblins. The Ghost Wolves, the Carbuncles, and other Metro creatures are basically an evolved form of the previous era? Mutants? It seems that they have changed.
“Goblins include Green, Blue, and Red, squeak. The goblins on this floor are Blue and Red, squeak. Blue is stronger than Green, but about the same strength as the Ghost Wolf, squeak. According to my mother, they’re at level 10 or a little higher, squeak?” (Tamiko)
“Still, that’s a big step up.” (Shuu)
In any case, they were hoping a Green Goblin would come. Whether Ghost Wolf or Blue Goblin, they are more than three times the level of Shuu at this moment. Even if they were to fight properly, they would have no chance of winning.
“The Red Goblin is even worse, squeak. They are around level 15, and there are many that can use Fungal Skills, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“For real?” (That sounds impossible.) “By the way, what skills do they have?” (Shuu)
“They are all different, squeak. Sometimes it’s a [Hypha Weapon], sometimes it’s [Hypha Ball], squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Hypha Balls?” (Shuu)
“Hypha Balls, squeak. If you throw it, it can burn or freeze, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“They can cause burning or freezing?” (Shuu)
“There are also some that can heal an injury or increase power when eaten, squeak. [Hypha Balls] are the embodiment of dreams, squeak.”
It is hard to imagine, but I guess it is like a sphere of mycelium that has a supernatural effect like magic compared to a straight weapon like a sword. It’s a bit ridiculous—is it too late to still say?
“Can’t Tamiko use them?” (Shuu)
“I don’t have one because I’m a… maiden!” (Tamiko)
Squirrel Girl’s crude joke. She is smugly posing with a crooked grin.
Anyway, a Red Goblin has skills in addition to an overwhelming level difference. I knew that I should not only be careful, but I definitely didn’t want to encounter them.
“So if a Ghost Wolf or Blue Goblin appears alone outside the …… doorway, I’ll definitely be ready for a fight.” (Shuu)
“I’ll pick up your remains, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“You’ll have to help me.” (Shuu)
And so he continued his stakeout in front of the gateway. When hungry, he nibbles on mushrooms, and occasionally wakes up a dozing squirrel by squeezing its cheek pouch.
It was his third day of the stakeout and his fourth day in this Metro.
The moment finally arrives.
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