Metro Labyrinth Chapter 34: Test Paper—Fungal Class Check and “Master Threadweaver”

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A/N: 12/27 – Corrections are made along with the publication [A Squirrel’s Explanation on Fungal Class and Fungal Skills and The List of Fungal Skills of Each Profession].


8/22 – Noa’s Fungal Skill’s name was changed from [Binding String] to [White String]



 Noa lays out another sheet of paper on the table. This time it is a square piece of paper about 10 cm on all sides.



“This is the Test Paper to identify the Fungal Class.” (Noa)



 The quality of the paper is similar to that of the previous paper for the level. The paper is similar to the paper used for the level test. There is a circular frame for the blood to be absorbed, and a hexagonal shape is surrounded by a line with a scale extending from the circular frame to the six vertices. At the apexes are written what appear to be letters, but they are neither in Japanese nor English, so they are illegible.



“In the first place, just so you know… Not everyone can learn a Fungal Skill even if they are ‘Threadweavers.” (Noa)


“I thought that’s what you said the other day when we were attacked by bandits in the wild. I thought anyone could learn it by eating sporangium.” (Shuu)



 Konno, whom I met yesterday, seemed to look at the hunters as if they were a different race and said, “Your abilities,” as if he were talking about someone else.



“The population of New Tokyo is approximately a million. It is said that only around ten percent of them are capable of learning Fungal Skills.” (Noa)


“That’s a surprisingly low number.” (Shuu)


“Unofficially, the majority of people who cannot learn Fungal Skills are classified as ‘Peasant’. It is a term used within the hunting industry and should not be used on the street. Some people will say, ‘That’s a discriminatory term!’ Some people might be offended by the term.” (Noa)


“That sounds like a landmine.” (Shuu)


“[Peasants] cannot acquire Fungal Skills even if they eat many sporangium, and their levels can only rise to about 10. Therefore, [Peasants] cannot be professional hunters. Activities in the harsh Metro and It’s not suitable for rough times.” (Noa)


“I see. Then, other than [Peasants].” Is there any other Fungal Class? So, it’s like people who are not “Peasants” can learn the Fungal Skills and raise the level of their mycelium?” (Noa)


“Yes. Before I explain about the Fungal Classes, let me tell you about the different types or systems of Fungal Skills.” (Noa)



 According to Professor Noa, Fungal Skills can be classified into six different systems according to their characteristics.



 (1) The ability to produce hardened mycelium in the form of an armament. It can be a powerful offensive or defensive equipment, but its size and shape are not adjustable in many cases. They are called Hypha Weapons, Hypha Armors, or collectively Hard Hypha.


 (2) The ability to use mycelium to create objects that can be adjusted in size and shape. Some of them can be manipulated by your will. They are called Soft Hypha, Hypha Manipulation, etc.


 (3) The ability to manipulate mycelium in the body to strengthen and change the body. It is called Physical Manipulation Skills.


 (4) Ability to make mycelial bullets. It is called a Hypha Bullet or a Mycelial Bullet.


 (5) Ability to disperse spores with various effects. It is called Spore Dispersion or Dust Skills.


 (6) Ability to produce mycelial balls with various effects. They are called Hypha Balls or Ball Skills.



“For example, Abe’s [Katana] and [Round Shield] are type (1), and my [White String] is type (2).” (Noa)


“I see.” (Shuu)



 Skills (1) through (4) seem to be something like physical skills, and (5) and (6) seem to be magical skills.



“What is it…” Obuchi said. “It’s a strange scene where someone at the master level is being taught the kind of knowledge that a child would usually learn.”


“The Fungal Class, in other words, is a mix of the ‘systems of Fungal Skills that can be learned’ that we, the ‘Threadweavers’ are born with.” (Noa)


“The system they can learn?” (Shuu)


“For example, I am a [Craftsman], a Fungal Class that learns mostly from type (2). Mr. Obuchi is a [Fighter] and learns mainly type (3). In this way, a Fungal Class is the classification of someone’s aptitude to learn a specific type of Fungal Skill, the direction of their innate skills, and the fighting style of each individual. Nowadays, it is sometimes commonly called a ‘Class’.” (Noa)



 I was beginning to get the idea. It is similar to a job or a class in a game, as they say. The fact that you are born with it is a serious matter, though.



“Oh, and by the way, demihumans like me are also classified with the same Fungal Class as humans, oink.” (Obuchi)


“Is there any Fungal Classes for Magic Beasts, squeak?” (Tamiko)


“The actual classification of the Fungal Classes is not always the same as that of the humans. …There may be individual differences among similar people even among human beings, but it is not clear if each race has a similar classification like Fungal Class. As far as we know… ” (Noa)


“Did your mother not tell you anything?” (Shuu)


“Mother calls herself a [Kunoichi], squeak.” (Tamiko)


“A squirrel ninja, really? (Shuu)



 Tamiko is feeling a little proud.



“The Carbuncle Tribe…” Yui said, “I’ve heard that the Carbuncles are a race who are physically unfit for combat, but who have learned various mysterious Fungal Skills. By the way, the Cait Siths have aptitudes at what humans call type (6) skills. We form them in our mouths like this and spit out a Hypha Ball—like a hairball!” (Yui)




 Judging from the smug look on her face, it was a typical Cait Sith joke. She said, “I’m dead! Ha!” Obuchi flips over.



“Maybe we’ll find out when we meet your kin in the Nakano Forest. Let’s go there after we get settled.” (Shuu)


“Squeak!” (Tamiko)



 So, besides the goal of going to see Tamiko’s father, I now have another purpose for going to Nakano.



“That’s why it’s the Fungal Class, just like the Fungal Skills, they are classified into six systems.” (Noa)



 The [Knight] is mainly trained in type (1) Hard Hypha.


 The [Craftsman] mainly learns the type (2) Soft Hypha.


 The [Fighter] who mainly learns Physical Manipulation, type (3).


 The [Sniper] mainly learns the Mycelium Bullet or type (4).


 The [Illusionist] mainly learns skills that can “attack others or cause negative effects” in Types (5) and (6).


 Also, in types (5) and (6), a [Healer] mainly learns skills to “heal oneself or others or to apply a positive effect.”



“I see that… (5) and (6) are divided by the effects rather than just types. Why is that?” (Shuu)


“Well… I don’t really understand it. It’s just a classification set by the Hunter’s Guild.” (Noa)


“I see.” (Shuu)



 As an individual, [Sniper] stood out to me. It sounds cool.



“But, can’t you learn another Fungal Skills? Like a [Knight] learning a Hypha Ball?” (Shuu)



 In this classification, I don’t know the types I have an aptitude in. I think I have learned from all of them except for (4).



“That’s not an absolute. For example, my [Dagger] is a Hard Hypha. You can check whether you can just check if such an individual has an aptitude for his current Fungal Skills or other types with this Test Paper.” (Noa)


“Oh, so that is what this is for.” (Shuu)



 A square piece of paper with a hexagonal diagram on it. It has six corners, the same number as the number of Fungal Classes and systems.



“Is this a symbol or a letter written on the corner of this hexagon? I can’t read the symbols or letters on the corners of these hexagons.” (Shuu)



 As far as I could tell from my visit to Sugamo, the characters used in this country are the Heisei Era Japanese language, which is still in use today. Some romaji were also used, but on the contrary, I did not see any such symbols around.



“These are characters for hunters only,” Obuchi said, “When the Hunter’s Guild was established a long time ago, the first commander said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we used something like this?’ But it never caught on, and now it’s used only for this test paper.”


“I also don’t like it.” (Shuu)



 It’s like he made something like that just for the atmosphere, but it wasn’t practical.



“Clockwise from the top–” Noa points to the Test Paper. “[Knight], [Craftsman], [Fighter], [Sniper], [Illusionist], [Healer]. Now, let’s use the Test Paper. The method is the same as before, but I’ll try it first.”



 Noa fiddled with her injured finger, smeared blood from it, and rubbed it in the circle in the center of the hexagon.


 As the blood is absorbed into the paper, the same red line stretches out like a thread all the way down again. Along the diagonal, in three directions. Up, down right, and down left.


 The length of each is different. The bottom right line is the longest, about two-thirds of the diagonal. The upper and lower left lines are shorter, about one-fifth of the diagonal.



“The bottom right is the aptitude for [Craftsman], the top is for [Knight], and the bottom left is for [Illusionist]. It seems that most people have two lines like this. I have the longest line on the bottom right, so that makes me a [Craftsman].” (Noa)


“Huh.” (Shuu)


“There are some aptitudes in the [Knight] and [Illusionist] class, but their aptitudes are much lower in terms of length. My [Dagger] and [Lightball] are those, but to tell the truth, they are not rare abilities at all, and the possibility of learning stronger or rarer abilities is also low.” (Noa)


“If the longest line is the person’s Fungal Class and it extends to the other side, then there is a possibility that they can learn that ability as well… And the length of the is the level of aptitude?” (Shuu)


“Yes… So that means I’m pretty average as a [Craftsman]. Still, there is a chance for me to learn rare skills in the main line…”



 Noa is looking quite sad as she said it. Tamiko puts her tail on her hand to comfort her, and Noa squeezes it, making Tamiko cry, “Ah… be gentle, squeak…!”



 Anyway, blood type fortune-telling thing in this country is amazing. It can determine not only the level but also the talent.



“This is the basic explanation of Fungal Classes… On top of this, there are high-rank Fungal Classes. They are usually people who can acquire powerful skills not only in their main system but also in other systems. They are quite something.” (Noa)


“Most people who are labeled as charismatic or heroic are like them,” Obuchi said, “They are either higher-ups in the military of their cities or tribes, or they are the ones who have risen through the ranks as hunters.”



 It’s like an Advance Class in a video game. Improvement.



“Are the High-Rank Fungal Class also innate? Or is it possible to change class by leveling up from a basic Fungal Class?” (Shuu)


“People are born with it, but on rare occasions, there are people who have acquired a High-Rank Fungal Class. Though, I’ve never seen anyone actually do that.” (Noa)



 It would be fun if we could change classes at will, but it’s a shame that it’s almost always set at birth.



“What happens to the Test Papers for a High-Rank Fungal Class?” (Shuu)


“It looks like this…” (Noa)



 Noa traces the ruled line with a pencil.



“If your line reaches the top, it’s usually considered a High-Rank Fungal Class. For a [Knight], it’s [Holy Knight], for [Craftsman], it is [Puppeteer]. Of course, if the lines for other systems are long, they can be called Geniuses.” (Noa)



 Her final sentence sounded a little prickly. The squirrel that had been knocked down as her tail was grabbed hard was shaking on the table.



“So should they be upward compatible with the basic Fungal Class… Well, maybe I am that? Well, the “Master Threadweaver” I heard before, that is a High-Rank Fungal Class, right?” (Shuu)



 It seems that I have many rare Fungal Skills. I don’t know what my basic class is, but it looks like it’s definitely a High-rank one. More and more improvement.


 Both Noa and Obchi have a weird expectant look. I now feel nervous and stiff.



“There are five types of High-Rank Fungal Classes,” Noa said.



 There is the [Holy Knight], which is the higher level of [Knight].


 The [Beast Warrior] is the higher level of the [Fighter] class.


 The [Puppeteer] is the High-rank Fungal Class of [Craftsman].


 [Mage] is the High-Rank class of the [Illusionist] Fungal Class.


 [Sage] is the High-rank Fungal Class of [Healer].



“Only [Sniper] has a slightly special class, and it seems that there is nothing considered as a High-Rank Fungal Class. Sometimes [Sniper] itself is treated similarly to High-Rank Fungal Classes. Anyway, there are basically five types.” (Noa)


“…Really? Then what is [Master Threadweaver]?” (Shuu)


“…Let’s try the Test Paper for now.” (Noa)



 Noa presents the second sheet in front of me. I was confused but I just shrugged.



“Well, let’s try it.” (Shuu)



 Seeing is believing. It will be clearer in practice.


 Now it was time for my fateful aptitude check. I was a hundred times more nervous than I had been for the aptitude test when I was job hunting.


 Borrowing the knife again and smearing the blood on the paper.



“……Eh?” (Shuu)



 The reddish-black blotches creep along the scale line and reach the corners.


 Six… all six corners.



 And then the line branches off into a myriad of branches.


 Like blood vessels running deep into the skin, they twist, intersect, and extend.


 The hexagon is eroded and then floods outward.


 The paper is covered in red and black, like a child’s random doodles, and then the veins finally stopped.


 For about ten seconds, it felt like time stood still and soundless. Tamiko then speaks on everyone’s behalf.



“…Is this a defective product, squeak?” (Tamiko)


“…no, I don’t think so.” (Shuu)



 Noa’s face scrunched up. Obuchi is slumped with his hands on the tatami. Yui’s pupils are fully dilated, and her mushroom tail is wagging vigorously.



“Well Mr. Abe… There is no limit to the Fungal Skills you can learn… and you have a higher aptitude that can’t be measured by a piece of paper like this” (Noa)


“…What do you mean?” (Shuu)


“Of the countless tribes that were once in New Tokyo, the first chiefs of the twelve great tribes were hailed to be the strongest warriors. However, there have only been twelve of them, and none have appeared since. The [Master Threadweaver] who bear the name of the [Nation of Threadweavers]—Mr. Abe is the thirteenth, after the previous twelve.” (Noa)



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