Metro Labyrinth Chapter 4.1: Hypha Ball

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“Abeshuu! Wake up, squeak! Get up you sleepyhead!” (Tamiko)


“Huh? Cool it, stop with the squirrel slapping.” (Shuu)



Tamiko is making noise with a muffled squeak. I am dragged out of my slumber by a smack on the cheek.



“It’s coming, squeak! It’s near, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“Really? …good.” (Shuu)



My heart jumps. My whole body is shaking and my clenched hands are trembling.


For the first time since the first day, I am facing a Metro Beast head-on. A serious battle, a fight over life.


Although I was prepared for it, I was terrified to the max. Fear is inevitable.



“Is it… a Ghost Wolf? Or a Goblin?” (Shuu)


“Both, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“Huh?” (Shuu)


“They are fighting each other, squeak!  Ghost Wolves and Goblins are not on good terms, they fight all the time, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“I see… they act like cats and dogs.” (Shuu)



Metro beasts fighting each other… it’s like the Kaijuu war for Shuu’s current state, no matter how many lives he has, it won’t be enough if he just sticks his neck out.



“We will stay until the fighting ends, squeak! We’re going to stab the last one standing from behind!” (Tamiko)


“I see… we will take advantage of their infighting.” (Shuu)



After the fierce battle to the death, the winner will be ambushed when they are exhausted, and I will take all the winnings. It’s quite cowardly, but this is the wild new world where the strong eating the weak is the law of the jungle. If I don’t move, I will never escape to the surface. Cowardice is the best, so I have no choice but to do it.


I concentrate on the palm of my hand. The threads spin and form the shape of a sword.


If I could keep the mycelium sword out all the time, I wouldn’t need to take it out again, but unfortunately, it has an expiration date. A few minutes? An hour? I don’t know exactly, but after a certain amount of time, it degrades little by little until crumbling to pieces.


Holding up a brand-new white sword in front of me… my courage was still slumbering from deep within. The pain and fear of having my arm nearly chewed off come back to me.


With just one swing of this puny weapon, would I really be able to finish off the monsters?



“Abeshuu, your hands are trembling so fast there’s an afterimage, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“I-I-I can do this!  W-w-w-we will escape to the surface!” (Shuu)



Gripping the handle tightly, I close my eyes for a few seconds. I take a deep breath and slap my cheeks.



“Let’s go, Tamiko. This is the first step.” (Shuu)



I go left down the path in front of the entrance/exit and stop when I reach an alleyway. Even if my ears are not as good as Tamiko’s, the beasts’ yowls are already close enough that I can feel it in my skin.



“Graaa!!!” (Ghost Wolf)


“Kyaa! Kyaa!” (Blue Goblin)



Two figures peeking quietly from the shadows, a man and a squirrel, in their position, they saw it. A few dozen meters away, a huge gray wolf and a blue-furred ape are engaged in a battle to the death.



Compared to the Ghost Wolf, the Blue Goblin is small. It is a little over a meter tall. It is a bipedal ape with its entire body a dusky blue color.



The goblin is grabbing at it with its fangs bared, with all the quickness and ferocity it possesses. It bites, scratches, and grabs at its fur.



Still, the difference in size seems insurmountable, and the Ghost Wolf is blown away by the Blue Goblin’s blow. Then, it is bitten on the neck with its big jaws, swung around, and thrown hard against the wall. The Ghost Wolf is more overwhelming than its reputation suggests.



Eventually, the Blue Goblin collapses on the ground, covered in blood and unable to stand up—but then…


A second goblin emerges from behind. A red-furred ape—a Red Goblin.



“Ki-Kyaa!” (Red Goblin)



With a scream, the red goblin runs. The moment it swung its arm as it ran—“Gaaauuu!” Ghost Wolf groaned, its body contorting and bending backward.



(…A needle?) (Shuu)



The red goblin released a long, thin, white, wire-like weapon. Probably a [Hypha Needle], just like Shuu’s sword. It is pierced into the Ghost Wolf’s eye.



“Kikiki!” (Red Goblin)



The Red Goblin keeps its distance and alternately throws needles with both hands. Ghost Wolf, blinded in one eye at the encounter, is unable to dodge and becomes a hedgehog with needles protruding from all over his body.



“Gaaa!” (Ghost Wolf)



The fight is one-sided, and the Red Goblin kicks the ground just as the moment is ripe. It pounces on it, trying to directly stab it with the needles it holds in both hands.



The battle seemed to be decided. But…



The Ghost Wolf leaped at the right moment and its fangs clamped down on the Red Goblin’s neck. With a resounding crash, it slams into the ground, snapping the neck. A dull thud reverberates off the rock wall, and a few moments later, as if to break the silence, Ghost Wolf shouts, “Awoooo!” A victory battle cry reverberates.



“…That was a totally unexpected plot twist.” (Shuu)



Was the Red Goblin weaker than expected, or was the Ghost Wolf stronger? Probably the latter. That means it’s not the common ones.



Nevertheless, the winner was also wounded everywhere. Its body is drenched in blood, and needles are sticking out from all over his body.



(What do I do, what should I do?) (Shuu)


(Can I really beat a monster like that?) (Shuu)


(They said a wounded beast is the deadliest—) (Shuu)



“Abeshuu…” (Tamiko)



Shuu lowers Tamiko off his shoulders and grips his sword with both hands.


He closes his eyes, exhales deeply, and in his mind he screams, “Ohhhh!” His eyes are red as they flutter open.



man up, you spineless man!” (Shuu)



He leaps out of the shadows and runs at once. The scenery around him is flowing backward at an unimaginable speed.


An unintelligible yell emanates from his mouth. An adult male, wearing a leaf skirt and carrying a sword with a yell, rushes into the scene. Thinking things about, how the company employees will react and send him to the hospital again. With a smile plastered on the corner of his mouth, he raises his sword above his head and swings it down at the huge wolf.



“Abeshuu! You’re bathed in blood, squeak! You’re dying, squeak!” (Tamiko)



Tamiko cries in a squeaky shout.



“It’s okay… I’ll get better soon… Probably be fine…” (Shuu)



It was an epic struggle.


The opponent, though wounded, was far superior, Super Ghost Wolf. Even so, I took advantage of the fact that it was blind in one eye to move around and slash at it. Perhaps it was the benefit of the level-up, but I was able to demonstrate the finest and sharpest movement I had ever done in my life.


But the enemy’s counterattack was also ferocious. It was a resistance that made me feel the very wildness and persistence for survival. With a swing of its powerful limbs, I was knocked off my feet, gouged in the side with its claws, and bitten until my left arm was on the verge of being torn off.



And yet, somehow—barely, somehow, I was able to snatch up a victory. The wolf smashed in the head over and over again and lay in a pool of blood with its tongue hanging out, no longer breathing.


I checked my own injuries. I don’t want to look too directly at it, but I can see bone through the flesh that has been gouged out. My gnawed arm is also fractured.


But – the flesh of the wound is slowly rising up and controlling the bleeding. A blue-black fungus is clinging to it like a scab – apparently, this is stimulating regeneration. In the past few days, I’ve checked the effects of the treatment by hurting myself several times, and even serious wounds like this one, which could take weeks to heal, have been healing stably.



(This is also a Fungal Skill, huh?) (Shuu)


(Self-regeneration ability, I think.) (Shuu)


((If I messed up, I could lose an arm and it would still grow back.) (Shuu)



If it were a game, it would be a true cheat-class performance.


In a minute or two, the bleeding stops completely and I can move, albeit painfully. I feel like I’m more of a monster than the wolf or the ape.



“Abeshuu, you are amazing, squeak Your smooth as baby’s bottom face is returning to its original appearance, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Don’t say that with a serious face. I’m so hungry…” (Shuu)



I am feeling extremely tired and hungry. As was the case on the first day, regeneration seems to consume a fair amount of nutrition and stamina.



“Abeshuu, when you get better, let’s gouge out the Sporangium, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“I know, I know. (You were crying just a while ago.)” (Shuu)


“Stop your dawdling! Hurry! Hurry!” (Tamiko)


“Who are you, my boss?” (Shuu)



―But suddenly.


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