Metro Labyrinth Chapter 4.2: Hypha Ball

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―But suddenly.



“Guh!” (Shuu)



I quickly jumped forward to protect Tamiko, but I was hit on the shoulder hard and swatted quite far away.



“Abeshuu!” (Tamiko)



While Tamiko runs up behind him, Shuu stands on one knee and confronts it.



“…It’s still alive…?” (Shuu)



The Blue Goblin, who should have been bitten to death by the wolf, is standing there.


Its blue fur is bloody and tattered, and its left arm is bent in the wrong direction. Breathing heavily on its shoulders, it still stares at us with bloodshot eyes.



“Ki-ki-kyaa!” (Blue Goblin)



The Blue Goblin shouts angrily. Spittle and blood spray out of its mouth.


Shuu tries to stand up, but his body is not yet recovered enough. His wounds are still not completely recovered. When he tried to make a new mycelial sword like the one, he dropped, not a single thread came out of his palm.



“Fuck” (Shuu)



The Blue Goblin jumps at him. He rolls on the ground to avoid the coming fangs and claws, but the short blue creature turned fluidly coming straight at him. The sole of its foot lands squarely on his body. His ribs crack and he is blown away, crashing into the wall behind him.


He groans in pain and blood spills from his mouth. For a little guy, for someone dying, it still has a lot of power.



“Abeshuu!” (Tamiko)



Tamiko runs in front of Shuu. Standing protectively, she faces the Blue Goblin and cries, “Hisss!” baring her fangs.



“IIIII will do it myself, squeak! A-Abeshuu, stay behind me, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“…but you…” (Shuu)



You don’t have any combat skills, is what I want to say.) (Shuu)



“…That’s why…” (Shuu)



The other party is also desperate. It is no wonder that they stop moving at any moment. Even so, anger, hatred, and fear—the desire to survive that is a mixture of all of these— manifested in the form of murderous energy.



Shuu bites down on the weakness that threatens to overwhelm him, and with a herculean effort, he forces his arms and tries to get up.



 I’m also the same. I’ll do the impossible.


 If I don’t do it, I will die. Simple.


 That’s the reality of the Metro, of this world I’m in now.



Then Shuu looks up and suddenly sees that his fingertips are stained red.


It’s not blood. It’s a thread. A red thread.



It arises from his fingertip and forms a shape. It is a red nut-like sphere about two or three centimeters in diameter. There is a white pattern or mark in the center. The mark looks like a drop of water or a Hitodama. [T/N: Hitodama is a Japanese ball of fire that is considered the soul of the dead.]



“What is this…?” (Shuu)


“Hy-Hypha Ball, squeak!” (Tamiko)



Tamiko turned around and screamed.



“This is…” (Tamiko)



The form of mycelium that Tamiko was talking about, a form of mycelium that is different from a mycelial weapon―



“Ki-Kyaaaa!” (Blue Goblin)



Was it something that should be thrown, or something that should be eaten for its effect?


When I first heard that, it honestly didn’t ring any bells.


However, now that I have it in my hands like this. I can instinctively understand which kind it is.


It is the former.



“Tamiko, move back!” (Shuu)



My body moves spontaneously. I know what to do.


I swing my arm through the air. A centrifugal force, a snap of the wrist, and the will to release.


Peeling away from my fingertips, a red mycelium ball is released straight into the air.



The moment the mycelium ball collides in mid-air with the Blue Goblin that jumped toward it crumbles into a ball of mycelium–Booosh! With a dull explosion, the blue beast is engulfed in a blinding fire.



“Gyaaaa!” (Blue Goblin)



The Blue Goblin rolls on the ground, releasing a burning smell. Stunned, Shuu stands up and picks up his mycelium sword.



“Uu… Aa… AAAA!” (Shuu)



From there, consciousness becomes fuzzy. Anyway, I frantically slammed the weapon down on the target, and the next thing I know, the lifeless corpse of the Blue Goblin, discolored scorched, and reddish-black with blood, is lying in front of my eyes.



“…Haa… Haa…” (Shuu)



His breathing, body, and stamina are at their limits, and Shuu collapses to his knees. Tamiko’s squeaky voice sounded awfully far away.



“…Shuu, Abeshuu! Open your mouth, squeak!” (Tamiko)




Something sticky is being forced aggressively into my mouth.


I do as I’m told and open my mouth, only to be screwed in the mouth without a pause. In an instant, a raw taste fills my mouth, but my body, which has been desperately craving something, chews it unconsciously and swallows it down.



The food falls down his esophagus and into his stomach, where it becomes a gentle heat that permeates his body. Energy, stamina, and vitality return.



“…Tamiko…” (Shuu)


“Abeshuu!” (Tamiko)




In front of me is the weeping face of a dingy chipmunk. As I stare, her body is covered in blood—not her own blood, but probably due to the sporangium that I swallowed earlier, it was dug out from the corpse.



“Ugh!” (Shuu)


“Abeshuu!” (Tamiko)



Sudden tightness attacks my whole body. It is not like it’s pain, but a strong stiffness in the muscles and bones. It disappears in an instant. Without any lingering effects.



“…I’m alright, I think I’ve just leveled up.” (Shuu)


“I’m so glad, squeak! Waaaah!” (Tamiko)



Tamiko clings to Shuu’s nose and face, crying freely. When I pinch her back to pull her back… a string of Tamiko’s snot and other fluids stretches.



The bodies of three beasts are lying around us. Ghost Wolf, Blue Goblin, and Red Goblin.


I poke them with the tip of my mycelium sword. None of the three animals move at all, and they all seem to be completely dead.



“How amazing, squeak! It’s a huge victory, squeak! There’s a lot, squeak!” (Tamiko)



The squirrel that just cried is already laughing. Tamiko is squealing and dancing. I would like to dance with her, but I am too tired to do anything but slump down in place.



“…I survived…” (Shuu)




It was truly a life-threatening fight to the death. I can’t believe that I am safe now.


I hardly felt this when I met a wolf on my first day, but this experience was the most exhilarating and violent in the history of my life―And I’m sure it was the most mentally exhausting.



A Hypha Ball skill, the [Burning Hypha Ball], activated on the very edge of my life. A literal hidden gem (ball). This victory was, of course, partly thanks to that, but more than that – it was because I was able to keep my will to “not lose” and “live”. Even though I was scared, even though I was about to cry, it was because I was able to fight to the end without breaking down.


I never thought that a day would come when an ordinary person like myself, an ordinary citizen living comfortably in the Heisei era, would be able to demonstrate such resilience.



What I gained through this experience was great. I grew up to Level 4 and got the sporangium I had longed for. Six of them.



(…I wonder why.) (Shuu)



I chuckled as I realize that I’m having a bit of fun. 


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