Metro Labyrinth Chapter 40: Hunter Guild, Sugamo Branch

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 The Hunters’ Guild is an organization established to manage social activities, monitor, and control those who make their living exploring Metros and hunting Metro Beasts, and support their activities and give back to the country and the city for their achievements. It is an organization that has been made with the times.



 The guild is composed of hunters who belong to the guild as members and the guild’s management as management staff.



 Those who wish to become a member of the guild must undergo a screening process by the staff.  Whether or not they are a person who deserves the trust of society, their ability and morals are checked in advance by interviews (although it is not as strict as some said.)



 Incidentally, the headquarters is located in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, and each city has its own branch office.



 Other than the general policy, each branch operates independently, and in general, belonging and adhesion to the city in which one is stationed are stronger. According to Obuchi, Sugamo is one of the typical examples.



 The business office is located in the center of Sugamo, a short walk north of the city council auditorium. Officially, it is the “Hunter’s Guild, Sugamo Branch Office”.



 In the center of the city, where there are many buildings that are a few steps sturdier than private homes and stores, the stylish western-style store looks a little out of place. It is a large three-story building.



 There is a window at the front end of the first floor, and staff members are working at desks. It looks like a post office or a government office.


 In the waiting area at the front are several standing drinking tables (no chairs), and people in jerseys, who look like hunters, are chatting with each other with cups and snacks in their hands. There is also a counter in the back right corner that seems to serve food and drink.



 It looks like a meeting place for adventurers. I don’t know whether this was inevitable from practical rationality or whether it was influenced by fiction.



 After filling out the necessary paperwork for the two of us (along with Tamiko, who cannot write) at the counter, we headed upstairs without any prompting. A middle-aged man in a shirt, vest, and slacks stands in the hallway, receives our forms, and we are sent to the room after saying, “Please go there”.



 We were ushered into a large room with two rows of wooden chairs, but no one is sitting in any of them. I sat at the end of the row, and Tamiko sits next to me.



 We knew there wouldn’t be that many people since the event was held every month, but we didn’t think we’d be the only ones… Just before the end of the shift, a young man wearing a hunter’s jersey entered the room. He was sweating and shouting, “I made it!” “Oh, you cute tiny thing.” “Nice to meet you, huh?” He then sits down next to Tamiko.



 At noon, they hear the bells of a clock tower not far from here. A female staff member walks up to them and raises her glasses.



“We are starting the Hunter’s Guild member registration examination. The requirements for registration are that you must be at least 15 years old, have no criminal record stamped on your record, have a Fungal Class and master a Fungal Skill and be at least level 10. Are you qualified?” (Woman)


“I am, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“Oh, I see… Someone from the Carbuncle tribe. The age requirement for Magic Beasts is slightly different. The Carbuncle tribe starts at six years old or older, so there’s no problem.” (Woman)


“Noa also said that.” (Shuu)


“Squeak?” (Tamiko)



 A female employee is chuckling. The young man is also smiling.



“Everyone seems to have no problem. I’ll call you in one by one, please go to the other room.” (Woman)


“Oh, excuse me,” I raised my hand. “I’m doing it together with her, this one can’t write so can we both do it together?” (Shuu)


“Squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Yes, if that’s the case.” (Woman)



 The female staff member moves to the corner of the room. It seems that she is waiting for a while until everything is ready.



“—Hey, uncle.” (Kid)



 The young man talks to me.



 For a moment, I was stunned and speechless.


 I wondered if I was the one he was talking to. I can’t believe that for the first time in my life, I was being called “uncle”.



(Me? Do you mean me? You’re looking at me right?) (Shuu)


(I’m still twenty-eight? Am I an old man?) (Shuu)


(Well I am technically 130 years old. Oh, shit I AM an old man.) (Shuu)



“How are you uncle? I’m 18.” (Kid)



 I can tell from his friendly smile that he has no malicious intent. However.


 Eighteen, huh? You’re just a sh*tty high schooler, aren’t you? You should take a lesson from our Noa, she looks eight times smarter than you. [T/N: Uhuh. I hope it is not because she’s a “blessed” young lady.]



“Well, you see, I’m only twenty-eight.” (Shuu)


“Oh, really!? A newbie at 28!? What have you been doing all this time!?” (Kid)


“Yeah, well…” (Shuu)



 I can’t say I was sleeping.



“I am 10 squeak old.” (Tamiko)



 Tamiko squeaks in.



“Oh no. I’m talking about your level, Tiny Cutie.” (Tamiko)



(Is it a question about levels?) (Shuu)



“I am 40, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“What? Level 40?” (Kid)


(Oh, I’m lower than Tamiko.) (Shuu)


“What? No way. How is it possible that you reached 28 and 40 without registering as a hunter? You’re not just any a rookie, you’re already a mid-level hunt. Have you been freelancing all this time?” (Kid)


(Oh, that’s the kind of thing Tamiko would reply with.) (Shuu)


“I’ve been at Metro since I was born, and I just met Abeshuu five years ago.” (Tamiko)


“Tamiko, let’s be quiet.” (Shuu)



 I pulled Tamiko’s cheeks and shut her up.



“Hey! No, yes. I’ll be quiet, squeak. My cheek pouch, squeak! It hurfs Squeaf! Eh, rather, is this…?” (Tamiko)


“Excuse me.” (Woman)



 The conversation is cut short by the female staff clearing her throat.



 Shortly after, the back door opens and a male staff appeared.



“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. So, first one, come with me please.” (Man)


“Do your best! Uncle and Tiny!” (Kid)



 I responded with a smile, a wrinkle between my brows, while I was carrying Tamiko on my shoulder as I left the room.





 The room we were taken to was about the same size as the waiting room we were in earlier.



 There is a table in the center of the room with a sofa between. Two women are sitting there. The one on the left is wearing the same white shirt as the other staff member, and the one on the right is wearing a hunter’s jersey.



“Excuse me.” (Shuu)



 Greeting and bowing to the people in the room. The basics are important.



“Please have a seat here.” (Woman)


“Oh, yes.” (Shuu)



 I sat down on the sofa opposite and facing the women.



 They are both beautiful women. The staff member has loose brown hair and a calm demeanor, while the hunter has black hair tied back and a sharp look. Both were probably in their thirties.



“You are Abe Mr. Shuu and Ms. Tamiko correct?” (Kaike)


“Oh, yes.” (Shuu)


“Squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Thank you for attending the registration screening today. My name is Kaike and I will be in charge of the interview. This is Ms. Aomoto, who is the guild representative of the Sugamo branch. She is attending this interview as a witness.” (Kaike)


“Nice to meet you.” (Aomoto)



 From my impression, Kaike is the friendly cop and Aomoto is the serious and strict cop. A carrot and a stick, the sun and the north wind. It was more like an interrogation in a detective drama than a job interview.



“So, let’s get started.” (Kaike)


“Squeak!” (Tamiko)



 This squirrel girl who knows nothing of fear raises her hand cheerfully. I have been trained by Noa and Obuchi, so all I have to do now is to perform as we have practiced.



“Thank you very much…” (Shuu)



 Still, I can’t curb my anxiety. I’m scared of the interview.



“First of all, let me check your Levels and Fungal Classes.” (Kaike)



 And suddenly it came. Today’s mountain to conquer.





 Two sheets of Test Sheet for two people are laid out on the table. Two sheets with a scale for the level and one sheet with a hexagonal pattern for the Fungal Class.



“Please use this.” (Kaike)



 Kaike puts down something that looks like a thumbtack. A needle sticks out from a resin disk.



“Tamiko, can you use this?” (Shuu)


“I’ll be insane to consider using this, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Is that fine?” (Shuu)


“I’ll use something else, squeak.” (Tamiko)



 Kaike’s lips loosen, perhaps because she can’t help but smile. Aomoto just looks cool and is staring at Tamiko, perhaps because members of the Carbuncle tribe are rare.



“……ah.” (Shuu)



 This test paper is for up to level 50. The price is 30 yen, as I recall.


 Well, why will they not offer the one with the higher limit for newcomers’ measurements? Still, even though it is 30 yen, it is a natural action to reduce costs.



“What’s wrong?” (Kaike)


“No, nothing.” (Shuu)



 I pricked my finger with the needle and smeared blood on the level Test Sheet. Following his lead, Tamiko bites off the tip of her finger with her front teeth and stamps it into the round frame. The red line extends smoothly.



“……eh?” (Kaike)



 Just as we had done before in front of Noa and the others, mine stopped at 50, Tamiko at 40.



“”……Eh!?”” (Kaike & Aomoto)




 Both Kaike and Aomoto are stunned.




“Abeshuu, I want some of that.” (Tamiko)



 Tamiko then licks her fingers.



“Hey, wait a minute–” (Kaike)


“Wait a minute! What kind of joke is this!?” (Aomoto)



 Aomoto slammed the table and leaned forward.



“A newcomer who came for an interview today is level 50! And a young Carbuncle girl is 40! That’s impossible!” (Aomoto)


“I’m sorry, it can only measure up to 50.” (Shuu)


“…What? Then, are you trying to tell me that it’s even higher than 50?” (Aomoto)


“Yes, just in case.” (Shuu)



 Aomoto was absolutely mortified. Aomoto shuddered and yelled.



“Ms. Kaike, give him another Test Sheet! Up to 100!” (Aomoto)


“Yes…” (Kaike)



 My back sweating with excitement, he inwardly tells himself, “It’s okay, it’s working.”



 The reason I didn’t ask for it myself first was that I was afraid, they would snicker at me and say, “That’s nonsense!” I also wanted to leave an impact.


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