Metro Labyrinth Chapter 5.1: After Six Months

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A/N: 3/13 – Changed the new Hypha Ball, a green cross to a red cross.



 The skill [Burning Hypha Ball] that I got unexpectedly, or rather awakened.


 With this, the most important and indispensable task of “starting a fire” has been cleared, my life as a survivalist has dramatically developed, and the bells of civilization are ringing loudly.


 No, it doesn’t go that way. The reality is not so kind.



In the first place, I have no such wisdom as “what can be done using fire” or “what should be done with fire”. There has been no need for me to seriously think about such things in my twenty-three years of living.


I tried to dry hay and it almost caught fire and trying to cook rat meat for a few days’ worth of food becomes charcoal mass-production. When I made a fire in a hideout, it became smoky, and Tamiko lectured me. Then I made a fire in the passage or a small room, beasts came near, and we had to leave the place immediately.



 And so, the days of trial and error continued. It was a back-and-forth process, taking one step at a time.



 Shuu didn’t become unmatchable with the battle with Metro Beasts by simply getting a ranged attack. If he faces a beast head-on, they will easily evade the attack using their superior agility.


 He tried to use it as a trap, but they were wary of its smell and appearance, and they didn’t get caught. When faced with a mycelium ball left alone, there’s a human with his face painted in despair.


 In the end, he carefully selects his prey based on Tamiko’s ears, and it becomes his daily routine to engage them in a one-on-one fight. It takes about two or three days to get one fight under his belt.



 His physical abilities have clearly improved as his level of skill has increased. Muscle strength, stamina, and reflexes have all improved. Even his techniques have been honed through training such as swinging his sword in addition to the actual fighting. He is proud of himself to the extent that he has gone from being a novice to being a good fighter.



 Even so, it is difficult to match the strength of the superior beasts. Relying on the [Regenerative Mycelium] —a blue-black fungus that can heal any serious wound—he picks up victories with kamikaze attacks, which are the easiest way to get injured. As his injuries gradually become rarer, he can almost feel his growth.



“If you’re still fighting against a bunch of stupid Blue Goblins, squeak, you’ve got ways to go, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“By the way, what is your level?” (Shuu)



 I would have liked Tamiko to help me fight, but she was adamant, insisting that “I’m just a poor little critter,” and that she was just a squirrel. It is true that she is as quick as typical Metro Beasts, but her fighting power is really low.


 As for Shuu, it would be unbearable, both practically and mentally, for his only partner to become a snack for wolves, so he has to take on the physical burden alone.



“I’m glad we don’t have any very strong Metro Beasts around here, squeak. If there was even one, Abeshuu would have pooped his pants long ago, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“So, what do you think of me?” (Shuu)



 Tamiko only responds with silence. So, I rubbed her face in annoyance, she cried, “Ah! It’s too much! Too much!” until she was woozy.



 A short distance away from this floor, the area is said to be crawling with Ogres, Orthruses, Wraiths, Demon Centipedes, and other Metro Beasts around level 50 or so, which are (to Shuu) the last bosses of the world. From their point of view, Ghost Wolves are just puppies. In other words, like all other small critters, Shuu is at the bottom of the ecosystem in this area.



 The 50th floor of the Outsuka Metro is infested with such super-powerful individuals. So far, we have been able to avoid encountering them, thanks to Tamiko’s careful searching and the risk management policy of “not moving too far from the hideout,” but if something like that were to happen, we would be dead in a heartbeat.



 There is no end to the list of things they can do.


 Every day, the future is uncertain, but a day of “Significant Development” in terms of fighting ability will come. It was about a month and a half after the start of Shuu surviving, a while after Shuu reached level 7.



 Against the Ghost Wolf, he sacrificed his left hand to win. After receiving the sporangium and pelt with a familiar hand, we made a quick stop at the oasis and then went back to the lair. He and Tamiko stand side by side, clasp hands, and say “Itadakimasu” before putting the sporangium in their mouths.


 At first, I was concerned about the nutritional balance – lack of salt and vitamins – but after more than a month, I have not felt particularly deficient. Tamiko says that the sporangium is full of nutrients, but perhaps it is a real complete nutritional super food, even more so than eggs.



“Oh!” (Shuu)



 As soon as I ate it, which was as bad as ever, something strange happened to my body.


 I thought it might be the level up, but then my back started to get hot. It was as if boiling water was poured directly into my spine. I wonder if it’s poisoned or if I caught something serious. But within a few seconds, the heat subsides as if it were a lie, and the strange sensation disappears completely.



“What’s wrong, squeak?” (Tamiko)


“I just… felt something hot on my back, is it my imagination?” (Shuu)


“For real, squeak? A hot back is the best way to know you got new Fungal Skill, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“Seriously? I can now use new Fungal Skills!?” (Shuu)



 The lair overflows with a sense of anticipation.



“…What should I do?” (Shuu)



 I was given new abilities. But I don’t know how to use it.



“It’s a good idea to try activating it for the time being squeak. It’s a new skill you can practice using, squeak. Just do it like when you summon a Hypha Ball, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“I see, I’ll try it.” (Shuu)



 Turning my palm face up I stare into it.



(Get out, get out–my new skill, get out—) (Shuu)


(Whisper—pray—chant—remember, squeak!) (Shuu)



 The momentum of my thoughts was so strong that it sounded like Tamiko, but with a weaving motion, the hypha appeared and took shape.



“Woah! It appeared, it’s here, Tamiko!” (Shuu)


“Squeak, squeak! Abeshuu’s new Fungal Skill, squeak!” (Tamiko)



 They were both very excited. The young man expresses his happiness with his whole body and the squirrel does a similar dance.



“Well, this is…” (Shuu)



 It is a pot lid-shaped object of the same color and material as the mycelial sword. The front side is roughly circular, and the part extending from the center of the back side is stuck to the palm of my hand. It was stuck real firm.


 I ripped it off by force, put it on the floor, and slashed it with my mycelial sword. The hardness seems to be almost the same, and only a small scratch appears on the surface.



“It’s like a… [Hypha Shield], right?” (Shuu)



 In the next day’s battle, the mycelial shield proves to be more effective than imagined.


 It repels the fangs and claws of a Ghost Wolf and guards against it. It’s a great tool for controlling the enemy’s attack.



 At the moment that it brings them their first almost unscathed victory, the young man and the squirrel express their joy with a dance fiercer than ever before.



“Well… this is going great.” (Shuu)


“Haahaa… you’re pretty good at that, aren’t you, squeak? We’re going to take this in stride, squeak.” (Tamiko)


“Yes sir… Well, so what level are you?” (Shuu)


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