Metro Labyrinth Chapter 51.1: Ore Fungus and First Golem
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A/N: 11/14 – I thought the setting [Golem Sandbags] might be confusing, so I will rewrite it as [Ore Fungus].
*The story itself is almost the same, so those who have already read it may not need to re-read it.
“Amazing, squeak! It’s moving, squeak! Pigya!” (Tamiko)
“Well. It is a bit shaky, but…” (Shuu)
Not just a little. It was shaking so unsteadily that it looked as if it were an attraction at a small local amusement park. If you try to speak carelessly, you might bite off your tongue.
Through the door, I could see what was going on outside. The gray surface of the rock continued for a long time, and then, just for a few seconds, we caught a glimpse of the metro level. The dungeon scene is familiar to my party, but it is refreshing to see the shadows of people in the vicinity.
“Um… is Auntie going to ride too…?” (Shuu)
“Eh, of course, right? I’m an elevator girl, you know.” (Auntie)
I wonder if I misheard her.
“What is it, are you new to this? When an elevator has a girl riding with you it is meant to keep away the plague of accidents that may occur. It’s a good luck charm, so to speak.” (Auntie)
She winked with a bang.
“It’s a dangerous job, but you know, in ten years I’ve never had an accident while I’ve been on board. You should feel like you’re on a big boat.” (Auntie)
“Thank you so much.” (Shuu)
Here, too, is a mysterious tradition of New Tokyo.
The violent shaking is making me feel a little sick. Tamiko on my shoulder looks as if she is having a hard time, and Noa looks pale. Only the veteran attendant, the auntie, is standing upright without a care in the world. She neither gripped the handrail nor leaned against the wall. What a powerful gut!
The torturous time felt like an eternity. I kept thinking, “Get up, get up, get up. Finally, the goal will come.” With a final loud shudder, the elevator comes to a standstill.
“Yes, we’ve arrived. How do you like it, don’t you feel safe with me?” (Auntie)
“Thank you very much…” (Shuu)
Noa, who went out with a wobbling footsteps, crouched and vomited. Tamiko was clinging to my shoulder, frozen and quiet.
Even me who had a weak stomach on vehicles, was much better than them. Is it because my inner ears have been strengthened by my battle experience and I have level up quite high, or is it the effect of [Immortality]?
“You guys, if you need to go back home, use the commercial one. You’ll be charged if you have a lot of luggage.” (Auntie)
“Oh, yes.” (Shuu)
“Don’t work yourself too hard. I used to be a hunter myself, but those Rock Dolls are tough.” (Auntie)
The Auntie gets into the elevator again, it moves back up. After seeing her off, I rubbed Noa’s back while she was still on her knees.
“I wonder what powers that thing? I heard that electricity is not allowed in this country.” (Shuu)
“…I don’t know… but it’s a lever that activates something, and the gears start rattling…” (Noa)
“Thank you. Sorry, no need to talk.” (Shuu)
In ancient times, or even in modern times before the development of steam and hydraulic systems, it is said that elevators were operated by human power.
“Noa, are you okay? Do you need a break?” (Shuu)
“…No, I’m okay. Let’s go.” (Noa)
Noa stood up stoutly. Tamiko is also revived before I know it.
“…ugh, then let’s go.” (Noa)
Treasure that has yet to be seen – gold, silver, colorful gems, and mithril.
It is an adventure in the “Rock Doll Mine” of Ouji Metro.
Then, Tamiko pukes on my shoulder.
The rock wall is grayish. It reflects the light of the Firefly Moss, making it seem brighter than the Outsuka Metro.
We leave the elevator and follow the map to find the stairs to the bottom.
On the way, I see a group of half-naked men lying on the ground. I glance at them and they raise their hand in greeting. They close their eyes, turn over, and scratch their butts.
“The miners are mostly [Peasant], right? I’m getting nervous because they don’t seem to be in danger.” (Shu)
“I think there are almost no Metro Beasts on the tenth floor, except for the occasional golem.” (Noa)
“Is that so?” (Shuu)
“The normal Metro Beasts have been hunted down for so long that only golems can be found here.” (Noa)
They even brought in a civilized device like an elevator and did pretty much whatever they wanted to do. I can understand why the Metro-loving Church followers are upset.
“If they were normal, they wouldn’t be out there like that because there are no enemies except the golem. They walk around and search for minerals, and when a golem comes out, they get together and kill it. That is their job. They are workers, so they must know how to fight and what their weak points are, but they probably have accidents every once in a while.” (Noa)
“I see.” (Shuu)
Fighting miners, though they look like pandas in the late afternoon notwithstanding, they are a little bit cool.
“But that’s why. The remaining resources are decreasing, and the Church is also angry. If we don’t develop further, this town may eventually become unsustainable.” (Noa)
“It’s going to be just another hot spring town. That’s one thing.” (Shuu)
While we are talking like that, we find a staircase. The map is of great benefit to us. Attentively, there are signs “B10” and “↓B11″ hammered into the wall at the entrance and exit of the stairway. There is also a metal fence, perhaps to prevent Metro Beasts from coming up.
“From here on down, there are no ordinary people. There should be both reasonably strong golems and other Metro Beasts.” (Noa)
“Ok. So this is where we start our work.” (Shuu)
“We have my front teeth, squeak!” (Tamiko)
By the way, Tamiko has moved from the puke-covered right shoulder to the left shoulder.
There is also a fence at the end of the long flight of stairs.
Ouji Metro, eleventh underground floor.
At a quick glance, it looks almost the same as the tenth floor.
But it is quiet. I could hardly hear any sign of life, or even the slightest noise.
“I don’t mind moving forward, but for the time being, I’d like to try hunting golems.” (Shuu)
Noa had already given us an outline of what to expect, and the guidebook also included a map with some disturbing strategy information: “First Time in Ouji Metro: A Guide to Defeating Golem for Anyone”. However, I still wanted to try my hand at it once to get a feel for it. I wanted to see how the golem felt while it was in a shallow level, and before any strong individuals appeared.
According to the guidebook, the golem is “a type of tricky Metro Beast that pops up suddenly.”
Metro Beasts usually reproduce by having males and females take turns like beasts, forming families and colonies that increase and decrease as they win territory or are threatened by foreign enemies. The fact that there are no other Metro Beasts by the tenth floor means that they have been eliminated by humans.
Golems are said to be living creatures, so whether sexual or asexual, they are reproducing and increasing in number, and it seems that their numbers are not decreasing, no matter how much we hunt them. Golems are still springing up whether above or below the tenth floor.
“—Ah, there it is, Mr. Shuu.” (Noa)
“There, that’s the mineral. You’re lucky, you found it in a busy place.” (Noa)
“…What… That?” (Shuu)
I crouched down and observed it intently. The mushrooms are about five centimeters in size and grow on the side of the road. Or rather, it looks like a stone in the shape of a mushroom.
“This is an Ore Fungus.” (Noa)
“Ore Fungus?” (Shuu)
I picked up the handle with trepidation. The base snapped off when I plucked it, and it was as heavy as it looked. If it were displayed at my front door, none would doubt that it was an ordinary object carved from stone.
“The mushroom’s reproductive body is like a flower for spreading spores, and the main body is the mycelium that is spreading in the ground. Ore Fungus is the same way. They are spread all over the bedrock of the Ouji Metro, absorbing minerals from the ground and producing crystallized reproductive bodies.” (Noa)
“That’s amazing.” (Shuu)
What kind of creature is that? What does it mean?
“We don’t know much about its ecology. It is the key to the distribution of metal products in New Tokyo. I believe that our frying pans and pots were originally shaped like this.” (Noa)
“I see. …Wow, New Tokyo…” (Shuu)
Mineral mining work means hunting fungus in the labyrinth. The Fungus Civilization has reached its peak.
Chapter 51.2: Ore Fungus and First Golem
Mineral mining work means hunting fungus in the labyrinth. The Fungus Civilization has reached its peak.
“Can I eat them, squeak?” (Tamiko)
“I don’t think so, it might give you a stomachache. I mean, I’m afraid you’ll chip your teeth.” (Shuu)
“According to the guidebook… this color is probably ordinary corrosion-resistant iron. It’s a little bulky, but let’s take it home as a souvenir.” (Noa)
“Are there other kinds?” (Shuu)
“Yes, copper, lead, and so on. The lower you go, the more rare minerals you can get. …By the way, if it’s silvery white, it’s Mithril.” (Noa)
“Okay, let’s search for rare minerals!” (Shuu)
After searching the stairs and walking for a while, something unusual occurs within the range of the [Sensory Spores].
“I know!” (Shuu)
Ahead, about 30 meters ahead, a rock wall. Bam, bam, a heavy sound is heard.
The wall is shaking, as if a thin film has been pressed with the palm of one’s hand. Soon it takes the form of an arm and crawls out into the passage.
“…Woah, it’s coming out…” (Shuu)
I’m honestly impressed. A realistic, fantasy feeling. You can’t get this sense of realism in Nezumii or Yuniba. [T/N: Not sure what type of company Nezumii (ネズミー) or Yuniba (ユニバ) is. Nezumii could mean “mouse” or Yuniba could be “universal” or “university”. Update: Thanks to commenter Arasil I found that the “mouse” is Mickey and “universal” is Universal Studios.]
Soon, a headless rock doll lands on the floor.
It is more than three meters tall and quite large. The body surface is a little darker than the rock wall, the legs are short and thick, the arms are long and thick, and the body is an unbalanced inverted triangle. It has only three fingers. Whenever it moves, pebbles and sand fall out of its body.
“…is that a golem?” (Shuu)
Perhaps it has no vocal organs, the golem neither cries nor yells. To show its ferociousness, it bows its thick breastplate broadly and beats its chest with its palms as if it were a gorilla.
Perhaps they were satisfied after doing it for a while, they rushed towards me and my party.
“Lo-look there’s the golem, squeak!” (Tamiko)
“Hay, calm down, use [Risk Counter]!” (Shuu)
“How is it?” (Shuu)
“A pathetic 15, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Suddenly you’re looking down at it.” (Shuu)
Golems are said to be beasts whose individual levels vary considerably. The level of the golem is usually around 15 at the shallow end, but in the deep end, there are individuals with levels of 30 and 40.
This one is a little higher than Ghost Wolf and Baphomet in terms of level. In terms of evaluation, it must be a small fry. However, you can’t measure fighting ability by level alone.
“I will do it!” (Noa)
Noa throws away down her luggage, puts her goggles over her eyes, and steps forward. She takes out her [Dagger] and readies herself.
“Hey, Noa–” (Shuu)
In a flash, the golem closes the distance. He swings his arm and slams it down carelessly.
Boom! The floor shatters. Noa just barely dodges it. She dives into his pocket and slashes at the Golem’s right leg.
There will be no pain, and the wound is shallow. The golem doesn’t stop.
Noa is faster than the golem. Dodging the sloppy attack, she uses her [dagger] to chip away at the huge body. Perhaps she is targeting the weak points by instinct.
“Hara-Hara, squeak…” (Tamiko)
Tamiko, who was watching over her, hugged her tail tightly. [T/N: Hara-hara is an H-game BTW. She should have used Ara-ara.]
There’s not enough attack power. It’s too incompatible with Noa’s Fungal Skill.
The power and durability are different. It’s like a battle between a bee and an elephant. It has a needle that can pierce through thick armor, but if it doesn’t hit the vital spot, it can’t kill, and no matter how much it attacks other areas, it doesn’t do any damage. On the other hand, even a single blow would tip the balance of the battle.
The golem’s foot raises a stone and debris, and Noa takes a step back.
The golem’s fist came down. Noa is too late to evade, and takes a stance to catch it.
A loud crash.
The rock fist collides head-on with the Hypha Hammer. The impact shakes the wall.
Swing my [War Hammer] with all my might. Its arm was shattered, and its shoulder fell off at once.
Rotating my body I and drive a follow-up attack into its chest.
The golem scatters debris and falls on its back.
It stopped moving. Whether it was good or bad, it seems that it was killed in one blow.
“The vital point? Did you hit it?” (Noa)
“…it looks like, squeak…” (Tamiko)
It was Noa, not Tamiko, who replied in Tamiko. He was shocked.
The golem has a main body, which extends mycelium and is covered with stones and rocks. Why it takes human form and why it moves like a person has not been known.
At any rate, the main body is said to be the golem’s vital point. The main body is always hidden somewhere in the body part, and one has to look for a marker to identify it from the surface. The cracks that resemble jumbled letters are the markers.
By hitting them hard, you can damage the body and render the golem inoperable. The old tale goes, “If you cut off the E of “EMETH” (truth), it will die! (meth = death)”, which seems to have been pulled from a fantasy novel.
It seems that the [War Hammer] just hit directly near the main body. I fearfully peeked at the shattered part and found a yellow hairy sphere exposed. It was sunken in and oozing white liquid. It appears to be dead.
“Well, that’s what you get at level 15–” (Shuu)
I stopped myself, but it was already too late. Noa is even more depressed.
I dig into the golem and pulls out the main body. As I had heard, it was a white hairy sphere about 50 cm in diameter. When I cracked open the bottom, I could see the sporangium. I gouged it out and offers one to Noa.
“Noa, here are is a sporangium. I’ll share one with Tamiko.” (Shuu)
“…No, I don’t have the right to eat it…” (Noa)
Noa and Tamiko look at each other.
“…I thought that with this kind of enemy, I wouldn’t have to bother Mr. Shuu and Sis. Even so, it was hard to deal with even a low-ranking golem…” (Noa)
“Ms. Noa? Ms. Noa?” (Shuu)
Noa crouched and carves letters with her [Dagger].
“Even though I’ve taken the trouble to have you Join… in the end, Mr. Shuu will not just let it defeat you and leave you alone… Small fry, squeak, Noa is so very weak, squeak…?” (Tamiko)
“You don’t have to be so self-deprecating…” (Noa)
I think weak Noa and puke Squirrel are similar. Well, they don’t look alike. It does not matter.
I sat down in front of her and held out the sporangium once again.
“If it weren’t for Noa, I think Tamiko and I would still be languishing somewhere underground right now. We wouldn’t even be hunters. Well, maybe you’re not as strong as us, but it’s not just about being out in front and being physically strong, right?” (Shuu)
I stroke Noa’s head. Her hair is curly and soft. It seems to dance between my fingers.
“Well, let’s be clear here. The division of our roles.” (Shuu)
We’ve come this far in a haphazard manner. I should have talked about this before the team’s first real battle. Noa was dependable for her level, and since she was a senior hunter, I left it up to her to make the decision.
We form a circle with Tamiko.
“Our three roles. We decide here and now! I’ll listen to any objections!” (Shuu)
“I’ll leave it to you, squeak!” (Tamiko)
Tamiko’s superior gives her approval. She clears her throat.
“Then, let’s start with Tamiko. First of all, Tamiko, you need to search using [Hearing] and analyze the strength using [Risk Counter]. And also scouting with [Camouflage] and [Avatar]. That’s what we call a Scout.” (Shuu)
“I am a Shinobi, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“That’s right, maybe a Kunoichi?” (Shuu)
“That’s right, squeak. From today onwards, my Fungal Class is [Kunoichi], squeak!” (Tamiko)
Nin Nin! Tamiko puts her fingers together. The second generation of Squirrel Kunoichi was born.
“Noa is the chief strategist and quartermaster. I mean, we can’t do this without Noa’s knowledge, you know. She also supports me. She has different abilities from me.” (Shuu)
High-school Girl, the chief strategist, was born.
“So I’m going to move in front. I’ll be the defender and the attacker. That’s what I’m suited for because that’s all I can do.” (Shuu)
“If that’s the case… It will be too much of a burden for Mr. Shuu…” (Noa)
“Well, if it’s a small fry, I’ll get the two of you to do it, and if there’s something I can’t do, I’ll ask you both for help.” (Shuu)
Even if there is a difference in level, two people are better than one, and three people are better than two. This is especially true in a harsh environment such as the Metro.
Once again, he held out the sporangium in his hand to Noa.
“We’re all friends, you know. You should share with us. You don’t have to think of that as a favor. If Noa gets stronger, it will help me and Tamiko, too.” (Shuu)
“I was born from my Mother and Abeshuu’s teacher, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“You’re being too much.” (Shuu)
Noa looks up. The shadow of despondency is gone and her usual bright light is back.
She takes the sporangium and bites into it with the vigor of an unarmed general who has fasted for three days.
“Nom-nom… I’m going to get stronger. Please wait, Mr. Shuu, Sis.” (Noa)
“Yeah, we’ll be waiting for you.” (Shuu)
“I’ll let you reach my tail, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Yes! Squeak!” (Noa)
Her big sis is reliable. [T/N: Noa is starting to squeak. I’m worried about Noa’s vocabulary. Tamiko has a very sus vocabulary.]
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