Now Shuu has mastered the five Fungal Skills.
The first mycelial ability, [Regenerative Mycelium].
It regenerates in a few seconds for minor wounds and in a few minutes for serious wounds. There is a side effect of a strong hunger after regenerating a serious wound, but even with that, the performance is so good that you would think it was a cheat or a bug. The limits of his regeneration have yet to be reached (if I had, I would already be not part of this world).
I have recently come to believe that it is thanks to this ability that I have been able to survive for a hundred years with the way I am. It can’t be completely unrelated to the fact that when I woke up, my entire body was covered in mold.
My second Fungal Skill is [Hypha Sword].
It is my main Hypha Weapon. It is a single-edged sword with a blade of about five or six inches in length with a slight curve. The blade is a slightly dull white color like it’s made of a material similar to bone, lightweight, and surprisingly tough. It can be produced from the palms of both my hands or the back of my hand.
Basically, it is used by holding it in the hand, but it can also be used by stabbing with it in the palm of the hand (the point of connection is surprisingly fragile, so it cannot be wielded as is).
My third Fungal Skill is the [Burning Hypha Ball].
It is a valuable long-range attack weapon. When it hits a hard object, the mycelial cocoon collapses and burns rapidly creating a small explosion.
The ball can be released with a flick from my fingertip (since the connection can be detached at will, there is almost no chance of a misfire), or it can be held in my hand before getting thrown at the target. I have even hidden them on the ground and used them as mine-like traps, but none have succeeded so far.
My fourth Fungal Skill is the [Hypha Shield].
A circular shield over 40 cm in diameter and 5 cm thick. Its surface, made of the same material as the Hypha Sword, is surprisingly hard and is not affected by attacks from Ghost Wolves or Blue Goblins. The connecting points are strong even when it is grown on the palm or the back of my hand, and it is an excellent means of defense that can withstand constant use.
And the fifth Fungal Skill, the white Hypha Ball.
It contains plenty of sweet-tasting liquid, which oozes out when squeezed or poked. It turns out that drinking the juice itself is comparatively better than eating it. It is not harmful to eat, and from the taste, it seems to have some medicinal effect, but the specific effect needs to be verified.
The morning after mastering the fifth Fungal Skill.
While washing my body by the waterside of the oasis, Tamiko suddenly begins to squeak a lot.
“Abeshuu! The Unicorn, squeak!” (Tamiko)
“It’s here again…” (Shuu)
We have been encountering it about once every three days for the past few days. It is a large Metro Beast with pure white fur, a silver mane, and a sharp horn.
It looks exactly like a horse, and its staple diet is grass and mushrooms. It does not seem to eat meat, and will not attack other creatures of its own volition.
Its hooves do not make a sound at all, and it approaches as if it was gliding across the ground. The only sound is the faint rustling of grass and vegetation. According to Tamiko, the reason why there is no sound in its movements is that it has such Fungal Skills. So it doesn’t catch Tamiko’s ear, and neither of us notices it until it moves closer to us.
Without looking at either of us, it stretches its neck to the other waterhole and licks the water. Its mane appears to gleam. Unconcerned with everything else, it takes its time and acts like a king.
“…That Unicorn is strong, isn’t it?” (Shuu)
“I’m a big fan, squeak. No one on this floor can match them, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“No one threatens it, squeak, and if they do, squeak, it’ll just run away. But if it gets serious, it can one-punch, I mean even one-kick, an ogre, squeak. Not even a trace of Abeshuu will remain, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Neither will a strand of your fur.” (Shuu)
(Can I hunt it?) (Shuu)
(Maybe by ambushing or poisoning?) (Shuu)
How much experience would it be if we could receive from its sporangium? Horse meat can be eaten raw, and the horns and manes are high-end materials in many games…
As if sensing my thoughts, the unicorn looks up and glares at me and Tamiko. I shook my head and dispelled those thoughts. The unicorn resumes its grazing.
We named the railroad track in front of the hideout as Main Street.
Usually, we head left to hunt wolves, but today we head right.
“Today we are only scouting the Goblin’s territory, squeak. Let’s not fight them yet, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“The Goblin’s village… Yeah, I’m not crazy.” (Shuu)
The main street curves somewhat loosely. After about three or four minutes, the path branches off into four more, which in turn branch off into more complex small rooms of various shapes and sizes. After passing through a cavernous, stalactite-like hall and a narrow passageway with complex plumbing, the goblins’ territory lies ahead.
We plan to go there today for further leveling and expansion of our area of activity. Of course, there are dangers involved, so I’ll have Tamiko’s scouting be even more vigilant than usual.
On the way there, we engage in a battle with a “seemingly lost” Ghost Wolf. No matter what, we can’t help but sense each other’s presence, and we end up bumping into each other head-on. If we could master the unicorn’s footstep-silencing Fungal Skills, the hunt might be easier.
It takes about a minute to kill it. I already know all of their tricks, and I am not lagging behind in any physical ability except for their foot speed. I finished it with a woundless victory.
“I’ve gotten stronger, haven’t I?” (Shuu)
I mumbled that as I ate the sporangium on the spot.
I’m not in the phase Tamiko described, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a little carried away at a time like this. The recent complete victory was from the countless injuries and suffering I had sustained in the past. I have shed blood, sweat, tears, and urine the amount could have formed a river.
“Wooh! Level up, squeak! Yeah, to go even further, squeak!” (Tamiko)
Tamiko, who had been munching on her food, pulled her body into a tight ball. Tamiko is now at level 15 and now has two Fungal Abilities.
“Congratulations. If I remember correctly, this is the third time in the past six months. That means you were level 12 when we met.” (Shuu)
“Well… that’s right, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“You finally admitted it, even though it was nothing to hide about.” (Shuu)
“It’s more romantic to keep a lady’s age and level a squeak-ret.” (Tamiko)
“What are you a hostess.” (Shuu)
I get Tamiko’s leftovers again. Unfortunately, this time, I strike out. How many times have I struck out since I turned level 17? It was frustrating not to be able to level up.
“But Abeshuu’s level improvement is fast.” (Shuu)
She said the exact opposite of what I had expected, and I was a bit surprised.
“I was also overtaken in no time at all, squeak, my eyes were not mistaken, squeak. My hunch is right, squeak. There is no need to be impatient, I am sure Abeshuu will become even stronger, squeak.” (Tamiko)
Tamiko smiled at me. It was the first time she gave me compliments in such a straightforward manner.
I was choked up that my face heats up, and I looks away. I never thought there’d be a day when I’d be so happy to be praised by a squirrel that I’d feel like soaring.
“Well, I don’t know about that, you don’t have anyone to compare … If everything is going well, it’s also thanks to Tamiko.” (Shuu)
“Well that’s natural, squeak. If you didn’t have me you would have been wolf snack by now, you baby’s bottom, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Well the special even has ended early.” (Shuu)
Further on, there is a dark passageway that is just barely passable by one adult. It seems that this passage leads to the goblins’ territory.
“Abeshu, we will go to the next area, squeak. If there are too many of them, we will retreat immediately, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Of course. Don’t overdo it right…?” (Shuu)
Some mycelial plants grow along the edge of the entrance to the passageway as if they were decorations. Among them, just about my knee’s height, are a few yellow flowers that I have never seen before. They quite are tiny and cute.
“ This is the first one I’ve ever seen. Tamiko, are they edible?” (Shuu)
“Uhoh—don’t touch it!” (Tamiko)
Tamiko stops my hand just in time, but the tip of my fingernail collides with a yellow flower. At that moment—
“Eh!? Huh!?” (Shuu)
The flower shakes at high speed and emits a ringing bell-like sound. It is like a fire alarm.
“What!? Eh!?” (Shuu)
Tamiko jumped out and said, “Evil!” and bit off the stem of the yellow flower. Only until the flower part falls off, and then the sound stops.
“Idiotshuu! You squeaking inbred! I have told you multiple squeaking times that you shouldn’t just touch plants, squeak!” (Tamiko)
A series of squirrel slaps assaulted my cheeks.
“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. It didn’t look like poison or anything…” (Shuu)
“That was squeaking Bellan! Touching the flower makes it squeaking ring, squeak!” (Tamiko)
Is there such a plant? It has strange Fungal Skills.
“This is a squeaking big one, the apes are crowding together, squeak! Danger, danger, squeak, squeaking horrible!” (Tamiko)
“I wonder if that will still be around a hundred years from now?” (Shuu)
The bell has already sounded off. And yet, the air around me seems to be buzzing. It’s a hollow sentiment, but my senses, honed over the past six months, are sounding the alarm (even though it’s a little late for that). Something dangerous is approaching.
“Surely this is one of those squeaking Goblins’ trap!” (Tamiko)
“Damn, I guess an ape’s smarts got the better of me.” (Shuu)
“They are squeaking gathering! Let’s hurry to the hideout, squeak!” (Tamiko)
With Tamiko on my shoulder, I start running.
The distance to the hideout is over a kilometer. It’s just a short distance at full speed.
“Kyakyakya! Kiyaaaa!” (Goblin)
High-pitched cries can be heard from behind. I turn my head and see two bipedal blue apes and one red ape running after me. Sure enough, they are Goblins.
“Damn it, can we take them!?” (Shuu)
“Don’t do it, squeak! Even with the current Abeshu, a three-way is too rough, squeak! Especially with the red one, squeak!” (Tamiko)
“Surely, especially if it has Fungal Skills!” (Shuu)
“Graaa!” (Ghost Wolf)
A ghost wolf jumps out from the side. The timing of the Ghost Wolf’s entry is perfect in that it interrupts the chase between the Goblins and us, preventing the Goblins from pursuing us because of the Ghost Wolf.
“What, luck–” (Shuu)
The bipedal apes and the quadruped, in terms of height, are not so different from each other, but in terms of length and weight, the Ghost Wolf dominates both categories.
“Graa, graaa!” (Ghost Wolf)
But the three goblins boldly jumped and clung to it.
The Red Goblin creates a white hatchet-like object from its hand and strikes the thrashing, writhing Ghost Wolf. It’s a mycelial weapon, a hatchet-type of my [Hypha Sword]. The Blue Goblin also holds a sharp stone and stabs it quickly.
The Ghost Wolf’s painful scream echoes and its huge body collapses and crumbles. It takes less than ten seconds. The result was the exact opposite of what had happened the other day, even though it was many against one.
In the meantime, the goblins are approaching the corner of the corridor, and the goblins raise their blood-red faces and turn their deadly gaze toward us. A chill runs down my spine. I then start running again.
“Kyaaa! Dangerous, squeak! Squeaking brutal! That’s why I don’t like goblins, squeak!” (Tamiko)
“I agree, but please don’t scream in my ear!” (Shuu)
The goblins chase after us, cackling with excitement. If we don’t lose them somewhere, we will lead them to our hideout.
“Please! Anything!” (Shuu)
I run frantically, out of breath. Just as I am about to pass a few more chambers and reach the main street, a shadow jumps out from in front of me. It is a Blue Goblin.
(How did it get ahead?) (Shuu)
No, this one is holding what looks like a club made of wood. It’s a different individual from the three before. So, there were others in the group?
“Ki-Kyaaa!” (Blue Goblin)
The Blue Goblin that stood in the way raises its club and threatens us. It was threatening us to leave the area.
“Damn it!” (Shuu)
I threw a Burning Ball from the fingertips of both of my hands while stopping that nearly tore my sole. Two red mycelium balls explode, spreading flames. I closed the distance to the frightened Blue Goblin immediately, and with a “whoosh!” slashes at it with my Hypha Sword.
The white blade is blocked by the club, and while I cut it in two, it only cleaves the Blue Goblin’s shoulder shallowly. The Blue Goblin stumbled, but still leaped at me with the broken club in its hand.
“How annoying!” (Shuu)
I parried it away and bashed it with the Hypha Shield in my left hand. The Blue Goblin rolls on the ground, and this time, I jumped on it and stab it in the chest with my mycelial sword.
The Blue Goblin groaned in a low voice but still looks at me with hateful eyes trying to reach out. So I twist my sword and cut it sideways. Then the Blue Goblin finally died.
“Abeshuu! Keep running, squeak!” (Tamiko)
“I know!” (Shuu)
I look back and see three of them. They come at me, screaming loudly and leaping up and down.
(No, we can’t run away.) (Shuu)
I calm my rough breathing. Stomping my trembling knees, I readied myself with my sword and shield.
The two Blue and Red Goblins slow their pace and readied themselves, coming as close as about ten meters.
They stand side by side, weapons in hand, mouths wide open, exchanging short, “kikyas” and “Kikis” with each other.
“Abeshuu, I will–” (Tamiko)
“Let me do it! Stay away Tamiko!” (Shuu)
I gently poke Tamiko, who is hanging anxiously next to my ears, with my finger I poked her to step down from my shoulder.
The goblins stop. About 5 meters away.
The expression on their ape faces is gone. Like a child who has been caught in a prank, they shrank back.
I looked back, too. And then my thoughts froze.
“…Abeshuu, we can’t do this, squeak…” (Tamiko)
Tamiko murmurs in a trembling voice.
“Kyu! Kyu!” (Goblins)
The frightened voices of the Goblins vanished in the distance. They must have escaped, but we cannot turn around to see.
A tall, pure white shadow stands in front of me.
I see it for the first time. But I heard its name from Tamiko, and I immediately recognize it.
–It’s a Wraith. Its estimated level is above 50.