“Mr. Shuu… it’s probably a Fungal Ability.” (Noa)
“A Fungal Skill? Eh, ah, an ability!?” (Shuu)
A rare ability that varies rarely appears and is varied per person, separate from Fungal Skills. Kaike’s mind-reading technique, [mind’s eye] is one of them. [T/N: Shuu got it after having the butterflies/fluttering in his stomach in chapter 70.]
“Seriously? Did I get a Fungal Ability?” (Shuu)
“Ability, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“What the…” (Noa)
A Fungal Ability that makes hypha balls big?
“Can you create a normal-sized hypha ball?” (Noa)
I try it out as usual. I’ll use [Detoxification] since [Holy Healing] is very consuming. It’s the usual tiny size. Tamiko takes it and puts it in her cheek pouch.
“Then, the next one, I’ll make big….” (Shuu)
I was about to say, “big balls”, but I stopped myself from doing so, being aware of the possibility of sexual harassment.
When the zombies were approaching earlier. I created a [Fireball] as a distraction. I had a wicked thought, “It would be so nice if I could kill them all with one shot,” but then I realized that the [Fireball] had exceeded its usual size and was quickly swelling up.
“… here.” (Shuu)
In my hand, a Chara Ball-sized [Detoxification] appeared.
My [Fireball] before literally blew Minotaur to pieces with a single ball. It was several times the firepower of a normal [Fireball].
“I feel like I could do as long as I think about it. I didn’t even know I was doing it at first.” (Shuu)
“…I think it’s the Fungal Ability of [Accumulation],” Noa said. “It’s the kind that builds up power to increase the effect of a Fungal Skill.”
“Ooh, like charging up?” (Shuu)
The number of cases of Fungal Abilities have been very small, and the actual nature of Fungal Abilities has not yet been understood or tested. But if Noa knows, does that mean that there was a past instance of [Accumulation] in the encyclopedia of Fungal Abilities?
“So, it’s not that rare? I don’t mind that.” (Shuu)
“No, it is not. But it is a very useful Fungal Ability. You said you used it with [Fireball], but for an [Illusionist] it is a Fungal Ability that will make them cry from happiness. [Fireball] gains the same power as [Great Fireball]. Moreover, [Great Fireball] is like an ancient weapon.” (Noa)
So, it’s an ability for rear-guard firepower-focused support characters. It’s like “having your friends protect you while you chant magic for a long time and then kaboom!”
“I think it might be clearer if you ask him… Mr. Giran. He’s a veteran.” (Noa)
“Ah, well… this isn’t the time to hide, right?” (Shuu)
So, end of the day. I’ll ask Giran at the 32nd-floor fortress.
“Oh… it certainly resembles [Accumulation].” (Giran)
“[Accumulation] is one of the well-known Fungal Abilities, but its effect may vary from person to person. How much of a Fungal Skill can be enhanced and expanded, which fungibility can and cannot be enhanced, the degree of fatigue and continuous use per use… or rather the Fungal Ability itself is still a mystery because there are so few samples.” (Giran)
“By the way, what about yours Mr. Giran?” (Shuu)
“There are some things that are not clear. It’s not visible to the eye, so I am not sure, but I probably have the Fungal Ability [Perseverance].” (Giran)
“What is it?” (Shuu)
“It seems to have the effect of reducing physical exhaustion when moving and the use of Fungal Skills. I can’t say for sure because I can’t make an exact comparison with others, but I certainly feel less tired after learning it. It’s a very modest power, but it’s not bad, because it improves my ability to fight in succession and helps me to explore the Metro.” (Giran)
“I see……” (Shuu)
Noa says that when you eat a sporangium and your “stomach flutters” it is a signal that you’ve learned a Fungal Ability. The only thing that comes to mind is that thing, the Jaguar Golem known as Knight.
“Maybe it’s because of that pitch-black sporangium… I’m glad I didn’t throw them away even though they looked like crap.” (Shuu)
Then, I wonder why only that one had black sporangium. Maybe it is unique to Mutant individuals, or—is it because a Demon is involved? If anything, the latter seems more likely. If it is the former, Giran and Noa must know that such a phenomenon exists.
(Is it an individual enhanced by a Demon? Bishop’s balls are probably black, too.) (Shuu)
(What is a Demon, anyway? A monster from the other world who came from the depths of the Metro?) (Shuu)
Noa is grinning a little. While looking at my expression, she brings her face closer. Whispering.
“I was sure that since it was Mr. Shuu, you were going to get another broken, super-rare Fungal Ability. But this time, you didn’t get one, didn’t you?” (Noa)
“I’m glad it was a usable ability, but you know…” (Shuu)
“…Fungal Abilities are not limited to just one, right? In the case of [Master Threadweaver].” (Shuu)
When I said that with a mischievous grin, Noa’s cheeks puffed up, and punched me in the face warmly, saying, “Sly Shuu, squeak!” Haha, that was funny. [T/N: Everyone is starting to squeak.]
On the fourth day.
I ask Giran to take me off duty so that I can spend more time verifying and understanding my Fungal Skills. Noa, Makko, and the others join the twins’ team, and only Tamiko follows me. It seems that my actions yesterday are still in their mind.
“Okay, I’ll try them one by one. Tamiko, please be vigilant of the surroundings.” (Shuu)
“Don’t lie down right away.” (Shuu)
On the 32nd floor, a short distance away from the fort, the verification began. The monster birds were noisy and sometimes attacked us, so we asked them to be our test subjects for various experiments. They come from the other side, so there are no hard feelings.
First, start with the hypha weapon.
While summoning my [Katana], I try to wish, “grow big” just like yesterday. There is a sensation of my strength being sucked up from my arm, which is different from the normal Fungal Skill.
The [Katana] swells up quickly and becomes a huge sword with a curved blade like a kitchen knife. The length from the tip to the end of the pommel is about a meter and a half. The blade looks like something a god of death would carry on his shoulder. [T/N: I think it might look more like Ichigo’s Zanpakutou]
The handle is barely long enough to hold in one hand, and it is quite heavy. The normal [Katana] is as light as a tree branch, but this one is quite heavy. But it is not difficult to wield it with a level 69’s ridiculous strength.
Conveniently enough, a monster bird rushes into the room. Tamiko estimates its level at 30, which is just right for a test cut.
Shuuug! Cutting the bird felt more like a slap than a slash. The bird is torn in half from the head and falls. Tamiko’s mouth is hanging.
“…This… [Light Blade] would become something else with this.” (Shuu)
I’ll give it a try. It is actually a big deal. It cuts down a large rock with a single swing. Even a golem in the deepest layer could be smashed with a single blow.
My observation on [Accumulation] shows that it consumes a lot of energy and requires time to accumulate before it can be used. It took about five seconds for the [Katana] to grow to this maximum size. In a real battle, I have to be careful how I use it.
Next, [War Hammer], the head has been enlarged, and its total length has also increased to about one and a half meters. The head of the hammer is heavy, to begin with, but now it is even heavier. I feel like I become a gorilla of some kind, but compared to the [Katana], it’s just a bit more difficult to handle.
“You look like an Ogre, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Well, it’s definitely a muscle-brain’s weapon.” (Shuu)
We have limited stamina, so I move on quickly before Tamiko gets sleepy.
[Round Shield], and [Great Shield] => Success.
The [Round Shield] doubles in diameter and the [Great Shield] expands to about my height. It is heavier and thicker. It is no longer a shield but a barricade.
[Holy Healing], and [Detoxification] => Success.
The size is about the same as a Chara Ball, just right for grabbing. The hypha film on the surface is so thick that I have to poke it a little harder to break it. According to Tamiko’s tasting, the taste is “the same as usual”. I wonder if the medicinal effect is the same as usual, but with an increased dosage.
“… Abeshuu?” (Tamiko)
“Oh, yeah… it’s a little tiring.” (Shuu)
Even normal [Holy Healing] consumes a lot of stamina, but when it comes to the giant [Holy Healing], it’s quite the beast. I finally ran out of gas, partly because I had tried so many different things. I am starving, and my hands feel weak. I recovered by eating the sporangium of the monster bird we just saw.
[Fireball], [Thunderball], [Smoke Ball] => Success.
All of them swell up to the size of a Chara Ball, just like a [Holy Healing], and are several times more powerful than normal. The [Smoke Ball]’s point of impact was too close to the target, resulting in a catastrophe.
“It’s hard to release them from my fingertips because of their size. …I have to throw them as if I were hitting a convenience store robber.” (Shuu) [T/N: Japan has giant paintball bullets to throw at thieves. It’s relatively hard to remove and it’s bright orange so it’s very visible.]
“A convenience store?” (Tamiko)
“In the ancient world, there was a store that sold delicious food for 24 hours a day.” (Shuu)
“Woah… Are there any acorns?” (Tamiko)
“Sorry, but I doubt it.” (Shuu)
[Iron Fist] => Success.
“Wow! I got thick!” (Shuu)
As if I had eaten spinach, my forearms and beyond became huge. This power knuckle feeling. The yawning squirrel wouldn’t understand.
[Leaping] => Success.
But because I jumped 50% higher than usual, my landing resulted in a huge sprain. It hurts like a son of a b*tch.
[Immortality], [Beast Repellent], [Sensory Spores], [Light Blade] => Failure.
It seems that these are not subject to [Accumulation]. No amplification of effect occurred. I compared [Immortality]’s speed of recovery, but there was no change even if I consciously use it.
“Now, all that’s left is [Asura] and [White Bullet]…” (Shuuu)
[Asura] => Success.
A “four-armed monster with macho arms sprouting from his back” is born. Practicality: It seems to be powerful, but it is difficult to move. It takes some getting used to.
And [White Bullet] => Success, but—
“…isn’t this dangerous…?” (Shuu)
The result of the test shot—a large hole in the half-destroyed rock, and smoke rising from the rock. Tamiko, who was rowing the boat, jumped up.
Perhaps this has the best result at this time.
As a common denominator, “hypha weapons, hypha balls, hypha bullets,” and other “hypha generated Fungal Skills” showed increased size and power. Conversely, “Fungal Skills that disperse spores” showed no increase in effect.
Success (Target Fungal Skills)
[Katana], [War Hammer], [Round Shields], [Great Shield], and [White Bullet].
[Holy Healing], [Detoxification], [Fireball], [Thunderball], [Smoke Ball]
[Iron Fist], [Leaping], [Asura].
Failure (Atypical Fungal Skills):
[Immortality], [Beast Repellent], [Sensory Spores], [Light Blade]
How far do I report to Giran about my result?
“I see……” (Giran)
At night, I reported to Giran at the fort.
My Fungal Abilities were already shared with him, who was the staff officer of the operation this time. Specifically, the ten that were shared with the Sugamo branch, plus [Fireball] and [Thunderball].
I could not divulge to him [Asura] and [White Bullet], not to mention [Immortality], because it would destroy my [Holy Knight] setting. As a key figure in their Tribe, whether or not I could keep from him me being [Master Threadweaver] a secret could be a matter of life and death in the future.
“I see that you have mastered the use of your Fungal Ability without any problem. It’s great that you have [Fireball]. Thanks to you, I’m sure we’ll be able to devise some interesting strategies for the possible battle for Rook.” (Giran)
Giran moved closer to me and whispered in my ear.
“—I’m sure there are other abilities you’re not telling us about, right?” (Shuu)
My heart nearly stopped for a moment. I tried my best to remain calm and shrugged my head lightly, “that’s impossible”.
“…you’re an easy-to-read man, you know?” (Giran)
The handsome wolf’s mask breaks into a grin. I broke out in cold sweat, but Giran didn’t pursue it any further.
“Okay, you’re the key to this operation, Abe. Let’s win for the future of the Xolotl and our honor and profits.” (Giran)
The morning of the sixth day, the morning of the decisive battle arrived.
It would be the last time I would be awakened by Giran’s howls and the howls of the Xolotl tribe.
“—Let’s fight.” (Shuu)
For the Xolotl. For ourselves. And for Mithril.
A/N: The Ouji Metro Underground Floor is finally at its climax.