Fujiwara Hidesato, a.k.a.
He was a super high-ranking
aristocrat of the Heian period, famous for his stories of fighting Taira no
Masakado, who was on a rampage in the Kanto region, and for his story of
killing a centipede, a demon bigger than a mountain.
I wonder what Mr. Tawara would
have said if he had been there.
Tamiko’s and my words overlap.
Three giant centipedes
undulate before our eyes. They are intertwined as if they were a single beast,
like a multi-headed hydra.
Their girth is probably about
the same as that of Shuu, but their total length is easily over ten meters. It
has a shiny black, glossy body and a pair of sharply pointed antennae. Its legs
are symmetrical and wriggling, and its red scissors-like tail glistens.
And above all, its face. It
has a pale, demon-like face that resembles the mask of a Hannya. Their eyes are
blood red, and sharp fangs close horizontally from the edges of their lips.
Demon Centipede is one of the Metro
Beasts that live on the 50th underground floor of the Outsuka Metro. Estimated
level of around 45.
Nearly an hour’s walk from our
hideout is a dimly lit area with round tunnels bending to the right and left.
This is where the Demon Centipedes have their stronghold.
“Tamiko, stay behind.”
“Abeshuu, be careful,
Waiting for my partner to step
away from my shoulder, I bring out my Hypha Swords in both hands.
I’m nervous. I feel thirsty
One-on-one, I could handle it.
But when it comes to fighting all
three at the same time, not a single mistake can pass.
(But—I can do it.) (Shuu)
(With myself, my present self.)
The heat that runs through my
body is shivering. The heat that runs through my body eases my shivers.
“…I wonder how I’m
going to get rid of these centipedes.” (Shuu)
“Gigi! Gigi!” (Demon
As if spiraling through the
circular passageway, the centipedes attack all at once.
They are everywhere, from top
to bottom, from front to back.
Their jaws are closing in to
bite into my flesh.
Their antennae reach out to
tear at my body.
Their scissors run to cut my
torso in two.
The rain of malice rains down
on me, and I dodged it all with a single leap. I dodged and swings both swords.
Torn legs and antennae
scatter. Their murky bodily fluids are sprayed everywhere. “Gigigigi!” the
centipedes’ dull screams reverberate in the cave.
Their jaws strike from behind,
and I caught them with my swords without turning around, using the momentum to
“–No hard feelings.”
Muttering this in mid-air, I clipped
one head with both swords cutting it off.
Once the first one is killed,
the density of the oncoming attacks will obviously decrease. Inevitably, there
will be fewer opportunities where I need to evade and defend, and more
opportunities to strike the opponent. Next, I slashed away the second scissors.
The third one stops moving as
if frightened, and just as you think – countless spines are spat out from its
mouth. They are [Hypha Needles]—a Fungal Skills.
At the same time that they
land on the ground, I land about ten meters backward. He jumped back with one
foot, not because of the muscles of my legs, but with the power of my mycelium.
The second one swoops forward,
spewing black smoke. This, too, was a Fungal Skill, a smokescreen made of black
spores, I used it as a distraction.
The position and movements of
the two animals are captured by my mind.
I concentrate all my strength on
my legs and kicked the ground.
Cutting through the cottony
smoke, in a split second, my body is right in front of the third one. The blade
of my sword catches the monster’s form from the front, slicing it in half.
The wind that I caused
dispersed the smoke. The last one is already trying to run away with its tail
between its legs. After confirming that it is out of the range of my senses, I relaxed
“It’s over, Tamiko.”
“*cough* *cough*. You did
squeaking good, Abeshuu!” (Tamiko)
Somehow, I managed to make it
through the night almost unscathed. The joy and relief of surviving
unintentionally relaxed my expression.
“…I’m a bit gross huh?”
My body is covered in bodily
fluids and a sticky, unpleasant odor wafts from my entire body. The first thing
to do is to go to the oasis and wash my body as soon as possible.
“Before that, it’s time
to nibble on some sporangium.” (Shuu)
“Sure, squeak.” (Tamiko)
The two of us join hands
together and begin the dismantling process.
Whether mammalian or
arthropod, metro beasts are equipped with sporangia. The taste may vary
slightly from species to species, they aren’t that bad.
“Woah, Woah!” (Shuu)
Just as I finish eating the
second sporangium, something strange happens to my body. The long-awaited
moment of physical buzzing that accompanies an increase in level.
“—Here we go, Tamiko!
The two of us exchange high
fives. Then we shouted in unison,
50, reached (squeak)!”” (Shuu & Tamiko)