My fifth Fungal Skill is the white
Hypha Ball, or [Healing Ball].
The liquid that comes out when
the mycelium membrane is broken seems to have the effect of healing wounds.
Its healing ability also seems
to be quite high. After a few squeezes of the liquid, Tamiko soon recovered
enough to get up on her own.
“Squeaking squeak. With
Abeshu, I don’t have to worry about injuries, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“I don’t think I’ll need
it myself, but it sure would come in handy in a situation like this. But don’t
be reckless, it’s quite tiring.” (Shuu)
My cobbled-together stockpile
of edible plants and mushrooms has been depleted by more than half in a single day.
This is due to the starvation-like hunger caused by the [Regenerative
Mycelium], and I was weakened every time I created a [Healing Ball].
Fungal Abilities are not inexhaustible.
In the early days, Tamiko taught me that “Continued use consumes stamina,”
but I haven’t really bothered it until now, except for the [Regenerative Mycelium].
The [Healing Ball] seems to consume much more energy than my [Hypha Sword] or the
[Burning Ball]. The creation of a Perpetual Motion Device where I can “create
it myself, eat it myself, and get rid of my hunger” would have been a
dream come true.
Tamiko was hungry, too, and
devoured five of her treasured acorn dandelions. It was a stockpile for such an
occasion, and it would not be a bad thing if we rewarded ourselves for
surviving the desperate situation.
The next day. Tamiko is
completely fine, but we decided to take a break from hunting just in case.
In the morning, I went to the
oasis alone to fetch water, and pick some wildflowers and mushrooms, before
returning. We will leave the hideout for the rest of the day. Without Tamiko’s
auditory search, I am afraid of meeting any accidents.
I haven’t spent a lot of time
in the room with another person before. If I had a smartphone in such a case, I
began to wonder if it was because of my modern temperament that is rooted in
“What is it, squeak?”
“I somehow never got
around to asking this before, but …… where’s your dad?” (Shuu)
To piece together the
fragmented personal stories so far.
Tamiko was born on the 50th
floor of this Outsuka Metro. She is now five and a half years old.
Until last year, she survived
with Mother by weaving her way through the gaps of this monster-infested 50th
Tamiko’s mother, who taught
her language, knowledge, and survivalism, passed away a year and a half ago,
but Tamiko doesn’t want to talk much about that part of her life.
Somehow, I thought I could
talk about that now.
“Father is…” (Tamiko)
“On the Surface?”
“Mother seems to have
lived in Nakano’s forest, squeak. I heard that she was living in a forest where
she met her partner and that they had a lot of adventures together after
leaving the forest, squeak. When he returned to Nakano, she found her childhood
friend. Then she and Father got together and married, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“So squirrels can get married?”
“We’re not squirrels. We’re
Carbuncles, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“Yes, of course.”
Are you from Nakano? When I
think of Nakano Forest, I can only think of Heiwa Forest Park.
“But then, why are you
here? Did she still help the hunter even when she got married?” (Shuu)
“…It seems that Outsuka
Metro was supposed to her last big job, squeak. However, because of Mother’s
Partner, Mother can’t get out of here, squeak. So, I was born here, squeak.”
“I see… she was
pregnant when she went here?” (Shuu)
“We are not good at
fighting even if our level goes up, squeak. Mother is level 38, but she’s only
as strong as a Red Goblin, squeak. So… it’s difficult to get back to the
surface, squeak…” (Tamiko)
“But you said, according
to your mom, the deeper you dive in the Metro, the stronger the Metro Beasts become,
right? On the other hand, if you go back up, they get weaker, so it would have
been safer to go back up a little at a time, even if it took longer than staying
here, wouldn’t it?” (Shuu)
In that sense, even if we
can’t beat monsters like the Ogre, Ortlos, or yesterday’s Wraith, if we can at
least defend ourselves against them or escape, we should be able to find opportunities
to return to the surface.
“… Abeshu, I’m sorry,
“I lied about something,
“Mother’s partner, squeak,
he wasn’t squeaked by an Ogre from this floor, but… it’s really different,
“What do you mean?”
“And-I’ve been quiet
about some things, squeak. There’s a reason we can’t go upstairs, squeak.”
“Well, what do you mean?”
Tamiko kept her eyes down and
paused for a moment before continuing.
“There is a boss at the
top of the stairs. He’s a real monster, a strong monster, someone stronger than
an Ogre or a Wraith.” (Shuu)
Tamiko’s mother and her partner,
a hunter, fought to the death with the boss on the 49th floor.
The boss was far stronger than
expected, and the hunter gave up trying to defeat him on the spot, opting
instead to flee.
However, the entrance to the
boss’s room was a trap with a door that could only be opened from the outside,
so he made a hasty decision and fled to the stairs on the 50th floor. It seems
that the boss is only a “powerful individual who has a specific floor as
his territory,” and that it is not necessary to defeat him in order to
On the 50th floor, the two
spent time resting their injured bodies and preparing for the next step. To
fight the boss once more, win, and return to the ground. The detailed
information about this floor, which was later passed on to Tamiko, was gathered
by the hunter and her mother at that time.
A week later, they challenged
the boss on the 49th floor again.
However, the hunter was killed.
Tamiko’s mother fled to the
50th floor again by herself. And there she gave birth to Tamiko.
“…Mother was sent away
by her Partner because he was pregnant, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“By the way, did Tamiko
have any siblings born together?” (Shuu)
“Siblings, squeak? No, I
don’t. I am an only child, squeak.” (Tamiko)
According to what I know,
squirrels have a gestation period of about a month or so on average, they could
give birth to four or five individuals. The difference between the two is
probably due to the fact that they are not squirrels but magic beasts.
“What happened to your
mother after that?” (Shuu)
“Mother has always wanted
to meet father, squeak, so she waited for me to grow up and try to take me our
with her, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“The door can only be
opened from the outside, right?” (Shuu)
“My mom said there must
be a switch to open the door somewhere. But while we were looking for it, we
were ambushed… In the end, she acted as a decoy to let me escape…”
Tamiko spills a few tears and
“I see… Then Tamiko was
on her own for a long time?” (Shuu)
I leaned against the wall and
looked up at the ceiling.
“But… the boss, squeak…”
Frankly, it was a reality I
didn’t want to face. Just yesterday, I had been almost killed by a Wraith, and
now an even stronger one was standing in my way. And from what I’ve experienced,
it’s not something you can just walk away from.
“By the way, what kind of
boss was it?” (Shuu)
“A Slime, squeak.”
“A Slime?” (Shuu)
If it were a video game, it
would be a synonym for a beginner-enemy.
“Is something amoeba-like,
and does it have a translucent, watery body?” (Shuu)
“That’s right, squeak. It
is very big and round and is not affected even if you cut it or hit it, squeak.”
My guess seems to be correct.
In other words, this might be the king or god of the Slimes.
“Why did you keep that
from me?” (Shuu)
“…When we first met Abeshu
said you’ve just woken up, squeak. I didn’t know anything about you, and I
thought you were mentally weak, squeak, so I thought if I told you about it,
squeak, you might lose heart, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“You’re not wrong.”
She is quite a good judge of
people and very witty, even though she was a bit boorish at times. If she had
told me that much at the beginning, I might have given up on trying to survive.
“So you’re saying it’s
going to be hard to get above ground unless you’re good enough to defeat not
only the metro beast here… but its
boss as well.” (Shuu)
Once the conversation was cut
off, time passed with both of us remained silent for a while.
Our wounds seem to have
already healed completely, but just in case, the shower of [Healing Balls] to
Tamiko continues. Tamiko licks the juice, saying, “Yummy, squeak, squeaking
yummy.” We will see in future experiments with mice whether it has any
medicinal effect when she drinks one.
“Tamiko, do you want to
see your father? Is that why you want to go above ground?” (Shuu)
“There is that too,
squeak. I want to see him, squeak. But…” (Tamiko)
Tamiko lays on her back and
looks up at the ceiling.
“… I’ve heard a lot
from Mother, squeak. She says that the surface is very sparkly, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“There are so many humans,
squeak, and there is a big town where endless noodles are hanging everywhere,
squeak. There’s also so much delicious food that your cheek pouches will squeak
off, and there is a big bright testicle in the sky, squeak…” (Tamiko)
“It’s not a testicle.”
“The ceiling also has a
lot of [Firefly Moss] called stars, squeak… I want to see it, squeak…”
Tamiko watches the night sky
in her imagination, squinting and entranced.
“Also… it seems that
there are a lot of cool men up there, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“You’re suddenly blushing.”
“I’m getting older,
squeak, and I’m still here. I think I’ll have to leave for there someday. At
that time, squeak… I met Abeshuu, squeak. I thought it might be my chance… But
you were a squeaking soft in the head, hairless baby-faced weakling at level 1,
“I’m sorry to disappoint
you. And stop focusing on my baby-face.” (Shuu)
“But … I’m still happy I
met Abeshuu, squeak. Abeshu is a good guy, squeak.” (Tamiko)
When I turned my eyes in
surprise towards her, Tamiko nodded several times in short intervals.
“Somehow, I found out what
Mother felt, squeak. Having a partner is fun and reassuring, squeak.”
I wonder, I’ve been feeling
like Tamiko has been picking being nicer lately. I don’t like to show my
embarrassment to a squirrel, so I cover it up by squeezing some of the juice
from the Hypha Ball on her. Tamiko licks it, saying, “Sweet squeak, squeaking
Night falls, and the light
from the firefly moss turns bluish.
We both lie down on the fur blanket.
We are slightly hungry, but our stockpile of food is running low, and eating
now makes us thirsty, which in turn makes us want to go to the bathroom. So I try
to fall asleep. Sleep is the only way to go.
“…What does Abeshuu
want to do on the surface, squeak?” (Tamiko)
Tamiko, who is lying on her
back next to me, says something like that.
“Me? First, I have to see
with my own eyes what it’s like outside… and then I want to meet someone and
listen to what they have to say… I can’t really understand what the world is
like outside just from hearsay…” (Shuu)
According to Tamiko, a hundred
years have passed since the last year of Heisei. The world was once destroyed,
and the people from the “Nation of Threadweavers” live there.
I would like to see this with
my own eyes. I want to meet the survivors and hear their stories. That is my
“Then… Well, I wonder?”
If I don’t even know what the
world on the surface is like, there is no way to think about anything outside
the box. However, there is a tiny desire within.
“I think I’d like to eat
some grilled meat, ramen, or some other good food, drink beer, and sleep in a bed.
I also want to wear better clothes and watch movies if I am given a
smartphone… I also want to find a job that isn’t this dangerously Black, and
then I want to… you know, get married… Ah, it’s kind of motivating to think
about it.” (Shuu)
“Do you want to keep
going as a hunter, squeak?” (Shuu)
Is that an option? Can I continue
to hunt as a profession?
“Well … I’ll think
about it after we get out.”
What type of profession is it,
and what will the average income be? How dangerous are other Metros? I can’t
make a decision without taking into account the opinions of other hunters.
“Someday, you’ll be able
to do more, squeak. Abeshuu will be a great hunter someday, squeak. I believe
that, squeak.” (Tamiko)
“I’m flattered, but I’m
the first hunter you’ve ever seen, right?” (Shuu)
“But you and I are
partners, squeak.” (Tamiko)
I involuntarily blushed. I rub
her white belly for a few seconds. I’m trying to calm myself, as this magic
beast cries, “Pet me more… pet me more…”
“Well, as one amateur to
the other. We’ve managed to get by in this hell for the past six months. I’ll
have to become a great hunter eventually, or we’ll never get out of here.”
“That’s true, squeak.”
“Today was a mess, but…
we’ll work out the kinks again starting tomorrow. Hunt wolves, hunt goblins.
I’m still terrified… but well get revenge on that damn ape sooner or later,
so it’s a goal for a long time to come. Let’s just go with this for now.”
“Don’t just be a yes man.”
I inhale and sigh at the
Frankly, the trauma with the Wraith
will linger for a while.
Still, I have no choice but to
It will happen, it doesn’t
matter how long it takes.
I’m going to get stronger,
beat up anyone who gets in my way and make it to the surface.
Tamiko and I will do it.
Tamiko is holding her own tail
and squirming. Does she want to go to the bathroom?
“Abeshuu… wants to get
married, squeak?” (Tamiko)
“Yeah, well… if I get to
have a chance, I guess?” (Shuu)
“Unlike me, Abeshuu is
smooth and not very attractive, squeak, but you are not a bad person, squeak, *Twinkle*
you are someone who is serious and takes care of his family, squeak…”
“If Abeshuu really wants
to, squeak… If there is no other good male, squeak, we can get married,
“Isn’t that impossible?
You’re a squirrel?” (Shuu)
Tamiko jumps at me squeaking,
“Evil!”, slapping, biting, and twisting my cheeks. [T/N: Oh no! I