Metro Labyrinth Chapter 85: Hunter’s Guild Commander Tougo Adom

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A/N: 11/1 – Along with the addition of Kukulkan hatching in “Chapter 83: Let’s Be Strong I”, the description of Kukulkan in the main story has also been revised.



 Rushed by Giran, who has turned into a demonic instructor (a shoulder-breathing superior who rants and nags), the miners reach the surface in a forced one-day march. Tamiko and Noa go up in the commercial elevator with the miners and other mined goods, and as expected, they vomit.



“It’s kind of damp…” (Shuu)


“I think my injuries going to get mold, squeak…” (Tamiko)



 The group was greeted on the ground by a light misty rain. The temperature is rather high and the humidity feels like it is clinging to your skin.


 Before I knew it, it was past the middle of June. This is the first rainy season in New Tokyo.


 The deeper one goes into the metro, the more one loses a sense of the seasons. When I was in the Outsuka Metro, there was almost no difference in temperature throughout the year. As a former air conditioner dependent, I am half looking forward to the coming summer and half worried about it.



“The rainy season and summer are the best time to be a hunter. The number of Metro Beasts increases dramatically, and there are mycelium plants that bloom only during this time of year.” (Noa)


“I see.” (Shuu)



 When Giran reported what had happened at the hunters’ guild, the Ouji Metro was immediately put on lockdown, and the town of Ouji fell into a bit of chaos. Miners and hunters rushed to the guild entrance, and shouts and curses flew about. The guild officials at the end of the chain of command are not informed of the situation, and the town is flooded with unfounded rumors about “the digging up a gold vein”, “the appearance of an impossibly powerful golem”, “the spread of poison gas”, and other such rumors.



 The guild has prepared a hot spring hotel for all of us. In short, it is time to wait until the guild’s investigation is complete.



 We visit the hot springs (drown the underwear thief in the pool), eat hot spring steamed buns (“This is squeaking yummy!”), sell some of the loot through the guild (other than Mithril and Hihiirokane). Just with a nosebleeding amount came back, exceeding a million yen.



 We have a picnic on Asukayama Hill (return of rice with a reall rice ball), I drank so much with the twins (a valuable fact was revealed, Noa wants to take off her clothes when drunk), and we trained in the nearby forest.



 Or when Tamiko had her first shedding in her life and said, “I’m loosing my hair, squeak! I’m going bald, squeak!” and a big fuss ensues. I have heard that indoor pet keeping and the spread of air conditioning have made pets’ hair-growth/shedding period more confusing, but this seems to be the result of her body’s proper reaction to the temperature on the ground.



 She constantly asks Noa to brush her fur, but after a few days, she gets used to the changes in her body and shows off her somewhat slimmer body, saying, “So, do you think I’ve lost a little weight, squeak?”



 And so, we enjoy our days of peace and tranquility. It’s as if the hell we’ve been through in the deepest depths is a lie.



 Fortunately, or rather, fortunately. Noa, on the surface, nothing in particular has changed.


 Every once in a while, I try to talk to “Sparkle” (my nickname), who seems to be inside her, but there is no response. The usual Noa expression of puzzlement is all I get from her.



(…but…) (Shuu)



 It is certain that there is something inside her. Both Tamiko and I are convinced of this.


 And it grows bigger day by day, and eventually it will take over Noa, and, I feel anxious and paranoid like that.


 Will such a day ever really come? I wonder how much time we have left until then.



(I need to find out more about Demons.) (Shuu)



 In order to talk to the Church, which is the authority of demon research, I visit them without telling Noa.


 There is a veteran preacher in this town. He is that scary man who glared at Noa when we arrived in Ouji. I am a bit reluctant to meet with him, but I can’t it and I ask him to meet with us. However, his disciples and others who seem to be part of the church turn me down. They say that someone he knew died in an accident in the metro, and that he has been depressed for some time.



(Ah, that’s right.) (Shuu)


(Arato’s host, the beautiful woman, wasn’t she from here?) (Shuu)


(And it was me who killed her…) (Shuu)



 There is no sign of disquiet among the disciples. At their level, it seems that the lie of accidental death is being passed on as fact.


 The bosses must have been told the truth. The person who ate out of the same pot for so many years was the sworn enemy of mankind, and they failed to see it. I can imagine how painful that must have been for him.



(Well, if only I have more information than what Giran told me…) (Shuu)


(I guess I’ll have to ask the higher-ups of the church or something.) (Shuu)



 Metro Church leader. One of the three existing Master Threadweavers.


 If I could meet them, I might learn something.



 However, when that happens, I have to be prepared for it.


 The my own secret will be revealed and I will be caught into the mysteries that lies at the heart of this country.


 I feel that I need to be prepared for that. 





 Giran seems to be cooperating with the investigation, and although we share the same inn, we hardly ever see each other. He seems to be busy with the negotiations between the Xolotl tribe and the “threadweavers,” as he is said to be the mediator for the exchange.



 Two weeks after his return to the ground, finally I received a call from the guild.


 Waiting with Giran in the spacious conference room is a man in his sixties with impressive gray hair and a beard. He has a stout physique and a tall build. He exudes an air of dignity and stature that he is not someone ordinary.



“It is the first time I met you.” (Old Man)



 The man says his name in a stern voice.



“I’m Tougo Adom, the Commander of the Hunter’s Guild.” (Old Man => Tougo)



 The twins gasped in unison.





“Please seat.” (Tougo)



 He offers us to sit across the table. The twins push me to sit right across him.



(What an aura!) (Shuu)



 I heard that there are about sixty thousand hunters belonging to the guild. That is about half of the population that has a Fungal Class other than [Peasant]. This person is at the top of the sixty thousand individuals.


 His eyes are sharp, and they are filled with a visible, dense vigor. His mustache is covered with steamed bun crumbs, but no one can point them out.



“*Whisper* (Tamiko.)” (Shuu)


“*Whisper* (Eighty he’s over eighty, squeak.)” (Tamiko)



 As I recall, the upper level limit for the High-Rank Fungal Class is supposed to be around eighty, so this person has reached that level. He is also the Commander of the Guild and has strongest hunter in the human race. Even the twins, who are the epitome of unreasonable, are like small fries.



“No, no, no, I am honored to meet you all, the ‘Demon Hunters’. It has been twenty years since I assumed the position of Commander, but I have never had the opportunity to receive such an honor. In that sense, you and your colleagues are heroes who have accomplished feats that I could never hope to match.” (Tougo)


“‘Demon Hunter’?” (Shuu)


“It’s a title given to hunters who have subjugated demons or cooperated with killing them. Nonetheless, there is not a single person in active service who bears the title. My predecessor got it at the time of the war fifty years ago. But now he is just an old man sipping tea on the porch. Ha-ha-ha!” (Tougo)


“Commander,” said Giran.


“Even for you, Giran. I can’t believe that the boy who was a snot-nosed wolf just a few years ago has not only defeated the tyrant of Ikebukuro whom even the Tokyo Metropolitan Government was having trouble with, but also defeated a demon. I’m getting old, aren’t I? Ha-ha-ha!” (Tougo)



 Giran’s head is being ruffled by his large hand. He looks a little annoyed.


 At the mention of the word “Tyrant of Ikebukuro,” Noa next to me twitched, which I did not miss.



“…you’re Shuu Abe, aren’t you?” (Tougo)


“Um, yes……” (Shuu)



 His gaze was suddenly focused straight at me, and I flinched slightly.



“I have heard about you. You are A hero who did everything in his power to slay  the demon alongside Giran.” (Tougo)


“Yes… Thank you.” (Shuu)



 Giran is considered to be the most outstanding fighter in the war against the demon, excluding the Xolotl tribe. By my own wishes.



“I didn’t expect that to be Sugamo’s strongest rookie, who was also rumored to be the strongest rookie at the headquarters. On the one hand, I tried to believe it, but on the other hand, it was too good to be true even for some heroic epic. I hate to say it, but it seems that despite your flashy career, the rumor of your unimpressive appearance is true.” (Tougo)



 Who is the source of rumors? Kaike or Aomoto?



“There were a few skeptics at headquarters about your background and abilities as reported by the branch… but I knew the moment I saw you at first glance that you were the real deal. I’ve lived this long, and I have a certain amount of confidence in my ability to measure people.” (Tougo)


“Yes I trained him well, squeak!” (Tamiko)


“Why we are not some big fish, you know?” (Shuu)


“Hahahaha. I’m sure you’re a reliable duo. Abe and Tamiko, I hope you will continue to do your best for New Tokyo and the guild.” (Tougo)


“Commander, let’s get down to business,” said Giran.


“Oh, right. I’m sorry to call you, but I also have something next on my schedule. I have two things to tell you: the matter of defeating the demons, which I have already told you about, and the matter of the Xolotl tribe. Let me tell you about the latter first.” (Tougo)



 With a cough, Tougo cleared his throat once.



“The city government’s delegation and the Xolotl tribe are expected to sign a friendship agreement with Chief Nai as the representative of the interests of the two groups in the near future. They will come under the protection of the Metropolitan Government and the Hunters’ Guild and will be provided with life skills and education. We will ask for their cooperation in mining resources from the 32nd floor onward. Of course, we will also work to protect their various rights.” (Tougo)



 For the hunters, mithril and other rare mineral resources may be their top priority, but if they can establish friendly relations with the Xolotls, it may not be a bad deal for them either.



“Some volunteers want to station themselves in their villages, and they are willing to do so. I actually went there too, but how can I say… During the mission, there were many people who have been drawn to their adorableness. Well, well, I am too… Those innocent eyes, the abundant fluff, the sly ‘woof’ at the end of the sentence… Damn it, Mr. Oyama…” (Tougo)



 Tougo bites his lip hatefully. “I’m sorry,” I said inwardly. In the end, mankind is no match for the fluff.



“The reason why we were able to have such friendly negotiations on our first contact is largely due to your contributions. On behalf of the Hunters’ Guild, I would like to express our gratitude. Thank you, you are heroes to their tribe.” (Tougo)


“What I am worried about—Kukulkan, Commander.” (Giran)


“Yes, I have seen it with my own eyes. It was a beautiful snake. Though it is already taller than me by a good margin.” (Tougo)



 Before our group left there, it was at most one meter long. In the short time since, it seems to have grown more than twice as long.



“The Xolotls are still feeding it, but… reptiles don’t imprint, so it won’t recognize them completely. I’m going to let the guild’s [Illusionists] use [Training], but I’m not sure it will work. The first thing we need to do is to make sure that its territory is as far away as possible from the route connecting the 30th and 32nd floors when it is released on the 31st floor…” (Tougo)



 Tougo stammers and shrugs his shoulders.



“Well, as a hunter, it would be the least risky to subjugate it now, but of course, the Xolotl tribe doesn’t want that. A day may come when we will be forced to make a difficult choice.” (Tougo)



 As for the Xolotls, Kukulkan is an object of worship in a sense. If their people are harmed, they will accept it as fate. However, the hunter is not so lucky. If the beast is expected to cause human damage, it is necessary to plan a countermeasure with extermination in mind.


 Man and Metro Beasts. How far can we live together? As a matter of hope, I can only hope that the future will be as peaceful as possible.



“There are many issues that need to be addressed, but we are still seeking to build a friendly relationship with the Xolotl tribe. You should visit them from time to time. They will be happy to see you.” (Tougo)


“Yes.” (Shuu)



 I am still lacking in fluff.



“Then, one more thing. Regarding the subjugation of the demon…” (Tougo)



 Tougo paused there and sipped his tea.



“As you all know, demons are a calamity that threatens the peace of New Tokyo, and it is the Hunter’s Guild’s earnest wish to kill them. I personally think that we should honor and consider awarding honors and rewards…” (Tougo)



 Us, heroes have our ears twitch with the word “rewards”.



“The top management of the guild, the metropolitan government, and the Metro Church is split in half over whether the worst news of the return of the demons is really to be announced to the world as it is… It is no wonder that the nature of the demons, who disguised themselves as people and lurked in the world during the war fifty years ago, caused suspicion and discord among the people.” (Tougo)



 Both Tougo and Giran are making difficult faces. What they have just said may differ from their views.



 The fact that the demons were defeated is an opportunity to showcase the strength of New Tokyo and the success of the hunters, and it also serves as a wake-up call to society about a potential crisis.


 On the other hand, publicizing the fact may cause confusion in society, and if there are other demons hiding out in the city, it may also provoke them.


 It may sound bad to say that it is a cover-up, but it is a difficult decision to make when considering the continuation of social stability and order.



“So… I am sorry to say that the current information control will continue for some time to come. I ask that you keep your mouths shut. Of course, the Guild Headquarters will not forget its debt of gratitude for your contributions. We promise to repay you in some way in the future.” (Tougo)



 The heroes nodded, their eyes filled with ¥.



“Fifty years later, the Demons reappeared… I hope that this will not be the catalyst for a turbulent world. The fact that there are people like you is really reassuring for an old man like me who is on the verge of retirement. Please keep up the good work.” (Tougo)



 We chatted for a while and then decided it was time to go.



“—Abe.” (Tougo)



 When I was about to leave the room, I was stopped by Tougo.


 With a startled expression, I approach him as he beckons me, and the man with a shaggy white beard walks right up to me.



“I have good news for you.” (Tougo)


“Good news?” (Shuu)


“Yeah. It is about the Hihiirokane you got.” (Tougo)



 That perverted wolf, he’s the one who tipped us off.



“I heard that you want to make weapons with it, but there is only one craftsman in all of New Tokyo who can handle it. He is the same master craftsman who made the sword for the Governor of New Tokyo. Do you have any way to cross swords with him? I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but—” (Tougo)



 I take back my previous comment. Good job Mr. Wolf.



A/N: “Rikugi Metro – The Omen” Arc, here we go.



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