Metro Labyrinth Chapter 99.1: A Head-to-Head Battle

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 A bone-white, thin arm protrudes shrieking from the back of my dark purple cloak.


 Until now, when using this [Ashura], the Catoblepas cloak and hunter’s jersey have been taken off in advance. The cloak has an automatic repair function, but once a hole is made in the jersey, the jersey is looks very punk rock. The cost of making a new jersey for each battle would be ridiculous, and even if I were to use it as it is, the existence of my trump card (“Ashura”), which is kept secret even from the guild, would be revealed to those who have discerning minds, as was the case in Giran.



 In order to solve this problem, when I returned to Sugamo and consulted with the master craftsman who had made the cloak for me. Without telling him about [Ashura], I gave him a good reason, such as “my back gets too sweaty,” and asked him to cut a slit in the back. The upper side is like a flap, so you can’t see the gap, and I feel that ventilation is somewhat improved. The jersey can be buttoned up in winter, so the heat-retaining effect is not lost.



 The jersey was also made by Noa, who is an amateur seamstress, but he had slits made in the same way. The inner layer is a tank top with an open back like a gymnast, so it’s perfect. The sleeve hole problem for the hypha arms was now fixed.



 —Actually, I didn’t intend to use it in front of Utsuki.



 Of course, it’s partly because it’s a secret… but there’s a part of me that doesn’t trust anything she says or does, or her personality, for some reason, though it’s not based on any clear evidence.



 But there’s nothing to be done about it. This guy—Boss Met is not an opponent that I can belittle just because it has a lower level. If I played my cards sparingly, I would surely trip. Although we have yet to play a single match, I understand with all my being that it is a formidable foe.



 The time it takes to form the hypha arm is improving with each improvement of the skill. Now it takes just barely less than a second to complete.


 During this time, I am not completely defenseless, but my consciousness and concentration are taken away to some extent. Even during that short period of time, the five beasts do not let down their guard, but the five surrounding me do not attack in advance.



 Rather, it is the four Weak Mets that are preparing themselves with the utmost vigilance against the transformed me, while the Boss Met is different. The Boss itself is in the process of producing a large amount of hypha from the palm of its hand.



 The formation of the two opposing hypha weapons is almost completed at the same time. In contrast to my hypha arm [Ashura], Boss Met held a gigantic sword with a blade length that seemed to be as tall as me. It is a single-bladed, bluntly curved, rough, huge sword with a slightly rounded tip.



 Utsuki had told me about it beforehand. The strike team was kicked around like insects in front of the terrifying hypha weapon. She also told me that they might have had other abilities, such as Fungal Skills or their own unique abilities, but that she had not been able to uncover them in the thick of the battle.



 When both sides were ready for battle, Boss Met puffed its chest and sucked in air—



“VUEEEEEEEE!!!” (Boss Met)



 The roar shook the stone landscape. Low and heavy, a yell that strikes directly at the roar, like Giran’s [Roar] skill. The impact shakes my flesh and bones, causing a cold sweat to break out my back.



 The next moment, Boss Met dives headfirst into the gap between. With its huge sword swinging.



(So fast—!) (Shuu)



 The huge sword slammed near my foot after I had taken a small step backward in a moment of surprise. The floor shatters with an explosive sound as if there was a bomb.



 I take another step forward, and with a return strike, the sword slashed toward the side of my head. I blocked it with the hammers crossed but I was blown backward.



“Guh!” (Shuu)



 I managed to hold on without going down by digging into the soles of my shoes, but— “Really?” The handle of the [War Hammer] is bent and cracked.


 The head of the hammer is large like any hammer, but the handle is indeed thin. However, the handle covered [Light Blade] was just struck with a single blow.



 As if to take advantage of the momentary gap in my guard, a Weak Met jumps at me from behind. With a “raaaaaaah!” I swing my [War Hammer] carelessly and flick it away. The handle breaks off. Because of this, I didn’t deal much damage.



 A gigantic presence pierced the area of [Sensory Spores] and approached behind me. Without looking back, he turns himself around. A huge sword slash passes by with a roar.



“Veeeeee!” (Boss Met)



 It was like a random sword slash as if a child were swinging a wooden branch.


 But the aftermath of the slash is enough to cut my body, and the pressure of the air brings a gust, sending a chill down my spine. As I desperately dodged the blow, fear flickered in my mind: “If I were to take even a single blow seriously,” the entire upper half of my body might be obliterated.


 Its power may be greater than Ouji Metro’s Jaguar Golem. But its fighting style is different. Compared to the machine-like precision of a continuous blow, this is just the forceful violence of a bloodthirsty beast.



“Hey, hey, hey!” (Shuu)



 Biting back fear, I desperately dodge and dive forward, taking advantage of the momentary opening. I formed used [Iron Fist] in the shape of a “Knife Hand” into the unguarded left side of its body.



 My fingertips pierce its skin, and I can feel it on my arm—but it stopped me in just a few centimeters.


 My knife hand did not land on its flank, but on the thick thigh that it lifted, held enormous muscles.



 A fist hammer down so I shove myself out of the way. I ducked my head just in time to dodge a follow-up strike, this time from below. From my unsteady position, I forcibly kicked the ground with [Leaping] and landed backward.



 I tried to get up from my kneeling position, but I realized. A lukewarm liquid is running down from between my eyebrows—my forehead is cut at an angle.



“—Is that it?” (Shuu)


“Veeeeeeee!” (Boss Met)



 A hulking shadow single-mindedly rushes toward me. My eyes catch the tip of its toes.



 A white blade like a knife protrudes from the back of the foot. Does it have a Fungal Skill similar to Noa ‘s [Dagger] growing directly on its foot? It looks like a fictional assassin weapon, and the tip of the blade seems to have grazed my forehead.



 Woosh! The tip of the blade swung out and hit my forehead. I thought I had dodged it, but my two arms were cut.



“Kuh! Oh!” (Shuu)



 The swinging of the huge sword is replaced by brilliant footwork as if it were an expert in martial arts. With a snap of its joints, it swung its legs out of the way at a dizzying pace. It was as if it was dancing in the air.



 It is faster and more precise than expected. Its “ability” is so fast and precise that it is almost impossible to avoid it. And then, I match it with [Iron Fist]. The sound of the friction is deafening, my silver arm is scraped off the surface, and the force is so strong that it almost takes my entire shoulder with it.



 Bosmet’s legs are short, but even so, due to its nearly three-meter frame, its reach is equal to or greater than that of my arms. When I moved away from that distance, a huge sword rained down from above my head.



“No!” (Shuu)



 In the middle of the gap between the giant sword and the kick, my arm flicks its finger, taking advantage of the gap when the opponent stiffens for a moment. A [White Bullet], the first shot from close range only pierces its thick chest, and the second shot, aimed at its eye, is dodged.



“Vee!” (Boss Met)


“Shut up! Your voice is annoying!” (Shuu)



 [Iron Fist] and the blade of its leg intersect, and the blade shatters. Inwardly, I think, “Suck it!” The moment I thought that a new one grew on its heel, fell towards my head, cutting some of my hair out. Back flipping like some beautiful female assassin. [T/N: Don’t know the reference.]



“Sh*t!” (Shuu)



 There’s no time to pause here, at least not now.


 I dodged, flipped, spun, and retreated. I desperately back out during the momentary gap, and once again, with [Leaping], I retreat immediately. Sliding backward on the soles of my shoes, I had my back on the stone statue standing at the edge of the plaza.



 While desperately sucking oxygen into my lungs, I stared at the horizontal pupils, of the beast that is also breathing hard.



(Damn, it can’t be.) (Shuu)


(It is on the same level as Jaguar in terms of physical ability.) (Shuu)



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