Kimama ni Tokyo Survive - 4
My body sways with the train as it rides over the tracks, work the furthest thing from my mind. Anyone at work who knows me would probably wonder who on Earth I was. It’s late now, and the train is rather empty. My backpack weighs down my lap as I sit there, my heart quietly racing. I’m nervous and excited at the same time – after all, this little stick poking out of my backpack is actually a weapon, my axe. It may be perfectly normal camping equipment, but if the police catch me with this thing I’ll definitely be questioned. That would probably be the worst possible scenario.
<<[Stress Resistance] has leveled up to [Stress Resistance LV 2].>>
Oh, shut up. You startled me.
Having reached my destination, I exit the station and can finally breathe freely. Honestly, I’d rather be caught carrying porn around than an axe. Night has completely fallen, and it’s currently pitch-black as I walk through the streets.Eventually, I arrive at my destination: a park. There’s no one here, so I decide it’s safe to take my axe out.
Of course, there’s a reason why I’ve come out to this random park. My good friend Guidance has told me that monsters will appear in this park, about ten minutes from now. I’m very close to finding out if he’s been telling the truth or not.
But still, monsters, huh? He said the first monsters would be small, so they’ll probably be weak, yeah? Maybe they’ll be cute little things, like fairy tale monsters. A slime or a kobold, maybe. Whatever it is, I’ve got my good old American-made axe with me to take care of it. The entire axe is formed from a single piece of steel, so I can wield it pretty roughly without worrying about breaking it. It also has a 66 cm long handle with a solid, reassuring weight to it.
Still, I’m sure this axe’s manufacturer never expected it’d be used on monsters.
“Mmmm, I really wanna put this baby to work already!”
Oops, I said that out loud. I’m gonna put it to work chopping wood, you know? Yep, that’s what I meant. Gonna have lots of fun chopping wood.
No, no, this isn’t the time to mess around. I decide to ask Guidance for help finding the monsters, and he guides me into the woods. It’s dark – the lights from the park don’t reach out here – but I can sense something nearby.
Judging by the size, I assume it might be something like a mouse, but then I can see it. They’re much smaller than mice – about the size of a chestnut – and covered with thorns. They’re everywhere in the woods, running up the tree trunks all around me.
Then, I notice a branch, roughly level with my eyes. On it, there’s a giant… thing that looks kind of like a wasp nest. It’s black, and there’s a countless number of those little creatures crawling around the surface.
It’s 10 o’clock, now. Seeing that thing rips all the excitement out of the air. They’re disgusting. I knew the first monsters would be weak, but… these things are so disgusting I could feel goosebumps on my skin.
Wait, are these all individual monsters?
<<Those creatures are the individual members of a single swarm-type monster known as a Gizmo. They grow by consuming the life force of others. However, this one is still only level 2.>>
Oh, I see. Well, lemme give this a shot. I brought my axe and came this far, after all. It’s not like I can do anything else out here with an axe…
What’s that? I could chop wood with it? No, no, why would I want to do that?
I approach the monster, sick to my stomach. I really, really want to go home. Uh, Guidance? Does this thing have a weakness?
<<It is weak to all attributes other than Darkness. Since it is a swarm-type monster, it has a central, main body, which is part of the nest. Destroying it will kill the monster.>>
Darkness? What’s that, the finance industry? Well, whatever. Let’s finish this and go home as soon as possible. I’m gonna swing this axe at the nest, it’s gonna burst open and die, and I’ll get to go home.
“Alright, here we go…”
Suddenly, all the little monsters stop moving in unison. I think they’ve finally noticed me, but it’s okay! My axe weighs 1.5 kg!
I smack the nest with my axe. Black dust, almost like smoke, comes billowing out and I, stupidly, utter the well-known flag-raising words, “Did I get them?” But the monsters are undeterred and quickly take off in huge numbers, filling the air around me.
Nope, nope, nope! Nope! That’s way too much for me!
I activate [Haste] but immediately trip over a root, landing hard on my knee. It’s screaming in pain, but I don’t have the time to worry about that! The little flying pieces of trash – the Gizmo, I think – are currently closing in on me from behind!
They’re going to sting me! They’re going to sting my ass!
“Y-you’ve gotta be kidding me!”
I stand up in a hurry, grab my axe off the ground, and activate [Haste] – properly, this time. I take off, regretting everything I’d ever done.
As I run, I realise that these monsters clearly have some level of intelligence. I have to hide from them as they fly through the park, searching for me. They’re clearly very, very angry.
Their sounds echo throughout the park, so it’s hard for me to get a grip on exactly how many of them there are. However, I can tell there are definitely a lot of them. Still in hiding, I manage to catch a glimpse of one of the little things. It’s covered in thorns, like a chestnut, and I have no idea how it could possibly fly.
<<[Haste] has levelled up to [Haste LV 3].>>
<<[Fear Resistance LV 1] has been acquired automatically.>>
<<[Fear Resistance] has levelled up to [Fear Resistance LV 2].>>
Listening to Guidance’s monotone voice, I try to calm down. They may be entirely different from my expectations, but those things are definitely monsters. I know I’ve never seen creatures like that before, and they’re definitely not mutants of any animal that exists on Earth.
I could run away… but that doesn’t exactly sit very well with me. I spent a lot of money getting ready and came all the way out here, so there’s no way I’m going home empty-handed.
Hey, Guidance, how much did that attack earlier weaken it?
<<It has lost about 21% of its HP.>>
Hmm, so four more hits? That should do it. I take a peek at the nest from behind a tree. It looks damaged.
I could use [Haste], hit the target quickly, and get away. That might work.
“Hey, what are you doing?!”
Someone had tapped me on the shoulder, making me freeze up. I turn around slowly, my breathing tense. There’s a middle-aged man in a dark blue uniform, along with another man holding a light.
Oh, no. It’s exactly the people I wanted to avoid: the police. Currently, I’m covered in dirt and blood, holding an axe, in a public park. This is definitely not good. It looks like the cops have been watching me for a little while now, trying to figure out who I am and what I’m doing here.
“What are you doing?”
“Um, I’m not a suspicious person… That is, there’s something over there that looks kind of like a beehive, and I was seeing if I could do something about it.”
As if to verify what I said, the other police officer sweeps the darkness with his flashlight, looking for the nest. The three of us say nothing, and the strangely unsettling sound of the monsters fills the air again.
In response, the cop turns his light towards the source of the sound. The beam falls on the nest – probably the worst mistake he could’ve made.
“Are those really bees? They sound a bit too loud.”
“Hm? Tadokoro, what’s that on your head?”
One of the little creatures had landed on the man’s head. And on the other side of his head, there’s something like a long nail sticking out. Two more of the monsters stick onto his neck and face.
Still holding the flashlight, he stands perfectly still. He tries to speak but can only croak.
<<The Gizmo has levelled up to level 3.>>
I feel a cold sweat run down my back. These things… really can fight, despite their tiny appearance. And their attacks are nothing to laugh at, either.
<<They have a Darkness-attribute piercing attack called [Spear]. If the target has no skill to counter it, it inflicts incredibly high damage.>>
<<[Fear Resistance] has levelled up to [Fear Resistance LV 3].>>
Wait a minute, these things are about as deadly as a small pistol!
Should I run? Should I fight? What do I do?
No, I’ve only got this one chance. I feel bad for the cops, but they’re the perfect decoy for me to act right now. And if I run away here, I’ll never be able to fight a monster ever again. I’d just end up a trembling mess, hiding from the world in my room forever.
The other cop bends over to pick up the light as I take off running and shout, “Hey, throw that light away! [Haste]!”
The terrible buzzing of the monsters fills the air as I run. In just three steps, I reach the nest and swing my axe like a bat, hitting it on the side before taking off again to escape. I take another three steps and hit the ground sliding, sending a cloud of dust flying into the air. I come to a stop behind a tree and peek out from my cover.
Oh, that’s not good. That other police officer’s head has doubled in size somehow.
No, wait, it’s actually just covered in those little things. I gulp. That’s freaky! Way too freaky!
No, no, don’t focus on that. If I don’t take that nest out, this will all be for naught. How much damage did I deal with that last hit?
<<In total, the Gizmo’s HP has decreased by 38%.>>
That’s not as much as I expected. Oh yeah, it levelled up when it killed the policeman. According to my status, I’m still only level 1. Since I’m fighting a level 3 – or maybe level 4, now – monster, I’m obviously at a disadvantage. Even worse, the monster seems to have noticed my tactics. It’s built “walls” around its nest using the little monsters to prevent me from approaching.
Damn it, how intelligent is that thing? I’ve got 22 steps left in [Haste]. I was running around like an idiot earlier and ended up wasting a lot of steps. What do I do…
I could probably run away at this point. But say this thing kills another ten people. Who knows how powerful it’d be then? I have to do something.
I take a deep breath. Well, I guess I gotta do this. I’ve got to kill this thing. I may be incredibly terrified, but my hatred of losing is still far stronger.
You know, people have always thought I’m stupid. Despite that, I’ve always worked quietly in the background, refusing to lose to them. I did all of that out of pure spite. Just so I could beat the people who looked down on me and call them stupid, for once. So I’ll do the same here.
<<You have acquired a new title: “Challenger.”>>
Yeah, yeah, whatever. More importantly, can you find a route to the nest that avoids all those monsters in the way?
<<I’m currently only linked with your thoughts. In order to do that, I’ll need to extend our link to encompass your vision as well. Is that alright?>>
Wait, you can? Then please, go ahead. I’ll take any card I can play at this point, honestly.
<<Beginning link extension. Success. Now displaying viable routes.>>
A few lights softly appear, floating in the darkness. Is that… supposed to be the route?
Well, let’s do this. A single bead of sweat rolls down my face.