Looking for Proofreader
A young boy walked through the ruins of a vast city with a stern expression. In his surroundings, there were buildings in partial ruins. Fragments of the buildings were scattered all around and not a single soul was in sight. The sound of the boy’s footsteps and the rocks that were crunched under his feet echoed throughout the ruins.
Clothes tarnished with filth and lone gun were the only things the boy held. For the boy, this was all he had. However, in a place like this, he was unbelievably ill equipped. After all this was the place known as ‘The Ruins of the Old World’.
In the ruins, there are autonomous weapons that mindlessly attack their target due to a malfunction. They were machines that were once designed for security, obeying a criteria set by their creators. Abandoned with only an order to kill their targets, these autonomous weapons continue to follow their only order.
The autonomous weapons are descendants of biological weapons. Evolved to survive the harsh conditions, they have blurred the lines between machinery and biological and, in the East, they are called Monsters. ‘The Ruins of the Old World’ was a den to these Monsters.
The boy understood the danger he was in as his face was frozen with anticipation. Despite knowing the danger he was in, the allure of the treasures tempted him. Or at least, objects that could be considered as treasures in the eyes of someone born and raised in the slums.
The boy’s name was Akira.
Akira sighed and murmured to himself, “….There’s nothing useful here. I risked my life all for this? … Do I have to venture deeper into the ruins?”
He tilted his head up and looked ahead. In the distance, there were countless of high-rise buildings. Even from afar, he could see the towering buildings still in good condition. That was a stark contrast to the destroyed buildings that stood around Akira. [If I managed to get there, would I be able to get my hands on an expensive relic?]
The possibility of obtaining a vast amount of money appealed to Akira’s greed. However, it was nothing but a fantasy. He immediately shook his head and as if to placate and remind himself, “No, it’s impossible. I’ll die before I get there.”
His current surroundings were in ruins, but, in the distance, there was a magnificent view. The difference between the two areas is due to the maintenance of the environment. In other words, in the ruins in the distance, there the remains of advanced maintenance machines from the Old World era still in operation. And the possibility of encountering those superior, functional security machines were incredibly high. It was impossible for a child like Akira to even survive in an area highly guarded by those machines. “It’s hard for me to even be here. I should stop and not go any further…”
Akira ignored his greed and continued to search around the area he was in.
The area he was in was the outer area of a place called Kuzusuhara Street Ruins. It was the closest Ruins from Kugamayama City, the place where Akira lives, and the largest ruins within the city’s finance area.
The Monsters lurking around these ruins were Medium Weak and Akira was exploring in a Medium Safe Area.
Medium Weak is the classification that declares a person who is well-prepared could handle the Monster. Additionally, Medium Safe Area means there is a higher chance of surviving compared to the ruins in the distance. That being said, it does not mean Akira could let down his guard.
Akira was vulnerable due to the lack of proper equipment as he was just one step away from death either from the fangs of those mutated creatures or a bullet from those machines. On top of that, the gun he held lacked the power to defeat the Monsters. In order to take them down, Akira would have to engage in close combat and shoot at close range. In other words, Akira had no chances of surviving a fight. If he were to fight, it would most certainly end with his death.
However, he had no other choice but to enter the ruins. He lacked the money to survive another day. And so, his desperation spurred him on to entering Kuzusuhara Street Ruins.
Although he continued to search further, there was nothing. He tilted his head down and sighed. In his line of sight, a bone from a dead body was rolling along on the ground.
He had found similar bones in the past. And every time, he would search around the corpse in hopes to find something but, he had never found anything. [What did I expect? Even the people before me hadn’t found anything.]
Akira thought feeling melancholic. Either there had been someone who already searched the area before him, or, there had been someone reckless as he was, exploring without the proper equipment, only to be greeted with the consequences of their actions.
[…At this rate, the sun will set and it would be impossible to explore the ruins at night since I don’t have any light. And, the probability of being attacked by Monsters is high… I survived the dangerous ruins so the experience I’ve gained is what matters… right? So, I should go back. If I stubbornly remained here, I’ll just join that pile of bones.]
Akira began to think of excuses that he could use to return. Because he had risked his life to be here, it was hard to accept his defeat.
[There’s no use in being depressed over this. I’ll explore a little more and, if I don’t find anything, I’ll go back.]
To Akira, returning without any accomplishments meant that his decision of risking his life was meaningless and so, Akira decided to explore for just a bit more.
He suddenly stopped as he lifted up his head and saw a girl floating in mid-air.
He froze still.
That girl had such a fantasy-like, unreal beauty. Moreover, all of her graceful figure and beautiful body were exposed without anything to hide them.
Her beautiful skin was so different compared to those from the slum. It was way more lustrous than the skin of those girls living in the upper district of the city, who take care of their skins using fortunes, hard work, and technologies from the old world. Her beautiful limbs even rivalled fine art statues and drawings. Her flawless glossy hair flailed freely down to her waist, and her gallant expression would make anyone fall in love regardless of age and gender.
Akira could only stand there captivated by the beauty of that girl as if his soul was being sucked out. Compared to all the girls that he had seen in his still relatively short life, and even if he compared her to all the girls from his imaginations up until now, her beauty was simply peerless. Only with a glance, all the criteria of a beautiful girl inside Akira were all overwritten.
The girl was just floating there doing nothing. She didn’t even seem to have noticed Akira. Then a moment later, she gracefully turned her face around to Akira.
Akira’s eyes met hers. She didn’t seem to be bothered that Akira was looking at her naked body as she smiled and stared at him. Akira, who was still dumbfounded, slightly reacted to her smile.
The girl realized that Akira noticed her. When she realized it, she giggled merrily as she took a step closer to Akira.
Akira quickly put up his guard as he realized that someone he didn’t know was approaching him. In an instant, Akira immediately reassessed his current situation. His dumbfounded expression suddenly changed into such a stern look as he pointed his gun to her and shouted.
The girl was a bundle of abnormalities.
The ruin of the old world was a dangerous place. Even a well-equipped and well trained squad could easily get annihilated there. But that girl was standing there, all alone, out in the wild, without even a single weapon in her hand. She didn’t even seem to be watching her surroundings. And even though she’s naked, she didn’t try to hide her naked body at all. Moreover, although the wind from the ruin was mixed with sand and dust, her hair was still spotless.
As a beginner, Akira was always desperately trying to be cautious of his surroundings. He would nervously react to even the slightest noise in order to avoid meeting any Monsters. But evens so, he didn’t even notice that girl was there even though she wasn’t even trying to hide herself at all.
Even when Akira was pointing his gun at her while shaking, that girl didn’t even seem to be afraid that Akira might pull the trigger by mistake. She kept getting closer and closer to Akira without showing neither concern nor fear.
His impression of the girl had completely changed from “An unbelievably beautiful girl” into “An unknown entity”. Then, as she kept approaching Akira, he shouted at her, giving her another warning.
“I-I’m telling you not to move!! If you move any closer than that, I’ll shoot!! I’m being serious here!!”
Normally, Akira would’ve shot at her without giving her any warning. But since she was unarmed and showing no hostility, Akira was so confused from this absurd situation, so much that his finger was frozen in place.
But there’s a limit to that. The girl kept moving toward Akira despite all his warnings. Looking at that, Akira was about to pull the trigger when suddenly, the girl just vanished from his line of sight. Although he didn’t even wink there, he didn’t see her moved outside his line of sight either. The girl just vanished instantly in front of his eyes.
Akira was shocked and trembling like crazy. He looked around nervously but he couldn’t find her at all.
“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you”
Suddenly, Akira heard a voice from beside him where no one should be at. And when he turned his face toward the source of that voice, the girl was there, fully clothed, and close enough for Akira to reach her with his hand. She hunched over such that their eyes meet on the same height as she was smiling and staring at him.
Akira’s brain couldn’t process everything that was happening in front of his eyes. All his nervousness suddenly changed to fear as his mind blacked out.
But Akira shook his fear off and stood his ground, he was able to regain his composure. Those who lose their composure will die. That is one thing that he learned by living in the slum.
He immediately rose up his gun and pointed it to that girl again, and then he extended his arm with his gun on his hand as he tried to prod the girl with his gun’s muzzle.
The girl was actually close enough for his gun to reach her. But as he extended his arms, Akira found both of his hands were inside of her chest right until his wrists.
Although both of his hands were already inside her, Akira couldn’t feel anything. He could see clearly that someone was standing there in front of him, but both of his hands just couldn’t feel anything at all.
Akira was so shocked, so much that he just stopped working. He was frozen still, with both of his hands still inside the girl’s chest. All the while, the girl was trying to get a reaction from Akira by waving in front of him or calling him. But Akira was just standing there, dumbfounded.
A long time ago, a great civilization that spanned across the world was destroyed. What left of it are only half destroyed cities, crumbling buildings, and broken down machines. It happened so many years ago that it is hard for people nowadays to imagine the technological greatness of the old world.
In that world where even raindrops were artificially made, the rain kept falling there during all those long years, sweeping all the broken building, giving nourishment for trees to grow high enough to reach the sky, and eventually supporting the life of people who live in the surface.
The ancient civilization that people call as the old world had produced a lot of relics with their advanced technologies. Things like piles of unknown materials, half destroyed buildings that are floating in the sky, and of course, mountains of weapon that are unnecessarily destructive if they’re in the wrong hands. Mankind had spent so many years gathering all of these old world relics and reconstructing human civilization.
In the end, even a civilization with such advanced technologies that people might even mistake them as magic, couldn’t destroy all humanity.
In the far eastern part of the human civilization, there are countless corporate cities managed by a group called the governing corporate. And Kugamayama city is one of these corporate cities.
A part of the Kugamayama city was surrounded by a huge wall. Although all the areas both inside and outside of the wall are collectively called as Kugamayama City. There’s a big difference between these two areas.
The area inside the wall was divided into 2 districts. The upper district was filled with rich people and people with powerful influences such as the corporate executives, while the middle district is filled with moderately wealthy people. And, there are the areas outside of the wall, known as the lower district. People who live there are mostly people who can’t afford to live inside the wall. And if you go further away from the city, you can find residential blocks sitting right next to the dangerous area outside the city that people call as the wasteland. These blocks are the slums.
Akira is one of the many children living in the slums. In another word, he’s just your normal everyday kid; he has no mechanical strength of a cyborg, no enhanced strength like those remodelled humans, and no augmented strength from the nanomachines. Just like all the children in the slums, he has no special skill, no school education, no parents, no guardian, no food, no money, and no one would grieve even if he dies.
As for the Monsters living in the wasteland, they would attack the city from time to time, and when that happens, the ones who suffer the most would be people who are living in the wasteland and in the slums.
Akira had survived 3 times through this kind of attack, in his first and second time, he just ran around and hid. It’s thanks to those strangers who got attacked, killed, and eaten in his place, that he was able to barely survive.
While in his third attempt, he wasn’t able to run away from a small dog monster and ended up having a death match against it after he picked up a hand gun that he found by chance.
Although he had no training in using hand gun, he was able to shot its head 3 times by pure luck. But even so, his luck wasn’t enough. The monster was drenched in blood but still alive as it ran toward Akira and pounced at him with its big mouth open as if it’s going to deliver a killing blow.
But before that monster’s abnormally big mouth was able to rip off Akira’s arms, Akira instinctively thrust his arm to its mouth up to his elbow and pulled the trigger on his hand gun. And so the bullet passed through the monster’s mouth, straight through under its skull, and pierced its brain, and thus killing the monster.
But then in the brief moment after that, as the monster was still alive, it clamped down hard on Akira’s arms. Fortunately, Akira was able to survive without losing his arm or his life.
After surviving his third time, Akira decided to be a hunter. Although he pretty much understood just how dangerous it was to be a hunter, he was feeling hopeful and brimming with confidence after killing a monster all by himself.
There are people who are working as hunters in this world, these people would venture the monster-filled wasteland outside of the city seeking for money and fame despite knowing that it’s such a dangerous place, the wasteland is so dangerous that it’s actually safer for them to stay in the slums where cheap guns circulating freely and the public order there is just the worst. But on the other side, the wasteland is a place filled with riches and power since you might find the ruins and the relics of the old world there.
These Monsters that attacking the human are also relics of the old world, the biological Monsters are samples of advanced biotechnology, while the machine Monsters are treasure boxes filled with valuable components. Anyone who can bring them back to the city will be rewarded with a huge amount of money.
Moreover, if you can bring back a highly valuable relic from the ruins, you might be awarded with enough money to even buy a whole city. And if you can take control of the facilities inside the ruin of the old world that are still running even until now, especially if you can take control of its military facilities, then you can even start a nation.
Competent hunters stand in a different world in term of power and money. With that much money and power, they can bring back more valuables relics which give them more power and riches, thus they can aim for more dangerous and valuable relics. In the peak of this cycle, these hunters would equip themselves with overwhelmingly powerful equipment from the old world. There were even great hunters who were able to get themselves powerful weapon from the old world that made them even more powerful than a city.
Akira might have killed a monster all on his own, but it was only enough to give him a non-zero chance to come back alive from the wasteland.
But that was enough for him to take the gamble, if he kept his living style in the slums like that, he would just end up dead one day. And so in order to get out from there, he had no other choice but to take this gamble.
So the day Akira went on a journey aiming to be a hunter. Or, to be more precise, the day he was aiming for a better tomorrow.
Akira was still stood frozen in front of the beautiful girl, as for the girl herself, she was giggling while waiting for Akira to regain his composure.
It had been quite a while since then and Akira was still frozen there as he couldn’t process the situation that he was in. But even so, nothing bad has happened to him, so he was slowly able to regain his composure. And once he has calmed down to a certain extent, his focus changed from the empty space and back to the girl’s face.
The girl who noticed that just smiled back to Akira.
“Are you okay? Can you see me? Can you hear my voice? Where am I? Who are you?”
Akira who had calmed himself down had regained his composure enough to answer those questions, so he answering her questions while looking at her with suspicion.
“…I can see you, I can hear you well, this place is Kuzusuhara ruin, and my name is Akira…”
The girl laughed merrily.
“Thank goodness, my name is Alpha, nice to meet you”
At least he knew that she didn’t seem to have any ill will against him. Although it didn’t change the fact that she’s a mysterious entity to him, he understood well that she didn’t mean him any harm, so there’s no need for him to be overly cautious about her. Moreover, he’s in the middle of a ruin, its better if he put his attention for watching out for Monsters. As Akira concluded his thought, he lowered his guard.
“…So, Alpha-san, you’re not a ghost… Right…? I can’t touch you though…”
“…Yep, I’m not a ghost, though it’s not easy if you tell me to prove that. If I am to explain this current condition that you’re in. The me that you see here is a type of augmented reality. You recognize my existence here since the information about my voice and my appearance are sent directly into your brain. For some reason, your brain has the ability to receive information sent through wireless transmission in a special format, so that’s why you can receive the information that I’m transmitting. I don’t know whether it’s an inherent ability that you have since you were born, or is it an ability that you got from somewhere else. But for me too, I don’t hear your voice from the sound made by your vocal cord, but instead, I’m receiving the command that your brain is sending to your vocal cord in form of information packets, and then I’m interpreting it to voice. The same thing is also happening for your vision. That’s also the reason why I know that you can see me.”
Akira didn’t understand even a shred of Alpha’s explanation; Alpha could see that clearly from his expression. So Alpha explained the main points only.
“You’re the only one who can see me; you’re also the only one who can hear my voice. If you’re not careful, you’ll look like a crazy boy talking with air to other people. For now, it’s all good as long as you understand that. And also, you can call me Alpha and I will call you Akira.”
Alpha was giggling as she was giving Akira her explanations. For a small kid from the slum like him, that smile that had no trace of hatred, caution, or pity only served to increase her likeability, but Akira didn’t realize that at all.
“…Alright, sure… I understand. So then, Alpha, what are you doing in this place?”
“I’m looking for someone who can see and hear me. I actually have a request, you see. But I can’t ask them to do anything if they can’t even hear me in the first place, you know. And it would be the best if that person is a hunter, after all, there’s a good chance that they would listen to my request. But well, as you can see, it didn’t go well at all.”
Alpha laughed bitterly for a bit.
Akira was at lost for a while before he hesitantly opened his mouth.
“Well, uhh, I’m actually a hunter, you know…”
Akira could see clearly that Alpha was a bit surprised.
“Eh? You’re a hunter? Although you’re that young? How long have you been a hunter?”
“…One day, I just became a hunter today…”
Both Akira and Alpha were exchanging an awkward look. There’s an awkward silence between them.
“…Nope, it’s nothing. Just forget what I said”
Since he had decided to live his life as a hunter, he had no wish to hide the fact that he’s a hunter. But, he thought that it was a bad idea to call himself a hunter despite the fact he didn’t have the skill. After realizing that, he lost all his confidence.
But Alpha kept pushing the conversation forward.
“Please don’t say that, can you at least please listen to my story? After all, this must be some kind of fate that we met here,”
Even though he called himself a hunter, Akira didn’t have the skill, and Alpha knew that very well. But it’s also true that there’s no one else other than him who could communicate with her. Moreover, the fact that Akira was just an inexperienced hunter was not a minus point in the long run for Alpha.
“My request is that for you to delve into a certain ruin in secret. In exchange, I’ll give you my support, but this is only a down payment. Once you complete my request, you may take all the precious relics of the old world inside that ruin”
Akira was so surprised by that offer that he inadvertently raised his voice.
“Relics of the old world, you say…? Seriously!?”
As she heard Akira’s reaction, Alpha giggled inside his heart, while on the outside, she’s making a friendly smile that persuaded Akira further.
“Of course. Or more like, to be honest, you’ve used all your life worth of luck to get this offer, so if you don’t accept it, it’ll be bad for you, you know? After all, you’ve already run out of luck, so you won’t be able to survive for long without my support.”
The cynical side inside Akira was screaming at him that Alpha was trying to trick him. But to Akira, Alpha didn’t look like trying to trick him at all.
[…First of all, there’s nothing that she can get from tricking a little kid like me, right? She should have known that since I don’t have any money at all with me. Or is it that she’s just playing a prank on me? Moreover, even if she’s being serious about her offer, is it really okay to accept a request from an unknown entity like her?]
After hesitating there, Akira realized what he should’ve realized right from the start and tried to rethink his current situation. It’s exactly because she’s an unknown entity who strangely enough would come to him with a request, so there must be some kind of secret or a particular situation behind it. But normally, no one would offer a request to a kid like him. That’s why; he knew that he should grab this opportunity. And so Akira hardened his resolve and said to Alpha.
“I understand. I still don’t know how far I should go for your request, but I’ll accept that request.”
Akira resolved himself so much that he himself was surprised by it, which was his first time as a hunter accepting a request.
Alpha looked so happy hearing that.
“That will conclude our contact then. Now, I’ll immediately start giving you my support as my down payment to you.”
And so, Alpha who was always giggling during their conversation suddenly changed into a serious mood.
“If you don’t want to die, then go into the building on your right in 10 seconds.”
“What do you mean…?”
Akira was about to ask her what she meant. But from that dead serious look on her face indicating she would not be take any question, he understood just how dangerous the situation that he was in and stopped his question middle way. If that wasn’t a lie, then he would definitely get killed if he stayed there. Once he realized that, he sprinted as fast as he could to the building on his right.
The moment Akira jumped into the building. A huge explosion blew off behind him, the wind from that explosion rushed through his side. Shocked by the explosion, he immediately looked back to where the explosion came from. He saw a huge crater right where he was standing a few seconds ago, the area around it was scorched in black from the explosion. If he stayed there just a few more seconds, there’s no mistaking it that he would have been killed, at least he knew well that much looking from the aftermath.
Akira was frozen with fear from what just happened. But Alpha appeared so suddenly in front of his eyes and snapped him back into reality.
“W-what was that…?”
Alpha kept that serious expression from before as she pointed her finger to the stairs.
“Go there and start climbing up in 8 seconds.”
Akira desperately ran toward the stairs and started climbing up. Then again, another explosion blew off behind him and the shockwave sent by that explosion stopped Akira from climbing higher. Once it died down, he immediately started climbing up again, and then he suddenly saw Alpha already standing on one of the stairs while pointing upward.
“Go to the rooftop in 5 seconds…”
Akira ignored his screaming lungs and legs as he kept climbing the stairs.
Akira followed Alpha’s instruction and kept running, and then he finally reached the rooftop. Out of breath, there he saw Alpha standing in one end as she was waving at him, telling him to come closer. But by looking on how she was smiling and how she was waving at him, it didn’t seem like he had to do that in a hurry, so Akira ran slowly to approach her.
Alpha then pointed her finger below. Akira was baffled, he though she’s telling him to jump down, but then Alpha said while smiling.
“Be carefully looking down below. Make sure to do it slowly and quietly, okay?”
Akira slowly and carefully peeked down as ordered by Alpha. His face immediately turned pale, what he saw down there were Monsters who attacked him just now, they roaming around as if they’re looking for something.
The length of those Monsters was about 2 meters and they looked like dogs. If it was only that, they would look like just big dogs with strengthened muscles, but no, some of those Monsters had small cannons on their back, some of them had rockets, and some of them had small missile launcher. All of these Monsters equipped with destructive weapons were roaming outside looking to eradicate any invaders.
It would make him a lot of money if he could kill those Monsters and bring some of them back home. But Akira didn’t have the power or method to do that. That young hunter who just about to get killed by those Monsters looked frustrated as he was looking at the potential money that was out of his reach.
“Wh-what are those…?”
Then Alpha gave him a detailed explanation about the Monsters.
“They are the weapon dogs, the man-made living organism created in order to protect the city. Although guns and other weapons are growing on their body, they are not machines, they are living biological organism. I’m sure that these ones were programmed to watch over this area. They might evolve differently from one and another, but the weapons behind their back will get stronger as they grow up. Maybe that weapon dog with missile pods growing behind it is the leader of the pack.”
There’s no harm in hearing that information but Akira wasn’t actually asking for an explanation about those Monsters. The question that he muttered was only a form of his frustration because of his bad luck getting attacked by those Monsters. But then, a lot of questions came into his mind after hearing that explanation.
“But why guns can grow from a living organism? Isn’t that just strange?”
And so Alpha gave a simple answer to Akira’s simple question.
“Their living tissues have become home for the nanomachines inside them. Then these nanomachines use the metal ores that they ingested to grow guns on their backs. I’m pretty sure that they’ve deviated so much from their original design. Well, I guess they’ve evolved independently from their original design in order to adapt to the current condition.”
It is such an important piece of information that would even surprise the people who specialize in these Monsters. But someone like Akira, who didn’t know just how valuable that information is, could only understand was that there was a particular reason that these living organism could grow weapons on their bodies.
Alpha’s expression that was so serious when they were attacked but after it was over, she changed back to smiling. Judging from that, Akira calmed down as he understood that he’s pretty much safe in that place.
Silavin: Ah. Finally, we are releasing this novel! I think the author is amazing for writing this novel. It had won an award as well. Something fresh and interesting. Even before the manga came out, I wanted to translated already,
Anways, enough of my praises. This will be a weekly release. Each chapter is pretty long (around 4-6K words).
If you wish to support, the Patreon is up but I haven’t fully fleshed it out yet.
Anyways, hope you guys enjoy this series as much as I am going to. Peace.
Silavin: Ahhh! Shit! Posted the wrong content. Sorry guys. It has been updated. Hope you enjoy.