There was a residence complex ruin near Kugamayama city that could be reached by vehicle. That area was called Higaraka Residence Ruin.
The Hunters from the city already regarded it as an exhausted ruin since most, if not all, worthwhile relics from that place were already brought out due to the years of expeditions. But for the Hunters who already had vehicles, it was still more profitable to search for relics in this ruin.
Elena and Sara brought Katsuya and his friends to this place. But it was not for searching relics, the request that Elena and Sara accepted from Drankam was to train Katsuya and his friends.
Elena turned at Katsuya and said with a serious face.
“We’ll have you guys look for relics in the Higaraka Residence Ruin. This is ruin exploration training and we’re here as your instructors. With that being said, I’m sure you guys are not complete amateurs, so we’re not going to instruct you in each and every step of the way. You’ll make your own decision and move accordingly.”
Sara was smiling as usual when she said.
“The monsters roaming this area shouldn’t be that strong, but in the end, it’s just based on the latest information. So keep in mind that the possibility of encountering a strong monster is not zero. We’ll still be watching over you from a distance and we’ll immediately come to help if we judge that the situation is too hard for you to handle. And don’t worry, I don’t think monsters in this area can give us any trouble.”
“But try to decide and move assuming that we’re not around. Once you’re done exploring the ruin, we’ll give you our evaluation. Normally, we’ll also evaluate the time when you decide to end the exploration and go back home. But for this time, you have 4 hours at most. So, any question? If not then we’ll start right away.”
Elena looked over Katsuya and his friends, and suddenly, Yumina opened her mouth.
“I know that you are telling us to freely search the ruin, but what exactly should we do?”
Sara answered the question.
“It’s also a part of your training, try to think about that yourself. But well, you can just think that you’re here for a usual ruin exploration.”
“…But, if I’m not mistaken, there’s no more valuable relics in this ruin, right?”
“You can assume that your training for today is to confirm that. After all, it’s not like you can have training in a ruin with valuable relics since powerful monsters would also roam that area. The request that we took is also to make sure that you guys return back alive, you see.”
Elena then added.
“We know very well that there’s no more valuable relics in this ruin. That’s why, even if you guys can only come back with cheap relics, we won’t give you a bad evaluation. So there’s no need to worry about that. We’ll evaluate your performance based on other factors like how long you spend searching an area before moving on or are you properly watching your surroundings and keeping your guards up etc. So please just continue like how you usually search for relics. Of course, if you can find any valuable relics, it’ll give you a big boost.”
Yumina nodded and ended her question. Airi was the next one to ask.
“Is there any passing grade for today’s training? We might have to change the way we move according to the passing grade.”
Elena answered that question.
“Nope, but if I have to say anything, then it would be to get the biggest result from the least amount of work. Basically, we’ll also test whether you can accurately predict how much you can earn from doing something dangerous. It’s important to make the best possible choice in our line of work as Hunters, you know. Originally, it’s as Yumina said, you should start from deciding whether you would search for relics in this place, but since this is only training, so let’s just say that you picked this place because of a certain reason. With that being said, you can also decide to immediately go back home after a brief search. And if you do that, you just need to explain to us why you made that decision and we’ll evaluate you based on your reasoning.”
“I understand, I’ll aim to do an effective exploration rather than just going back home.”
After Yumina and Airi finished asking questions. The last one among the three of them, Katsuya, made a stern face as he asked.
“Uhmm… Who was that boy that I saw coming out from Elena-san and Sara-san’s house?”
Sara and Elena turned and looked at each other. While Yumina looked worried and Airi didn’t make any visible reaction.
Elena then smiled at Katsuya, there was a strong intimidating pressure of a veteran Hunter emitting from her.
“It seems that our explanation was not enough. I meant questions about the training.”
“Uhm, it’s just that it’s really bothering me. So I think it might disrupt my concentration during this training.”
Katsuya still stood with his question though he was under pressure by Elena’s gaze. So, Sara replied back with a smile.
“In that case, you should experience it yourself how dangerous it is to not maintain your focus. This might also double as training to keep your mind clear of anything unnecessary during dangerous work.”
“If there’s no more question, then let’s start the training.”
As Elena’s smile marked that she would not take any refusal, Katsuya and his friends scrambled into the ruin in a panic.
Sara then turned her bitter smile that she just directed to Katsuya to Elena.
“I think it’s fine if we tell them. We can just keep the fact that we know him as secret and just say that he’s someone who bought your unused information gathering device.”
“What if he has a lot of questions cropping out from that statement and starts probing further instead? I don’t want to deal with that, you know. He might even ask questions that we need to answer very carefully. That’s why it is fine like this. Since we promised Akira not to say or ask anything unnecessary, we also have to be careful not to reveal anything that might make other people probe about him.”
“…Now that you mention it, that makes sense. Guess I need to be more careful too.”
Sara’s face stiffened a bit as she remembered that after she asked Elena and Shizuka just a bit about Akira, she was able to make a pretty detailed guess about Akira.
As Katsuya and his friends continued the training, they were able to find some relics albeit just cheap ones. They were also able to successfully take out the monsters that they encountered. But because the exploration went smooth, it gave enough room for Katsuya to start thinking about Akira again.
“Say, about that boy who came out from Elena-san and Sara-san’s house… He’s the same Hunter that we met back then, right?”
“Is that so?”
“I don’t really remember.”
Yumina and Airi did not really remember Akira. After all, to them, he was just a fellow Hunter who coincidentally was in the same truck as them during one of their patrol jobs. And it was not like he left any memorable impression on either of them.
But for Katsuya, Akira left a deep negative impression on him. Although he was just another young Hunter who was more or less of the same age as Katsuya, a Hunter who was looking down on other young Hunters recognized his skill. And when Katsuya did not have any other choice but to sit quietly on the truck to head back home after Shikarabe challenged him, Akira, on the other hand, headed to the battlefield alone. On top of it, Shikarabe seemed to recognize Akira’s guts when he saw that. All of these things were burned into Katsuya’s memory and left a deep impression inside him.
The image of Akira from those memories somehow stuck in the back of his mind. Then he saw Akira coming out from the house of the Hunters that he looked up to. So he just could not shake it off from his brain.
Seeing how Katsuya was acting, Yumina got annoyed.
“Katsuya. I don’t know exactly why you’re so bothered about that boy, but just like Sara-san said, you need to straighten up. It’s dangerous to lose your vigilance here, you know. Or do you also want to make Sara-san and Elena-san think that they’re only here to protect us?”
Airi also joined as she gave a strict warning.
“If you keep troubling Sara-san and Elena-san, they might really think like that. So get a better hold of yourself.”
Yumina and Airi thought that their warnings were just a little bit harsher than usual. But they did not expect Katsuya to suddenly pick himself up and make a solemn expression.
“You’re right, I’m sorry. I need to get a better grip on myself.”
If they made Elena and Sara take care of them, it would feel like they made Elena and Sara clean up their mess. It was something that Katsuya wanted to avoid no matter what. Because of that, Katsuya immediately renewed his resolve.
Airi and Yumina saw Katsuya’s serious expression, he looked so reliable and cool. But on the other hand, thinking of the reason why Katsuya changed his attitude so quickly, Airi and Yumina felt a bit of displeasure.
Elena and Sara were watching how Katsuya and the other kids were moving around as they were looking for relics. They told Katsuya and his friends to stay within their detection range, while at the same time, they kept their guards up in case a monster that the kids could not handle appeared.
“Elena. When we took this request, you said that this might be their first step for recruiting us into Drankam, right?”
“Yeah. But that might be only me reading too much into it. After all, Drankam seems to be looking for Hunters to teach their young Hunters. That also might be the reason why they sent us some requests to work together with Katsuya and his friends lately.”
“Recruiting us, huh…? Although we always refused their offer until now, what are we going to do from now on?”
“It doesn’t seem that they would let us go easily once we join them. If they rush us for a decision, we’ll refuse them again. I think Drankam also knows this well, that’s why they won’t rush us for a decision. So let’s take our time to properly think about it before making any decision. Sara, what do you think? If you think that it might be a good decision, I’ll try to be more optimistic.”
“To be honest, I’m not really sure yet. But are you okay with that?”
“There are pros and cons if we accept their invitation, after all. If we join Drankam, there’s no mistaking it that we’ll have an easier life. We will be able to get better equipment and all kinds of help from them. I’m sure they would help us if we ever get into a similar situation like back then when we couldn’t even refill your nanomachine reserve.”
Sara smiled bitterly and made a stern face as she said.
“When you say it like that, it does sound pretty enticing…”
“But if we join them, we’ll lose some amount of our current freedom. We’ll have to do the job assigned to us even if we don’t want to do it, and not to mention that there’ll be a lot of other problematic stuff we need to take care in order to get along with the other members.”
Sara’s nanomachine reserve was basically her lifeline, thus she usually welcomed any money that she could get as an insurance in case anything bad happened. But there was also a chance for Drankam to basically hold her life hostage because of that. There was also a very good chance that they would slip a clause in their contract that would limit Sara and Elena freedom in exchange for gang’s support.
Whether it was for the better or for the worse, Sara and Elena were already used to living freely as a team of two Hunters. Thus it would greatly affect them if they lose their freedom.
Although she knew that it was important for her to stay alive, Sara also did not want to cause trouble for her best friend or make her worry. Looking at Sara who was at loss on what to do, Elena firmly but gently smiled at her.
“I’m sorry that it seems like I’m pushing the decision to you, but I think that you’re the one who will be affected the most. That’s why I want you to decide first. But don’t worry, you can take as much time as you need. And no matter what decision you come up with, I won’t complain.”
“Thank you, Elena. I’ll think about it carefully.”
Sara smiled back at Elena as she was delighted to hear that her best friend was genuinely worried about her.
There was not much time left until they reached the time limit that Elena had set. And during this time, Katsuya and his friends kept looking for relics seriously. Although they were still a bit amateurish, they tried their hardest to show their promising potential to Elena and Sara, who were watching over them from afar.
And it was worth it, Katsuya and his friends were able to gather a good amount of relics from Higaraka Residence Ruin. But Katsuya was not satisfied with the result. Thus he could not help but grumble as he found a relic when he was searching a certain abandoned house.
“There is really nothing but cheap relics here.”
“Well, that can’t be helped. Elena-san and Sara-san did say that there’s no valuable relic left in this ruin anymore.”
“Ah, the time limit is near, I think it’s fine if we just finish here. So how about we stop looking for relics now? Katsuya, what do you think?”
“…Say, how much money do you think we can get from all the relics that we gathered today?”
“Only a small number of them have any technological value as the old world relics. So I’m sure it won’t fetch us a good amount of money.”
After hearing that realistic but expected answer from Airi, Katsuya let out a sigh and seemed pretty disappointed.
Although he did get motivated by Airi and Yumina’s words from before, deep in his heart, he also hoped for a better result.
Despite the fact that they gathered quite a lot of relics considering that they did it all by themselves, their result was still not satisfactory. And if they used Elena and Sara’s abilities as a standard, their results were not worth all the hard work. Not to mention that Elena and Sara were contracted to keep Katsuya and his friends alive, so in short, they were there as paid bodyguards. Thus if the reward that Drankam needed to pay to Elena and Sara was included, there was no mistaking it that they would end up in the red.
Looking at it pessimistically, it would seem like they made Elena and Sara watch over them using Drankam’s money. Although Katsuya might not be aware of it himself, those thoughts had already taken roots deep in his mind, that was why he was unconsciously hoping for results enough to cover for that. And now that the time limit was closing in and he still had not gotten the desired result, he started to panic.
Suddenly, Elena’s face turned grim when she was monitoring the area. It was because her information gathering device detected a big sized monster not too far away from Katsuya and his friends. The signal appeared from a place that was not directly visible from Katsuya’s location.
Elena adjusted her detection device to gather detailed information from that signal and tried to make a guess from the shape of the image that she got. But her face turned grimmer after she got a good guess of what kind of monster it was.
“Greedy Crocodile… So they’re also here, huh?”
Greedy Crocodile was a type of monster that looked like a crocodile. It had two tails and strong metallic scales, and its big and strong jaws could easily tear through mechanical monsters. Its diet was clearly reflected in its appearance. All the mechanical monsters that it ate caused it to grow guns on its back and all the tanks that it ate caused tank cannons to grow from its body, even some of them had tank wheels under their bellies.
Elena could confirm the size and the shape of the greedy crocodile and guess its firepower from the data that she got from her information gathering device. Fortunately, this monster had no guns growing out of its body. But even so, it still had its powerful jaw that could easily rip metals, powerful hard scales, and a strong vitality like the other biological monsters.
“Sara. I think it’s not heading this way, but just to be safe, be sure to prepare yourself if it does. I don’t think Katsuya and his friends can handle it.”
“In that case, should we go there and kill it?”
“Let’s just leave it alone so long as it doesn’t come here. It seems that it had not noticed Katsuya’s group too, so it should be fine if we leave it be.”
“Well, there’s no need to kill it if it doesn’t attack us, huh?”
And so they decided to just keep their eyes on the crocodile for the time being.
Katsuya and his friends were about to end their relic search and go back to Elena and Sara. He suddenly noticed a faint signal from his information-gathering device. It was so faint that normal people would not notice, but Katsuya was able to notice that due to his rare talent as a Hunter.
Because of that, Katsuya put up his guard and turned towards that direction. What he could see on the far end of his view was a greedy crocodile creeping out slowly from behind wreckage.
Katsuya then thought.
[That’s a greedy crocodile… The relics that we gathered today are not great. But if I kill that monster, then it might leave a good achievement for today’s training as a monster subjugation rather than a relic search. If I remember it right, the reward from killing a greedy crocodile should be pretty high. It’s at least higher compared to all the relics that I’ve gathered today. And if I defeat that monster… Maybe Elena-san and Sara-san will recognize my skills, right?]
He was in a position where he had the first strike against a monster that would give him a noticeable achievement if he could kill it. Not to mention that in reality, the Hunter job was mostly about hunting monsters rather than hunting relics. Plus it was the perfect chance to overturn their result. These reasons pushed Katsuya to make his decision.
Katsuya asked Yumina and Airi while making a serious face.
“Yumina, Airi. Do you think we can kill that monster?”
“…Greedy crocodile, huh? It’s still far away from us and it doesn’t seem to have noticed us yet. It doesn’t seem that it has any guns growing on its body either. I think we have a good chance of winning against it if we ambush it…”
“We might be able to focus on its head and kill it before it notices us.”
As Katsuya looked seriously at Yumina and Airi, their answer encouraged Katsuya’s decision to attack that monster. Yumina said that they had a good chance against it and Airi came up with a strategy to kill it.
After hearing their answers, Katsuya judged that they had enough of a winning chance.
“In that case, I want to kill that monster. Our relic search did not go so well. Although it is not relic hunting, I want to at least leave this place with an achievement. Tell me if you’re against it.”
As Yumina looked at Katsuya’s serious face, she remembered him desperately training in the shooting range while making a pained expression. With the thoughts of all his dead friends, he continuously swore to himself to not let anyone die anymore. Watching that expression for hours was enough. She never wanted to see him in such pain again. So, she made her decision.
[If we can defeat that greedy crocodile and make Katsuya feel better about himself, it should stop him from doing that reckless training. And even if we can’t handle it, Elena-san and Sara-san will help us, this is going to be okay.]
The fact that Elena and Sara were there to watch over them if anything bad happened gave her confidence.
“If you say so, I don’t mind helping.”
Airi looked at Katsuya as she thought.
[Our equipment is better compared to before. And I don’t think Katsuya would make a suggestion that he knows to be impossible. If he thinks that it’s possible, then it should be possible for us. Not to mention that he had trained himself hard since then and I didn’t miss any of my training too. Shikarabe also recognized his talent. As long as we’re together, it should be possible to defeat a greedy crocodile.]
Her trust in Katsuya and her confidence in her own skill gave Airi the last push.
“I’ll take the first shot, after all, I’m the best here when it comes to shooting.”
Katsuya smiled and felt so happy from gaining all the trust of his companions.
“Thanks. Well then, let’s go.”
It was the moment when Katsuya was the most motivated in the whole day.
Elena and Sara quickly noticed that Katsuya and his friends were thinking of killing that greedy crocodile. Elena frowned a bit and Sara looked surprised when they noticed it.
“Sara, get yourself ready to help them. We’ll quickly kill that monster the moment it looks dangerous, but we won’t join the fight until then. Although I’ll also keep my aim on that monster, don’t assume that it’s safe just because I didn’t shoot. You can go ahead and shoot when you think that it has gotten out of hand.”
“Roger that. But still, we should’ve killed it back then, so this would not have happened.”
“We’re not here as their bodyguards, after all. Not to mention that I did tell them to make decisions as if we’re not around. Moreover, they might do that because they know that they have a good chance of winning. And if that’s true, then we shouldn’t get in their way.”
Although Elena said that, the grim look on her face revealed that Katsuya’s group only had a slim chance in winning the fight. Looking at that, Sara could not help but let out a faint smile.
“…Well, even if it was the wrong decision, having a hard fight can also serve as good training.”
Sara used her nanomachine enhanced body to swiftly move behind a wreckage not too far from their location. After making sure that Katsuya and his friends would not get into her shooting trajectory, Sara readied her CWH anti-material rifle.
In order not to get too much in the way of Katsuya and his friends, but to be able to quickly help them when the situation turned worse, Sara loaded highly explosive piercing ammo that could take that monster out in one shot into her rifle and took an aim on the monster. She just had to pull the trigger to kill that monster now. Sara then calmed her breathing and stayed there to watch how the situation would develop.
As for Elena, she kept checking her information gathering device as she readied her DSS sniper rifle. The rifle was connected to her information gathering device to increase its accuracy and it was modified to increase its firepower.
She loaded a bullet with high piercing power into her rifle. Although it had less destructive power compared to the bullet that Sara was using, the information gathering device connected to Elena’s rifle allowed her to accurately aim for the monster’s weak points. Thus she would be able to quickly take out the monster by shooting at its weak points like its brain.
Elena then sent the data to Sara to increase Sara’s accuracy too. With that, they were ready to take out the greedy crocodile anytime.
Airi was crouching on the ground and taking her aim on the greedy crocodile. The crocodile had not noticed Katsuya yet as it slowly dragged its body along the ground.
When Airi was confident enough with her aim, she pulled the trigger. And as she expected, the bullet hit the crocodile’s head.
But the bullet just bounced off its hard scale and only chipped a small amount of flesh off the crocodile’s head. For a monster with a high level of vitality like that crocodile, such a wound was just a scratch. It noticed Katsuya and his friends as it quickly turned its badly balanced body and charged toward them.
Airi kept shooting at that monster as it was running fast towards her. It quickly closed their distance. Yumina joined and started shooting at the crocodile’s head too. Katsuya also followed suit as he set his rifle on full auto and started spraying bullets at that monster.
Even when it was receiving a volley of bullets from 3 people head-on, there was no sign of the monster slowing down at all. It was showered with countless bullets but none could pierce through its big and strong scales. The bullets could only strip off a small amount of meat under its scale as they bounced off it. But even so, the crocodile kept charging with vigour. It charged straight toward Katsuya and his friends without showing any sign of evading or escaping.
They originally had the upper hand since it was a one-sided fight when the monster was far away. They could shoot at the crocodile but it had no means of fighting back from that distance. But as the crocodile got pretty close to them, Katsuya and his friends started to panic. Katsuya gritted his teeth and kept on shooting while Yumina and Airi desperately tried to help him defeat the monster. But the crocodile seemed unfazed.
Sara thought that it was getting dangerous and was about to pull the trigger of her rifle when suddenly one of Airi’s bullet hit an open wound in the head of the crocodile by pure coincidence. The bullet shattered and wreaked havoc inside the crocodile’s head and tore its flesh. But even so, it was not a fatal wound for the crocodile, but at least it was enough to make it stagger and slow down.
Noticing this, Katsuya and his friends grabbed the chance as they kept on shooting at that particular part of the crocodile. The crocodile finally stopped moving when half of its head was mutilated.
Katsuya and the other two did not notice that the crocodile had become immobile and they kept on shooting it. But eventually, they realized it and looked at each other with a smile of victory.
Katsuya then shouted in joy.
“We did it!! We killed it!! It’s our victory!! We were able to defeat it ourselves!!”
Yumina let out a sigh of relief and smiled happily.
“Although it was a close win, a win is still a win. I’m glad we were able to kill it.”
Then Airi smiled proudly and said.
“We were able to defeat it because of our skill. Now that we’ve defeated a greedy crocodile, I won’t let anyone call us amateur Hunters anymore.”
Katsuya, Airi and Yumina looked at each other and praised each other for their victory.
Sara returned back to Elena and found Elena looking at the greedy crocodile with a puzzled look.
“That was a bit dangerous, but they were able to defeat it on their own in the end. They’re pretty good… Elena, what’s wrong?”
“Sara, I feel like that greedy crocodile suddenly slowed down back there, what do you think just happened?”
“Isn’t that because one of their bullets hit its weak point by pure chance? Since they shot that many bullets at it, it’s not strange if one of their bullets hit its weak point.”
“So they were lucky, huh… Well, luck is a part of their ability too.”
“Oh my, Elena, is there anything that bothers you about their performance?”
“That’s not what I meant. It’s just that there’s something else that bothers me a little.”
Unlike Sara who was smiling like usual, there was a strange disturbing mood around Elena.
Katsuya and his friends returned back to Elena and Sara in a good mood.
“Good work. Well then, let’s take your result for today and bring them back home. We’ll be on the lookout for monsters on the way back, so you all can rest easy. But remember that normally you should not relax until you’re back in your base, okay?”
And so Elena and Sara headed back to Kugamayama city together with Katsuya, Airi and Yumina.
Katsuya and his friends were waiting inside a room in Drankam’s base for Elena and Sara to return. Elena and Sara were submitting their reports on their request to the Drankam’s officer who sent them that request. Elena and Sara would also provide their evaluation for today’s training in that report and they were told that Sara and Elena would tell them the evaluation after that. Thus Katsuya was very nervous as he was waiting in the room.
After some time, Elena, Sara and a Drankam officer entered the room. Elena and Sara sat across Katsuya and his friends while Arabe was leaning on the wall near them.
Elena then started talking.
“I’ll give you my evaluation of today’s training. First of all, you did well defeating that greedy crocodile on your own. To be honest, I thought that it would be a bit hard for you, so I was surprised when you actually did it. So I have to start my evaluation by mentioning that point.”
“Thank you very much!!”
Katsuya looked happy as he immediately replied back, Airi and Yumina also looked delighted.
Elena then continued while still looking at them.
“Other than defeating that greedy crocodile. Your ability to search for relics while monitoring your surroundings is mostly satisfactory. As for the evaluation from Drankam, they’ll evaluate your performance from our report, but we don’t know how that will come out, so let’s just put that aside for now. But for us, it doesn’t seem there’s any problem. Basically, I think you guys are full-fledged Hunters now.”
Katsuya, Airi, and Yumina’s expression loosened after Elena said that they did well as Hunters. Up until now, other Hunters used to handle them as if they were dead weight. Thus they were really happy as they felt that they had broken away from that view.
Elena then continued.
“Now then, I’ll move on to the overall performance evaluation. But before that, I want to ask you one thing, tell me again the aim of today’s ruin exploration.”
Katsuya and his friends were a bit taken back by that question. But Yumina then quickly answered back.
“Our aim was to gather relics. To be more precise, as training to gather relics. The aim was for us to be able to effectively gather relics. This is my understanding.”
“So it’s okay to assume that you did everything with that in mind, right?”
Yumina was confused when Elena said that. And so she added more explanation to her answer.
“…Well, of course, that’s if we ignore the fact that we already knew there were no more valuable relics left in Higaraka Residence Ruin and still decided to search the ruin despite that fact..”
“It’s okay to take that out of the equation here.”
“If that’s the case, then yes, that’s my answer.”
Elena then looked at Katsuya and Airi to confirm Yumina’s answer. Katsuya and Airi nodded at her.
“I agree with her.”
“…I see. All of you have the same opinion, huh. It’s a good thing to have the same aim when you work together.”
Elena paused a bit. Arabe who already listened to Elena and Sara’s report beforehand just smiled bitterly. Katsuya was confused when he noticed Arabe’s bitter smile.
Elena then continued.
“This is just my evaluation though, so you need to judge it for yourself whether it’s indeed correct or not. After all, every person has different indicators for their evaluation. If your performance agrees with these indicators, then you’ll get a good evaluation, and vice versa. I just want to make sure that you know it. So, with that being said, for me, I can only say that your performance today was terrible.”
Katsuya, Airi and Yumina were really surprised by such an unexpected evaluation from Elena. Katsuya panicked and asked.
“B-but why?! We should’ve done well during the training, right?! We might be not really that good in your eyes, but I don’t think we’re that bad either! You also praised us when we defeated that greedy crocodile, right?”
“That’s the point, that’s where my evaluation comes from. You guys did an awesome job defeating that greedy crocodile. But was there any reason why you should have done that?”
“It was because we recognized that we could defeat it!! And we did defeat that greedy crocodile!”
Elena waited for a bit after Katsuya said that. After confirming that Katsuya finished giving his explanation, she then asked him.
“Is that all?”
“What do you mean…?”
“You killed it because it seemed an easy target for you. Is that all? Do you really need to kill all the monsters that your detection device picks? You even had to focus all of your firepowers on it to be able to defeat that monster. You could have evaded the fight if you had just left it alone, but you decided to fight it although it could have easily killed you if you’re not lucky. So, is that really all the reason you have for doing that?”
Katsuya could not give any answer. Elena then shifted her gaze from Katsuya to Airi. Airi paused for a bit before answering back.
“…Our original objective of gathering relics did not end up well. So we thought that we can improve our situation by defeating that monster, and I think we did well by defeating that monster.”
“I see. So then, what exactly did you get from defeating that greedy crocodile? Is it the reward money and points for your Hunter Rank? If you put that in scale with the danger, was it worth it? Or is it that you thought you should be able to defeat it easily but it turned out that it was more difficult than you thought? Or that you knew that it would not be easy and thought that the reward you might get from defeating it was worth the risk?”
Airi could not retort back after Elena said that.
Elena then shifted to Yumina, Yumina hesitated before speaking up.
“…We used to get despised just because we’re still children. So, I thought that no one would look down on us if we can defeat a greedy crocodile and it might make us more confident in ourselves too.”
To be more precise, it was actually for Katsuya. Yumina thought that it might help him, that was why she did not stop him. She did not want to see him getting depressed because of his own weakness again.
“I see. Well, I’m sure you have your own reasons. But even so, when you decided to do that, can you say for sure that you didn’t include us in your calculation and didn’t expect us to help you when the situation got really bad? And even if that’s true, are you sure that the people who look down on you would stop after hearing what you did back there?”
Yumina could not say yes to that as she shut her mouth and did not answer back at all.
Elena looked at the 3 children who could not say anything to her and continued.
“For me, it looks like you put yourself in needless danger. And I don’t think the reward from that action could justify the danger. That’s why my evaluation of your performance is as I said. As a Hunter, I wouldn’t want to work together with you and if I’m assigned to watch over you, I wouldn’t want to do that unless we get a lot of money from it. That’s all from me. Sara, do you have anything you want to add?”
Katsuya and his friends looked at Sara with pleading eyes. But Sara just smiled bitterly and looked sorry at them. Sara basically agreed with what Elena said.
“Well, it’s as Elena said. This is about the basics. Hunters basically work by putting their lives at stake, so it’s important to make sure that whatever they might get, it should be worth risking their lives for. But of course, it’s different from person to person on what kind of reward would be worth risking their lives for. So it’s not easy to work together with the other Hunters who don’t agree on the same principles or guideline. And our principles are somehow different from the three of you. That’s why our evaluation of your performance is bad. I want you to at least understand that. It is true that you were able to defeat that greedy crocodile and I’m sure there are other Hunters who agree with your decision. If you can’t accept our evaluation, you can just laugh it off and ignore it, you are even free to think of us as just cowards.”
Sara’s words did not cheer them up at all.
After that, Sara and Elena exited the room. Then Arabe walked to Katsuya, Airi and Yumina.
“Well, although a lot of things happened there, we from Drankam think highly of you for defeating that greedy crocodile. And so, we judged that you don’t need a veteran Hunter to accompany and look over you like we usually do for young Hunters. After all, we don’t have the manpower to assign veteran Hunters to watch over Hunters who can defeat a greedy crocodile on their own. From now on, you can pick requests on your own as a full-fledged Hunter and you’re free to recruit other Hunters into your team. So I hope you will work hard as the role model for the young Hunters in this gang.”
Katsuya pushed himself to give his answer. Meanwhile, Arabe just smiled bitterly watching how the three of them were acting.
“Well, you can take a rest for the day. As a Hunter, you’ll be facing many more failures in the future. You won’t be able to continue for long in this line of work if you get depressed every time you fail. Later then.”
Arabe just left them with those words before exiting the room. Just as he was walking in the hallway, he remembered what Shikarabe said to him and clicked his tongue.
“It turned out exactly as what Shikarabe predicted, huh. It seems that it’s impossible to use them to recruit Elena and Sara now. I need to rethink my plan…”
Originally, he was planning to ask Elena and Sara to watch over Katsuya’s group. But Elena and Sara already knew about it.
Of course, Elena and Sara would not want to watch over other Hunters who did not know their own limits and always drove headfirst into dangers. After all, they would be roped into the dangers too. Arabe understood that and let out a big sigh while trying to think about his next move.
Even after Arabe left them in the room, Katsuya, Airi and Yumina stayed inside while hanging their head low for a while.
Katsuya whispered that word under his breath that he himself could not hear. And he himself did not know the real reason why he swore.
Silavin: Honestly, they tried so hard but for the wrong reasons. Hopefully, they will grow. Though, I don’t think their decision was wholly their fault. The pampering nature of the Gang goes a little bit too strong in my opinion. Especially for a line of work that they are preparing children to risk their life for.