Akira was on his bike, heading to the Kuzusuhara ruin. His face looked grim as he was rushing due to the bad situation he was in.
Alpha, who was flying parallel to him, gave him more information but it only caused his face to turn grimmer.
“Akira, you’ve got another rescue order. This is already the third order.”
“Another one, huh!! I haven’t even arrived at my next destination, you know!? Isn’t that just a bit too many?!!”
“Even if you tell me so, I can’t do anything about it. Let’s just look forward to the reward that we can get from all the monsters that you’re going to hunt today… Since it’s not a normal rescue request, they might even pay you back in the form of Hunter Rank points.”
Akira could not help but make a face saying that he so did not want that to happen.
“Seriously though, I don’t want to lose money after working this hard, you know!?”
Akira, who once again took forward base construction help requests, was assigned to rescue other Hunters rather than taking control of buildings like the last time. It was because he took too long taking control of buildings yesterday that he was assigned for another job today.
The rescue job was a very tiring job. Although he did not have to do much for each order, the rescue orders kept flooding in like crazy.
Akira was planning to do his job seriously. After all, it would not be a laughing matter if he got scolded since he took too long during yesterday’s request and failed miserably in today’s request. Thus he sped his bike as fast as he could to the next location.
The ruin was filled with all sizes of debris and wreckages. With the help of Alpha’s superb control support, Akira would blaze through them, evading them left and right, and sometimes even jumped above them as he was closing in onto his destination.
He got to face all kinds of situations during his job. Sometimes the people in the site already took control of the situation when he arrived, some other time, the monsters had already died when he arrived, and sometimes the rescue request dispatcher had already escaped from the scene after requesting for a rescue, thus leaving the monster for Akira to take care of.
Akira worked really hard and somehow was able to take care of all of the orders until finally, his remaining order came down to only 1.
After he took care of the monsters in one of his orders, Akira could be seen exiting a building while breathing roughly and looking very tired. He then took out medicine that he bought from Shizuka’s shop and gulped it down. Although it was just some cheap medicine, it should at least be able to help him recover from the exhaustion.
Akira managed to grumble.
“…It doesn’t feel like it actually works.”
“You can’t compare these with the medicines which you gathered from the ruins, you know. Both their potency and price are so different. You can try to take a huge dose of this medicine to see its immediate effect, but that would need you to consume a huge load of it, you know?”
“I guess this is why most Hunters become dependent on medicines.”
There were all types and kinds of drugs for Hunters sold in the eastern district, this medicine was one of them. There were Hunters who consumed a huge load of medicines daily. Bad medicines could cause bad side effects or bad after effect. But the Hunters were desperate to survive to see the next day, so they had no other choice but to consume a huge amount of medicine daily.
“The next order will be a good place to stop for a while. Once you’re done with it, let’s take a rest for a bit, you can just say that you need an ammo refill at HQ.”
“What should we do if they say no?”
“Like I said before, my first priority is your safety. So I have no plan letting you continue fighting monsters without getting an ammo refill.”
“…You’re right. Alright then, let’s go and finish the next rescue order.”
If Alpha got angry and refused to help Akira in this request, then it would be disastrous for him. He used that as an excuse and decided that he would take a rest after finishing his next rescue order. He felt more at ease with that reasoning and that was all according to her plan.
Akira arrived in front of an abandoned building which was the location for his final rescue order. As he parked his bike in front of the building and looked up, he could hear gunshots and explosions coming from the 5th floor of that building.
“Over there, huh?”
“It’s good that they’re still alive. It seems that they’re having a hard fight up there. Let’s go before they run out of ammo. I’ll provide you with the route.”
“I’m counting on you.”
“Just leave it to me.”
Akira could see the indicator within his enhanced vision, he ran and followed the route shown by the indicator as he charged into the building. The guiding line for the route was calculated by Alpha, it showed the shortest and safest route to Akira’s destination; after she scanned the area for monsters. Akira knew that it was why he felt at ease as he blazed through an area where he normally should move carefully and slowly because of the monsters that might be lurking around.
Akira could see the aftermath of battles between Hunters and monsters scattered inside the building. At the moment, he did not see any Hunter corpses, while on the other hand, he found a lot of biological monsters’ dead bodies as blood and flesh were scattered around.
Akira took a glance at the monster corpses that were still retaining their original form. They looked like a mix of spider and scorpion with an exoskeleton.
This so-called Yarata Scorpion had a habit of attaching objects from its surroundings onto its exoskeleton. Thus they were able to become one with its surroundings and camouflage itself.
Their exoskeletons looked like metal wreckage or debris to Akira. There were countless bullet marks on their corpses, and the bullets that did not even penetrate their exoskeleton were left around these corpses. Those were a testament to their super hard exoskeleton.
Alpha then ordered Akira.
“Stop. Some of those Yarata scorpions are still alive. It will be dangerous if you go deeper without making sure that they’re dead. It’ll take too long if you use AAH rifle, so use CWH anti-material rifle to finish them in one shot.”
Akira immediately stopped and readied his CWH anti-material rifle, but the Yarata scorpions did not move at all even after he did that. It was hard to discern whether they were really dead or not. Some could not move because of a fatal injury, while some might just be playing dead while waiting for their prey to come close enough.
Suddenly, Akira could see some of the Yarata scorpion bodies had turned reddish. Those were scorpions that Alpha judged to be still alive. Identifying all of the scorpions that were still alive among all of these unmoving scorpion bodies in an instant was an impossible thing for a normal human. But Alpha could do that like it was nothing.
It would be extremely dangerous to just ignore these scorpions and continue forward. But shooting each and every single one of them just to be safe would consume a lot of ammo. But of course, it was a whole different case if it was possible to discern the alive scorpions from the dead ones.
Akira aimed his CWH anti-material rifle at the scorpions that were outlined in red and nested one shot for each scorpion. The bullet that was spewed out from his gun’s muzzle penetrated the scorpion’s hard outer shell, wreaked havoc inside their bodies, and instantly killed them. After Akira killed a dozen of scorpions, suddenly one of them sprung up and attempted to attack him. But his bullet reached it first and instantly killed it.
“That should be all.”
Akira then blazed through the corpses of the dead scorpion and rushed forward.
The Hunters were holding up in one of the rooms on the fifth floor. They were directing their guns at the only door into their room as they were shooting the monsters coming at them while making a grim face.
One of them pulled out his rental terminal and shouted.
“This is number 157!! HQ!! Answer me!!”
“This is A4 division HQ. What’s wrong?”
“Don’t give me that again!! Where’s my rescue?!”
“The rescue order has been dispatched and he’s heading your way now. Just hang on there.”
“How much longer should I wait?!!! We’ve been waiting quite a while and no one is coming, you know!!”
“The rescue Hunters are responding to the rescue orders in turns. There are too many rescue orders, we’re basically flooded with them, you know. If you want to get angry, then you can curse those Hunters who dispatch rescue requests although they are only fighting weak monsters. You’re actually getting the short end of the stick because of those Hunters. So just try to hang on, that’s all.”
“Wha- Wait!!… Dammit!! They just cut the call!!”
He was about to slam the terminal on the floor, but another Hunter stopped him. It was the last still functioning terminal. The others were already destroyed during the fight.
The door to their room was piled up with dead Yarata scorpion corpses. Some of them could also be found inside the room.
The Hunters did not even bother to check the bodies if they were really dead or not. But they also did not have the leeway to shoot them to make sure that they were really dead.
In order to make sure that they were dead, the Hunters would need to spend their precious ammo to crack open their exoskeleton before delivering the killing shot. They also had used all of their grenades and other explosives when they ran away from the monsters to this room. They had no other choice but to hold their position using their regular ineffective bullets until rescue came. Thus, they could not afford to waste any of their ammo.
The Hunters had no other choice but to wait for rescue. They did not have the guts to try breaking through the monsters and getting out from that room. After all, they did not know what was the situation outside that room. In the worst-case scenario, there might be a huge number of Yarata scorpions waiting outside the room. Because of that, they could not work out the courage to get out of that room.
It did not take long before the Hunters there heard gunshots from outside their room. And they noticed that the gunshot’s sound was approaching closer and closer.
The Hunters cheered in happiness. But their cheering was immediately stopped. The Yarata scorpions inside that room which were faking death started moving again because of those gunshots. This caused the Hunters inside the room to fight desperately.
Akira tried to reach his rescue target as fast as he could, but he was interrupted by the scorpions that were pretending to be dead. Every time he found a pile of dead monsters, he could always find scorpions that were faking death mixed among the corpses. Among them, there were scorpions that were still alive even after losing their heads. Akira would destroy their legs or tails, although it would not kill them, it would be enough to at least render them unfit for battle.
Akira grumbled as he changed the magazine of his CWH anti-material rifle.
“There are just too many of them!! What the heck is up with these monsters?! How many did I kill until now?”
“That last one was your 54th scorpion. This is indeed too many.”
The usual CWH anti-material rifle’s ammo was much more expensive and had higher piercing power than normal ammo. They were normally used for fighting mechanical monsters, thus it was a bit of an overkill using them on Yarata scorpions. But since his normal ammo would not work against the hard Yarata scorpion’s exoskeleton, so he had no other choice but to use the expensive CWH ammo.
Akira frowned every time he pulled the trigger of his gun, it felt like he shot money out of his rifle’s muzzle.
“I have to pay for the ammo with my own money, you know!! If the reward from this request is bad, I won’t do this request again, okay?!”
“This request is basically not a monster-hunting request. So unlike a usual monster-hunting request where the reward is decided based on the type and number of monsters that you kill, we wouldn’t know how much reward we will get until we receive it. Not to mention that from yesterday’s request, the basic pay is only 20,000 Aurum.”
“I already spent more than 20,000 Aurum worth of ammo, you know!! Just how big is my ammo expense today going to be??!”
“Let’s put that aside for now until you finish the rescue order. You’ll get killed if you’re too frugal with your ammo right now, you know?”
Akira rushed forward while closely gripping his gun. After killing about 20 more scorpions, he finally arrived near the room where the Hunters were holding up. Gunshots echoed endlessly from inside that room.
As Akira carefully stepped into that room with his gun ready, he saw the Hunters fighting 2 Yarata scorpions. The normal ammo that the Hunters used could not deal much damage, they were only able to barely hold those 2 scorpions off from coming closer.
Akira quickly aimed at those scorpions and destroyed their heads and tails. Their limbs were blasted and scattered all over the room. The Hunters only noticed Akira after those two scorpions stopped moving.
“Are you the rescue Hunter…?! T-thank goodness.”
The Hunters slumped on the floor, they were relieved and glad. A Hunter who had not lowered his guard came and asked Akira.
“Are you alone?”
“Yes. Did someone else come?”
“No, you’re the only one.”
Akira was surprised to know that he was the only rescue sent to a Yarata scorpion nest. But before he complained to the HQ, he asked the Hunters.
“…What did you say to the HQ when you requested a rescue?”
“I told them that we encountered a group of insect-like monsters, but then they told us to hold our ground. To be honest, it was really dangerous. You really saved us, you know.”
Akira thought that the HQ might have misunderstood and thought that they were attacked by some small-sized insect-like monsters. It was important to inform the HQ with the correct information.
Just like the other Hunters, Akira also wanted to get out of that building as soon as possible. So he shouted at the other Hunters.
“Let’s get out of here before more of those monsters comes. The route that I took to come here should be still safe.”
“Y-you’re right. Hey!! Hey, we’re leaving the place!!”
Akira prioritized escorting the Hunters out as soon as possible. The Hunters would suddenly stop every time they saw a pile of Yarata scorpions’ corpses in the middle of their way out. Only after seeing no movement from those piles after Akira, who was leading the group, approached them, they would finally feel safe to walk past those piles.
After leading the Hunters out of the building, Akira contacted the HQ.
“This is number 14. HQ, answer me.”
“This is A4 division HQ. What’s wrong?”
“I’ve rescued the Hunters and will be returning back to the temporary base now.”
“Don’t return, just send the Hunters to go back by themselves. You should go to the next rescue order.”
Akira’s face turned grim and shouted at the terminal.
“Are you crazy? That building was filled with Yarata scorpions, you know!! I won’t go to the next rescue order without an ammo refill first, okay?!”
Akira waited for a response, but there was no reply from the HQ. He could hear a little bit of ruckus from the other side of the terminal. He then asked for a response while making a puzzled face.
“…HQ? Answer me. What’s wrong?”
When he did that, the HQ staff asked him back slowly and carefully.
“Let me reconfirm. Were they really Yarata scorpions? Is that building a Yarata scorpion’s nest?”
“I don’t know if it’s a nest or not. But it’s true that the building is flooded by a type of monster with a super hard exoskeleton that would even bounce off a normal AAH rifle bullet. If you doubt it, you can go ahead and send someone to check the corpses.”
“Forget what we just said. Go back to the temporary base as soon as possible. The terminals that we gave you are still functional, right?”
“Mine is alright. But as for the Hunters… They are broken except for the one that they used to contact you… Or so they said.”
The HQ staff suddenly shouted.
“Don’t lose them no matter what!! Come back here as fast as you can!! And make sure to not damage the terminal even further!! That’s all!!”
Then the HQ staff ended the call. Akira and the other Hunters looked at each other with a puzzled and worried look.
Akira was obviously confused, but Alpha then said to him with a smile shaking Akira off from his confusion.
“Akira. There’s no need to think about the things that you don’t understand right now. Let’s just head back for now. Just see it from the bright side, it’s a good thing now that you have a reason to go back.”
There was no mistaking it. There was something going on. But since Alpha was not making a solemn expression, Akira thought that it should be alright. So he decided to just push that aside for now.
And so, Akira and the other Hunters headed back to the temporary base. The Hunters were walking in front while Akira followed behind them on his bike. Since his job was finished the moment he evacuated the Hunters from that building, Akira could just directly go back. But the other Hunters pleaded with him to accompany them on their way back.
Akira was tinkering with his information gathering device to correctly detect the Hunters in front of him in order to get himself familiar with it. But it did not go well. Although the Hunters were not too far in front of him, the output from the information gathering device could not display the correct information. Akira mumbled as he was playing with the information gathering device’s setting.
“This thing is difficult. The output goes crazy every time I make even the slightest change from Elena-san’s setting. Maybe I should just stay with Elena-san’s setting.”
“Elena’s setting is basically an ideal setting after all. If you change it randomly, the accuracy of the information gathering device will fall greatly. But you should play with its setting to understand the setting parameters and get familiarized with it.”
“Now that I think about it. You’re also using this information-gathering device to detect monsters, right? If I play with its setting, wouldn’t it disrupt your detection ability? Is that really alright?”
“It’s okay. I’m directly using the raw data from that information-gathering device and analyzing it myself. The data that you’re seeing right now is produced by the software inside that information-gathering device and it has nothing to do with my detection ability. So no need to worry, you can play with it.”
“I see. In that case, I’ll just keep on tinkering with it.”
Akira was viewing the scanning result through his visor type display. There was a separate area on his upper right visor showing the scan focused around Akira. Although there were Hunters walking in front of him, the signals coming from those Hunters were rather wacky and unclear. It was because the setting on the information-gathering device was incorrect.
The search results would vary greatly every time Akira changed the individual setting of his information-gathering device. If he could optimize the setting to focus only on the important information, the information-gathering device could be effectively used in many different situations. By adjusting the values in the settings, he could focus on a vague signal, which only showed that something was detected, and get a better set of information that would let him extract shape, size and any other information.
Alpha then explained to Akira the basics of adjusting the setting.
“Normally, you would just expand and contract the search area. And when you find a signal, you would focus on where the signal comes from and try to analyze it. It’s important to set the interval between wide-range and close-range scan, the power output ratio between the image, sound and movement processor, and the type of analysis that you would use for each data. For example, when you’re in a place with a lot of obstacles, it’s better to decrease the power output of image analysis and increase the range of the scan. In case when you can see your target, it might be better to focus the image sensor to only detect images from behind you. There are basically a lot of things you can do with it.”
“Yep, it’s not easy.”
Akira was listening to Alpha as he was having a hard time adjusting the setting of the information-gathering device. Not too long after that, Alpha suddenly said to him in a serious tone.
“Akira, you should either go ahead and leave those Hunters behind or tell them to start running to the temporary base as fast as they can. A swarm of Yarata scorpions is closing in on us.”
Akira immediately shouted to the Hunters in front of him.
“Hey!! Run to the temporary base as fast as you can!! A swarm of those monsters from before is coming this way!!”
The Hunters were shocked as turned towards Akira. Akira made a grim face as he continued.
“I’ll try to slow them down!! So run as fast as you can!!”
The Hunters looked around but they could not see any Yarata Scorpions. One of them asked Akira in panic.
“Are you sure?! Where are they?! I don’t see them at all, you know?!”
Akira started to get irritated since the Hunters would not start running.
“Just go now!! If you keep standing here, I won’t help you, okay?! I’ll just go ahead on my bike, you know!!”
The Hunters started running in panic. Akira then looked around, but he could not find any scorpions.
“Alpha, where’s the swarm? I can’t see them and I got no signal from the information-gathering device, you know?”
“Akira, I’ll enhance your vision now, so stay calm, okay?”
After giving Akira a warning, Alpha enhanced his vision. Because of that, Akira was able to see the Yarata scorpions around him. His face turned grim the moment he saw the scorpions.
The other Hunters were running desperately towards the temporary base. They were running on an open ground with little to no wreckages, thus they were able to run quickly, but on the other hand, there were not many covers in case they got attacked. In short, they had no winning chance in case a swarm of Yarata scorpions attacked them here. The Hunters understood this fact, and that was why they were running so desperately.
The Hunter who was running at the front suddenly stopped, so all the Hunters behind him immediately stopped too.
The Hunter who stopped because the one in front of him stopped did not even need to wait for an answer to understand the reason why.
There were multiple wreckages scattered not too far in front of them. Although they looked like nothing but normal wreckages, they were actually Yarata scorpions waiting for their prey to come close. The Yarata scorpions anticipated the Hunters’ movement and already laid an ambush here.
The Hunters picked up their guns in panic, but even before they were able to do so, a scorpion quickly jumped into action and ran toward the Hunters.
But at the next moment, a gunshot echoed and that monster was sent flying. The Hunters immediately turned to where that gunshot came from, it was Akira aiming his CWH anti-material rifle at that monster while still on his bike.
“Don’t stop!! Run!!!”
The Hunters immediately started running again, passing the dead Yarata scorpion that Akira just shot.
Akira was able to see the scorpions with the help of Alpha’s support as all the scorpions around him were outlined in red. Some of them were camouflaging themselves as wreckages, some of them hid behind the wreckages and some of them were still on their way from afar. He could clearly see their positions and shapes thanks to Alpha’s support.
Akira did not find any signal from his information-gathering device that indicated the existence of the Yarata scorpions around him. Or at least, Akira could not recognize if there was such a signal.
Thus Akira looked confused since it was as if Alpha summoned those monsters out of thin air.
“There are so many of them around but why is my information-gathering device not picking anything up?”
“The sensors installed in that information-gathering device do receive signals from the Yarata scorpions. But even if it can receive those signals, it is a whole different story whether it can recognize it as Yarata scorpions or not. It’s just like you, you can see all those pebbles scattered around you but it’s not like you always recognize that those pebbles are there, right? It’s not an easy thing to segregate a big amount of information. That would simply drive you crazy. And if you take all of them seriously, you won’t be able to differentiate noise from useful information. It would be pointless if you try to compare my powerful information-gathering ability and superior information-analysis ability with the result from that information-gathering device, you know. But if I have to say anything about it, you should be able to notice those scorpions had you retained Elena’s setting.”
“So in short, because I changed the setting, I messed up the setting that Elena-san left with it and so it doesn’t work properly, huh?”
“If I have to be honest, then yes, that would be true. But If I have to say anything else, then it just means that you should be thankful for Elena-san’s setting.”
“So, it’s basically pointless to have a good tool if I can’t use it, huh? This shooting skill is basically because of your support too. I really wonder now if I am actually getting stronger or it is just all because of your support all along.”
As Akira stated his own weakness and berated himself, Alpha smiled and tried to cheer him up.
“If you have anything to complain about your own strength, then you should work hard to train yourself from now on. But at least I can guarantee you that you’re stronger now compared to before you started training.”
“You’re right. I’ll definitely do that.”
Akira kept on aiming and shooting at the Yarata scorpions while smiling bitterly.
Akira might not realize it himself, but his skill was actually improving at an incredible speed. It was all thanks to Alpha’s super effective training. It was the reason why, although he had bad luck, he was able to survive after he encountered 2 swarms of monsters on the same day.
But Akira looked down on his own skill. It was because he understood that compared to Alpha’s support, his skill was basically not even worth mentioning. That fact had greatly caused him to develop a biased evaluation of himself.
People who had absolute confidence in their own skills usually were indeed skilled people. So in contrast, Akira’s low self-confidence made him look weaker than how he really was.
Because of that, there were children who looked like a completely different person when they were in battle. People used to mistake them as pebbles and stepped on them, just to find out that they were actually closer to land mines.
Akira shot down the Yarata scorpions one by one. The piercing ammo that he used, pierced through their strong exoskeleton and destroyed their nervous system. It then either killed them on spot or at least rendered them paralyzed. But there were still a lot of Yarata scorpions there. Akira thought that there was no end to them as he shifted his aim to his next target. But Alpha suddenly said to him.
“Akira, that was your last bullet.”
“…Do you mean I’ve already run out of piercing ammo?!”
“Unfortunately so. Change your gun.”
Akira quickly changed into his AAH assault rifle while making a grim face. He knew that his rifle was only loaded with normal ammo, so it would be difficult to kill a Yarata scorpion using this ammo.
He suddenly heard a scream from the Hunters. When he quickly glanced at the direction of that scream, he saw Yarata scorpions standing in front of the Hunters.
As Alpha said that, she controlled Akira’s augmented suit and moved his body to grab onto the bike. At the same time, his bike suddenly accelerated, passed beside the Hunters in front of him, and headed straight to those Yarata scorpions.
Akira tried to follow the movement of his augmented suit. When Alpha gave him the signal, he quickly leaned his body sideway to make the bike slide on its wheel. He used one of his legs to prevent him from falling over, as he slid on his bike and slammed its wheels onto the Yarata scorpions. Alpha accelerated the bike when its wheels got in contact with the scorpions and sent the scorpions flying into the air.
One of the scorpions that were sent flying crashed into wreckage not too far from Akira. Although it did not kill it, it was enough to stop it from moving for the time being. While the other scorpion was sent flying upward. Akira got off his bike and kicked the scorpion as it fell back to the ground with his augmented suit enhanced strength. That scorpion was blown away on its side and bounced further away as it landed onto a wreckage.
The other Hunters were dumbfounded watching such a scene unfolding right in front of their eyes. Akira then shouted at them.
The Hunters got back to their senses and started running again.
More and more scorpions joined the swarm that was chasing Akira and the Hunters. As the other Hunters were running away, Akira protected their back as he carried two AAH rifles and showered the monsters with bullets. But as expected, the normal bullet could not do much damage on the scorpion’s exoskeleton.
Due to Alpha’s accuracy support, Akira was able to land multiple shots at the same spot on Yarata scorpion’s hard exoskeleton which eventually destroyed that exoskeleton and injured them, thus slowing the scorpions down. But even if he managed to kill some of them, it was only enough to slow down the whole swarm.
“That thing is freaking hard!! And there is no end to them!! This is getting pretty bad!!”
In contrast to Akira who started panicking, Alpha was still calm. But even so, she suddenly made a decision that fit the situation.
“It might be a good idea to consider abandoning the other Hunters behind and heading to the temporary base soon.”
“T-that’s a little bit… You know… Can we ask for rescue from the HQ instead?”
“Those Hunters already did that while running, you see. And it seems that the reply was not positive at all.”
“…I’ll try to hold on until the last moment.”
Since he had worked so hard to help them, Akira wanted to save these Hunters. But he had no plan to die with them. That was his thoughts as he kept on shooting at the scorpions while making a grim face.
The situation just kept getting worse as the Hunters started to reach their physical limits. The Hunters pushed themselves to keep running although they were already short on breath. While on the other hand, the scorpions did not show any sign of exhaustion as they kept closing in. It was only a matter of time before the scorpions reached them.
“This is not good at all.”
“Tell the Hunters to hole up in the building near them and wait for rescue from the HQ. If we’re lucky, we might be able to survive this swarm.”
“There’s no other way, huh? Do you have any recommendation about which building should we pick?”
“Let’s see, how about that… Oh, there’s no need to do that anymore.”
When Alpha was about to point at a building near them, she suddenly turned and pointed at the direction of the temporary HQ. As Akira turned to that direction, he could see multiple armed vehicles heading towards him.
Akira then moved his bike aside to make a way for them. After those vehicles passed Akira, they scattered the scorpions away with their huge guns. Explosive warheads showered the scorpions and quickly turned the whole swarm into minced meat.
The armed vehicles then continued to decimate the rest of the scorpions as they headed straight to the deeper part of the ruin. One of the armed vehicles stopped beside Akira, a guy then came out from it and said to Akira.
“Are you number 14?”
“I’m the Captain of Kugamayama defense squad. We’re here by the request from HQ. Give me your rental terminal.”
Akira handed his rental terminal to that man.
“Alright. With this, your job has ended. You can go back home now.”
“Wait for a second. What’s happening here?”
“The ruin is flooded with Yarata Scorpions. So we’re here to eradicate those scorpions. There’s a good chance that a big nest is around here somewhere and it seems that the exploration around this area has stirred up the nest. I heard that they’re re-sweeping the area around the construction site now. The HQ is trying to identify the location of that nest from the information terminals that they lent to the Hunters, but it seems that a lot of Hunters were killed, you see. So it seems like they’re having a hard time pinpointing the number and the locations of the nests because of the lack of information. They also told us to retrieve the terminals from the dead Hunters too. Ahh, in any case, do you want to help us collect the terminals? You came all the way here escorting those Hunters, so you’re a pretty good Hunter, aren’t you?”
Akira shook his head and refused.
“No thanks. I thought I came here with plenty enough bullets but I’m all dry now. I simply don’t have enough resources right now. I’m not even sure they would cover for the ammo that I spent, you know.”
That man laughed lightly at Akira’s complaint.
“That’s too bad. You should at least make a contract to make sure that they would cover for your ammo next time. Later then, kiddo.”
After he said that, the man went and joined with the rest of the armed vehicles.
Akira looked at the other Hunters. It seemed that they were talking with the people from the other armed vehicles. Akira could not hear what they were talking about, but Alpha could as she used the information-gathering device to analyze the faint voice that reached it.
“It seems that they asked for a ride to the temporary base but got refused. It has nothing to do with us, so let’s just go ahead and go back home.”
Akira then got on his bike and drove past the other Hunters. Some of them tried to call him but he just ignored them.
The other armed vehicles continued deeper into the ruin after taking the rental terminals from the Hunters. The Hunters that were left behind could not help but grumble.
“That boy and the defense squad won’t even give us a ride…”
“There’s no helping it. Let’s just go back home now. Although the defense squad had cleared the way to the temporary base, it’s not like it will stay safe forever, you know.”
“You’re right. Let’s go then… But still, who was that boy? He is really strong.”
“No idea. But all I know is that he’s strong enough to charge at that swarm all by himself. I heard that there’s a strong boy in Drankam, that boy might be him. I also heard that boy from Drankam did well in that big battle not too long ago.”
“Ahh, right, I heard about that too. But I heard that he’s just an above-average but a little arrogant boy with some good equipment though. I don’t really remember what his name was, was it Ka… Ka… Ka… Kazuya?”
“I don’t care about that. Let’s just hurry up and return back.”
The Hunters sounded dead tired as they were talking. But even so, they managed to drag their feet back to the temporary base.