Standing outside the Exchange Centre, Akira kept staring at the 300 Aurum on his hand. Although he did get a clear explanation about why he got so little compensation, he still couldn’t fully accept it. He then let out a sigh as if he was expelling unwillingness from his heart and put the 300 Aurum, compensation that he got from risking his life going to the ruins, into his chest pocket.
Alpha smiled as if she was trying to cheer him up.
“Don’t worry, you’ll receive the rest later. So just patiently wait for it, okay?”
Akira composed himself and his expression calmed down as he gave Alpha a deep nod.
“…Yeah, you’re right. I shouldn’t let it weigh me down.”
As he somehow was able to force himself to calm down, he used that momentum to start thinking of his next plan.
“Alpha, I’m planning to go to the ruins again tomorrow, is that fine with you?”
“Of course. In that case, you should take a rest for today. I’m sure that you’re pretty tired.”
“Yeah, I really am tired. Let’s just take a rest for the day.”
Akira moved his gaze to the contents in the paper bag that he was carrying. The bag was filled with a knife, medicines, and many other things that he didn’t sell. For the current Akira, those things were really valuable.
“Well, we still have to hide these stuff though. So let’s head to the back alley first.”
As he was heading to the place where he had slept yesterday, Alpha suddenly gave Akira a signal to stop.
“Akira, be careful.”
At the direction where Alpha was pointing, 3 children appeared from a small branch road. As Akira was alerted by those children, 2 more children appeared behind him. All these children were from the slum just like Akira and their ages were more or less the same as him.
The leader of these children was the boy named Darbe who was standing right in front of Akira. He laughed and started making demands to Akira.
“Take out your money, you do have some with you now, don’t you?”
As expected, after hearing such a demand, Akira’s expression turned stiff. But he decided to try to defuse the situation.
“I have no money with me. You should know that by just looking at me. If you’re going to rob someone, then look for someone who is carrying money.”
At a glance, Akira’s argument did look valid. If these children actually came to him only for screwing around and not for money, that should be enough to discourage them at least. But Darbe laughed repulsively and tilted his head as if he was mocking Akira.
“Stop with the lie, I saw it, you know? You just came out from the Exchange Centre, right? You headed to the ruin today and yesterday, but unlike today, you didn’t go to the Exchange Centre yesterday. So you did find something, didn’t you? Which means that you have some money with you right now.”
Darbe and his gang had seen Akira go to ruins and decided to standby around the Exchange Centre. Compared to venturing into the ruin looking for relics themselves, it is way safer to just rob the people who return from the ruin. There are many people who follow this line of thinking. As for these small children, there was no way they could rob an adult Hunter, and so they had no other choice but to rob other children like Akira. This was one of the reasons why the number of child Hunter kept decreasing.
Akira let out a sigh and answered honestly.
“Look, I have no more than 300 Aurum.”
“Hah? Stop screwing with me.”
“I’m not screwing with you. They didn’t give me anything more than 300 Aurum for all the things that I brought here. I’m not lying, they said that it’s the rule. So you see, I don’t have much money and it’s not worthy of ganking me with 5 people. If you understand now, then just go somewhere else. “
Darbe looked at Akira with suspicion. But he did not look like he was lying. Moreover, he remembered that he had heard from someone before that the first payment for a new hunter is no more than 300 Aurum. And so he clicked his tongue in frustration.
“What the heck, And here I thought that we would get a lot of money for the first time after a while. Stop doing something so misleading like that!”
“My bad, so, can I go now?”
It seemed that the other children had lost their will. But that was not the case for Darbe, he still looked like he would tell the other children to attack Akira. Darbe scanned Akira for anything that looked expensive. But Akira was only wearing a ragged dress that was not worth robbing. Moreover, the paper bag that he was carrying was so dirty that it did not look like it had anything of value. Normally, that would be enough to make him give up, but he was so frustrated since he had promised his friends.
His frustration finally reached its peak, he let his emotion take over his body and pulled out a gun.
“Goddammit!! I don’t care anymore!! Give me your 300 Aurum if you don’t want to die!”
Akira who was already tensed, stiffened even more.
“…You won’t get anything from trying to shoot me, you know? After all, I would definitely fight back. Do you really want to do this for just 300 Aurum? Just stop it.”
“Shut up!! Just handover the money!!”
Fighting to the death against a penniless person would only make them deplete their money on the bullets. Moreover, fighting a cornered opponent might cause them fatal injuries. Darbe understood that, but he was looking for a way to vent his frustration and was pushed by the momentum after he pulled his gun. It’s 5 vs 1 and he already had his gun out first, having such an advantage made Darbe take a rash decision.
Akira’s face got grimmer. It was only 300 Aurum, it was not an amount worthy of risking his own life. While at the same time, it was the money that he had earned after risking his life and it was the very first compensation that he got as a Hunter. So in short, that money was not something that he could easily give up on, thus Akira had to make a difficult decision.
Suddenly, Alpha stood in front of Akira and looked at him with a relaxed smile.
“Akira, answer me quietly. Don’t worry, I can hear you no matter how small your voice is. Do you understand?”
“If it’s needed, I’ll give you my support, so what are you going to do? Handover the money? Or escape? Or maybe kill them?”
If he just gave away the money that he had gotten after risking his life, it might let him survive longer. But it also meant that he had to give up on his money again next time.
He might as well survive if he ran as far as he could. But it meant that he had to run away again next time.
And lastly, he might survive if he killed them. But there was a chance that he might get himself killed in the process.
Akira made a decision without even hesitating.
“…I’ll kill them.”
Alpha smiled without showing any animosity.
“Roger that. I’ll give you instructions then. First of all, we’ll break through the encirclement. You can pass through the opening between the 2 children behind you, after all, they’ve lowered their guards and are standing a bit further away from each other then the rest. Turn back, take 2 steps forward, then lean forward as if you got tripped and run through the gap between those 2 children. After that, immediately jump into the small alley on the right side and we’ll start fighting back from there. You get that?”
“…I understand. And when exactly should I turn back?”
“Do it now.”
Akira immediately turned back.
On his first step. the other children stiffened as they were surprised when Akira suddenly turned back.
Then on his second step. the other children extended their hand trying to grab Akira. But their hands reached nothing as Akira leaned forward as if he had tripped. After that, Darbe pulled the trigger, but his bad aim had caused the bullet to pass above Akira who was leaning forward.
The other children were surprised by the gunshot from Darbe and stood stunned temporarily. Akira used that opening to go to the alley on his right and continued running. When the other children snapped back to reality and hurriedly checked the alley, Akira was long gone.
The boy who had narrowly missed Darbe’s bullet came to him.
“Hey!! That was dangerous, dammit!!”
“Shut up! It’s that boy’s fault for moving so suddenly!! That damn boy, I’ll kill him!! Hey!! What are you standing around for? Chase after him!!”
Another child replied back with an annoyed tone.
“Just give it up, there’s nothing we can get from robbing a poor kid like him, right? Moreover, he already got away from us. If you’re really going to aim for him, let’s just wait until he comes back to the Exchange Centre again. After all, I’m sure he’ll have a lot of money by then.”
Darbe clicked his tongue in annoyance at his friends who had lost their motivation and gave up on chasing Akira. They disbanded and started getting on their own different ways. But just after taking a few steps, Darbe, who was unwilling to give up on Akira, looked back to the alley where Akira had vanished.
At the next instance, Darbe’s expression turned grim. Akira suddenly jumped out from the alley while pointing his gun at him. Darbe was able to evade Akira’s bullets since he was coincidentally looking at him. But the other children took the bullet and fell down while crying in agony.
Darbe was about to attack back as he pointed his gun to Akira’s direction. But when he did so, Akira was already gone and there was no one where he aimed. The surprise and confusion that came due to an enemy who appeared out of the blue started to die down. But in exchange, anger started to swell inside him overwriting the fear of death. His hand started trembling while holding his gun that was pointing to nothing.
“How dare he mess with me!!”
His loud voice that showed his anger reverberated around him.
Meanwhile, Akira was running on the back alley with a grim expression. Since he had immediately ran back into the alley without confirming whether his shots got any hit, he was able to distance himself from Darbe and his gang.
“Alpha! How was that?!”
“3 of them got hit, 2 of them rendered unable to fight. All of them are still alive.”
“I see, that was better than I had expected.”
Akira was not someone who was skilled in using a gun. Normally, it would be impossible for him to just jump out of an alley and hit 3 shots. An amateur would normally jump out of the alley and take his time aiming before pulling the trigger, then he would stand there to confirm whether his shots got any hit. But if Akira did that, he would definitely get shot back.
Who made it possible was Alpha. Alpha went out from the alley before Akira and stood in an efficient shooting position while pointing at Darbe and his gang. Akira just followed Alpha’s movement. He jumped out of the alley to the position that Alpha showed and pointed his gun to the directions that he already knew beforehand by looking at Alpha, then he shot a predetermined number of bullets in those directions as fast as possible before running back to the alley. It was only because Akira followed Alpha’s instructions precisely that he was able to successfully execute the surprise attack.
But it was not like his enemy had been defeated. The battle still continued.
“We’re moving to the next position. This way!”
Akira kept running in the back alley as he was following Alpha.
Darbe was watching his surroundings with his gun ready as he peeked into the alley where Akira disappeared. He didn’t see Akira there, but he thought that Akira might be lurking somewhere nearby. So, he brought his friend, who fortunately didn’t get shot, and cautiously walked deeper into the alley.
One of the children shouted at Darbe with an uneasy look as Darbe was moving deeper into the alley.
“H-hey!! What are we going to do with them?! Are we just going to abandon them?!”
Darbe answered with a stern expression as if he was scolding back.
“We’ll kill that boy first!! Otherwise, we won’t even be able to move those guys to a safer place, you know?!! What would you do if he starts shooting at us while we’re carrying them to the clinic?!!”
“I-I see, you’re right… It’s not like you’re planning to abandon them, right?”
“If I was planning to abandon them, I would’ve been running away by now.”
Darbe was immensely annoyed at his friend who he was talking with. He thought that if only these guys didn’t stop him, then they wouldn’t be in that situation.
Akira took a long detour to avoid encountering Darbe and his gang. Finally, he arrived back to where they were. He then carefully took aim at one of the boys’ head while keeping watch at the other children who were already injured. The dead kid, the fainted kid and the kid who saw Akira and whispered something, all of them were silenced as Akira pulled the trigger. There were 3 gunshots followed by 3 bodies rolling over the ground with holes in their heads.
“…That’s 3, only 2 more left.”
“Get back to hiding now.”
Akira withdrew to another alley and hid himself. As Akira rested his back on the alley’s wall and straightened his breathing, Alpha gave him her next instruction.
“Akira, take out the medicine that you didn’t sell and eat it.”
“But I’m not injured, you know?”
“Just take it, take about 10 pills.”
Akira was puzzled, but he immediately took out the medicine box from the paper bag and opened its seal just like instructed. He took out a few pills into his hand.
[…Since this is also a relic of the old world, then this is the medicine of the old world, right? This might be a super effective medicine. It feels like it’s such a waste to take it while I’m not injured at all… But Alpha told me to take it, so…]
Since it was Alpha’s instruction, it must have some kind of reason behind it. As Akira convinced himself, he swallowed the medicine.
Hearing the sound of gunshots, Darbe and his friends hurriedly ran back to his injured friends. Darbe’s face twitched in anger looking at their dead bodies.
“Dammit, he circled around us, huh?!!”
Darbe’s friends arrived behind him. Their face turned pale as they saw the dead bodies of their friends. One of them took a few steps back from Darbe before shouting at him with grim expression.
“I-it’s your fault!! It’s all your fault!! It’s because you shot that boy!!!”
After shouting, he ran as fast as he could, leaving Darbe behind. As he ran, another gunshot reverberated. It was Akira who fired that shot, it missed. The boy kept running deeper into the slum while screaming and vanished.
Darbe was also thinking of running away but he couldn’t. The hatred from seeing his friends getting killed and the scorn towards his friend who left him, pushed him forward. He just stood there without running away and shouted.
“That damn kid!! He’s screwing with me!!”
There was only one branch road from where Akira could take a shot at the boy who was running. Darbe just shoved aside his fear of getting killed and ran towards the branch road.
As for Akira, he was getting himself ready for a shoot out against Darbe. He hid himself in the alley as Alpha was standing in front of him and telling him Darbe’s position.
Akira was planning to shoot Darbe’s head the moment he peeked into the alley, and for that, Akira was holding his gun with both of his hand and getting himself ready as he waited for that moment.
But something unexpected happened. Akira thought that Darbe would stop and carefully try to take a peek into the alley. But on the contrary, Darbe threw caution out the window and blazed into the alley.
Darbe thought that Akira would have run deep into the alley, that’s why he sprinted full speed and plunged into the alley, but instead, he found Akira standing right beside him. He never expected such scenario.
Both of them were surprised. They found themselves in a close distance between each other. They hurriedly pointed their guns at each other and pulled the trigger at the same time.
Both of them fell to the ground, the bullet hit each other’s arm. Both of them were severely injured. But as they were on the ground and writhing in pain, they thought of the same thing, the opponent was still alive and that shot wasn’t enough to kill the enemy. Thus they hurriedly tried to finish their opponent and pointed their guns at each other again while ignoring the pain.
When Darbe was about to point his gun, he already found himself at the end of Akira’s muzzle. Akira pulled his trigger and a bullet flew from his gun and hit Darbe in point blank range. It wasn’t a killing shot, but it was enough to rob Darbe from his power to fight back. Darbe dropped his gun and fell down into the pool of his own blood, thus ending his short life.
After killing Darbe, Akira immediately looked at his injuries. There was a hole in his dress and quite a lot of blood was flowing out from it. It was a severe wound. But even so, he did not feel his movement dulled, he did not even feel any pain. As he was wondering at what was happening, Alpha suddenly shouted at him with a serious face.
“Akira, you have to tend to your wound.”
“Alpha, for some reason, I don’t feel much pain…”
“That’s the effect of the painkiller, the medicine that you took before. But it doesn’t heal the wound.”
“I see, so that’s why you told me to take the medicine beforehand, huh?”
It was all thanks to the painkiller that he could still move just fine. Moreover, since he got shot right after he took the medicine, he could immediately focus on tending his wound. Although the effect was light, it allowed Akira to survive.
“First of all, swallow 10 pills of the same medicine. Then take another 10 pills, open them up and sprinkle them onto your wound. And finally, dress the wound with the healing tape… Hurry up, if you faint and become unable to tend your wound, then you’ll die.”
Akira was somehow able to move his body that had gone numb. He took the paper bag that he dropped not too far from him and swallowed 10 pills. And then he opened up 10 pills with his still shaking hand and sprinkled them directly into his wound. The very same pain as when he got hit, assaulted him as he sprinkled the painkiller on his wound. He just clenched his teeth and somehow was able to bear the pain. And when he was done, he turned to Alpha while looking worried.
“A-Alpha, i-is this good enough?”
“Applying the painkiller directly to the wound would reduce the effectiveness of the painkiller. But on the other hand, that would let the nanomachine in the medicine to work directly on your wound, thus making it more effective. So just bear with it.”
Then for the final touch, Akira pulled out the object that looked like a bandage from the paper bag and dressed his wound with it.
“That should be enough. Let’s hurry up and move away from this place. It’s dangerous if we stay here for long.”
“I don’t even know if I can move… But I have to get away from this place no matter what or something bad will happen.”
Akira was somehow able to bear with the pain when he stood up and started walking. Every time he took a step, he could feel pain stung his whole body. But he managed to keep walking. Looking at how bad his wound was, it was actually a miracle for him to be able to move around like that. It only showed just how amazing the medicine from the old world was. It was able to heal him that much in such a short time.
But Akira was in so much pain that he didn’t have the leeway to think about that at all. His face was twitching with pain as he kept walking.
Alpha looked at Akira who seemed like he was so close to fainting. To keep him conscious, she cheered him on with a serious face.
“Give your best!”
Akira somehow managed to get to a different sleeping place from yesterday. He tried to keep himself awake as he was preparing his sleeping place, while watching his surroundings and being more careful than usual. He thought that he would definitely get killed if someone approached him in that situation. So he hid himself in the back alley in such a way so that no one would be able to find him. And when he finished preparing his sleeping place, he just dove into it and laid on his side.
“…Alpha, I’m on my limit. I’ll sleep now, goodnight.”
Alpha replied back with a soft voice while looking worried.
“Goodnight, have a good rest.”
As Akira closed his eyes while still holding off the pain, his consciousness immediately flew off.
[…I hope I will still be able to open my eyes again tomorrow morning.]
Although he just made a wish there, he himself didn’t know to whom he was wishing to.
Strangely enough, Akira woke up into a refreshing morning. As he was surprised by what happened, he was deeply moved when he found himself still alive.
“…I’m still alive, huh… Hm?”
When he checked his arm that was feeling weird, he found something on the place where he got shot yesterday. After looking closer, it was as if something was lodged in between his skin and the healing tape. So he cautiously peeled off the tape and found a malformed bullet. It seemed like the bullet was stuck in his body, and his body had pushed the bullet out.
“…Is this the bullet from yesterday? So it was stuck inside my body, huh?”
“That seems to be the case. It looks like the nanomachine tried to get the bullet out from your body but then it was obstructed by the tape. It might be a good idea to take the tape off.”
Akira was a bit surprised to find Alpha right beside him, but he was not as surprised as he was yesterday. This just means that Akira started to get used to having Alpha beside him.
After he forcefully pulled out the bullet that was planted on his skin, he put the tape back on the wound but did not feel pain any longer.
Alpha smiled again.
“Akira. Good morning. You’ve had a rough day yesterday but… Did you sleep well?”
“Yeah. I really had a good night’s sleep… I even overslept for a bit.”
The sun was already up, so it was way over Akira’s usual waking time. His stomach grumbled, he had not eaten anything since the night before and at this rate he would miss his morning meals too.
“Oh crap!! The food distribution hasn’t ended, right?!”
Akira hurriedly went to the food distribution place and he barely made it in time.
Originally, he was planning to go to the Kuzusuhara City ruins, but he canceled it due to Alpha’s instruction. In the end, he decided to take rest for a whole day to fully recover his condition.
It was actually weird that he only needed a day’s rest after getting shot at. Akira himself understood that it was indeed weird. But the pain had already gone and the numbness had, for the most part, disappeared. Akira finally realized that it was all thanks to the medicines from the old world. He was feeling awed as he was taking a rest in the alley.
[The medicines and the tape are both made by the old world civilization. So they are relics from the old world, they should fetch quite a lot of money if I sell them. As I thought, it was such a waste to use them… But then, I would’ve died otherwise.]
There are many objects created by the advanced technologies of the old world that can’t be reproduced by the current technologies. And that is not only limited to medicines.
As an example, once, a certain small knife relic was found in the ruin. It could easily cut anything by only applying a very small amount of force, forget fish or meat, it could even cut steel and concrete. While at the same time, it couldn’t cut human flesh no matter how hard you tried. At a glance, these two functions seems to contradict each other. Moreover, it wouldn’t get dull even after you use it to split steel into two, it wouldn’t rust even if you get it wet and it wouldn’t corrode even when you dip it in aqua regalia. When the researchers from the companies turned off the safety check of the knife, it cut a tank, that was totally unreachable to it, into two before disintegrating it into nothingness.
More than half of the current mathematical knowledge were developed by decoding the mathematical knowledge of the old world. But even for the researchers who had spent their whole life studying, there were still so many relics that they were using without adequate knowledge of its operation. That’s exactly why people will pay a lot of money for these relics. Also, the real pleasure of being a Hunter is using these relics yourself rather than selling them.
His survival was all thanks to that highly effective medicine relics of the old world. Thus even for Akira who was not really knowledgeable, knew well that the medicines could get him a lot of money if he sold it.
But, he hadn’t realized yet that something much more amazing than the medicines, was right beside him.
Silavin: Nothing can replace a Wifu, Akira. Nothing.