Yajima was watching the fight between Shiori and Akira.
Since he thought that there was no longer any need to keep his eyes on Reina, who was just meekly and obediently hanging her head low, Yajima had the leeway to start thinking about something else. His gaze naturally shifted to Akira’s CWH anti-material rifle that was lying on the ground away from Akira and Shiori.
Yajima noticed that Akira was slowly but surely getting closer to that CWH anti-material rifle. Although he could not pick up that rifle because he had his hands full with Shiori, it was only a matter of time before he could pick up that rifle.
If Akira defeated Shiori, he would be able to quickly pick up that rifle and shoot Yajima. Since he was already fighting her at this point, Yajima thought that there was no reason for Akira to hesitate to shoot at him the moment he picked up that rifle even if that would hurt Reina too.
There was still a plausible chance that Akira might defeat Shiori before Yajima’s friends reached their current location. With that CWH anti-material rifle, Akira would have enough firepower to kill Yajima. After all, it was the rifle that blasted his right arm off.
Yajima imagined how satisfying it would be if he could kill Akira with his own rifle, his mind started to focus on thinking how he could do that.
[…That rifle is also a threat to my friends, it was able to blow my right arm easily. Is it loaded with special ammo? If I don’t take it for myself soon, it might cause a problem later. While his attention is preoccupied with something else, I might be able to take that rifle and get the upper hand…]
Yajima’s mind was already unconsciously urging him to take that rifle before Akira could. He started sneaking closer and closer to Akira’s CWH anti-material rifle while still firmly gripping Reina.
Reina already had no more power to fight back, even if she squeezed all her leftover power, she would only slightly disrupt Yajima’s movement. Aware of her situation, he started to sneak faster and faster. He was already closer to that rifle than Akira.
[Calm down, it’s still too far away. If I rush myself to pick up that rifle, there’s no mistaking it that he’ll charge at me even though he’s not watching his back at the moment. Carefully and quietly, don’t let him notice me, just a little more…]
Yajima kept his eyes on Shiori and Akira while slowly approaching the CWH anti-material rifle.
When Yajima judged that he was close enough, he rushed to pick up that rifle. Akira was beaten by a few milliseconds before he turned around, forgetting Shiori who was behind him, he ran toward Yajima.
“Too late!! It’s my win!!”
Yajima threw Reina aside and picked the CWH anti-material rifle from the floor. With his cyborg body, he was able to use CWH anti-material rifle with only one arm as he quickly pointed the rifle’s muzzle at Akira who was running toward him.
There was no obstruction between him and Akira, he had a clear shot. With his shooting skill, there was zero chance that he would miss his shot from such a distance and Akira did not have the skill nor the ability to evade his shot. Yajima quickly pulled the trigger.
But no bullet flew out from its muzzle.
Yajima could not help but to leak out what he was thinking. This unexpected scenario caught him completely off guard and erased the smile from his face.
He was stunned with what just happened. The shocking turn of events froze his expression as well as his brain.
During that short opening, Akira quickly closed the distance between them and threw a punch straight to Yajima’s face with full power. The augmented suit enhanced Akira’s physical strength to its limit for a few milliseconds. That punch blew Yajima’s heavy cyborg body away and threw Akira’s CWH anti-material rifle into the air at the same time.
After he was sent flying, Yajima was back to his senses and thought while still flying in the air.
[It didn’t shoot any bullets?! Shouldn’t it be loaded with special ammo?! That rifle was just loaded with a new magazine, right?!! Wait, was that rifle a trap?! Did he throw it away from him in order to lure me?! So rather than changing rifles back then, he chose to load a new magazine although he knew how dangerous it was, just in order to trick me?!! So that’s why he made that gesture and intentionally showed me when he loaded a new magazine that was actually empty?! And he also shot once in order to use the last bullet that was already loaded in that rifle before throwing the empty rifle away, so that he could catch me off-guard!!]
Yajima flew and landed on rubble. He already completed his guess in that short amount of time when he was in the air. Although his guess might be correct, it would not be able to save him now.
He crashed into the rubble so hard, hard enough to even crack open the rubble. Although it only inflicted a small amount of damage thanks to his cyborg body, it was enough to create a fatal opening.
Akira quickly leapt and grabbed the CWH anti-material rifle that was still spinning in the air. In one fluid sweep, he grabbed a new magazine and loaded it into the rifle, this time, it was not an empty magazine. The special ammo was automatically loaded the moment Akira stuck in the new magazine.
He then aimed his special-ammo-loaded CWH anti-material rifle at Yajima who was still stuck on the rubble.
“Let’s finish him before we get any more hindrances.”
When he was back to his senses, Yajima saw Akira and found CWH anti-material rifle’s muzzle pointing at him. He at least wanted to know if his guess was correct as he opened his mouth.
But before Yajima could say anything, a CWH special ammo blew his head and scattered his brain all over the place. He was dead before he could even utter his last words.
Just to be safe, Akira also shot and destroyed Yajima’s limbs. With this, even if Yajima was a remote mechanical body that could move without a brain, he would not be able to pose any threat now.
Shiori was stunned by the sudden turn of events, but the moment she was able to return to her senses, she quickly went to Reina. Reina was coughing intensely. Shiori looked worried as she enquired.
“Milady!! Are you alright?”
“…A-are we saved?”
Reina too, could not follow what just happened, she mumbled to Shiori, looking for an answer.
Shiori said to Reina that it was already fine. She was about to smile at Reina when she noticed that Akira had not lowered his rifle yet.
Although Shiori no longer had any reason to fight Akira, it did not erase the fact that they did fight each other just a few seconds ago. She thought that it was fully understandable considering his disposition that he would still put his guard up expecting that they would continue their fight.
Shiori already had no wish to fight Akira, after all, he was the one who saved Reina. She did not mind getting killed by Akira if it would satisfy him. But there was no guarantee that was the case.
Akira quickly dropped his CWH anti-material rifle and exchanged it with 2 AAH assault rifles. One of them was pointed at Shiori and another pointed at Reina. Akira’s fingers were already resting on the triggers.
Shiori understood that Akira knew the easiest way to kill her, which was to shoot Reina and make her cover Reina.
She slowly moved to the front of Reina. Akira’s aim followed her. Eventually, both of Akira’s rifles that were pointed at Shiori and Reina were pointed only at Shiori.
Akira was breathing roughly while supporting the rifles in his both hands. Because of his crazy moves not too long ago, his body had hit its limit. Although the medicines that were still active in his body were desperately healing his micro-wounds, it would run out of its effect eventually. At the moment, even pulling the trigger would be a difficult task for him.
Of course, it was impossible for him to fully get back to tip-top shape, but the medicines that he took beforehand should at least be enough to mend his body from the backlash of the crazy manoeuvre that he just pulled. He hoped that Shiori would not make any moves until then.
“Alpha, what do you think of her situation? Do you think the effects of the drug that she took has already run out?”
“I don’t think so.”
“I feel like my medicines would run out of its effect soon though.”
“You’re right. Akira, just stay like this and don’t move so that the medicines can have the optimum effect. Depending on what happens next, you might have to start the fight again.”
“…But like, we have no more reasons to fight, right? I wonder if it would end the fight if I just lower my gun.”
“Although you’ve won that fight, they messed everything up since they did not believe what you said. The situation was even turned 180 degrees because of their mistake, then Shiori opted to attack you to make sure of Reina’s safety. In this situation, there were no longer any reasons why she should kill you. So, if you lower your gun, she might quickly evacuate Reina to somewhere safe. But she would take more accelerator and come back to kill you in order to confirm Reina’s safety thinking that you might be holding a grudge against her. With your current condition, this would be her perfect chance to kill you, you know? Well, if you believe that she would not do that no matter what, you can go ahead and lower your rifle.”
“No thanks. I’ll stay like this.”
Akira replied back instantly, although he had no will to continue the fight, it was not like he could trust them. And it was the same for Shiori and Reina too.
Shiori looked at Akira with a grim expression. He was still pointing his rifles toward her and Reina. Although she was forced, she did fight with him not too long ago and it was not like she could do anything about that now.
The real question was why Akira did not pull the trigger. Shiori frowned while trying to understand his reason.
[It would be fine if he’s only being cautious of us. But the real problem is why he isn’t pulling the trigger. What if he knows that I’m using an accelerator and is waiting for it to run out of its effect so that he can finish me off for sure…?]
There was a trace of fear in Shiori’s face. It was not because she was afraid of losing her own life, it was because she feared she had lost any possibilities of saving Reina.
Shiori would be more than glad to give up her life if it meant that Akira would not kill Reina too. She would not mind if he chose to finish her with one shot or by beating her to death.
But if Akira’s grudge also included Reina, it would be a whole different story. Shiori would do anything to make sure that Reina would escape alive. Although, it was a different problem whether that was possible or not.
Personally, Shiori did not believe that Akira would stop with only killing her. After all, Reina was the main reason why they were in that situation. Not only did she aggravate the fight that Akira already won by not believing his words, she even carelessly approached Yajima and was taken hostage which in turn triggered the fight between him and Shiori. She just could not believe Akira would let that slide.
Shiori said to Akira with a serious face.
“…Akira-sama, could you please lower your gun? I have no wish to continue fighting with you.”
Akira did not move at all. He only glanced briefly at Shiori.
“…Akira-sama, I can understand that you’re angry. I’m really sorry. I’ll do anything to make it up to you.”
Akira remained motionless. His rifles that were pointing at Shiori also stayed still.
“…It’s all my fault for everything that happened. So please let Milady go.”
Akira still did not move. His expression also did not change at all. He only glanced at Shiori showing that he was listening.
Shiori thought that Akira might change his mind if she prostrated in front of him and begged him with a trembling voice. So she started to move in order to do that.
Akira finally showed a movement. His aim shifted straight at Shiori and stopped her from moving any further.
Shiori still had some accelerator drugs left with her. Although the backlash from using that drug continuously would definitely kill her, she would not hesitate to do that if she had the chance.
But in the end, those were her spare drugs. So it was not like she could use it right away. She would have to reach for them and pull them out before putting them in her mouth. If she prostrated in front of Akira, she might be able to do that in secret.
But with that slight move from Akira, Shiori was no longer able to do that and stopped midway. She thought that not only did Akira know she was using an accelerator, he was also trying to prevent her from taking more accelerators.
Her guess was partially correct, it was not like Akira knew that, it was Alpha. Alpha was also the one who shifted his aim to Shiori. Akira did not notice that at all, after all, he was busy enduring the extreme pain that was assaulting him since the medicine that he took beforehand just ran out of its effect.
Shiori knew that if she made any suspicious moves or said anything carelessly, it might cause Akira to pull the trigger. As such, she was only able to keep quiet while making a stern expression. And with that, she was rendered powerless, she could not do anything. Her expression distorted as she looked to be in pain.
Reina who thought that she was saved realized that she was mistaken after seeing how Shiori and Akira were acting.
She was shocked when she saw Akira fought evenly against Shiori. As such, she was afraid of angering him.
And even now, Shiori was trying her hardest to protect Reina from Akira. But even Reina understood that it was not going well.
Reina did not want to die and she did not want Shiori to die too. If Shiori could not do anything, then she might be able to do something.
Reina, who was hiding behind Shiori’s back, decided to step up. But the moment she stepped out from behind Shiori, Akira’s aim swiftly shifted to her and stopped her midway.
She thought that she should say something to Akira to convince him. Although she still had no idea what to say, she already took a step out from behind Shiori. But since he stopped her from going any further, it also stopped her from saying anything. As such, she could only repeat what she wanted to say inside her head.
[Shiori only tried to kill you because she wanted to keep me alive. So please forgive her. I know it’s my fault, I know that it’s because we didn’t believe your words that the table was turned and you almost got killed although you already won that fight. I’m really sorry, so please forgive us.]
Reina frowned as she realized what she had to say to Akira. She finally understood the graveness of her mistake.
Although it was hypothetically speaking, Reina thought that if it was Katsuya rather than Akira who was in front of her, he would have just smiled, or at least looked slightly annoyed, and forgave her and Shiori.
Shiori suddenly collapsed, the accelerator already ran out of its effect. The backlash caused all the accumulated tiredness to assault her body at the same time. Although she was able to somehow stay conscious, she could not stand up from the ground.
With this, Akira knew for sure that Shiori’s accelerator had worn off. Her face was filled with hopelessness since he could easily finish her and Reina off now.
Reina panicked and quickly ran to Shiori, she then tried helping her to stand.
“Shiori!? Are you okay?!! Hang in there!!”
Shiori was trembling meekly as she glanced at Akira, Reina was supporting her so that she could stand. She saw Akira lower his rifle while looking toward the hallway.
When Shiori collapsed, Alpha said to Akira.
“Akira, it’s okay to lower your rifle now.”
“Is that so? She still has spare accelerators, right?”
“I won’t make that mistake of allowing her to take more accelerator in this situation. But of course, I also don’t mind if you want to shoot her instead. I don’t think she would fight back in this situation if you shoot her.”
“Nah, that would be a little bit too cruel.”
“In that case then, let’s get ready to face the next problem. I still can’t confirm the situation in this area since the effect from the jamming smoke has yet to completely disappear. So don’t drop your guard.”
“How long will it take before the jamming smoke is completely gone? Will it be gone if we just wait for a bit more? Or will it still stay here for a few hours?”
“I don’t know for sure. It depends on the type and the composition of the smoke as well as the topology of the area. But one thing for sure is that it’ll stay longer down here compared to when it’s on the surface. We’re in an enclosed space after all. It’s faster if you try to confirm it yourself, let’s try if you can contact the HQ or not.”
“You’re right, let’s at least start from there.”
Akira who was watching the hallway suddenly turned to Reina and Shiori. Reina flinched seeing that.
Reina thought that she should at least say something to calm Akira down. Thus she tried to squeeze out anything that she could think of in a panic.
But Akira quickly interjected.
“Try calling the HQ.”
Reina was surprised when Akira suddenly said that. There was obviously a gap between his behaviour and what she was expecting, as such, she was so stunned that she froze.
Akira repeated what he said.
“Try to call the HQ now. The effect from the jamming smoke might have weakened, you might be able to contact the HQ. So, can you try calling the HQ? That guy shot and destroyed my terminal. So try contacting the HQ in my place. Do it, quickly.”
Akira strongly urged her, so Reina operated her terminal in a fluster.
“I still can’t get any connections. I think it’s because of the jamming smoke.”
Shiori reported the result to Akira before Reina could. She was already trying to contact the HQ when she was back to her senses.
Akira immediately told them what to do next.
“Let’s head to the HQ for now. Keep trying to contact the HQ on our way there. Let’s go!! Move your legs!! Quickly!!”
Shiori immediately understood that there was no need to be worried about Akira. At least, it did not seem like he was thinking of causing a scene here. Which means, it would be best for them to follow his instructions. It was also the best for Reina if they could contact the HQ or at least meet up with the other Hunters. Shiori, who had already calmed down, came with such a thought.
“I understand. Milady, let’s go.”
Shiori grabbed Reina, who was still confused, by her hand. But she suddenly collapsed again.
“I-I’m alright. Milady, we should hurry up and leave this place too.”
Shiori’s whole body was screaming in pain from the backlash of the accelerator. She was barely able to move thanks to her augmented suit.
Her tired body felt like it was as heavy as lead, the stinging pain that ran through her body was telling her to stop moving and her tired brain was trying hard to shut down.
Shiori used her sense of loyalty in order to maintain her consciousness. But she knew it was only a matter of time before she reached her limit.
She was obviously in pain as she was pushing herself past her limit. The fact that even Reina could tell showed her current state. After all, she normally would be able to hide it from Reina, and Reina knew that too.
Reina was lending her shoulder to Shiori. Shiori looked apologetic as she said.
“…I’m really sorry, Milady.”
“Don’t worry about it, let’s go.”
Reina looked at Akira, she wanted to ask him if they could take a short rest. But she stopped when she saw his expression, she knew that he would just turn her suggestion down.
Akira, Reina and Shiori quickly left that area.
When Yajima’s friends, Kain and Nelia, finally arrived there; Akira, Reina and Shiori had already left the place and were on their way back to HQ.
Kain was using a large-sized heavy-armour-type augmented suit, better known as a powered suit. Although the underground hallway was rather wide, his powered suit almost blocked the whole hallway.
It was equipped with 2 extra arms in each side and all of those 4 arms were carrying heavy weapons. The lower part of his powered suit formed reverse joints. Although it was a type of augmented suit, it was closer to a battle-oriented mechanical suit for a cyborg.
Kain folded all his mechanical limbs and stored them into the powered suit’s torso. Unlike the augmented suit for cyborgs that made its user look like a normal human from the outside, it was obvious from the first glance that this was a mechanized augmented suit that only a cyborg could use.
Their original plan was to have Kain and Nelia guard the truck after the relics were carried to the surface. That was why they were heavily armed, but they could not wander around the underground city with such equipment. After all, the underground work was actually Yajima’s job.
Kain and Nelia came into the underground city through the hole that was originally created for carrying out relics. At first, they planned to open that hole after the relics were transported into its position. But there was a change of plan and they had to open that hole sooner than they scheduled, they already carried as many relics as they could to the surface.
Kain looked over the area and said.
“I found Yajima’s body… Or to be more precise, it’s a pile of destroyed cyborg body that I believe belong to Yajima. Since his head is blown to smithereens, well, he’s dead for good, no doubt about it. It’s not like we can just carry his brain either.”
Nelia replied back lightly.
“You’re right. He was a pretty useful guy, but it’s not like he can help us with anything now that he’s dead. Let’s just go back.”
“What are we going to do with the relics in this area?”
“Did you find any other corpse other than Yajima’s?”
“Nope, none at all.”
“That means the person who killed Yajima is still alive and has already left this place. Which means that the HQ at least knows that there was a fight here. I’m sure they’ll send some Hunters here to check this place. So, after knowing that, are you planning on carrying the relics from this area while fighting those Hunters?”
If Kain’s memories served him right, Nelia and Yajima should be lovers. But it seemed like she did not care that Yajima was dead.
“Are you not thinking of revenging him or something? You guys are lovers, right?”
“Me? I don’t let myself stuck in the past.”
Nelia answered back casually.
Suddenly, some Hunters also arrived in that location. The HQ found it suspicious that Akira did not contact them again after that, as such, they decided to send some Hunters to check that area.
Of course, it was suspicious to find someone equipped with a powered suit and not showing his location through the shared network. So one of the Hunters shouted at them.
“You there!! What are you doing there?!!”
Kain aimed his heavy weapons towards those Hunters and started shooting without saying anything or giving any warnings. Loud explosions echoed through the underground, the Hunters were showered in explosions and it wiped them out in an instant.
Nelia exasperatedly sighed.
“Good grief, can you do that more quietly?”
“It’s as you can see, I’m not good with details and minute things.”
Some of the Hunters who survived that bombing started shooting back. All of their shots were focused on Kain, but those bullets just ricocheted when they hit his formidable powered suit. Some of the rebounded bullets hit Nelia too, but they also ricocheted just like when they had hit Kain.
“Whoah there, some of them ricocheted at me, you know?”
Nelia said those words as if she got splashed by mere rainwater.
“It’s not like I can do anything about it. You should say that to them instead of me.”
After that small and casual exchange, Kain started shooting back at those Hunters. The 4 heavy weapons Kain was carrying unleashed hell on those Hunters with its overwhelming firepower. He launched countless warheads toward those Hunters and blew them off together with the wreckages and the rubbles in the area.
Silavin: Haa… I wonder if the author made Kazuya just to be hated on? Or maybe a character to just show contrast?