Akira continued keeping watch around the HQ and there was no problem in particular. Thanks to Yastsubayashi’s treatment, the pain from his wounds slowly subsided and he was recovering from his fatigue. He was able to fight normally now.
Akira lightly moved his arm to check his body.
“It seems that treatment actually works, huh.”
“Well, he did say that he made the liquid by analyzing old-world medicine. Your arms seem to be properly healed, and not to mention that we got old-world medicine too. All in all, that was a good decision.”
Akira replied optimistically as he heard Alpha, who sounded a bit surprised.
“So basically it was good luck, huh. Well, after all of that bad luck, I guess this will reset the score back to zero.”
He thought that he had already gone through the last bad luck for the day.
Not too far from where Akira was, there was an HQ staff who was talking with his subordinates, he sounded a bit irritated.
“We still can’t contact the temporary base?”
“We’re still trying to contact them, but we can’t get any connections at all. We won’t be able to contact the temporary base until the colourless mist weakens. It might be a better idea to send some Hunters from the underground to the surface.”
“Most of the Hunters here are contracted to work underground. We might need to change the details of the request if we have to send them to the surface, but we don’t have the right to do so. Sending them to fight those relics thieves is already barely outside their job description, you know? So we can’t do that!”
The HQ was having a huge headache in deciding how to deal with the rest of Yajima’s friends. Although the HQ successfully flushed them out from the underground, the HQ sacrificed a lot of Hunters to do so.
It was possible for them to request Hunters to go down there due to the lack of information. But now they knew there were a group of at least 2 people in the surface equipped with powered suits and powerful weaponry. So they did not have the authority to send the Hunters, who came for the Yarata Scorpion nests extermination request, to hunt for that group.
Not to mention, there was a good chance they already ran far away from the ruin with all the relics that they stole. The HQ did not think that they would be able to find that group even if they searched around the area.
“It can’t be helped then. We have no other choice but to send someone to the temporary base and directly convey the message. I’m sure they’re also thinking of sending someone this way. Find a Hunter suitable for the job and dispatch him immediately.”
His men immediately operated their terminal to look for a suitable Hunter for the job.
They could not pick Hunters who were already deep inside the underground city since it would take some time for that Hunter to return to the HQ. They also could not pick someone from Drankam. If they assigned someone affiliated with a particular organization to a job outside their contract, the HQ would need to negotiate with the manager of that organization which would take some time.
They needed an individual Hunter with no affiliation and who was already near the HQ. Someone who would not cause any problem if they were sent away from that place. The staff were looking for a Hunter who fulfilled all of those conditions.
Fortunately enough, they immediately found one. And that Hunter was Akira.
“…So in short, I just need to carry this terminal to the temporary base, right?”
“That’s right. To be more precise, you just need to go close enough to get a connection with the temporary base and the terminal will automatically send the message. So please, can you do that for us? You may finish your shift and immediately return back home right after that. You just got yourself treated, right? So you must be injured. You can just go, quickly finish it, return back home and then take a good rest. I’m sure you also want to go back home as soon as possible, you just need to visit the temporary base on your way back home.”
Akira thought for a while. It sounded too good to be true for him.
[Welp, it seems that I really exhausted all of my bad luck for today. I guess I should quickly go back home, take a good bath, sleep well and get myself ready for my tomorrow’s share of bad luck.]
Since he was told that he was allowed to finish his shift and return back immediately after doing that, it made him really want to go back home as soon as possible. So Akira accepted that request and got himself ready to return back home.
Akira actually still had a lot of time left until he finished his shift. So he was happy that he could leave the underground city sooner than expected. He went to pick up his bike that he parked not too far away from the building connected to the underground city. He was smiling happily as he said to Alpha.
“My job for today will be finished after I visit the temporary base. Let’s finish this, quickly return back to the inn, and take a good rest.”
“Yep, let’s do that. Your augmented suit is also damaged, so you might want to send it for repair as soon as possible. It would be great if we can get it temporarily fixed in Shizuka’s shop though.”
“Well, in that case, I guess I have to visit Shizuka-san’s shop on my way back.”
Akira got on his bike and headed to the temporary base. Most of the rubbles and wreckages were already cleaned out from the road connecting to the temporary base. If nothing bad happened, he would be able to reach the temporary base in no time.
Alpha looked relaxed as she said to Akira.
“Akira, it seems that the colourless mist around the temporary base is getting thicker. Just to be safe, I’ll lower the speed.”
“Roger that. How about this area? Your detection ability falls off inside a thick colourless mist, right?”
“It’s alright. Although we’re in a thick colourless mist, my detection ability is still better in this open place compared to when we were in the underground.”
“Haah, that only makes me not want to go back to the underground even more. I wonder if we can come up with some kind of excuses so that the city would reduce the length of my contract.”
“Your only chance is if you pay someone with good negotiating skill.”
“I have neither the connection nor the money to do that.”
Akira just gave up as he rode his bike through the wasteland.
He paced his bike to the temporary base. But in all actuality, it was Alpha who was controlling the bike. He was just gripping on the handle and sitting on the seat. But since Alpha was also controlling his augmented suit, it could be said that it was her who was gripping the handle too. So in short, he was actually doing nothing, it was all done by Alpha.
Thus Akira was caught off guard when Alpha suddenly made a 90 degrees turn.
He turned to Alpha in reflex and asked her why she did that so suddenly.
“Alpha!? Why did you do that…?!”
Akira’s face froze the moment he saw what was coming at him. He was leaning so low that his shoulder almost touched the ground as he turned his head away from the ground. Far away from him, he could see a tall building crumbling down against the backdrop of the blue sky together with hundreds of small missiles that were pouring down in his direction.
The countless small missiles cut through the colourless mist and left traces in the sky as they rained down on the area around him. Some of them hit the ground while some of them hit the walls of the buildings scattered around the area followed by loud explosions that echoed through the area. They wrapped the area with explosions and smokes as they destroyed buildings and the paved road, leaving the area filled with new rubbles.
Kain and Nelia were standing not too far from the area where the missiles rained down. Since the surface was wide open compared to the cramped underground, they could freely use the new heavy weapons that they installed on their powered suits.
Especially Kain, he was carrying nothing but heavy weaponry. He was even carrying missile pods that were normally only installed on a special type of tank or vehicle.
Kain was the one who unleashed those small missiles toward Akira. He detached the empty missile pod from his powered suit, the missile pod made a loud banging sound as it fell to the ground.
He sounded delighted as he said.
“And here I was at loss on how we are going to kill that boy, but to think that he would come out to the surface by himself!! We’re really lucky, aren’t we? There won’t be much trouble now to remove the lock from the truck’s control device.”
Kain was in high spirits. He was savouring the feeling of satisfaction from killing his target by pouring down countless missiles at him. But that was not all, it was also because he thought he was finally able to remove the person who was preventing him from carrying all the old-world relics that he had gathered.
Nelia sounded completely normal as she replied back.
“Although I’ve prepared so many different plans to go back to the underground, I guess they’re all for naught now, huh. Well, it doesn’t really matter, it’s a good thing that he reduced the work for us.”
Kain and Nelia were gazing towards the Kuzusuhara ruin, which was blanketed in smoke, through the camera of their powered suits. Kain emptied 1 whole missile pod at Akira, so he thought that Akira would be dead for sure.
“Nelia, is the lock on the truck removed yet?”
Nelia sent the image captured from her powered suit’s camera to the truck’s control device. If the control device could confirm Akira’s death from that image, it should be able to remove the lock on the control device.
Nelia checked the control unit.
“…Nope. It’s still locked.”
“Huh?! But how?! That should kill him, right?!!”
“How would I know? Either it can’t confirm the kill because of the smokes, or that boy is still alive and kicking. I’m sure it would be able to confirm the kill if we show the corpse up close or at least the head of that boy. I don’t mind if you use big explosives to kill him, but if the program can’t confirm the kill because of that, it would be all on you, okay?”
“I know, I know. I just need to look for his corpse, right? I’ll go.”
Kain went to look for Akira’s corpse. The powerful reverse joint of his powered suit crushed the wreckages under him as he walked towards the ruin. Suddenly, a building close to him crumbled right onto his head, but it did not even damage Kain’s powered suit.
When he arrived at where Akira was, he used his head camera to look for Akira’s body. But he could not find anything, not even a trace of flesh or blood.
“Nope, nothing at all.”
Nelia could hear Kain’s mumbling, so she snapped at him.
“Don’t give me that!! He might be buried under the rubbles. Just dig through the rubbles and check the area using your information-gathering device! It should be an easy job for your powered suit, right?!!”
“Yeah yeah. Give me a few minutes.”
Kain grabbed the wreckages using his huge hand and threw them out of the road. The huge wreckage made a loud banging sound as they landed on the ground. It simply showed the strength of his powered suit.
But even then, he could not find Akira’s body under the rubbles. But instead, he found a destroyed bike. It was the bike that Akira was riding. The completely destroyed bike was a testament to Kain’s overwhelming firepower.
“I found his bike, he should be near.”
“There’s nothing we can do with the bike, find the body!!”
“I’m searching for it right now!!”
Kain had vented his irritation by using his overwhelming firepower. He regretted his choice now as he thought that he should have used something that would have caused less damage to the area.
He thought that Akira’s body should be around, so he pulled out his information-gathering device to scan the area. With its current setting, it should be able to find any corpse buried under the rubbles.
Kain was looking for Akira’s body while removing the rubbles that were reducing the accuracy of his information-gathering device. But he still could not find anything.
“…Still nothing. Did his body get thrown away because of the explosion?”
He thought so and increased the scan-range of his information-gathering device. But he still could not find any signal that looked like Akira’s dead body. So he slowly increased the scan range, even then, he still could not find anything.
Kain started to get impatient and set the scan range to the max. He got a signal right after he did it.
“Over there, huh!!”
He sounded happy as he turned the camera of his powered suit towards the direction of that signal. But the moment he did that, he could see Akira’s CWH anti-material rifle’s muzzle staring straight at him.
When the missiles rained down on Akira, Alpha moved his body and tried her best to avoid the missiles.
The moment her calculation showed that it was impossible to evade all of the small missiles, she quickly decided to move Akira to the safest place possible near him. She increased the output of the augmented suit to the maximum and intentionally let the bike fall to the ground. Using the inertia, Akira slid on his leg under the bike and used the bike as a shield from the missiles.
Akira was able to defend himself from the missiles by using his bike as a shield. He also did not fight the explosions as he let the shockwave throw his body and quickly fixed his body position before landing to soften the blow.
Everything happened in a short span of time with unbelievable accuracy. Even the slightest error would have spelt doom for Akira. Alpha controlled his augmented suit and moved his body with absolute accuracy.
But even so, the damage was not small. The impact from the shockwave of the missiles, the stress that the augmented suit put on his body to pull those crazy manoeuvres, plus the countless impacts that his body absorbed when he was slammed to the ground, all of them drained Akira’s consciousness bit by bit.
In the midst of that dangerous situation, Akira even lost consciousness for a few seconds. It was a complete coincidence that he was not dead, it could even be said that it was also thanks to his good luck. The good luck that he had the moment he met Alpha continued until now as it let him survive this attack.
Akira who just regained his consciousness was still in a daze as he tried to confirm the situation around him. Although he had his cheek touching the ground, he did not realize that he was lying on the ground.
[…What… What just happened…? Did I just fall asleep…? Since when I fell asleep? Where am I? Is this my room? Did I get back to my room…? Am I already in my room? Or am I still on my way back?]
Akira kept asking himself those questions in confusion. He slowly got his senses back and eventually noticed Alpha who was calling him.
“Akira!! Wake up!! Akira!! If you don’t want to die here, get up!!”
Alpha was yelling at him. In the past, no matter how bad the situation was, in contrast to Akira who was panicking, she would always smile. But that Alpha was yelling at him right now. The moment he noticed it, he quickly snapped back to his senses.
Akira tried to push his body up. But he could feel stinging pain run through his whole body from Kain’s missile barrage. It made him grimace in pain and dull his movements. But then Alpha forced his body to move by controlling his augmented suit.
“Shoot back at the enemy!! Right now!! Quickly!!”
Akira quickly extended his hand to the CWH anti-material rifle that was lying on the ground. He gritted his teeth enduring the pain while trying to follow Alpha’s orders.
He understood very well from his experience that if he did not do what Alpha told him as fast as he could, his survival chance would take a dive.
He followed the movement of his augmented suit to grab his CWH anti-material rifle and took an aim. He did not even question whether the person, who he was aiming, was really an enemy or not.
Kain could not move quick enough as Akira pulled the trigger faster than he could evade. The CWH special ammo hit Kain’s powered suit and made a loud banging sound that echoed through the wasteland.
A portion of the impact energy was converted into a blinding flash. Although the impact was still enough to throw him off, the automatic balance adjustment function of his powered suit saved Kain from falling to the ground.
Kain used all the weapons that his 4 arms were carrying to shoot back at Akira even before he could regain his balance. The heavy weapons that were handled using his strength-focused powered suit released countless bullets towards Akira. The bullets were able to pierce, destroy and crush any rubbles and wreckage along their way.
The moment he saw Kain’s arms move, Akira quickly took evasive action. Thanks to that, he was able to avoid the bullets’ barrage.
Nelia called Kain.
“Kain? What just happened? Did you find a monster or something?”
Kain answered back in panic.
“It’s that boy!! He’s still alive!!”
“Is that so? Was he on the verge of death? You adjusted the missiles to at least leave a corpse behind, right? So then, did you just shoot him to make sure that he’s dead? Did you properly kill him this time?”
“That’s not it!! That boy evaded the missiles barrage!! Moreover, he got a shot at me!! And he also evaded my shot just now!! He even depleted a huge chunk of my force field energy with his shot!! Was that CWH special ammo?!! That’s the ammo you usually use for hunting tanks or mechanical monsters, right?! Isn’t there only Yarata scorpions in the underground?!! So why the heck he’s using that ammo?!! This is just too strange!!”
The level of firepower that was normally used to fight Yarata scorpions would not be able to breach Kain’s forcefield armour. But it was a completely different story if it was CWH special ammo.
Kain could not help but get panicked. After all, he thought that it would be an easy job, a one-way fight thanks to his superior equipment, but instead, he found himself fighting for his life now.
“Judging from the flash of light that the force field made, his shot packed a powerful punch! Nelia!! You sent me first since you knew that this would happen, didn’t you?!!”
“Like hell if I knew. But I did expect him to be someone pretty strong since he killed Yajima. You should at least know that much, right?”
“W-well, you’re right, but still…”
Nelia made a guess about the situation and said to Kain.
“Before he died, Yajima did say that it might be an agent sent by the city, remember? So that might be him. Yajima might have made a mistake during the planning and got the whole plan leaked out. Or at least, something leaked out and the city somehow got suspicious that he would be stealing the relics. So that boy might be an agent who was sent by the city to blend in with the Hunters in the underground. It won’t be strange for him to be using CWH special ammo if he was expecting to fight against relics burglars.”
Although Nelia was absolutely wrong, her explanation fit the current situation. Kain was getting more and more panicked now.
“What should we do then? If that’s true, then in the worst-case scenario, the city might even have sent its army this way, you know? There’s no way we can deal with that.”
“If the city was seriously expecting this to happen, there’s no way they would send him alone like this. So in short, he was sent just for caution’s sake. There should be no problem if we kill him quickly. Fortunately, thanks to the colourless mist, he shouldn’t be able to contact the temporary base at the moment. So we have some time to kill him.”
“In short, we just need to kill him fast and get out of this place, right?”
“Yep, that’s right. Let’s go.”
Kain and Nelia chased Akira. There was a good chance that the defense squad from the city was heading their way. But fortunately, they had plenty of time to kill Akira.
The relics that they had gathered would earn them a huge amount of money. Because of that, they just could not easily give up on killing Akira.
After escaping the barrage from Kain, Akira was running among the ruins. His bike was already destroyed, so he had no choice but to use his legs.
Akira popped out the medicines that he bought from Yatsubayashi. The intense pain slowly subsided from his body, but it was no more than the effect of painkillers from the medicines, his body was still in a very bad condition.
He wanted to move his body with his own will, but his limbs were not in the condition to listen to him. As such, Alpha was forcefully moving his body through the augmented suit to make him run.
Akira looked grim as he said.
“Alpha!! That guy just took the CWH special ammo head-on and survived?!!”
“That’s a force field armour. The impact energy from the bullet was converted into that flash of light. The force field can reduce the impact from external force by converting a portion of the impact energy into light, you see…”
“That’s not it!! I wasn’t asking about how he did that, I was asking what I should do now?! He can take CWH special ammo head-on, so what can I do to fight him?!!”
“I guess there’s no other choice but to keep shooting at him hoping that it would at least deal some damages.”
“Isn’t there any weakness?”
“In this situation, that would be no.”
Akira became worried. The CWH special ammo had more than enough firepower to kill any kind of monsters that he could find in that area. It could destroy any monsters as long as he hit his shot, he knew that and took solace in its firepower.
But right now, he was fighting against someone who could survive his bullet and even shoot back at him right after. It was a shocking thing to him.
Alpha noticed what Akira was feeling.
“Just don’t think about it for now and get some distance from him. You also have run out of medicines too. I’ll do anything that I can, just like always.”
“…You’re right. I’ll be counting on you.”
“Leave it to me.”
Alpha replied back firmly, but she was still not smiling.
She was floating ahead of Akira while guiding him with a serious face. Akira, who saw her expression, kept running while hoping that her support would be able to handle this bad luck.
Akira followed Alpha’s guide to run through buildings that were scattered in the Kuzusuhara ruin. Eventually, he arrived on the third floor of a building where he could take a peek outside from his position.
Alpha asked Akira about his body condition.
“Akira, how are you feeling right now?”
Akira moved his limbs to check them, he was still looking at his hand as he said.
“…I don’t feel pain anymore. But I think this is because of the painkiller. Although I can move my limbs, I don’t know if they’re okay inside.”
Akira seemed to be able to move his limbs just fine. But that was only because of his augmented suit, he had no idea how it looked under his augmented suit, or more like, he did not even want to imagine it.
Alpha made a serious face as she told Akira.
“Akira, try not to move at all to maximize the effect of the medicines. If they chase you all the way here, you’ll make your stand in this place. So get your resolve ready.”
“…I understand. It doesn’t look like I can run away, huh?”
“Looking at their ability to move, search, and the power of their weaponry, I think it’s highly unlikely that you can run away from them. Judging from their first attack, you would have zero chance to win if you get out into an open space. Even back then with that amount of wreckages and buildings around, you were only able to get out in one piece from there by using your bike as a shield, you remember?”
“I don’t remember at all, so something like that happened, huh?”
“It’s really regrettable that we lost the bike. If you had the bike now, you might have been able to run away from them. But since it would be meaningless if the bike was okay while you’re not, I guess that was a necessary sacrifice.”
“I see… And it’s not like I can run away from them using my legs, huh?”
Alpha replied back jokingly.
“Want to try running away from them hoping that you’re lucky that they don’t have the expected mobility or scanning range or firepower?”
Akira smiled bitterly.
“No thanks. I’m not expecting to find any more good luck after I met you.”
Akira used all his life-worth of luck when he met Alpha. That was why during his dangerous Hunter work, he would try to do good deeds to replenish his scarce supply of good luck and then use it in tandem with Alpha’s support to overcome any problems. She also told him something similar to that in the past and he believed it.
That was why he subconsciously believed that the moment he met a problem that Alpha’s support could not deal with, he would not be able to do anything against it with his own power and he would just drop dead.
Of course, he would fight back as hard as he could. After all, he had resolved himself to fight back as hard as he could in the face of death. But even so, although he was planning to fight back, there was a trace of resignation since he also knew that it would be pointless and it would not change the outcome no matter how hard he fought.
As Akira replied back through telepathy, a part of his feeling and emotion that he did not convert into words were also unintentionally sent to Alpha.
Alpha who received that message said to him resolutely.
“Akira, I’ll say this to you upfront. I have no plan of losing. Do you think that my support is something so worthless that it would not be able to fight back this level of a bad situation?”
Akira stared at Alpha as she stared back at him.
It was not like Alpha was actually there. Akira was only seeing her image that was added into his vision. He understood that very well, but even so, he kept his eyes locked at that image of Alpha.
The image of Alpha that he was staring at was looking back at him. It was not like those eyes were actually looking at him, but even so, Alpha kept staring at him.
“Akira, get your resolve ready. If you do so, this will just be like business as usual.”
Alpha smiled. Akira stared at her smile, there was a trace of his usual trust in his eyes. His subconscious shifted from fighting back as hard as he could in a futile fight into fighting back as hard as he could to survive the fight.
Akira lightly sighed and smiled in return.
“Getting my resolve ready is my responsibility, huh? Alright, I’m sorry I got all pessimistic. Alright then! I’m ready!”
Just like he always did until now, in order to survive the harsh life that he was living or to cross the countless dangerous bridges that he had faced, Akira stood up.
Alpha smiled and said.
“That’s the way I like it.”
Seeing how Akira stood up, leaving all his hesitations behind, Alpha smiled happily. At that moment, it could be said that her expression agreed with her honest feeling.
After all, seeing how her words could change Akira’s inner will to a better direction, showed the fact that she was able to manipulate his will the way she wanted and that her will adjustment protocol was functioning as expected.
Silavin: Damn. After reading this, I feel so bad for Akira. Boy getting played by HQ, Alpha and these two new Hunters who are just hunting him down for money.