Akira placed all his focus on Alpha’s movements, he did not let even the slightest shift go unnoticed. But even so, he could not evade a single attack.
It was because Alpha’s multi-layered dress hid her blades, making it extremely difficult to judge the timing of her attack. Moreover, Akira could not follow her movements with his eyes at all.
Akira was trying his best to focus on Alpha’s movements, but it was not even close compared to the level of focus he had when he was facing a deathly situation. Alpha noticed every single time he lowered his guard and used that opening to accurately slip in an attack.
Then just like she said, every time Akira received an attack, one piece of cloth was removed from her dress. Thus, one by one, pieces of cloth kept falling off from Alpha’s heavily decorated dress. As fewer and fewer clothes and decorations were left on her dress, her skin started getting exposed bit by bit. Starting with her 4 limbs, to her back, then eventually up to the cleavage of her chest and bum. But as Alpha kept dancing, the exposed part of her skin was only barely able to peek out from time to time as the leftover pieces of clothes on her dress hid them from view.
The more part of her body got exposed, the more seducing her dance became. Alpha was smiling bewitchingly and sending a flirtatious gaze at Akira. She had lost most pieces of clothes that were hiding her body, thus it should have been easier to see her movements now. But her dance was still as deadly as it was charming.
Akira was sliced and diced so many times by Alpha’s swords. Although he was familiar with her attacks, he still could not evade the incoming blades. Akira was getting tired after keeping his focus for an extended length of time. Because of that, his focus was getting worse with each passing second.
Eventually, Akira was too tired to even react to Alpha’s attacks. Alpha noticed that and decided to end the training.
“Let’s end it here today.”
Akira did not try to hide his tiredness as he let out a big sigh. He then looked at Alpha one more time and sighed again.
Alpha was almost naked. The only pieces of clothes left were those that hid particular parts of her body and some decorative pieces that were barely able to hide the rest of her body. All the layers of clothes that Alpha started with had turned into such a sexy dress. Alpha’s beautiful figure that was almost on full view showed just how pathetic Akira was during the training.
Alpha tried to cheer Akira up since he was obviously disheartened.
“It’s not something that you can learn in one night. Today’s training was not fruitless. Let’s keep on training patiently.”
“…I guess you’re right.”
It was not like Akira had completely recovered, he was just putting a brave front. If he was given enough time, Akira would get back on his feet by himself.
“Let’s take a short break before continuing with studying in your room. Or do you want to just take a rest for the remainder of the day?”
“No, let’s study. I’m on a break from Hunter work, so I at least want to keep improving myself during my break.”
“Alright then, I wonder what should I teach you today…”
Akira returned to his room and started taking lessons after he had enough rest.
“Let’s work on your math today. As a Hunter, you should at least be able to properly calculate your reward.”
“…Before that, how long are you planning to stay like that?”
Alpha was still wearing what was left of her dress from the previous training. It was not least bit suitable for teaching. She just smiled teasingly as she said.
“Since you hadn’t told me to change it, I thought that you liked it. That’s why I’m keeping it like this.”
“Alright alright. Next time, I’ll tell you to change your clothes right away after the training.”
“You don’t have to hold yourself back, you know.”
“Just return back to your usual dress, will you?”
Alpha’s dress then changed to the suit that she usually wore when she was teaching Akira. Although it was far less exposing than her previous dress, it had a big opening on her chest and her skirt was very short with a decorated slit on it. It was sexy in its own style.
Akira’s reaction to this sexy suit was only ‘well, whatever’. Humans really could get used to anything.
Akira then spent the day studying in such a weird situation, but for him, it was nothing out of ordinary.
It had been 5 days since Akira rented the house. He did the same training every day to compress his time perception. But the result of his training did not change much compared to the first day of his training.
Every single time, the training would continue till Alpha’s multi-layered dress was almost completely gone and it would end when Akira’s reaction was considerably dulled because of the tiredness. Even after 5 days, Akira still could not evade even a single attack. Although his reaction speed increased without using the time compression, that was not the main aim of this training.
Akira was taking a break after the training. He looked pretty depressed as he felt how pathetic he was for not showing any improvement all this time.
Since Alpha told him that he could compress his time perception, he believed that he should be able to do it. But even so, he still could not achieve it. He didn’t even show a sign that he could do it anytime soon.
As Akira was fraught with frustration, Alpha suddenly said something weird to him.
“Akira, a strange request just arrived for you.”
“A strange request?”
“Yep, a strange request, you should check it yourself.”
Alpha pointed her finger at Akira’s information terminal. The monitor on his information terminal quickly went through a series of screens as Alpha was operating it. It eventually stopped when it was on the page showing Akira’s information on the website that could only be accessed by Hunters. Akira reached for his information terminal and checked the notification, it was true that there was a request designated for him.
The requester was Shiori. She was one of the Hunters who he had met in Kuzusuhara ruin’s underground city. He once fought her when the relic thief, Yajima, took Reina hostage. The request was simply titled ‘for consultation’.
When Akira checked the description of the request, it only said that she wanted to meet and talk with him, and mentioned the location and time of the meeting. As for the reward, it said that Shiori would pay for the meal.
“…What the heck is this?”
Akira found it really strange and rechecked the request, but he had not misread anything.
“No idea. Maybe it’s just a request to meet and talk about the real request. We won’t know unless you go and ask Shiori yourself.”
“As far as I can see, it says nothing other than she’s inviting me for a talk while having a meal and she’ll be paying for the meal.”
“That is true.”
“What exactly does she want to talk about with me?”
“Even if you ask me, I have no guesses at all.”
Both Akira and Alpha had no idea what Shiori’s intention was for inviting Akira for a meal.
“So then, what do you plan to do? Are you going to take the request and meet her? Judging from where she’s planning to meet you, I don’t think there’ll be any danger though.”
The meeting place mentioned in Shiori’s request was the restaurant inside the biggest Hunter Office in Kugamayama city. Anyone who caused trouble in that place would be picking a fight against the Hunter Office at the same time. Since Shiori asked Akira to meet her there, he can rest assured that she would not try to pick a fight against him.
“It’s okay if you want to just decline the request. You can also ignore it if you want. It’s up to you, Akira.”
Alpha finished giving all of her suggestions to Akira. Although it might be a good chance for a breather if Akira went to meet Shiori, there was no particular reason for Alpha to recommend it either. It was really up to Akira. As long as his actions would not interfere with her objective, Alpha would try to respect Akira’s will.
Akira reread the request many times, he did not know whether to accept it or not.
After taking some time to think, Akira eventually decided to accept it. It was because he was curious why Shiori wanted to meet him. If he could confirm that safely through this request, then there should be no problem accepting it. Akira thought so as he decided to accept the request.
On top of that, the meeting place was in a high-class restaurant, so if Shiori would pay for the meal, then it would mean Akira would be able to eat expensive foods without having to pay for it at all. That was also why he decided to accept that request. But since getting free food was fixed as one of the factors in his decision, he tried his best to ignore it when he was considering what to do.
Akira sent a confirmation to Shiori that he accepted the request, he then finished his preparation and went to the appointed restaurant.
The Kugamayama city branch Hunter Office was located inside a huge building that was integrated with the city wall which separated the middle district and the lower district. Inside that building, there were many stores directed at Hunters. Most of the stores were frequented by high-level Hunters who had houses in the middle district. Among them, there were even stores that only accepted high ranked Hunters. Basically, it was not a place that a low-level Hunter like Akira could visit.
The restaurant that Shiori specified had no Hunter Rank restriction. But there was no mistaking that it catered to high ranked Hunters.
Akira hesitated for a bit when he saw that it was a high-class restaurant. Alpha, who saw that, said to him.
“…Nah, I’ll go. It’s not like I’m going into an old-world ruin anyway. There’s no need to be afraid.”
Although Akira said so, he directed it more towards himself as he stepped forward to that restaurant.
The interior of the restaurant looked luxurious, unlike most restaurants in the lower district. If he tried to enter this restaurant right after coming back from the wasteland with his dusty clothes or leftover blood from the monsters, he bet that he would be sent away immediately. While it would be alright if he did the same in one of the taverns or restaurants in the lower district. Akira thought so as he got nervous.
Although in reality, he could just clean off the dust on his body and change into new clothes inside the restaurant itself. It was not rare for a high-class restaurant to have showers installed inside their restrooms and provide a clean suit for rental for its customers. Even the restaurant staff would be willing to laundry the dirty clothes if asked.
The restaurant staff quickly noticed Akira, who just entered the store, and greeted him.
“Thank you for coming to our restaurant, do you have a reservation today?”
As the staff brightly greeted him, Akira answered back in a fluster.
“Eh? Ah? Uhmm, someone by the name of Shiori should be already inside… So…”
“May I ask your name?”
“Very well. Akira-sama, please leave your weapons with us.”
Akira hesitated, but he eventually decided to hand over his rifles to that restaurant staff. That staff politely received Akira’s rifles and put them on a table near him.
“Thank you very much for your cooperation. Please let me guide you to your table.”
Akira followed behind that staff as he walked through the restaurant. The high-class feeling inside that restaurant felt so much different from all the other restaurants that he had visited in the past. Even the soft sensation he felt on his feet every time he took a step on the carpeted floor showed that it was on a whole different world compared to where Akira was living.
Akira looked around while walking through the restaurant. He could see all kinds of people inside that restaurant, all of them were enjoying their expensive meals. While some of the people there such as the cyborgs looked out of place eating in such a luxurious restaurant, all kinds of expensive-looking foods were served in front of those people.
Akira could not help but ask Alpha a naive question.
“Alpha, how do those people eat their food?”
“Looking from their appearance, they must have at least enough organs to process the food that they eat. Or maybe they mistook the capabilities of their cyborg body, thinking that their cyborg body will be able to digest food. Or maybe they’re just sending the taste data to someone else remotely. Or maybe they are only here to enjoy the beautiful food although they can’t eat them. There are many possibilities, you know.”
“I see. But I don’t think any of them are here just to enjoy the beauty though. Having something that looks delicious in front of you even though you can’t eat them sounds more like torture to me.”
“There are all kinds of people out there, you see. There are things that you can’t understand unless you’re the one doing it.”
Akira was actually still curious about that subject, but it was not like he could just stand there observing them. So he just gave up on his curiosity and followed the staff in front of him.
Akira was guided to the table where Shiori was already waiting for him. The staff pulled the chair for him as he flusteredly sat on that chair. The staff then placed the menu in front of Akira and Shiori.
“We’ll call you again when we’ve decided what to order.”
The staff bowed and left. Both, the staff and Shiori, looked already accustomed to such an exchange, Akira was the only person there who could not follow it.
People were not only here to eat food, some Hunters picked this restaurant to negotiate with each other to avoid turning their negotiation into a fight. With the Kugamayama City Management and the Hunter Office watching this place, no matter how heated their talks went, they would be forced to act calmly. Thus avoiding the worst-case scenario where they tried to kill each other.
Shiori was looking prim in her stylish suit. Unlike Akira, who was wearing clothes that he could use to go to the wasteland anytime, Shiori’s suit made her look like some kind of businesswoman. Or to be more precise, she looked like those people who lived in the middle district.
After seeing Shiori’s attire, Akira lowered his guard. But on contrary to that, Shiori raised her guard when she saw Akira’s attire, after all, he was wearing armour similar to the one that he used when he fought her.
Although Akira looked out of place inside the restaurant, Shiori could somehow guess Akira’s intention from his outer appearance. But in reality, Akira had no plans to antagonize Shiori at all, the reason why he was in those clothes was simply because he had no other clothes to wear.
Shiori looked at Akira with a serious expression, she had resolved herself to be in this place. For some reason, her serious expression looked beautiful.
“Akira-sama, thank you very much for accepting my request. As I promised, I’ll pay for the meal, please order anything you want.”
When he heard that, Akira’s gaze shifted down to the menu in front of him, but he then turned his gaze back to Shiori.
“Let’s finish whatever you want to talk about first. After all, we wouldn’t know if I can completely finish your request and deserve this reward.”
“… I understand. Let’s move to the main subject then.”
Shiori bowed deeply to Akira.
“First of all, I apologize for causing you so much trouble the other day. And thank you very much for saving Milady. I’m sure you feel rather conflicted about me and Milady, but everything that happened back there was my fault. If you want to, I’ll pay you back with anything I have—money, body, even my life. But in an exchange, please don’t put any blame on Milady.”
Shiori pleaded sincerely to Akira. Even Akira understood that Shiori really meant what she said.
Because of Reina’s foolishness, the battle that Akira had already won was turned 180 degrees. Moreover, Yajima even took Reina hostage and made Shiori fight against him. Fortunately enough, they were able to get out of that situation alive, but it would not be strange if Akira harbored some grudge against Reina and Shiori because of their actions. Since the servants’ fault was the master’s fault, thus Akira might even be blaming Reina for what happened.
In order to make sure that Akira was not holding a grudge against Reina, Shiori was willing to do anything for him.
Akira was rather taken aback by Shiori’s serious attitude.
“Before I give you my reply, there’s one thing that I want to ask you. Why did you take the roundabout way of sending a request through the Hunter Office if you just want to talk with me?”
“If you accept the request, I’ll at least know that you have a good intention.”
Shiori employed Akira once when they were in the underground city. At that time, he criticized Reina and said something that angered Shiori, but Akira only did that thinking that it was a part of his duty. He did not try to do any lip service as he decided to say his honest opinion even though it might cause a fight.
Shiori thought that there was a need to know Akira’s real feelings. Even if Akira already completely regarded Reina and her as his enemies, it would still be better if she knew that. It was also to check whether Akira was only trying to look normal on the outside while thinking of killing Reina on the inside.
Shiori had offered her money, body, and even her life to Akira, she hoped that it would be enough to abate Akira’s grudge. Although it was by pure coincidence, Akira was the one who saved Reina after all. Shiori could not deny that fact. But if that was not the case, she would have to resolve herself to protect Reina even if it meant that she would have to fight Akira again.
Because of all this, Shiori needed to know Akira’s real feelings about that matter.
Of course, Akira could not read that deep into Shiori’s intention. But at least, he had already prepared himself for whatever that might happen since he had no plans to lie when he decided to come to that place.
“I see. Leaving aside whether my answer can satisfy you or not, I’ll give you my honest answer. So raise your head and listen well.”
Shiori raised her head and waited for Akira’s answer with a serious expression.
Akira hesitated when he saw Shiori’s serious face, which made it difficult to express himself.
“Forget about that incident, you don’t need to do anything about it. That’s all.”
Shiori’s serious expression crumbled down, and that one-word response perfectly reflected her real feeling.
Akira sounded a little bit embarrassed as he continued.
“Ah, well, what can I say? I guess I have to give a proper explanation, huh. Alright then, I’ll explain everything. So just put aside any questions that you have at the moment and listen well. Since you sent that request right to me through the Hunter Office, you know my Hunter Code, right? Use your information terminal to see my battle record in my Hunter profile page, you can do that, right? I can lend mine if you can’t though.”
“Please don’t worry. I understand, please wait for a bit while I check it.”
Shiori looked a little puzzled as she did what Akira told her to do, she pulled out her information terminal, opened the Hunter Office’s site, and checked Akira’s battle record. But Shiori was shocked when she opened Akira’s profile page and checked for his battle record in the underground city.
“…What is this?!”
Shiori looked surprised as she turned her gaze at Akira. When she checked his information page, his battle record was much different from what she knew had happened in the underground city.
Akira’s battle record said that he was monitoring various defense points in the underground city for 3 days, nothing big happened during his assignment, but on the third day, he got injured in a battle against monsters and was sent to the hospital. That was what was written in Akira’s battle record, or at least, that was what the battle record publicly displayed.
Akira then explained to Shiori who was obviously confused.
“Due to my confidentiality contract with the requester, the Kugamayama City Management, I can’t tell you the details. But that’s my battle record, it has nothing, right? Since nothing had happened between us, I don’t have anything to do with you. After all, it’s not like something unbelievable had happened. If you can’t accept my explanation, you can go ahead and talk with the City Management. But of course, make sure not to get me involved. I have no wish to pick a fight against the City Management, you know.”
Due to his deal with Kibayashi, Akira’s battle record from the underground city was completely rewritten. Akira himself had no wish to talk about it, he was planning to behave as if whatever written in his battle record was the truth.
Because of that, Akira decided to completely forget about everything that had happened between him and Shiori. Or at least, he had no plans to bring that up again. Although it would be a lie to say that he did not feel anything about it, it was not enough of a reason to make him take any particular action. Akira had already completely moved on from that incident.
Shiori looked at Akira, the Hunter whose battle record was displayed on her information terminal. After taking some time observing him, Shiori carefully tried to understand the situation. She tried to recheck if there was anything that she missed, any lies between them, any misunderstandings, or any implicit message she did not interpret that might fatally worsen the situation.
Shiori looked very serious as she asked Akira.
“…Nothing happened, is that really alright?”
“Yep, it’s not like anything happened after all.”
“I understand. As a gesture of my thanks for coming all the way here for me just to confirm this matter, you can go ahead and order anything you want.”
Shiori smiled as she urged Akira to take the menu in front of him.
“In that case, I won’t hold back.”
After saying that, Akira took the menu in front of him. Shiori patted her chest in relief. Now that she had resolved that problem with him, she had nothing more to worry about.
Akira hummed when he read the menu. There were all kinds of dishes written on that menu, although he could read the letters, he had no idea what kind of dishes they were.
“Alpha. This Arandouse Grie New Palies Style with Elianes thingy, what kind of dish is this?”
“No idea, but it seems that it’s some kind of meat dish…”
“Well, it’s written under the meat section, so I’m sure it’s a meat dish, but… I don’t know what kind of dish it is.”
Akira’s hum got longer as he continued reading the menu. Shiori could guess what he was thinking looking from how he was behaving, she then smiled and said.
“Akira-sama, I’m planning to order today’s special course. It usually contains a good combination of dishes, so if you don’t know what to pick, how about ordering today’s special course? You can order more dishes if you still want to eat more after that.”
“…I’ll take that then.”
Of course, he could just randomly pick any dish from the menu, but since he might end up ordering weird things by mistake because of his bad luck, he decided to avoid doing such a thing and took Shiori’s offer.
Shiori called for the waiter and placed the order for her table. It did not take long for their order to arrive. As Akira looked at all the dishes that were lined up in front of him, he noticed that he knew nothing about any of those dishes. For him, all of them looked equally expensive and delicious. Akira made a long ‘hmmmm’ as he nervously reached for one of those dishes and put it in his mouth.
He was overwhelmed as flavours exploded inside his mouth. Akira almost fainted as flavours spread all over his tongue, but he was barely able to survive that fierce assault. It was because he knew from his experience that losing composure could lead to a fatal situation.
Akira took his time chewing, enjoying, and relishing the dish which he did not even have the slightest idea of how it was cooked or what was inside it. It was a wonderful dining experience that changed his sense of taste. It was a pleasure that he could never find in the slum city.
Since it looked like Akira was absolutely mind blown and was about to get spirited away, Alpha worriedly asked him.
“Akira, are you okay?”
“A-ah, yeah, I’m alright.”
Instead of using telepathy, Akira accidentally answered Alpha’s question aloud. So in short, he was not alright at all.
Shiori was confused when Akira suddenly said that.
“…It doesn’t suit your taste?”
“Eh? Ah, no, it’s alright. It’s so good that it gave me a shock.”
Akira was acting weird as he flusteredly answered Shiori’s question. Shiori too thought that he was behaving strangely as she smiled at him.
“I’m glad that it suits your taste very well. There’s no time limit, so you can take your time enjoying the food.”
Akira was somehow able to answer back before he started eating again. Since he had already experienced it before, Akira was not surprised anymore as he continued eating his meal.
Alpha did not say anything and just watched Akira eating. It was because she was worried if she said anything, he might make another mistake.
Shiori was enjoying her meal while keeping her eyes on Akira. Seeing how he was eating his meal with a big smile on his face, he did not look like someone who could force her to use her trump card accelerator drug and still fight evenly against her. He looked just like a common young boy that she could find in the city.
But even so, Shiori did not drop her guard against Akira. To be more precise, she became even more careful when dealing with Akira after knowing what she just heard today.
Akira’s battle record was completely rewritten. Compared to his real battle record, his new shabby battle record was a big downgrade. But even so, it did not seem like Akira was bothered by that at all. Thus, it could be assumed that the City Management made some kind of deal with him, a deal that brought him enough benefit that he did not mind his new battle record at all.
[This boy is good enough to make the City Management give him a beneficial deal. It means that the City Management recognizes his ability as a Hunter. With someone like him around, there should be at least some rumours about him, but Drankam’s information network has no information about him at all. Although Drankam is recruiting new young promising Hunters in order to increase its sphere of influence, it doesn’t seem like it’s trying to recruit him. I guess I need to investigate more whether it’s just because the gang still hasn’t discovered about him or if it’s because the gang is deliberately keeping a secret about him. But that might be a dangerous thing to do. I have to avoid anything that might cause Milady any harm…]
Shiori’s mind was preoccupied with the person in front of her as she was eating her meal. All this time, Alpha was paying her full attention at Shiori.
Akira did not notice Alpha, who was staring at Shiori, as all of his attention was focused on enjoying the meal in front of him.