Akira followed the stairs underground. It did not take that many steps before he was enveloped with total darkness where he could not see anything at all.
He then turned on the flashlight on his rifle and continued going deeper. The light from the flashlight could not even reach the base of the stair which extended deeper into the darkness.
At that time, Alpha suddenly said to Akira.
“Akira, turn off the flashlight.”
Akira hesitated, but he eventually turned off the flashlight just like he was told. Darkness immediately enveloped him the moment he lost the only source of light. In that situation where he could not even see his own body, he was able to see Alpha’s image clearly.
In the midst of the total darkness, Alpha, who was giving off a silvery glow, suddenly raised her right hand. The moment she did that, everything around Akira suddenly became clear as colours returned to his vision. Akira could even see the cracks and the stains on the wall around him.
Although there was no light at all, Akira was able to see everything as clear as day. He was amazed, it was true that he did not need any light source in this situation.
“It’s thanks to the level of accuracy of the data analyser in your new information-gathering device. But because of that, you can’t see too far through the darkness. If you’re bothered by it, you can turn on your flashlight. The light from your flashlight will be able to help me gather information through the rifle’s aiming device, then I can show the result from analyzing that data into your view to let you see what is in front of you more clearly.”
Akira then turned his flashlight back on and peeked forward. He could now see a floor by the end of the stair.
“So your support even goes as far as shooting in the dark too, huh. That’s really amazing.”
“But of course, it’s my support after all.”
Alpha smiled proudly. Her support was really reassuring, but Akira kept on moving forward into a place where he might lose that support.
Akira thought of that possibility, he then made his resolve and swung his legs forward.
Akira felt like he had gone down for about 4 floors before he reached a long hallway. There were lamps installed on the ceiling of the hallway, but of course, they were not on. If it was not because of Alpha’s support, he wouldn’t have been able to see them at all. Akira readied his gun as he continued walking deeper into the long hallway.
The hallway itself was pretty clean. Although the floor was covered in dust and dirt, there were no crumbled parts nor wreckage scattered through the hallway, there was also no white bones leftover from dead people or corpses of either mechanical or biological monsters.
If the floor was not covered in dirt and dust, it would indicate that the old-world cleaning drones in that place were still active. But the dust-covered floor refuted such a possibility. And since Akira did not see any footprints, it might be really an unexplored ruin.
Now, if the facility itself had already been deactivated, then the security drone would also be inactive and Akira would be able to safely search the building. And since there were no footprints on the floor, it also showed that no monster had gone through that hallway. All the signs were indicating that it was a safe building.
“It’s going really well. Now then, if I can find a lot of old-world relics left in this place, then this will be perfect.”
“It seems that this place is just a normal hallway. It will really be a huge jackpot if it leads to a warehouse or a shop. But there’s also a chance this is just a common hallway, if that’s the case, I hope you can at least find some lockers.”
As Akira continued walking through the hallway, he noticed something that looked like a shop next to him.
The shop itself was embedded into the wall of that hallway. Akira realized that it was a shop since the wall was made of glass that allowed him to see what was inside. It seemed like the entire section of the wall was built as the display window of that shop. He came closer to the display window and peeked inside. The interior of that shop looked pretty extravagant with luxurious and expensive looking relics lined up inside that shop. To Akira, all of them looked like they would sell for a lot of money.
Akira could not hide his amazement as he turned to Alpha.
“W-we did it!! Alpha!! Those are relics!! This place has so many old-world relics!! Let’s take them back, let’s take all of them back home!!”
“Akira, calm down.”
“Entrance, where’s the entrance? I don’t see any though.”
Akira excitedly looked for an entrance, but he could not find anything that resembled it. The glass of the display window looked not that durable, he thought that he might be able to break it using his augmented suit.
Looking at Akira, who seemed like he was going to break the glass to get inside, Alpha hesitated as she said to him.
“Calm down. Unfortunately, you can’t take any of those relics at the moment.”
Akira seemed utterly shocked as he looked at Alpha.
“I’ll explain it to you, so just calm down for now.”
Alpha then modified Akira’s vision, the moment she did that, all the expensive looking relics that were in front of his eyes immediately vanished. Akira dropped his jaw.
“I prioritized the topological data to remove any holographic images from your vision.”
Akira noticed an object that was projecting the image of the relics that he just saw a moment ago. He then dug through his knowledge and worded out the name of the object that came up in his mind.
“It was made using the technology of the old-world, I’m sure it’s some kind of advertisement from when this place was still active.”
Akira finally understood what was going on, the shop in front of his eyes was non-existent. It was only a super-advanced poster that produced a highly realistic image.
Akira was somehow able to prevent himself from just dropping on his knees.
“Can I at least bring this poster back?”
“It’s embedded into the wall, so that’ll be impossible too.”
“…I guess I got ahead of myself, huh.”
Akira let out a big sigh. He then continued going deeper while calming himself down.
In contrast with his expression, his steps still felt heavy when he left that poster. As time passed by, he eventually got back to his usual self. At that point, he had already reached the end of that long hallway and entered a big open-hall. That big open-hall was connected with another hallway, there were also several automatic ticket gates and shops present.
When Akira looked at those shops, he turned to Alpha as if he wanted to ask her something.
“It’s alright, those are real this time.”
Akira smiled and walked to one of those shops. Without any power source, the automatic door in front of the shop could not move, so he used the power of his augmented suit to pry it open before entering that shop.
The interior of the shop was not that big, but inside it, there were all kinds of goods and some leftover broken goods lined up. Some of them were so old that they even turned into a bundle of dust, some of them looked so unnaturally brand new. The latter were known as the old-world relics, they were expensive goods manufactured through an advanced technology that could not be replicated using current technology.
Akira pulled out a rucksack, different from the one that he was using to carry his equipment. He then started stuffing any objects that still retained its original shape into his empty rucksack.
Among them, there were weird looking small electronic devices, knife-like sharp objects, some stationeries, notes that strangely enough still retained its original colour, some pieces of clothing that looked like underclothes, strange discoloured boxes filled with still consumable medicines, liquid containers filled with some kind of cleaner, handkerchiefs, cooking utensils, something that looked like calculators, fashionable clothing, small accessories, and even toys. Akira did not discriminate as he stuffed everything inside his rucksack.
As he was looking at the pile of mismatch relics in his rucksack, he asked Alpha.
“…Say Alpha, what kind of shop was this exactly?”
“Maybe just a general shop.”
“They sold cooking utensils and clothing in a general shop? And even this strange electronic device too? I don’t really understand the old-world culture. Was this kind of shop normal in the old-world?”
“Different technological era have different cultures. So you shouldn’t use your common sense.”
“I guess that’s true, huh. Well, as long as these relics sell for a lot of money, I don’t really care much about it.”
Even in the current era, the lifestyle and the culture inside the wall and outside the wall were greatly different. So Akira decided not to let himself get bothered by the mismatched collection of relics that he found inside that shop.
It did not take long for him to fill his rucksack to full capacity. Akira smiled, he should be able to make quite a lot of money with this.
“Now that I already got the relics, I’m thinking of ending the exploration here for today. What do you think, Alpha? Should I continue exploring this area for a bit more instead?”
“If you think so, it’s okay to go back home now. It’s important to be able to decide where to stop before anything bad happens.”
“Alright then, let’s head back home. I didn’t get to meet any monsters too, so I guess I really hit the jackpot today.”
“You can’t relax yet, you know? You should not drop your guard as long as you haven’t returned back alive. And it’s too soon to decide if you have hit the jackpot or not before you have exchanged all the collected relics into money.”
“I know, let’s go back home.”
Akira went back through the hallway that he just passed through in a good spirit. As Alpha was watching him walking back in such a good mood, she thought that things were going too smoothly.
That day, Akira was able to find an unexplored ruin, get himself a lot of relics without encountering any monsters, and now he was going back to Kugamayama city to sell the relics that he gathered.
Akira had bad luck to the point that it was almost guaranteed that he would at least get roped into something troublesome no matter what he did. But now that everything was going well, Alpha was rather worried about the backlash. Although it was not like she had any evidence to support her claim, she still could not help but think so.
Unlike what Alpha expected, Akira was able to return back to Kugamayama city safely with all of his relics. Although he did meet some Hunters driving in the opposite direction on his way back, nothing bad happened. Akira put some distance between them just to be safe and continued driving in the opposite direction, those Hunters eventually disappeared behind Akira without anything major happening.
Once he got back to the city, Akira kept on driving his vehicle all the way back to his home. It was because it was already late, too late for him to look for Katsuragi to sell his relics. So he decided to just take a good rest for the remainder of the day and sell his relics the next day.
Akira took a warm bath to recover his fatigue from all the hard work he did that day. Since he got quite a lot of relics, he was in a rather good mood.
“I wonder how much I’ll get from those relics. Some of them are still in very good shape, so they should be able to get me quite a lot of money. Right, Alpha?”
Akira was asking for a confirmation from Alpha who was taking a bath together with him.
The image of Alpha’s superbly beautiful body swayed together with the steam and the vibration on the water surface. It was a totally unnecessary visual effect produced using her advanced computational ability. But for those people who got more excited when it was barely visible, this might even be the correct way to use her advanced computational ability.
But her charming and beautiful body was barely given any attention by Akira, who was in such a good mood after returning back with a lot of relics. He kept on wasting his chance of seeing such a rare beauty that day too.
Alpha knew that Akira was expecting to get a lot of money from selling those relics. Thus she refuted his thinking in order to calm him down.
“You should not expect too much. This is not the same compared to when you were gathering relics in Kuzusuhara ruin with my instructions. But I won’t say that they won’t sell either.”
“…Is that so?”
“The value of those relics will depend on Katsuragi’s preference and the types of relics that are in demand at the moment. If you get your hopes too high, you might only get disappointed in the end, you know?”
“Hmmm. Well, I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.”
His expectation of the amount of money that he might get from selling those relics stopped swelling after hearing Alpha’s explanation, it also helped him calm down.
On the next day, Akira went to Katsuragi to sell his relics. After checking all the relics, Katsuragi then told Akira how much he would buy Akira’s relics for.
Akira looked conflicted. It was not a small amount of money for sure, but it was not the amount he had expected.
Katsuragi made a businessman’s smile as he said to Akira.
“That face, you were expecting to get more money, weren’t you? But unlike last time, you’re not saying that you’re going to take them to the Hunter Office, so it’s not like you fully reject it either, right?”
If Alpha had not warned him yesterday, Akira would have expected to get way more money than this. If she had said something after hearing the amount of money that Katsuragi was offering, Akira might have reacted differently too, but she did not make any comments at all. After hearing the amount, though Akira did not think that it was completely unexpected, he also was not fully convinced by that amount.
Katsuragi was able to see through Akira’s displeasure and noticed that it might be his chance to get his hands on more money.
“I’ve been planning to get along with you for a long time, so it would be bad if you brought your relics to another place and was left with a bad impression about me. So, hear me out, I have a good idea. It seems that you don’t have much knowledge about selling relics. In that case, I don’t mind teaching you. After all, I bet that you mostly spend your time doing monster-hunting requests rather than hunting for relics, right? If you had known anything about selling relics, you wouldn’t have brought a portion of these relics here.”
“About what kind of requests I take, I’ll leave it to your imagination.”
“Well, even if I’m mistaken, you have nothing to lose from listening to my advice.”
Katsuragi started explaining the basics of selling relics to Akira while carefully adjusting the level of self-interest that he could mix in his explanation.
It was not like all old-world relics would sell for a high price and the selling price would also change depending on to whom Akira sold them.
The buying price of relics at the Hunter Office was greatly affected by the type of relics the Corporate Government was looking for. The type of relics that the Corporate Government wanted the most was those with high scientific or technological values even among the old-world relics. After all, these relics could serve as an entry point to learn about old-world technologies.
The Corporate Government of the eastern district was gathering old-world relics from all over its territory to learn more about the old-world technologies. These relics would be then sent to the laboratories under its governance to be broken down, dissected, and analyzed by all the scientists and engineers working in those laboratories. The results from those laboratories are then used to boost Corporate Government’s technology, thus allowing them to produce cheaper and better goods.
The relics that were brought to the Hunter Office’s Exchange Centre, which were under the Corporate Government’s management, would be categorized depending on how much of old-world technologies could be extracted from them. The better the value that those relics had, the higher the chance for them to be sent to the 5 corporations that headed the Corporate Government. Because of this, the technological gap between big companies and the small or medium companies would not shrink anytime soon.
In order to get those valuable relics, the small and the medium-sized companies would have to use other methods. So basically, these companies were the main patrons for Katsuragi and the other relics merchants.
Katsuragi then took the weird-looking electronic devices from the pile of relics that Akira brought to him. He then showed it in front of Akira and said.
“Bringing this type of relics to my place is the right course of action. Any company would happily buy this type of relic. And it’s doubly true for those companies that don’t get much chance to get such a relic. Since these types of relics will sell at a high price, I’m also willing to buy them from you for a high price. Well, of course, I only sell these relics to those companies after gathering quite a lot of them. And when I don’t have enough to sell to the companies, I’ll gather some more from my other fellow merchants.”
It was not like the companies would only use these relics to study the old-world technologies, some of them were used as they were.
Of course, some of them could be reproduced with the same level of quality using the current technology, but most of the time, the manufacturing cost would be too high for them to be profitable. Some of them were used for a different purpose than originally intended when they were manufactured. Some of them could sell at a higher price just because they were old-world relics. These kinds of relics would naturally be transferred to the respective type of company where they would be properly checked, cleaned, sometimes even manufactured into another type of product, before eventually getting sold again.
Katsuragi then took one of the cooking utensils that Akira brought to him and said.
“While this type of relics, well, it’s not wrong to bring them to me. For relics that I know where to sell, I can buy them from you at a good price. Even if I don’t know where to sell them, I can buy them at a better price since I can still sell them to my fellow merchants. But of course, you can get more money if you look for a specialized merchant who deals with this type of relic. If it’s too much of a trouble for you, you can just sell them to me, but again, you’ll get less money if you do that.”
Every day, Hunters would bring back all kinds of relics to the city to exchange them for money. But some of those relics that were deemed useless had nowhere to go. It was because some Hunters would bring anything that they could find thinking that they would sell well as long as they were old-world relics. So sometimes, they would bring some stuff that could be substituted with common goods that were readily available in the shops around them. Thus, there was no need to gather such kinds of goods from the old-world ruins.
But even so, some of those relics were sometimes sold at a good price. It was because there were demands from people who gathered relics as antique collectibles. Katsuragi then took an accessory and a still-sealed trump card.
“As for these kinds of relics, it’s wrong to sell them to me. They might sell for a good price if you bring them to an exclusive shop, but in my eyes, they don’t have much value at all. It’s the same for cosmetics. I can’t really say how much their actual values are. Because of that, I’ll only buy them for a small price. To be honest, if you keep bringing only this kind of relics to me, I’ll eventually refuse buying them from you.”
“Then what will you do with this kind of relic?”
“Let’s see, I just stuff them inside my warehouse most of the time, then show them to relics connoisseur or people with eccentric taste when I find the chance. Although it’s rare, these people would pay a good price for those relics occasionally. Other than that, when I end up with quite a lot of them, I would just dump them in the wasteland and forget about them.”
“…Uhhh, are you really okay with doing something like that?”
“Of course I’m always careful as to where I dump them, at least, I didn’t get any complaints until now. If I dump them near the slum city, they’ll disappear before even a month. I bet the people of the slum city are taking them. No matter where I dump them in the wasteland, they always eventually disappear. There are a lot of speculations out there, some say that it’s because the still active cleaning droids of the old-world would secretly clean them up when no one’s watching, while some say that the monsters eat them. Personally speaking, I believe the latter. After all, there are monsters out there that would even eat tanks. So there’s nothing strange about it if they eat those relics too.”
Akira listened closely to Katsuragi’s explanation, he seemed to be honestly interested in the topic. After hearing the explanation, it seemed that Akira was more or less able to accept the amount of money Katsuragi offered. It was obvious to Katsuragi that Akira was properly listening to his explanation.
“And that will end my explanation. So then, I have a suggestion here, how about I buy some of your relics for 2,000,000 Aurum? Then for the other relics that I didn’t buy, basically, the relics that I don’t know what to do, you can do anything you want with them. You can try selling them to the Hunter Office. Or you can sell them to another merchant. I think this is a good offer for both of us, isn’t it?”
Akira was not sure for a while, but he eventually decided to take that offer.
“Alright, I’ll take the offer.”
“Good to hear that, we have a deal.”
Katsuragi was smiling happily as he transferred 2,000,000 Aurum into Akira’s account. Although he was still not sure whether his plan would bring him more profits or not, he was at least able to finish laying the groundwork.
Akira then brought the leftover relics back to his home and lined them on the floor.
He ended up bringing back all the relics that Katsuragi rejected. There were also some small accessories and trinkets amidst them. Among all those relics, Akira was rather surprised that Katsuragi did not accept the apparels, like the handkerchiefs and the underclothes.
To him, those goods were completely fine. The apparels even looked completely new, although that was unnaturally so. Therefore, he thought that it must be because Katsuragi just had no viable outlet as to where to sell these kinds of relics.
“So in short, Katsuragi doesn’t buy apparels, huh.”
“We ended up bringing back more relics than expected, so what’s your plan?”
“What should I do with them… I guess I’ll just throw them in the warehouse for now. We might find a use for them later.”
Akira decided to just postpone the problem for now. Of course, if this continued, then his house would eventually get filled with relics that had nowhere to go, but with that being said, it should be alright for the time being.
He then moved all the unsold relics to an empty room in his house. Even after he was done with it, that room still had a lot of open space and it gave Akira enough buffer time to arrive at a solution.
When Akira was about to leave his house, he suddenly remembered something. He then filled his rucksacks with the apparel and accessory relics.
Alpha tilted her head when Akira did that.
“Oh, what are you doing? Are you going to look for someplace to sell them?”
“Nah, not that. I just thought that they should be perfect as gifts.”
Akira then finished his preparation and left his house with his filled rucksack.
In an empty room in her gang’s base, Sheryl was teaching the small children in her gang on how to read and write. Since Akira himself made that request to her, she was putting more effort than usual as she was thoroughly teaching the children. Because of that, the members of the gang took that activity really well.
Unlike the adults, who ended up in the slum city from another place, most of the small children who were born and brought up in the slum city could not read or write. But they understood that reading and writing were crucial knowledge in their lives, however, they had no chance to acquire that knowledge. Adding the fact that the boss of their gang, Sheryl, told them to do so, everyone in the gang was giving their best in studying how to read and write.
One of Sheryl’s gang members suddenly entered the room to inform Sheryl of Akira’s arrival at the base.
“Boss, Akira-san is here.”
“Okay. Alicia, I’ll leave this place to you.”
Sheryl left the teaching to Alicia before leaving the study room. Some of the boys in that room looked disappointed when Sheryl left the room.
Because of both her position in the gang and her beauty, Sheryl was popular in the gang. Thanks to that, some boys put more effort into studying hoping that she would notice them.
Nasha was among the children who were studying in that room. The reason why they were also teaching Nasha how to write and read although she just joined the gang was because of the gift that she brought with her when she joined Sheryl’s gang. Although she only gave a portion of 90,000 Aurum that she received from Alna, it was enough to get her on the good side of the gang.
Although it was not that long since Nasha had joined Sheryl’s gang, she already had a very good impression of the gang after experiencing the life inside the gang for a few days.
She got enough food to keep her from starving and she was able to get a small gun enough for defending herself. Not to mention, no one from the neighboring gangs would even try to mess with Sheryl’s gang and their gang was able to make money from its connection with a certain weapon merchant. No one in the gang seemed to be supporting thieves, thus none was thinking of stealing or robbing warehouses or shops.
Nasha was thinking of checking the situation for a bit more before getting Alna into the gang too. So, for that sake, she thought that she had to do a more thorough check of the gang.
When Nasha saw Sheryl exit the room in a good mood, she asked the kid next to her.
“Say, it seems that Boss is in such a good mood though, do you know why exactly is that?”
“Well, it’s obviously because Akira is here, you know? Ahhh, you’re a new member, huh?”
Since Nasha asked a question that everyone in the gang already knew the answer for, that boy quickly noticed that she must be a new member of the gang.
“Yep, I’m Nasha, nice to meet you. So, what do you mean by that?”
“Akira-san is the boss’ boyfriend and it seems that the boss really likes him. He’s the main support of the gang and also a skilled Hunter, or so I heard.”
“Ahhh, it’s hard to ask this, but, is he sponging off the gang?”
Not only the ex-Hunters, but there were also other kinds of people, those who knew how to fight, working as a bodyguard or a back-support for the gangs in the slum city.
Some of them became the boss of a small gang and did whatever they wanted with those gangs. While on the other hand, when they got involved with a big-sized gang, some of them were paid with a huge amount of money to protect that gang or to work as mercenaries in time of war. No matter which one was the case, the amount of money paid to those people caused a strain for those gangs.
Nasha asked that question thinking that Akira might be one of those people, but that boy shook his head.
“It’s the opposite, it feels more like we’re the one piggy-backing him. It’s also because he’s behind this gang that no one is trying to attack us. He’s also the reason why we get a weapon merchant working with us. Other than that… Ah, right, this building too, it’s a good building for a base, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it has a lot of rooms and it even has a bath too.”
“That’s exactly why other gangs also have their eyes on this building, you know. There was also an occasion where someone from a big gang came here demanding to hand over this building… It was from Shijima’s gang, was it again? Do you know that gang?”
Nasha knew about Shijima’s gang from the time when she was investigating gangs that she and Alna might be able to join. It was a pretty big gang with far better personnel and equipment compared to Sheryl’s gang. According to Nasha’s knowledge, Sheryl would have no other choice but to give up on the building if that gang asked her for it.
“Of course. It’s impressive that you got out alive from that situation, so, was it alright?”
That boy’s expression turned stern.
“Well, I can’t really say for sure. When that happened, Akira-san shot the person who threatened him and dragged his corpse all the way to Shijima’s place and had a talk with Shijima.”
Nasha’s jaw dropped. The boy nodded at her, saying that he understood her reaction.
“In the end, we somehow have a good relationship with that gang right now. They send people from time to time to check if Akira-san has died or not. Akira-san is a Hunter after all, so it’s nothing strange if he suddenly dies out of the blue. If Akira-san really dies, I bet those people would come here to take over this base.”
Since Alicia was sending a stern gaze at him, that boy quickly stopped making idle chatter.
Nasha realized that and flusteredly fixed her posture.
[It seems that this gang has a pretty amazing Hunter supporting it, huh. I guess even this gang also has some kind of problems too. I’m actually interested in the continuation of that story. And for the sake of Alna, I still need to get more information about this gang. It’s not like Alna can keep hiding forever…]
Then in order not to make Alicia angrier than she was, Nasha returned back to studying.
Silavin: I just want to remind all those in the comments who are writing spoilers to stop. The responsibility does not only lie on them. There are those that are asking questions, which answers are clearly spoilers.
The comment section is for comments about that particular take on that particular chapter.
If you want to discuss about your anger or happiness. Even you goddamn waifus and ships! We have a discord channel for you. A spoiler channel where you can ask and get answers to.
In all seriousness, if it gets troublesome enough, I’ll just remove the comment section for Rebuild World.