After Akira was guided to Sheryl’s private room, he stopped Sheryl who was about to cling on him. Sheryl looked disappointed, but she then took a seat in front of Akira and smiled.
“So, how can I help you today? You can ask me anything.”
“Well, that’s not why I’m here today. I just got my new equipment set so I was able to start exploring ruins again. So I’m just here to pay a regular visit to the base, I’ve also brought some souvenirs that I got from exploring ruins. Just think of it as my thanks for letting me park my bike here and also letting me sleep here the other day.”
Akira took out the old-world relics from his rucksack and lined them in front of her. Sheryl looked at the relics in front of her wide-eyed. Among all the relics that Akira lined up in front of her, there were dresses and underclothes for girls, handkerchiefs, and female accessories. To Sheryl, all of them looked like expensive high-quality goods.
“I-Is it really okay if I take some of these?”
“You can take one each from the handkerchiefs and the accessories, then you can pick your choice from the rest.”
From what Akira said, Sheryl knew that all the goods in front of her were old-world relics. In short, they were high-quality goods for the people of the slum city. Although she did not know their exact value, she knew well that it was impossible for her to buy them normally.
While on the other hand, Akira thought of them as useless goods since Katsuragi would not buy them. Since both of them had the opposite impression for the relics in front of them, they were a little bit surprised to see how the other person reacted to those relics.
Sheryl made a very serious look as she was browsing through the accessories and the handkerchiefs. Seeing that, Akira thought that he should have given her everything since it made her think that much just to pick her choice. Shortly after, she finally decided on her picks.
“I’ll take these.”
“Alright. Since these are old-world relics, you can at least use them to trick other people by showing it to them. So, make sure to use them well.”
Akira then stuffed back the remaining handkerchiefs and the accessories into his rucksack.
Sheryl looked delighted as she looked at the presents that she just received from Akira. Among all of them, there were some underclothes for adults, basically, undies with erotic designs.
She thought that Akira might have given her those undies since he wanted to see her in it as she glanced at Akira. But after checking his reaction, she completely erased that thought from her mind.
After he finished stuffing the leftover relics back to his rucksack, Akira stood up.
“That’s all for today, I’ll head back home now.”
“You’re going back home now? You can stay here a little bit longer, you know…”
Sheryl, who was so surprised when Akira suddenly stood up, tried to stop him. It was not that often he visited her, but even so, he was going to leave before she could cling on him. If it was possible, Sheryl hoped that he would stay a bit longer or even spend another night here.
She tried to think of an excuse to make him stay longer, but before she could come up with anything, Akira suddenly said.
“I’m sorry but I have a plan to visit another place. I’ll come again soon, just give me a call if anything comes up.”
“I see. It’s really regrettable, but I understand. Thank you very much for your presents. I’m really happy to receive them.”
Sheryl smiled and expressed her gratitude. Although it was a dazzling smile that worked really well on the boys in her gang, as expected, it was completely useless against Akira. But it was not because of her smile, it was because Akira was an apathetic boy who did not trust other people.
“…Well, if you’re really that happy, I guess I can bring you more next time.”
Akira’s expression did not change at all when he said that.
Sheryl then accompanied him until just outside her base and saw him off. After that, she returned back to her private room, laid down on her bed, and reviewed her conversation with Akira just now.
She hung the pendant that she received from Akira on her finger and stared at it. Although she was happy with everything that she received from him, for some reason, she also felt an uneasiness inside her heart. She then tried to think of the reason why.
Was it because it was a pendant that she picked rather than something that Akira himself picked? Was it because Akira gave her that just to prove her relation with him for negotiation? Or was it because he used the word ‘to trick’ back then?
Sheryl thought that it was not a good idea to keep thinking about it, thus she cut her thought there. She was still lying on her bed as she looked at the other souvenirs that she received from Akira. Among them, there were old-world dresses and underclothes.
[…I wonder if I can change the mood between us if I try on another dress]
Sheryl pulled herself up from her bed and started undressing. She remembered that Akira also gave her underclothes, so she decided to take off her undies too. She then extended her hand to pick up one of the old-world undies that she received and opened its seal. When she touched its fabric, it felt so smooth and comfortable, the difference between that undie and all the undies that she had used until now was just like heaven and earth.
[I guess that’s to be expected of old-world relics. I wonder how much this will cost if I were to buy it normally?]
As Sheryl was about to put on that undie, someone suddenly knocked on the door of her room. The person on the other side of the door suddenly opened that door without waiting for Sheryl’s reply.
Erio’s words were cut short as he entered the room and met Sheryl’s eyes. He panicked and slammed the door behind him as he immediately exited the room.
Erio understood well that he did something really bad, the expression on her face truly projected his inner feelings, it was pure terror.
He could hear Sheryl from the other side of the door.
“That was an accident!! I just thought that it might be a good idea to get the new members to meet Akira, that’s why I’m here!! And that was just a pure accident!!”
“If it’s about him, he quickly left after he finished his business here. That aside, Erio…”
Sheryl put a pause there. Erio was sweating profusely as he looked at the door to Sheryl’s room.
“There won’t be any mercy next time.”
Although Sheryl said that in her usual tone, it only made her sound more terrifying. Erio swore to himself that he would never ever open that door without a confirmation ever again.
Inside the Cartridge Freak, Shizuka was talking with Elena and Sara. She was asking them how they were doing lately.
“I see, so your underground city exploration request has finally ended, huh?”
Sara happily replied back.
“Yep, thanks to that, we can go back to exploring ruins.”
Sara was obviously looking happy there, and from the way she worded it out, it sounded as if she got herself free from something.
Shizuka who saw that found it rather weird.
“Was it really that bad? From what I heard from both of your stories, it seems that you girls did not find any difficulties and got paid well from that request though.”
Elena smiled bitterly as she answered Shizuka’s question.
“That’s not the reason. Sara is so displeased because all of the relics that we found during that request were all taken ownership by the City Management according to our contract. No matter how many relics we found down there, we had no other choice but to bite our lips and hold ourselves back from carrying them back home, you see. I lost count how many times I had to pull Sara by her hair just to drag her away from the relics in front of her.”
Elena smiled after she said that. Shizuka imagined that situation and smiled.
While on the other hand, Sara was pouting as she jabbed back.
“Didn’t you also complain a lot about that too?”
“Of course, I did. It was because I had to hold myself back as much as you did back then. I never said that I felt happy about surrendering those relics, did I?”
As Elena answered back so lightly, Sara turned her cheek the other way and made ‘humph’ sound.
In the middle of their silly talks, Akira suddenly entered the shop. They quickly noticed Akira, he also immediately noticed them near the counter the moment he stepped in. He then walked to the counter.
Elena smiled at Akira.
“Long time no see, Akira. I heard that you did some crazy reckless stuff lately, but I’m really glad to see that you’re doing fine.”
Akira smiled back and said.
“Elena-san, Sara-san, long time no see.”
Sara scanned Akira’s body for any visible injuries as she said to Akira.
“I was worried when I heard that you were removed from the underground city exploration request, but it seems that you’re not injured at all. Well, I won’t ask you the details, you can’t tell us anything after all, right?”
“I’m sorry and thank you.”
Sara and Elena were being considerate of Akira’s position, and he was really happy about that.
Shizuka found the conversation between them amusing as she joined in.
“So then, what brings you here today? Don’t tell me that you got too excited about your new equipment and so you’re here to get refill ammo.”
“Nope, it’s just that I was able to bring back quite a lot of relics from the ruins, so I just thought of giving some of them away as souvenirs. It’s also a form of my gratitude for always taking care of me, so please accept them.”
Akira took out the handkerchiefs and accessories from inside his rucksack and lined them on the table.
Shizuka, Sara, and Elena looked closely at those relics. All three of them were already used to seeing old-world relics, thus they had better eyes than Akira when it came to appraising old-world relics.
Elena scanned through all the relics that Akira brought before speaking to him.
“You’ve got a good collection of relics here, are you sure we may take some of them?”
“Of course. They’re basically just leftover relics after I sold all the expensive relics that I brought back. So please don’t worry about it.”
“Is that so? If that’s the case, then I won’t hold back.”
Sara quickly extended her hands and yoinked the handkerchief and accessory that she had her eyes locked on to. Both Elena and Shizuka giggled when they saw that.
“Shizuka-san, can I see the modification parts that you have?”
“Sure. Elena, make sure that Sara would leave some for me too, okay?”
“…Geez, I’m not that greedy.”
Elena smiled teasingly, which Sara returned with a bitter smile. Shizuka smiled and headed to the back room to get the modification parts that Akira asked.
Akira was talking to Elena and Sara while he was browsing through the modification parts. Since he brought more handkerchiefs and accessories than the number of people here, he just told them to share the relics between the 3 of them. So Elena, Sara, and Shizuka were also discussing how to divide the relics among them.
Akira picked a modification part that allowed him to get more ammo in a magazine, he then paid for that part and put it inside his rucksack.
After they finished deciding which relics they wanted, Sara looked at the relics that she received. She seemed delighted as she spoke to Akira.
“Since you gave me some good relics, I need to give something back to you. Akira, is there anything you want to know? I might even give you some secret tips about how to work as a Hunter.”
Seeing how Sara happily said that, Elena interjected and gave her a warning.
“Whoa there, Sara, don’t tell him anything unnecessary, okay?”
“I get it, don’t worry, I know where to stop. So, is there anything you want to know?”
Judging from how Sara was behaving, it seemed that she would not withdraw from that place unless Akira asked her something. So he thought of anything that he might ask.
“In that case, can you tell me how to sell relics?”
When Akira said that, Elena and Sara were obviously a little bit surprised. Sara then asked Akira to make sure what he meant by that question.
“Uhhh, that’s a rather specific question. You mean how to sell relics so that you can get more money rather than selling all your relics to the Hunter Office, right? To be honest, I always leave that part to Elena, so I’m not really that informed about that…”
Sara glanced at Elena to see how she reacted.
The way to exchange the relics into a huge amount of money, that was an indispensable knowledge for the Hunters who specialized in exploring ruins. After all, it was not like the people who buy relics from those Hunters had an unlimited asset to pay those Hunters. Moreover, the price of the relics was greatly affected by the supply, the demand, and the current trends. It was a knowledge that they had acquired from hard work and piling experiences, it would allow them to get a better edge to compete with the other Hunters. Thus it was not a thing that Hunters would normally share with the other Hunters.
From that point of view, Akira’s question was actually rather rude. It would not be strange if Elena was offended by that question, that was what Sara was worrying when she glanced at Elena.
But Elena quickly caught the meaning behind that question, she then asked Akira to confirm her guess.
“Akira, you mean the common knowledge that most Hunters would normally know, right?”
“Yes. I actually went to sell all the relics that I brought back from the ruin, but in the end, the person that I sold the relics to was reluctant to buy a portion of the relics that I brought, you see.”
So in short, Akira was less than even a beginner when it came to selling relics. If Elena and Sara were like players who knew the rules, the principle of those rules, and were skilled in the game, then Akira would be a new player who did not even know the rules at all. If that was the case, then there was no reason for Elena to get offended by his question.
“If that’s the case, then sure. First of all, can you tell me what kind of relics you brought back?”
Akira tried to remember the relics that he brought back and conveyed it to Elena. Of course, he would be able to completely retrace everything if he asked Alpha, but it would be suspicious if he was able to accurately recall everything. So he decided to try his best on his own.
When Akira mentioned that he found some old-world underclothes, Sara quickly reacted.
“Underclothes for girls?! How many did you find? Do you still have them?”
“I-I’m sorry, it wasn’t that many and I don’t have them now.”
Akira was slightly overwhelmed by Sara’s reaction while Sara looked very disappointed by Akira’s answer.
“That’s unfortunate. I know this sounds really shameless, but to be honest, I would prefer to get those.”
Akira looked troubled when he heard her.
“…Me giving underclothes as a present to Sara-san, huh? That’s a big hurdle for me, so like… That’s a little bit… You know…”
Akira had no courage to do that.
Sara smiled invincibly as if she was challenging Akira when she teased him.
“If you give me some, I might allow you to see me in those undies, you know?”
She was half-joking there, so to be more precise, she was also half-serious.
Elena sighed exasperatedly and interjected.
“Sara, you’re troubling Akira, you know? You should work hard and find that kind of relic yourself. I’m sorry, Akira. There’s a particular reason why Sara is hungry for more undies right now.”
“Hungry? Elena, don’t use weird expression there.”
Sara sounded annoyed when she said that to Elena. She then noticed Akira, who tilted his head, and tried to explain in panic.
“Akira, it’s not like what you think, okay? Ah, well, it’s true that I’m in a little bit of trouble right now, but it’s not because of anything strange, okay?”
Although Akira did not ask her, Sara then flusteredly explained the reason as if she was making excuses.
Sara was an enhanced human with nanomachines body enhancement. Because of that, her body shape changed depending on the amount of nanomachine reserve remaining inside her body or how many nanomachines that she was using. Especially for her chest where she stored her nanomachines reserve, its size varied with time.
Because of that, if she used the usual stretchable bra, it would sometimes become so stuffed that it suffocated her, but some other time, it left a big empty space enough for it to slip. Moreover, depending on its compatibility with the type of the nanomachine that she was using or the suit with nanomachine reserve that she equipped, even a slight manoeuvre might cause her to tear her undies in no time.
And so, Sara was in dire need of undies that could stretch so much that it would fit comfortably on her body that changed frequently from time to time, also it needed to be strong enough to endure her power and her manoeuvring as an enhanced human. Getting such undies would, of course, cost her a lot of money. Not to mention, if she wanted to get comfortable undies with a good design, then the price would increase even further. And such undies were rare and most sought after in the market.
But the old-world undies that were made using the advanced old-world technology easily satisfied all of those requirements. It was as if they were intentionally made to annoy people like Sara. This was also the reason why Sara was looking for old-world undies. Although it was not like all the old-world undies were that good, most of them were able to at least satisfy her needs.
Of course, she could find other undies with the same level of functionality as the old-world relics, but such undies would have been made using high-quality materials and advanced technologies. Thus they would be super-duper expensive.
On the other hand, she could also buy the undies that the other Hunters brought to the Exchange Centre. But with the old-world brand plastered on them on top of their high quality, and not to mention that she would be competing with the rich people to get them, it would still cost her a lot of money too.
Because of that, Sara would not sell any old-world undies that she found when she searched the ruins so that she would be able to use them instead. She was able to get quite a lot of reserve undies by doing so. But then because of that underground exploration request, she did not have any chances to hunt for relics. Moreover, since they had to explore the underground city on foot, it also increased the frequency where she had to fight monsters.
Thanks to that, Sara burned through her spare undies really fast to the point that her reserve was in an emergency state at the moment. At this rate, she would have to go full commando.
Sara sounded a little exaggerating as she desperately explained her situation to Akira. Akira at least understood that she was not joking there.
“In that case, I’ll bring them to you next time I find more.”
Sara looked delighted when Akira said that.
“That would be really helpful, thank you. There’s no need to worry even if it has some super erotic design, I’ll properly put it on and show it to you.”
After Sara said that teasingly to Akira, this time it was Shizuka who looked exasperated and interjected.
“Stop spouting stupid things and properly buy them from him. Akira, if you find any old-world clothes, it doesn’t matter if it’s underclothes, you can bring them here and I’ll buy them from you for a good price. Maintaining the guns is a dirty job after all, so there’s a demand in this business for clothes that don’t get ripped or stained easily. Don’t worry, Sara then can buy them from me at an even higher price.”
Sara was shocked by that.
“O-of course you’ll give me a friendly discount, right?”
“Don’t worry, you’re a prospective regular customer to my shop after all. So I’ll properly give you a special price for trying to snatch relics right in front of me.”
Shizuka smiled at Sara when she said but it only served to make her look scarier. Sara obviously winced back there. Akira and Elena laughed when they watched their exchange.
Sara then turned to Akira and asked him.
“Well, basically, I just need to find them myself. So, is it okay to ask you where you found them?”
“Well, it’s rather complicated to explain it but… Hmmm… What should I say here…?”
Akira wanted to explain the location of the ruin that he just visited the other day, but since he could not come up with any good way to describe the place, he looked rather troubled.
“Alpha, how do you think I should explain it to them?”
“If you really want to give them the location, you can just tell them the coordinates rather than the road that you took.”
“Ohhh, I see.”
“…Are you seriously going to tell them?”
“Eh? Is it a bad idea?”
Looking at the troubled Akira, Elena thought that he was hesitating because of something else.
“I’m not going to tell you to remember all the ruins around this area, but it’s a good idea to at least remember the name of the ruin where you get your relics. After all, merchants might buy your relics for a higher price if you can explain to them where you get your relics from.”
The Kuzusuhara ruin was the only ruin that could be reached by foot from Kugamayama city. But that was not the case with a vehicle. There were multiple ruins around the Kugamayama city that Akira could go to if he had a vehicle, thus it was not a strange thing if he could not remember the name of all those ruins. As Elena thought so, she also taught Akira one of the basics of selling relics.
But Akira shook his head and replied.
“I do remember the name of the ruin near it, but the location itself is…”
When Akira was about to give the precise location of the site, Elena suddenly stopped him with a serious expression.
Akira was a bit surprised. Elena then scanned the shop for any other Hunters. Coincidentally, there was no one else inside the shop. She then sighed in relief and turned to Shizuka.
“Shizuka, I’m sorry but is it okay to change the place?”
“Of course, be sure to teach Akira the basics of selling relics too, okay?”
Shizuka understood well why Elena did that. The only person who did not understand what was going on was Akira.
Elena looked a bit troubled and said to Akira.
“Akira, is it ok if we continue this in another place… Well, it seems like it is going to be a long talk, so how about our house? Are you okay with that?”
“Eh, ah, yes, sure.”
“Let’s go then. Shizuka, see you again next time.”
Elena and Sara then left the shop. Shizuka still looked a bit troubled as she waved at Akira when he left her shop.
Akira just obediently followed Elena and Sara back to their house. He was sitting on a chair inside a room while waiting for Elena and Sara, who went to change their clothes. He was obediently waiting for them since they told him that they would explain the details later.
He looked around the house, judging from the furniture and the other stuff inside, he quickly understood that it was better than his house.
“It might be a good idea not to look around like that.”
“Ah, you’re right.”
Since Alpha warned him, Akira went back to sitting obediently while waiting for Sara and Elena. It did not take long before they returned.
Elena brought with her 3 cups of coffee. She then placed the cups on the table and took a seat on a sofa. She glanced at Sara and exasperatedly said to her.
“Sara, we have a guest here. So, can you at least pick better clothing than that?”
“It’s fine, isn’t it? Since we’re in our home, at least let me wear something that I can relax in. I also don’t mind Akira seeing me in this.”
Sara was wearing a loose white long-sleeve T-shirt that extended all the way to under her hip. Since it was made for comfort, it was showing a lot of skin under it. And to top it off, she was not wearing any skirt or pants.
“Even if it doesn’t bother you, it might still bother Akira, you know.”
“Is that so?”
Elena and Sara who had the exact opposite opinion turned to Akira for confirmation. Both of their faces were telling him to agree with them. Akira was a bit overwhelmed by their expectation.
“Well, I do want to relax in my own house, and since this is Sara-san’s house, so if Sara-san doesn’t mind, then I’m okay with it too.”
Sara smiled smugly while Elena exasperatedly withdrew. Looking at Elena, Sara just smiled and said.
“Don’t worry, I properly put on something down there.”
It could also be inferred from her words that she did not have her bra on right now. Moreover, the shorts that she was wearing was rather provocative. The reason why she was wearing those shorts was to save her undies reserve that was running dangerously low.
With just a little bit of effort, Alpha could accurately determine the direction of Akira’s gaze. So in short, she knew better than Akira himself what he was looking at.
Since Sara was wearing a shirt that was out of her proportion, the valley of her chest sometimes peeked out from her shirt, and whenever she made a big move, her shorts would peek from under the shirt. Alpha knew that Akira was trying to look away from those two things. She also knew well that his efforts sometimes betrayed him.
So, knowing those facts, Alpha then said to Akira.
“As I thought, Akira, you like erotic clothes more, huh? Are you someone who gets all cold when you see a naked girl instead?”
Akira jabbed back hard at Alpha while trying to hide his embarrassment.
Elena then changed the mood and said.
“Now then, let’s continue our talk from before, the ruin that you just visited might be an unexplored ruin, right?”
When someone found an unexplored ruin that the other Hunter frequently visited, eventually, that ruin site would become popular and get a name. Sometimes the Hunters who found it first would just put on a random name on that site which later would spread among the other Hunters, and sometimes they would just pick a name from any particular landmark that they found when they searched for that ruin.
Since Akira said that he remembered the name of the ruin near the location where he found that site, this meant that either it was a nameless ruin that was just discovered recently or it was a completely unexplored ruin.
If it was a newly discovered old-world ruin, no matter how much they tried to hide it, it usually would still leak out unless they did a lot of information control to make sure that it would not leak out. Otherwise, the location of that ruin would quickly spread among the Hunters. Because of that, since Elena and Sara did not hear anything about a newly discovered ruin recently, thus they quickly guessed that the ruin that Akira found was a completely unexplored ruin. Elena was sure of her guess when she asked Akira that question.
“It might be an unexplored ruin. Although, it might also be just a different entrance into a ruin that was already explored.”
Since Akira just said that out so easily as if it was nothing, Elena warned him in a way that sounded as if she was scolding Akira.
“Listen here, Akira. It’s dangerous to give that information to other people, you know? The location of an unexplored ruin, I’m sure you know how valuable that information is, right?”
But Akira’s tone and expression did not change at all as he answered back.
“Of course, I won’t just give this information easily to other people. I just thought that it should be okay to share it with both of you since you’ve helped me so much. Not to mention that I already went into that ruin once before.”
It meant that Akira shared that information to Sara and Elena although he knew well just how valuable that information was. Elena and Sara were delighted when they heard that, but Elena tried to suppress her feelings as she said to Akira.
“I’m happy that you feel like that, but there’s one more thing. It’s dangerous to even say that you have such information in a public space. This is also true even when you’re inside Shizuka’s shop. It won’t be strange to find other Hunters eavesdropping in the middle of a public space like that.”
“I see, I understand, I’ll be careful next time.”
Even after hearing Akira’s reply, Elena felt that his reaction was somehow still too naive. So she then continued while making a serious face.
“If you think that it would only cause you trouble with other Hunters if they find out that you have such information, you’ll have to fix your thinking. Depending on the type of facility that you discover, in the worst-case scenario, it might even cause you some trouble with big companies, you know. Some of them are not only aiming for the relics, they have many other agendas like seizing and monopolizing that ruin in order to restart it. As a result, they would even use anything, including violence, to get their hands on such information. So make sure to be very careful about it.”
Akira nodded with a serious face. Just like Elena said, he only thought that it might cause a problem with other Hunters. Of course, he had no plans to get into trouble with big companies, thus he swore to be more careful.
Elena could get from Akira’s expression that he completely took in what she said to him. Thus, the serious expression on her face vanished and turned back into a smile.
Silavin: Ah. Akira is just too pure!