A few minutes passed by since Guyver and Sebla went out of the room.
While in the room, Dale was showing the relics that he gathered that day. Both Sheryl and her underlings were looking at those relics with full interest.
Dale proudly told them the tale of those relics.
“Of course, the people during the old-world did all kinds of jobs and it seems there were similar companies compared to the current age. It’s still unclear whether they had those companies since they were also human like us, or it is because the people of this era are imitating the old-world people. Well, putting that aside, take a look at this relic. This is a Yasunabashi Corp logo. There were bad and good companies among the old-world companies. Yasunabashi was one of those good old-world companies, so people are willing to buy their products at a good price. If these people are not being careful, they would buy anything at a good price as long as it has this logo. Because of that, some bad Hunters make counterfeits by affixing forged logo of Yasunabashi Corp onto some random garbage that they find. And it’s not rare for relics exchange centres to get fooled by that. But of course, the relics exchange centres that properly examine the relics can quickly identify these fakes. I heard that it’s easy to identify fake relics since this logo is printed with some kind of advanced old-world technology. After they discovered that, some Hunters who got lucky and found an old-world printing machine started using that machine to print this logo. And that’s how these relics fakers and the people from the exchange centre are trying to outwit each other…”
Sheryl suddenly interrupted Dale who was enjoying himself.
“I’m really thankful for giving us all of this information, but are you sure it’s okay to share this info?”
Although Sheryl did intentionally encourage Dale to leak out information, she was rather worried since he just could not stop blurting information. Sheryl thought that she should calm him down first and so she interrupted him there.
After Dale calmed down a bit and looked back at what he said, he also noticed that he might have said too much. But after he saw Sheryl’s worried expression, he quickly came up with excuses to balance out all the information that he gave.
“Well, uhhh, it’s not exactly a secret after all. So I think it’s fine. Moreover, you can just take it as my payment for giving us a ride. I don’t want to be left in the wasteland without any means to go back to the city after all.”
“If that’s the case, thank you very much for sharing them with us.”
Sheryl lightly bowed and smiled at Dale, who blushed and started talking again.
Akira was observing them not too far away from them. He then asked Alpha while carefully trying to make sure that his expression did not change.
“That guy just blurted out secret information like it was nothing. So this is Sheryl’s ability, huh. To be honest, it’s a bit scary. If you ask me what exactly is scary about it, its the way she makes that guy happily leak information.”
From Akira’s point of view, the information that Dale was giving was valuable information. If Akira tried to get that information by normal means, it would take him a lot of money and time. Even the price of that information would put a dent on Akira’s savings. But Sheryl was able to extract those information through simple conversation. No wonder Akira felt a bit scared of her.
Alpha then told Akira her evaluation about Sheryl, she adjusted the way she said her evaluation in order to give Akira a warning at the same time.
“It’s because Sheryl knows her strength well and she’s using that to its fullest extent. She has the talent and now she’s the boss of a gang, I’m sure she made a lot of effort to sharpen that talent. Akira, you should be careful about her too, you know? And of course, this is not limited to Sheryl only. As you get stronger, more people will try to approach you to get some benefits out of you. It’s fine if they’ll also give some kind of benefits for you too, but I’m sure a lot of them are only going to leech off of you.”
Akira then tried to objectively evaluate himself.
“I understand. I’ll be fine, maybe… As long as they don’t try to bait me with good food like those meals from that restaurant.”
There was an occasion in the past when Shiori invited Akira for a meal in a high-class restaurant. After having experienced the level of meal that completely destroyed Akira’s view of food, he was not sure if he could keep his brain straight if he was baited with that kind of food. When something like that happens, he would have no other choice but hope that Alpha would stop him.
Alpha smiled and said.
“It seems that there’s a need for you to earn enough money to go to that restaurant from time to time, huh?”
“That’s very true.”
Akira sounded a bit optimistic when he said that.
Suddenly Alpha’s expression stiffened, Akira who noticed that quickly got his guard up.
“Akira, carefully peek out the window with your aiming device.”
“Is it a monster?”
“That’s what exactly you’re going to confirm. There’s some noise triggered within my detection range, if it’s not from a monster, then let’s just forget about it.”
The current Alpha was almost fully reliant on Akira’s information-gathering device to gather information. Because of the rain, Alpha’s detection range was greatly reduced, so in order to check more thoroughly, Akira had to do it himself using his aiming device.
Akira readied his rifle next to the window and peeked outside through the aiming device. He followed Alpha’s instructions to adjust the direction he was checking and so he quickly found the source of the noise.
“That thing, huh? That’s pretty big.”
Akira spotted a monster away from the mansion. It was obvious from the first glance that it was a carnivorous monster. Its fur that was drenched in rain looked heavy for some reason.
That monster was sniffing around as if it was looking for something, but it did not seem that it had noticed Akira.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s heading this way… Right? It seems that it’s looking for something around that area though, I wonder if there’s anything there?”
Although that monster had not noticed Akira yet, it also would not move away from the mansion. It kept on loitering around in the same area.
“It’s keeping a distance that’s bothering me, is it a form of bullying or something?”
“I don’t remember doing anything bad to that monster though.”
Although they had to be careful with that monster, it was not like that monster was coming at him either. After Alpha said that implicitly, Akira calmed down a bit and replied with a light joke.
Dale and Colbert were also watching the outside through the other windows.
Dale was watching the situation outside without the help of any equipment and so he did not find any monsters. He then asked Akira.
“Did you find anything?”
“Yeah, a monster. A big one, it’s just loitering around that empty building over there.”
Dale pulled out his binocular and looked at the direction that Akira told him.
“…That monster, huh? You’re pretty good to be able to spot that monster. You weren’t really checking the outside while you’re staying in this room, right?”
“It’s a high-tech after all.”
Akira lightly smiled when he said that. Alpha, who heard that, smiled smugly.
Akira was basically saying that Alpha was high-tech. While Dale thought that Akira was talking about his equipment.
[…Leaving his skill aside, he’s basically saying that he has good equipment, huh. Is it because this boy is strong enough to protect Sheryl alone that she did not bring anyone else with her? Don’t tell me that his body is a cyborg body. When he said that, does he mean not only his information-gathering equipment but also his cyborg body? Or he means more about his own skill?]
From Dale’s point of view, Akira’s age and aura did not give any impression that he was a strong Hunter. But his evaluation changed now that he knew Akira was able to find a monster sooner than him.
[How strong is this boy? If I know how strong he is, I can at least guess how much reward he gets from escorting these kids. Then from there, I can guess how much money his employer, Sheryl, has… Well, I guess I’ll get a chance to find out on our way back.]
Unlike what Dale expected, the chance to see Akira’s ability would come way sooner than he thought.
Colbert was also using the aiming device on his rifle to check the situation outside just like Akira. It did not take long for him to find the monster that Akira just spotted.
The moment he spotted that monster, Colbert’s face distorted with fear, his hand that was grabbing his rifle was slightly trembling. Very soon his trembling stopped, but his expression turned grim. His face was obviously showing a deep hatred toward the monster that his rifle muzzle was pointing at.
Something snapped inside Colbert that made him pull the trigger of his rifle. Gunshots reverberated throughout the room. The bullets flew out from his rifle and accurately hit that monster. But it did not inflict any serious damage to that monster.
That monster noticed Akira and the other Hunters as it roared. It immediately started running toward Akira.
“Die!! Die!! Die!!!!”
Colbert kept shooting at that monster while cursing it. Due to Colbert’s shooting skill, all of his shots hit that monster. After showering in those bullets, that monster started to move slowly, it eventually dropped down and stopped moving. But Colbert did not stop shooting at it with a desperate face. It took sometime before he started slowing down and eventually let go of the trigger.
Everyone in that room was directing their gazes at Colbert. Akira was just surprised by that sudden outburst, nothing more. But Dale was obviously looking angry as he was sending his gaze to Colbert.
“Why did you do that?!!”
Colbert shouted back at Dale with more or less the same volume.
“Of course because I want to kill it!!”
“It didn’t notice us until you shot, you know?!”
“Are you going to wait until it attacks you?! You kill them before they have the chance to kill you!!”
As Dale and Colbert started to argue, a gunshot suddenly interrupted them.
It was from Akira. Both Dale and Colbert immediately turned to Akira, who then calmly said.
“Can you do that later? To be more precise, after you guys take care of the rest.”
After he said that, Akira started shooting. The bullet that he shot hit another monster that was running at his direction and blasted that monster’s head off to small pieces.
Around the dead monster that Colbert just killed, there were already some monsters gathered around. Those monsters quickly noticed Akira and the other Hunters as they rushed toward the mansion.
Colbert quickly started shooting too, Dale clicked his tongue before helping out.
Monsters of all sizes started to gather and formed a swarm as they rushed toward the mansion. 2 legged lizard, 4 legged beasts, 6 legged turtles, 8 legged horses. They had such a distorted form as if someone made them as a pure joke, their body was half biological and half mechanical as if they stopped midway from turning into a complete robot.
The turtle monsters had a big cannon perched on their shell and they directed those cannons at Akira.
When Akira saw that monster, he could not help but get shocked.
“The heck is that?!”
“That’s the Tochka Turtle. We’re lucky that they haven’t reached adulthood yet. Their weakness is their cannon mouth. Don’t just look at it, start shooting.”
Alpha operated Akira’s augmented suit, Akira aimed the CWH anti-material rifle on his hand toward that cannon and pulled the trigger.
Due to Alpha’s advanced calculating ability, Akira was able to shoot the inside of the canons of those turtles accurately. Those bullets then hit the ammo reserve inside those cannons and set the gunpowder within them to explode, taking out the tochka turtle and the other monsters around it.
As Akira saw the tochka turtle explode into small pieces of flesh, he praised Alpha.
“That was nice, but still, to think that there’s a dangerous monster like that in this place, was this place always this dangerous before? Did this place really change that much just because that greedy crocodile got killed? Moreover, why are so many monsters gathering like this? Are they looking for a place to take shelter from the rain too?”
Akira’s questions were understandable. Alpha did not see that coming. Or to be more precise, Alpha thought that the possibility of such a thing to happen was negligible. After all, if she had known that this would happen, she would have not recommended Akira to take shelter in that mansion.
But leaving Alpha aside, Akira was not in a position to think about that. Alpha then told Akira to keep his focus on shooting the monsters.
“Let’s put that aside for later. You’ll have a lot of time to think about that question after you survive this swarm.”
Akira quickly took his aim at the next monster and pulled the trigger. The piercing bullet pierced through the trunk of an 8 legged horse as it fell down to the ground, the other monsters behind it then just trampled over its body and killed it.
Akira and the other Hunters had the upper hand there. Akira had the support from Alpha. While Dale and Colbert had brought with themselves pretty powerful equipment since they were planning to go to an unexplored ruin that day. Thus it was to be expected for them to have the upper hand against the monsters in Higaraka Residence ruin which had a relatively low danger level.
They were able to clean up the monsters without any problem including those monsters that normally should not be roaming around Higaraka Residence ruin. Every time they spotted a strong looking monster, they would focus their firepower and quickly take it out, and if the relatively weak monsters got close to them, Akira would quickly scatter them using his DVTS minigun.
As his minigun spewed countless bullets at those monsters, due to Alpha’s support, all of those bullets were able to find their targets. Of course, it was impossible for all of them to hit the monsters’ weak points. But it was enough to deal severe damage to them. The minigun quickly turned those monsters into a mixed mess of flesh and mechanical parts.
Dale saw that and was honestly amazed.
[So strong!! Although we’re facing this many monsters, he doesn’t panic at all and calmly takes them out. His shooting skill is also amazing. It seems that he even knows the weak points of these monsters too. He only used one bullet to kill the tochka turtles. It’s obvious that he’s not shooting these monsters randomly, he’s carefully picking out which monster he has to kill first. He’s really good.]
Since Colbert was screaming on top of his lungs while shooting at those monsters, from Dale’s point of view, Akira looked ever so calm as he was shooting at those monsters without saying anything.
Akira’s shooting performance was due to Alpha’s support. The reason why he looked so calm was simply because he had fought a bigger swarm in the past, it also showed Akira’s trust in Alpha’s support. He was silent because he was actually talking with Alpha through telepathy, so Dale could not hear it.
But Dale did not know about that at all, thus he could only see Akira as a really skilled Hunter. That difference between Dale’s evaluation and Akira’s real ability would cause Akira some troubles down the road.
Sheryl was silently watching Akira from behind him. Even in such a situation, she still looked completely calm with her usual smile. Gunshots echoed through the room, the sounds of cannons from outside the window could be heard even inside that room, Colbert was still screaming on top of his lungs, the monsters could be easily spotted from inside that room, but even so, Sheryl’s reaction was completely different compared to the other children that were panicking in that chaotic situation.
Erio, who saw Sheryl’s calm expression, approached her and asked her as if he was looking for reassurance.
“A-are we going to be okay?”
“Don’t worry, just calm down.”
Sheryl smiled as she said that to Erio. There was not even a shred of fear in Sheryl’s smile.
Erio calmed down a bit seeing how relaxed Sheryl was, although it was unnaturally so. He then mumbled to himself.
“T-that’s right!! Akira is strong after all!!”
“Yep, that’s why you should calm down too. Don’t worry.”
Sheryl looked at the other children and smiled. The children who saw that calmed down a bit.
They then started talking to each other as if to avert their attention away from the fear.
“T-that’s right. Boss is so calm there, so I’m sure it’s going to be okay.”
“Is that Akira guy really that strong? Well, I guess he really is, huh.”
“But still, it’s amazing how the boss is so calm even in this situation. I guess you have to be that good to be a boss, huh?”
“Boss is amazing on her own, but Akira is extraordinary.”
A bullet flew into the room from the window from time to time. Every time that happened, all the children would scream and scatter to look for a place to hide, but even in that situation, Sheryl did not move at all.
The children who were looking down on Sheryl realized their mistake when they saw the current her. They started to recognize her as not only a proxy of Akira but as the boss of the gang.
The reason why Sheryl was unnaturally calm was because of her trust in Akira and also because a part of her had actually already given up. Ever since that day when she asked for Akira’s help and he decided to give her a helping hand, Sheryl was always under the mercy of Akira’s support.
Even right now, Akira was protecting her from the swarm of monsters heading to that mansion. This fact alone made her calm. Even if that level of calmness was like a tranquillizer, even if it had a similar effect to drugs, even if Sheryl knew that herself, she did not mind it at all.
That blind faith and full reliance were what built up Sheryl right now. As long as she did not lose Akira, she might stay like that forever.
The battle continued with Akira and the other Hunters having the upper hand. They first prioritized taking out monsters with long-range weapons. So they started with killing the Tochka Turtles and other monsters carrying big cannons or at least rendering them unable to use their cannons. When they shot the head of the two-legged lizard that had its arms turned into guns, the lizard that had lost its control unit would lose control and shoot the other monsters around it.
Their next priority was the monsters with weapons and other monsters that looked dangerous. These monsters mechanically, or more like instinctively, ignored the difference between their fighting power as they rushed toward Akira and the other Hunters. The overwhelming number of monsters in that swarm was crushed under the rain of bullets. The already dead monsters in the front were being pushed and trampled from behind by the other monsters, thus turning them into unrecognizable minced meat.
After they finished most of those monsters, the rest of the mechanical monsters that recognized the difference in their fighting ability started to retreat while the biological monsters that started to feel fear also left the place.
The rain had stopped by then and there were no longer monsters detected around the mansion. Akira’s battle eventually came to an end.
The Hunters did not suffer any fatal injuries. It was the best outcome, that was of course if they did not account for the expense of the bullets that they exhausted in that battle.
After Akira finished that fight, Alpha smiled and showed her appreciation to him.
“You did well. You were able to keep calm when facing such a level of a swarm, that was well executed.”
“It’s smaller than the swarm that I’ve faced in the past after all. Not to mention, I have better equipment compared to back then. So I guess this is to be expected.”
“Since you can say that out normally now, it shows that you’ve grown. And I’m glad to hear that.”
Akira looked pretty happy since Alpha praised him. Alpha made sure to note that reaction from him.
Dale sighed, slowly sensing that the battle had ended. As he started to calm down, he also started to get angry at the same time.
He then turned to the source of his anger.
“Colbert!! This is your fault!! If you hadn’t taken that shot, we would have been able to avoid the fight just now, you know!!”
“Haah!? What’s so bad for a Hunter to kill monsters!?”
Colbert, who had not calmed down from that fight, shouted back at Dale. Although it felt like a fight would start there, the mood suddenly changed.
Colbert suddenly calmed down and took a deep breath. He then looked down apologetically and said.
“Sorry… I caused you trouble there.”
Seeing how Colbert suddenly calmed down and honestly apologized as if he was a completely different person, Dale was so surprised that his anger immediately faded away.
“…I was scared… Really scared… That’s why I took that shot before I even realized it.”
Colbert told the others the reason why he suddenly shot at that monster. Akira found something weird as he asked Colbert.
“Scared? Of that monster? Well, it did look like a big monster, but at that range and with your shooting skill, I don’t think there was anything for you to be scared about.”
Unlike Akira who was relying on Alpha’s support, Colbert was able to shoot at that monster accurately with his own skill. Even after that, he was able to perform in that fight without slowing the others down. So Akira thought that as long as he had that skill, there should be nothing to worry about.
Colbert glanced at Akira and started telling him the reason.
“…I almost got killed by a monster in the past, you see. Although I was able to survive it, I lost both of my arms. I sometimes still get nightmares from that time.”
Colbert looked at both of his arms with a distorted expression, Akira sounded sorry as he asked him.
“Those arms… are they prosthetics?”
“My left arm is prosthetic, but for my right arm, I took a regeneration treatment to regrow it. To be honest, I want to regrow both my arms, but I don’t have enough money. And with the maintenance that I should pay for the prosthetic, I just can’t gather enough money… So… that monster looked just like the monsters that ate my arms, you see.”
Akira had an experience when he stuck his arm into a monster’s mouth and shot his rifle from inside the monster. If he was late even by a few seconds, his arms would have been eaten by that monster. Bad things could happen to anyone, Akira felt a bit scared when he imagined it. He sympathized with Colbert who went through that first hand.
Colbert took a deep breath and bowed.
“…I’m really sorry.”
Even after Dale calmed down and Colbert honestly apologized for what he did, Dale still could not lower his fist.
Akira was in a good mood after getting praised by Alpha, he was also feeling sorry for Colbert. So he thought that he had to come up with something to change the subject.
“Well, with that many monsters that we defeated, there should no longer be any of them left around. Not to mention that we got to kill monsters that might attack us on our way back in an advantageous situation. It’s not really that bad. The rain has stopped too, so let’s get ourselves ready to head back.”
Dale at least tried to confirm something with Akira.
“Guyver and that boy from your envoy haven’t returned yet though.”
“Call them and tell them to get back as soon as possible. I’m sorry but I prioritize Sheryl’s safety, there’s a good chance that all of those corpses outside might attract other monsters after all. So I have no plans to wait for them in case we can’t contact them nor to go out and look for them. If you want to stay here to wait for them, you can go ahead and do that. After I escort Sheryl and the other children to the city, I can return here again.”
Dale pulled out his information terminal and called Guyver. Although he still could not connect to the city’s network, with the rain in that area stopped, he should be able to at least reach Guyver’s information terminal if they were still inside the mansion.
In case if he could not reach Guyver, Dale was thinking of just leaving him behind. Even Dale himself had no plans to stay behind in the dangerous wasteland to look for someone that might already be dead. Not to mention if a monster ate him, then he would not leave a corpse behind. Dale did not have the leeway to just look around the Higaraka Residence ruin for a corpse that might not even be there.
But his worry quickly vanished, it was because Guyver had returned to that room.
The anger inside Dale from that needless fight was still lingering. So he vented his anger at Guyver.
“Guyver!! Where were you when we needed extra hands?!!!”
Guyver just laughed lightly.
“Calm down, it seems that you guys got attacked too, huh?”
“So you too?”
“Yep, we got attacked too. We somehow survived though. Then I noticed that the rain had stopped when we were done, so we quickly returned back to this room. I bet you guys are planning to go back to the city as soon as possible now that the rain has stopped, right? By any chance, were you planning to leave me behind?”
Guyver jokingly asked that question, to which Dale annoyedly replied.
“…Humph, yeah, if you were not back.”
“Whoa whoah, that’s just too mean, you know.”
Guyver laughed when he said that, although he was about to get left behind, he did not show any displeasure at all.
After that, they finished all their preparations and left the Higaraka Residence ruin to return back to the Kugamayama city.
Around the area where the first monster that Akira spotted loitered, there were multiple small cylindrical objects scattered. Those were the decoy devices that Dale lost.
The monsters that Akira and the others took out were gathered there because of those decoy devices.
Silavin: While our protagonist in Martial Peak has plot armour, the protagonist in Rebuild World has plot debuff.