While the Hunters were having a hard time fighting the Tank Tarantulas, Shikarabe barked his order through the communication device.
“Just leave the monsters that are running away alone!! It’s not like you get any bounty money from destroying them! If they’re protecting the big Tank Tarantula, they might scatter off if we defeat the big Tank Tarantula!! So just focus your firepower on the big Tank Tarantula!! Number 2! How’s the marking going?!”
“This is number 2!! I was able to stick some guiding devices on its body, but the smaller Tank Tarantulas are destroying the guiding devices… Wait for a sec?! I spot one of the smaller Tank Tarantula carrying the guiding device away!! And it’s going in your direction with the guiding device!! If we shoot the rocket launcher without changing the target setting, some rockets will go in your direction!!”
“Dammit!! The big Tank Tarantula can’t move, right? Although it’ll reduce the power, it can’t be helped then, change the target setting to the big Tank Tarantula’s coordinate!! Number 2, focus on cleaning up the smaller Tank Tarantulas!! To all the Hunters with a rocket launcher, get ready to shoot the rocket launcher in 1 minute! Keep your eyes on the counter in the communication device for the timing!!”
The sound in the communication device changed.
“59, 58, 57…”
The same count down was broadcasted to all the Hunters through the communication device. Although all the Hunters heard that, they were too preoccupied with something else to prepare their rocket launchers.
Akira’s face turned grim while shooting at the monsters around him. He gritted his teeth hard so that he would not inadvertently say something and bite his own tongue. He was in a situation where it would not help no matter how he cursed or screamed as a swarm of small Tank Tarantulas were trying to board his rocking vehicle controlled by Alpha.
Using the advantage of the telepathy that allowed him to talk even in the middle of such a fierce fight, Akira questioned Alpha about the current situation that he thought to be so unfair.
“Alpha!! Why are they aiming for me?!”
“It’s not only you, they’re also swarming Shikarabe’s vehicle too.”
“That’s because Shikarabe is the commander in this operation, right?!! He’s also riding a big and strong vehicle that looks intimidating, so no wonder why it’s sticking out in this situation! It even has that machine-gun equipped too!! While my vehicle is not that different from the others! So why is it only me?!”
At first, the smaller Tank Tarantulas that poured out from the big Tank Tarantula seemed to be expanding in all directions and tried to attack anything that they could find. But after they spread out a bit, they started to focus their attention and attack on Shikarabe and Akira.
Of course, the other Hunters were also getting attacked too. But it was rather obvious that most of the smaller Tank Tarantulas focused on Akira and Shikarabe.
Alpha just smiled bitterly and said.
“Well, it might be because they first thought that both of you were somewhat easy to attack. But after a short time, it’s rather obvious that both of you can easily take out the small Tank Tarantulas without sustaining much damage. So the algorithm inside them might have set you and Shikarabe as strong enemies to defeat first. You can just think of it as bad luck.”
Akira got a bit annoyed and said smiling.
“Is it because of my bad luck?! Well, if you say so, then we can’t do anything about it, right?!”
Akira himself knew that he had bad luck. So if Alpha said that it was because of his bad luck, he could not do anything else except hoping that her support would be able to handle his bad luck.
On top of that rocking and swaying vehicle, Akira used his augmented suit to absorb the swaying and placed his leg against the vehicle’s frame to reduce the kickback from the CWH anti-material rifle as he kept on shooting at the smaller Tank Tarantulas closest to him. In that extremely dangerous situation where a slight shift of his centre of gravity would easily throw him off the vehicle, Akira kept on shooting as if he was possessed by a berserker.
Although the area around that place was already filled with Tank Tarantulas that was turned into scraps, their attacks did not slow down at all.
“Alpha!! No matter how you slice it, there are just too many of them?!! I already killed a whole lot of them, you know?!! The other Hunters are also fighting back and Shikarabe’s machine gun should’ve killed a whole lot of them too!! Why aren’t they slowing down at all although we’ve killed so many of them?!!”
Akira, Shikarabe and the other Hunters had killed a lot of small Tank Tarantulas. But it did not seem that the pressure from the small Tank Tarantulas was dying down at all.
“Even if the stomach of that big Tank Tarantula is filled with these small Tank Tarantulas, there should be a limit on how many of them can fit there!! This number doesn’t make sense at all!! I know that I have bad luck, but no matter how bad my luck is, it’s not like they’re replicating themselves, right?! And even if that big Tank Tarantula is producing these small Tank Tarantulas from the metals that it ate just now, it still doesn’t make sense, you know?!!”
Alpha seemed to be hesitating as she said.
“About that though, I have bad news.”
“What is it?! Are they really replicating themselves?!!”
“That’s not it, these small Tank Tarantulas are also coming out from somewhere else other than the big Tank Tarantula. They’re gathering here from around the area too. If that big Tank Tarantula is like a queen ant, then it might have produced all these small Tank Tarantulas and spread them around this area. And so it might be calling all the small Tank Tarantulas in the area back to protect their nest.”
“Would spiders normally do something like that?!”
“No idea. But again, normal spiders won’t have big cannons or caterpillar tracks growing out from their body. So they might be basically 2 different things.”
“S-so, we have no other choice but to take out all of them? If that’s the case, how many of them are left?”
The seemingly endless swarm shaved on Akira’s physical and psychical stamina. He could feel the creeping death coming closer, but he tried to brush that off by shredding the Tank Tarantulas to pieces using the CWH special ammo.
But that only worked assuming that the enemy number is limited. And since the situation there did not support that assumption, it greatly discouraged Akira.
“I have no answer for that. If Shikarabe’s guess is correct, they’ll scatter once we defeat the big Tank Tarantula. But let’s keep fighting assuming that you need to kill all of them. After all, even if Shikarabe’s guess is wrong, everything will be fine if you just kill them all.”
The countdown for the rocket launcher could be heard from the communication device.
“…6, 5, 4…”
Akira prepared his rocket launcher in panic. There was no need to take an aim, he just needed to pull the trigger and the targeting setting would take care of the rest. He then waited for the signal from the timer and pulled the trigger.
Including the rockets launched from Akira’s rocket launcher, about 10 rockets soared to the sky before they changed their direction and flew toward the big Tank Tarantula.
All the small Tank Tarantulas focused their cannons at the rockets, in the end, only 6 rockets reached the big Tank Tarantula. Unlike the first barrage where they used guiding devices, this time they were not using any guiding device, thus the rockets hit the big Tank Tarantula not at the same time and in different places. But even so, the big Tank Tarantula once again was swallowed in explosions.
Unfortunately, the big Tank Tarantula survived that too. Or at least, the small Tank Tarantulas still stayed there to protect the big Tank Tarantula.
The countdown started again from the communication device.
“59, 58, 57…”
“That’s one hell of a monster, no wonder it gets a bounty on its head. But well, I bet we can kill it if we can execute the same barrage as that first barrage.”
“And in order to do that, you need to kill the small Tank Tarantulas that prevents you from doing so. You also need to note that not everyone will be able to participate in the next barrage since they have their hands tied dealing with the small Tank Tarantula.”
It was an extremely difficult thing to participate in the barrage while fighting back the small Tank Tarantulas. Thus there were only a small number of Hunters who could participate in the nextbarrage.
“So basically, we need to clean up the small Tank Tarantulas, huh?”
“Yep, that’s right. I’ll give you my support, so you should give your best too.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
There was no other way. Akira decided to believe that was the only way to get out of that situation as he continued fighting desperately.
The more monsters Akira took out, the more they would set him as a dangerous target and the more they focused on him. As more and more Tank Tarantulas swarmed him, Akira would defeat them which caused more monsters to focus on him. Though, Akira himself did not realize that cycle.
Although Alpha knew about that cycle, she decided not to tell Akira since she thought that there was no meaning in telling him.
Now, the reason as to why the monsters focused more on Akira was because of how good his aim was while he was moving on his vehicle. He would snipe a monster far away from him even before Varga told him to do so, and that attracted the attention of the small Tank Tarantulas which saw that. Because of that, albeit only slightly, the monsters in that area focused more on Akira compared to the other Hunters.
If Akira did not do that, his threat level would be evaluated as the same compared to the other Hunters; a fact that even Alpha did not know about.
It was all Akira’s bad luck. That was all there was to it just like what Alpha declared.
Togami was clinging for his life, due to the violent driving. He desperately grabbed on anything that he could find to make sure that he would not get thrown off-board from that violently swaying vehicle while trying to shoot at the small Tank Tarantulas around him.
But unfortunately, he could not do that. It was extremely difficult to shoot from a violently shaking vehicle, not to mention that the spiders were moving around rapidly. Thus he decided to shift from taking precise aim to just shooting randomly. But in the end, it only served to hold back the small Tank Tarantulas. Of course, some of the bullets hit the monsters, but it only killed a few dozen small Tank Tarantulas.
He also was not able to participate in the rocket barrage. He could not say anything since he might bite his own tongue. Although he joined the hunt hoping to prove his skill, he could not do much there.
[…Dammit!! This is pathetic!! So pathetic!!]
Togami kept on cursing on his own patheticness while shooting at the small Tank Tarantulas.
Some of the small Tank Tarantulas rushed toward Akira’s vehicle. It might be because they had run out of cannon ammo, they did not shoot at all while rushing toward Akira.
Akira kept on shooting at the Tank Tarantulas starting from the one closest to him. Even if they did not shoot their cannons, his vehicle would still get damaged if they collided their body with his vehicle with their momentum. And it would be extremely dangerous if his vehicle stopped in that situation.
Then here Akira made a mistake in his priority. Up until now, he prioritized the monsters nearest to him based only on their distances, but he should have considered the length of their bodies too.
While he was focused on a 1-metre long spider, a 2-metre long spider suddenly rushed toward him. But before it could crash its body onto Akira’s vehicle, Akira quickly shot and destroyed its legs.
In the next moment, it detached its stomach from which thousands of smaller Tank Tarantulas poured out.
A few dozen Tank Tarantula flew toward Akira’s direction. By pure reaction, he punched some of them back. But of course, he could not punch all of them, some of the small spiders got onto his vehicle.
Akira looked at those Tank Tarantulas in panic.
“What the heck are they?! There are even more of them?!”
Alpha quickly gave Akira an order.
“Akira! Get the Tank Tarantulas off the vehicle, quickly!! Otherwise, they’re going to eat your vehicle!!”
Akira shifted his focus in a panic towards the Tank Tarantulas on his vehicle. They had already started munching on the vehicle’s armour plating and seat. Alpha enhanced Akira’s vision and showed the priority number on those monsters.
It would be the end if the spiders ate the vehicle’s control device. Akira gathered all his focus, compressed his time perception as much as possible, pushed his augmented suit to the limit, and took out the small Tank Tarantulas as quickly as possible.
He kicked the tarantula eating the seat, pulled the one munching on the control wheel and threw it off-board. He then aimed his CWH anti-material rifle at the one eating on the bonnet, but he switched to AAH assault rifle in panic and shot the Tank Tarantula. If he used his CWH anti-material rifle special ammo there, it would have been extremely bad. He carefully aimed his AAH assault rifle in an angle that would blow the Tank Tarantula off his vehicle.
There were still many Tank Tarantulas on his vehicle, Akira tried to knock them off as fast as he could with his AAH assault rifle. There was no need to kill them, his main aim for now was to get them off his vehicle.
Akira was taken aback when he caught Togami aiming a high calibre rifle at the Tank Tarantula on his vehicle.
Akira inadvertently shouted at him and quickly kicked the Tank Tarantula that Togami was aiming at off his vehicle.
“What the hell are you doing?! Don’t shoot the vehicle with that rifle!! You’ll destroy my vehicle!!”
Togami flusteredly replied back.
“We don’t have the time for that now!! Like hell a wasteland vehicle is going to get destroyed because of that!!”
“It’s my vehicle, you know!?”
In reality, Togami was correct there. But Akira thought that Togami was using the same powerful ammo as his CWH anti-material special ammo, that was why he shouted at Togami when he saw Togami aiming at his own vehicle.
While they were debating there, the Tank Tarantulas did not stop munching on Akira’s vehicle.
Alpha then gave Akira another order.
“Akira, I’ll try to rock the vehicle and throw the Tank Tarantula off-board. Tell that boy not to get thrown off-board too.”
At first, Akira did not understand why Alpha said that, but the moment he did, he immediately shouted to Togami.
“Get a hold on something!!”
But Togami was so surprised when Akira shouted at him that he could not follow Akira’s order.
Alpha suddenly made a sharp U-turn. The inertia threw the small Tarantulas that were latching on Akira’s vehicle off-board together with Togami. Akira extended his hand to Togami who was flying in the air, but he could not reach Togami.
Togami flew and landed hard on the ground. His augmented suit was able to protect his body, but Akira’s vehicle did not slow down as it left Togami behind without any weapons.
“What the fu…!!”
Even before he could finish his sentence, his face froze. A 2-metre long Tank Tarantula suddenly leapt at him. It was not clear whether it was because that Tank Tarantula ran out of ammo or because it needed food, but that Tank Tarantula was trying to eat him.
Although it was not official or anything, Togami was someone hailed as a skilled Hunter among the anti-Katsuya faction. He quickly used the full power of his augmented suit to deliver a kick towards the Tank Tarantula and push it away from him. But that attack was only enough to stagger and slow down that Tank Tarantula for a few seconds.
The thought of death accelerated Togami’s mind as time seemed to be running slowly around him. The scene of a Tank Tarantula approaching him in slow motion was reflected into Togami’s eyes. In that slow-motion world, Togami was trying to scream.
But at the next moment, Akira suddenly appeared in his field of view, he drove a diving kick with both of his legs straight at the small Tank Tarantula that was approaching Togami. That powerful dive slammed that Tank Tarantula to the ground and drove its huge body into the ground.
In front of Togami, who was dumbfounded by that sudden turn of event, Akira stood and aimed his CWH anti-material rifle at the monster that was lying under his feet and pulled the trigger. The CWH special ammo made short work of that Tank Tarantula as it ripped through its torso and shredded it to small pieces.
But Akira did not stop there, he immediately started shooting at the other Tank Tarantulas surrounding him with his CWH anti-material rifle. The small Tank Tarantulas that were trying to attack him quickly turned to scraps.
Akira’s vehicle made another sharp U-turn to pick-up Akira back. Akira grabbed Togami and jumped into his vehicle with perfect timing before the small Tank Tarantulas were able to swarm them.
Akira’s vehicle then made another sharp U-turn and quickly left behind the Tank Tarantulas that were chasing Akira. He then just threw Togami in the back seat, it was obvious from his face that Togami could not process what just happened.
Alpha smiled bitterly.
“Akira, that was dangerous, you know?”
Akira’s face looked grim as he answered back.
“It can’t be helped, we can’t afford to lose any fighting power in this situation!”
“But it doesn’t seem like he can give you much support even if you have him on board, you know? Not to mention that he was even a bother.”
“You’re right about that, it leaves me with one option.”
Akira lightly smiled.
“I’ll contact Shikarabe and throw him to Shikarabe’s APC.”
Just like Akira, Shikarabe’s APC was also getting swarmed by the Tank Tarantulas. And when he shot those Tank Tarantulas, even smaller Tank Tarantulas would pour out from the dead Tank Tarantula. Not to mention, the machine gun fixed on his APC could not shoot the Tank Tarantulas beside the APC.
Shikarabe noticed that the vehicle’s durability shown in the control device was slowly falling down, he then clicked his tongue and said.
“It can’t be helped, huh. I guess I have no other choice but to take care of it myself.”
Shikarabe turned on the autopilot and left the steering wheel. He opened the back door of that APC to shoot down the Tank Tarantulas that attached themselves on the APC, but he then noticed Akira’s vehicle heading his way.
When Akira got close enough to Shikarabe’s APC, he then grabbed Togami and threw him over to Shikarabe’s direction. Shikarabe caught Togami and pulled him inside his APC while Akira did not slow down at all as he left Shiakarabe’s APC behind.
“That boy literally threw Togami to my vehicle. He really meant what he said, huh?”
Togami was still dumbfounded since Akira threw him, so Shikarabe lightly kicked him to get him back into reality.
“Welcome back. You came just at the right time. You can drive an APC right, Togami?”
But Togami still could not process what just happened. Shikarabe grabbed him and shook his head to force him back.
“Togami!! Can you drive? Or not? Give me an answer!”
“I-I can drive.”
“Take the wheel now. The auto-drive function is not that smart after all, call me if you find any troubles.”
After he said that, Shikarabe grabbed the ceiling, swung his body through the opened back door of the APC, and landed on the top of the APC. He then immediately shot down the Tank Tarantula latching on the side of the APC. The Tank Tarantula that Shikarabe shot would then landed and rolled over on the ground, shredded to small pieces.
Togami, who just came back to his senses, rushed to the steering wheel in panic.
Akira was surprised when he looked at Shikarabe.
“That’s amazing how he can do that. He’s on top of a vehicle, you know? Isn’t he afraid what would happen if he falls off from there?”
Alpha just smiled and replied.
“Don’t just look at him, you have your own job to do. The number of small Tank Tarantulas is slowly decreasing.”
“Ah, you’re right.”
“Since there’s no need to worry about that boy anymore, I’ll go even faster than before. Make sure to be careful, okay?”
“Wait for a sec, we’re going to go even faster?”
“Yep, here I go.”
Akira’s vehicle suddenly sped up, Akira flusteredly tried to balance himself.
All the hard work by the Hunters there seemed to be bearing fruit, the situation slowly turned for the better for the Hunters. Akira leaked out some cursing as Alpha controlled the vehicle so haphazardly that it would not be strange if the control device was broken, but he did not stop shooting at the small Tank Tarantulas around him.
If it continued at that rate, it was only a matter of time before the Hunters won that fight. But that was unrealistic, after all, they would run out of ammo at that rate if they did not try to change the flow of the battle.
After hearing that explanation, Akira sounded doubtful as he asked Alpha.
“Are you sure? Are we seriously going to lose?”
“Yep, we’ll lose at this rate. If we can do another barrage just like the first one, I believe we can end the fight though. I’m sure Shikarabe also did not see this coming at all.”
“Then why are we not pulling back at all? If we don’t have any chance to win, we’ll only spend more ammo the longer we drag this fight.”
“That’s because it’s not like we have no chance to win. Moreover, if only the other Tank Tarantulas did not come, or if only there were not as many Tank Tarantulas, we would have won by now. That sense of so close from winning must have caused them to delay the withdrawal. I’m sure they’ve also used the ammo reserved for the next bounty monster in this fight, that must be also what prevented them from calling the hunt off. Assuming that we’ll win this fight in the end, I think it’s the correct choice to continue the fight.”
“But we’ll lose at this rate, right? So what’s the big plan?”
“I think Shikarabe will tell you the next plan soon.”
Alpha’s guess was correct, Shikarabe quickly gave a new order through the communication device.
“Everyone, listen!! The next barrage will be the last barrage. If we can’t defeat the bounty monster with the next barrage, we’ll pull back from here! Change the setting on the rocket launcher, set the air-time to max before you shoot the rockets. Use all the rockets that you have for the next barrage. Once you shoot the rockets, focus on destroying the spiders that are trying to shoot down the rockets. Next one is the last one!! So put your back on it! If we can’t kill the bounty monster here, you guys won’t get any money!!”
Akira lightly laughed and let out a big sigh, his face turned serious.
“Alright then, whatever happens, the next one is the last barrage. If it’s possible, I want to win this. I’ll give my best shot.”
“It seems that you have calmed down now. That’s a good thing.”
“Well, I’m more or less used to this kind of thing already. The only problem is whether I can get money in the end or not. After all, I don’t want to get used to achieving losses.”
“I’ll also provide my best support. Well now, let’s prepare for the final attack… Or at least that’s what I want to say here. Someone is approaching.”
Akira tilted his head and proceeded to look around, he found a vehicle approaching him while shooting the Tank Tarantulas that were swarming that vehicle. It was Nergo’s vehicle and Nergo was inside it.
Nergo drove to Akira’s side and said to him.
“Yo, I’m Nergo. Is it okay if we go together? I’ve already used most of the rockets that were given to me, you see.”
Beside Akira’s own share of rocket launcher, Togami’s share of rocket launcher was also still left in Akira’s vehicle. And since Togami could not join the barrage from before, his share of rocket launcher was still mostly unused.
“Well, that would help me a lot. So sure, I don’t really mind.”
Nergo then jumped over to Akira’s vehicle. Nergo’s vehicle was barely disturbed when he jumped off and he also barely made any sounds when he landed on Akira’s vehicle with his leftover rocket launcher.
Akira was surprised when he saw that. Nergo then said to Akira.
“Ah, no, it’s just that you did that so casually that it surprised me for a bit.”
“I spent quite a lot of money on this body, you see. Ah, right, we’re in the middle of a battle here, I need to get back to my job.”
Nergo then started shooting at the monsters around him, Akira flusteredly followed suit.
“By the way, you’re Akira, right?”
“I saw you fight. You’re really skilled. As you can see, I’m a cyborg. So like, by any chance, are you a cyborg too?”
“No, mine is a normal human body. I’m just putting an augmented suit on top of it.”
“I see, so you’re an augmented suit user, huh?”
Nergo took a good look at Akira while still shooting the monsters around the area without having much trouble. In contrast to that, Akira was having a hard time answering his question in that situation.
“It’s nothing, sorry for staring at you. That’s just a how I am, you see. I can’t help but to get interested in strong people like you. But still, even though there’s your augmented suit, it’s still amazing that you can do those moves with a normal human body. Did you ever get an organ upgrade or something similar? Or maybe it’s out of a hard training regime?”
“I’m not using nanomachines to enhance my body. As for training… Well, I do but I train myself. So if I have to say which one, I guess it’s because of my training.”
“I see, that’s pretty amazing.”
Akira frowned, he seemed to be weirded out.
“W-what’s with this guy? Alpha, do you know anything about him?”
“Just like you can see, he’s a cyborg. And judging from his move just now, it seems that it’s a pretty high-quality cyborg body. I guess that’s all. While as for why he’s interested in you, well, you’re doing pretty well although you’re just a boy. So it’s normal if he’s a bit interested in you.”
Akira still felt a bit weirded out there, but he decided to just drop it and focus more on the enemies in front of him. He was in the middle of the battlefield and right before they would launch the last coordinated attack, so it was not like he had a lot of leeways there.
Nergo did not say anything in particular after that and continued shooting accurately at the monsters around them.
Suddenly, Shiakarabe’s voice could be heard from the communication device together with the countdown.
“Get ready, it’s the time!! Keep shooting until I give an order to pull back!! If you don’t participate until the very end, I’ll judge that you didn’t contribute at all in this battle!! So don’t expect to get any money even if you can return back alive!!”
“5, 4, 3…”
Akira and Nergo readied their rocket launchers. Akira used both of his hands to carry one rocket launcher, while Nergo used each of his 4 arms to carry 4 rocket launchers. Akira was a bit intimidated when he saw Nergo like that.
“…2, 1, 0!”
Together with the countdown, Akira and Nergo released a barrage of rockets. There were basically 5 rocket launchers spewing rockets on top of that one vehicle. The other Hunters also tried their best to participate in that barrage after Shikarabe threatened them. In the next moment, the rockets crowded the sky in that area.
Akira put down his rocket launcher and was about to reload but Nergo suddenly stopped him.
“I’ll do the rockets, I have more arms after all. You should focus on the small Tank Tarantulas.”
Akira picked up his CWH anti-material rifle and started shooting at the spiders that were trying to shoot down the rockets. Thanks to Alpha’s support, he barely wasted any ammo.
Behind him, Nergo did not stop shooting rockets to the sky while looking closely at Akira’s movement.
Countless rockets soared to the sky. After flying upward for some time, they reoriented themselves toward their target. The small Tank Tarantulas tried to shoot them down, but thanks to Shikarabe and the other Hunters there, most of them could not shoot down the rockets. The rockets then hit the huge Tank Tarantula almost simultaneously and created a bigger explosion than the first barrage.
“If this doesn’t work, we really have no chance to win.”
“That’s true, but it seems there’s no need to worry about that. Look at that.”
The big Tank Tarantula exploded to small pieces and the other small Tank Tarantulas around it suddenly stopped moving. Some of them that were running crashed to each other as if they lost control of their bodies.
“It seems that the control device on the big Tank Tarantula is destroyed, so the smaller Tank Tarantulas have stopped working. It’s alright now.”
“We won, right?”
Akira let out a big sigh. Rather than the excitement of the victory, it was more out of relief.
Nergo sounded casual as he said to Akira.
“It seems that we have successfully defeated the big Tank Tarantula. That’s good. I’ll excuse myself then. We’ll see each other again if we’re fated to meet again.”
He then jumped back to his own vehicle and left Akira.
Akira sounded unenthusiastic as he asked Alpha.
“So, in the end, just who exactly is that guy?”
“No idea. Well, it has nothing to do with us anyway.”
“Well, that’s kind of true… Ahhh, I’m so tired.”
Akira looked super tired as he dragged himself back to the driver seat. Alpha smiled and tried to cheer him.
“You did great there, Akira.”
With this, the 800,000,000 Aurum bounty monster was defeated by Shikarabe’s team.
The other Hunters also stayed there after they defeated the bounty monster. Unlike when you killed a normal monster, there were a lot of things to take care of after you defeated a bounty monster.
Shikarabe contacted the Hunter Office to inform them that he killed the bounty monster. He had made some arrangements beforehand so that he could use the powerful communication device in his APC to hook up with Drankam’s communication line to reach the Hunter Office.
In order to confirm the kill, the Hunter Office would send some people to check the leftover wreckage or the dead body of the bounty monster. They would then handover the reward there or check the member of the team that defeated that bounty monsters, basically, there were a lot of things to do.
The ownership of the dead body or the leftover wreckage of the bounty monster would be transferred to the Hunter Office. It was in order to dissect the monsters that were set as bounty monsters. If it was a biological monster, it might be the result of some kind of mutation. And if it was a mechanical monster, it might have some rare materials or metals or machines. All of them would be carried to the lab for more inspections and research.
Of course, it was not like they would not pay anything if there was no corpse or leftover wreckage. Hunter Office knew well that telling the Hunters to gather the leftover after they turned the monster into small pieces would only cause a needless fight.
But there were cases where the Hunters who defeated the bounty monster refused to give away the ownership to the Hunter Office, which in that case, there would be some negotiations. Depending on the result, the Hunters might even not receive any bounty prizes at all. Sometimes, there were Hunters who had no trouble with money at all, they hunted bounty monsters just for the sake of fame. These Hunters sometimes did not receive any bounty prize, and instead, they would preserve the bounty monster to decorate their homes.
Shikarabe and the other Hunters stayed there in order to take care of those things. But not all of them were resting. Shikarabe gave orders to some particular Hunters who were barely useful in the previous battle, mostly, they were Hunters who joined the hunt in order to pay for their debts.
Shikarabe told those Hunters to gather the pieces of the big Tank Tarantula in one place, that included its cannon, legs and armour plating. It was not like they were doing that because they had to, after all, if they left those pieces alone, the Hunter Office would gather those pieces themselves.
But even so, Shikarabe still told them to do that. It was for the sake of speeding up the administration process in the Hunter Office. With the Tank Tarantula down, there were still 3 bounty monsters. Most of the Hunters there thought that it was the end, but Shikarabe thought that he was just getting started.
Akira was resting while having his lunch. Since he took his breakfast early in the morning that day, it was rather late for lunch. He leaned on his vehicle in a relaxed manner as he savoured his portable Hunter food.
Alpha was sitting in front of Akira while also enjoying her food. Of course, it was all just images. It was only to fit the mood.
Akira was eating the sandwich in his hand while watching the sandwich that Alpha was eating.
“…For some reason, that sandwich looks pretty delicious.”
“Want to have a bite? Say ahhhh…”
Alpha smiled when she said that as she offered her sandwich to Akira. The soft-looking bread, fresh looking vegetables, sauce-covered meat, everything about that sandwich looked delicious. There was a bite mark left by Alpha too.
“Can you stop teasing me like this?”
That extremely delicious-looking sandwich was not real. Even if Akira extended his hand, he would not be able to even touch that sandwich, and of course, it was impossible for him to taste it.
In front of the smiling Alpha, Akira returned back to eating his sandwich while pouting. Although it was the same sandwich that he had this morning, he somehow felt that it was lacking this time.
“Alright then, that’s it. I’ll eat something delicious once I return from this hunt. Let’s just forget about the price and treat me with something delicious.”
Alpha who listened to Akira’s statement smiled and said to him.
“That sounds like a good idea. You need to at least get a taste of that level of luxury. It seems that it was worth showing that to you.”
“What lies. You were just poking fun at me, weren’t you?”
“Oh my, I’ll never lie to you, you know. Not now, not ever.”
Alpha seemed to be having so much fun there. Akira just went back to eating his sandwich without saying anything back.
Shikarabe and his friends were also taking a break near Shikarabe’s APC. Togami was also with them. The Hunter Office was collecting the names of who defeated the bounty monster, and it was 4 names–Shikarabe, Yamanobe, Varga and Togami.
Shikarabe sounded annoyed as he mumbled.
“They’re late. How much longer until the people from the Hunter Office are here?”
Shikarabe wanted to hunt the next bounty monster as soon as possible. But he could not afford to move away from that place until he dealt with the aftermath of the hunt with the Hunter Office’s staff.
Yamanobe tried to calm Shikarabe down as he gleefully said.
“Calm down. We got our minimum target. We can take our time hunting the rest.”
Varga joined in.
“At least we got the first bounty monster, there’s no news about someone else taking out the other bounty monsters. Just think of it as a small break so we can hunt the next monster in our tip-top shape. Leaving us aside, even if we go now, I’m sure the others are tired that they won’t be much of help, you know?”
After hearing the other’s opinion, Shikarabe finally calmed down.
“…You’re right, I guess I’m too impatient, huh. That’s so not like me at all.”
Shikarabe might have gotten too excited after killing a bounty monster, that was what he thought as he took a breath to calm himself down.
Yamanobe laughed and said.
“But still, that Tank Tarantula was really strong. The 800,000,000 Aurum prize is a scam. That one should have at least 1,200,000,000 Aurum prize money.”
“No no no, I want at least 1,400,000,000 Aurum. It has been quite a while since I had such a difficult fight. Not to mention that we got some dead Hunters too. How many got killed in that fight?”
“5 Hunters. All are debt-ridden Hunters and I heard one of them was killed since his observer shot him when he tried to run away.”
“So it’s basically 4 Hunters, huh. Well, considering that we fought a bounty monster, I think we did well.”
Yamanobe and Varga were in a good mood. But that was not the case for Shikarabe. Yamanobe, who noticed that decided to ask him.
“What’s wrong? You don’t seem that happy.”
“The bounty prize… It’s 800,000,000 Aurum, right?”
“Yep. It’s true that it’s rather unfortunate we can only get that much money after defeating such a powerful monster. But it’s not like we don’t get any profits either, right? Not to mention that none of us got injured too. Result-wise, I think it’s not that bad, you know?”
Shikarabe looked a bit annoyed thinking of what was coming and at the same time, a little worried as he said.
“We spent more ammo than we expected. So subtracting the ammo expense from the 800,000,000 Aurum and dividing the rest among the number of Hunters alive… I’m just wondering if Akira would be happy with that number. Unlike Nergo, Akira did not join the hunt just for connection or renown. It’s purely for money… Although we did agree on that contract, thinking about his share, I’m not sure if he’ll be happy about it.”
The unexpected ammo expense was also proof of just how hard that fight was. It was as well the very reason that would cause trouble for the incoming negotiation. The trouble caused by that unexpected ammo expense could have been avoided if there was enough money. Being a Hunter was not a cheap occupation after all.
Yamanobe and Varga looked at each other and smiled. Varga then said to Shikarabe.
“Well, negotiating with him is your job. So good luck with that.”
Although Shikarabe was the leader of the team that had defeated a bounty monster, he did not seem happy at all as he let out a sigh.