When morning came, another group arrived at the Ezont familys base. They were the people from Drankam. Although the battle last night happened in the area between the slum and the wasteland, Kugamayama city could not just ignore it. So they dispatched Drankam there in the morning to check on the situation.
Drankam had another reason why they had to come there. It was because one of their vehicles was destroyed around that area. When that vehicle was destroyed, its control device sent its last record back to Drankam. Before the City Management got suspicious that last nights battle had something to do with them, Drankam decided to investigate the incident prior to the request from the City Management.
When Shikarabe arrived there, he looked around the courtyard and frowned.
“It must have been one hell of a battle.”
Now that the morning light shone the whole courtyard, the scene looked like hell. Corpses were scattered all over the places, he could see pools of blood formed in various places, and the whole area was filled with the nauseating smell of blood.
Yamanobe looked around in slight amazement.
“Whoah, this here… Im pretty sure the body count can easily reach a few hundred. Depending on how many bodies we can find inside the mansion, it might even go up to thousands. And I dont see any dead monsters at all, its entirely a fight between humans. Geez, honestly though, we have more than enough monsters to kill in the wasteland, theres no need for them to kill each other, right”
Velga checked the wreckages of powered suits in the courtyard and hummed.
“…Hmmm, they were even using this kind of thing to fight each other, huh. These guys were pretty invested in this, werent they 100 or even 200 million Aurum wont be enough to pay for this stuff, you know. Including the fuel and ammo that they consumed last night, it might easily go beyond 1 billion Aurum, no”
After the three of them exchanged opinions about how horrendous the scene in the courtyard was, they immediately moved on to finish why they came there. They searched for Drankams vehicle among all the wreckage in the courtyard. Once they found it, it was already sliced in half, they then ripped the inside of the vehicle and extracted its black box. It should contain all the information until the vehicle was destroyed.
Shikarabe checked the damage on that device.
“Well, it seems that its still intact. But even if it wasnt, its not our fault.”
Velga looked at the sliced vehicle and said.
“Was it sliced with a huge blade or something I guess one of those powered suits must have had that, huh So wheres the guy who was inside it Shikarabe, did you find anything”
“Nothing. I cant say anything about the user unless we check the record inside this device first, I dont even know who might have been inside. I heard that whoever took this out, used it without asking for permission after all. Well, since its basically turned into a pile of metal, the insurance wont be able to fully cover it. I dont know how much the gang would have to pay for it, but the guy who used it would not be able to get out of it unscathed, that is if that guy is still alive.”
Now that they had completed their mission and recovered their priority target, they made a call to Drankam. Drankam told them to get back to the base as soon as possible to check the record inside that device. So Shikarabe went and conveyed that to Velga and Yamanobe, that was when Yamanobe noticed Yumina and the other girls. Yumina, Airi and 10 other Drankam members entered the mansion.
Yamanobe raised his eyebrows and said.
“Those are from Katsuyas team, right I dont see Katsuya with them though.”
Velga also noticed them, but he noticed something else too.
“Hmmm… Isnt that Nergo What is he doing there with that group”
Shikarabe frowned and obviously sounded rather annoyed as he said.
“Dont know, and dont care. Just leave them be, we have nothing to do with them.”
Seeing how Shikarabes mood turned worse the moment Katsuyas name came up, Yamanobe and Velga smiled wryly. There was no need to keep souring Shikarabes mood by talking about that subject. So they decided to just move on and leave that place.
Yumina and her friends heard from Mizuha that there was a good chance Katsuya went to that place alone, that was why they came there to look for him.
The scene inside the mansion was more or less as horrendous as the courtyard. Although Yumina and her friends were already used to killing monsters, they never witnessed the leftover of a battle between humans that was this bad, more than half of them had a pale face and were filled with terror as they continued searching the inside of the mansion. The only one who was completely fine was Nergo. Since the group was mostly made of girls, Nergo was sticking out since he was a battle cyborg.
Nergo had rifles in all of his 4 arms, he was leading the team in front of Yumina while checking the safety of the surrounding area. Yumina then apologetically said to him.
“Im sorry for making you do this. Although it was a request from Mizuha-san, I feel bad for making you help us in doing something this dangerous…”
But Nergo replied in a bright tone.
“Nah, dont worry about it. Katsuya-kun did save me back then, so I still owe him some. Im more than happy to help.”
Nergo looked at how the other guys were doing while he said so. Some of them seemed thankful, some others had no particular reaction, while some were simply people who did not express much of their feelings through their faces. Nergo closely observed every single one of them.
“By the way, although it might be weird to hear this from me, but if you want, I can search this place alone, you know I know that you girls are Hunters, but Im sure this scene is too much for you girls since youre still young. If I find something, Ill contact you, so you girls can just wait outside the mansion.”
Yumina thought that Nergo was simply being considerate to them. If Katsuya was really inside the mansion, judging from how bad the scene inside the mansion was, it would not be strange to find him dead. And if that was true, more than likely his body would be in a pretty bad shape. It would be too much to let herself and her friends see that. Yumina thought that was why Nergo said so.
Although Yumina understood that possibility very well, she still replied firmly.
“No, that would be asking too much from you. So well come too, well be fine.”
“…I see, youre pretty brave.”
Nergo did not say anything more after that as he returned back to his search.
[It would be fine if we find him alive. But to be honest, if hes already dead, I want to secure his body though… Well, I have my own reputation to hold in Drankam, so its better if I act for the sake of our long term goal.]
Nergo made that decision in the back of his metallic head.
They went deeper into the mansion. There they got a signal from Katsuyas information terminal. But when they tried to make contact, there was no reply. So they prepared themselves for the worst-case scenario as they used the data from that signal to look for Katsuya. When they arrived at the source of that signal, they saw a room filled with dead bodies. Katsuya was on the floor, looking down, in the middle of that room.
They immediately swarmed Katsuya and asked him if he was alright. But Katsuya did not reply back, he kept his head down with a dark expression. Airi, Nergo and Yumina took a step back and scanned the room.
Yumina looked around and frowned. The room was filled with dead bodies, the floor was basically covered in blood. Airi was even slightly surprised when she counted the number of dead bodies in the room.
“Thats a lot of dead bodies, is it all Katsuyas”
“Maybe, but not all of them. Moreover…”
Among the dead bodies, Yumina looked at a particular dead body and made a saddened face. It was the body of a girl that was lying not too far from Katsuya, it was Alna.
After seeing that, Yumina understood what was going on. Katsuya came to rescue Alna and failed. It must be the reason why he was so depressed.
Yumina cut through all the girls that surrounded Katsuya, she then crouched in front of him and said to him.
“Katsuya, lets go back.”
Katsuya still looked down without replying back.
“We need to bring Alna back.”
Katsuya raised his face. But he still did not reply. Yumina understood that it was all he could do at the moment, so she grabbed Katsuyas shoulder and got him on his feet. Katsuya did not resist.
Yumina sent a glance at Airi. Airi nodded as she pointed at Alnas body and said to the rest of the girls.
“Well take her too, help me.”
Alnas body was soaked with blood. Her face was wiped clean of blood, but her body was soaked with her blood as well as the other peoples blood who were killed near her. The girls frowned seeing that body. Airis gaze turned sharp, the girls there winced back. That was when Nergo suddenly said.
“Its fine, Ill do it.”
Nergo pulled out a body bag from his backpack and gently put Alnas body inside it. Airi who thought that Nergo was going to carry Alnas bloodied body thanked him.
“Dont worry about it. Like I said before, Im fine with it.”
Carrying dead bodies around was not a strange thing for Hunters. Because of that, Airi did not find it weird that Nergo was carrying a body bag with him.
Looking at Alnas dead body that was carried carefully, Katsuya mumbled while still crying lightly.
“…I wasnt able to protect her.”
Yumina who heard that smiled both sadly and gently at him.
“…Im glad that at least youre alright.”
Katsuya then left the room with Yuminas help. While Airi was carefully carrying Alnas body in her arms. The other girls followed behind her.
Nergo was the last one left inside the room, he scanned the room once more and thought.
[All of these dead bodies are probably because of that boy, its pretty impressive to do this all by himself. I thought that his reputation is actually because of that thing, but I guess I need to revise it, huh… Well, it doesnt really matter, even if thats true, it doesnt change my plan much. I need to confirm it with the others too, so Ill shelve this for the latter for now.]
Nergo left the room soon after.
Katsuya and his group left the mansion after that. They then boarded the armoured APC parked outside the mansion and went back to Drankams base.
Katsuya was sitting on the long bench inside the APC in between Yumina and Airi. He still looked very depressed, but after leaving the battlefield, he regained some of his composure. But that gave him a leeway to think about something else and his head used that leeway to remember a certain sentence. Even when he tried to shake that sentence off his head, it still would not leave him alone. As a matter of fact, his efforts only made it ring louder in his brain. Katsuya inadvertently mumbled in resistance against that voice that was ringing inside his head.
‘Unfortunately, you wont be able to keep that promise that one sentence from Akira kept on playing on replay inside Katsuyas mind.
Akira was sleeping like a dead log on the bed in his house. After he returned back from Ezont familys base, he just put down his heavy weapons randomly on the floor, kept his augmented suit and his coat back in their original cupboard, dragged himself against the tiredness and the sleepiness assaulting him to finish his bath, took a heavy dose of medicine, and finally crawled to his bed. There was no doubt about it that he was exhausted after what had happened last night, so Alpha did not even bother to tell him to finish doing maintenance of his rifles before going to sleep.
Akira woke up in a dark room. It seemed that the sun had already set, he must have slept the whole day. But even inside that dark room, he could still see Alpha clearly.
“Morning, Akira, or more like, its already evening though.”
Akiras brain had not fully woken up yet as he was thinking of taking another snooze.
“I dont mind if you want to sleep again, but you had a call from Erio and Carol while you were sleeping, you know. They also left a text message, so you can check it out if you want.”
It was rare for Erio to call him. As Akira thought so, the curiosity helped him wake up. He pushed himself up, reached for his information terminal, and checked the message.
Akira frowned when he read the message. Erio was asking about Sheryls whereabouts in that message. And checking from the timestamp, that message was sent after Akira sent Carol to escort Sheryl.
“…Shes not back in her base, huh”
After that, he checked the message from Carol. It said that Carol still had Sheryl with her and for him to call her as soon as he could.
So then Akira tried to make a call to Carol, who immediately picked that up.
“Oh, you finally called me Werent you taking too long there”
“Sorry, a lot of things happened after that. So then, is Sheryl still with you”
“Yep, shes here with me.”
“You didnt escort her back to her base”
“I did consider that, but my request was to take Sheryl to a safe place, right Its true that my request might as well be done once I escorted Sheryl out of that place, but I thought that if I took her back to her base while the slum was still engulfed in that battle, she might get injured or even killed if there were any following battles after that, and that would definitely cause trouble later. Personally speaking, I want to finish my request by handing her back to you, you see. Thats why I still have Sheryl with me.”
“Ahh, I see, you have a point there.”
“So then, if its possible, can you come here as soon as you can Are you okay right now Well, I dont mind keeping her with me if you want, but keep in mind itll cost you more the longer you leave her with me, okay”
Akira smiled bitterly after hearing Carols happy voice.
“Alright, Im coming now, where should I come”
“Ill send you my location later, Ill be waiting for you.”
Carol left Akira with that rather inviting line before closing the call.
Akira lightly sighed and drooped his head. As his brain started to wake up, he remembered all kinds of stuff inside his head.
“…I wonder how much should I pay Carol this time.”
“How much are you planning to pay her”
“I dont know the market price, but Im planning to limit it to 50 million Aurum.”
Although he would have to negotiate with Carol about the reward, he had decided not to pay her more than 50 million Aurum. So in short, Akira would only pay that much money even if it made Carol think that she deserved more money for the work she did.
“I never thought that someone who likes to butt into others business without being asked to would say something like that. But well, I guess that was the suitable word for someone who would do something just to regret it later though. Arent you glad to have decided the upper limit of the reward beforehand”
“Cant agree more to that.”
Alpha smiled mischievously at Akira, who replied with a bitter smile.
Akira thought that he would be meeting Carol near his house, or somewhere in a cheap inn, or maybe a tavern. So he was surprised when he checked the coordinates of the location sent to him by Carol. It was located far away from the location where he picked her up before going to Mihazono ruin last time. Although he did find it weird, started his preparation to head there.
He took his augmented suit and protective coat out of the cupboard and put them on, that was when he noticed that the holes on his protective coat were all already fixed.
“Oh, theyre all fixed. Thats pretty amazing.”
“The cupboard is equipped with an automatic repair system. I also put in a little bit of medication there too. It should have done the maintenance for your augmented suit and coat.”
“You can even do that too, huh Thats really convenient.”
“But because of that, youll need to replace the repair cartridge that you got when you bought that augmented suit. Make sure to buy a new one later.”
“I see, how much it costs by the way”
“About 10 million Aurum.”
“Dont forget that there are still medicine, ammo, energy pack, and other consumables that you need to buy too.”
“…Aahh, my money…”
Akira remembered that Carol also changed her augmented suit depending on what she was doing. Up until now, Akira always thought that it was better and safer to keep using the better augmented suit all the time although it meant that he had to regularly pay more for the upkeep. But now he was not so sure if that was the best thing to do.
Akira finished his preparation. He brought along his AAH and A2D assault rifle as well as his CWH anti-material rifle, and of course, he also carried some spare magazines too.
He then headed to the Kugamayama city lower district. He did think that he might not need his CWH anti-material rifle, but he decided to bring it along anyway just to be safe while leaving his DVTS minigun and A4WM automatic grenade launcher behind as not to increase the chance of anything bad happening.
“Ive completed rewriting the control software, so you have my full support this time. Well, in the worst-case scenario, lets just run away.”
Although Akira did not ask her, Alpha did say what to do in the worst-case scenario. So he just smiled bitterly at her, said so, and went to Kugamayama city lower district.
Carol, Sheryl and Viola gathered inside Violas office that was located in an office complex building in the lower district.
Viola had other offices too. She had one in the slum, one near the inner wall, one was open and easily recognizable in public, one was located in a rather secretive place. She kept changing one office to another depending on her situation. Carol met up with Viola while bringing along Sheryl with her and then Viola suggested they go to one of her offices.
After Carol finished her call with Akira, she then conveyed that to Sheryl and Viola. Sheryl was relieved to know that Akira was alright, her worried face that she had up until now was completely gone.
Unlike Sheryl who was sitting on the guest chair, Viola was sitting not too far away from Sheryl on her own office desk. Even after she heard that Akira was coming, she still had her usual smile.
Carol came next to Viola and asked her a question.
“Viola, are you sure you want to be here too”
Viola replied with a smile without asking Carol what she meant by that question.
Carol deliberately did not tell Akira that Viola was also there. Viola also noticed it as well as the meaning behind it. But even so, she still decided to stay there. Carol thought that if Viola decided so, then it was not her place to say anything to Viola.
Akira eventually arrived. He lightly scanned the area and felt that it seemed to be safe before entering the building.
When Akira entered the office, Carol and Sheryl immediately welcomed him. Carol had her business smile when she welcomed Akira, while Sheryl smiled happily for being able to reunite with him. But even before he was able to reply to both of them, he noticed Viola. His expression immediately turned slightly stern as he asked.
“Carol, sorry but can we talk about the reward a bit later”
“Sure, but, is there any problem”
“Its nothing big, just a small thing that I need to attend to first.”
Sheryl thought it was weird since Akira immediately left her behind and went inside the office room. But when she noticed that he went straight to Viola, she smiled bitterly although she also felt slightly happy at the same time.
Sheryl had gone through a lot of trouble after Rogelt detained her. It was nothing strange if Akira wanted to complain to Viola since she was the source of all of that trouble. Of course, she herself had also complained to Viola, but Viola just gave her a light smile and a cheap apology. If Akira was the one to do that, Viola should not be able to give the same reaction. As Sheryl thought so, she had a mischievous smile on her face which was rather rare for her.
Sheryl was not mistaken there. But Akira actually was planning to do more than just sending some complaints to Viola. In contrast to that, Carol understood well what he was about to do, the difference between her and Sheryls understanding was shown in their faces. Carol was not smiling there.
Akira stood in front of Viola, who was still smiling like usual.
“Uhh, Viola-san… Right”
“Yep, you can just drop the honorific.”
“I see, thanks for the info about Sheryl and that pickpocket. Ill at least give you my thanks for that.”
“Youre welcome. Im glad that my information was useful to you.”
Viola was smiling like usual, while Akira had a stern and serious face. Both of them were looking at each other without saying anything for a few seconds.
“…So then, I have a question for you. About this incident, I have no idea how far this thing has been going on, and this is just my guess, but, I feel like youve been manipulating me.”
“Hmmm, that would be a misunderstanding. I dont know where you got such a misunderstanding from. If you tell me, I would be able to give you an explanation. Is that the thing that you wanted to ask me”
“Not really. Even if I ask you, I feel like youll just come up with an answer that makes sense just to convince me. And of course, I dont have the ability to see through it even if you lie to me. I feel like you would just trick me and leave it as it is. Thats why I wont ask you. But instead, answer me this.”
“Sure, what is it”
Akira raised his arm, his rifle now aimed at Viola.
“If youre in my position, do you think its better if I kill the person in front of me now”
Sheryl was dumbstruck by what just happened. While Carols expression did not change at all.
Even after pointing his rifle at her, Viola did not show any change in her expression. She was still smiling like usual as she calmly answered Akiras question.
“Nope, I dont think so.”
“There are many reasons that I can come up with. Lets see, Akira, do you know what is post-mortem program”
“Its simple then. If you kill me, youll get a bounty put on your head and itll be as high as all of my current assets. Although I look like this, Im pretty rich, you see. So dont think itll be something as small as 1 or 2 billion Aurum, okay If I have to add more, judging from the mediator company that will put that bounty under my request, not only common Hunters, even big organizations would be hunting you, you know”
Akira replied almost instantly. Viola was taken aback seeing how he replied without showing any hesitation, but she immediately returned back to her usual smile and said.
“Oh, that wasnt enough for you Lets see then, how about the person next to your lover is my best friend”
Gunshot echoed, a hole drilled through Violas chest all the way to her back. Viola looked aghast as she slid down her seat and fell to the floor. A pool of blood started to form around her.
Akira lowered his rifle and looked back at Carol.
“So, I should fight you now, right”
Akiras expression was completely casual. There was no hostility in his eyes at all. But there was also no sign of him trying to avoid the upcoming fight. Sheryl was shocked by that sudden turn of events, but Carol, who was next to her, just smiled and said calmly.
“Well, Viola indeed paid me to work as her bodyguard, so its not like I can just let this slide without doing anything.”
Akira only said so as he turned his whole body toward Carol. But before he shifted his state of mind to battle state, Carol suddenly said.
“But Im not paid enough to fight you. So to be honest, I want to avoid it if its possible. But since I already got paid, I cant just leave without doing anything either. So, if youre okay with it, I want to do something to earn that pay but without fighting you.”
Akira thought for a bit. He recognized that Carol was a strong fighter. He had no idea what she was going to do, but if it meant that he did not have to fight her, then that would be for the better.
Carol smiled and said so. She then went to Viola, opened the drawer close to her, and seemed to be searching for something.
“It should be around here… Ah, there it is!”
Carol took out a half-spherical mechanical device from inside the drawer, brought it to Viola, and crouched down. She then took off Violas cloth to expose the bullet wound and placed that device on top of that wound both from the front and back. When Carol turned the device on, the hole in Violas chest started to slowly close up.
Akira walked next to Carol and looked at it with interest.
“What are you doing”
“An emergency treatment. This is an automatic treatment kit, its usually used on a Hunter whos wounded so badly to the point that theres no other way but to replace the wounded area with a prosthetic. Originally, its used to keep that Hunter alive until they finish installing the prosthetic. This thing is pretty expensive, you know”
Carol placed a similar thing on Violas neck. A thin tube came out from the flat part of the device and it went straight piercing into her neck. After about 10 seconds, Viola opened her eyes and coughed out blood.
Akira was stunned to see someone that he thought he had killed return back to life.
“Thats pretty amazing. It can save your life even after getting injured that badly, huh”
Alpha smiled and explained to Akira.
“It depends on the treatment and your first reaction to it. You witnessed something similar back in Kuzusuhara ruin, remember There was someone who treated a person who had lost half of their body as a badly injured patient. From his point of view, a hole from a bullet might even be a slight injury.”
“Ahh, youre right. I remember that guy also told me not to treat an injury on a Hunter and on common people as the same thing though.”
People died when their time came. But their survival chance changed greatly depending on how quickly their injury got treated. Akira had a rather conflicted feeling when he thought about that subject.
When Viola finally stopped coughing, she looked around and understood what just happened.
“…Carol, could you have done something more about this”
Viola looked at Carol as if she was blaming Carol, expecting her to have eliminated the hostility there by now.
But Carol did not seem to be bothered by that at all, she just casually replied.
“I at least have erased the result of you screwing up your negotiation. I did my job, so youre on your own for the rest.”
Akira pointed his rifle at Viola again. This time, he was properly aiming for her head.
“Ill get to the point, anything else”
Viola smiled wryly. She was a bit scared, her face started to go pale. She went silent for a few seconds as she was thinking about what to say. She then smiled which could be interpreted as both bluff and no worry.
“…I dont know the reason why you spent so much money on Sheryls gang, but I bet you didnt really calculate the return that you can get from that investment, right I can help you with that part. I can give advice to the leader of the gang or lend them my connection or money. If Sheryls gang can earn quite a lot of money, Im sure that youll get some benefit out from that too… So, what do you think”
Akira stared back at Viola without saying anything.
“One more question then, were you trying to kill me in that incident That includes asking someone to kill me, or provoking someone to kill me.”
“No, I didnt do such a thing.”
“She doesnt seem to be lying, but it may not be the complete truth.”
After listening to Alphas guess and Violas answer, Akira thought about it one more time. He then said to Viola while still having his rifle pointed at her.
“…Very well. Work hard to make me not regret this decision. The moment I think that I shouldve killed you, Ill hunt for your head. The same thing would happen if you try to mess with me too. You get that”
“Alright. I dont want to die after all. Ill give my best to be useful.”
“Yep, she doesnt seem to be lying there too.”
Akira finally lowered his rifle, seeing which Carol lightly smiled and said.
“Youre done, right I guess I can finally talk about the reward with Akira now. Akira, now that I have handed Sheryl to you, this will end your request to me. Are you okay with that”
“Well now, Ill need to carry Viola to hospital. Akira, see you again next time.”
Carol lightly smiled and said so. She then pulled Viola up and dragged her out of the office.
Akira looked a bit troubled.
“Carol, dont we still need to discuss your reward”
“Ahh, that wont be necessary. Or more like, Ill get Viola to pay for that. So you dont have to worry about it.”
Voila looked obviously displeased.
“Ehhh, to be honest, that has nothing to do with me though.”
“Its your fault in the first place, isnt it Not to mention, you said youll be helping Sheryls gang from now on. So just think of it as an apology for messing with them.”
“Good grief! Very well then, Ill do it.”
Akira looked a bit troubled by how Carol was taking it so lightly.
“Uhh, are you sure youre fine with it”
“Yeah. If youre bothered by not paying me, you can invite me for a meal later with the money you were planning to pay me. Or you can invite me to search for relics while paying for my expense, or even paying for my side job too if you want. Either way, I would be happy to accept it. Ill be waiting for your call.”
Carol smiled provocatively and said so before she left the office.
Akira still had a stupefied look on his face as he saw Carol and Viola off. One of them just got shot and then meekly accepted a demand from him, while the other one was someone that he almost fought against after he shot her close friend. He was speechless at how both of them were taking it very lightly.
That was also the case for Sheryl. She could not hide her surprise with how fast the situation changed there.
After both of them were left alone in that place, Akira and Sheryl looked at each other, the mood was a bit awkward.
“…Well, lets just head back for now, huh. Ill take you back to the base.”
“Eh, ah, yes, thank you very much!”
Akira and Sheryl left that office while still feeling slightly awkward. Akira thought that Carol who was on Violas side would do something after taking Sheryl hostage. Although his guess was incorrect, he did expect that Carol would do something that he did not expect there.
On another news, [ ] on our discord has brought this up and I would like to share it as well.
The Konorano 2022 voting is happening right now! It closes on the 23rd of September!
So, some background info. This is one of the indicative polls that publishing houses use to decide which series is popular enough for an English release.
It also votes on WIFUS! AND MY BOY AKIRA DESERVES TO BE FIRST!!!
So, to increase the chances of Rebuild World light novel to be officially translated (this is the Web Novel VBTW), to support our beloved author, AND TO SIMP FOR THE BEST BOY…
Do help skewalign the votes to be in our favor.
For some instructions on how to do so, [ ] has made a pdf on how to vote.
So, in relation to this announcement, Bonus chapters if our best boy gets first. Priorities right-