On the next day, Akira took a small number of relics with him again as he went out to the wasteland. He took a long detour to Higaraka residence ruin, spent some time training there, and then went back to Kugamayama city taking another long detour.
When he arrived back in Kugamayama city, he immediately went to see Katsuragi to sell his relics. But strangely enough, his trailer was not in its usual place that day.
“Is he taking a break today Or did he change place”
Alpha casually replied.
“It seems that Katsuragi is in Sheryls base right now.”
Of course, Akira wondered how Alpha knew about that, but he reminded himself that it was nothing strange for her. So he just set that aside for now, got on his bike and headed to Sheryls base.
Akira was taken aback when he arrived at the front of Sheryls base. The base was under huge renovation involving the base itself and the area around it.
Inside one of the rooms in the base, Sheryl, Viola and Katsuragi were in the middle of a conversation. That was when a young boy from the gang knocked on the door.
“Boss, Akira-san is here.”
“Alright, Katsuragi-san, is it okay if we stop here and take a small break”
As Sheryl said so politely, Katsuragi smiled teasingly and said.
“Of course, we can even continue it tomorrow if you want. Ill just leave so you can take your time getting closer to Akira, both for your sake and for my business sake, yes”
Sheryl gave a dry smile.
“Thank you for your concern.”
As Katsuragi saw that, he once again thought that Sheryl had really changed into someone hard to deal with. His merchant instinct was telling him that the current Sheryl was not someone he could underestimate.
The young boy then awkwardly said.
“…Uhhh, it seems that Akira-san is actually here for Katsuragi-san…”
Katsuragi raised his eyebrows.
When Akira came to the base, Sheryl always thought that it was for meeting her. So the moment she was proven wrong, the shock caused her smile to freeze for a sec. She then noticed Viola who could not hold back her laughter. It was obvious that Viola had completely read her mind, so Sheryl could not help but pout a little.
The young boy realized that he had just soured Sheryls mood. He sounded rather scared as he used guiding Akira as an excuse to leave that room.
Viola was still trying to hold back her laughter as she said.
“If you get offended that quickly, your men will hate you, you know. As the boss of the gang, you should be more composed, yes”
Sheryl regained her calm and smiled back at Viola. Their stares at each other, clearly showing the difference in their ranks.
Katsuragi looked away from Sheryl, excusing himself thinking that it was a matter between people in Sheryls gang and he had nothing to do with it.
Akira entered the room and sat across Katsuragi. Sheryl sat next to Akira, while Viola sat next to Katsuragi.
Seeing how Sheryl was sitting happily next to Akira, Katsuragi was amused at how fast Sheryls mood changed, but he did not show it on his face. He put that aside for now and said.
“So then, Akira, I heard that you wanted to meet me. So, what is it The goods that you ordered havent arrived yet and if you want me to bring out my trailer in case you want to buy something, I cant really do that right now. Im taking a break today from that one, you see.”
“How about buying relics then”
“Well, I dont mind doing that, but make sure to bring something that might fetch a lot of money, yeah Im not really free that I would deal with cheap relics during my holiday, you know. But, of course, if you bring something like yesterday, that would be a different story.”
Katsuragi said so as a joke. Finding an old-world information terminal was not an easy thing, and even more so to find them in a good condition. Because of that, he could not help but question his eyes as Akira lined up similar relics like yesterday in front of him.
Katsuragi inadvertently mumbled.
“…You got to be kidding me!”
Akira lightly frowned.
“If you have any doubts, you can go ahead and inspect them closely.”
Akira said so casually that Katsuragi had a surprised look plastered on his face. Viola found it surprising and smiled amusedly. Sheryl was the only one who did not know that those were old-world information terminals, so she found no reason to be surprised. But even so, she could understand from Katsuragi and Violas reaction that those were expensive relics.
Katsuragi had both of his hands on his head, both for the better and for the worse. He did not expect Akira to bring invaluable relics twice in such a short time. There was no mistaking it, this was a very golden business opportunity for him.
But Katsuragi had limited capital available to use. He at least needed one week to find corporations looking for this kind of relics, choose where to sell those relics, negotiate a good deal with that corporation, before finally converting those relics into cash money. So the relics that he just bought yesterday had not been converted into cash money yet.
Those were relics that would definitely bring in a lot of money if he bought them, but unfortunately, at the moment, he had not enough money to buy them. To be honest, he wanted to avoid having to let that opportunity slide just because he did not have enough money to buy them right now. But he needed extra resolve to work up the courage to borrow money in order to put his bet on those relics when there was no guarantee they would sell. But if the credit company judged that it was unlikely for him to pay back the debt later, they might use that to take advantage of him and set a high interest. And if Katsuragi could not come up with enough money to pay that debt when the deadline came, then he would lose the bet and everything else along with it.
“…I want to call some people again to inspect those relics for now, are you okay with that”
Katsuragi decided to set aside the matter with his money at the moment. After all, if those relics were actually not in a good condition, then there was no need for him to worry about money. While at the same time, it would also give him some time to compose himself.
People called by Katsuragi were inspecting the relics that Akira brought that day in the same room. This time, they were using bigger devices compared to yesterday. After all, this time Katsuragi contacted better relics inspectors.
When the relic inspectors saw the people inside that room, they had a rather conflicted look on their faces. But some of them seemed to quickly grasp what was going on.
Viola was already famous for her bad reputation around the city. Akira was the rumoured young boy who made a full show of his power during the huge battle the other day, and although he looked weak, he actually was a powerful Hunter. Then to top it off, Sheryl, who was already rumoured for having those two dangerously volatile people under her control. With all of those 3 people in one room, all the relic inspectors present thought that there was no surprise for them to find a way to procure those valuable old-world information terminals.
Although they only saw Akira as just a young boy the other day, seeing how he was together with Viola inside that room, reminded them of a certain piece of information and decided to treat Akira differently from now on.
They had also heard Sheryl was investing a lot of money in order to restart selling relics in her base again. So they thought that the reason they were called there today might have something to do with it. If those relics were something that Viola procured, then it was nothing weird for them to be in such a good condition. The relic inspectors there thought so as they continued checking the relics.
Akira was sitting there, watching the relic inspectors working while talking with Sheryl, who was on top of him. In the middle of talking about reopening the relic shop, Sheryl said that she was doing a huge renovation for its sake. That was when a question popped inside Akiras mind.
“Sheryl, now that you mention it, it seems that youre doing a large-scale renovation of this place, where did you get the money to do that”
“Ah, well, about that…”
Sheryl smiled and was about to explain when Viola suddenly interjected.
“In order to help turn this gang into a profitable gang, I decided to invest 1 billion Aurum into this gang.”
Sheryl smiled at Viola, covertly telling her to stop running her mouth, but Viola ignored that and continued.
Once the gang started reopening the relic shop, it would be the main income for the gang. Because of that, they needed to renovate the interior of the gang in order to provide more security for the shop. The special room for storing those expensive relics was remade into something similar to a huge safe box. They also installed some defensive equipment to help even amateurs defend certain important points. Sheryl was also planning to sell relics that were entrusted to her by the other people too. So they made sure to be prepared for that too. Viola explained all of those things to Akira.
Akira looked slightly surprised but also a bit weirded out at the same time.
“But still, 1 billion Aurum huh. Didnt expect you would do something like that.”
“Well, I did tell you before that Im pretty rich, remember Moreover, its something that I have to do in order to make this gang powerful enough to be able to pay its debt to you. After all, with its current income, it wont be able to repay its debt to you even after a thousand years. The gang needs to grow big enough so that it can use 10 billion Aurum to earn 11 billion Aurum and get 1 billion Aurum profit from the transaction. Well, of course, I couldnt invest 10 billion Aurum right from the start, so I started with only 1 billion Aurum. And its not like we spent all of that 1 billion Aurum right away after all.”
Akira seemed to still have some doubts in his mind.
“But still, 1 billion Aurum is a huge amount of money. Is it really normal to invest that much money like this”
Viola looked slightly surprised.
“Oh my, Im doing my best here to fulfil my promise to you, you know So like, you dont have to say it like that, yes”
“Well, thats true, but still…”
Akira awkwardly winced back, Viola smiled and continued.
“Please think of it as me having absolute confidence in my own skill. And also, just to get this straight, its a loan. So its not like I gave that money for free.”
Akira himself had no plans to say anything bad about someone who was trying her best to fulfil her promise to him. Moreover, if he was really able to get that 3.8 billion Aurum that he thought to be nothing more than an excuse for Viola to get involved in Sheryls gang, that in itself was a good thing for him. Not to mention, Viola lent her own money, not his. So Akira decided to stop worrying about it.
“You have a point there, sorry about that.”
“Im glad that you can understand.”
Akira lightly smiled, Viola replied with a light smile too. That was when Sheryl suddenly tightened her hug.
“Ill give my best too.”
“Eh Ah, yeah, sure, give it your best.”
Sheryl replied back firmly, she then sent a glare to Viola who was smiling teasingly.
After they finished inspecting the relics, Akira immediately went back home, leaving what to do with those relics to Katsuragi and Sheryl.
Originally, just like before, Katsuragi offered to buy those relics for 60 million Aurum. But suddenly Viola interjected and made an offer to buy those relics too. Then from there, they had some debates on who to sell those relics to.
Both Viola and Katsuragi pressured Akira to sell his relics to one of them. So in the end, Akira decided to auction it starting from 60 million Aurum in 1 million Aurum units. If both of them were offering the same price, Akira was planning to sell them to Katsuragi since he made the offer first. And so with that, he made Viola transfer the minimum 60 million Aurum first and quickly left Sheryls base.
On their way back, Alpha asked Akira a question.
“Akira. Though it might be too late for me to say this, are you sure youre okay with leaving them alone After all, Katsuragi and Viola might manage to lower the price as much as possible in their negotiation with Sheryl, you know”
“Judging from how Katsuragi gave me store credits instead of cash money yesterday, he might not have the money to buy those relics. So from that point of view, I was at least able to get 60 million Aurum out of those relics. And if their negotiation leads to more profit, itll motivate them to get along more. So I dont think its a bad idea.”
Adding the money from yesterday, Akira had earned 90 million Aurum plus those expensive medicines. So he had nothing to complain about.
After Akira left the base, Katsuragi and Sheryl were having a negotiation. During that negotiation, Sheryl had the upper hand since Katsuragi did not have much money.
Katsuragi had made a plan to have his branch inside Sheryls base and invested some money in Sheryls gang for the sake of that plan. Moreover, Sheryl had also ordered a lot of equipment and defensive devices for the gang from Katsuragi. So Katsuragi had also spent a good portion of his money to put those orders in. Because of that, he did not have much money in hand and he had a disadvantage during the negotiation.
Of course, Viola did not let it slide and pushed Katsuragi into a difficult negotiation.
[Dont tell me that Akira sold those relics to me yesterday for the sake of probing my current financial situation No, it cant be… Right]
Katsuragi put extra effort during that negotiation, but when he looked at how Sheryl was acting and how Viola was smiling like usual, he could not help but feel anxious.
Sheryl kept coming up with demands that were cutting close to the limits that he could accept. To be honest, he was feeling anxious having to face it while thinking that Sheryl was slowly turning into another Viola as he was doing his best trying to fight back those offensive moves from her.
On the next day, Akira went out to Higaraka residence ruin again, and just like last time, he was searching for relics there which also doubled as training for him.
Akira was being careful not to encounter any monsters or other Hunters during the training. He also did some training with his bike without Alphas support, or spotting places for relics where Hunters would normally miss. He was doing his best in his training by following Alphas instructions.
Akira stood in front of a dilapidated mansion and sighed. He looked slightly annoyed at Alpha.
“Alpha, as expected, I didnt find anything valuable, you know”
“Thats normal. After all, if you can easily find valuable relics here, Hunters would still frequent this ruin. Thats why this place looks abandoned.”
“Well, thats true, but still, Im not here for rubble, you know What can I say, uhh… Its not that encouraging when I cant find any good relics…”
“This in itself is a good training for hunting relics. If you dont do this seriously, it would be pointless. So just get over it and put your back on it. You did promise me to do this training seriously, remember So do it earnestly, okay”
With a light sigh, Akira changed gear and restarted the training again, but more seriously this time.
His training for hunting relics continued, he closely checked all corners of the mansion. If the interior of the mansion seemed relatively okay, he would check all the furniture and move them around to check for secret rooms. He did not forget to use his information-gathering device to look for secret rooms too.
In case if the mansion was mostly run-down, Akira would move aside the rubble and check the interior in case if the rubble buried a secret safe or something similar. He also checked the furniture using his information terminal, and if he found any hollow space, he would break the furniture to see if there was anything inside it or not.
Akira had been doing that since two days ago. But even after three days, he did not get anything valuable. Of course, it was not like he did not get anything at all, but for a Hunter who had now spent 500 million Aurum for his equipment, it was not worth the hassle.
At first, Akira was diligently and seriously doing it. But after some time, if it was not for Alphas order, he would have started cutting corners.
Akira held a cracked plate in his hand and stared at it with a stern face. He looked slightly displeased as he said.
“I wonder if this thing might be an expensive relic. Like that thing, you know, that handkerchief that turned out to be an expensive article when I brought it to the Hunter Office. I wonder if this plate can be actually an expensive relic too.”
“Thats mostly based on its material since its an old-world nanomaterial. If you want to check the material of that kind of tableware, you can just lightly knock it and analyze the sound using your information terminal.”
Akira lightly knocked the plate, of course, he could not tell if it was made of expensive material or not.
“…Alpha, I know that judging it by myself is also a training for me, but can you help me with this one”
“I can only tell a limited amount of info based on your information-gathering device. But from what I can get, its made of usual ceramic.”
“You can get a small amount of profit by selling that for 100 Aurum in a street stand. If you still have some doubt, you can try bringing that to Katsuragi.”
Akira did not say anything back, he just threw that plate away. If that was good enough for him to bring back home, he would be bringing a lot of relics back home from that ruin. Not to mention that Katsuragi would definitely take it as a bad joke.
Alpha smiled wryly and said.
“If you learn how to quickly check for relics in this ruin, youll be able to efficiently hunt for relics in the other ruins. So make sure to keep doing it seriously.”
“I know. Diligent training is the shortcut to success, right”
Akira got back half of his spirit, so he made up the other half with bravado and returned back to training. He continued looking for relics for some time after that, but in the end, his training ended that day with almost zero results again just like the other days. He looked slightly tired as he got on his bike and drove back to the city.
After Akira left Higaraka residence ruin, some Hunters arrived at the ruin bringing few other people with them. One of them frowned and looked doubtful as he said to his friend.
“Is this really the place It has been quite a long time since all the relics from this ruin were carried out, right Though Im sure there are still some relics here, I feel this would be nothing short of a pointless endeavour.”
“Like hell if I know. Its an order from the boss to inspect this Higaraka residence ruin, especially for places where other Hunters are also searching. Even if we cant find anything, we still can get some money by reporting back the result from our inspection. So just stop complaining already.”
“You have a point there. We were paid to come here…”
The Hunters present were paid by someone to come there, so they decided to focus on their job and started searching the ruin.
When Akira returned back to the city, he went to his house and took a box full of relics to Shizukas shop. Unbeknown to him, Elena and Sara were hanging out in Shizukas shop at that time.
When Akira entered, they froze for a few seconds and just stared at each other without saying anything. As things started getting awkward, Elena smiled to exorcise the awkwardness and said.
“Akira, long time no see.”
“Ah, yes, long time no see.”
“I heard from Shizuka that youre starting your Hunter job again, so how is it going”
“Eh, ah, its going pretty well.”
Elena looked a bit troubled on how to continue from there as she threw a friendly smile at Akira. But behind it, she actually felt relieved that she saw no sign of contempt, or alertness, or hostility from him. Sara, who was also smiling awkwardly until now, looked relieved seeing Akiras friendly reaction.
Shizuka smiled as it seemed there was no need to worry about their friendship and welcomed Akira.
“Akira, welcome. Are you here for ammo again today”
Akiras face immediately turned slightly serious.
“No, Im here to sell relics today. I remembered that you said you can buy fabric relics from me, so Im here with those relics today. This is it.”
Akira placed a box filled with relics on top of the counter. Shizuka opened that box and checked the content. Elena and Sara also peeked at the content of that box. Shizuka, Elena, and Sara were amazed when they saw what was inside. That box was filled with ladys underwear, and of course, all of them were old-world relics.
Elena and Sara could not help but hum in amazement. Its a common reaction for Hunters when they saw a huge amount of expensive relics. There was no feeling of awkwardness although the one who brought in that huge amount of ladys underwear was a boy. But that was exactly because Elena and Sara were Hunters.
Shizuka took one of the underwear out of the box and checked it. It seemed to be in excellent condition without any damage. But something else surprised her, its design was rather daring.
In her surprise, she made eye contact with Akira and ended up blushing, which was very very very rare of her. Seeing that, Akira who was trying his best to make a poker face could not help but blush too.
It was not like Akira was fully indifferent to what he did there. He knew that he would be flustered if he let it bother him, that was why he was trying his best to just ignore it. He was there solely to sell relics, so he was sure that Shizuka would react accordingly and there was no need to be overly concerned about it. He kept telling himself that in order to keep his calm.
But since Shizuka gave a reaction that he did not expect, Akira could not hide his surprise and started feeling embarrassed too.
“Ah, uhh, I think I promised to bring this kind of relic here if I find them. So, yeah, here I am.”
“I-I see. Well, I too remember that we did have that kind of conversation before, yup.”
Akira and Shizuka smiled at each other, trying to avoid the subject. Looking at that, Elena and Sara seemed slightly surprised.
Shizuka put the underwear in her hand back into the box and closed it. She then intentionally tried to change the mood by saying.
“Akira. Its rather difficult to inspect this kind of relic, you see. Though I did say that I would buy them from you, its not like Im an expert in this. So if youre okay with it, can you leave them here Ill have them inspected and get a good deal to sell them. But that would mean youll receive the payment later when everything is done.”
“Yes, I dont mind.”
“Alright then, Ill take care of the rest.”
Shizuka said so as she moved the box behind the counter, out of everyones view. The only thing left was the lingering awkwardness from what just happened.-