Chapter 190, How To Spend The Reward
Shizuka was chatting with Elena and Sara in her shop. They were talking about the recent happenings, mostly about how monster swarms came out from Kuzusuhara ruin and attacked the city twice in such a short time window. While at the same time, Elena and Sara were also venting about the hard time they had when they joined a squad, which was tasked to repel the swarm. Among all the subjects that they were talking about, there was one particular matter that worried them, it was about Akira.
There was a good chance Akira was in the ruin when that battle happened, and since that day, he had stopped coming to the shop.
If he was alright, it was about time he returned to the shop to procure supplies. If he was alright, it would not be strange for Sara and Elena to spot him when they were fighting the huge monster swarm. They were exchanging information about Akira, hoping that they would find some hints about his whereabouts, but both of them could not get any clear answer.
Elena and Sara were working as Hunters and Shizuka was working with Hunters. All of them had to some extent gotten used to the death of their acquaintances and friends. But that did not change the fact that it still made them sad. They understood well death was an occupational hazard for Hunters, and they knew that Akira might actually be doing just fine. But even so, they still had worried looks on their faces.
That was when Akira suddenly appeared. Elena, Sara and Shizuka welcomed him with a brighter smile than usual.
Akira started by letting them know that his rank up request was finally done.
“But well, a lot has happened since then and all my equipment is gone now. Thats why Im here to get new equipment, or more like, I want to consult about getting a new complete set of equipment including vehicles. So, would that be okay”
“Of course! So then, how much are you planning to spend this time”
“About 1 billion Aurum. I actually have a bit more money than that, but for now, I want to limit my budget to 1 billion Aurum. If its too much of trouble, Im thinking of getting the same thing as before and buy some extra modifications and other equipment after that.”
Akira said that amount so casually that Shizukas usual smile toward a customer changed into a worry.
“It seems that you earned quite a lot of money again this time, but are you alright I heard that the reward for a Hunter rank-up request is Hunter Rank, so normally Hunters wont be able to get much money from that request. But even so, it seems that you got 1 billion Aurum from that. Akira, did you do something reckless again”
Shizukas voice tensed up to warn him not to do any unnecessary reckless thing in order to increase his probability to return back alive even if it was only for a little. She thought that if he realised that he had done something reckless and tried to hide it, then she would need to warn him again. As she was waiting for his answer, she sent a strict but caring gaze toward him.
But Akira responded with something that Shizuka did not expect. He heaved a big sigh and exasperatedly said.
“…It was a huge disaster, huge huge disaster…”
Akira did not show any sign of trying to look strong which he had never done before, it allowed Shizuka to know that he had really gone through something really difficult, thus confirming her intuition from before. Since it seemed there was no need to warn or scold him, her expression changed to a gentle smile to cheer him up.
“It must have been really hard, Im really glad that you returned back alive. Are you okay Did you get injured If you only come here to let us know that youre okay, thank you, but you dont need to push yourself too hard. You can return back now and get a good rest. But if you still want to consult about equipment, we can do that inside.”
“Dont worry, Im okay, I made sure to get properly treated after all that mess.”
“Is that so Very well then, just be careful not to push yourself too hard, okay”
“Yes, Ill be more careful… Honestly, though, I was already trying to be careful, you know.”
Akira smiled and said so before immediately starting to vent and looked down. Shizuka, Elena and Sara did not expect that from him at all and found it amusing while also feeling sorry for him. They then looked at each other and smiled wryly.
Shizuka shelved that feeling aside for now and asked Akira about what he wanted to consult about with a serious face to change the mood.
“So then, what is your current Hunter Rank”
Shizukas gentle smile turned slightly stern.
“…Thats quite a big jump. Akira, at least let me tell you this if you get your Hunter Rank that high, it might be a good idea to go to another shop, you know.”
Akira did not expect that at all and made a troubled face, he then nervously asked.
“Uhh, what do you mean by that, Shizuka-san”
“Actually, since that time when you ordered an SSB multi-weapon rifle from this shop, that price is already way above the normal items in this shop. Thats why Im not sure if I can recommend good equipment suitable for the current you. Of course, Ill do my best to help you out if you ask me, but theres a limit on how much I can help you. Remember back then when I sent you data for various rifles, right To be honest, that was because I couldnt decide which one would suit you the best. Furthermore, I dont normally have them in stock, so I need more time to order them too. So, to be honest, it might be better if you go to a better shop, Im sure theyll be able to provide you with a better recommendation too.”
Shizuka said so with goodwill, but Akira frowned and seemed displeased.
“Uhh, does it bother Shizuka-san if they are items that need to be ordered first”
“Of course not, its the opposite. As the owner of the shop and if I prioritize getting profit, I would prefer you order them through my shop.”
Akira sighed and seemed relieved.
“In that case, as long as it doesnt bother Shizuka-san, Ill keep ordering through this shop.”
“…Are you sure youre okay with that, Akira”
Akira nodded firmly. If it was a bother to Shizuka, he would have no other choice but to change shop, but if not, then he had no reason to change shop.
Shizuka slightly blushed, which was very rare for her and looked away from Akira. It seemed that she was happy that he was this invested in her shop.
“With this, it would make 3 Hunters higher than Rank 40 as my frequent customers. It seems that my shop has really turned into something great.”
Shizuka glanced at Elena and Sara. Akira followed suit and looked at Elena and Sara too, but both of them seemed rather conflicted although they still smiled at him.
“Sara and I are Rank 41, basically one rank below you.”
“So you finally surpassed us, huh. Well, I do think that it was only a matter of time, but I didnt expect it to be this fast.”
When Akira started working on that rank up request, Elena and Sara started working seriously to get their rank up for real. They prioritized taking on difficult requests and were able to finish them one by one. The expedition into the deeper part of Kuzusuhara ruin was one of them. After making high-quality maps of the ruin, bringing back expensive relics, and performing well during that fight the other day, they even contributed during the fight to repel the monster swarm as well.
The reason why Elena and Sara worked that hard was partly because of their competitive spirit toward Akira. To put it bluntly, it was to keep their pride as Akiras senior, but their main reason was to stay as his senior even only for a little longer.
After all of their hard work and racking all of the achievements that they were quite proud of, they ended on Rank 41 which was a pretty high rank in their opinion.
But Akira went even above it. Although they were honestly happy with Akiras achievement, they also felt rather conflicted by it.
“I wonder if I have to call you senpai from here and on.”
Elena tried to hide her conflicted heart by jokingly poking fun at Akira while smiling teasingly at him. Akira seemed rather unsure how to react to that. He felt that it might offend Elena and Sara if he said that he still had a long way to go, but he could not find any other words to say. And that much was obvious from his face.
Elena and Sara looked at the troubled Akira and felt that it seemed there was no need to try to be too careful around him. They then looked at each other, smiled and returned back to their usual self.
“Well, weve been working as Hunters longer than you after all. So I guess were still more experienced in terms of being Hunters.”
“Oh my, I dont think thats exactly the case for you though, Sara.”
“Why would you say that Akira, thats not true, right”
Sara stared intently at Akira, the answer that she was expecting was sent through her stare.
“Ah, yes, of course. I think Ill still be asking for your help too from here and on.”
“Fufufu, thank you.”
Sara smiled like usual, Akira finally regained his calm.
After that, they started talking about buying new equipment. Even for Elena and Sara, 1 billion Aurum was a huge amount of money. Elena and Sara were thinking that it might be better if they also invested more in their equipment.
That was when Sara suddenly had a question for Akira.
“I can understand that you want a better set of equipment since you lost all of them last time, but you can actually use your reward for something else, you know Its not like you only live to fight, right”
Sara thought that this time Akira was spending all of his reward for buying equipment, but that was not true, it was only the money that he got from selling a part of his Hunter record during that request.
Akira and Kibayahi had a talk about the rest of the reward after signing the contract.
A boost to Hunter Rank 42, the right to buy medicine and ammo cheaply reserved for Hunter Rank 50 and above, and finally, Kibayashis connection with the Kugamayama City Management and the Hunter Office which allowed Akira to procure powerful weapons.
The original contract between Akira and Kibayashi regarding the rank up request was that Akira would get an extra reward in the case of an unforeseen accident. That battle against the oversized armored monster fell well under that clause. Thus following the contract, Akira received extra rewards. Meanwhile, he used most of that reward for getting new special equipment.
There was a lot of equipment that normal Hunters could not get their hands on. This special equipment was only available for the city defence squad, particularly for soldiers belonging to a special unit. It was difficult to buy equipment sold for the Hunters in the frontline back in the Kugamayama city, that was just how powerful this equipment was.
Akira would definitely need that kind of equipment to be able to accomplish that request from Alpha, so he decided to ask Kibayashi to help him get them. Of courses, Kiabayashi thought that it would be interesting to see what Akira would do with them, so he happily accepted it.
Getting powerful equipment needed extra permissions and special rights which would take time to get. In the worst-case scenario, it might even take months, sometimes even more than 6 months. Kibayashi did inform Akira about it and Akira was okay with it.
Although there was a big difference between Sara and Akiras assumptions, both of them thought that he used most of his reward for equipment. Because of that, he could not notice the misunderstanding and casually explained.
“Well, even if you say so, its not like I know what I can do with that much money other than spending it on equipment. Im already living in a large house, the bath is big enough that I have no plans to move away… If theres anything else, maybe Ill start treating myself to delicious food. Ive been buying better and better food lately. But thats just a small amount of money compared to the price of equipment.”
“Ahh, Akira, youre that type, huh Well, with the money that youre earning, I think youll be able to eat on the third floor of the Kugama building 3 times a day though.”
“Ahh, now that you mention it, I did go there recently. It was amazing.”
Akira started talking enthusiastically about the food with his limited vocabulary. Thanks to that, he could not convey the taste of the food very well. But it was at least obvious that it was great food.
“In that case, want to go together next time”
Elena said casually, thinking that since Akira was talking so enthusiastically, he would accept her invitation. But instead, Akira frowned and said.
“Oh, then, would that be a no”
“No, its just the price, you see. I only went there since I was invited to discuss the reward from my previous request. So I was treated to the food there as a part of the reward. To be honest, I dont feel like going there if I have to pay on my own… Well, so thats basically why I will have to refuse, Im sorry.”
Akira said apologetically and lightly bowed. Elena and Sara understood him and smiled.
“Well, were the ones inviting you, so we can pay for your food.”
Shizuka smiled and interjected.
“Elena, I think restaurants around that part is expensive for me as well.”
“In that case, Sara can pay for your food.”
“Me Well, I dont mind, but make sure to hold back, okay”
They continued talking without even asking for Akiras opinion, and he made a conflicted look there. He felt sorry for making Elena and Sara treat him to such an expensive meal, but he was also happy that it meant he might be able to go to that restaurant again.
Shizuka, Elena and Sara saw that and smiled amusedly. Akira looked like just a normal boy instead of a Rank 42 Hunter. They felt the distance between them shrink and smiled even if it was nothing more than their feelings.
Yanagisawa was talking through his information terminal.
“Yes.. Yes…, I do feel bad about the powered suit. Ill also strongly recommend the City Management to use that powered suit. But that result is only from one battle record, I believe its too little as proof to push for its deployment. As such, I believe that its a good idea to get them deployed in the forward base and the supply route first to collect achievement before deploying it for the city defence squad. If its just in the forward base, I should be able to push it through after all… Yes, I believe you can expect good results. Once its decided that itll be deployed for the city defence squad, please transfer the money as we agreed before… Yes, of course… Yes, until next time then.”
Yanagisawa closed the call, his smile then vanished as he sighed.
“Good grief, these people can never get enough, huh. What a pain in the neck.”
Yanagisawas men who were waiting for him to finish the call tilted their heads when he suddenly complained there.
“Commander, did it not go well”
“Yeah. Theyre people from the higher echelon in the corporation after all. It wont go as well as when I negotiate with the usual guys.”
“…I know its common for you to be doing weird things, but commander, you can at least let us know from time to time, right”
“Oh I havent told you before”
“We did hear about the details of the borrowed equipment and how complex the document work was, but I have no idea why are we borrowing those things in the first place. I dont remember you ever tell us the reason, you see.”
Yanagisawa often told his men what to do, but not why. It was true back then when the special ops unit went to the inner part of Kuzusuhara ruin, to bring Nelia to the upper floor of the Seranthal building. It was the same when Yanagisawa brought in the borrowed equipment.
Yanagisawa only gave a vague answer to that question with his usual crafty smile.
“Well, its for the sake of humanitys prosperity and to save its future. Basically, just a preparation for that.”
It was clear that he had no plans to answer seriously.
“…I see, well, its fully up to you if you want to do something dangerous behind the curtain, but just dont use us as expendable pawns, okay”
“Geez, thats rude. Ive never done something like that, you know”
Yanagisawa seemed honestly surprised by that remark, so his men stopped bugging him any further. There were already multiple people in the team that had gone missing after investigating too much about Yanagisawas plan.
“Well then, I have a report to make. Its about the automaton that you told me to investigate, it seems that it is as you guessed. Someone might have instigated that attack instead of it being a simple attempt from the monsters.”
“Thought so. This will provide the final proof I need, Ill have to change the details of the warning then. Give all the Nationalists to me, Ill take care of them.”
“About that though, theres something that bothers me. Please look over here.”
The details of the report suddenly appeared in everyones line of sight. It contained detailed information about the ensued battles, their locations, and the number of people involved in those battles in a 3D map. Yanagisawa read a certain detail among the records and he immediately stopped smiling.
“…Well do everything. Check if there are any similar reports including the ones sent to the detainment facilities in the other cities. You can go ahead and use my name to bypass the restriction. If theyre trying to hide anything, make sure to carefully crack that information out. Do the same for the ones we captured this time too. Quickly!”
As his men immediately sprung into action and left the room, Yanagisawa stared sharply at the content of the report.
The report said that someone from the ruin management AI came with an offer.
Yatsubayashi opened his mobile clinic inside Kuzusuhara ruin. Tiols remote body was strapped on one of the beds for patients.
Yatsubayashi yawned and sent a glance to that remote body. He was expecting Tiol to contact him sooner or later, but there was nothing today. He first thought that it was because of the range of the receiver and went to the inner part of Kuzusuhara ruin, but still, the result was the same.
In order to avoid breaking the receiver, Yanagisawa decided not to mess with the body. But it had been getting harder and harder for him to hold himself back from checking the receiver himself.
“…I guess its about time for me to give up, huh. Tiol-kun, the bed is not free, you know”
“Is that so”
The remote body suddenly replied. Yatasubayashi was startled, he was about to reply but stopped midway as he noticed something.
“Youre not Tiol-kun, are you Who might you be”
“You can tell”
“Im a doctor after all.”
The remote body showed a slight surprise before smiling at Yatsubayashi. It was a smile saying that it was impressed at how he was able to accurately identify it was a different person although it sounded as if he was saying so casually.
“I have an offer.”
“That was really out of the blue, what about Tiol-kun”
“Hes inactive right now.”
“As in dead Hes basically still my patient, you see.”
“It depends on your definition of death. But based on your common indication of death, I believe it could be said that hes indeed already dead. I have no obligation to keep him alive, after all, you dont have the technology and the methods to do that. Do you want me to reactivate him after you make a deal with me”
“Leaving aside the subject of whether I really have no technology or method to reactivate him, well, from my point of view, I dont see any reason why I should do that considering he still hasnt paid the full cost of the treatment. So, who are you To be honest, Im interested in your offer, but Im a doctor, you see. So unless its about treating injury, I dont see any reason to consider a strangers offer seriously, you know Ah, by the way, Im Yatsubayashi. As I said before, Im a doctor.”
“Im Tsubaki, a manager AI. By the way, regarding the name though, I dont mind if you want to keep using your fake name. As long as I can use it to identify you, it would not be a problem to me.”
Yatsubayashis face slightly stiffened. The remote body, which still had Tiols face, was smiling as if it was a normal human.-