Home > Unreal > Rebuild World > Chapter 266: On Whos Intention

Rebuild World Chapter 266: On Whos Intention

Author:Hikoukai Category:Unreal Update time:2022-09-12 22:55:46

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Chapter 266: On Whos Intention

Akira was waiting for Kibayashi while still surrounded by the city defence squads powered suits in the middle of the wasteland.

He had a 50 billion bounty price tag on his head. The powered suits already knew that while they were watching the surroundings. As a matter of fact, it was rather peaceful.

While waiting for Kibayashi, Akira tried to open his page on the Hunter Office website just to kill time. He found a warning written in small red letters. When he squinted his eyes to read it, it said that he had a bounty on his head.

Akira was once again reminded that he had indeed become a bounty target and tilted his head.

“Hey Alpha, It seems that Ive really become a bounty target, right”

Akira had mostly calmed down, so Alpha had also returned to her usual self as she smiled and replied.

“Well, that is indeed true if you believe what is written there.”

“Yeah…”

His Hunter Office account had not been frozen. He was still recognized as a Hunter.

“So… they dont erase my Hunter data even after Ive become a bounty target, huh”

“That seems to be the case.”

“Is that really okay I mean, like, I am a bounty target, you know”

“Well, its not like I have an answer to that, lets leave that question to Kibayashi later. He did say that he will explain everything.”

“…Good idea.”

Akira put it aside since it seems like no one here had an answer and it was faster to just ask Kibayashi later.

After a short wait, another vehicle appeared, heading straight toward them. It had a Hunter Office mark printed on it and was broadcasting its presence – it was carrying Kibayashi.

Once they saw the vehicle approach, the powered suits surrounding Akira disbanded and returned back to the city. Guutol, who was the last to leave, spoke to Akira through external speakers.

“Were heading back now… It seems like you now have a huge bounty on your head. Dont try to approach the city. I rather not fight against you. As long as you dont approach the city, theres no need for us to fight.”

Akira replied curtly.

“Leave that hope of yours to the one who placed that bounty. In the end, Im basically being dragged into her issues against my will.”

“I see…”

Guutol smiled bitterly and let out a sigh before leaving in his powered suit.

The vehicle stopped next to Akira and Kibayashi stepped off. Although he was considerably calm compared to when he called Akira, he still seemed extremely excited.

“Alright then! It seems like you waited for me! I was worried you were fighting against the city defence squad while waiting for me, you know”

Akira sighed exasperatedly.

“…Its not like I fight because I want to.”

Kibayashi laughed heartily at his reply.

“Normally, the moment you pick a fight with someone from the founder family of the Lion Steel company, its already well within what only a battle maniac would do, you know”

Even Akiras curt attitude did not affect Kibayashis excited laughter. He then took out a 20 centimetres-long ring and then threw it on the ground. The moment it touched the ground, it unveiled its legs and expanded out to form a table complete with seats.

“Well, explaining everything will take some time. So, lets do that while we eat.”

Kibayashi once again took something out of his vehicle and placed it on top of the table. This time, it was instant meals.

“To be honest, we should have this conversation in Steriana, but youre not allowed to get into the city at the moment. Although these are only instant meals, theyre pretty high-class, you know After all, this is a conversation with a bounty target worth 50 billion. Normal food just wont cut it. Though, for me, its more of an occupational perk.”

Kibayashi took a seat and urged Akira to also do the same. Akira still looked confused as he took one of the seats. He then looked at Kibayashi with a face full of questions and asked.

“Is it really alright to be having a meal in the middle of the wasteland like this Or so I want to say, but, more than that, are you sure you want to have a peaceful meal with a bounty target like this

“Dont worry. Any monsters in the area are already dead after that fight. Also, no one would dare to attack us while I am here. I will tell you why I can give you that guarantee later. Although, its not like I can do anything if you dont believe me. We can instead just go around the wasteland if you want.”

Akira did not say anything as he opened the lid of the instant meal. The package was made to maintain the warmth of its contents, which made the warm meat dish seem freshly cooked, just moments ago. Akira then took a fork that came with the packaging and took a bite. The glamorous outlook of the meat really matches its taste.

“…Whoah, this tastes really good!”

“Well, thats an expensive instant meal for you.”

Seeing Akira making himself comfortable and ready to continue the talk, Kibayashi smiled and also opened up his meal.

“Now then. There are a lot of things to talk about, but first of all, lets start with your current situation. Im sure you have a lot of questions, but listen to the whole story first before asking.”

Akira knew that it was not the time to be focusing on his food as he gave a firm nod.

Kibayashi smiled. Kibayashi judged Akira to be very relaxed considering the situation he was in right now.

Bounty targets were normally monsters. One such case was when a monster way too powerful for the area suddenly appeared. 

Another case could be when a monster caused trouble to the transportation routes. Someone from the transportation business would offer a huge amount for the bounty reward. After all, they would want to eliminate that monster as soon as possible. 

However, this meant that bounty missions were nothing more than normal requests. A request that Hunters did not have to enlist first to take. Therefore, in the end, there was no rule saying that bounty targets had to be monsters, it could be an individual or even an organization.

In the case of monsters, the goal would be to eliminate them. Therefore, the bounty would be paid to the one who killed the target monster. Sometimes, there were cases where it was not a target for elimination. For example, a capture bounty for research, which would warrant the target to be captured alive.

Thus, it was also possible for the target to be a person. Likewise, it was important whether the request wanted the target dead or alive. There might be clauses stating something along the lines ofelimination of the target is deemed appropriate if escape from capture. Naturally, in such cases, it was preferred to capture the target alive for interrogation. However, the death of the target would still yield rewards. On the flip side, for bounty target requests likecapture a runaway, it was necessary to capture the target alive.

In Akiras case, the bounty did not care whether he was dead or alive. Though it was written that the reward was smaller if he got killed instead of captured alive. However, Akira knew it was intentionally set in order to attract those who had some kind of aversion to killing another human.

Moreover, although Akira had become a bounty target, he would not lose any rights or privileges just because he had become a bounty target.

Even if someone actually managed to kill him. Although they would receive the reward from the bounty, they would still be sanctioned for the crime of homicide. As a matter of fact, they would be hired murderers. There was no doubt they would be fined for disrupting public order and causing fear in the inner wall. Even if they were from the outer wall, the private security corporations in the outer wall will treat them in a similar manner.

They could avoid such issues by asking for permission from the administrators of the area. However, that would mean extra administrative steps to take. Moreover, just because it was a bounty target, there was no guarantee that the administrators would grant permission without any strings attached. After all, just being a bounty target did not give enough of a reason for them to permit the killing of another human.

This was also the same if the bounty target was an organization. Even if their identity and data as Hunters got erased, that would be because they picked a fight against the Corporate Government. Being a bounty target alone did not result in such a thing. Even if that bounty came from one of the Corporate Government entities like the Saka**a Heavy Industry, they would still be able to use their Hunter Office account. This was because the Hunter Office was under the Corporate Government as a whole – not a single entity.

Which meant, that the 50 billion bounty from Lion Steel only meant that Akira had picked a fight with the Lion Steel company, nothing more, nothing less.

After hearing that, Akira seemed so relieved, to the point that it might be misunderstood as disappointment.

“Uhh, what can I say It seems that being a bounty target is not as bad as I thought, huh”

Hearing his reaction, Kibayashi tried to hold back his laugh.

“Well, in the end, it is nothing more than having a company place a bounty on your head. I bet you thought that you would be hunted anywhere you go in the eastern district since you are a bounty target now. You might have thought that running away to the central district would be a good idea. But no, you dont have to do that. The only difference is that there will be more Hunters coming at you for money. Though, I bet most of them would still prefer not to fight you even with the bounty.”

“If its about those trying to kill me for money, Ive had more than enough of them back in the slums. Well, at this point, the only difference would be the amount that they would receive. Other than that, its not that much of a difference.”

Kibayashi placed his hand on his mouth so as to make sure that he did not accidentally spit out his food.

“So, youre saying that those Hunters who want to kill you for 50 billion Aurum are not that different from those robbers in the slums, huh Thats great! Really great! As expected of you! You really never cease to amaze me!”

Relative to the common sense of those in the eastern district, this way of thinking was no doubt crazy. Kibayashi was immensely amused when Akira said something this crazy with a straight face.

With this, Kibayashi had finished explaining the matter regarding Akira being a bounty target. The next matter would be about Akira being recognized as a monster.

In truth, that matter was much more troubling for him. Thanks to that, the city defence squad and the other security organizations of Kugamayama city would have to treat him as if he was a monster.

Thus, this not only affected the city defence squad, but also the security companies under contract with Kugamayama city. When someone recognized as a monster entered an area under their watch, they would have to remove that person. Of course, killing someone recognized as a monster would not cause trouble from the citys point of view. After all, they were still humans recognized as monsters.

Originally, recognizing someone as a monster was only allowed to be done by the eastern districts Corporate Government. It was a passive method to treat their enemies. It was used to exile someone from the area where such recognition was made. Therefore, if Akira left the area around Kugamayama city, it would not affect him anymore. Even if it came from the five biggest corporations, he could just leave the area under their administration and that would be the end of it.

Akira frowned after listening to Kibayashis explanation. Although his house and Shizukas shop were in Kugamayama city, he would be repelled by the defence squad if he approached the city. If he decided to come to the city anyway and fought against the defence squad, there was no doubt they would deal with him proactively instead of passively. Although he did not like it, he had to make his decision. After thinking about his options for a bit, Akira then tried to confirm something with Kibayashi.

“Basically, I can think of Kugamayama city and I no longer being on a friendly term, right”

“Dont be too hasty. Its true that Kugamayama city has recognized you as a monster, but thats not impossible to erase. Moreover, if you read the notice in detail, youll find that its not like the whole city is actively hunting you. As a matter of fact, the city actually has no desire to fight against you.”

“What do you mean”

“It is possible to declare someone as a monster by the jurisdiction of the Corporate Government. But this time, it is just an extra description added beside the bounty designation. The source of it is the Lion Steel company. If Im not mistaken, you get along pretty well with a city officer called Inabe, no If its made through City Management, I bet that guy will stop it. If he gets in trouble with you, he will also get in trouble with Sheryl. This will make a mess with his relic shop in the slums, which hes technically receiving illegal funds from. Those relics were smuggled from the area under his administration after all. Theres no way he would let his own scheme be the end of him.”

To be more precise, Akira has left this matter entirely to Sheryl. However, it was true that getting on unfriendly terms with Akira would also affect Inabes dealings with Sheryl. Akira kept that to himself since there was no reason why he should tell Kibayashi.

“But I am still recognized as a monster. Doesnt that mean that even the city could not go against the pressure from a large company”

“Thats not true. Well, although, its not entirely out of the question if that pressure came from the main HQ of the Lion Steel company. However, the one who submitted this request is the Lion Steel Eastern District Third Ward Branch. Although they have a bigger sphere of influence than Kugamayama city, the city would never break under the pressure of a mere branch of a company. Although Kugamayam city is only considered to be a mid-sized region in the eastern district, it has its own thoughts and intentions. Moreover, its position is on a rise due to the relic deal made with that AI in Kuzusuhara ruin. Theres no way it would bow down to a mere single Lion Steel branch.”

“Then, why am I still recognized as a monster”

“This is just my guess, but I bet Lion Steel did something when they placed that bounty designation. The one that youre chasing, Chloe. Shes from Lion Steel, right Although shes in Kugamayama city right now, shes not treated as a visitor. Instead, shes being detained for endangering the city. I bet it has something to do with that.”

Akira seemed confused as if he did not understand how things ended up this way. However, Kibayashi simply ignored that and continued to speak of his hypothesis.

—*—*—*—

Inside an executive room in the inner wall of Kugamayama city, Inabe was furious when he received information about what happened to Akira. The target of his fury was Udajima.

In the notice that Akira had received, it only stated Akira to be recognized as a monster, nothing more. However, that notice contained more detailed information for the city officials. A small, extra description under that bounty designation notice declared Akira as a monster under Udajimas name as a proxy of Kugamayama city. An extra paragraph also stated that a post-application had been submitted to the Hunter Office from Lion Steel Third Ward Branch and the Hunter Office had approved it.

“Call Udajima here! Right now!!”

“Weve already summoned him, but hes not responding.”

“Then go and take him. No, arrest him, and bring him here!”

Inabes men were startled.

“He is a city officer. It might cause some trouble if we arrest him just because he wont answer our summons…”

“It doesnt matter! Do it! I will take full responsibility! If you cant find him, you can even go ahead and add him to the wanted list! Just do everything you can do using my authority!”

“R-right away, sir!”

Inabes men flusteredly scrambled out to follow his order. Inabe tried to calm himself down while looking at the notice with squinted eyes.

“That bastard Udajima! What the heck is he doing! Is he trying to start a full-blown war with me Isnt it way too late for that now Just what is that bastard thinking…”

Inabe frowned. He could not conceive of a reason as to why Udajima did this.

—*—*—*—

Chloe was detained inside a room in the inner wall. She was not allowed to go out of the room and not allowed to meet her servants. She was pretty much free otherwise. Furthermore, in that room, she still had a connection to the web.

She made her own tea, but since it was so long since she did that herself, she could not help but frown after taking a sip.

“Yep, this is really bad. Though its an added benefit besides this room, they shouldve prepared something better considering I am from the Lorentz family.”

She then looked at the teacup. Although it was considered a luxurious teacup in the eastern district, it was still not good enough for her.

“The cup and the saucer are both cheap too. They should treat me better.”

After she mumbled her complaints, she then smiled, amused.

“Well, its not like I can do anything about it, I guess. Lets just take this as proof that theyre seriously treating me as a criminal who endangered the city.”

The tea inside the cup was from a relatively expensive tea in the eastern district. But after taking a sip, Chloe had no plan to take another sip. Thus, she placed the teacup back on top of the table. The moment she did that, the door suddenly swung open with force. Looking at the man she expected to storm into the room, Chloe smiled and asked.

“I know that Im basically in your place, but you can at least knock first”

Seeing Chloe, Udajima tried his best to hold back his rage. He already realized that she was just acting back during her questioning. The moment he saw her smile, his anger started to surface again, which was not easy for him to hold down.

“Youve done it this time! Whats the meaning of this! What are you trying to accomplish!”

Chloe understood what Udajima was referring to, but she still played coy.

“What do you mean”

“Just cut the crap! I know you know what I am talking about!”

“Even if you say so, even if this is some kind of second questioning, it would be great if you can give me more specifics. I dont want to answer questions after such vague leading questions, after all.”

Udajima grabbed Chloes collar and hung her up. Although her feet had left the ground, her smile did not crumble.

“This is within the wall. It would be best for you to not use any violence. Well, that is, unless you are fine with being kicked out of the wall.”

A Kugamayama city officer grabbed an officer of a large company by the collar inside the inner wall of Kugamayama city. It would create a huge scandal, which could be seen both as a city officer picking a fight inside the city. Furthermore, it was a rude action toward someone from a large company which held greater influence than the city. Udajima knew that but he could not hold himself back.

If he hit Chloe, it would only worsen his already horrendous situation. He might get himself exiled from Kugamayama city. That thought managed to help him hold himself back. He then released her and took a deep breath to help him calm down.

In contrast to Udajima, Chloe straightened up her dress with her usual smile plastered on her face.

“So then, what do you want to ask of me, again”

“The one who made that monster designation for Akira was you, wasnt it!”

“Yes, thats me. To be more precise, I submitted that together with the bounty designation through the Lion Steel company. Thats why, in the end, the Hunter Office approved it.”

“I already know that! What I want to know is why did you use my name without my permission! Why did you do that!”

“Well, that is not exactly false. After all, you said it during that questioning, right Its not like we did that without your confirmation first, you know”

“What are you…!”

“Is it okay to take your decision as Kugamayama citys decision Are you sure about making me a criminal, charged with the crime of endangering the city Are you sure you do not want to take that back I believe I did ask you all of this back then, right And Im sure that the Hunter Office gave its approval after checking the application. They assumed that you understood the contents when that application was sent. Thats why the monster designation was approved together with the bounty designation. Though, to be honest, I think there was no need to check that part.”

Udajima gritted his teeth in rage, in contrast to that, Chloe was casually smiling.

“If you have anything you dont like about the Hunter Offices decision, I prefer you to convey it to the Hunter Office. Im sorry. Its not like I can do anything about it even if you ask that of me. Unfortunately, I dont have the influence to veto the Hunter Offices decision.”

Udajima glared at Chloe. However, he understood that it was impossible for him to get out of this situation on his own. His expression turned stern and desperate.

“…What do you want then What exactly can you get from driving me to the corner like this With the power of the Lion Steel company, you can just put a huge bounty on his head. I bet that would be enough to push that Akira to the edge. And now that he is recognized as a monster, you can just ask for formal assistance from City Management. Theres no need to drag me into this mess. It is unnecessary to pick a fight with the City Management like this.”

“Ill just answer that statement by saying that I decided to do so after considering many things. Moreover, personally, I dont hold a grudge against you. As matter of fact, Im hoping we can work together.”

“What do you mean”

Udajima was taken aback. He did not expect that at all. Chloe slightly bent forward and smiled.

“You lost most of your influence after losing to Inabe, right”

“W-what are you talking about…”

“I know youre looking for a chance to turn your situation around. If you help me, I will also help you regain your influence, you know”

Udajima did not expect Chloe to have investigated him to that extent. He was shocked at how she was smiling at him, as if he was already her accomplice. He could not help but inadvertently flinch back. That was when a sudden message reached him. It was from the public safety department of the city and its content was a summon from Inabe. There was also a warning, if he kept ignoring the summon, the public safety department would arrest him.

Udajima turned pale. Even if he gave himself up, Inabe would just demand him to take responsibility. He might try to plead, stating that he got tricked. However, even if Inabe believed him, it would not change his situation. On the other hand, if he ignored the summon without a good reason, he would be arrested. In the worst-case scenario, he might even be identified as the enemy of Kugmayama city. Udajima was at the end of his rope. Seeing that, Chloe smiled and said to him.

“To be honest, Ive been summoned from those in the upper echelons. But since Im detained, we will have to end up holding a remote VR meeting. We will start soon, so you can join if you want, you know Starting from the head of the Lion Steel Third Wards branch, there will be other important figures attending this meeting. This is a good chance for you to get acquainted with these important people from my company, you know This will also give you an excuse to not answer that summons, no”

Udajimas expression was a combination of shock, confusion, doubt, and desperation.

“…How do you know all of that”

Udajima was referring to the fact that he had just received a forced summon from Inabe and needed a reason to not answer it. Putting aside how Chloe knew about the summon, Udajimas question was more directed towards how much she knew about him, and how she acquired this much information.

Chloe simply smiled as if she already knew everything.

“Its just a guess. Dont worry, its not like I know everything about you.”

Udajima could not believe those words since she knew of his conflict with Inabe. He ended up making a stern expression without being able to say anything back.

“So then, what do you want to do Do you want to join the meeting”

Udajima hesitated. Declining her offer now would not change his current predicament. Therefore, though he knew he was being manipulated by her, he made his resolve and made the difficult decision.

“…Ill take you up on that offer.”

“Thank you very much. In that case, lets start the preparation right away. Im actually already past the meeting time. So, my information terminal is flooded with messages right now.”

Toward Udajima, who seemed extremely troubled, Chloe simply smiled, amused.

—*—*—*—

Inabe, who received a report from the citys public safety department, frowned.

Although the summon had been properly conveyed, at the moment, Udajima was inside the room where Chloe was detained. Furthermore, he was attending a Lion Steel meeting together with her. Because of that, the room he was in had a higher information security level. Thus, no ordinary city officer may enter without a good reason.

The area lent to Saka**a Heavy Industry was also treated the same way. Though, it was under a different administration. Even for Kugamayama city public safety department, entering such a room without permission meant picking a fight with the Lion Steel company. Thus, it came as no surprise when they picked to withdraw.

Inabe quickly started investigating what exactly was going on. Since the room was now protected with a special information protection system for the Lion Steel company meeting, Inabe could not uncover any further. He knew nothing more than Udajima was attending a Lion Steel meeting with Chloe.

“…Whats going on Why is Udajima attending a Lion Steel meeting Dont tell me that Lion Steel is working with Udajima! Impossible! He should not have such a connection…”

Inabe decided to wait patiently while planning his next move. After all, it was not like the meeting would last forever. He could just post his men from the public safety department in front of the room to take or even arrest Udajima the moment he left the room.

Although he had bad feelings about said plan, it was the most he could do with his current level of authority.

—*—*—*—

A large circle table was placed in the middle of an infinitely wide room. There were 10 seats in that meeting space, hosted inside a virtual space. Other than Chloe and the head of the Lion Steel Eastern District Third Ward Branch, Beltram, there were also those from the faction where Chloe belonged. There were initially a few empty seats but they were quickly filled.

Udajima had no seats in that meeting. He was standing next to Chloe, anxious. The other participants in the meeting were looking in his direction as he was barely able to withstand their reproachful gazes. After all, although they were from a branch office, they were still officers from a large corporation. Since the meeting was held in a virtual space, which was close to reality, it helped when he looked away from the virtual world and back into reality.

Meanwhile, Chloe was completely calm. Although the other participants were looking at her with scrutiny, there was even a faint smile on her face.

As everyone was a bit confused about how to react to her audacity, eventually, the rest of the empty seats were filled and Beltram started the meeting.

“Well then, shall we start Theres no need to point out why were having this meeting. Chloe Lebelant Lorents, well hear your excuse.”

Although Chloe understood what Beltram was talking about, she apologetically replied.

“My deepest apologies for being late in reporting this matter and ending up delaying this meeting. At the moment, Im being detained under the charge of endangering Kugamayama city. As such, I hope you understand my situation. Now, regarding that charge, it originated from Udajima-sama over here. Udajima-sama is an officer from Kugamayama city, thus, regarding this matter, I hope that everyone can understand-”

However, one of the officers harshly interjected.

“Were not talking about that! Do you think this is a joke or something!”

Chloe shook her head.

“Not at all, I dont think so at all. I understand that its my fault for delaying the meeting and wasting your precious time.”

“Your response is exactly what I refer to as a joke! Are you seriously going with that in this meeting”

As others were clearly getting agitated. With the eyes directed at her getting harsher. Chloe tilted her head and seemed confused. Seeing that, Beltram then spoke up.

“I dont know what your intentions are, but if you insist on keeping that up, I dont see any reason to continue this meeting. There will be no need to meet you ever again. You can just rot and die out there in the wasteland. So, this is your last chance. You may deliver your explanation.”

Given her last warning, the meeting immediately returned to total silence. Depending on her next words, Chloe might get exiled. Everyone in the meeting, including Chloe herself, understood that. Even so, Chloe then spoke up.

“My apologies, but I dont see a need to give an explanation for anything. If it is about the incident regarding Olivia-samas card and what happened with a Hunter by the name of Akira, along with the related matter including his bounty and the monster designation, I do believe that theres no need for me to explain anything.”

As the meeting returned to total silence, Beltram sent a gaze at her. It was as if he was looking at a death row convict.

“I see. Let me remind you that you will not be able to take those words back.”

Even under such a gaze, Chloe just smiled and ignored it.

“Of course, I have no plans to take that back. After all, its the will from representative Alice.”

With that sentence, the meeting once again went astir.-

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