Chapter 12, Reason to Kill
Akira was moving between the ruin’s shadow as he was shooting at those Hunters. The colourless mist dampened the sound of the gunshot, so the Hunters who were attacking Elena and Sara could not pinpoint his location. Their screams echoed through the wasteland as he opened fire at them.
“Alpha, how many of them left?”
“3 of them are dead. Only 5 people left. By the way, you only killed one of them, the other two were killed by those girls.”
“They were able to kill 2 of them in that condition, huh. Those girls are amazing.”
Akira’s face constricted after hearing Alpha’s answer. Alpha did not hide the fact that she was in a bad mood and it was obvious from her expression and tone.
“…Uhh, do you really hate that we’re helping those girls?”
Akira awkwardly asked Alpha trying not to worsen her mood. Alpha only replied with a smile as if she was trying to evade answering. But Akira could feel that she was pouting.
“I’m not, you know? I do think that helping other people is a good thing. Since you took my request while you’re actually not strong, you can’t die until you accomplish it. I wonder if you really should put yourself in danger for helping some strangers. I’m not fully convinced by your action. It will be troublesome for me if you were to die. I did tell you about this before, didn’t I?”
Alpha’s support was not free, it was a deposit payment for accomplishing her request. So if Akira died here without even completing her request, then it would be the same as him running away with her deposit payment. He thought this was the reason why she was in a bad mood. Realizing that he was being glared on by Alpha, he made an awkward excuse.
“Well, about that, you see. I was thinking as long as I have your wonderful support, then it was an easy thing to help these girls. So it would be great if you can think of it as proof of how much I trust your support…”
“To think that you believe in my support this much, I’m so happy, I really am.”
Akira could feel a great pressure coming from Alpha’s smile, as such, he could only smile back awkwardly.
When the monster that was lured by those hunters was still away from them, Alpha already detected its presence. Then she judged that it was not a monster that Akira could defeat. And so she was planning to make Elena and the other Hunters face it and lead Akira to safety.
She also informed that to Akira. She thought that by telling him about their real situation, would make him move faster to avoid getting himself involved, in case a battle really started.
But then Akira did something that she did not expect. Rather than moving away from the area, Akira decided to go towards Elena and the other Hunters instead.
And when Elena and Sara’s situation worsened, Akira’s mood was also affected and he was really agitated. He asked Alpha something that she never expected.
“Alpha, if I have your support, is it possible for me to eliminate all of those Hunters?”
“Are you planning to save them?”
“Is it not possible?”
Alpha could see that Akira was planning to do that if it was possible, so she answered that question while being puzzled about it.
“If you ask me whether it’s possible or not, I would say that it is indeed possible. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s dangerous. I think there’s no need to get ourselves involved in their matters, you know?”
“Is it because there’s a good chance that I’ll get killed even with your support?”
“It depends on the situation. If you prioritize your own safety, I think you’ll have a better chance at survival. But of course, the safest choice is for you to not get involved with them at all.”
“So in short, it will somehow work out, right?”
If she denied, then Akira would question the usefulness of her support. It would be bad if that happened, that was why Alpha had no choice but to approve it. Since she could not understand why Akira was so persistent about helping them, she asked him with a puzzled look.
“It will. But can you at least tell me your reason? Since there’s a need for me to tailor my support actions accordingly.”
But Akira just shut his mouth, he was hesitating to tell her his reason.
Alpha could clearly see a trace of hatred, irritation, disgust, and anger from his expression. But she could not understand why.
Moreover, Akira’s expression was grimmer than the time when he was assaulted in the middle of the ruins. But now, it was not like he himself was getting assaulted, and the people that got assaulted here were total strangers to him. Despite all of these facts, his expression was really grim. He was lacking in both equipment and skill at that time when he was attacked by 2 Hunters. But he just did not have the leeway of realizing that since he was so desperate. Compared to that time, he was relatively safe here. He was better equipped and more skilled than before. The leeway created from that difference might be the reason why Akira was making this expression. At least Alpha understood as such.
But Alpha analyzed that there was no real reason as to why Akira’s psychological condition was so disturbed now.
The silence continued. Akira took that as a sign that Alpha would not help him if he did not answer her, and so he stated his reason.
“…If those guys stayed in the ruins, they might attack me one day. Since I’ll frequent this ruin from now on, it might be a good idea to use this chance and kill them all, right? Moreover, you did say that I used my life worth of luck, remember? So If I help those girls, I might get back some of my luck. After all, luck is something that is affected by what you do, right? So isn’t it fine if we help them?”
After hearing that answer, Alpha contemplated deeply for a while.
The reason that Akira worded out was only an excuse for him to kill those guys. Akira was not looking for a reason to help those girls, but a reason to kill the guys. He did not say that he should kill the guys to help the girls. But more like he wanted to help the girls in order to kill the guys.
It was possible that Akira was following the vague moral values inside him. And that moral value judged that those people needed to be killed. Alpha was able to understand that far, but she still could not understand why Akira was willing to risk his life to stick to his moral values.
The silence continued and Akira’s expression slowly turned pale as if there was no hope for him.
“If it’s really something difficult to achieve even with your support, then we can just give up though…”
Alpha felt that if she continued the interrogation, then Akira would consider her to be the same as those Hunters. Moreover, there was a danger that Akira might lose trust in her support.
For Alpha, the life of those guys was of no value at all, so she decided that those guys would die in order to get back Akira’s trust. Alpha replied back as if she was a bit insulted by Akira’s remark while hiding the cold decision that she made.
“What are you talking about? It’s easy as long as you have my support, you know.”
“I see, in that case, I’ll be counting on you.”
“Sure. Let’s finish this. We need to move first, come this way.”
Alpha had decided to accept Akira’s request. With this, Bubaha and his friends’ fate had been sealed by someone that had nothing to do with them or with Elena and Sara.
Akira reached a safe place and launched a surprise attack at Bubaha and his friends with Alpha’s support. Akira aimed the TP Line at Bubaha’s forehead and pulled the trigger without even a shred of hesitation. He kept shooting to cover for Elena and Sara’s retreat. Even after he saw Elena and Sara had safely retreated into an abandoned building, Akira’s expression did not loosen up. He only felt that he was able to accomplish the false excuse that he made.
“Akira, we have to move, now.”
He moved through the ruins, passed through a building and dove into wreckage before reaching to his next vantage point. He then directed his gun towards the guys who were not even shooting at him, aligned his aim to their head and pulled the trigger with a cold face while feeling a little discomfort. As Akira aimed at them through his aiming device, his eyes showed that he was feeling disgusted more than hatred towards those guys.
The bullet spewed out from his gun, hit the guy right on his head. The bullet, originally made for fighting the monsters that had huge vitality compared to a human, blasted the guy’s head into small pieces.
“Akira, we need to move again.”
Akira kept moving from one shooting spot to next to avoid getting discovered by those guys. Alpha’s instructions were perfect, those guys did not even have an inkling as to where Akira was shooting from. While he was moving around, Akira felt something weird and inadvertently opened up his mouth.
“…But still, it’s weird that they don’t know my position although I’ve been shooting at them from a pretty close range.”
“It’s because you’ve been shooting from their blind spot. It’s for the best if you can choose positions that will give you a ground advantage. Moreover, the colourless mist is making it harder for them to spot you.”
“If it is about the effect of the colourless mist, then we’re in the same condition, aren’t we?”
“No, not even close. There’s a great difference between my detection ability inside this Kuzusuhara City ruins and the detection ability of their cheap information gathering device. For them, it’s as if they’re fighting with their eyes closed. If it was not because of that, it would be impossible for you to win against them with your current ability. That’s why it’s important for you to not misunderstand this situation and assume it is because of your ability that you are able to fight against them. They’re not weak opponents. So don’t ever think that you can take them out easily.”
Alpha gave Akira a strong warning while smiling.
“It’s good as long as you understand… So you really shouldn’t misunderstand, okay?”
Akira nervously answered back. Although he answered that honestly, he was a bit worried that Alpha thought he was getting ahead of himself. So he refocused himself and rushed forward.
Alpha actually knew that when she gave Akira the stern warning.
A guy was trembling in fear, he was the only person who was still alive. All of his friends were already turned into mutilated corpses scattered around the area. He feared that at this rate, he would also join those corpses and it made him tremble.
“…D-dammit… What’s going on here? How can they shoot so accurately inside this mist? Why someone so good is roaming in this place?? Isn’t that just unfair…?”
The Kuzusuhara City ruins should already be abandoned. The relics in its outskirts were all exhausted and the inner part of the ruins was filled with monsters that it was not worth exploring. If not for the rumour, no skilled Hunters would visit this place. Or at least, the outskirts should not be a place visited by someone with enough skill to easily kill his friends.
“That damn Bubaha, didn’t he say that there were only incompetent Hunters around this area?!! That damn bastard spouting such a lie. It’s all his fault!! It’s all his fault!! Dammit!!”
It was actually his decision that he took Bubaha’s invitation to rob other Hunters. Now that they failed, he was blaming Bubaha and spewing out curses.
The colourless mist was getting clearer. But the guy did not think that it was anything good for him. He thought that the one who was shooting at him and his friends was someone with superior skills, who could shoot accurately even under the effect of the mist. That was why now that the mist was getting cleared, he thought that person should be able to shoot at him more accurately than before.
Since the effect from the mist had weakened. The guy’s information gathering device picked up a signal of Akira’s position. But he could not rely on that information to seek and kill Akira. The anger from the fact his friends were killed was already completely overwhelmed by the fear of losing his life. His spirit was completely crushed.
The guy thought he would only get killed if he continued. After thinking hard, he made a difficult decision in order to stay alive. His face twitched, then he threw his weapon down and slowly came out from behind wreckage while raising both of his hands. He then shouted.
“You win!! I give up!! So please spare me!!”
He walked into an open street defenceless and looked around.
“I-I was coerced to help that bastard Bubaha! He would kill me if I did not help him!! It’s not like I willing to help him!! I had no choice!!”
He looked around nervously.
“I-I’m sorry, okay!! I won’t do it again, ever!! I-If you want my money, I still have some! I’ll also give all the money that the others have too!! I also have some savings! I’ll also give that too!! I-If you kill me, you won’t be able to get that money, you know?!”
His face was distorted by fear as he was waiting for a reply, but there was no one, no voice, no bullet, no reply at all.
“I’m telling you the truth!! I’m not lying…!! Y-you haven’t shot at me, so you’re still thinking about what to do, right? Are you doubting me? Do you think that I hid some kind of weapon with me? Or do you think that I’m using an enhancing cloth and that I’m dangerous even when I’m unarmed? Alright then!! I just need to remove my cloth, right?! I’ll remove my cloth! So please don’t shoot!”
After he then took off his cheap enhancing cloth, Akira came out from the shadow behind an alley.
The guy was so surprised when he saw Akira. He never imagined that it would be a small boy, so he felt relieved. The fact that Akira showed himself meant that there was still a chance for him to negotiate with Akira. His fear of death lessened and his tense face loosened up.
[I-I’m saved. I’m saved at the moment, now I just need to make a deal with this boy.]
Then the next second, Akira shot that man. A bullet tore through the middle part of his torso.
Inside the head of that confused man, he remembered a similar scene not too long back when Bubaha shot Sara. On the very last second of his life, he wondered if Akira mistook him for a nanomachine enhanced person as his life and consciousness started fading away.
“I… I… I’m… Not…”
In his last moment before his death, he only murmured Akira’s wrong assumption.
Akira kept looking at that man while confirming with Alpha.
“Did I get everyone?”
“Yes. It’s done. by the way, why did you shoot him?”
Akira made a puzzled face, as such, Alpha gave more context to her question.
“If you wanted to kill him, you could’ve killed him sooner, right? But since you didn’t immediately shoot him, I thought that you wanted to spare him, you know. So I’m asking you why did you suddenly decide to shoot him?”
“Ohh, so that’s what you meant, huh? I was planning to kill him right from the start, but since it seemed that I could kill him more safely if I waited, I decided to wait. Wasn’t you the one who told me that they’re not weak and I shouldn’t misunderstand this part?”
“I indeed said that. You have convinced me now. Anyway, it’s good to be careful. There are dangers that come as you give more time to your opponent, so you should be careful about that too.”
Akira obediently nodded.
Akira, Elena, Sara and Bubaha’s party. All these unlucky people gathered in this area. All these people were trying to rise up from ashes. All these people pushed themselves past their limit and gambled their life in this ruins, in order to turn over their bad living condition.
Some of them lost their bets, suffered the backlash from pushing themselves past their limit and their wrong decision. And these people already paid in full for their actions. The mutilated corpses of Hunters were scattered in the ruins. This was one of the common scenes in the eastern district and had repeated again to no end. It was just one of the common happenings in that place.
Some time had already passed since Elena and Sara bunkered themselves in one of the abandoned buildings. The sound of the sporadic gunshot from the outside had already stopped for a while and there was no sign of it returning anytime soon.
Sara lowered her guard for a bit.
“Is it… over?”
Elena used her information gathering device to confirm it.
“Most of the signals from the outside are already gone. There’s only one signal other than ours. Maybe it’s a signal from the one who was fighting against those guys a while ago.”
Elena’s information gathering device had already recovered fully from the effect of the colourless mist. So there was no way for Elena to mistakenly identify the signal between those who attacked them and the signal from other people. But there was no guarantee that the signal came from someone friendly.
“Elena, is the signal from that person moving towards us?”
“It doesn’t seem to be so… But still, what do you think just happened there?”
“If we were to think optimistically, it must be someone who passed there by chance and decided to help us. After all, it was 8 against 3… If we don’t count ourselves, then it was 8 against 1. But even so, that person saved us. That person must be a very nice person… Or so I hope.”
After Sara spoke her optimistic assumption of what just happened. She just stopped talking without telling Elena her pessimistic assumption.
[There’s a limit for how nice a person can be. I do feel thankful to that person, but we don’t know what that person might ask from us as a reward. In case if it was a man and he asked for our body as a reward, Elena might be against it but I hope he would be satisfied with my body alone.]
Elena kept watching the signal of that person from her information gathering device. Then she realized that the signal was moving away from them.
[So that person won’t come here, huh…? If he wanted to demand a reward, he would come here as soon as he could. It doesn’t even seem he wants to confirm our safety. That might because he wants to avoid having another fight, or he just simply lost interest in us. Or maybe he prioritizes taking those guys’ equipment first…]
The signal kept moving away from them as she was thinking. Elena was hesitating for some time, but she then decided to chase after that signal.
“I’ll be back in a moment. Sara, you wait here.”
“Are you sure?”
“The colourless mist has gotten lighter and looking from its signal, it doesn’t seem like that person is hostile to us. So it’ll be fine. I will be careful too. After all, I should at least say my gratitude to that person.”
Elena smiled in order to reassure Sara, she then packed her stuff and went out alone. Since her information gathering device detected no other hostile signals, she immediately ran towards Akira.
As Elena approached Akira, the signal of her saviour in her information gathering device suddenly started moving faster away from her. It seemed that Akira was trying to run away from her.
But Elena already remembered Akira’s position. It was behind a cover. Her voice might reach him but she could not see Akira. As such, she hurriedly called Akira in order to stop him.
“Wait for a second!! You’re the one who saved us, right?! I want to say my thanks and I want to talk to you for a bit! Can you come here for a sec? Please!”
But then, suddenly a crumpled paper flew from Akira’s direction and rolled to Elena’s feet.
Elena took that paper and opened it. There was a bullet inside that paper and a short message saying “Don’t come over here” written illegibly.
She could not understand whether Akira put in a bullet inside the crumpled paper to make it easier for him to throw or was it a kind of warning to her. But at least, she understood that the person who saved her did not want her to come close to him, although she did not really understand the reason. So she stopped chasing Akira and instead shouted at him.
“My friend was shot and she can’t move!! I have a vehicle parked in the outskirts of the ruin, so can you please protect us while I carry my friend to that vehicle?! I’ll give you another reward in addition to the reward for saving us from those guys. I know that I’m just burdening you more, but can you please help us?!”
But of course, Elena actually did not have anything to offer as a reward. Especially, she had no money to give at all. Or more like, she came to the ruins because she wanted to earn some money in the first place. She also needed the money for replenishing Sara’s nanomachine. Elena knew that she would need to negotiate with him and find what he would want as payment. She already resolved herself in case he asked for her body as payment.
But then another thing flew from Akira’s direction to Elena, this time it was a box. When Elena took it and checked the box, she recognized from the words printed on the box that it was a medicine box. There was a piece of paper inside it with instructions on how to use the medicine written in crooked letters.
Elena assumed that the message must be saying something like “Use this medicine to heal your friend” or something like that. She also came to understand that the one who saved them had no wish of accepting her request.
Elena decided to return back to Sara, but before heading back, she added some note on the paper that Akira threw at her and left it on the ground.
“Okay!! Thank you for the medicine!! I’ll return back! I have written my Hunter code on this paper, so contact me when you have time, okay?”
Elena then bowed towards Akira’s direction before running back to Sara.
Akira waited until Elena was quite a distance away from him before picking up the paper left by her. There was a series of characters written on the paper, it was Elena’s Hunter code, but Akira did not understand it.
“…What is this Hunter code thingy?”
“It’s unimportant until you have your own information terminal. For now, you can think of it as something convenient that allows you to contact other Hunters.”
“So she even has something like this, huh. By the way, do I have a Hunter code?”
“Nope. But you should be able to get one after buying your own information terminal and submitting an application in the Hunter Office. By the way, Akira, are you okay with that?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. It’s not like we have any particular reason to meet her anyway. Let’s just go back home.”
“You’re not going to loot them before returning home?”
“I’ll just leave them be. It’s not like they came attacking me after all.”
Akira took all the equipment of the 2 Hunters that attacked him the other day. Alpha just could not understand what was the difference between those two Hunters and the Hunters that he killed just now. So Alpha concluded that it must be because of Akira’s moral values. Akira put himself in danger without even expecting any reward and he even gave away his precious medicine box. But then he refused to protect them as if he did not care about them at all. He did not even think of meeting the people that he just saved.
In order to give correct guidance to Akira, Alpha was trying to understand Akira’s moral values on which he made his decisions. But she understood well from the time when Akira decided to help Elena and Sara, it would be pointless to pressure Akira for an answer. As such, she decided not to question Akira at all.
Akira kept running as he got out from the Kuzusuhara City ruins.
When Elena went back to Sara and told her everything, Sara smiled mischievously.
“He saved us even though we’re just total strangers to him. He even gave us medicines and left us without asking for any reward or telling us his name. To think that he would leave all the good parts, it’s not even strange if you fall in love with him, but…”
When Sara put everything out like that, it indeed sounded like he was such a wonderful person. Sara then continued while making a bitter smile.
“…You didn’t see him and you don’t know his voice as well. He won’t let you approach him and his handwriting is bad. I wonder if he did this intentionally so we won’t be able to investigate his identity from his handwriting… He completely turned into a suspicious person now.”
Elena smiled bitterly after hearing about the sudden change of image of the person who just helped her.
“Should we stop using the medicine that we just received? It won’t take too long before your wound is healed, right?”
It was not like Elena wanted to make her saviour bad. But the one who would use it was Sara, so she did not want to coerce her into taking the medicine.
But Sara lightly shook her head.
“No, I’ll use it. After all, it’s bad for us if I stay injured like this.”
The one who would be using the medicine was her and not Elena so there was no need for her to worry, but Sara could not say that as she decided to take the medicine. Even so, she took a capsule from the medicine box and held it on her palm. The common way of using it was to swallow it as it is. Sara kept staring at the capsule on her palm as she remembered the piece of paper in which the instruction on how to use the medicine was written. It was not a manual that came with the box, but it was a cheap-looking piece of paper with the instruction written on it in bad handwriting.
“In case of emergency or if you need immediate healing, don’t use it normally, but instead apply the content of the capsule directly over your wound. And be careful since it might cause severe pain.”
This was the instruction written on the paper. It was not the usual way to take medicine. In the worst-case scenario, it might even make her wound worse. Sara was a bit confused, but she eventually decided to take the medicine as the paper instructed.
She opened multiple capsules and applied the content directly onto her wounded legs. Intense pain immediately assaulted Sara just like the paper warned. She could feel something forcefully healing the open wounds on her legs along with the pain. Elena was worried as she looked at Sara’s pained expression.
The pain slowly faded and eventually was gone after a minute. Although she could feel slight pain as she stood up, she was able to stand up without any problem. Elena was surprised when she saw that.
“Sara, are you sure you’re okay standing up?”
“I’m fine, it seems that medicine is really effective. It healed me to the point that I feel I can fight normally now. Elena, how about you try using it too?”
Sara then took some extra capsules and swallow them. Since she was no longer in emergency and in no need of immediate effect, she chose to take the medicine normally.
Elena decided to follow Sara’s suggestion and took the medicine too. Although Elena was not gravely wounded, she had some injuries and she was severely exhausted, so she was in need of healing too. Not too long after she took the medicine, she could no longer feel pain in her head. From her experience working as a Hunter, Elena understood that it was not simply an effect from pain killer but it was because the injury on her head was rapidly healing.
Due to the effectiveness of the medicines, Elena and Sara’s evaluation of Akira changed back from a suspicious person to a saviour with a certain circumstance. Although it was reasonable, Sara and Elena looked at each other and smiled bitterly to the fact that they were doubting their saviour just a moment ago.
Sara then smiled as to change the mood.
“Well, putting everything aside, we at least know that the person who saved us is a very nice person. I don’t know where he got this medicine, but since it’s very effective, it must be pretty expensive, right? Although he helped us this much, it’s regrettable that we could not say our thanks.”
“I left him with my Hunter code, but I don’t know if he will even read it or if he will actually contact us…”
“It’s fully up to him whether he’ll do that or not. But let’s work hard so that we would be able to return this favour in case we ever meet him again.”
Elena also smiled in order to change the mood.
“You do have a point. We can’t do anything about it no matter how much we think for now. So then, how about we loot those dead Hunters as a start for preparing to return this favour? Since it seems that the person who saved us isn’t interested in their equipment at all, so we can sell them for money and use it for replenishing your nanomachine.”
“Geez, that stranger really helped us with a lot of things today.”
“You can say that again.”
Elena and Sara laughed as they were having that conversation.
After that, Elena and Sara looted the corpses of the dead Hunters and safely returned back to the city. They went to the ruins chasing an unconfirmed rumour and placed their bet on that rumour. Then because of their blunder, they almost lost their lives and something more important than that. But the money that they got from selling the equipment they looted from the dead Hunters was more than enough for Elena and Sara to turn over their condition for the better.
In short, Elena and Sara won their bet.