Revin and Hazawa were looking in Colbert’s direction, their gazes indicated that they had something they wanted to say. Colbert noticed that, so he asked Sheryl to give him some space for a bit.
“Would it be okay if you leave us for a bit? There are a lot of things that we need to talk about you see, like the budget and stuff.”
“Of course, please do call me if you need anything.”
Sheryl excused herself and left them alone. Hazawa and Revin then came to Colbert.
Revin had a rather conflicted face as he said.
“Say, your plan, it is basically buying and reselling relics? Are you planning to buy relics here and sell them somewhere else at a better price?”
“Well, to put it simply, yes. You’ve been working as a Hunter for a long time, so I’m sure, unlike those amateurs, you can discern which relics are valuable relics, right?”
Revin seemed worried as he said.
“Even if you say so, it’s not like I have the money, you know? And I don’t know where to resell them either. In the first place, I’m contracted to sell all the relics that I have to Katsuragi. Although that guy is also the one who forces me to keep buying stuff from him.”
Colbert was still smiling like usual.
“Don’t worry, I have a plan for that. Your contract only forces you to sell the relics that you gathered from the old-world ruin to Katsuragi. So it doesn’t include the relics that you buy from another place.”
“I-is that really how it works?”
“Yeah. There were precedents in the Hunter Office. So it’s okay. And also, I know that you don’t have that much money. So just buy cheap relics, don’t aim for those technological and mechanical relics that the Hunter Office usually looks for. The price of those kinds of relics changes with the trend after all. Moreover, there are usually many hidden gems out there, some relics that are only worth 100 Aurum and look like junk from a glance can earn you 1,000,000 Aurum in a specialized shop if you’re lucky. So, we’re basically aiming for those hidden gems, you can think of this as a small gamble. Although it depends on your luck, if your ability to discern valuable relics is real, you should have good odds here. So it basically depends on your ability as a Hunter.”
“…I see, so it’s a gamble that depends on my ability as a Hunter, huh?”
“And also, if my information is correct, this shop just opened recently, so they might be selling the relics with a discount to attract customers. There’s also a chance that they don’t have a strict evaluation to decide the prices of the relics since they are inexperienced to do that yet. They might also sell some relics at a low price on purpose to show their customers that they might find some hidden gems in this place. It’s true that it’s still a gamble, but I think we have good odds in this gamble.”
Hazawa who was listening next to Revin nodded, it seemed that he was convinced by Colbert’s explanation. He then said.
“I see, if we’re lucky, Revin might be able to pay his debt in one go.”
After listening to what Hazawa just said, Revin started checking the relics there seriously. Colbert who saw that just smiled bitterly.
“Well, I did pay the entrance money for you, so at least buy one thing before we leave this place. It would be meaningless if we go to a relic selling store after this if we don’t have any relics to sell.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Revin replied with a serious tone without looking back at Colbert and Hazawa. He had his eyes fixed on the prices of the relics lined up on the white sheets in front of him. He seemed to be rather desperate.
Colbert and Hazawa looked at each other and smiled bitterly before joining Revin in looking for good relics.
They eventually decided on the relics that they wanted to buy and spent about 1,000,000 Aurum, half of it was paid with Colbert’s money. Revin only picked some relics that cost him 100,000 Aurum in total.
The one that Hazawa picked was a box of trump cards, the cards were still inside the sealed container. Although it was an old-world ruin, it seemed unscathed. Its original selling price was 10,000 Aurum, a rather expensive price even for an old-world relic like that one.
The only reason why Hazawa bought it was because he did not want to leave that place without buying anything, but at the same time, he did not want to spend too much money there, and it would be stupid if the price of the relic that he bought there was less than the entrance fee.
Colbert then asked Sheryl.
“Is it okay if we pay through our Hunter ID?”
Sheryl smiled and replied.
“We do accept Hunter ID too. Other than that, we also accept cash, cards and money transfer. So, are you sure that you’re going to pay with Hunter ID?”
“Very well. Please let me borrow your Hunter ID then.”
Colbert handed over his Hunter ID. Sheryl received it, used a terminal to read Colbert’s Hunter ID, and operated the terminal to complete the transaction. After that, she politely returned Colbert’s Hunter ID.
Colbert checked his own information terminal and checked his account to see if the payment properly went through. After confirming that there was no problem, he smiled lightly since he confirmed that he got the information he was looking for, but his expression immediately returned back to normal.
After they finished buying their relics, they then left that room. Tiol was waiting for them outside the room, he then guided Colbert and his friends back to the back door of that building. Not too long after they left that building, Tiol asked them a question.
“Let me ask you one more time, is there really any need for me to guide you back all the way to the main street?”
Colbert answered that question.
“Nah, it’s fine… Wait, on second thought, please do.”
All of them then headed back to the main street. Hazawa found that reply a bit weird, so he questioned Colbert.
“It’s not like there’s any need for him to guide us back, no? Although we’re in the back alley of the slum city, I’m pretty sure none of them are stupid enough to attack a group of 3 Hunters, you know.”
“It’s fine, isn’t it? It’s a good thing to accept others’ goodwill. It would be really bad if we get lost here after all. Not to mention, the other 2 Hunters in our group were even hesitating to go inside that big building.”
Colbert was poking fun at Hazawa and Revin. Hazawa tried to defend himself.
“W-well, I was just being careful, you see. I’m someone who is really careful when it comes to something like that.”
“Just so you know, I was being careful too, yeah?”
“…O-of course, I bet you were.”
Colbert was also keeping his eyes on his surroundings while talking as they walked with Tiol through the alleys of the slum city. He was checking how the people around them looked at Tiol and his group, and how Tiol was reacting to all the attention that was directed at him. From there, Colbert could more or less check how the people around that area saw Sheryl’s gang. All of these were valuable information.
At the least, the people in that area did not see Tiol or Sheryl’s gang as mere children. Some of them did look at Sheryl’s gang with contempt, but there was a trace of envy and caution mixed in those gazes. It showed that Sheryl’s gang had enough influence for other people to be envious and cautious of them.
Tiol and Colbert’s group went in different directions once they arrived on the main road. Colbert was in a rather good mood since he was able to gather valuable information. Revin was holding back his eagerness as he asked Colbert a question.
“So then, where to go after this? I bet you already have a plan where to sell these relics, right?”
“Yeah, I know just the right place to sell these relics, it’s the Kurogin.”
Revin and Hazawa looked surprised when they heard Colbert’s answer.
The Kurogin was a company that specialized in trading relics, it had multiple branches in the eastern district. It was also famous as a pawnshop company where Hunters with debt problems used to go to pawn their relics. Their ability in appraising all kinds of relics was top-notch and they had good reviews from people and companies who were looking for a certain type of relics.
The exchange centres owned by the Hunter Office basically existed to help the Corporate Government of the eastern district to gather and analyze old-world technology, thus it had the tendency to prioritized more for relics with technological value. As such, when the Hunters brought relics with artistic value to those exchange centres, in the end, the people who would appraise those relics were amateurs, not someone who was knowledgeable in that subject.
So, even if someone brought an old-world handkerchief with old-world design and made of a nanomaterial that the current era still could not replicate, the value of that relic would be decided by the quality of its material, the artistic value of it normally did not bring any extra value at all.
While on the other hand, the Kurogin appraisers simply decided the price of a relic based on whether there was any demand for such a relic either from individuals or from organizations. Even if it was a relic that looked like junk, if a collector was willing to buy it at a high price, Kurogin would buy that relic depending on how much that collector was willing to buy it.
Hazawa still sounded a bit surprised as he said to Colbert.
“…Kurogin, huh. Well, I do hear that Kurogin’s appraisers are real experts. But I also heard that their service is pretty expensive. Even if we take our relics there, we might end up in red if we consider the price of their service, you know?”
There were many Hunters who brought junks to Kurogin hoping that they could get lucky, thus it would not be much of a business if Kurogin did not charge them anything at all. So to prevent that from happening, Kurogin set an expensive price for their service. The Hunters could be considered to be lucky if the price of their relics were exactly the same as the price of the appraisal, after all, sometimes they even had to pay money to Kurogin after handing over their relics.
Colbert smiled confidently and said.
“Don’t worry, I have a plan for that too. In the worst-case scenario, it will stop at zero and won’t go to minus. So, let’s go.”
Colbert then just dragged Revin and Hazawa, who were still dumbfounded, to head to Kurogin.
The closer an area to the defensive wall of Kugamayama city, the safer it would be, and of course, the more expensive the plot would be. In the lower district, there was a Kurogin branch that was directly connected with the wall, it showed just how powerful the Kurogin company was.
When Colbert and his friends arrived, they immediately started the administration works to sell their relics. Colbert only submitted a portion of the relics that he had brought, while Hazawa and Revin submitted all the relics that they had.
Colbert then said to the Kurogin’s clerk.
“I’m here to appraise these relics in place of Viola. Do it as fast as you can, we’re already planning to sell them here, and please pay us with cash. Ah, and also, my relics and their relics separately, ok?”
“Certainly. We’ll take about 3 hours to appraise these relics. We’ll contact you when we’re done. This will be your receipt. Please make sure not to lose it, if you do, it might cause some trouble for the following administration work and you might not be able to receive either the relics or the money from selling the relics.”
That clerk then handed Colbert a receipt. It was a card with a high-level security technology that made it impossible to replicate or modify that card either physically or with hacking.
Revin then questioned Colbert.
“Who is this Viola? You said to appraise the relics in place of Viola.”
“Just an acquaintance. She’s a Kurogin employee, I heard that she gets free appraisal quotas each month and she still has some free quota for this month. That’s also why I told them to pay with cash. Since if they transfer the money, it’ll be transferred to Viola’s bank account.”
“…Well, I have nothing to complain about since we can get away for free here.”
The clerk also did not say anything in particular. In reality, it might violate some rules which in that case, they must have prior arrangements about doing something like that. Moreover, Revin had to pay for his debt, so if there was a way to pay it, he had no plans to complain about it.
Colbert and his friends then exited Kurogin and picked another place to hang out while waiting for the appraisal to finish.
After Sheryl finished her business and Colbert and his friends exited the room, Sheryl returned back to her private room with Akira.
When they arrived there, Sheryl started changing her dress. She only wore that dress to serve the customers and she wore a different dress when she was not serving customers. She was being careful as to not get too used to that dress and get it dirty. Sheryl had decided to keep that dress dearly so that she would not forget that it was a very expensive dress.
Sheryl slowly took off her dress piece by piece. There was no need to rush herself, so she was taking care not to damage the dress. In the middle of that, she stopped and glanced at Akira.
Since there was no special partition in Sheryl’s private room where she could change her dress privately, she was basically in open view when she was changing her dress. But Akira was sitting on the sofa in that room while being focused on his terminal.
She then called Akira.
Akira’s gaze shifted from his terminal to Sheryl. He looked straight at Sheryl, who was in the middle of changing her dress, her half-naked figure was very seductive.
Sheryl checked Akira’s reaction. From what she could see, Akira’s face was simply saying that he was just reacting to her since she called his name.
Sheryl sighed deep inside her heart.
“…Thank you very much for helping us although it’s taking some of your time. So then, Akira, how much longer can you keep helping us like this?”
“I’m planning to stay inside the city until I can get my reward from that request in Mihazono ruin and use that money to take care of some stuff. So I’ll be helping you until then. I myself don’t know how long it would be, but I’m sure it won’t be longer than a month.”
Sheryl returned back to changing her dress, so Akira’s attention also returned to his terminal.
Sheryl finished undressing and kept her expensive dress in her drawer while she was only in her underwear.
Lately, Sheryl was wearing the casual clothes that Akira chose for her back in Kashua’s shop. They were pretty good clothes for their price and they fit really well for Sheryl as they made her beauty more prominent. Although in reality, it was Alpha who chose those clothes, Sheryl thought that Akira was the one who picked those clothes, so she was keeping them dearly.
Sheryl grabbed her clothes and stopped again, she then called Akira one more time.
Akira’s gaze once again shifted from his terminal to Sheryl. He was looking straight at Sheryl’s beautiful figure as she was only in her underwear.
Sheryl checked Akira’s reaction again but the result did not change from last time. It seemed that Akira did not feel anything in particular after looking at her figure.
Sheryl sigh became bigger than last time. She tried her best not to show her dissatisfaction she said to Akira.
“…About the relics that we sold back there though, should I immediately transfer the money to your bank account?”
“No, there’s no need to do that. You can transfer the money later when you have the time.”
“But, Akira, you need the money for stuff, right? I heard that the ammo used by the Hunters are pretty expensive. Are you sure you’re okay with that?”
“Don’t worry. I still have some reserve ammo back in my home, and as I said before, I should get the reward from the last request soon. So you can just send me the money and the data of the relics that you sold after you have sold a few more of them. Moreover, I might ask you to pay something for me, so when that happens, you can just subtract it from that money.”
She then continued changing her clothes, and Akira returned back to his terminal.
Sheryl was trying to show off her body to Akira in the middle of changing her clothes. She was hoping that Akira would show at least a small interest in her body, but unfortunately, Akira did not show anything like that at all.
Sheryl had taken a bath together with Akira before, during that time too, he did not show any interest at all in her body as he casually went and enjoyed the bath. So judging from that, it was understandable that Sheryl’s figure while she was changing her clothes or when she was only in her underwear did not affect him at all. Sheryl understood that very well, but even so, she could not help but feel disappointed.
She lightly sighed and continued changing her clothes.
[…I wonder if I’m actually not as attractive as I think I am. Judging from how others in the gang treat me, I should be quite attractive though… Is it because I’m just beautiful compared to the other girls from the slum city? But, Akira has been living in the slum city only until recently, so I guess it’s because he has a strange taste of beauty then? Not to mention, the Hunters from just now also seemed to be reacting positively too. I really don’t understand…]
On the outside, Sheryl’s position was Akira’s lover, and that position allowed her to maintain a lot of things such as the safety of her gang, her position as the boss of the gang, her connection to Shijima and Katsuragi. Sheryl was able to maintain all of them because of Akira’s fighting prowess.
If Akira was her real lover, Sheryl would feel much safer. But in reality, she was not Akira’s lover. At most, she was only his friend, or even maybe just an acquaintance with a particular connection to him. It was too weak as a guarantee for Akira to keep supporting her.
Sheryl already had zero confidence if she could live without Akira anymore. Since that time when Akira helped her and saved her, she was fully reliant on Akira both physically and mentally.
If Akira asked for her body, Sheryl would give her body happily. She would be delighted that Akira wished for her and she would feel relieved after giving her body to Akira. After all, as long as Akira was asking for her, he would likely keep his connection with Sheryl.
But unfortunately, Akira did not show any interest in her. Sheryl had asked Akira in the past for help in exchange for her body. But at that time, he only considered how far she could help him fighting monsters and buy him time, he did not see Sheryl as a member of the opposite sex at all.
Akira’s personality was distorted in many ways. Sheryl herself knew that well, but even so, she believed that she was able to get closer to Akira compared to the first time they met.
If someone asked her if she liked Akira, her answer would be a yes. If someone asked her if she loved Akira, her answer would also be a resounding yes. But even before that, even without considering all these, Sheryl was already fully reliant on Akira. Even without taking account of her feelings or her love for him, Sheryl was already carrying a feeling that was close to blind faith toward him and she too knew of it. But Sheryl herself could not do anything about it, and that in itself could be because she also had a distorted personality.
Sheryl thought that as long as she kept getting along with Akira, Akira might one day get interested in her. But judging from his reaction until now, it did not seem Akira was interested in her at all.
[…Well, at least, he’s not seeing me as a bait for the monsters anymore, right? He did buy me some clothes after all, so, I’m sure that he’s also planning to get along with me too. Just calm down, I just need to slowly get closer to him.]
Sheryl finished changing her clothes, she then sat next to Akira. Akira just glanced at Sheryl when she sat next to him, he did not show any reaction in particular and immediately returned his gaze back to his terminal. Even when Sheryl leaned towards him, Akira did not show complaint at all, he kept his attention to his terminal.
As Sheryl leaned towards Akira, she glanced at him and thought.
[Even if I sit next to him, Akira does not show any signs of rejection at all. I’ll just keep close to Akira until he feels that it’s normal to have me around… Well, I guess I’ll be too much of a bother if I sit on his lap and hug him, it seems that I wasn’t as calm as I thought I was, huh.]
Sheryl remembered what she did in the past and smiled happily like the little girl she was.
Colbert and his friends returned back to Kurogin to receive the money after Kurogin finished appraising their relics.
The clerk gave a report on the result of the appraisal of the relics that they brought there.
“Since the relics were processed separately, I’ll give the report separately too. Let’s start with the relics that Colbert-sama brought here. Colbert-sama, unfortunately, the relics that you brought here are not in demand in this branch. The appraisal fee would be free. So what do you want to do with the relics? You might take them back or let us take care of them.”
“I see, you can go ahead and dispose them.”
“Certainly. We’ll dispose of them at our discretion. Next is Revin-sama.”
Revin looked at that clerk with hopeful eyes when that clerk called his name. That clerk was already used to having Hunters looking at him with that kind of gazes. So he was not bothered much by it as he continued.
“The result from the appraisal, subtracting the fee for the same, is 10,000 Aurum.”
That clerk placed a tray with 10,000 Aurum in front of Revin. Seeing that, Revin disappointedly looked down. Colbert smiled bitterly and tried to cheer him up.
“Don’t worry about it, you’re just not lucky this time.”
Revin did not say anything as he took the money on that tray.
The clerk withdrew the tray and continued.
“Then lastly, Hazawa-sama.”
After hearing about Revin’s result, Hazawa did not put much hope on the result. But he was flabbergasted when he heard what that clerk said after that.
“The result from the appraisal, subtracting the fee for the appraisal, it’s 1,500,000 Aurum.”
Colbert, Revin, and Hazawa froze up as the clerk placed a tray in front of them. There was indeed a bundle of money on top of that tray which totalled 1,500,000 Aurum. The trump card set that Hazawa bought for 10,000 Aurum was worth 1,500,000 Aurum in Kurogin, and that was after subtracting the appraisal fee.
Colbert enviously said to Hazawa.
“Whoah, you just hit a jackpot, not bad at all. Why did you pick that trump card set in the first place? Was there something in particular that made you choose that relic?”
Hazawa flusteredly replied.
“…N-Not really though. I really chose it randomly.”
“So basically, you just got lucky, huh… Alright then!! It’s decided!! You’re treating us today!!”
Colbert smiled at Hazawa as he tried to make Hazawa treat him. Hazawa just shook his head exasperatedly and replied happily.
“Alright alright, it’s all thanks to your plan after all.”
“That’s great!! Revin, let’s party today… Revin?”
Revin was still frozen up, he was so dumbfounded by what just happened. He then finally returned back to himself.
The moment that happened, he immediately said to the Kurogin’s clerk.
“H-how in the world is that thing worth 1,500,000 Aurum!? It was just a set of trump cards, you know!?”
Revin thought that if that trump card set was worth 1,500,000 Aurum, then the relics that he brought there should be worth more than that. He was still not fully recovered from the shock as he shouted at the clerk, demanding an explanation that could convince him.
The clerk was also already used to handling customers who reacted like Revin, so he just replied calmly.
“It’s the result of our trusted appraisers’ hard work and skill. Our appraisers dedicate all their time to make sure that they would be able to correctly identify the price of the relics that our customers bring to our shop. If Revin-sama wants to know the details of the information about the relics that Hazawa-sama brought to our shop, you would need Hazawa-sama’s permission and remit a small amount of money to pay for our appraisers’ knowledge. So, do you still want to know?”
Revin looked at Hazawa with a pleading gaze. Hazawa sighed and asked the clerk.
“I don’t mind, but how much would the price be?”
“It would be 300,000 Aurum in total. The information will be given directly from the person who was in charge of appraising that relic. We ask you not to record the explanation or leak it to a third party. Please keep in mind that if you try to share this information with someone else, we’ll have to take appropriate measure.”
Hazawa then said to Revin.
“I don’t mind giving you the permission, but pay for the info yourself, okay? I won’t be paying for your share of info too, alright?”
“C-can you please pay for me this once?”
“No, I need money for myself too. You pay for your share. That’s the same to you too, Colbert. I won’t be paying other than my own share.”
Revin tried to negotiate with Hazawa.
“…But like, you know, the money that I have with me right now is just.. right?”
Hazawa was not that soft.
Colbert then smiled at Revin and said to him.
“If you don’t have enough money with you right now, I don’t mind paying it for you. But it’ll be added to your debt too. Well, at this point, it doesn’t change much even if you add 100,000 Aurum to your debt, right? So?”
“…Alright, I’ll take that offer.”
After hesitating, Revin finally decided to take Colbert’s offer. With this, Revin’s debt got increased although only by a little.