Looking for Proofreader
After he got away from the monsters, Akira let out a sigh of relief. Then Alpha laughed proudly as she said.
“How was that? I gave good support, didn’t I?”
“Y-Yeah, I was saved because of that. Thanks.”
As he tried to calm himself down, Akira thought of everything that just happened. The leftover thrill and adrenaline rush from the monsters’ attack, his screaming lungs as he was short of breath since he was running around like crazy; the wariness toward the unknown girl, and the feeling of gratitude after he was saved by her. All of these feelings and sensations pooled into one as he made a mixed expression.
As for Alpha, she was just standing there, staring at him and trying to read deeper into his heart while giving off a wonderful smile that made Akira less cautious of her.
“You are very welcome. Now that you just got a taste of how great I am, I want to talk about what I want to ask of you. Is that alright?”
Alpha kept staring at Akira’s eyes and gave off a nod as if she was about to bring a very serious talk.
“I’ll need you explore a certain ruin. But it’s not here, it’s in some other ruin, and it’s a very dangerous ruin. To be honest, It’s impossible for the current you to explore that place. Forget exploring the place, it’s impossible even for you to go there, you’ll surely be dead midway even with my amazing support. That’s why, before going there, I want you to prepare enough equipment and skill to explore that ruin, And that will be our main aim for the time being…”
Feeling that it would be a long talk, Akira hesitantly opened up his mouth and said.
“Uhmm, may I say something?”
“What is it? Just ask away if there’s any part that you don’t understand.”
“That’s not what I meant. So uhh, I understand that it’s an important subject, but can we save that for later? To be honest, I want to talk about how can I get back safely from here first if possible”
Alpha stopped talking and gave Akira a meaningful smile as she kept staring at him. The silence made Akira shrunk a bit and his expression stiffened.
[…Oh crap, did I make her angry? Maybe I shouldn’t have cut her talk there]
The weapon dogs were still roaming around the building, so he couldn’t stay there forever. he had to do something to get out from this sticky situation, otherwise, he would definitely get killed sooner or later. This is the reason why he cut Alpha’s talk short, but then, he realized that if he angered Alpha there, then it’s the same as cutting off his own lifeline.
Akira’s panic and nervousness started leaking off from his expression. Looking at that, Alpha just giggled without showing any worry.
“I understand. I also want to ask you about a lot of things once we’re in a better situation. So let’s get out from this place and go back to Kugamayama city first, then we can continue our talk after that, ok?”
Akira let out a sigh of relief as his survivability just shot up as he knew that he didn’t anger her.
But suddenly, Alpha gave another order to him while smiling as if she intentionally wanted to erase that relief off him.
“In that case then go down right now”
Akira immediately gasped and choked. Then after he recovered, he stood up with a dumbfounded look.
Alpha didn’t seem to be bothered by Akira’s reaction. She just lightly walked off while waving at Akira as if she was trying to lead Akira who just stood still there.
“What’s wrong? Let’s go”
Which to that, Akira protested while panicking.
“No, well, I just came out from down there, right!? So why are we returning back to that place again!? There are still monsters roaming below, you know?!”
“I don’t mind explaining it to you but… I’ll do that while we move slowly. But well, if you can’t trust my support, then there’s nothing I can do about it. I won’t force you or anything”
After saying that, Alpha kept walking deeper into the building, leaving Akira behind.
The fear of returning back to the death zone stopped Akira from moving his legs. But after seeing Alpha disappearing into the building, he just gritted his teeth and followed her.
Akira had no confidence if he could return back to the city safely on his own, not to mention that it’s thanks to Alpha’s support that he was able to survive the monsters’ attack from before. That’s why, he understood well that although it looked like a crazy idea to him, he had the best survival chance if he just followed her order. So, he decided to put his bet on her and rushed into that unknown girl.
Once he entered the building again, he saw Alpha was standing near the entrance waiting for him with a smile. Looking at her, Akira felt a mix of embarrassment and a slight strange sense of defeat. Then Alpha started walking down the stairs with Akira following behind her.
He walked down the stairs relatively slowly compared to when he climbed the stairs as fast as he could a few moments ago. Following Alpha’s orders, he stopped, hid himself, and started walking again for a few times during his way down the stairs.
“…So, why are we returning below? Isn’t it dangerous down there?”
“It’s really dangerous down there, you know”
Akira was shocked and taken aback by Alpha’s prompt answer. But then he hurriedly asked Alpha again.
“Wait for a sec!! It’s dangerous, right?”
“There are monsters roaming down there, you know? So that place is far away from being safe. Did you come to this ruin without even knowing that? Do you think that it was purely because of your bad luck that you were attacked back there?”
“O-Of course I know that… But that’s not what I was asking. Just explain it to me already, you did say that you will do that while we’re moving, right?”
“In order for you to get back safely to Kugamayama City from this Kuzusuhara city ruin, you have to get out from this building. But I don’t think you have the ability to jump down from the rooftop and land safely, that’s why we’re taking the stairs-“
Akira didn’t even wait for Alpha who was trying to explain everything in detail to Akira. He interrupted her explanation with a strong tone while giving a look at Alpha that showed his distrust and dissatisfaction.
“Alright, alright. But tell me one thing, if I obey everything you say, then I’ll be able to return back safely, right?”
Alpha answered with a serious look.
“At least, I think you’ll have a better survivability compared to if you do this on your own. I did say this before, I won’t force you or anything. If you don’t trust my support, then I won’t give you any support since it would be a waste.”
Then Alpha kept looking at Akira as she was waiting for an answer. Depending on his answer, their relationship might end right there.
After a pause, Akira hung her head in self-loathing while saying.
“…Sorry, that was my fault. I’ll obey you, so please help me”
Alpha smiled back as if she regained her mood.
“Okay, so once again, I’ll be in your care”
Although he felt relieved, he’s still feeling uneasy. and so Akira carefully asked again.
“…And also. If it’s possible, can you explain to me the reason for your previous order in a way that is easy for me to understand so that I won’t feel uneasy? It’s okay even if you just explain to me the important main points.”
“There are individual differences in the behavioral pattern between each weapon dog. Whether they chase their target until the very end or they stay in one area. Whether they keep searching or return back to their base when they lose sight of their target. After observing their individual differences, I predicted that at this time, the chance you’ll encounter any monsters if you go back should be very low. The black powder that they use for their weapons is produced by a particular organ inside them. And this organ can only stock up limited amount of black powder. So once they used all of their available black powder, it’ll take some times for them to replenish it. Thus, if you encounter one of them during that period, then there’s a very small chance that you will get shot from behind when you run away from it. Of course they’ll come at you trying to kill you and eat you, but if you keep your distance so that they can’t bite you, then I’m sure you can kill them even with that weak handgun. After considering that big factor and so many other factors, I decided to give you that order. I’ve more or less summarized everything there but, should I explain it in more detail to you?”
“…Nope, that’s good enough… You could’ve explained that when we’re on the rooftop, you know?”
Looking at still unsatisfied Akira. Alpha smiled as if she was trying to cheer up a small kid and said to him.
“There will be a lot of instances where I don’t have the leeway of explaining things to you. So, if I have to explain each and every single thing to you all the time, then you’ll get killed one of these days. For an example, in case if a bullet will pierce your head in 3 seconds and I have to explain to you why you should get down on the floor as fast as you can, then you’ll get killed in the middle of my explanation. The same thing will happen if I tell you to get down on the floor and then you ask me why. After all, I can’t touch you, so it’s not like I can’t force you to get down. So there you have it, if you can’t follow my order without asking me the reason, then you’ll just end up dead. The same thing is happening right now, the reason why I can give you a long explanation here is because I know we’re pretty much safe right now, you know?”
Although he’s convinced by Alpha’s explanation, he also felt that the more he asked, the more he looked stupid. Therefore, he just hung his head and nodded.
After arriving on the first floor, His expression turned grim as he glanced at the aftermath of the attack that almost got him killed. He immediately looked around to make sure that there are no monsters left there. Once he confirmed it, he let out a sigh of relief and his expression relaxed for a bit. But all of those were erased when Alpha started giving him orders again with a serious look.
“Akira, listen closely to my orders and try your best to follow them. Every time you make a move outside of my order, it’ll increase the chance of you getting killed, you understand that?”
“30 seconds from now, run as fast as you can to exit the building and then go left. Just keep running following the road without looking back no matter what. And when I give you the sign, turn back, put your gun in front of you, and empty it. You understand?”
Akira already understood well that he would run out of time if he asked Akira for the reason. And so he just answered Alpha’s question with a firm nod while making a mixed expression of nervousness and fear.
Alpha slid aside as if she’s making a way for Akira, and then she pointed her finger to the exit while staring at Akira.
Akira anxiously took a peek outside the building, he could see the leftovers of the weapon dogs’ attack that was also there. It’s the scene of a death zone. He prepared himself to dash as fast as he could. As he leaned forward to take off and run away from that place with all his strength, his feet planted firmly on the ground. He hesitated. Executing and understanding are two different things. He understood it well, but he didn’t have enough resolve to execute it.
Alpha started counting down.
“5… 4…. 3…”
Akira imagined for a fraction of a second what would happen to him if the time ran out. And so he resolved himself and went off.
He blazed through the gaps between the half destroyed high buildings with all he had. He quickly ran out of breath, but he kept running. His heart started screaming in pain, but he kept running. The sole of his feet started feeling the pain from kicking the paved hard road, but he kept running. He gritted his teeth and kept running. He didn’t see any monsters around and he didn’t hear any sound of a fight either. So he started questioning why he kept running like that.
The silence around him was telling him that he’s all alone in that ruin. His lungs, his heart, and his legs were screaming in pain begging for a rest, but he ignored those screams as he kept running.
He saw nothing in front of him and he heard nothing from behind. He started to think that he’s already safe. But as he started to calm down, all the pains and tiredness from the running crashed down on him.
[I should be safe now, right?]
Akira stopped running and took a rest. But then he looked back to confirm his safety despite all the warnings from Alpha.
Akira was petrified. He saw a big monster not too far from where he was standing. Although it’s all alone, it’s more dangerous than the group of monsters that attacked him.
At a glance, that monster looked like the weapon dog that he just encountered from before with a big cannon growing on its back. But unlike them, it had such a distorted body as if it’s trying to break the norm with its 8 asymmetric legs.
What’s so weird about its dog-like head was how it had 2 eyes on its right side and 1 eye on its left side, it’s even dubious whether it could see clearly or not with those 3 asymmetric sized eyes. But, there’s no doubt at all that those 3 eyes were locked on Akira.
The monster opened its mouth and let out a loud roar. At the same time, the cannon on its back raised and shot a round. The explosive round landed not too far from Akira as it exploded and sent rubble flying. But thanks to all the rubble that scattered around, the damage that it caused around the area was reduced. In the end, Akira just felt a weak wind blowing on its direction and ended up just fine from the explosion.
The monster once again raised up its cannon as if it’s going to shoot another round. But nothing happened, it had ran out of ammo. Letting out another loud roar, its eyes once again, locked into Akira and started running toward him.
Since the moment he looked back, Akira stood still there surprised of what he saw. And even when the monster started running toward him, he wasstill frozen in place.
Although he couldn’t see Alpha at all, he could clearly hear her voice shouted at him. He immediately snapped back into reality thanks to it and started running as fast as he could. But the monster had closed most of the distance between them, he would have standing further away from the monster had he kept running without looking back at all. It’s as Alpha warned him, his chance of getting killed skyrocketed every time he doesn’t do as Alpha instructed.
His whole body was screaming in pain, but Akira ignored it as he kept running. He could hear the stomping sound behind him getting louder and louder. But thanks to its malformed body, its running speed was relatively slow, thus Akira could keep his distance from it. But still, the earth rumbled and let out a thunderous sound every time its huge legs kicked the ground, it reminded Akira just how scary its huge body and legs.
Every time Akira felt the vibration and heard the sound of the monster’s steps echoed from the distance, it shaved off Akira’s sanity. There’s no mistaking it, he would be turned into minced meat if one of those huge legs fell down on him.
Suddenly, Alpha appeared beside Akira as he kept running. She was fleeting right beside him as if she’s floating and sliding above the ground. Akira could see clearly her mixed expression of seriousness and a bit of disappointment.
“Geez, I’ve warned you so many times not to look back, haven’t I? Try to follow my order exactly as I tell you next time. I’ll give you a sign when you’ll have to turn and shoot back, so try your best to follow it, okay?”
“Shoot back!? Are you telling me to fight that huge thing with this handgun?!”
“I’ve been telling you this again and again, I won’t force you to follow my orders”
“I’ll be in your care!”
Akira shouted and wasted his precious chance to take a breath, but Alpha was satisfied by that answer and smiled happily.
“There’s no need to aim for anything. Just point your gun forward and empty it as fast as you can, okay?”
Alpha started counting down with her fingers.
“5… 4… 3…”
Akira resolved himself and made a grim expression. He knew that he had no other choice since he’ll get killed otherwise.
“… 2… 1… 0!”
Akira turned as fast as he could and immediately emptied his gun without even aiming at all.
But when he turned back, the monster’s big eye was already right in front of his gun’s muzzle. The bullets that he shot in point blank range tore right through into the monster’s eye and swallowed deeper into its head.
Akira kept pulling the trigger on his gun like crazy in a close range like that. All the bullets that came out from his gun went right into the monster’s head thus injuring the monster from the inside.
Although Akira had caused a lot of damage on the monster, its augmented vitality saved it from instant death. But there’s no mistaking it that it’s already on its death door as it kept screaming in agony until its inevitable death.
Although the dead monster had fallen limp on the ground. Akira kept pulling on the trigger of his already empty handgun. it’s only after he saw the blood coming out from its head and confirmed that the monster had totally stopped moving at all that he let go his finger from the trigger.
“…D-did I do it…?”
Akira breathing was roughly but he still managed to squeeze out a few words. Since he couldn’t confirm whether it’s really already dead or not, Akira kept his guard up while staring at the monster. Once he calmed down and fixed his breathing for a bit, the reality that he killed the monster started seeping in as he was looking at the dead monster soaked in its own blood.
Akira turned into the direction of the voice as he was about to slump down. Then he was about to say thanks and sorry with a still dumbfounded face when he saw Alpha pointed toward the outside of the ruin while smiling. He immediately pulled himself up back again.
“In 10 seconds…”
Akira dashed without even waiting for the end of her sentence.
Alpha kept looking at Akira as he ran off, she only gave a playful smile and suddenly vanished, leaving the dead body of the monster all alone behind.
Akira who kept running as fast as he could from the attacking monster didn’t realize it, but there were a lot of things happening behind him.
Just like Akira, the monsters could also see Alpha, so they were trying to eat Alpha who was behind Akira.
While Alpha was actually using herself as a decoy to lead the monsters around, then she would let herself ‘get eaten’ after adjusting their positions.
The monsters couldn’t feel anything at all although they clearly bit her. Thus, they would stop for a bit as they were confused to what happened.
Then, Alpha would tell Akira to use that chance to shoot at these monsters. And just like when Akira shot the eye and killed the monster from before, Alpha manipulated the monsters’ position and condition by using herself as a decoy so that Akira could easily destroy them.
That group of monsters appeared the moment Akira accepted Alpha’s request, but Akira who was running as fast as he could to the outside of the ruin didn’t notice that at all.
Akira was somehow able to get outside of the Kuzusuhara city ruin. That place was still a bit dangerous, but it’s way safer there compared to the inside of the ruin.
Alpha suddenly appeared and welcomed Akira as if she got there first before him. Akira immediately fell down on his knees trying to calm his breathing. Then Alpha gently spoke to him.
“I don’t mind if you want to take a rest there, but is it okay if I continue our talk? We were in the middle of talking on how are you going to get enough equipment and skill to explore the ruin that I want you to go to”
“Ah, sure, go on”
“For the equipment, you’ll need to either buy them or scavenge them from the ruins. But the old world equipment from that you can find in the ruins are much more powerful than the commonly sold equipment. So I’m thinking that you can buy your first equipment, and then use them to hunt for better old world equipment from the ruins. As for your ability… There’s no other way but to train and experience real battle. But there’s no need to worry, I can give you the best training possible with my support.”
Akira couldn’t imagine what kind of training it could be. But hearing from how confident Alpha sounded, he at least knew that it must be some kind of super effective training.
“That would be really helpful. But is it okay for you to give me that much help?
“Don’t worry, this is included as my down payment, you know. Not to mention that it’s in order so that you can complete my request. So in the end, it’s more or less for my own sake too. If you think that I might have given too much for your down payment. Then you should give your best in your hard training”
“O-Okay, I’ll give my best.”
Akira winced and gave a nod, he could get a feel for just how harsh this special training that she’s talking about from her playful smile.
Alpha looked satisfied as she gave him a nod back.
“Our main aim for now is for you to be a good hunter so that you can get enough money to get high quality equipment. But first, you have to go to the hunter office, you need to register yourself as a formal hunter and graduate from being a self proclaimed hunter… Just in case, let me ask you about one thing, have you registered yourself as a formal hunter yet?”
Akira took out his hunter certificate from his chest. It looked like just a cheap piece of paper with the written prove saying that he’s a certified third rank worker from the eastern region corporate government. It also has his number ID as a hunter and his name written on it.
Looking at that measly hunter certificate that looked like a fake certificate, Alpha inquired further.
“…Is a hunter certificate… Something that looks that cheap? Please don’t take me wrong, it’s not like I’m doubting it, it’s all fine as long as you can use that as a hunter certificate… So, that thing is okay, right?”
“…It should be okay… I think.”
The staff in the hunter office gave him that piece of paper when Akira registered himself there, there’s no mistaking it. But after Alpha pointed out just how it looked so cheap, Akira started doubting himself.
“I want to ask you a lot of things like where did you register yourself as a hunter, is that okay?”
As he was telling Alpha his story from around that time, Akira remembered all the bad things that happened to him and made a mixed expression.
Akira went to a hunter office located in the lower district of Kugamayama city.
It’s located a bit far away from the slum city. From the outside, it looked just like a half destroyed bar as half of the letters on its signboard were already beyond recognition. If it’s not because of the hunter office symbol on its signboard, no one would know if that building is a hunter office.
The staff who served Akira was a drunk young man that didn’t look like he wanted to do any work. Being a hunter was quite a popular job. Even in the eastern region and there are a lot of great hunters in that area, but that man didn’t give that feeling at all. Although it’s a popular job, many people hate to be posted near the slum city. That man must be someone who got demoted and transferred into this post that was befitting of his motivation and ability.
Akira nervously asked that man.
“I came to be a hunter, may I do my registration here?”
That staff looked annoyed as he clicked his tongue and put off the magazine that he was reading. And then he moved on with his duty, although, Akira could obviously see that he didn’t want to do it.
The staff operated the terminal in front of him, not too long after, a printer near him printed out a piece of signed hunter certificate. He rudely took the paper from the printer and handed it over to Akira. Once he’s done with his job, he quickly grabbed his magazine and started reading again.
Akira was confused, he looked back and forth from the hunter certificate that he just received to that staff. He thought that registering as a hunter would take a lot more work than that, but there, he just told the staff his name and it’s done. He wasn’t sure whether the registration was really already finished or not, and so he involuntarily asked the staff.
“I-Is that it?”
The staff looked annoyed as he shifted his view from the magazine to Akira.
“That’s all, now go home”
“You just needed my name? Don’t you need any other information too…?”
He looked really annoyed from the bottom of his heart as he made a gesture to shoo Akira and said.
“Since you’ll be dead in no time, do you really think I’ll ask you for more information? I don’t care about any information that you have. To be honest, I don’t even really care about your name. I just asked for it because that’s the rule, I don’t even want to know if that’s your real name or not”
That reminded Akira of how much worth someone like himself has. After he realized that, he just shut up and walked away from the hunter office.
Akira kept staring at his certificate after he finished explaining how did he get it. As he understood the situation he was in, he vowed that he would crawl up from his current condition.
Alpha smiled as if she was trying to cheer up Akira.
“We’ll start your training with reading and writing, after all, collecting information is a very important thing. But don’t worry, you’ll be able to read and write in no time with my first class level support”
“I understand. I’ll be in your care… By the way, how do you know that I can’t read?”
“The name written in that hunter certificate, it’s Ajira”
That man didn’t only treat him unpleasantly, he even made a mistake in his job. Akira was desperately trying to hold himself back from crushing his own hunter certificate.
Then Alpha made a suggestion while smiling bitterly.
“Let’s just return to Kugamayama city for now, then we can continue our talk there. Until you learn how to write and read, I’ll do the reading in your place”
Akira just nodded without saying anything. He tucked his hunter certificate back in and started walking toward Kugamayama. Alpha followed and started walking beside him.
Akira asked a simple question to lighten the mood there.
“By the way, what is the name of that monster that I just defeated in Kuzusuhara city ruin?”
“It’s weapon dog”
“…Really? that one doesn’t look like them at all though, so that monster was also from the same type as them? “
“Presumably, that one made a mistake in executing its self remodeling. That’s why you’re able to easily defeat it”
“Was that appearance only for show?”
“That depends on how you see it. That monster had a fatal weakness that allowed you to defeat it and it might just be out of pure luck that you were able to use that weakness. But if you can defeat that kind of monster one more time, then you might interpret that as its appearance is just for show, of course that is if you can defeat it again without my support, you know?”
“Then that means that my support is just really that good, so you better be thankful for that, okay?”
“Thank you very much”
Akira and Alpha kept walking toward the city while having an idle talk just like that.
From the outside, Akira would look like an insane kid talking to nothing. But there’s no one there to tell him that.
That is of course save for Alpha who kept observing him from the moment they met.
Athena13 : Wait, so he defeated one big monster and some smaller ones then he went back home without salvaging even a single one of them…? Interesting.
Silavin: I doubt he can carry them. After all, I don’t think those dogs are light, considering that they have weapons growing out of their bodies