Akira and the other Hunters returned back to the gathering place. It was busier than when they had left. The trucks that were used during the patrol were lined up and the Hunters were offboarding from their trucks.
As Akira stepped down from the truck’s tray, the nervousness and tensed up feeling inside him finally cleared. He then let out a sigh to expel all the tiredness within his psyche.
Alpha smiled and tried to cheer up the tired Akira.
“Good work out there. You got back safely without any trouble.”
“I’m really glad. But don’t forget that this is also thanks to my support, okay?”
“To be honest, I thought I had to be more cautious of your bad luck when you got number 14, but it seems that there was nothing to worry about after all.”
When Akira heard that, he looked at Alpha in puzzlement.
“Seriously though, what meaning does this number 14 actually have?”
“It’s nothing to worry about.”
Alpha’s smile did not change as she said that. Although Akira was still suspicious, he was interrupted when one of the Hunter Office staff made an announcement.
“Show your Hunter ID and report in to wrap up your patrol request!! The rewards will be distributed at the counters in the Hunter Office! The payment distribution will start at 18:00 today!! Hunters who didn’t collect their payment within 48 hours since the start of distribution will lose their rewards!! I’ll say it again!! Show your Hunter ID and…”
The staff from the Hunter Office kept repeating this announcement to the Hunters who returned from their patrol. It was in order to avoid any kind of problems that might arise when they distribute the payment for these Hunters.
“Akira, let’s go and formally finish today’s request. It’ll be bad if you forget it. So let’s go now.”
“Alright, alright. Just give me a break and return back to your usual dress, will you?”
“Oh my, do you hate this swimsuit that much?”
Alpha then turned to Akira and made some poses to display her charm while making a displeased expression showing that she was offended by his remark. Akira had calmed down and loosened up after realizing that he was no longer in the wasteland, so he now felt that Alpha’s swimsuit was a bit too aggressive. So he replied back bluntly.
“Just turn back to how you usual dress already.”
“Haah, it can’t be helped then.”
Alpha then changed into something that was less revealing. Although it was still rather aggressive, Akira thought that it was at least fine for now. After all, if he complained too much about it, she might even turn her dress to something worse instead.
After that, Akira joined the line for the report wrap-up. When his turn came, he let the information terminal handled by the Hunter Office staff to read the data from his Hunter ID. The sound made by the terminal when it read the data from his Hunter ID indicated that his job was formally over.
Akira felt like he had accomplished something. Alpha then told him to open his information terminal, connect it to the Hunter Office and check the request history. With her help, Akira used his information terminal to connect to the Hunter Office and opened the page that showed individual data of Hunters. When he checked the history section, he could see that the request he just finished was listed there.
“By the way, what should I do to receive the reward?”
“It would be transferred to your account. The basic reward is 5000 Aurum. Although I don’t know about the data gathered by the Hunter Office’s information gathering devices, you did defeat only 1 monster back there. So don’t keep your hopes too high. When the payment distribution begins, your reward should be transferred to your account from the Hunter Office. As for your Hunter Rank, I can’t really say anything. After all, the rank promotion calculation is not revealed to the public.”
(Athena: All Hunter Offices are owned by Hunter association.)
The current Akira was more concerned about the money that he could get for paying his accommodation rather than his rank. Thus he frowned when he heard her explanation about his reward.
“…I still can’t change to a room with a bath with that amount of money.”
“You just finished your first request for this morning, you know. I think it’ll be okay if you sum up all the money that you’ll be making today.”
“I hope you’re correct.”
The patrol request was divided into 3 rounds during the morning and 4 rounds during the evening. Since the ammo expenditure depended on the number of monsters that they encountered during the patrol, it was divided in such a way that they would always have enough reserve ammo to return back as scheduled without any trouble.
Most of the Hunters who took this request were new young Hunters. And even after registering their name beforehand, some of them still did not turn up in the gathering place. There were a lot of possible reasons for the same. Some of them were just simply abandoning the request. Some of them took multiple requests, got attacked by monsters on their previous request and were too afraid to proceed. And of course, some of them were rendered unfit to fight or even got killed by monsters. These were common happenings among new Hunters.
But the Hunter Office did not differentiate between these reasons. After all, these kinds of things only happened because these Hunters were lacking in their resolve and skill.
The next request that Akira took would start at 11:00. Since he only used 3 bullets during his last patrol, he did not need to restock his ammo before proceeding to the next request. So he decided to have a small talk with Alpha while waiting. But suddenly, Elena who was passing by that area by pure chance noticed Akira and smiled at him.
“Ah, as I thought, it is Akira. Long time no see, Akira.”
Akira politely bowed his head.
“Long time no see.”
“I thought that I would frequently see you in Shizuka’s shop, but it seems that you haven’t been visiting her shop lately. Did anything happen?”
“Ah, it’s just that after I placed my order for an augmented suit, I temporarily stopped doing any Hunter requests and was spending most of my time inside my room. My augmented suit arrived not too long ago and I started taking up Hunter requests again today.”
“I see, I’m glad that it wasn’t because you were bedridden after getting injured from back then.”
Elena then looked at Akira’s augmented suit.
“Is that the augmented suit you were talking about…? Yep, it looks good on you. You look really cool in it.”
“Thank you for the compliment.”
Akira was a bit bashful when he said that. Looking at his reaction, Elena felt it rather cute. But right after that, her face turned serious.
[…When I look at him like this, he looks like just your normal everyday boy. But…]
Akira noticed that small change in Elena’s expression and looked at her in puzzlement. But then Elena politely bowed at Akira.
“I know that this might be way too late, but I want to say it properly. Thank you very much for saving me and Sara back then. I’m really thankful to you.”
Akira looked like he was at a loss for words but then Elena continued with her still serious face.
“Sara has already said this to me and I too promise you that I won’t ask anything unnecessary and I won’t reveal this to anyone.”
Akira looked conflicted for a second, but he immediately covered it up with a smile.
“…Ahh, right, please don’t tell anyone.”
As Elena saw Akira’s reaction, she felt a little disappointed.
[…As I thought, it’s not like he can trust us right away, huh. Well, it’s only to be expected though.]
Elena’s heart hurt a little when she realized that Akira still did not fully trust her, but at the same time, she understood his reason too.
She thought that Akira might be someone who could connect to the old world domain and that he knew it was dangerous if other people discovered that. Thus it was only to be expected that he did not trust her. After all, there were cases where getting killed was better than getting discovered. Elena understood that as well, that was why she tried to give her best sincere smile to Akira in order to make him feel more at ease.
“Even if I look like this, I’m a Hunter with quite some accomplishments under my belt, so I know well about the importance of trust. And not to mention that I don’t want Shizuka and Sara to hate me, of course, I don’t want you to hate me too. So don’t worry.”
“Ah, it’s not like I can’t trust you or Sara-san. It’s just that… You know…”
“Is that so? Thank you for believing in us, I’m really happy that you do.”
Elena then smiled fondly at Akira. Akira was embarrassed seeing her being so sincere to him, but then he started to blush and started to get flustered for a different reason.
Elena was happy and it was shown in her face. Judging by Akira’s reaction, it seemed that he was indeed not lying. But then she looked reluctant and said.
“To be honest, I still want to talk with you for some more time, but I have some other things to do for now. Let’s meet up again somewhere else like in Shizuka’s shop and have a long conversation next time. Since you’re here, I bet you’re taking that patrol request, right? Because this is your first Hunter job after a while, be sure to not let your guard down and be careful out there, okay? See you around then.”
“Yes, I’ll be careful. Elena-san too, please be careful.”
Elena waved at Akira before she left the place. After Elena was gone from his views, Akira hung his head and let out a big sigh. Just like that time with Sara-san, Akira felt a strong and heavy emotion crawling inside his heart.
Alpha noticed that and immediately called out to him.
Akira then remembered what Alpha said to him back then.
“I know, it’s alright.”
Akira had made his resolve and decided that next time he would save Elena and Sara for the sake of saving them and not as a pretence for killing other people. And he would get stronger both for Elena and Sara’s sake and for his own sake as well.
Looking at that, Alpha smiled at him and said.
“It’s all good as long as you get it. It’s about the time for the next request, so let’s move.”
Akira raised his head and firmly stepped forward.
As the time for his next job came closer, Akira got assigned to a truck just like before. While he was walking to his assigned truck, Alpha who was beside him frowned a bit.
“…This number again, huh. I wonder if this number has some kind of connections with you or something.”
Akira got assigned to the number 14 truck again. Looking at how Alpha frowned and said that as if it had some kind of meaning behind it, Akira also frowned.
“Seriously now, if you’re going to say something like that, you should just tell me the meaning behind that number.”
“It’s nothing much. It’s just that according to my experience, it was a rather unlucky number.”
“…Oh, I see, it’s indicating that I have bad luck, huh?”
“Yep, it is.”
Akira was convinced by her answer as she would not explain anything more than that.
As the next patrol was dispatched, Akira looked around to check the faces of other Hunters who were in the same truck as him. Although he saw some familiar faces, he did not see Hazawa or the Drankam Hunters who were with him in his last patrol.
This time, Akira was the only young Hunter in the truck. Although it did not become a ruckus like the last time, there were still some Hunters who looked at him as if he was a dead weight. But after he got to kill some monsters with his accurate shooting thanks to Alpha’s support, other Hunters stopped looking at him like that.
Due to his highly accurate shooting, some of them even thought that Akira was a cyborg. After all, it was not an impossible thing to execute such a highly accurate shot if he was a cyborg with a preinstalled accuracy support device and software. Moreover, it was not rare for a Hunter who just got a new body modification to be taking low-level requests until he or she got used to it.
The patrol continued without any problem. The strength of the monsters and the number of encounters they had were all manageable for a normal Hunter. And for those Hunters who expected to make quite a sum of reward money, this time’s patrol was a productive one.
Akira did kill a lot of monsters together with other Hunters, thus he could not help but smile and look forward to his reward money.
After they finished their patrol and were on their way back to the city, some of the Hunters who were expecting to get a good amount of reward were laughing and talking to each other on how were they planning to spend their money. Some of them were planning to go to the entertainment district in the city and some of them were planning to splurge their money buying things.
Akira was also in a good mood. Although he had no idea about how much rewards he would get, judging by how the other Hunters were acting, it seemed that he could get his hopes high up for this time’s reward.
“It seems that I might be able to stay in a room with a bath after all. I’ll take a good long bath today.”
Akira was very relaxed after he finished his second patrol. Alpha saw that and warned Akira with a smile.
“Remember that you also have a patrol job in the evening too, so don’t get too relaxed yet, okay? Let’s work hard so you can keep staying in a room with a bath from tomorrow.”
“I know. But it’ll be fine as long as it’s only at this level. Or is it that the next patrol will be harder than this one?”
“Although the difficulty of both requests is the same, it’s common to find that the real difficulty is different compared to what was mentioned in the request information. And this is more prominent in case of eradication requests such as the one we’re taking. But I bet you know this very well already, right? After all, you experienced it yourself where you got attacked by 2 groups of monsters on the same day.”
“Yeah, you’re right, I’ll be more careful.”
Akira smiled bitterly and readjusted his psyche which he let loose just a moment ago. He understood well about his unluckiness since there were cases where he had to face it in the past.
After he returned, he completed the job wrap-up and accepted the request for his next patrol. Akira then sat in the gathering place to eat his Hunter’s ration. His next truck was also number 14.
“I wonder if they assign Hunters to the same truck always.”
Akira looked conflicted since Alpha told him that number 14 was unlucky, but in contrast to that, Alpha seemed like she was no longer bothered by that.
“That seems to be the case. But it’s nothing to worry about. So then, we still have some time before the next patrol starts, what’s your plan for now?”
“If you ask me so… I still have quite a lot of reserve ammo so I don’t think there’s any need to refresh my reserve… And I’ve also finished my meal too… I have no idea what to do next.”
“In that case, how about heading to the truck and taking a nap? You might be feeling the rush after finishing the last patrol, because of that there’s a chance you are not feeling the fatigue now. So just to be safe, it’s better if you take rest. Even a short nap will really make you feel better.”
“Is that so? Alright then, let’s do as you say.”
Akira then headed to the truck assigned to him, there was no one in the truck. He boarded the tray, sat on one of the seats, put his rucksack down near his leg and prepared to take a nap.
Alpha smiled and said in a gentle voice.
“I’ll wake you up on time for the request, so don’t worry about that.”
“I’ll be counting on you, so I shall go ahead take a nap now.”
Akira gave a light nod and closed his eyes. He immediately fell asleep. It was as Alpha said, he was building up fatigue that he himself did not realize. He was lulled to sleep as soon as he relaxed his body.
For Akira who had been living in the back alley of the slum city for years, it was unthinkable to be able to sleep in such a condition. Normally, he would have thought that sleeping in the middle of an open place filled with armed people roaming around would be the same as a suicide. But the fact that he could sleep here was because of his trust in Alpha.
The gathering place for the patrol job was filled with Hunters and merchants. Sara and Elena were also among them. It seemed like they were waiting for someone, but they were also attracting glances from the people around them. The reason for that being the big opening in Sara’s suit near her chest.
Sara made a mistake when she replenished her nanomachine stock and completely filled her reservoir. Thus her suit could not fully cover her nanomachine reservoir, which is her chest, so she had no other choice but to let a big opening on her suit’s fastener.
In order to prevent the opening from getting any bigger, Sara used a sturdy looking fastener belt below her chest. But because of that, her attractive and alluring chest became even more prominent. Moreover, because she was not wearing her inner suit today, the gap in her suit revealed her bare skin valley of paradise.
Elena smiled bitterly.
“As I thought, it might be better if you put something on top or wear something under.”
Sara just smiled and rejected that suggestion.
“If I put a random thing on top of it, it might obstruct my movements. As for the inner suit, all of my inner suits are torn. None are suitable for me now. Moreover, I have no reserve inner suit as well, and the clothes made of fabric that can handle the body movement of an augmented human are expensive. Well, it can’t be helped, I’ll just have to endure this for now.”
“Your defensive suit also has a function to increase the performance of the nanomachine inside your body, so the inner suit should be compatible with that too, right? Undies made using the technology from the old world are sturdy, but we don’t have the leeway to buy them yet, huh. Well, it can’t be helped.”
Sara laughed mischievously as she made a suggestion.
“Elena, I think some of the attention will be shifted to you if you also make a big opening like mine in your suit. So can you please do that too? Just think of it as helping me out.”
Elena smiled and gave Sara a short answer.
“That’s just too bad.”
Sara then made an exaggerated gesture to show her disappointment.
Right after that, a young boy came running and stopped in front of Elena and Sara before giving them a big smile. He looked like he was very excited. It seemed like he was the person Elena and Sara were waiting for.
“Elena-san!! Sara-san!! I’ll be in your care today.”
That boy was Katsuya. Airi and Yumina followed behind him.
Yumina looked exasperated as she smiled bitterly and said to Katsuya.
“Katsuya, don’t go ahead alone like that… You’re too excited.”
Yumina said the last part in a small voice that no one could hear as it was mixed with a little bit of jealousy and annoyance. But she immediately returned back to her usual self and politely bowed to Elena and Sara.
“Elena-san, Sara-san, I’ll be in your care today.”
As for Airi, her expression did not change much as she said.
“I’ll be in your care too.”
Katsuya idolized Elena and Sara. Although there were a lot of other feelings mixed in, it was still a form of his admiration towards other Hunters that he recognized to be above him. Of course, there were a lot of Hunters in Drankam who were well above him, but because most of them were always looking down on a young Hunter like him, so he did not really like them. In contrast to them, even after doing several jobs together with Elena and Sara, there was not even an instance where they looked down at him or mocked him or insulted him or showed that they hated young hunters like him. There were even times when they were being considerate of his inferior skill, but that was to be expected. As a matter of fact, he was actually happy when Elena and Sara were being considerate to him.
Because of his past experience, Katsuya was excited when he knew that he was going to do a Hunter request together with the strong, gentle, admirable, and on top of that, beautiful Elena and Sara.
For Airi and Yumina, as fellow female Hunters, Elena and Sara were their idols who they aspired to be. That was why they understood that it could not be helped when Katsuya got excited and so they held themselves back.
Shikarabe followed behind Katsuya and the girls. He glanced at Katsuya showing this contempt for being so excited but then he immediately returned back to his usual expression and turned to Elena and Sara.
“Are we late?”
“Nope, it’s fine.”
“I see. Well, I’ll be leaving them to you. Just check on them from time to time”
Drankam made a special appeal to Elena and Sara to take request along with Katsuya and his friends. Although it included a lot of details, the bottom line was, they wanted Elena and Sara to take care, train and protect Katsuya, Airi and Yumina. So in short, Drankam wanted them to watch over the young Hunters. Elena and Sara understood this when they accepted the request.
All the young Hunters belonging to Drankam were stipulated to work under other veteran Hunters until they piled up enough experience, abilities and achievements. This was required in order to increase the survivability of young inexperienced Hunters in this line of work where their chance of survival was already low. It was also a method to attract more Hunters into their gang.
Katsuya was deemed quite talented, thus he was assigned to work under Shikarabe who was regarded as a skilled Hunter in the gang. This was also because it was Shikarabe who found the hidden talent in Katsuya.
But even so, Shikarabe did not like Katsuya, thus he was pretty annoyed when he got to watch over Katsuya. This was also one of the reasons why Shikarabe made an individual request to Elena and Sara to look over Katsuya and his companions.
Seeing Shikarabe look relieved because he would not have to watch over Katsuya and his friends for some time, Elena felt sorry as she said to him.
“About that request though, I’m really sorry to say this so suddenly, but can you please cancel it?”
Katsuya was surprised since he was looking forward to doing this request.
“Eeeh?! W-what’s wrong?”
Shikarabe was also shocked, he then asked Elena for the reason while looking a bit displeased.
“What do you mean by that? You’re asking me to cancel the request right before it starts, you know. I hope you have a good explanation for this.”
“Of course, a work request was sent to us from the Hunter Office. I’m really sorry but we’ll be prioritizing that request.”
After hearing Elena’s explanation, Katsuya was very upset and displeased. But that was not the case for Shikarabe. As a Hunter from Drankam, he only showed a bit of displeasure to Elena who was trying to refuse his request, he then continued to pressure her with a little intimidation.
“So you’re cancelling a request from Drankam just because of that, huh? Do you really think that we will allow you to do that? There will be consequences, you know?”
But Shikarabe’s behaviour instantly changed with Elena’s reply.
“Even if that request comes from the Corporate Government?”
“…The Corporate Government?!!”
Shikarabe was surprised, this reason was enough to completely erase his displeasure towards Elena and Sara.
The Corporate Government was a huge association of multiple big companies that ruled over the eastern district. The Hunter Association which runs the various Hunter Offices was nothing but one of the working partners of the Corporate Government. Thus for the Hunters, any request made under the name of the Corporate Government was very important. If they refused a request without any good reason, in the worst-case scenario, it might even turn the whole eastern district into their enemy.
“The request is to patrol around a dangerous region near Kugamayama city, but the request was made under the Corporate Government. Although, to be honest, work like this should be made by the city. I don’t know the reason but since the request was sent formally from the Hunter Office, I don’t think there was any mistake. I’m sorry but it’s not like I can refuse this request just because I’m planning to explore around with some of my acquaintances. As for the cancellation fees, the Hunter Office will directly transfer it to Drankam. You’re okay with this, right?”
Elena then smiled as if she was challenging Shikarabe after giving that explanation.
“Or maybe Drankam wants to take responsibility and negotiate with the Corporate Government? Of course, I’ll rethink about your request if you are able to do that much.”
Shikarabe smiled bitterly and shook his head.
“Don’t be stupid, I get it. I’ll tell the people in the Drankam… But still, a request from the Corporate Government, huh? What’s going on?”
“Your guess is as good as mine. So there, you have it, I have a lot of things to prepare. I’m sorry but we’ll be leaving. Tell the Drankam’s side that I did meet you directly to cancel the request.”
When the Hunter Office sent a request from the Corporate Government, they usually only sent that request to first-class Hunters who usually worked near the Frontline. Although Elena and Sara were recognized as pretty strong Hunters in Kugamayama city, they were not that strong for the Corporate Government to take notice of them. Shikarabe, Sara and Elena knew this fact well, that was why they had a lot of questions regarding this request.
Sara turned to Katsuya and the other kids.
“Well, so there you have it. I’m sorry for today, see you again next time.”
“….Ah, okay. It’s unfortunate but it can’t be helped.”
Although Katsuya was still not fully convinced, he had no other choice but to accept it. At the same time, his gaze was sucked into Sara’s cleavage, but he immediately looked away. Sara just smiled seeing that.
Soon, Elena and Sara left the place. Shikarabe then used his information terminal to contact Drankam and discuss this.
Katsuya let out a sigh.
“A request from the Corporate Government, huh…? That is amazing, but it’s too bad that Sara-san and Elena-san had to cancel today’s request because of that… I wonder when I’ll get my next chance.”
As for Yumina and Airi, they both also felt that it was indeed too bad. But after seeing how Katsuya reacted, they felt a bit conflicted and it was shown on their face.
In order to change the mood, Yumina made an awkward smile and said.
“I don’t think there’ll be next time, after all, you were staring at Sara-san’s chest just now. She might hate you for that, you know.”
Katsuya coughed and panicked.
“Did I stare too hard?”
Airi made a short remark that confirmed what Yumina said.
Katsuya started making excuses in panic.
“…Well, it’s just that I was captivated. It can’t be helped, you know. Any guy would agree with me after seeing that. So I’m sure Sara-san would understand…”
Yumina looked amused as she kept teasing Katsuya.
“I think Sara-san won’t understand since she’s a girl.”
Airi also followed Yumina but with a flat expression.
“Curiosity killed the cat, it might be better if you give up.”
Unlike Yumina who was obviously teasing Katsuya, Airi just stated out a fact, hearing which, Katsuya panicked even more.
“T-that’s not it. It’s just that Sara-san was wearing a pendant although she usually doesn’t wear any, and that pendant was made of a bullet which is uncommon. The pendant’s top was sucked into her chest, so I couldn’t help but get curious when I noticed that, you know.”
Yumina and Airi let out a sigh at the same time.
“Now that you mention it, that was unusual for Sara-san to be wearing a pendant like that. It looks crude though, I wonder if someone gave her that as a present?”
“I don’t think Sara-san or Elena-san would buy something like that themselves, so it might as well be a present from someone.”
“That might be a present from her boyfriend.”
Katsuya was lightly shocked.
“B-boyfriend… B-but I heard that Sara-san and Elena-san only work in a team of two. So it’s hard to believe if she has a boyfriend…”
“Her boyfriend doesn’t have to be another Hunter, you know. Moreover, it’s not too unbelievable.”
“It might even be another Hunter who could not join her in Hunter requests since it’ll disrupt his relation with the other Hunters. If that’s the case, then it won’t be strange at all. Or they might have already started negotiation for transfer.”
Yumina and Airi were having their time of life teasing Katsuya who seemed to have a crush on Sara. Thus Katsuya’s torture kept on continuing.
Shikarabe ended his call in a bad mood. He was annoyed that the negotiation did not end up well. He pushed his displeasure aside and turned to Katsuya and the other kids to inform the result of the negotiation.
“You guys can go back home if you guys want, but if you want to take up more jobs, you’ll have to take the patrol work just like the one that you took this morning with me, so what do you want to do? Today’s work with Elena got cancelled anyway, so I think it’s fine if you guys just go home for today.”
Personally, Shikarabe wanted them to just go back home for today, but as someone who was taking care of them, he could not say that outright. As such, he could only send a stare saying that he hoped they would just disband.
[…Just go back home. You should be able to understand that I can’t order you to disband. You should also get the hint that something bad might be happening right now from the earlier conversation with Elena. I know that you don’t want to go to a patrol job with me either. Your next chance to go with Elena will come again sooner or later. There’s no need to work hard under me, so just go back home.]
Shikarabe’s silent prayer did not reach them as Katsuya turned to Yumina and Airi and asked them.
“What to do now? I did prepare my stuff to go for a job and not to mention that I want to raise my Hunter Rank as soon as possible too. After all, with our current Hunter Rank, we can’t take other requests on our own and we can’t go for exploring ruins either.”
Either way, they would still need Shikarabe’s permission. Katsuya wanted to break off from this situation as soon as possible. If he did, then there would be fewer people looking down on him.
“I don’t mind if you say so, how about you Airi?”
As for Yumina and Airi, they only followed Katsuya most of the time. Their budding love for Katsuya in their heart pushed them to do so.
Shikarabe just looked at them with a cold gaze, showing his intense hatred towards Katsuya.
[…Going with majority rule again, huh? Don’t you know that those two won’t oppose if you make a suggestion? Are you doing this intentionally after knowing that fact?]
Originally, there were 5 kids under Shikarabe. Every time they wanted to decide on something, they would always go with majority rule and Katsuya always won, that was why the other two made a request to be transferred to another team. And so Shikarabe was left with Katsuya and these two girls.
Looking at how Katsuya was forcing his opinion using this majority rule, Shikarabe’s hatred towards Katsuya intensified.
Katsuya then turned to Shikarabe to tell him their decision.
“We’ll take another patrol request.”
Shikarabe then turned his back to Katsuya and took out his information terminal to contact Drankam and take care of the registration for the patrol job. As he was operating his information terminal, he let out a sigh looking annoyed.
“Dammit, if only I didn’t have to look over these brats, I would’ve been able to investigate that request from the Corporate Government by now. I know that we should invest in training the young Hunters, but we’re the ones working hard to pay for their equipment and sacrificing our time doing cheap work together with them for the sake of their training. I really hope the people in the management would pay more attention to this.”
Shikarabe understood that it was Drankam’s policy and not Katsuya’s fault, but he did not understand that it was normal for hatred to be created between the people who had to make sacrifices and the people who benefitted from other’s sacrifice.
Elena and Sara reached home and were preparing themselves for the request inside their vehicle. They checked their ammo reserves, the condition of the vehicle, the big information gathering device and the machine gun installed on their vehicle. They also installed more armour just to be safe and filled the energy tank. This was pretty excessive preparation for a simple patrol in the wasteland.
Normally, Elena would do the information gathering and driving, while Sara would peek out from the vehicle and shoot monsters down. So they were preparing themselves in the area that they were responsible for.
“Say, Elena, about this request though, what do you think about it?”
“I did a bit of investigation, but I couldn’t get anything of worth. But it seems that the same request was also sent to other Hunters near the ruins. Since Hunters like us got this request sent to us directly from the Corporate Government, I think it’s fully expected that there are other Hunters who got the same request as well. Maybe they’re trying to call all the Hunters back to the city.”
Sara looked puzzled.
“Doesn’t that mean that there would be another big-scale monster attack? Hmmm, but again, it’s weird that the Corporate Government would send out a request just because of that, huh? If that’s really the case, then the Defense Squad of the city should be enough to handle them. Not to mention that it would be a perfect chance to show their worth to the people who keep saying that the Defense Squad spends too much money. So I don’t think they would go out of their way to call the Hunters back to the city just to snatch the role from the Defense Squad.”
Elena looked conflicted as she agreed with Sara.
“That’s true. It’s because of that, I just can’t understand the reason behind this request. It would be great if it’s just a form of insurance, but that might not be the case. Let’s just prepare everything so that we can stay safe even if anything unexpected happens.”
Elena said that last part with a firm voice as if to psyche themselves up, but then she continued with a soft tone.
“But well, I bet it’ll be alright. After all, we’re doing very well lately. Thanks to that, we got quite a lot of money and we were able to upgrade our equipment. It is as if our time when we were on a slump were nonexistent in the first place. Although I said it as if it were nothing, we were really facing a hard time back then.”
Sara replied back in a small voice.
“It was really bad indeed… And what made us rise back up from that situation was Akira saving us. Not only did he save our lives, he even turned over our situation… I can’t thank him enough for everything that he did for us.”
Elena agreed with her as she smiled and nodded.
“Speaking about Akira, I met him today by coincidence. I was finally able to say my thanks to him and I feel much better now. But don’t worry, just like you, I also promised him about not asking anything unnecessary or telling anyone else about him.”
“You met Akira? Although I thought that I would meet him in Shizuka’s shop sooner or later, I didn’t see him lately at all. Where did you meet him?”
“It was in the gathering place where we met Katsuya. It seems that Akira was also taking the patrol request. He told me that he locked himself inside his room after placing his order for an augmented suit in Shizuka’s shop. That makes sense though, after all, it would be unfortunate if he went out to the wasteland before getting his augmented suit and got injured.”
“So Akira started to get better Hunter equipment for himself, huh. We should work hard too.”
“Yeah, let’s give our best out there.”
Elena and Sara giggled as they continued with their preparation. Although they could not understand the reason behind this request from the Corporate Government, they were confident that they would be able to do it just fine.