Akira was running through the mansion, going after Katsuya and Alna. He used the A2D and AAH a.s.sault rifles on both of his hands to repel any enemies he encountered. The reason why he swapped to those rifles was because Alpha told him to do so. Since he was using rifles with low firepower, he took more time to fight each and every enemy he encountered.
“Say Alpha, my augmented suit is already functioning, right? So why am I using these rifles?”
“If you use the other rifles, the firing sound would draw in more enemies. Not to mention, they think you’re a strong opponent. So there’s a good chance that they would give up on killing you, and instead, leaving the rest to that black powered suit. Although it is hard on you, it might be better to let them think that they would have their chance if they keep buying time.”
“But it’s slowing me down, you know? At this rate, they might get away from me, no?”
Alpha smiled just like usual and said.
“It’ll be fine. He has someone slowing him down. So they should not be able to move that fast and he can’t shoot us either. That’s why, I’m sure he’ll have no choice but to fight back rather hardly which would draw more people to him, and that will slow him down even more. We’ll catch up with him sooner or later.”
Akira did not stop shooting even while he was talking to Alpha, and after listening to her explanation, he understood why it would be fine to use a.s.sault rifles in that situation.
Alpha did not lie there, but she also did not tell Akira everything. Even with his a.s.sault rifle, he would have a good chance of killing Alna even if Katsuya tried to shield her. Akira did not even notice that fact.
Katsuya peeked out from one of the rooms inside the mansion and shot at an enemy just ahead of him who was carrying a powerful gun. He could hear screams coming from that direction mixed with the gunshots from his own rifle.
Katsuya was cornered. He had a stern look on his face, he kept mumbling curses and complaints. He still had Alna next to him, but since she was not using any augmented suit nor had she ever trained or experienced combat, she could not move as fast as him. Then to top it off, more and more enemies were swarming him due to Rogelt’s order. He had to protect Alna in that situation, even for him, he was having a hard time fighting the incoming enemies. Not only was he cornered, but he also had no way to escape. He already had his hands full protecting Alna after evacuating her into that room.
Alna looked in pain, seeing how Katsuya was having a hard time protecting her. The kind stranger that she clung to by pure chance back then, and right now, he was still desperately trying to protect her. That thought turned her feelings toward that stranger to love. And the fact that person was trying to protect her because of a mere promise without any benefit at all, only strengthened her feelings for him.
Then something clicked inside Alna.
“…Katsuya, it’s fine, it doesn’t matter now. Thank you.”
Katsuya looked at Alna in surprise.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m really happy that you came here for me. I think that you’ve already saved me enough. It’s fine now.”
“What are you talking about…?”
“Just leave me behind and get away from here. Without me slowing you down, you can at least escape from this place alone, right?”
Katsuya was dumbfounded while Alna smiled bitterly.
“Why would you even say that? It’s fine, don’t worry. If you keep saying something like that, I would get angry, you know?”
Katsuya lightly said so to Alna while trying not to worry her. But instead, the smile vanished from Alna’s face which only left her with a pained look. She then started crying and confessing to Katsuya.
“I’m sorry. I… I’ve been lying to you… I took it.”
“I was the one lying. I stole Akira’s wallet. Then he noticed it and started chasing after me, that was when I b.u.mped into you. I lied to you so that you would protect me… I-I’m really sorry.”
Seeing how shocked Katsuya was, Alna smiled bitterly at him.
Alna felt really guilty towards Katsuya who was trying to rescue her. But she always thought that if she told him the truth, he would abandon her to her fate. And with Akira ordering a search for her, she would lose her life if she didn’t have Katsuya’s protection. That was why she could not bring herself to tell him. Although she felt guilty about it, she could not deny that she was also happy that he came for her.
But now that she was in love with him, she prioritized his life more than her own. If Katsuya died because of her wrongdoing, she would not be able to forgive herself.
“I… I’m not worthy of your protection… That’s why… it’s fine.”
Alna tried her best to make Katsuya abandon her. She did not even care if that would make him hate her. After she confessed everything, she looked down. She had nothing left. She only smiled mockingly at herself, she was only getting what she had sown.
Katsuya, who saw her miserable state, made his resolve and clearly stated.
“That doesn’t change anything.”
“As I said, I’ve promised you, so I don’t need any other reason. I won’t take back my promise just because of something like that.”
Katsuya smiled, trying to cheer Alna up.
“Moreover, well, like, you know, trust is a crucial thing for a Hunter, and I’m aiming to be a great Hunter. That’s why, although it might sound weird, even if you lied to me, I’ll still keep my promise. That’s why I won’t let you die. Even if you don’t want it, I’ll still protect you.”
Alna shuddered, emotion flooded her heart.
“And also, well, it’s true that stealing is bad, but I don’t think that’s enough of a reason to kill you. I’ll try to talk it out with that guy. So don’t worry, it’ll be fine. You have my promise, so just believe me.”
Katsuya said so and smiled kindly. Alna nodded without saying anything, tears were still running down her cheeks as she tried her best to smile.
Right at the next moment, Katsuya felt something approaching, so he quickly jumped off.
The black powered suit readied its rifle and aimed it at Katsuya. Rogelt used the information sent by his men together with his own information terminal to lock down on Katsuya’s position. Although it was nothing but a crude approximation, with the firepower of his rifle, there was no need for him to snipe precisely.
“d.a.m.n brat!! Running your mouth like that!! Now die!!!”
Fuelled with anger, Rogelt operated his powered suit. A huge bang echoed, his rifle that rivalled the firepower of a tank shot released a warhead straight into the mansion. It easily broke through multiple walls and left one big continuous hole through the mansion.
Katsuya was able to barely avoid the warhead. Although he was shocked by the destruction left behind, he immediately went back to secure Alna.
“Alna, are you alright?!”
Although Alna was lying down on the ground, she was unhurt. She was so horrified that she was not able to immediately reply to Katsuya. But she was at least able to nod to let him know that she was fine.
Katsuya’s expression relaxed slightly. He was relieved to know that Alna was fine, but what happened next left him aghast. Akira suddenly jumped into the room through the hole left by that warhead. That sudden change of event caused Katsuya to freeze, and that was enough to dictate the end result.
Akira kept Katsuya suppressed with the rifle on his left hand without even looking at him. While Akira’s gaze, as well as the rifle on his right hand, were fixed on Alna. Inside that compressed time perception world where everything was running in slow motion, Akira and Alna locked gazes at each other. Akira pulled down the trigger, showered Alna with bullets and Katsuya had no means to stop him.
Akira kept on shooting at Katsuya to keep him suppressed and escaped from the mansion through the hole left by Rogelt. Katsuya was only able to see Akira run off without doing anything.
The one that pulled Katsuya back to reality was Alna’s weak voice. The moment he heard it, Katsuya immediately ran toward Alna and confirmed that she had been wounded. Although she was fatally wounded, she was not dead yet. Judging from the locations where she was shot, it seemed that Akira intentionally did that. Katsuya did not notice that far, but judging from the blood on the ground, he knew that Alna did not have much time left.
Katsuya pulled out medicine from his pocket. But he immediately detected enemies coming from the direction of the hole and started shooting at them. He then shouted at those people who were taking cover behind the wall around the hole.
“Don’t get in my way!!”
He could not treat Alna in this situation. Katsuya understood that and picked her up with his arm and slowly dragged himself away from that place while keeping those men in check. He thought that no enemies would come from the direction where Akira just left, so he tried to retreat there while protecting Alna.
Alna coughed out blood and her body gradually turned cold. She would die soon. There was no chance to save her now. Although she understood that, she did not feel fear at all. The happiness of being held by someone she loved and the fact that she would no longer slow him down was stronger. As her vision slowly turned dark, she could see Katsuya still desperately trying to protect her. It made her fall in love deeper with him and regret the fact that Katsuya had a pained look on his face.
She felt cold. She wanted to feel warmth during her final moments at least. Alna squeezed the last bit of power that she had to raise up her hand that was already soaked with her own blood. Katsuya who noticed that tried to call her name. Unfortunately, she could no longer hear anything, but even so, she could still feel the warmth on her palm and smiled happily.
Alna’s arm gracefully fell. Her life ended there, in the arms of her loved one.
Katsuya realized that Alna was gone. He understood that trying to treat her wounds while shooting at the guys attacking them would not help at all. He was extremely frustrated as he softly placed Alna’s body down.
Katsuya’s scream echoed through the mansion. Once it died down, he was filled with rage and disappointment for not being able to save her. And in order to remove the main source of the reason why he could not save Alna, he pushed his rare talent to full bloom.
Rogelt’s men, who had gathered in that place due to an order from Rogelt, were thunderstruck at how Katsuya suddenly turned so strong as if he was completely a different person. Although they had the upper hand, it did not take long for that to be overturned. The mansion was filled with flying bullets and it was only a matter of time before it stopped.
Akira went through the hole that Rogelt opened and escaped the mansion. He then used the full power of his augmented suit to propel himself up to the rooftop of the mansion, then ran toward the opposite side and jumped down onto the courtyard. He then kept on running towards the entrance.
Sheryl was saved and Alna was dead. He no longer had any reason to stay there. The only thing left was to get out from that place alive. Of course, picking a fight against the Ezont family would entail a lot of problems later, but he shelved that for another time. He could take his time thinking about it once he was out of there, Akira kept on running as he thought so.
“Alpha, I just want to confirm something though, that girl is dead, right? There’s no way she might be saved, right?”
Akira had shot Alna following Alpha’s instruction. He thought that it should be enough to kill her. But he also knew that there was a treatment that could save someone even after that person lost half of his body, or expensive medicines that could save someone from certain death, or many other ways to survive that level of injury. That was why he was not so sure.
Alpha smiled and replied.
“You’re such a worrywart. Don’t worry, it’s true she might be able to survive using expensive medicine and proper treatment. But I’m sure he wouldn’t have the leeway to do it in that situation.”
“But like, is there any reason why I can’t kill her right away there? A shot on her head would guarantee her death, you know…”
“If you blow her head or kill her with any means that make it obvious that she’s dead, I’m sure that boy will immediately leave Alna behind and chase after you, to kill you. That’s why we did that. If we let her alive although only for a few seconds, it’s obvious which one that boy would prioritize.”
“If that’s the problem, isn’t it easier to just kill that boy or at least wound him too? In that situation back there, although I might not have been able to kill him, I should have been able to at least injure him, right?”
“If we did that, the rest of Ezont family’s soldiers would focus on hunting you down. In the worst-case scenario, you would have to fight the whole gang on top of that black powered suit all by yourself.”
“Now that you mention it, that does make sense.”
Akira agreed with that argument too, so his displeasure and doubt were gone.
“Even if that boy tries to chase after you once the girl is dead, he would have to face Ezont family’s men first. So let’s get him to buy some time for us while we escape from this place.”
Akira was still running as he glanced back. Inside that mansion, Katsuya should be fighting the Ezont family’s men as well as that black powered suit. As he imagined that scene, he thought that it must be a huge pain in the neck as if it was none of his business.
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“…Well, even if some of them might still come at me, at least that powered suit won’t be coming for me. Although I do feel bad about it, let’s have him buy us some ti-“
Akira smiled bitterly and started running again. He then jumped over the fence with the help of his augmented suit, and just kept on running away from Ezont Family’s base. He finally was able to escape that place.
The rear side of the black powered suit opened, Rogelt came out from it. His face was deep red, he looked absolutely furious. He kept looking at the direction where Akira ran away and mumbled.
“…That brat… He got away, huh!”
Rogelt jumped off from his powered suit and checked the hole on his powered suit. It was the hole left by the bullet that destroyed the powered suit’s generator.
[…I bet it’s a powerful anti-force field armour bullet. It was able to pierce through my powered suit’s force field armour after all. Otherwise, it would have been impossible to do that.]
As Rogelt had predicted, Akira actually used the anti-force field armour bullet that he bought as a lucky charm and a trump card. It was a high-quality bullet that cost him 5,000,000 Aurum per shot. He only bought one bullet just to be safe in case he had no other choice but to go against a powerful monster, like that one huge creature that he fought back in the Seranthal building. Akira himself did not expect that he would be using that bullet so quickly.
[But still, even if he shot that in a point-blank range, normally, that would not be enough to destroy my generator, so how…]
Rogelt frowned, he did not want to believe the explanation that came up in his head.
Unlike armour plating, the force field armour of the black powered suit was the type that continuously consumed energy and extended out its force field. Since it would consume too much energy if he kept moving, Rogelt usually only stood still when he was not in a fight. And even in the middle of a battle, he would lower the force field for parts that were unlikely to get shot in order to save energy. Otherwise, it would consume too much energy to maintain.
Focusing the force field armour only at the points where they were receiving shots was something that only skilled users could do, and one of the indicators of a high-quality control device was whether it could accurately predict incoming shots and only expand the forced field in those locations.
But this automatic adjustment from the control device usually had some particular quirks. In some cases, it might cause the force field to focus only on one point and leave another location more open for an attack.
Rogelt remembered how Akira used his DVTS minigun to shoot a barrage on his powered suit. If it was in order to damage his powered suit, then it would have been a pointless action, but what if he did that to manipulate the automatic adjustment control of Rogelt’s powered suit. If Akira did that to focus the force field armour in one place and open a weak point in another place to shoot at, if that was all true, then it would explain how Akira was able to snipe the generator.
Although it was possible theoretically, it was actually almost impossible to execute. It would have been possible with the combination of a huge amount of bullets and a powerful information-gathering device that could precisely calculate the small changes in the force field armour in order to create a concentrated force field and opening a weak spot. But in order to do that, Akira would have to a.n.a.lyze and calculate a huge amount of information, which would have been impossible.
Rogelt rejected the solution to his question that came up in his mind. He then lightly shook his head, just to blame that on his bad luck, and decided to stop thinking about it.
Rogelt shook off his thoughts from what just happened and looked at his powered suit one more time. Seeing how his prided black powered suit was rendered to that state, anger started to well up again.
“That brat, wrecking my powered suit like this. I’ll definitely kill him next time.”
“Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do that.”
A woman’s voice abruptly replied to Rogelt. Rogelt immediately pulled up his rifle and released some shots in the direction of that voice.
Although there was no one there, his bullets ricocheted and made a sound as if they bounced off a metallic object. A blade was floating in the air there. When the owner of that blade took off her camouflage, it revealed a girl smiling amusedly. She had a metallic cyborg body covered under a camouflaging coat, both of her arms were armed with blades, it was Neria.
Neria and Rogelt made eye contact. Right at the next moment, Neria suddenly dashed and closed the distance between them.
Rogelt made a rough approximation of how strong his opponent was by judging from how she moved just now and how she blocked his shots. He quickly decided that his rifle would not do him any good and threw it away, instead, he grabbed 2 knives behind his hip and readied himself. When he unsheathed his knives, blades extended out and they turned into swords.
Rogelt had talent in CQC, that was why, during the battle against other powered suits, he was always using melee weapons, and of course, that talent also translated very well when fighting against another human. As a matter of fact, his skill with the blade allowed him to distinguish himself in the eastern district where guns were a norm.
Nelia and Rogelt exchanged blows for just a split second, by the end of that exchange, they were standing past each other with their backs facing each other.
“See, it would be impossible for you.”
Nelia smiled and said so, behind her, Rogelt was sliced into 4 pieces with a cross centered on his throat. Not only did he get beheaded, but his head and body were also split cleanly into two halves. His body parts fell down and painted the ground red in blood.
Now that her job was finished, Nelia looked in the direction where Akira ran off to. She smiled amusedly which even looked like she was ecstatic.
“But still, although it hasn’t been that long since the last time, to think that he has become strong enough to defeat a powered suit with only an augmented suit. It was really unfortunate that I wasn’t able to seduce him back then.”
Nelia once again activated the optical camouflage of her coat. Her figure was slowly swallowed into the scenery and vanished completely.
“It would be great if I can get another chance to try to seduce him, although, it would be hard to do that in my current situation. Seriously though, what should I do with you?”
She did not feel anything wrong with seducing someone that she would try to kill 5 seconds later. Nelia, who had such a distorted way of thinking, had a regretful expression on her beautiful face. But that face also quickly vanished from the views, leaving behind the nonfunctional powered suit and the dismembered corpse of its user.
Haurias, the gang that was at war against the Ezont family. Inside its base, in its boss’ room. The report from Haurias’ soldiers echoed through the room.
“Boss! These guys are too strong!! We’ll be wiped out at this rate!! Tell us what to do!! Boss!! Are you there?! Whether we group up or retreat, just give us something!! Dammit!! Is it not connected!? What the heck is going on here?!!”
Their boss was unable to give them any orders, after all, he had a bullet on his head and he was already dead.
Haurias already sent most of its men to attack the Ezont family. Its boss was left only with a handful of bodyguards in the base. And those bodyguards, like their boss, were already dead.
Both Haurias and Ezont family had some similarities. First of all, both of them were huge gangs with a lot of members, the boss of the respective gang held a ton of influence. Because of that, it was extremely difficult for the members of those gangs to rise up against their boss. So right now, with both sides left with no boss, their men had no other choice but to fight to the death, save for some who ran away at the very last second.
Ezont Family and Haurias, the two goliath gangs in the lower district of Kugamayama city. With the loss of their boss and their men, the money that they spent in that battle, both of them were effectively destroyed in a single night.
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