Chapter 260: Earnest People
The light barrier was riddled with bullets before it broke into pieces. The light barrier was produced by solidified air, using forcefield armour. It appeared to be similar to a floating s.h.i.+eld of light that dimly glowed. Chloe’s men were using non-contact forcefield armour type to create that light barrier, which was also known as forcefield s.h.i.+eld.
Compared to the standard forcefield armour, the energy usage of the forcefield s.h.i.+eld was highly efficient, not to mention its effective uses as well. Not only could it protect something outside its immediate vicinity, it could also set up a forcefield which weakens enemy bullets. It was effective even against anti-forcefield bullets.
A multi-layered forcefield s.h.i.+eld that was well coordinated from their training was able to successfully protect their master against a storm of charge bullets, released from close range.
As expected, not even a single bullet from Akira was able to reach Chloe.
That exchange, which was a blink of an eye for the common man, continued on. It was prolonged because of how skilled both parties were. The might of their equipment, and their resolve to fulfill their goals.
Although that place was already filled with flying bullets, none of them hesitated to shoot back. Endless sound of gunfire echoed through the area, filling it with bullets, covering it with thick murderous intent. Akira blazed and wafted around that place filled with death.
The broken light s.h.i.+eld did not even take a second to disintegrate into flashes of light and dissipate into the air. However, Akira stretched his time perception to the limit. To him, it seemed as though those pieces had not disintegrated yet. His gaze and his LEO multi-rifle muzzles were focused on Chloe. With all his attention focused on killing him, Chloe’s escorts had to entirely focus on defending her. They did not have the leeway to focus much on Akira.
While shooting, Akira jumped to the side with all his might to get away from the bullets that were heading towards him.
With his enhanced physical strength that approached that of a super-human, if Akira tried to execute a high-speed move like running, normally, the power of his first step would cause the ground under him to crack, making him lose his footing. However, he made use of his forcefield armour, placing it under his feet the moment it made contact with the ground. With the powerful balancer in his augmented suit, he could execute extremely high-speed manoeuvres. Fast enough for him to move at maximum velocity, against the full might of the air.
Even with his high-speed manoeuvre, from his perspective, he was running slowly. During that opening, he gathered all the data about his surroundings through his advanced information-gathering device. He completely skipped the data a.n.a.lysis portions and simply allowed the raw data to fly straight into his brain, which he recognized as extrasensory information. Thanks to that, he was able to locate all the countless bullets around him just by using his intuition. If the trajectories were painted in red, the area around him would have been filled with nothing but red.
Even so, Akira forced his way to areas with a lot fewer bullets and forced himself to slip through that barrage of bullets. He knew that the slightest mistake would spell his doom, but even so, he placed everything on his intuition. The intuition that he had been polis.h.i.+ng as he correctly predicted the trajectories of each bullet around him.
Of course, he was unable to evade all the bullets. Against those bullets that he could not avoid, he predicted where he would get hit and focused the forcefield armour of his augmented suit at those points. Naturally, this means that he would be vulnerable at other locations. If he made a mistake in predicting where those bullets would hit him, it would cause him to stagger and the rest of the enemy bullets would finish him off.
However, even after all of this, the firepower of his enemy was more than enough to decimate him. The maids and the butlers that had surrounded Akira started shooting at him almost simultaneously. They had already accepted the fact that they would hit each other as they released a huge barrage of powerful bullets at him.
That barrage that was forming around Akira would come at him like a thick wall, which blocked him from escaping. However, Akira would force his way out using the LEO multi-rifle on his left hand. Meanwhile, he continued shooting at Chloe with his right LEO multi-rifle.
His left LEO multi-rifle had started shooting non-stop at other targets. His aim was not to kill but to throw his opponent off balance or damage their weapons, enough to disrupt their ability to aim. Akira’s shooting with his left LEO multi-rifle was unbelievably accurate. It was not an exaggeration to describe it as otherworldly. He was able to execute such high accuracy, rapid shooting thanks to his enhanced, high information resolution world.
The maids that got hit before pulling their trigger ended up completely missing their shots. The butler who noticed it realized that Akira was also shooting at them. So, he inadvertently took a step to the side to evade the incoming bullet. This caused him to lose his already fixed aim. Although the bullet went past their rifles without even touching them, the whiplash from the wind pressure was enough to slightly s.h.i.+ft their aims away from their target. All of these compounded together, allowing Akira to create an opening for him to survive the wall of bullets that were coming at him.
Akira of course did not stop there. He continued to shoot even more bullets. Eventually, he tore down that wall of bullets as he slipped through that barrage.
Of course, some of the bullets also hit the buildings around them. Akira was using bullets that would easily kill off even powerful monsters. Meanwhile, Chloe’s men were using bullets that were powerful enough to kill Akira. Firepower-wise, they might be even stronger than tanks. The violent barrage showered the buildings in the area, creating a huge hole in their walls, and eventually, they crumbled down. Some were blown to even smaller pieces.
Ten seconds pa.s.sed since the fight started. Even after exchanging that many powerful bullets, Akira and Chloe were still alive.
The moment the battle started, Latis forcefully pulled Chloe back and carried her away from the battlefield as fast as he could. Of course, it placed Chloe’s body, which was normal, under a heavy burden. However, thanks to the battle-oriented powerful augmented suit that looked like a casual expensive dress which Chloe had put on, and Latis carrying her to not cause as much burden on her as possible, Chloe somehow managed to be fine.
Moreover, the butlers and the maids in the area quickly set up a forcefield s.h.i.+eld in a straight line between Akira and Chloe. They did this to block Akira’s bullets. Chloe was relieved the moment she saw those thick layers of forcefield s.h.i.+eld in between her and Akira. However, that changed the next moment she saw Akira easily break through most of them with just his opening barrage. Some of the bullets even came inches from her. However, in the end, she was still unharmed. She was able to escape the ruin safely once she arrived at her large, armoured vehicle parked in the middle of the wasteland.
The back door of that large vehicle opened from a remote signal. Once they escorted Chloe inside, Latis and Pamela looked at each other. They were trying to decide who would stay behind to guard Chloe, but Chloe suddenly interjected.
“Both of you, go!”
Both Latis and Pamela frowned and made troubled expressions, Latis then stepped up to convey their collective feeling regarding this.
“Milady, as expected, that would be too dangerous…”
“I’ve decided to kill him. It would be meaningless if you guys were stuck in between protecting me and killing him. I can’t have you fail to kill him. So, both of you should go.”
Toward that firm and decisive order that their master gave them, Latis and Pamela looked at each other and nodded. Pamela jumped out from the back door while Latis closed the back door after her.
Chloe then said to Latis, with a shred of rage in her tone and expression.
Latis frowned and made a stern look so as to avoid getting overwhelmed by the pressure that Chloe was emitting.
“In case everyone that we left behind cannot kill him or if he escapes from this battle, there’s a good chance that he’ll come here. As such, I will stay behind in order to face him while Pamela and the others can attack him from his flank. If Milady can send a request for reinforcement and extra equipment, we will have a better chance to kill him.”
Seeing Chloe convinced, Latis made a prompt bow and then turned toward the driver.
The vehicle immediately accelerated toward the wasteland. There was no hesitation in their action. It was as if to say that this was the best option for them.
In that empty s.p.a.ce, blood suddenly sprayed out. It was followed by multiple pieces of raw flesh dropping. A moment later, a maid that had lost half of her body appeared out of nowhere. Parts of her were barely held together by her skin and bone. She was a maid that was trying to approach Akira while using optical camouflage, but Akira noticed her and blew her to pieces.
Not too far from him, a butler suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the same fas.h.i.+on, but unlike the maid, that butler had lost the upper half of his body and just dropped limply after he appeared. His lost upper half was scattered in pieces around him, dyeing the area blood red. Akira’s two LEO multi rifles were even stronger than the ones he used in the inter-city transport’s escort mission. This was thanks to the new modifications that he added in. The two rifles did not have any trouble against those weaker than the powered armour suits that Akira fought during the inter-city transport escort mission. Thus, Akira easily blew his enemies to pieces, one by one.
The battle continued for another 5 seconds, Akira was under constant pressure and was slowly getting cornered.
Chloe’s men were weaker than Erde’s men. However, there were way more opponents that Akira had to fight at the same time. Furthermore, they had already surrounded him even before they started to fight. Overall, it was a tougher battle when compared to the battle during the inter-city transport escort mission.
They already moved to plan B which they had planned beforehand in case Akira survived the first a.s.sault. Not only were they shooting bullets at him, but they also started mixing in explosive warheads as well. However, these warheads were not to directly hit Akira.
The explosive warheads released jamming smoke when they blew up. Although the smoke itself was mostly transparent, it carried the same effect as thick colourless mist, thus cutting down the effectiveness of Akira’s information-gathering device. Then to top it off, it also contained speed filter particles as well.
As expected, using speed filter particles in an open s.p.a.ce greatly reduced its effectiveness. As such, it was unable to completely stop Akira’s bullets. And since it quickly dispersed, its effect did not even last longer than one second.
Even so, it was at least enough to shave a large chunk of the bullet’s momentum. Since it was mostly focused around Akira, he was affected the most by it. Since the speed filter not only lowered the firepower of bullets, it also slowed him down. Akira, who understood what the enemy was trying to do, had no other choice but to go toward the area where the smoke was the lightest. It was in the opposite direction from where Chloe had run away to.
If Akira tried to chase Chloe, the speed filter would blunt his movement and everyone would be able to hit him. In the worst-case scenario, that decision might lead to his death. However, Akira knew that getting killed here would mean that he would not be able to kill Chloe. Thus, he was barely able to hold himself back from charging forward and retreated to the opposite direction of the person that he wanted to kill.
The effect of the speed filter faded almost immediately. However, the jamming smoke still had its effect on Akira’s information-gathering device. Since the enemy had basically limited the area where Akira could run, as expected, they more or less already knew his location. They activated their camouflaging cloak and tried to encircle him.
The opponents that were approaching Akira from his left and right. They would normally be impossible to detect due to the combined effect of the jamming smoke and the camouflaging cloak. However, Akira was still able to detect them. This was thanks to the higher sensitivity of his information-gathering device and his extraordinary focus. His focus raised his acuteness to its utmost limit and combined with his active reality manipulation, he could somehow tell based on pure instinct where they were.
But it was not like Akira could accurately pinpoint their exact location. In the end, it was more like a vague guess. In order to compensate for the accuracy, Akira filled the vicinity of the area where he detected someone with the sheer bullets. Akira lightly shook the aim of the LEO multi rifle, which had the same rate of fire as a minigun, and filled the area with bullets. Even the slightest possibly meant facing a hailstorm of bullets.
Because of that, the maids and the butlers who had hidden themselves immediately died before they could even disengage their optical camouflage. The rest of the incoming bullets eventually destroyed their equipment and that was when their optical camouflage had finally disengaged. The continuing storm sent mixes of the destroyed equipment and human flesh into the air, painting the whole area with blood.
Even after Akira killed a couple dozen of them, it was not like he was safe. As a matter of fact, his position was getting worse with time. Chloe’s men were working as her personal bodyguard. They prioritized evacuating her from the beginning of the battle. Now, they would finally be able to turn their attention toward killing Akira. Furthermore, these people were stronger and had better equipment than the other servants. As they finished evacuating Chloe, they started to rejoin the fight bit by bit.
The maids armed with gigantic guns shot guided missiles up into the sky before they curved downward toward Akira. They left a trail of smoke in the sky which looked like claws. The guided missiles used the information from the information-gathering devices carried those close to Akira, allowing them to accurately seek his location.
Akira ran as fast as he could while using the buildings and wreckage to hide from the missiles. Although most buildings in the area had been destroyed from their first exchange, they had not touched the ground yet. Inside his extremely compressed time perception, Akira saw the falling rubble as if they were floating.
Bullets showered those falling rubble and the explosions shredded them into smaller pieces, sending them in all directions. Akira slipped through the openings while shooting at his enemies. Likewise, his enemies were also trying to shoot at him through those small openings.
The bullets broke the rubble into smaller pieces and the grenades blew them away. During the opening, Akira, as well as the maids and butlers, moved as fast as possible to kill their respective enemies.
In high-speed combat where even free-falling was painfully slow, Akira was fighting against opponents that could react with more or less the same speed as him.
It had been 11 seconds since the start of the battle. Most of the buildings in the area had already been destroyed, obliterated into mere rubble. In such a chaotic intense battleground, Akira kept shooting with both of his LEO multi rifles as long as they allowed him to. Even now, he was still actively fighting.
Inside the Hunter Office, when Carol entered, she saw Babalod standing behind Viola and had a rough guess of what was going on. She then smiled bitterly and asked.
“Good grief, is this your plan right from the start?”
Viola had her usual amused smile as she replied.
“Of course not, I just decided to do so afterwards. I wouldn’t deny it if I was asked whether I was using you, but you’re the one who left the negotiation to me after that. I’m sure you at least expected this, right?”
“I didn’t expect it, but I do think that this is so like you to do this.”
Carol and Viola smiled at each other. It was the smiles of evil girls. Babalod who saw that, heaved a huge sigh.
In order to pay the rest of the debt, Babalod was forced to work as Viola’s bodyguard. He even had some of the control of his cyborg body relinquished. It could be said that he was treated awfully. But that also meant that he was paid more than usual.
Carol was a bit curious as to why Viola even needed a high-ranking Hunter like Babalod to protect her. Though, when she thought about it, Babalod was a good replacement for her. Thus, she did not let herself get anymore worried.
After that, Carol accepted a storage device containing the information that Viola promised. She then took a look at the data inside that special storage device, which was made to not connect to the network. It was to make sure that the secret information that Viola was handing to her would not leak.
After looking through the content, Carol raised her eyebrows in surprise.
“…Viola, is this for real?”
“Have I ever handed over fake information?”
“…You have a good point. And this is indeed something that you can’t afford to send through the network.”
Carol lightly covered her forehead. Viola, who was watching, cracked out her usual smile as she said.
“If you’re happy with the content, I want to proceed next to talk about the price.”
“Wait, I’ll let Akira know first.”
Carol opened up his information terminal and tried to contact Akira, but it only ended in failure.
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“…Out of range? What’s going on? Viola, I’m sorry but…”
Akira’s augmented suit did not have much energy left. The medicines that he had stock inside his augmented suit had already run out. The high-speed combat had put his body under immense stress. Under normal circ.u.mstances, it would have crushed his bones and flesh into a liquid mess. He was only able to maintain his body thanks to the expensive medicines that he had been using.
The time compression and the reality manipulation left his head banging with severe pain. It was screaming at him, that he was at his limit. It would not be strange for him to faint anytime, but the dark emotion welling inside him prevented him from fainting. And that dark emotion was expressed extremely well in his tone.
“…Where is she?”
Pamela tried to hide her vigilance toward Akira as she exasperatedly looked at him, and completely ignored his question.
“I did not expect you to be still alive. To think that you’ve pretty much killed everyone… It was the right decision to evacuate Milady first. Though, I didn’t expect it to end up like this and confirm it with my own eyes. After all that, it seems that you’re close to your limit already. So, what are you planning to do next? If you change your mind here and let us have the card, I don’t mind withdrawing now, you know?”
Akira also completely ignored what Pamela said.
“You still refuse, huh… You’re really stubborn.”
After that, a short silence waded in. Akira was only standing there in silence in order to have as much time to recover as possible. He had no idea why his opponent had not started the fight yet. However, if he could buy more time, he was happy to oblige.
Pamela also only stood there in silence. She was buying more time for Carol to get away as far as possible from them. With the rest of Chloe’s men in the area essentially dead, it confirmed that Akira was way stronger than she had predicted. It hadn’t been long since Chloe evacuated. Akira might defeat her too and chase after Chloe. Thus, Pamela wanted to buy time so that Chloe could get away as far as possible from this place. So, for now, she was allowing Akira to recover.
It was Pamela who was the one to decide when she had enough.
“It seems that you will not change your mind no matter what. In that case, I will need you dead. Milady has ordered us to kill you, so we will accomplish that without fail. It would be bad to keep Milady waiting for the after-report, after all.”
Akira, who wanted to have a bit more time to recover, finally opened his mouth.
“Didn’t you say that you’ll leave if I give you the card? Was it a lie because of your master’s order?”
“No, that was out of my own volition. And, I did not lie, you know? If you say that you are willing to give it to us, we will leave. It is indeed regrettable that everyone failed in their mission. Though, that only means they are allowing me to inherit this opportunity to make up for their failure.”
“What do you mean?”
“This is what I mean.”
Pamela smiled and said.
With that order, Chloe’s men started to rise. No matter whether they were still alive or not, all of them rose up. Even those who lost their arms or even their head. So long as they had their legs, they stood up. Seeing that, even Akira could not hide his surprise.
“Everyone here is so earnest, aren’t they? I’m really proud of them.”
Chloe’s men were equipped so that they could fight to their very last. Whether it was through a remotely controllable powered suit or control device. They were made such that someone else could control their body even when they lost consciousness.
These people had given the control rights of their bodies to their superiors. Of course, it was for the best if they could control their own body, but in case they could no longer do so, their superiors would be able to control them. Be it too fatigued to move till outright death, their bodies would still be utilized.
Since Pamela was the superior of the maids, she normally would only be able to control the maids, but since Latis lent his rights to her, she could currently control the butlers as well. Therefore, there were quite a lot of bodies she was controlling.
Akira had no wish to kill any of them when they fought. In the first place, Akira’s main objective was to render them unable to fight. Killing them was his second priority. After all, he did not have the leeway to go around and finished off those who were already gravely injured. Nor did he have the chance to destroy all of their limbs to make sure that they would not be able to move.
“To be honest, I might not be able to win against you if I fight you alone. I don’t believe I am strong enough to take you on. But this is fine, everyone is here to help me.”
Although she had the privilege to freely control others’ bodies, it was normally a difficult feat to pull off. Such skill needed comprehensive training, after all.
But Pamela was able to control multiple bodies. It was exactly because of this that she was a.s.signed as Chloe’s right hand.
“Well then, you can die now.”
The headless bodies readied their rifles. But they suddenly stopped. That was because their controller, Pamela, was confused by Akira’s reaction.
Akira was smiling mockingly.
Akira had no idea why the corpses started moving again, but that did not matter to him.
“…Even that guy had his head blown off and returned back alive. When I judged him to no longer pose a threat to me, he survived. I see, so you would go that far to kill me, huh? To move again even after I killed you. I see, fine, fine then. I get it. I guess dying is no longer enough, huh?”
Akira’s smile vanished. What was left, was only the dark emotion that filled his face.
“I’ll tear you to pieces.”
With that sentence, Akira started to make his move. Pamela also immediately responded accordingly.
Akira’s dark emotion fuelled his already exhausted body, to the point he was able to fight just like before. He did not even notice that Alpha was nowhere to be found ever since the fight had started.
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