Chapter 24 - For That Handful Of Silver Coins (7)

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To sum up, the impression of this man who calls himself ‘Metal Jaw’ in one sentence, he is a ‘heavily armed macho white male.’

“Let me ask you again. Now, as soon as you saw my stuff, this shotgun I have been cherishing like my wife for years, you were like, ‘I need to ask for a refund,’ is what you were saying?”

Ah, right. ‘Heavily armed furious macho white male.’

“Y-You are the one who decided to sell it, right? DOOMgay?”

Fick dich selber1! I don’t sell to people who do not know the values of things, ‘professor’. So I put the condition I had, then down only after seeing the person with my eyes.”

‘This is why he asked for a direct meeting to transact.’

One can often see such men in the Wasteland. Guys who buy into the strange philosophy and risk losing money to follow the rules.

‘No. Do you think this guy has enough money to do such things?’

Well, the explosives he used that killed swarms of variants should at least have cost over 100,000 shillings. It has a spicy dealer look… Even in this world, there seem to be people who go looking for gourmet food.

“Hey, Metal Jaw. For now, let’s make you put the gun away and….”

“Answer me first. You don’t like where the muzzle is pointing at your head? This beautiful, curvy, fishy yet ingenious smell stimulates the sense of smell. The grip around it feels soft and snuggly, like a mother’s arm. I mean, how in the hell did you feel like you couldn’t use this?!”

“N-No, it’s not like I didn’t want to use it, but it—”

“So the situation doesn’t allow you to ignore this beauty!”

Ian’s excited voice resounded in the cavity with variants.

“Look carefully! This cool pair of barrels! Human hands, feet, and eyes are all two! And two is the most balanced and perfect number! These two barrels are, so to speak, like a wife’s breasts! I loved this gun all my life. But you see my love as someone who can be refunded?”

“… No, it…”

Gyosu opened his mouth as he glanced at Vex for a moment and looked at the two eyes that seemed to be asking, ‘What are you doing?’

‘Well, you could have told the guy. It isn’t something which had to be kept a secret.’

A little bit of personal history.

“I really like the shotgun, but I needed a lot of urgent supplies around this time, so I had no choice but to ask for a refund.”

“… Hm!”

After staring at Gyosu for a long time, Ian turned to the door and said, “Then I will have to listen to the situation and decide. We are moving now. There is a fire in an enclosed space, so we will run out of oxygen.”

“… Even if you knew that, you still used explosives here?”

“Then, how would I blow up all those things down?”

“…Is this a concept?”

“This is soul.”

Oh my gosh, is he being serious?

With that said, Ian pulled out a backpack among the corpses as large as his torso and two burnt boxes and began to move to the door, wiping away the blood and flesh on the bag.

Vex had a concerned look on his face.

“Hepburn, just in case some scavengers classify Metal Jaw as a psycho—”

“I think I know why.”

Gyosu followed Ian with some distance between them, noting the old adage that “The method of thinking itself is different from the start.” Anyway, they aren’t enemies yet, and his insane firepower is too fantastic to pass up right now.


Gyosu quickly explained his situation while moving to the next floor.

“… And that is how it happened.”

“Quite complicated, but I do not have to, so organize it quickly. Profess… ah, you use Hanged Man here?”

“Hepburn.”

“It is Hanged Man.”

“Hmm… Hepburn sounds better. Anyway, so Hepburn is forced to return the gun because of the crazy debt the AI brought you, and then an event like this happened in Area 45, and you came to rob with this little guy?”

Thud! Thud! Thud!

Just what was in Ian’s pad that the sound it made vibrated all around him with each step he took?

“It is roughly so… and can we move quietly? I do not want to advertise to people that we are gathering here.”

“Going silent is something that men with loose underwear do. It is the virtue of a true man to face the enemy confidently and call on them to lead with bullets!”

“… Hepburn, do you really want to move with Metal Jaw? A brain that can’t understand strategy is like landmines in the Wasteland.”

“Ha! After all, I drove the variants earlier, so there won’t be any around! Old man, if you want to move, pick up a shovel, maybe, since you both like hiding.”

Gyosu’s nerves were focused on Ian, who had been on alert for a while, looking at the variants coming around. Scavenger. Chasing. This is important information.

“The variants were driven?”

“Yes, as you know, I have a cool fighting style. It distracted some nearby variants. I was going to go down with only the guys tidying up, but suddenly some punk-like ones came and dumped the guys behind me and went down.”

“So you didn’t go ahead with them?”

“I was about to do the same thing, but they commenced at the end of the corridor and started shooting at me, so I had no option but to back off after catching a shot or two in the forearm. Meanwhile, the corridor was packed with variants, so I was pushed earlier.”

When Ian raised his arm, I saw blood seeping through the bandages wrapped around his arm.

“Well, we just had to figure out the situation up to this point first. First of all, we need to clear this up.”

“Clear? you mean…”

“Let’s go together for now.”

Saying so, Ian raised his two fingers.

“I want two things. First, I am fine with a few hundred walking corpses, but humans are a bit harsh on me. I want my clients and their friends to help me.”

“Well, that isn’t difficult, but…”

It’s not a bad condition. After all, they had to fight to get to the shelter at the bottom.

“I want you to be specific about what you need help with.”

“You are asking something too obvious. For Romance!”

Guu!

They noticed that they had reached the end of the hallway as they stood at the stairway marked as Emergency Exit, and Ian looked back as he grinned.

“It’s an old-fashioned warehouse for the wealthy. Do you believe that wealthy people only acquire what they need to survive? If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re a hundred percent wrong. Eye-catching paintings, gold bars that serve as a reliable currency, and, above all…”

Bang!

“Here! A machine that makes a man’s heart boil with passion! Lamborghini! Jaguar! Ferrari! Harley Davidson! Ducati! Monsters with pulsating hearts made of engines! Phew! I am here to see them!”

Duddudud!

Ian, throwing his fists in the air, put down the square band he was wearing and opened the lid.

“I want you to help me get the machine! Instead, I will let you guys use whatever you need. Especially you, Hepburn!”

Ian handed over the shotgun, which he said he had used sparingly like his wife.

“I will hold off on the refund. I will let you use it. Feel the difference between the rubbish you’re carrying and Meine Liebe2 with your own hands! If you still want the refund, I will give you the refund under my name, Metal Jaw. This is the second condition.”

Hmm… it could be understood roughly what kind of person he was. The typical one. He is a human who looks like someone straight out of a movie, like a B-grade splatter movie.

“If you say she is your loving wife, why do you keep trying to sell it?”

“Um? Ah, that…”

Ian scratched his head as he pulled out three-barreled shotguns from behind.

“Because I have a wife with three breasts now!”

“What garbage… then what you said before about two being the most balanced?”

“It is still fantastic. But three barrels? It is imbalanced and has a chaotic charm! It’s so criminal-like!

Thud!

Ian’s bag, which was opened with a loud sound, looked like it was made of metal and was filled with all kinds of explosives, firearms, and ammunition.

“Here! If you need something, do not hesitate to pick it up!”

“… You really are a dealer. Then, where are the items that should be spicy?”

“Um? Here they are!”

Ian grabbed a handful of shotgun ammunition and shoved them into Gyosu’s pocket.

“These ones: alcohol, cigarettes, and gunpowder! If this isn’t spice for life, then what is?! I, Metal Jaw, am a person whose job is to provide hot spices for dull lives!”

Armed with all the ammunition and weapons he had pulled from the bag, he looked as he began walking down the stairs.

“Come, friends! Let’s go and see the taste of a good life!”


3rd basement.

It had been quite a while since Ian joined them, and the noisy atmosphere had sunk into dead silence in the darkness.

Drop! Drop!

“[Trace/ left/ three/ move]”

“[Trace/ right/ fifteen/ move]”

As they came down, they told Ian in advance. Enemies appear to be quite experienced, so they will approach as silently as possible and start the fight with explosives quickly. They cannot make a sound, so they told him to move closely and carefully.

Fortunately, the guy wasn’t too ignorant and followed quietly despite his dissatisfied expression.

Feige Madchen3… We’re like rats in front of our enemy… Uhhh, I cannot show such an appearance in front of my lady…”

Clench!

I was fine, but Vex seemed desperately hanging on to Ian’s antics.

‘But, these people… They are moving without dealing with variants. They even periodically sent parts of troops in different directions. This is a tactic used when besieging the enemy who follows…’

Gyosu saw the two of them silently walking behind. Looking at the traces around them, they still had a distance to move.

‘There are only three of us, so it is clear to think that the opponent will have a better number than us. Come to think of it, I found traces of battle when we were entering, but not a single trace of looting. Even if they decided to pass by, shouldn’t they take in the previous ones at least? Couldn’t they have opened at least one closed door to know what was inside it?’

As we traced the enemy’s path, I slowly understood their outline.

’… They aren’t the ones whose goal is money. They aren’t scavengers.’

Who is it? Gyosu remembered what he had seen as he passed by. A strangely luxurious booby trap was placed. Strategic and organized movement. Several shelters are regularly set and waiting for the enemy on the 3rd-floor basement, where there will be many blind spots and narrow roads, a movement familiar with street fighting…

“… Dome.”

“What?”

“From now on, we change each other’s names to phonetics; Vex is V, Ian is I, and Hepburn is H.”

“You, what is happen—”

“Lower your voices. The guys ahead are the guys from Dome. That means that even if a single letter of our name gets revealed, they will find out our real names and where we live and chase us down.”

“… You scaredy cats. But you are strangely good.”

“Hepburn… why the Dome—”

Shh!

“V, do you have a mouth problem?”

“…H.”

“Yes, I don’t know why. It’s just a guess… They are preparing for a big battle here. They’re creating a battlefield that is similar to and advantageous to them. There are elites among them. If the Dome prepared so thoroughly, who are the ones that will come?”

“Raptor Society…!”

“Right.”

“Hehehe, Scheisse4! Now I know. We got into a fight with the whales?”

Gyosu nodded at Ian’s question. It was a guess, but it was a guess close to certainty.

‘The elites of Dome, disguised as scavengers, are aiming for the Raptor Society. They didn’t want to leave any traces. Dome tried to hide the fact that they were even here; they must be thinking about the battle. For what, though? If they want the Raptors to pay less attention to the place—no!’

Gyosu leaned back and ran his hand over the wall. It was a fortified wall designed for nuclear warfare. There were fractures here and there, but since the water was pouring through the wall, the underground water was properly linked, and most importantly, there was a generator here that could power 70 shelters. It wasn’t the sort of mobile Gyosu was looking for. It was the massive one that got attached to a building, a building with a long-lasting generator.

‘Dome is planning to expand their territory this time. They want to use the Raptor Society to drive away the scavengers, then kill the Raptors who come in discreetly, and finally secure and utilize the whole building. If they maintain the interior clean, the engineers of Dome should be able to repair the damaged facility. Simply restoring power will deter additional thugs from invading such facilities. They will be able to rise up if the Dome’s main force arrives and protects the area.’

The idea was long, but the end conclusion was simple.

It was thought to be a whale fight, but if they make a single wrong move here, it will be difficult to even make a comeback.

Gyosu felt a pat on the back of his shoulder and turned around to see Vex pointing his thumb at the stairs, asking them to leave.

‘I want to do it right away too, but I am contemplating it because it seems like it will be difficult.’

The elites of the Dome are in battle preparation.

If the distance between the Raptors and here was far, they wouldn’t have tried to consume their combat power like this. For an operation prepared like this, there must be some troops monitoring the personnel who entered from outside, so it would mean that Raptor Society’s troops are preparing to enter.

Tap.

“[Rear/ Enemy/ Many/ Escape/ None]”

Gyosu sent a hand signal to Vex, who was moving back, and Ian, who was moving ahead, stuck to the wall as much as he could. The two variants that were there were handled by Ian and Vex.

After securing a particular place, Vex asked tensely, “What do you mean, there is no way out?”

“It is possible that the Raptors have entered. It is okay to leave the 3rd-floor basement, but we will eventually run into them as we move.”

“If there are those bastards, then there is no other way than for one of us to charge in with a bomb—”

“Dismissed.”

But it is correct. Whenever they go to fight, there is always either a minigun or a flamethrower for these groups—trying to break through is suicide.

“How do we escape?”

“… For now, we have no choice but to rely on luck.”

There are 3 hostile forces: the elites of Dome, the Raptors, and variants. The variants can be used as variables.

“I wouldn’t worry if they aim for the heads and shoot straight at us, but…”

“There are a lot of Dome bastards who insist on street fights, and they shoot you part after part.”

The Variant Virus is more like a parasite than a virus. It doesn’t show symptoms until it has infected and spread to the whole body, but when the person who turns the host dies, it then starts to turn active and take control of the body as the consciousness is lost and strengthens and manipulates the body.

Type-2 is the variant that can move in a fresh cadaver that has just died, while Type-1 is where the body dies over time due to rotting skin and muscles, and Type-1, which is once healthy, gets cut off, causing the virus to spread. When the body endures while encroaching on it, and the body mutates into a living state, it is called a Type-3 or complete variant.

According to Dome’s research, more than 90% of the population at this point are already carriers of the mutated virus. This means that when a person dies, unless their head is blown or set on fire, they keep coming back to life.

‘In this kind of time, not all of them can be aimed at the heads, so it can be said that most of the ones with fatal injuries and revived are Type 2.’

A Type-2 strain with more sensitive senses than humans have enhanced strength and agility. Even if only a few mutated into Type-2 during battle, the confusion could increase in an instant.

‘Take advantage of the chaos to create space in the battle area and escape.’

There are clear advantages to this, according to Gyosu.

The fact that no one knows they are here, and the point here is that he can tell who will fight whom and when.

Finally…

“Shit. We will have to give up on the machines.”

They have an idiot who carries a lot of explosives beyond common sense in this Wasteland. Considering the number of grenades and explosives he has in the bag, the benefit of a surprise attack is not out of the question.

‘The best possibility is that this is all my delusion, and the guys in front of me are scavengers…’

… Step, step.

“… F***.”

Listening to the footsteps getting louder and louder, he decided to put the thought of hope aside.

  1. Translation: f**k yourself ↩️

  2. Translation: my love ↩️

  3. Translation: cowardly girl ↩️

  4. Translation: shit ↩️

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