Chapter 28 - Eyelids (1)

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What is this?

The following day Gyosu woke up from a hangover. He grabbed his head and was deeply troubled by the objects lying in front of him.

[Peaches]

… Peach photos, yellow background… Right, he knew. Canned peaches. The question is… where did they come from, and why are they like this?

“Umm… so yesterday…”

Fortunately, since they had a decent drink, his memories returned like a broken film, as if they were floating.

===

“Cheers!”

“Cheers!”

===

“Kuahahah! What, Gyosu? Your name is Gyosu Park?”

“Kehehe! How can a person’s name be Gyosu….”

“Even in the game broadcast! A man of that size and with your name! Hahahah! Say this! Tell me! It’s the end of the world! No, it’s the end of the world, right? Am I right? Hehehe.”

“… I see how it happened; not something you see often. It is nothing to be ashamed of. What are you doing? Hey! Have another drink!”

===

“Wuak!”

“We drank strong liquor without any snacks. The little guy drank a lot.”

“Ugh… I want to eat hot soup…”

“Oh, we’re on the sand! I am not too drunk, so I can get up. Wait.”

“Eh, Gyosu, where are you?”

“Uhh. I will go and get some ramen from the supermarket.”

“…what?”

“There is a mart downstairs.”

“No, we just ran for our lives risking everything to get out, right?”

“You’re like a mother-in-law! Do not worry! Don’t! Do you even know who I am? I am the one who smeared shit onto Dom and Raptor bastards! I have a plan!”

“Ugh, Vex! He is drunk! Stop him.”

“Don’t you need a bag?”

“No, no matter how drunk you can be—”

“Yah, Metal Jaw, who lives and dies by romance, scared?”

“Hhahaha! These jerks, get your tools!”

===

“Phew. Is this really empty?”

“Scavengers? They must have swept it clean, right? The Raptors or Dome? Raptor Society? They must have died hard with the abomination there, right? Well, I told you I have an idea.”

“Umm… Hepburn, there is nothing here, man.”

“Looks like they took a lot. Forget ramen; is there no oden soup?”

Tap—

“Yah, you drunken idiot! Come and listen to me! Some canned corner shelves are knocked down, and it looks like something is beneath it!”

Kikiki!

“Vex, hurry… my back might break… uh!”

“Peaches! There are peaches here!”

“OOHHH!!”

“These are treasures! So there is hope in the bottom of Pandora’s box! and Peaches for us!”

“Fruits!”

===

“Sweet!”

“Sweet!”

“Soup! The sugar syrup is seeping into the body!”

“Ummmm!”

“Man, I might live!”

===

… Oh gosh.

No matter how old or young we are, this is such a stupid tradition where drunk men do stupid things, but I’m not anyone else, and I can’t believe I did something like this that could endanger my life!

Gyosu was stunned as he looked at the canned food, which looked like it had been beaten with a blunt object. Vex said he didn’t bring a knife, so they had to snap it open with the security key in his pocket.

Well, wasn’t it said that the tungsten key doesn’t get scratched?

“Phew. We were so stupid.”

It was something he couldn’t imagine himself doing before coming here. Being able to move with someone, get along with people, and… having fun with an open mind like before everything vanished.

Right, yesterday was fun. Seven years after destruction began, Gyosu had fun.

“… with just these memories, I don’t have to worry about depression for a year.”

Gyosu burst into laughter as he puked into the empty can watching the two asleep.


“Uhh, are you going away? Do you want to sell things in Area 43 with Vex and me?”

“Uh—if I follow you, one will die without being able to even make a name. For real, though, where did you find all that gunpowder?”

“Ah, didn’t I tell you? It was from the Raptors, I didn’t like how they handled things, so I grabbed their truck full of things and ran.”

“… I am sorry, but do you have some kind of illness that makes you unable to control your impulses?”

“Kuahahah! My jaw flew away! I think the bounty on me sticks around in Raptor Society next.”

“It has been fun, but if we meet in the future, let us pretend to not know each other.”

“Kuah! Men acting like men. Gyosu, you both had a bounty on you because of what happened yesterday. It was wise to hide your names.”

Surprisingly, Hummer, whose bumper had fallen off and had a mop on the back, moved fine except for a bit of noise, with Ian and Vex with leg splints standing facing Gyosu.

“Then… goodbye.”

“Well, if that is what you want. One cannot be a man and cling to things.”

“Heheh. If you come to Area 47, please tell me. Ah, Vex! Are you fine with your mind all cleaned up?”

“…”

Vex, who stared at him without saying anything, limped ahead as he reached out the hand, his face filled with emotions.


‘Mister! Let’s go together! Mister of 14th unit!’

‘Kid. This mister is telling you. I killed many people, so do not get confused that we are good people.’

‘That is why like this [kids who escape and try to live], no matter what you look, these are things we do regularly to get rid of the guild. Just a kind of proof to self. So not cry now.’

‘Uhhh, huuuu…’

‘If you feel burdened, think of it as a debt! Later, when you grow older and meet someone from the unit, Treat them to a good meal. Hey! Move if the upload is done!’

‘Mister! Mister! Mister!’

‘Have fun! Your life is long! Enjoy it, kid!’


.

.

‘Have fun.’

“Hepburn.”

“What? Why are you looking at me so creepily?”

Gyosu stretched out his head and took Vex’s outstretched hand.

Click! Click.

Fragmented, broken memories find their place one after another, memories and emotions scattered like broken pieces and puzzles one, two, three, and one.

Vex didn’t answer.

Instead, he smiled.

“… huhu, hehehe.”

It wasn’t the sly smile like before, but a really bright one. And with that, they moved away, promising to meet again.


Wheeing–

Swish!

Airlock made with house plastic and five vacuum cleaners.

Except for the discomfort of holding your breath, there is no other facility like this to separate the dust on the outside from the inside.

When the protective suit is taken off, and the door is opened, a person’s nose reacts before their eyes. A familiar grey one with a fleshy smell.

It is home.

After a dynamic journey of 4 days and 3 nights, he was back home.

“Master!”

Ah, seeing the culprit of this splendid outing and even his heart feels like rotting, it really does feel like he is back home.

“Daddy came back making money.”

“Ahhh~ You picked some good stuff on the way… uh! What is with the shotgun! You couldn’t get a refund!”

He watched Koduro being astonished at the well-defended double-barreled shotgun hanging at the back.

“Greet it. Starting today, this is your new wife, Miss Barrel.”

“… weird. Was there was radiation storm outside today? This wasn’t in the weather forecast.”

No, once shot, he couldn’t get his hands on the pipe shotgun anymore. Before they broke away, he did ask Ian and spoke about it, but Ian didn’t respond.


“T-then this…?”

“Right. Your master is someone who can make a lot of money even if he goes to get a refund.”

A single, high-grade shotgun and a double triple painting wrapped in fabric for fear of damage, a Rolex watch with a sophisticated movement, and a necklace with a large jewel. In addition, one can of yellow grapes.

Seeing the harvest of this journey, Koduro began to burn the happiness circuit fiercely.

“T-the exchange! How much will we get for the exchange!”

“That… we need to think about it.”

He thought about it the whole time he was traveling home, but the situation was a bit more troublesome than he thought.

If the group that suffered the most damage in the battle in Area 45 is ranked in order, Scavengers > Dome > Raptor Society.

Scavengers… Well, I have nothing to say. On the way home, the number has dwindled to the point that they had not been attacked once. Dome lost 20 troops and their equipment, and the Raptors took less damage than that but still the same.

What the three groups have in common is that they suffered damage and did not gain a single thing. What if, while they are grinding their teeth, they see a seller with the ID ‘Professor’ suddenly selling expensive old goods?

‘100% broadcast burst. My life explodes.’

I will receive unconditional attention, especially from that Raptor captain. If he hadn’t died, he would probably be on the lookout, and if he caught my ID in the Community, I am sure to get killed.

“The same goes for using the marketplace. If we ask for it, they can guarantee anonymity by posting it under the name of the market, but in the end, Dome will know.”

Ah… I feel like a thief handling famous stolen goods.

“Then, what are we going to do? There are only 6 days left until repayment.”

“I was thinking about it on the way home. After all, there are only two types of people who buy art, right? People from the Dome upper class and people from the Artists Union.”

“Yes.”

“Then, if the Dome will be difficult to handle, why not contact the other?”

“Oh. Good idea.”

I wasn’t sure about the others, but Artist’s Union is an easy place to contact.

Gyosu went straight to the connector, connected himself, entered the Community, and posted a simple post.

===

**“Is this something precious?”
**by professor

I was tidying up around the house because the character couldn’t be played, but something was sticking out of the ground, so I dug it up and found strange ceramics coming out. If anyone knows, please reply.

*For security reasons, posting a photo isn’t possible.

===

It is common in the Community that there are fishing posts with no proof photo or accurate description. Ordinary people would skip such things.

Tring!

[Message received]

===

Please indicate your preferred contact area and coordinates by Artists Union - W.

Hello. I am called W of the Artists Union. I cannot say for sure because I need to have accurate information, but the thing you excavated is believed to be outdated. Our Artists Union is working hard to preserve the knowledge and culture passed down from the past, and if you wish, we can arrange a free appraisal and transaction.

===

The Artists Union responded to every single of such posts.

“Hey. The answer is as straight as a knife. Are there any residents in the Community?”

“But, if you move randomly to a desired place like this, you will not be ambushed and robbed, right?”

“I had a lot of friends who thought so, but every single one of them got taken down after they were notified of this, so they almost disappeared.”

If the Raptor Society represents violence and Dome represents old age order and tech, then Artists Union is a group famous for its secrecy. No one knows where the main office is or how many members it has; nothing has been revealed other than that it is made up of a small elite. And that they are obsessed with collecting cultural assets of the past.

There was also ab absurd incident where someone asked to meet two hours after the message, and then they went an hour later, but the people of the Artists Union were already waiting there.

“Because of its phenomenal combat power and movement speed, the Community has also been rumored to include a Type03 variant in Artists Union. Among the three types, a lot of those move with a goal.”

“T-then, you will go alone and see it?”

“Ah, there will be no problem. If we don’t try, we won’t be able to come across a rare gentlemen in the Wasteland.”

Gyosu smiled, sending a message asking him to meet at a designated place in 4 hours.


9:58pm

“…looks real sharp.”

In the ark alley, the moonlight was their only light, but it wasn’t difficult to recognize the man in a white suit.

As Gyosu approached, the man who closed the book he was reading and shoved it aside nobly greeted Gyosu.

“It is an honor to meet you, Professor. I am W of Artists Union.”

Low voice. Polite attitude. White suit with no dust in this Wasteland.

‘Maybe the rumors are true.’

At least it was clear it wasn’t an ordinary group. Before greeting, Gyosu unpacked his bag.

“Let’s skip the greetings since we are both in a hurry and get the things checked.”

Clack!

The man, who called himself W, took out a small flashlight and examined the objects Gyosu had pulled out.

“These… are all rare and well-preserved artifacts. It is hard to believe they were dug from the ground.”

“Does the transaction include personal affairs too? Mine will be a bit expensive.”

“You don’t have to react that cautiously. We do this because it is easier to find out the history and origin of this object. If you want to keep it a secret, it is fine by us.”

Clack.

The man turned off the light, carefully raising the watch, and said, “We start with the clock. R’s watch is famous even in the old days as a luxury good. The hand of a craftsman which permeates every minute stick of it is designed carefully, and the best, and even the name value is… a product worth buying.”

The man put the watch inside the box and covered it with velvet cloth.

“But the real thing is the painting. There is no need to disclose the origin. This painting survived the raging fire of the terrible war, to God, and to Professor who found it.”

Shit, my heart. Please don’t talk like that to me. Then the price goes up when one pretends to be okay.

“A famous… work?”

“Amazing. British painter and graffiti artist Banksy. It is ironic that the work of an anti-war artist who called himself an art terrorist manages to survive in the world which had been destroyed.”

Banksy is someone I heard about as a child. Why were my hands shaking so much?

“So, how much is the price…?”

“Hmm. The state of preservation is also excellent. The value of work is unparalleled…”

Shh.

The man stretched out the five fingers.

“How much is this?”

“F-five million?!!!”

“Fifty thousand.”

“Ah.”

This bastard.

It felt like the brain got shocked at it.

“He is a famous one.”

“Surely had an era but not legendary.”

“So, that is the sum for two? And the necklace?”

“It’s 100,000 for R’s watch and 50,00 for Banksy’s work. A necklace with a precious jewel, but the raft is crude and not exactly art. I won’t take the necklace.”

“So the world is ruined, but you want to buy the work which survived the fall for the price of two barrels of oil?”

“Banksy has always been dissatisfied with the work being priced high. As an artist, we need to respect the artist’s tendency.”

And…

He moved closer to Gyosu and whispered, “Aren’t we the only ones? It is obvious what it means to sell something that can be sold for a high price elsewhere in such an alleyway.”

“Euk!”

He’s a sharp jerk. Is he really not a businessman but just an artist? Sure, I believe you.

“2.6 million!”

“50.”

“2.4 million”

“50.”

Sring

“If you say something like 50 once again, I will throw them both and go home!”

“100.”

“1.8 million”

“…1,2. We lost. This is the best we can call. In a world where the way of life has changed from internal to external, we are the only ones who can buy useless things like paintings at this price.”

“1.3!”

Clench!

“Yes… 1.3 sounds good; we will make the deposit right away.”

He pulled out something like a tablet from the bag and typed something, and Gyosu took out his old communicator and connected it.

“Yah, Koduro! Can you hear me?”

“Yes, good!”

“Deposit.”

“1.3 million confirmed.”

Tak!

‘I did it.’

Gyosu, who connected to the communicator, reached out with a bright face.

“hahaha. This is true. Thanks for the neat transaction. I hope to see you more often in the future if something good happens.”

“Right. We should also make sure to remember, Professor.”

The man with the painting and watch gently shook Gyosu’s hand and disappeared into the darkness.

“1.3 million… it isn’t as much as expected but still good.”

6 large barrels of gas are treated as military supply by all groups and strictly prohibited from distribution and consumption. At this price, it felt like it was well received.

Now the remaining debt is 1.1 million. After 11 hours, the character will come to his senses, and after 5 days, the debts can be fully paid.

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