-4 days before extraction-

"What are these levers for?"

"Tire pressure control."

"These three buttons over here?"

"These are break, wait and CTIS indicators, they are not buttons."

"These speedometers here?"

"Tire pressure."

"This lever?"

"Emergency break."

"But doesn't this car also have a parking break in another lever?"

"Yes, you use both when stopping the car."

(...What am I here for again?)

For the last thirty minutes or so, I haven't opened my mouth, not even once. Saeko on the other hand, is going full auto with the questions. Like an inquiring ten-year-old, with Saya being the one answering them.

( Oh well, at least they seem to be working together now, instead of poking each other.)

I casually look towards the front windshield, at the beach that extended ahead of us.

(Turns out I was right about this being a good place for the car. We already passed a couple of blocked off spots on the road, and dodging corpses in a place this wide is jokingly easy. Though Saeko 'did' run a couple of them over. But judging from her smirk when she did so, I'd say she was pretty much 'trying' to crush them under the wheels.)

I back away from the two front seats and lean against the crates in the trunk, then move my head around as I close my eyes. After a couple of satisfying cracks, I open my eyes and keep staring at the beach ahead...

(Hmm, I could get the hooks ready, as I'm doing nothing right now.)

I nod slightly and grab the fishing lines along with the hook box from the seat to my right.

(Three rolls, let's add one hook on each, no need to cut the roll in parts for now.)

With that, I take off my gloves and start the painstaking process of trying to 'thread the needle' in a moving car…

-God knows how much time later-

"Finally." I groan as I leave the third roll next to me and lift my head with a sigh. Saya turns her head to me with a questioning frown after hearing me. She then glances at the rolls…

"You always try to make things hard for yourself on purpose you idiot?" She asks as she raises an eyebrow.

"You know you could have just asked us to slow down and help…" She adds up as she points at the rolls.

"But you two were so synchronized, it was too cute to interrupt." I respond as I chuckle and tilt my head. Saya blinks a couple of times, before pouting slightly...

"Idiot." She says with a low tone before turning to look ahead.

(Jeez, still spamming the idiot button I see. Bad habits die hard I guess)

"Actually Saya, if you already know so much, why don't you try driving as well." I ask as I lean between the two front seats.

"Knowing how something works and using it, are two different things. Why do you want us to learn how to drive this badly anyway? We have you, and when you're not driving into rivers, you're actually a pretty decent driver." Saya answers as she turns to me.

"Because being the only one that's able to drive is…" I stop speaking, and glance at Saya…

"Limiting our available options." I add up after a few seconds.

"Such as?" Saya asks as she folds her arms.

"What if we need to shoot while driving? What if one of you is closer to the car than me and we need to high tail it out of whatever place we might be at? Minor things that seem insignificant now can get us killed if they happen at the wrong moment." I respond as I also fold my arms.

Saya keeps looking at me for a few seconds, before closing her eyes and giving off a heavy sigh as she lowers her head.

"Ughh, I keep forgetting that you're not just an idiot. You're a paranoid idiot." Saya groans as she shakes her head…

"It's clear proof that he cares about us. Or, would you rather prefer it if he acted indifferent if we, if you, were in possible danger?" Saeko then speaks up as she turns her head to Saya.

"I, didn't mean it like that." Saya's eyes go slightly wide as she turns to Saeko…

And after a few seconds of silence...

"...How did I end up being the bad guy here again..." Saya whines as she turns her face to look at the road ahead with a pout.

I was about to speak, when I noticed Saeko becoming focused on the road ahead, more than usual I mean. Leaning her head forward as she narrowed her eyes…

"Naier, look ahead. I think that's…" Saeko keeps staring ahead as she stops speaking…

I lean towards the windshield as I balance myself between the two front seats. In the distance ahead of us, I could see a silver Suv next to a closed gate to the left. And towards the right, towards the sea, I could also see a gray block that was elevated over the water, a small boat lying on it.

"We found it…" I respond in a low tone.

"It would seem so." Saeko adds with a slight nod…

As we kept getting closer, Saya continued to have her eyes glued to the boat...

"Something's not right. I'm pretty sure that we didn't leave that boat outside." She says as she keeps staring at said boat.

"Hmm, keep driving normally." I tap Saeko on the shoulder as I back away, before climbing up the hatch. I then use the gun's scope to look at the building…

One of the windows on the second floor was open, the room's curtains waving from the open window. Other than that, I could not see anything.

(We really need binoculars. But, I am a hundred percent sure. That window was not open. It's in the room that I was in, and I never opened that window.)

I lower myself back inside the car and wear the rifle, before leaving it to hang on my sides.

"It either has people inside now. Or it had people inside after we left." I lean between the two front seats as I keep staring towards the building.

"So, what do we do?" Saya asks as she turns to me.

"The hose should be dry by now, we'll check the Suv while using our car as a shield. After that…" I tilt my head slightly as I keep looking at the building…

"If it 'had' survivors inside, leaving without checking could be a waste, there are still things inside we can use. But they ain't worth risking conflict with other survivors. We would be invading their safe house if they are still there. More than enough reason for them to get agitated" I shake my head as I keep speaking.

"We check the Suv, and we leave." I say after a few seconds.

"Alright, we do this as we are? I am not very confident that I will be able to drive us out quickly if we find opposition." Saeko glances at me as she speaks.

"We need somebody with a gun to keep guard, so either me or you will need to siphon or drive." I respond as I turn to Saeko.

"I will siphon then." She replies without delay.

"So I keep guard?" Saya asks.

"Yea, stay on the hatch, but turn the lid to face the building, use it as a shield, while aiming through the side gaps." I nod as I turn to Saya. She nods back at me with a serious expression.

"Let's switch seats then?" Saeko asks as she stops the car and turns to me. I nod and back away, then sit on the seat behind the driver.

Saeko climbs through the gap of the two front seats before sitting behind Saya. After picking the fishing rolls from that seat obviously. Her behind might be 'top bait' material, but not on 'that' sort of bait. After that, I moved to the driver's seat and started going forward once again…

"If I see a person, what should I do?" Saya asks as she turns to look at the Mp5 that she left by the trunk.

"If they are unarmed, keep an eye on them but don't aim at them. If they are armed, quickly get back inside the car. In both cases, inform me silently if they have not seen you, shout if you see them aiming at us." I answer as I turn to Saya…

(I might be willing to pull the trigger, but Saya never had to kill an actual person. I need to take into account that she might be unwilling to shoot at a crucial moment.)

She nods at me after a few seconds, then leans towards the back to grab the sub-machine gun.

"Ok, like with the gas station, I will park the car next to the Suv's fuel pipe to use as a one side shield. Saeko, keep your head down, take it like a sniper is aiming at you from the house." I glance behind me, towards Saeko as I speak. She nods and turns to pick one empty canister along with the hose, while Saya returned to her seat.

The moment I got close to the Suv, I turn the Humvee towards the sea to my right, then stop, hit reverse, and 'bump' the Humvee's rear left side on the Suv's left back door, creating a 'V' shape with the Suv and the Humvee.

"Ok we finished yesterday. Move." I turned to glance at Saeko, only to see that she had already opened the door behind my seat and was outside by the Suv…

Saya at the same time lifted her upper body through the hatch and turned the lid as I told her. I nodded slightly and glanced at the Suv.

(Huh, the corpses are still in there, the female one at least, the back windows are tinted, but I'd say the kid is still there as well. )

I then start looking around as I lightly tap my foot.

(I can't see the house from here.)

I open my door slightly and turn to glance at Saeko, who was kneeling down with her head hunched down next to the Suv, one side of the hose in the fuel pipe, the other in the canister. I then leaned outside until I could see the whole house that was behind us…

"Naier, I think we will need a second canister as well." Saeko speaks up as she turns to me.

"Do what you must." I nod as I glance at her.

Saeko nods back and returns her focus to the canister. While I turned to look back towards the building.

(Ok, after this, we go straight down the beach. Then take a right turn after we reach the furthest end. And finally, a straight line towards our real target…)

I was about to move back inside the car. When I saw it…

A figure appearing by the window, turning to stare at us, without making any sort of reaction.

"Saya, second-floor open window." I slam the Humvee's door with my hand as I lift my gun and aim towards said figure as I exit the car…

Looking through the scope, I got a better view of the figure. It looked like a high school student. A guy, short blonde hair and a slim figure and a white shirt. He looked like one of these J-pop dudes to be honest.

(He is just, staring at us…)

"Back in the c…"

Before I could finish my sentence. The figure's eyes go wide, He then starts waving his hands like a lunatic.

"AAAHH! Wait! Don't shoot! Don't shoooot!" The figure starts shouting.

(...Huh? Is that guy for real? 'Now' he saw us?)

"Naier. What should we do?" Saeko asks as she glances at me, slightly lowering herself towards the ground.

"Keep siphoning, Saya, keep your head over the hatch, behind the lid, keep an eye on that dude, don't shoot, unless you see him pulling a gun on us." I respond as I take the safety off my gun.

"Wait! Don't go anywhere! I'm not bad! I'm coming downstairs, don't go!" The guy shouts as he disappears from the window.

(Ok, if he pops with a group, I should be able to get the jump on them if they decide to get freaky.)

I switch the gun to full auto as I keep my eyes on the gate. And less than a minute later, the door flies open, the guy coming out of it.

Seeing his full figure now, he was wearing a shirt with the words 'Thriodon' stylishly printed on it, he was wearing sports pants and his hair was about neck length, blond with brown ends, giving away the fact that he had dyed his hair, he also had a piercing from what I could see. He then puts both hands in front of him…

"We are not hostile. Don't shoot, I don't want trouble." He says as he walks towards the gate…

(Is that guys for real? What if 'we' want trouble? How did he survive this long acting like this?)

"God damn it Sho! Are you retarded?! They are armed, they might be hostile!" A new voice comes alive as a new guy comes after him, grabs him by the shoulder and pushes him back.

That one, to be honest looked a tad like Takashi, Spiky black hair, no piercings whatsoever, he was wearing blue jeans and a black shirt, the words 'Thriodon' on it as well. But most importantly, on his right hand, I could see a rather high tech crossbow.

"I don't care how excited you got because you saw a hot chick, we don't know them." He adds up.

(...Well, that explains a lot. Are there more of them?)

I turned to glance at Saya, who was looking at the two guys with one mean-ass frown.

"Are you guys hostile?" The crossbow guy asks right after.

(And here I thought that one was smart…)

"No, we are not. As long as you're not either." I respond.

"See, they're cool, relax bro." The blond one, Sho, adds right after as he shakes his shoulder off the other guy's hand.

"What do you want?" I ask as I keep my finger close to the trigger.

"We have not seen another living human ever since this started, we honestly believed it was just us from how bad things looked." Sho responds.

"It's just the two of you?" The crossbow guy asks.

(Two?...)

I glance at Saeko for a few seconds, then motion her to get up.

"No." I respond as Saeko comes into view.

"Oh, I see…" The crossbow guy responds. And starts staring at Saeko…

(...Really? One guy is drilling holes at Saya, the other is now staring at Saeko? The fuck people.)

"Ohh purple, your favorite color Kuzu." Sho speaks up in a joking manner as he nudges the other guy.

"It's Kuzuma, and shut it." The crossbow guy, aka Kuzuma, responds as he slaps Sho on the back of the head…

(Great, just, great.)

"My turn, are there more of you?" I ask with a slight sigh.

(And if yes, will they start staring at 'me' next?)

"Yes, one more, he is in the bathroom though." Sho responds.

(Me and my big fucking mouth.)

"How did you end up with a working car? We had no luck finding anything that can start since that blast in the sky." Kuzuma asks next.

"Friend of a friend, we got lucky." I answered bluntly.

"I see." Kuzuma gives back a rather lackluster response as he nods slightly.

"Hey, want to come inside? We have some food, we can trade if you want. We survivors need to stick together." Sho almost instantly butts in.

(...You know, the fact that you keep glancing at Saya while saying that, is really making me want to punch something.)

"Naier, what do you want to do." Saeko whispers as she leans her head slightly towards me, her eyes locked on the two guys.

"I barely trust my own shadow if that's what you're wondering." I whisper back.

Saeko nods slightly before leaning away from me.

"Thanks for the offer, but we'll go on." I responded.

"Which way are you going?" Sho asks before we could move.

( God this guy…)

I lift my hand and point towards my right.

"Oh. We came from that way! Maybe we can trade notes!" Sho answers back excitedly.

"Naier, that could actually be helpful, if they really came from the way we are going." Saeko whispers to me. I turn to glance at her.

"You do see that the blond guy that wants us to come over is pretty much drooling over Saya right?" I 'ask'.

"But you will stop him if he tries anything funny, right?" She 'asks' back.

(You just want to see somebody's face getting bashed in, don't you?)

"Saya, what about you?" I ask as I turn to her.

"What?" She also asks as she turns to me.

"We stay and ask for info? Or leave now?" I ask again.

"Uhh, we could use the information. But, you have to keep mister creepy over there away from me…" Saya whispers as she glances at the two guys.

I nod slightly and turn to the guys.

"Fine, let's trade notes." I say as I keep my finger by the trigger.

"Hehe, great. Let me open the g.."

"We are not coming inside, the gate stays closed." I cut Sho off.

"Aww come on, it's dangerous out there. Do we look that untrustworthy?" Sho asks as he dramatically drops his shoulders.

"What about your two? You want to stay outside too?" He then asks as she glances at the two girls.

"His decision is also ours." Saeko responds.

"Ohh, well are you sure you don't want to come inside? We have a map, it will be easier to explain. And talking here like this will make these 'things' gather." He asks again.

"Bring the map outside, we will stay by the other side of the gate, that way we can talk quietly." I respond…

"Ok…" Sho makes a sad frown as he turns to go back inside the house…

"We will drive the car up the gate, just in case." I whisper at the two girls, they both nod at me.

"Saeko, can you drive it up here. I want to keep my hands near the trigger, in case our new 'friends' try something unbecoming of them." I ask, Saeko nods once again, and then enters the car.

She then sits on the driver's seat, switches to R and starts to slowly drive towards the gate. Kuzuma stared at us for a few seconds…

"Why are you bringing the car over?" He asks.

"Don't take it personally, but if you really end up being friendly, you'd be the first people we find that are so. Just safety measures." I respond as I glance at the open window on the second floor. I could see Sho by the window now, looking around the room.

"I understand, but you do realize that all we have is a crossbow. While you have two guns." He says right after.

"I'd act the same way even if all you had was a screwdriver." I answer as we stop by the gate.

"I see. Also, I'd like to apologize for Sho." He adds as he turns to Saya, she responds with her signature frown.

"He was always like that. I think the sole reason he wanted to start a band with us, was so he could become more popular with girls." He takes the bolt off his crossbow as he speaks, but leaves it 'drawn'.

"You had a band?" Saeko, who just exited the car, asks.

"Yea, me Sho and the third guy we mentioned. Haruto." He responds as he runs his finger on the printed letters on his shirt. Just then, Sho comes out from the garage door with the map in his hand.

"Found it!" He waves the map over his head with a smile as he runs up to the gate. Once he was next to it, he turned to Saya, who was still 'behind' the hatch lid.

"You are going to stay up there? Come on, we can't speak like that." He says with a smile.

"You are talking to him, not me. So quit bugging me." Saya responds with a slight glare.

"Aww come on you don't have to be so cold, I just want to…"

"Are we here so we can trade information. Keep it at that, if Saya wants to speak with you, she will." I cut off Sho as I kept staring at him.

"If you want something good to happen to you. You always need to work for it." Sho responds as he points his index finger towards the sky and smiles at me..

(The only 'good' thing that will happen to you if you keep this up, is a butt in the face, and not a butt you're hoping for.)

"You said you came from our right." I say as I point my right arm towards my right.

"Yea, we've marked a couple of roads that are blocked off in our map if you want to head that way." Kuzuma responds, I nod slightly as I turn to Saya.

"You had the map, think you can check it out?" I ask. Saya nods and climbs into the car. Then exits it through the back door, the map and her textbook in her hands.

She then opens the map and hands it to me, before opening her textbook. I take the map while still holding the gun by the handle, with my finger near the trigger.

"I will write any information in the textbook." She adds as she glances at me.

I nod and turn to the guys, to see Sho, once again. Staring at Saya.

"The're, giant…" He says in a low tone as he keeps staring slightly below Saya's neck…

(Ok, I'm seriously going to deck him.)

"You'll meet with a butt you won't like if you keep this up 'buddy'." I hit the gun's stock on the gate as I stared at the blond-haired guy.

Saya glares at Sho for a few seconds, before casually side-stepping, ending up behind me.

"Uhh, sorry, my tongue slipped." He scratches the back of his neck as he chuckles.

(I don't want to know what 'other' things go through your head, because I'll probably shoot you.)

"Then keep your mouth shut, if you think I like having you staring at me like that, well I don't." Saya responds with a glare.

"Ok, ok, I'm sorry. I just haven't seen a girl this pretty for some time…" Sho responds with a slight bow.

"Well too bad for you Romeo, I'm already taken. So focus on what we agreed on and quit staring at me." Saya groans as she turns to look at her textbook while shaking her head.

"Oh…" Sho 'fish stares' at us for a couple of seconds, then nudges Kuzuma with his elbow.

"At least now you have better luck than me, heh." He responds while glancing at Saeko, a smile back on his face.

(Seriously? This guy is like the annoying mascot nobody wants.)

Saeko just raises an eyebrow before glancing at me.

"I think it would be better if we stopped wasting time." I say as I tap on the map…

"Right, so. What exactly you need to know?" Kazuma asks.

I look at the red mark where the mansion should be at, then at the location 'we' should be at.

"From here, to here. Do you know any roads that are blocked off?" I ask as I turn my map to them.

"Hmm…" Sho glances at my map, then looks at his.

"Our map is not that big, but. We do know a couple of roads that are clear." He says as he nods.

"Can I ask why you are going there?" Kazuma asks right after.

"Yea, but I'm telling you now. We don't have space for more people." I respond. He nods at me after a few seconds.

"Based on the information we found inside a police station, there is an extraction happening there in four or three days."

"Hey! That's not fair! First you say that you won't help us, then you say that there's an extraction on the other side of the map?!" Sho shouts the moment I finish my sentence.

"You can blame yourself for drooling over Saya too much, I don't trust you to leave you anywhere near her." I respond.

"But Sho is right, it'll be too hard for us to make it that far on foot…" Kazuma adds.

"And now you want us to let you come along with us?" I keep tapping my finger on the trigger guard as I 'ask'.

"I don't trust you, and having you in the car with us makes it easy for you to get the jump on us." I shake my head as I keep speaking.

"Oh come on man! There is no way we'll make..."

"Not a debatable option." I cut Sho off, both guys turning silent…

"And now I take it you won't tell us which roads are blocked off huh?" I 'ask'.

"You are not willing to help us, why should we help you?" Sho asks as he folds his arms and starts to glare at me.

"What we agreed on was trading information on maps. If you're going to hold your word back, then we have nothing to talk about." I respond as I extend the map towards Saeko without looking at her, she takes it without saying anything.

"Maybe we can work something out, we're really not a threat. We just want to survive, like you do." Kuzuma says as I bring both hands to my Scar-H.

"And after that, you will want to have a say in the decision making. Then you will want a gun. And who knows, maybe your friend over there will get so agitated after getting shut down by Saya that he might resort to less 'gracious' methods of getting near her." I respond as I tilt my head.

"Hey! I would never do something like that!" Sho shouts…

Just as I was about to move, I felt Saya tug my arm. She then brought her face closer to my ear...

"There's somebody on the second floor, by the window. I think they're spying on us. They keep trying to 'hide' every time they notice me looking at them." She whispers.

(The third guy? Yea, fuck this.)

"Saya, bring me a water bottle from the car please, Saeko can you check the fishing lines?" I ask as I glance at them.

Saya nods as Saeko tilts her head questionably. Saya then pulls Saeko's arm and motions her to follow her, Saeko nodding and following behind her.

"You know, when saying that you are no threat to somebody…" I take a few steps back as I speak. Glancing at the girls as they enter the car.

"Don't have your third guy spying on the opposition, it's a real dick move." I say as I stop next to the back door, and place my hand on the handle. Kuzuma's calm face, almost instantly distorts to a snarl.

"Haruto! Sic 'em! Kill the guy first!" He shouts as he quickly puts the arrow back into the crossbow. At the same time, I open the door as I take a step back.

"Stay in the car!" I shout.

The arrow that Kuzuma placed on the crossbow goes flying, hitting flat on the door. I then swiftly go to prone position, as there was a relatively wide space between the open door and the concrete floor under it, and look through Scar's scope.

Kuzuma was pulling the crossbow back, while holding another bolt in his hand, Sho had already pulled a handgun and was aiming between me and the humvee's roof, a rather freaky smile on his face…

His target switching, was his first, and last mistake. One single pull of the trigger, and he ended with his back on the ground as a burst of bullets impacted his chest and face.

I then quickly turned my aim to Kuzuma, who had just finished pulling the crossbow string back. Another pull of the trigger, and Kuzuma dry fires the crossbow as he also falls on his back.

Before I could aim towards the window, I heard two gunshots echo from the house. Reflexively, I roll under the Humvee.

"You killed them! You fucking killed them! You motherfucker!" I heard a new voice scream as three more shots echoed.

"I'm going to fucking kill you! You and your fucking sluts!" He screams again.

"What?!" I hear Saya scream back.

"Saya stay in the car and don't do anything stupid!" I shout as I slowly crawl towards the back of the car.

"He called me a slut!" Saya shouts back as one more shot echoed.

(God, this girl has no sense of danger? He is shooting at us, and that's what bothers her?)

Upon reaching the end of the car, I look as high as can through the scope, while I switch it to semi-auto.

(Too high, I can't see him.)

With the gun still aimed, I crawled slightly forward, until I had the window in view.

(Where is he?)

I keep my gun aimed at the window as I focus for any movement in my field of vision…

And a few seconds later, Haruto appears through the window, aiming what seemed to be a revolver. His eyes quickly turned to notice me. Shame for him though, I was already aiming at him. A single shot through the head, and he disappeared under the window...

And with that, there was nothing. Just, silence…

I take a deep breath, and then exhale…

"Fucking hell..." I groan as I keep aiming towards the house.

"Are you two alright?" I ask with a loud voice.

"Yea! Are you ok?" I hear a female voice answer.

"Yes. Just don't move the car, or you'll be the ones that end up killing me. And toss me a walkie talkie next to the car." I answer back.

A few seconds later, I see a small item fall to my right, next to the car. I crawl up to it and grab it.

"Ok, I don't know if there are more inside. They did say three, but they did also just try to shoot us." I say as I press the talk button.

"What do you want us to do?" I hear a female voice ask.

"First, check that both of you are actually alright. After that, we'll search the house." I respond.

"Ok." The radio answers and goes silent.

After a few minutes of looking at the house, I crawl out of the humvee and turn to the girls. Saeko was looking towards the house with a serious expression. Saya was with her eyes closed, taking deep breaths.

Using the already open door that now had an arrow sticking out it, I enter the car, then place my hand on Saya's shoulder.

"Hey, you alright?" I ask. Saya sighs and lifts her head, then turns to me.

"Between that garbage breather calling me a slut, and the fact that we just killed three people…" She stops talking and takes a deep breath and closes her eyes again.

"I'm fine..." She says as she opens her eyes.

"I know there was no other way around this, if they didn't kill us, then they would have captured us. And that, would honestly have been even worse than getting killed." Saya responds as she keeps looking at the seat ahead of her.

"You want to stay by the car?" I ask as I gently pat her shoulder. She shakes her head and grabs the Mp5 next to her.

"No, I'm fine." She responds as she turns to me with a now determined face. I nod and turn to Saeko.

"You're ready?" I ask again, Saeko nods back in silence.

"Ok, let's go. Stay focused." I nod slightly as I exit the car.

"And most important…" I turn to look at the two girls as they also exit the car.

"No hesitation. I know it sounds cruel, but these guys didn't take long to skip into trigger pulling. If one of you feels that they might end up second thinking or freezing, then stay behind me." I glance at both girls as I keep speaking.

(Obviously I was talking to Saya, but pointing my finger at her will end up being counterproductive.)

With that, I turn to the gate and raise the Scar-H. After closing in, I pass my hand through the metal bars and unlock it. Then, with a light kick, I open it completely. Raising the gun once again, I carefully move to the two unmoving bodies.

I fist kicked away the handgun that was next to Sho, then lightly kicked his sides two times, before throwing a third, stronger kick.

(That's for staring at Saya's chest)

I then glanced at the map that was on the ground next to him.

(Not a single marking on it, no wonder they didn't tell us shit. They didn't know shit...)

Turning around, I check Kuzuma's body with the same method…

(As dead as the other guy...Hmm?)

Running my eyes over the dead body, I notice a leather knife sheath on his thigh. I kneel down and take the sheath in my hand to get a better look at it. It was empty, but obviously, that's not what interested me.

I take off my bag, open it, and pull out my own combat knife, then insert it in the sheath on Kuzuma's thigh, before passing the buttoned strap that was hanging on the sheth over the knife's handle, and then push the 'button' on the strap against the stud that was now underneath it. Upon hearing a 'click' sound, I try to pull the now firmly placed knife, with no success.

"I'll be taking that." I whisper as I undo the straps around his thigh, then take and wrap the sheath around my own left thigh.

"How can you stay so calm…" Saya whispers behind me.

"I've been looting corpses since nineteen nighty-eight." I respond flatly as I keep looking at the dead guy. A few seconds later, I turned my head to see both girls staring at me…

"In video games?" I add as I make a one-sided wry smile behind my mask..

"Ughh. Why do I keep taking you seriously?" Saya huffs as she glances away.

"Because giving obviously stupid answers in emotionally heavy situations can lighten the load. Or get us all killed." I respond as I get up, causing Saya to look back at me, then at the two dead guys…

"I said I'm fine, you don't have to hold my hand every step of the way." Saya responds as she turns to look away again…

"I wouldn't mind if you held 'my' hand more though..." Saeko adds right after with a slight smile.

"So you can Aikido me through the air and drag my face across the beach?" I ask as I motion both girls to follow me with my head, then turn around and raise my gun again, aiming towards the open garage door.

"I would never do something like that to you..." Saeko answers as she starts walking behind me.

"Except, if you wanted me to..." She adds right after…

"Yea, no thanks. Doesn't sound very pleasant…" I respond as I walk into the garage, quickly scanning the room in a sweeping motion from corner to corner.

(No matter how much I like you my dear Saeko, last thing I'm letting you do, is pull some dominatrix shit on me.)

I turn to my left and look at the door that led to the living room, then make a fist with my hand and raise it.

"Ok, no more talking until we make sure the whole building is clear." I say without turning to look behind me, then grip the Scar-H with both hands.

(I fired about seven shots, still have enough left to 'persuade' somebody to 'stop' any hostile actions. The back is clear of corpses, but God knows I don't want to see the road in front of the building right now.)

As I reach the door to my left, I grab and slightly turn the knob, then stop...

(... I really want to go commando and kick the door in, but I should take this as if there are armed, hostile survivors inside, kicking the door in will give away the fact that we are going in. )

With that I lightly pushed the door, aiming at the next room as the door slowly opened. Once there was enough space for me to pass, I stop by the door's frame and check the room's right corner, then enter the room as I turn to my left, checking the left corner, before doing a final sweep of the visible part of the room.

(Kitchen's not visible, the counter like wall is blocking my view.)

I walk past the giant table that was in the middle and stop by the kitchen's entrance.

(Clear.)

I nod slightly and turn around, slightly lowering the gun. My eyes stopping on the giant living room table. Three big sized hiking bags on the table, seemingly packed to the brim. I raise my hand to get the attention of the girls, who were still by the doorframe. Then point at the hiking backpacks. Both of them nod, and silently move towards the table.

(Next, the room with the books.)

I turn to my left and walk up the door on the left wall, and slowly open it. As this door opened towards the right, I first swept the whole room to my left before checking the corner behind the door.

(Clear, and untouched, first-floor bathroom next.)

With the gun still aimed, I walk to the end of the room to my left, towards the door that led to the bathroom. And once again, I open the door and check the room from corner to corner. And, nothing.

(Ok, second floor.)

I nod and turn to leave the bathroom…

(The trio in the house 'acted' as if they wanted to come with us. But I don't know if they were just aiming to kill or capture us the moment we got close. If it's the later, there is a chance that they might have more people that are not here right now, I need to make sure we won't get jumped on from the outside as well.)

With that thought, I exited the room and turned to the girls, who were now unloading the backpacks on the table. I then glance at the windows around the room.

"Saeko, Saya. Close the curtains, and close the garage door we used." I speak up as I turn to look towards the stairs that went upstairs.

"Why?" Saya plainly asks.

"We don't know if they have more 'friends' that are out on a scavenging run. You don't want them to see you before you see or hear them. Also, we fired shots, a lot of them. Corpses will be all over this house. The beach might be clear, but let's not make obviously stupid decisions. We'll use dynamite to change their direction after we make sure the place is clear." I respond. Saeko nods and moves to close the curtains to the left part of the room, Saya going towards the right shortly after.

"Don't forget the garage door, I'm going to the second floor." I add up as I start climbing the stairs…

Once on the second floor, I look around me. The door straight ahead, to the second bathroom, was open. The door further in and to the left, where I stayed before, was also open. That's where the third guy should be in as well. The door opposite of that room was closed. The left door that was next to me was slightly ajar, while the right door next to me was also closed.

I start by silently going to 'my' room. Before even entering it, I noticed a rather big pool of blood on the wooden floor, next to the bed. Going inside, I meet the third, and hopefully final member of the 'crew'. The third eye in his forehead telling me that he ain't getting back up any time soon. What was weird though was…

(Redshirt with the same letters printed on it. The question is, why is he not wearing any damn pants?)

I shake my head slightly before taking the revolver that was next to him, then scan the rest of the room while staying kneeled down.

(Clear.)

As I get up, I notice a second weird thing about him. But this time, it was something he 'was' wearing. A thin, flimsy-looking chain with a rather small silver key around his neck. I tilt my head as I take the key, and with a swift pull, rip it out of the chain. I stare at the key for a couple of seconds before pocketing it, then getting up.

(I will wonder where this goes after I cleared the house.)

I nod slightly and move back to the main hallway.

(Bathroom next)

Just as I started to move towards the bathroom to my left, I heard a door behind me creak. Turning around, I see the door to the far right half-open…

(This door was slightly ajar, right?)

I lift the gun and walk up to the door…

(God, I feel like one of them fodder soldiers in zombie movies…)

Shaking my head I nudged the door open completely with the gun's muzzle, then stopped by the doorframe and checked the room's insides. Other than the bed being a freaking mess and a bunch of clothes on the floor, I saw nothing weird. Going inside I check behind the door, then under the bed, and finally in the closet…

(Can't get more paranoid than this...)

I close the closet and turn to leave the room, kicking a pair of pants as I walk out.

After that, I went straight ahead, to the first actual closed door in the hallway.

Upon turning the knob, the door opened without resistance. The room inside looked untouched. A neatly folded bed to my right, a cupboard with a mirror and several female accessories on the wall next to me on my left, and finally, a desk straight ahead of me.

After a quick sweep of the room, I found it to be what I expected to be, empty. So after exiting that room, I went to check the last door in the hallway…

(Should be fine, but better to make sure. After that, the bathroom. Then I'll go down and check our next step with Saya and Saeko.)

I place my hand on the knob, turn it, and give it a push. But the door didn't budge…

(Locked?)

I raise an eyebrow as I look at the door, then pull out the key I got from the dead body and glance at it.

(Too small to fit, no way it's the correct one.)

I tap on the gun's barrel as I take a better look at the door.

(Can't see door hinges, so it's a 'push' door. Uhh, what was that I said about kicking doors? Kick near the handle? Yea, pretty sure that's what I said.)

I grip the assault rifle as I take, and let go of the breath. Then raise my leg, and with a strong stomp. I send the door flying open. Not wasting time, I go up to the doorframe, couch down and aim inside the room…

"Uhh, the fuck?" I whisper as I keep my aim towards the bed, or more exactly, the girl that was lying on it…

(She's not moving, and I just kicked the damn door in, she's dead?...)

I silently move inside the room, check it from corner to corner, then turn my aim back to the unmoving girl on the bed.

Getting a better look at her, I could see that she had medium length, curly brown hair. The type you'd expect to see paired up with a set of giant, thin-framed, round glasses. Her clothes were, in pretty bad shape. To be exact, they were ripped to the point that I could not really make out 'what' she was wearing, also meaning, that most of her body was exposed. She also had a couple of visible red 'bite' marks on her. And not the corpse type ones. And lastly...one of her hands was handcuffed to the bed frame, the other was under the pillow that was under her head…

(Either she was one of the group and she liked getting really freaky. Or she was 'not' one of the group and I just did the world a favor by shooting these three dudes.)

I move a bit closer to the girl, going towards the left side of the bed, as it was the side she was facing.

(Her chest is not moving…)

Looking at her face, her eyes closed. I could now see several actual bruises on it…

(I know I'm supposed to be a cold-hearted bastard. But fucking hell. I wish I didn't kill these three fucks right now. Because if they really did what I think they did to this girl. Then, I didn't make them suffer enough...)

I take a step back from the girl's body and let out a slight sigh, then take out the small key from my pocket and look at it.

(The handcuff key huh…)

I shake my head and leave the key on the counter next to the bed. Before glancing back at the girl. Only to now see her eyes half-open, staring towards me. The moment I saw her, I jumped back, hitting my back against the wall.

"AAAAGGHHH!" The supposed to be dead girl lets out a loud scream as she springs back to life, taking a wild swing with the arm she had hidden under her pillow, revealing a combat knife in her hand after going for a full swing. That thankfully missed me…

Her eyes then dart to the key I left on the counter. She quickly brings her hand down on the key with a loud slap, the knife still in her hand. She then somehow manages to grab the key with the tip of her fingers before bringing it to the handcuff.

Sadly, the way she was holding the key proved to be a bit 'too' unorthodox, as instead of inserting it to the cuff's keyhole, it bumped it against the cuffs themselves, causing it to slip from her fingers and disappear in the gap between the wall and the bed…

"NO, NONONO!" The girl screams again as she starts tearing up, her scream being a mixture of crying and anger as she tries to catch the key in vain.

Before I could react, she turned her head back to me. And started throwing everything she could find around her towards me, Including the knife. That again missed me for a good one meter. A pillow did land straight to my face though…

After she ran out of things to toss, she crawled up to the other side of the bed…

"Naier!" And just on cue, Saeko bursts into the room, and stops flat by the door frame, Saya almost bumping behind her.

"I found a survivor?" I say as I turn to the two girls...

The girl on the bed turns to look at Saya and Saeko, her expression changing into a perplexed one...

"You, you are not one of them?" She asks as she turns to me...

(...Ok, while it seems obvious that she was held here against her will. She also definitely heard the gunshots, if she figured out that the guys are dead, she would try to act like a victim to increase her chances with us. So, one last check…

God, what is wrong with me? She is bruised, beat and chained. Yet I can't bring myself to trust her...)

"No, obviously I'm not you dofus." I respond, then turn to Saeko and Saya, who just stared back at me.

"We are new members, Sho sent me here. He said 'my' reward for becoming part of the group is here..." I respond as I keep staring at the two girls, Saya's face almost falling off as she arched an eyebrow, her mouth wide open.

"Wha!Gfrrll!" Before Saya could say anything. Saeko puts her hand over her mouth, causing Saya to dart her head towards Saeko with a glare.

"Let's go. This is not a place we should be at right now." Saeko responds as she drags Saya out of the room, closing the door behind her.

(I hope you figured what I'm actually trying to do here...)

Turning my head back to the girl, I could now see tears running down her face...

"Please, don't do this. I'm, sorry I attacked you. I, I can't take it anymore..." She said with slight sobs, trying to crawl even further away from me as she shook her head, not that she could make any distance. As the hand that was cuffed to the bed was already fully extended.

"These people, they are evil. I didn't do anything to anybody in order to deserve this..." The girl whispers as she lowers her head.

"Please..." She then lifts her head back at me, tears still running down her cheeks.

"Please..."

(I know I keep telling myself that I need to be 'absolutely' sure that she was captured. But I feel horrible just looking at her...and if she's that good of a faker then...ughh. No, stop. Just help the damn girl you fucking paranoid lunatic...)

"Why? I thought you hated that trio." I responded, the girl just looked back at me with a blank expression.

"I mean, If you want me to kill you so you can meet them again, then sure. Though I don't think you'll be going to the same place as them. The underworld has a special spot for, uhhh..." I stop talking and lower my head...

"Give me one second." I add as I raise my finger and turn to walk towards the door, the girl staring at me without speaking. Opening the door, I find Saya and Saeko looking at me.

"Saya, how did you call the guy in that room again?" I ask as I point ahead.

"What?" Saya asks as she tilts her head with a frown...

"Uhh, Oh, Garbage breather. Thank you." I respond as I close the door again without waiting for a reply.

"Sorry about that." I say as I walk back to the girl.

"The word I was looking for..." I kneel under the bed and pick up the key as I speak.

"Was garbage breather." I respond as I get up and toss the key on the bed next to her.

The girl looks at the key, then back at me. But does not move...

(Now 'she' is the one that does not believe me. Not that I'm surprised.)

"Uhh, give me a sec." I say as I walk up to the door again, then open it and walk outside.

"Can you believe that she did not believe me when I said that I'm not an evil guy?" I say as I walk past the girls, who just followed me with their heads. Until I entered the room with the third dead dude. I walk up to the guy and grab him by the leg.

"Now I know why you were not wearing pants. And I got to say. I wish I could wrap your nerves around a twig-like spaghetti, then make you chew them while they were still connected to your body..." I growl in a low tone as I drag the body out of the room, a trail of blood following behind me.

"Do I look like an evil overlord or something?" I 'ask' as I pass by Saya and Saeko. Who by now, were just staring at me without speaking...

After entering the room with the girl, I drag the dead body inside, and close the door again. Then bring it near the lower part of the bed and leave it there. Turning to the girl, I saw that the key was still where I left it...

"The other two are by the back exit, so please don't tell me to bring them as well. Also, a good number of shots were fired, so corpses are probably going apeshit outside. Though your screaming might have been louder than the gunshots." I say as I fold my arms.

"He, he's dead?" She asks with a meek voice…

"Dono, let's check." I respond as I go to his legs, spread them, take a step back, and deliver a strong kick. That honestly, made me hurt as well. All the time, the girl just stared, her eyes going slightly wide as the kick connected...

"Now, either he got balls of steel, or he got no balls at all. Take a guess." I respond as I 'clean' the tip of my boot on the guy's shirt.

The girl glances at me, before slowly taking the key, finally unlocking the handcuff. After massaging her wrist for a few seconds, she closes her eyes and 'hiccups' a couple of times as she brings her hands to her face, before starting to cry again.

…And she kept crying for a few minutes…Until, she finally calmed down enough to stop. After rubbing her eyes, she turned her head to the dead body, and started staring at it with a vacant look.

"I'm going to bring you some clothes…" I say as I glance at the knife she threw at me a couple of minutes ago. Then head to it and pick it up, before turning towards the door…

"Thank you…" I hear the girl softly whisper.

"Don't. We're not out of the woods yet." I respond as I glance behind me, then head out of the room…

(I just hope you know how to survive by yourself. Because saving you from 'these' three fruits, and taking you with me, are two different things...)