His academic performance was neither high nor low, so he went to a normal public high school.
After the “Unfortunate attack”, a lot Japanese people moved overseas, causing the birth rate to continue to drop. The number of schools near Tokyo were decreasing; in order to continue operations, Renji’s high school decreased their number of classes.
He parked his beloved bike in the bicycle parking area and entered the old schoolhouse.
Upon entering his First Year Group 3 classroom, he saw a bunch of girls gathering and making a commotion.
When he put his bag on his seat, his two best friends came up to greet him.
“Good morning, Renji-kun”
“What’s up guys…Did something happen?”
When he asked that question, his baby faced classmates made a face that showed their mixed feelings.
“They say Takashima-san transferred to a school in America.”
“It’s nothing to cry about. It’s not so rare in these times.”
His tall classmate, who had a shaved head and was in the Baseball club, shrugged his shoulders.
You could hear their sobbing voices.
“Is that so…”
Although they started school not too long ago, their classmates keep on leaving. It was this that made them feel so lonely.
At the same time, everyone remained uneasy; that’s for sure.
As things stand, I wonder if things will be alright inside this country──.
In these times, where the explanation of the main cause of the “Unfortunate Attack on Tokyo”and the“Area” was not known, it was expected that everybody who lived in this country to hold the same uneasiness.
“But…if I’m still alive on ‘this side’ of the world, we’ll meet again someday”
Without being aware, he shed beads of tears as he mumbled this.
However, the girls heard his words. They looked backed at him, with their face drenched in tears. In a loud voice, they burst out into tears.
“Huh, what? Did I say something wrong?”
“No…that was exactly what I was thinking.”
The confused Renji and the young boy with the shaved head, who was forcing a smile, stared at each other.
“I hope the wide-scale search finds the people who disappeared in ‘that side’ of the world soon.”
There was another boy; a baby-faced boy. When the baby-faced boy said this, nearby classmates looked over at him.
“No, we can’t expect that. Why would you such a thing?”
“Even though they searched two times, they couldn’t find the victims.”
“They say during the search effort, they were all killed by the monsters inside the ‘Area’”.
Whenever the topic of the “Area” comes up, one by one, the classmates join in on the conversation.
Being the case that there are so many victims, it’s a topic that cannot light heartedly be spoken of, and so if its mentioned in front of adults, they will scold the children. So there are times where they hope to get the opportunity to talk about it in secret.
Rumors and speculations dealing with the “Area” spread because of the children talking in secret.
“Are they really monsters? Can’t they also be aliens or something like that?”
“The Rescue agency hasn’t released any information about inside of the “Area.” Although people inside the country and outside the country still talk about it, there’s no substance behind it.”
“Yeah, I’ve calmed down, but I still want them to tell us more about the inside of the ‘Area’.”
“Speaking of which, the mornings news was talking about it earlier…what about the raiders？ They cross the “SPOT”, and enter the ‘Area’. But, did they really enter the ‘Area’?”
“I think they’re there inside. I have an acquaintance who notified the agency about the raiders and received the bounty, the bastard. But I don’t know if he was joking or not.”
“They say you can enter the ‘Area’ by going through the ‘SPOT’…isn’t it scary? The area is not a small place.”
“If they’re willing to go in there, they want money right? Like robbing some bank inside the city inside the area.”
The boy with the shaved head looked back at Renji.
“So if we spot the bastards and notify the agency, how much money would we receive? From the bounty.”
“Even if there’s no bounty, I’m simply irritated. The point is aren’t they just mere looters? Nothing more, nothing less.”
Renji furrowed his eyebrows, and continued to speak.
“At that place, many people disappeared inside the ‘Area’…”
Renji’s childhood friend, Osato Yui, was one of those people.
Just as his classmates were about to nod at his words in agreement, the chimes rang, signaling that the day was over.
The school was also a strange empty space. When the door closes and classes start inside class, the world changes into a peaceful place with no relation to the “Unfortunate attack on Tokyo.”
Especially in this high school, there were very few people who know that Renji was involved in the “Unfortunate attack on Tokyo.” His best friends also do not know, the students from his middle school that were harassing him whenever they see him knew however. You could say that the school is the only place that is peaceful for Renji.
Just as class finished, Renji began to pack his bag and prepared to go home.
“Renji-kun, are you participating in your club activities today?”
The baby faced boy came running towards him. He and Renji participate in the Video Culture Research club (or as his Asahi calls it, the Otaku club). He is the only other member. Practically, it’s just an anime club.
“Did you see the show last night? If you missed it again, we could go right now to my house. I have it recorded on my smart phone. When they went to the club room, in a swift attack, it was over! Ah, because I’m waiting for the original, I’ll lend it to you. They’ve been saying that it’s not out yet.”
“Huh, they’ve been saying that? Also, I can’t participate in the club activities today.”
“Oh, is Renji already going home?”
“I’m sorry, but something came up with the family. Oh that’s right!”
Remembering something, Renji faced his two best friends.
“You two, you know I’m a ＫＡＮＡＴＡ enthusiast, right? If you have some of her goods, could you hand it over to me?”
The athletic shaved headed boy and the cultured baby-faced boy stood there. The two standing opposite of him were his best friends because they were all idol enthusiasts. Puzzled, the two boys both looked at each other.
“If I’m gonna do that, I might as well sell it online. Wait, no. I would never sell anything of ＫＡＮＡＴＡ’s”
“Out of all things, why ＫＡＮＡＴＡ…I want her products as well. They say in the next Anime movie she’s going to be in, she’s going to collaborate and make the theme song.”
I only want to make my little sister happy, so I ended up making promises I couldn’t keep…
“Ah really? Then forget what we said but...still it’s a burden for us to give you the idol’s goods.”
She’s not an idol! ＫＡＮＡＴＡ is an artist!”
“To put more precisely, she’s a violinist you bastard!”
Giving his two best friends whom he disputed with a backward glance, Renji quickly fled from the classroom.
At the bicycle parking area, he pulled out his bike and left the school premises.
“Asahi’s gonna yell at me again… or is she going to cry…?”
He pedaled his bike while he mumbled that to himself.
However, he took a huge detour from the route that he usually takes to school early in the morning.
After biking for about 10 minutes, the road became narrow. This was because hardly any bikes took this path nor did any people walk on this path. Entering an area where plants stood out, there was a shed.
Making sure nobody was behind him, he got on a rugged mountain trail.
“Haah…Haah”, he panted.
He biked up the mountain trail out of breath, and along the way he strayed into a side road.
Upon doing so, a wide bamboo forest appeared in front of him.
Turning his handle bars, he flew into the bamboo forest. The ground was not well paved, and so he advanced over the rugged ground with his crossbike.
There was something that sometimes glimmered in the bamboo forest──it was a security camera. However, he did not notice.
Continuing forward, he saw a small shed.
Upon a glance, he saw a rest area for digging up bamboo shoots and saw what seemed to be a simple storage shed. It look like it used to be a storage shed for that purpose. He said “Her…”
Renji put his bike near the shed, and opened the door to the entrance.
His eyes met with a beautiful, half-naked girl who was inside the shed.
Cramped inside of the cramped shed, there were no farm tools but only some amount of outdated shelves was there. In that awkward moment, she was trying to wear a thin cloth over her underwear. Looking at him while trying to put it on, the girl stiffened up.
She had long, light hair, shapely eyes and nose, and fair skin. Her limbs were long, her slender body, her long hair and long eyelashes; all of it so elegant. She should be as old as Renji, but she did not feel like a classmate.
Because she was so beautiful, she gave off a different aura. You can say its natural for beautiful people.
Usually such a beautiful girl would be surrounded by a crowd of people.
“It took you long enough before you averted your eyes!”
The girl screamed. Her ears were red as she continued to put on her clothes.
“Did you misplace the partition board again? You know, It’s troublesome when you forget where you left it …”
“Huh? I don’t really care if you see me naked. I don’t see it as disgusting or gross.”
“…Well, is it okay if I change even though we have no partition board?”
“Absolutely not. The hell as if I want to see Ren naked. Gross.”
In short, it seems she wanted him to quickly put up the partition board.
While he was putting up the partition board, which had been leaning on the wall, in between the two of them, he felt her giving him the death glare. He seriously considered taking pictures of her and selling them.
“Why didn’t you report in for this morning’s training?”,
From across the partition boar, a girl’s low voice projected.
Startled, Renji grabbed the bag that was put inside the hut. The inside of the bag was packed with a thin cloth, a belt, and much more clothes.
“…I over slept”
“The next training, I’ll deduct 30% from your report.”
Agggh, he groaned while he took off his school clothes. He put on the items that were inside of the bag.
He was wearing some elastic fabric over his bare-skin. It looked like something a pro cyclist would wear but this fabric’s material has an elasticity and durability regarded as much stronger than what a cyclist would wear. She says that it is a prototype developed in a foreign country for military use.
“Nobody saw you while you were on your way here, right?”
“I’m not as incompetent as you would expect.”
He put on his bulky yet light boots (which were used to march in the densely wooded area) and he put on his elbow and knee supporters.
“Well, how was it Ren……this morning’s report Ren?”
“Physical Health Status:Ａ. Mental Health Status: A. Condition:Ａ──ah、I knew it. My Body/health will probably be an A-. I slept wrong and now my neck hurts.”
“Idiot! What should we do… I’d rather not do today’s patrol with your condition and all.”
“N-no no, it’s okay! It doesn’t really hurt that much!”
“If your reaction had been one second slower, would you have died? Your quick reflexes are your only redeeming quality…even if there had been slight problem, we would quickly have to retreat. I wonder if we’ll have to boost your training around the neck area. And then we’ll have to get you a pillow for your neck. Then should we also renew your daily commodities? All this money…I must increase the number of our patrons again.”
“I told you I’m fine. Now how about your report?”
He put a belt around his lower back and thighs, and put a one-piece combat knight on his right. Around his tailbone, he keeps a pistol-like stun gun that shoots out an electrode.
“All A’s. You oversleep too much, so don’t forget today’s objective, okay? Brace yourself for our attack tomorrow, it’s to expand the influence of our patrol and…”
“And to conduct a safety check on Akihabara, right?”
He prepared the socket on the right side of my tactical vest so that it has the test tube-like rod. Inside the small, fixed bag there was a handful of medical supplies and nutritional supplements, a pen light, and some folding binoculars. He still had more; in his meshed pockets he had a pair of googles to conceal his face.
“I won’t forget. It’s always danger over there.”
As a finishing touch, they put on their neckgaters. It comes equipped with a bone conducted microphone, a speaker, and a cable used for communication. If you pull it above the mouth, it can also serve as a simple dust-filtering mask.
“It is. Akihabara no matter how many times we capture, it is quickly recaptured by the enemy...but if we can guarantee the safeness of Akihabara through our patrol, the chance of a successful attack tomorrow will increase”
“Ahhh, fine. As for our shots, I can guarantee our target of ten rounds in the long run.”
“Let’s not make this our last chance.”
She said that and put away the partition board.
Her equipment was basically the same as Renji’s.
However, she had some differences. For instance, the tip of the cable from the neckgater was placed inside her backpack, which was placed at her feet. Also she had a carbon made bowgun and a small communicator over her shoulders and on her back. She looked very imposing.
“We need to do this before the Rescue agency’s 3rd wide-scale search effort, right?”
“yeah, that’s right”
She nodded her head. She then moved her pink lips.
“And the preparations?”
They looked like soldiers on the battlefield──No, they were practically soldiers. upon suiting up in their gear that soldiers would use, although it was uncomfortable, the feeling completely changed. All of the gear was acquired by a large amount of money that the girl had.
His heart was beating fast; beating on Renji’s chest from the inside.
The sensation that combined fear and a war spirit was undoubtly that of a soldier facing the battlefield.
Renji and the girl faced each other, and checked their gear one last time.
“What was the new request from the patrons?”
“There was no new request. But there is one condition. In today’s patrol, you must take less than 3 shots.”
“No problem. We had intended to do so from the very beginning.”
“Yeah, the ‘trump card’ we will use tomorrow in our assault is limited── the 6 rounds must be used to the very end.”
The check was complete.
They nodded to each other, and Renji lifted the communication cable that extended from his neck.
The girl also raised her cable that extended from her backpack.
There was nothing for more of them to say.
Before they knew it, saying the following things to each other became an established customary ritual.
“Yumiie Kanata…I’ll bring back Yumiie Souta”
Saying that. Renji connected the cables he raised to the terminal.
“Akizuki Renji…I’ll bring back Osato Yui.”
Saying that, the girl connected the cables she raised to terminal firmly.
The girl before our eyes is Yumiie Kanata, Renji’s partner. Similar to Renji, she also lost someone precious to her. Without being able to do anything, there were times where she stood helpless ──She became his partner entrusted by fate.
Its been about two years since the tragic “Unfortunte attack on Tokyo.”
On that day, the people who disappeared in the heart of the city never returned; never knowing safety.
The people who remained, a certain people like Renji’s older brother rely upon the governmental Resue agency, and plan to recover the missing people.
Yet there are certain people, like Renji’s sister, forget the things of the past and hope to live in the now.
There were also people who, like his parents, fear and ignore the disaster called the “Unfortunate attack on Tokyo.”
Renji──however, could not choose either of those ways to live his life.
“I’m commencing my 58th invasion of the ‘Area’ invasion.”
Yumiie Kanata opened the door that was inside the shed.
At that moment, the purple fog shrouded the area.
Deep inside the door that had been opened there was── a thick purple fog that enveloped that area.
I can trespass into the “Area”, using this only way.
That is, passing through this fog called the “ SPOT”.
Renji put on some goggles and held a penlight in his mouth. He was already breathing quickly. He took out his knife, and tilted forward. All of this was nothing but combat preparation.
──yeah, he had been waiting for this day to come.
Ever since that day, the smiling face of Osato Yui had been engraved on his mind. He could never forget it.
He took her signal, and jumped into the fog.
The boy called Akizuki Renji, who had once abandoned someone important to him in Tokyo, now returns.
He was now a criminal who entered the restricted zone, “Critical Area” .
In other words—he became a “Raider.”