Zen wanted to cry. The invigilator at the cafeteria taking meal orders looked like he ate children for breakfast. Initially, Zen wanted to ask if there was a way he could have a discount. Even if he drank tap water and risked a stomachache, the 300 credits will only last him one meal.
The cheapest food item was that ugly tuna and cheese sandwich slapped together by some other invigilator. It costs 200 credits. The can of cola was the most affordable drink item, and it costs 150 credits. A regular set meal costs 500 credits. This was going to be impossible. Anyone ranked 90 and below wouldn’t be able to afford to eat with the skyrocket prices!
“Uh… do you have any leftovers I can have?” Zen grinned awkwardly at the stone-faced invigilator who observed him with a cold, calculating look.
“No leftovers. If you cannot pay, go away.”
Zen made a face. “Possible to get a discount? I’m on a very tight budget here?”
Unamused, the invigilator simply gave him a scary silent stare. Zen slowly walked away with shoulders hunched over in dejection. His stomach growled in dissatisfaction, and Zen wanted to cry. What was this torture?! Did he really have to spend 200 credits on a shitty sandwich? Even he could have done a better job in the kitchen.
“Oh my! You survived?”
This voice! It sounded a little too familiar, and Zen was slightly afraid to turn around.
The girl behind Zen laughed and came over quickly, swinging an arm around Zen who instantly stiffened at the malicious aura.
“I remember you, alright. There’s no mistaking this pipsqueak who took the pain to create so many ambushes. What’s your speciality? Guerilla warfare? Running away? Long-life? I could have sworn that bullet would have taken you out. There’s no way you could survive that fall in the waterfall. I waited for you the entire game, but you never surfaced. Do you have underwater breathing?”
Zen didn’t have the energy to deal with his pursuer from the first game. He was so hungry that he didn’t even have enough energy to lift his head anymore.
“H-hey! Are you alright? I didn’t even use force!” the sniper girl panicked until she heard a loud and undignified growl coming from Zen’s stomach.
Sighing in defeat, she left, and Zen slumped onto the table bonelessly. It didn’t take long before an inviting smell filled the air. Instinctively, Zen followed the smell of food even as his eyes were still closed.
“Eat up,” the girl said, and Zen cracked his eyelids open, tearing up almost immediately at the kind gesture.
In front of his eyes, there was a set meal. The expensive set meal costs 500 credits. How could someone like her spend the credits so wastefully?! Yet, Zen was too hungry to think. He wasn’t going to look the gift in the horse’s mouth. It was better to accept the charity first and think later.
The blonde girl with blue eyes looked at her target. In her many years as an assassin who made herself a name in the underworld as “Two Shots”, this was the first time someone escaped her sights. Sasha Angeloff was a prodigy with guns ever since she was young. The maiden of only 16 years of age was the best in her field. Ordinary snipers had to camp in a good location and conceal themselves but not her. Sasha’s speciality was high mobility sniping. It was also why she could toy with her targets and fire a warning shot first before firing a second to kill.
Initially, she was angry. How could such a weak-looking prey escape her? She lost her cool back in the jungle and spent too much time following him, which resulted in her mediocre rank. Yet, seeing him act so pitiful in front of her, tearing up as he ate, the assassin started to grow fond of him.
“He must be younger than me. I guess this is what a big sister feels like,” she thought with a small smile.
“I’ve decided!” she declared in a loud voice that made Zen choke. “I’m going to adopt you as my younger brother!”
Zen choked on his rice. The set meal wasn’t as bad as the sandwich, but it was still very far from good. It wasn’t easy to swallow the half-cooked rice and overcooked vegetables, but thankfully, there was some canned soup that he could use to make them go down easier.
Once he could feel air flowing freely in his windpipe again, Zen looked at his pursuer oddly.
“Younger brother? I don’t even know you even if I’m grateful that you feed me even after trying to kill me.”
Sasha blinked and realised that she hadn't introduced herself. With a quick command, she shared her character profile information with Zen who memorised it quickly.
Name: Sasha “Two Shots” Angeloff
Abilities: High Mobility Sniping
“You were clearly skilled. Rank 56?”
Sasha scratched her cheek nervously and looked away. “Let’s forget about it for now. Anyways, eat up. Treat this as my payment, I still have many questions to ask you!”
Zen sighed. He should have known that there was no such thing as a free lunch.
“Is it really alright for you to be showing me your character profile? Don’t you have to buy these things?”
Sasha blinked. “Normally you would have to buy it from the game review shop. However, if someone wants to show it to you, it’s free. Besides, I’m showing it to my younger brother. What’s so wrong with that? I’d rather not waste my money on a character profile. It’s not as useful as a game highlight clip. I can analyse my next target better if I see them in action.”
“They have a game highlight clip?!” Zen ignored how she decided to adopt him without his consent. Hearing that there was a game highlight clip for every individual who survived the first round made him nervous. Would the others discover that he lucked out by finding a safe zone?
Sasha grinned. Of course! The monsters in Class A and Class B have already spent their credits reviewing clips of people they want to kill next. They’re warier than we are. Also, you might as well use your 100 credits to buy one clip. It’s not much, but it should help increase your chances in the Egg Hunt. Study the one person you wish to avoid most and survive. Each clip costs 100 credits so you’d be broke, but as your older sister, this is the best advice I can give.”
Zen weighed his options. She didn’t know that he had 300 credits and that was good for him. It would be best if Zen could find a way to get more credits or view more character profiles. For now, his information is lacking.
“What are you thinking?” Sasha asked, and Zen looked at her.
The girl was beautiful, but she was also blonde. Wasn’t there a stereotype about the intelligence of blonde beauties?
Seeing as there was nothing to lose, Zen smiled cutely and looked at her with the most adorable eyes.
“Big sister Sasha, can you tell me more about the other candidates who survived? Zen didn’t know that you were so knowledgeable!”
Hearing someone cute calling her a big sister, Sasha laughed nervously and couldn’t hide the blush on her cheeks.
“Yes! Let big sister Sasha tell you everything! What would you like to know?”
Zen smirked inwardly. Hook, line and sinker. Yesterday’s enemy could be today’s ally. It was better to have more temporary allies than enemies anyway.