Chapter 12:

The monster

BRO: Battle Royale Online

Leaning against the rock, I clenched my rifle in my fists as if to vent my frustration. At the slightest of my gestures, a whistling sound passed over my head. In this position, I was unable to act. I could only wait for the man to come closer to give me the final blow.

I heard a bang a little way off and looked at my map. No matter how hard Rin tried to get our opponent's attention, he would not turn away from me. He had understood which of us was the real threat. Remaining at the bottom of the hill, she was too far away to help me. I had to get out of this alone.

Anyway, I'm used to getting out on my own.

Rin tried to shout at our opponent to make him face her, but he didn't even turn around, his gun still pointed at me.

Boots crunched on the leaf-covered ground. My opponent was closing in, it was time to act. Laying my rifle beside me, I drew my knife. As soon as the man would be close enough, I would throw myself at him. This was my best option. To prepare me mentally and fight the pressure, I cleared my mind. Suddenly, a clattering sound came from behind the trees on my left.

I opened my eyes at once and looked between the trunks, scanning the thicket where the noise had originated. Less than a meter away, a pair of eyes appeared. When our eyes met, I perceived astonishment, then a smile of satisfaction appeared in the shadows. Knowing that he was discovered, the man came out of hiding and pounced on me in a flash.

Once the surprise of discovering a second adversary had passed, a smile also split my face. The timing was perfect.

The man threw himself at me, a sort of short sword raised in the air. In an instant, his blade came down, and I plunged to the side. The steel slid against the rock with a metallic clang. Then suddenly, a bang echoed and a bullet came within an inch of my face, spraying it with dirt. I was out in the open.

My new opponent was now slumped against the ground behind the stone, while I stood outside the makeshift shelter. Before the sniper could fire again, I threw myself at the other man, going back behind the rock. My knife, which luckily was already drawn, plunged towards my opponent's throat. He parried the blow with a deft backhand of his sword.

His blade, though a little too long to be really useful, is not there just for show!

With his back to the rock, the man straightened up, his short sword brandished forward, ready to begin our duel. Suddenly, a bang was heard and a bullet whistled by his ear. With a pale face, my opponent quickly crouched behind the rock for cover.

We were now both crouching, leaning slightly forward, ready to respond to our opponent's slightest movement. The duel had begun.

The man held his sword pointed straight ahead, making the most of the little extra reach he had. For my part, I had opted for a low guard, inviting my opponent to attack first. But neither of us was moving. We stared at each other for a few seconds, then a new detonation echoed and shards of rock were thrown into the air. As if this was the signal we had been waiting for, we both lunged.

The sword plunged towards my thigh, ready to cut into the flesh. With the flat of my blade, I pushed the blow outwards and attacked at once. Taking advantage of my opponent's imbalance, I thrust my knife towards his chest, aiming for his heart, but with his free hand, the man pushed my attack away. We quickly moved away from each other. After this exchange we were back to where we started, only now, we knew the level of our opponent.

As if waiting for a winner to be announced, the sniper stopped shooting at us.

Silence fell upon us. The forest itself seemed to hold its breath. Then suddenly, a bird sang. At the end of its third note, the assault resumed. This time I took the initiative and pushed my opponent's blade directly out of my path. With a quick movement of the wrist, he put his blade back between us, forcing me to maintain the distance.

Suddenly, he attacked again and his sword slanted towards my throat. With my free hand, I struck his elbow. Under the shock, his arm bent, and, taking advantage of the free space left by his blade, I slid as close as possible to my opponent and plunged my blade deep into his shoulder before withdrawing quickly.

Blood flowed onto the floor. As if to check the extent of his injury, the man pressed on the wound, and his hand quickly turned red. His face twisted into a grimace where anger masked the pain. He was certain that if he did not stop the fight quickly, victory would elude him.

My eyes met his, now bloodshot. We both understood the stakes: the next exchange would be the last.

We stood our ground again, still in silence. Now that the shooting had ceased, the forest began to sing again. In addition to the familiar sounds, there was the crystalline sound of blood droplets crashing to the ground at regular intervals.

Suddenly, a bang echoed and nature fell silent, waiting patiently for the final part of the battle. The sniper was beginning to lose patience. With this shot, he was telling us that if we did not put an end to the fight quickly, he would end it for us. The message was passed on but neither of us flinched, the stakes were too high. Without taking his eyes off me, my opponent folded in on himself. Without a word, I did the same. Tensed as a spring, I was ready to lunge at any moment.

In the suffocating silence, another shot rang out and we dashed towards each other. This time the sword flew straight at my head. With this gesture, the man intended to finish the confrontation in one blow. Only, this was exactly what I was expecting. With almost unreal speed I bent to the left.

The weapon tore through the air with a shrill whistle, passing right by my ear. Straightening my knife, I slashed at the inside of my opponent's sword arm. Spurts of blood gushed out almost instantly, spraying the ground and my weapon with a scarlet liquid. As the man folded his arm in a painful reflex, I ducked underneath and charged at my target. With a quick flick of my wrist, I changed my grip to a reverse guard. Then suddenly, I raised my blade drawing a crimson arc. My opponent's throat slit, he collapsed to the ground. The dirt slowly soaked up the vermilion liquid that flowed in an uninterrupted stream. Then, with a familiar beep, the skull icon appeared.

Heaving an exhausted sigh, I dropped to the ground. I had won. It hadn't taken much, but I had defeated my attacker. Once all the tension had been released from my body, I breathed with effort. Every breath of fresh air felt good and took away some of the stress I had accumulated during the battle. Had I been holding my breath the whole time? I didn't know, but I felt like I was learning to breathe like a newborn again, my throat burning with the effort.

Suddenly, the ground exploded right next to me and a bang echoed.

Damn, I had almost forgotten about that one!

In order to concentrate only on my fight, I had ignored everything else. In the world I had projected myself into, only my opponent and his weapon seemed to exist. But now that my senses were coming back to me, a new plan came to me as a matter of course.

Looking at the corpse that was lazily emptying itself of its precious vital liquid, a big smile spread across my lips.

You were definitely right on time!

The plan I had formulated when I saw the second man coming had been somewhat delayed by this exhausting fight, but the outcome was not surprising: I had won and my opponent had been reduced to a corpse. Taking care to stay well under the cover of the rock, I approached the body.

I crouched down next to the corpse and tried to pull it towards me.

Oomph... He sure was a weighty one!


On the other side of the rock, the sniper stood ready. His eyes were alert, scanning the rock and its contours. His view should have been magnified by the scope of his weapon, but a bullet had recently lodged in it, rendering it completely useless. Preferring not to bother with a sight that had become unusable, the man chose to get rid of it. Thus, it was with naked eyes that he saw something lying on the path.

Slowly, a pool of blood was spreading on the ground, drawing a puddle that was already protruding from behind the rock. So much blood could only mean one thing: the fight between his target and the other man had ended. He aimed at the puddle spilling over to the side and fired. The earth exploded on impact, but nothing seemed to move behind the shelter.

The man took a step forward, then a second step to the side. Discreetly, he tried to change his point of view, in order to surprise his opponent. Although he did not know the outcome of the duel, he was convinced that his opponent had not changed. For some reason that was still vague to him, it seemed to him that the first man, dressed all in black, would never die for this much.

Suddenly, he saw movement, and an already familiar tuft of black hair protruded. The man in black seemed to be moving behind the rock. Surprisingly, he was relieved to see that his opponent was doing well. He had felt some kind of connection with him earlier when they were engaged in a precision duel. This man had managed to deflect his shot and hit his scope with only one bullet! All the while remaining absolutely stoic!

The sniper could not help but feel a kind of respect for his opponent. He was undoubtedly a high-level player. So much so that when his opponent changed, he noticed it immediately. The random shots he had been hit with had nothing to do with the perfectly controlled ones he had faced until then. He had understood in an instant: his opponent had changed. He had then imagined that he was now facing the sort of little girl who was following his rival, and he had confirmation of this as soon as he saw pink hair sticking out in the open. Satisfied that he had guessed correctly, he had turned away from her and had only to wait for the other to reappear after trying to get around him. Everything had happened exactly as he had predicted.

Of course, that was if one omitted the intervention of an outside player who had probably just been drawn in by the echoes of the fight.

Without any warning, a scream rang out. The man put his rifle against his shoulder and fired against the rock as a warning shot. Then suddenly, a misshapen mass leaped from behind the rock. It took the sniper a few seconds to realize the nature of the thing that came screaming at him. With four arms and four legs, the thing looked like a horror monster. Then it suddenly dawned on him: his adversary had grabbed the other man's corpse and, using it as a shield, was charging at him at full speed.

Panicked, the man fired. The bullet went into the body and a beep sounded. The bullet seemed to have disappeared on contact with the corpse, leaving it perfectly intact. The man in black continued his run.

The legs! He may have been protected by the dead body, but his legs were still exposed! It was with this in mind that the sniper readjusted his aim.

50 meters.

The man fired, and the ground exploded right in front of his opponent. Missed! Slightly shaky, the man cocked his weapon again. A bang echoed and the shot went off.

25 meters.

The bullet landed right on its target: the right thigh of his opponent. Relieved, the man lowered his weapon slightly, only to raise it again immediately.

Despite the spray of blood that the bullet had ripped through his thigh, the man in black did not stop. Worse, deaf to the pain, he was still accelerating, screaming with all his being.

Behind the corpse, the man's face was unrecognizable. Stained with blood from a gaping wound on the corpse's neck, his face twisted into a demon-like grimace. He ran with all his might, straight towards his opponent, deaf to the bullets whizzing in his ears, and the pain radiating from his right leg. The corpse was heavy, he could not hold it much longer. His vision obstructed by the body, he ran straight ahead, blind to the world around him.

10 meters.

Faced with this spectacle straight from the underworld, the sniper staggered. Then suddenly, the thing was on him.

The corpse collapsed on the man as he was about to fire, and the shot was lost in the thicket.

The monster's face finally appeared before his eyes: a cruel smile on its upturned lips, its eyes filled with a determination he had never seen before. The man knew his fate was sealed.

Without warning, a pain pierced his heart. Slowly, he looked down. There, sunken to the hilt, was a steel hunting knife. A taste of blood invaded his mouth, then the man collapsed to the ground. Slowly, a pool of blood formed around the two corpses. Two small skulls floating above the scene.