Excuse Me! You Call Yourself Gamer?
The e-Sport Stadium was one of the largest stadium in town for hosting e-Sport event. It was always fully crowded with spectators during the seasonal leagues and also finals. This year of summer, its main event was the ‘Killing Spree’ Tournament. This tournament was a three days event and the last day of the event was the two-on-two team tournament. Soon after, several arounds of elimination matches. The two-on-two team tournament had reached its final match, which was Team BoyZone versus the most famous team within Killing Spree, and it was Team Keisei-Keikoku (傾城傾国). Meanwhile, at the main stage of the tournament. The announcer was ready to present the final result to the audience with the stadium.
The announcer was facing to the audience with great smile, while stood straighter and straightened his tie.
“So, that was our Killing Spree two-on-two final match; between Team BoyZone versus Team Keisei-Keikoku (傾城傾国)… And of course, it is our lovely Keisei and Keikoku, who won the final match… Congratulations to Team Keisei-Keikoku for their thirteen consecutive wins in this tournament… And now, ladies and gentlemen. Please welcome our beautiful Keisei (傾城) – Masami Nakashima (中島 成美) and her lovely partner Keikoku (傾国) – Rin Watanabe (渡辺 凛)! Please come up to the main stage for the awards ceremony.”
A while later, both of the girls still had not shown up on stage. Then, the announcer received a message from the stage manager.
His forehead furrowed instantly.
“Eh? They left the building? Ugh… Both of them are always like that… Tsk…”
He gave a fake smiled and said.
“Unfortunately, both of the players had already left the building due to their busy schedule. No matter what, we are sincerely to congratulate Team Keisei-Keikoku… And thank you for your participation in the Killing Spree Tournament Summer Event. We are hoping to see you all in the next year. Thank you very much, and goodbye!”
<<< === === >>>
Several blocks away from the e-Sport Stadium, two young girls were walking down the street. Sadness clouded their features. One of the young girls who dressed up in the Normcore style clothing had turned to the other girl and said.
“Sigh… That match was so boring. Did you think so, Masami?”
The other young girl who dressed up in the Ojikawa style clothing had replied.
“Rin, we should go back and attend the awards ceremony. Otherwise, they will scold at us, afterwards.”
“Doesn’t matter. We are their mascots and also lucky charms. Umm… Basically, we are their public relations now. Sigh… It is kind of meaningless when everything seems so easy for now.”
“Umm… Kind of. Now a day, most of the First-person Shooter (FPS) games are very easy to learn and to pick up its pace. Most of their learning curve had been shorten by their game features and also in-game purchase items.”
“Umm… I don’t say that’s wrong. However, it seems lesser fun than before.”
“Rin, what do you mean?”
“Masami, I had heard before the e-Sport existed where gamers with common interest would host their own LAN Party. Gamers within the gaming community would come over to somebody’s house to play for several days… I mean twenty-four hours non-stop playing kind of thing.”
“Oh, I heard that too. Sometimes, they would rent a warehouse in order to host a larger LAN Party… Free energy drinks and potato chips too... Hehe…”
“I believe during that time of period, gamers might closer to each other. At least, they know each other because of the gaming community. Look at us… For each event, we were playing against all different kind of teams…”
“Of course, it is a tournament, Rin.”
“Argh… Masami, let me finish my talking first… I’m trying to say which is we played those teams once. Then they are gone, forever. We won’t see them anymore, in Killing Spree or any other games. Suddenly, those teams just disappeared on the surface of the earth.”
“I noticed. But, things always like that. Try to win; if fails, go to next game.”
A while later, Masami and Rin had arrived in front of a small worn-down Internet cafe. Both of them took a look of its sign, which said ‘Free drinks, chips and soft candies; If you think you can win us!’. Rin turned to Masami and said.
“Masami, I want to play. Please…”
“Rin, we cannot. We are in the professional league.”
“Don’t worry, no one will notice us. This Internet cafe was opened when I was in my fourth-grade elementary school, and they usually play those nineties FPS such as Gunslinger. For sure, the people in there won’t be able to notice our presences.”
“Wow… Gunslinger… That’s a classic FPS in the nineties.”
“Yes. Shall we go?”
“Are you afraid of losing? Hehe…”
“Of course not. But, I’m worry that I won’t have much fun afterwards.”
“Masami, free drinks and chips, especially soft candies which you love the most.”
“Umm… Okay, let’s go in.”
The two of them stepped into the Internet cafe, while they glanced around the surroundings. Its interior design was so old-schooled which could probably descripted it as a historic monument. Rows after rows of computer tables with aisles of uncomfortable armchairs. The atmosphere seemed to be a funeral home rather than an Internet cafe due to the dimmed lighting within the store. Although, its environment was kind of unpleased. However, amazingly, it was fully occupied by gamers.
Soon after, they had entered. Everyone within the store glanced over them for a moment, then they were back to their own gaming monitors.
Rin looked at Masami with a smile.
“Masami, now you see. No one in here notice us. Hehe…”
“Okay. Let’s register first before it is full.”
Soon after, both of them had walked to the front of the store’s counter. They saw a little girl who was around ten years old was sitting at the store’s counter. The little girl was in a gothic Lolita Victorian dress, while she looked at them for a second until Masami asked.
“Umm… My friend and I like to register to play.”
The little girl glanced at Masami and replied.
“Okay, no problem. Here… Just filled out this application form, then I will issue the membership cards for you two.”
Meanwhile, Rin stared at the little girl and pondered for a moment, until the little girl glowered at her and said.
“What do you want?”
“Wow… you are so rude, little girl.”
“I have a name.”
“You didn’t tell me.”
“Shiori Yukimura (雪村 詩織)!”
Masami had finished up the form and then smiled at Shiori.
“Hi, Shiori… I’m Masami, and she is my friend, Rin… Here are our application forms.”
Shiori took a closer looked at them and replied.
“I see, never heard of you two.”
Rin’s jaw dropped for a second.
“You never head of us?”
Shiori gave a fake smile.
“No! Anyway, who cares… Here are membership cards for each of you.”
“Thank you, Shiori.”
Then, Rin had raised a question for Shiori.
“Hey, Shiori. If we want to have free drinks and soft candies, then who should we play against?”
Shiori stared at them.
Rin glowered at Shiori.
Shiori replied with a laugh.
“Ha… Of course, you two will play against the store’s owner, himself.”
Rin pondered for a moment.
“He is sitting in seat ‘A-42’ and his room name is Free Stuffs.”
Rin turned to Masami and said.
“I see, I see… Masami, let’s kick some ass.”
“Wait, I still have some question.”
Masami turned to Shiori and asked.
“Is he famous?”
“Is he good?”
“Better than you!”
Masami narrowed her eyes for a second.
“What game are we playing?”
“Of course, Gunslinger!”
Masami pondered for a moment.
“Does he play other game? Such as Killing Spree?”
Shiori narrowed her eyes and replied.
Masami answered with a smile.
“Oh, it is a famous FPS. There are a lot of people playing it now. It is the latest FPS trend.”
Shiori scratched her head for a moment.
“Never heard of that.”
Masami looked at Rin, then continued.
“Shiori, never mind… But could we play Gunslinger and then Killing Spree with the store owner?”
“Because I am not that good in Gunslinger.”
Shiori glanced at Masami once more.
“So, you mean you are very good in that so-called Killing Spree?”
Shiori turned to Rin and asked.
Rin glanced down Shiori boldly and answered.
Shiori pondered of a while, then said.
“How about two one-on-one matches? One of you play Gunslinger and the other one play Killing Spree? Is that good enough?”
Masami and Rin looked at each other, then said.
“We are okay with that.”
All of a sudden, Shiori started screaming across the store.
“DAD! ARE YOU OKAY WITH THAT?”
Around the ‘A’ aisle near the seat ‘42’, a guy put up his hand and gave out the ‘OK’ hand sign. Afterwards, Shiori looked at Masami and replied.
“He said okay.”
Rin glanced over the seat A-42 and then asked.
“That mid-aged man is your dad?”
Shiori glowered at Rin.
“Is there a problem?”
“No, no, nothing. I just curious.”
Shiori looked at Masami.
“Are you ready?”
“Then, go to the seat B-20 and seat B-21. He said he gave you a handicapped match.”
Masami scratched her head for a second.
“Yes. He said that you two can login the game at the same time. And one of you could be in the spectator mode.”
Rin narrowed her eyes and answered.
“What do you think we are? We won’t take can cheap shot on our opponents.”
Shiori glanced down at Rin boldly and said.
“Then, you two will never win.”
Masami replied with a warm smile.
“Shiori, thank you for the offering. However, we had our own rules. No matter how good or bad our opponents are. We won’t use any cheap trick in any matches.”
Shiori suddenly smiled at Masami.
“Understood. By the way, the condition of winning the games – with two consecutive wins!”
Masami turned to Rin and said.
“Rin, which one?”
“I go for Gunslinger. At least, I had played that before.”
“Thanks, Rin. Then, I go for Killing Spree.”
Both of them looked at each other and cheered up.
Just after fifteen minutes, Rin had already lost the Gunslinger matches with her score was one to three. Rin looked into Masami’s eyes and said.
“Seriously, I have no idea at all. Is the store owner that good?”
Masami tapped on Rin’s shoulder and replied.
“Rin, doesn’t matter. Gunslinger isn’t our game. Let’s see, what can he do inside the Killing Spree?!”
“Umm… Maybe, you are right. Good hunting, Masami!”
An hour later, Masami and the owner was still at a tie break. Masami just won a match which made her score into seven to six. Then, the owner suggested to take a five minutes break since he needed to go outside to have a smoke. Meanwhile, Masami stood up and was stretching her back, while she had realized a lot of the gamers inside the store were standing behind her. They were looking her games through her gaming monitor during the matches.
Suddenly, there were two ladies rushed into the store. Both of them were in their mid-twenty who wore maid uniforms, probably both of them were from the maid cafe which was located at the next door. Those two maids ran over to Masami’s location and started to talk.
“Who dare to challenge our Sensei?”
Rin had stood up from her seat and replied.
“Us! You maids got a problem with that?”
The maid who wore an eyeglass stared at Rin and said.
“Oh! You better give up now before it is too late. Haha…”
Rin glowered at her and said.
“What is your name? You want to challenge us?”
The maid bowed and said.
“My name is Kotone Takenaka (竹中 琴音) and this one beside me is Mizuki Shimizu (清水 美月). About your challenge, of course… We… Umm… Huh?”
Mizuki who had a rabbit ears on her head had winked at Kotone, and told her to stop. Afterwards, Mizuki glanced at Masami and said.
“You are playing a FPS game… Unfortunately, we aren’t allowed to play that. What if, a PvP match in any MMO?”
Masami glanced over both of the maids.
“Hello, I’m Masami Nakashima and she is my friend, Rin Watanabe. Nice to meet you… However, both of us don’t know how to play PvP in MMO.”
Mizuki bowed and replied.
“Nice to meet you… If that is the case, then…”
Mizuki glanced over to the store’s counter and looked for Shiori.
“Why don’t you two challenge Shiori-chan, instead of our Sensei?”
Rin widened her eyes and said.
“That little girl at the store’s counter?! No way, we don’t want other people to laugh at her when she lost to us.”
Kotone glowered at Rin and laughed.
“Ha… Seriously, I think you two cannot even beat Shiori-chan in any FPS games.”
Rin narrowed her eyes.
“What are you trying to say, maid?”
Then, a little girl’s voice was yelling at them which was from the store’s counter.
“ALL OF YOU KEEP QUIET!”
Everyone inside the store glanced over to the store’s counter. They noticed it was Shiori, who stood on her stool and yelled across the store. Then, the store owner was back from his smoking break. He went back to his seat then waved at Masami. Once, Masami saw him. She sat down immediately and started the game. Meanwhile, Shiori had turned on the broadcasting feature in order to let everyone to watch the match on the projector screen which was at the back of the store.
Several minutes later, this time the store owner won. It was because Masami was chasing after him throughout the match. Then, suddenly the store owner had just turned around and headshot her. Soon after, Masami got headshot. She instantly tried to hide from the store owner line of sight. However, she just stepped onto his landmine which was planted a moment ago.
So, the game between Masami and the store owner became a tie once again. Just before the next match had start, the store owner put up his hands and waved at Shiori. Then, a series of hand gestures was followed up after his wave. Soon after, Shiori noticed those hand gestures’ meaning. She walked over to Masami’s location and said.
“Masami, he said from now on. He won’t run away from you. He wants a western style of shootout, right at the beginning of the following two consecutive matches.”
Masami turned her head around. She had realized Shiori was holding a long ears bunny plush doll in her hands, while Shiori was talking to her. A moment later, Masami replied with a smile.
“Shiori, I have no problem with that.”
Shiori was once again shouting across the store and told the store owner Masami’s answer. A while later, the match had started with a western shootout at the beginning. Then, Shiori shouted around again.
“Listen to my count, I will countdown from five. When I finished saying the number one, which was your signal to draw your guns. So, get ready! 5… 4… 3… 2… 1”
Masami instantly got a headshot from the store owner. She was totally shocked while her jaw dropped. Throughout Masami’s tournament matches in Killing Spree. She was the fastest drawer of all time. And now, she just lost to an Internet cafe’s owner. But suddenly, the store owner had stood up and then ran to the store’s second floor, which was the living quarter.
Rin rolled her eyes and said.
“Now, what? Masami, should you just keep shooting him, now?”
Masami clenched her teeth and replied.
“No… I will wait for him.”
Then, Shiori tapped on Masami’s shoulder and said.
“He won’t come back down here.”
Masami looked at Shiori.
“It is the time for him to cook the dinner for us. So, he won’t come back down until we finished our dinner and also the washing of dishes.”
Masami shifted her attention back to her gaming monitor.
“Then, I will wait for him.”
Shiori smirked and smiled at Masami.
“You are a very stubborn girl, Masami.”
“If you only talk about gaming, then I would say, YES!”
Shiori burst into laughter, while she was heading back to the store’s counter. Then, Mizuki walked closer toward Masami and said.
“Masami, congratulation! You have won.”
Masami turned around and looked at Mizuki.
“No, I did not. If the Killing Spree had not lower its headshot damage ratio since its last updates. At this close range, I’m already dead.”
Mizuki shook her head and replied.
“You won simply because of you made our Sensei leaves his armchair. Especially, he always considers that armchair as his throne.”
Masami pondered a moment and said.
“It still doesn’t make sense to me. First, we are at a tie. Then in this match, definitely I will lose to him due to low HP. Such that, he got the advantage to win over the game.”
Mizuki shook her head again.
“You don’t understand our Sensei. How long did you play against him?”
“More than an hour or so.”
“How many matches?”
“Now, it is seven to eight.”
“Umm… So, in total, fifteen matches within an hour.”
“Then, how was your friend doing?”
“Oh, Rin. She was one to two within fifteen minutes.”
Mizuki looked at Kotone, then pointed at Masami and said.
“Ugh… Now, we got another love rival right here.”
Kotone stared at Masami angrily and said.
“NO! Our Sensei already got us. He doesn’t need a third lover in here.”
All of a sudden, Shiori shouted from the store’s counter.
“Mizuki and Kotone, who said you two are his number one and number two lover? Everyone in here knows I’m his number one and the only lover.”
Mizuki and Kotone glanced over the store’s counter for a second. Then, Kotone spoke out.
“You just ten years old. It is NO for you. However, Mizuki and I already are grown up. We would be able to take care of him.”
Shiori had stood on her stool again and glowered at Kotone.
“I will be eleven by next month!”
“Whatever, you are still under age. But for us, I’m twenty-four and Mizuki is twenty-five. So, we could be able to become his wife… Shiori-chan, don’t worry, we will also take care of you too. Hehe…”
Shiori glowered at Kotone.
“No way! He doesn’t need you two. Only me, he will be fine.”
Meanwhile, Rin turned to Masami and said.
“Tsk, little girl and old ladies with pervert middle-age man. For me, for sure I won’t fall in love with the store’s owner.”
Masami put a finger on her lips and said.
“Sheesh! Don’t say that in here.”
“Oh well. Anyway, I believe you aren’t leaving here until he is back, right?”
“Yes. I will stay here.”
“Never mind, at least we got free drinks, potato chips and soft candies in here.”
Mizuki suddenly turned around and stared at Rin.
“Who said you won?”
<<< === === >>>
Afterwards, Shiori asked Mizuki and Kotone to look after the store for a moment, while she went upstairs to have dinner. An hour later, Shiori came back down to the store. She went over to Masami and said.
“He said, you better leave. There is no way which you could beat him at this moment.”
Masami turned to Shiori and said.
“I know. But I need him to point out my mistake during the match.”
Shiori rolled her eyes and then replied.
“He won’t teach you, Masami… Or should I address you as Keisei?!”
Masami blushed and glanced up to the ceiling. It was because she was believed no one would recognized her in the store. Afterwards, Shiori also looked at Rin and said.
“How about you, Keikoku?”
Rin was shocked and rolled her eyes immediately.
“Umm… I think we could… Masami! Masami! MASAMI! MA…SA…MI!”
Rin was shouting near Masami. However, Masami had not respond at all. Suddenly, the store owner went downstairs. But he was heading outside of the store. Once, Masami had realized his presence. She ran after him immediately.
Meanwhile, Shiori looked at Rin and said.
“Rin, you better tell your friend to stop trying. He won’t teach her.”
“I try, but as you can see. Masami is a very stubborn girl.”
Shiori looked heavenward and then suddenly glanced over the store’s counter and said.
“Don’t you two had work to do in the maid cafe?”
Mizuki smirked and said.
“Haha… I totally forgot… There is a problem in our kitchen and I was hoping our Sensei could came over to check that out for us… Haha…”
Then, Mizuki turned to Kotone and then hit Kotone’s head with her signature hand-chop gesture.
“Argh, why are you hitting me, Mizuki?”
“Kotone, suppose you should reminder me earlier.”
Shiori breathe out heavily.
“I will tell him when he came back. So, you two could go back to your maid cafe and wait for him there.”
Mizuki and Kotone nodded in agreement and then they went back to the maid cafe.
<<< === === >>>
It was already in late evening when Masami had run after the store owner. She was following him to a convenience store. Soon after, the store owner had finished up buying his groceries. Masami had stepped up towards the store owner and asked.
“Could you help me out? Please.”
The store owner looked at Masami for a moment, but he had not say a word to her. Afterwards, he was heading back to his Internet cafe. Masami had decided to keep on stalking him until he would give her an answer. A moment later, both of them had returned back to the Internet cafe. Meanwhile, Shiori had stood in front of Masami when she walked into the store.
“Masami, could you please stop following him?!”
“Why? I need an answer from him.”
“He won’t give you an answer… Umm… I should say he couldn’t give you an answer.”
Masami was puzzled by Shiori’s words.
“He cannot speak.”
“Umm… I can only say this to you. A while ago, he was in an accident. Such that he lost his larynx.”
“Huh? What is that?”
“Don’t you go to high school? In human anatomy, the larynx is common called the voice box.”
Masami rested her chin in her palm and looked thoughtful.
“Oh, I see.”
Shiori narrowed her eyes and said.
“You girls should start to study more instead of play FPS for all day long.”
“Umm… Wait, how would you know that word?”
Shiori rolled her eyes.
“From textbook! Sigh… He is right. Beautiful girl had nice boobs doesn’t usually has a brain.”
Masami glowered at Shiori.
“I was thinking. You are only ten. How would you know such a word?”
“Seriously, your high school doesn’t teach you, human anatomy?!”
Masami looked into Shiori’s eyes.
“Some, but not that. However, are they teaching human anatomy in your elementary school?!”
Shiori smirked at Masami.
“Sigh… I don’t go to school. I self-study at home, which is here. Haha…”
Masami rested her chin in her palm again.
“Oh, I see… Wait! What? At your age, you must attend elementary school. How can be possible for you to skip that?”
Shiori smirked at Masami again.
“It is my secret, and that isn’t your concern. Anyway, now you know that he won’t give you an answer. So, you and your friend should leave here now.”
Meanwhile, Rin went over to the store’s counter. She looked at Masami and said.
“It is late. We better go now. Once, the gate was closed. Then, we cannot get back to our dorm.”
Masami clenched her teeth, and she said nothing. Then, Rin turned to Shiori and said.
“We’ll be back!”
Shiori narrowed her eyes.
“You better not.”
Finally, Masami and Rin had left the Internet cafe. Meanwhile, the store owner had gone over the maid cafe and gave Mizuki and Kotone a hand in order to fix the plumbing problem inside their kitchen. Finally, the store went back to a quiet mood, Shiori glanced up to the ceiling when she was having a flashback that was related her first day in here. The first time when Shiori called the store owner as her father.