Chapter 15:

There' s always a bigger fish

BRO: Battle Royale Online

On the way out of the forest, we hardly talked. It was not a coldness that had come between us, but rather a kind of mutual understanding. If neither of us spoke, it was rather for fear of breaking the atmosphere that had been established and returning to our old debate. But in the silence, a strange joy overwhelmed us. Suddenly, I stopped, my ear alert. In front of me, Rin froze as well, and we looked up at the sky at the same time. The humming had resumed.

We should have been moving away from the drone, but it seemed to be chasing us. I looked at my map to make sure we hadn't taken a wrong turn, but we hadn't. We were still heading straight towards the Ruined City, towards a district further north than where we had met. Only the noise did not seem to be decreasing.

Without a sound, I signaled to Rin to start walking again. As quickly as my injured leg would allow, we set off into the forest. Once the distance between us and the ravine had doubled again, I stopped and crouched in the thicket. At my gesture, Rin did the same. Looking up into the treetops, we turned our ears to the sound. The whirring sound was still there. Worse, instead of fading as we had hoped, it seemed to have increased in volume. Soon the drone appeared in our field of vision.

That could only mean one thing: we were being followed. If the player had managed to follow us this far, it was most likely that he knew where we were. Maybe he could even see us at that very moment.

I whispered my instructions to Rin, "We don't have the choice anymore, if we stay here, we are dead. We have to take our chances and find shelter in the ruins of the city."

She nodded and displayed up her map to estimate the distance we had to cover.

I continued in a low tone, "We’d better split up, we'll have a better chance of escaping him that way. Hopefully, he won't know who to follow and we'll get a head start."

Rin's eyes widened.

"Split up? What about your leg? How are you going to do that? You'll never be able to run! No, you need me."

Indeed, she was right.

"I won't leave you alone, I want us both to go. If we're together, we'll both have a much better chance of getting out."

I thought about her proposal for a few seconds and then nodded, convinced. I displayed my map and pointed to the shape of a ruined building that stood a little away from the forest to the south.

"On my signal, we run straight to that building for cover. Even for such a good player, storming a guarded base is a difficult task."

And if my hunch was right, our opponent would never leave the forest. He had to be the lonely spot I had seen the day before.

My partner nodded, then silence fell on our duo. This time its nature was different from the previous one, the tension was palpable.

I stared at the drone as it flew overhead, then saw it head back north, deeper into the forest. Immediately, deciding to abandon all stealth, we dashed south, straight towards the Ruined City.


Rin put an arm under my shoulders and we took off through the thicket, the vegetation whipping our faces. Soon, the city came into view. But behind us, the hum did not abate. On the contrary, I now had the distinct impression that we were being followed, the rustle of the plants being pushed aside swishing behind us.

Suddenly, we left the forest. The sun was already beginning to decline, but its brightness was enough to dazzle us for a few seconds. I almost stumbled, but Rin hastily picked me up, her eyes already accustomed to the sudden change in light. A dry riverbed marked the border between the forest and the more urban area. Luckily, a bridge crossing it was only a few dozen meters away. Without waiting any longer, we set off in its direction. Behind us, the forest was already fading away and with it the whirring of the drone. I was about to slow down when the ground exploded at my feet with a bang.

He doesn't seem to be following us in the open but he's still going at it!

Without the cover of the trees, we were at the mercy of the gunman. He had missed his first shot, but the next one could be the right one.

The bridge was only ten meters away and, after stepping over an old rusty safety rail, we leaped onto the concrete. Our footsteps echoed on the road. Another bang echoed, and the window of an old abandoned car exploded not far from us. A few gasoline-powered vehicles from another era littered the bridge and the road leading to it. Maybe some of them were still roadworthy but we didn't have time to worry about that.

I felt a gaze on the back of my neck and dove behind a van with peeling paint. Rin let out a cry of surprise as I dragged her down with me. My shoulder hit the concrete hard, causing me to grumble in pain. A bang echoed and the metal of the van creaked under the impact. My thigh throbbed more than ever after that last effort. Gritting my teeth, I forced myself to open my eyes and ignore the pain. Behind this shelter, we should be protected from our opponent's bullets, but one thing was certain: we couldn't stay here, completely exposed.

I told Rin to get ready to run and unhooked my sniper rifle from my back. I lay down behind the van and slid my rifle underneath. This way, I should be able to shoot without my opponent being able to shoot back. With my eye in the scope, I saw a glint of light shine through the trees before disappearing. I fired at once. With a thud, my bullet lodge in the trunk of a tree, where the glint had been shining just before. Immediately, I shouted to Rin to move forward.

Without missing a beat, she sprinted for the cover of another vehicle. After a quick run, she crouched down behind a black car, about fifteen meters ahead of me. She stared at me with a frightened look on her face, as if to say, "And now, what do we do"

Judging that our adversary was too far away to hear us, I shouted to her, "Now it's your turn to cover me!"

Surprised, she made round eyes before nodding slowly and drawing her weapon.

I straightened up, taking care not to step outside the cover of the van, and put my sniper rifle away. I held out a hand towards my partner and raised five fingers. Gradually, I lowered them. When there were none left, I clenched my fist and dashed out into the open. Rin loosely held out her pistol towards the forest and fired.

She still didn't seem to bother to aim. Or rather, I had the impression that she was trying to, but her shots going off in all directions, led me to believe otherwise.

Suddenly, a much louder bang echoed, and the concrete exploded right where I was about to step. I froze in shock and fell to the ground. Without even taking the time to check if I was still in one piece, I hastily got up and dived to join my partner behind her shelter. Leaning against a flat tire, I breathed with difficulty. I had almost died.

To be able to shoot with such precision and at such a distance, there was no doubt that we were facing a very high-level player. Either his rifle was of legendary class or his talent was immense. I shook my head in dismay. It was probably both.

We were now only a few meters from the end of the bridge. Once we would have passed it, there won't be any shelter until we reached the brick house I had indicated earlier. A hundred meters in the open. It was a risky gamble. But we had no choice.

I stood up slowly, deaf to the pain radiating from my thigh, then reached out a hand to my partner. She put her arm behind my shoulders and we got into position. With a glance, I confirmed that she was ready. Slight tremors seemed to come from her body, but her eyes were as determined as ever. A low blast sounded, and then we dashed forward.

The wind and the bullets whistled in our ears but we did not slow down. Every time my leg faltered and I seemed to slow down, Rin supported me with a grunt, staring straight ahead.

Soon, the old building grew in our field of vision. A little more effort and we were there. As we covered the last few meters to our goal, Rin was almost dragging me along. I had told her several times to go ahead, but she had never abandoned me. I was suddenly ashamed that I had tried to leave her behind earlier.

My partner pushed open the creaky old door and rushed in, pulling me after her. We threw ourselves on the floor. Behind those thick stone walls, we were finally safe. Lying against each other, we panted loudly. I wanted to say that she was a jinx and that it was her fault if we always found ourselves in this kind of situation, but after what she had just done for me, I didn't dare.

Slowly, we took a breath and the tension gradually subsided. Since we had entered the house, no more shots had been fired. And if my instincts had not deceived me, our adversary had plunged back into the forest. We were out of danger.

The late afternoon glow only penetrated our shelter through the thin grooves in the door, plunging us into a reassuring semi-darkness. With the tension relieved, sleep now came to us at once.

Before I collapsed from exhaustion, I stood up, making Rin grumble, then approached the old door. Opening it slightly, I glanced around. No one was there. I sighed with relief. It looked like I had been right: once we were out of his territory, the other player would not give chase. Reassured, I went back to sit next to my teammate, already falling from fatigue.

"I hope I’m not interrupting anything?"

Suddenly, a voice rang out, followed by the familiar clatter of a rifle being cocked.