BRO: Battle Royale Online
Leaning against a corner of the room, plunged into the darkness, a man was there. His smooth voice emerged from the shadows where his face was hidden. The man moved slowly closer as if he had all the time in the world.
"I suppose I don't need to tell you this, but don't move or I'll shoot."
With one hand, he tapped the beautiful light machine gun he was threatening us with.
Behind me, Rin flinched. I stood in front of her as if to protect her from the dangerous individual who was approaching us nonchalantly.
"How cute!" exclaimed the man, a cruel smile stretching his lips.
I shuddered, this player must be one of those who liked to play with their prey. And, judging by the sophisticated shape of the rifle he carried, he must have been a very good player, his weapon being of epic class at least.
The man came a little closer and looked down at my wounded leg.
"I see you are injured! So it was you who confronted Khrushchev! Coming to think of it, no, this wound looks a bit too old, and if Khrushchev had touched you, you would never have been alive, to begin with!"
The man exploded with a vicious laugh.
Khrushchev. That name was not unknown to me. In the top five of the current players, he was said to be the best sniper in the game, in addition to his strange fascination with Russian leaders of over a century ago.
"But then again, if you're here, you must have met my partner, right?"
Suddenly, I understood. Seeing my face lighting up, the player exclaimed, "Yes! A trap!"
So that's what it was! Knowing that this player and Khrushchev were a team, everything became much clearer! Khrushchev would patrol the forest, killing the players he came across, and if they tried to flee, he would simply drive them back to the city. They were then forced to cross the bridge and seek shelter from his fire. The first viable shelter being this house, his accomplice had only to wait here for his prey to fall into his net. And for their plan to be perfect, they probably had to arrange for Khrushchev to deliver the final blow so that the kill would be given to him and he would keep the camera. With the drone flying overhead, he could then sweep a wider area and drive more of the fleeing players back to his teammate.
There's no doubt about it, their plan is perfect... We had been completely fooled.
Two top players teaming up like that was almost cheating, especially if they weren't fighting fair. I grimaced.
"Oh, you don't have to make that kind of face!" he spat at me, before continuing in a theatrical tone. "Any means are good to win!"
I... Yes, we agreed on that, but being on the victim's side was really unpleasant. Suddenly the man shouted:
"Come on, get up! You're going to get out of this building and wait nicely right outside the door for Khrushchev to shoot you!"
Rin gasped and hid behind me, shaking. As if to offer her a larger shield, I spread my arms.
The man smiled slightly, then addressed me directly, "But tell me, Mordred, I thought you were playing alone?"
My face flushed with surprise at the mention of my name.
The man laughed.
"Don’t worry, I just know the list of the highest-ranked and most promising players in BRO. Just be glad you're on it! But never mind, until Khrushchev arrives, why don't you tell me how you got that injury."
As if to show me what he was talking about, the man pressed the point of his rifle against my wound. I stifled a cry of pain, then gave him a murderous look which was answered with a malicious smile. Then, slowly, I began to recount my fight with the sniper earlier that morning. I didn't really understand why our opponent was making me talk like this, but if it could buy me time, I would do it gladly and only skip over the parts that involved my partner. Behind me, Rin had stopped shaking and was now listening intently. At the mention of how I had used the corpse, I heard her gasp in surprise, and the man in front of me burst out laughing.
"Ah, that must have been something! I wish I had been there to see it!"
Then the man turned his sharp gaze on the girl behind my back.
"What about her? Where did you get such a thing from?"
His voice was immediately tinged with disdain. He seemed to have a deep resentment for Rin or any other beginner for that matter. That must be why he had devised such a plan with Khrushchev, to easily get rid of the newbies who were inevitably going to run away from the drone that was following a high-level player.
I did not answer. The man scrutinized my face for a long time, looking for a flaw in my resolve, but I only gave him a defiant look.
The man laughed silently, a frankly satisfied look on his face.
"All right, Khrushchev will be here soon, get out of here."
My heart missed a beat. I was flabbergasted. Was this man with such a vicious smile really going to let us go?
"Come on, let's go! Move it!" he suddenly barked. "I don't have all day!"
The man grabbed my arm and pulled me to my feet. I helped Rin up hastily, then we pushed open the old door, exiting the brick building. Still behind us, the man came out, his rifle held high in front of him. With the tip of his gun, he indicated for me to go. I stood there, still hesitating, my gaze alternating between his light machine gun and the direction he was pointing.
Cutting short my doubts, the man said, "I’ll let you off the hook this time, Mordred. We'll say you bought your life with the story you just told me. Besides, you could make an effort! It's a beginner's trap, you're not supposed to fall into it!"
Ashamed, I nodded slowly.
"However, I warn you: this is the last time. If I ever cross your path again, I will shoot you without hesitation."
"Understood, I won't hesitate either."
"That's it! That's the Mordred I want to see!" he exclaimed in a cheerful tone, which contrasted with the tension in the air.
Then, turning to the girl standing a little behind me, he said in a deadly serious tone, "You’d better not slow him down. I don't know why he let a newbie like you get on his tail, but if I ever see you again, I'll shoot you right away. Got it?"
Rin swallowed, then nodded slowly. Immediately, the man's cheesy smile reappeared.
He pivoted, then before entering the house, turned around one last time.
"Hey, Mordred! I'm Virion, remember my name! I'm what you might call a shadow player, so I rarely appear in the rankings, but I can assure you I'm going to make a name for myself by winning this tournament!"
I nodded but didn't answer, I just wanted to get away from here as soon as possible. Who knew when that Virion would change his mind and shoot us?
Dragging Rin after me, who had been stunned for most of the exchange, I hurried away.
Virion... There was something deeply evil about that character who would take your life or leave it to you on a whim. And then that smile... I had always intensely disliked those who wore such a smile where superiority, narcissism, and malice were mixed.
I turned my attention back to my partner, she was still shaking. Leaving the little brick house far behind, we walked long enough for the sky to turn red. Luckily there didn't seem to be any players in the area, Virion and Khrushchev had probably eliminated them all by now. I shuddered.
What an elite team...
Once we were far enough, Rin came back to her and apologized softly, "I’m sorry, I couldn't do anything…"
I shook my head and answered piteously, "Don’t worry, I wasn't much better."
To tell the truth, I was ashamed of what had just happened, I could not do anything, I had been played from beginning to end, my life dancing in the hands of the deceiver who had set a trap for us. I swallowed. I'd rather face a squad of soldiers again than this guy. That's how cold he made me feel.
Then, as if to lighten the mood, Rin said, "Tonight I'm taking the first watch! You need to sleep to recover, this time count on me to handle everything!"
She gently thumped her chest as if to show me that she was trustworthy. Her cheerful tone swept away the dark clouds that hung over my head. A slight smile tinged my lips as I nodded. Happy that I trusted her, she jumped slightly.
We soon came to a building that was falling apart but whose walls were still standing and whose roof miraculously seemed to be intact. A section of the wall had collapsed and should allow us to watch the street without being seen in return.
"It will be perfect for the night," I said to a beaming Rin.
I quickly looked around the building for other entrances but saw none, all the windows were boarded up.
Perfect, even if we won't have any other way out in case of an attack, it'll be easier to protect us that way. Besides, with our clear view of the avenue, I hope we can avoid surprise attacks!
Satisfied, I nodded and entered the house, gun in hand. I walked around the interior, my eye on the lookout, my finger on the trigger. No one was there. Strangely enough, a single wooden table stood in the middle of the main room, a little to the side of the collapsed wall.
Entering the building in turn, Rin exclaimed, "Wood! Won't that be perfect for your fire?"
I shook my head, "Making a fire in the middle of town? You want to announce our position to all the players?"
Rin pouted, I had been a bit too harsh.
In a softer tone, I resumed, "No, we're going to lay it on its side and use it as protection. The one who will be on the watch will be on the side of the collapsed wall, while the other will hide behind the table to sleep."
With that, I walked over to the table and knocked on its deck to make sure it was solid. There was a dull sound. The wood seemed dense, probably even enough to stop a few bullets. Rin also approached and the two of us lifted the table a little out of the way before tipping it over on its side.
Immediately, I got behind it, eager to start my night as soon as possible. My legs were sticking out, but I didn't think that was too bad. Rin positioned herself a little further back, leaning against the half-collapsed wall from which she hid in the shadows. With my back against the concrete slabs, I thought about my day. Our last encounter was running on a loop in my head.
Virion... Imagining the different ways I was going to eliminate him was surprisingly soothing. So much so that, in a few minutes, I fell asleep.
Rin looked at the man who had fallen asleep behind her. Despite the mishaps they'd had and the argument they'd had earlier in the day, she was glad that their team was still going strong. As she surveyed the road from the cover of a nearly collapsed wall, she replayed the day's events in her mind. Everything she had experienced in such a short time seemed incredible. She had never imagined that she would have such intense experiences when she joined BRO! She thought to herself that if she had ever known what she was getting into this game, she would never have started it. When she thought about the fears she had had before downloading the game, a slight mocking laugh escaped her. How naive she had been! She had been afraid that people would laugh at her, or that she would get hurt, but she had never dared to imagine all the things she would go through and the encounters she would have.
Thinking of the man sleeping silently, his legs sticking out of his too-small-for-him protection, her face softened. It was a good thing she had met him. Without him, she would have died a good ten times already! She was well aware that she was often just a burden to her partner, but despite this, she made it a point to give everything she had. She wanted to help her benefactor, and she was ready to do anything for that. Determined, she brandished her fist towards the sky, soon it would be his turn to beg it for help.
At this last thought, she was surprised. Hadn't he already begged her for help? It was true that he had saved her countless times, but she had not been idle either! She had already saved his life several times! It was about time he started treating her as an equal. They may have been "partners", but there was an obvious balance of power: he commanded, she obeyed. It was logical, he had much more experience than she did. But even so, Rin would have liked him to rely on her a little more. A bit like now... A smile filled with benevolence and pride stretched her lips.
Yes... Soon, it would be his turn to rely on her.
Suddenly, footsteps echoed in the street. Rin flinched, and not daring to stick her head out of the shelter to look, turned back to the sleeper.
"Someone’s coming!" she whispered with a panicked voice.
But the other did not wake up.
A cheerful voice rose in the air.
"Ready or not, here I come!"
Rin froze, she had instantly recognized the cheesy voice whispering in the street. Virion!