Chapter 20:

Explosions in the night

BRO: Battle Royale Online

A metallic crack sounded on the ground floor. Immediately, silence fell on our group and the tension rose. Rushing footsteps echoed, followed by indistinct murmurs. Our enemies had entered the factory. Judging by the noise they were making, there must have been at least ten of them.

Occasionally, we heard the sound of voices. Down below, our opponents seemed to be arguing. Reaching over the railing of the staircase that led down into the factory, I saw some of our enemies. There was no harmony in their outfits and their coordination was almost non-existent. A clear impression came over me: this team had just been formed. None of these players seemed to have cooperated before. Then a deep voice rang out, cutting short my analysis.

"Milena Starlust! If you surrender now, I swear we won't make you suffer! Just to warn you: there are about ten of us in here, and more than double that number outside. You don't stand a chance!"

The red-haired girl who was rummaging through her crate of explosives stopped immediately.

She turned in the direction of the voice and barked with a smile, "Go to hell!"

The man laughed and said, "I was hoping you would say that! Come on guys, we can finally put her back in her place!"

Sounds of running rang out right away. I turned to my nemesis.

"Why did you say that? You could have at least tried to negotiate! We don't even know what these guys want from you!"

She spat on the ground.

"I hate these guys, they're so weak they feel they have to gang up like hyenas to even have a chance against me. But then, this is far from the first time this has happened to me."

It was not uncommon for mid-level players to team up against a high-ranked player. But if what their leader had said was true, thirty players sounded a bit excessive to me!

Seeing my surprised face, Milena continued with a contrite look, "Those idiots can't stand a woman standing above them, and even less a woman like me!"

It had to be said that I didn't like her either, but seeing the sad smile on her lips made my blood boil. Who did these guys think they were? I began to understand better why Milena had become the way she had: it was not she who had wanted to change, but this world and the players in it who had forced her. Her violent and provoking attitude was only a response to what she had been through. She had been forced into the role of a villain, and to defend herself she had decided to sublimate it. I could only imagine what she must have been thinking at the time: if the world wanted to make her a monster, then she would be the most terrible monster this world has ever known.

"Oh, don't you dare feel sorry for me! If things are the way they are, it's because I wanted them to be, okay?"

It smelled like a lie, but for her, it was a matter of honor. I nodded before turning my attention back to our enemies below.

A head poked out from behind one of the machines that littered the ground floor. I pulled the trigger of my gun and a shower of bullets rained on my target. Or rather around my target. With my bad hand, I was unable to aim properly. I sighed, this was not going to be easy. Milena came to lie down next to me, leaving Rin a little behind. She drew her heavy machine gun and generously showered our opponents with a deadly rain. Sparks flew in all directions as her bullets ricocheted against the steel machines. A crystalline laugh escaped from her mouth as her smile lifted the corners of her lips, revealing her true face: that of a demon.

Emerging on some sort of huge steel wheel, a man raised his weapon and fired in our direction. We immediately fell to the ground. I raised my sword arm slightly and pulled my trigger in his direction. The recoil took my hand away and my gun spat out its deluge in all directions. A beep sounded, I had got him. Surprised, Milena and I looked at each other before bursting into laughter together.

Talk about a stroke of luck!

Seeing us distracted, the other opponents started advancing. We could only see them intermittently as they moved out of their shelters, but one thing was certain: they were moving dangerously fast. Moving from cover to cover of all the machines and other metal structures that littered the floor, they were not taking any risks.

Rin, who had remained a little behind, suddenly exclaimed, "Behind us!"

I turned around in a flash, ready to eliminate any threat. I faced Rin who was pointing her weapon straight at the opening. Quickly backing away, my partner stumbled and caught herself on the railing that surrounded our perch. A hand appeared against the edge of the door and a man stepped inside. I instantly drew my knife and threw it at the intruder. I had thrown it with the wrong hand, but the weapon still flew straight at its target. With a hoarse scream, the man collapsed in the doorway with my knife stuck in his throat. A beep sounded.

Milena turned for a second and widened her eyes at the sight of the corpse with a metal sliver in its neck.

"Nice shot for a cripple!"

A laugh escaped my lips almost despite myself. I had to admit it: I had been lucky! In truth I had aimed at my opponent's torso, thinking that his throat was too narrow for my bad aim. I shook my head, I wasn't doing so bad with my other hand after all!

I crawled towards Rin to make sure she was okay, stood up, and helped her get back on her feet. Well, she was fine. Only, if one opponent had climbed the outside stairs, then others were sure to follow. The situation was turning.

Suddenly, the shooting stopped and Milena turned to me, "Magazine!"

After such a deluge of steel, my nemesis was out of bullets. I immediately ran to the explosive crate and plunged my hands into it in search of a heavy machine gun magazine. After a few seconds of bearing Milena's insistent gaze, I found one and threw it at her. She caught it in mid-air, thanked me without even looking at me, and inserted it into her weapon. Her devilish smile reappeared on her lips. As if our minds had connected I thought:

Here we go again!

It was as if Milena had some kind of influence on me. Her laughter and her mocking face… They were dangerously contagious. Only, I hadn't decided if I liked it or not yet. While wondering if it might be a good thing, I crawled back to the railing, leaving Rin behind to watch the outside opening. I positioned myself to Milena's left and fired a barrage of bullets at our opponents in turn.

Milena sighed, straightened up, and moved away from the edge.

She seemed quite upset as she turned to me, "I’m getting tired of this, let's change our method."

She plunged her hands into the box of explosives and let out a small, joyful exclamation. Then she came back to me and lay down beside me again.

In her hands, four grenades were waiting for their time.

She whispered in my ear, "If you don't want to burn your eyebrows, you'd better stand back a bit!"

With her everlasting devilish smile, she pulled the pin and threw the grenades at our opponents. Without delay, cries of confusion rang out, soon followed by the deafening sound of explosions. The building shook dangerously as the blasts echoed against the metal walls. Three beeps sounded, followed by three familiar icons.

Looking at her work with gleaming eyes, a look of satisfaction came over her face.

Further down, a voice shouted, "Oh Milena! Do you want to kill us all? If you go on like this, the whole building will collapse!"

"Bringing down the factory on the vermin who have invited themselves in? What a great idea!"

I swallow.

She's not serious, is she?

I turned to her and her falsely pensive face. Despite her acting, I sensed real indecision in her. She shook her head, then turned to Rin and gave her a reassuring smile. No, of course not. With her friend by her side, she would never risk blowing everything up. She'd probably make it, and I'd more or less manage despite my injuries, but Rin would never make it out unscathed.

The deep voice came again, "Okay if that's the way you want to play it then we'll play it too!"

He left a second of floating as if to create suspense, then shouted, "Bring the rocket launcher!"

I was stunned. My temporary ally's toothy grin also disappeared. Rin's small voice rang out as she hiccuped in surprise.

A rocket launcher? This can't be! Where did they get that? It's super rare! Unless it's a bluff?

I was thinking at full speed. Yes, it had to be a bluff... This weapon was far too difficult to find in a tournament, and they would never be crazy enough to use it indoors unless they wanted to bury us all…

A wave of agitation swelled among our opponents, and then the rustling of clothes betrayed their changing positions. Some of them were sticking out slightly from their new shelters. They seemed to have split into two parts, leaving a space in the middle. Such an arrangement could only mean one thing: they weren't bluffing.

Next to me, Milena was wide-eyed, waiting patiently for confirmation that our opponents had such a weapon. She had her answer when heavier footsteps echoed. A murmur ran through the opposing ranks as we remained silent. As we cowered behind our covers, the wide barrel of a metallic weapon emerged from a machine. The barrel was pointed straight at us, a missile at its center.

They had not lied! We were faced with a rocket launcher. We froze in our tracks with fear. Suddenly, a shout broke through the stupor that had gripped our group.


Driven by one of her extraordinary vital reflexes, Milena dashed and jumped over the railing, ready to crash into the slab of the factory. If I wanted to live, I only had a second to follow her. To stay here would condemn me to certain death.

As I dashed forward, my eyes met the terrified gaze of my former partner. Behind me, Rin was still frozen.

I planted my feet on the metal structure and stopped short. I couldn't leave her there. Stifling an expletive, I pivoted on the spot and lunged at her. I was so stupid. Why was I spending my time putting myself in danger to save this girl I barely knew? I had a goal too! So why couldn't I bring myself to leave her behind?

As if the world had slowed down, Rin looked into my eyes. Their clear blue clouded with fear. As I put my free arm around her waist to pull her along, her eyes screamed at me to get away, as if she wanted me to leave her and save myself. Except I didn't agree. I refused to let her die now. Even if I knew there was no way we would both survive to the end, I still wanted our team to last as long as possible.

On the other side of the railing, Milena was diving towards the ground. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw me running towards Rin and her face froze in shock.

Behind me, a deafening bang rang out. All the walls of the building seemed to shake just from the shock of the sound wave. Clutching my shoulder, Rin stared at a point behind me, her eyes wide in terror. I didn't need to turn around to know what was the cause of such an expression: the rocket had just been fired, and it was coming straight at us.

Not wasting a second more, I swung around and passed through the doorway with superhuman speed. Despite my injured leg, I picked myself up and leaped over the railing. Thanks to Milena's ointment, I felt no pain. However, it could do nothing against the pain that was sure to come when we'd hit the ground of the square several meters below.

Emerging under the starry sky, only the wind whistled in my ears, and a strange silence came over me. The kind of calm that only preceded a storm. Looking down, I saw several opposing players. In total, five enemies were waiting for me to land. Their team had probably already surrounded the building.

Suddenly, a huge detonation erupted. Behind us, a monumental explosion ripped through the night sky and across the roof of the factory.

The shockwave carried a burning blast that hit me head-on. And in an instant, we were propelled towards the firmament.

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon