BRO: Battle Royale Online
With my weapon in hand, I entered the zone. With each step I took, the tension grew within me as the echo of the detonations grew. Although the sun had set, the sky still shone with a crimson glow that was beginning to blend with the deep blue of the night. Hiding in the elongated shadows of the buildings, I walked quickly towards my final fight. I was determined to win, but not by hiding. It was by fighting with all my strength that I intended to achieve victory. After abandoning Rin to her fate, I had no choice: I had to win. Otherwise, I would have done all this for nothing.
Suddenly, a huge shout rose up between the buildings about twenty meters away from me. It was the same voice again. High-pitched, slightly hoarse, and above all, full of palpable pain. I shuddered. The person who had just shouted was out of the game. I would never let Rin suffer the same fate. Just the thought of my partner —or rather "former partner"— screaming like that was enough to drive me crazy. I could see her cornered, trembling, mortally wounded, screaming in pain as she waited for death to come. No, I could not let that happen. Even if it cost me, I had done the right thing.
I waited for the familiar beep a few seconds to announce the player's death, but it didn't come. Perhaps his opponent had not deemed it necessary to finish him off and had preferred to let him bleed to death. Unless he was wounded too, and unable to deliver the fatal blow.
Crouching against a building, at the corner of a street that seemed to overlook the confrontation, I stretched my head out of my shelter. A man appeared in my field of vision. His dark blue hair framed a face split by a wide, toothy grin. His eyes were fixed on a dark alleyway where his wounded prey was probably lying. I swallowed. I knew that odious face all too well.
The sight of that deceitful player made me want to vomit. Just as he had said, he had made it to the finals and, having knocked out one of the finalists, seemed well placed to win the tournament. Anger seized me, I couldn't let him win. I couldn't let him steal my victory! My face distorted by a grin of fury, I leaped out of my shelter and brandished my weapon at my opponent.
This time the victory is mine!
I pulled the trigger and a deluge of metal fell on Virion.
At the sound of the detonations, he immediately turned his head to face me. His face showed visible concern, but when his gaze met mine, his toothy grin reappeared. Immediately, he dived to his right and disappeared behind the corner of a ruined building opposite where he had been looking. My bullets got lost in the street behind him and ended up in a dilapidated facade, tearing small clouds of plaster off it. I grumbled. I had missed him.
One knee to the ground, my eye in the sights, I stared at the corner of the street where he had disappeared. The second he showed his face, I would riddle him with bullets. Even if his superhuman speed had allowed him to survive my first attack, I wasn't about to let him get away with it a second time. My rapid breathing was coming in gasps. My finger trembled jerkily on the trigger. I couldn't afford to miss again. I stood still for a few seconds, waiting for him to reappear, when suddenly a burst of familiar laughter broke out, followed by the sound of a frantic run over cobblestones. The voice of the deceiver rang out again.
"What's wrong, Mordred? Are you not going to follow me?"
And the laughter started again. My blood ran cold. Without taking the time to think, I dashed after him.
When I arrived at the crossroads where he had stood earlier, I slowed down to scan each of the alleys that led off from there. In the darkness, I could not find the dying player and, after inspecting the other alleys through my sights, I decided to go after my opponent. I managed to find him without difficulty by following the noise of his race, and quickly caught up with him. He was fast, but I was even faster. Soon his back came to me as he turned into a new alley. I slowed very slightly, then displayed my holographic map and zoomed in on the area of our confrontation. Without wasting any more time, I turned behind Virion, then left his trail by turning into another alley.
With difficulty, I made my way through the twisted passageway filled with strange crates and rusty bicycles that were slowing me down. Beyond the walls, Virion's vicious laughter reached me. If he wanted me to follow him, it could only mean one thing: he had a plan. He would never fight fair. Throwing myself behind him without thinking was the last thing to do. I had momentarily lost my reasoning skills in anger, but I had recovered. This time I was going to get my revenge. I would never again be a puppet in his palm. If I had not been mistaken, then the tables would soon be turned.
As I reached the end of the narrow passage that seemed to lead to a perpendicular street, the echo of a stampede rang out. The noise grew louder. Its origin was approaching at full speed. I smiled softly, I had guessed right. I braced my rifle against my shoulder and pointed it at the street opposite. Immediately, a blurred figure passed me by. I pulled the trigger and a torrent of bullets rained down on my opponent. This time I was sure, Virion was dead.
Only, there was not a single scream. My target seemed to have vanished into thin air and my shots riddled the wall behind him. I looked down.
With a superhuman reflex, the deceiver had ducked at lightning speed.
Crouching on the ground, he looked up and cracked a reptilian smile. Immediately, he pounced on me, the barrel of his light machine gun pointed straight at my skull. Instinctively, I shifted my head and the bullets whistled in my ears. A sharp burn ran down my cheek and scalp, but I ignored the pain. Using my own rifle, I struck his violently away from me, then dropped one hand from my riffle and grabbed my opponent's collar roughly. Unbalanced as he was, I pulled on him then pushed him to the ground. He slumped against the paving stones of the street with a hoarse grunt.
Without giving him time to recover, I placed a knee on his chest to immobilize him and struck his rifle again with even more force. Under the violence of the blow, he dropped his weapon and it landed a few meters away from us. Letting go of his collar, I replaced my second hand on my gun and pressed its barrel against his forehead. Despite the sticky liquid running down my face, a victorious smile spread across my lips. I had won.
I never thought he could be so fast. I thought I had the agility advantage, but it seemed I was wrong. At best we were evenly matched, but with the feat he had just achieved, I wondered if he wasn't even faster. But this time, I had triumphed. With my gun pointed at his skull at point-blank range, there was no way he could get away. It was time for revenge. He had humiliated me, he had mutilated me, and worst of all: he had hurt Rin. And that, I would never forgive him. My smile grew even wider, and it was in a disdainful tone that I snapped at him.
"You should have killed me when you had the chance!"
Putting back his snake mask, Virion answered me with an amused tone.
"Is that so? But that's just it! I thought I had killed you! How did you survive?"
He shook his head, then continued in an unpleasant tone.
"No, more importantly, where is the girl who was with you? Did you kill her so she wouldn't get in your way? No... Let me guess... You left her somewhere, didn't you? You didn't want her to follow you into danger!"
I didn't answer and just gritted my teeth. I hated this man. He burst out laughing. I struck his skull with the end of my weapon to silence him immediately. He stopped and let out a low moan. But his smile did not disappear.
I grimaced and spat at him in a hateful tone, "Say your prayers Virion. You will never win this tournament."
Then, I smiled the same odious smile he had given me so many times.
"You can count yourself lucky to have been finished off by the winner of the tournament."
As if he had not heard my words and did not realize the position he was in, he looked innocent and said with an absent-minded tone, "It's a pity she's not here... You know, you would have had a greater chance if you were two against two."
Immediately, his mocking smile reappeared and split his face into an obnoxious sneer. Instantly, I felt a sharp stare on the back of my neck. How could I have forgotten! There were two of them when we met them!
A bang echoed and I plunged backward, disappearing into the alleyway from which I had emerged earlier. Behind me, Virion laughed as the bullet lodged in a slab beside his head, kicking up shards of stone.
He roared, "Run, Mordred! Run, Mordred!"
As he rose to his feet to fetch his weapon, lying nearby, I heard him whisper a final sentence, "You should have killed me when you had the chance…"
I swore. I had failed again. Jumping over the crates that littered the alley and weaving in and out of the rusty old bikes, I ran away from my opponents as quickly as possible. From the trajectory of the shot, Khrushchev must have been on the roofs. In this district, the buildings were not very high, and all very close together. If he followed me from the heights, I had no chance to escape.
Think, Mordred! Think! You can still get away! You just have to find out how!
As I emerged from the narrow passageway into an alleyway I had used earlier, Virion's sadistic laughter rang out again, along with the echo of running just behind me. I had to run, and fast. Above me, the sound of shattering tiles announced the arrival of my second pursuer. I immediately took off running and went up the alley. Once again, I felt an icy chill on the back of my neck and instinctively leaped to the side. Less than a second later, a bang echoed and the ground exploded where I had been standing.
Despite my burning lungs and heavy legs waiting to give way under my weight, I continued my frantic run. Turnpike after turnpike, alley after alley, I rushed forward with all my might. If I slowed down even for a moment, I would sign my death warrant.
As I ran, I thought of a plan and assessed my situation. Two players were following me. If I counted Rin and I, that would bring the number to four. And if I added the agonizing player I had passed earlier who was probably dead by now, then the total came to five. The five finalists were there. Which meant only one thing: I was facing the last two players.
If I beat them, I win the tournament.
Khrushchev and Virion. Only those two elite players who were chasing me relentlessly stood between me and victory. My mind paused at this thought.
Except that one of them is no longer behind me!
Without me even realizing it, Virion had stopped following me. I couldn't see him anywhere, but one thing was certain: he hadn't given up. His disappearance could only mean one thing: he had a plan. Right now, he must have been preparing his trap and waiting for me to fall into his nets. As if I would let him! Determined to get away from him, I turned off again and came to a wider crossroads where four roads with rusty vehicles met.
Immediately, a cheerful voice rang out, "Ah, I almost waited!"
Just ahead of me, Virion stood in the middle of the intersection, his light machine gun pointed straight at me. I slowed hastily and staggered before stopping right in front of him. My eyes widened in surprise and fear as I gulped. Once again, I had failed.
Behind me, the clatter of crushing flagstones told me that Khrushchev had arrived. The sniper had jumped from his perch and was now standing in my back. I didn't have to turn around to feel his sights on my neck. I swallowed hard. It was bad. Very bad.
Virion spread his arms wide and mockingly said to me, "Well, Mordred? How does it feel to fail so close?"
I wanted to scream. Being killed so close to victory, and especially by his hand, made me sick to my stomach. I felt like giving up. My legs gave way under my body and I fell to my knees. It was all over, I had lost. I had no chance of getting out of this.
But is that a reason to give up?
As all hope left me, a small voice inside me seemed to urge me to continue. I silenced it. It was too late, I had lost.
And you're going to accept that?
The voice echoed inside me again. It sounded strangely familiar, even though it wasn't my own. Such optimism was not like me.
You have a goal, don't you? You'll do anything to win the tournament, right? So win!
My eyes widened. I knew that voice! It was Rin's! Even though I had abandoned her and treated her horribly, she was right. I hadn't come this far to give up. I hadn't done all this for nothing. Gradually, a new wind of determination blew through me. I couldn't give up now. I had no right! Rin was counting on me!
Slowly, I stood up, lifted one leg, and put one foot on the ground. Virion immediately pointed his rifle at me.
"Hey! What are you doing?"
As if it weighed a ton, I lifted my second leg and planted my feet against the flagstones. I wasn't going to give up. I was going to win this tournament. For Rin.
Suddenly, I heard her voice again.
I shook my head.
Thank you, Rin, for giving me hope.
The voice rang out again.
What do you mean by "I'm coming"?
Suddenly, I lifted my head and turned in the direction of the shout. There, running straight towards me, in the flesh, was my partner waving at me.