Chapter 31:

Turnaround

BRO: Battle Royale Online


A click sounded.

But there was no detonation.

I had no more bullets. I swore.

But that's not possible! Did it really have to happen at a time like this? One bullet! Just one tiny bullet! Is that too much to ask for?

Seeing my discomfited air, Virion exulted before pushing me violently. Too dazed, I reacted with a one-second delay and he escaped from my grip. In an instant, he was upright and pointing his gun at me, a victorious smile on his face. Ready to do anything to make up for my mistake, I threw myself at him, knife first. Grabbing his light machine gun with both hands, he parried the blow and leaped back. Without giving me time to regain my balance, he pulled the trigger and his rifle spat a deadly rain in my direction. I dived to the side to dodge, but I was not fast enough. A bullet lodged in my arm, making me scream in pain. I fell to my knees, dropping my empty rifle.

My opponent slowly approached, sure of his victory. Although I was cornered, I did not give up. Patiently, I waited for him to get close enough to cut him down with a single stroke of the knife of my valid arm. Everything would rely on this move. I had to wait for the right moment and not let it slip away. To fail here would be to condemn me to death.

Virion approached and then stopped about two meters from me. He had understood. At this distance, he was out of reach. I would never be able to touch him before he put a bullet in my skull. The game was over. Painfully, my shoulders sagged as I let out a long, exhausted sigh.

That's it... That's how I die. After all these exhausting fights, this is how it all ends.

My opponent looked at me with a steady gaze. For the first time, Virion's face was not distorted by a mask of sadism and deceit. His eyes seemed almost compassionate. He opened his mouth to speak to me in a tone where all trace of mockery had disappeared.

"You fought well, Mordred. You can be proud of yourself. Now you have earned the right to rest."

His finger tightened slightly on his trigger as he spoke those fateful words. I closed my eyes, ready to receive the fatal blow.

He's right, maybe a little rest wouldn't hurt after all...

Then Virion pulled his trigger.

A click sounded.

But no detonation followed.

I suddenly opened my eyes again.

He's out of bullets!

It was almost too good to be true. Taking full advantage of his firepower, Virion had finally used up all his bullets.

My blood ran cold and, without wasting a single second, I threw myself at him.

With one arm wounded and unarmed, the only threat I could pose was from the knife in my good hand. Following this reasoning, Virion held up his weapon with both hands to protect himself in the direction he was sure the blow would come from. My knife split the air and struck his weapon with a metallic clang. Exactly as he had predicted. Only, he didn't see my other hand coming. Using all the momentum in my body, I swung my arm towards his face with all the energy of despair. Surprised by this unexpected attack, he reacted only too late and my fist came crashing down on his cheek. Immediately, a flash of pain radiated from my fingertips to my shoulder, causing me to grunt in pain. Under the impact, Virion staggered away from me. A large red spot widened on my arm where the bullet had hit me. Despite the pain, I smiled.

Just because this arm is almost unusable doesn't mean it's useless!

Once again separated, we locked eyes with each other, watching for the slightest weakness or opportunity to attack our opponent.

Suddenly, Virion threw his empty rifle at my head. I ducked to avoid it and when I looked up, found Virion drawing a black pistol that had been concealed in his clothes. He snapped the breech and pointed it at me.

"Farewell, Mordred. You've really given me a hard time."

An electric shock ran through my body. This was the moment. Without a second's thought, my body moved on its own and lunged at my opponent. I planted my feet in the ground and kicked it with all my strength to propel myself forward at lightning speed. With my knife thrust forth, my whole body became a deadly spear.

A wave of panic swept over Virion and he fired immediately. The bullet burned my cheek but I did not slow down. He fired again, but it was too late, my head had already passed his barrel. The bullet was lost in the street behind me as I moved closer to my opponent. Then suddenly, the spear that I was penetrated my opponent's neck. The outcome of the fight had been sealed in less than a second.

Blood rushed back into my enemy's mouth as a thick stream of scarlet gushed from the wound on his throat. With a smooth motion, I withdrew my blade and Virion collapsed to his knees. The flow seemed endless. Soon, his whole body was stained with crimson liquid. Blood spurted from the corner of his mouth. He tried to say something but nearly choked on his blood. As he spat out his precious vital liquid, fine bubbles formed at the corner of his lips. I had won.

His arms hanging limply down his body, he dropped his pistol to the ground. He knew it: he had lost. In a short while, the familiar beep would announce his death and he would be disconnected from the game. It was all over.

But strangely, the man would not die. Perhaps his determination was keeping him alive? Or more simply: perhaps he had improved his vitality so much that even a wound like that, which would have been fatal to anyone else, was not enough to finish him off? I shook my head. It no longer mattered. Nothing stood between me and victory. Once I had dealt the final blow to this harmless Virion, I would only have to face Khrushchev or try to persuade Rin to kill herself if she had ever survived. I smiled gently. Victory was mine.

I placed my knife against my opponent's neck. If he survived with his throat cut open, then I had no choice but to cut his head off. This wound was lethal by default: out of the ordinary vitality or not, no one could survive without their head.

"Farewell Virion."

Suddenly, a voice rang out as a figure approached.

"Mordred!"

I immediately turned in the direction of the voice. At the sight of her, I could not help but smile.

Rin!

She had survived! I was overjoyed. Our victory was complete. Rin nonchalantly approached the scene, a radiant smile on her face. Despite the many scratches on her body and the dust on her hair, I still felt the same way about her bright face. I was glad to see her.

Had he been able to do so, Virion would probably have turned around too. But in his state, he only flinched when he heard her voice. For him, the arrival of my partner meant only one thing: Khrushchev had lost. No one would come to save him now. The slim hope he had clung to had vanished. His defeat was inevitable.

When she reached us, her face twisted into a strange grimace. I understood immediately: there was just too much blood! This picture was probably a bit too gruesome for her. I laughed softly. Even though she was changing, her heart was still that of a beginner.

With the adrenaline dropping, my many wounds began to flare up as well. But without showing any sign of it, I addressed her in a cheerful tone.

"So Rin? Did you win against Khrushchev?"

She nodded and puffed out her chest with pride.

"Yes! I used my agility to lure him into an old ruined house before collapsing it on top of him!"

Her rosy cheeks gave her an undeniable charm despite the seriousness of the subject she was talking about.

"I'll have to thank Milena for her grenade!"

So that's how she'd won! I shook my head.

Not very noble, but I wasn't asking for more!

Deciding to postpone Virion's execution, I put my bloody knife back in its sheath, and motioned for Rin to come closer. She wrinkled her nose as she walked around Virion, then approached with a curious look on her face. At once, I put my good arm behind her shoulders and hugged her.

"I'm glad to see you alive."

She blinked several times in a daze, then stammered a reply, "Yes, so am I…"

As she left my arm, her face seemed noticeably redder. Catching my scrutinizing gaze, she turned away to face Virion.

"So Virion? Is this how you saw things ending? Who's the newbie now?" she spat with unfeigned animosity.

Even though he was at death's door, her disgust for our opponent did not waver one millimeter. She continued to mock him, waving her pistol under his nose, while my face slowly closed.

And now? Virion is almost dead already. Only Rin and I are left.

There could only be one winner. But there were two of us. If I wanted to win, I had no choice but to kill Rin. Or to make her kill herself. A deep sadness invaded my heart.

And after that... I'll never see her again.

Snapping out of my dark thoughts, I placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. She turned around with an inquisitive look. I sighed. It was time to say goodbye. With difficulty, I opened my mouth. The words didn't seem to want to come out and each syllable weighed a ton. I articulated a single word. The simplest one, "Rin…"

At the tone of my voice, her smile disappeared immediately. She understood what I was trying to say. Her face expressed nothing but tenderness as she looked me in the eyes with surprising calm.

"Don't worry. I know very well what I have to do. You won't have to dirty your hands."

And she smiled at me with a deep melancholy look, before slowly raising her gun to her head. I didn't want to see that. I felt the urge to look away. But since she was doing this for me, the only thing I could do was support her all the way.

We looked into each other's eyes for a few seconds, hers confident and benevolent, mine evasive and guilty.

Then suddenly, her eyes rose and widened in a mixture of fear and surprise. She shouted, "Sora!"

Too disoriented, it took me a few seconds to react. She called me again, "Master!"

Immediately, a bang echoed and Virion's head exploded at our feet.

With infinite slowness, I turned around. Standing on the rooftops, a figure stood out in the twilight. With a heavy machine gun in its hands, our adversary leaped from the roof and landed in the street with a crash. My eyes widened.

No! It can't be!

Suddenly, there was a loud bang and a violent pain ripped through my leg. Without really understanding why I saw the world tilt and my face crashed into the concrete. Two meters away, a leg landed on the ground in a spray of blood.

A crystalline laugh rose from between the buildings.

"So you both survived?"

My vision was already starting to blur as I bled to death, but I recognized the voice immediately.

Milena!