Chapter 32:

The winner

BRO: Battle Royale Online


A familiar beep rang out to announce the death of my opponent as my thoughts clouded.

"Master?" That's funny! She finally called me master!

I tried to get up, but could not. In fact, I couldn't even move my body. As I wondered why I was so numb, a distant voice came to my ears. It sounded vaguely familiar, but trying to remember was too much effort.

It can't be that important...

Suddenly, I felt a force gently lifting me up. My head bobbed and the ground came into my blurred vision.

I feel so sleepy...

The voice sounded again, this time a little louder.

My body shook as if someone was trying to wake me up. My chin hit my chest and my half-opened eyes saw a red puddle spreading on the floor.

It's such a pretty color. It looks like... blood?

The voice echoed in my head again, as if someone was screaming my name in my ear.

"Mor-ed!"

I knew that voice... The urgency in its tone told me that I had to wake up. Deep down I knew it too, but I still couldn't remember why.

The owner of the voice grabbed my face and a pretty feminine face appeared before me.

"Mordred!"

This time I could make out exactly what she was saying.

Rin!

My senses came back in a flash and pain surged along with my memories. I screamed. My leg! I couldn't feel my leg! Only the sensation of a hellish burning had replaced it. My partner's eyes filled with tears as she saw me writhe in pain.

I looked up painfully at the one who had crippled me.

Milena Starlust...

The young woman stood in the middle of the North street, the smoking barrel of her heavy machine gun pointed straight at us. Blood was dripping from a wound on her stomach. She was wearing a look of mirth on her face that irritated me deeply.

So you're the one who did this to me!

In defiance, I raised my knife towards her. I opened my mouth to shout at her, but a bullet instantly went through my arm, ripping it off. I screamed in pain.

"Oh, dear! Is that all you can do, Mordred?", she said mockingly as her words were interspersed with laughter.

Terribly amused by my situation, she continued, "You didn't think you would win so easily, did you?"

Rin wiped the drops of my blood that had splashed onto her face then turned to her friend.

In a weak voice, she called out to her, "Miko… What are you doing? Why—"

"I told you not to call me that! Here, I am Milena! M.I.L.E.N.A! It's not complicated! Is it?"

Rin froze. This was no longer the Miko she knew. With blood running down my eyes I could barely make out Milena's silhouette as she turned to face me again.

"Aren't you being a bit overprotective? I asked you to keep her alive, yes, but I didn't tell you to make her a crybaby!"

Her mirth had disappeared to be replaced by rage. She clicked her tongue.

"And look at you! What have you become? Did you really expect to protect someone like that? You've got to be kidding me! You can't even protect yourself!"

Clenching my teeth to keep the pain at bay, I glared at her, unable to articulate any words.

She reacted immediately, "Oh, what's that look? When you are this weak, you remember your place and respect the hierarchy! Do you understand?"

Rin tried to take my defense, but Milena barked at her to be quiet.

Facing her, she said, "Didn't you understand what I just said?"

Rin gasped.

Milena continued, "Mordred, can you tell me how many times you have reached even the top ten?"

She smiled broadly, "Zero!"

I wanted to scream. I wanted to tell her that even though I had never won a tournament, I was still very high in the overall rankings. But no words came out of my mouth where only the taste of blood reigned.

She continued in the same superior tone, "And don't you dare talk to me about general rankings! We both know that they mean nothing! Only the tournaments count! You suck, Mordred!"

That was too much. I had fought with all my might to get here. Enemies had recognized my worth and rivals were coming to compete against me. How could she belittle me like this? I couldn't let her deny all of this. If I wanted to win, it was for my friends. For those who had left without ever winning a single tournament. That was the source of my will! Of my strength! I would never let her trample on their memory!

With my injured arm, I leaned on Rin. A wave of pain washed over me but I gritted my teeth to quell it. My determination was stronger! I was going to win!

I leaned on my remaining leg and started to get up, fighting the pain. She was going to regret laughing at me. Everyone who had underestimated me was now dead. She was no exception.

Abruptly, a bang echoed and the world turned upside down once again. The next moment, my head hit the concrete with a dull thud. Then suddenly, a new wave of pain washed over me. A few meters away, my second leg fell to the ground.

She is dismembering me! How can she be so cruel as to do this? And we had a deal! We had a promise together! She hasn't forgotten that?

Overcoming my pain, I planted my chin on the ground and looked up at her. I stared into her eyes with a faint glimmer of hope. She immediately winced.

"Oh stop it! Don't try to play that game!"

Then a semblance of a friendly smile appeared on her face.

"You took care of Rin? Thank you. But our deal ends here. And if you want me to be honest, when I see what Rin has become, I think I should never have asked you for anything, to begin with…"

She suddenly turned her sharp gaze on my injured arm, which Rin had grabbed when I had collapsed for the second time. She clicked her tongue.

"Get your filthy hands off her!"

And she pulled the trigger. The shot went off with the echo of a bang and the bullet ripped my arm off. It fell a little further away, splattering the surrounding area with blood.

It was all over. I had lost. Even if I was this close...

Suddenly, I felt tears welling up inside me, but none came out. Perhaps they had all dried up already.

Next to me, Rin was crying her eyes out. Through the dark veil that covered my eyes, I could see her lips moving, but no sound seemed to come out.

Goodbye Rin... I'm glad I knew you. I'm glad I found one last comrade before the end.

Then, little by little, my world sank into darkness, and my body seemed to float in an empty dimension.

A voice rang out, "Farewell Mordred."

It was obviously feminine but lost in this other world, I could not distinguish who had spoken the words. In my heart, I hoped it was Rin. In any case, it meant only one thing: death was coming for me.

When the darkness swallowed me for good, I smiled bitterly. Even if I hadn't won, it had been a great adventure.

***

Under the night sky, a beep echoed. A small skull and crossbones icon appeared above a young man's head. His face looked peaceful as if he was sleeping a deep slumber in the young woman's arms. She hugged his body gently, heavy tears rolling down her cheeks in silence.

It was over. The man she had accompanied for so long was dead. Slowly, another woman came forward.

The culprit.

It was she who was responsible for the death of the man she held in her arms. It was she… A cold feeling gradually took hold of the young woman. It dried up her flowing tears and soothed her tormented mind. Her seething feelings were silenced and replaced by a much more powerful one. Anger.

She slowly straightened her reddened eyes towards the woman who was approaching.

"Oh, Rin! How much longer are you going to hold his corpse like that? It's disgusting…"

She touched the body with the tip of her weapon before giving it a sharp blow. Caught off guard, the young woman dropped the corpse and it fell to the ground with a soft thud. She did not take her eyes off it.

The red-haired woman continued, "This is ridiculous... You really are acting like a newbie. Did he really teach you nothing?"

She resumed, "Well, that's not all, but I haven't got all night. Come on, as we're friends, I'll give you a ten-second head start!"

She smiled broadly as a weak laugh escaped her.

"Come on! Get up! You're not going to stay here forever!"

Then she whispered in a softer tone, "You know I want to win! So please cooperate!"

The pink-haired woman nodded slowly, before standing up softly.

The other one gloated, "That's what I'm talking about! Go on, run! Let's put an end to this!"

Once on her feet, the young woman with pink hair drew her pistol. The other one arched an eyebrow and opened her mouth when a bang rang out.

With a cry of pain, the red-haired woman fell to the ground, a hole in her knee.

"Rin! What are you—"

With the barrel still smoking, Rin pointed her gun at her friend's other knee and pulled the trigger. Her victim screamed in pain, and her head hit the ground.

Between breaths made heavy by the pain, the red-haired one called out to her friend, "Rin why—"

"Shut up, Milena."

The girl's voice was cold and dry. Fury seized Milena.

"Who do you think you are? You're a beginner, you hear me? The only thing you know how to do is tremble in fear while waiting to be saved! So what's wrong with you?"

As soon as she had finished, Milena straightened her weapon and pointed it at her friend. Immediately, Rin kicked her hand hard and the gun flew out of her owner's grasp.

Milena yelped, before shouting at her friend.

Rin cut her off with an icy voice, "Beg me."

And she pointed her pistol at her kneeling friend's forehead.

Milena's eyes flashed with doubt and concern as she addressed her, "You'll never shoot. You've never been able to."

The two women stared at each other for a moment.

Just as she was about to continue, a third person appeared in the street. The man, covered in wounds and dust, with blood spilling from his skull and leg, pointed his sniper rifle at Rin. His voice was weak but determined as he addressed her.

"You will pay for what you did to me!"

Without even looking at him, Rin raised her weapon towards him and pulled the trigger three times. The man collapsed to the ground, his chest pierced in three places.

Milena's attitude changed instantly. Her eyes widened in fear and she lay flat on the ground in front of her friend before asking her in a pleading voice, "Please, spare me! You know what this tournament means to me! Let me win!"

But little by little, anger took hold of her again, "You didn't even know about this game last week! You have no right to win! I deserve to win!"

Rin shook her head sadly.

"No… He deserved to win."

Milena’s eyes widened. It was over. She had lost.

Realizing that she was going to die, the woman looked up at her friend with tear-filled eyes, "Rin…"

She answered her in a cold voice, "On your knees."

Slowly, she complied. Despite her broken knees, she straightened up painfully before tipping slightly forward. Her fall was halted immediately, a cold, metallic sensation on her forehead. Milena understood at once.

Rin's sharp voice rang out one last time, "Goodbye Milena."

And she pulled the trigger.

***