Chapter 32:

The winner

BRO: Battle Royale Online

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

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

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.Bookmark here

It can't be that important...Bookmark here

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

I feel so sleepy...Bookmark here

The voice sounded again, this time a little louder.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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

"Mor-ed!"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

"Mordred!"Bookmark here

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

Rin!Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

Milena Starlust...Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

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

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

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

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

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

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.Bookmark here

"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!"Bookmark here

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

"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!"Bookmark here

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

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

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

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

Rin gasped.Bookmark here

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

She smiled broadly, "Zero!"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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!"Bookmark here

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!Bookmark here

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!Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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?Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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

"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…"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

"Get your filthy hands off her!"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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

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.Bookmark here

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

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

A voice rang out, "Farewell Mordred."Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

***Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

The culprit.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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

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.Bookmark here

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

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!"Bookmark here

She smiled broadly as a weak laugh escaped her.Bookmark here

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

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

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

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

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.Bookmark here

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

"Rin! What are you—"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

"Shut up, Milena."Bookmark here

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

"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?"Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Milena yelped, before shouting at her friend.Bookmark here

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

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

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

The two women stared at each other for a moment.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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

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.Bookmark here

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!"Bookmark here

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!"Bookmark here

Rin shook her head sadly.Bookmark here

"No… He deserved to win."Bookmark here

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

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

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

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.Bookmark here

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

And she pulled the trigger.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

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