Italic text is Engrish (English written in katakana). Comic Sans MS font is for Japanese words written in katakana. Full-width alphanumeric characters are for actual English words in the raw. In cases when I needed to emhpasise that the word is Japanese (or when the text specifically commented about it being Japanese), I added the Japanese version as furigana.
Feel free to point out any errors, give suggestions or just talk about the story itself in the comments.
SECT.3 - Squad Jam
“A Squad Jam is a battle royale kind of tournament in ≪Gun Gale Online≫ that pits small teams against each other.”
“A battle royale……? Is that where everyone fights at the same time?”
After hunting down the giant earthworm, LLENN and Pitohui continued their friendly conversation while strolling through a wasteland with no one else in sight.
Of course, they did not lower their guard and vigilance, so they would be able to counterattack immediately if other players attacked them. Even LLENN, who would usually look at the face of the person she was talking to, cautiously looked forward and to the sides as they conversed.
“Right. LLENN-chan, do you know about the ≪Bullet of Bullets≫? Everyone calls it BoB though.”
“Only the name and outline, though.”
The BoB was a battle royale tournament to decide the strongest player in GGO. Thirty people with remarkable abilities who won the one versus one preliminary tournament would fight it out in a vast field until the last man standing.
Unmistakably the greatest event in GGO, with every tournament, the climax grew. There were an awful lot of players who wagered their game life to participate in it.
Just recently, the third tournament had ended.
Of course, LLENN naturally did not consider participating, so she did not know what kind of battle it was. That day, she had gone out with her sister’s family, so she could neither dive, nor watch the broadcast.
“Speaking of the previous third BoB, well, I also participated. As there was a chance that I wouldn’t be able to take part because of RL affairs, I didn’t tell anyone about it.”
“Whaa! How did it go?”
“I dropped out in the preliminaries. And moreover, in the second battle.”
“Oh…… what a shame.”
“Well, I ended up being sniped, and didn’t have any luck either. Anyway, there was a slight change in the final battle royale. Two players formed a tag party and just barely fought to the end.”
“Things like that happen too.”
“I’ll avoid any further spoilers in case, by any chance, you’d want to watch the recordings afterwards, but it was heart-pounding and super fun to watch to the very end! So exciting!”
Pitohui vehemently praising anything other than guns like this was beyond LLENN’s expectations. 'Maybe I should try watching that broadcast video', she thought.
“So, let’s get to the main question. ——A certain Japanese person who watched the broadcast of that BoB haughtily thought. 『I wanna see a team battle royale like this!』. 『A several versus several battle would undoubtedly be exciting!』”
“While logged in, that guy sent a message written in English to the GGO management organization, ≪Zaskar≫, in the United States of America. 『Dear everybody, I want to see a team battle royale, so please make sure you hold one, Sincerely yours』”
“Don’t tell me that such an individual request was approved?”
“Yep, it was. That guy told Zaskar that he would cover the necessary costs for hosting the tournament, in other words, become a sponsor. Though I can’t even imagine just how much did that guy pay. Some of his RL details have been identified: the rumour is that he’s an abnormal gun maniac with a collection of over fifty guns, and a novelist writing solely about the operation of guns.”
“Haa…… There are commendable people like that too, huh……”
“Well, a gun maniac alone is unusual enough, but a novelist is even more so. What the heck is with such a combination? If you see such a guy walking around town, you’d better arrest him.”
“Pito-san…… do you have a violent grudge against the writers around the world or something?”
“Hm? Not really? —— Whether it was because the writer’s enthusiasm bore fruit or because Zaskar thought that the writer would pay for it, Zaskar decided „well, let’s host a mini tournament on the Japanese server alone, with this private cooperation“. The tournament’s name is Squad Jam, SJ for short. It seems that it was named by that guy, though I don’t know if an English name is suitable.”
“I see. So it has absolutely nothing to do with ika no shiokara.”
“Again with squids. ——The SJ is currently accepting applications for participants, no, participating teams, and the deadline for the applications is the 28th, in other words, next Wednesday’s noon, with the tournament to be held on the next Sunday, the 1st of February.”
“That’s very soon, huh…… I wonder, would they get enough people?”
“At present, there seem to be quite a few teams who applied right away, so you don’t have to worry about the lack of participants in the tournament. As it’s the first of its kind, and is an experimental tournament that won’t have preliminaries unless far too many teams gather, there seem to be quite a few people happy about it, because, even though they couldn’t take part in the BoB that’s meant only for solo tough guys, if this tournament doesn’t have preliminaries, they could take part in it as a team. On the contrary, the veterans who could participate in the BoB finals, well, they all passed. You see, those guys seem to have poor relationships. If they left their backs to someone and fought together, they would probably take a nap and let the others do the work.”
“You’re somewhat disinterested, huh? LLENN-chan.”
“Because——, this applies to BoB too, but battle tournaments against people are not my kind of thing.”
“Nicely said for someone who committed dirty PK in an assassin-style.”
“T-that! ——Well……, yeah.”
“Yeah, that was well done! ——So, on to the main question.”
“LLENN-chan, take part in SJ!”
“Come again? Me? With you, Pito-san?”
“Well, although it’s extremely extremely unfortunate, I can’t. On the 1st of February…… a bosom friend of mine from middle school will be holding her wedding. As you can expect, if I abandoned it and participated in a game tournament and on the day I’m exposed…… even if I don’t die and win the tournament——”
“Yeah, you’d be killed IRL, huh.”
“In other words, if I looked up the female wedding attendants throughout Japan, I’d find the RL Pitohu……”
“Hyaa, you got me! ——Returning to the topic, I want to make sure that you, LLENN-chan, participate! Are you free on that day? You don’t have any friend's weddings, or your own wedding or something like that to attend, do you?”
“I can’t affirm it unless I see my notebook, but, probably, I don’t, I think……”
“Then take part! Now for the formalities! Since it’s a team registration, just enter my name and you should be okay.”
“N-now hold on a second! How did it come to this?”
“Everything is an experience!”
“But, it’s a team battle, right? I have to fight alongside other people, right?”
“Oh, now you’re showing eagerness. That’s nice.”
“I only asked!”
“Among the players I know, there is a strong one. Though he’s a guy, well, and a strange one at that, and, frankly, he has the mind of a criminal, he isn’t actually a bad guy. But he isn’t a nice guy either. Form a pair with him!”
“Wha? Just the two of us?”
“Yep. Just the two of you. Since I can’t arrange for anyone else to participate.”
“............ Pito-saan, do you really think that I’m going to say 『Yeah! Understood!』 with this?”
“Everything is an experience!”
“Say, LLENN-chan. In my opinion, LLENN-chan has a lot of problems in real life, right?”
The surprised LLENN turned to face Pitohui.
Normally, Pitohui would say ‘You're on lookout so don’t look at me!!’, but this time, she didn't.
Although her face was obscured by a tattoo, Pitohui gave an expression reminiscent of a kind psychological counselor and said,
“IRL, something is making you gloomy, right? So, putting it nicely, you came to GGO to vent your anger. Putting it bluntly, you came here to run away.”
“You're making a „How did you know“ expression, but it was simple to comprehend. ——I’m the same after all!”
“There are far too many times when I get angry and feel like I can’t do anything, so I go wild. And thus, I shoot with my gun to kill monsters and people to my heart’s content.”
“So you see, ‘if you can do something that isn't possible through any means in the real world, then do it without hesitation!’ is what I’m trying to say! Are team battle royale gunfights possible in the real world? Or more like, would you want to do it in real life?”
To LLENN, who quivered as she shook her head, Pitohui gave a tender smile as if she was persuading a child. Of course, the tattoo obscured the middle of her face.
"So, go wild! If you don't give me an answer by Wednesday morning, I'll assume you're participating!"
＊ ＊ ＊
“Squad Jam…… What should I do. A personal battle in teams, huh…… I’m kinda reluctant……”
After Karen returned to the real world and muttered this with a sigh mixed in, she first returned the P90 that she held back onto the clothes hanger.
This air gun was something that she found by chance on sale on a major shopping site, on a certain day the week a fortnight ago. Realising that she could hold the cute P90, or P-chan in her hands even in RL, she eagerly ordered it.
She requested the P90 air gun and a small P90 key holder that appeared on her screen as a „we also recommend this for you“ suggestion.
Seeing the air gun that arrived the next day, Karen was astounded.
‘Huh? Was it always this small?’
‘I see, since it’s an air gun, it could be made far smaller than the original——’
She thought for merely a few moments. When she realised that LLENN’s and Karen’s physique were far too different and thus the gun would give a different feeling even when they held the same thing, she felt slightly disoriented.
Despite this, she was still pleased, and even though its colour was black, she would always adorn her room with it. Though, when her elder sister or niece dropped by her room, she would certainly be sure to hide it inside her wardrobe.
As for the key holder that she bought at the same time, she ended up using a permanent marker to paint it in pink. It became completely like P-chan, and it was really well-made.
She was considering whether to append it to the briefcase that she always brought to school, but——
Considering that there weren’t any other female university students who had gun key holders, she hung it on the wall of her room.
GGO is fun. It truly is fun.
That is why Karen continued playing, even though she had to pay a 3,000 yen connection fee, which was considerably expensive for this kind of game, every month. A lot of things had happened, but now she even had a partner named Pitohui.
However, specifically because it was fun——
When Karen returned to reality, she would always feel down.
VR games were a fun dream world, but it was impossible for her to continuously stay within that dream. It was specifically called a „dream world“ because reality exists. If the two were to change places—— reality would probably be a nightmare.
‘Isn’t it just ironic?’, Karen couldn’t help but think. That she intended to enjoy the VR game she began playing because she wanted to leave the harsh RL, but eventually became bitter by savouring the separation from RL.
If she had to choose one of the two, she obviously had no choice but RL.
In the future, when her studies become hectic, when she has to begin job hunting, when she becomes a working adult, gets married and has children—— she would no longer be able to take refuge in VR games no matter what.
In society, people who discarded RL and enjoyed VR games also existed, but such people were called 『Net game addicts』. Good children would never act like that.
So, she should stop playing before the separation from the dream world became painful, or before the worst case of „being unable to separate from it“ comes—— in other words, lately, the option of completely severing her connection with the VR world had been floating about Karen’s head. Looking at the long term, she understood that it was the best choice.
As for participating in the SJ, she honestly had no interest in it at all.
Firstly, just being able to savour logging in to GGO as a virtual chibi, and battles, with just monsters as opponents were fun enough.
She did not deny the fun she had when she became addicted to fighting against people for some time, and it was true that her heart would pounding a little when it came to matches against strong opponents, but—— nevertheless, she didn’t think she could actively pursue it.
Besides, although he was recommended by Pitohui, she didn’t feel like teaming up with an unknown male player to participate in the tournament at all. She didn’t feel that they would be able to work cohesively as a team. He could be aiming to win rather than just participating, but Karen felt that she would hinder him considerably.
Of course, Karen did understand her(1) words that „it’s a challenge towards a new self and so on“ quite well.
At any rate, that is the reason why she began playing VR games after all. If she ran away now, what would she do then?
However, wouldn’t refusing SJ be a good opportunity to quit the game in its entirety?
On the other hand, isn’t it fine to continue playing a little, at least while I’m still a student and don’t have to begin job hunting? My parents and siblings did say that I should pursue my hobbies a bit longer, and this certainly counts as one, right?
Karen continued back and from with her conflicting thoughts. After several minutes of thinking endlessly about it, which only resulted in her getting tired, Karen,
Sighed, and decided to rely on her friend in her time of need——
So she tried calling Miyu, her VR game sempai and friend who was playing ALO.
Luckily, Miyu had come to this world.
Karen calmly got her worries off her chest by expressing herself to the only girl that she could consult with regarding this matter.
“What do you think is the best thing to do? As you’re my VR game sempai, I hope to hear your unreserved opinion.”
『In that case, if you find it fun, you should just continue!』
Her reply was resolute.
『While you’re troubled about which one to choose, you’ll regret it no matter which choice you make, right? You see, humans tend to think too highly of the alternative that they did not choose. So, I think you should just decide what to choose by throwing a coin.』
“I see…… Then, what if…… you are against the results of the coin toss? If you feel like you don’t want to follow the decision of the coin god?”
“Well in that case, it would mean that the innermost depths of your heart desires the other option, right? That’s what you should choose then. It’s simple, right.”
“Ah…… I see……“
『If you don’t mind me openly expressing my arbitrary desires, I prefer being able to talk about games with you, Kohi. Yeah, sorry for being really selfish』
‘Even if I refuse to take part in SJ, could I continue GGO for a bit more?’. As Karen considered this,
『Huh? But you know, the 1st of February is Kanzaki Elsa’s live performance, ain’t it? Didn’t we say that if we got tickets, we’d attend it?』
In response to Miyu’s words, Karen hastily opened her notebook, and saw that she had indeed wrote that down. She had forgotten.
She had never been able to buy tickets for Kanzaki Elsa’s live concerts. The venue was never wide, so the tickets would undoubtedly be worth platinum. Karen couldn’t help but think that Elsa should perform at a bigger venue, not necessarily a baseball dome, but at least a slightly larger concert hall.
Miyu was currently in the process of trying to obtain the long-since sold out tickets at a reasonable price via an Internet auction.
“You’re right, I forgot, sorry…… If you get the tickets, I’ll, of course, turn down the tournament. Let’s go together. You can stay at our place.”
『Yeah. ——But, what are you going to do if I don’t get them? Frankly put, based on my experience up till now, the chances of getting them is fifty-fifty, you know?』
“When will you know that?”
『Tuesday, at 16:00』
Karen decided to have that as the coin toss for whether she should participate in the SJ. On this occasion, she’ll ignore the outcome for whether she should continue to play the game.
“In that case…… you tell me then! If you get the tickets, I’ll turn down the game tournament!”
Tokyo continued to have fine days in January.
To Karen, who was born and raised in Hokkaido, the fact that winter in Tokyo was completely without humidity was more unexpected than the fact that winter wasn’t cold. However, she didn’t really like that her throat began to hurt, her skin became rough and she had to go through the trouble of using a humidifier to protect herself from those effects.
The distance between her apartment unit and university was less than 2 kilometres. She could cross that short distance in just one stop using the subway, but aside from days with really bad weather, Karen usually walked. It was much better than seeing herself reflected in the train’s window, and it was good for her health.
27th of January. Tuesday, just before 16:00.
With lectures over, and as the early winter evening drew near, Karen was walking within the university grounds.
Of course, it can’t be said that she was alone.
Around her, there were plenty of merry voices of people getting together to have a drink later, or of club gatherings, but their talk had nothing to do with Karen. Their conversations were in a different world.
Wearing jeans, sneakers, and a light coat, Karen walked under the roadside trees with nothing but their branches left, and tried to return to her room quickly.
Karen noticed six female high school students coming from the direction where she was headed for. As they had matching uniforms and were within the school premises, she realised that they were pupils of an attached high school(2) that was on the same premises.
It was no longer rare for her to pass by the six of them; and since she started going to university last summer, she had seen them about twice or three times per week. Karen recognised them.
Basing on the really large sports bags in their hands, Karen guessed that they were probably part of some sports club. The university’s gymnasium was large, so they sometimes had joint practice with high school pupils.
One of them was a Caucasian with beautiful, fair hair and blue pupils. Was she an overseas student, or a foreigner living in Japan? Either way, it wasn’t a rare sight in this school.
The girls were all short——, no, for their age, it was probably „normal“, but compared to Karen, they were all small, slender, and most of all, sweet. Often laughing, often chatting, they were walking merrily. Alongside friends from a similar school-club, they gave the refreshing feeling of being in their prime of youth.
'If I wasn’t such a giant, would I have had a youth like that?'
Considering this, she couldn’t avoid having gloomy feelings. Of course, the girls hadn’t done anything wrong.
While looking at the rapidly approaching six girls with their merry voices, Karen hastened her pace to return to her room quickly. She’ll probably get in touch with Miyu very soon and find out whether or not she obtained Kanzaki Elsa’s live performance tickets.
After the quiet Karen passed by the lively six girls without crossing paths,
“Hey, you there——”
The voice of one of them reached Karen’s ears.
Karen had no desire to hear what she had to say after that.
Karen covered her face, hasted her pace, and ran away from that spot.
At the same time, a single desire welled up
‘I want to shoot them. I want to shoot, all six, of those girls.
Her right hand searched for P-chan that was usually held in front of her body, but only cut the air in vain.
Karen returned to her room to run away, closed the door, and the moment the door was automatically locked, her smartphone vibrated.
The message from Miyu was,
Merely that single phrase.
Karen went in front of the personal computer, and the moment that it booted up, she started GGO.
The message to Pitohui was,
『I’m gonna go wild!』
Merely that single phrase.
＊ ＊ ＊
The 30th of January, Friday night, past 20:00.
Karen finished an enjoyable meal with her elder sister, brother-in-law and niece and left the room.
Her four-year-old niece pestered her to watch an anime movie on TV together, but Karen,
“Sorry. Onee-chan has homework to do.”
Told her such a lie, and went from her sister’s room(3) upstairs to her own room that was downstairs.
And then, she crossed over from the real world to the VR world.
“Yaho! LLENN-chan! You really are the kind of girl that I'd thought you’d be!”
In a bar in the central city SBC Glocken where they agreed to meet, LLENN had her shoulders pat on by Pitohui. Being pat by the tall Pitohui from above, although it wasn’t the case, it seemed LLENN’s already small stature shrunk even further.
“Ouch, that hurts Pito-san! ——Anyway, I did come……”
Having said that, she surveyed the dim and narrow private room. There was no one else there.
“Ah, LLENN-chan, you’re looking for your partner, huh. Sorry, he’ll be coming soon, so wait a bit. As always, the drinks are on me.”
“Thanks. ——Is he still shopping somewhere?”
While sitting in front of Pitohui, LLENN casually asked. By „somewhere“, she meant somewhere within GGO.
“Nah, still in RL. He was asked to do something there.”
LLENN was considerably surprised at the similarly casual answer.
As she knew that he had things to do in real life and would be a little late, does it mean that he’s „a man that she is intimate with even in the RL“? In that case…… boyfriend? Lover? Husband? Or is it possible that he’s her son or father?
In order not to show surprise on her face and for her thoughts not to be reflected on her mouth, LLENN drew the ice tea placed at the centre of the table towards herself and put the straw in her mouth.
Compared to the real world, the senses in this world were lacking, but what she felt in her mouth was indeed cold and sweet ice tea. What’s more, no matter how much she drank, she wouldn’t get plumper and didn’t have any need to go to the toilet.
Pitohui, who was gulping down a tropical fish-like overly vivid-coloured cider, said
“Have you read SJ’s rules? With your personality LLENN-chan, I’m sure you’ve read it from A to Z, but I'm just making sure.”
While thinking that her personality was read, LLENN gave a positive answer.
Because she completed the procedures for participating, she received a message with the rules from the management company Zaskar. LLENN didn’t just skim through it, but read through the whole thing.
SJ’s rules were basically based on the individual battle royale BoB. Though in some parts, there were notable differences.
Summarising the identical points——
『The participants (teams) will be transferred at the same time to the match area at least 1,000 metres apart from any other participant (team). The participant (team) that survives to the end is the victor.』
『The stage is a special field. Although the circumstances will be unknown until the tournament begins, the stage will have various terrain. There will be both advantageous and disadvantageous terrain, but as the transfer is completely random, it all depends on luck.』
『As for the weapons that the characters can possess within the game, the player is free to choose whatever they wish. In other words, it’s possible to bring not only guns, but explosives, knives and so on. The vehicles dotting the field may also be freely used.』
『Normally, the corpse would be broken down and destroyed, but during the game, the corpses will remain along with a 【Ｄｅａｄ】tag.』
『Normally, after a player dies, there would be an item drop called ≪random drop≫ and if the weapon isn’t picked up by comrades, no matter how valuable the gun was, it would be lost forever, but during the tournament there won’t be such a feature.』
『In order to prevent people (teams) from one-sidedly running away and secluding themselves somewhere, a ≪Satellite Scan≫ will be performed. Setting-wise, this will be a scan done by an artificial satellite, and on the very day, the participants will be given a portable terminal, which will display the position of their opponents at fixed intervals for a short amount of time.』
“Do you have any questions so far?”
While pointing at the rule screen that was displayed in the air, Pitohui asked, and LLENN answered.
“None. Though I am a bit uneasy about how to use the satellite scan terminal.”
“It isn’t that hard, if you’ve used a smartphone, you’ll be fine. Now then, about the important, SJ-only rules——”
As for the different points, the first would of course be the number of participants.
『Individual participants are not approved; the participants must form a team of two to six people.』
『Attacks against comrades, in other words, friendly fire deals damage as normal.』
『Communication items that were forbidden in the BoB may be used for the team battle. Of course, communication with those outside or dead players is impossible.』
Pitohui pointed her finger at her left ear.
“We have the continuous call communication items. It’s the thing that you and me used before.”
A continuous call allowed „talking“ and „listening“ to each other, in short, it was an ordinary telephone-like communication device.
An ordinary radio only allowed one-way communication when the button was pressed to talk.
Of course, with a continuous call, everyone’s voices can be heard at all times, so as the number of people increases, it only becomes a nuisance. That’s why a radio is the preferred choice, but with just two of them, a continuous call would probably be more convenient.
As for the next big difference,
『In SJ, corpses will disappear after 10 minutes and the player will return to the bar.』
“Well, that’s probably because this isn’t a severe tournament like the BoB. With the BoB where a large amount of money is bet, the player’s consciousness remains on standby in the corpse until the victor is decided, as a precaution to prevent any information leak.”
“Hmmhmm. In SJ, even if you die quickly, you don’t need to wait for the tournament to end, huh.”
“If you die quickly, I’m not going to forgive you, you know?”
“Hah! I am going to fight until my last breath!”
The satellite scan time was also changed.
『In the BoB, the satellite scan interval was 15 minutes, but it will be shortened to 10 minutes in this tournament.』
“This is because they want to shorten the time needed for the tournament. The BoB always takes around 2 hours for the conclusion to be reached, but this tournament definitely won’t take that long. It will begin on Sunday from 14:00…… and will probably end within an hour.”
“According to my insight.”
“Should you really be saying that yourself……?”
“Well it’s fine. So, if you survive for more than an hour in this tournament, it’s already a considerable feat.”
“I see. Since the participants are team, it will probably instantly end up in a flashy gunfight ……”
“Yeah. Right after the start of the game, the enemies will be at least 1 km away, but with a full power dash, the distance can be closed quickly, so you can’t let your guard down. In a place with a good visibility, a sniper rifle’s bullets can come flying at you from 800 metres away, while machine gun bullets could come from 600 metres. ——Well, at that distance, you can practically leave it all to the guy that you’re going to be fighting with.”
After mentioning the partner that hadn’t arrived yet whom LLENN didn’t know, Pitohui,
“So, now for the perhaps most important SJ rule! Right, this will be on the test!”
Pointed at the screen while saying that. If what was written there was summarised,
『The satellite scan displays only the position of the squad leader (squad leader). Also, in the BoB the name of the player would be displayed if the light dot was touched, but this time the team’s name will not be displayed.』
“What does that mean?”
“A team has six members at most, but if all the members are indicated, you probably won’t be able to understand a thing as the screen would overflow with dots.”
“So, only the location of the leader will be indicated. What meaning could that have? Yes, LLENN-chan.”
Being named by Pitohui like a teacher, LLENN answered after thinking about it for a few seconds.
“Even if the other team members were lurking somewhere, you wouldn’t know until you saw them…… Rather, the leader’s position can be used as a trap to draw in one’s opponents.”
“Right! As expected of the antlion pit-like trap scoundrel, LLENN-chan! You’re quick to understand!”
“No, forget about that……”
“And yet I was praising you! That ruthless attack without a care for other people’s feelings! How exciting!”
“Can we return to the conversation? ——So, the significance of the satellite scan has considerably changed from the individual matches of BoB.”
“Right. However, if the remainder of the team become scattered, it only becomes a disadvantage.”
“Gotcha…… Sensei, I have a question!”
“If the leader dies…… what happens then? ——Does the team lose at that moment?”
“No, in that case everyone would be unhappy, right? A leader whose location was confirmed could probably be exterminated in one hit by a sniper and die. So, in that case, the same thing happens just like it does in an actual war.”
“You see, in the army, if a squad leader is killed in action, the next highest-ranking person, or if there are people with the same high rank, the one who was given that rank first, takes over the right to command. In other words, in SJ the person ranked second, then third based on the rank assigned in the team, would automatically take over.”
“I see. Then, in our team of only two people, there’s no need to worry. Even so, we’re really participating with just two people……”
“Right. Do your best. It would be cool if you won with just the two of you.”
“Additionally, there’s a rule that „the only one who can surrender is the leader, and in that case, the whole team surrenders“, but well, that doesn’t really concern you and your partner right, LLENN-chan. It means that if the number of people decreases and the odds of winning diminishes, the team can just leave instantly.”
As LLENN finished drinking what little remained of her ice tea, she began slurping with the straw held in her mouth. And then,
“That’s all about the rules. Squad leader LLENN-dono.”
At those words, LLENN thought she would spit out the contents of her drink. After gulping something down and widening her eyes,
“He? Ha? Fu?”
“Are you practising the pronunciation of the ha-row?”(4)
“That’s not it! ——I’m the leader? Why? Is the person I am teaming up with weaker than me?”
“You’re starting to use keigo again. No no. Of course that guy is a strong player.”
To LLENN, who had a question mark on her face, Pitohui who had a tattoo on her face answered.
“That’s a secret! Well, it’s part of the plan.”
LLENN couldn’t say anything more than that, and the private room suddenly became quiet.
“Sorry. I’m late.”
A hoarse male voice could be heard, and a giant man entered the room.
1. ^ Referring to Pitohui.
2. ^ An attached high school is basically a school that is attached to/affiliated with a higher education institution (e.g. a university). They may share the same premises and, as far as I understand, graduates of the university aiming to be teachers may be employed at the school and the university faculty may use the school for research purposes.
3. ^ The original phrase was 階数の高い姉一家, but we weren't sure how to interpret it. If anyone is more knowledgable about housing in Japan, we would appreciate your help.
4. ^ Refers to the classification of the kana syllabary.