Italic text is Engrish (English written in katakana). Full-width alphanumeric characters are for actual English words. In cases when I needed to emphasise 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.8 - Trap
The wristwatch on LLENN’s left arm vibrated.
She was in complete darkness, so she could not see, but she knew the time. 14:39:30. It was the alarm that rang when 30 seconds remained before the fourth satellite scan.
‘Is this plan really going to go well……’
M told her not to speak carelessly, so LLENN could not even mutter. She could only say so in her mind.
‘Yet another awful plan! Even though I’m the leader!’
The thing that she had thought about the longest during the past 10 minutes was certainly this.
Be that as it may, ever since SJ started, M had only come up with plans that ignored LLENN’s safety, so she was no longer angry about it.
It was a game, so she did not mind dying. However, she had not once been able to go wild. Her beloved gun, her P90, had not fired a single bullet either. At the very least, she wanted to go on a rampage before dying.
The fourth satellite scan would begin very soon, but LLENN couldn’t see it.
She could only hold her P90 tight and remain still in this complete darkness.
If she had claustrophobia, her state of mind would deteriorate, the safety device would activate, and the AmuSphere would forcefully cut the line. ‘It’s a good thing that I like taking naps in a closet’, LLENN thought.
“The scan is about to begin. Prepare so that you can come out whenever I give you the signal to do so.”
M’s voice reached LLENN’s ears.
Answering in silence, LLENN once again confirmed the position of her P90’s safety with her fingertips.
10 minutes ago——
A masked man who saw the scan in the city,
“We need to move.”
Expressed in just a few words.
The survivors numbered merely eight teams and, moreover, there were none nearby. The closest light dot was in the north-east of the residential area.
“I’m informing everyone. We’ll name the enemy in the residential area „echo“, and the enemy in the desert region „foxtrot“.”
The leader’s voice went through the communication item, and reached the nearby sniper and the four men on the ground.
They named their enemies ABCDE in the order they were found…… and, in order to avoid hearing mistakes, called them in phonetic code (phonetic code).
In other words, the machine gun lover group was A - alpha.
The team that attacked with submachine guns and had hornet emblems was B - bravo.
The green scarf team that clashed with bravo was C - charlie.
The team wearing matching reddish brown camouflaged clothes was D - delta.
The team that has the pink chibi is E - echo.
The team in the southern desert is F - foxtrot.
“20 minutes ago, echo was at the southern tip of the forest and was under fire from alpha. On the highway, we confirmed only one guy in desert pink camouflage and another guy in green camouflage. The team has diminished to two members. We couldn’t confirm their arms.”
The leader, who didn’t think that the team could have had only two people from the beginning, made a sensible judgement and informed his group.
“In the next 10 minutes, we’ll move to the residential area and look for them. If we encounter the enemy, we attack them. If we can’t find them, we search by using the 14:50 scan.”
During his explanation, the sniper next to him took down his M24 from the tripod, and operated the window to put said tripod into storage. Once that was done, he took out a rope and finished his preparations to descend the building.”
“Regroup at the intersection between the third southern and forth western roads. Vigilant standby.”
All six members of the masked group gathered on the ground, and began advancing as fast as their character ability allowed.
The two of them in the vanguard vigilantly held their FALs, prepared to encounter echo at any moment.
If echo came their way, it was highly likely that they would abruptly encounter echo en route. Holding a gun so as to be able to shoot right away and running without the gun shaking was quite difficult; this was also a player skill.
Behind these two followed the leader and sniper. The two in the rear were constantly, constantly looking back, looking out for foxtrot’s pursuit.
Having reached the eastern tip of the residential district in about 8 minutes without any contact, they became even more vigilant and advanced by the side of the houses.
This area was full of low-rise residences, thus the risk of sniping from a high-altitude was low, but they did not show any signs of negligence. They could use communication items, but they continued mostly in silence, communicating only through hand signs, and when they needed to cross the road, they would first check the area with a mirror, then one of them would dash at full-speed while two others covered him.
Thus, they slowly advanced to the west from the eastern tip of the residential area, and as they spread their search area, the clock struck 14:39.
“40 seconds till the scan. Halt. Be on the lookout from all sides.”
All six of them took up positions at the corner of a broad street. The leader in the shadow of a large trash collection truck. With this, even if the scan revealed his position, the sturdy truck would protect him from attacks from the west.
The five subordinates spread out into the remaining three directions, in other words, the north, east and south, looking out for any enemies. If the scan revealed that there were enemies nearby, they were prepared to assault them.
Their watches announced that it was 14:40.
“The scan is starting.”
Only the leader glanced at the satellite scan terminal.
The leader of the mask group unintentionally shouted.
The result of the scan that was even slower than the last one was displayed on the screen that the leader looked at.
Based on the scan that began from the east, they confirmed that foxtrot was still in the desert-wilderness area. And so, as they were travelling to the east, the leader understood that they would not become a threat to his group.
Confirming that, he magnified the map to display the upper-leftmost region of the residential area, and their own position was certainly marked there. And so, speaking of their next mark, echo——
“Due north! 80 metres away!”
Weren’t there two dots right next to each other? Magnifying the map as much as possible, it became clear that they were merely 80 metres away to the north. That was the vicinity of the large intersection at the end of the broad road that they were currently on.
The man who was watching the north side,
“I can’t see them!”
Answered in a surprised voice. The 80 metre distance to the end of the road was short and the view was unobstructed, so one could clearly see it no matter how one looked at it. And yet, they did not see any human figures, so it was no wonder that he was surprised.
Right afterwards, the other man who was supporting him said,
“I can’t see anything either! There’s only a wide intersection there!”
“We can’t find them. There are no vehicles in the intersection!”
Gave this short order. Since they could not find their target, all they could do was approach the intersection until they did. If this wasn’t GGO, one would think that the scan could be wrong, but…
Along with ‘roger’, four of the men began advancing with their FALs prepared.
They divided into two groups of two.
“The scan can’t tell the altitude. It’s highly likely that they’re in a manhole. Watch out.”
With his own FAL at the ready, the leader gave such an instruction while on the lookout for attacks from the opposite direction.
The leader looked at his still lit terminal once again, but it was certainly that location. As he could not magnify the map any further, all they could tell was that the enemy was somewhere in the intersection.
In a movie he once saw, the movement scanner detected an enemy moving close by, but the characters couldn’t see him; in the end, it was revealed that they were on the ceiling. This time, the action was taking place in an intersection, thus it was unthinkable for them to be above them. In that case, the only possible alternative was for them to be below.
Just in case, the leader reduced the scale of the map to display a large area. This was so that he could inspect the location of other teams.
The survivors were: their own group, echo, foxtrot, and two groups in the swamp, only five teams in total.
The second team in the swamp was probably the prairie team, which came seeking battle. Aside from them, it seemed the team in the southwestern region of the desert, and the two teams glaring at each other in the forest had either been wiped out, or had surrendered in the past 10 minutes.
Realising that it was safe for them to come into contact with echo, the leader felt relieved, but even though the enemy was really close, he still could not hear any firing from his subordinates.
“We’ve arrived. There are…… no manholes at the intersection. I can’t see any.”
He heard the voice of one of his subordinates, who sounded like he was possessed by a fox.(1) He then heard:
“I can’t find them either. Currently on the lookout in the northwest. No enemies.”
“On the lookout in the northeast. I can neither find holes nor enemies.”
“On the lookout in the north. Likewise, no signs of the enemy. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…… could it be a scan error?”
From the other three men.
“The odds of a system error are considerably low.”
After giving such an answer, the leader continued by,
“Tell me about all the things that you see in the intersection. No matter how small.”
Giving an order. His subordinates answered in bewilderment.
“A cracked asphalt crossroad…… Short grass…… A rusty bicycle that had fallen to the ground……”
“A car tyre, together with the wheel, toppled sideways.”
“Two small, toppled and withering tree trunks. A travelling suitcase. One, no, three empty cans.”
“There’s a supermarket cart on the sidewalk. A big, foreign-made one. Of course, there’s nothing in it…… There are no holes in the ground!”
“Same here. No matter how many times I look at it, I can’t find any holes.”
‘What is going on!’, shouting this in his mind, the leader left the rear guard to the sniper, and took out binoculars from his pocket while turning around. In the binocular vision, he saw the intersection where his subordinates were, and where “ echo was supposed to be”.
At the same time, the voice of his subordinate from just a few moments ago,
Flashed back in his mind.
The leader shouted,
“Everyone! Shoot the suitcase!”
As if responding to the order——
The suitcase began shooting.
One of the four men saw.
A suitcase, which lay about 4 metres away from him, suddenly springing human legs. And the flame of a gun discharging the moment the cover opened.
That was the last scene that guy saw in SJ.
He, of course, did not see the 5.7 mm bullets flying at his face.
＊ ＊ ＊
About 10 minutes ago.
“Alright. First, we need to look for something LLENN’s body can fit in.”
M said to LLENN in the house that they hid in.
Not understanding the meaning of M’s words at all, LLENN asked again.
And then, M slowly explained his plan.
The plan was to first prepare a container, no matter what it was, so small that it would give the impression „There couldn’t possibly be a person inside“.
Then, they would cast LLENN’s avatar, which could be said to be the smallest in GGO, inside.
They would then leave it in the middle of an intersection in the residential area with a good view, and draw out enemies using the next scan.
When the enemy, certain to be the pro group, comes, she would remain still inside.
“After that, you jump out and fire. I’ve heard from Pito that LLENN is skilled at ambushes and short-range shooting.”
“W-well, I did do that many times over, but…… what if I’m seen through? For example, they think „That cardboard looks fishy“ and open fire at me?”
“Then that’s the end. Let’s pray for the best.”
LLENN looked up to the sky.
‘He can’t be serious! I’m being a decoy again!’
LLENN returned a glance at M.
“Let’s give it a shot!”
By searching the house, they found the appropriate tool in the blink of an eye. There were plastic suitcases of various sizes in the bedroom.
There were clothes scattered about inside and around it, indeed giving a feeling of „Desperately gathering their luggage to escape the war“.
Then where had the people, who left those behind and disappeared, gone? They didn’t know.
M took out all the contents of a small suitcase, and extended his rough hand to LLENN.
“Give me your knife.”
“I lent you one, didn’t I?”
“Ah! ……That’s right.”
LLENN pulled the combat knife out from behind her waist.
As she thought that she’d never need to use it in the first place, she had completely forgotten about its existence, but it was quite useful here. ‘It’s like foreshadowing in a story’, with this thought, LLENN handed the knife over with its grip facing M.
M used the knife to cut out the two compartments inside the suitcase. The knife appeared to be quite sharp.
“Alright, you should be able to get in.”
“Wha! That’s impossible!”
‘No matter what, I’m not that small. Use that big one.’
With this thought and while hugging her P90, she attempted to get inside to prove that she was right, and...
The cover easily closed and locked.
“I really am tiny, huh……”
She unintentionally let out those words in a happy tone.
M took LLENN out of the suitcase, then used the knife to cut out one of its sides this time.
“With this, you can stick your legs out and „undress“ right away. When the time comes, you’ll be able to move a bit.”
“Though I won’t be able to see what’s ahead of me……”
And so, speaking of the lock,
He drew his HK45 from his right thigh, brought the muzzle next to it——*bam bam*. He fired two bullets and destroyed it.
In this SJ, this team’s first shots were used to destroy a lock.
With this, if LLENN raised her body a little while inside, the top of the suitcase should open.
“What do we do, M-san. Should we move out right now? What do we do about the location?”
At LLENN’s question, M shook his head.
“It’s fine if we do it at the last moment. Before that, give me some time to look at the map.”
“This place is good; the view here is the best.”
Got in the suitcase at M’s indicated location at abound 14:36. The chosen place was the intersection of a broad street.
And so, the long yet short 4 minutes passed,
“The scan is about to begin. Prepare so that you can come out whenever I give you the signal to do so.”
M’s voice reached LLENN’s ears.
Answering in silence, LLENN once again confirmed her P90’s safety with her fingertips.
“The scan has started.”
M’s voice reached her ears.
LLENN did not know where M was. She wanted to believe that he went to a place suitable for sniping to support her.
“I got it. A group is close. About 80 metres to the south.”
She almost let her voice out. She did want them to come soon, but 80 metres was like being right next to each other in the world of GGO.
“They should be coming closer. Wait for my signal.”
“I see them. As I expected, four of them are gathered. It’s those guys.”
And so, several tens of seconds, or a minute, or two - she didn’t know exactly how much time had passed, slower than ever before——
“LLENN. There’s one about 5 metres in front of you if you open the cover. Start by sending that guy to hell. Whenever you’re ready.”
LLENN let out a loud shout in her mind, stuck her legs out from the bottom of the suitcase, and opened the cover.
And saw the outside world that she hadn’t seen in awhile.
Thanks to GGO’s red sky, her eyes did not need to adapt to the dazzling light, and thus LLENN saw a masked man holding a FAL right before her eyes, as M indicated.
Almost at the same time as the Bullet Circle overlapping the man’s face, LLENN pulled the trigger of her P90.
She shot for about 1 second, but in that time, 15 bullets were unleashed, and most of them were absorbed by the man’s mask.
Having completely stood up and dropped the suitcase to the ground, LLENN acquired freedom of action.
At the same time, M’s voice reached her ears.
“The next one is forty-five degrees to the right, 7 metres away.”
Feet springing from the suitcase, fire came out of it, and a comrade was shot,
And, moreover, a very small pink person came out from it——
Even though the three people had remarkable skills, their reaction was slowed a little at this rather unrealistic scene.
However, they also heard the words of their leader, so the mystery became entirely clear. And they understood the action that they should take.
‘That guy is an enemy. He got one of us, but we just have to bring him down with the three of us.’
As the three men shouted the same thing, they aimed the muzzle of the FALs towards LLENN and pulled the trigger. And their fired bullets all passed through the air without hitting anyone.
One of the masked guys shouted while he was shooting.
The opponent that he was shooting at, thinking that the opponent wouldn’t be able to slip away, had quickly dodged their line of fire and was coming towards him. At an extremely high speed.
The pink right arm projected a pink gun.
It was as if she wanted to stab him to death with the gun. LLENN continued charging towards him mercilessly with a full-speed dash while dodging the Bullet Lines, in other words, the bullets themselves, of her opponents to the lower left.
Along with a yell, she began pounding away with her P90.
This time, several shots hit the man’s neck and face, along with the sound of consecutive, dry sounds.
It was a vital area, thus the damage was enough for instant death. His full hit points instantly decreased. Eventually, it completely ran out. Facing the man, who had bent backwards and stopped shooting, LLENN continued her assault and pulled the emergency brake next to his body.
“If possible, use an enemy’s corpse as a shield. In the BoB and SJ, unlike in normal situations, the corpses remain on the spot. And, they become ≪indestructible objects≫.”
That’s what M had taught her some time ago.
LLENN fell to the ground in front of the man who collapsed with a thud. She assumed a prone posture.
The remaining two men were on the opposite side of the street, 10 metres away, and aimed their FALs at LLENN, but...
One of them hesitated to fire. Assuming his comrade hadn’t died yet, his fire would probably finish the guy off. Although he understood in his mind that this was a game, so he didn’t have to worry about that, he just couldn’t do it.
The other one fired, cursing in the same way. ‘That guy is already done for’, he understood.
However, although his bullets hit his comrade’s corpse and the ground, he didn’t land a single hit on the small, pink body lying below the corpse.
As his comrade’s corpse became an indestructible object, the body became the same as a thick wall. Moreover, only the P90 muzzle and one eye peeked out from there.
The bullet that LLENN fired hit the man’s right flank as he shouted while shooting. A hit effect ran from his right flank to his shoulder(2), and his body was knocked over with his face looking up. The finishing blow was fired to the collapsed man’s head in full auto rapid-fire.
The last survivor charged towards LLENN, while vehemently shooting in rapid-fire, to improve his accuracy rate.
The next moment, he saw a small, pink mass rolling out of the side of his comrades corpse at an extreme speed. ‘Is that a spinning-top rolling out?’, he thought.
Only when it suddenly stopped did he realise that it was a person, but, at the next moment, Bullet Lines shone all over his face.
The man smiled under his mask, but LLENN probably did not see it.
Their leader saw the whole thing with his binoculars
How the suitcase grew pink legs, then a child sprung out of it and began shooting and taking down his four subordinates.
He even confirmed it in the status window in the upper-left corner of his vision. All four of them... were killed in action.
Looking at the time, it probably didn’t even take 10 seconds. The gunshots of the FAL and P90 resounding disorderly reached his ears.
The leader put away the binoculars, and told the man peeking through the scope of his sniper rifle next to him,
“Yeah, you don’t need to shoot. ——Play time is over.”
“Is it the right time?”
The man responded honestly and put down his M24. At the same, with a quick and natural move, he activated the safety at the side of the bolt handle.
In their field of vision, the small, pink person began running at an extreme speed, immediately hid inside a house and disappeared.
“That’s not the agility of a human. We can’t use it as a reference.”
While saying those words without shock or admiration, the leader called out a window and operated it.
“Surrender. Are you sure you want to proceed?”
At that question, he pressed the „Ｙｅｓ“ button to answer.
“M-san M-san! Is there anyone chasing me?”
While running through the street at full-speed and exchanging her magazine with 3 bullets remaining, LLENN asked.
“No, no one. I can see it from here; it seems that the remaining two gave up on the idea of continuing and resigned.”
Surprised, LLENN stopped moving, turned around and looked at the slaughter scene that she caused.
About 100 metres in that direction, four collapsed figures and four flashy and red 【Ｄｅａｄ】markers could be seen.
“Then, we—— a-against that team, w-w-w-we won?”
“„Didn’t lose“ would probably be the correct expression, but yeah, that’s right. Nice job.”
Hearing M’s words,
After several seconds, LLENN gave a full smile.
“We did iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!”
She thrusted her left hand and the P90 in her right hand into the air, and loudly exclaimed right in the middle of the housing district ruins.
The tournament was not over yet.
At any rate, the first thing that LLENN should do was to regroup with M.
“M-san, where are you?”
A voice responded to LLENN’s question.
“I’m keeping an eye on the area while moving to the west.”
“I would like to regroup until the scan, but what do you think we should do?”
While asking, LLENN had an idea. ‘Wait, isn’t regrouping a bad move?’
M probably knew LLENN’s position. Since he had only moved about 100 metres to the north from the place where he left the suitcase.
‘But, where is M?’
‘In this residential area the scenery looks all the same and, moreover, it’s a place that we’ve visited for the first time, so does M really know my whereabouts?’
If this was an urban area, they could say „Let’s meet up in front of a building that looks like this“.
But, LLENN hesitated to ask such a thing.
“I’ll guide you, so don’t worry. First, advance to the west from your current position in a half-run. If you see the sun to the upper-left of field of vision, then you’re going the right way.”
That was the answer that came.
It seemed that there was nothing to worry about at all. M was also being vigilant and would probably be in an easy-to-find place. Perhaps it was fine to just advance straight along the road.
LLENN said in a light tone and followed the first instruction.
She thought that it would be easy to meet up, but it didn’t take long for her to realise how horribly mistaken she was. Because, M’s instructions were complicated and mysterious.
“Stop there. You should see a burned down rack on your left. Turn there and advance slowly. First narrow road on the right.”
“You’ve come to a flooded area. Take the lane forty-five degrees to your left. It’s very shallow, so you’ll be able to pass. Advance straight ahead until you reach another broad street.”
“The alley to your left. Walk normally, carefully counting to 20. There will be an apartment, with the lower half of its door missing. Enter it. The inside is a mess, but you’ll be able to pass. Advance through the corridor, and go out to the garden from the fifth room on your left side.”
The level of the complexity was so high that LLENN began to suspect: ‘With this detail, is he looking at me? Or is sneakily following me from behind?’
After who knows how many times she turned, advanced, then turned again, she completely lost track of where she was.
“M-san…… Is this really okay? Do you know where I am? Should we wait for the next satelite scan?”
Her wristwatch displayed 14:17. The next scan will take place after 3 minutes.
During a scan, the leader’s position would be displayed. Though, of course, if M wasn’t aware of his own exact whereabouts, then even that wouldn’t be of any use.
“No need to worry about that. Enter the large house in front of you. That’s where I am.”
In front of LLENN was a waterfront mansion. The road ended here, as it was completely flooded beyond this point. She would not be able to advance further even if he told her to.
The calm water, which reflected the red sky and surrounded the house like an island, had an ominous serenity and beauty. Looking into the distance, she could see some sort of large structure in the red and hazy scenery. The swamp was quite close, so that were probably the contours of the spaceship that was sticking out of the ground.
At the next moment, something shone brightly next to the contours of the spaceship. It disappeared immediately, so it seemed to be the explosion of a plasma grenade.
While assessing that someone must be fighting there, LLENN entered the house through the entranceway, and found the familiar giant figure in the centre of the gorgeous living room.
The moment she saw him, *boom*, the sound of the explosion a few moments ago resounded, as if it was a sound effect for finding M.
“Wow! How? Why? By what means?”
LLENN rounded her eyes and asked, and M asked in return.
“Your instructions to get here! How did you manage to guide me through that maze-like route? Could it be that you were looking from above using a „secret tool“ that I don’t know about?”
She had heard from Pitohui some time ago. About a rumour that an item called a ≪ unmanned reconnaissance plane ≫ was added, or would soon be added to GGO, a game which constantly gets new maps, monsters, guns and equipment.
That was a small, radio controlled aircraft or helicopter, which could fly in the sky and send video footage to the user. If such a thing existed, it would be overwhelmingly advantageous in battle and the balance of the game would collapse, thus there were people who dismissed it as an unfounded rumour.
If it existed, that would explain M’s guidance.
Could that be what was in that large backpack? In that case, the extreme absurdity of coming to SJ with just the two of them would make sense as well.
M’s answer was,
“Like a drone? No, that’s not it. That Pito wanted one though.”
He completely dismissed that idea.
“Then how? Could it be that you are using some sort of…… cheat?”
A cheat was any kind of „dishonest deed“ in a game. In this case, it could, for example, be tampering with the system to display one’s whereabouts on the map or something.
Of course, if the management side found out about such a deed, it was likely that their accounts would be suspended, not to mention being disqualified from SJ, thus LLENN felt scared as she asked.
“It’s my personal player skill. Well, some people think of it as a cheat though.
M dismissed this idea as well. Not comprehending what he had said, LLENN asked,
“Ever since childhood, I’ve excelled at geographical perception. No matter whether the real world or a VR game, I’ve never „got lost“. For example, no matter how long I walk underground, I can tell where east, west, south and north is, as well as the distance I’ve travelled. I almost perfectly memorise places that I’ve been in. And even if I’ve never been to a place, if I look at the map, I can draw the scenery in my head.”
LLENN admired honestly.
Like any ordinary girl in society, reading maps definitely wasn’t LLENN’s forte. Though it became a necessary skill to play GGO, so she trained it quite well by looking as field maps.
And she remembered. Something that she had once read in a book. That humans can have an „absolute geographical perception“, just like they can have an „absolute pitch“(3). It’s said that such people are capable of telling where they arrived to even if they were taken there by car blindfolded and with their ears plugged.
“I see! I get it!”
LLENN raised her voice.
“The M in M-san is the first letter of „map“ or „mapper“, right!”
“…………Wha? Eh——, well……, something like that……”
M’s rough face expressed bewilderment, but LLENN continued without minding it.
“That’s more than confirmed. That is so cool!”
“Is…… is that so?”
“Yes it is. All I could come up with was to modify my real name, you know?”
“You’d better avoid saying such things. You’ll expose your RL details.”
“Oops…… You didn’t hear anything! It’s nothing like my real name, okay?”
“Leaving that aside, it’s about time.”
Just as M said that, LLENN’s wristwatch began vibrating. It seemed that M also excelled in telling the time.
14:50. The fifth scan began.
LLENN did not know the result of the previous scan, thus she attentively stared at this one.
This time, it was a very quick scan. Having begun from the east, it crossed the map in the blink of an eye, and the dots rapidly lit up.
However, the majority of them were gray - the position of annihilated or resigned teams.
“That’s a surprise…… M-san, there’s but three teams left!”
The vivid dots that denoted teams that were still fighting numbered merely three.
Located in the central residential area, specifically, its west side, was, of course, them. LLENN finally understood her location.
There was a dot shining in the desert-wilderness area, at the bottom boundary of the map. They were probably 5 km or more away from LLENN’s group.
It was nice that they could ignore them for the time being, but she did not understand their reason for moving to such a location. Were they trying escape from the battle royale?
The last one, who would certainly become their next opponents, was really close. They were in the swamp.
In the vicinity, a grey dot could be seen at the crashed spaceship, so did they splendidly take down an ambushing team? Of course, there was the possibility that it was the opposite case.
They were roughly 4 km away from LLENN’s group in a straight line.
Be that as it may, there was a swamp there, and furthermore, if they wanted to come to LLENN’s groups current position, an approximately 2 km-width submerged area that turned into a lake would stand in their way. It would be necessary to take a detour from the top or bottom, thus wouldn’t they not be able to make it in the next 10 minutes?
The scan was instantly over, and LLENN looked up to M’s face.
“Our next opponent is the team in the swamp, right. I think we should be able to use the same plan for the next scan at 15 o’clock, right?”
They had a success just now, thus LLENN was considerably proactive. She was excited, and her words were energetic.
Although she, no, they were under absurd heavy fire from machine guns in the beginning, it was amazing that that they managed to become one of the last three teams standing. And furthermore, they could even aim further, so it wasn’t surprising that she was excited. Even now they would definitely get a „steel medal“, but while they were at it, they could aim for silver and then gold.
“Even if we were to use the same plan, this place isn’t suitable, right? We have to move more to the north or south, right. And we need to make the enemy in the swamp come to us. Let’s use the 15 o’clock scan to lure them!”
“An hour, huh……”
‘At any rate, the situation is weird, huh’, LLENN thought. Not answering a question wasn’t like M.
‘Could it be that he lost interest in the game after close to an hour?”
Was LLENN’s impression, but she felt uncomfortable asking that directly. Having lost interest in looking at his face from the side while he was pondering, she began surveying the gorgeous room.
After spending several tens of seconds in silence, at last,
“For the time being, let’s get out of here and advance to the south-west along the waterfront. We won’t be able to prepare a trap before the 15 o’clock scan. Let’s consider our next move and look for a new place.”
LLENN answered with a smile, and added a mock salute. And then,
“Fū fū fun, fufu fūn, fufu fun fun, fū fū fū”
She walked while humming a tune. It was the tune of a 『Promenade』 from Mussorgsky’s 『Pictures at an Exhibition』(4).
It was considerably famous in the field of classical music, and it was also a tune that Kanzaki Elsa would sing alongside a poem in Japanese.
M’s large figure slowly followed her from behind.
Having come out of the mansion, the two proceeded towards the south-west while looking at the submerged region on the right.
The number of houses gradually decreased, until they eventually saw a large lake. There was no wind, so there were no waves either, thus the surface of the lake looked like a mirror.
The sky was red as always, thus the lake also looked red; it was both ominous and pretty. In the distance, they faintly saw the spaceship that was sticking out of the ground.
LLENN took the vanguard and ran while occasionally looking back. She felt really good, thus she was afraid that she was likely to leave M behind.
And then, when less than 2 minutes had passed since they left the house; at 14:54——
“Enemy! On the right!”
LLENN heard M’s sharp voice.
1. ^ A Japanese expression for “feeling bewildered”. In Japanese folklore, foxes are depicted as intelligent beings that possess magical abilities, including being able to possess people.
2. ^ The original text is 逆袈裟斬り (lit. reverse kesagiri). A kesagiri is a diagonal slash from the shoulder.
3. ^ Absolute pitch (AP), widely referred to as perfect pitch, is a rare auditory phenomenon characterized by the ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone.