Italic text is Engrish (English written in katakana). Comic Sans MS font is for Japanese words written in katakana or English words written in hiragana. 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.14 - Later Developments
Having been engulfed in light, the place that they were transferred to was the initial standby area.
The characters 『Winners!』 was flashing in the small space. As for the match results, the time of each team’s annihilation or resignation was listed.
The topmost was, of course, themselves, ≪LM≫.
Below was ≪ＳＨＩＮＣ≫. ‘Shinku?’ LLENN couldn’t make sense of it, but they were terrifying opponents in any case.
And below them were——
LLENN stopped following the remaining results, and looked at her own figure.
Her combat uniform, which had been covered in dust just moments ago, became sparkling clean, and her dropped knit cap was placed right next to her.
The figure of her beloved gun, which was acknowledged to have be destroyed, was nowhere to be found. As if it was even confirmed that no usable parts remained, the gun’s fragments were not present either.
As she muttered, to her right,
The large man sat down with a thump as he sighed. It didn’t really happen, but LLENN felt as if the earth shook at that moment.
“Nice work, M-san. We survived, right?”
M raised his head as he took off his bush hat.
The stern face that looked like an RL brown bear’s when they had met now looked like that of a teddy bear to LLENN.
M operated with his left hand, brought out a window, and took off most of his equipment in an instant. The M14 EBR that had slaughtered who knows how many targets, the backpack that had protected him from who knows how many bullets, and the HK45 that was fired at LLENN, all of them disappeared one after the other.
What remained was a macho man dressed in the bottom half of his combat uniform and a T-shirt.
LLENN followed him as well; first, she materialised a robe, and under it she took off all of her equipment and changed to her green clothes.
There was a huge numeral countdown in the space in front of them, and, 110, 109, 108, it continued to decrease. Underneath it,
『The Squad Jam has ended. Would you like to log out? Or would you like to return to the bar? In case neither is chosen, you will be returned to the bar.』
Were these characters.
If she returned to the bar, LLENN would be treated as the victor. She would undoubtedly get befitting praise from the audience that watched the broadcast, and she would be caught in a barrage of questions,
“I’ve…… had enough going wild and am really tired.”
LLENN operated the log out option, and she only needed to press the „Ｙｅｓ“ button.
“Me ……too…… I dislike clapping and cheering too, so I’ll be going off too.”
Hearing M’s answer,
“You use „boku“ in RL, huh. M-san.”
“Huh? Ah, yeah…… Honestly speaking, using „ore“ in this world is very exhausting…… Boku is, better.”
“Well, either way, we survived, right?”
“A-ah, yeah…… Hey, erm…… you see……”
Seeing M looking up at her apologetically,
“Why did you come to save me in the end?”
LLENN impishly asked.
“Because it was safer for me.”
At his blunt and frank words, LLENN unintentionally gave a wry smile.
“The scary Pito-san in RL will also approve of this! All’s well that ends well!”
LLENN said as if trying to take the initiative, and smiled sweetly.
“Th-that would be nice……”
LLENN didn’t know what kind of relationship the two had, or how serious that usual „I’m going to kill you in RL“ letter was.
She didn’t know, but seeing as they survived this far, even Pitohui probably couldn’t complain. It was a great result.
Speaking of results——
“That reminds me, we ended up winning but…… it seems we could get something for it, right?”
She remembered something that was written in SJ’s rule book.
That the top three teams would get a prize. She did not know what that would be though.
It wasn’t a grand tournament like the BoB, and it was sponsored by an individual, so LLENN didn’t think that it would be something that was worth looking forward to, and moreover, she didn’t think that she would get into the top three, so LLENN hadn’t cared about it.
“Huh? Ah…… Victory prize, huh……”
M answered with absolutely no interest as well,
“Seeing as we survived…… I don’t really care if we do get one.”
Looking down on M who seemed to be honestly thinking that,
“True, there’s no better prize than that.”
“Though probably…… we’ll probably be sent a catalogue later on, like in the BoB.”
“Like a hikidemono(1) in weddings, huh. ——Speaking of which, I wonder if Pito is receiving one at this moment?”
“I wonder if there will be a P90 in that catalogue……?”
To LLENN, who muttered knowing the answer,
“Probably not. ——In either of them.”
M answered honestly.
And with this, their conversation was over, and after a few seconds of silence,
“Well, I’m going off then. See you for the review meeting.”
“Send my regards to Pito-san!”
LLENN pressed the „Ｙｅｓ“ button as she said thus.
＊ ＊ ＊
The next thing that entered Karen’s five senses as she was looking at the ceiling through the clear part of her AmuSphere was——
The smell of ample sweat.
And, the sense of the weight of her body that had sunk in the bed, and her pyjamas drenched in sweat.
While giving an expression that did not make sense, she abruptly got up, taking off her AmuSphere at the same time,
And she saw a room with nobody else in it.
Tokyo’s evening sky was probably as red as it was in GGO. It was dimly shining from the opening of the curtain.
Karen stood up sluggishly, took several steps, and caught sight of the black P90 that was adorning the living room corner.
Taking it into her hands, she held it in front of her stomach. And then, she looked at the mirror.
The black P90 wasn’t sufficient in size to cover her abdomen, thus pale yellow(2) jut out both from the sides and from above.
Karen lifted the P90 and,
Silently fixed it to her shoulder,
She aimed at the huge woman with long, black hair in the mirror.
And then, she breathed in,
And breathed out in a plosive sound.
Holding the P90 in her right hand, Karen turned back and went to the side of her bed. By squatting down, she lifted up her smartphone that was placed in a charging station, and immediately turned it on.
And then, picked out one of the numbers registered in it, and immediately dialled.
When she was connected,
“Good day, this is Kohiruimaki.”
Without hesitation, she enquired.
“Can I make a reservation for tomorrow?”
＊ ＊ ＊
『However, what went wrong?”』
『Uh huh. What went wrong?』
『Stop saying the same thing. Well, something did go wrong.』
『You guys, are you idiots! Have a sincere conversation. ——It’s true that we l-lost. Let’s admit it.』
『Uh huh. ‘ven so, we got to shoot like crazy, huh.』
『Yeah, we did. Being able to shoot with a machine gun exhilaratingly like that was so awesome.』
『Are we going to participate in the next SJ if there’s going to be one?』
『Obviously. But, I would want to survive and move up the rank a bit more next time. I want to shoot more.』
『Alright! We’ll be training for that occasion until then!』
『Training, huh…… Well, it can’t be helped. Shall we do it?』
『Oh? What are we going to do?』
『It’s pretty obvious. Every one of us will be raising our strength!』
『We raise it to the limit, and hold machine guns in both hands! Like dual wielding pistols, but with machine guns! That will instantly double our firepower! Double!』
＊ ＊ ＊
2nd of February 2026. Monday. Past 9AM.
Ibaraki prefecture, Hyakuri Air Self-Defence Force Base. In one of the rooms there, two men had met face-to-face.
One of them was a man in his forties, wearing an Air Self-Defence Force uniform with a ‘sansa’ (corresponds to ‘major’)(3) rank insignia.
He was sitting in a chair with his elbow on the desk,
“Although that is only the gist of it, that is the end of the report that I can present today.”
And listening to the words of the man standing in front of him.
“I will present the written report that will include everyone’s impressions by the day after tomorrow.”
He was an Air Self-Defence Force member in his twenties with a ‘nii’ (corresponds to ‘first lieutenant’) rank insignia and a sharp face.
The major nodded *un un* several times, and
“I get it. I’m look forward to the written report. ——Well then, let’s hear your impressions for the time being. How was it?”
The first lieutenant energetically answered to the major’s question.
“Yes, to put it bluntly, it was a „both good and bad game“.”
“I see. Then, shall we start with the bad side?”
“Yes. There were quite a lot of moments when the enemies and their movement were unique to the game and can not be used as feedback for an actual battle. Especially the fact that it encourages the bad habit of disregarding aiming as it is easy to hit someone.”
“I see. And as for the good points?”
“Yes. I lost four subordinates due to misjudgement, but right now, everyone—— is smiling.”
After the first lieutenant left the room with his hat in his hand, the major picked up the phone atop the desk.
After naming himself to the person that he called,
“Hello. As planned, our young ones participated.”
He began with these words, and roughly explained what he had heard from the first lieutenant just now.
And then, he added one more thing to the end.
“Was that of use as a reference? ——Kikuoka-san.”
＊ ＊ ＊
3rd of February. Tuesday. Before 1600.
In the premises of a certain metropolitan area women’s university,
Karen was yelled at by one of the female high-school students walking towards her. It was a scream.
Those were girls whose names she did not know, but faces she recognised. It was a group of six short and sweet female high school students who had constantly passed her by, who carried sports bags, and had a Caucasian among them.
Right after one of them shouted, the other five gave matching high-pitched shrieks one after the other, thus,
Karen was slightly surprised and tilted her head.
‘What are they surprised and shouting about?’, before Karen could find out the answer——
One of the six, a female high school student who was probably the shortest, and was wearing her black hair in a braid, came to her in a half-run,
“H-hey! Excuse me, but——”
She looked up to Karen, and asked.
“Y-you’re the onee-san whom we always pass by, right?”
Karen answered, while still not making sense of why she was approached.
“Eh, yeah, that’s right……”
“Did you, cut your hair?”
She now understood the reason.
Karen tilted her now light neck slightly. Her black hair, which was now in a short cut about the same length as LLENN’s, swayed gently.
“Yeah. I cut if off, yesterday.”
While the remaining five high school girls assembled, the first one shouted as if she was about to explode.
“It’s lovely! It’s cool!”
The large Karen answered, overwhelmed by the small high school girls. And then,
“Every time we pass by, we would always say ‘That person is tall, looks like a model, and is cool’! ‘We’re so jealous’, ‘She looks good no matter what she wears!’ Since, we are so small…… Your long hair was lovely too, but your current hairstyle absolutely suits onee-san even more!”
“I want to be taller as well! But, I’ve already stopped growing!”
“Is that so. You see, I—— I’ve always disliked being tall, but, somehow, I stopped fussing about it the day before yesterday.”
“H-how did you make such a breakthrough?”
“E-erm…… probably because the day before yesterday I did something that caused me to feel like I would die time and time again? I thought, humans can become whatever they want if they don’t give up.”
“Th—— That’s amazing!”
Hearing this conversation, one of the high school girls behind the braided girl tapped her on the back,
“That went well, right Boss? You managed to chat!”
At Karen’s dubious question, the braided high school girl answered with signs of embarrassment.
“It’s a weird nickname, right? It’s because I’m the club head.”
And then, she quickly lowered her head, and,
“I am Nitobe Saki! A second year at the attached high! I am the head of the rhythmic gymnastics club, and everyone here is a member of the club. Two of them are second years and three are first years. This girl is a Russian living in Japan, Milana Sidorova-chan.”
Five matching greetings that were characteristic of sports club members came, and Karen lowered her head slightly.
“Good day. I’m a first year university student, Kohiruimaki Karen.”
“So you are „Karen“-san I see. It is a lovely name.”
“Thanks. Nice to meet you. Saki-chan.”
“Thank you very much! Ehm, we must go to practice now, but could we have another chat if we happen to meet again?”
“Sure. We constantly pass by one another.”
“Thank you very much. Well then, we’ll be taking our leave!”
She once again received beautifully matching bows that were characteristic of sports club members, and even more so of a rhythmic gymnastics club members,
Karen lightly waved her hand.
The six of them cheerfully ran past her,
“It couldn’t be, right?”
And Karen muttered.
And then, she turned forward again. The key holder appended to her bag, the miniature P90 dyed in pink, bounced slightly.
Karen took ten steps with her now short hair swaying——
And when she heard light footsteps drawing near her and——
Heard those words, she turned around.
Having turned around and looking down, she saw that Nitobe Saki alone was standing in front of her.
Saki looked straight at Karen,
“Could we have a handshake?”
Karen grasped the right hand that Saki held out.
At that moment, she applied some force to the small hand.
“Congratulations on your win. But, next time, We're gonna win, chibi-suke.”
Hearing Saki’s voice as Saki cheerfully stared at her——
And finding out that her guess was right, Karen answered with a grin.
“Come at me whenever you want. Giga woman.”
And so, after letting go of each other’s hand, the two——
*Bashin*, hit each other’s palm——
A beautiful sound resounded through the winter Tokyo’s sky.
On the same day. Past 22 o’clock.
In a certain place in the metropolitan area.
In a pitch black room, the night view of Tokyo glimmered outside the window.
In the room, the voice of a young woman roared.
“Ah! Lame la~me lame! It’s so lame that I couldn’t participate in a hard killing event!”
And then, the voice of a young man that seemed to be trying to calm her.
“You don’t need to grieve so much, it’s not like GGO is going to disappear……”
“ Darling, you had so much fun fighting—— and, moreover, you survived—— and yet I couldn’t participate—— why why why why why?”
In between the woman’s voice, the sound of a person being hit was mixed in, and each time, a weak scream of a man overlapped with it.
“It can’t be helped, I guess……”
Another sound of a blow,
The voice of a man violently choking overlapped.
“‘ven so, ochibi-chan was amazing, huh……”
The woman’s voice was filled with fascination.
“Ever since I saw her for the first time, I knew that from how naturally she moved, but I never expected her to move that well…… She’s really living it, she’s a „born with a talent for VR games“ kind of person. I’m so jealous.”
The man listened to the woman’s monologue without uttering a word.
“Moreover, we even ended up getting her fighting talent to bloom. That girl sure is strong. What kind of body does she have IRL, I wonder? What kind of girl is she, I wonder? It piques your interest, right. It piques your interest, doesn't it?”
The man, who did not answer, was hit several times again.
“Gehoh. Gah. Gofuh.”
“Aa, lame! Lame lame! ——That’s it, the next one! Another one can just be held! A second Squad Jam tournament! Because, it was so exciting thanks to you guys! It must have even raised the crazy writer’s share! It wouldn’t be strange for a second tournament to be held!”
A sound of a blow.
“No matter what errands I have, I’m going to tear through and participate! Darling, you participate too! It’s an order from your boss! Now then, during the event, we’ll grandly grandly fight and fight and fight and fight and fight and fight and fight and fight——”
“What are you…… planning to do?”
“Ain’t it obvious—— I’m going to die!”
（ｔｏ ｂｅ ｃｏｎｔｉｎｕｅｄ……）
1. ^ A hikidemono (引き出物) is a gift that the newlywed couple give to each of the guests attending their wedding reception. Lately, people have been giving catalogues as a hikidemono so that the guest could choose the gift they want to ensure that nobody would be dissatisfied by their gift.
2. ^ Refers to the colour of Karen’s pyjamas.
3. ^ The JSDF has their own name for the military ranks and the author is giving military equivalents of the ranks in brackets. Further references to the JSDF rank will be translated.