P.S. Just a note that Miyu frequently speaks in dialect, or just goes very colloquial, which we tried to account for by making her speech more slangy. And the girls apparently have a thing for talking like stereotypical old men for some reason. On an unrelated note, a certain character from the Phantom Bullet arc has a cameo in this chapter.
Full-width text (Ｌｉｋｅ ｔｈｉｓ) is emphasising that the original text is written using the Latin alphabet. Note that most abbreviations that are not in italics are written using the Latin alphabet as well. Italic text is Engrish (English written in katakana). Abbreviations in italics means that the Japanese version used some shorter form of an English word, but in katakana. 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.
Any feedback is appreciated.
Editing: Pryun, ZeHaffen
SECT.4 - SJ2 Preparations
Having returned to her room, Karen looked at the calendar on her PC’s screen.
Today was the 16th of March. There were approximately 2 and a half weeks till SJ2 on the 4th of April.
Karen began formulating a plan to defeat Pitohui. Hence, she put down ideas on what she should do to achieve her goal into her schedule app as she thought of them.
“I’ve got to become stronger……”
To train herself, in other words, LLENN, in GGO.
LLENN was a quick-witted and agile character, but honestly speaking, that was her only characteristic.
Although she had won the previous SJ, she had been saved by luck time and time again. There was no guarantee that she would be so blessed next time.
That is why she needed to fight as much as her time allowed from now on, earn experience points and credits, power up her abilities and weapons, and increase the number of her skills (special abilities) that were useful in battle.
At the end of SJ, LLENN had to fight with a knife, thus she felt that she certainly needed a side arm in case her P90 ran out of ammo or broke down.
She had returned that knife to M, thus she decided to buy an identical knife. As it was a rather expensive knife, she required more credits.
However, this was not such a big problem. If she made the most of her spring break and dove every day, she could probably get considerable training done. She would also save up enough money.
More importantly, there was an issue that she absolutely had to resolve. Also, it had to be done before the SJ2 registration deadline on the 1st of April.
“This time…… who should I participate with……”
That’s right, SJ was a team battle royale. Although LLENN was seeded in the preliminaries as the winner of the previous tournament, she would definitely be unable to submit her entry alone.
‘Anyone will do. So, do I have an acquaintance who will fight with me?’
She did not.
Before SJ, Pitohui was her sole acquaintance in GGO.
She did meet M during SJ, but it’s not like he could form a team with her. He would be an enemy this time.
“Saki-chan and the others…… won’t do either, huh……”
Her post-SJ acquaintances were the rhythmic gymnastics club team led by Eva-Saki.
However, they were a six-member team of close friends. They were strong specifically because they knew each other’s movements, supported each other, and fought together as a team.
She did not wish to ask them to leave someone behind in order for her to join, nor did she wish for one of them to leave the group to team up with her.
She did consider if she should explain the circumstances ── but gave up on that idea as well. She had no desire to involve high-school girls in this.
“So, I have no choice but to talk some strong-looking person into helping me……”
This was probably the easiest course of action.
She could go to the main street of GGO’s capital 《SBC Glocken》,
“Hey, mister. You’re lookin fine. So? Wanna go to the SJ2 with me?”
And, stating that she was the victor of the previous SJ, she could use a pick-up line like that to ask a guy out.
However, would that really go well?
Moreover, would the invited person be skillful enough to be reliable? Would he be able to work as a team?
Or, if she just told him 〝We’re just forming a team to be able to participate, so once SJ2 begins, you can just do whatever you want〟, would he agree?
“It probably won’t work……”
Karen was at her wits’ end.
She would be in trouble if she only had someone register as a member, and that person said 〝I’m out〟 on the very day of the tournament.
Or, if he agreed to fight seriously as a team, what would he think of LLENN’s behaviour when she only went after Pitohui?
LLENN’s goal in participating in SJ2 wasn’t victory, but to murder Pitohui. If that went well, she could just resign and end her participation in SJ2, and she wouldn’t mind being taken out along with Pitohui either.
A player, who Karen could entrust with some details of her circumstances, understood her goal, and would definitely participate. It would be even more splendid if their controlled character was strong.
Could such an exceedingly convenient person exist in this world?
‘No, there’s none. I don’t know any. LLENN doesn’t have many friends.’
Karen’s groan was interrupted by the clear voice of Kanzaki Elsa.
It came from her mobile phone placed on the charging base beside her desk. A ringtone.
Karen extended her long hand, lifted up the mobile phone, and on the screen she saw,
“There is! Such a person exists!”
The name Shinohara Miyu was displayed.
Karen had a one-sided conversation with Miyu, who had called to talk about Kanzaki Elsa’s mini live performance to be held in town around mid-April.
Karen wanted to kill a character operated by an insane female manager, whom she knew nothing about, to save her.
And to do that, Karen needed Miyu’s help. She needed her to convert to GGO and participate in SJ2.
Having poured her heart out,
“I know that this is an unreasonable request. But, I have no one else to turn to. P-please──, I beg you!”
And, Miyu answered Karen’s plea.
“Fu…… This spring, Fukaziroh will go really wild in GGO…… I’ll have to go easy so I don't accidentally end up killing this Pitohui myself in overenthusiasm.”
＊ ＊ ＊
The days of training for Karen and Miyu, as well as LLENN and Fukaziroh, began.
First, Miyu had to convert Fukaziroh from ALO to GGO.
This by itself was simple, but when Fukaziroh told the ALO sylph players whom she shared a guild with, and arranged for them to safeguard her items while she was gone, she was naturally asked for the reason.
“To participate in a mini combat tournament in GGO with a friend who’s the previous winner.”
Miyu told them just this,
“What, that sounds interesting! Hey, let us join too!”
“Nice! Let’s all storm into GGO!”
“Let’s show them the power of fairies!”
And the matter escalated thus.
Of course, she could not disclose the complicated circumstances about a person’s life being at stake, and why Karen was involved in this, to her large family. Though it was difficult, Miyu rejected their offer to help.
LLENN was waiting at the starting point in GGO for the moment Fukaziroh converted.
The starting point in this game was located in a corner of the capital, Glocken.
It was hard to tell whether this world, with its buildings on sparkling metal ground stretching outward to soar in the sky, and gaudy neon shining under the always red, out-of-order sky, was magnificent or crazy.
The conversion system allowed transferring to a different VR game under the same ID, but when this happens, the avatar’s appearance was determined as a 〝thing that’s specific to the game〟.
Some time ago, having wandered between numerous games in search of a chibi avatar, she was able to obtain her current LLENN. What appearance would Fukaziroh, who was a beautiful fairy with long hair in ALO, take on in GGO?
Having concealed her body with a brown robe, LLENN anticipated with her heart pounding in excitement, until particles of light began to assemble, and slowly formed the shape of a human.
For the first time, LLENN saw how a new character was born in this world. The particles finally assembled into a shape with colour,
“O── o? Ooo!”
In front of the sparkly-eyed LLENN, a single character formed.
The character, who raised her head and blinked,
“Yo! Kohi! ──Whoops, LLENN!”
Was definitely Fukaziroh.
Her self in the world of GGO,
“What is it? Does my face look weird?”
Was a blonde beauty──
“No! You’re cute!”
Who did not lose to LLENN in shortness.
“Uhii! Is, this,── me?”
GGO Fukaziroh was slightly taller than LLENN; probably around 150 cm tall. In a world filled with machos and bean poles, her physique was out of the ordinary.
She had beautiful, sparkling, straight, golden hair down her back. Her eyes were brown, tinged with red. Her face had very attractive features, but parts of it looked sharp enough to cut someone if touched.
On the topic of blonde beauties, Milana-chan from the rhythmic gymnastics club was one too, but their aura was quite different.
If Milana-chan was as cute as a 〝doll that makes you smile on sight〟──
Fukaziroh had the aura of a 〝demonic servant that causes your wariness to surge on sight〟. She might even be called a 〝witch’s apprentice〟.
“Nice nice! Though the lack of breasts bothers me a bit!”
As Fukaziroh rubbed her chest through her initial uniform,
“Hold on! Miss, that’s an F8000 series, right! Since you’ve just started, you haven’t formed any attachment to it yet, right? Would you like to sell your account and that avatar? You’d get a hefty sum of money, y’know?”
A broker, who seemed to deal in the trade of rare avatars, brought his clearly middle-aged man face right in front of her.
“Hmm, what should I do? How much'd I get, mister?”
Pulling away Fukaziroh, who seemed to be beginning compensated dating(1) negotiations, LLENN broke into a run from that place.
LLENN and Fukaziroh began their strategy meeting in a private room of a rundown bar.
There were a lot of preparations that had to be made in order to fight in SJ2 and defeat the formidable Pitohui.
First, they checked Fukaziroh’s stats in GGO.
During the conversion, the character’s strength was 〝relatively〟 transferred over.
In other words, a character that mainly trained in physical strength in the previous game would receive a new character with a high strength value even in the new game.
For example, if LLENN converted to another game, she would of course get a character with high agility. Even if she looked like a sumo wrestler appearance-wise.
In GGO, and most other VR games, a management window would appear in the air via a specific motion using the left hand. Although it was basically only visible to the user, it was possible to make it visible to others by facing them and pressing 〝send〟.
Looking at the character status screen that Fukaziroh brought out,
“Wh── what…… is this……?”
LLENN was astounded.
Strength, Agility, Vitality (Endurance), Dexterity, Sensibility, and Luck.
Among these six stats that GGO characters had, LLENN was better only in Agility and Dexterity. Fukaziroh was far better in the rest of the stats.
Her Strength and Vitality were especially high. With these, she could carry a considerably heavy gun and a large amount of equipment, and she had a tough body that could withstand a lot of punishment.
She had a delicate-looking girl’s body, yet her Strength and Vitality might be equal to M’s. It was as if she was a cyborg.
“Well, I guess this’ll do.”
Fukaziroh said very naturally while toying with her long, golden hair in front of her face. She was completely unsurprised.
‘Just how much does Miyu play VR games? Has she sunk in hours, tens of hours── no, hundreds of hours on them?
LLENN now felt alarmed. But at the same time,
She could not hold back her inner thoughts.
The next thing to do was fit her with GGO weapons.
Fukaziroh came from ALO without any possessions, thus her sole piece of equipment was the initial uniform. She had no items. And as for her funds──
“Let’s see, a thousand credits.”
“……The initial amount, huh.”
With this, she would use up all her funds by buying a single cheap pistol. With such equipment,
“It’s alright, nothing to worry about.”
She could not possibly survive in SJ2. She needed the best ones possible.
However, that did not mean that LLENN had that much money to spare. After all, she had just bought a new P90. She did not even have any spare equipment to lend out. She had ended up selling her optical submachine gun and the 《Škorpion》 she once owned.
As such, they had no choice but to fight monsters to earn credits, but it would certainly be quite hard to do that in 2 weeks. A character being this strong yet with no money was cruel.
“So…… we have no other choice…… I’ll just take some from my savings……”
GGO allowed real money trade, so there was the possibility of investing real world electronic money.
However, Fukaziroh reacted immediately.
“That’s not good! Sure, Kohi - I mean LLENN - wait no, since we’re talking about real money in this case, would Kohi be better? You do have a rich allowance! And that money is meant to treat me to loads of high-class sushi at Ginza when I come to Tokyo for Kanzaki Elsa’s live performance, right?”
“I made no such promise! Well, if SJ2 goes well, I will treat you though……”
“Aww yeah! You heard it, right! I’ll serve as the witness!”
“Well then, what should we do Miyu── I mean, Fukaziroh── that’s kinda hard to pronounce.”
“〝Fuka〟 is fine; everyone calls me that. In that case, we have no choice but to call on that person, who asked you to save a life, for help, right?”
She had not thought of that.
LLENN pondered on the idea for a moment,
“We’ve got no other choice, huh……”
She could not think of any other ideas. Considering that M has spent a lot of time playing, she thought that he would probably have spare credits and equipment, thus she decided to try it out.
But for that, she had to temporarily log out.
Goushi had given her his RL email address. Since there was the danger of their conversations in GGO and messages sent in GGO being noticed by Pitohui.
“Well, I’m going to explore this colourless world today! I’m going to challenge the record of getting the most nanpas(2)!”
Leaving Fukaziroh, who said that as she had come from the colourful ALO, Karen temporarily returned to the real world. Immediately, she sent a mail to Goushi.
‘Because of such reasons, please, could you help with equipment and credits for my SJ2 partner?. But, I don’t want you to use real money for this.’
The answer came just short of a minute later.
‘I’m the one who asked for help, so by all means, allow me to help. I’ll leave an item box at a certain place in town.’
Of course, it wasn’t an actual box, they would just receive data by going there and touching the item. She also got the password to open it. The reason for not transferring the items directly was probably to avoid leaving records of their transaction.
Having dived into GGO once again, LLENN,
“Forty three people called me in this short time! Not bad! Though, this game really does have very few female chars, huh! It’s possible to get a reverse harem here!”
Went to the designated location together with Fukaziroh, who had to dress in a robe because her excessive beauty made her stand out. Indeed, they found a present from M behind a trash can in a back alley.
Fukaziroh touched it, entered the password, and a certain amount of credits entered her completely empty wallet.
Seeing that, LLENN,
And Fukaziroh too,
Were both so surprised at the displayed number that they jumped up in astonishment.
“LLENN…… you're sure that this isn’t a mistake, right……?”
“And afterwards, I won’t be told to sell my organs or go on a tuna boat(3), right……?”
There was a short message from M, along with the enormous amount of monetary aid.
『This should do for now. Let me know if you need more.』
Having read the letter, Fukaziroh faced LLENN with an expression that was the very embodiment of seriousness, and said.
“I wanna marry this guy right now. Give me his email now.”
The problem of money was resolved.
Next up was Fukaziroh’s equipment. For starters, a weapon for attacking, a principal main weapon, was necessary.
“Since I have Strength and endurance, I can carry any heavy weapon, y’know? Like a two-handed sword, or a battleaxe would do fine. I also like long lances quite a bit.”
Such things did not exist in GGO, and even if they did, they would probably be quite useless. LLENN and Fukaziroh headed for a weapon store in a large shopping mall.
‘What kind of weapon should Fukaziroh get, I wonder?’
LLENN pondered, then consulted with Fukaziroh as well, and the two came to the conclusion that it would be good to get something with heavy firepower to support her nimble self.
Optical guns── the so-called ray guns, beam guns, and blasters, would suffer a loss in power due to an 《Anti-beam Defence Field》, thus the theory was that live-ammunition guns should be used in battles against people. Actually, almost everyone in both the BoB and SJ used live-ammunition guns.
LLENN showed Fukaziroh the various live-ammunition guns while in the gun store at the mall.
For instance, she introduced her to machine guns that could cover a large area due to their rapid-fire, and assault rifles (automatic rifles) that struck a balance between firepower and size, but no matter which kind she introduced,
“I don’t like them.”
They did not match Fukaziroh’s expectations.
“Like, they all look strong, but none of them are beautiful.”
‘Well, who cares about the aesthetics!’
LLENN wanted to say, but refrained, of course, as she herself bought the P90 solely based on appearance.
Choosing a weapon for Fukaziroh proved to be difficult,
“This is troublesome……”
LLENN was at her wits’ end. ‘If only the wealth of gun knowledge that is Pito-san, or M-san, were here at a time like this’, she thought, but that was impossible no matter how much she hoped for it.
As she had no other choice,
“Fuka. Let’s head to another shop.”
In this case, all they could do was to search until they found something. The two left the large mall, and went to a back alley store like the one where LLENN got her hands on her P90.
In the world of GGO, optical guns were the weapons that people who had left and then returned on a colonist spaceship used. Live-ammunition guns were the weapons that were used on Earth, designed from either the schematics or the actual guns that were left behind; that was the setting.
Middle- and higher-class firepower-wielding weapons could not be created. They were uncovered or found by characters who explored dangerous ruins, or defeated the bosses found there.
As the game progressed, new weapons would be implemented, thus players would say 〝I wonder what weapon we will find this time？〟 in excitement.
The back alley store was a place that dealt in such rare, high-power, and high-priced weapons.
And so, Fukaziroh’s eyes sparkled just as she entered the store.
“LLENN! This one! What’s this gun? It’s super cool! Pretty! Lovely! Beautiful!”
“Huh! Which one?”
‘What gun caused Fukaziroh to cheer so much?’
With Fukaziroh looking as cheerful as she once was, LLENN rushed over towards her. And so,
She looked at the gun on a shelf that Fukaziroh was pointing to.
“What…… is this……?”
LLENN’s face twitched.
LLENN’s sense of friendship stopped her from putting that thought into words.
It was an awfully ugly object.
Its overall length was around 70 cm. About the same as a rather long submachine gun. As it had a stock for holding against the shoulder, the gun was probably a gun. As for the colour, it was mostly desert tan, a soil-like shade of brown. Though the grip and some other parts were black.
Nevertheless, it was actually an unattractive gun.
The most unsightly part of it was the protuberance in its centre.
Its revolver-like rotating cylinder protruded like the stomach of an obese middle-aged person. Its excessively large and short barrel was nothing more than another bad part of its appearance.
‘The gun looks like a crossbreed between a revolver and submachine gun that had a mistake in size adjustment and thus ended up growing a belly.’
LLENN had such an impression about it.
“LLENN, you don’t know about it either? But, it does look good, right! I’m set on it! What kind of gun is it?”
Even though she was asked what kind of gun it was, LLENN did not know anything about it other than the fact that it was 〝awfully unsightly〟, as this was the first time she had seen it after all.
LLENN read the displayed tag. 《MGL-140》. That was probably its name.
Even if she knew its name, she could not say anything else about it. For example, what kind of gun it was and what kind of bullets it used.
At that point, having greeted another customer, the shop assistant came in front of the two girls.
He was a young man who wore jeans and a T-shirt, as well as an American Marine Corps camouflage-patterned apron on top.
He wasn’t a computer-controlled NPC (Non-Player Character) like the shop assistants working at the huge mall. It was a player character, who was doing business in GGO to earn money.
“Miss, that is a continuous-fire grenade launcher! It’s the first time I've seen one too. It seems that they have just recently been implemented, and then someone discovered them in some ruins, thus yesterday, we got 2 of them at our store!”
The shop assistant said in a cheerful, merchant-like tone, and gave an invigorating smile.
“A grenade launcher. Ah, so that’s it, huh……”
LLENN realised. Even though she knew about them, this was the first time she saw the actual thing.
“What’s a…… grenade?”
As Fukaziroh, who did not even know about them, asked this question, the shop assistant politely answered.
“In Japanaese, grenade means high-explosive projectile. You can just think of it as 〝a shell packed with gunpowder that explodes〟. A hand grenade is a hand-held high-explosive projectile. It’s literally a bomb thrown by hand.”
As the shop assistant’s explanation was polite, and he was clearly more well-informed than LLENN, she kept quiet.
“A grenade launcher is a gun that can discharge grenades farther than by hand. Using the power of gunpowder, it can send 40 mm-diameter grenades flying up to 400 metres away.”
“Ho! This gun’s not just cute, but superb too!”
“That’s right! The way the grenades fly in a parabola is fun right! Normally, they’re single-shot── in other words, you can only load in 1 grenade at a time, and then need to remove the empty shell and load in a new one after firing, but this gun is different. It has a rotating cylinder. You can load in 6 grenades into it, and fire 2 per second just by pulling the trigger. In other words, you can fire all 6 of them in 3 seconds!”
“Hoho. A hail of bombs, huh!”
“Right! The explosion of a single grenade can scatter fragments in a 5 metre radius, and then multiply it by 6. This is undoubtedly one of the strongest grenade launchers in GGO at this moment.”
“And there’s a large variety of 40 mm grenades; rather than just the exploding kind, there are tons of them that you can try, like ones that create a smokescreen, thermite incendiary grenades that burn people to a crisp with super-high temperatures, or flares that shine as they descend by parachute!”
“Moreover, there are 《plasma grenades》 , which don’t exist in RL, in GGO! Oh the pleasant feeling when you fire those, and blow away your opponents with super-high power!”
At the end of the high-spirited talk that sounded like a sale on the way to the station,
“Mister! I’m buying it! Sell it!”
Fukaziroh shouted as she jumped around in excitement, but the shop assistant toned down a bit.
“But, it is expensive, you know? Have you…… seen its price?”
‘Come to think of it, I still haven’t looked at it.’
When LLENN looked at the price tag,
She felt like vomiting blood.
As is usual with powerful weapons, even the price packed a punch. How many of her beloved P90s that were by no means cheap could she buy with this? She did not want to calculate that.
But, however, Fukaziroh right now──
“I can afford it I can afford it!”
Was super rich because of a certain someone,. Having manipulated her window, she showed the shop assistant an amount of money enough for the purchase, and at the same time,
“I’m buying 2! I wanna hold one in each hand and fire them like a badass! I’ll also buy all the ammo you have!”
The shop assistant, who seemed like he was looking at an unbelievable idiot, at a loss for words,
“Th-thank you for your patronage!”
Quickly shouted, smiling from ear to ear. And then,
“Aah…… with this, I’ll make enough for next month’s expenses too……”
It seemed that this person was facing quite the hardship in RL.
‘Even if I fail at job hunting, I’ll pass on making a living via a game.’
LLENN carved this thought into her heart.
1 week has passed since Fukaziroh came to GGO.
Thanks to the funds received from M, nicknamed 〝Ｍ funds〟, she now had all the necessary equipment as well. There was no longer a single trace of her being a newbie that had just converted.
After a lot of trouble, the equipment that Fukaziroh chose in the end was──
For the top, she wore a long-sleeved, camouflaged combat suit. It had a pattern of various shades of brown and green, a pattern used by the US armed forces known as 《MultiCam》. It also had a solid green, bulletproof vest on the front. There were a great number of pouches for grenades on it. She wore brown gloves on her hands.
As for the lower half of her body, she wore identically camouflaged shorts that looked like a skirt. Her legs were covered in black tights, and she wore brown short boots.
Her long, golden hair was arranged into a bun at her nape, with an ornate hairpin inserted into it. When LLENN wondered where she found such an item, Fukaziroh told her that she had bought a small knife and had it made thinner at the store.
And as for her head, she wore a green helmet that was rather unproportionately big.
Based solely on appearance, the outfit made her look like a mountain climbing girl. Miyu, being far more feminine with her choice of clothes, was quite particular about what she wore. However, she settled for camouflage.
As for her arms, she had 2 brutal MGL-140 grenade launchers that could fire 6 grenades in succession, equipped by slings on her right and left. Their colour was left the same as before.
There was also a plastic holster, bought who knows when, on her right thigh, and inside was a 《Smith & Wesson M&P》 9 mm calibre automatic pistol.
‘Was this meant to continue attacking in case she couldn't settle a battle against a monster with 12 grenades?’ When LLENN asked this during pistol shooting practice,
“If someone gets close, I’ll manage somehow!”
She gave such a reassuring answer.
On her back she wore a green backpack. It was filled with tons of grenades.
Even her storage was filled to the brim, as much as her stat-determined weight limit allowed, with spare grenades. The number actually exceeded 100.
“Shooting with guns is fun too! LLENN! Let’s go!”
Having gone to the fields to fight formidable opponents since the very day she bought her gear, Fukaziroh had completely become a GGO girl.
LLENN fought under the pressure that she had to bring down Pitohui, but Fukaziroh was in good spirits, as though she had forgotten that.
Nevertheless, her becoming stronger made her nothing but reliable to LLENN. It also served the goal of training herself, thus LLENN and Fukaziroh continued to fight.
Fukaziroh would keep a watch on her surroundings under the red sky, and once she saw a striding monster,
“Hyahaa! Time to take out the trash!”
*Ponponpon*, she would discharge costly grenades without restraint.
The discharged 40 mm grenades would fly in a parabola, and land diagonally from above. And then, once the fuse ran out, they would explode.
Even a large monster would vanish without a trace if it took a direct hit to its body, or receive heavy damage from the fragments even if the grenades exploded nearby instead. When it became immobile, LLENN would rush over at her superhuman speed and deal the finishing blow with her P90.
If there was no need to use her bullets, she would draw her recently-acquired knife from her waist, and slash it.
That was how the two long-time bosom friends, who got along from the start, worked. Their communication was like A-un breathing.(4)
“The 《Bullet Circle》 makes it easy!”
Fukaziroh mastered the system assist unique to GGO right away.
The Bullet Circle, impact prediction circle(5) in Japanese, was a green circle that could only be seen by the character who was shooting.
Once the user readied their gun and touched the trigger with their finger, a circle would appear in the shooter’s field of vision in less than a second.
The size of the circle depended on the variety and ability of the gun and bullets, as well as the estimated distance to the target, character abilities and so on. And, matching the player’s heart rate, the circle decreased and increased in size.
Once fired, the bullet would hit somewhere within the circle randomly, thus it was an ironclad rule to fire at the moment it was at its smallest. Naturally, if the heart rate sprung up due to nervousness, it would be awfully difficult to grasp the timing.
With guns that were basically aimed pretty much straight towards the target, like LLENN’s P90 and normal guns, the circle appeared pretty much straight ahead.
‘So, how on earth does it work for a grenade launcher which, aside from at super-point-blank range, attacks in a large parabola, like throwing a ball?,’
LLENN wondered, and,
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Seeing is believing. In one ear and out the other.” (6)
Fukaziroh fired a single shot after saying that, and presented her beloved gun to LLENN.
To LLENN, the MGL-140 felt like a mass of lead. There was no way she could hold and shoot it one-handed.
According to actual gun data, the gun alone weighed nearly 6 kilograms, but there were 6 grenades that weighed at least 300 grams each in it, thus the whole thing weighed at least 8 kilograms when firing.
It was entirely different from her P90, which weighed just 3 kilograms even including the bullets.
LLENN realised how strong Fukaziroh was, as she could move around carrying 2 of them.
“Then, just 1 shot.”
Grasping the grip under the barrel, LLENN held it against her waist, rather than her shoulder, and then touched the trigger with her finger.
And then, a green circle, tilted by about 45 degrees, emerged clearly on the surface of the wilderness about 200 metres away. When she tried moving the muzzle slightly upwards, the circle moved farther away.
When she squeezed the trigger, *pon*, along with this lovely sound and less recoil than she had anticipated, possibly due to the launcher's body being heavy, a black mass flew out, and the rotating cylinder turned 1 grenade to the right at the same time.
About 3 seconds after discharging, the launched grenade exploded within the circle. A cloud of smoke whirled up high, and the sound of the explosion came late by a beat.
Returning the MGL-140 to Fukaziroh,
This definitely made aiming easy. The shop assistant,
“Optical sights are attached to a real MGL-140 to help aim while changing the angle of the stock as it is held against the shoulder, but you see, in GGO where we have the Bullet Circle, it instead becomes a hindrance, so you don’t need it.”
Said this, and now she understood what he had meant. There really were no optical sights attached to Fukaziroh’s MGL-140.
She now understood how the Bullet Circle worked in this case.
“What about the Line?”
LLENN expressed a question. In GGO, there was another system that corresponded to the Bullet Circle, called the 《Bullet Line》.
It was an assist that was applied for the defenders, a red line that informed a character being targeted that 〝Bullets are going to fly here right now〟, which was impossible in reality.
However, as an exception, it would not be displayed if it was 〝the first bullet fired by an unspotted sniper〟.
Upon seeing them, GGO players were able to avoid incoming bullets, which would mostly be impossible in RL.
In order to confirm the grenade launcher’s Bullet Lines with her own eyes, LLENN stepped away by about 200 metres, and had Fukaziroh target her.
“Ah, I see.”
As expected, it drew a large parabola. Going diagonally upwards in the distance, the line then descended in an arch.
“Yeah, I got it. Just as I imagined.”
Via the communication item, which allowed them to converse as if they were on a phone, that Fukuaziroh had bought, but,
“Well then, let’s try practicing dodging for a bit. I’m firing 3 of them.”
Right after LLENN was suddenly told this, she heard *pom pom pom*, sounds of her gun discharging, and became shocked.
LLENN panicked, broke into an extreme dash, escaped, and then heard three consecutive explosions behind her. She felt the ground shaking at her feet. The blast then hit her from behind.
Turning around, she saw that the spot that she had just been standing in had been entirely gouged out. Such terrifying power.
“That was close……”
As the grenade came flying in a parabola, there was a several-seconds-long window between discharge and impact. In this sense, it was much easier to dodge than a regular bullet── but, it was completely different from bullets that could be dodged by moving several cm or several tens of cm, after all, it was a grenade that exploded and scattered metal fragments.
Fukaziroh, who mercilessly opened fire on her,
“Yep yep. You’re fast on your feet. Bravo.”
“It’s not 〝bravo〟! That was scary!”
“Whatcha saying, SJ2 is scarier, right?”
When LLENN returned to her side,
“Wow, what a strong and fun weapon! I’m glad I bought it. I’m glad it was on sale!”
Fukaziroh shared her glee.
However, she also added this.
“But, it’s excessively peaky(7). I can’t fight if it’s this much.”
As could be expected from a hardcore VR gamer. She realised it before LLENN was able to put her thoughts to words.
A rapid-fire grenade launcher did indeed have a lot of striking power. However, at the same time, it was a weapon with many faults.
The fact that it was a rare and costly weapon was the first. It could not be bought that easily.
The fact that it was heavy and had a huge Strength requirement was another. It could only be handled by burly characters, and even then it would not be that easy to carry other weapons as well. Machos like Fukaziroh were the exception.
And most importantly, the fact that 〝once all 6 shots are fired, it takes time to reload〟was a major flaw.
Reloading the MGL-140 requires unfastening the lock, turning the gun, and exposing the rotary magazine.
Then, emptying the used shells, winding back the spring by turning the rotary magazine by hand, and finally, putting in new grenades and inserting the magazine back into the gun. No matter how Fukaziroh hurried, she still needed close to 10 seconds for these processes.
It was self-evident that Fukaziroh would be turned into honeycomb during this time if she fought alone.
“This gun is only meant to be used for a support role in party play, right! Just like long-incantation powerful offensive spells.”
“I don’t really know much about magic in ALO……, but something like that, I guess.”
“It would be much simpler if we could soar through the skies, huh……”
Fukaziroh said honestly, as everyone could fly in ALO,
“Oh fairy missy. This is a world of human folk.”
LLENN answered in an old man’s tone.
“Well, whatcha gonna do! A’righty then, I’ll fire from the rear, so I leave the role of a vanguard attacker to you, LLENN!”
“Gotcha! It sure is reassuring that you became so strong, Fuka. Oh, and while we’re at it, there’s a strategy that I want to try out──”
“Oh, what is it?”
＊ ＊ ＊
Karen and Miyu continued diving into GGO during their spring break.
They had to train themselves, and their team, as much as possible until SJ2 on the 4th of April. Luckily, university spring break was entirely free time.
Even so, Karen’s time was limited to about 6 hours a day.
If she spent any more time on it, she would always feel awfully, mentally exhausted. She had never played this long until now. Hence, she had problems sleeping at night, and occasionally had headaches.
There were a lot of, even excessive, safety devices built into the AmuSphere, to prevent something like the NerveGear from the SAO incident from being conceived, and to prevent that horrible incident from being repeated.
The user’s sensations were constantly monitored, and if an abnormality was detected, the forced shutdown feature would activate, and the player would be returned to the real world.
As it would be intolerable for such a thing to happen during the tournament, she paid attention to managing her physical condition as well.
She had to defeat Pitohui during SJ2. This might be a game, but it’s not something that you play. The lives of two people were at stake.
Even so, Karen stayed in the world of GGO as much as her time and physical condition allowed, hence her elder sister living above,
“You don’t even call us by phone, what’s wrong? You’re holed up in your room, right? Are you really concentrating that much on reading? Could it be…… Karen, are you depressed that you can’t make friends? You even cut your hair all of a sudden, did something happen? If something’s worrying you, I could give you counsel, keeping it a secret from our parents, you know?”
Ended up telling her such things. It was awfully hard for Karen, but she continued deceiving her.
On the other hand, Miyu’s case was just the opposite.
As expected for a hopeless net game addict──, no, a hardcore VRMMO gamer.
There wasn’t a time when LLENN dived into GGO and could not find Fukaziroh already there. Once LLENN got to Glocken, Fukaziroh would be notified of this, as they were squadron mates. As such, LLENN would soon receive a message from her telling her where to meet up.
After they reunited, Fukaziroh would raise her thumb, baring her white teeth.
“Alrighty! Let’s go farming! Or go kill someone!”
And so, the fields they went to were essentially not at a difficulty befitting beginners like Fukaziroh, but just as LLENN had predicted, there was no need to worry about that.
Fukaziroh never did anything unreasonable, and completely understood LLENN’s role in attacking, thus she quickly deduced monster attack patterns, and supported her with powerful grenades from afar.
‘We can’t lose like this!”
Blazing with fighting spirit, LLENN made more and more bold attacks than she used to, accepting the risks involved, in order to further train herself.
She tried moves that she had never attempted before, and did not mind even if she failed right away. She continued her practice, running, running, shooting, reloading her magazine and then shooting again.
‘Speed is my shield! Attacking is my defence!’
‘Don’t stop! You’ll die if you stop! Fire away!’
The second generation P-chan, as if speaking for LLENN’s fighting spirit, created harmonic gunshots.
LLENN’s goal was but one. To defeat Pitohui.
To kill her──
And save her.
While LLENN and Fukaziroh spent all their time practicing like the main characters of a shounen-manga,
“Once more! Rosa, shoot longer and pin your opponent down without giving them breathing room! Anna, work on getting your reloads done as fast as possible! Your sniping skill is excellent, so just have confidence in yourself! Tanya and I need to work on matching our attack timing! When firing, don’t rely solely on the Bullet Circle! The time till the circle appears is precious! If you think you’re going to hit, fire! We can do it!”
There were other players who similarly trained without sparing any effort.
It was the rhythmic gymnastics club team, led by Saki, no, Boss-Eva. With their high school end-of-year tests now over, they had more days when they only had classes in the morning.
The girls spent at least 2 hours a day, though usually more, diving.
Of course, they did have club activities, but they came to the game world under the pretext that 〝it was necessary to build up the group’s sense of unity〟.
In GGO, ammunition was not distributed freely; all of it had to be either picked up or bought by themselves. Aside from monster farming, which rewarded experience and items, as well as credits, simple shooting practice would result in a decrease in funds, proportional to the intensity of the training. However, the girls did not mind, and continued having intensive, live-ammunition shooting training.
It was important to raise experience points and skills to 〝improve the abilities of the character〟, but being quite engaged in sports, the girls knew well that improving their player, in other words, their own skills── prompt decision making skills and reaction speed, was absolutely important.
The snipers Anna and Tohma could spot a distant target hundreds of metres away, and shoot them, and so, they were training to increase their manageable distance.
And, they were also practicing how to quickly defeat an enemy that suddenly appeared in their vicinity.
The sniper’s role did not always involve defeating enemies at long range. Even at mid-short distances, it was an important job to deliver an instant-kill blow to the vitals that other soldiers could not do.
In contrast, the Bizon submachine gun-equipped Tanya polished her fighting style that relied on Agility, just like LLENN. She repeatedly continued exercises that involved navigating labyrinth-like fields filled with obstacles, running as fast as she could, and defeating enemies that she encountered as quickly as possible, without caring about making mistakes or crashing into something.
Once that was over, she had even more extreme exercises.
She had to run in a large field with an approximately 2 metre-long string attached to her back, pulling along a koinobori(8) -like 〝wind sock〟 as she ran.
Meanwhile, her mates would fire at that windsock from afar. It was an exercise for hitting characters like LLENN that ran at high-speed. Of course, if they hit Tanya, they would deal mercilessly high damage. It demanded concentration.
Boss and Tanya also had another exercise with their 9 mm 《Strizhi》 pistols.
First, the remaining four members stood holding wooden targets that looked just like a person’s head.
“ Ready── fire!”
And then, starting from a stance where they held their Vintorez and Bizon, they would throw them away, and quickly draw out their pistols. This was a practice meant to prepare for a situation when their main weapons broke down or ran out of bullets. If their aim was off, they would strike the faces of their mates with 9 mm bullets.
Players, who happened to come across this scene of asceticism in the wilderness, took a quick look at it from afar with their binoculars, and then,
“Those girls sure are scary…… They don't seem to have noticed us, and I don’t want them to catch sight of us, so let’s not get involved with them.”
“Roger. We are on our way back from farming, so we can’t risk getting hurt now.”
“Though, those are some tough women, huh…… I’m sure that even their real selves are old ladies with 30 years of online game experience……”
The group humbly turned down the chance to attack them.
The sun was setting in the GGO world that was linked with real world time.
After their life-endangering practice, it was about time to return to RL,
“Everyone, I have something to say. Something important.”
To her five comrades, who formed a line and stood at attention to listen to her, although she did not really order them to do so,
“We have become much stronger. If we can demonstrate all our abilities, I believe we have a decent chance of winning SJ2. But──”
Stating this, Boss’s expression became sharper. Even though her usual expression was quite intense to begin with. Enough to instantly make children cry.
“There will be a strong enemy. M, the giant who fought with LLENN the previous time. It’s not certain yet, but I am very sure that he’ll come. He is a terrifyingly famous sniper, and moreover, as we saw in the video, he has a powerful shield.”
All of them nodded.
It was a gun shield made out of a plate of the outer wall of a spaceship that could be expended into a fan-shape. A menacing shield that could deflect 7.62 mm bullets, in other words, the most powerful bullets they had, at point-blank range.
Used in an open place, and coupled with M’s M14 EBR sniping, it could wipe them all out.
That was because M had developed the high-technique 〝being able to snipe without showing a Bullet Line even if his position is known〟.
This actually did not mean that he was cheating, it’s just that he simply avoided touching the trigger until right before firing. Naturally, the Bullet Circle system assist was not activated either, thus he had to fire by deducing where he was aiming through the scope on his own.
When sniping, the bullet would drop in proportion to the distance to the target, and it would be pushed away in proportion to the wind. And if the target was moving, it was necessary to anticipate their moves.
Sniping was a technique that required precise calculations and experience, thus not everyone could do it that easily without the Bullet Circle.
However, M came along. With his experience of real shooting from abroad, and his GGO abilities.
In order to win, they had to take any measure necessary to defeat an opponent that could snipe them, without giving them a chance to dodge, from behind his impregnable wall. The M14 EBR’s effective range was about 800 metres. Even a grenade launcher could not reach him from that distance.
“We need a way to smash through that shield head-on! A stronger weapon! That’s why──”
As her mates watched on with bated breath, Boss declared loudly.
“Tomorrow, we’re going to get one!”
＊ ＊ ＊
March 2026 passed by quietly.
And so, as the deadline drew near, the number of teams declaring their participation in SJ2 gradually increased. If the list went over the thirty participant limit, preliminaries were planned to be held the day before the main tournament.
There were two names at the top of the list.
《ＳＨＩＮＣ》── the rhythmic gymnastics club’s team, led by Saki, who were the previous runner-ups.
《ＭＭＴＭ》── the team of men with skull emblems that took the third place then.
These two alone had their team names displayed in a different colour. All the other names were in white, but they alone were displayed in a golden shade. Making it clear to everyone that these teams were seeded.
And so, on Sunday, the 25th of March. At around 12:00.
Just when the list was filled with thirty participants, a new team name was added.
The name 《ＬＦ》, which normally should have been displayed as the thirty first entry──
Was actually displayed topmost, shining in a vivid golden shade.
4 minutes later, a telephone rang somewhere in Tokyo.
『What? Goushi-kun. I’ll be having a business meeting with the other director very soon. Make it brief.』
『Then, I shall only convey the essentials. The aforementioned team, has entered. Just now.』
『Thanks for the report. I’m looking forward to it.』
『I know. I’ve got the 4th of April all planned out. See you.』
40 minutes later, on a road in a narrow and dark valley in the world of GGO, five men talked as they looked at their window screens.
“Hey look at this! It’s here it’s here it’s here! That pink chibi!”
“Who? ──Oh, you’re right…… The fellow who avoided all of our bullets!”
“They’ve finally registered, huh. Though the highly-skilled guys who killed us from behind don’t seem to have entered yet.”
“They might not come. Looking at the video, they looked like professionals, right? Based on their moves and hand signs, there are rumours that they’re part of the ASDF(9)’s 〝base garrison〟. Maybe their superiors got mad that they went out to play or something?”
“It doesn’t matter where! It doesn’t matter who! We, the 《Zen-Nihon Machine Gun Lovers》, will defeat any enemy we find!”
‘Yeah!’, the five psyched machine gun-wielding guys──
Were ripped into shreds 3 seconds later by a leopard-like monster that crept up on them while they cheered.
1 hour later,
“Boss! Karen-san── I mean, LLENN has entered!”
“What did you say!”
At the entrance of a certain dungeon in GGO, a certain six-member party was surprised.
“You’re, right…… This…… is getting more and more interesting!”
“I wonder why Karen-san had a change of heart……?”
“Who knows! Not asking that is the principle of soldiers! From now on, we won’t make any contact with her even in RL! Until the tournament is concluded── she’s an enemy!”
“Let’s hear her out over sweets after it’s done.”
“I want to eat some marshmallows. And Hokkaido sweets too.”
“The black tea was tasty too! Those tea leaves were really expensive, probably!”
“Alright, ladies! Enough chatter! Now, let’s try it again today too! Let’s advance farther than yesterday! Follow me!”
At Boss’s words,
The five who gave a war cry moved forward through the tunnel that went underground.
＊ ＊ ＊
The 1st of April, noon.
The entry to the Second Squad Jam was closed.
The number of teams that declared their participation jumped greatly just before the deadline, reaching a total of forty-nine. Amongst them, three were seeded.
This was also influenced by the fact that that the prizes were finally announced on the 28th, right before the deadline. Because, surprisingly, they were extravagant.
The winning team would receive an assorted set of 20 assault rifles. The runner-ups would receive a set of 10 submachine guns. For the third-ranked, a set of 10 pistols. And everyone would receive hundreds of bullets and spare magazines.
These could either be used or sold, and either way would result in a profit. The sponsor for this tournament, unlike the novelist, seemed to be quite rich.
After all, the prize for the previous tournament was a 《signed set of twenty books written by the novelist sponsor》, a truly 〝cheap〟prize.
There was nothing stylish to it, like 〝choosing a reward from the catalogue〟, as was the case with the BoB; first she got a message to tell them her address, and, after she answered reluctantly, a heavy cardboard box soon arrived at Karen’s room.
It came with a message 『Congratulations on winning! That was a splendid battle!』── alongside twenty gun action novels that she probably wouldn’t read.
“What am I going to do. This……”
Karen was at a loss.
As it wouldn’t be nice to just sell them at a second-hand bookstore, she just left them alone.
But as for SJ2, whose prizes were no longer disappointing──
Excluding the seeded teams, naturally, only twenty seven of the forty six teams could participate in the main tournament.
Therefore, the day before the tournament, at 20:00 on the 3rd of April, preliminaries would be held. The rules for it were sent via message.
The preliminaries would be a confrontation between randomly paired teams.
The preliminaries would be settled in a single round, which had a 20 minute time limit. Out of consideration for members that could not dive at the specified time due to work, teams were allowed to participate if at least two of their registered members were present.
As for the battlefield, a 1 km x 300 metre rectangular and flat field, dotted with numerous barricades was specially-designed to allow teams to engage one another immediately, and to prevent running around. All battles would be held simultaneously under the same conditions.
No matter how many members there were in an opposing team, wiping them all out would of course result in victory.
In case of a time-out, the side with fewer casualties would win.
Or if that was a tie, the side which received less damage would win.
If even that was a tie (for example, in the case where nobody received damage), the side which spent fewer bullets would win.
If even that was a tie (for example, in the case where both sides ran away from the battle without firing a shot), the management company would throw a coin to decide the victor.
The winners would naturally get the right to participate in the main tournament. By this method, twenty three teams would be decided, but four teams among the losers would be repechaged.
This would be based on the fewest casualties. In the case of them being identical, based on longest survival time. Followed by damage and fired bullets. Incidentally, teams that lost by coin toss would not be given repechage.
The state of the preliminaries would not be broadcast at all. Therefore, aside from the losing teams that were repechaged, nobody would know what kind of teams would become their enemy until they ran into them during the main tournament.
Looking at the entry list and rule book,
“Well, we have it easy.”
“The seeding really is helpful. Participating as just two people might work in our favour during SJ, but it is a super handicap in the preliminary battles.”
Fukaziroh and LLENN had a confidential conversation in a private room of a restaurant in GGO.
Whether they liked it or not, SJ2 would take place in 3 days. The two chose a private room in a safe restaurant where no other eyes or ears could reach them, rather than the fields that they had gone to till now, to look over the rules again.
Karen could have just had a normal chat with Miyu, who was currently in Hokkaido, over a visual phone, but they chose this to set the mood.
“Have you read the rules?”
“I looked through it. But, you want to double-check, right? LLENN.”
Miyu was a bit irresponsible, thus LLENN wanted to pay additional attention to it just in case. LLENN gave a slight nod,
“It’s nice to be on the safe side.”
And Fukaziroh answered, then used her left hand to operate a window and ordered beverages. For herself, she got lemon squash that she absolutely had to try in GGO, and for LLENN, her favourite iced tea.
And without a moment’s notice, the two drinks came out of the hole in the middle of the table as if they jumped out of it. Incidentally, fried pastries and beef jerky were included as snacks. LLENN smiled broadly.
“You’re a big snack lover as always, huh, LLENN. Eat as much as you want.”
“I suppose. Itadakimasu(10), thanks! Now then──”
With snacks and straws in their mouths from time to time, the two began double-checking the rules.
The general things were the same as last time.
It was a battle royale, composed of thirty teams with a maximum of six members each, that took place in a specially set up, 10 km-long rectangular field. All other teams were enemies, but, of course, there was nothing against forming unions.
“We won’t know what the field is going to be like until we get there, right?”
LLENN nodded at Fukaziroh’s question.
The specially set up field’s terrain would probably be unnaturally rich in variety.
It would probably have narrow streets, dense forests, and open wildernesses. Moreover, the start point would be completely random as well, so it was necessary to prepare for battle in any location.
“My wardrobe’s plain, but yours is pink, eh LLENN? Aside from wildernesses and deserts, you’ll be super conspicuous, right?”
“Yeah. So, I prepared camouflage ponchos. I learnt that in SJ too.”
Last time, having started in an unfavourable forest, LLENN used a camouflage poncho borrowed from M to conceal herself. If she had not had it, she probably would have been spotted by the machine gun team before the scan.
LLENN prepared an identical green camouflage poncho, and, taking the possibility of a snowy terrain into consideration, she got a bright white poncho as well. She had another one for Fukaziroh as well.
“Ooh, way to be prepared! This will be useful”
At game start, every team would be at least 1 km apart from each other. Afterwards, they would relocate, find an enemy, and attack.
However, to ensure that no teams remained hiding throughout the event, 《satellite scans》 would be performed. It’s a system, passing itself off as a scan from an artificial satellite, that informed everyone about the whereabouts of the other teams every 10 minutes.
“An item called the 《Satellite Scan Terminal》 will be given right before the tournament starts. We can use it to bring up the map on the screen like using a smartphone, or as a three-dimensional projection in the air.”
During the scan, the position of the team leaders would be displayed. If they were still alive - as dazzlingly white dots. If the team was wiped out - as dark grey dots.
Having heard the explanation, Fukaziroh,
“I see. So you can only hide in the same spot for 10 minutes max, huh. And, since only the team leader is displayed, it also means that you can set up decoys to draw in enemies, just like your team did last time, LLENN. Well, splitting the team’s manpower in a party with only six members isn’t really a wise thing to do. If the team leader is done in, the rank will be passed down, right. You’re fine being first, right?”
LLENN nodded. And then,
“And now for the SJ2 changes to the rules──”
After giving such a preface, she opened a part of the rule book on the window screen and magnified it.
『During the first tournament, the team’s name was not displayed on the map at all, but during the second tournament, the team’s name will be displayed upon touching the dots with one’s finger.』
It started using the same system as the BoB.
“In other words, we’ll be able to tell which team is where 10 minutes after the start, huh.”
LLENN raised her index finger at Fukaziroh’s comment.
“Right! And this change is really useful to us! Because of it, we’ll be able to know where Pito-san and the rest are! Their team name is 《ＰＭ４》, remember it!”
LLENN imparted Pitohui’s team name, which she learnt via a secret email from Goushi, to Fukaziroh.
They were the enemies that should be attacked first in SJ2.
Unfortunately for the teams that were participating seriously, LLENN had no qualms ignoring them all. Instead, they would have to keep running around to avoid being found and avoid battles as much as possible.
“ＰＭ４, huh. Roger. So, 〝Pitohui and M’s death〟(11)? What a great name.”
“I was dumbfounded when I realised that as well……”
“Well, it could just be 〝4 P.M.〟. A slightly late time for snacks.”
“I hope so…… Also, SHINC is a group of girls from our attached high school’s rhythmic gymnastics club that I had fought in the previous tournament as my last battle. They’re quite strong, so we’re going to avoid clashing with them. We’re going to run away at full-speed. They did say『Let’s have another fight if a second tournament is held』, but we’ll have to make an exception this time. Of course, if we defeat Pito-san, we can fight that team seriously.”
“Eh, why don’t we beat up all the remaining teams rather than just them? Shouldn’t we aim for a second consecutive win?”
“Ahaha, that would be nice. The team named MMTM is also strong, so be extra careful around them. Also, I’ve seen the names of some of the other teams that participated last time…… but, their names weren’t shown even in the videos, so we won’t know anything about their weapons or skills until encounter them…… So…… be wary of everyone.”
Having said thus far, LLENN’s expression became downcast.
*Fu*. In response to LLENN’s sigh,
“Somethin’ wrong? Need to go to the toilet? Can ya make it alone? Or shud I come with?”
In a VR world, there was absolutely no need to use the lavatory. Of course, Fukaziroh knew that as well, and LLENN understood what she was asking.
“It’s just, can I really bring down Pito-san?...... Is a person really going to die if I fail……?”
In response to LLENN, who looked like she was about to cry, the blonde witch's apprentice gave a broad smile.
“You won’t change anything by worrying about it here, right? Worry about it if you fail. Looks like you need another drink?”
Fukaziroh moved her left hand, and what immediately sprang up from the middle of the table was a second helping of iced tea.
“Here, drink up. My treat.”
“Thanks…… Hey, Fuka. No, Miyu. I’m really grateful.”
“What’s wrong? The iced tea made you that happy?”
“Not that! Thanks for accompanying me this far, giving ALO that you loved playing so much a break to come to GGO, and participate in SJ2.”
In response to LLENN bowing her head,
“Oi oi. Girl friends need no words, right? You’re probs feeling a bit embarrassed now.”
Fukaziroh said bluntly. And then,
“Oh come now, I’ll have you pay back this debt.”
“Gotcha! I’ll do anything that I can!”
“Well then, maybe I’ll have you pay it back by taking me to Kanzaki Elsa’s live concert, and in the best seats.”
“Ugh! That’s going to be most difficult……”
1. ^ Compensated dating (援助交際, enjo kōsai) refers to the practice of older men giving money and/or gifts to attractive women for their companionship or sexual favours.
2. ^ In modern Japanese, nanpa (ナンパ) refers to boys who try to pick up girls on the street or some other public place.
3. ^ There’s an urban legend that people who borrow money and can’t pay their debt can work off their debt by going on a tuna boat.
4. ^ “A-un breathing” (阿吽の呼吸, aun no kokyuu) is an expression for a harmonic relationship. A-un (阿吽) is the Japanese transliteration of the first and last letters of the Sanskrit alphabet (अहूँ.), which symbolically represent the beginning and end of things.
5. ^ For those interested, Sigsawa has used the same term as Kawahara in this case, unlike in volume 1.
6. ^ The literal translation of the proverbs is “Evidence is better than debate. Seeing once is better than hearing a hundred times. Praying into a horse’s ear.”, but since the last one didn’t really make sense in English, we decided to use English equivalents instead.
7. ^ Peaky (ピーキー) is wasei-eigo for something that looks like a sharp へ (on a graph, for example). We think that this is implying that as “tending towards extremes” (e.g. it is VERY powerful, but has VERY high requirements and long reload times).
8. ^ Koinobori (鯉のぼり, carp streamer) are carp-shaped wind socks traditionally flown in Japan to celebrate Children’s Day on the 5th of May.
9. ^ ASDF stands for Air Self-Defence Force, a branch of the Self Defence Force. The abbreviation should technically be written as JASDF (Japan Air Self Defence Force), but Japanese don’t really specify the obvious that they’re referring to Japan. Anyway, I used an abbreviation here because it was abbreviated in the raw (空自 instead of the full 航空自衛隊)
10. ^ Itadakimasu (頂きます) is a set phrase to express gratitude before a meal or just when something is received. There’s another word for thanks right next to it, so I decided to leave this for less redundancy.
11. ^ The number 4 is read as “shi” in Japanese. The word “death” is also read as “shi” in Japanese.