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. Comic sans font is used to indicate an unusual way of writing a word (like writing English in hiragana or Japanese 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.10 - Ten Minute Massacre - The Second (I)
Turning the clocks back by 10 minutes, at 13:40.
Right when Pitohui and the others succeeded in luring a large number of enemies to the valley and a countdown till all of them were killed had begun.
“I’m looking at the scan!”
The pink chibi, LLENN, who had fallen to the ground and had dust all over her,
And the other chibi, Fukaziroh, wearing a green vest on her MultiCam shirt and short pants and holding grenade launchers in both her hands, were at the edge of the huge dome.
The huge dome that was approximately 2 km in diameter and several hundred metres in height already seemed like nothing but a mountain up close.
The white wall, made out of a mysterious material with no joints to be found, drew a gentle arc as it extended to the reddish gray sky.
There were door-like objects about 100 metres apart from each other, thus it seemed that it was possible to enter. One could enter but not leave… you could only pray that this was not the case.
After seeing the 13:30 scan at the station, they had made it here in 10 minutes. During that time, they made no contact with any enemies.
In the vicinity of the dome, only tender soil filled the area, as if the grass had withered and disappeared.
The area offered a great view and there were presently no enemies in the surroundings, but LLENN and Fukaziroh did not let their guards down. They lay tightly hugging the ground beside the dome and facing the opposite direction. They placed their satellite scan terminal in front of them and hit the switch.
SJ2’s fourth scan began.
It began from the north and rapidly proceeded down to the south.
The two touched the dots of light representing the surviving teams and began checking their names. The formidable MMTM was still alive in the hilly area to the north-east of the dome. Typical favourites.
Soon, it passed above the dome, and LLENN discovered.
To the north-west of the dome’s circle. If the north was considered to be up, then they were at exactly 10 o’clock from there.
Due south, at 6 o’clock, was SHINC, the rhythmic gymnastics club team led by Boss.
“Why are there so……”
Inside the dome, near its centre, were three other teams.
LLENN touched the terminal screen, and discovered that they were groups she had never heard of. The distance between them was about 300 to 600 metres. For SJ, this was quite close and, taking only the distance into account, they should be quite capable of battling each other, but whether they were fighting at the moment was unknown.
“Guah! They’re in the way!”
Shouted LLENN. Crossing the dome would be the fastest way to reach Pitohui, but there just had to be three teams inside now, of all times.
“I guess I’ll have to give up on being a〝lucky girl〟 with this luck……”
She once again uttered faint-hearted words,
“Hey hey. Ya can’t do that. In Japanese, there’s a thing called 〝 power of words 〟; if ya utter that, it’ll certainly turn out like that.”
And was admonished by Fukaziroh.
To the south-east of the map, the location of the seven dots of light had not changed at all in the past 10 minutes. Also, Pitohui’s team was in basically the same place as before.
It was not hard to imagine that they had left their leaders at the foot of the mountain while the rest of the members formed a group that entered the mountain.
‘Pito-san, M-san, may fortune smile upon you!’
LLENN prayed in her mind. ‘Please don’t die until I kill you myself.’
“The number of eliminated teams hasn’t increased since then. Seventeen survivors. There are a few at the western edge and to the north-east, but no enemies are close enough to make contact with us aside from the teams inside the dome!”
Fukaziroh said as the scan ended.
As LLENN was preoccupied with her thoughts of Pitohui, she had forgotten about the count. This was really helpful.
While still lying on the ground,
LLENN pondered. What should they do about their route of advance. While pondering, she informed Fukaziroh.
“The fastest route to reach Pito-san would definitely be by crossing through the dome, but there are three enemy teams inside……”
“If we go around the dome, we would be travelling a long distance. And, if we go around the north, there’s a high chance that we’ll bump into the formidable MMTM. Alternately, if we go around south, we’ll bump into SHINC.”
“Fuka…… could you grow wings from your back now? And then pick me up and fly me over the dome?”
“That’s not going to work. I stopped being a fairy, y’know.”
“So then, we have no choice but to pick one of the three routes……”
“Hey, wait now. It’s too early to decide, LLENN. If nothing else, let’s take a look and see what’s going on inside the dome. We can decide everything after that.”
At Fukaziroh’s words, LLENN raised her head, taken aback.
“Is that so…… You’re right. Thanks.”
As LLENN broke into a run towards the towering door,
“Women who make men say 〝Geez, you’d be hopeless without me〟 are popular.”
Fukaziroh skipped after her.
Troubled about a course of action following the 13:40 scan,
Was Eva, or Boss, controlled by Saki.
Her team was on the south side of the huge dome, on standby in front of one of the entrances while keeping watch on their surroundings.
“Well now, what to do……”
The rough woman with braided hair made a sullen face, dropped her huge buttocks onto the ground, and folded her huge arms.
“It’s rare for you to be so troubled, Boss.”
Said the blonde beauty Anna, who was surveying the 20 metres or so around them through her Dragnov sniper rifle scope,
“But you’re cool. If you had a shō(1) bottle of sake next to you, it would be fitting! Samurai!”
The black-haired Tohma, who was a sniper as well, turned from her binoculars, giving her a fleeting glimpse and letting out her impression.
“Well, whatever you decide, we will follow you.”
Continued Tanya, a silver-haired, kitsune-eyed girl who was watching over the surroundings from the opposite side of the defensive circle with her Bizon at the ready.
“Yea. I’ll be honest. I’m troubled about whether or not we should enter the dome.”
“What’s on your mind?”
Enquired Sophie, the one with the shortest and stoutest figure of the team, as if she were a dwarf. She was beside Rosa, the Mother Courage who was armed with a PKM machine gun and in a prone position, working as her support.
Boss’s voice reached everyone’s ears through the communication item.
“If we enter the dome, we’ll likely be taking on all three teams loitering inside at the same time.”(2)
Sophie threw in an aizuchi.(3)
Whenever the club president (Boss＝Saki)(4) and vice-president (Sophie＝Kana) had a serious conversation, the other members listened to them in silence. This was a rule of the rhythmic gymnastics club both IRL and in VR.
“If LLENN’s group or MMTM, or both, entered the dome, we’d probably end up in a heated melee for the next 10-20 minutes. Of course we’d win, but we’d likely suffer not-so-little damage ourselves.”
“Indeed. LLENN, and those guys, are strong after all.”
“However, it’s not like us to run away. And we haven’t fired anything these past 20 minutes either.”
“Indeed. My body is getting cold.”
“But, I have my worries. The possibility of LLENN’s group going around the dome instead of entering it. If they go around the north, we won’t make contact and have to postpone our duel for a bit. But, if they go around south, then we’d get the head-on battle that we’ve wanted──”
“And if we enter the dome, we’d be unable to make contact for the next ten minutes, is that what you’re saying?”
“Right. Also, inside the dome, there is that──”
Boss began saying in a loathsome tone, but stopped midway.
“Eei! Idle pondering is a waste of time! We are soldiers! We’re going in to get to our enemies!”
Only tens of seconds were spent pondering. Boss decided to fight.
“Let’s go, ladies! ──Our first jungle fight!”
While the amazons gave an 〝Urararararaa!〟 yell, at approximately the opposite side of the dome,
“Wh-what the heck is this!”
LLENN and Fukaziroh exclaimed in surprise. The exclamations were so high-pitched and loud that any enemy in the area would have heard them.
They were inside the dome.
Having passed through the door that opened awfully easily to the sides, and having come out of the long pedestrian tunnel that pierced the dome’s structure,
“It’s a jungle……!” “It’s a jungle……!”
They found the South.
It was a world overflowing with greenery; a sudden change from the bleak and colourless world that they had been in just now. Grass as tall as people grew disorderly without leaving any gaps, thus it was almost impossible to see the ground.
In some places grew huge, at least 20 metre-high trees in zigzags, and closely packed moss grew on their thick trunks. As if it weren’t enough, the branches were in full leaf, creating an umbrella that concealed the sky.
And that sky was surprisingly blue.
As this was the inside of the dome, it was most likely just the ceiling, so it 〝just looked like it〟, but it was so similar that you could mistake it for the real sky. LLENN had played for tens of hours so far, but it was undoubtedly her first time seeing a blue sky in GGO. The lost nature of Earth remained here.
Beside LLENN, who was staring in wonder,
“This is awesome! The inside of the dome is like a different world! Nice! Is this a greenhouse? Or a nature park? I wonder which?”
Fukaziroh was truly enjoying herself. She probably felt nostalgic for her old home of ALO, which featured characteristically nature-filled fields.
The scene extending before them was truly enjoyable, but── she had no time to remain captivated. LLENN had to make a decision immediately.
To cross this at least 2 km-long jungle with three enemy teams in the middle, or go around it from the outside.
Worrying would just lead to more worries, as precious time passed by. She would not allow such a loss, and such a mistake anymore.
“That settles it!”
“Oh? Settles what?”
Asking about what she had proposed herself - that was the way of life for the woman named Fukaziroh.
“Dah, Fuka, weren’t you the one who said 〝How about we look inside the dome and decide then whether to cross or go around it?〟!”
“Oh! Yeah, that’s important!”
“We’re crossing this jungle! Although there are three teams in here, the chances of getting one-hit killed here is lower than running outside where the view is unobstructed.”
While saying this, LLENN operated her window with her left hand. She took out a green camouflage poncho from her storage.
As it materialised in mid-air, she slipped into it head-first. It enveloped her to her ankles, and nothing aside from her pink shoes could be seen any longer.
“LLENN disappeared! Wh-where did you go?”
As Fukaziroh, 3 metres away from her, shook her head unnaturally,
“No worries. I’m over here.”
LLENN gently called out to her.
“Oh, there you are. ──Though, you really do become impossible to spot when you’re a distance away with that, so it’d be seriously scary if you went too far ahead, y’know?”
“Right. But that applies to the enemy too. If they get separated from their comrades, it would probably be impossible to easily meet up.”
If the whole dome was entirely taken up by this jungle, that would mean that in the worst case, one’s field of vision would not even encompass 5 metres, while the maximum would be 50 metres. The field of view was so bad that it could not even be compared with that of the outside.
In this case, unlike spacious areas, combinations where machine guns and sniper rifles provided support while remaining teammates attacked would be mostly useless. This was certainly troubling those three teams.
“But, even if you can’t see anything, bullets will still come flying.”
As LLENN stated, the troublesome thing was that bullets could easily pierce through the leaves.
A jungle offered plenty of places to hide, yet few safe places that could protect against bullets; that’s the kind of exceedingly unique battlefield this was.
“I see. If someone blindly fires a machine gun horizontally, bullets would come flying at you. Dat’s scary. Though, we will see the Lines, right.”
“But, that’s why I came up with a plan to exit this place without going astray. And to fight against any enemies we encounter. If it goes well…… I’m sure it’ll go well!”
“Oh? What what?”
LLENN deliberately brought her mouth close to Fukaziroh’s ears, which she had also moved closer, despite both having communication items, and conveyed her idea.
Having heard it, Fukaziroh blinked in surprise, and,
“Hyahou! I like it! Sounds fun!”
Gave a shout like a child who had received their pocket money. And then,
“But…… won’t you be in danger, LLENN?”
Asked with an expression like that of a parent worried about their child.
LLENN answered with an expression like that of a child beginning their solitary life for the first time.
＊ ＊ ＊
Turning the clocks back by about 3 minutes, right after the 13:40 scan.
In the jungle inside the dome,
“Craap! What a shitty place!”
There was a man cursing.
A member of one of the three teams in the dome, wearing camouflage with gray gradation and a similarly camouflaged helmet. On his chest were sturdy-looking protectors.
The team was wearing matching equipment. The camouflage was helpful in a concrete jungle urban area, but in an actual jungle, it was conversely conspicuous.
The man was crouching among ferns, with his beloved 《ZB26》 machine gun in his hands.
This was a machine gun made in Czechoslovakia, and, as the name implied, the weapon was actually made a century ago in 1926. Its name was well-known due to it being a masterpiece of a machine gun due to its high performance and low chance of breaking down, and in GGO it circulated as a 〝super recommended machine gun that is extremely cheap, but does not lack in performance at all〟.
“Where are you all? Are you truly close by?”
He called out to his comrades through his communication item,
“We’re here. You’ll notice if you stand up. Relax.”
And a reply came back to him as it should have. However, while crouched, the only thing he could see from his point of view was the green vegetation in front of him. He had an ominous feeling, as if he alone had been left behind in this place.
“This is one 〝green hell〟......”
Since they entered the dome, all they saw as they walked on and on was jungle and more jungle.
Because the scenery was always unchangingly flat, and they could not estimate the distance they travelled due to difficulty when walking, they no longer had any idea where they were.
Having a poor line of sight and having lost their current position, the team determined that it was dangerous to walk about carelessly and thus stopped. In order to avoid being done in by rapid fire, every member distanced themselves from one another and were waiting for the next scan.
As the awaited time drew near, their leader gave instructions.
“All right, the scan’s about to begin. Everyone, watch it silently.
As instructed, the man took out his satellite scan terminal from his thigh pocket and turned it on. And then, he looked at the results of the scan.
And then, he turned pale.
He found his own position on the terminal screen. Right about the centre of the dome. They had passed 1 km through the jungle. Mentally, he felt that they had travelled farther, so they had undoubtedly 〝wandered about〟.
And, he also discovered the location of the enemy. To his dread, they were very close; merely a few hundred metres away from their own light dot. Moreover, wasn't his team in-between two other teams?
“Enemy! They’re right nearby!”
“Idiot, don’t shout!”
This shout came in reply from a teammate.
“What we gonna do? Leader?”
“‘What to do’, you say, but I…… He-... the enemy… they’re too close, crap, this is seriously bad.”
Based on his high-pitched voice, it seemed the leader had lost his presence of mind as well,
‘Aah, so we’re... done for, I guess……’
So the man with the ZB26 drifted into a mood of resignation.
‘We shouldn’t have entered this dome just because it looked interesting.’
‘We shouldn’t have set foot in such a jungle just because it was rare for GGO.’
‘We shouldn’t have chosen our leader through rock-paper-scissors just because nobody wanted to take up that position.’
Various regrets crossed his mind.
“Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! Guys, don’t shoot!”
Finally, he even started hearing hallucinations.
This was a quiet voice that did not come through the communication item. The enemy would not be saying something like that, thus it was undoubtedly a hallucination.
“I want to talk! The team over there! I want to talk to you! Don’t shoot!”
The hallucination rapidly became louder and clearer.
“Okay guys! Don’t shoot! I’ve laid down my arms! Please!”
Finally, the voice reached a normal volume,
“Guys, I can’t go on. I’ve started hearing hallucinations. I might have spent too much time in the game. I’m dropping out ahead of you.”
The man waved his left hand to bring out a window, and looked for the logout button,
『The Second Squad Jam tournament is in session. Even if you log in to GGO again, you will not be able to return to the tournament. Are you sure you would like to log out? 』
And the Ｙｅｓbutton,
“You idiot, stop!”
Was 3 cm short of being pressed, and would have been had his teammate not rushed to him in panic, grabbed his arm, and stopped him.
At a place within the jungle, eighteen people had gathered.
“The inside of the dome is the worst field that anyone can come up with. I believe everyone thinks so, but entering it was a mistake……”
Seventeen people were listening to one man’s speech.
These eighteen people were divided into three groups.
A gray camouflaged team. A team wearing camouflage that was a mixture of red and brown colours and looked like it would only avoid standing out when leaves were turning red. And finally, a team wearing awfully dissimilar clothes with zero sense of unity.
The man wearing reddish-brown camouflage and carrying an 《AC-556F》 assault rifle continued his speech.
“Moreover, based on the scan just now, we found out that the previous champion LF, the runner-up SHINC, and the third-ranked MMTM are all in the vicinity of the dome. Naturally, they will likely be coming in here. Being attacked by nearby teams is the basic theory for battle royales.”
The man, of course, was unaware of LLENN’s reason for participating in SJ2, thus he spoke relying on the prevailing theory.
“So, our three teams should join forces and ambush them! Seven teams have joined forces in the south-east of the map. We have no reason not to do so too, right? In the last tournament, my team managed to take down a team by benefiting from their fight with another team, but we were similarly taken down right after. And so I thought. That in SJ, we should form a joint front to survive! Rather, 〝How can we cooperate with other teams？〟 is the epitome of this game!”
The words of the man, who had been killed by an explosion created by the Air Self-Defense Force in the last SJ, were filled with zeal.
“And so, it’s some sort of fate that brought us all together without firing our guns and allowed us to unite without fighting! Let’s join forces! And then, beat down all the favourites!”
2 seconds after his speech was done.
“Sensei, question here!”
A character, clad in a black combat uniform from top to bottom, with numerous long and narrow stomach pouches, said while raising a hand.
“Oh! What is it? Ikemen-kun over there!”
The leader of the reddish-brown camouflage team answered in high spirits.
The questioner, who had a beautiful avatar with a truly well-featured face,
“Please stop with the ikemen-kun. My name is 〝Clarence〟, leader-san. Though everyone calls me 〝Clar〟.”
First answered with their name.
Not just the face, but even the voice was beautiful.
It was a character who would be awfully successful in a VR game where one became a male idol singer and made fangirls squeal.
But then, there was no guarantee that they would get such an ikemen avatar if they converted to that game.
“Clar-kun, huh! Your question, please!”
Clarence asked without delay.
“If everything goes well as per your plan, let’s suppose that we do beat down all the favourites. If so, are you okay with restarting our bloody battle? In other words, to be specific, that means you are fine with me sticking my gun barrel deep into the ass hole of the man who was beside me just a moment ago, and opening fire?”
‘Uwaa. What the heck is he saying……’
No one uttered this, but it was obvious from the atmosphere that the men there all wanted to draw back.
In GGO and other VR games, there were plenty of players who felt a pleasant feeling when killing other characters in cruel ways.
Of course, this was inside a game, so it did not really matter if one could become stronger, but──
It was true that people who gave a〝What kind of person would do that?〟impression weren’t liked.
Even the other members of Clarence’s team, who all had dissimilar outfits, kept quiet while giving expressions that implied they did not want to get involved.
The leader of the reddish-brown camouflage team who was asked this question had to answer it, thus he gave his reply.
“Although you are handsome, it seems you have some issues with your personality…… But, that is a good question. I believe everyone else wants to know that too, after all.”
“So? You okay with getting shot in the ass?”
“I’d like to say 〝no〟. I hereby propose a gentlemen’s agreement that if we wipe out everyone other than our allies, we will not start fighting till the next scan. Of course, if the next scan is very close── for example, if it will take place within 3 minutes, we’ll wait till the next next scan. How’s that? Guys?”
The gentlemen given this question,
“I agree too. That works fine.”
“3 minutes is appropriate. If you run away without looking aside, you can get out of firing range.”
Agreed one after another. There was zero opposition.
“So how’s about it? Clar-kun?”
With the man’s gaze on him, Clarence shrugged as if playing the fool,
“Roger. Though, I am not a 〝gentleman〟. We can kill one another at any other time, so I am okay with it. Thank you for your answer.”
“Alright! Now then, the eighteen of us here are comrades! For now, let’s aim to survive in this jungle! We’ll beat the powerful enemies coming at us with the power of numbers!”
In response to the man’s vigorous words,
“Though….. What is our plan specifically? We have done our homework on how to cooperate within our team, but it’s kinda impossible to work together with other teams, y’know?”
A member of the gray-camouflaged team raised his hand and asked. ‘That’s right’, the other members agreed.
If they were comrades in the same team, all of their roles would be clear: who made barrages of fire with their machine gun, who flanked the enemy in the meantime, and so on. However, it would be quite difficult to carry out tactical actions in good coordination with characters met just this day.
Another man followed by raising their hand,
“Also, the poor visibility here. Honestly, it’s hard to cooperate even with fellow comrades. Did you form this alliance having considered what to do about that?”
That was another natural question and everyone’s eyes focused on the reddish-brown-camouflaged man.
‘Just what I was waiting for!’, as if to say this, he broke into a smile.
“Right! I have an idea. I figured we could use a trick that did us in during the last SJ this time. Hey, everyone──”
Drawing attention to himself, the man asked a question.
“What do you think is the primary factor in knowing your opponent’s actions even if your field of view is bad?”
＊ ＊ ＊
A tiny, green creature advanced through the jungle.
It was LLENN, wearing a camouflage poncho. The short LLENN was in a half-sitting posture and her body was almost entirely hidden in the grass; adding in the effect of the camouflage, she was practically invisible. Only the *kasakasa* sound of small leaves rubbing against each other could be heard.
It seemed as if an insect, which had a name beginning with 〝go〟(5) that one would not want to utter, was moving around in a room so disorderly that the floor could not even be seen.
“Travelled 100 metres. No signs of enemies in the area.”
LLENN’s voice flew to Fukaziroh,
“Roger. I’m coming after you. Counting on you for guidance.”
And Fukaziroh answered.
Then, LLENN made a surprising action.
She turned around to the path she came through, fixed her P90 to her shoulder on the poncho, and touched the trigger with her finger. Her target was Fukaziroh’s direction.
It was an action that gave the impression that she was aiming at Fukaziroh on the other side of the jungle, as if she were an enemy. The Bullet Circle projected in LLENN’s eyes.
“Alright, I see it.”
A response came from Fukaziroh.
And then, several seconds later, she ran through the jungle, and undeniably turned up at a placed that LLENN could see.
“Okay, my turn.”
LLENN lowered the P90 in her hands and turned around. At the same time, it was now Fukaziroh who fixed her aim with her MGL-140. She aimed her muzzle | }}, no, her muzzle , and touched the trigger with her finger.
And then, the created Bullet Line took the form of a red parabola and extended into the grass of the jungle.
“I see it. Going.”
Looking up at the line extending from behind her, LLENN broke into a run.
Bullet Lines would go through obstacles if they were objects that bullets could pierce while preserving their power.
〝In a jungle full of grass, Lines should be visible as bullets can pierce it all. If both of us used Bullet Lines, we’d be able to avoid going astray, and moreover, advance straight ahead!〟
That was the idea that LLENN came up with. Being the one to advance first, LLENN was in danger, but she was well aware of that. When they tried this method of movement, it ended up working as well as expected.
Repeating it over and over again, the two rapidly advanced through the jungle.
And so, at 13:44.
Once Fukaziroh had caught up to LLENN, about 10 metres behind her, and attempted to create the Line once again, it happened.
They heard gunshots.
“Hit the dirt!”
LLENN and Fukaziroh fell to the soft jungle soil and listened to the gunshots that had abruptly begun.
*Tatatatatatatatan*, the dry sounds of 5.56 mm-class bullet rapid-fire that seemed like someone was playing a small drum, and *dododododododo*, the low sounds of firing something that seemed to be using 7.62 mm bullets. Additionally, *tarararararararararara* sounds, probably from a submachine gun that was using pistol ammo, in a fast, woodpecker-like rhythm were mixed in.
The gunfire was hidden by the jungle so it could not be seen, but,
“Straight to the left. About 200 to 300 metres away. A bit to the side of our course.”
LLENN said after concluding based on the sounds.
Then, she raised her head and carefully confirmed their surroundings,
“Don’t see any Bullet Lines. The bullets aren’t coming here.”
“Okay! So, it’s those three teams then, right! They’re fighting against each other! Their numbers will diminish at this rate! How helpful how helpful!”
Fukaziroh’s frank impressions slipped out.
While thinking that she was probably right, LLENN continued to listen to the incessant sounds of battle for about 5 seconds.
And she realised that something felt out of place. The gunshots that could be heard even now were definitely strange. LLENN did not yet know why, but she shouted.
“Strange…… Something’s strange here! Fuka.”
“The gunshots that we can hear now──”
Just as LLENN began to speak, she realised it.
The reason for her sense of uneasiness.
And thus, the enemy’s plan.
“Ah, I get it! I get it! This is── a trap!”
At this point, the majority of the audience in the bar was watching Pitohui’s battle, but,
“I wanna see LLENN-chan in action.”
“True that. I wonder if it’s gonna be soon.”
Among them were lolicons── or a set of people who liked small and cute girls.
As if granting their wish, the screen suddenly changed to a world of greenery.
“Yippe! It’s begun! I wonder if LLENN-chan will be caught on screen?”
They were overjoyed.
They also called out to the people in the area, saying ‘The battle with the previous champion has begun here’.
On the screen, there were several people firing their guns in a thick jungle.
Three teams with two members each, for a total of six, were gathered together in a horizontal line. And they were pounding away with their respective guns towards the thick jungle. Their bullets pierced through dozens of leaves, while the gas spouting from their muzzles scattered the nearby grass.
The fact that the three teams had formed a united front was already known to the audience, as they had seen the video of their discussion earlier.
So, they must have made contact with some other team. If it were a battle broadcast, footage from the opposing side’s point of view should be displayed in parallel, but there was none of that here.
What the four cameras from four angles projected was just the scene of the six men shooting from various angles. In other words, they were just aiming at an invisible enemy and one-sidedly pounding away; however, it did not seem like they were wasting bullets in panic,
“Those guys…… who on earth are they fighting against?”
And even the spectators tilted their heads at this behaviour.
“Hey, could it be that? An invisible alien from another planet who’s come to hunt earthlings to gather proof of his bravery.”(6)
“That’s an old movie!”
“No, couldn’t it just be a monster coming out? If it’s a Boss-class one, I think there were some that can’t be seen, as if they were using optical camouflage?”
“I’ve never heard of monsters coming out of the blue during a battle royale tournament?”
“I mean, it happens just in this dome! Such a jungle in itself is a first for GGO, so it’s possible? 〝This area has a trap〟, can’t it be something like that?”
“Well now that you say it, that could be the case……”
They had absurd conversations for a bit, but finally a perceptive person realised the trick.
“Ah, that's… not it…… There are no monsters. Those guys… aren’t fighting against anyone. They’re just shooting.”
“Eh? ──Why? Target practice?”
“That’s not it. They’re using a 〝we’re fighting here〟 kind of diversion.”
“Ah!” “You’re right! “I see!”
The audience understood.
Those three teams were conspiring and trying to ambush LLENN’s group, Boss’s group, or MMTM, who were coming into the jungle. No matter which team it was, they were formidable, so they could not let their guard down even if they had superiority in numbers.
And so, they set a trap.
They were earnestly pounding away in a place with no one else there, creating gunshots that feigned a battle. 〝All right, those guys are in the middle of a battle, let’s go flank them〟, a kind of trap that lured teams trying to benefit from someone else’s fight.
The reddish-brown camouflage outfit wearing leader remembered well how his team was once wiped out in such a way.
‘In that case, let’s use that trick ourselves.’ That was his plan.
“Now I see…… That’s well thought out. Even if the field of vision in a jungle was poor, gunshots could spread far away.”
“Moreover, LLENN-chan and the other teams don’t know that those three teams are conspiring yet, right? Thinking about it sensibly, 〝They’ve bumped into someone and are having a fight!〟 is what they’d probably think.”
“And if they were drawn in nonchalantly like that…… the ambushing troops could take them out; that’s their plan, huh.”
“Right. So, the remaining twelve should have scattered around the area of the guys shooting, forming a wide net.”
“If we carelessly approach them trying to benefit from their fight, we’ll be done in by the remaining members scattered in the area.”
“I see…… But, LLENN, how did you realise this?”
LLENN and Fukaziroh were having their strategy meeting in the jungle without having moved a step. The gunshots could still be heard intermittently.
“I can hear all of those gunshots coming from the same direction and the same distance. That’s too unnatural. And also, it’s unimaginable unless they’re pounding away one-sidedly from the same place.”
“Wow, them’s some ears. The heck is that skill?”
“〝A skill trained by M-san〟.”
‘That training before the previous SJ was truly helpful……’
LLENN thought while answering. That was the first time she learnt how important ears were in combat.
“So, what’re we gonna do? Outwit the enemy and set our own surprise for them?”
“If we didn’t have an important goal, we might have done that.”
LLENN answered. And then,
“Let’s slowly escape the net. We don’t want to consume our precious bullets at a place like this, after all.”
“Roger. That’s probably for the best.”
“We’ll go around slightly to the right, okay. Again, counting on you for the Lines.”
“Okay. I’ll put it up about 100 metres ahead.”
Like a guidepost, Fukaziroh created a Bullet Line with her MGL-140.
Passing under it, LLENN once again began moving through the jungle like a certain insect. And, just when she had moved about 50 metres──
“Fuka! Decrease by 30 metres and fire!”
‘Was my luck from before written off this time……?’
With this thought, LLENN cursed her bad luck.
In front of LLENN, there were four enemies. Merely 10 metres ahead in the jungle. They were crouching beside thick grass and keeping watch over their surroundings.
And, a sharp-eyed one among them noticed LLENN rushing out from the grass,
“Enemy! To the right!”
While shouting, he pointed the muzzle of the 《HK33》 assault rifle in his hands towards her.
Dropping to the ground, LLENN prayed to god.
Please, let Fukaziroh follow my instructions immediately.
They were not aware of Fukaziroh’s position.
So, just like a sniper’s first shot when their position was unknown to the enemy, she did not produce a Bullet Line. Close to the four men who aimed their muzzles at LLENN in a line and were about to shoot, Fukaziroh’s grenade exploded. There were zero instant deaths, but one was lightly wounded by the fragments,
“Uwah!” “Uwah!” “Dah!” “Aah?”
But most importantly, all four were more shocked than ever before. She succeeded in preventing the people who were about to shoot from firing.
LLENN raised her gears to full speed. At the same time, she began discharging her P90 through her poncho.
She showed no trace of hesitation. Nor did she economise her bullets.
She aligned the Bullet Circle that appeared in her field of vision with the closest person, fired in full auto with all her energy, and pumped a hail of bullets into him.
By the time the first guy was turned into a beehive and killed, she was already in front of the second one. She fired into his face. By the time she killed him, she was already in front of the third one. She mercilessly pumped him full of bullets as well.
The fourth one was shooting randomly with his 《MP5K》compact submachine gun, and one of his 9 mm bullets sank into LLENN’s left arm, but she continued charging without minding it, and she discharged while passing under his Lines.
She made numerous hit effects in the man’s legs and torso and, when she had spent her P90’s 50 bullet magazine, he died.
Just as the 【Ｄｅａｄ】 marker lit up on the man,
“LLENN, you okay?”
A voice reached her ears. For a moment, LLENN hesitated on where should she start,
“I’m fine but it’s bad I got discovered by the enemy your support was helpful I used up a magazine but brought down four of them!”
And then she rapidly reported it all in one go.
In this case, it would have been better to travel outside the dome.
It was too late for that idea.
“That’s great! But LLENN, you did get shot too, y’know?”
LLENN checked her own hit points and found out that it had decreased by twenty percent. It was bad that it had only decreased partially. If it had decreased by thirty percent instead, she could used a first aid kit without hesitation.
Under her poncho, LLENN exchanged her P90’s magazine. As for the now empty magazine, she left it on the spot. After all, once the tournament was over, all dropped items would be retrieved to one’s hands no matter where they were dropped.
With this, the number of bullets that LLENN could use in the tournament was 700.
“I’m still fine. Can you come here?”
“I’m going now── uhyaa!”
Fukaziroh’s voice turned to a shriek midway and a violent rhythm of gunshots entered LLENN’s ear.
“Uhyahyaa! I’m under fire I’m under fire! Hyahhaa!”
And then Fukaziroh’s voice, though she was not sure whether it was in joy or fear.
LLENN could not see it, but she could understand the situation well.
50 metres away from her in the jungle, Fukaziroh was under vehement fire. Having their comrades brought down, the rest were undoubtedly coming towards them all at once. While firing along the way.
“Impossible that’s impossible! If I raise ma’ head, I’m scared that I’ll be sho-o-o-o-t! The Lines are all sparkling! Uwah! It grazed me, uhyaa!”
LLENN understood that the gunshots were gradually getting closer.
“This is no good. Oh LLENN…… thou must escape without me!”
In LLENN’s mind,
Abandonment. Plan. Valuable sacrifice. Main goal. Strategic retreat. Women’s friendship.
Various phrases came up.
“Fuka! Can you reload your grenades on the spot?”
LLENN asked while operating her storage with her left hand. A window appeared in front of her, then an item list came out, and she first selected a spare magazine.
“Well, yeah I can? I’m face-up in a hollow after all!”
Next, LLENN selected one more item, and pressed the ＯＫbutton to materialise both.
“Then, do as I say! First, doesn’t matter where, but fire 5 shots in rapid-fire! Empty out your magazine!”
Fukaziroh mixed in the cute sounds of her grenades being fired with the bustling gunshots of the enemies. And then, sounds of explosions came from afar.
“Reload! We’ll do 〝that thing〟 now! Tell me when you’re ready!”
“Y-yeah! I get it! Hold on!”
LLENN jammed the materialised new magazine into her empty pouch. And then, she inserted the other item onto her P90’s muzzle.
It was a metal cylinder just over 4 cm wide and 18 cm long, a suppressor for the P90.
It was a very expensive and rare item that she had acquired, after searching to no end, by buying it with the credits earned during her practice with Fukaziroh. Once equipped, it suppressed high-pitched gunshots considerably, but since the gun became longer, it degraded the gun’s manageability.
After approximately 10 seconds,
“Reload done! Ready!”
Upon Fukaziroh’s words, LLENN shouted while tearing off her camouflage poncho.
“Fire away overhead!”
“Ah, that grenade girl is done for already, huh.”
On the broadcast footage, Fukaziroh’s desperate state was displayed.
It was great that LLENN had wiped out the four men who were shaken by the grenade by making use of her Agility, but because of that, Fukaziroh’s position was, of course, revealed, and the remaining fourteen men came charging at her all at once.
Additionally, they had spread out in a line, and slowly advanced while alternating their firing to prevent her from sticking her head out.
As they moved while discharging a volley, they did not allow their opponent to counterattack. Or to escape.
For an impromptu-formed team, it was quite the plan. Fukaziroh, who was on-screen, could not move at all.
By accidentally falling into a hollow, she had avoided being hit, but the fact that bullets were swooshing and grazing the top of her head was made awfully clear by the light lines of tracer bullets. The leaves in the area were pierced by the bullets and continued to fall and pile up on her body.
If they got closer, they would throw in several grenades into the hollow and that would be the end.
“If she gets done in, won’t LLENN be in danger?”
“At the moment, knowing LLENN-chan’s speed, she could leave her partner and escape, right? She obviously can’t face that many of them. If I were LLENN-chan, that’s what I’d do……”
“In that case, she’d be at an awful disadvantage later on. In the battle at the station, didn’t that girl play an important role with her bombardment?”
Some men were making a calm analysis like this,
“You keep calling them 〝girls〟, but it could be that they just look young, but IRL both are women in their thirties? Are you still okay with that?”
Another man mercilessly dumped cold water on him. And then,
“Ladies in their thirties? I’m still eighteen and a virgin, but on the contrary, that’s just my type?”
And another young and brave man pointlessly talked about his taste.
“Oi, wanna go to a VR eroge with me next time? If you truly are over eighteen, I could take you along? You need a letter of introduction for it after all.”
“Are you serious?”
“A man doesn’t go back on his word, ya know?”
“Let me call you 〝aniki〟!”(7)
“Alright! But, don’t you dare fall for me, ‘kay? I have no interest in homosexuality, kay?”
“Get a room you guys!”
On the screen, Fukaziroh, who was actually a nineteen-year-old, rapidly fired five grenades while face-up.
At the beginning of the counterattack,
The men in the audience bent forward in excitement, but the five grenades flew in the wrong direction, far away from the enemy, and exploded. That could not even make the enemy drop to the ground, let alone stop their charge or overwhelm them.
Fukaziroh turned her hands towards her backpack and began reloading her grenades, but the audience’s reaction was cold.
“Even if it’s an awesome weapon, it's meh in this situation.”
“Seeing as she can’t get up to aim, it doesn’t matter how many of them she shoots.”
On another screen, LLENN putting her suppressor on her P90 was displayed.
“Oh! LLENN-chan has her game on!”
“So she had that up her sleeve.”
“Even the suppressor is pink… she sure is thorough.”
On one of the two monitors lined up on the ceiling, Fukaziroh finished her reload and returned to a state where she could fire her MGL-140.
On the nearby monitor, LLENN forcefully tore off her camouflage poncho and returned to being full-body pink.
Seeing her outfit, which was undoubtedly conspicuous in the jungle,
“Huh……? Did LLENN-chan become desperate?”
At the same time, Fukaziroh used her MGL-140 to rapid-fire overhead.
“Huh……? Has this girl become desperate too?”
The 6 grenades that Fukaziroh had fired out soared into the sky as a black mass, and as it approached the blue ceiling──
They finally lost to gravity and, in the order they were fired, came down in Fukaziroh’s surroundings.
And then, the colour of the world changed.
The reddish-brown camouflage wearing man who advanced forward while pounding away towards his target, and──
The men who observed the situation on screen shouted at the same time.
Right now, the jungle was dyed in pink.
“Okay! I see it!”
In her field of vision, LLENN saw a world dyed in pink on other side of the thickly growing grass. The air was clad in pink and it was growing as if it were a propagating being.
Having torn off her poncho and become pink, LLENN charged there full speed ahead.
“It’s smoke! Everyone, don’t shoot carelessly! Pass the order to the other teams too!”
The moment the reddish-brown camouflage wearing man shouted this, his body was engulfed in pink smoke.
What Fukaziroh had fired were projectiles that created smoke── smoke grenades.
And that colour was dusky pink. The exact same colour as LLENN’s garments and equipment.
Originally, there were no smoke grenades with such a colour, but this was a result of LLENN, who had taken up the 〝Projectile Customisation〟skill, making full use of her Dexterity and mixing the colours.
This smoke did not have any poisonous effect like that of a gas attack from a monster. Nor did it make one’s eyes or nose hurt or make it difficult to breathe.
It simply, and most terrifyingly──
〝Made it hard to see〟, that’s the effect it had.
Just 1 of them would have spread quite wide, but if 6 of them were used and scattered in the narrow area of a jungle with poor ventilation, what would happen?
“I can’t see nothin’……”
The fourteen survivors on the enemy team experienced firsthand.
“I can’t see nothin’……”
That applied to the men in the bar too.
The scene should have been caught on camera, but nothing aside from pink could be seen.
It was as if an accident had occurred during broadcast.
“Calm down! The smoke’s gonna clear up in a moment! Until then, don’t shoot carelessly! You’d undoubtedly cause friendly fire! Let your comrades know!”
Such a calm instruction was given in the pink mist.
Their field of vision didn’t even encompass 5 metres. They could clearly see the grass at their feet, but if they raised their heads from there, everything rapidly lost shape and quickly turned pink.
The sky was bright, thus the field of vision above was relatively clear, but their enemy was not a bird so it did not matter.
“What’s up with this? Why is the smoke pink?”
Someone said. This was a natural question.
“Pink……? Ah, it’s pink……”
And so, another person noticed the terrifying thing.
“Ah, it’s her…… She’s coming……”
“Idiot! It’s obviously the previous champion! Everyone, watch out! The pink devil is coming!”
In the upper-left corner of the man who shouted this, the hit points of his comrade were diminishing.
While hearing LLENN’s voice,
Fukaziroh hurriedly reloaded in the pink smoke.
The grenades packed into the MGL-140 were, of course, custom-made pink smokescreen shells.
There were still more in her backpack. Once her reload was complete, she once again unleashed them so that the smoke would not fade.
“I can’t see anymore, so don’t you dare raise your head! Fuka!”
“Dontcha worry even if ya hit me by mistake!”
Fukaziroh would use her firepower to launch pink grenades all over. Throwing up a smokescreen.
And then, LLENN would run around inside it and pound away with her P90, with its gunshots suppressed by the suppressor.
Where to shoot? Wherever something got in the way.
While running around, if she encountered something that looked like a person, she would fire. It didn’t matter if she hit a tree or a stone. She’d just shoot anyway.
She’d launch at least 5 bullets in full auto.
Shooting away while moving. Moving as much as possible. Shooting while running, reloading her magazine while running. Even if she crashed into something and fell, she wouldn’t cry.
It was a plan that they came up specifically because LLENN and Fukaziroh were a team of only two members and thus the danger of friendly fire was minimal.
And, originally, this was an idea that they came up with to use against Pitohui.
A measure to use on an awfully formidable enemy; a so-called last resort.
‘I can’t believe we’ve been forced to use it so quickly, in a place like this.’
LLENN was angry.
At her bad luck that kept piling up.
At her mistake of a command to cross the dome.
At the three teams that had formed an alliance and set a net here.
The last one was an entirely a false accusation, but,
“I’m gonna wipe the floor with all of you.”
LLENN ran into the pink smoke.
“The heck’s going on!”
As the screen had turned entirely pink, the audience in the bar could only shout complaints.
Although they did not quite understand what LLENN wanted to do, didn’t she essentially just make her scene of action entirely invisible?
“I can’t see muh LLENN-chan!”
The next moment──
‘How’s this, brighter for you?’
Like the parvenu who lit up a money bill to find out where his shoes were(8), the screen changed completely.
The game’s management did the tactful thing to let the audience enjoy the scene. Their action was to display people as white figures on a gray and black screen.
“It’s thermal vision.”
Someone knowledgeable immediately stated.
Detecting infrared beams and displaying them - that’s what thermal vision was.
This was a kind of night vision device, but unlike a system that just amplified light, it also had the feature to find heat sources in the smoke.
But then, everything that could be seen in the world of GGO, no matter where one went, was just computer graphics and, going more deeply into it, it was just 〝pseudo-signals sent to the brains of the players watching it〟.
The white figures lined up on the screen were the three teams. Their weapons had just stopped pounding away, so their barrels were displayed as being especially bright.
And, there was a small, white silhouette without form creeping up to the group.(9)
With moves so fast that it seemed like she was leaving afterimages, she moved all around and, when she encountered another white silhouette, the gun in her hands emitted white light and brought down the person that was just there.
“Hyahhou! It’s LLENN-chan!”
“Our guy was done in! Should be to the left!”
Shouted a grayish-camouflaged man, whose teammate had lost all his hit points.
His surroundings were still pink like before. Even though someone said that it would clear up in a moment, hadn’t it been more than 30 seconds and it hadn’t cleared up at all yet?
This was because Fukaziroh fired additional rounds each time she reloaded, but the man could not even see that, thus he had no idea what was going on.
There was a limit to the amount of stress a person could bear.
All he knew was that he was enveloped in a pink mist and could not see anything while the number of his allies rapidly decreased, thus,
“Oh fuckin’ dammit!”
It was not unusual that he could not control himself anymore.
The gray-camouflaged man pointed his ZB26 machine gun held at his waist towards the sound of rustling, and,
Fired mercilessly. In full auto.
He heard a voice mixed in with the gunshot,
“I got her!”
Feeling a response, the man stopped firing.
The next moment, a groan came from the direction he shot at, then bullets flew at him and hit the machine gun in his hands, causing sparks to scatter,
The ricochet sank into his face, creating a hit effect.
When the man fell on his backside while shouting this,
“Wha! ──That was you there?”
The voice of his comrade reached his ears.
When they heard some loud gunshots nearby, they reflexively shot in that direction.
Inside the pink smoke, numerous non-suppressed gunshots resounded, sometimes mixed in with a scream.
Only the people in the bar,
Clearly understood the situation.
That the friendly fire had finally begun.
If they were from the same team, they could still understand each other through the communication items, but that was difficult to do in this hodge podge of three teams, thus the number of people who aimed their guns wherever they heard gunshots nearby and opened fire in response continued increasing.
The actual LLENN had dropped to the ground on the spot the moment the gunshots had started and had not moved since. She decided to let the friendly fire go on.
Only one character came in front of LLENN in a panic and LLENN shot him from underneath, turning him into a beehive.
After a while, the friendly fire calmed down and the gunshots stopped.
Without a moment’s delay, LLENN stood up, rushed through the smoke, and repeated her merciless gundown of the people nearby.
“The tiny pink one’s darting about! Comrade got shot! And she immediately disappeared!”
The man who shouted this felt that something was thrust into his right cheek from below. And then,
“Tell your guys. 〝I finished off the pink enemy! Guys, stop shooting!〟”
She heard a low and intimidating woman’s voice right next to him.
Without even looking at the source, he knew that it was the enemy,
“W-what… if I r-refuse……?”
The man asked.
On the screen in the bar, the small white silhouette that had pressed down its P90 suppressor on a large white silhouette opened fire.
The man, who had his head pierced through his cheek, fell to the left along with the AC-556F in his hands.
The people in the bar were fired up.
A gray-camouflaged man in the pink smoke,
Was standing and waving his 《M4A1》 assault rifle muzzle left and right while holding the gun at his waist.
Every 2 seconds or so, he looked to the right then to the left── though he could not see anything in the smoke, he kept his finger on the trigger with the intention to shoot at anything that moved even the slightest bit.
The moment he faced to the left for the umpteenth time, a pink ghost-like silhouette appeared behind him and to the right, but the man did not notice it at all.
A reddish-brown camouflaged man was lying on the ground.
Lying on the jungle soil with his AC-556F at the ready, he kept his finger in contact with the trigger and thus a Bullet Circle was continuously displayed before his eyes.
“C’mon……, come from wherever you want…..”
If something moving entered this Circle in the pink smoke, be it friend or foe, he would blast them away. That is what he decided.
Red Lines, coming slightly to the side of the Circle, pierced the smoke and, before he could dodge them, a hail of 5.7 mm bullets assaulted his surroundings,
And hit his body.
The audience, seeing LLENN bring down the man lying 10 metres away from her,
“Wh-what was that? Did she just aim carefully as she shot him?”
“She’s been doing that for a while now and hasn’t she been able to close in on her enemies all this time? Is LLENN-chan the only one who can see her opponents?”
Let out their reasonable impressions.
Even now, everything was displayed in thermal vision on the screen, so the surroundings should still be in smoke. No matter how one thought about it, there was no way anyone could see 10 metres ahead.
“It’s the Lines.”
Someone gave the answer.
“Even in the smoke, the Bullet Line system assist should be vividly visible, right? She’s seeing the Lines that the enemy keeps producing and following them. And then she fires at their source.”
“Ah! I see!
‘Aww! Waste of bullets!’
With that thought, LLENN aimed at the source of another Bullet Line she found, and fired her P90 in full auto for over a minute.
The muffled sounds of discharge and the empty shells expelled below.
Truthfully, she had no desire to shoot this much. Because she still had the great task of bringing down Pitohui ahead. ‘Extravagance is the enemy!’
However, she did not know what posture the enemy at the root of the Line had.
They could be lying on the ground, they could be standing. They could be characters with full-body bulletproof protectors.
To ensure the death of such enemies, she had to fire at least 20 bullets while changing her aim or she would feel uneasy. Even though she could kill them with just 3 bullets if she could pinpoint their heads.
The Lines disappeared immediately, so there was a response to defeating the enemy, but her spare magazines kept decreasing rapidly.
Then she spotted another Bullet Line given off by an enemy. She closed in, getting surprisingly close, by going around him, and she immediately found his figure.
She had noticed him, but due to her full body pink, he had yet to notice her.
With the nimbleness of a cat aiming for its prey, LLENN went around from the side and, adjusting her aim so that the Bullet Circle overlapped with the tall man’s head, she pulled her trigger for a short burst.
“LLENN! Next 6 grenades are the last!”
The voice of Fukaziroh, who had been replenishing her smoke grenades at fixed intervals, reached the ears of LLENN through the communication item.
The smoke grenades remodelled and prepared for the battle against Pitohui numbered 24. Although it was unavoidable, she could not believe that they had already used 18 of them in a place like this.
While lamenting in her mind,
“It’s okay! Save them!”
The pink smoke slowly but certainly became thinner. But, if LLENN had not miscalculated, she should have already brought down ten of them.
“There should be about three or four left, so I can bring them down by moving around! Fuka, defend yourself as well!”
While hearing this answer, LLENN glanced at her P90 magazine. The bullets she saw in her half-transparent magazine numbered 5.
LLENN bravely exchanged it for a new magazine.
By operating the gun’s magazine catch lever with her left hand, she removed the lock. She raised the muzzle and, when the magazine slid down, her left hand pulled a new magazine from her pouch.
This was the sixth one she inserted into her gun. In other words, she only had 101 bullets, if she included the one magazine left in her pouch, that should could use right away.
‘I can’t believe I spent nearly 200 bullets to defeat ten of them!’
She had consumed far more than she had imagined. However, this was by all means necessary to avoid death here.
‘Crap! Damn! Damn!’
She directed the welled-up anger for all of it,
“Oi! Let’s get out of here already!”
“Yeah! Like I have time for these guys!”
‘Theeeeeeere… yoooooou… aaaaaaaare.’
Towards where she heard that voice, along with her muzzle.
“Aww yeah! Twenty dead! With this…… how many has it been?”
“About twelve I guess. There’s two at most left.”
“That’s LLENN-chan for you!”
The video in the fired-up bar changed from thermal vision to regular mode.
As they ran out of additional smoke grenades, the pink smoke was slowly clearing up. The green grass regained its contours and they began to see the numerous 【Ｄｅａｄ】 markers jumbled on top of it.
This was definitely a massacre.
The corpses were lying all over the narrow area and there were even some lying on top of each other.
1.^ A traditional Japanese unit for volume in the shakkanhō system. It is equal to 2401⁄1331 litres (approximately 1.804 if rounded to four significant figures).
2.^ Boss uses archaic/old-fashioned grammar variants in the following few sentences. Such as using yamoshirenu instead of kamoshirenai, as well as using -nu or even -n negative verbs instead of -nai forms.
3.^ An interjection used to by the listener to show that they are still paying attention.
4.^ The = used here is a double hyphen. In Japanese, it’s sometimes used instead of an interpunct (・) as an equivalent of the English en dash or hyphen to separate names.
5.^ Probably referring to cockroaches (gokiburi).
7.^ A respectful way to call an elder brother, or a senior in a gang.
8.^ This is referencing a caricature (https://news.hoken-mammoth.jp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/narikin2.jpg) from Japan’s time of prosperity during World War I. Basically, the caricature depicts a man and a woman who had suddenly come to wealth. The woman is looking for their shoes but can’t find them because it’s dark, so the man lights up a hundred yen bill (which would be worth about 120,000 yen, or 1052€/1176$, nowadays) to make some light to find the shoes and says “How’s this, brighter for you?’.
9.^ The original text for this phrase is 実体も見せずに忍び寄る小さな白い影, which seems to be a slight modification of the phrase 実体を見せずに忍び寄る白い影, which was used in the Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman (Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, known as Battle of the Planets or Eagle Riders in the English-speaking world) series.