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.7 - Guilds-in-Action
Turning the clocks back a bit.
Around the time LLENN noticed the ambush──
Various battles between teams, who had chosen their targets during the first scan, occurred simultaneously in various parts of the field.
It was the beginning of a fireworks display.
A battle had begun in the hilly area north of the centre of the map, beyond a gently-sloping valley that was about 400 metres in width.
However, it did not turn into a gunfight. It was a one-sided gun down.
On one side was a team dressed completely in black and wielding only submachine guns, the effective range of which was but 200 metres. They were a group of men who gave the impression of being members of the police special force, the original SWAT, and looked quite strong 〝if they were in an indoor battle〟.
On the other side, was a team with 3 members, all armed with 7.62 mm calibre machine guns that boasted an effective range of 800 metres.
The three members of the Zen-nihon Machine Gun Lovers, whose name tag/abbreviation was 《ZEMAL》, sat firmly on a slope and did not miss a chance to pound away.
Their weapons were an 《FN MAG》 and an 《M240B》── the two models were mostly the same, the latter being an improved version of the former, thus the guns were like sisters. And the last one was an 《M60E3》. All of them were 7.62 mm calibre.
They were guns that, right after SJ began, showered LLENN in bullets, but did not land a single one on her in the end.
“Machine guns! They are so fu~n!”
Their refreshing smiles as they pounded away, and the large number of empty shells expelled from their guns, shone under the cloudy sky.
As expected, they were not the kind of idiots to 〝raise their Strength to carry two machine guns in their hands〟, like they had discussed on the phone after the previous SJ.
They accumulated experience points within their capacity, and did their best within their capacity. Thanks to that, even their accuracy improved.
Furthermore, they also learnt a new phrase called 〝team play〟.
“Alright, a bit to the right! ──About that much.”
Two of the group’s members, whose favourite guns were 5.56 mm-calibre and thus had slightly insufficient range, took on the role of being observers. Using binoculars, they kept track of where the bullets hit and the tracer bullets, and gave instructions to their shooting comrades.
“Alrighty, leave it to me!”
They aimed their relentless full-auto fire where they were instructed.
Honestly, there was no need to shoot that much in order to simply bring down non-resisting enemies, but it seems that the words 〝bullet conservation〟 had not yet reached their heads. Incidentally, that also applied to 〝samurai’s compassion〟.
The bullets became a horizontal rain of steel, and one by one pierced the black-suited group running high and low in the valley in an attempt to escape.
“As if we can win this!”
Their plan to escape from the terrain that was disadvantageous to them as soon as possible, by recklessly taking the shortest route, backfired on them.
In this state, the pitiable all-black-team members who were at their wits’ end,
“Craap! We definitely wouldn’t have lost if we were indoors!”
Had no chance of showing off their skills in their situation, thus the one-sided shootdown continued; *pikon pikon*, 【Ｄｅａｄ】markers lit up, until eventually, all of them turned to corpses.
At the same time──
A certain team fought in the north-eastern snowy mountains.
The team tag was《ZAT》. This was an abbreviation for 〝Cropped Headed-Friends〟, which had nothing to do with the Earth Defence Organisation from a certain tokusatsu.(1) Nor did it have any relationship with the Meiji Restoration.(2)
“The enemy! We encountered the enemy while climbing the slope! According to the name shown during the scan, they’re MMTM, the previous third most powerful team.
A member of ZAT, lying buried in the snow on a gentle slope, shouted in monologue.
The man wearing a green camouflage uniform, as well as a helmet on his head, had button battery-sized, ultra-small video cameras attached to the front and back of his helmet.
The gun, completely buried under snow due to lying on the ground, was an assault rifle used by the Self-Defence Force, a 《Howa Type 89》. Additionally, it was a foldable-stock version that the Ground Self-Defence Force airborne troops and tankmen were supplied with.
This, and the 《Howa Type 64》series, were the only Japan-made assault rifle varieties in GGO. Setting aside the Type 64 which had a bad reputation(3), the Type 89 was a highly valuable gun.
These guns had the merit of having very insignificant recoil, giving them a powerful semi-auto fire, and their accuracy was quite good too. Even though they had the drawback of having a high price, there were plenty of people who favoured it.
Of course, players on Japanese server should also have the 〝It’s our motherland’s gun!〟 attachment as well.
“Attempting to return fire! Doryaa!”
Shouting thus, the man raised just his Type 89 with one hand, and fired 3 shots towards the top of the slope in semi-auto mode. Blowing off the snow that had gathered around the muzzle, several bullets rushed away.
There were more small cameras attached at the sides and front of the barrel of the Type 89, as well as one facing himself.
“Did I hit them……? I can’t tell at all! Battles against people really are scary! I’m about to wet myself!”
The man’s speech was picked up by the mike equipped on his throat.
The earnestly-speaking man was a player hosting a 《Let’s Play》.
This was the act of broadcasting, or recording, editing, and then distributing the footage of, one’s state in the game. Such a video was called a ‘Let’s Play video’.
There were people who would just broadcast the scene as is, but eloquent people would add an amusing voice-over or subtitles during the game or editing to please the viewers.
Until now, the man, and his comrades from ZAT that did not mind him doing on-the-scene coverage, had only been hunting monsters in GGO.
The man who had taken the role of cameraman and commentator recorded their situation as they all worked together to defeat super-giant SF monsters in GGO, as well as commenting on it and compiling it together to broadcast on a video sharing site.
There were plenty of people who did similar things, but his charming videos had quite the popularity.
On the other hand, this was a battle against people──
Until now, nobody had done a Let’s Play video like this.
It was impossible to tell when a player versus player battle would occur in GGO. It was a different story if an arrangement was made for a duel.
But, even if such a thing occurred, it would be an infringement of 〝avatar privacy〟 to upload the video without the permission of the players recorded.
However, the story was different for SJ2.
Since an official broadcast video was available, there were no privacy concerns. Moreover, the cameras recorded scenes from the skies, and mostly did not record player remarks. On the other hand, his video was taken from first-person perspective, and included fun remarks.
He could not make a live broadcast, but nobody forbade recordings. Thus, wanting to try out recording an intense player versus player battle, he entered SJ2 with his comrades──
“I wonder if I can move out from here…… Let’s try it!”
As he raised his head, a Bullet Line ran just above it, and was immediately replaced by the flight of a bullet,
Still prone, the man became unable to take a single step.
As he was lying with the side of his face on the snow, he could only see the sky and snow. It was great that this was a game. He would have definitely got frostbite if this was RL.
As the man had to do his on-the-scene coverage, well, it really wasn’t an obligation, but he wanted to do it for his video── he did not have a communication item equipped. Therefore, he could not communicate with his comrades, whom he had lost sight of during the abrupt attack.
Again and again, gunshots that seemed like someone hitting a snare drum resounded in his surroundings, the snowy mountain. The sounds were absorbed by the snow, thus there was barely any echo, and disappeared towards the reddish-gray sky.
MMTM did not waste a single bullet. As proof of this, *gūn*, the hit point gauges of his comrades in the upper-left corner of his vision decreased and turned zero.
“Ah! One of my mates has just died! Benjamin! He was a good guy! Me and him have been close since high school IRL and have always been playing games together! Ben!”
“Aah! That damn Casa is down!”
*Tan*, *tan*, *tan*, *tan*.
As he reported the deaths of his comrades, he eventually became the last one alive, and the leader mark transferred to him.
“I-I have to get out of here no matter what or I’m going to join the rest of them──:
The moment he raised his head just a little as he reported, a line ran 3 cm above him, and, *byun*, a bullet passed through.
The man once again lay down with such force that it was as if he was head-butting the snow.
He could no longer move. Absolutely unable to tell where was he being targeted from, the man ended up being immobile, unable to catch even 1 mm of his enemy on camera.
The man began talking.
“To all the people…… watching this video ….. right now…… I am no longer able to move. All of my comrades have been killed. I’m probably done for too. I’ll probably get hit by a bullet and die. I’ll probably freeze in the snow. The fact that the ice cream I bought on my way home from primary school is what comes to mind at a time like this…… is ironic. It was tasty…… But, I haven’t been hit a single time yet……”
After he said all that in a solemn tone,
“So, could it be! That I might not get hit this time either!”
As he stood up shouting, and was about to fire his Type 89 that he raised sideways──
Just a single, well-aimed bullet hit his forehead, and he collapsed on the spot.
Without making much sound.
Because he hit the snow.
“Alright, he’s down. I think that’s all of them, but Lax and Bolt, go confirm it. The rest, keep a watch on your vicinity.”
The leader of MMTM, who was hiding behind a snowy tree, gave out instructions to his comrades.
He was wearing a white parka, with green conifer leaf patterns, on top of his camouflage. It was a camouflage for snowy fields that he had put in his storage ahead of time, taking into account the possibility that this might happen.
He reloaded his beloved assault rifle, the 《Steyr STM-556》.
It was a 〝clone〟 of, in other words, basically identical to, the AR-15, which was manufactured by a long-standing European small arms maker, 《Steyr-Mannlicher (typically called Suteā in Japanese)》.
The AR-15 was a gun based on the M16 and M4A1. There were a whole lot of people who used these, both among the military and civilians, thus they had a large market scale, and even clones of them were sold by various companies.
Of course, they did not just copy them; each company ruthlessly competed to make them easier to use, reforming the parts that were unfit for the times.
One of the AR clones, the STM-556 had a feature that none of the others had. It was the advantage of 〝being able to switch gun barrels with a single press of a button, without the need to dismantle anything〟.
A long barrel increased precision. However, it was hard to handle in a narrow place.
On the other hand, a short barrel made it overwhelmingly easy to maneuver indoors. However, it wasn’t suited for sniping. Its effective range was also short.
Hence, shooters had to pick one of the two options or go for a compromise when choosing the barrel length, but there was no need to do so for the STM-556. One could carry both a long and a short barrel, and just keep the unused one in a bag.
The leader’s STM-556 was currently equipped with a long barrel suited for sniping.
The magnification of the small scope on the gun was set to high, set up as a mid-range sniper rifle. This was why he was able to so accurately hit the commentating player’s vitals from such a distance.
Just in case they ended up in a battle indoors, he materialised a short barrel from his storage and exchanged it. Also, he disabled the magnification of the scope, in other words, made it a simple tube which guaranteed a wide field of vision.
Additionally, there was a large tube attached under the leader’s STM-556’s barrel. This was a grenade launcher, a so-called 〝weapon attachment〟 that could be used along with the rifle. Of course, it was possible to remove it just by loosening the screws.
Unlike Fukaziroh’s MGL-140, it could only fire 1 grenade at a time, but even so, it drastically increased the weapon’s firepower.
The grenade launcher was an object that he had spent a large sum of money to buy for SJ2. He had also practiced shooting a grenade effectively while firing with his rifle.
The reason for all of this was but one.
To bring down the pink chibi that was constantly running around and the giant man hiding behind a shield, the duo who had given them a hard time and made them taste lake water.
He, who dreamt of taking part in GGO’s most prominent battle, the 《Bullet of Bullets》, and managed to make that dream a reality after decent training──
Did not imagine taking part in a mini tournament that was held in the outskirts without proper notice, even in his wildest dreams.
And so, he of course felt excited.
And, honestly speaking, he planned to 〝have a good time〟 while also simply trying out his abilities and getting in some training with his teammates.
But, he had to thank the pink chibi and the giant for making his blood seethe this much.
‘I’m counting on you.’
As the leader overlooked his beloved gun and his mouth moved without making a sound,
“Six bodies confirmed. Wipe out.”
“No sign of enemies in the area.”
He heard his teammates reporting.
The leader raised his eyes.
Under the cloudy sky, the snow field and the battlefield beyond it stretched out. He could faintly see the mysterious dome, the town beyond it, and the rampart that became an enclosure.
‘Now, let’s fight.’
‘Trust your comrades, trust yourself, and trust your gun.’
“Alright. We’ll wait for the next scan and descend the mountain along the northern rampart. Be vigilant while on standby. Get your spare magazines out.”
At the same time──
In the south-western section of the map,
“Machine gun! Keep the pressure on! Let’s do it as always!”
Boss’s team, SHINC, were having a battle.
Their location was the southern part of the town. They were away from the station, thus there were fewer houses, and instead were in a conspicuous place with vacant land and parking lots. A rampart towered to their immediate south and west, and with it as the background, a railroad track extended straight on.
Atop the gray gravel, there were four wide rails in total. A double track section for trains to pass by one another. About 50 metres across this flat space,
“Eat this and this!”
The Mother Courage machine gunner Rosa,
*Dokadokadokadoka* *Dokadoka*, *Dokadokadokadoka*
Made stirring, heavy bass sounds with her PKM.
Lying on the roof of an overturned freight car, she aimed at an enemy team hiding in the private houses dotting the land on the other side of the track.
There was a female dwarf behind Rosa. She was holding a spare ammunition case, ready to act when Rosa ran out of ammo.
The scene of their shootout was caught on camera and broadcast to the bar,
And a man with a beer stein in one hand who was watching it tilted his head. His friend, nibbling on beef jerky snacks next to him, asked, ‘What is it?’
“That amazon machine gunner, no, the very short and stout one who’s currently not shooting── if I recall correctly, she had been shooting with a PKM last time too, right?”
“But now she’s unarmed?”
Even now, Rosa was the only one loudly shooting on the screen.
On the other hand, Sophie the support was unarmed, in other words, had no weapons at all.
They thought that she might have left her machine gun nearby, considering it to be in the way, but the video showed enough to check on that theory, and it was clear that this was not the case.
“She hasn’t materialised it yet. She’s keeping it in her storage?”
The jerky man replied, unable to imagine any other conclusion,
“What for? Why would she go out of her way to do something that would put her at a disadvantage?”
And the beer man asked a question from the bottom of his heart, but──
There was not a single person in the bar who knew the answer.
Rosa’s cluster of bullets splendidly pierced right through the wall denoting the boundary of the house──
“Huh? Wai-, no way──”
And were soaked up by the bodies and heads of the characters hiding behind it.
The red Bullet Lines eerily passed through that wall beforehand, but they had let their guard down and overlooked them. Lines were thoroughly shown through objects that bullets could penetrate without losing power, such as thin plates and grass.
Having had his teammates killed right in front of him, the man grasped his beloved bolt-action sniper rifle, the 《SSG69》, tightly, and began running away. They had moved in at full speed to flank their enemies, but seeing as their position was exposed, this place was also dangerous now.
The man was a sniper, thus he wore a green camouflage uniform and a cover that consisted of a net and a piece of cloth for disguise on his head and shoulders. This was an item called an 《assault ghillie》.
The full-body-covering clothing called the 《ghillie suit》 had extraordinary camouflage capability, but it had the downside of making it hard to move quickly.
Aside from those snipers who only moved very slowly, assault ghillies were easier to use and were effective enough. Even more so in SJ where they could not choose the field.
The man, who even had green camouflage makeup on his face, began running at full speed behind the wall, spooked by the Bullet Lines whose attack he could not predict, as well as the machine gun bullets that followed suit.
Based on the hit point gauge in the top-left corner of his vision, he knew that three teammates were dead, but two were still unscathed. The man shouted to them over his communication item.
“Two down! I’m alone! They found out that we were behind the wall! Watch out, those guys have eyes even in the sky! ──Let’s gather up and regroup! Where are you?”
“B-beside the truck!”
“Alright! I’ll be coming out from the west side in a moment, so don’t shoot!”
“Roger! ──Sh~it! Those amazons sure are tough! The sniper’s Line is sca~ry! Don’t stick your head out! The Dragunov is one of my favorite guns, but now I’m growing to hate it!”
The first of them said, and the second who should be right next to him,
“Let’s get out of here! We can’t do it with just the three of us!”
Added such a weak-kneed proposal.
“Stop complaining! We came here knowing that there would be formidable opponents! It’s a battle royale, so we were bound to encounter them!”
One of the voices stopped midway unnaturally.
And the other,
“Huh? Wha, whe──”
As expected, stopped midway as well.
Earnestly wishing that his worst fears had not come true, the man kept running for 3 seconds with his head lowered, and arrived beside a house.
He could not see anyone yet. With a quick move, the man left his SSG69 hanging by its sling, and drew out a 9 mm calibre automatic 《Beretta Px4》 pistol from the holster at his right waist. Cocking the hammer with his thumb, and wielding it with both hands,
He slowly moved out from the shadow of the house.
And so, he saw his teammates lying senseless behind a large truck that had fallen over sideways, and 【Ｄｅａｄ】markers flashing above their bodies. Although it was obvious enough already, he looked up at the top-left corner of his view, and saw that he was the sole survivor.
He also happened to know the reason the two were killed without the slightest hint of a gunshot even though they were this close. It was the work of that gun that had went on a rampage during the previous SJ.
“Crap! So it was that gorilla woman……”
As the man swore in a whisper, he heard,
“Yep, that’s right. You’re the only one left, huh.”
A woman’s voice all of a sudden.
The man swung the muzzle of his Px4. First directly behind him, then left and right.
However, there was no one alive in his surroundings. But even so, he heard a voice. There was but one possibility.
“Don’t tell me…… you’re using our communication items?
The man sent a question to the unseen enemy, and received a courteous answer.
“Yep. We used you to try out a theory. Whether something stolen from an enemy’s corpse could be used. Since guns and grenades could be used regularly until the end of the tournament, we wondered if the same applied to 〝phones〟.”
That is to say, they stole it from the first man they had killed, and all his orders and conversations went through to them── and because of that, they easily flanked and killed his teammates, and were about to do the same to him in a moment──
“That’s so unfair, oi.”
Without a sound, a bullet flew towards that man who muttered this while laughing at himself.
It hit the right eye of his smiling face, and pierced through him.
Boss, who shot with her silent sniper rifle 《Vintorez》 from the window of a house about 50 metres away, took her eyes off the scope,
“I guess so, sorry.”
And replied to the killed man.
About the same time as Boss’s group’s merciless battle──
There was a strange battle unfolding between two teams on the gigantic bridge east of the centre of the field.
Both teams consisted of six members armed with 5.56 mm assault rifles, but they ended up having their battlefield on the highway atop the bridge.
The road was straight. And the distance was about 2 km.
Atop the four-lane road, there wasn’t a single car left behind. It was clean and orderly. And it was 100 metres above the bottom of the valley.
In other words, it was a merely 40 metre-wide field shaped like a straight line, which had neither shelter to hide from view, nor cover defend against bullets, and no way to escape to the left or right.
Two teams that decided to cross the valley from the north and south respectively found out during the scan that there was an enemy ahead of them. They could have just returned, but, desiring to fight enemies, they spotted each other at the centre of the bridge, and began a gunfight about 500 metres away from each other.
However, GGO had Bullet Lines. It was possible to tell where the bullets would fly, thus it was possible avoid them by lying down, jumping, twisting one’s body, and so on, if one wanted to do so. Even more so if one knew that the enemy’s position was right in front of them, and that they were far away.
It was impossible to attack by just dodging, thus right after the Lines disappeared, they would ready their weapons and aim at the enemy, but even if they shot, the other side would only dodge them the same way.
And, as for turning back and escaping, in this case, they would be unable to see the Lines and thus get shot in the back. If they retreated while facing forward, their opponent could just pressure them as they pleased.
‘In that case, we’ll make them eat lead as we advance, even if only a little at a time!’
The stubbornness of both teams clashed with each other. Even though they could have just stopped.
And so, the gunfight continued; repeatedly switching between dance-like moves and stillness while shooting, it turned into a game of 〝Red light, green light〟.
This scene was broadcast on one of the monitors in the bar, but,
“Sigh. Those guys are crossing the bridge without thinking it over……”
“Even idiots like us know. That those guys are idiots.”
The attention it drew was minimal.
Naturally, they had no chance of winning against the fights of LLENN’s or Boss’s teams in ratings, but there was no one in front of that monitor, and the people watching it in private rooms changed the channel.
While the two teams were playing around on the bridge──
There was someone about to die to the south of the centre of the map, in a place where a grassless field stretched out, with plots of leafless forests scattered about.
The man, realising that he had been struck by bullets in the chest and face, used the time while his hit points decreased to zero,
“I can’t see I can’t see! I can’t see the Bullet Li──”
Desperately shouting to his teammates, but he could not finish his sentence. He collapsed face-down onto the dry ground, and stopped moving as a 【Ｄｅａｄ】marker lit up.
Aside from him, there were two more corpses lying on the wide field. As well as three people who were still alive hiding along the now dried-up waterway.
They were all using dated military uniforms and equipment.
One was dressed as a member of the US Delta Force Green Berets from the Vietnam War, another as a member of the Soviet Union Airborne Troops from the War in Afghanistan, another as a mercenary from the Rhodesian Bush War, another as a soldier of the West German Army from the Cold War, even as old as an English infantryman from the Second World War and an officer from the old Japanese army.
As for their guns, they, naturally, did not use anything but those that perfectly conformed to research into those periods. Among them were even antiques that made them say ‘There’re guns like these in GGO!’ in astonishment.
They were military history-loving players. A nostalgic squadron that fought in the future world of GGO with equipment that was depicted as accurately as possible.
『We’re people who appeared to have died on various battlefields, but were sent to the future by some mysterious power, where we met and fought together, dreaming of returning some day.』
They went for such a setting.
Their squadron name, tinged with irony, was 《New Soldiers》. This was abbreviated, as was usual with names in SJ2, to 〝NSS〟.
They, who were first-time participants of SJ, had their start point in a forest south of the centre of the field.
Based on the 13:10 scan, they knew that there were a lot of enemy teams in the area, but particularly that the previous runner-ups, SHINC, were on the west side.
Simply because they did not wish to face them as opponents, the men set their course to the north, where they chose a team named 〝KKHC〟 that should have been there as their first opponents. They had no idea what kind of team this was, but they thought that it was at least better than facing the amazons.
It was very risky to go through a flat field, but they had no choice. Carefully watching their front, they advanced by stepping firmly on the dry soil.
‘If someone is sniped, the rest will immediately drop to the ground. The sniper’s position is unknown for the first shot, thus the Bullet Line will not be shown, and there is no way to avoid it’
They thought, and were abruptly sniped just as they had predicted.
The 《G3A3ZF》-wielding West German soldier, and the 《Lee–Enfield No. 4 Mk I (T)》-wielding English infantryman were shot in both the chest and face and instantly died at almost the same moment. The sounds of them collapsing and dry gunshots resounded in the vicinity.
The remaining four hid in the dried-out waterway and confirmed the position of their opponents.
They saw a flashing muzzle, thus they identified the enemy’s position. They were, based on their range finder, 438 metres away, in a narrow, 20 square metre-sized forest.
Their deaths, especially since they were snipers, were a heavy blow to the team, but there was no revival magic in GGO, thus they could no longer do anything about it. The enemy team, too, probably realised that their snipers posed a threat, and so they shot them. In exchange, they gave away their position to the enemy.
The enemy in the forest should not be moving out from there anymore. Because if they did, they would expose themselves on the field.
So, all they had to do now was approach them bit by bit while relying on the Bullet Lines to avoid the bullets, and then attack.
Luckily, the still surviving USSR soldier’s 《AKS-74》 was equipped with a grenade launcher under the barrel. If they could get within its maximum effective range of 400 metres, they could one-sidedly drive a grenade into the forest while prone and hiding.
The distance remaining for that goal was merely 40 metres. If they could reach the next waterway, their win would be in sight.
The Green Beret man, who was the team leader and the most nimble of them,
“I’m going in. Cover me. But don’t waste bullets. ──Now!”
Gallantly jumped out with his beloved 《XM177E2》assault rifle in one hand.
His comrades, expecting to run through while splendidly dodging the Bullet Lines, only stuck out their heads to watch over him.
3 seconds later, he was shot and died.
“I can’t see I can’t see! I can’t see the Bullet Li──”
Leaving this dying message behind.
The remaining three were engulfed in panic.
Drawing their heads back into the dried-out waterway like turtles, they began quarreling through their communication items.
“Wh-whwh── why! Why couldn’t he see them? A system error?”
Said the 《FAL》assault rifle-wielding Rhodesian mercenary,
“No, that can’t be possible…… I’ve never heard of something like that. Besides, even we, who were close, couldn’t see it.”
The USSR soldier denied resolutely.
“But! The leader couldn’t have overlooked it! He was sober!”
The leader had logged in drunk several times and caused trouble for the squadron, but he was sober today. Because the West German soldier, who was also an IRL associate, had been watching over him since last night and made him abstain from drinking.
“Then…… there’s only one possibility that I can think of.”
The 《Type 100 submachine gun》-wielding ex-Japanese army officer said in a calm tone.
“What is it?”
“The enemy character is relying on their knowledge and skill to snipe; it’s the so-called 〝Line-less shooting〟. It’s possible by not putting one’s finger on the trigger until the last moment. It’s not really a cheat.”
“Well, that’s true…… So, they aimed all this way without the system assist, and hit the head on their first shot?”
“That’s just how skilled they are. Which means──”
‘Which means?’, the other two awaited the answer.
“It means that we’re no match for them in our current state. We can’t go any further. Let’s change course toward the east.”
He said. The words ‘change course’ sounded nice, but ultimately meant ‘retreat’.
In response to the proposition to run away with the enemy right in front of them, and half their teammates down,
The two nodded. And so, leaving behind three corpses, they,
Began crawling away.
Their buttocks were caught on camera in silence.
Voices of merry men could be heard,
“Hooray! Our 〝first fruits of battle〟!”
“That went well!”
“We can manage this!”
From the team in the forest who sniped down three enemies. They were tensionless, and looked as if they had shot down a box of caramels in a festival shooting game.
They were lying firmly on the ground beside tree shrubs. Only the tips of their long boots, and the tips of their rifles could be seen.
All 4 long and narrow barrels were sticking out, and could hit at that range, thus they all had to be sniper rifles.
“Shirley, you know, you could have shot them too?”
One of the men said.
“No thanks. You guys can have all the fun.”
The short response definitely belonged to a woman.
“Hey, look. Those guys have a high chance of getting away.”
The woman called Shirley said, and immediately began making a rustling sound,
“Oi oi, you’ll be shot you know?”
A nearby man who could not be seen informed her in panic. However,
“I’ll think about that when the time comes.”
She made light of it, and started wriggling out of the shrubbery. Rather than crawling forward, she crawled backwards.
Leaving her gun in the thicket, Shirley crawled out of it feet-first.
Like the men, she was wearing long boots and brown cargo pants. She had a largish magazine pouch on her right waist and a dagger-like knife called a ken’nata on her left waist, hanging on a belt.
As for her upper body, she was wearing a jacket that used a camouflage pattern called 《Real Tree pattern》, which precisely depicted actual withered tree leaves. On her head, she was wearing a camouflaged baseball cap, the brim of which was turned back so as to not get in the way of the scope.
This pattern was extraordinarily effective here, and thus the upper half of her body alone looked like it belonged to an invisible man.
The upper half of her body vanished in the thicket, but her fair-skinned face, and the hair slightly jutting out from her cap, were very conspicuous. It was vivid, with a new leaf-like greenness.
Shirley’s expression was the very picture of displeasure.
She would be a beauty if she smiled, but right now, it was a look sour enough to scare any man away. Even though her mates had earned the fruits of battle, and were so happy.
Shirley completely stood up, and hid beside a tree. And then, she brought the small binoculars hanging on her shoulder to her eyes, and gazed at the soaring rampart and the wide field for about 5 seconds,
“The remaining three are running away to the mountains. I can only see their headgear fluttering. They’re already far. Can’t see anyone else.”
Before indifferently reporting what she saw. Her teammates,
“What…… That was fast!”
“So they got scared and ran away! Our first battle was a complete success!”
“But I wanted to shoot them more!”
Responded with such carefree words.
“With our skill, we can reach a rather high rank, right?”
“That’s right. A bloodbath.”
“Just as we thought, you have to shoot IRL too!”
Having heard this much, Shirley put her hand on her ear, and set the communication item switch to off.
And then, turning her back to her mates, she, in a whisper that no one could hear,
“Is shooting people with a gun that fun? You guys are crazy. You could all just be shot already. If you did, this tournament would end.”
＊ ＊ ＊
There were a lot of teams that were not on broadcast, in other words, teams that were not in a battle, and one among them,
Was Pitohui, screaming her heart out.
She was currently in the mountains with rocks and forests, in the south-eastern sector of the field, sitting on a fallen tree.
Clad in a mantle that reached her left knee and her right foot directly beside it, and giving a daredevilish expression, she looked like the military commander of some belligerent country.
She had no weapons in her hands. Not even a pistol, let alone a rifle.
In the vicinity, M, and four other subordinates, were keeping watch on the area. Mixed with the sound of treetops being swayed by the wind, gunshots from far, truly far away could be faintly heard.
They were among mountains with steep slopes. With thick trees and rugged rocks stretching out, it was a position with a really poor field of vision.
M had his M14 EBR placed beside him, and was peeking below the slope through the gaps of the trees.
He was holding his large backpack, with the shield used during the previous tournament stuffed inside, in front of his stomach.
The four subordinates whose faces could not be seen were materialising their equipment. Like M, they wore vests with bulletproof plates on the upper half of their bodies.
The small, tall, and fat men were scattered in the forest, thus only their bodies could be seen. It was impossible to tell what equipment and weapons they had.
The last one, a slender man, was right behind Pitohui. He had only a 《Glock 21》 45 caliber pistol hanging on his right waist, while both of his hands were empty.
“Hey, M. Why are we loafing at a place like this? Everyone’s shooting at their enemies, ya know? There’s a lot of them below, so can’t we just quickly descend the mountain?”
In a zero-tension tone, Pitohui spoke through the communication item. M replied.
“Why? M, could it be…… that you don’t want to fight, hmm? Are you gonna be a chicken like last time?”
M was unrattled even at her ridicule.
“It’s part of the plan.”
“Oh really. What do you guys think?”
Her voice should have reached the other four men as well, but there was no immediate response, until finally,
“We’ll follow the leader’s plan. As per our contract.”
One of them said in a raspy voice, and one by one, she could only hear the others’ agreement.
With a frown, Pitohui said only this in response. He used keigo, but she did not say anything about it.
M said unconcerned.
“Getting into the initial, stupid melee is... pointless. Do you want to die so much? Is that your wish?”
“Huh! No, but it’s lame. Ain’t it boring?”
“Put up with it for now. As I said before, it’s part of the plan, Pito. You entrusted me to be the team leader, so obey my orders.”
“Tsk! Well, can’t be helped. When you die, M, I’ll get the leader’s mark, and do as I please.”
Pitohui exaggeratedly pointed her hands to the sky and shrugged. There were no cameras there.
“Don’t worry, the surviving formidable enemies baring their fangs will be all yours, Pito.”
“Who, for example?”
“For example, someone like LLENN. That pink rabbit’s fangs are awfully sharp.”
The ferocious smile that Pitohui gave was, luckily, not broadcast.
1. ^ Tokusatsu (特撮, lit. special filming/special effects) is a Japanese term that refers to any live-action film or television drama that usually features superheroes and makes considerable use of special effects. According to an anonymous reader, this is most likely referencing Zariba of All Territory from Ultraman.
2. ^ Cropped hair was a popular hairstyle in the Meiji period (1868-1912).
3. ^ Due to its mechanical complexities, the Type 64 has a false yet pervasive reputation that it sheds parts during field use.
4. ^ A Japanese charm to ward off lightning and misfortune.