Accel World:Volume 2 Chapter 4
“Then, I will be going.”
“I... I am leaving.”
“Okay, have a nice trip... Ah.”
To Kuroyukihime and Haruyuki’s farewells, Niko rubbed the side of her face lightly and then wrinkled her eyebrows.
“...Hey. Isn’t this a bit weird?”
“Nn, what is?”
“No... even if you ask what is...”
While Niko crossed her arms and started thinking, Kuroyukihime shrugged her shoulders lightly and said.
“Strange girl. Instead of that, I will leave the details of today’s battle plan to you. «Chrome Disaster»’s appearing location and time specifics, you have no problem with that?”
“Y, yea. Leave it to me.”
“Umu. Then, I will be going.”
“I... I am leaving.”
“Okay, have a nice trip... Ah.”
Then she closed the door and after backing off a step, Kuroyukihime turned away.
January 23rd, Friday 7:30AM.
Up till now, the situation was similar to the many «going to school» moments he had daily. The grey light shining in the apartment public hallway, his white breath in the cold air, were all the same as yesterday's.
However just one thing was different - right beside him, wearing a neat Umesato middle school uniform with a blue ribbon tie, right hand holding a school regulation bag, and left hand carrying a shopping bag, a female student’s shape was there.
Turning on her Neuro Linker and looking in the air, Kuroyukihime said casually.
“Today will be cloudy, I hope it doesn’t rain. Then, let’s go.”
He nodded, took his normal position to her left and slightly behind, and while walking, Haruyuki thought in a daze.
‘- Ah... this person, is my onee-san? And the one earlier, imouto?
No no, this kind of specification should not exist in the real world. Going to school together with onee-san, like some antique novel game.
As he shook his head slightly, the empty elevator came down, and he went in after his onee-san.
‘- Even if this was a game, with the girls being only «older sister» and «younger sister», that is not possible right?’
With his brain that wasn’t working too well due to slight lack of sleep, he thought up to that point while spacing out, the elevator went down just two floors, and stopped on the 21st floor. Haruyuki backed up one step by reaction, to make space for people coming in.
And then, after the door slid open, with an energetic jump inside, a similarly uniformed girl - «childhood friend» Kurashima Chiyuri’s eyes collided with his.
‘NO - .’
As Haruyuki screamed in his mind, Chiyuri’s large cat-like eyes blinked and a big smile appeared on her face.
“Ah, Haru, morning! How come today you are so early... wh... wha...!?”
However, once she recognized the person standing to the right side behind Haruyuki, her voice and expression changed abruptly. From relaxed, passed through surprise, then approaching right before an eruption.
“...Haru? What’s this?”
With her eyeballs jerking, Chiyuri whispered.
In contrast to the totally solidified Haruyuki, Kuroyukihime greeted her lightheartedly.
“Ya, morning, Kurashima-kun.”
“Ah, g..good morning.”
After she bowed in reflex, Chiyuri grabbed hold of Haruyuki’s necktie and shouted.
“What’s going on!!”
“...It, it’s not what you think.”
While Haruyuki shook his head, he used his hand behind him to start the Mailer program, asking help from the only person who could resolve this situation. That is, “Taku, I need help badly”.
“What isn’t what I think!!”
When more of the tough interrogation was about to continue, the elevator finally reached the first floor and the door opened. Haruyuki took hold of Chiyuri’s shoulders, and turned her half way around.
“Th, there, let’s go to school! Let’s take classes, let’s return home and forget about this during the weekend.”
“Hey, don’t change the topic!”
He kept pushing the shouting Chiyuri’s shoulders from behind, passing between the wide eyed residents in the lobby and somehow exited to the front courtyard when a helpful sound came from behind.
“M... morning, Chii-chan. Morning, Haru. Mo... rn...”
“...Good morning, master.”
Then somehow, after reading his email and coming in a full dash, his comrade murmured to Haruyuki while blowing out large clouds of white breath in the cold morning air.
“...Haru. You seem like someone who likes stepping on tiger’s tails.”
“I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.”
After replying, he turned the still yelling ‘Explain it!’ Chiyuri toward Takumu then released his hands from her shoulders.
Just like Takumu, he said to Chiyuri with a calm voice.
“Chii-chan, I was at Haru’s house yesterday too.”
“Wha...? What does that mean?”
Facing the suspicious face of a childhood friend and able to voice a clear explanation; that kind of smooth speech, Haruyuki could not imitate.
“A little problem dealing with that application occurred. We used Haru’s house as a conference room. But it got late and if a middle school student walking at that time was captured by the social camera, it would be troublesome. So without any choice, senpai had to stay over at Haru’s house. Isn’t that right?”
To Kuroyukihime who was asked that, fortunately she dutifully nodded.
“Well, that’s what happened. Don’t need to be strangely suspicious, Kurashima-kun.”
Chiyuri continued to be silent with a complex expression for a few seconds - .
Eventually, she said with a low tone.
“Again, that. Brain... Burst?”
She looked at the three who nodded together, then puffed up her cheeks.
“Somehow, I am not convinced! That’s just a game right? Then, why would you talk for so many hours about it!”
“It... it’s a game, but not just any game.”
After looking around the wide apartment courtyard to make sure no one else was around, Haruyuki continued.
“I have told you before... that accelerated thinking and creating a different world from this one. That’s why, similar to reality, many problems occur...”
Chiyuri’s lips became sharp, and she murmured while looking unsatisfied.
“I do not believe that in the first place. Even if you say accelerate or whatever, I can’t imagine it. ...Then...I got it. If you let me see it, I will accept it.”
To the wide eyed Haruyuki, Chiyuri said it like it was nothing.
“That game, can be copied and installed right? Let me have it too. Then I too will become, what was that, that... «Burst Linker».”
“Wha... whattt - !?”
That shout, came not only from Haruyuki but from Takumu and Kuroyukihime as well.
And then all three held their right hand in front of their face and waved it left and right.
“Im... impossible. Absolutely impossible.”
Haruyuki who leaked that truthfully, his round cheeks were pinched by Chiyuri.
“What’s that! Just hand it over!”
“No, I told you... that game needs aptitude.”
“I won’t understand that till I try!”
“But you are... ultra bad.”
At that moment, Chiyuri’s cat-like eyes shone.
“I see... you have the nerve. I get it, you will see! I will train too, and win over Haru and Taku in games!”
Haruyuki opened his mouth wide and saw a look of challenge shining in Chiyuri’s eyes. This, he often saw when he played with Chiyuri in the past, is the «won’t turn back after saying it» face.
While pulling Haruyuki’s cheeks to the limit like a flat rice cake - .
“After that, let me copy that Burst something!!”
After saying that she let go of Haruyuki’s cheeks, stuck her tongue out for a ‘Be -’, then the similarly aged childhood friend ran away at a tremendous speed.
Haruyuki murmured that while rubbing his cheeks, then turned toward Takumu beside him.
Then, he bowed deeply.
“Sorry, Taku. I made you lie to Chiyu.”
Earlier, Takumu’s explanation to Chiyuri was not 100% the truth. When Kuroyukihime announced that she would stay over, the meeting was already finished.
Takumu smiled and slowly shook his head.
His expression was calm, but Haruyuki felt that it contained some self-deprecation, so he bit his lips lightly. Then, Kuroyukihime too said in a caring voice.
“Takumu-kun. Asking might be an intrusion... you and Kurashima-kun, still... that is...”
“Being back to normal...will take a long time.”
Takumu shrugged and looked towards the street tree canopy that had lost all its leaves.
“I did a lot of things. Or more like, we might never return to being boyfriend and girlfriend again. But... if it’s part of Chii-chan’s wish for me to be at her side, I think just that is fine.”
Haruyuki tried to find the words he should say, however just at important moments, his throat was stuck. On his behalf, Kuroyukihime’s quiet voice said.
“If... you feel burdened, or if it interferes with your relationship with Kurashima-kun, you can erase it... the Brain Burst.”
Takumu’s eyes opened wide instantly.
However, he soon greatly shook his head left and right.
“No. I still, to you... and to Haru too, need to make amends for.”
“Y... you don’t have to. There’s nothing like that, Taku.”
This time, he said in reaction.
“I don’t desire any amends from you. Senpai should be the same. Brain Burst does not exist for that reason... that is, that software is...”
However, just there, Haruyuki’s poor vocabulary ended.
Takumu looked at him with pain filled eyes, then patted him on the shoulder.
“It’s fine, I too still enjoy «duels». Instead of that, master. I want to consult with you.”
He turned toward Kuroyukihime and continued with a serious sound.
“...Chii-chan’s possibility of being a Burst Linker, do you think it is really zero?”
Compared to the wide eyed Haruyuki, Kuroyukihime almost did not change her expression, she tilted her head with ‘Fumu’.
“...The first condition has been cleared?”
“Yes, it should be.”
Takumu instantly nodded.
The first condition for being a Burst Linker is «to wear the Neuro Linker right after birth». Takumu’s was from his parent’s educational policy that is full of enthusiasm and Haruyuki’s was used to remotely monitor him since both of his parents worked, their condition was fulfilled.
Chiyuri was raised in a family full of love, the newborn her had worn the Neuro Linker for a different reason from them. Chiyuri’s father was treated for throat cancer, so it was difficult for him to produce a physical voice. That meant Chiyuri was raised while hearing her father’s mind talk through the network.
Takumu did not explain that far and Kuroyukihime also did not ask.
After consenting, she looked toward the direction Chiyuri ran off to.
“Actually, the second condition... «Brain reaction speed» does not have a rigorous standard. There are people who were bad with VR games that have installed Brain Burst. However, making someone into a Burst Linker without confidence could be said to be a large gamble.”
To Haruyuki who repeated what he heard, Kuroyukihime gave him a look with meaning and nodded.
“Right now, Brain Burst’s copy and install... that is the privilege of a «parent» making someone a «child», is limited to be only once. And that privilege, even if the installing failed, will be lost and never return.”
Haruyuki involuntarily shouted, then he hurriedly held his mouth. He lowered his volume, but continued in haste.
“B, but then, the number of Burst Linkers won’t increase by much. The people who retired after losing all points and the new people who joined... would at best be even...?”
“That means, Haru.”
Takumu who already knew the «once rule», pushed his glasses up and said.
“I think the unknown administrator who manages Brain Burst, that the current number of people... about 1000 people is set as the upper limit. A limit to keep «accelerate» technology concealed, that is.”
“Th... that might be the case... but even as it is right now, the day that the secret will be found out will absolutely come right? Now Chiyuri almost knows about it. If... if that administrator is the developer, eventually the existence of Brain Burst will be exposed to the world and of course then the Neuro Linker would no longer be able to use accelerate function, if he operates while already factoring that in, that guy... what is his goal anyway?”
Haruyuki opened both hands and looked at Takumu and Kuroyukihime one after another.
“Since, we... don’t pay to play the game. I have never seen any advertising either.”
For many net games in the world, their profit structure is mostly of two different types. Monthly fees or item sales to users for money, and a flood like spread of contracted business advertising in the game, one of those.
Brain Burst is unmistakably a net game and also with the «accelerate» technology, thus giving its users extraordinary privileges. With the price of zero, so no matter how you think of it, it does not fit.
Hearing Haruyuki’s fundamental questions that were way too late at this time, Kuroyukihime had a slight wry smile.
“Thinking about it is useless, Haruyuki-kun. To know that, you have to reach level 10 and hear it from the developer directly. However, I can say two things in confirmation. First, like you said earlier, the accelerated world probably cannot continue as it is forever. Eventually its secrecy will be lost, and the time when all Burst Linkers disappear will come. And the other point... the day that we will pay the proper price for the special privilege of «accelerate» will come. Or maybe...”
What’s ahead, did not come with a clear sound, it was stuck with slight trembling lips.
However, Haruyuki while blowing white breath in the cold morning air, seem to be able to see the short words.
‘- Or maybe, we are already paying for it.’
Kuroyukihime looked at Takumu with a short laugh.
“We went off topic. About Kurashima-kun... I think her chance of becoming a Burst Linker is pretty low, however there is worth in trying.”
“Re... really, master?”
To the wide eyed Takumu, Kuroyukihime nodded slowly.
“Her physical potential is not low. Her earlier dash had a superb speed.”
“Ah, she is in the track and field club.”
After Haruyuki’s supplement, she murmured ‘Fumu’.
“I see. ...For the brain, the circuits for moving the real physical body, is almost the same as the one for moving the virtual avatar. That means in Kurashima-kun’s case, her circuit ability might have fulfilled the required condition. The problem is her affinity with the Neuro Linker, which we can only try by force.”
“Aha... but she can’t even do mind talk.”
“For your case, you are way too specialized in the Neuro Linker side. Move your real body a bit more.”
Kuroyukihime looked away from the immediately silent Haruyuki toward Takumu.
“...Takumu-kun. If Kurashima-kun succeeds in installing Brain Burst, there will be a strong relationship between you two. As in «Parent and child». ...However, that does not always exist as a positive element, please remember that.”
Haruyuki could not immediately understand the quiet but strongly said words.
‘Not positive... that means minus element? Between Burst Linker «parent» and «child»?
What does that mean? «Parent» guide, and «child» admire. There shouldn’t be a dark side to that, isn’t that right? Different from the parent and child relationship in the real world. The father who threw away the crying young me and left the house, and the mother that doesn’t look at my face, nor talk to me, totally different from those. The parent and child in the accelerated world - between Kuroyukihime and me, there is a strong bond.’
Haruyuki’s body momentarily trembled, and looked into the eyes of Kuroyukihime who stood right beside him.
They, like usual, were filled with a gentle shine.
‘- No. Deep inside, there’s a somewhat sad... or more like, a fear like flash, that might just be me over thinking.’
In that instant, in Haruyuki’s mind, since Kuroyukihime guided him to become a Burst Linker, a question he never thought about appeared.
‘Who was Kuroyukihime’s «parent»?’
“...Ah, that is.”
When he fearfully started to say that, Kuroyukihime said as if interrupting him.
“Oh no, we have stood still and talked for too long. It’s the time that if we don’t hurry we might be late.”
He hurriedly looked in the sky, it was becoming bright past the low clouds.
“Uwa, it really is. If might be better to run a bit, Haru.”
“Arg, spare me that.”
As Takumu tapped him on the shoulder, and he shook his soft head, Haruyuki could not forget his earlier question.
While he chased after Kuroyukihime who was already walking quickly, he wanted to ask that question again, but somehow the words did not come out.
Rushing through the school gate right before the first morning chime, and determining that his Neuro Linker successfully connected to the Umesato middle school local net without a late count, Haruyuki left the other two.
However, even during morning classes, one thought kept circling around in his mind.
‘Why did Kuroyukihime say that there is a bad side to «Parent child» relationship for Burst Linkers? And why did she look somewhat sad at that time.
I want to know. No matter what.’
After the second class was over, and confirming that the virtual blackboard had disappeared from his view, Haruyuki started his Mailer without hesitation. With short words [Can we talk right now?], he typed and sent in 2 seconds.
The reply came after 8 seconds. [Let’s meet at the local net virtual squash corner.], after reading that, Haruyuki sat deeply in his chair, closed his eyes and sang the Direct Link command.
Between the 2nd and 3rd classes there is only 15 minutes, so the fairy-tale forest that is Umesato middle school’s local net was quiet. After confirming that his avatar’s short legs touched the ground, he aimed for a large tree standing on the outer edge and dashed.
The leader of the bullies who forced Haruyuki to use the pink pig for avatar is no longer there, his underlings were now in hiding, so he could have changed to a more cool design anytime, but somehow did not have the chance, so he continued to use that. Kuroyukihime said ‘I like that also’ probably had influence on him.
With that shape he bounced up the stairs carved in the tree trunk, when he jump onto the top floor with the squash game, he saw a slender avatar standing quietly in the center of the court.
Deep black dress with silver edges. A similar colored parasol in hand, and on the back, black swallowtail butterfly wings with deep red lines running in them.
Kuroyukihime, who looked like a dark fairy princess, turned her almost colorless white face toward Haruyuki and lightly smiled.
“Hi. It’s been a while since I saw you in that shape. Lately we have just been talking in reality.”
“...Senpai hasn’t been to the local net much, the fans of that avatar are feeling sad.”
With about three times smoother voice than reality he replied, and Kuroyukihime’s smile changed to a wry smile as she shrugged her shoulders lightly.
“Really, I was thinking of how eventually it would be nice to use a black pig avatar to match with you. ...Instead of that, what is it, that you want to meet and talk.”
“Ah... about that... that is.”
This time he faltered like usual, and Haruyuki tried to find the words.
Thinking about it, so far he had asked almost nothing about Kuroyukihime’s private matters. And now suddenly, he is doing something like stepping his foot inside.
To Haruyuki who hesitated after calling her out, Kuroyukihime showed a wry smile for a while, eventually the wings on her back waved as she moved. The bells on her parasol made a clear ringing chime.
“...Haruyuki-kun. What you want to ask about, is my «parent» right?”
Kuroyukihime murmured with a somewhat more mysterious silky voice than her actual voice.
Without waiting for Haruyuki’s reply after he took a breath, she continued with lowered long eyebrows.
“Sorry, but... right now, I cannot say that name. I don’t want there to be a chance of you contacting that person. For a legion master... and also as a girl. That might just be ugly jealousy.”
While his avatar stood frozen, and his eyes wide, in Haruyuki’s brain a few thoughts flashed in his consciousness.
With that speech, he understood some things. First, Kuroyukihime’s «parent» is still a Burst Linker existing in the accelerated world. And the other thing, is probably a female.
While moving around soundlessly on the squash court, Kuroyukihime’s voice continued like a harp’s low tones being played with fingers.
“...That person, was... to me, the closest human being. Continuing to forever shine brightly in the center of my world, or in other words driving darkness and cold far away, I believed.”
‘- That is just like what you are to me’, Haruyuki thought in reaction.
“However, one day... at that time, that instant, I learned that it was a fleeting illusion. Right now that person could be said to be an existence as my arch enemy. Just like, this bottomless hate, was born the moment I met that person, I can only think of it like that.”
The voice was controlled to be calm, but the fierceness of those words, it was unbelievable that they came from Kuroyukihime. The lowered eyes took a quick glance at Haruyuki who stood still, and a somewhat hollow smile appeared on the deep black fairy princess.
“If possible, I want to fight with that person right now. I want to cut away her limbs with my sword, throw her on the ground, and while I enjoy her unsightly plead for life, cut off her head mercilessly. However that wish won’t be granted. ...Haruyuki-kun. Do you understand the conclusive difference between Burst Linker’s «Parent child» relationship, and the other for example «Comrade» or «Lover» kind of relationship?”
After a moment of confusion, Haruyuki remembered that fateful day three months ago, the shining thing that Kuroyukihime held out. That is, the silver colored direct connect cable.
“That is... «Parent child», without exception, know each other’s «reality».”
“Yes, that is exactly it.”
Nodding, Kuroyukihime stuck the tip of her parasol into the court.
“To copy and install Brain Burst, two Neuro Linkers must be directly connected. At that time, the «parent» and «child» must face each other in reality, and also have a relationship that allows direct connection. That means, Burst Linker «parent child» relationship is strongest bond in accelerated world... at the same time, the strongest curse is created.”
“That’s right. For example when «parent» and «child»’s path differ, and they have a fighting relation, that hate will definitely expand to the real world. I... right now, even with this much hate could not fight my «parent». Because that person, in the real world, can use overwhelming influence on me. - The proof of existence for a Burst Linker is «duel». To fight each other, we put our mind inside a Duel Avatar. Even so, only a «parent» and «child» cannot fight. What would you say that is, other than a curse?”
Haruyuki whispered that, and tried to find words to continue. However, he did not think he can put the feeling swirling in his heart all into sounds that will express them.
That’s why, he took a step, then another forward, and held Kuroyukihime’s left hand that was hanging down without any strength with his two round hands. For an avatar that is not supposed to have a temperature difference, that hand was freezing cold.
The quiet voice was similarly cold.
Probably, Kuroyukihime now is still suffering from her hunt of Red King Red Rider, forcing him to forever retire. And then to conform to that action, she must continue to make herself turn her sword against many Burst Linkers. Even if the opponent is her own «parent», or - «child».
Her white hand touched his mouth, more like his big nose like pushing against it, as Haruyuki desperately tried to speak. ‘This is all I can convey to her right now’, while thinking that.
“I said it yesterday too. I will absolutely not fight with senpai. Never become senpai’s enemy. If, for some uncontrollable reason that became the case... before we fight, I will un-install Brain Burst.”
While the virtual sunlight came down the tree canopy with diagonal drawn lines, there was a long silence.
Eventually, Kuroyukihime’s voice with a bit of returned temperature echoed, at the same time she hit Haruyuki’s round head with her parasol.
“Fool, I should be the one to leave. You keep fighting. Compared to me, you who enjoy Brain Burst... «duel» way more, should stay in the accelerated world.”
“No, absolutely no way!”
Then, with a light sound the parasol fell down to the blue carpet of fallen leaves.
On Haruyuki’s face while he was screaming like a spoiled brat - .
Her right hand smoothly caressed.
When he lifted his head up, he was eye to eye with Kuroyukihime who knelt down at an unknown moment. At very closer range, her faint red lips moved.
“No matter what kind of future awaits us, I will never regret choosing you.”
At the same time as her speech, her two hands extended and hugged Haruyuki’s head to her.
That was supposed to be a heavenly moment, but from his almost burnt out sensory signals, Haruyuki felt that an indescribable loneliness floated through.
Kuroyukihime and Takumu said they would drop off their things at their house first, so Haruyuki returned home by himself.
He opened the front door while somewhat prepared for the worst, but today there were not any loud game sounds or any screams, so he said ‘I am home’ in a low voice and peeked in the living room, and saw the back of Niko sitting on the sofa.
She was so quiet that he thought she was asleep, but soon she waved her small right hand. Haruyuki who came around to the front, saw the girl looking at space with her wide open big eyes - that means she is busy with her virtual desktop, he determined.
“...I am home.”
After saying it once more, Niko replied shortly with ‘Ou’, and instantly looked at Haruyuki.
“What about the other two?”
“They went home before coming here. It won’t be more than 20 minutes I think.”
“Okay, we should be able to make it in time... Chrome Disaster has not started to move yet.”
Haruyuki blinked to that speech. Somehow Niko with whatever method, can monitor the movement of «Disaster Armor» that is «Chrome Disaster» - the Red legion member «Cherry Rook» who was given that enhanced armament, for that purpose of course her Neuro Linker will have to be connected to the outside net.
“Y...you, are fine with connecting to the Global Net? Since this is not Red legion territory.”
To his involuntarily question, Niko showed a fearless smile.
“Earlier I was «challenged» by a daredevil once. I blew him away in 10 seconds, and told him to tell other guys not to bother me, so it should be fine.”
“Is... is that so...”
Inside a «territory», for the controlling legion’s members, while they are not set to accept fights, is given the right to reject «challenge» from other Burst Linkers.
That means, for Haruyuki’s group, at home and around their school is safe to connect their Neuro Linker to the Global Net, but of course that right is not given to Niko. However, thinking about it, only other Kings can win against the King Niko in a one on one fight, but they have a no invasion treaty with each other so they would not be suddenly challenged. Right now, the King who must always disconnect from Global Net when leaving their territory, is the one and only rebel Kuroyukihime.
Thinking up to that point, Haruyuki realized suddenly, that the red haired girl in front of him is a potential person who might subjugate Kuroyukihime.
While they are alone, he should confirm that, so Haruyuki coughed and opened his mouth.
“Ah... that is, Niko-cha... Niko. Can I ask you one thing?”
“No. ...When you know I have no room for that reply, don’t have to be so polite. What is it.”
While he was being glared at, Haruyuki stood by the sofa, and asked in the most simple and straight way.
“Y, you, don’t hate Kuroyukihime senpai?”
Looking at the true blank stare, Haruyuki was also undauntedly amazed.
“Why, you said... that person has the highest reward on her head... even more the reason for that is from the previous King, that is the one before you, «Prominence»’s legion master being struck down...”
“Ah, you mean that.”
With a snort from her nose, Niko spread her small legs with cut jeans wide in front. While her right hand fingers twilled one of her red pigtails, she looked out the window.
“Nn, even if he was my master. I, with the previous generation... «Red Rider», never directly talked to him.”
“Wha... is, is that so?”
‘Niko’s «parent», is not that Red Rider?’ Haruyuki thought that and unconsciously asked.
“You see, I became a Burst Linker two and half years ago, and a few months later the previous King retired. I was only level 3 or 4 at that time, we have never dived together in the same field. When I heard that the master was sneak attacked by Black Lotus and lost all of his points, all I thought of was ‘Hmm, level 9 seems to be pretty serious’.”
‘Anyway’, Niko raised one eyebrow skillfully.
“In the first place, my booster equip rapidly raise through the ranks to become the next King was also after Lotus killed the previous King, and the Red legion was disbanded once. At that time Nakano and Nerima were big warring states, every day group battles happened at an incredible pace, so I got lots of points here and there from that. Even if I am the strongest, without that it would have taken me at least two more years to become level 9.”
With Niko’s ‘keke’ laughter, Haruyuki was also drawn into a smile.
“I... I see. Then, Niko and the Red legion don’t have a reason to go after the Black King...?”
“Nnn~. To be exact, there are some in the old members that would. But, the ones who really won’t forgive Black Lotus, that burning group, after Prominence disbanded once, moved to other legions. Darn spineless bunch. They only talked about following the previous King’s will, if they really thought that way, then they should have worked hard to revive Prominence.”
She stopped there, looked up at Haruyuki with ‘What is it’ threat. After he hurriedly shook his head, she turned away, and opened her mouth after a bit of silence.
“...After that. That... absolutely don’t tell that girl.”
“I, in truth, about that girl... Black Lotus is an awesome, I think. For motivation.”
“Huh...!? Th, that, what does it mean...”
“Don’t tell her. Really don’t tell her.”
After a sharp glare at him, Niko continued in a quiet sound that did not match her violent language.
“The reason is, she is the only one among the «Kings» who seriously announced that she aims for level 10. The other Kings, including me, in the framework of no territory invasion treaty, just play duel. No, maybe worse, there might be people in the Kings that secretly aim for level 10. While saying ‘For the continuance of accelerated world’ to maintain the current situation, those lowest bastards who look for a chance to skip the line.”
After hearing Niko’s monologue, Haruyuki asked in reaction.
“Which one are you, Niko.”
“...I don’t know.”
The reply was short, but it rang with truth.
The young King laid her too delicate body on the sofa, and held the back of her head with both hands. She extended her bare toes to right in front of Haruyuki, and kicked the air with rhythm.
“...The other Kings, especially «Purple» and «Yellow», said that the moment a level 10 Burst Linker appear, the game called Brain Burst will be «cleared». With a Panpakapaan fanfare, the developer will show up to say congratulations or whatever, and the ending roll will scroll... then all Burst Linkers’ Brain Burst will be forcefully un-installed, like that.”
‘No way would it be like that, that there would be a net game where everyone’s ending is at the same time.’ He wanted to laugh and say that, but Haruyuki’s mouth froze.
He remembered this morning’s topic of talks with Kuroyukihime and Takumu. ‘- Someday the accelerated world’s secrecy will be lost, and the day of the game’s collapse will definitely come.’ The one who said that, was supposed to be Haruyuki himself.
Niko lightly nodded as if she read what Haruyuki was thinking of.
“I too, think it’s not something that’s 100% impossible. Actually, I don’t want to think about what will happen without Brain Burst. For me, it could be better said that side is the reality. But... even so, if it is okay to cling to it like this, I thought. The Seven Kings... not that, The Six Kings’ no invasion treaty might be distorting the accelerated world’s true shape. Due to that, right now many things happening make sense.”
“For example, Chrome Disaster is also that.”
After those brief words, Niko closed her lightly red eyes.
“...Cherry Rook losing to the «Disaster Armor»’s lure was probably due to despair with the high level wall. Right now, the accelerated world is stalled by the treaty, in the «Normal Duel Field», no matter how hard you work level 9... no, even level 8 will be hard to reach. There are no opponents. The reason I got to level 9, like I said earlier, was due to me taking advantage of a time of big confusion due to the incident with Black Lotus... that kind of thing, probably won’t happen a second time. That’s why right now, if you aim for higher levels, you must take risks and fight in the «Unlimited Field». Cherry reached for that «Armor» while thinking like that. And then, the one who pushed him to do that, in a certain sense is a King like me...”
Suddenly Niko strongly wrinkled her brow, and ground her teeth.
Looking at her thin chest shaking strongly twice and three times, Haruyuki involuntarily held his breath and whispered.
“Shut up! Don’t say anything! Don’t Look! Go away!”
While lying on the sofa, her two feet kicked while she screamed, and Niko used her right hand to rub around her eyes.
Then suddenly her eyes opened wide, and she shouted like she was surprised by something.
“That’s right, why do I tell you these things!! Hey forget it!! All of that stuff earlier was a lie!! If you don’t forget it right now I will beat you up!!”
She shouted with a muffled voice, with her feet extended like she was about to kick, that Haruyuki stopped with both hands on reaction.
And then, like hugging them to his chest, he held those small feet tightly.
“Gyaaa, wh, what are you doing hentai!!”
Despite the straight vocal abuse, Haruyuki put more strength into his hands. He really wanted to hold her hands, but if he did that then getting hit would be the least of his worries.
“Niko, you are not wrong.”
At the moment Haruyuki said that, Niko’s violent movement of trying to take her feet back stopped still. Looked on by the big reddish brown eyes, Haruyuki desperately continued speaking.
“Not wanting the game to end, wanting to stay in that world forever, that kind of thinking is normal. But... I understand after playing mountains of net games till now. There is nothing more lonely or sad than the «termination» of a game without an ending. Net games where users got bored and moved to another one so they became unprofitable. One day they suddenly announce the termination of its operation, and without much talk the server is closed. I experienced that moment many times «inside». The familiar weapon shop oji-san and the hotel onee-san while smiling forever «died», after seeing that and Link Out in my own room, I cried many times. That way of termination is wrong. Absolutely wrong.”
Niko was motionless, with her feet on his chest, both her wide eyes looking at him.
While his palms touch the thin skin, and felt the blood flowing inside, Haruyuki continued to speak in a raspy voice.
“If... if Brain Burst has an ending, we want to aim for that. Even if that will result in the loss of acceleration, compared to seeing the unreasonable «termination of the world», that’s a much much... more correct way.”
‘Because, that effort is our compensation to many others in what they paid for the game called Brain Burst. The brooding me, being able to talk using my real voice for so long with a girl I don’t know, is probably due to Brain Burst.’
He kept the last short thought in his heart, and Haruyuki closed his mouth.
Even in the silence, Niko continued to be motionless and quiet.
‘Uwaa, I said something contradicting again’, while Haruyuki was having a doleful feeling, the young King finally murmured briefly.
“Correct... huh. There actually is a Burst Linker who would say that.”
Her eyes looking up settled on Haruyuki, and Niko showed just a little bit of angelic smile.
“You, are a strange guy. Actually, I was thinking of why a round and useless guy like you have the one and only «flight ability»... I feel that I might understand a little bit about that. But, leaving that aside.”
There, her expression suddenly changed to a dark look, and Haruyuki extended his back in a shiver.
“...How long are you going to hold onto my feet, you super hentai! I will kill you!!”
The left foot that was thrust at the same time, exploded on his nose bridge, and Haruyuki fell backward helplessly.
Along with a heavy thump, the door chime’s sound lightly echoed.
“I met with master there. Ah, here, a gift. I snatched it from home.”
Takumu who showed the cake like box he was holding, saw Haruyuki sitting on the floor rubbing his nose, and Niko sitting on the sofa looking the other way, he tilted his head.
“Looks like they had a big fight. Nice nice.”
Kuroyukihime held her hand at her uniformed waist while lightly laughing, and Niko also snorted.
“Well yea. You can say we are close enough to fight.”
Haruyuki hurriedly jumped in between the two that were releasing sparks.
“W, welcome you two! Taku, thanks for the gift! Let’s eat it, I want one with a strawberry on it!!”
He quickly got up, and moved towards the kitchen, then two voices came behind him at the same time.
“Strawberry is my/mine!”
Fortunately, the box contained two strawberry shortcakes and two chocolate cakes. So another fight did not start up again... ‘Is it okay for the cake not to be black?’ ‘Chocolate is not black, it’s just burnt brown.’ while with those back and fore - the four ate the first bite at the same time, and after a swallow of tea, Kuroyukihime’s expression changed.
“...tracking Chrome Disaster, did you do it?”
After being asked, Niko looked at her virtual desktop again and lightly nodded.
“Yes. He should be moving soon.”
That reply, made Haruyuki feel slightly uncomfortable.
Tracking a Burst Linker from long distance, how is that kind of thing possible? When a target’s «duel» start, if you dive in as gallery then you can find out where, but Niko did not seem like she accelerated earlier. Or maybe, legion masters can find out the real world location of a member, they could have that kind of outrageous privilege?
At that moment he wanted to ask, and opened his mouth -
At exactly that moment.
Niko shouted sharply, stuck her fork on her last bit that is the round strawberry, and put it into her mouth.
“Cherry got on the Seibu to Ikebukuro train line. With his pattern till now, today’s hunting ground is Bukuro.”
“Ikebukuro huh. That’s troublesome.”
‘Damn’, Kuroyukihime lightly clicked her tongue. She placed her fork in her empty plate with a clink.
“How should we move? We also can use trains or taxi in the real world... or maybe move through «inside»?”
Not understanding the meaning of those words, Haruyuki wrinkled his brow.
«Inside» probably means «Duel Field», it looked like it extended forever, but it’s actually an area with boundary lines that stop movement. Without that, after one hit, someone can keep running away forward till it timed up kind of battle tactic would be possible.
So, for example from this place - if they dive from Haruyuki’s home, their movement limit will just be to the northern end of Suginami, they will never reach Ikebukuro in Toshima.
However, after just thinking for a bit Niko replied clearly.
“Let’s go from inside. With these members, we probably won’t pull the «enemy».”
“...If we are lucky, that is.”
Kuroyukihime too, consented with a serious face.
While Haruyuki was dazed without understanding anything, he was caught by Kuroyukihime’s serious looking eyes.
“Then... Haruyuki-kun. I will tell you the command to dive into us Burst Linkers’ true battle field. It will use up 10 Burst Points, that won’t be a problem right?”
“Y... yea, if it’s just 10 points. Instead of that... t, true, battle field...?”
“Like the words said. Our «accelerated world» calling is based on that. Listen, sing the command right after me. Let’s go... the fifth Chrome Disaster subjugation, Mission Start!”
There she took a deep breath, and stretched her back straight - .
At the same time she pressed her Neuro Linker’s Global Net connection button, the deep black beautiful princess, shouted with a dignified sound.
- uncle, Mr. or related term a young person call an older male