Sword Art Online:Volume 6 Chapter 10
Sinon sighed for a long while, and spent the same amount of time trying to exhale the icy air out from her virtual lungs.
She slowly tried to adjust her breathing with her heartbeat, and the green reticle of hers started to expand and shrink.
She looked right in the middle of the screen. A player was moving through the bushes. He was holding a mini «Yatei» assault rifle, and though other support weapons couldn’t be seen, there were all sorts of abnormal lumps on him. Perhaps he lightened his rifle to the bare minimum, and used hi-tech optical shielding and multi-layered armor against live rounds to fill up the capacity. Also, he was wearing a helmet with a face shield, and looked just like a giant boar. His name was «Shishigane», and the stats showed that he was a defensive player who focused on VIT. Although he took part in the last finals, Sinon didn’t face him directly.
With a distance of more than 1,200m, even the anti-tank sniper rifle «Ultima Ratio Hecate II» can’t give a fatal shot through that thick armor. Of course, it’ll be different if she could hit twice consecutively, but the enemy is no slouch. Once he’s hit, he would definitely hide in the shadows and not show up again. Until then, if she waits for him to show up at that position, the other players who heard the first shot would definitely gather over, and it’ll be a wave of machine gun fire swarming around her like a beehive.
As Sinon was laying prone between the large rock and the shrubs, the trigger in her finger was silently muttering,
“…Come over here.”
Once the distance between the target and her were within 800m, she believed that she could break through the thinner part of the armor, the face, and deal a larger amount of damage to eliminate this player from the stage.
However, Sinon’s wishes didn’t come true as the guy turned away and moved further away from her. He was careful enough to put heavy armor on his back too, and it could be said to be that there were no openings about him. It was a pity, but it seemed that the best choice she had would be to give up on this prey and wait for the next enemy. Just when Sinon was about to move her right eye away from the scope, she found that there was a round thing on the guy’s right waist.
It was a large plasma grenade, two of them. Perhaps he was using it as another means of protection as he didn’t have any support weapons. However, in this game, those «cheap and effective tools» would normally have some elements of danger to them. Sinon made herself tense and narrowed her eye that was on the scope.
She moved the scope down from the guy’s back to the bottom right area, and finally aimed the crosshair at the shaking metal ball.
Inhale, exhale. She inhaled—and stopped.
As the screen of success removed all random thoughts, her body and the hand on the sniper rifle would fuse into one for a moment, and pinpoint into a fine circle. The girl naturally squeezed the trigger.
Then, there was an impact rushing through her body. Her eyes were immediately dyed white because of the sparks released by the muzzle. However, Sinon’s vision immediately recovered as she looked through the scope, and through the vision that retained its color, she could see a grenade on the right waist of the man go ‘bam’, and she turned her face away from the gun.
As she muttered, a blue explosion occured in the middle of the hill far away, and all the neighboring trees collapsed. A few seconds later, the sound of a thunderclap came over, and she didn’t need to check to know that the guy’s HP was reduced to zero.
At this moment, Sinon stood up, straightened her legs and carried her Hecate. As the gunshot and the muzzle spark revealed her position, the next few minutes after a snipe would be the most dangerous moment for a sniper. She quickly scanned around and then decided on the route she would take.
This path had shrubs all around, so she wouldn’t be discovered easily. Also, the nearby enemies should be attracted to the large explosion of the boar guy. However, despite knowing this, Sinon didn’t stop as she continued to run for more than a minute before kneeling at the base of a large dead tree and heaving a sigh. As she looked up, through the gaps between the thick layers of clouds, she could see the bloody red sun that was setting in the west.
It’s been about 30 minutes since the Bullet of Bullets tournament finals started.
That boar guy just now was the second one Sinon sniped and eliminated, but the participants can’t tell how many survivors were there until the satellite did its per-15-minute scan. The girl took out the thin «Satellite Scanner», activated it to show the map of the entire area and silently waited for the intel to refresh itself.
The time on the left of the screen indicated that the time in the real world was 8:30pm, and the highly detailed map showed numerous blinking lights. There were 21 of them, and in other words, 9 people had been eliminated. Sinon continued to stare at the screen as she tried to check the current scenario.
The place that became the stage of this tournament was a 10km wide isolated circular island. The north of the island was a desert, and the south was all forests and hills. Also, there was an abandoned town located in the middle of the island. Right now, Sinon was located at the southern-most hills. Moving on slightly north, there was a river flowing through, separating the hills from the forests.
Right now, there were 3 spots of lights within a 1km radius. Sinon used her fingertip to tap the names on the lights. The nearest was «Dyne», who was moving northeast 600m away. Slightly further east was «Pale Rider» who was chasing «Dyne». And finally, the last point of light which was 800m from there in the rocky hills, remaining completely still was «Lion King Richie».
Richie is equipped with the hi-firepower heavy machine gun «Vickers». Perhaps he wanted to occupy the highest point in this area and sweep any players that got near him. He used the same strategy during the last tournament, and had to withdraw as he ran out of bullets. However, he should have a counter strategy now. Either way, she could leave this enemy that wasn’t moving alone.
The problem was the light points of «Dyne», who seemed to be running for his life, and «Pale Rider», who was chasing after him. Dyne wasn’t just the leader of the squadron Sinon belonged to, but also a veteran who made it into the finals of the BoB 3 times. He had an assault rifle «SG550» with him, and specialized in mid-ranged combat. This person wasn’t really worth respecting in terms of character, but he wasn’t an enemy that should be underestimated.
And as for the Pale Rider, who chased Dyne, was one not to be taken lightly. To be honest, Sinon never met him before, and of course, never fought against him. Was he really that strong? Was it that the weapon suited the landscape? Just when Sinon felt suspicious, the satellite in the sky seemed to be gone, and all the lights that were on the map were flickering. The Intel would disappear in about another 10 seconds.
Sinon raised her hand in reflex, ready to count the 18 dots that were far away. But just when her index finger was about to touch the screen, that hand clenched into a fist. That's because she noticed that she was looking for a certain special name.
“…Why should I even bother, with a guy like that.”
Sinon muttered softly. There was no need for her to worry about that kind of guy—whether that despicable light saber user «Kirito» was alive or not. Right now, she should focus on the prey that was entering the Hecate’s range. If Kirito entered the range, she should just aim, fire and end his life immediately without any feelings.
The flickering lights finally disappeared silently. Sinon placed the terminal back into her pouch and again ran through the forest.
Below her was a gradual hill, and opposite it was a lush forest. Right now, Dyne and Pale Rider were in a deep part of the forest, moving from Sinon’s right to her left. Both of them should be aiming for the river that splits the area in half and the bridge that spreads across the river. The cautious Dyne must be trying to avoid a high risk forest battle and chose to fight on a bridge where the range of vision was great to take on the pursuing Pale Rider.
Sinon was closer to the bridge than them. If she ran off now, she should be able to reach a sniping position first. She wanted to watch their battle from there and snipe the victor once his guard was down.
Readying the Hecate on her right shoulder, Sinon lowered her body and ran through the forest again.
The girl managed to pass through the red tea-colored hilly region safely, and a deep red band of reflected light swooped into Sinon's vision, as she swooped under the final bush there.
It was a river. Flowing out from the southern hills, it grandly snaked its way through the middle of the entire map as it headed towards the north before disappearing into her clouded view of the distant ruins of that abandoned city, far away.
On the opposite side of the river was a forest that had lots of old trees, and slightly below the trees, she could see a meandering rocky path. The path reached the river 200m north of where Sinon was sneaking, and linked to a simple metal bridge. At this moment, those two players should be running down the path—
Her intuition seemed to be correct since, a figure came running out from the shadows of the large old trees that were growing on the way between the path and the metal bridge. Sinon hurriedly readied the Hecate on the floor and brought her eyes over before she even lined her eyes on the rip-up cover of the scope.
That body was wearing a woodland patterned clothing, and his chin could be seen from below his helmet. Also, the SIG assault rifle confirmed that this was Dyne. He ran smoothly down the path like a veteran, and after leaving the forest for a few seconds. He quickly ran 50m down the metal bridge, over to the side where Sinon was hiding and immediately got down on the floor, proning.
Sinon muttered with some respect. In this situation, he could attack the enemy who wanted to run across the metal bridge. However, he was still too careless. To an enemy who may be hiding on the riverside, he showed his back in a completely defenseless manner.
“You have to watch your back no matter when it is, Dyne.”
Sinon muttered as the crosshairs lined itself and caught that somewhat rough-looking face. Now she could take direct action without even waiting for Dyne and Pale Rider to fight. Though Pale Rider would notice Sinon’s existence, he had to cross the bridge if he wanted to force his way. Sinon was only 200m away from the metal bridge, and even if the enemy ran with all he got, she had the confidence that it’ll be a sure-kill hit.
--Of course, I’ll just be sorry to those who were watching live from the gallery.
Sinon thought as she silently placed her finger on the Hecate’s trigger, but at the next moment…
There was an icy chill behind her.
There was also someone behind her.
--Idiot! I forgot to watch my back because I was focused on sniping!
As Sinon was screaming this in her head, she quickly moved her right hand away from the Hecate. She turned 180 degrees like her body was a spring and used her left hand to pull out her support weapon, the «MP7» sub-machine gun. While doing all that, her mind let out flashes of interrupted thoughts.
--But how could there be anyone behind me? There was only Lion King Richie when I checked the «Satellite Scanner» a few minutes ago, wasn’t it? That guy can’t have possibly ran down the mountain. And I can’t possibly not notice the enemy’s footsteps if he ran in with a heavy machine gun. Speaking of which, it’s practically impossible for any enemy other than Richie to get behind me in such a short time. What’s going on—who is it—
Even though she was really surprised, Sinon reached the MP7 right behind her, and placed the black muzzle right in front of her. Of course, she wasn’t paying that much attention to things; she couldn’t believe that someone had gotten the jump on her.
Right now, she couldn’t dodge this assault. They would soon use up all their bullets in their magazines to reduce each other’s HP—Sinon got ready to squeeze the trigger after preparing herself for this.
But just when she was about to pull the trigger and fire the bullet…
The attacker muttered softly as he raised his right hand, looking like he wanted to stop Sinon,
Sinon widened her eyes and turned to look from the muzzle to the enemy’s face.
She immediately saw that long waist-length glamorous black hair, and the white tender skin even when under the sunset, and the long narrow eyes that were sparkling.
Her arch-enemy Kirito seemed to be half-sprawled on Sinon, wielding the FiveSeven pistol with his left hand and aiming at her.
After realizing the current situation, Sinon’s heart experienced several feelings at once, all combined together in a blaze. She forgot the muzzle in front of her eyes and subconsciously gritted her teeth, throwing a malicious look, and moved to fire the MP7 in her left hand.
But Kirito again said with a cool voice that made Sinon stop exerting the force on her fingers.
“Hold on. I have a proposal.”
“…What’s there to propose in this situation…”
Sinon argued back with a soft voice that was filled with killing intent.
“What’s there to propose and compromise in this situation!? We’re only waiting to see who dies first!”
“I could have shot first if I wanted to shoot!”
Kirito’s words were abnormally tense, causing Sinon to shut up. It felt that there was something more troubling to him than this faceoff at gunpoint.
And though she wasn’t happy about it, what Kirito said was right. If he could get near easily, he could have back-stabbed her by firing bullets or using the lightsaber.
Facing Sinon, who was forced to remain silent, Kirito again continued to speak softly,
“I don't want those two to hear us shooting at each other.”
Kirito’s eyes immediately turned to look behind Sinon, at the metal bridge where another battle was about to begin.
“Uehh…? What do you mean…”
“I want to watch that battle on the bridge until the winner is decided. Please don’t take any action before then.”
“…Watch? And what do you intend to do after that? Are you going to say something stupid like, "let’s start attacking each other" after that?”
“We need to monitor the situation…but I should be leaving then, so I won’t attack you.”
“But I may snipe you from behind, you know?”
“That can’t be helped. Please bare with me. It’s starting!”
As Kirito anxiously turned to look at the metal bridge, he actually put the FiveSeven in his left hand down. Even though the enemy was pointing a submachine-gun right in the middle of his forehead, he still placed the handgun back into his holster.
Though she was angry, Sinon felt that it couldn’t be helped, and her shoulders relaxed just like that.
If she exerted a little more force on the finger that was on the trigger, the 24 4.6mm MP7 bullets could shoot out all of Kirito’s HP. However, Sinon had already viewed Kirito as her biggest enemy, so she was really unwilling to end her fight against him in such a desultory manner.
If it’s Kirito, maybe he can dodge the Hecate’s snipe without even a trajectory, Sinon had already planned for this and thought of all the ways that she could fight him head on. If they had to fight, of course she would hope for Kirito and herself to be the last two standing amongst the 30 players and then fight an intense deathmatch that would use all their heart and soul.
“…Will you fight me properly if we do this over?”
Kirito nodded his head, and Sinon put down her submachine gun after watching his eyes for half a second. She knew that it wouldn’t be likely, but to prevent Kirito from suddenly attacking her, she still didn’t move her finger away from the trigger. However, Kirito himself immediately relaxed his entire body and proned himself in the bush beside Sinon. He took out mini-binoculars from his belt pouch and started watching the battle.
This attitude of not even paying attention to consider her a potential threat at all made her angry and reluctant at the same time. Why must this guy watch someone else fight? Speaking of which, when did he appear? There wasn’t Kirito’s name within 1km around her when she checked the «Satellite Scanner» a few minutes ago.
However, Sinon still swallowed her doubts back in and placed the MP7 on her left waist. She then carried the Hecate with both hands and used the scope to watch the two people who were fighting.
On the long metal bridge, Sinon could still see Dyne in a prone position near her. The SG550 that was stuck on his face wasn’t moving at all, and this uninterrupted concentration of his showed that he wasn’t someone to be underestimated. Of course, the Pale Rider who forced Dyne into such a tough situation couldn’t possibly appear easily from the forest across from him.
“…The battle you’re so looking forward to may not happen.”
Sinon muttered at Kirito, who was beside her, in a mocking manner.
“Dyne won’t remain proned there forever. Once that guy gets ready to move, I’ll snipe him first.”
“In that case, you can take action…no, hang on.”
Kirito’s answer was tense all of a sudden. Sinon moved her eye away from the scope on reflex and turned to look at the metal bridge with her naked eyes.
At this moment, a figure suddenly appeared from the path that was deep within the thick forest.
It was a tall and skinny player, wearing mysterious blue and white camouflage clothing. Since he had a black helmet on, they couldn’t see his face. That person was armed with only the light «ArmaLite AR 17» shotgun. This guy should be — no, he’s definitely the «Pale Rider» who was chasing Dyne.
Dyne, who was lying on the other side of the bridge, immediately went tense on his shoulders, and this abnormal atmosphere spread to Sinon who was far away. In contrast, she couldn’t feel any pressure from Pale Rider’s standing position. He didn’t seem to be scared of that SIG in Dyne’s hands as he merely crossed the bridge easily.
“…That guy is strong…”
Sinon couldn’t help but say that, and beside her, Kirito suddenly moved his body slightly. Sinon glanced at him for a while and found that the side-face that looked just like a girl was giving off a very tense vibe. In other words, Kirito was watching that Pale Rider? Even though it was Sinon’s first time seeing this certain player’s name and appearance, his actions showed that he did possess a certain amount of ability.
GGO had the «Bullet Line» assist prediction ability that didn't exist in real life. It’s not easy getting near an enemy with a fully-automatic machine gun. Normally speaking, there would be obstacles for the person to hide behind, so he could run from one cover to the next, using lateral movements to close in on the enemy.
However, Pale Rider merely stepped onto the metal bridge in a defenseless manner casually. There was nothing, no landscape or objects to block the bullets. Even Dyne, who escaped to create this situation could only remain prone on the floor, and a slight doubt could be seen on his back.
However, Dyne was a leader of a squadron for quite some time, so his experience made him abandon his inner doubt. A second later, his SG550 assault rifle fired with the sturdy sound that fit a Swiss machine, and immediately spread throughout the river surface.
However, Pale Rider himself dodged those numerous 5.5mm bullets that were fired over in a manner Sinon didn’t expect. He actually ran to a cable that was supporting the bridge and used the left hand to climb up. Dyne hurriedly tried to aim the gun at him, but it’s tough for a person in a prone position to aim at an enemy above; as he missed the second shooting, Pale Rider himself used the recoil of the ropes to jump onto the bridge at a position that’s rather near Dyne.
“A STR type, using light equipment and boasting 3-dimensional mobility…his skills' points are rather high too.”
As Sinon muttered, Dyne got up to show that he wouldn’t be tricked a second time and squeezed the trigger for the third time. However, this attack of his was anticipated by Pale Rider. Thus there was a little gap in the firing line and the ground, that blue and white profile immediately rushed in without falling by using his left hand to support the ground and doing a barrel roll forward. He was only 20cm away from Dyne when he got up.
Dyne let out the familiar cursing and tried to quickly change the 30-bullet magazine that was empty. However…
The ArmaLite in Pale Rider’s right hand let out a silent flash.
Under such a distance, the bullets of a shotgun couldn’t miss completely. Dyne immediately fell backwards as the special effects lighting spread all over him. But remarkably, he didn’t stop as he reloaded and got ready to put his gun at this face—however, there was a second gunshot.
Pale Rider again got near and shot for the second time to cause Dyne to lose his balance. This was the terrifying part about this weapon called the shotgun; It causes a high delay beside ordinary damage, allowing people to be continuously attacked helplessly.
--There was no need to bring the SIG to the face since the muzzle flash, which is fired from the waist, was extremely powerful.
However, Sinon’s thoughts couldn’t spread to Dyne’s brain, and it was too late. Pale Rider continued to close in and slowly reloaded the AR17 before squeezing the trigger right in front of Dyne for the 3rd time. The 12 gauge shell exploded, releasing a rain of bullets and bringing Dyne’s remaining HP to zero.
Dyne, who was on the floor lifelessly, had the large word [Dead] in red on him as it slowly spun. Now he’s eliminated from the finals. He wouldn’t be able to log out during this time as it was to prevent players from exchanging information in the real world. This «corpse» could only watch the live broadcast in his conscious state until the match ends.
“That blue guy is amazing...”
Beside her, Kirito said with a soft voice. Sinon was subconsciously about to nod her head in response, and immediately pricked her eyebrows on hearing what he said next,
“…Is that guy…one of the guys we talked about on the list…?”
Sinon felt extremely suspicious, but immediately remembered that «Pale Rider» was one of the three players Kirito was worried about. In other words, Pale Rider could be that target. Both of them tried to kill each other in that VRMMO game Kirito played before, and that game’s name was—no, maybe it’s that one that became infamous...
At this moment, Sinon forced herself to stop thinking.
Kirito should have his own problems too, but those were his own problems. Nobody else should get in the way, not should they bear responsibility for it.
Sinon seemed like she wanted to shake off this little doubt and turned off the safe of the Hecate before saying softly and simply,
“I’m going to snipe that guy.”
Without waiting for Kirito’s response, she placed her finger on the trigger. After Pale Rider eliminated Dyne with an exciting attack, he left the bridge and was ready to head north. Sinon’s crosshair immediately caught sight of his skinny back, and considered the wind direction and distance before readying herself.
At this moment, Kirito finally answered with a hoarse voice,
“Ahh…I understand. But, if he’s that guy…”
--So what if it’s that guy? You’re telling me that in less than 300m with his back turned, he could dodge my sniping specialty the «first shot without a bullet line»?
“…Stop joking around.”
Sinon merely moved her lips to answer Kirito and began to pull the trigger without hesitation—
But at this moment…
Sinon saw an unbelievable sight in her scope.
A little bullet exited the right shoulder of Pale Rider’s blue and white camouflage, and this tall and skinny guy was knocked to the right like he was knocked aside from the bullet that hit him.
Sinon and Kirito, who was watching the scene with his binoculars from the left, shouted out at the same time.
Though surprised, Sinon still focused on her hearing instinctively. Of course, this was to check the gunshot that sniped Pale Rider, where it came from and the sound quality. However…
No matter how Sinon pricked her ears, all she could hear was the dry wind and the water flowing in the river.
“…Did I miss it…?”
Sinon muttered, and Kirito, who seemed to be thinking about that, silently responded,
“No, I didn’t hear anything as well. What’s going on…?"
“The only thing I can think of…is that it was a laser rifle that lets out a very soft sound…or a live weapon with a suppressor. However…”
Sinon glanced aside and stared at the puzzled Kirito, thinking how much stuff must she teach him and started explaining.
“It’s a muffler. An equipment that’s placed in front of a gunbarrel to suppress the sound of gunfire.”
“So, so it’s a silencer…”
“You can call it that. Anyway, a sniper rifle that’s equipped with this can suppress the sound of gunfire to a certain extent. But this thing will affect accuracy, shooting range, and is rather expensive.”
Kirito nodded his head as his eyes glanced slightly at the tip of Sinon’s Hecate II. The front of the gunbarrel was merely a muzzle brake, and even an amateur like Kirito knew that that wasn’t a suppressor. Sinon added on before the other party wanted to say something,
“This wasn’t to save money, but because those things don’t fit my style.”
She snorted and again looked through the scope. Pale Rider, who collapsed on the floor, didn’t look like he was about to get up, but that wasn’t a fatal blow. If it was, there would be a red ‘dead’ tag on him like the one on Dyne, who was slightly further away from him. ‘’He’s alive, so why didn’t he run away or fight back’—
Also, there were other doubts as well. 10 minutes ago, on the map of the «Satellite Scan», Sinon checked that there wasn’t anyone else within 1km. In other words, the mysterious sniper shot Pale Rider from a rather far distance. But in that case, the enemy would be using a rather large caliber to snipe him. In GGO, the larger the gunbarrel, the weaker the effect of the suppressor, and the accuracy and shooting range would be even more affected. However, there was no gunshot heard just now, and she couldn’t understand why.
As she was thinking, Sinon suddenly remembered that she was wondering about the same thing about that player who was right beside her, and felt that it was time to ask this. She turned around and said softly,
“…Speaking of which, Kirito, where did you appear from? You weren’t around these hills 10 minutes ago on the satellite scan.”
“Eh…? I was tailing that guy Pale Rider from about 500m away, so it should show up on the screen…no, ahh, I got it.”
“What is it?”
“Speaking of which, I should have been wading in the river 10 minutes ago. Maybe it’s because I was hiding underwater that the satellite didn’t discover me…”
—YOU, YOU SWAM THROUGH THE RIVER!?
Sinon tried her best to hold back her voice, and didn’t shout out.
It’s known that the rivers and lakes in this game weren’t some forbidden zone, and they won’t die if they dropped inside. However, the HP will continue to drop in the water, and the player won’t be able to swim at will due to the weight of the equipment on the body. It’s practically impossible for any player to swim over that wide river except for those frogmen-type players with the breathing equipment.
“How, how did you do that…?”
After she finally raised this question with much difficulty, Kirito himself simply shrugged his shoulder and answered,
“Of course I removed all my equipment for the time being. All VRMMO that uses the specs of «The Seed» can remove their equipment in their personal window back into the item box. There’s no need to carry it, right?”
Perhaps this would be a suitable example to describe someone who was so shocked that she couldn’t make a response. Forget about swimming, the boldness of even removing all the weapons and armor in the middle of a battlefield was extremely unbelievable.
“…People would definitely be happy to see your character in underwear like that.”
“Arre, isn’t the live telecast only showing the battle scenes?”
Seeing Kirito give that dont-try-and-fool-me line, Sinon merely snorted coldly and answered,
“…Anyway, so the «Satellite Scanner» can’t catch people who are underwater. I’ll remember that. But, the Pale Rider you swam through the river just to trail was strong, but not some outstanding player. He’s unable to get up after getting hit by a bullet, looks like he’s…”
Just when Sinon was about to say ‘not going to survive’, she was interrupted by Kirito, who again raised his binoculars.
“No…I don’t think he was so scared that he was unable to get up…look at him, isn’t there some strange light effect on his avatar…?”
Sinon hurriedly increased the range of her scope. Though it was hard to tell as the sunset was too strong, the blue and white camouflage of the Pale Rider did have blueish-sparks all over him. Sinon did see that effect before, and that was—
“An…an electric stun bullet…!?”
“Wha, what’s that?”
“Like the name, it’s a unique bullet that would cause high voltage of electricity once it hits a target. But it needs a rather large caliber rifle to load it, and even a single bullet is very expensive, so they're barely ever used in PvP. That’s a bullet that’s used when a party hunts a large Mob.”
In fact, as Sinon was explaining, the sparks that immobilized Pale Rider started to turn pale. A few more seconds, and the effect would disappear. His HP shouldn’t wear down because of that, but now she really didn’t know why the enemy would do such a difficult snipe—
Sinon couldn’t tell whether that little tremor was from her or from Kirito beside her.
200m north from where both of them were hidden was that large metal bridge that extends to both east and west. On the west side of the bridge was Dyne, who was dead. Pale Rider was knocked down by a stun bullet that came from the forest on the east side, and was now 5m north from him. However, he was about ready to get up.
Right between the bodies of Pale Rider and Dyne, a black profile came out from a shadow of a supporting metal pillar.
On first glance, that didn’t look like a person (player). The avatar was completely covered with a mysterious presence. After trying her best to look at it, Sinon finally understood the reason why she couldn’t see him. That person was covered with a grey hooded mantle, and that hood was fluttering irregularly like some little thin material because of the wind. That was a Ghillie Suit a sniper wears. No, it should be called a «Ghillie Mantle». But—
“…Since when was he waiting there…?”
Sinon subconsciously muttered. That mantle guy should be the one who shot Pale Rider. However, since when did he move out of the forest and cross the bridge? Even if he had a Ghillie Mantle that had outstanding camouflage ability, he would definitely be discovered if he moved on the metal bridge without anyone noticing. Or did he swim through the river like Kirito? But if that happened, she definitely never saw him summon a window and control his equipped figure.
But at the next moment, the next stunning revelation that shook all of Sinon’s doubts aside occurred.
The tattered mantle moved forward, and then revealed the main weapon that was hidden under the body in his right hand.
She let out a panting like voice.
It was a large sniper rifle that was about as long as the Hecate. Though the gun itself was slimmer than the Hecate, the several bolt holes that passes through the mechanisms, the highly-advanced grip that had a thumb handle and the dark-grey gun body that was polished all gave a bone-chilling feeling. However, the most unique specialty about it was the large suppressor that’s attached to the tip of the gun barrel. No, it wasn’t right to call it installed, but rather, it was a sniper rifle that was designed with the intention to use the suppressor.
Its actual name was «Accuracy International L115A3», and it used .338 inch Lapua Magnum bullets. Though the firepower was far inferior to the .50BMG the Hecate II had, the L115 wasn’t an anti-tank sniper gun. One can tell from the fact that this was originally equipped with a silencer that was created to snipe humans. As the largest range was more than 2,000m, those who were shot by the bullet couldn’t see the shooter, and couldn’t hear the gunshot before dying. Thus, people gave it a nickname—the «Silent Assassin».
Sinon did hear of this terrifying sniper gun in GGO, but she had never actually seen it before. Speaking of which, she never heard of a sniper who could work on his own other than herself. However, that tattered mantle was able to shoot from deep within the forest across the river and shoot Pale Rider. It’s impossible to accomplish such a shot without enough skill, concentration, control and heartbeat.
—Who is that guy?
Sinon instinctively checked the watch on her left hand. It’s now 8.40pm. There’s still 5 minutes before the third «Satellite Scan», and in this situation, things just feel extremely long.
The mysterious mantle in her scope gave a deathly presence as he strapped the L115 on his right shoulder. Sinon widened her eyes to see if there was any tag or affiliated squadron, but there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary other than the muzzle and the dark-grey hood. As Sinon watched on, the tattered mantle seemed to glide as he walked towards the Pale Rider who fell onto the floor.
Pale Rider, who was able to take down Dyne seemingly without a scratch, was a player who did give off a strong presence. Sinon never heard of his name before, but in the north mainland that was far away, he should be famous like that «Behemoth» who used that minigun. However, when seeing both of them like this, the existence of the tattered mantle was more shocking. When she got her Hecate for the first time, Sinon once took down a large boss-like monster alone, and the tattered mantle gave Sinon chills that were larger than the ones she got from that monster — no, it gave more chills than that monster.
But as she realized the ability of the tattered mantle, Sinon had a question she just couldn’t understand.
Even though he had such a rare gun and highly-skilled sniper technique, why did he use a stun bullet instead of real bullets? Pale Rider was lightly equipped, so a .338 Laqua should have a chance to kill him if it was the head or the heart. However, this tactic is understandable if he wanted to numb someone before sniping someone more accurately. However, the tattered mantle player showed up from the forest away shooting the first stun bullet and walked towards Pale Rider which had lots of HP, revealing his own position. Wouldn’t that highly difficult snipe be completely meaningless.
The anxiety that came with being unable to predict the enemy’s intent made Sinon bite her lips.
Speaking of which, Kirito, who was beside her, went quiet. Even though Sinon wanted to check the situation with him, she hesitated over whether she should turn her eyes away from the tattered mantle, and could only look through the scope of the Hecate.
The tattered mantle guy moved in front of Pale Rider and reached his right hand into the hood while carrying the L115. Is he going to finish off with his support weapon? Sinon thought. Even a mini-assault rifle can wear Pale Rider’s HP to zero at such a close range—
But Sinon again lets out a shocked voice.
What the mantle took out was a handgun. As the shadows caused by the sunset were too great and that it was immediately covered by the body, Sinon couldn’t tell what sort of gun it was, but the silhouette was enough to indicate that it was an ordinary automatic pistol.
A shot from a handgun wouldn’t cause less damage than an assault rifle, but even after pressing the trigger for consecutive times, it couldn’t fire automatically, and will need lots of time before it can deplete an enemy’s HP. Right now, Pale Rider was lying on the floor, and was about to recover from his numbness. Once he could move, he’ll definitely fire the shotgun in his right hand. At that time, the one who would be dead would be this tattered mantle.
Even so, this mysterious player was just standing there, waiting for the night wind to blow his Ghillie mantle. There wasn’t any sense of anxiety or wavering in him. He continued to point his right hand at Pale Rider, who was lying on the floor, and then raised his hand out from the mantle. That hand wasn’t holding anything. It’s unknown what the mantle guy was about to do as he placed his left finger on the forehead of his hood. Then, he moved to the chest, and finally, left and right.
This action was the so-called Cross-sign — was he planning to pray for an enemy who was about to die? But he shouldn’t have much time left to do this. Does he think that he could dodge the shotgun at such a close distance? Or rather, was he a cocky person who just got lucky in getting a rare gun…?
The unnecessary questions made Sinon bite her lips anxiously. Suddenly, a soft voice came in to her left ear.
It was Kirito’s voice. This short sentence had a sense of urgency she never felt before. Sinon couldn’t help but ask,
“Eh? Shoot who?”
“Shoot that mantle guy!! Please, just shoot! Shoot before that guy takes action!!”
That abnormally anxious voice actually caused Sinon to exert force on her right index finger which was on the trigger of the Hecate. Sinon would normally grumble about it, but right now, she aimed her crosshair on the back of that mantle. She predicted the wind direction and humidity through the surrounding dust effect and slightly adjusted her angle. As she exerted force on the finger that’s on the trigger, the green bullet trajectory immediately covered the enemy.
Logically, Sinon should wait for the winner to be decided between both of them. If she attacked the mantle now, the Pale Rider will recover from his numbness and definitely escape into the bushes on the left, and Sinon wouldn’t have the chance to snipe him.
But even after knowing that, Sinon didn’t release the strength that’s exerted on the finger. For some reason, she had a feeling that she had to hit no matter what. She stopped her breathing, letting the imaginary cold air stop in her chest. That icy feeling could make her heart calm down. *Bekun*…*bekun*…just when the reticle shrank and the pulse moved as it gathered in a small circle—
The large muzzled brake let out a large flame that looked like a fire dragon.
There were only 300m between her and the target, so she couldn’t miss. Sinon could even see an illusion where that avatar had a large hole there.
In fact, the moment Sinon squeezed the trigger, the upper body of the mantle player bent backwards like a phantom that didn’t materialize. The sure-kill bullet grazed past his chest and opened a huge hole further away.
Sinon was unable to say anything and had an uncertain feeling. She found that he turned his head towards her location, and faced her from deep under the mantle. That heinous face did give a smile, and Sinon subconsciously gasped.
“Tha…that guy, he knew that we were here…right from the beginning…”
“How is it possible…! He never looked at us once before!”
On hearing Kirito’s similarly shocked voice, Sinon shook her head slightly and said,
“It’s impossible to dodge this without seeing the bullet line. In other words, he started noticing me from a certain time and checked through the system…”
As she said this, her right hand automatically loaded the next round into the Hecate. Sinon again got ready to snipe, but started to hesitate. Facing this enemy who had such a response speed, there’s a 99% chance that this bullet line will be dodged. She could fire all the 4 bullets in her magazine, but if she used them all, it’ll be easy for the enemy to counterattack. What should I do…what should I do.
The mantle guy brought his body back forward as if he saw Sinon’s short hesitation.
He again lined the automatic pistol in his right hand at Pale Rider, and flicked the hammer with his thumb. His left hand was supporting beside the grip, and then he calmly squeezed the trigger.
A flash appeared. After a few seconds, Sinon could hear a dry gunshot in her ears.
Kirito groaned, seemingly afraid of something.
Of course, the bullet hit the center of Pale Rider. It was a physical damage, but anyone in this world wouldn’t be dead from a 9mm bullet round immediately no matter which part he’s hit in. Also, Pale Rider should have at least 90% of his HP. But for some reason, the mantle guy stopped attacking. He just kept his hands on his gun and stood there. He knew that Sinon was aiming at him, but never had the intention to look for cover. He probably had the belief that he could dodge any bullet.
1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds—
At that moment, the stun bullet effect that immobilized Pale Rider finally vanished.
The guy who was dressed in the blue and white camouflage suit then jumped up and quickly raised that AR17 shotgun with breathtaking speed and placed it at the chest of the mantle guy. That was definitely zero distance, and all the pellets could enter the heart of the mantle guy. Its power was different from a handgun, and the mantle guy could be killed in one hit.
Sinon and Kirito, that was laying beside her, and the audience in the entire GGO world and real world who were watching this live telecast should be watching this with their eyes widened.
The counterattack gunshot—was never heard.
What replaced it was the slight sound of a heavy object landing. It was the AR17 in Pale Rider’s right hand dropping on the deep tea-colored sandy ground.
Then, Pale Rider knelt down like his joints were destroyed like a puppet and tilted right slowly before lying completely on the floor.
From Sinon’s position, she could see the lips under the helmet of Pale Rider. He opened his mouth, seemingly making a silent cry and also looked like he was desperately gasping for air.
He suddenly raised his left hand in a rather weak motion, grabbing the center of his chest. And at the next moment—
The body that was wearing blue and white camouflage seemed to be surrounded by light that looked like static and suddenly disappeared.
Finally, what was left of him was a little line of light displaying [DISCONNECTION], but soon it faded into the sunset and disappeared. “…What, was that?”
A few seconds later, Sinon finally managed to say these words.
The mantle player merely fired a handgun at Pale Rider. At this moment, Pale Rider should have some HP left. Then, Pale Rider was released from his stunned state and got ready to fight back with the shotgun. But just when he was about to fire, the circuits went faulty unfortunately, kicking him out from the game.
If there was a need to explain what just happened before her eyes, this would be the most logical explanation.
But how did it end up disconnected with such perfect timing? And, more than being lucky, that mantle guy who nearly got a huge reversal seemed to know that this disconnection would happen. No, rather than that—
It felt like he was able to kick Pale Rider out from the game through his own will.
That was impossible. It’s impossible to interfere with other players' network connection from within the game.
However, the mantle guy didn’t seem to be shocked by Pale Rider’s disappearance at all as he merely kept his left hand back into the mantle. Then, he again raised the handgun in his right hand and pointed it to a certain point. Sinon immediately knew what that was. That was the video camera that was showing the live broadcast of the tournament. The tournament set up a light-colored thing in the sky to show the player that he was being filmed. In other words, that was a declaration of victory to all the audience. However, what was he declaring? Just now, the battle he had with pale Rider was a forfeit because of a network failure, so it wasn’t a manner that’s worth bragging. Or—was the disappearance just now the real victory to the mantle guy? In other words…
“That guy…can disconnect the other players from the server…?”
Sinon muttered with a hoarse voice.
And beside her, Kirito seemed to be daydreaming as he answered,
“Wrong…that’s not it. It’s not just an ordinary power.”
“What’s ordinary? That’s a huge problem! How can he use such a cheating method? What is the operating company Zasker doing…?”
Kirito suddenly grabbed Sinon’s left shoulder tightly. Sinon wanted to shake him off instinctively, but the following words made the girl freeze.
“That guy didn’t kick the player out from the server. He killed him. That Pale Rider just now…that real life player controlling Pale Rider is dead!!”
What are you saying?
Sinon was about to say that, but what Kirito said next made Sinon swallow her words again.
“So I’m right. That guy…that guy’s «Death gun»—«Death Gun»!”
Sinon heard of this name before. After the vague knowledge floated up from deep within her memories of knowledge, she then said.
“…Death…Gun. Is it about that weird rumor…? That someone shot the winner of the last tournament «Zekushiido», and «Usujio Tarako» who got a high ranking position, in a pub on the streets and the plaza, and they never logged in again afterwards…”
Kirito nodded his head and then looked at Sinon’s face. Those large and black eyes had a strong impact and fear in them that Sinon had never seen before. Also, he was shaking because of a certain feeling.
“I felt…that it wasn’t possible. Yesterday, while waiting at the dome, I met him and still continued to deny this possibility. But I have no need to doubt it anymore…that guy really used a certain way to kill players in the real world. In fact, the corpses of «Zekushiido» and «Usujio Tarako» were discovered recently…”
—How did you know about this? Who are you? What’s your relationship with that mantle guy…?
Before she was shocked by the fact that «Death Gun» really existed. Sinon’s heart was already confused by this person called Kirito, and this made her really unable to catch what was going on.
Of course, Sinon still couldn’t believe this honestly. Killing someone in the real world from a game? That’s too far-fetched…and wouldn’t this be paradoxical? If things inside the game affected the lives in the real world, that wouldn’t be a game anymore. However, on seeing Kirito give a serious expression, voice and gaze that didn’t look like what a virtual avatar could make, she just felt that she couldn’t laugh this off. Who—who exactly in the world are you…
Sinon’s mind was all confused and could only remain silent. At this moment, Kirito, who maintained a sharp gaze as he continued, finally managed to turn his eyes away from her to the metal bridge, and Sinon looked over too as if she was led by him.
The mysterious mantle guy who made Pale Rider «log out» put the handgun that was aimed at the camera down and turned to look at Dyne who was in the south. Dyne, who had the [dead] tag on his abdomen, was still logged in, but unable to talk, and unable to make any expression, so nobody could tell what sort of thoughts he had about the strange battle that went on beside him.
The mantle guy placed his handgun back into the holster, strapped up his L115 back on his shoulder with a shyari sound, and started walking to Dyne. Was he going to attack this «corpse» of Dyne? Sinon couldn’t help but gasp on thinking about this, and Kirito seemed to be thinking the same thing as his slender body twitched slightly, looking like he was about to rush out from the woods.
But perhaps Dyne—was lucky as the mantle guy didn’t take out his automatic pistol, but walked past Dyne and moved onto the metal bridge. He didn’t cross it, but disappeared behind the thick big pillar like how he appeared. He should be walking on the slightly shallow river. Though they couldn’t see him now, that position can only lead him north or south down the river. If she start to move now, she would definitely see him again—…
“…Still hasn’t appeared yet…”
Kirito muttered. Sinon still nodded her head. Even after 10 seconds, the mantle guy hadn't shown up. This meant that he was still hiding in the shadows behind the bridge. It seemed like he was wary about Sinon’s sniper rifle.
At this moment, a slightly ringing vibration could be felt from the left wrist, and Sinon then checked her watch. 8.44pm 50 seconds. There were 10 seconds left before the 3rd «Satellite Scanner». Sinon pulled the device out from her waist pouch and watched the screen.
“Kirito, watch the bridge. I’ll use this chance to check that guy’s name.”
On hearing his immediate reply, Sinon waited for the map to refresh itself. There’s still 3 seconds…2, 1, the scan started. The spy satellite of the galactic war age flew through the sky, and scanned through the entire surface without letting a single spot slip by. Its electronic eye could easily read through mini cover. There was no other way to hide except by hiding in a cave or swimming into the water like Kirito.
*PaPaPaPaa*.... After a few beats, new flashing lights appeared on the screen. Lion King Richie was still camping on the peak of the hill far south. He wouldn’t be able to get down the hill before the tournament ends.
About 800m north of him, the two blinking spots hiding between the forest and the hills were Kirito and Sinon. To the players who were far away from them, they would definitely think that they were fighting at close range. They shouldn’t be able to expect that they were pushed side by side, hiding in the bushes. Of course, Sinon was praying that the other players wouldn’t know that.
And 200m north, there was a rather light glow, showing Dyne, who was dead. A little north, and it would be Pale Rider’s light spot, but the map didn’t show it. And at the east side of Dyne, the light spot of that mantle guy under the bridge was—
“Eh… Not-not there?”
Sinon said with surprise as she stared hard at the high definition screen.
But no matter how she continued to look, the surroundings of the metal bridge only showed Dyne’s light spot. The mantle guy had already moved somewhere else. But if he moved up the river, she should be able to notice it. Sinon then panicked as she wondered what was going on, but immediately started thinking again.
There was only one possibility she could think of. He used the same method as Kirito and swam underwater to avoid the satellite scanner. In that case, that means…
“…There’s a chance.”
On hearing Sinon mutter, Kirito frowned. Sinon glanced at him and then quickly explained the entire situation.
“That mantle guy didn’t appear on the screen, so he’s definitely hiding at the bottom of the river. In that case, he should have removed all his equipment. Even if he wants to get up the river, it’ll take at least 10 seconds for him to summon his window and fully equip himself. We just need to attack him…”
“What if it’s just a handgun? He should be able to move if he’s carrying such light arms, right?”
Before she even finished, Kirito raised the same doubt. Sinon could only reply reluctantly,
“I’ve never tried this before, but if the STR and VIT values are high enough, it should be…but even so, we should be able to overpower someone with a handgun easily…”
Kirito suddenly stopped suppressing his voice and shouted, forcefully grabbing Sinon’s left hand.
“You just saw it, right? That guy’s black handgun made Pale Rider disappear! It may be real death if you’re hit!”
Sinon couldn’t look away from the glowing black eyes of Kirito. She forced herself not to look away, shook her head, and answered,
“…But I still can’t believe that there will be real death resulting from being shot in a game….Uun, or rather, if this were real, that mantle guy could kill anyone on his own will, right? How is that possible…I really can’t believe it. How can such a person exist in GGO…in a VRMMO…”
That’s right. Even in the wilderness of «Gun Gale Online», where killing intent was everywhere, it was still «a kind world» to Sinon/Shino.
This world didn’t have any real evil intent or killing intent. The reason why they replaced communication with bullets and smoke was simply because they wanted to surpass their peers, to be stronger than anyone else. In this world, no matter how much they shot or how many bullets they take, they wouldn’t lose a single drop of blood. Also, they would definitely not feel any pain, injury or any real damages. Thus, even though they would feel remorse over losing a battle, they wouldn’t behold any grudges against the enemy. Like the tough battle before. Sinon’s entire left leg was blown away by the minigun of that Behemoth, and the Behemoth was shot through by Sinon’s Hecate. But after that battle, Sinon was just left with self-confidence, reflection and the respect for that strong Behemoth. She believed that the Behemoth would feel the same way about her.
It’s because of that that Sinon decided on this GGO world, a cushioning mechanism that protected her from that weak her in the real world and that terrifying memory. She believed that if she continued to fight here, the confidence she built in the virtual world would one day surpass that grudge that anguished her so much in the real world.
There couldn’t be any real malice in a VRMMO, or else it wouldn’t be a virtual world. Wouldn’t it become the dark reality Sinon always feared and was running from…
“I…really couldn’t believe that there was really a VRMMO player who would really kill someone besides PKing.”
On hearing Sinon murmur—
Kirito answered with a thoroughly pained voice,
“But they really exist. That mantle guy…«Death Gun», he used to kill a lot of people in that VRMMO I was in before. Even after knowing that the enemy would really die, he still swung his sword. It was like how he shot Pale Rider just now, and...I...”
At this moment, Kirito stopped talking, looked down and let go of Sinon’s hand.
However, by piecing together those heavy words and the conversation she had with Kirito before, it was easy to tell what he didn’t say.
Three years ago—at the end of AD 2022, «that incident» shook all of Japan. Even Sinon, who didn’t have any interest in VRMMO at that time was rather clear about this incident because of the daily long reports the media gave. There were more than 10,000 young people who were held captive in the virtual world; and two years later, the people who were released and returned back to the real world was about 6,000. In other words, 4,000 lives were gone because of this incident.
Undoubtedly, Kirito must be one of the «survivors» of that world. And if he wasn’t lying, «Death Gun» should be the same as him. No, that’s not it. There was an even more terrifying truth behind Kirito’s confession.
Those who died in that game basically died in the real world. «Death Gun» knew that they would die and killed many players on his own will. He was «the player who really killed someone in a VRMMO» Sinon said.
That guy in GGO…at this moment, he was in the field of the «3rd BoB finals», and even took the lives of players in the real world through an unknown means. That should be what Kirito was saying.
Sinon finally managed to get something out from her confused thoughts, and immediately felt her body chill.
Her vision started to become dark from the center. There seemed to be something watching her from the darkness. That look—that lifeless, weak and seemingly sticky swamp-like stare was…
Suddenly, Sinon heard someone calling her name, causing her to wake up forcefully. Behind the black shadow that was moving away, Kirito was looking at her worriedly. On seeing that pure and bewitching beautiful looks of his, the girl felt annoyed that it went against the norm, causing her phobia to be suppressed.
Sinon sighed lightly and answered,
“…Don’t worry, I was just a little shocked. To be honest…I really couldn’t believe your words straight away…but I don’t get the feeling that this is all a lie or a fabricated story.”
“Thanks. That’s enough.”
Kirito nodded his head slightly. At the same time, the light spots on the device in Sinon’s right hand flickered. The satellite in the sky above was about to leave. Sinon hurriedly switched the map over to the whole field and started counting the number of dots. Right now, there were 17 dots of lights, which meant that there were 11 dead dim lights, 28 altogether. “The numbers don’t match after all…”
There were really 30 people at the start. Subtracting off the disappeared Pale Rider who disconnected, there was still one person. That should be the «Death Gun» who went underwater to avoid the scan. No, maybe he wasn’t just waiting silently underwater, but moving around. However, it was hard to tell whether he intended to move to or away from the two of them. If he were approaching, he could immediately come out from the water on the east side of the bushes Sinon and Kirito were hiding at and launch his attack forcefully…
As Sinon thought about that, all the lights on the screen disappeared. Now, they could only search for the enemy with their five senses for the next 15 minutes.
Sinon glanced to the east slightly, but couldn’t find any movement. The mantle guy should have moved on from the bottom of the river to the north. Though his main weapon L115A3 «Silent Assassin» was a terrifying weapon, it was a hand-operated sniper rifle like the Hecate II, so it wasn’t suited for mid to close ranged combat. Most likely, he wouldn’t force his attack, but pull away to hide his own location.
Thinking that, Sinon exhaled and muttered,
“We have to get out of here first…those far away will think that both of us were fighting and will come over to collect the earnings of a fishmonger.”
Kirito instantly looked down at the ground, but immediately turned to Sinon and said,
“If I had told you to find an absolutely safe hiding place until the tournament ended…you wouldn’t listen, would you?”
“OF…OF COURSE NOT!”
Sinon immediately shouted back with her loudest voice.
“How could I do such a stupid thing that the «Camper Richie» would do! Besides, there’s no absolutely safe place on this island. There are caves in the northern deserts where the satellite can’t read through, but I’ll definitely die if someone throws a grenade in.”
“…I got it. Then, let’s split up here.”
These unexpected words rendered Sinon speechless. She blinked for a few seconds and finally said with a calm voice,
“The-Then what do you intend to do?”
“Me, I want to…continue chasing after that «Death Gun». Can’t let him use that gun to shoot anyone. And…if I face him head on, I’ll definitely remember that guy’s old name. In that case…”
At this moment, the shiny lips of Kirito were tightly shut. He took a deep breath and faced Sinon straight in the face.
“…Sinon, please get away from that mantle guy. I’ll abide by your promise. I’ll fight with all I've got when we meet somewhere on this island…Just now, thanks for not shooting at me and hearing me out.”
After nodding his head, the black-clothed lightsaber wielder slipped out from the bushes.
Just when Sinon was about to instinctively call him, he landed on the deep-tea-colored ground and got up and walked towards the metal bridge in the north without turning back.
After staring at that slender figure that was gradually leaving for a moment, Sinon forcefully closed her eyes.
The air that was forcefully inhaled was exhaled hard with a silent ‘that’s enough!’, and Sinon immediately got up from the woods. The shrubs that were wrecked by her violent action had their leaves scattered before disappearing.
“HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!”
The girl shouted loudly, and the person who was 20m away stopped just like that. She immediately grabbed the Hecate and carried it on her right shoulder before running to Kirito. No matter if the other person gave such a completely surprised look, Sinon glared somewhere else and said,
“…I’m coming with you too.”
“You intend to fight against «Death Gun», right? That guy’s an expert even without that gun. How can you keep your promise if you lose before you face me? I’m not really willing, but we should work together to chase that guy out of this island…and the tournament finals of this BoB.”
After saying out all the words that ran through her mind, Sinon glanced at Kirito. In the end, though that lightsaber wielder frowned, his lips curled up, and looked rather strange. Kirito struggled for a while, seemingly still worried about Sinon’s safety, then shook that black hair and said,
“No…you just saw that battle too, right? That guy is really dangerous. Once you’re hit, your body in the real world may be…”
“We don’t know where «Death Gun» ran off to, it’s dangerous whether I’m with you or not. Speaking of which, a rookie like you who would continue to run away without even noticing your surroundings in an open space has no right to worry about me!”
“…Well, what you said makes sense…”
Kirito again hesitated for a few seconds, but finally released the tension in his shoulders and nodded his head, right before waving his right hand at lightning like speed. As Sinon noticed the lightsaber that was drawn out from his waist, the blue and purple energy blade appeared from the handle in Kirito’s hand.
Ah, is this guy going to attack me now to fulfill his promise? Sinon couldn’t help but stop breathing, but Kirito then looked west. Sinon looked at where he was looking at, and at that moment, about 100m away, under the shadow of a large rock, there were a few red lines appearing at them—the bullet line trajectory the bullets were aimed at.
The unknown enemy’s fully-automatic machine gun roared, and Kirito’s light saber left several afterimages as it knocked down all the bullets in this bullet storm that didn’t leave any openings to escape. Sinon was stunned by this scene before her that she had never seen before in GGO, and could only stand there like a piece of wood, but after a second, she immediately recovered her thinking ability and got down. She released the Hecate in mid-air, and as she laid down in a prone position, she readied the stand on the ground.
At this point, they could confirm that the enemy was using a completely automatic machine gun, but the scope didn’t show the Ghillie mantle of the «Death Gun». The enemy had a mysterious opened-helmet with a top, and the right eye had an eyepiece to correct the aim. Sinon remembered that she met this person before. He was a gunner who took part in the last tournament, called «Xiahou Dun». The weapon in his hand was a «Norinco CQ». Though this was a veteran with amazing skill, he was in such a shocked state that his sturdy chin was unable to move up. It couldn’t be helped that he had such a reaction, as the one magazine of bullets he fired was deflected by the lightsaber, a weapon anyone thought would just be for show.
Xiahou Dun’s stern ancient Chinese general-like face that had a beard let out a voice that didn’t fit the times and then hid back into the shadows of the rock. Kirito lowered his head, glanced at Sinon, shrugged his shoulders and said,
“We’ll take care of that guy. I’ll rush in. You’ll be in charge of covering fire.”
Now things just got interesting. What will happen next?
Though Sinon had this thought, she still set her cheek against the wooden stock of her beloved gun.
- A grid or pattern placed in the eyepiece of an optical instrument, used to establish scale or position.
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