Sword Art Online:Volume 6 Chapter 14
I separated from Sinon and walked out of the cave. The red color of the sunset in the sky was nearly gone, leaving only the last trace of purple in the night.
I, who always thought that the world of GGO was always in the sunset, was slightly shocked that this world also had late night and looked up in the sky. But after thinking about it, it had to be close to 10pm in the real world, so it’s obvious that the night sky would become dark.
There seemed to be no stars in the sky. It’s said that there was some large-scale galactic war on this world in the past, and civilization started to decline. Right now, humans could only rely on the remains of past technology to survive. This wide night sky would even make one wonder if the planets in the galaxy were destroyed.
Suddenly, there was a small light that shone in the endless darkness from the south-west direction.
A meteor—of course that wasn’t what it was. It was an artificial satellite. Ever since the last civilization shot one up, there had been no one using it now, and it continued to send information.
9:45pm. It was time for the 7th «Satellite Scanner» since the 3rd Bullet of Bullets finals began.
I turned my eyes away from the night, took the thin terminal out from my belt pouch and touched its surface. The screen immediately lit up, and the map of the surroundings appeared on it. This lone island that became the battlefield for the tournament seemed to be completely covered by desert in the north. There were a few rocky hills and little green pastures and also a flat barren land that didn’t change. Speaking of which, this place shouldn’t be suited for sniping.
After leaning my back on the rock wall near the hole, I tried my best to hide myself and continued to watch the device. Several seconds later, the center of the map showed a light silently. I didn’t need to touch it to know that this light represented me—Kirito. Of course, Sinon, who was waiting in the cave beside me never showed up on the map.
Unexpectedly, there weren’t other players who were alive in this desert in a 5km radius around me. Even if «Death Gun»—«Sterben» would use the «Optical Camouflage» and not appear on the map, the other players who realized that Sinon and I were hiding in a desert cave should be gathered nearby and would be ready to lob grenades into the cave.
This doesn’t sound necessarily great—but there were countless grey light dots shown all over the desert. These should be players who have retired, but there were so many «dead bodies», and yet we didn’t hear any sound of battle from the cave. Speaking of which, it’s really unbelievable.
I hurriedly adjusted the receiver's magnification and found that there was a light dot 6km southwest. After touching it with my fingertip, the name shown was «Yamikaze». This name seemed familiar.
Looking down even more, I found out that there were a few dark dots and two light dots that were fairly close. The survivors were «No-no» and «Fernil». I then increased the range to display the entire island on the screen. However—there were no more lights. Even the player Sinon called «CampeRichie», who occupied the peak of the southern hills ever since the beginning of the tournament had become dark. Also, there were two dark dots near him. It seemed that he was ganged up on.
In other words, including Sinon and Death Gun who didn’t appear on the map, there were only 6 people left in this wide battlefield.
Of course, there could be a possibility that the other players were hiding in caves or underwater, but without the unique ability of Death Gun, they wouldn’t be able to receive information from the satellite. Also, at this moment where the tournament’s about to end, there shouldn’t be anyone who’s patient enough to not take a look at the current standings…
Just when I was thinking about this as I watched the receiver, there was a sudden important change on the screen, and I couldn’t help but hold back my cry.
This wasn’t because the number of light dots increased. In fact, it was the opposite. 2 light dots in the ruins nearby suddenly went dark.
These two people probably didn’t realize that another person was nearby. And after seeing the screen, they realized that the enemy could be behind a wall where they were. They then hurriedly threw a grenade and caused both sides to die—or that’s how I think it went. If this were really the case, these two experts who fought like this until now were probably depressed over having to be eliminated like this. I had to hold back my urge to pray ‘Amen’ to them and send them off.
Anyway----just like that, the battle royale that originally began with 30 players was now left with four. Also, shown on the screen was just Yamikaze and me.
I finally counted the number of light and dark dots that were scattered all over the island.
And then gave a low moan.
I hurriedly counted again, but no matter how I counted, the number never changed. The receiver screen showed only 2 surviving white dots. And also, the number of dots that were eliminated was 24.
The numbers didn’t tally. Beside Sinon and Death Gun who didn’t appear on the screen, there were only 28 people. Even if we count «Pale Rider» who disconnected and disappeared after being shot by the handgun, there should be only 29 people. There’s still only one person left.
Did someone betray my expectations and hide inside a cave or underwater? Otherwise…
Death Gun «erased» another player.
No. This shouldn’t be possible. Death Gun’s avatar, his accomplice in the real world should be waiting in Sinon’s house or somewhere nearby. I didn’t think of using Sinon as bait, but Death Gun’s accomplice can’t move to other targets’ houses like that.
—No, maybe…did I leave out something important…?
No. Now’s not the time to hesitate. I closed my eyes hard and shook aside the cold air that surrounded me.
Once I opened my eyes, the light dots that were shown on the screen were starting to flicker. It seemed that the satellite was about to leave soon. Maybe…no, I don’t think I need to do another scan. I silently said farewell deep inside to the satellite which worked hard and immediately looked around. Under the desert that was covered in slight darkness, there wasn’t anything that could move or was glowing. I placed the device that lost its information back into the belt pouch before turning around and walking back to the cave.
The girl who was carrying the large sniper rifle didn’t hide at the bottom of the buggy, but was waiting at the right corner of the cave.
“So? How is it?”
Sinon shook the short aquamarine hair that was tied to both sides as she asked anxiously. I tried to clearly and simply explain the entire situation to her.
“Two people took each other out during the scan, so all that’s left should be 4 of us: me, you, «Yamikaze» and «Death Gun» who didn’t appear on the screen. Yamikaze’s 6km down southwest, and Death Gun should be moving over from a certain point in the desert. Also, there may be someone hiding in the cave like us.”
I really couldn’t say my suspicion that someone could have died by Death Gun’s hands. Sinon herself didn’t seem to notice my worry as she muttered while looking somewhat surprised,
“…Only 4, 5 people left…”
But she then nodded her head and said,
“It’s been past 1 hr and 45 minutes. In the estimated 2 hours the tournament would likely take, this progress would be able to meet that. However, it’s really strange that no one threw a grenade in here…”
“Yeah…those who were searching for us were probably dealt with by Death Gun using the sniper rifle. There were a lot of grey dots all over the desert.”
“In that case…that guy should get the Max Kill award.”
After shrugging with a complicated look, Sinon seemed to be motivated again and said this,
“Forget about that. The problem now is «Yamikaze». You’re the only survivor who appeared on his terminal, so he’ll definitely come for you.”
“I think I heard that name before…is he strong?”
After I asked, Sinon gave an incredulous look,
“The second place in the last tournament. He’s a super AGI boost type. Called the «Devil of Run and Gun».”
“Ru…run and gun?”
“«Run and Gun», running and shooting as he continues to move. His weapon is the extremely light submachine gun «Calico M900A». He lost to the rare gun and defense equipment Zekushiido had the last time and got second, but some would say that Yamikaze’s skills were stronger.”
“This…this means that he’s the strongest player in the GGO Japanese server…”
Thinking about it, since he’s able to make his way to the end of the battle, he should be extremely strong. Just when I was thinking about this, Sinon brought that sort of determined voice into my ears,
“Well…you just said that the real killer was «Death Gun»’s accomplice in the real world, right? If your guess is correct, Death Gun can only kill me because the accomplice’s in my house.”
I was a little, no, perhaps rather shocked as I watched her face that reminded me of a cat-like animal.
An unknown killer was ready to harm her body in the real world. The fear in this situation may even surpass the bind I had with the Nerve Gear and the rules of the death game I experienced. At this moment, Sinon’s blue eyes were showing fear, but I could see the glint that’s fighting against it. She continued to say in a cool tone to me, who was dumbstruck.
“Anyway, this means that we don’t have to worry about Yamikaze being killed by Death Gun. Then, even though I’m sorry for Yamikaze, we can also use him as bait, right? If Death Gun uses the L115 to snipe Yamikaze, we can find his location. This is much more effective than you going alone as bait…and basically, I’m doing something similar.”
The last words should be referring to how she’s holding Death Gun’s accomplice in the real world. Even though she trembled a bit at the end, it’s impressive that she had the concentration to finish it off.
“…You’re really strong, Sinon.”
The sniper girl blinked and then smiled,
“…I just didn’t think about that. I was always good with ignoring things I’m scared of.”
Then, she immediately said something else to cover over that dig at herself.
“Anyway, how’s that strategy? I think it’s a situation where we have to use it.”
“Yeah…that’s true. I agree with your strategy too…but…”
I bit my lips slightly and then said a doubt that remained in my heart a few minutes back.
“…There’s something I’m worried about. During the satellite scan just now, I counted the number of survivors and those eliminated. There were 28 people. Even if we include Pale Rider, there’s still one less player.”
“…Don’t tell me, Death Gun killed someone else after that?”
Sinon widened her eyes, but immediately shook her head.
“Tha…that’s impossible! The accomplice’s target should be me, right? The outside’s not a virtual world. How can he move to such a place so quickly? Was another player in the same apartment as me?”
“Yo…you’re right…but thinking about it, this is really a bit unnatural…”
I glanced at my watch. It’s been two minutes since the scan ended, thus I quickly mentioned all the doubts on my mind clearly,
“About 30 minutes elapsed from the moment Death Gun shot Pale Rider and got ready to shoot you near the stadium. In other words, Pale Rider in the real world should be living about 30 minutes away from you. Of course, this isn’t impossible, but don’t you find that it’s too much of a coincidence?”
“…But, that’s just a possibility.”
I said the doubt that crept up my mind during the satellite scan to the frowning Sinon.
“No. Listen…maybe there isn’t just one person as Death Gun's accomplice. If there were multiple «task forces», even if someone stayed behind to attack you, he can also harm another target. In other words…we can’t deny the possibility that Yamikaze is a target of Death Gun.”
Sinon gasped and hugged her huge sniper rifle hard. She shook the face that showed a little white light in the slightly dark space.
“Ho, how’s that possible…? Are you saying that there are at least 3 people who’re taking part in this horrifying killer plot?”
“…There were at least 10 survivors from the ex-«Laughing Coffin» guild. Also, those guys were locked in the same jail for almost half a year. Maybe they exchanged contacts in the real world…to be a little extreme, they had enough time to thoroughly go through with this plan. Of course, not all 10 people can take part…but we have no proof to decide that there is only one accomplice.”
“…Why…why must they plan so much just to continue this «PK»…? They just got released from the death game, so why…?”
On hearing her trembling vice, I used my dry throat to squeeze an answer out.
“…Maybe it's the same reason why I wanted to be a «swordsman» and why you wanted to be a «sniper»…”
I thought that Sinon would be angry, but she merely bit her lips. Then, her slender body stopped trembling, and her blue eyes were giving off a strong glow.
“…If that’s the case, we have all the more reason to not to lose to these guys. I just used the word «PK», and I want to take that back. A lot of people are PKing in this game, and I joined a squadron that was based on this. However, PKing has rules and realizations. Killing completely unconscious players who dived in through drugs isn’t PKing. It’s just despicable crime…just killing.”
“Yeah…that’s right. We can’t let these people continue on like this. We have to beat «Death Gun» here and make him pay for his crimes with his accomplices in the real world.”
In fact, half of these words were said to myself.
That’s right—that’s my top priority. I have to start all over here. This is to redeem myself for killing two people in my madness that night and taking another person’s life after that.
This should be a battle I have to face alone, but this sniper girl got completely involved. I could only watch her silently.
If her safety’s the priority, we can make Yamikaze fight Death Gun and immediately suicide once one of them wins. However, the worst thing was that the tournament would still go on if that person who didn’t appear on the map wasn’t Death Gun’s victim, but was hiding underwater or in a cave. And Death Gun would take down Yamikaze and then shoot at Sinon who’s unable to move while I’m a corpse for the time being. Also, if Yamikaze was Death Gun’s target, we would only end up increasing the number of victims.
Thus, I have to fight. I want to protect Sinon, deal with Yamikaze, and beat Death Gun. This isn’t easy, but I have to complete all these—
As I thought about this, Sinon herself said with an adamant voice,
“Leave Yamikaze to me then.”
“That guy’s strong. Even you can’t beat him immediately. Besides, Death Gun will use this opportunity to show up when you two are fighting.”
“That…that’s true, I guess…”
Sinon saw me give an ambiguous expression, released the gun from her right hand and then patted on my chest.
“Besides, you must be thinking about protecting me.”
I was unable to say anything back as these words hit the target. The small mouth of that sniper immediately smiled, but then scowled again.
“Stop joking around. I’m the sniper. You’re the supporter. Just help me find the enemies’ positions. Leave Yamikaze and Death Gun to me.”
I don’t really understand a small part of these words, but I could only give a wry smile and nod my head,
“I see. I’ll leave it to you then… I guess both of them should be nearby. I’ll ride out in the buggy. You’ll leave the cave a little later and find a spot to snipe.”
After we confirmed the plan we had a while back, Sinon nodded her head.
This time, the serious expression returned to her face. The girl looked at me straight on from the front and then said simply,
“I’ll leave it to you then, partner.”
Sinon set her beloved Hecate’s scope into night vision mode and then placed her right eye on it.
In this vast desert, there wasn’t anything moving around at that moment. However, Yamikaze in the southwest side and Death Gun, whose whereabouts are unknown, should be approaching this place.
Sinon chose a short hilly peak as the sniping area, and right below the rocky hill was the cave they were hiding in just now. It was hard to spot this place from the ground, and she could get a birds-eye view all around. However, there is the risk of danger. Though it’s a short hilltop, the peak’s still more than 10m tall from the ground. Someone like Sinon, whose VIT isn’t high, can’t jump down just like that. Also, there’s only one way to get up to here. If the enemy was nearby, she could be pierced through by bullets with nowhere else to go.
However, now’s the time where she should shake away all negative thoughts. The sniper continued to try and keep herself calm as she stealthily turned her beloved gun to the right.
Thus, she spotted a figure right in the middle of a large sand dune.
The night wind that continued on and off blew his waist-length black hair at times. He’s wearing a black army uniform on his slender body, making him look like he was about to mix into the darkness. That profile was more of an elf swordsman in the middle of a fantasy desert rather than a soldier with a gun.
Right in front of Kirito was the transport both of them took from the ruins to here—the three-wheeler buggy. It didn’t have much fuel when it ran out of the cave, so it shouldn’t be able to move now. However, the buggy still fulfilled its duty obediently until the end. Its massive frame was used as a cover by Kirito. It’s easy to spot, but people couldn’t really snipe him from the north easily.
The rocky hill Sinon was hiding at was on the south side of where Kirito was, and this was a location that had only a few attack options. In other words, Death Gun’s L115 could only attack from the west and the east. Also considering that Yamikaze was coming over from the west, Death Gun would probably take action from the east. That should be what Kirito was thinking. His face that didn’t look any different from a girl when looked from afar was facing the blueish-white moon that was gradually moving up through the hole in the thick clouds.
Death Gun would probably not use the stun bullets when sniping Kirito, but use the .338 Lapua Magnum. It would almost guarantee an immediate death once that kind of bullet hits the head or the heart. Even if it only hits the limbs, the impact damage would cause half the HP to be gone. Also, Kirito would find it hard to dodge this attack. Death Gun’s first bullet didn’t have the bullet line, and he could also use the «Metamaterial Optical Camouflage» to hide and snipe. Of course, there would be footprints on the sand, so he couldn’t move to a position where he could get a sure hit. But even so, Death Gun had an overwhelming advantage.
—But, if it’s you.
You, who cleared that «Untouchable Game» when we first met and could even slice Hecate’s bullet from point blank, you’ll definitely be able to dodge it, Kirito.
Sinon said this to him in her heart, and then turned her eyes back to the rifle.
Her job was to allow Kirito to maximize his concentration. Thus, they had to quickly deal with the strongest AGI-type attacker, Yamikaze that was closing in from behind.
If they had time and if the situation was safe, maybe Yamikaze would personally avoid trouble or even help out if they explained things to him. However, it would be extremely impossible to make him believe that there’s a real killer incident in the final stage of the BoB. If Sinon herself didn’t witness Death Gun and feel the chill on being aimed at by the Blackstar, she would only laugh at what Kirito said.
Thus, they could only take down Yamikaze. Zekushiido didn’t take part in this tournament, so almost everyone would think that he’s the player with the highest chance of winning. And she had to kill him in one hit.
…Can the me right now really do this?
Sinon used her naked right eye to look through the entire vast desert as she tried her best to resist the doubt and fear that was slowly creeping up on her. All the snipes she made on the three-wheeler buggy when they escaped from the ruins were pathetic. She couldn’t even hit the mantle guy, and even the hit on the truck’s gas tank was merely a coincidence. All the pride Sinon built up till then was immediately wrecked at that moment.
As a sniper, Sinon’s role is to gather up the number of kills and practice her refined sniping techniques. One day, when she could win in the BoB tournament, the Asada Shino in the real world will feel real strength. At that moment, she could then give up her fear of guns, wouldn’t think about it and could live on normally. She always believed that ever since she accepted Shinkawa Kyouji’s invitation to GGO.
However, this wish may be off the mark.
Unknowingly, she had already thought that she separated her heart into two different existences, «Sinon» and «Shino», forming the strong Sinon and the weak Shino. But this was wrong. Sinon in the game still had the weakness that’s left in the real world, so she was afraid of that Blackstar handgun and missed that snipe.
Anyway, what she was looking for was «herself». After meeting this enigmatic boy Kirito, she finally found this out. Perhaps he definitely was this sort of person in the real world. Fighting his own weaknesses, fighting all the time, even if he didn’t have a lightsaber at his waist.
In that case, Shino in the real world should originally have that tough personality she had in the game.
—I shall fire this bullet as the ordinary person Shino. Just like that incident 5 years ago.
I continued to escape that moment, just wanting to forget, erase it and close my eyes, just wanting to vandalize it with pens.
But I won’t do that again. I want to look at my own memory and crime, back to that moment, and build on from there. Maybe this was the moment I had always been waiting for.
In that case—
Now’s the moment.
Sinon’s right eye captured the black profile that was quickly moving over through her scope. «Yamikaze» was there.
She immediately placed her fingers on the trigger. However, she still couldn’t exert force yet. There was only one chance to snipe. There’s no time to move and readjust her position.
If she missed, Yamikaze would definitely aim for Kirito. At that moment, no matter how strong Kirito was, he couldn’t handle both Death Gun and Yamikaze. He would definitely be taken down by one of the two. Then, Death Gun would just need to deal with Yamikaze and easily use the Blackstar to attack Sinon just as he planned. The virtual 7.62mm bullet would hit Sinon, and once this image was sent to the screen telecasting this in the outside world, the accomplice in the real world would inject the fatal drug into Shino’s body and cause her heart to stop.
In other words, this one bullet could decide Shino’s real fate. Just like that time.
However, she felt unbelievably calm. Maybe she just couldn’t understand the entire situation, but that’s definitely not just it. She’s not alone. A certain someone, a certain strength was supporting her. There was a slight heat that was warmly melting those stiff and numb fingers. What was this—
The Hecate II. This other half of her who went into numerous battlefields with her, the one and only alter ego of her.
…Ah, I see. So you were always accompanying me. Not just in the hands of a sniper…but also being with an ordinary girl like me. You still continued to encourage me even though I can’t see you.
…Please. Lend this weak me strength. Grant me strength to again move on from here.
In Aincrad, the floating city that had already disappeared, we fought hard in there, and every day, the swordsmen of the attack group would find «Outside System Skills» when they battle and train.
For example, when dueling, there’s the «prerecognition» that comes with the position of the sword and the avatar’s center of gravity, the «insight» that can predict the attack patterns of monsters from long range and through the attack pattern, the «Distinguish» that allows players distinguish the enemy’s sound effects from the background sound and find them, the «mislead» to lure the AI monsters' learning capacity and give it a heavy burden, the «switch» that allows multiple players to switch positions and allow them to recover their HP.
And amongst these skills that weren’t listed in the ability column, the hardest skill to get, and even treated as a supernatural one was the «presence sense»—also called «Hypersense».
That’s to feel the presence of the enemy before seeing and hearing first. It’s also a skill to «sense killing intent».
There’s one group who denied the existence of this skill since logically, it’s impossible to detect this so-called killing intent in the virtual world. Humans who were dived in could only use the digital data Nerve Gear sent over to identify the world, so all the information codes in this game could be changed into a process. Of course, that would mean that there couldn’t possibly be vague things like killing intent or sixth sense.
Their reasoning was actually logical. Even I wouldn’t really agree that the «Hypersense» skill exists.
However, during the 2 years I fought in Aincrad, I did experience what could be said as «a sense of killing intent» a few times. I didn’t see or hear anything, but I just had the feeling that someone was watching me and didn’t move further into the dungeon. In the end, I did manage to save my own life a few times.
Earlier this year, I mentioned this once to my «daughter» Yui. Yui was once the affiliated AI to the «Cardinal System» that operated SAO, and she definitely indicated that in SAO and «The Seed» program that was derived from it, there weren’t any other methods of knowing the existences of monsters other than the five senses.
—Thus, I shouldn’t be able to notice the enemy if he hid silently in a place I couldn’t see. Thus, I explained the thoughts I had for a long time to Yui.
Players who dived into VRMMO would use the game server signal that’s constantly far away from them, to check «their» own status. When moving alone in a wilderness or dungeon, they could only check their own data. However, if someone tried to ambush the player, access of the status signals would become twice or more. At this moment, the system process would become slower, and finally causing a slight delay in transmission, and this could possibly be the «killing intent» I felt—
After hearing my guess, Yui showed a doubtful look and then said that if the server became slower due to this level of processing, it would be eliminated. However, she later added that to put it bluntly, she couldn’t dare to deny this possibility completely.
In the end, maybe it’s more convincing to say that it was some supernatural power.
But now in this situation, I couldn’t care about such reasoning.
Having played so many VRMMOs, this was the first time I was forced to only rely on the «Hypersense» skill.
Far up in the sky that had the last remaining light in it, I could see the blueish-white plate hanging high up in the blurry sky. It’s a full moon today, but maybe it’s because the thick clouds covering it that it felt even darker than Alfheim. The silhouettes of the sand dune were half merged into the night, and it’s difficult to even tell whether the silhouettes were cacti or rocks.
If... If someone was hidden behind these objects and points the gun that had a sure-kill ability, I may be unable to spot him with my naked eye. Also, the enemy who’s ready to snipe me also had an advantage of being able to become completely transparent. The only thing I could hope for visually was the footprints that are going to be imprinted on the sand. However, even I can’t see the distance more than 1km away if I want to see it. Also, the footsteps that can be heard when the enemy’s moving will be blown away by the wind and won’t reach my ears.
—Then, I might as well close my eyes and cover my ears.
I shook my fear aside and silently closed my eyes. Then, I removed the wind, the dry cold air and the rolling of the sand beside my feet out of my consciousness.
Then, there was a sudden movement far away. Someone was running really quickly. The direction was from the southwest side, so this was «Yamikaze» instead.
I tried my best to hold back the impulse to chase after his profile. Yamikaze was Sinon’s prey, so she’ll definitely stop him. Thus, I removed the footsteps behind me through my consciousness and gather all my senses from the front, desperately increasing my concentration to feel any possible «changes».
Ah…that’s right. I remember it now. During that night where we had the Laughing Coffin Crusade, I didn’t notice those guys’ ambush because of any visuals or sounds. I just had a «bad feeling». I then instinctively turned around and found that there were some shadows moving through the fork of the dungeon.
What was the name of that guy who led the charge against us again? It was not the leader of Laughing Coffin, «PoH». He wasn’t around that time if I remember correctly. Most likely, it’s a certain cadre. That guy’s weapon was an «Estoc» that was thin like some type of needle, a weapon that strengthened its piercing ability without the blade. It swayed as it brought its sharp tip at me, and it was even giving off a small glint of light…
Did I kill that guy the last time? No, I don’t think so. After I wore his HP down to less than half, that guy switched with his partner and slowly went backwards.
Before he left, he should have said something to me. It wasn’t some big words or something, but a stuttering, ear-piercing voice that sounded like some ‘shuu shuu’ voice in little parts.
“…Kirito. After this, I’ll definitely, kill you finely.”
—That manner of speech, that presence, and those eyes that let out the red glows under the hood—
Suddenly, there was a sharp painful feeling that’s right between my eyebrows.
It’s this kind of feeling. This thing that’s targeted at me, this icy-coldness that’s merciless and sticky—killing intent.
I immediately opened my eyes.
Far away in the desert, underneath a cactus that’s slightly north in the east direction, a sudden glow bursted brightly.
Was that the sword tip of an Estoc or the flare of a sniper rifle being fired?
I turned my body to the right. No, once I was about to tilt to the right, the attack force that had shocking intensity gathered on my forehead. The flow of time started to change. That extremely heavy feeling felt like it could even freeze the air—
The bullet that was rotating at high speed, grazed past my temple cutting off a strand of my hair and flew behind me as I tilted slightly.
I abandoned the remaining trace of black hair that was in the air and kicked at the sandy ground hard with a roar.
Though her scope finally managed to catch sight of «Yamikaze»’s profile, his fleeting speed far exceeded Sinon’s expectation. With his AGI stat boosted to the max and the dash skill raised to the maximum level, that shocking movement speed made him really look like some black whirlwind.
The equipment that’s worn on Yamikaze’s little body was a dark blue uniform that had the lowest amount of protection. He didn’t bring any support weapon, and only a plasma grenade on his waist. This person didn’t even wear a helmet and showed his thin face. His long and thin arms were holding the M900A, and together with his upper body that was tilted forward, he didn’t shake at all even when running. That speed which left only an afterimage as he continued to run was more like a «Ninja» than a soldier. Also, he wasn’t just fast—he never stopped.
Even players who have extreme confidence in their own speeds would find a place to cover after running a while, look around to observe their surroundings before continuing. To a sniper like Sinon, the moment he stops would be the best chance to snipe.
However, even though Yamikaze also used cover like cactus and rocks, he never even stopped. He knew that continuous dashing would be the safest defense for a character that focuses on AGI.
…what should I do? Should I predict his movement and shoot? But Yamikaze’s not running in a straight line. He’s running over sand dunes and peaks; this trajectory can’t even be predicted. Or maybe I should aim my first bullet at his feet and take care of him while he gets down for cover? To a seasoned veteran like him, this old-fashioned trick may or may not work. Also, from the second bullet on, the enemy could see the «bullet line». Should I really abandon the greatest advantage of a snipe weapon—the first shot without a bullet line?
Sinon hesitated. However, this hesitation wasn’t of the fear and perplexity like on the three-wheeler buggy. Her mind was rather cool and collected. The wooden stock of the Hecate brought a smooth feeling to her face, and that, together with the fact that the boy standing with his back to Yamikaze believed in Sinon, gave her strength.
She shouldn’t gamble and shoot Yamikaze that’s running around…
After hesitating for a while, the girl made this conclusion and slightly relaxed her finger.
She would only squeeze the trigger once she was certain that she would hit the target, or else it wouldn’t be called a snipe. As Kirito entered the range of the M900A, Yamikaze may stop, and until then, she had to wait for that moment.
The blue ninja was less than 1km away from Kirito. But once Kirito didn’t react even if his back is facing him, he would feel that Kirito didn’t discover him and continue to get close until the 100m shooting range where an AGi-type player would be most adept in.
—I’m also going to hold on until that moment, so you have to be patient too, Kirito. Trust me.
In this battle royale where they couldn’t use communication equipment, Sinon could only pray this deep inside her heart. However, she had a thought that she passed her feelings to him. The sniper then started to stop thinking and brought herself as one with Hecate, letting her vision merge with the scope, and the feel with the trigger. At this moment, even the feeling of herself breathing left her. The only thing she felt was the target that continued to dash and the crosshair reticle that was constantly trying to track his heart.
She couldn’t even tell how long it took.
Finally, the moment she waited for arrived.
A white light came from the rear right corner of her eyes. That was a bullet, but naturally, it didn’t come from Hecate, but the .338 Lapua bullet Death Gun shot from the east side of the desert. Kirito dodged the attack, and the L115’s bullet line went near Yamikaze who was approaching from the west.
Yamikaze didn’t think that Kirito noticed him, but didn’t even expect another huge bullet to fly in and pass the target. Then, he naturally got low and crouched down to stop suddenly and got ready to head at the rock nearby, right behind him.
This would be the first and last chance to snipe him.
The finger that was half following the Hecate’s own will started to squeeze the trigger. The light green «bullet line prediction» showed up in her eyes, and the circle immediately became small as a dot. Sinon aimed for the center of the chest. After squeezing the trigger, the hammer slammed the firing pin, and the powder of the .50BMG inside the chamber exploded, CHANK, and the large bullet immediately went into supersonic speed—
Yamikaze’s eyes noticed the muzzle flash that came from the Hecate and Sinon’s right eye that was looking through the scope. His eyes seemed to show shock, regret and definite admiration. Then…
The ninja who was the most likely to become champion had a blinding light of special effect on his chest. His avatar was sent flying several meters away and then rolled on the sand a few times before stopping face up. At this moment, the M900A left his right hand, and the grenade rolled onto the floor. As the [DEAD] tag appeared above his abdomen and started to spin—Sinon herself had turned 180 degrees together with the Hecate.
She wordlessly called this name out.
The black-clothed swordsman was running at the blueish-white moon that was starting to appear on the horizon.
His running motion was completely different from Yamikaze’s clean posture. That straightened back while keeping the chin down as he ran forward felt just like dancing. Kirito’s right hand moved to pull the lightsaber on his waist. The blue and purple blade that immediately extended added some color to the darkness.
The direction Kirito was heading to flashed a weak orange glow. It was the firing flame.
The lightsaber drew an arc and knocked aside the bullet that flew over, again and again. Kirito was already able to see the bullet line after dodging the first bullet. No matter how many times the bolt action sniper rifle continued to fire rapidly, it couldn’t pierce through the outstanding reflexes of the lightsaber warrior.
Sinon removed the nightvision mode of the scope and increased the magnifier to the maximum level to try and find the position of the bullet.
—Got it. Below the tall cactus. That unique suppressor that’s reaching out from under the mantle clothing and the cleaning rod that’s under the barrel. This person is the user of the L115A3 «Silent Assassin» and the real killer «Death Gun».
Sinon tried her best to widen her right eye to fight off the fear after seeing his profile.
…You’re not a dead soul. No matter how many people you killed in «Sword Art Online», how you’re a lunatic who came up with such a terrifying plot when you went back to the real world, you’re still a human who can breathe through your nose and has a beating heart. I’ll fight with you then. I believe that my Hecate and my power’s enough to beat you and the L115.
Sinon pulled the bolt handle and aimed her beloved gun, which now was reloaded, deep at the mantle guy who’s lying on the ground.
Though she could see his flickering red eyes through the scope, those definitely weren’t the ghost lights of the dead, but the lens of the full face-type goggles. What’s under the goggles was just a mere avatar’s face.
Sinon’s fingers touched the trigger and exerted force slightly.
Death Gun’s head immediately moved for a moment. He could see the bullet line. After the attack on Yamikaze just now, Sinon had already exposed her position. However, this just made both sides end up in equal circumstances. Now—
Time to decide this!!
Death Gun, who’s being aimed at in the scope, moved his L115 and pointed his gun at Sinon. Poking out from under his black jaw were the bloody red eyes that were coldly staring at Sinon’s forehead. Sinon immediately squeezed the trigger without even waiting for the reticule to shrink.
As her beloved gun let out a huge bang, Death Gun’s sniper rifle let out a little fire. Sinon moved her face away from the scope to watch her bullet that was flying over and the enemy’s bullet that was flying over through her naked eye. The trajectories of both bullets had looked like the same.
For a moment, Sinon had the feeling that the bullets would hit each other. However, such a miracle never happened. At last two bullets seemed to graze by each other by the tiniest of gaps as they went slightly off course.
KUWANG! A sharp impact sound rang beside the eye piece. Then, the large scope that was installed on the Hecate vanished without a trace. She would be immediately dead if her right eye was still there. Death Gun’s .338 Lapua bullet grazed past Sinon’s right shoulder and disappeared behind.
And the Hecate’s .50BMG bullet missed its target silently and hit the L115 gun directly.
The guns in GGO would have a fixed durability for each part. Normally, only the gun itself would be worn out, and this could be recovered through maintenance. No matter which part was hit, it would be a lot of damage, but even so, it’s hard to make the durability drop to zero. Also, it could be repaired if there were some durability points left—but it’s a different case altogether if the weak parts of the gun got shot by a large caliber. Like now.
A small fireball was formed at Death Gun’s chest. The center of the L115 scattered into shrapnel and immediately disappeared. Also, parts like the gun stock, scope and barrel fell onto the sand. These parts could be used, but the mechanism part couldn’t be used again. In other words, the «Silent Assassin» was dead at this moment.
Sinon said this apology secretly in her mind, but the target to her apology was obviously not Death Gun, but that gun with such rare and great performance ability. She again pulled the bolt of the gun. Even though the safe sound of the metal was heard as the bullet was loaded into the chamber, the scope was destroyed, and she couldn’t use it to snipe from afar.
“I’ll leave the rest to you then, Kirito.”
She muttered at the lightsaber warrior’s profile that was running.
Kirito and Death Gun were about 200m apart. Even if he activates Optical Camouflage, he couldn’t get away from the situation as there would be clear footprints left on the sand.
The mantle guy slowly got up from under the cactus, probably giving up. The large barrel that was left of the L115 was slinging down from his right hand, and he slowly moved forward like he was gliding. Was he going to use that metal rod to fight? That lightsaber of Kirito that could slice even the Hecate’s bullet could slice it in half in one hit.
Both of them were quickly closing in. Even without a scope, Sinon who had the long-sight skill could clearly see Kirito running forward while raising a large amount of sand and Death Gun who was slowly dragging his feet forward.
Kirito continued to run as he swiftly raised the lightsaber in his right hand over his shoulder. He then thrust his left hand forward at the same time. It was the posture for that overwhelmingly intense thrusting technique seen countless times in the preliminaries.
In contrast, Death Gun moved the gun barrel that was giving a black glow over to the left hand and grabbed the front end of the gun with his right hand. Both of them were about 5 seconds away from each other. There were camera glows appearing behind both of them. Right now, the audience was watching this live telecast from the bars inside GGO or from the multi-MMO channels on the outside, and of course, they wouldn’t know about Death Gun’s crimes and Kirito’s aim. But they would still watch the screen for this intense battle scenario. Sinon forgot all about this and merely widened her eyes to watch this deathmatch.
Death Gun then raised the gun barrel horizontally with both hands.
As his hand let out a sharp light—
Sinon left out a sharp cry.
Death Gun moved both hands away. The gun barrel left his left hand and flew backwards.
And on his right hand—there was a thin metal rod that was drawn from below the gun. It was the cleaning rod. Was that his final weapon? The cleaning rod should only be a tool to maintain the gun. It wouldn’t have any attack power, and even if he used it to beat someone, the most it would do would be to reduce a little of the enemy’s HP…
That wasn’t a rod used to clean a gun. The tip that should have an opening was as sharp as a needle. Was that a sword? But even its base was about 1mm thick. Could that thing really hurt someone? Speaking of which, there shouldn’t be any other metallic swords in GGO other than combat knifes.
Flabbergasted, Sinon saw that Kirito’s back seem to freeze.
However, the lightsaber warrior didn’t stop. The energy saber that’s shining in his right hand thrust forward. The jet engine-like sound effect of metal even reached Sinon’s ears while she was on the hill. The sharp end that had a sure-kill ability was sucked in by the mantle. Kirito wanted to use this entire sword to stab into his body—but failed as Death Gun’s upper body bent backwards. This perfect dodge looked like he knew Kirito’s move and timing.
The power of Kirito’s one-handed thrust merely left a burnt smell in the air and went by Death Gun.
Perhaps because the move was dodged, the lightsaber warrior froze and showed a short opening. Though he immediately moved and got ready to jump forward and right, Death Gun, who was still bending backwards, moved his right hand like some independent creature. That approximately 80cm long metal needle tip—
Stabbed straight into the left shoulder of the black uniform viciously.
As Sinon shouted out, the bloody red special effect scattered in the darkness like real blood.
Yuuki Asuna placed her handphone on the sensor. Once the sound effect of the transaction went through a second later, she then said, ‘thank you!’ and ran out of the taxi.
At the front of the rotary, there was a large entrance that was partially lit even though it was almost 10pm. Even though the power of the automatic doors were cut off, Asuna ran to the sign that indicates that it was the night entrance without thinking.
She pushed the door and went through the cold air that smelt of disinfectant to the visitor's counter. As Kikuoka Seijirou had contacted the hospital before, Asuna immediately said what she was ready to say to the nurse who looked up.
“I’m Yuuki who just called to visit room 7025!”
At the same time, she pulled her student ID out from her pocket and handed it to the counter. As the nurse took the identification card to compare with Asuna’s face, Asuna herself used that time to memorize the floor plan that’s on the wall opposite her.
“Hello, Yuuki Asuna-san. This is your visitor pass. Please remember to return this pass when you leave. The patient’s room is from the elevator on the right…”
“I got it. Thank you!”
She hurriedly bowed once she got the pass card and left the shocked nurse behind her. She ran to the elevator. In the hospital records, Kirito—Kirigaya Kazuto wasn’t here to be treated or hospitalized, but to be checked on, thus Asuna’s anxiety was a little unnatural. However, there’s no time to look at others now.
There seemed to be some gate that looked like a platform entrance in front of the elevator. Asuna placed her pass card on the screen, let it scan through and went through before the metal doors opened completely. She pressed the up button, ran into the elevator doors that opened and finally heaved a sigh of relief.
—Kazuto must have felt this way when he had to run to me after releasing me from the bird cage in ALO, right? He’s definitely alright. He couldn’t be... Though she believed that, she couldn’t hold back that anxious feeling.
Every time the elevator passed through a level, there would be a steady electronic sound. It was only the 7th level, but the speed at which it went up felt really slow.
“Don’t worry, mama.”
Suddenly, an immature voice came through the handphone receiver that she’s holding with both hands.
That’s the «daughter» of Kazuto and Asuna, the AI Yui. Her main processor was now in the terminal-type platform in Kazuto’s room. If there was a need, she would enter the game as a guide pixie in ALO, and they could talk through the phone in real life. Even though the battery was limited which made her unable to keep talking for long, they had been in constant contact ever since Asuna left the Dicey Café.
“Papa won’t lose to any strong opponent. Because he’s papa.”
“…Yes. That’s right.”
Asuna placed the microphone near her lips and softly responded. The stiff fingers could finally move at this moment, but the tension was still in her heart.
Kirito was requested by Kikuoka to head into GGO to investigate that mysterious player «Death Gun». In the end, the one controlling this avatar was an ex-member of the SAO red guild «Laughing Coffin». Also—those two that Death Gun shot in the game died of heart failure in the real world.
Without doubt, something strange must have happened. Though Kikuoka was certain that Kirito wouldn’t have any danger while diving, he could tell that those two strange deaths weren’t just a coincidence.
With that sound, the elevator went through the 6th level and started to slow down before stopping on the 7th level with an electronic sound. At the same time the elevator opened, Yui immediately gave the directions ‘head right for 15m, turn left and walk for another 8m’. Asuna immediately followed what she said and ran all the way down the empty corridor.
There were sets of electronic doors on both sides of the corridor, and Asuna checked the metal doorplates with her eyes as she ran. 7023…24..25! She placed her access pass on the door, and the door immediately opened after the light on it turned from red to blue.
This was a single room ward that had grey and white base colors. Near the center of the room was a plastic patient’s bed Asuna herself relied on before. The curtains on all sides of the room were opened, and there was a professional looking monitor. The cables that were attached to the monitor split up and were attached on the exposed chest of the boy who’s lying on the bed. The boy’s head was also wearing the rather familiar silver circlet Asuna was familiar with—the AmuSphere.
Asuna forcefully gasped as she let out some warm air and was ready to shout—
A certain voice rang before Asuna’s did, causing her to almost tumble forward in surprise. She turned her neck to the right and found that the monitor was blocking a foldable chair beside the bed, and there was also a person sitting on it.
That person was wearing a white uniform, wearing a nurse’s hat and her hair tied into braids. Her face also had a rather trendy looking pair of glasses. She was a nurse. Thinking about it, Kikuoka did say that someone was by Kazuto’s side.
However, that person was actually a beauty of an unknown age, and she even bent forward and almost got onto the half-naked Kazuto. Asuna felt somewhat unhappy on seeing that, but the thought merely flashed through. The nurse who noticed Asuna walking into the room lifted her head and looked somewhat nervous.
“Ah, are you Yuuki-san? I heard that you’re coming. Please come here.”
The nurse said with a somewhat hoarse voice and then used her left hand to point beside the bed. Asuna ran over without her telling, nodded back and again looked at Kazuto’s face.
Of course, Kazuto’s eyes were closed. However, he wasn’t sleeping and neither was he conscious. The AmuSphere isolated his 5 senses from reality and took him away to a distant unique land. As the AmuSphere would receive all the muscle movement from the brain, his face and body wouldn’t be moving. Logically, that should be the case, but on seeing Kazuto’s face, Asuna immediately felt that his heart was rather unstable.
Asuna lifted her head up and asked the nurse. On hearing this, the nurse with the «Aki» nametag frowned and shook her head.
“Don’t worry, he’s not in physical danger. But the heart rate just jumped to 130 beats a minute just now…”
Asuna muttered and looked at the screen beside her. The liquid crystal display showed the wave patterns and the words [132 bpm]. The wave pattern in front of her was moving erratically.
It’s not rare for the heartbeat rate to increase while playing a VRMMO. While diving into the environment and fighting against monsters, many would be nervous and so their pulse would quicken. Or rather, this would be how they enjoy the game.
However—Kazuto was that Kirito. In the floating city of Aincrad, he was a solo player on the clearing team and would be the one who would brush close to death most often. How could he be so nervous in an ordinary game?
In fact, she had never seen Kirito look so frantic during the past year when they were playing ALO together.
—What in the world happened?
Asuna used her finger to rub away the sweat that appeared on Kazuto’s forehead and bit her lips tightly.
At this moment, Yui’s voice came from the handphone in her left hand.
“Mama, please watch the panel PC on the wall! I’ll connect it to the network channel «MMO Stream» live feed!”
On hearing this, Asuna looked up and found that there was a 40-inch monitor that’s on the wall near the edge of the bed. Yui may be using the handphone wireless function to connect to that computer as the originally offed-screen lit on its own and the browser went into full screen mode.
The image that appeared was exactly the same as how it was seen from the room in ALO.
At the top left hand corner, the large words Gun Gale Online were written there. On the side, there were the long and small words 'the 3rd Bullet of Bullet battle royale finals is being telecasted!'
On the right side of the screen were the namelist of the players. The one that took the largest space of the screen was the split channels that had multiple split camera images. But now, only two large windows were lined together.
The background of those two was the desert under the blueish-white moon. It seemed that two players were engaged in close ranged combat and the cameras were filming them from behind. The window on the left depicted a petite avatar with fully black uniform and flowing hair. He was holding a purple-blue lightsaber that was glowing, and his left hand was just hanging down. Also, they could see fresh red blood scattering from his left shoulder. The footer beside the avatar had the words that showed his name, [Kirito].
The impression the avatar gave was different from the «black swordsman» during SAO and the Spriggan in ALO as that slender back looked no different from a girl. However, the way he raised the sword and adjusted his center of gravity was showing that he was Kirito.
Watching the same visual from the other side of the bed, nurse Aki said in a troubled voice,
“Is that Kirigaya-kun’s avatar over there? So Kirigaya-kun who’s unconscious is controlling it now, right?”
“Yes. He’s fighting now…so the heart rate increased.”
Though Asuna answered this, there was something she couldn’t seem to explain clearly to nurse Aki. Kirito’s left shoulder had a severe wound—and his opponent was most likely another survivor of SAO and could have killed two players in GGO.
Asuna timidly turned to look at the right window.
Standing over there with his back facing the screen was that player who was wearing a mantle, which was what she expected. His back looked lifeless and full of holes, but Asuna knew that those who were completely used to the virtual world would have this posture. She held her breath and watched the small sharp object in the mantle guy’s right hand.
On first glance, she couldn’t help but cry out.
The mantle guy wasn’t holding the large sniper rifle he used on the metal bridge or the black handgun, but an ordinary thin and long metal rod—
No. it wasn’t just an ordinary metal rod. It started to thin from the base on, and was already as thick as a needle at the end. That was a sword. On first glance, it looked rather similar to the rapier Asuna was used to wielding, but in fact, it was a weapon that didn’t have a blade, one that could only be used to stab.
Asuna herself didn’t even realize that she was making a sound. Her distant memory started to ache like how that sword stabbed through. There was really a cadre amongst «Laughing Coffin» who was skilled in using this weapon. His name—his name was—
Of course, the mantle guy wasn’t using the name he used in SAO like Kirito. However, Asuna couldn’t help but look over at the avatar’s foot.
The displayed player name, was also in alphabets.
Asuna couldn’t read it out exactly immediately and could only say it in an interrupted manner,
“St…ster…ben? Was it a misspell of Steven…?”
“No…that's not it, mama.”
As Yui answered this, nurse Aki added ' it isn’t like that'. Asuna looked at her, and the nurse frowned her bewitching eyebrows before saying in an extremely tense expression,
“This is a German medical term. It’s read as…«Sterben».”
Asuna had never heard of this word before. Nurse Aki looked at her troubled expression, hesitated for a little bit and then said with a somewhat hoarse voice,
“It means…«death». It’s a common term in a hospital…when a patient just passes away…”
The hairs on Asuna’s arms and back immediately stood up. She then finally turned her eyes away from the screen to the face of the boy lying beside her.
At this moment, Asuna’s voice was trembling so much that she couldn’t even recognize it.
GGO was a game operation that was created from the completely free VRMMO support package «The Seed».
The Seed was a very versatile system, but even the operator couldn’t change its processing. In other words, it was a black box existence. Games operating after 3 months since the start would definitely be able to «convert» characters from all games with the On setting, and the «pain absorber» that could prevent giving players virtual pain or use misleads to erase the pain could only be adjusted, and couldn’t be turned off completely.
In other words, no matter how many times someone got shot in GGO—even if a hand or leg got blown away, the player wouldn’t even feel overwhelming pain or numbness.
Thus, the pain that’s on my left shoulder and the ice-pick like pain was just an imagination. No, the pain numbness mechanism had already removed this imagination, so this isn’t real pain. It’s just my memory, an awakening of a memory in another world, where I got stabbed by the same weapon in the same part.
About 5m away from me, the mantle guy—«Death Gun» was showing the sharp tip of the Estoc that was giving off a black glow and swaying like it was some rhythm. That guy could launch stabs without any preparatory movements in such a situation. It would be hard to dodge it if I view it as an ordinary sword.
That’s right. I once had the same thought when I was in the cave «Laughing Coffin» was in. Back then, I felt that the weapon this guy used was rather rare, but in that intense battle, I really never had the chance to talk to him.
About a year and a half later on, I finally could say to him what I couldn’t say back then.
“…That’s really a rare weapon. Or should I say…I didn’t know that GGO allows for metal swords.”
Then, Death Gun let out a hoarse laugh from the hood that was covering the head, and then said in an interrupted manner,
“To think, that you became so lazy, «Black Swordsman». A high level, «knife creation» skill and a «weapons creation» skill would be enough. The length and weight, mostly like that, that’s the limit.”
“…Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like I could create the sword I liked.”
Once I finished answering, the enemy again laughed,
“Like back then, you still want a high STR rated sword, right? That toy, in your hand, shouldn’t be rather useful.”
The lightsaber «Shadow Light» in my right hand let out a low moan, and couldn’t possibly like being called a toy. The moment that was said, it then let out a little burst of spark. I shrugged and said for my sword,
“It’s not some toy. I already thought of using this kind of weapon once. Also…”
I swung the lightsaber, letting it give a vibrating sound and then put the sword that was down below to the middle.
“A sword’s a sword. It’s enough if I can hack your HP to zero.”
“Ku, ku, ku, how awesome, huh? However, if you can.”
The red eyes that were deep inside the hood were flickering irregularly. The skull-faced metal mask seemed to laugh coldly.
“«Black swordsman», you’ve, breathed in, too much, of the, corroded, air of, the real world, that move just now, the slow, «Vorpal strike», just now, you would be disappointed, if the old you, saw that.”
“…Maybe, but you should be the same too, right? Or rather, do you still think that you’re still a member of «Laughing Coffin»?”
“Oh? So have you, remembered, so many things?”
Death Gun let out the sound of breathing as the metal rubbed against each other and moved his hands as if he was clapping. The rotten bandage that covered his right hand vaguely showed the tattoo of «Laughing Coffin» on the inside of the wrist.
“…Then you, should, be clear, about the, difference, between, me, and you. I’m, a real, red player, but you’re not. You killed, merely because, you, were driven, by fear, to survive. A coward, you are, without thinking, about, the meaning, to be, a killer, just wanting, to forget, about everything.”
I was immediately rendered speechless by what he said.
—Why? Why was he able to accurately say out my mental state? I had never interacted with this guy ever since the Laughing Coffin crusade until when we met again in the waiting dome.
—Don’t tell me…this guy really has some supernatural power? I thought that I saw through his killing methods. Am I thinking too highly of myself…?
I motivated myself and recovered my sight that was starting to distort. I could still maintain the tip of the lightsaber and prevent it from trembling, which itself can be said to be a miracle. If he sees that there’s an opening, Death Gun’s sudden stab that doesn’t have any preparatory movement will definitely stab through my chest.
I took a slight breath through my gritted teeth and then answered him softly,
“…Maybe. But you’re not a red player anymore. I know how you killed «Zekushiido», «Usujio Tarako», «Pale Rider» and another player that could have died in your hands. That’s not the power of the black handgun, and neither was it your own ability.”
“Oh? Then, say it, out then.”
Now’s the crucial moment to decide the winner.
I exerted all my strength into my eyes and stared tightly at the enemy—and then said out what I believed was the truth.
“…You used that metamaterial optical camouflage to read the addresses of all the BoB players from the monitor at the presidential building. You then got your accomplices to enter their rooms and get them to inject drugs while you shoot, making them look like they died of heart failure. That’s the true identity of Death Gun.”
This time, Death Gun finally went silent.
Those red eyes in the darkness that laid in the midst of the hood suddenly narrowed. I couldn’t really decide if my guess was correct from his response. I took the great killing intent he gave off and then continued,
“You may not know that, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs have the players’ names in SAO. Once they know your ex-character name, they can track your real name, your address and your modus operandi. Stop making anymore mistakes. Log out and hurry to the nearest police station to surrender.”
Even so—he remained silent.
Under the dry night wind, the surface of the mantle guy looked like some little organisms gathering as they continued to move. The live camera feed that was flickering with the REC sign seemed to be impatient as it increased its height. Death Gun and I had been facing each other for about 3 minutes. As the audience couldn’t hear our conversation, their expectations and tension should be at the climax. But right now, we’re only clashing with our tongues. Once Death Gun confirmed my guess, there wouldn’t be any meaning to continue the battle.
Several seconds later, ‘kukuku’, what came from under the hood was a chilly laughter that wasn’t any different from before.
“I see…so your imagination, is really interesting. However, that’s too bad, «Black Swordsman». You can’t, stop me. Because, you definitely, can’t, remember, my name!”
“Wha…what, why are you so confident now?”
“Ku, ku, you may, even forget, about the reason you forgot. Listen up…after that battle, just when we’re about to be sent to jail, I was about to tell you my name, but you said ‘I don’t want to know your name. There’s no need because I don’t want to meet you again’.”
I was immediately unable to say anything and could only widen my eyes. And Death Gun merely murmured as if he was mocking me.
“You don’t know, my name. So, you can’t remember. You, can’t do anything. You can only wait here, until you’re taken down by me, lying there awkwardly—and then, merely watch me, kill that girl…”
A certain object glided past the air and let out ripping sound, and then, a flash of silver cut past the darkness.
“You can’t, do anything!”
Death Gun’s right hand stabbed at me like a puppeteer.
I subconsciously used my lightsaber to block the stab that was aimed at my heart.
The energy blade let out a buzzing sound before entering the line of the Estoc. The blueish white plasma blade slashed directly into the metal side.
Logically, any metal sword would be sliced. The Shadow Light could even slice Sinon’s sniper bullet in half, so how could this thin metal rod block it? I immediately raised the saber up and got ready to slice it at the left shoulder of Death Gun—
In the end, an irritating sound rang inside my avatar.
I could only blankly widen my eyes and see that the metal rod that was glowing was stabbed straight inside me.
Only a part of Death Gun’s Estoc was burned, and there was no other damage. It could actually block the energy blade that had overwhelming power. Why—why is there such a thing?
Death Gun continued to step forward and stabbed the Estoc in deeper. My HP got reduced drastically with the movement of the metal. At this moment, I could only grit my teeth and use all the strength in my right foot to jump backwards. The enemy’s blade got away from me, and the special effect of the damage drew a red line.
I jumped back for about 2, 3 steps and again pulled my distance away from Death Gun. In the end, he moved his mouth like he wanted to lick the blade.
“…Ku, ku. This guy’s, material, is the, highest grade, metal, that could be, obtained, in, this game. I heard, that, it’s a galactic, warship, armor plate. Ku ku, ku…”
Then, Death Gun didn’t seem like he wanted to speak up as he flipped the mantle and attacked me. His right hand went at an invisible speed as he drew numerous afterimages in the sky. He had never used this continuous stabbing attack up till now. This thrust is a high-level sword skill «Star Splash», an 8-straight thrust attack—
The lightsaber in my hand couldn’t block the attack, and I couldn’t dodge it at will as it was sand below me. The sharp needle then continued to stab into my body.
Sinon tried her best to suppress the shout that was about to come out of her throat and the impulse to squeeze the finger at the trigger.
On the battlefield that’s about 700m away, the special effects showed damage that came from the black-clothed swordsman. Even though Sinon didn’t touch any weapon other than a gun, but even she could tell how skilled Death Gun’s sword techniques were when he was able to injure Kirito. She held her breath, thinking whether the attack just now would have worn out his HP. Luckily, Kirito himself didn’t have the DEAD tag on him. He kicked hard on the sand, did a backflip and used that to gain a rather large distance from Death Gun.
However, Death Gun himself didn’t seem to want to let Kirito have a chance to regroup himself. He flipped his hood and closed the distance between the two of them like a phantom. The automatic-control cameras continued to increase in numbers like they knew that a winner was about to be decided. Soon, about 10 cameras surrounded them and caused the corner in the desert to look like an arena.
If the Hecate’s scope was still there, she could have sniped to cover Kirito, but in this distance, even Sinon couldn’t easily use her naked eye to shrink the reticule. She could even mishit Kirito accidentally if she attacked randomly.
—Hang in there. Do your best, Kirito!
Sinon forgot that she was also in danger in the real world as she was in a high-kneel position on the rocky hill, clenching her fists as she prayed this.
Kirito once killed a few players to protect himself and a few others in the infamous death game «Sword Art Online». This experience could be said to be rather similar to the burden Shino bore. Thus, his troubles should be similar to Shino to a certain extent.
Kirito said that he couldn’t overcome these painful memories and sealed them in a corner of his mind, before saying that he could only face them from today onwards.
He was following what he just said as he got ready to personally stop the criminal who brought darkness from SAO—Death Gun.
But Kirito could do that not because he was weak. He just told himself to be stronger. No matter how much he felt troubled or anguished, he had to accept his weakness. That’s because he was the one who continued to persist on looking forward under such a situation. Strength—wasn’t about the outcome, but about the process of moving towards a certain goal.
—I want to talk to you. To tell you what I felt and what I discovered.
—Is there anything I could help with? If I go close to them, it would be the opposite effect. Once I’m aimed at by the Blackstar, Kirito will be unable to do anything. Even so, I’m just trying my luck if I snipe without a scope. The range of the support weapon MP7 isn’t completely enough. Is there…there any way I could help…
Momentairly, Sinon's whole body shook.
There was. In this situation, there was a way for her to take the initiative and «attack». She didn’t know how effective it would be—but there’s a value in trying.
Sinon took a deep breath, gritted her teeth hard and looked at the battle that’s far away.
Asuna covered her mouth just when she was about to scream out.
There wasn’t any lighting special effects, but the move Death Gun used was undoubtedly the 8-strike thrust «Star Splash». That was a high-level skill like Asuna the «Flash» was skilled with in the past. Basically, this was a sword technique of a «Rapier», but as it didn’t include any hacking or slashing, it could also be done with the «Estoc» that was derived from the Rapier.
The flat screen on the wall showed Kirito continued to be thrusted all over his body with the continuous stab attacks as he jumped back to pull his distance. However, on the right side of the screen, the mantle guy moved in a mysterious gliding like action and pursued him. Kirito continued to struggle with the Estoc that was surrounding him.
The monitoring device beside Asuna started to let out an urgent electronic sound, causing her to glance aside. Kazuto’s heart rate had already risen to 160 bpm. Asuna forced herself to look away from the screen and looked at the face of Kazuto who was lying on the bed.
He was sweating a lot, and he looked to be in pain. The mouth that was slightly opened was gasping. Nurse Aki noticed him to be like this, and the eyes behind the spectacles showed a worried expression.
“…I told him to take lots of water before he dived in…but it’s now more than 4 hours. There will be danger of dehydration if this continued. Can’t we log him out first…?”
On hearing the nurse’s words, Asuna could only bite her lips tightly and said,
“Kirito-kun can’t hear anything we say here…and he’s taking part in a PvP tournament. I don’t know how effective the log out system would be…”
In ALO, to prevent the players from deliberately «disconnecting » when they were in a bad situation— if this situation happened in a VRMMO tournament, the grounds will be switched—and they will be prevented from logging out for a while.
“…But the AmuSphere will note the blood flow in the brain. If it ends up damaging the body, it should be automatically logged out…”
Once Asuna said that, the nurse nodded her head and said that,
“I know. We’ll just observe for a while. He’s not a patient, so I don’t think there’s a need to inject fluids into him.”
Asuna’s voice became stiff. Wouldn’t it be like the time during SAO if he had to go on a drip.
No—there’s something completely different from that. The thing was that Kazuto wasn’t wearing the Nerve Gear that had a death trap in it, but the AmuSphere with a safety configuration. Thus, even if Asuna forcefully removed the silver circlet on Kazuto’s head, there shouldn’t be any danger posed to him. Kirito would only disappear from the desert that’s being telecasted on the wall and return back to the bed—in other words, return to Asuna's side.
That terrifying enemy called «Sterben» shall never touch Kazuto again.
Asuna tried her best to hold back this urge.
Kirito/Kazuto was now betting his pride as a swordsman to fight hard, and Asuna obviously couldn’t stop him.
But, was—wasn’t there anything she could do? She’s right beside him, but was there no way she could pass any message to him who’s fighting in the other world?
“Mama, your hand…”
Suddenly, a soft voice came from the handphone. It was Yui’s.
“Please hold onto papa’s hand. The AmuSphere can’t stop senses from the outside world like Nerve Gear. Papa should be able to feel mama’s warmth. I can’t touch physical objects…but please bring…mine too…”
Yui’s voice was trembling by the time she spoke till the end. Asuna herself was shaken up hard inside as she forcefully shook her head and answered,
“No…papa will definitely feel Yui’s hands. Let’s cheer for papa…cheer for Kirito-kun!”
As she said that, she placed her handphone into Kazuto’s limp left hand and used both her hands to cup it.
The patient’s room was a little warm, but Kazuto’s hand was as cold as an ice block. The automatic log-out function may happen if she held it too hard, so Asuna grasped Kazuto with her hands lightly, exerting all her warmth and will, hoping to make his hand go warm.
Asuna wasn’t looking at the live telecast anymore as she merely closed her eyes and continued to pray.
—Do your best, Kirito-kun. For all that you believe in. I shall be by your side always. Always protecting you from behind, supporting you.
Kazuto’s icy cold left hand jerked slightly, but definitely.
The enemy was really strong.
Whether it’s in terms of speed, balance or striking moment, they were all flawless. There were few swordsmen who were so skilled on the clearing team.
But why did it become like this? This cadre of «Laughing Coffin» who’s controlling the character «Death Gun» couldn’t see my swords during the crusade. I spent quick work and reduced his HP to half, causing him to retreat to the back lines.
Looking at things, I guess the half year where he was imprisoned in Black Iron prison caused this guy to change drastically. The one who thoroughly crushed Laughing Coffin was one of the members on the clearing team, me—and he used revenge against us as motivation to work hard on his swordsmanship. Even if he couldn’t gain money and experience, repeated training of sword skills could allow him to improve. This guy may have trained on the same movements hundreds or thousands of times in the dark and cold prison. The sword technique that an Estoc could use was firmly ingrained into this guy’s senses.
I may not lose to him in terms of the number of times I swung the sword, but the sword in my hand was the lightsaber that’s a lot lighter than my old swords, and the touch feels completely different from before. It’s easy to use the one-strike «Vorpal Strike», but it’ll be difficult to use continuous moves. Also, Death Gun probably won’t allow any openings for me to use some huge attack. He continued to remain close and kept using all sorts of varying thrust attacks. I tried my best to dodge them, but the sharp tip of the Estoc still pierced through parts of my body from time to time and slowly drained my HP. I think I have only about 30% left.
Even as my HP’s being worn down by that sharp sword, Death Gun can’t really kill me if he used that black handgun to shoot me. I didn’t input my name and address at the machine in the presidential estate, so nobody could find my residence.
Was I too reliant—in a «safe feeling»? My eyes were completely covered by the power of the black handgun, which caused me to not look at the user’s true ability. If that’s the case, it’s obvious that I would be in such a tight spot. The enemy was still in that death game, and I left that place a long time ago, whether it was my body or my heart.
Maybe it was too late that I noticed it.
However, I still wouldn’t allow myself to lose to him like that. My body in the real world shouldn’t have any damage, but like what that guy just said, Sinon, who’s waiting on the rocky hill behind me was already in the range of that black gun. If I get taken down now, Death Gun will attack Sinon. Once she’s hit in battle by a bullet from that black handgun, Death Gun’s accomplice will kill Sinon in the real world.
One moment. Just one moment.
I just need him to stop this one series of attacks for the time being.
If it’s the power of the weapon, the lightsaber far exceeds that of the extremely thin Estoc. Once I can accurately hit him in one hit, I believe I can wear Death Gun’s HP down to zero. However, I just couldn’t create this opening. The half-hearted attempts will definitely not work, the enemy’s Estoc could even break through the energy blade of the lightsaber, which means I couldn’t create an opening by swinging hard in a sword duel. What should I do? What should I do—
Kyu kyu kyu. With those deep sounds, the last strike of three consecutive hits grazed my face on the right, and my HP finally went red.
The special effect that flowed out of my face dyed my vision red.
Maybe he thought that he was winning as Death Gun’s red eyes were glowing even redder.
The Estoc user of the red—what was originally «Laughing Coffin» chose red eyes too. My consciousness shook, and cracks appeared in the thick walls of my memory.
That’s right…I did refuse to know this guy’s name. I didn’t want to get involved with this again. I just wanted to hurry up and forget that night that was full of madness, blood, screams and curses.
But I couldn’t do that.
I didn’t forget anything at all. I just pretended to forget, just lied to myself. I merely sealed that part of my memory away, trying to convince my brain that I didn’t see the fact that was there…
Death Gun dragged his Estoc back to deal me the final blow. The cold glow that remained on its tip caused that sealed fragment of my memory to appear.
Before we went on the crusade, we were gathered at the headquarters of the «Holy Dragon Alliance» guild for our last meeting.
During the meeting, we again explained the member information regarding the members of «Laughing Coffin». That included the battle abilities of their leader «PoH» and his cadres’ weapons, skills, appearances—and names.
Of course, we did mention that two of them liked to use their colors. One of them was black, the guy who liked to use a poisoned dagger. His name was…yes, «Johnny Black». Klein immediately gave a serious look after hearing it, and specially told me ‘don’t fight with this guy. Or else we won’t know who to protect’.
The other person was red. However, he wasn’t dressed completely in red. This Estoc user merely had his eyes and hair red, and had a reverse cross sign dyed on his grey helmet. His colors and the picture used looked like the «Knights of the Blood» , and caused the sub-leader of the KoB, Asuna the «Flash» to give an irritated look. I faced this guy right from the start. As he got ready to retreat, he left these words ‘I’ll, definitely, kill you later’, and intended to report his name. It was this guy.
One and a half years later, this guy broke the wall of the other world and appeared in front of me. Like what he declared before, this mantle guy got ready to stab through me with the Estoc—«Death Gun» was that guy. His name was—
The word that came from my mouth caused the metal that was about to pierce through my heart to deviate course.
I ignored the slightly stabbed feeling of the sword tip that was about to be pulled back and continued,
“«Red-eyed XaXa». That’s your name.”
Next—a few things happened in front of my eyes.
A red line suddenly went into the center of Death Gun’s hood from behind me.
That wasn’t a bullet—just a simple bullet line. It was Sinon. I immediately understood her intention. This was an attack of hers that used the bullet line. It was the final hit that was based on her experience, inspiration and will to fight. The phantom bullet that she fired.
Death Gun seemed like a beast who felt a powerful carnivore’s killing intent and instinctively jumped back.
A low growl came from below the skull-head mask. He should have realize that Sinon couldn’t possibly risk shooting at me in case of a mishit, but he wavered after I called his name, causing his judgment to be slowed. Thus, he dodged automatically as if he reacted to a phantom bullet.
This was the last chance. The bullet line won’t work anymore. I can’t waste this chance Sinon gave me. I stepped in front and raced after Death Gun.
Ah—damn it. His profile disappeared. It was the «Optical Camouflage». I could still find him based on the footprints he left on the ground, but now the lightsaber couldn’t deal a fatal blow to him. If I can’t kill him in one hit, my HP will become zero once I’m countered.
At this moment, there was something more shocking that happened.
My left hand started moving as if it was guided by someone. The icy hand that was tense due to nervousness—was surrounded by a certain familiar pair of warm hands that guided me. My left hand immediately moved and then gripped onto something—the second weapon that even I forgot about, the «FiveSeven handgun». As my hand felt the weight that was pulled out of my gun pouch, a certain circuit in my consciousness suddenly flared.
I roared and stepped forward. I then spun my left side back forward like a bullet.
Death Gun’s profile was about to vanish, and I swayed my profile before swinging my left hand.
A two-handed sword skill would normally have the sword in the left hand swing up from near the ground to break the enemy’s defenses. However, what’s in my hand wasn’t a sword but a handgun. However, who said that I couldn’t use sword techniques with a gun? I used the impression I had of swinging the left sword up and continued to squeeze the trigger.
The bullet that was flying up continued to hit the object that was about to become invisible and shone sparks intensely in the air. Death Gun’s body finally appeared in the midst of the flash. I faced the avatar whose Optical Camouflage was being destroyed—
And swung the lightsaber in my right hand in a clockwise direction with motion and weight.
This was the «Double Circular» twin-swords assault skill.
The energy blade sliced deep into Death Gun’s right shoulder and then sliced in diagonally before leaving from his left abdomen. At this moment, the «black handgun» that was in his gun pouch was sliced in half by the lightsaber, and after giving off a bright orange flash, it exploded.
The avatar that was sliced in half, the ripped mantle and the flame arc floated under the blueish-white sky.
After a long flight—
Dodou, two consecutive deep sounds rang, and Death Gun’s upper and lower bodies landed somewhere away from each other. After a while, the metal needle-like thing—the Estoc was stabbed onto the ground between both parts of the body.
At this moment, while I was kneeling on the ground on one leg, I heard a weak voice,
“…It’s not, over…that person…won’t let…you…end this…”
However, the [DEAD] tag that appeared between the sliced body caused this player Death Gun to stop completely and unable to say anything. I slowly got up, lowered my head and watched the «corpse» on the ground.
Having lost the mantle that would have represented himself, there was nothing that represented Death Gun except for that skull mask. I looked at the goggles that had lost their glow and silently answered,
“No…it’s over, XaXa. Your accomplices will be found. The killing acts of «Laughing Coffin» have come to an end.”
I then turned around and dragged my battered body west.
After walking for about a few hundred steps, hundreds of meters away, my lowered sight finally saw a pair of small feet wearing small boots, and I looked up.
The sniper girl was standing there. She was holding that large sniper rifle that lost its scope, giving a steady smile.
Sinon looked like she had something to say as she opened her mouth, but for an instant, she didn’t know what to say.
Even she didn’t know what sort of emotion she had in her heart now. There was merely a rising burning feeling up her chest that caused her to hug the Hecate in her arms tightly.
Seeing Sinon standing blankly down there, Kirito showed a calm smile for the first time. He placed the FiveSeven handgun in his hand back into the holster and clenched his fist before reaching it out to Sinon.
And Sinon raised her right fist to tap his fist lightly.
The lightsaber warrior muttered simply and then looked up. Sinon then followed him and looked up as well.
The clouds have parted unknowingly, and the stars in the sky were showing their shine. Sinon then remembered that this was the first time she saw stars in this world.
The skies in GGO were often covered by thick clouds because of past wars. The daytime here were always of depressing sunset colors, and even the night would have bloodstained-like red.
But as prophesized by the NPC elder on the streets, once the toxic on the land is purified and returned back to white sand, the clouds shall disappear, and the shine of the stars and the spaceships would return to the sky. Of course, no people would believe such ordinary words, but maybe this desert wasn’t just a wilderness for players to wander in, but may even be a sacred land far away in the distant future.
Sinon immediately couldn’t say anything as she looked up at the sparkling group of lights in the clear night sky, and the remaining lights of the spaceships that looked like rivers.
Soon after, Kirito said,
“…It’s about time to end this tournament. The audience may be sick of waiting.”
“…Yeah, that’s right.”
The blue camera feeds that covered the entire sky were flickering with the REC logos anxiously. Kirito may have noticed it as he immediately gave a wry smile. However, he immediately regained his original look, went closer and whispered,
“…The danger of this tournament’s finally over. Death Gun was taken down, so the accomplice who’s preparing to kill you should have left. Their aim should be to create the rumor that «those players who were shot by that black handgun in GGO will die in the real world», so they probably won’t kill people at random. Logically, you shouldn’t be in any danger when you log out…but you better call the police for safety reasons.”
“…How do I explain everything to 110? They probably won’t believe me if I said that someone plotted to kill inside and outside a VRMMO, right?”
After hearing Sinon’s question, Kirito was stumped for a bit. However, he immediately nodded and said,
“You’re right…my associate is sort of a civil servant, so we can get him to help…but I can’t just ask for your address and name…”
At this moment, the lightsaber warrior hesitated and looked away. Of course, he knew how rude it would be to ask for someone else’s real identity in a VRMMO.
However, Sinon thought for a while and then said,
“Alright. Let me tell you.”
“I just feel that there’s no need to worry about this anymore. Besides… I already took the initiative to tell you my past. I've never done it before…”
After hearing her mutter, Kirito widened his eyes, but immediately nodded his head.
“That’s true…speaking of which, I was the same too…”
If they continued to drag on like this, Sinon may end up saying ‘never mind’ because of her fearful nature. Thus, she slung the Hecate behind her shoulder and immediately stepped forward. She placed her lips near Kirito’s ears and said in a voice nobody else could hear,
“My name is—Asada Shino. The address is Tokyo District, Bunkyo, Yushima, Yonchome…”
As she finished saying her apartment’s name and room number, Kirito immediately answered softly in surprise,
“Yushima? That’s a coincidence…I dived in from Ochinomizu in Chiyoda.”
“Eh...ehhh!? Isn’t that just nearby?”
Now even Sinon was shocked and nearly squealed out. Ochinomizu and Sinon’s apartment were just separated from the Kasuga subway and the Kuramae subway. At this moment, Kirito suddenly widened his eyes, let out an ‘um…’ before continuing,
“Then I’ll just log out and go off to find you…”
Sinon nearly said ‘are you willing to come by’, but shut up at the last moment, coughed dryly a few times and corrected herself,
“Nah…no need. There’s a reliable friend nearby…”
Spiegel, also known as Shinkawa Kyouji, who invited Sinon to this world was the second son of a practitioner. His house was in Hongoume right beside hers. He would come over once she gave him a call. Speaking of which, he may have seen the footage of this tournament from the beginning to the end, so she had to find an excuse as to why she got close with Kirito a few times.
“…And that guy’s a doctor’s kid, so he can take care of me if there’s a need.”
To hide any embarrassment and end off, Kirito gave a serious look and answered,
“Oi, it’ll be bad if something really happened. But I guess it’s alright if you say that…I’ll request my associate after I log out to check with the police. No matter how late, it should take 15…no, 10 minutes. The police will be at your house in 10 minutes.”
“OK, I got it. It’ll be great if we can catch the accomplice…”
Seeing the still wary Kirito nod his head, Sinon stared at him.
“Forget about that. Are you one to run away after hearing my personal information?”
“Eh, ah…so, sorry. My name’s Kirigaya Kazuto. I dived in from Ochinomizu, but my house’s at Kawagoe city.”
The lightsaber warrior looked panicked as he hurriedly reported his data. Sinon murmured for a while and then chuckled at this non-urgent situation.
“Kirigaya Kazuto. So that’s why you’re called Kirito, right? That’s a really simple naming.”
“Wha…what right do you have to say that to me!?”
Both of them smiled. Kirito again looked at the camera above his head and then changed his tone,
“…We can only log out by putting BoB to an end…how about it, Sinon? Do we fight it out like yesterday?”
After hearing his question, Sinon found that her strong desire to have a rematch with Kirito was forgotten completely. She stared at this pretty face in front of her and then said,
“…Strength’s not an outcome…but a process of working hard…”
“Eh? What are you saying?”
“Un, it’s nothing—I say, you’re completely wounded all over now, right? There’s nothing to be proud about winning against you. Let’s just leave this for the next BoB tournament.”
The moment Sinon finished, Kirito raised his eyebrows in shock, but immediately gave a wry smile.
“Are you saying that I can’t convert back to my old game before the 4th tournament?”
“You can convert back and then convert here again, but don’t think that you can beat me the next time…then, it’s time to end the third tournament.”
“How do we do this? This is a battle royale, so there should be a winner decided when one person’s HP is zero, right?”
“It’s rare, but I heard that the first BoB in North America was won by two people. The reason was that the person who should have won accidentally got an underhanded trick called «Gift Grenade».”
“Gift Grenade? What’s that?”
“The losing player will throw a grenade to drag the enemy down—oh, here, this is for you.”
Sinon reached her hand into her pouch and then pulled out a black ball object onto Kirito’s right hand that reached out in reflex. She then set the countdown of the fruit-like grenade to 5 seconds.
This was the plasma grenade she got after she checked that Kirito defeated Death Gun and ran to Yamikaze on the west side of the rocky hill. At that moment, Sinon had already decided to use this to end this tournament.
Finally realizing what was placed in his hand, Kirito widened his eyes and got ready to throw it away instinctively.
To prevent him from doing this, Sinon wrapped both arms behind Kirito’s back and held his hands in.
Soon after, an abnormally dazzling flash appeared between the two avatars, engulfing the wryly smiling Kirito and the smiling Sinon into pure whiteness.
The time taken for the tournament was 2 hours, 4 minutes and 37 seconds.
The 3rd Bullet of Bullets battle royale finals ended.
The result—[Sinon] and [Kirito] won at the same time.
- Japanese Police hotline, like 911
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