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£jwojjclfi\r1: Online Alterna tive 
( tumOa le Online I J 
Squad Jam 


U KEIICHI SIGSAWA 


'(yT.b/mmm 


&irs nyu; m 


REKI KAWAHARA 


sworn ah: lliiiii 

am 


native 


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^ CT^-.~ _■ x. ■ 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 - Squad Jam 


Prologue 

"Oh right, LLENN-chan." 

"What iis it? Pito-san?" 

"Have you read the newsletter about the opening of a tournament called 
«Squad Jam »? It came this morning." 

".Squid., jam ?" 

"Uwa! Don't imagine weird stuff!" 

"But, it's like ika no shiokara 1 , so to speak.isn't it?" 

"Well., yeah. Maybe." 

"I really like it! So, let's go eat a steamy hot meal together!" 

"I'll have some snacks that go with sake. If I had to pick. I'd prefer 
shuto 2 ." 

"Shuto is good! Now I want to steal it from you!" 

"Hey you., if memory serves me right, you're a minor in the real 

world, right?" 

"Of course I don't drink sake. But, I do like the snacks. Whenever my 


1 Ika is Japanese for "squid" while "shiokara" is a food in Japanese cuisine made from various marine animals 
that consists of small pieces of meat in a brown viscous paste of the animal's heavily salted, fermented viscera 
(internal organs). 

2 Another Japanese seafood dish. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuto 


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dad and big brothers drink sake, I always turn up." 

"I see.You have several big brothers, huh. You're exposing your RL 

details again, LLENN-chan." 

"Ah." 

"Well, you don't have to worry about me, but you have to be careful 
with what you say. Especially when you're a girl like us. There are 
plenty of guys who collect small tidbits for the sake of collecting, 
sometimes tricking someone into giving away personal information, 
then deducing one's RL identity by making use of a net search engine." 

"I'll be careful.Thank you." 

"And here you go with keigo again 3 ! You don't need them! In this 
world, everyone is the same! Stop it! Time to stop! Stop! 

"Roger! Pito-san!" 

"Good. — Hey, we were supposed to be talking about a game 
tournament! What's worse, did we, two girls, really need to talk about 
ika no shiokara? And what's even worse, in a virtual online game\" 

"Yeah, indeed." 

"And what's even more worse, in a desert while carrying guns." 

"That really is strange, huh." 


3 Keigo mm) is Japanese for "honorific speech". This can mean anything from turning all verbs to the polite 
(masu) form or using the copula "CT (desu) to special words etc. In this case, LLENN added "gozaimasu" to 
her thanks. In most other cases, she uses the masu form of the verbs instead of the plain form and this 
irritated Pitohui. 


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There were two girls in a desert of rocks and sand. 

It was a world where the sky was covered by yellow, heavy clouds to 
such an extent that the sun could not be seen. There was no wind, so 
there was no movement, but a dully shining, distant thunder made an 
ominous roar. 

The ground consisted of light brown sand, stones of various sizes that 
were becoming sand and rocks that continued to make those stones. 
Whichever way one looked, groups of skyscrapers turned to ruins and 
diagonally inclined could be seen standing in a line. 

The two were sitting in a horizontal line with their legs stretched out in 
the shade of rocks that were the size of automobiles, in a place where no 
other word was more appropriate to describe it than the word "savage". 

"So., what is that "Sq -something"?" 

"That's a good question!" 

"No no, that's what you were telling me about earlier." 

"Oh did I? I don't remember." 

"Yare yare 4 , are you an obaa-san IRL, Pito-san?" 

"Oh! Crap!" 

As if they were in a weekend family restaurant, they continued their 
noisy, friendly chat. But at that place, there was no one to complain no 
matter how loud their conversation got. 


4 Yare yare is a Japanese exclamation of relief or disappointment. 


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One of the two among them, 

"No, it's not like I'm hiding anything, well-, I am hiding my RL age, 

but I'm not that old, okay? Of course. I'm not a minor nor pichipichi 5 like 
you, LLENN-chan." 

"Pito-san."Pichipichi" is already an obsolete word, isn't it? At least, 

there's no one who would use it in university." 

"Aha, LLENN-chan, you are currently a student! I thought so before, but 
now I'm sure of it! Another thing confirmed!" 

"Craaaaaap!" 

Rather than being a woman, the person called "LLENN-chan" a while 
ago was a young gir... a child older than a young girl. 

A child entirely in pink. 

Although it was pink, it wasn't the lovely "peach-pink", but rather a 
dusky -pink, mixed with light brown to tone down the brightness. 

She had a slender, much less than 150 cm tall body. The slightly rounded 
face had big pupils lined up and reduced the age of her appearance even 
more. 

Her hair was a somewhat dark-tawny, boyish short cut. On top, she wore 
a knit cap. 

Pink was the colour of her garments. Lrom top to bottom, she was 
dressed in a common combat uniform. Namely, trousers that resembled 
cargo pants and a long-sleeved combat shirt. Long and narrow pouches 

5 A word that means "youthful, energetic" etc. and I didn't know of a word in English that would mean the 
same and would feel out-dated. 


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were equipped on both sides of her thighs. As for her feet, she wore high 
laced short boots. 

"Really, you have to be careful. Don't you get it?" 

"Pito-san, you're just too good of a smooth talker! You, swindler!" 
"Hmm, true." 

"Wha? I'm not praising you, y'know?" 

"I see. Maybe, start doing it?" 

"Yeah. I don't plan to do that either, y'know?" 

"Huh, I'm the "type that improves upon praise" though." 

"Pito-saan, that's not a line that you should say yourself, is it?" 

The other person, the one called "Pito-san" a while back, was a tough 
woman clad in black. 

She was much older, and she looked like she was in her late twenties. 

She had brown skin and a slender face with sharp features. Although she 
was a beautiful woman, the brick-coloured, geometric-figured tattoo 
turning and extending from her cheeks to the nape of her neck created a 
'hard to approach' atmosphere. 

She was tall, her height easily exceeding 175 cm. Her black hair was 
casually tied into ponytails at a high position. 

Her garments appeared to be mostly black with dark blue patches. 


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Although the sharp lines of her body were clear, her figure entirely 
disregarded feminine charm. Thanks to her brawn, anyone seeing her 
sharp silhouette would agree that she was more like an android than 
human. 

She wore black boots. A military equipment belt, with a long magazine 
pouch attached from her sides to her back, was wrapped around her 
waist 

And so, there was "a thing" that they had in common. 

A gun. 

The gun that the pink girl held was a «P90», produced by a Belgian 
company named FN Herstal (FN). It was around 50 cm long. It was an 
atypical weapon that had a hard-to-distinguish grip, looking like it was a 
rectangular box, which had a part of it carved out to form a hole. 

The magazine was made out of clear plastic and had visible bullets 
attached atop the centre of the gun. It contained 50 bullets each. 
Excluding machine guns, it was a magazine with the largest capacity. 

The P90, just like her clothes, was painted in darkened pink. Coupled 
with its atypical appearance, at a glance the gun looked as if it was a toy. 
Holding it with her small body, she even looked like a child who 
received a Christmas present with flashy wrapping paper. 

As for the other one, an assault rifle -in other words, a military-use 

automatic rifle, leaning on a rock, was placed next to the black beauty. 

It was one of the most famous guns in the world, the Russian-made 
«AK-47». The gun was equipped with a curved magazine that could fire 
30 7.62x39 mm bullets. 


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"At any rate, praising others is the basis of popularity techniques, 
LLENN-chan." 

"I-it's not like I want to be popular!" 

"Eh, you don't want a girlfriend?" 

"No I don't. Since I am a girl." 

"You shouldn't worry about minor details like whether your partner is a 
man or a woman." 

"That's the most important thing in my opinion." 

Just as it seemed that the noisy chatter between the black beauty and the 

pink girl would continue ad infinitum-a muffled sound of an 

explosion erupted in this world. 

As soon as they felt the vibrations of the ground, the two stopped their 
idle talk, shouting: 

"The trap sprung" "The trap sprung" 

They then quickly stood up. The black beauty seized her AK-47 and the 
pink girl released the P90 that she held. 

"Let's get him!" "Let's get him!" 

Once again, the two cheerfully sputtered such boisterous remarks in 
unison, then split left and right and jumped out of the shade of the rock 
that they were hiding behind. 

At the sand plains about 50 metres away, the cloud of sand that soared 
up due to the explosion of a bomb, which was set up underground, was 


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settling down. As there was no wind, it was clearing up slowly. 

Inside the cloud, their opponent that got caught in the trap-a 

monster, which was a giant earthworm that was 40 cm wide with an 
overall length of around 5 metres, was raging and writhing by striking 
the ground as a red light gleamed from various parts of its body. 

"I'll support you! Unleash all of your bullets at it! 

The black beauty who ran 10 metres stopped as she gave her instructions, 
then pressed her AK-47 to her right shoulder and set up to fire. 

"Roger!" 

The pink girl at once hastened the speed of her run. 

The AK-47 roared. The gunshots made the air vibrate. 

The 7.62x39 mm bullets unleashed in rhythmical semi-auto were absorbed 
by the giant raging earthworm. 

Empty, dull green shells that were forced out of the gun's right side fell 

onto the sand and bounced back slightly-and then the shells became 

small grains of light and dispersed, disappearing from this world. 

At a speed that matched that of the bullets soaring right next to her, 

"Yaa!" 

With her P90 set to her right shoulder and her body inclined forward, 
the girl rushed forward with her small body. And then discharged in full 
auto. 

The consecutive, drum ro//-like gunshots joined the rhythmic beats of the 


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AK-47. 


5.7x28 mm bullets were launched out of the P90's muzzle and they made 
successive holes in the giant earthworm's body. 

With its body riddled with bullets, the giant earthworm opened its 
mouth in a such a way that it looked like its head had split in two. And 
then, it gave an ominous roar. 

"Tail attack incoming!", the black beauty stopped discharging her AK-47 
and shouted. 

"Roger!", the pink girl shouted in return, but even so, she continued 
charging. Her left hand released the P90, extended to the poach on her 
left thigh, went inside it and grabbed a new magazine. 

The giant earthworm made a grand undulating motion, faced the pink 
girl who was closing in and waved its tail like a whip. 

"Ho!" 

The pink girl jumped, kicking up sand with her feet. She flew until she 
reached a sufficient height of 2 metres. 

Above the space that the giant earthworm's tail had cut through, the 
pink girl exchanged her magazines. She bravely threw away the magazine 
with 8 bullets remaining and, with a machine-like speed, loaded in a 
new one. 

"Ya!" 

And so, just as she easily landed on the sandy soil, she faced the giant 
earthworm at her feet, and while turning the muzzle of her P90 left and 
right, as if she was sweeping with a broom, she unleashed the rapid fire 


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of her full auto on the worm without mercy. 

3 seconds later, more holes were opened throughout the monster 
earthworm's body, with red light gushing out of them, and- 

It turned in small fragments of light and was eliminated without a trace. 


"Hmm, when we were in the middle of setting up for an ambush. 

what were we talking about?" 

The black beauty asked. The pink girl answered with an amazed 
expression. 

"Something about squids and tournaments, right? Pito-san, you start 
saying something and then forget what you were saying shortly after." 

Under the muddled and ominously wriggling sky, the two used their 
slings to put their respective weapons onto their shoulders, and leisurely 
walked through the desert. If the danger of the savage environment was 
overlooked, the scene would look just like a casual stroll of a parent and 
child. 

"Oh right right. But should I remember that you, LLENN-chan, have 
elder brothers and are a female college student?" 

i k a 

"Yeah, forget that.-So, what about squids?", asked the pink girl as 

they continued their stroll through the desert. 

"Ika is squid. While I used- squad. Understand? LLENN-chan, are 


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you a rikei 6 ? Which course?" 

"Huh? Mine is., well, it's fine." 

"Oh, you didn't fall for it. You've learnt well, huh. Onee-san is glad." 
"Returning to the topic, what's a squad ?" 

"In English, it means "a group" or "a team". Speaking about the army, 
there are subdivisions like companies or platoons, right? A squad is the 
smallest unit. It seems to be formed from around ten people." 

"Hmmm.And what about jam?" 

"It's spelled as J, A, M, and although it may mean the thing that you use 
on pastries, it originally meant "tightly crowded". If I said that 'traffic 
jam' means 'traffic congestion', you should understand it." 

"Yeah, I understand. A jam is also when poor operation of a gun causes 
empty shells and bullets to block it, right?" 

"Yep. Maybe I should have said that first." 

"And so., "squads jumbled together"?" 

"That's right. In other words-" 

"In other words?" 


6 In Japanese high schools, the students must choose one of the two courses: bunkei ( humanities, social 
sciences and fine arts) or rikei (S^, science, maths). The chosen course determines the number of lessons 
the student will have on a given subject. A student who chose the rikei course would have fewer English 
lessons. 


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"A Squad Jam is a battle royale kind of tournament in «Gun Gale 
Online» that pits small teams against each other 


Chapter 1 - Karen's Gloom 

When Kohiruimaki Karen returned to the real world- 

The thin digital radio clock hanging on the wall displayed 18th January 
2026; 17:49. 

It was a room of an apartment house 7 with no one else in it. The six jou 8 
bedroom, which had a sliding door connecting it to the ten jou living room, 
was a spacious room. The sun had set on the other side of the window, 
so it was dark, and an LED light was used as a pale night light. 

The wallpapers were all of a composed white colour. There was a 
shaggy, cream- coloured carpet laid on the living room floor, and there 
was a largish table with very short legs, and some cushions at the centre 
of the carpet. A large mirror was placed in a corner of the room. 

Textbooks and reference books were neatly lined up by subject on the 
bookshelves along the walls. It was an orderly, tidy room that gave the 
impression that she was the lord of the house. 

With the sliding door currently open, the living room and bedroom were 
integrated, and a wooden low bed was placed in this integrated room. A 
wide wardrobe was placed along the wall, opposite the window. 

Karen raised the upper half of her body from the bed. She then took off 

the machine that carried the five senses into a game world-the 

«AmuSphere», and then carefully placed it on the right side of her 


7 The English word "mansion" was used in this case; however, the word is usually used in the sense of "large 
apartment" or "apartment house" in Japanese. 

8 A jou (it) is a traditional Japanese unit used for measuring the size of a room. It is equal to 1.653 square 
metres (the size of a Nagoya tatami mat). 


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pillow. 

Dressed in pale yellow pyjamas, Karen lowered her feet toward the left 
side of the bed, and extended her left hand to the edge of the wall. The 
sensors installed there detected her hand, and caused the room's lights 
to come on bit by bit. 

After waiting for 5 seconds so that her eyes got used to the brightness, 
Karen slowly stood up. Walking two steps with her bare feet, she moved 
from the bedroom to the living room. There was a clothes hanger to the 
side of the mirror. There, a „thing that wasn't clothes" hung from the 
hanger. 

Karen took that thing into her hands and faced the mirror. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


// 


// 


There, she saw herself, displeased. 

A tall, 183 cm in height, woman with black, long hair. 

Herself, holding a black plastic air gun in her hands-the P90 that was 

held in place with the support of her chest that now looked awfully 
small. 

Karen's mouth slowly moved. 

"Squad Jam .What should I do. A personal battle in teams, huh. 

I'm kinda reluctant." 

X X X 


Kohiruimaki Karen was brought up without a care in the world. 

Her parents, who hailed from the Aomori prefecture, moved to 
Hokkaido and opened a business which achieved success within the 
same generation. They were also blessed with children: two boys, two 
girls and then, several years later, on 20 April 2006, the youngest child, 
Karen, was born. 

Brought up in a loving environment, like a princess, by her parents and 
her four elder siblings in their affluent home in the northern region, the 
growing Karen-grew too much. In height. 

Her height, which started continuously growing since her third year in 
primary school, exceeded 170 cm when she graduated. It was as if 
Karen's wish not to grow any more was not heard by God. 

In the end, the currently nineteen year-old Karen, who continued 
growing even through middle school, was 183 cm tall. If this was a 
foreign country, there would probably be plenty of females like that. 


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However, this was Japan. 

Karen's parents, siblings and close friends understood Karen's feelings, 
so they never spoke about her height, but the people in their society 
were not so kind. 

In both her middle school and high school, Karen received useless 
invitations from sports clubs that she had no interest in. Karen only had 
an ordinary aptitude, so she was fed up with the invitations that did not 
respect her wishes. 

If she walked around town, there were truly many people who cruelly 
teased her as „giant girl", and insulted her out loud on purpose. 

And so, despite how much she grieved and moaned over this, she could 
no longer do anything about it. 

The tall figure complex since puberty changed her feminine nature. 

Karen, the girl who was the very image of childish innocence and 
cheerfulness, and was sometimes mistaken for a boy, no longer spoke 
with anyone aside from those close to her, secluding herself to reading 
and music, and becoming a completely introverted person. 

Although she started growing out her black hair to look at least slightly 
more girlish, it didn't change anything, in fact, if she missed the timing to 
cut her hair, it would become troublesome putting it in order every 
morning. 

Her large height also affected her choice of clothes. 

Karen gave up entirely on feminine fashion, and chose only to wear rough 
and simple garments. 

One year ago, Karen graduated from high school and came to Tokyo. 

She was expected to go to a local university from her parent's home, but, 
as she had nothing to lose, she tried her luck at the leading ojou-sama 


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school in Japan, and ended up passing the examination. Her parents 
were extremely happy, and Karen borrowed a room in a high-class 
apartment house in the metropolitan area where her eldest sister lived. 

Hoping that something might change even if a little, from April, 2025, 
Karen began her solitary life in Tokyo. 

What awaited Karen, who began going to a notable women's university, 
was obviously an unpleasant reality. 

As expected, age did its thing, so Karen wasn't openly teased about her 

height, but-Karen wasn't suited for the „normal female university 

student life " that glorified youth activities, like fashion, circles, and dates. 

Moreover, in this escalator university, the majority of students were those 
who came from kindergarten and elementary sections of the school. As 
expected, in the end, Karen didn't find any friends, around whom she 
could relax her guard. Of course, Karen's introverted personality, and 
the resulting lack of actively talking to people, were also at fault. 

Karen spent each day attending lectures, eating lunch alone, not taking 
off her headphones in her free time, returning to her apartment house and 
then spending her time alone in her room. 

Her interaction with other people was limited to her family and friends 
in her home town. The only people that she was able to have a friendly 
chat with consisted of only her elder sister, her sister's spouse, and her 
niece. She was forbidden to find a part-time job by her parents. 

However, because of that, she did receive an inexhaustible allowance. 

If she had went on just a little longer without a social life, she might 

even forget how to socialise with people-, harbouring such a fear, 

Karen was absent-mindedly viewing the news on the Internet while 
visiting her parents during her summer holiday when one article caught 
her eye. 


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The heading was- f Virtual Reality (VR) Online Games, from Revival 

to Prosperity. People's Desire to Enjoy Another Life Is UnendingJ 

After a special device is mounted on one's head, the device exchanges 
information about the senses with the brain via electrical signals, thus 
one can experience all the five senses as if actually being in that 
world-, that was VR technology. 

A game using this FullDive technology to allow a large number of people 
to participate in it simultaneously via the Internet is a VR game. 

Even Karen knew about the existence of such a thing. 

There probably weren't any people who didn't know about it. After all, 
3 years ago in November 2022, when Karen was in the first year of high 
school, a major incident that not only shook Japan, but the whole world 
as well. 

«Sword Art Online»-abbreviated as SAO. 

The name of the world's first VR • MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer 
Online Role Playing Game). 

Due to the ill will of a single genius developer, it became a dreadful 
prison. 

The ten thousand players who logged in on the very day the official 
service of the game began were imprisoned in that VR world. 

They became unable to voluntarily leave the game. 

And that wasn't the end. If a character inside the game died, or if 
someone in the real world tried to forcibly take off the device mounted 
on the player's head, the player's brain would be fried and the player 
would really die, that was the literal „death game " that was enforced. 


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Right after the incident, it made the news every day, but as the means for 
rescue weren't achieved, at times it became excessive. Every time a new 
casualty appeared, the news would only cover the respective death. 

Before long, aside from those who had someone precious trapped inside, 
people gradually forgot about the incident. 

2 years later, in November, 2024, when Karen was studying extra hard 
for her university examinations, SAO again made the news. The cheerful 
news that the people trapped in the death game were released. 

However, as a result, four thousand people had lost their lives, and thus 
SAO ended up shining radiantly as „the game which killed the most 
people in the world". 

'Now such dangerous game will finally disappear', the only ones who 
thought like that were people who didn't like VR games. While the 
players were still trapped in the game, a „this time, safe" new-model 
device was offered for sale and a new game was announced. 

The news article reported: 

[fNow, in the summer of 2025, the number of VR games continues to 
increase. Naturally, the player population has also surged, and this 
prosperity seems to imply that everyone has ended up forgetting about 
that repulsive incident in the not-so-distant past. 

Games that can be enjoyed with the five senses have brought about more 
virtual realities than ever before; can the ability to simply enjoy „another 
self" truly bring such people human growth and genuine happiness? If 
one wants to feel something with one's five senses, shouldn't they just 
cast aside their personal computers and go outside with their flesh and 
blood? Like children once healthily did in the countryside? 

Isn't there a chance that, before long, the youths growing accustomed to 
fictional worlds, where they do not even feel real pain, will commit a 


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crime beyond the imagination of adults? I await calm discussions J 

That was an article, full of the reporter's prejudice and unpleasant 
feelings, that downright criticised VR games, but... 

Another self"." 

To Karen, the resulting impact was the exact opposite. 

Karen thought. 

That if she became a different self inside a game, then she could probably 
communicate with other people a bit. And that this would probably have 
the effect like that of rehabilitation in the real world. 

Karen, who up till now had no interest in VR games whatsoever, looked 
it up from scratch. Knowing that one of her few friends in her 
hometown was currently playing one, she met up with her and asked 
her. 

The friend, named Miyu, said: 

"What's that you say! I'm so glad that I'm getting more game partners!" 

Pleasantly surprised, she taught Karen a lot of things. 

Karen understood that, at the very least, the current VR games were 
definitely not as dangerous as SAO. So, she decided to play one. 


Although she decided to do it and figured that she should „strike the 
iron while it's hot", it didn't seem like her elderly parents would allow it 
in their home, so Karen concluded her visit ahead of time and returned 
to Tokyo. 


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She went to a consumer electronics emporium straight from the Haneda 
Airport and got her hands on the necessities. 

Firstly, the huge, silver-coloured goggle- like AmuSphere. 

This machine would intercept all senses that it received, and would send 
fictional senses to the brain. 

In other words, the operation of the device would be something like a 
trance, but there were numerous safety devices in the AmuSphere. 

Although the device intercepts real senses, it does have monitors. If they 
sensed that the user's pulse rate has drastically increased, or that the 
user's breathing has stopped for a long period, or bodily disorders like 
headaches and stomach aches, the machine was set to activate the 
automatic shut-down feature; this feature could not be disabled. 

Additionally, it also had the function of allowing home security systems 
like burglar alarms and fire alarms, as well as disaster prevention news, 
like emergency earthquake reports and tsunami warnings to be linked to 
the device to have it return the user to the real world in case of 
emergency. 

Karen also purchased a game. 

What she picked from among the many VR games in existence was a 

game that Miyu played as well, «ALfheim Online» -abbreviated as 

ALO 

It was a game where one would become a fairy with wings in a fantasy 
world and have adventures. 

"Kohi, I'm sure you're going to be pleased too! It's quite common to 
fight with other races, but that doesn't mean that you absolutely must 
fight. Just flying around the beautiful world and talking with people is 
awfully fun too!" 


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Just as Miyu had said, the beautiful world depicted in sample photos 
with its dazzling green forests , and brilliantly blue sky and water 
increased Karen's expectations. 

If the world was so beautiful in pictures alone, then just how great could 
it be „inside" the game? Flying with one's body alone would have her 
heart pounding. 

While listening to Miyu's lecture over the phone, Karen finished the 
setup of the personal computer and AmuSphere, and finally attempted the 
first FullDive in her life. 

As the environment was pleasant, Karen purposefully changed into her 
pyjamas, closed the curtains and switched on the air conditioner. 

And then she mounted the AmuSphere, which was connected to her 
personal computer, on her head, lied down in the centre of her bed, and 
closed her eyes. 

"Link, start!" 

Finally, immediately after she commanded the device with her 
voice- 

Karen's entire consciousness was brought to another world. 

She felt as if her senses had left her body, like she had fallen asleep, and 
before she knew it, she was standing in a dark room, listening to a 
voiced guide. 

She understood that this wasn't reality, and yet her consciousness was 
very clear. It seemed as if this was a lucid dream (a dream where one 
perceives that „this is a dream") where she could move as she pleased. 

Calming down after her expectations were surpassed, Karen followed 


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the instructions of the voiced guide and entered the necessary details 
using the keyboard floating in the air. 

As for her character name, she decided to use „Len" which parodied her 
real name, but as for the spelling, in order not to overlap with the names 
of other characters, she wrote it entirely in upper-case, and also doubled 
the consonants, so it was written as„LLENN". 

Out of the nine races, she figured that she should choose the same one as 
Miyu, so she chose the wind fairy race, the «Sylphs». As each player 
started the game from the territory of their chosen race, she should be 
able to meet up with Miyu instantly. 

Having finished inputting all the details, Karen went to the world of 
ALO as LLENN. 

"W-why!" 

And then intensely despaired. 


f Sorry! Kohi, I completely forgot that you were troubled by your 
height. J 

On the other side of the phone call, Miyu earnestly apologised, but the 
fact that her randomly generated «avatar», in other words, her other 
self in the game, was a tall beauty even when compared to other 
characters of the same race was absolutely not something she could be 
held accountable for. 

LLENN, having seen her appearance in a mirror, was so shocked that her 
pulse rose rapidly, and the AmuSphere' s safety devices activated, forcibly 
linking her out just 20 seconds after the game had started. 

[fWell., this is a bit late, but there are races with short 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


avatars .Like the cat fairy race, the «Cait Sith».Do you want to 

redo your character generation? Additional charges will be incurred 
though. J 

Despite Miyu's proposal, Karen declined. 

It wasn't a problem of money. 

Even though the parameters were random, she was shocked by her tall 
figure, thus the game ALO itself became unpleasant. 

Although she wanted to try VR games, she had no intention of returning 
to ALO. Having been told this, Miyu replied with an apology: 

fl see.It's unfortunate, but it can't be helped, huh. Well, I think that 

your stubbornness is a virtue, KohiJ 

After saying that, her long-time friend offered an alternative solution. 

[fSay, Kohi, do you know about character «conversion»l J 

That was the feature that allowed „moving" the character LLENN that 
she had just created to another VR game. 

The framework, called «The Seed» was completely the same for a great 
majority of VR games. Hence, it was possible to move characters with a 
single ID. 

In such a case, the strengths of a developed character would relatively 
be passed on into the new game. 

For example, if one converted a character that had physical strength 
tempered in some game, even in the new game the person could start 
with a character that had its physical strength tempered. 

Though one's original character would be deleted, and the items and 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


money in one's possession would not be carried over-but, either 

way, it was not a concern for Karen. The fact that the already-made ID 
wouldn't go to waste was a merit. 

In that case, it seemed that she would be able to search for the avatar that 
she wanted. 

[fit will be a different game, but if you don't understand something, be 
sure to ask! If I get my hands on a ticket to Kanzaki Elza's live 
performance. I'll be coming to Tokyo, so I hope you'll give me a place to 
stayU 

In the end, Miyu shrewdly arranged for compensation before parting 
with Karen. 

And so, Karen used her ID to connect to various VR games and recklessly 
went on a character conversion spree. 

Nonetheless, she would have to buy the game software each time, so she 
picked games that had trial periods, in other words, allowed trying it for 
free. 

She no longer cared about the game genre and things like that. 

Many VR games had blossomed simultaneously like flowers. 

Car race games where one can drive automobiles. Flight simulations where 
one can fly planes and participate in air battles. SF 9 adventures about 
travelling in space. Games about enjoying numerous sports in virtual 
reality. Games about making love with beautiful women and girls. 
Among them, even games where the player would normally „live an 
everyday life". 

Karen, who knocked on the gates of a great number of VR games, would 
be displeased with the created avatar at least a bit, and immediately go to 


9 Abbreviation for "science fiction". 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


create an account in another game. 

Her tenacity was so great that it even amazed Miyu who proposed the 
idea, but Miyu didn't interfere. 


Several days later, LENN, 

"I FOUND IIIT!" 

Shouted at the starting point of a certain VR game. It was an exclamation 
at the top of her voice. 

In a bizarre world with a crazed dusk-like, ominous colour sky, and 
where skyscrapers with metallic walls were spread disorderly, LLENN's 
figure that was reflected in a mirror glass... 

"Yes.I found it! I found it!" 

Was wearing a green combat uniform and was a probably not even 150 
cm tall, 

"I found it!" 

Chibi girl. 


Thus, the name of the game that LLENN found herself in- 

Was «Gun Gale Online». 

Just as the „gun" and „gale" in its name implied, it was a ruined world 
where characters freely fought with one another-a world of guns. 

* * * 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


November, 2025. 

More than three months had passed since Karen began playing the game. 
Winter had arrived at Tokyo as well. 

After Karen, who did not have any hobbies, did not have friends in 
Tokyo, did not participate in club activities and was forbidden from 
having a part-time job, attended her lectures, finished the preparations 

for her lessons, and her revisions-she still had plenty of time for 

playing. 

Weekdays and holidays before her examinations continued to diminish. 
As she had a methodical personality, Karen precisely decided the time 

for diving, and continued playing Gun Gale Online -abbreviated as 

GGO. 

VR games, as Miyu said, were „a magnificent and well done virtual 
space". 

Although, in the sense that it used and allowed one to experience the 
five senses to its full potential it was no different from reality, a virtual 
space was just a virtual space after all. It would definitely not win 
against reality in the volume of information that can be exchanged; one 
would quickly comprehend „which world one is in". 

In other words, there was no need to worry „which one was reality 
again?"- 

In a sense, this is probably a good thing. That's what Karen thought. 


The stage of GGO, ruined after the final war, was an Earth that didn't 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


even suit the „b" 10 from "beauty". 

No matter if it was sunny or cloudy, and if it was morning or midday, 
the sky was dyed in the colours of a crazed evening sun, as if it was a 
brush cleaner with yellow and red colours dissolved in it. 

Greenery was extremely scarce in this land, instead, it was overflowing 
with deserts, wastelands and ruins; a world that was the exact opposite 
of ALO. 

The role the players performed was the people who returned to such an 
Earth on-board a spaceship. 

Hunting rampaging grotesque monsters, crazed machines that attacked 
people, and, occasionally, relentlessly fighting against fellow players and 
killing each other. That was GGO. 

If she hadn't got this avatar, Karen would most likely never have played 
GGO. 


The weapons used in the game, just as its name implied, were guns. 

In GGO, guns were divided into two categories. 

The first was «optical guns». 

kosenju 

Blasters, ray guns, beam rifles, ray guns-there were various ways of 

calling them, but their structure was identical. With an SF-like fictional 
appearance and name, they fired energy beams instead of bullets. 


10 The Japanese version is the "u" from "utsukushisa" (Jl§ L- c?) 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


Such weapons had the merit of being small and lightweight even with 
energy packs included, as well as having long range and high accuracy. 

At the same time, they had the demerit of their rays dealing little damage, 
and, moreover, in battles against people, it was possible to block a 
considerable amount of the rays by using an item called a «Anti-light 
bullet defense field». 

The design of the guns was SF -tic and it looked like the guns were 
assembled by combining all the parts in a straight line. Setting-wise, 
these SF small arms were „what was used inside a spaceship". 

The other category was «Live-ammunition guns». 

The setting for these guns was that „they were the actual guns, or 
blueprints for the guns that remained on the desolated Earth". With 
permission obtained from the gun makers, existing real guns were 
reproduced in the game. 

Alongside noisy gunshots, bullets with mass were released. Although, of 
course, since this was inside a game, it only „seemed that way". 

The merit of such guns was that each bullet had high power and 
wouldn't be blocked by defense fields. The demerits were that the 
trajectory was easily influenced by external factors like the wind, and 
their magazines were heavy. 

Thus, the theory was that optical guns were for battles against monsters. 
While in battles against humans, it was better to use live-ammunition 
guns. 

That said, there were plenty of gun maniacs in GGO, so there were also 
people who used nothing but live-ammunition guns even in battles 
against monsters, as if saying „Screw efficiency!". For example, those like 
Pitohui. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


However, as for LLENN who scored a chibi avatar - 

Her short character with a frame of less than 150 cm was a considerably 
rare sight. 

In this world full of rough and rigid people, both player characters and 
non-player characters (NPC) controlled by computers, she only attracted 
attention. 

If she walked through a town in a valley of skyscrapers in this SF world, 
overflowing with gaudy neon, 

"Uwaa! How tiny!" 

"What is that.? A girl? A boy?" 

"Have you ever seen anything like this? There's a kid in the game." 

"Cute, huh, oi." 

"It's so small. There are even avatars like that." 

"An NPC?" 

Everyone unanimously muttered about LLENN. 

Each time this occurred, LLENN could not contain the impulse to 
slacken her lips; letting anyone see her reaction would be embarrassing, 
so she covered everything below her nose with a bandana. 

Just enjoying a virtual chibi was considerably fun on its own, but deep 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


down LLENN was a serious person, and she had begun playing a game 
after going through all that trouble, so she figured that she should try 
fighting. Isn't someone small and strong cool? 

In games, there was usually a training course aimed at beginners called a 
'tutorial'. 

In GGO's case, an NPC demon instructor would have the player 
experience every single piece of knowledge he had, starting from how to 
shoot with a gun, to how to conceal oneself during a battle, the 
appearance and weaknesses of all sorts of monsters, how to find them 
and so on. 

Some time ago, Miyu said: 

[fYou don't need to take a tutoriall That is just a big waste of time! If you 
listen to your comrades, you'll naturally learn what you need! It's a an 
on-the-spot decision-making kind of thing! An on-the-job-trainingl J 

And things like that, but Karen was suited for silently training on her 
own. In the first place, she did not have any comrades. 

Thus, LLENN mastered how to use guns, which she had never touched in 
her whole life, in the virtual world. 

She even studied matters concerning the GGO-specific assistance feature, 
the «Bullet Circle», in-depth. 

dando yosoku maru 

Called the «trajectory prediction circle» 11[ in Japanese, it was an 
assistance system that told the person on the offense where their bullets 
would hit. 


11 Sigsawa uses #35 T'PJR as the translation for the Engrish term "bullet circle". However, Kawahara 
translated the term as H (impact prediction circle, chakudan yosoku maru) 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


Touching the gun's trigger with one's finger would switch the feature on, 

maru 

and a light green circle, in other words, a circle, would appear before 
one's eyes. A bullet would randomly hit somewhere within the circle, 
fluctuating between being big and small. 

The size of the circle would change depending on the distance to the 
target, the gun's performance, and the player's own abilities. And so, the 
contraction of the circle was synchronised with the user's heartbeat. 

In other words, if the user is constantly tense with their heart pounding 
heavily, the circle will violently contract and one's aim will not be stable. 
Although it can be disregarded in close-range battles where the target 
appeared to be large, it truly is important in long-range sniping. 

In the tutorial, there was a course called [Learn long-range sniping! ] , 
but the „calm yourself down, then aim" was the least successful session 
for LLENN. With her considerably poor results, the NPC instructor kept 
becoming angry. 

"Yeah, let's stop using sniper rifles." 

Humans were beings that had both their strengths and their weak 
points. LLENN completely gave up on sniping without any regrets. 

On the contrary, as she got an unexpectedly high score at nimbly aiming 
and shooting at nearby opponents, a technique called «snapshot», the 
instructor, 

[fYep! Submachine guns are the most suitable for you! J 
Gave her such a recommendation. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


Thus, the honest to a fault LLENN who cleared the tutorial entirely began 
farming monsters by herself. 

As for her first farming session, she attacked monsters walking 
sluggishly, which looked like a crossbreed between a pig and an ostrich, 
in a hilly area a short distance away from the city. 

Although after seeing most of the monsters, LLENN considered shooting 
them to be a pity, she surprisingly pulled the trigger of the optical gun 
without any resistance. 

As the spot that was struck only shined red as a hit effect, and since 
monsters dispersed into fragments and then disappeared upon dying, 
the resulting feeling of „hurting and killing" the creature was rather 
light. 

LLENN earnestly enjoyed the game. She practised the things she was 
taught one by one; even after she was killed by monsters that she had no 
absolutely no chance of winning against, she contemplated on where she 
went wrong. 

Whenever she encountered monsters that she could not defeat by any 
means, she peeked at Internet walkthrough sites and learned the proper 
method to defeat them. 

Plain effort resulted in her steady progress. LLENN continued killing 
monsters and steadily earning experience points, as well as credits, in 
other words, the money that could be used within the game. 

As her experience points increased, she was able to gain attribute points. 

These points would then be distributed among the six stats: strength. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


agility, vitality (endurance), dexterity, sensibility and luck, to build 
„oneself to one's tastes". 

'Since I obtained a short-build avatar after great pains, by increasing my 
agility, I would be able to run faster. I want to raise my dexterity as well 
to be able to produce something. Luck would probably be nice and 
would be helpful. If I don't have sufficient strength, there will be guns 
that I won't be able to fire, so the stat sounds reasonable. I'm not 
planning on getting hit and I don't mind being frail, so I have no need 
for vitality. Sensibility? No clue.' 

As LLENN considered that, she proceeded to raise her agility and 
dexterity as her main stats, as well as strength and luck as her sub stats. 
Her trauma of always being the last one in footraces due to the hugeness 
of her body influenced her decision considerably. 

As her on-hand credits increased, she was able to purchase an additional 
weapon and equipment. LLENN bought a submachine gun-type firearm 
with a high rapid-fire ability to replace her optical gun. 

And then, deliberating on the use for the remaining credits, she decided 
to spend them for changing her attire. As she got her hands on a cute 
body after great pains, she desired to wear girlish, cute clothes as well. 

In a savage SF world like GGO, this was a wrong decision no matter 
how one thought about it, but LLENN herself did not mind. 

LLENN went to the town's tailor-or more like a combat uniform 

shop, and excitedly searched for cute clothes. 

Since this was GGO, there naturally weren't any clothes with frills. 
Unfortunately, she couldn't find the lolita clothes that she had been 
yearning for ever since she was a junior high school student and had 
seen them in a magazine but had to give up on them as they had no 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


chance of suiting her eucalyptus tree-like self. 

What she discovered instead was a system that allowed the colour of the 
initial equipment that she was wearing to be changed to one's favourite 
colour. As expected from a game world. 

In that case, LLENN desired pink. 

No matter how much she yearned for cute and lovely pink clothes, she 
was unable to wear them in the real world. Although they would 
absolutely not suit Karen, she was sure that they would suit LLENN. 

The sole shade of pink available in the colour sample, unfortunately, 
wasn't the highly bright and vivid one that she had once yearned for. It 
was a dusky pink that she hadn't really seen much in reality. 

Well, even so, pink was pink. LLENN changed her combat uniform to 
that colour from top to bottom: her short boots, bandana, gloves, 
equipment belt and even the knit cap that was meant for holding down 
her hair in battle, all of them were changed to the same pink. 

Having been reborn by changing the colour of her entire body to pink 
and with her heart pounding as she left the shop, LLENN looked at the 
self that was reflected in the display window 12 , and... 


Looking at it, she frowned in silence. That's right. There was still a part 
that wasn't in pink. LLENN rushed to a weapon custom shop and 
requested a paint job. 

She had both the optical gun, which she carried on her shoulder, and the 


12 Literally, it's "show window" in Engrish. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


deep gray gun painted in the same pink as her clothes. 


Thus, LLENN became completely pink from top to bottom, like a 
famous photogenic celebrity couple, even as far as the grim weapon in 
her hands being pink. 

Seeing LLENN like this in town, even though there were people who 
laughed as they thought it was weird, at the same time, there were also 
people would call her cute. 

There were also those who were curious to know whether she was a 
boy, or a girl, as her short hair made it hard to recognise her gender. 

Of course, LLENN didn't worry about it, as she liked what she had done 
and thought that this was, after all, inside a game and nobody knew her 
true self. 

However, wearing pink downtown like this was her first, and final time. 

LLENN killed another player for the first time, shortly afterward. 

LLENN, who had enough fun farming monsters, had no desire for 
activities like going into a firefight with other players and killing them. 
She persistently aimed her gun only at monsters. Although this was a 
game, she did not want to overdo it by „murdering". 

That day, LLENN was, as always, farming monsters in a discoloured 
wasteland by herself. 

Although the sun could be seen high up in the slightly cloudy sky, as 
always, the sky and world were dyed in red, and the morning looked 
like evening. Setting-wise, during the last war, even the atmosphere of 
this Earth was destroyed or something. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


In a ^farming ground", dotted with tanks that were rusting on the 
ground littered with rocks, LLENN was waiting for the appearance of 
monsters. 

This time, a monster, which looked like a crocodile with its body 
changed to a cow's, had settled down in a hole dug under the tanks. 

LLENN laid mines around one of the tanks, and fixed thin wires close to 
the ground. As she had raised her dexterity stat, she became able to set 
up such a trap. 

If a giant crocodile that came out of the hole triggered it, a sound and 
explosion would notify her. 

Then, she would close the distance in one breath, and, nimbly avoiding 
the attacks of her opponent, she would ceaselessly fire at it from point- 
blank range. That was LLENN's usual farming technique. 

LLENN had free time while she waited, so, as usual, she was listening to 
music while sitting and leaning against a rock a short distance away. 

The music player and earphones materialised as items allowed her to 
listen to the music source data entered into her own AmuSphere. 

With her gun in her hands, and clad entirely in pink clothes and 
equipment, she was the sole person in the wasteland that faded into 
dusk. 

LLENN enjoyed what she would be completely unable to do in reality. 
Sometimes she would manipulate her menu screen and take out a 
thermos flask with warm tea from her «storage», in other words, an 
item vault, and drink it carefreely. 

The storage was a transparent bag" kind of thing. Here, items could be 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


placed, so that the person wouldn't need to carry them on hand. 

However, there was a permitted weight limit, determined by her 
strength parameter, thus one would not be able to store anything and 
everything. The maximum weight that could be put into one's storage 
and the maximum weight that she could practically carry herself were 
the same. 

To take out the contents of the storage, it was necessary to wave one's 
hand in the air and manipulate the screen of a window. No matter how 
fast one was, such an action would still require several seconds, thus it 
was impossible to put away weapons and ammunition that one would 
want to use right away. 

Normally, one should fill their storage with weapons and medicine, 
but- 

"Ah, the tea is delicious." 

LLENN put in a thermos flask and snacks, even though it decreased the 
amount of weapon ammunition that she could carry. 

In VR games, it was possible to artificially experience even the sense of 
taste. There was no one who wouldn't use it. As no matter how much 
one drank and ate, one would never gain weight. 

Once the Mozart's piece that she was listening to ended, LLENN 
switched to „Kanzaki Elza's" album. 

Elza was a booming female singer and songwriter. 

She was an artist with a clear voice who sang gentle lyrics alongside a 
melody, which gave the impression of classical music. Under the 
influence of her friends, Karen also became a complete fan of the singer. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


LLENN enjoyed her feminine, light, and perfectly clear singing voice in 
a world that had fallen into mins. When that album ended, as she 
couldn't hear the sound of an explosion, she wondered whether today's 
ambush had been in vain. But, after enjoying a satisfactory picnic, 
should she return to the real world?- 

Just as LLENN was considering this, humans appeared before her eyes. 

Weren't those three men, who appeared around 200 metres away from 
the other side of the shade of a rock right in front of where LLENN was 
sitting, walking straight towards her? As they were ascending a slope, 
she didn't notice them until they climbed up. 

All the members were machos without exception, wearing extra clothes 
with attached protectors that made it look like armour, and each of them 
carried a large optical weapon on their backs via a sling. 

In this game, if one encountered other players in a field- 

If they weren't very good acquaintances of a close friend, the beginning 
of the encounter wouldn't be a conversation, but a gunfight. There were 
even people who would say „Talking via gunfights is what GGO is 
about!" or something like that. 

The three were getting closer. 

The other party had several people, who looked somewhat strong. On 
the other hand, she was alone, and to make matters worse, had no 
experience in battles against people. 

LLENN was engulfed in a fear stronger than when she first encountered 
a large monster. And at the same time, the number of question marks in 
her head kept multiplying and exploded. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


'Should I run and escape?' 

No, before that, the most important one- 

'Why were they coming straight towards me? And while carrying guns!' 

LLENN continued observing without moving. Before long, the distance 
separating her and the men decreased to 30 metres, and she could even 
hear the wind carrying their voices, talking cheerfully about gun 
performance. 

LLENN realised. That „they haven't noticed me". That they were 
completely unaware of her existence. 

The men continued to come closer, and before long, only 10 metres 
separated them- 

The moment, which was extremely unfortunate for them, and which 
decisively changed LLENN's playstyle in GGO, came. 

First of all, and explosion took place behind LLENN, the point the men 
were advancing towards. 

At that moment, the giant crocodile that LLENN was hunting finally fell 
for her trap. Of course, the men did not know about that. The three men, 
who were startled by the abrupt explosion and fell into a panic, had 
their eyes caught by the sand soaring on the other side of the rock, and 
completely failed to notice that LLENN started moving right before their 
eyes. 

The explosion shook off LLENN's fear. Given the situation, all her 
actions were already made out of desperation. She decided to leave it all 
to chance. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


LLENN grabbed the gun on her knees, aimed it at the closest man and 
discharged it in rapid-fire. The man's anti-light bullet defence field 
weakened LLENN's bullets, but she continued firing at him ceaselessly 
without any concern, and before long, after who knows how many 
shots, she managed to hit his face from point-blank range. At that 
moment, LLENN was within a 2 metre radius of the other two. While 
looking up towards the tall men, LLENN fired, fired and fired 
ceaselessly. 

And so, when her rage that lasted merely around 10 seconds had settled 
down, the figures of the three men were no longer there. All of them, 
shot from extremely close range, had their hit points shaved off, and had 
„died". 

All that remained in the desert was LLENN with her heart pounding in 
excitement, and the giant crocodile that was hurt by the trap and was 
growling in pain next to a tank. 

Why didn't those three notice me? 

Having eased the pain of the giant crocodile, LLENN was troubled for a 
moment, when, 

"Could it be." 

She came up with one hypothesis. 

LLENN placed her pink optical gun in the shade of the rock where she 
had been hiding, then tried moving a little to the side. She understood 
that her hypothesis was correct with just a glimpse. 

It could not be seen. The gun that she placed in the shadow a moment 
ago. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


In the reddish atmosphere of GGO's world similar to a constant evening 
twilight, LLENN's dusky pink blended in with the rock's tawny brown 
soil and sand, making it very difficult to see the gun. With the current 
amount of light, it was completely impossible to see it. 

"This is interesting.This could come in handy." 

LLENN muttered. 


Thereafter, LLENN completely stopped wearing pink garments in town. 
As a precaution to avoid revenge. 

She instead wore a newly bought, common green combat uniform, with 
a robe that came with an olive brown hood that covered her face and 
entire body. She looked as if she was a child who had put on a blanket 
and was playing a ghost, but it was of course less eye-catching than an 
entirely pink body. 

And then, she would go to a wasteland or desert field, change to her 
favourite pink in a place where nobody could see her, and begin her 
ambush. Basically, she would farm monsters just as she did before, but if 
she happened to see another player- 

She would mercilessly switch her prey. 

If the opponent moved towards her, she would conceal herself and wait. 
Without a single twitch. 

Then, when she had grasped the number of people that she could kill 
(though it was usually one, at most two), she would jump out at point- 
blank range and mercilessly shoot her target until he died. 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


Right as she started the game, she thought „if possible, I don't want to 

shoot human(-like things)"-but she had completely forgotten about 

it. 

If it was even slightly unreasonable, whether it was because there were 
too many of them, or that they wouldn't come close enough, or that their 
arms were outstanding and the targets were strong etc., then she 
definitely wouldn't take action. While continuing to hide, she would 
gradually retreat, and silently let them pass. 

Thus, LLENN became addicted to the fun of battling against people. 

This reminded her of playing tag, hide and seek or cops and robbers 
with her siblings and friends when she was a child. 

The feeling of her heart pounding while hiding. The feeling of 

nervousness of being found. And, in addition to those-a sense of 

superiority of „shooting her opponents to death". 

That's right, was this what fighting seriously in a game was about? What 
enjoying a match was about? 

Having deepened her knowledge, LLENN, who had up until now made 
fun of gamers around the world, apologised to them in her mind. 

Earning experience points via monster farming and battling against 
players, LLENN further increased her agility stat, thus being able to 
move more and more nimbly, as well as being being able to run 
increasingly faster. 

LLENN completely didn't notice but- 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


binsho seino 

This style of increasing a g i 1 i t y , or agility, AGI for short, was called 
the «AGI superiority theory», and these days in GGO, it was judged to 
be „the most effective build in battles against people". 

With her earned credits, LLENN procured a live-ammunition gun suited 
for battles against people. 

Using her budget and knowledge to the utmost, what LLENN picked 
was a « Skorpion vz. 61» made in the old Czechoslovakia. 

With its stock folded, its overall length was 27 cm, and it was one of the 
smallest and most lightweight submachine guns in the world. Although it 
used a small caliber meant for pistols, just by pulling its trigger the gun 
could discharge all 30 bullets in a magazine in just under 2 seconds. It 
was a gun that had the demerit of having low firepower, but had the 
merit of having a weak recoil, resulting in high accuracy. 

LLENN bought „2" of them. She removed both of their stocks and, as 
expected, painted the guns pink. 

LLENN's way of fighting was „certain kill with one blow", like the sting 
of a scorpion. 

When other players came within approximately 10 metres of the location 

she was hiding in-she would jump out towards her opponents while 

carrying the Skorpions in her hands, and show off her agility. 

And then, as she pointed the tip of her muzzles towards her opponents' 
heads, as if to stab them from below, she would ceaselessly attack. If her 
opponent was alone - with the Skorpion in her right hand; if there were 
two of them - she would quickly handle the other with the Skorpion in 
her left hand. 


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In GGO, there was a system called «Bullet Lines». In Japanese, it would 

dando yosoku sen 
be «trajectory prediction lines». 

This was a red line that would be seen by a character who was being 
targeted by a muzzle, excluding the initial bullet when the victim was 
not aware of the presence of the assailant, like when they were sniping 
or ambushing. It was something that enabled one to see the trajectory of 
the incoming bullets in advance, allowing for evasive action. 

Of course, there was no such thing in reality; it was defense system 
assistance function that was created to increase the enjoyment of the 
game. 

Seeing the Bullet Lines and taking the minimum necessary action to 
avoid them was the basis of battles against people in GGO. 

However, even that wasn't useful in cases of „being shot from around 3 
metres, when the bullets would be suddenly fired at about the same time 
the muzzle is aimed". 

What LLENN created was a truly vulgar „way of killing", like that of the 
eastern assassins during the cold war between the east and west, that 
demonstrated the special characteristics of the gun. 

Thus, LLENN steadily increased her spoils at every chance she had. One 
day she would kill a monster, another day, she would decisively kill 
some poor guy. 

And so, eventually... 

f An unidentified, dreadful player killer has been ambushing in a desert 
field. It's been said that a number of solo players have been killed without 
even getting the time to note the attacker's appearance J 


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Such a rumour reached LLENN's ears as she was walking through town 
while wearing a robe. 

There was even a notice for the recruitment of a subjugation party that 
would have someone be a decoy to find the PK bastard and ascertain 
their true identity. It seems that they even offered a reward. 

As expected, this weighed heavily on LLENN, and she stopped her 
ambushes, which came off as cowardice, in the desert. 

Thereafter, she would usually dress in green camouflage and farm 
monsters in a forest field, or leisurely enjoy an adventure in some 
historical site or ruins. 

As the third month after she started playing the game began- 

By playing untiringly, LLENN procured strength that could be said to 
be on the level of a centre fielder. Though the person herself was not 
aware of this. 

That's when she met the female player named „Pitohui". 


Chapter 2 - LLENN and Pitohui 

"Hey! You ochibi-chan over there. You're really a girl, right? I can tell 
from the way you walk." 

While enjoying window shopping, wondering which live-ammunition gun 
she should buy next, in a gorgeous shopping mall in «SBC Glocken», 
GGO's central city, 

"Care for some tea? It will be Onee-san's treat." 


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LLENN heard a feminine voice calling out to her from behind. She was 
being seduced. 

Onee-san? 

What LLENN, wearing a robe with a hood that hid her face, saw by 
turning around was- 

A tall, though not as tall as herself 1RL, black-haired, ponytailed, brown¬ 
skinned beauty with a brick-coloured tattoo on her face. 

At this time, her garments were something just a hair's breadth away 
from being a bikini, and with such excessive exposure that it wasn't 
suited for battle no matter how one looked at it. The garments exposed 
her slender, firm, cyborg -like flesh to those in her surroundings. 

While finding it odd that the tattoo only covered her face, and wanting to 
ask why this was so, and moreover, thinking that if that was her own 
character, she would probably have left GGO immediately- 

LLENN lowered her guard a little, as the other party was obviously a 
woman. 

In most of the current VR games, it was impossible for someone to get a 
character that was of a different gender from their RL one, aside from 
slight mistakes in judging the gender based on the player's brain waves. 

There were male players who tried speaking to LLENN out of curiosity, 
but it was unmistakably her first time conversing with a female player. 

In the first place, GGO was a game with overwhelmingly few female 
players. Obviously, LLENN had seen female characters from afar, but she 
hadn't dared to run up to them to hold a conversation. 

The brown-skinned beauty smiled sweetly. 


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"I'm „Pitohui". Everyone's booing about how hard it was to say my 
name, so just call me „Pito" for short. Ochibi-chan, what's your name?" 

"Good day.Iam.„LLENN"." 

"LLENN-chan huh! What a cute name! Oh, and you don't need to use 
keigo in the game ! After all, bringing Japanese society-like hierarchical 
relationship here when you're finally enjoying a different world is such 
a drag, right!" 

This exchange with someone in GGO was LLENN's first conversation. 

LLENN went to a restaurant in the game where she sat down in a private 
room with Pitohui, and they had a conversation while having tea and 
cake as a snack. A VR girl meeting, so to speak. 

Karen hadn't conversed directly with anyone other than her professors 
and family for quite some time, but strangely, as LLENN, she became 
lively in this conversation, which was without keigo. Pitohui's cheerful 
and frank character reminded her of her friend Miyu. 

Firstly, the two carefreely shared their tales of amusement, as well as 
those of their hardships, eventually culminating in talking about their 
difficulties due to the scarceness of female players in GGO. 

Pitohui informed LLENN that, having ended up as a sexy character, 
Pitohui tattooed her face, greatly reducing the number of nanpa 13 , and 
thus she recommended this method to LLENN. 

LLENN answered by quickly shaking her head, and then, 

"I don't have one IRL either. Since I wouldn't be able to go to the hot 
springs if I did!" 


13 Nanpa is a type of flirting and seduction popular among Japanese teenagers and people in their 

twenties or thirties. Basically, guys "girl hunting". 


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Pitohui remarked and showed a sweet smile. 

In the first place getting a tattoo and removing it in GGO was 
instantaneous, so, as long as one had the credits, it was possible to 
attempt it as much as one liked. 

Pitohui's VR game history was much longer than LLENN's, as she had 
been playing them even during the SAO death game turmoil. 

And as for GGO, she had been playing it ever since the service started 8 
months ago. She liked the scenery of a savage world that did not 
resemble any other VR games, so she currently only played this game. 
However, she had recently been busy IRL, so her play time considerably 
decreased. 

Not only was Pitohui LLENN's sempai as a gamer, she was also far 
superior in terms of player ability. 

Due to the conversation, LLENN was able to open her heart, thus she 
listed Pitohui as a «friend». With this, they were able to exchange 
messages even if they weren't in the game. 

More than 3 months after starting to play GGO, LLENN was finally able 
to find an in -game acquaintance. On that subject, after a long while, 
LLENN remembered that she wanted to resolve her feelings of 
anthropophobia caused by her height complex, which was the reason 
she decided to begin playing VR games in the first place. 

Of course, LLENN had absolutely no idea what kind of person Pitohui 
was in the real world. 

Miyu once told her this: 

"Though we're within a VR game, the characters are still controlled by real 
humans, so a person's nature is still revealed through their speech and 


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actions. There are no people who'd truly be able to act out a different 
personality." 

Pitohui's attitude did not fully give an impression of her being cheerful 
and wild. 

Thus, LLENN arbitrarily tried profiling her as „A good-natured onee- 
san-type female in her twenties. Working adult. Single" and things like 
that, but she didn't know if she was right. 

After finishing their tea and cake, Pitohui asked whether they should 
„drop out", in other words, return to reality for the day, and LLENN 
responded to the question by stating that she was looking for a new live- 
ammunition gun. 

"What! In that case, leave it so me! I'll show you a nice shop!" 

Pitohui took her to a small shop that she knew. 

Just before the end of a narrow road, there was a bar in the outskirts¬ 
like, small and messy shop. 

However, inside the shop, rare and high-powered guns that other players 
would get by exploring ruins and defeating powerful monsters were 
lined-up on display. 

"Amazing.So there are shops likes this too.And there are guns 

like these." 

Pacing LLENN, who had trouble choosing, 

"LLENN-chan LLENN-chan! I recommend this! It arrived just 
yesterday! Come here! Look!" 

Pitohui beckoned her as if she was recommending new cosmetics. 


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There was a small, high-powered, and reasonably rare gun-a P90 

there. 

The destructive power of the numbers on the accompanying -price tag 
was considerably high, thus it was far over LLENN's initially assumed 
budget and she wouldn't be able to drink tea in the game for awhile if 
she bought it, but... 

"I'm buying it!" 

She decided promptly, with just one glance. And then, 

"What is this.is this really a gun.it's cute.It's so very 

cute." 

Her inner voice leaked out from her mouth. 

"Oh? LLENN-chan, you're Hokkaido-born? 14 " 


After finishing her shopping session with a pleased expression, and 
getting a spare magazine and a pouch to carry it as freebies, LLENN hid 
the P90 under her black tea-coloured robe and continued walking around 
town while carrying it in her hands. 

One could wave their hand, and operate the window that appears to 
place the gun into storage to not have to worry about it, but... 

"I get it. You want to feel the gun that you've just bought for a while. 
You want to confirm its existence through touch." 

It was just as Pitohui, who was walking by her side, said. She was like a 
child who hugged a stuffed toy that she had just bought. Wanting to 
always have it by her side and constantly caress it. 


14 LLENN used the word b (namara), a Hokkaido dialect word that means "very much, exceedingly". 


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"What are you going to do about its name? You are giving it one, right?" 
"A-a name? For a gun?" 

LLENN looked up at Pitohui. 

"Of course!" 

"I-I am-giving it one!" 

"Just as I thought. So, what name are you giving to this child?" 

After several seconds of silence, LLENN answered in a firm tone. 
"„P-chan"" 

"Yeah, that's a nice name. In your hands, LLENN-chan, P-chan will 
bleed a lot of enemies. Because a gun doesn't betray anyone. It only 
grows greater with the number of kills." 

"Yeah, I'll do my best to kill!" 

If these words were said in the real world, they would probably appear 
in the news. 

It was about time to return to the real world, and LLENN greatly bowed 
her head to Pitohui. 

"Thank you very much, Pito-san. You have been a great help." 

"Yeah, no need for keigo. Don't mention it. I'm also happy to make a 
female friend. I look forward to playing with you. The next time we 
meet, let's go farming together. I haven't seen the huge alligators in the 
desert area yet." 


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"Sure." 

'Ah, she's such a nice person.' 

While thinking this, LLENN was about to open the window to log out , 
"Oh right, I forgot to say something." 

"Hm?" 

"Before the next farming run, be sure to paint the P90 pinkl" 


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// 


// 


'Ah, she's the kind of person that you can't let your guard down 
against.' 

While thinking so, LLENN opened the window to log out. 


Thus, LLENN and Pitohui formed a «Squadron». 

This was a team formed with congenial partners that, in a fantasy genre 
game, would be called a «Guild». It allowed members to fight together, 
exchange items, and share a matching crest. 

Naturally, banding together and fighting as a team in a game had various 
advantages. 

Lor LLENN, who began playing the game to improve her social 
disposition, yet never grouped up with anyone, this was her first 
squadron. Though it was essentially a group consisting of only LLENN 
and Pitohui. 

One month later-whenever the two were on at the same time, 

LLENN would go on a farming session with Pitohui. 

As opposed to LLENN, who would always be on at around the same 
time, Pitohui's play time was really scattered. There were times when she 
would be playing on weekdays from morning, and also times when she 
would never come on during the weekend. 

LLENN was curious about the kind of life she led IRL, but considered 
asking to be a violation of manners. 

Eventually, LLENN realised that Pitohui was an extremely rich player. 


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She noticed this because of the number of guns that Pitohui had. Every 
time that they played together, the gun that Pitohui used was different. 

"Pito-san, what are you using.today?" 

"Oh, it's an «L86A2». It's a version of the British army's assault rifle L85 
with an enhanced gun barrel and it's a lengthened squad automatic 
weapon. It only uses a regular magazine , but as for differences from a 
rifle, well, its penetration isn't as powerful as a normal gun, but its 
accuracy rating isn't half bad. Although it's heavy, I like it." 

"H-huh." 

"As for my sidearm pistol, it's a «Colt Double Eagle»\ It's a double-action 
auto gun based on Colt's Government, but its appearance and ability are 
poor, so it's not a popular gun! Well, as soon as I heard that it was in 
GGO, I looked for it! I found out that a collector had it, so I piled up my 
credits and bought it!" 

Pitohui was a strong character who had been playing for a long time, but 
even so, she possessed a lot of expensive, rare, strange and 
unconventional guns. 

One day, during the waiting period of their farming session, LLENN 
couldn't hold back her curiosity any longer and asked how she obtained 
that many credits. 

"Ah, through the «real money trade», of course." 

Pitohui quickly told her about it. 

Real money trade, abbreviated as RMT, is the act of exchanging the real 
world's electronic money for in -game credits and items. 

GGO was currently the only VR game that officially allowed 
interchanging in -game currency with the real world's electronic money. 


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For that reason, in GGO there were pro players who would obtain 
„sellable" items by playing the game and selling them to earn a living. 

Pitohui took advantage of her RL financial power. Such a playstyle was 
frequently flamed by people who thought that games were about putting 
in extraneous effort to obtain the items. However, everyone was free to 
choose their own playstyle, and, most importantly, it wasn't prohibited 
by the system, so though it was sad, they were just the cries of the poorer 
players who were jealous.. 

Pitohui was rich in the real world. At the very least, to the extent of 
inexorably investing in a game. LLENN knew just this one thing about 
her RL. Because of this, 

"Today's gun is a «Remington M870»! Speaking of pump action shotguns, 
it's cliched. Wanna try shooting with it? Come on, shoot!" 

"Finally, I got my hands on it! An «M16»! Look closely, it's not an 
«M16A1»! It the original model M16!" 

"Today, I've brought five guns, all of them automatic pistols using 9 mm 
Parabellum bullets. I'll explain, firstly this is-" 

LLENN was told a considerable variety of details regarding small arms. 

She would try firing guns that her strength value allowed her to hold, 
but 

"Well? Well?" 

"Yeah. It was fun shooting with it, but." 

"Just as I thought, you're set on P-chan, huh." 

"Yeah." 


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"You're earnest. LLENN-chan! And here I thought that you wanted to 
try shooting using all the live-ammunition guns in GGO has to offer!" 

Pitohui cried out. And then. 


taibutsu 

"LLENN-chan, do you know about «anti-materiel rifles »?" 

"I have heard the name, but that's it." 

"Well then, Onee-san shall explain! A taibutsu rifle, anti-materiel rifle in 
English, is well, simply put, it's a gun that uses the hugest bullets by 
far." 

"What do you mean by huge?" 

"Ordinary assault rifles have a calibre of 5.56 mm or 7.62 mm, right, but 
one that has a calibre of 12.7 mm or higher is usually called a „taibutsu 
rifle". These are bullets of a heavy machine gun. They are such large 
bullets that during World War II, they were equipped on fighter 
aircrafts." 

"I can't even imagine it, but if the bullets are big, then the gun's power is 
also high?" 

"Naturally. 5.56 mm bullets can only be used up to around 400 metres, 
7.62 mm bullets can only be used up to around 800 metres, but if you use 
12.7 mm bullets, you can fire at a target that's over 1000 metres away. 

"A thousand metres ? 1 km?” 

"An unthinkably long distance, right? Of course, the gun is equally large 
and heavy! The required strength value is extremely high." 

"It's probably impossible for me, huh." 

"Well, the gun is around as large as you are tall, LLENN-chan." 


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"Tee-hee" 

"Why are you happy?-This kind of large rifle was called an «anti¬ 

tank rifle» until the Second World War, but then tanks became sturdier 
and harder to destroy, so they changed its name. It's used as a gun that's 
suitable for things like long-range sniping, or attacking enemy resources. 
Although it's big, it can be used by a single person, so it's convenient." 

"Hmm. A large gun that can be used to aim far, huh. Then, if you have 
one, would you be the strongest in the game ? 

"No, not at all." 

"What?" 

"At any rate, it's large and heavy, so the strength value requirement 
seems to be equally large. Super long-range sniping itself requires skill. 
Well, you wouldn't be able to use it if you're not overly absorbed in it, 
right? Since it's a very very very rare gun, you can't let your guard down 
as a shock defeat can cause you to lose it as a random drop.” 

"Even so, Pito-san, you want to have one." 

"Right! I want to decorate the gun locker in my room with it!-In the 

server, it's said that there are only around 10 guns of this class; they are 
extremely expensive and nobody sells them. Actually, I know one 
character who has one. And what's more, she's a girl player.” 

"What! Leaving aside the gun, the fact that she's a female player 
surprised me." 

"She's called Sinon, don't you know her? The blue-haired girl." 
"Unfortunately, no." 


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"Well, it's fine. That Sinon-chan defeated a monster somewhere in an 
underground ruins dungeon, and what she she got as a drop was a 
taibutsu rifle called «Hecate II». After hearing that she really really 
cared for it, I looked for her, found her, and tried saying something to 
her. „Hello! Sell me your Hecate II!" to be precise." 

"Pito-saan, did you really think that it was for sale.?" 

"It was hopeless! She was such an inflexible girl! 


LLENN knew that Pitohui was extremely rich and was a gun maniac (and 
so she had a few problems with her personality), but aside from that, 
everything else was mostly a mystery. 

Once, on the way towards a farming session in a wilderness, LLENN, 
"Pito-san, what are your hobbies?" 

Inadvertently asked something that made it sound like they were in a 
formal marriage interview. 

"Huh?.Hmm, aside from this game ? I don't have any." 

She received such an answer from Pitohui. 

Since she ended up asking about it, she had to say something about 
herself- 

LLENN shared various things about her own hobby, music, such as that 
she frequently listed to classical music or movie soundtracks, that her 
current favourite singer was Kanzaki Elza, and Pitohui gave a weak 
reply. 


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"Music, huh.I mostly don't listen to any." 

"Is that so? That's unexpected." 

LLENN said honestly, and then 
"Really?" 

Pitohui, giving an expression of surprise, answered. 

"For some reason, I arbitrarily thought that you, Pito-san, liked music." 

"Hu, would you be surprised if you saw that the real me can't even read 
a musical score?" 

".No, sorry. Let's end the talk about RL here." 

Apologising, LLENN tried to stop the conversation, but against her 
expectations, Pitohui said, 

"Well, since I have become good friends with you LLENN-chan, I think 
that we can probably even meet IRL and you could teach me in person. 
A so called offline meeting. How about you, LLENN? Do you have the 
guts, or should I say, resolution for it?" 

LLENN thought about her absurdly tall self IRL for a few seconds and, 

"Pito-san.you would probably.be surprised, I think." 

Answered in keigo. 

Usually, if she used keigo, Pitohui would definitely tell her off for that, 
but just this time, she did not say a word about it. Instead, seeing 
LLENN shrinking her small body, she smiled. 


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"Then, let's do it! Some day, when you, LLENN-chan, are able to win 
against me in a head-on match, let's meet IRL\ Wherever your house is 
throughout Japan, I'll come to meet you!" 

It was a mystery how their talk ended up like this, but LLENN did not 
dare to retort. Instead, 

"Me, beating Pito-san in GGO.? L-like that's ever going to happen!" 

"Then promise me! Until then, train yourself in GGO and some day, 
using P-chan, try to utterly slaughter me!" 

"U-understood! No, gotcha! 15 Some day, for sure, I am going to, 

defeat Pito-san." 

"Yep, good answer. Then, the oath kinchou! 16 " 

"Kinchou?" 

"Hitting each other's metal as proof of an oath. It was popular in the Edo 
period 17 , don't you remember?" 

"Pito-san.Are you over a hundred and seventy years-old IRL ?" 

"Still a secret. So, if we were samurais, we'd use a katana and a tsuba 18 , 
while girls use mirrors, but we don't have either, so we'll do it with 

guns! Now!-One day, we'll take part in a serious match, and if I lose. 

I'll meet with LLENN IRL\ That's a girl's promise!" 

And so, the two raised their guns in the wasteland. The P90's muzzle 
and Pitohui's «SKS Carbine's» barrel knocked together and a dry 
metallic sound resounded. 


15 LLENN first used a -masu verb, but then remembered about Pitohui's hatred of hierarchical society and used 
a plain verb. 

16 A kinchou (AtT) was the act of hitting each other's metal objects to signify that an oath will be kept. In the 
case of samurais, they would hit each other's sword, while women would use mirrors instead. 

17 The period in the history of Japan between 1603 and 1863. 

18 A tsuba (if) is a part of a Japanese sword. An English equivalent would be "sword guard". 


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At that moment, LLENN did not understand what the smiling Pitohui 
was thinking, but thought, 

'That's impossible, such a day will never come.' 

Around 1 month after that promise was made, on 18th January, 2026. 
While on their way back from a farming session- 

LLENN heard about the Squad Ja 


Chapter 3 - Squad Jam 

"A Squad jam is a battle royale kind of tournament in «Gun Gale 
Online» that pits small teams against each other." 

"A battle royale .? Is that where everyone fights at the same time?" 

After hunting down the giant earthworm, LLENN and Pitohui 
continued their friendly conversation while strolling through a 
wasteland with no one else in sight. 

Of course, they did not lower their guard and vigilance, so they would 
be able to counterattack immediately if other players attacked them. Even 
LLENN, who would usually look at the face of the person she was 
talking to, cautiously looked forward and to the sides as they conversed. 

"Right. LLENN-chan, do you know about the «Bullet ofBullets »? 
Everyone calls it BoB though." 

LLENN nodded. 

"Only the name and outline, though." 


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The BoB was a battle royale tournament to decide the strongest player in 
GGO. Thirty people with remarkable abilities who won the one versus 
one preliminary tournament would fight it out in a vast field until the last 
man standing. 

Unmistakably the greatest event in GGO, with every tournament, the 
climax grew. There were an awful lot of players who wagered their game 
life to participate in it. 

Just recently, the third tournament had ended. 

Of course, LLENN naturally did not consider participating, so she did 
not know what kind of battle it was. That day, she had gone out with her 
sister's family, so she could neither dive, nor watch the broadcast. 

"Speaking of the previous third BoB, well, I also participated. As there 
was a chance that I wouldn't be able to take part because of RL affairs, I 
didn't tell anyone about it." 

"Whaa! How did it go?" 

"I dropped out in the preliminaries. And moreover, in the second 
battle." 

"Oh.what a shame." 

"Well, I ended up being sniped, and didn't have any luck either. 
Anyway, there was a slight change in the final battle royale. Two players 
formed a tag party and just barely fought to the end." 

"Things like that happen too." 

"I'll avoid any further spoilers in case, by any chance, you'd want to 
watch the recordings afterwards, but it was heart-pounding and super 


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fun to watch to the very end! So exciting!" 

"Really?" 

Pitohui vehemently praising anything other than guns like this was 
beyond LLENN's expectations. 'Maybe I should try watching that 
broadcast video', she thought. 

"So, let's get to the main question.-A certain Japanese person who 

watched the broadcast of that BoB haughtily thought, fl wanna see a 
team battle royale like this! J . [f A several versus several battle would 
undoubtedly be exciting! J " 

"Hmmhmm" 

"While logged in, that guy sent a message written in English to the GGO 
management organization, «Zaskar», in the United States of America. 

[fDear everybody, I want to see a team battle royale, so please make sure 
you hold one. Sincerely yoursj " 

"Don't tell me that such an individual request was approved?" 

"Yep, it was. That guy told Zaskar that he would cover the necessary 
costs for hosting the tournament, in other words, become a sponsor. 
Though I can't even imagine just how much did that guy pay. Some of 
his RL details have been identified: the rumour is that he's an abnormal 
gun maniac with a collection of over fifty guns, and a novelist writing 
solely about the operation of guns." 

"Haa.There are commendable people like that too, huh." 

"Well, a gun maniac alone is unusual enough, but a novelist is even more 
so. What the heck is with such a combination? If you see such a guy 
walking around town, you'd better arrest him." 


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"Pito-san.do you have a violent grudge against the writers around 

the world or something?" 

"Hm? Not really?-Whether it was because the writer's enthusiasm 

bore fruit or because Zaskar thought that the writer would pay for it, 
Zaskar decided „well, let's host a mini tournament in the Japanese server 
alone, with this private cooperation". The tournament's name is Squad 
jam, SJ for short. It seems that it was named by that guy, though I don't 
know if an English name is suitable." 

"I see. So it has absolutely nothing to do with ika no shiokara." 

"Again with squids.-The SJ is currently accepting applications for 

participants, no, participating teams, and the deadline for the 
applications is the 28th, in other words, next Wednesday's noon, with 
the tournament to be held on the next Sunday, the 1st of February." 

"That's very soon, huh.I wonder, would they get enough people?" 

"At present, there seem to be quite a few teams who applied right away, 
so you don't have to worry about the lack of participants in the 
tournament. As it's the first of its kind, and is an experimental 
tournament that won't have preliminaries unless far too many teams 
gather, there seem to be quite a few people happy about it, because, 
even though they couldn't take part in the BoB that's meant only for solo 
tough guys, if this tournament doesn't have preliminaries, they could 
take part in it as a team. On the contrary, the veterans who could 
participate in the BoB finals, well, they all passed. You see, those guys 
seem to have poor relationships. If they left their backs to someone and 
fought together, they would probably take a nap and let the others do 
the work." 

"Hmm." 


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"You're somewhat disinterested, huh? LLENN-chan." 

"Because-, this applies to BoB too, but battle tournaments against 

people are not my kind of thing." 

"Nicely said for someone who committed dirty PK in an assassin-style." 
"T-that!-Well., yeah." 

"Yeah, that was well done!-So, on to the main question." 

"Haah." 

"LLENN-chan, take part in SJ!" 

"Come again? Me? With you, Pito-san?" 

"Well, although it's extremely extremely unfortunate, I can't. On the 1st 

of Pebruary.a bosom friend of mine from middle school will be 

holding her wedding. As you can expect, if I abandoned it and 

participated in a game tournament and on the day I'm exposed.even 

if I don't die and win the tournament-" 

"Yeah, you'd be killed IRL, huh." 

"Right?" 

"In other words, if I looked up the female wedding attendants 
throughout Japan, I'd find the RL Pitohu." 

"Hyaa, you got me!-Returning to the topic, I want to make sure that 

you, LLENN-chan, participate! Are you free on that day? You don't have 
any friend's weddings, or your own wedding or something like that to 


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attend, do you?" 

"I can't affirm it unless I see my notebook, but, probably, I don't, I 
think." 

"Then take part! Now for the formalities! Since it's a team registration, 
just enter my name and you should be okay.” 

"N-now hold on a second! How did it come to this?" 

"Everything is an experience!" 

"But, it's a team battle, right? I have to fight alongside other people, 
right?" 

"Oh, now you're showing eagerness. That's nice." 

"I only asked!" 

"Among the players I know, there is a strong one. Though he's a guy, 
well, and a strange one at that, and, frankly, he has the mind of a 
criminal, he isn't actually a bad guy. But he isn't a nice guy either. Form 
a pair with him!" 

"Wha? Just the two of us?" 

"Yep. Just the two of you. Since I can't arrange for anyone else to 
participate." 

".Pito-saan, do you really think that I'm going to say [fYeah! 

Understood! J with this?" 

"Everything is an experience!" 


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"No, well." 

"Say, LLENN-chan. In my opinion, LLENN-chan has a lot of problems 
in real life, right?" 

"Wha?" 

The surprised LLENN turned to face Pitohui. 

Normally, Pitohui would say 'You're on lookout so don't look at me!!', 
but this time, she didn't. 

Although her face was obscured by a tattoo , Pitohui gave an expression 
reminiscent of a kind psychological counselor and said, 

"IRL, something is making you gloomy, right? So, putting it nicely, you 
came to GGO to vent your anger. Putting it bluntly, you came here to 
run away." 


"You're making a „How did you know" expression, but it was simple to 
comprehend.-I'm the same after all!" 


"There are far too many times when I get angry and feel like I can't do 
anything, so I go wild. And thus, I shoot with my gun to kill monsters 
and people to my heart's content." 

"Pito-san." 

"So you see, 'if you can do something that isn't possible through any 
means in the real world, then do it without hesitation!' is what I'm 


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trying to say! Are team battle royale gunfights possible in the real world? 
Or more like, would you want to do it in real life?" 

To LLENN, who quivered as she shook her head, Pitohui gave a tender 
smile as if she was persuading a child. Of course, the tattoo obscured the 
middle of her face. 

And then, 

"So, go wild! If you don't give me an answer by Wednesday morning. I'll 
assume you're participating!" 

* * * 


"Squad Jam .What should I do. A personal battle in teams, huh. 

I'm kinda reluctant." 

After Karen returned to the real world and muttered this with a sigh 
mixed in, she first returned the P90 that she held back onto the clothes 
hanger. 

This air gun was something that she found by chance on sale on a major 
shopping site, on a certain day the week a fortnight ago. Realising that she 
could hold the cute P90, or P-chan in her hands even in RL, she eagerly 
ordered it. 

She requested the P90 air gun and a small P90 key holder that appeared on 
her screen as a „we also recommend this for you" suggestion. 

Seeing the air gun that arrived the next day, Karen was astounded. 

'Huh? Was it always this small?' 

'I see, since it's an air gun, it could be made far smaller than the 


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original-' 


She thought for merely a few moments. When she realised that 
LLENN's and Karen's physique were far too different and thus the gun 
would give a different feeling even when they held the same thing, she 
felt slightly disoriented. 

Despite this, she was still pleased, and even though its colour was black, 
she would always adorn her room with it. Though, when her elder sister 
or niece dropped by her room, she would certainly be sure to hide it 
inside her wardrobe. 

As for the key holder that she bought at the same time, she ended up 
using a permanent marker to paint it in pink. It became completely like 
P-chan, and it was really well-made. 

She was considering whether to append it to the briefcase that she 
always brought to school, but- 

Considering that there weren't any other female university students 
who had gun key holders, she hung it on the wall of her room. 


GGO is fun. It truly is fun. 

That is why Karen continued playing, even though she had to pay a 
3,000 yen connection fee, which was considerably expensive for this 
kind of game, every month. A lot of things had happened, but now she 
even had a partner named Pitohui. 

However, specifically because it was fun- 

When Karen returned to reality, she would always feel down. 


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VR games were a fun dream world, but it was impossible for her to 
continuously stay within that dream. It was specifically called a „dream 

world" because reality exists. If the two were to change places- 

reality would probably be a nightmare. 

'Isn't it just ironic?', Karen couldn't help but think. That she intended to 
enjoy the VR game she began playing because she wanted to leave the 
harsh RL, but eventually became bitter by savouring the separation from 
RL. 

If she had to choose one of the two, she obviously had no choice but RL. 

In the future, when her studies become hectic, when she has to begin job 
hunting, when she becomes a working adult, gets married and has 

children-she would no longer be able to take refuge in VR games no 

matter what. 

In society, people who discarded RL and enjoyed VR games also existed, 
but such people were called IT Net game addicts J . Good children would 
never act like that. 

So, she should stop playing before the separation from the dream world 
became painful, or before the worst case of „being unable to separate 

from it" comes-in other words, lately, the option of completely 

severing her connection with the VR world had been floating about 
Karen's head. Looking at the long term, she understood that it was the 
best choice. 

As for participating in the SJ, she honestly had no interest in it at all. 

Firstly, just being able to savour logging in to GGO as a virtual chibi, and 
battles, with just monsters as opponents were fun enough. 


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She did not deny the fun she had when she became addicted to fighting 
against people for some time, and it was true that her heart would 
pounding a little when it came to matches against strong opponents, 
but-nevertheless, she didn't think she could actively pursue it. 

Besides, although he was recommended by Pitohui, she didn't feel like 
teaming up with an unknown male player to participate in the 
tournament at all. She didn't feel that they would be able to work 
cohesively as a team. He could be aiming to win rather than just 
participating, but Karen felt that she would hinder him considerably. 

Of course, Karen did understand her 19 words that „it's a challenge 
towards a new self and so on" quite well. 

At any rate, that is the reason why she began playing VR games after all. 
If she ran away now, what would she do then? 

However, wouldn't refusing SJ be a good opportunity to quit the game in 
its entirety? 

On the other hand, isn't it fine to continue playing a little, at least while 
I'm still a student and don't have to begin job hunting? My parents and 
siblings did say that I should pursue my hobbies a bit longer, and this 
certainly counts as one, right? 

Karen continued back and from with her conflicting thoughts. After 
several minutes of thinking endlessly about it, which only resulted in 
her getting tired, Karen, 

"Haah." 

Sighed, and decided to rely on her friend in her time of need- 


19 Referring to Pitohui. 


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So she tried calling Miyu, her VR game sempai and friend who was 
playing ALO. 

[fHeya! Kohi'J 

Luckily, Miyu had come to this world. 

Karen calmly got her worries off her chest by expressing herself to the 
only girl that she could consult with regarding this matter. 

"What do you think is the best thing to do? As you're my VR game 
sempai, I hope to hear your unreserved opinion." 

fin that case, if you find it fun, you should just continue! J 

Her reply was resolute. 

[fWhile you're troubled about which one to choose, you'll regret it no 
matter which choice you make, right? You see, humans tend to think too 
highly of the alternative that they did not choose. So, I think you should 
just decide what to choose by throwing a com J 

"I see.Then, what if.you are against the results of the coin toss? 

If you feel like you don't want to follow the decision of the coin god?" 

"Well in that case, it would mean that the innermost depths of your 
heart desires the other option, right? That's what you should choose 
then. It's simple, right." 

"Ah.I see." 

IF If you don't mind me openly expressing my arbitrary desires, I prefer 
being able to talk about games with you, Kohi. Yeah, sorry for being 


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really selfishj 

'Even if I refuse to take part in SJ, could I continue GGO for a bit more?'. 
As Karen considered this, 

[fHuh? But you know, the 1st of February is Kanzaki Elza's live 
performance, ain't it? Didn't we say that if we got tickets, we'd attend 

it? J 

"Wha!" 

In response to Miyu's words, Karen hastily opened her notebook, and 
saw that she had indeed wrote that down. She had forgotten. 

She had never been able to buy tickets for Kanzaki Elza's live concerts. 

The venue was never wide, so the tickets would undoubtedly be worth 
platinum. Karen couldn't help but think that Elza should perform at a 
bigger venue, not necessarily a baseball dome, but at least a slightly 
larger concert hall. 

Miyu was currently in the process of trying to obtain the long-since sold 
out tickets at a reasonable price via an Internet auction. 

"You're right, I forgot, sorry.If you get the tickets, I'll, of course, turn 

down the tournament. Let's go together. You can stay at our place." 

[fYeah.-But, what are you going to do if I don't get them? Frankly 

put, based on my experience up till now, the chances of getting them is 
fifty-fifty, you know?J 

"When will you know that?" 

[["Tuesday, at 16:00J 


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What timing. 

Karen decided to have that as the coin toss for whether she should 
participate in the SJ. On this occasion, she'll ignore the outcome for 
whether she should continue to play the game. 

"In that case.you tell me then! If you get the tickets, I'll turn down 

the game tournament!" 


Tokyo continued to have fine days in January. 

To Karen, who was born and raised in Hokkaido, the fact that winter in 
Tokyo was completely without humidity was more unexpected than the 
fact that winter wasn't cold. However, she didn't really like that her 
throat began to hurt, her skin became rough and she had to go through 
the trouble of using a humidifier to protect herself from those effects. 

The distance between her apartment unit and university was less than 2 
kilometres. She could cross that short distance in just one stop using the 
subway, but aside from days with really bad weather, Karen usually 
walked. It was much better than seeing herself reflected in the train's 
window, and it was good for her health. 

27th of January. Tuesday, just before 16:00. 

With lectures over, and as the early winter evening drew near, Karen 
was walking within the university grounds. 

Of course, it can't be said that she was alone. 

Around her, there were plenty of merry voices of people getting 
together to have a drink later, or of club gatherings, but their talk had 
nothing to do with Karen. Their conversations were in a different world. 


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Wearing jeans, sneakers, and a light coat, Karen walked under the 
roadside trees with nothing but their branches left, and tried to return to 
her room quickly. 

Karen noticed six female high school students coming from the direction 
where she was headed for. As they had matching uniforms and were 
within the school premises, she realised that they were pupils of an 
attached high school 20 that was on the same premises. 

It was no longer rare for her to pass by the six of them; and since she 
started going to university last summer, she had seen them about twice 
or three times per week. Karen recognised them. 

Basing on the really large sports bags in their hands, Karen guessed that 
they were probably part of some sports club. The university's 
gymnasium was large, so they sometimes had joint practice with high 
school pupils. 

One of them was a Caucasian with beautiful, fair hair and blue pupils. 
Was she an overseas student, or a foreigner living in Japan? Either way, 
it wasn't a rare sight in this school. 

The girls were all short-, no, for their age, it was probably „normal", 

but compared to Karen, they were all small, slender, and most of all, 
sweet. Often laughing, often chatting, they were walking merrily. 
Alongside friends from a similar school-club, they gave the refreshing 
feeling of being in their prime of youth. 

If Karen wasn't the girl she is now, would she be in her springtime of life 
too? 

20 An attached high school is basically a school that is attached to/affiliated with a higher education institution 
(e.g. a university). They may share the same premises and, as far as I understand, graduates of the university 
aiming to be teachers may be employed at the school and the university faculty may use the school for 
research purposes. 


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Considering this, she couldn't avoid having gloomy feelings. Of course, 
the girls hadn't done anything wrong. 

While looking at the rapidly approaching six girls with their merry 
voices, Karen hastened her pace to return to her room quickly. She'll 
probably get in touch with Miyu very soon and find out whether or not 
she obtained Kanzaki Elza's live performance tickets. 

After the quiet Karen passed by the lively six girls without crossing 
paths, 

"Hey, you there-" 

The voice of one of them reached Karen's ears. 

"You're tall--" 

Karen had no desire to hear what she had to say after that. 

Karen covered her face, hasted her pace, and ran away from that spot. 

At the same time, a single desire welled up 

'I want to shoot them. I want to shoot, all six, of those girls. 

Her right hand searched for P-chan that was usually held in front of her 
body, but only cut the air in vain. 

Karen returned to her room to run away, closed the door, and the 
moment the door was automatically locked, her smartphone vibrated. 

The message from Miyu was. 


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[fNo dicelj 

Merely that single phrase. 

Karen went in front of the personal computer, and the moment that it 
booted up, she started GGO. 

The message to Pitohui was, 

JTm gonna go wild!J 

Merely that single phrase. 

* * * 

The 30th of January, Friday night, past 20:00. 

Karen finished an enjoyable meal with her elder sister, brother-in-law 
and niece and left the room. 

Her four-year-old niece pestered her to watch an anime movie on TV 
together, but Karen, 

"Sorry. Onee-chan has homework to do." 

Told her such a lie, and went from her sister's room 21 upstairs to her 
own room that was downstairs. 

And then, she crossed over from the real world to the VR world. 


21 The original phrase was r!iVTil5“l^, but we weren't sure how to interpret it. If anyone is more 

knowledgable about housing in Japan, we would appreciate your help. 


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"Yaho! LLENN-chan! You really are the kind of girl that I'd thought 
you'd be!" 

In a bar in the central city SBC Glocken where they agreed to meet, 
LLENN had her shoulders pat on by Pitohui. Being pat by the tall 
Pitohui from above, although it wasn't the case, it seemed LLENN's 
already small stature shrunk even further. 

"Ouch, that hurts Pito-san!-Anyway, I did come." 

Having said that, she surveyed the dim and narrow private room. There 
was no one else there. 

"Ah, LLENN-chan, you're looking for your partner, huh. Sorry, he'll be 
coming soon, so wait a bit. As always, the drinks are on me." 

"Thanks.-Is he still shopping somewhere?" 

While sitting in front of Pitohui, LLENN casually asked. By 
„somewhere", she meant somewhere within GGO. 

"Nah, still in RL. He was asked to do something there." 

LLENN was considerably surprised at the similarly casual answer. 

As she knew that he had things to do in real life and would be a little 
late, does it mean that he's „a man that she is intimate with even in the 

RL "? In that case.boyfriend? Lover? Husband? Or is it possible that 

he's her son or father? 

In order not to show surprise on her face and for her thoughts not to be 
reflected on her mouth, LLENN drew the ice tea placed at the centre of 
the table towards herself and put the straw in her mouth. 


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Compared to the real world, the senses in this world were lacking, but 
what she felt in her mouth was indeed cold and sweet ice tea. What's 
more, no matter how much she drank, she wouldn't get plumper and 
didn't have any need to go to the toilet. 

Pitohui, who was gulping down a tropical fish-like overly vivid- 
coloured cider, said 

"Have you read SJ's rules ? With your personality LLENN-chan, I'm sure 
you've read it from A to Z, but I'm just making sure." 

While thinking that her personality was read, LLENN gave a positive 
answer. 

Because she completed the procedures for participating, she received a 
message with the rules from the management company Zaskar. LLENN 
didn't just skim through it, but read through the whole thing. 


SJ's rules were basically based on the individual battle royale BoB. 
Though in some parts, there were notable differences. 

Summarising the identical points- 

[fThe participants (teams) will be transferred at the same time to the 
match area at least 1,000 metres apart from any other participant (team). 
The participant (team) that survives to the end is the victor J 

[fThe stage is a special field. Although the circumstances will be 
unknown until the tournament begins, the stage will have various 
terrain. There will be both advantageous and disadvantageous terrain, 
but as the transfer is completely random, it all depends on luck J 


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f As for the weapons that the characters can possess within the game, the 
player is free to choose whatever they wish. In other words, it's possible 
to bring not only guns, but explosives, knives and so on. The vehicles 
dotting th e field may also be freely used J 

^Normally, the corpse would be broken down and destroyed, but 
during the game, the corpses will remain along with a [Dead] 
tagj 

^Normally, after a player dies, there would be an item drop called 
«random drop» and if the weapon isn't picked up by comrades, no 
matter how valuable the gun was, it would be lost forever, but during 
the tournament there won't be such a feature J 

[fin order to prevent people (teams) from one-sidedly running away and 
secluding themselves somewhere, a «Satellite Scan» will be performed. 
Setting-wise, this will be a scan done by an artificial satellite, and on the 
very day, the participants will be given a portable terminal, which will 
display the position of their opponents at fixed intervals for a short 
amount of time J 

"Do you have any questions so far?" 

While pointing at the rule screen that was displayed in the air, Pitohui 
asked, and LLENN answered. 

"None. Though I am a bit uneasy about how to use the satellite scan 
terminal." 

"It isn't that hard, if you've used a smartphone, you'll be fine. Now then, 
about the important, SJ-only rides -" 

As for the different points, the first would of course be the number of 
participants. 


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[["Individual participants are not approved; the participants must form a 
team of two to six people. J 

f Attacks against comrades, in other words, friendly fire deals damage as 
normal J 

f Communication items that were forbidden in the BoB may be used for 
the team battle. Of course, communication with those outside or dead 
players is impossible J 

Pitohui pointed her finger at her left ear. 

"We have the continuous call communication items. It's the thing that 
you and me used before." 

"Understood." 

LLENN nodded. 

A continuous call allowed „talking" and „listening" to each other, in 
short, it was an ordinary telephone-like communication device. 

An ordinary radio only allowed one-way communication when the 
button was pressed to talk. 

Of course, with a continuous call, everyone's voices can be heard at all 
times, so as the number of people increases, it only becomes a nuisance. 
That's why a radio is the preferred choice, but with just two of them, a 
continuous call would probably be more convenient. 

As for the next big difference, 

fin SJ, corpses will disappear after 10 minutes and the player will return 


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to the bar.J 

"Well, that's probably because this isn't a severe tournament like the BoB. 
With the BoB where a large amount of money is bet, the player's 
consciousness remains on standby in the corpse until the victor is 
decided, as a precaution to prevent any information leak." 

"Hmmhmm. In SJ, even if you die quickly, you don't need to wait for 
the tournament to end, huh." 

"If you die quickly. I'm not going to forgive you, you know?" 

"Hah! I am going to fight until my last breath!" 

"Good." 

The satellite scan time was also changed. 

fin the BoB, the satellite scan interval was 15 minutes, but it will be 
shortened to 10 minutes in this tournament. J 

"This is because they want to shorten the time needed for the 
tournament. The BoB always takes around 2 hours for the conclusion to 
be reached, but this tournament definitely won't take that long. It will 
begin on Sunday from 14:00.and will probably end within an hour." 

"That fast?" 

"According to my insight." 

"Should you really be saying that yourself.?" 

"Well it's fine. So, if you survive for more than an hour in this 
tournament, it's already a considerable feat." 


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"I see. Since the participants are team, it will probably instantly end up in 
a flashy gunfight." 

"Yeah. Right after the start of the game, the enemies will be at least 1 km 
away, but with a full power dash, the distance can be closed quickly, so 
you can't let your guard down. In a place with a good visibility, a sniper 
rifle's bullets can come flying at you from 800 metres away, while 

machine gun bullets could come from 600 metres. -Well, at that 

distance, you can practically leave it all to the guy that you're going to 
be fighting with." 

After mentioning the partner that hadn't arrived yet whom LLENN 
didn't know, Pitohui, 

"So, now for the perhaps most important SJ rule\ Right, this will be on 
the test\" 

Pointed at the screen while saying that. If what was written there was 
summarised, 

[fThe satellite scan displays only the position of the squad leader ( 
buntaichd 

squad leader). Also, in the BoB the name of the player would be 
displayed if the light dot was touched, but this time the team's name will 
not be displayed J 

"What does that mean?" 

"A team has six members at most, but if all the members are indicated, 
you probably won't be able to understand a thing as the screen would 
overflow with dots." 

"I see." 


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"So, only the location of the leader will be indicated. What meaning 
could that have? Yes, LLENN-chan." 

Being named by Pitohui like a teacher, LLENN answered after thinking 
about it for a few seconds. 

"Even if the other team members were lurking somewhere, you wouldn't 

know until you saw them.Rather, the leader's position can be used as 

a trap to draw in one's opponents." 

"Right! As expected of the antiion pit-like trap scoundrel, LLENN-chan! 
You're quick to understand!" 

"No, forget about that." 

"And yet I was praising you! That ruthless attack without a care for 
other people's feelings! How exciting!" 

"Can we return to the conversation?-So, the significance of the 

satellite scan has considerably changed from the individual matches of 
BoB." 

"Right. However, if the remainder of the team become scattered, it only 
becomes a disadvantage." 

"Gotcha.Teacher, I have a question!" 

"Yes, LLENN-kun." 

"If the leader dies.what happens then?-Does the team lose at that 

moment?" 

"No, in that case everyone would be unhappy, right? A leader whose 


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location was confirmed could probably be exterminated in one hit by a 
sniper and die. So, in that case, the same thing happens just like it does 
in an actual war." 

"Which means?" 

"You see, in the army, if a squad leader is killed in action, the next 
highest-ranking person, or if there are people with the same high rank, 
the one who was given that rank first, takes over the right to command. 
In other words, in SJ the person ranked second, then third based on the 
rank assigned in the team, would automatically take over." 

"I see. Then, in our team of only two people, there's no need to worry. 
Even so, we're really participating with just two people." 

"Right. Do your best. It would be cool if you won with just the two of 
you." 

"Haah." 

"Additionally, there's a rule that „the only one who can surrender is the 
leader, and in that case, the whole team surrenders", but well, that 
doesn't really concern you and your partner right, LLENN-chan. It 
means that if the number of people decreases and the odds of winning 
diminishes, the team can just leave instantly." 

"Hmmhmm" 

As LLENN finished drinking what little remained of her ice tea, she 
began slurping with the straw held in her mouth. And then, 

"That's all about the rules. Squad leader LLENN-dono." 

At those words, LLENN thought she would spit out the contents of her 


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drink. After gulping something down and widening her eyes, 

"He? Ha? Fu?" 

"Are you practising the pronunciation of the ha-row?" 22 

"That's not it!-I'm the leader ? Why? Is the person I am teaming up 

with weaker than me?" 

"You're starting to use keigo again. No no. Of course that guy is a strong 
player.” 

"Then, why.?" 

To LLENN, who had a question mark on her face, Pitohui who had a 
tattoo on her face answered. 

"That's a secret! Well, it's part of the plan." 


LLENN couldn't say anything more than that, and the private room 
suddenly became quiet. 

And then, 

"Sorry. I'm late." 

A hoarse male voice could be heard, and a giant man entered the room. 


22 Refers to the classification of the kana syllabary. 


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Chapter 4 - A Man Named M 

Seeing the man who opened the curtains and entered the private room. 


LLENN wondered whether a bear had just come in. 

The man was a giant, easily exceeding 190 cm in height. 

He was wearing camouflage pants, with a combination of green, brown 
and black gaudy dots, as well as an entirely brown T-shirt. 

He had absolutely no equipment on, but even so she felt his macho 
nature. On top of being tall, he was also big, and had a bulky chest. His 
chest was so bulky that it seemed like he had a bulletproof plate 
underneath his skin. The arms that came out of the T-shirt sleeves were 
like logs, and were probably larger than LLENN's waist. 

What made him look like a bear was his head. His wavy, deep, tawny- 
brown hair was so long that it reached his shoulders, and was so thick 
that it covered his head. 

His eyes were relatively round and big, but did not show any sign of 
gentleness. 

He was considerably old, seemingly over forty. Of course, one's avatar's 
appearance had absolutely no relationship with one's true age IRL, so he 
could just as well be a male high school student in the real world as he 
could be an eighty-year-old ojii-chan. 

In the world of GGO, a game made in America, such a body builder-like 
super macho avatar wasn't rare. LLENN happened to see them frequently 
in town, but meeting one so close was considerably scary. 

However, it was interesting that even with this appearance, if, for 
example, he had just started the game and had a low strength value, even 


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guns that LLENN could equip would be heavy for him and he wouldn't 
be able to wield them. Well, Pitohui did say that he was „strong", so 
such a case was unlikely. Thinking about it in general, he should have 
been playing at least as much as she did, if not longer. 

"Ou, hey you're late." 

"Sorry, Pito. It's just that I had to finish all of my errands." 

His deep voice and blunt answer were also considerably scary to 
LLENN. Until now, she had never faced such a large human in her life. 

It reminded her of the time in her childhood when she saw a black bear 
on the other side of the glass in a zoo. 

LLENN thought that she couldn't handle having such a dreadful partner 
and considered if she should withdraw from SJ. Of course, that would 
be rude to both Pitohui and him, and moreover, she had decided by 
herself to take part, so she reconsidered. Besides, he wasn't an enemy, 
but an ally. 

"Okay. Come on, sit over here." 

As Pitohui said that, she stood up and handed her own seat to him. The 
giant standing at the entrance to the private room exchanged places with 
Pitohui, scooted along the narrow seat, and sat in front of LLENN. 

"LLENN-chan, let me introduce you! This idiotically and absurdly 
gargantuan-" 

The moment LLENN heard that, her heart hurt for just a moment. 
Because, in RL, that was exactly how she looked like. Of course, Pitohui 
wasn't at fault here. Since concealing RL details and being able to play is 
what VR games were about. 

"guy is the one who is going to fight alongside you this time-come 

on, introduce yourself." 


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Pitohui's attitude towards the man was considerably high-handed. She 
didn't know what kind of relationship the two had, but it seemed to 
LLENN that Pitohui's position was far higher IRL. 

The giant man gave a light bow and, 

"Nice to meet you. My name is M. I look forward to working with you." 

Introduced himself like that. His appearance was scary, but his manners 
were awfully polite. The astonished LLENN also answered in keigo after 
bowing. 

"Nice to meet you. I am LLENN." 

And then, the two became quiet. It seemed that this man named M 
wasn't as sociable as Pitohui. 

'Kinda hard to converse, huh. Well, Pito-san will interject, so it should be 
fine, right?', LLENN thought when, 

"Well then. I've got errands to run. I leave the rest to you two young 
ones!" 

Pitohui, who was at the entrance to the private room, left with a line 
similar to that of a formal marriage interview. 

"Wha? H-" 

Before LLENN could even respond, Pitohui ended up exiting and 
leaving without delay. 


All that remained was an unexpected unpleasantness. 

It wasn't as if being alone with a male was dangerous. In VR games, a 


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person who came in physical contact with someone of the opposite 
gender would result in a «harassment» warning. If the person did not 
abide by this warning, the penalty increased, and would ultimately 
result in the account being suspended. 

Since puberty, Karen barely had any experience with talking to a 
member of the opposite gender with no one else around. The reason it 
wasn't zero was because she had two older brothers, and after her sister 
married, a brother-in-law as well. Thanks to that, she didn't have a 
phobia of males such that she absolutely couldn't talk to them, but... 


It wasn't an atmosphere where she could take the initiative to say 
something. The other party looked like a giant who would end up eating 
her from top to bottom. 

At the same time, she somehow ended up understanding the feeling of 
people who saw her in RL, and felt a bit gloomy again. 

As LLENN was thinking „I really want to log out and escape" with 
downcast eyes, something reached her ears, 

"Em., well, you shouldn't.be so tense, le-let us go. No, let's 

go.If I use keigo, that bastard Pitohui.will beat me to a pulp." 

A stuttering voice with tension mixed in. Naturally, it was M's voice. 

'Ah, I'm not the only one who's scared', LLENN felt a bit relieved. This 

large man also imagines being beaten to a pulp by Pitohui-violence 

isn't good, but it was a slightly heartwarming scene. 

"Ah-yes. I mean, yeah, so please." 

Looking a person in the eyes when talking was a rule of the Kohiruimaki 
household. Her businessmen parents had strictly taught her that. While 


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looking at M's rough face, LLENN, 

"Since we decided to participate with all our might. I'm looking 
forward-to your help. M-san." 

"Me too. Since we're aiming for victory, let's do our best. LLENN- 

can I drop the honorifics? I, quite dislike.attaching -chan to others 

names." 

LLENN nodded. It seemed that M's personality wasn't as scary as his 
appearance. 

'I wonder, what kind of person is controlling this rough character in real 
life? LLENN's interest was sparked again, but she threw out her 
thoughts with her best efforts. If she continued thinking about that, she 
thought she'd end up carelessly asking about it again. 

"What have you heard from Pito? Before I came, what were you talking 
about?" 

Seemingly having conquered his tension as well, he took the glass of ice 
coffee that came from the hole after he requested for it, and then talked to 
her very normally. 

Having the feeling „This person is my oji-san. An older person that I can 
talk casually with.", LLENN decided to talk. 

"Re-confirming the rules of SJ, the use of wireless items, and for some 
reason, the fact that I became the leader.” 

"I see. Anything about the reason for us meeting face-to-face?" 

"Nothing yet." 

LLENN answered as she shook her head. 


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Speaking of which, what was the reason? 

Without saying the reason, Pitohui had asked if she was free for 3 hours 
from 21:00 on Friday. As Pitohui would be attending a wedding on the 
day of the tournament and would probably be busy, LLENN was glad 
that she was introduced to M before that, but there probably was no 
need for it to go on for 3 hours. Moreover, contrary to her expectations 
that the three of them would go monster farming to deepen their 
friendship, Pitohui had left quickly. 

At LLENN's answer, 

"Honestly." 

M let such a reaction slip out, and laughed lightly. His grim expression, 
even if just a little, loosened up, and LLENN had strange thoughts like 
'ah, even such a character can laugh' and 'there are graphics prepared for 
laughing'. 

"Neither of us know each other's abilities. I've heard a bit from Pito, but 
I want to go to the practice grounds and confirm it." 

A practice ground was a place that was literally as the name implied. 

In a field where various terrain and buildings could be selected, unlike 
indoor shooting ranges, it was possible to practise movement and long- 
range shooting, making use of the terrain adapted for actual combat, and 
it was possible to practise without dealing damage to each other. And 
there was no worry that they would be attacked and killed by monsters 
or other players during that time. However, to use it, reservation was 
necessary, and the fee was considerably high. 

"I see.-But, no matter what, one thing concerns me." 

"What?" 


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"Why am I the leader ? I mean, without confirming it, I may not have, 
such a capability, right?" 

As LLENN was complaining frantically with her small body, M laughed 
a bit again. 

"No worries. There's a plan, so you're just the leader in name only. I'll 
handle the actual operational command." 


Just before Friday turned to Saturday, Karen returned to the real world. 

Having grown back to her large body, she slowly confirmed her real 
sensations and then stood up and turned on the room's lights. 

As she was absentmindedly looking at the black P90 hanging on the 
wardrobe, 

"That was like a tryout.wasn't it?" 

Karen muttered. 


For approximately 2 and a half hours, FFENN was asked by M to do 
various things. 

The two of them went to the reserved practice grounds. It was a 
wasteland with a crazy-coloured sky and where rocks and abandoned 
vehicles stood out. In the distance, there was a mountain with inclined 
buildings and with craters. In appearance, there wasn't anything different 
from a normal field, but there was an approximate 2 km movement range 
restriction, and there should be a transparent wall that „does not allow 
one to advance any further". 

"Put on all your equipment. Also, give me a communication item." 


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Were M's first words. LLENN operated her menu screen, and 
materialised the equipment held in her storage. Her usual pink combat 
uniform and P90. While changing clothes, those currently worn would 
temporarily vanish, so one would only be dressed in underwear in that 
moment, but it was fine as long as a robe was equipped . 

And so, LLENN was asked to do various things. 

[T40 metres ahead, there's a drum can. I want you to aim for its centre, 
and shoot while standing. 10 bullets slowly in semi-auto, 10 bullets as fast 
as possible. And the remaining 30 bullets in full auto.} 

[fThere's 200 metres from here to that abandoned truck. There are hard 
rocks underfoot. I want you to sprint towards the truck with all you 
have while carrying the P90. When you touch the truck, sprint back here 
with all you have J 

[fThis time, shoot while running. Sprint with all you have towards the 
drum can, and at my instruction, discharge your entire magazine in full- 
auto while running. When you have 8 bullets or less in your magazine, 
immediately reload. J 

[fBy eye-estimation, how many metres do you think separates you and 
that sharp rock? How about the hole on the other side?J 

Up to this point, she understood it as 'ah, he's examining my fighting 
ability', but 

^There's nothing beyond this point. I want you to close your eyes and 
walk. As normally as possible, and in a fixed manner. Upon my 
instruction, turn based on the angle I give you J 

[fSlow walk, normal walk, jog, sprint with all you have-at my 

instruction, switch from one of these four to the next J 

fl want you lie down on your face. Once 1 minute or more has passed 


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and I abruptly give you the signal, stand up and run in the direction I 
indicate. Upon the next signal, lie down on your face again J 

[fRun as fast as you can backwards. There are stones, so if you trip, 
rotate to fall to the ground with your stomach J 

f Crouch and roll into a ball as small as possible. And then, try rolling 
along a hill road J 

When he said things like that, LLENN didn't understand what it would 
be useful for. 

In the world of a VR game, no matter how much one moved, it wouldn't 
result in physical fatigue. If the brain gave an order to „run as fast as 
possible", the body could continue to run for as long as one liked, as if it 
was operated with a controller button. 

LLENN had completely no idea what he was doing, so, although she 
was mentally exhausted, she did as she was told. 

"Yeah, I get the picture now. Thanks." 

As LLENN was thinking whether it was over with this, M called out his 
storage operation screen, and called out his own gun. 

What appeared in front of his eyes was a large and strange-looking rifle. 

It was big, long rifle with a lot of rough ups and downs. It gave LLENN 
the impression of a construction site machine. A seemingly solid bipod 
and scope were attached. 

As for its colour, it had a tawny-brown and green camouflage coating. 
As it was discoloured here and there, and its colours were fading as it 
was chafed, she could surmise that it had been used for a considerably 
long time. 


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"Is that your main arm, M-san? It's the first time I've seen it, what's it 
called?" 

LLENN asked, thinking that it looked strong, but heavy, and that she 
probably wouldn't be able to equip it. 


Having finished the check up on his gun, M initially answered by giving 
the gun's name alone. Having placed the M14 EBR at his feet, he 
provided additional explanation while performing the process for 
materialising his equipment. 

"EBR are the initials for enhanced battle rifle. As the name implies, it's an 
„enhanced version" of the old M14 battle rifle. Its calibre is 7.62 mm." 

Hearing that, while ruminating what she was once taught by Pitohui, 

"So, M-san, your battle style is.firing in semi-auto at middle range?" 

LLENN asked to be sure. 

Before she began playing GGO, LLENN had completely no knowledge 
on guns, but now she knew a lot. 

What she was taught in the tutorial and reviewed with Pitohui was- 

[fBased on the gun's calibre, and based on the type of gun of the same 
calibre, the effective distance of the gun changes. Pay attention to your 
own, and your opponent's, gun calibre and type J 

This. 

An effective range, crudely put, was „the greatest distance where the 
gun could hit and deal damage". Its meaning was completely different 
from just the „greatest range" that the bullet could physically cross. 


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7.62 mm class bullets had a lot of power and were most suited for mid¬ 
range sniping. 

"That's right, basically, in open places I like to fight by keeping my 
distance from the opponent. Of course, even if it came to a close-range 
battle, I will use the EBR, but for indoors and the like, I have this." 

A strengthened plastic holster appeared on M's right thigh as he 
explained. 

Inside, was a big, black automatic pistol. M M moved the M14 EBR onto 
his shoulder via the gun's sling and drew the pistol out of the holster 
with his right hand. 

It was impossible for a gun taken out of storage to be loaded, so M pulled 
the slide with his left hand, and loaded the first bullet into the gun's 
chamber. 

After he raised the small lever where his thumb was and activated the 
safety, M showed the gun's side to LLENN. 

"It's an «HK45» made by the German company Heckler & Koch. A 45 
calibre automatic. The magazine capacity is 10 bullets. If you raise this 
lever on the right side, the safety will be activated, horizontal to fire. You 
might need to use it when it's important, so I want you to remember 
that." 

M explained this far more carefully than about the M14 EBR, but 
LLENN thought 'well, I probably won't need to use it'. 

Even so, she remembered the user guide. If that small lever is raised, the 
safety will be activated. 

GGO players don't really activate the safeties on their guns. If you didn't 
do that in RL, it would be dangerous, so it couldn't be helped, but this 
was a game world. Rather than the danger of an accidental discharge, it 


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had the merit of allowing one to promptly counterattack. 

LLENN was also always like that; whenever she went out to th e field, 
she'd immediately load her P90, and set her selector and safety to the 
„full-auto" position. 

When she was moving, she would extend her index finger and keep it 
away from the trigger, and when she was attacking, with delicate control 
of the trigger, she'd fire 3~5 bullets at a time. 

M returned the HK45 to his holster, and continued to materialise his 
remaining equipment. This included a vest, with a bulletproof plate, on 
his bulky body, and a backpack so large that it seemed like it could even 
be used to go mountain climbing, and further increased the volume that 
occupied this world 23 . On his head, he had a bush hat that had the same 
camouflage pattern as his clothes. 

On his vest, excessive M14 EBR magazine pouches were attached. As his 
body was big, it was possible for him to attach a lot of pouches. A total of, 
eight or more. A considerable number of spare magazines. 

The backpack also greatly swelled out, but she didn't know what was 
inside. Well, it's probably not lunchboxes, so probably something 
necessary for fighting. 

Having finished his preparations, M, 

"Now then, from this point on. I'll have you stand an indicated distance: 
20 metres, 50 metres, 100 metres, away." 

"Okay. And then?" 

"I'll fire with my EBR in various directions. Before I shoot. I'm going to 
say the direction that I'll shoot in." 


23 Seems to be a fancy way to say "spawned more stuff to crowd the world with" 


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"Come again? Then.W-what should I do? Run away with all I 

have?" 

Mistaking that she might have become a target for shooting practice, 
LLENN asked in a hurry, but the answer was unexpected. 

"I want you to pay attention, listen, and feel the sounds." 

"Sounds? The gunshots?" 

"Right. You might know this, but in GGO, gunshots at point-blank range 
are considerably toned down when compared to the equivalent in RL." 

LLENN nodded. She had heard this from Pitohui before. 

That the gun depiction was based on RL guns was GGO's distinguishing 
characteristic, but the volume alone wasn't completely reproduced. 

If it wasn't so, no one would be able to talk while shooting, and it would 
unmistakably lead to people becoming deaf one after the other. 

"However, although the volume of gunshots is toned down to some 
extent, in other words to the level that that they would result in damage 
to one's ears, the decay based on location and distance is reproduced 
based on how it is in RL. So, if you are familiar with it, you can 
determine how far the opponent is shooting from." 

"I see." 

"Prom this point on. I'll have you learn how a sound changes based on 
the distance, and practise grasping the sense of approximately how far 
away, and from which direction your opponent is shooting from. After I 
shoot for a bit. I'll have you close your eyes. I'll move and shoot without 
notice. I want you to guess, as accurately as possible, how far away I am 
and where am I aiming at." 


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'What the, that sounds hard', LLENN thought, but 'well. I'll just have to 
do it. It's better than being shot at. If what we did earlier was an athletics 
test, then this is music, right. 

"Gotcha." 

"After we're done with that. I'll do the same thing, but with cover, like 
rocks, abandoned vehicles and houses, in between. I want you to learn 
the differences in how it sounds." 

'Uwaa, that sounds awfully hard.' LLENN shouted in her mind. 


* * * 


Saturday, the day after the „tryouts" ended, Karen had nothing to do 
other than her university studies. And she even finished that in the 
morning. 

Karen, who had tons of free time, was glancing fleetingly at her 
Amu Sphere placed at the side of her bed but, 

"Yeeah., I'll pass today." 

Decided to pass playing GGO. 

She could go monster farming even if she was alone, but in the 1 in 
10,000 chance of being attacked by other players, there was a possibility 
that she would be killed if she did not manage to run away. LLENN was 
confident in her ability to run away, but she could be attacked by an 
enemy that was also fast on their feet. 

Even if a character dies, they would only suffer a «death penalty», in 
other words lose some of the experience points earned, and be returned 
to town. However, in rare rases, it was possible to lose one's guns or 


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equipment on the spot via a random drop. 

If that happened and one's allies did not pick them up, they would be 
lost for eternity. LLENN wouldn't have any allies, so it's obvious what 
would happen. If she lost her precious main arm P90 when she should be 
restraining herself for tomorrow's important tournament, she would 
have no excuse for Pitohui and M. 

In the end, she decided not to do anything this afternoon. 

Either way, when tomorrow comes, she would cut loose whether she 
wanted to or not. LLENN, 

"Ah, Kanzaki Elza sure is great." 

Spent her time leisurely engulfed in the clear voice of the singer, whose 
live performance she couldn't go to the next day. 

Kanzaki Elza was a singer and songwriter, so she prepared both song 
lyrics and composition, but she had arranged countless famous classical 
music pieces in her songs. This was one of the reasons why the classical 
music loving Karen liked her songs. 

While listening, Karen thought. 'Why doesn't Kanzaki Elza go to a 
bigger place for her live performances?' 

Karen suddenly had an idea, 

[fDear Kanzaki Elza-samaJ 

And decided to attempt to write a handwritten fan letter to her. Her niece 
had dropped by and left a cute sheet of writing paper and an envelope. 

It was the first time in her life writing something like a fan letter, but 


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strangely, her brush moved of its own free will- 

When she realised it, she had written about always having a complex 
about her tall figure, and about being completely absorbed in a VR game 
where she obtained a chibi avatar to reduce it. 

She continued with 'In the real world, I love your singing voice, so I 
would like to hear it in person for once. So, if you please, hold your 
concerts in a more spacious location. 

After finishing writing it, she went to have dinner, then read it over- 

Karen thought that she had really expressed her emotions too much, and 
it was too embarrassing, but 


Thinking that 'she's probably not going to read it anyways', she decided 
to send it out as it was. 

The forwarding address was Kanzaki Elza's office. 

Thinking that it would be nice if in the highly unlikely case she got an 
answer'- 

On the back of the envelope, she wrote her own name and address. 


While LLENN was sealing her fan letter to Kanzaki Elza with a cute 
seal - 


In various places around Japan, there were men, and women, who were 
preparing for the tournament the next day. 


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At one place, five men met via an Internet telephone. 

IF At last, the time for us to shine has come! That's tomorrow! J 
[fYeah! Let's fight and fall without restraint! J 

[fRight! Although we were born at different times, we'll die together! J 

[fNo way, you guys die first. I won't pick up your bones, but I will pick 
up your equipment J 

tYou're horrible! J 

[fPfthaha! Sorry to burst your bubble, but like the BoB, SJ won't have 

any drops J 

[fWhat. Dang J 

[fLike you didn't know! You really are horrible! J 

ITls that your joke to warm up the crowd? J 

[fDo you want to be shot in the back some day?J 

[fNow, let's take it easy with the tone! At long last, this strange 
tournament will be opened. The time when even we, who got defeated 
in consecutive preliminaries of the third BoB, can be in the spotlight has 
come!j 

[fYeah! If it's a team battle, we might reach quite a nice rank! J 
[TAll right! Let's do our best! Let's survive 15 minutes! J 


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SAO Alternative - Gun Gale Online Volume 01 


(TYeahlJ fYeahU [fYeahlJ ^YahlJ 


At another place, one man was talking as he faced six other men. 

"At last, it will be tomorrow, but well, this tournament is just an 
experiment, so even if it doesn't go well, there's nothing to fret about. 
With you regular gentlemen, we will probably get a considerably high 
rank. But, if we're about to win, we'll surrender and leave the game as 
planned. That's all, expect a hard struggle." 


In yet another place, there were several women talking on an Internet 
phone at the same time. 

IF At last, it's tomorrow huh. Don't forget to log in. Especially- J 

fl know I know! I'll get a call from Boss tomorrow!J 

^You're always late, aren't you. But, at last, we'll be able to let loose to 
our heart's content! J 

[fNow that we've come so far, we have only one goal! Victory! To get 
the prize! Anything other than that won't happen, right? J 

[f Of course! J 

[fRoger!j 

[fLeave it to us! If it's us, we can do it! J 


In yet another place, there was a naked man and woman embracing each 
other on a bed, and exchanging words. 


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"At last, it's tomorrow huh, do your best, darlingV' 

// // 

"Don't worry. Even if you die, you'll just die." 

// // 

"If you're feeling so tense, you'll do well no matter what happens!" 

//j // 

"Listen! It will be fine! Look, we still have time, so once more!" 

"I'm troubled about tomorrow's job." 

"That much won't discourage me. And what about you, have you 
already become an ojii-san? Darling.” 

Thus, in Japan time, Saturday was over. 

As the clock struck midnight, the day of SJ's opening came. 

Now, for the beginning of the battle. 

Chapter 5 - The Beginning of the Tournament 

1st of Lebruary, 2026. Sunday. 

Beginning around noon, a corner of SBC Glocken, the central city in Gun 


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Gale Online, began bustling with activity. 

It was a large bar on a broad main street. 

Although it was called a bar, it also included a restaurant, a coffee shop, 
with a shopping mall adjacent to it, alongside having a game corner, a 
casino and even an indoor shooting range. 

Even on a regular Sunday, this establishment would be reasonably 
crowded with players who liked it, but it was more crowded than usual 
today. 

There was just one reason for this. It was because this venue became the 
base for the „first Squad Jam". 

It differed from a major tournament that raised the profile of GGO like 
the BoB, and thus this bar, rather than the central institution called the 
«Governor's Office», was used for the tournament. 

The participants temporarily gathered here and, when the time came, 
would be transported to a small «standby area» for each team to 
prepare. 

While there, within the 10 minute countdown, team members could take 
out equipment from their storage, and hold a strategy meeting. Then, at 
exactly 14:00, they would be transported to the battlefield without 
knowing which terrain they would be on. 

The battle scene would be broadcasted by a great number of cameras. 

If it were a tournament on the level of the BoB, the situation would be 
broadcast via the net broadcasting station «MMO Stream», so people 
connected to the Internet could watch anywhere, but the SJ did not go so 
far. 


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People could either watch it in this bar while clamorously enjoying 
themselves via the large monitors hanging on the walls and ceiling, 
watch the broadcast inside GGO, or watch the video recording on 
another day. 


According to the digital wristwatch on her left wrist, LLENN, who was 
dressed in a robe, entered the establishment at 12:45. 

As the appointed meeting time for players participating in SJ was 13:40, 
the appointment with M was at 13:30, so she had a lot of time to spare. 

After LLENN entered the crowded establishment, she looked for a 
vacant private room. This was to quickly hide herself and not give any 
information to the opponents she would be facing. 

There were quite a few players showing off their beloved guns in the bar, 
but it was all just a foolish act that helped their enemies come up with 
counter-measures, thus she was warned never to do such a thing by M. 
Of course, there was also the possibility of someone intentionally 
showing off a weak gun, then using a powerful rare gun in the real 
battle. 

LLENN entered a private room and closed the curtains. She then mailed 
the number of the room to M as promised. 

Without even having to wait a few minutes and before she finished her 
first ice tea, M turned up. As ever a mountain-like giant, though LLENN 
no longer feared it. 

"Yo. Let's do our best today." 

"Likewise." 


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Excitement within the establishment reached the ears of the pair, who 
decided to wait leisurely until it was time. 

On the screen of the monitor, a middle-aged man, the novelist who 
became the sponsor for this tournament, took the role of covering the 
event as his RL self, rather than his avatar. 

The filthy man with a beard seemed to be rather euphoric as he said 
things like 'well, this will be fun' or 'everyone, shoot each other in the 
game to your heart's content'. 

"So, the guy who brought up the idea for the tournament isn't 
participating himself!" 

One of the audience retorted, and immediately afterwards, someone 
else, 

"Well, although the guy's RL identity is exposed, his avatar isn't, so ain't 
he gonna participate sneakily after this coverage is over?" 

"That's right! It's the opposite of normal, right!" 

"It is an unusual pattern ." 

"Then, do we get a bonus if we kill that guy?" 

"I wonder, how much did he spend to organise a tournament of this 
size?" 

Such conversations could be heard. 

LLENN and M saw a list of participating teams on a window that floated 


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in front of their eyes. 

In total, twenty three teams. Considering that BoB had several hundreds 
in the preliminaries narrowed down to thirty people, it had to be said 
that this tournament without preliminaries was really of a small scale. 

However, taking into account the fact that each team could register up to 
six people, the maximum number of participants is one hundred and 
thirty eight, thus it was true that the game taking place in a field of the 
same size as the one used for the BoB would be considerably „packed". 

"It would be nice if the bar won't become empty right after the 
tournament begins." 

M said. Having imagined that, LLENN unintentionally chuckled. 

However, as one after another player intruded on LLENN and M after 
they entered the private room, that worry was unnecessary. The first 
Squad Jam was unexpectedly thriving. 

As for the names of the teams on the participation list, LLENN and M's 
was «LM». 

LLENN and M, it was actually just that. LLENN being first was either 
simply because of the alphabetical order, or to show respect to the leader. 

The other team names, like «DDL», «ZEAMAL», «SYOJI», 
«CHBYS», «DanG», «SHINC» and so on, were all short and simple 
as well. 

A lot of them looked like abbreviations, so they probably came up with 
their name during the registration by abbreviating their own names. 
Considering this, LLENN thought that LM was fine as a simple name. 


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What's important was that the number of people in a team was not 
written anywhere. 

With this, they could only fight under the assumption that every team 
had six people. On the contrary, the fact that LLENN and M were just a 
two-people party could be used to provoke their opponents' negligence. 

It was impossible to have a sport 24 gamble about who would win like in 
the BoB. Instead, 

[f Let's predict how many bullets will be fired until the conclusion of the 
tournament is reached! 500 credits per guess. J 

There were such prediction games that weren't present in the BoB, and 
people were considerably excited. 

Since this was a game world, the system could accurately tell the number 
of times the participating characters had fired. The plan was to guess the 
number of bullets expended by everyone by the time the conclusion was 
reached. 

In the case of someone guessing correctly up to the last digit-the 

person would get the same number of one's desired bullets. However, 
the upper limit for the bullet size was 7.62 mm. 

In GGO, one could buy ammunition themselves (or buy the materials 
and craft the ammunition), thus if one obtained a large number of 
bullets, they could play without worrying about the bullet cost for a 
while after the tournament. Of course, one could also give them to 
squadron comrades or sell them at a store. 

In the case where no one guessed correctly, the prize would be given to 


24 Betting which team would win, similarly to how people do so for for sport events. 


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five people that were the closest to the number, but the prize would be 
ranked based on whether the guess was accurate to the tens or 
hundreds. 

Even so, it seems that most people used sub-machine guns and dozens of 
hand grenades. It wasn't surprising that it was so lively. 

Nonetheless, it wasn't that simple to predict how many bullets would be 
discharged. The participants were entering random numbers from tens 
to tens of thousands by hitting the window of their competition terminal 
with the palm of their hands. 

Outside this clamour, 

"I wonder if Pito-san is in a dress right now." 

LLENN said, thinking about Pitohui who was currently attending a 
wedding and, 

"Probably. She's most likely grinding her teeth in regret that she 
couldn't participate in the SJ. Hopefully she won't come up with weird 
ideas about her surroundings, like „Why is it that my friend the bride 
looks so depressed? Could it be?"" 

M replied indifferently, causing LLENN to burst into laughter. 

After laughing, LLENN brought her knees together and straightened her 
back, 

"M-san, I look forward to working with you today. Lor a long time, I 
was troubled about whether or not I should participate, but I think I'll 
try playing GGO seriously for a bit more. 

And conveyed these polite words to him. 


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"Gotcha. But, enough with the keigo." 


"Ah-roger. 


M, with his rough face and body, said in a gentle tone. 

"I was told by that Pitohui. „Make sure you win this"" 

"Ah, that sounds like Pito-san." 

"My answer was 'We'll do as much as we can. But at any rate, we're just 
two people. In the first place, we'll be at a disadvantage right from the 
start.' I also said 'If LLENN is killed in action and there are a lot of 
opponents, we may have to surrender.' 'Well, it can't be helped', was 
how Pito replied." 

"Yeah. That's fine isn't it? I did say that we should seriously do our best 
a moment ago, but a game is a game. Besides, in a real war, if we were no 
match for our opponents, it would be fine to surrender. I think that if I 
become the only one standing in our team. I'd end up surrendering 
quickly." 

"Nevertheless, we should aim for the top as much as we can. It would be 
fun to find out how far can just one person go." 

At M's words that seemed like he was instructing himself, 

"Roger!" 

Just as LLENN cheerfully answered, an announcement by a girl began to 
be streamed in the bar. 

^Participating players of the Squad Jam\ Thank you for waiting! In one 


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minute, the transfer to the standby area will begin. Are all your 
comrades pre-sent?J 


The place that LLENN and M were transferred to at 13:50 was a dim and 
small room. 

In front of their eyes was a countdown watch [fWaiting time: 09:59J . 
Decreasing in intervals of 1 second. When it reaches 00:00, they will be 
transferred to some place in an unknown field and the battle will begin. 

"All right!" 

LLENN said, as her excitement grew. 

Whether she liked it or not, she could no longer escape from the match. 
Shouldn't she go wild without restraint to vent her anger from RL ? 

Lor that, she needed to make preparations. 

Eirstly, in front of her eyes, a screen, denoting that the satellite scan 
terminal had been distributed, appeared. 

LLENN touch the screen with her hand and a terminal that was like a 
largish smartphone appeared in front of her eyes. 

The instructions for how to use it were also displayed. By pressing the 
two main buttons, a large map would appear either from the screen in 
one's hand, or in front of one's eyes. When one wants to see it stealthily - 
via the screen; when one had time to spare and wanted to see it with 
their comrades - in front of their eyes; it seemed that those were the 
possible choices. The scale of the map could be changed by pinching and 
spreading one's fingers, just like with a smartphone. 


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The map of the real stage was still unknown, so right now a large 
„sample" was displayed. 

During the satellite scan once every 10 minutes, white light dots would 
be displayed. It would be the location of the participating team's leader. 
The dull grey dots would be the last position of a team that was wiped 
out or surrendered. The way to use it was very simple. It seemed that she 
would not have problems with it. 

Placing the terminal at her feet for the time being, LLENN changed to 
her pink combat uniform under her robe. On her head she of course wore 
a pink knit cap. On the nape of her neck - a pink bandana. As for the 
unnecessary robe, she put it in her storage. 

Next up was her equipment. Her beloved gun P-chan, a P90 dyed in 
pink, appeared in her hands. On the sides of her thighs, a pouch with 
three spare magazines each. 

LLENN liked liked the fact that her clothes changing instantly with just 
the operation of the window screen was like the transformation scene of a 
magical girl anime that she saw in the past. 

She believed that pretty much no one would be using optical guns in a 
battle against people like SJ, but there were eccentrics everywhere. Lor 
peace of mind, LLENN also equipped a large brooch- like item, a defence 
field generating device. 

There was room to spare on her waist belt, so she equipped a cylindrical 
first-aid kit pouch on the side of her magazine pouch. A first aid kit was a 
recovery item that, if tapped on the skin, would restore 30 percent of 
one's lost hit points. However, it would actually take 180 seconds for it to 
finish, so it was awfully useless in the midst of a battle. 

The satellite scan terminal placed at her feet completely fit in the large 


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chest pocket of her combat uniform. 

"All right." 

With this, LLENN's preparations were complete. 

And then, 

"Take this." 

M, who had materialised his M14 EBR and placed it at his feet, 
presented something to LLENN. 

"Hm?" 

While tilting her head to the side, she accepted it; a combat knife in a 
scabbard. 

The green scabbard was made of plastic with a black cover made of nylon, 
while a knife with a black grip was sheathed in it. Its overall length was 
approximately 30 cm. The length of its blade alone was probably a little 
less than 20 cm. 

LLENN timidly unfastened the flap, drew the knife from the scabbard 
and a very very evil-looking, matte black blade that did not reflect light 
appeared. 

Although she used a kitchen knife for cooking, it was her first time 
holding such a large knife. Coupled with the smallness of LLENN's 
hands, it looked as if she was holding a nata knife 25 . 

Although it was the same blade as a kitchen knife, it was a more 


25 A wide blade knife (similar to a machete, but not so large). 


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immediate „ weapon" than a gun, so it made LLENN feel considerably 
scared. 


She ended up immediately returning it to the scabbard. After fastening 
the flap as well, LLENN faced M. 

"M-san, what am I.supposed to do with this?" 

"Your strength value should still allow it, so have it as an additional 
armament. Otherwise, when you run out of bullets for your P90, you 
won't be able to do anything." 

"But, I've equipped seven magazines, so that's 350 bullets, you know?" 
LLENN objected. 

Three in each poach on her thighs and one equipped on the P90. That 
was a considerably large number of bullets that could be carried by one 
person. That was the result of the P90's large quantity of bullets per 

magazine. 

Because of that unique layout, changing the magazine for the P90 takes 
quite some time compared to other guns, but considering LLENN's 
tempered agility and dexterity, she could easily and quickly handle it 
even while flying in mid-air. 

Additionally, she had another three in her storage, so she could equip 
new magazines in-between battles. 

LLENN had never had trouble with running out of bullets for her P90 so 
far. Lor that reason, she did not equip a side arm. 


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However, M did not yield. 

"Although GGO is about gunfights, in considerably close combat in 
narrow rooms, it is possible to encounter hand-to-hand combat 
occasionally. All the more so in SJ as there are a lot of people. It is 
possible that I'll give you the instruction „use a knife that doesn't make 
any sound"" 

Even LLENN could not deny that. 

Even during monster farming, there were plenty of cases of her coming 
too close to her opponent and unleashing her bullets at point blank 
range. If she had a knife in those cases, she could indeed use slash and 
stab attacks. Moreover, it wouldn't make a sound. 

"In close-quarter combat, knives are often stronger than guns. More so 
when a person's agility is as high as yours, LLENN. Equip it 
horizontally on the back of your waist. When you need to use it, draw it 
with your right hand in a backhand grip-" 

While saying this, M moved his own right hand and lectured her. 

"Your opponents should be bigger than you LLENN-" 

Well, there wasn't any chance of her opponent being smaller than her. 

"If you are confronting them directly, assault them, pass under the 
enemy's groin, and cut at either the left or right inner thigh. A femoral 
artery runs there, so it will cause considerable damage. Sometimes, 
greater than when hit with a bullet." 


It was an unpleasant lecture which was far too realistic. 


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GGO's damage setting reproduces human vitals quite well. 

If the centre of the head or the medulla oblongata is shot, even if the 
bullet is small, an instant death with one bullet was possible. Even if that 
didn't happen, spots that could cause great bleeding and spots that 
could lead to the person being unable to move one's body if injured lead 
to far greater decrease of one's hit points when hit. 

LLENN thought, 'With a gun, there wouldn't be that much resistance, 
but with a knife, you'd really want to avoid using it'. But she felt a bit 
relieved that no matter how long someone was engulfed in playing 
GGO or how many times one shot someone, they definitely wouldn't be 
able to commit murder in RL. 

But then, aside from magic attacks, ALO, the game that LLENN first 
tried playing with Miyu, was a meatgrinder 26 game where everyone 
would cut each other with swords. 

M's „murder technique" lecture continued. 

"Additionally, if your opponent comes pointing his gun at you, cut at 
the interior of his upper arm from below with an uppercut. That also 
leads to a lot of damage, and the person may drop his gun because of 
pain and numbness." 

In VR games, when someone gets hit, cut, struck with magic, shot and, 
on top of that, bitten by a monster— „receive damage" in any way, they 
would feel pain. 

How much pain-or rather, a „feeling that simulates pain", that a 


26 The original text uses the word |^]# i $o (nikudansen), which means "warfare in which enemies fling 
themselves at the enemy". The closest expression I could come up with was "meatgrinder", in the meaning of 
"a slaughterhouse for soldiers". 


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player felt depended on the game, but in GGO, the pain was considerable. 

It is said that the feeling of being shot was close to the feeling of „an 
acupressure point being pressed". 

In shiatsu 27 and other therapies, when a painful acupressure point is 
pressed, the surrounding area becomes numb with a throb and the 
energy in the vicinity is released; it was a feeling like that. When shiatsu 
is over, the pain is immediately allieved, and no injuries remain on the 
skin, so it was quite similar. 

The hands and arms were especially sensitive to the pain of being shot, 
so dropping whatever was in one's hands in such a situation was quite 
common. 

"Even if the opponent drops their gun, there's no need to pick it up. 
Follow up by aiming and slicing the interior part of the thighs or the 
hands. Humans who came to fight with just their guns won't be 
expecting hand-to-hand combat." 

M's lecture still continued. The fact that he was saying all of that 
indifferently was considerably scary. 

"If an opponent that you hadn't noticed comes attacking from behind, 
aim to strike the Achilles tendon slightly above the boots on the side 
while lowering your back. Then, even if the opponent is downed, there 
will be a protective plate on their abdomen and chest, so your blade 
won't go through much. In that case, the first thing you should aim for is 
the neck. Make a cut as long as you can along the nape of the neck. It 
should be like brushing the neck in a semicircle." 

".Yeah." 


27 Shiatsu (taffi, lit. "finger pressure") is the name of a finger pressure massage/therapy in Japanese. 


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While giving a half-hearted reply, LLENN 
'M-san, what kind of person are you!' 

Had such an idea in her mind. 

He was excessively knowledgable. Nothing but eagerly desiring in -game 
knowledge. 

"If aiming for the head, go for the eyes. Human bones are surprisingly 
sturdy, so even if you thrust violently at them, the blade won't go 
through easily. The exception is the eye socket. If an eye is stabbed, the 
damage even reaches the brain. In GGO, when aiming for an instant 
death with one blow in a knife battle, the neck and this are probably the 
only viable options." 

While shouting 'ugee' in her mind, LLENN listened to what her lecturer 
said and put it all in her head. She was serious at heart, thus her 
common sense lost out at times like this. She gained a lot of knowledge 
that an ordinary female university student could do without. 

"That's all." 

In the end, LLENN could not get M to take back the knife, so she 
reluctantly equipped it at the back of her waist. As she was in -game, 
through operating the window screen, she equipped a beautiful belt. 

LLENN held her P90 on her left shoulder via the gun's sling and 
extended her right hand towards the knife. 

With her thumb, the well-made stray was unfastened without a sound, 
and the knife was drawn out smoothly. While holding it in a backhand 
grip, she tried lightly swinging it in front of her. She hadn't felt such 
heaviness. 


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LLENN was a character with high agility, so if brandished it while 
making serious effort, she would probably be able to slash considerably 
quickly. 

"All right." 

M said a short phrase in approval- 

While returning the knife to its scabbard, LLENN thought that she 
definitely wouldn't need to use it. 


When the remaining time was less the 3 minutes, M's exciting dress-up 
was completed. 

Just like the other day, gaudy green camouflage from top to bottom. He 
had a bush hat on his head, but this time there were multiple layers of 
rectangle-shaped camouflage cloth hanging down from it. It was a 
disguise for obscuring the most conspicuous silhouette that was his head. 

On the upper half of his body, there was a vest with a massive 
bulletproof plate and with plenty of magazine pouches attached. This time, 
plasma grenades were hanging down from his side, or more like they 
were mostly hanging down from his back. 

As for these plasma grenades, compared to usual grenades that scattered 
fragments upon the explosion of gunpowder, they were far more 
powerful. 

Once it exploded, a torrent of bluish-white energy would spread in a 
spherical area of approximately 4 metres in diameter, and everything in 
it, aside from objects of massive weight, would be blown away. 


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If there's a human within the effective range, it depended on their 
defensive power, should their bodies suffered sixty-eighty percent of the 
damage or more - instant death. If it was less than that, a great deal of 
damage depending on the amount. 

They were lightweight and cheap in contrast to their power, so it was a 
popular offensive item in the world of GGO. There were also cases of 
people throwing these at each other with all they have at close range 
with cover in-between, like an extreme snowball fight. 

On M's back, a greatly swelled out backpack that LLENN still did not 
know the contents of. 

On his right thigh, a holster with his HK45. On his left thigh, a pouch with 
M14 EBR and HK45 magazines. 

The giant who had fully equipped and was holding his large gun, the 
M14 EBR, was like a robot from SF movies. 

'It seems it would be fun if he'd let me ride on his shoulders.' 

LLENN thought, but left it unsaid. 


The digit denoting the minutes of remaining waiting time had already 
reached zero. 

Only the digits representing seconds, 43, 42, 41, 40, 39-relentlessly 

continued to decrease. 

"All right.Let's do this, shall we." 

M's composed voice reached her both directly, and through the 
communication item in her left ear. Hereafter, the switch would not be 


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turned off until the game ended. 

"Roger!" 

LLENN pulled and released the loading handle, and with a dry metallic 
sound, a bullet was loaded in the gun chamber. 

M also pulled the loading handle of his M14 EBR, and a thick metallic 
sound resounded farther than the P90's. 

This sound of loading the chamber was not a sound that would rouse 
LLENN's will to fight. 

Along with the feeling of excitement, the countdown continued-, 

The moment all digits displayed zero, the two were engulfed in light. 


LLENN's whited out field of vision regained its colour and form. 

Where are we? 

The first thing that should be confirmed was the kind of terrain she was 
on. 

Just as LLENN visually confirmed her whereabouts, 

"It's a forest. Not good, huh." 

M's voice could be heard at the same time. 

"It's a forest." 


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The location of LLENN, who muttered that regretfully, was a woodland 
zone. 

They were in a forest with many tall trees growing right in front of them. 
It was not a thick and luxuriant forest, but made her recall the forests on 
the continent of North America she had seen on TV. 

The probably 3 metre -thick trunks overlapped one another, so the field of 
vision was poor, and she could not see beyond 100 metres. As for the 
ground, a species of knee-length fern grew on the moist soil, and looking 
in the other direction, she noticed that there was a bit of an incline. 

Looking up, LLENN noticed that the branches of the many trees had 
formed a dark roof, and the always red sky could only be seen faintly 
seen through the gaps. 

LLENN immediately understood the reason why M said „not good". 

"There are two problems right? M-san. The first, is that we can't make 
the best use of M-san's sniping. The other is that I stand out." 

With so many trees lined up, the range for battling against enemies 
would be dozens of metres at the longest. It was an advantageous 
distance for LLENN's P90, but a bad distance for M's support. 

Even for LLENN, to have her pink camouflage display its effect, she 
needed a desert or wilderness illuminated by the always red sun. This 
place that was just dim was very disadvantageous. 

M with his green camouflage, on the other hand, ominously blended in. 
If he stood still, it seemed he was one with the forest. 

"That's right. This place is disadvantageous." 


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While responding, M turned his left hand towards his back, and put it 
inside the side pocket of his backpack. Just when LLENN wondered what 
could he be taking out, what appeared between them was a large poncho. 
With gaudy camouflage patterns that were the same as M's. 

M grasped it with his left hand, *basa*, threw it to LLENN. 

"Until we come out of the forest, put this on. When it's important to do 
so, you may drop it. I don't mind if you end up shooting through the 
poncho with the P90." 

'I see, this will definitely be less conspicuous than pink.' LLENN though 
after confirming one of M's „secret tools". In this situation, he seemed to 
be carrying camouflage ponchos matched for various terrain. 

LLENN put on the poncho beginning from her head. 

It hid her hands and weapon, but it was fine to shoot through this poncho 
if they encountered an enemy. If this was a battle in RL, such a thing 
would probably be quite difficult, but, in GGO, there was the Bullet 
Circle feature that showed the trajectory of the bullets. 

Even if one could not peek through the sights of their gun, just by 
placing one's finger on the trigger, a circle would appear so there was no 
need for a proper stance at close range. Of course, in the case of precise 
shooting, if one did not assume a proper stance, the gun would move 
chaotically, and the circle would similarly move chaotically. 

„In the case of a close range gunfight, it's fine to aim the circle at the 
enemy quickly without taking up a proper stance" as a shooting 
technique in GGO was LLENN's forte in battle. 

At the same time, it was one of the reasons why the dot sight (a sight 


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attached with a red dot that showed the bullet trajectory on a lens that 
did not magnify) and the laser sight (using an emitted laser to aim) were 
completely unpopular. The dots and laser would overlap with the circle, 
conversely making it hard to aim. 

"After we see the map, let's move." 

Were M's words. This location was disadvantageous, so his strategy was 
probably to quickly move out. 

"Gotcha! Where to?" 

LLENN, who was like a green monster, with the overly long poncho 
covering her entire body, asked. M operated the satellite scan terminal 
and a map image appeared at the space in front of the two. For both of 
them to view it at the same time, this way was more convenient. 

What appeared in the image was a map with north as the top cardinal 
direction. 

It was coloured, and the terrain was reproduced as a three-dimensional 
image; so it was really easy to understand. Naturally, just like with a 
smartphone or tablet, they could freely change the scale and angle. 

For the first time, FFENN checked out the stage, the geography of where 
she would be fighting hereafter. 

The battlefield was surrounded by deep gorges running down the left 
and right ends of the map, in other words, towards the east and west, as 
well as mountains at the top and cliffs at the bottom. 

The gorges in the east and west, as geographical features, marking the 
boundary of th e field where movement was possible, were common in 
other fields as well. If someone fell off the cliff which was over 100 metre- 


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high, they would die. 

Possibly because players retorted that this was far too convenient, an 
actually plausible setting: „It is a scar made by robust fin-stabilisers from 
the lower of the hull of a giant spaceship, when it performed an 
emergency landing" was established. 

On the north side - a mountain that quickly grew steep. On the south 
side - a cliff that was so high that it seemed like the earth's crust had 
formed a gap. Of course, no matter how much effort one put it, or what 
kind of skills one used, both of them were areas where passage was 
impossible. 

From top to bottom, the width of the zone where movement was 
possible was around 10 km, just like in the BoB. At regular intervals, 
eleven vertical and horizontal grid lines ran through the map, thus the 
width of one square was 1 km. 

Roughly grasping the area where movement was possible-, 

The south side (under 3 km in width) was an open area, dotted with 
rocks, wildernesses and deserts. Here and there, rocky mountains, ruins 
and other places where one could hide themselves could be seen. 

The central part of the east side was filled by the ruins of a large city. 
Large streets and still standing skyscrapers were depicted. „It's facing 
the gorge on the east side, but the buildings are still standing after the 
spaceship's emergency landing?", such a question was ignored on this 
occasion. 

The central part of the map seemed to be an old residential district lined 
with low-class houses. The roads and buildings were finely depicted, 
and it looked like a maze. A vast extent of blue could be seen, but it was 
proof that this area was submerged. 


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There was a river flowing in the vicinity from the upper-right to the 
bottom-left, so this is probably where the water was flowing from. If it 
was shallow, one could of course walk through it, but if it was deep, the 
action of „swimming // would become necessary. 

In this case, if one did not temporarily put their heavy equipment, like 
guns, into storage, one would sink unless swimming was their forte. 

Also, underwater, one's hit points would gradually decrease, thus it 
wasn't really a place that one would want to go through. 

The northeast was filled by a green woodland area, and a marker 
denoting their own location shone faintly. This was in the SJ rule book. It 
was an assistance measure that, for just a minute after the beginning, 
would allow players to know their own position. After that minute, they 
would have to wait until the satellite scan. 

Based on their observation, LLENN and M seemed to be positioned 
nearly at the upper-rightmost corner of the map. There was a rule that 
each team would be at least 1 km away from others at the start of the 
game, thus no enemy would be more to the north and east than them. 

On the west side of the forest, in other words, the north-west area - a 
gently-sloping prairie. It was an area with unobstructed view and with 
no where to hide. 

The west side below it was a circle-shaped wetland with poor footholds. 
There, a large spaceship-like giant structure had pierced the ground in 
an almost perpendicular manner. Like the buildings, it should be possible 
to enter and climb it. The swamp had likely formed after this spaceship 
crashed. 

LLENN, who had been looking at the map for around 10 seconds, 
looked up, while M continued glaring at the map for another 15 seconds. 


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He was standing without quivering and, moreover, with a serious 
expression she had never seen before, so LLENN kept quiet and waited. 
Well, it's not like she knew him that well. 

"All right." 

M pressed the button of the satellite scan terminal, the map disappeared, 
and M whispered the following order, 

"In any case, we're leaving the disadvantageous forest. We'll probably 
won't make it there until the first scan, but I want to use the city as much 
as possible. We're heading due south. Follow me at a 10 metre interval." 

His natural voice was barely audible, but due to the communication item 
that automatically adjusted the volume, she could hear it very clearly. 
With this, even if they weren't able to hear each other at all if an enemy 
was right next to them, there was no need for hand signs, in other words, 
gestures, to understand each other 

"Roger. I'll follow." 

After LLENN answered, M immediately began running towards the 
centre of the forest. There was no hesitation in his actions at all. Facing 
the urban area in the south, he descended down the slope. 

There shouldn't be any enemies close by yet, but M did not show any 
negligence, and was carrying his EBR in front of his body so that he 
could immediately shoot if he happened to see anyone and continued 
running while examining the surroundings. 

With her body covered by a camouflaging poncho, once M was the 
aforementioned 10 metres away, LLENN began following him. Not 
getting too close was to avoid the 1 in 10,000 chance of being wiped out 
by a full auto rapid fire or grenade explosions in case enemies ambushed 


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them. 

LLENN continued running, while instructing herself „a bit more 
slowly", as she had high agility and would outrun him if she ran too 
fast. 

Just as they had travelled towards the dark centre of the forest for 
around 200 metres by eye-measurement. 

Abruptly, they heard a sound like the beating of a small drum from afar. 
"Stop. Crouch." 

With these sharp words, M stopped moving, and quickly crouched. At 
times like this, his reaction was truly fast. LLENN followed suit, and 
though a bit confused, bent down 10 metres behind him. 

*Tatatatan*, such a light sound of gunfire repeatedly overlapped, 
creating a disordered rhythm. It was like some unskilled person was 
randomly and repeatedly hitting a small drum. Unmistakably, a team 
was exchanging gunfire with another team somewhere. 

The long, followed by short, sounds continued without a break for 2 
seconds or more. It seemed that a considerable number of bullets were 
disseminated. 

"A 5.56 mm-class assault rifle, huh. There's a guy firing with a submachine 
gun too." 

M's calm analysis reached LLENN's ears. 

"You can tell? M-san." 

"Yeah." 


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In GGO, sounds from real guns were recorded where possible, so the 
level of reproduction was high. 

Be that as it may, she did not know if guessing even the type of gun 
used was a character skill, or player knowledge. 

"Hah? Haah." 

LLENN was amazed by how good M's ears were. Following that, the 
next question came to her mind. 

"They're already fighting? Isn't it too early?" 

"They probably wanted an advantageous position, dashed recklessly with 
all they had, and met someone due to bad luck. The location is 
somewhere further to the west. It isn't really early." 

"I see." 

Just as M said, there were still 7 minutes until the first satellite scan, so it 
probably really was a chance meeting. 

Considering the guys in question, they were awfully unlucky. That 
before they could obtain the advantageous position they desired, they 
ended up in a gaudy melee fight. There will probably be characters who 
would end up in a game over death 3 minutes after SJ started 

While the loud sounds continued, 

"Move slowly beyond this point, LLENN, you stand first. This way. I'll 
indicate if you deviate from it." 

M slowly moved his left hand and indicated the direction in which she 


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should proceed. 

"If in the 1 in 10,000 chance we encounter an enemy inside the forest, 
firstly, crouch on the spot. After that. I'll instruct you according to the 
situation." 

"R-roger." 

To be honest, in the current situation, when she did not know when she 
would encounter enemies, and moreover, with an obstructed view, 
taking the role of the vanguard was quite scary, but if she was ordered 
to do so by a player who likely excelled over her, she had no other choice. 

While being careful to advance as straightly as possible, avoiding thick 
trunks and keeping a close watch on the point that she was advancing 
towards, LLENN advanced at the speed of a fast walk. 

She advanced and advanced, but inside the forest, it was as if the 
scenery did not change. This was a location where one would even be 
uncertain whether they were really moving. 

'Just don't suddenly encounter enemies, just don't encounter them-' 

While wishing for that in her mind, she resisted the desire to put her left 
hand's index finger on the P90's trigger. Moving while having one's 
finger on the trigger risked accidental discharge when the person fell, so 
she absolutely had to refrain from doing that. 

Soon, the gunfire that they could hear in the distance suddenly 
disappeared. She did not know whether one of the teams won, or both 
ran away. 

'Just don't let there be enemies just don't let there be enemies just don't 
let there be enemies just don't let there be enemies don't be there don't 


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be there-' 

With her fear putting her on edge, LLENN descended the slope of the 
forest. 'There could be someone hiding on the other side of that trunk. 
We could be shot from the side when we pass through it.' 

There would be no end to such thoughts, so, eventually, 

'„Oh enough! If you do come, then come at me! Even if we stab at each 
other. I'll turn you into P-chan's rust!"' 

She marched on while having such a thought in mind. 

However, it seemed that the goddess of good luck smiled on LLENN. 
Even 9 minutes after the game started, they did not come into contact 
with any enemy. 

"All right, stop. Crouch. Vigilant standby." 

In order to check on the satellite scan, she got an instruction to stop 
marching from M. 

"Whew." 

LLENN crouched on the spot in the forest. 

Even if he had said that a bit later, LLENN planned to stop her march 
without being ordered to. 

This was because, the forest would end in about 10 metres in front of her. 
From that point on, below the slope covered in just grass, was a city that 
was turned to ruins. 

A large street, perhaps a highway, with six or so traffic lanes, stretched 


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out in front of LLENN's eyes. It wasn't an overhead structure, it was at 
the same height as the surrounding ground. Thinking about its position, 
the river was probably flowing through a culvert below the highway. 

It was a paved road that looked easy to move through. In several places, 
some cars had toppled over, and some were scorched. Compared to the 
forest they were currently in, the field of vision was overwhelmingly 
open, but at the same time, the amount of cover, in other words, places 
where one could hide, had diminished. 

At that point, there were a lot of small mountains of rubble, and also, a 
great number of towering ruined buildings of ten to thirty floors. 

LLENN carefully examined what she saw ahead. Within her current 
range of vision, there were no human figures. The city should extend to 
the south for 1 km or more for certain, so the enemies that could be 
positioned in the south side would be coming from the south or west. 

"Whew." 

LLENN exhaled deeply, 'now then, where is M', as she tried turning 
around, 

"I'm 300 metres behind you." 

M's voice reached her ears. 

"Wha? That far?" 

M's calm response reached LLENN, who unintentionally said that in 
surprise. 

"A scan will be made soon. LLENN's position, will be exposed. So I'm 
keeping my distance." 


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// 


// 


"If we're unlucky and there's an enemy in the vicinity, they'll certainly 
rush to LLENN's position right after the scan." 

LLENN understood that too. But in that case, she would have to take on 
a maximum of six people by herself. She had no hope of winning. 

"A-and then.? If that happens, what, should I do?" 

LLENN questioned, as she completely did not understand what M was 
thinking, and had no choice but to ask. 

"In that case, you don't have to aim, so walk along the trees and retreat 
while shooting away in a flashy manner. I'll snipe the people chasing 
you as I go around the left side." 

'I see, in short I'll be a decoy, while M goes around the east side which 
should not have enemies as it's th e field boundary', LLENN now 
understood . 

She understood but- 

'Turning the leader into a decoy is such an awful plan!' 

She was a bit angry. 

When the clock hit 14:09:30, the wrist watch on LLENN's left arm began 
to vibrate bit by bit. An alarm was set to ring 30 seconds before each 
satellite scan. 

"LLENN, you don't need to look at the scan terminal, keep an eye on 
your surroundings." 


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"Roger." 

He did not have to tell her that enemies might be rushing towards her, 
so she could not leisurely look at the terminal. Under her camouflage 
poncho, LLENN checked whether she had disengaged the safety for the 
P90 with her finger once more. 

And at the next moment, 

"Huh?" 

She observed moving figures. 


Chapter 6 - The Beginning of the Battle 

"Wha?" 

What LLENN discovered were obviously humans. 

Prom the outskirts of the forest she was currently in, she saw an urban 

area astride a wide highway-and on that large road, she saw men 

walking in a line, hiding behind the pile of rubble. They were far away 
and thus small, so she could not see them well, but there were large, 
black rods in their hands. It probably wasn't possible that those were not 
guns. 

LLENN hid at the side of a large tree nearby, with only her right eye 
peeking out. 

"Er, M-san.Enemy detected." 

"There's 30 seconds until the scan. Explain as best as you can." 


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"Huh? E-err, on the other side of a highway! Inside the city! Probably 
200 metres or more away! Err, err-" 

"Calm down. How many do you see? What about the guns?" 

"At least five of them! Don't know about the guns! But, they're not 
small! They're on the other side of some rubble, ah, all of them stopped 
now!" 

"They plan to look at the scan. They'll notice you." 

"W-www-what should I do? Shoot them? Ff-fire at them?" 

With her voice full of impatience, LLENN repeated. 

"First, calm down. You can't take them on with your P90 at that range. 
At any rate, you'll be discovered. The scan is starting now. Wait there." 

"Hyaa." 

While giving a small shriek, LLENN looked at the watch on her left 
wrist. For certain, 14:10. 

"Even though I discovered them fi-irst!" 

LLENN unintentionally blurted. What bad luck. 

The scan should have begun, but LLENN, who wasn't operating a 
terminal, could not see it. 10 seconds that felt like forever passed, 

"Confirmed. There's a team at the boundary of the urban area and 
highway. The distance is a little over 200 metres." 

M's overly calm voice reached her ears. 

"A-anyone else?" 


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At LLENN's question, 

"It's fine. At the moment, there isn't anyone within range who can come 
here to fight immediately." 

M answered. *Whew*, the moment that she sighed in relief following the 
great news, translucent red lines soundlessly extended towards the forest 
she was in. 

It looked like a laser beam meant for alignment, but this was actually a 
Bullet Line. 

It was a „In a moment, bullets will come flying here" kind of considerate 
notice in GGO. They numbered over a hundred. 

They can be clearly seen even at night, or if it was raining, or if the 
player was in a fog. The scene of the red lines piercing the forest and 
jumping was like a flashy concert venue. 

"Hyaa! M-san! I'm being targeted!" 


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While shrieking, LLENN drew her head back and at the same moment, 
*byun!* a sound similar to the lashing of a whip hit the tree she had hid 
behind. In various places, the sound of trees being shot joined in. 

Late by one tempo , a heavy and low *dododododododo* and a light 
*tatatatatatatatatan* rhythm that was far louder than before resounded. 

Even though they did not see LLENN's body, the location she was 
hiding in had been exposed by the scan. Naturally, the bullets would 
gather there, and thus the surrounding 30 metres or so were assaulted by 
a hail of bullets like a guerrilla rainstorm 28 . 

The soil flew up from the ground, while the leaves of the fern fluttered 
about. Occasionally, an orange, bright line, differing from the Bullet Lines, 
ran horizontally. It was the light of a tracer 29 that shined to make it easier 
for the shooter to grasp the trajectory of their bullets. 

Her vision perceived - red lines and the ground and tree trunks popping 
like popcorn. Her hearing perceived - a *chun* sound of bullets flying, a 
*bishibashi* sound of trees being pierced and the sound of gunfire 
completely mixed together. 

"Hyaa! M-SA-AN! I'm under heavy fire! It's scary! HE-ELP!" 

What came to LLENN's left ear after she called for help without moving 
from her current position was, 

"Yeah. The opponent is using a machine gun huh." 

A voice of calm analysis. 

"Whaaa?" 


28 According to wikipedia, "guerrilla rainstorm" Hrffi) is an expression which is used by Japanese media 

to describe short localized downpours of over 100 mm of rain per hour since 2006. 

29 Tracers are bullets that leave a visible trail of their trajectory, allowing the shooter to make aiming 
corrections. 


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"A 7.62 mm class general-purpose machine gun. Judging from the sound 
of rapid fire, it's probably an «FN MAG». Two or more of them. 
There's also a high-speed rapid-fire sound, lightly resounding, so a 5.56 
mm is also mixed in. A «Minimi» from the same FN Herstal company?" 

"Hey! Aren't you going to help me?" 

"Since you're fine right now, it's safe for you to hide there. Keep still." 


"Let's get'em!" 

In front the rubble in the urban area around 200 metres away from 
LLENN, 

"Hyahhaa!" 

Were men pounding away with their machine guns with eloquent smiles. 
Five in total. 

All of them had quite rough-bodied avatars, though not to the extent of 
M. 

And, the small arms in their hands were all rough as well. 

"This is fuuuuuuuun!" 

The man shouting this was pounding away with one of the most famous 
machine guns in the world, the FN MAG, in full auto. 

With his bipod mounted on the pile of rubble, his target was, of course, 
the forest across the highway/ 

A heavy and low *dodododododododododododododo* sound 
resounded, pulling in dust from the surroundings with the shockwave 


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of its muzzle. The 7.62 mm bullets in the ammunition belt extending from 
the left side of the gun were sucked up at a speed of 10 bullets or more 
per second and discharged forward, while the empty shells were ejected 
from the metal links attached to the belt and dispersed to the gun's right 
side. 

The muzzle kept spewing out red, red flame, and the tracers inserted at 
intervals of 1 every 5 bullets kept drawing orange lines. Several metres to 
the side was, 

"Doryaaaaaaaaaaaa!" 

Heatedly shouting, a man who was holding a «M240B», a model of the 

FN MAG adopted by the United States Armed Forces-which was 

the same gun except for its appearance-by its carrying handle in his 

left hand, with the gun's stock under his arms, attacked in rapid-fire 
while standing. 

The remaining three men also used machine guns. 

One with a 7.62 mm «M60E3» machine gun. 

One with a 5.56 mm light machine gun, the Minimi. 

And the last one with a «Negev», which was inspired by the Minimi 
and made by the Israel Military Industries, lying atop a pile of rubble 
while shooting. 

The battle scene was being broadcast, so light blue circles, indicating the 
position of cameras in the air, were moving around them, looking for a 
cool angle. 


The team that was currently broadcast, and raised excitement in the bar 
were the five men who. 


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[fLet's survive at least 15 minutes!J 30 

Made such a rather pitiable vow the previous night. 

On the list, they were named «ZEMAL». Neither LLENN, M, nor any 
other player was aware that this was the abbreviation of «Zen- 
nihon 31 Machine Gun Lovers». 

They were men who could not stop loving machine guns. 

They were players scattered throughout Japan who had met each other 
by chance and hit off well in -game. As for why the merely five-man team 
called themselves All-Japan, they included residents from Hokkaido and 
Okinawa, and that was the entire reason for the name. 

„Loving machine guns too much is cool" was their common preference. 

This was why the guns they used absolutely had to be machine guns. 

They did not use anything else, and if they did, they would be 
excommunicated. They did not even have a pistol side arm. As for optical 
guns and the like, they were a company of guys who thought „What is 
that, is it tasty?". 

A considerably high strength value was needed to handle heavy guns, 
so what they mainly raised went without saying. Machine guns were 
expensive guns, thus one had to put in steady labour or, depending on 
the person, invest real money to obtain them; that's how passionate they 
had to be. 

And, although they enjoyed GGO together, they had one characteristic. 

The characteristic of „being excessively weak in battles against other 
people". 


30 The same line in SECT.4 did not have "at least" (iScf-S), in case anyone decides to compare them. 

31 Japanese for "All-Japan" 


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A machine gun was a powerful weapon that was capable of unleashing a 
large hail of bullets. Basically, it used ammunition attached to a belt, and 
thus it was capable of continuously firing 100 bullets or more without 
break. 

If they used their guns to keep firing bullets around the area where the 
enemy was located and suppress them, then used an assault rifle or 
submachine gun to shoot them in the backs in the meantime, they would 
have had a considerable advantage in battle, but... 

"Uooooo!" "This feeels gooooood!" "Hyahaaaaa!" "Doryaa!" "Di~e!" 

Currently, all five of them, who were pounding away as they pleased, 
did not even know the „c" from cooperation 32 . 

That was because they believed that it was enough to shoot with their 
machine guns with all their strength. If they could feel the extending 
sound and vibration, it was enough for them. 

They did not desire to go through the trouble of studying tactics, 
collecting information about their opponents and working 
cooperatively. They even had the defiant view that „Pounding away is 
our tactic." 

That was why, until now, they had not seriously taken part in a battle 
against people. They had only pounded away at monster opponents to 
earn experience points and credits. They had encountered other teams on 
their way to and from farming, but... 

"They're all equipped with live-ammunition machine guns. They're not 
coming back from a farming session. Let's pass." 

They arbitrarily judged, „Those guys are good at battles against 
people" about their opponents, and have never even attacked anyone. 


32 "Re" from "renkei" in the original. 


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They had also participated in the individual BoB tournament, but even 
when they were lucky and broke through the first match by bulldozing 
with sheer firepower, they could not go any further and had never 
participated in the main tournament. 

And then came this SJ. 

They entered this tournament, where they could pound away with their 
machine guns as a team, in high spirits, thinking that this was a 
tournament made for them, and the game started, 

"This close on the first scan, huh!" 

"Yeah, lucky'." 

"Thank you, god of machine guns!" 

And all they had done was pound away. 


Setting aside the hidden power of such opponents, 

"Hyaa!" 

To LLENN, who was being shot at, it did not change the fact that she 
was in a pinch. 

The 5 machine guns kept incessantly firing bullets at her, so the 
surrounding area was in an awful condition. 

In merely a minute, the trees near LLENN had become riddled with 
holes. Naturally, some of them were also destroyed. 

LLENN ended up imagining 'Even the large tree trunk I'm hiding 
behind, though I can't see it, could be half gouged out, and in the 


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meantime, they could be coming to kill me/ 

"Uu." 

Shivers went down her spine. 

While the rain of iron continued mercilessly, 

"M-san M-sa-an!" 

LLENN sought help from her only comrade. 

The satellite scan time should have already ended, so she thought 'Even if 
he came to save me, no, even if coming here was unreasonable, he could 
do something/ but... 

"Stay where you are. Don't move tactlessly." 

The answer from M was very cool yet cold. 

"Guu." 

LLENN wanted to somehow run away from this bullet hailstorm area , 
but even if she moved. Bullet Lines conspicuously shone in the 
surroundings. She would be shot before she reached the next tree. 


Swearing in an unfeminine manner, she curled herself up and sat 
motionlessly. 


Speaking of M, at that time- 

Behind LLENN, he had moved closer by about 100 metres. While using a 
thick tree as a cover, he cautiously peeked out, and in his field vision, he 


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saw the Bullet Lines of the guns aiming at LLENN from the other side of 
some forest trees. He understood that the forest was crawling with red 
lines. 

Occasionally, he changed direction to avoid the Bullet Lines, and even 
though some had come close to his position, he had not needed to dodge 
them yet. 

Without care for the bullets that came flying the moment the Bullet Lines 
disappeared, he lurked motionlessly in the shadow of a tree, while 
placing priority on keeping watch on the west side where enemies could 
approach them. 

M looked at the wrist watch on the inner part of his left arm. 3 minutes 
had passed since the scan at 14:10. 

"It should be soon." 

The communication item picked up M's mutter, 

"What should be soon?" 

Expecting an order, a voice came from LLENN, but M replied without 
delay. 

"Nothing. Stay where you are." 


"Reloading!" 

Shouted one of the Zen-nihon Machine Gun Lovers, the guy who had 
been shooting with the M240B while standing, as he crouched. What he 
took out from the long and narrow backpack that he carried on his back 
was a bag with spare ammunition belts and spare gun barrels. 


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A machine gun was a gun that could shoot in rapid-fire, but nevertheless, 
it wasn't like it could shoot endlessly. 

Because of the frequent shots, the barrel would suffer from heating, and 
its capability would suddenly decrease. For that reason, after shooting 
for some time, it was absolutely necessary to exchange gun barrels, and 
this was reproduced even in GGO. 

A gun's durability is determined by each of its parts, and the first effect 
to realistically arise after continuing to shoot in rapid-fire was the barrel. 
If one were to continuing pounding away without minding this, the 
gun's accuracy would fall below practical levels and, finally, the gun 
would no longer be able to function. 

"Roger!" "Aye!" "Leave it to us." "Gotcha!" 

The surrounding comrades answered. They had almost no tactical 
cooperation, yet as expected of the men who exceedingly loved machine 
guns, only in times like this would they stand firm. 

The man pulled the loading lever and took down the belt, confirming that 
the top cover with no remaining bullets was open. 

Next, by pressing the button on the left side of the gun, the carrying 
handle that was attached to the belt twisted to the left with a jerk. With 
just this, the lock on the barrel was released and it came off to the front. 

The moment it was unfastened, he equipped a new barrel, then 
equipped a new ammunition belt to the gun, and finished his reload in 
merely a few seconds. 

"Aww yeaah! I'm pounding away!" 

The man, who once again stood up and pointed his muzzle at the forest 
where LLENN probably was, with a smile- 


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Without even firing a single bullet, tumbled down from his spot. 

On the back of the neck of the man who had collapsed head-first, at the 
point where the spinal cord ran, was the trace of a bright red light 
indicating where he was shot. *Pikon*, on top of his body, a 
[ D e a d ] marker appeared. 

shibou 

In other words, death. 

"Hm?-Whaa?" 

The man pounding away with his minimi noticed that his comrade had 
died. Their guns were roaring too much, so they could not hear the gun 
shots of their enemy at all. 

"Oii! Guys! Hold fire!" 

The man stopped firing and shouted out loud. Since this was inside a 
game, his voice reached his comrades. 

"What's wrong?" "Huh?" "What's Tong?" 

In the world that suddenly became quiet, they looked around restlessly, 
and discovered their comrade who was killed in action. 

"W-what's wrong? Did something happen?" 

"Well, I don't know that." 

"Don't tell me, suicide?" 

"H-he's not that stupid, don't you think!" 

"Did he get shot from the forest?" 

"During such a barrage?" 


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On the back of the FN MAG user who had said that, a red hit effect was 
induced. He escaped instant death, but his hit point gauge mercilessly 
decreased. It crossed the safe green zone and immediately went into 
yellow. 

"Nuaaaa" 

In agony because of the dull pain that arose in his back, the man bent his 
back, and shortly thereafter, the next bullet came flying and hit the back 
of his head. A blow to the vitals had the power of bringing instant death, 
so his hit points, which had decreased to about a third, were instantly 
wiped out. 

The number of corpses with the [ D e a d ] tag increased by one, and 
hearing the sound of the two bullets echoing from the buildings -, 

Realisation finally dawned on them, and all of the Zen-nihon Machine 
Gun Lovers understood the situation completely. 

The man using the M60E3 faced his remaining comrades and shouted: 
"A sniper! He's shooting from behind!" 

Those were his last words in SJ. 

His comrades saw. How a bullet hit his brow as he was turning, and he 
died instantly with just 1 bullet. 

He should have seen the vivid Bullet Line extending towards him. 
However, unfortunately, his reaction speed wasn't high enough to avoid 
it immediately. 

"Hide!" 

"Uhya!" 


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The Minimi and Negev users jumped to the other side of the pile of rubble 
that they had lain on. 


"Hm? What's going on? Huh?" 

Her surroundings had suddenly become quiet, so LLENN, who had 
curled herself up and was sitting on the ground grasping her knees, 
stood up. The silence was too abrupt, so, for a moment, she thought that 
she could have been shot and died. 'Is this heaven, no, the waiting area 
that you are transported to after death?' 

At her soliloquy, 

"A team that was in the urban area finally came within the effective 
range of their guns. You did hear three gunshots from different guns, 
right? You've been saved." 

M's calm, and just a tad glad, voice answered. Then, 

"I'm coming to you now. Don't shoot me by mistake." 

That phrase. 

LLENN waited, shouting 'fi-nally!' in her mind. 

Soon, the dark depths of the forest squirmed, and she recognised the 
large figure in camouflage clothes. 

In the suddenly still world, M arrived at the shadow of a large tree 10 
metres to the left of LLENN, and skillfully expanded his EBR's bipod, 
then lay down on top of the soil. 

While M was peeking through the M14 EBR's scope in a prone posture. 


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"So., what happened?" 

Finally feeling relieved, LLENN asked, and finally, M answered. 

"I didn't dare to tell you about it, but at the time of the scan, there was 
another team aside from those machine gun guys. They were within range 
to participate in the battle. Moreover, they were in the south, in the 
central part of the urban area." 

"I see.So those people hurriedly came, and attacked the people who 

were shooting at me, from behind." 

"Right. Those machine gun guys either saw the scan and thought that 
there was still some distance between them and were negligent, or were 
surprised that you, LLENN, were too close, or completely overlooked it 
from the start. Either way, they were careless." 

"Th-then! M-san, you understood that and decided to use me as a 
decoy?" 

LLENN asked while showing her anger a bit, but... 

"Right." 

She had no words to reply with, due to how quickly he affirmed that. 

M searched his pocket with a rummaging sound and, 

"Take this." 

Threw something as he faced LLENN. 

'Basing on the size, a grenade?', thought LLENN and put herself on 
guard, but since there was absolutely no reason for him to attack a 
comrade, she immediately reassessed it. He threw that something to her 
with splendid control, and she herself splendidly caught it with just her 


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left hand. 

It was a tiny monocle, in other words, a telescope 33 meant to be used 
with one eye. Some time ago, she had borrowed this from Pitohui and 
had used it. It was a convenient item that came with the ability to 
measure distance with a laser, and it should be considerably expensive to 
buy. 

"You haven't held one? Use it. For a while, observe the situation from 
here." 

"Th-thanks." 

LLENN transferred it to her right hand, and while having it in front of 
her dominant right eye, she sneakily and slowly peeked out from the 
shade of the tree. 

No Bullet Lines could be seen in her vicinity, so at least for the moment, it 
seemed that there was no need to worry about being shot by the machine 
gun group. 

If she was being targeted by an enemy on the other side-in the case 

of not discovering the enemy, the initial Bullet Line would not be shown, 
so she could no longer do anything about it, but she believed that even 
they would probably defeat the enemy in their vicinity first. There 
should be another 5 minutes or more until the next satellite scan and the 
possibility of yet another enemy coming here was low. 

"There were five machine gun bastards. Three are already dead." 

Just as M, who confirmed the situation through the scope of his M14 EBR, 
said, LLENN saw three men with [ D e a d ] tag shining over them 
beyond the lens. For a test, she pressed the button to measured the 
distance, and „197M" was displayed. 

33 Binoculars and monocles are counted as types of telescopes in Japanese. 


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In that vicinity, in front of the pile of rubble, were the surviving two. 
They were guarding against the enemy from their backs, thus they were 
currently exposing their whole bodies to LLENN and M. 

"Those two, they are not looking at us at all. M-san, can't we use this 
opportunity to shoot them?" 

LLENN enquired. 200 metres should be a certain-hit distance for M's 
M14 EBR. But instead, she wanted to shoot and kill them with her P90. 
To pay them back for the scary feeling moments ago. 

"You can't. Right now, we're not attacking them from here. I'm even 
giving you an order, so don't you dare shoot." 

'Why', LLENN wanted to ask, but refrained from doing so. 

"They're coming.The main street on the left side. In the shadow of 

an upside down bus.” 

LLENN pointed her lens to the left at the street M indicated. About 150 
metres away from the group, a large bus was toppled over and smashed, 
and human figures squirmed at its side. 

"Ooh!" 

Excited, LLENN increased the magnification by operating the device 
with her fingers. It zoomed smoothly like a video camera, and the device 
automatically focused, allowing her to recognise the details of those 
people. 

The new enemy team comprised four people. Their black and dark 
brown camouflage matching clothes were like a team uniform. On their 
heads, they had similarly camouflage-patterned helmets. Additionally, 
they were wearing bank robber-like black ski masks, called «balaclava », 
and she could not see their faces at all. 


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The four currently moved in a vertical line, and the man in the 
vanguard, holding a black and slim rifle, was smoothly, as if his gun 
wasn't shaking at all, advancing forward. 

Judging from their appearance, the three following him from the back 
were holding the same guns, and maintaining a reasonable distance of 
about 2 metres. Only the last one of them occasionally turned around and 
watched their rear. 

LLENN could not recognise the type of rifle, but as if reading her 
thoughts, 

"«FAFs» huh. 7.62 mm. It's the airborne troop short version.” 

She heard M's voice. 

A FAL had a high accuracy rate semi auto fire, along with the power of 
7.62 mm bullets, thus they were popular among players. The four men 
were holding the airborne troop version of that FAF. It was a model with 
a folding stock and a rather short barrel that made it easier to use. 

The group of four with matching guns and matching masks and 
camouflage clothes continued moving from the shadow of the bus to the 
side of a pile of rubble, then to the shadow of another broken vehicle 
without pause. 

Before they moved out from the corner of their cover, FFENN saw the 
man in the vanguard holding something out in front of him, and 
wondering what it was, she tried zooming in and realised that it was a 
small mirror attached to the tip of a pole. 

'I get it, they're confirming what's around the corner, FFENN admired. 

The destination of the four was, of course, the location where the two 
machine gun guys that were bewildered at the loss of their comrades, and 


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hadn't moved at all since then. 

"The masked guys sure know what they're doing. They're cooperating." 

M revealed his impression of them, and, while peeking through the 
monocle, LLENN asked. 

"That team only has four people?" 

"No. There are more." 

"How? Do you see them? Where?" 

"I haven't found them, but they are advancing towards the position of 
those two guys by following one of the shortest paths while completely 
hiding themselves. Someone has to be giving them instructions from the 
top of a building. The other two are probably watching from the window 
of a building. They're definitely carrying sniper rifles. They are also the 
guys who shot those three machine gun guys." 

'Uhya', uttered LLENN, and decreased the magnification. 

In a situation when the position of the opponent was unknown, the 
Bullet Lines would not be shown. Snipers who could shoot all of a sudden 
and were capable of instantly killing someone in one bullet were 
disliked in both the real world and in GGO. 

There were buildings of various sizes lined up on the other side of the 
pile of rubble, so there were just as many points suitable for sniping. 
LLENN tried observing carefully again, but saw neither the figures of 
the people, nor their guns. 

"They're not there." 

"They're not in a place where you can find them easily. Exposing their 
guns and bodies as they shoot is the death of a sniper." 


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A persuasive answer came from M. And then, 

"Dividing their team with merely six members is a bold strategy. A team 
that can do so without hesitation is strong." 

Words of appraisal as well. 

"Those two are going to be hit soon." 

At M's words, LLENN, who had still been looking for the snipers, 
returned her field of vision to the two machine gun guys. 

The four masked guys got within 50 metres range of the two machine gun 
guys, and continued approaching by treading through piles of rubble. 

The two guys, who hadn't noticed this at all, seemed to talking about 
something in a panic, but, of course, LLENN could not hear it. 

"Let's get out of here!" 

"But, if we poke our heads out, we'll be shot!" 

'Something like that?', LLENN imagined. 

As LLENN watched attentively, the four guys, who had approached the 
pile of rubble merely 20 metres away before their targets, finished their 
preparations for an attack. With faint gestures, they suddenly spread 
out. 

The one in the vanguard threw a grenade. It fell and exploded in a place 
slightly away from their two targets where it wouldn't deal great 
damage, but that was sufficient. 

The two machine gun guys stood up in a panic and ran away. The 
remaining three attackers targeted their backs and began quickly and 


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accurately firing at them with rhythmically resounding gunshots. 

The two hadn't managed to get far, so, without even being able to 
counterattack, they collapsed on the spot with gaudy, red hit effects 
flashing and ended up with the same fate as their comrades. 

“Sigh." 

It was unclear whether LLENN's sigh was mourning that the two 
characters were killed in action, or feeling sorry that they left SJ, or 
lamenting that she wanted to kill them herself. 


LLENN looked at the time and saw that it was 14:14. 

'Only 4 minutes?', LLENN was surprised. 

'There are 6 minutes until the scan. Right now, the position of those four 
guys is almost completely visible and, moreover, they're not aware of 
us. It's our chance.' 

"M-san, don't let them get away!" 

LLENN said with a unruly smile, but the answer was no. 

"No way. If there were only one of them, you would be able to kill him, 
but the others would end up hiding. In that case, we'd have no choice 
but to run back into the forest. Let it pass. Those guys should be 
expecting us to have retreated deeper into the forest." 

Uugh, LLENN groaned in her mind. She refused to go back to the 
disadvantageous forest after all their effort of coming here. 

"Leaving that aside, I want to observe them a bit more." 

She decided to follow M's words. At the very least, it was true that they 


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could safely observe from their position for another 5 minutes. 

Returning her gaze to her monocle, she saw that the four figures had 
disappeared. They couldn't be seen anywhere. The guys had probably 
skillfully retreated. 

30 seconds afterwards, 

"There they are." 

Was M's voice. 

"LLENN. Look at the building designed with a warped outer wall. Its 
middle floors." 

Finding the indicated building and zooming in, 

"Ah! There they are!" 

There, she saw the figure of the person that she was looking for. On the 
middle, probably tenth floor, of the building, designed like the sail of a 
yacht. There was a person at a window with all of its glass blown away. 
He was carrying a long and narrow rifle. 

She measured the distance to be 503 metres, so he was probably about 
300 metres away from those machine gun guys. For a sniper with high- 
precision sniper rifles and skill, it was a distance where he could easily 
target the vitals. 

Just as LLENN thought 'What is he going to do?' the guy threw a long 
rope towards the ground as if to answer her. 

And then, the guy immediately put the rope in front of his body and 
straddled it, then, with his legs kicking away the outer wall of the 
building, he smoothly descended. The height was close to 30 metres, but, 
in the blink of an eye, he hid behind a pile of rubble concealing the 


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ground and disappeared. Next, the second one descended. Just like the 
other one, he instantly disappeared from sight. The only thing that 
remained afterwards was the slightly swaying rope. And even it 
disappeared, as if put away into storage. 

"What is that? Amazing!" 

LLENN innocently praised. 

"It's rappelling. Descending by using a rope.” 

"Wow. Useful for vertical movement, huh. Much faster than going 
down the stairs, huh. There's a skill like that. I kinda want it." 

"It's a bit different for them." 

"Hm?" 

"With the rappelling skill in GGO, you can't go down as fast as they did. I 
know that since I've tried it." 

At M's answer, LLENN inclined her head, 

"Then, how did those people do it?" 

"That was the ability of the player.” 

"Player ability? What does that mean?" 

Not being able to quickly understand what M said, LLENN turned her 
face towards him and asked. While holding the M14 EBR and peeking 
through the scome, M, 

"In other words, the people playing GGO can do that in RL, is what it 
means." 


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"Ah, I get it! I've just remembered what I've heard from Pito-san!" 


In all VR games, including GGO, there were two types of „ things that one 
can do". 

The first was-what the character can do. 

In other words, things that anyone could do automatically if their 
character obtained the required skill in exchange for experience points. 

In GGO, there were things like high-power bomb production, gun part 
and knife production, increasing sniping accuracy rate, seeing details 
from afar with astounding eyesight-and a variety of other abilities. 

Skills also had levels, so either the success rate, speed or grade would 
increase in proportion to how much the skill was raised. 

And, the other was-, things that the player could do in RL even 

without having the skill. 

Naturally, it was possible for players to do what they could in RL even 
without taking the skill. Since the body would according to the nerve 
impulses detected by the AmuSphere. 

For example, calligraphy. This didn't exist in GGO, but characters that 
obtained a skill „writing characters beautifully" could achieve 
magnificent handwriting by just trying to write as they always do. 

On the other hand, players who were fond of handwriting in RL could do 
that even without taking the skill. Of course, such a person could not 
write better than they had learned in RL. 

Naturally, what one could do with a skill could only be done in the game. 
Basically, just because someone obtained a calligraphy skill, that doesn't 


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mean they would be able to write beautiful characters in the real world. 


"In other words, even smoothly descending with a rope, rappe. 

what's it called again?" 

" Rappelling.'' 

"Yeah that. Does it mean that those people can do that in RL ? That's 
amazing. Maybe they're mountain climbers?" 

LLENN carefreely said, frankly admiring them, but... 

"It would be nice if they were." 

M's words sounded very serious. 

Having returned her view to the monocle, LLENN looked at the four 
men going into the distance, while carefully watching their 
surroundings, to meet up with the other two men, and said, 

"M-san, based on your way of speaking, it seems you know who those 
people are in RL?" 

"Just a guess." 

"Which is?" 

LLENN couldn't guess what he was guessing, so she frankly enquired. 
The answer that came to her left ear was, 

"Seeing their careful and disciplined movements, and nimble rappelling, 
I thought. That those guys are probably fighting pros." 

"Pro? Come again?" 


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Without her understanding the meaning, LLENN moved the monocle 
away from her eye, as the four had disappeared, and looked at M, who 
returned the look. His stern face looked a bit diffident. 

His mouth moved. 

"Literally, „people who make money by fighting". Those six guys are — 
— either working in the police, or in the special forces of the Japan Coast 
Guard, or are personnel of the Self-Defence Force." 


Chapter 7 - A Battle Against Pros 

14:17. 

Less than 3 minutes until the second satellite scan. That was also how 
long they would be at the edge of the forest. 

"Wha? What did you say! Aren't they cheating?-The participation of 

pros in the game is prohibited!" 

Hearing M's guess that the six people of remarkable ability were 
fighting pros, LLENN took offence. 

M, who seemed to be thinking about something, answered after several 
seconds. 

"There shouldn't really be a rule about prohibition. I don't know if 
they're here officially or independently, but it's not strange for them to 
use GGO as part of their training and participating in SJ to test their 
ability. This has been hypothesised ever since the FullDive technology 
was created." 

Hearing M's overly calm words, LLENN thought 'Well, that is true.' and 
decided to go back to thinking about SJ. While playing a game, she had 


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to think about the game. 

"What should we do? Right now, those people are the closest team, 
right? If we don't defeat them, we can't take up positions in the urban 
area, right? With them as our opponents, can we really win?" 

M replied immediately. 

"Impossible." 

"That fast!" 

"They're opponents that I'm not sure we'd be able to win against even if 
we had six people. Winning with two people is just impossible. Even if 

we decreased their ranks by one just now.well, it would probably be 

the same." 

"Then what do we do? I know! Why don't we take up positions here? 
You know, if any team crosses the highway, we could shoot them from 
here!" 

"I've thought about that, but that's definitely unfavourable. There's a 
sniper on the other side. If you peek out, you'll be shot immediately. 
Meanwhile, an enemy team might come from the west." 

LLENN, whose suggestions were cut down one after another, did not 
get angry, as she agreed with each comment. 

They continued being on lookout in the forest; the clock displayed 14:19. 
Only 1 minute until the next satellite scan. 

"What are we going to do? What are we going to do next?" 

LLENN was slightly panicking, as she was unable to do anything within 
the 20 minutes after the game started, and 


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"Do you feel lucky? Has your life so far been blessed with good luck?" 

M suddenly asked this question. 

"Come again? I wonder." 

Concerning her height, her good luck was close to zero, but that aside, 
she thought about how she was born in an affluent household, 
surrounded by kind family members, and how she was raised without 
any problems, 

"Well, yeah. I've been lucky. I'm a lucky girll" 

She answered, although bluffing a bit. 

"Good. Let's bet on that good luck. Check the next scan here, and if we 
are lucky, we'll immediately rush towards the highway. Prepare in 
advance." 

"G-gotcha, is there time to ask for the reason?" 

40 seconds remaining. 

"Yes. This is just my guess, but I believe that a considerable number of 
other participating teams would gather in the urban area because of that 
loud battle just now. In that case, there's a high chance that there is a 
team close to that company of pros and another battle would ensue right 
after the scan. Using that as a diversion, we'll run through the highway 
in the blink of an eye. We're going to abandon the idea of hiding in the 
urban area, and instead go for the centre of the residential area. After the 
next scan, we'll go to the wilderness from there." 

"I see.Gotcha." 

20 seconds remaining. 


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"Count the dots on the scan to find out the number of annihilated teams. 
Hammer the location of the surviving teams into your head. Of course, 
you can ignore the ones that are far away. The enemies that we can 
encounter within 10 minutes, or those who are within 3 km range from 
us, are the threats." 

While saying that, M got up and took out his satellite scan terminal. 
LLENN followed suit. And then, the screen lit up. 

14:20. 

SJ's second satellite scan began. 

This was the first scan that LLENN saw. She concentrated on staring at 
the screen. Just the outline was enough, as she wanted to know the 
location of her opponents. She did not want to go through that march, in 
which she did not know where her enemies were, again. 

As if the artificial satellite was coming from the north-west, dots on the 
map lit up one by one from the upper-left side of the map on the 
terminal's screen. Moreover, it was fast, so there probably wasn't much 
time until the scan ended. 

"Let's see, as for the annihilated teams ." 

The teams that have left SJ were displayed as inconspicuous gray dots. 
While counting those, LLENN memorised the location of the shining 
dots. 

In the north-western prairie, there was one annihilated team. Another 
one in the swamp below it. As for the forest, the teams that were 
shooting each other at the beginning seemed to have avoided 
annihilation - no wipe outs. As for the desert and wilderness, since the 
field of vision there is quite open, it seems that there were a considerable 
number of battles there - four wipe outs in total. 


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Right now, the area up to the very south-eastern edge was scanned 
completely. 

Even without touching them to confirm names, it was obvious that the 
dot shining on the border of the forest and highway referred to them. 
There were another two dots in the forest, but fortunately, they were 3 
km away. 

The gray dot at the north extremity of the urban area was, of course, the 
machine gun group. In other words, in merely 20 minutes, seven teams 
have already dropped out of the battle royale, and sixteen remained. 

Of course, it was impossible to tell whether all of the members of a team 
survived unwounded, or only a single person remained. 

Speaking of the pro group that displayed their frightening power just 
now-, 

They were in the urban area as expected. About 1 and a half km away 
from them. 

They overlapped with a building, so they were probably at a high 
location. It was obvious that the two people who rappelled down the 
building ran at full-speed and quickly set up in another building. The 
skilful snipers keeping a watchful eye on the surroundings from a place 
with a good field of vision and cooperating with their comrades on the 
ground-it was a strategy that could also be called an iron wall. 

And so, 

"Ah!" 

LLENN unintentionally shouted. 

Wasn't that a light dot in the square to the south of the pro group, and 
another two in the square to the left? 


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"M-san! Look!" 

"How lucky. Us two. On the other hand-those guys aren't lucky." 

LLENN raised her face and saw M, unusually, smiling. 

"Then!" 

"Yeah. We'll leave those unlucky three teams to the pro group and run. 
You can cast aside the poncho ." 


Without even waiting for the scan to end, the two put away their 
terminals. 

LLENN got her head out of her poncho and threw the poncho away to her 
rear. Her tu\\-pink appearance. In a half-rising posture, M folded his M14 
EBR's bipod and finished his preparations for running out of the forest. 

They had to rush out of the forest, where trees protected them, into a 
dangerous location once again. 

"Go on my command. Not yet-" 

*Gulp*, LLENN swallowed her saliva and put more strength into the 
hand holding her P90. 

At the next moment, they heard gunshots from the urban area. 

A mix of light and heavy gunshots. A considerably loud start of a battle. 
It's almost unmistakably the three teams making contact. 

"Alright, go! Go! Go!" 

At M's command, LLENN broke into a run. Out of the forest and 


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towards the grassy slope. Running at full-speed towards the highway. 
"But wait! I shouldn't run off too far, right?" 

LLENN asked M while running, 

"Whenever you do so. I'll tell you to stop." 

Was his answer. 

'Hu-h? He told me to stick together in the forest, but I have to be the 
forerunner going ahead of him? Wouldn't I be the one to get shot first?' 

Although LLENN realised this, it was too late to return. 

'Honestly, using the leader as a decoy, this black team 34 is such a 
sweatshop!' 

While thinking about such things, LLENN agilely jumped over the 
guardrails of the highway with her tiny body. 


"M-san! No enemies in sight nearby." 

"Alright. Wait until I catch up." 

LLENN and M continued running through the highway. 

LLENN was leading by dashing at the speed of an average sprinter or 
faster. 

Having trained her agility, she was able to run at the speed of a car. At 
her rapidly increasing „maximum speed", LLENN would feel 
befuddled. 


34 In Japanese, the equivalent of the expression "sweatshop" is ~f 7 7 9 AH (black business), thus a "black 
team" is a derogatory term for a team that abuses its members. 


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To her right was the forest and to her left was the urban area. While 
looking out for enemies in her field of vision, she waited for M, who 
came from behind in the shadow of a broken car. 

When she first emerged from the forest, she noticed that absolutely no 
wind was blowing in this field. This was considerably advantageous for 
a sniper. 

M was much more slow-footed than LLENN, but even so he came 
kicking the concrete at full-speed. Once he slid into a place where he 
could hide his large figure, 

"Alright go!" 

He ordered while holding his M14 EBR so that he could always provide 
supporting fire. 

Their figures were most likely completely visible from the forest or 
urban area while they were running, but no one fired at them. 

Instead, they heard loud sounds of a battle all the time. 

* * * 


Turning the clock back a bit to 14:20. Just before the second scan -, 

What M expected occurred in the urban area. 

Some time ago, hearing the loud noise of battle mainly caused by the 
Zen-nihon Machine Gun Lovers, 

'„I don't know who that was, but with so much shooting, the surviving 
team can't be unscratched.'" 

The three teams in the vicinity with the exact same idea gathered in the 
urban area, drawn in by the noise of battle. Of course, they could not 


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have known that the other party was completely unharmed, and 
moreover, was comprised of highly-skilled members. 

And so, just after the second scan began-, 

"Wha?" "Are you kidding me!" 

The two teams that were in the same square and only about 200 metres 
apart were completely surprised. The routes to their destination were 
different, so they had yet to see each other, but their enemy was really 
close. 

At that moment, the two teams' course of action greatly diverged. 


One of the teams had members wearing uniform jumpsuits, with a 
hornet motif emblem attached to their left arms. 

It was a group with their main arms mainly being submachine guns like 
«H&K MP5», «Walther MPL», and consisted of only nimble characters 
that stressed the importance of agility. 

All six of them, 

"Oh whatever, let's get them! Everyone, let them have it with everything 
you've go-ooo-t!" 

"Ah yeah!" "Attaaack!" " Roger !" "Let's get'em!" "Mothe-er!" 

Began their assault in cheers, as if to say that this was their place of 
death. They dashed energetically through the broad road, towards the 
opponents that were probably around the corner. 

The other team had tattered garments. All of them wore a green scarf 
around their necks as their team's icon,. 


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These guys, unfortunately, could not make a prompt decision and 
promptly execute it. 

"They're awfully close! Le-Let's run away!" 

"No, there's another team down the slope! And another up in the 
buildings'. We have nowhere to run away! We need to attack them 
head-" 


"Idiot! What are you going to do if they surround us? Are you planning 
to hide inside the buildings-" 

"I don't wanna end up in an indoor battle!" 

"You guys, stop squabbling! Follow your leader's orders." 

As they continued quarrelling, they were suddenly showered with 
bullets by the team that came from the opposite side of the road. 

Submachine guns excelled in rapid-fire power, but as they primarily used 
pistol ammo, the damage dealt wasn't as great. 

Only one of the two unlucky people, who were shot at the same time, 
died during the surprise attack. 

The remaining five people who were hit but did not die resolved for the 
fact that they no longer had a way to escape and began a ferocious 
counterattack against their opponents. Guns like the «AKM» and the 
«M16A3» began roaring. 

Atop the broad road, a grandiose battle between the two groups, 
holding their ground less than 100 metres away, shooting ceaselessly and 
throwing grenades at each other, erupted. 

Both parties had a sufficiently clear view of their opponents' position, 
thus whoever turned their backs would lose. Rather than hiding, they 


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continued to shoot and shoot, change their magazines and shoot again— 


Before long, one of them died, then another one, and thus a grand battle 
of attrition began. 

The cameras floating in the sky continued overlooking the battle 
heartlessly. 


Snickering at this scene was another team of men, who were about 1 km 
away. 

The six members were all wearing reddish brown camouflaged clothes 
and were equipped with «AC—556F» assault rifles made by Sturm, 
Ruger and Co.. 

This was a «Mini- 14» gun, which was like an M14 downsized to 5.56 
mm, but with a metal folding stock attached and with the ability to 
shoot in full auto. It was compact and its performance was reasonably 
good, but it was an unpopular and cheap gun in GGO. 

Having heard the sounds of a battle erupting nearby, the team leader, 

"Alrighty! Those guys made contact! Let's go around and ambush 
them!" 

Said these words. A comrade of his asked. 

"What are we going to do about those guys up in the building'?'' 

"They're still too far. They're not in a suitable range to take us on with 
snipers. They won't hit us if we run." 

"I see." 


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"Alright, everyone, let's go!" 

Thus, this team began running, planning to benefit from the other teams' 
fight. 


In order to run at a full-sprint on a broad road, they ran along the centre 
of the road, rather than by the side of the buildings littered with plenty 
of debris, and thus, 

"Confirmed a team in the south side. Six heads. Their weapons - AC— 
556F. From now on, we'll dub them ,,delta". 

It wasn't as if they would know that they were being observed by the 
snipers via binoculars from within the building, and that the snipers had 
even given them an alias. 

The delta leader's judgement that they wouldn't be sniped at this range as 
they ran was by no means wrong. 

At a 1 km distance, an ordinary sniper rifle wouldn't be able to hit them. 
The targets were so far away that a sniper would need to have an anti¬ 
materiel rifle, which was still effective at this range, as well as befitting 
remarkable skill. The judgement that the level of threat would be low 
was reasonable. 

However, their misfortune was that the satellite scan did not display the 
team's excellent detached force of four on the ground. 

The men with their faces hidden in balaclava calmly sent orders to their 
four comrades via their communication items. 

"Delta are advancing to the west along the third southern road. Let them 
pass by the side of the cinema, then follow them. Wait until the battle 
between bravo and charlie is over." 


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"Oh, fuck this!" 

The man holding an AKM, an improved version of the AK-47 that 
greatly resembled the original in outward appearance, cursed loudly. 

The style of his garments was based on the militia that could be found in 

troubled areas in the world- jeans and a leather jacket, with a 

magazine chest rig on his chest. He had a green scarf on his neck. 

The man was lying, holding his gun horizontally, at the side of a broken 
vehicle left on the large street. He could only look through the underside 
of the car, with its punctured tires , to see what lay ahead of him, but he 
didn't see anything move in his narrow field of vision. 

"O-oi! Is anyone nearby?" 

He shouted with a desperate look, but there was no answer. 

It seemed that all of his comrades that had been working together until 
just a few moments ago had either died or ran away. 

His own hit points had been reduced considerably. He had been hit with 
5 bullets at close range by the submachine guns of the assaulting enemy 
team. Of course, they counterattacked, so he was sure that he killed one 
of them by hitting him in the head with several bullets, and another one 
should have been hit in the legs. 

And then, 5 seconds after he asked, 

"Ooo! I'm ali-ve!" 

He heard this answer from somewhere. 

A smile of relief returned to the man's face. And then. 


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"Oo! Where are you? Are you alright?" 

"Yeah, somehow I am! But my hit points are in the deep red!" 

He clearly heard the second answer coming from much closer than 
before. He probably left the building he had been hiding in and came to 
him. 

"Alright! Let's link up and run away." 

The man said as he raised his AKM, but the answer was, 

"Ah, that's impossible!" 

"Why?" 

The man should have been more composed before he asked. 

If he was, he would have probably seen the information in the upper- 
leftmost corner of his field of vision, in other words, the hit points of his 
comrades, by moving his eyes. He would have realised that all of them 
were completely black, and all the names were marked with an X 
symbol. 

"Well, look! That's because-" 

Sticking his head out from the shadow of the car, he saw his 
conversational partner 6 metres in front of him. The man wearing a black 
jumpsuit firmly held an A3 type MP5, and pointed his muzzle at him. 
Red lines that spread from it entered his vision, and dyed his field of 
vision in deep red. 

"I am an enemy, you see!" 

He fired once. 


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The 9 mm Parabellum bullet fired from the MP5 created a vivid hit effect 
in his right eye. The man lost strength in his body and fell sideways. His 
AKM fell on the concrete and made a dull metallic sound. 


"Hah." 

The man who shot with the MP5 sat on the ground. Signs of being shot 
shone throughout his body, he had barely any hit points left and was in 
the deep red. 

He turned around and saw the corpses of both enemies and allies, with a 
[ D e a d ] marker shining above, scattered all around the large road. 
He calmed down, looked at the information displayed in the left corner 
of his field of vision, and saw that all but him were wiped out. 

"Aah.What am I going to do alone after this? I wonder if I should 

surrender." 

Such a mutter unintentionally came from his mouth. 

However, immediately afterwards, 

"No, well, I should try holding out until I die." 

As he said this, he took out a cylindrical first aid kit from his chest pocket, 
and applied it to the nape of his neck. With his hit points flashing, his 
gauge began to recover. 

The man looked at his wristwatch, and saw that it was 14:27. Before he 
went out to hide as he recovered his hit points over the next three 
minutes, 

"It's a hit-or-miss!" 

The man got up with a smile to start running again, but his body- 


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Was pierced by 5.56 mm bullets that came flying at him in succession, 
and his recovering hit points were quickly reduced to zero. 

The amount of corpses on the large street that could no longer speak 
increased further by one more. 

The man, who shot ceaselessly in full auto with his AC—556F from the 
other side of the road, 

"Aw yeah! That's what I call profiting while others fight, score!" 
Energetically raised his right fist in joy. 

It was a team that had been hiding in the shadow of a building until the 
battle ended. 

Since around 1 minute ago, they had been observing the development of 
the melee. They thought to attack anyone who tried to run away, but 
almost everybody died before that. 

It seemed that the MP5 guy was the last one standing, thus the leader 
slowly came out from the corner of the building and gunned him down. 

"We did it! Battle royales are nice because things like this happen. It's an 
easy victory when we can attack them from behind!" 

A team member standing by behind a building, diligently guarding the 
rear, said cheerfully. 

"Well, we'll end up the same if we let our guard down." 

Just as the leader said those self-admonishing words, four powerful 
plasma grenades fell out of the fifth floor window. 

A bluish-white light of explosion completely enveloped them, and 


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wiped out their hit points completely- 

They personally learned that, in a street fight, they had to watch not only 
their surroundings, but for attacks from above as well. 

The masked man who threw the plasma grenades instantly contacted his 
men who were far away. 

"Bravo, charlie, and delta. Annihilation confirmed. No injuries." 

A masked man inside a building, 

"Roger. Check the next scan at your position. Wait for further 
instructions while being on guard for any attack from any direction." 

Answered thus. 

Another man sat nearby, with his Remington-made, bolt action sniper rifle 
«M24» placed on a camera tripod. He was the man who massacred the 
machine gun group with his accurate sniping. 

Without raising his head, he asked his leader, 

"About that pink guy who ran through the highway at a breakneck 

speed, and the huge guy who followed him just now-What are we 

going to do about them?" 

* * * 


At 14:29, just before the third satellite scan, 

"Hyaa! We did it we did it!" 

"We made it somehow." 

LLENN and M finished running through the highway without seeing 


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any enemies, and reached the residential area at the centre of the map. 
"And nobody fired at us!" 

"Yeah." 

While moving out of the urban area and the forest, they constantly heard 
loud sounds of battle, but there wasn't a single bullet aimed at them. 

Of course, they were likely held down by someone, but there was the 
possibility that nobody fired at them as they judged that they wouldn't 
be able to hit their targets since they were running. 

They had run approximately 3 km, so their average speed was about 18 
km per hour. 

A marathon runner's average speed was 20 km per hour, so their quick 
pace was quite good. Incidentally, LLENN, who had raised her agility, 
could go much faster than that, but it was a speed that M's ,character 
ability" could barely pull off. 

The fact that they weren't breathless, didn't sweat, and their throats 
weren't thirsty after all that running was the good thing about being in a 

VR game. 


The region the two had arrived at was filled with apartment houses and 
low-rise residences, and, aside from the road, it had an obstructed view. 

No matter how they looked at it, the buildings reminded them of a 
foreign, rather than a Japanese, exclusive residential district. 

Of course, it was a ghost town, thus the feeling of desolation wasn't odd. 
They also saw corroded cars with punctured tires and large trees that had 


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toppled over due to their growth on the road. In the garden, there was a 
large lawn mower that had become rusty and red. 

The buildings looked to be crumbling, and a lot of them had collapsed. 
The paved road was full of cracks and grass grew vigorously out of 
those crevices. The submerged region should be wide, but, fortunately, 
the area they were in had not been flooded. 

The two approached the entranceway of a detached house with a barren 
lawn and withered trees, and, just to be sure, they checked in case anyone 
had set traps. 

The possibility that the team who had their starting point here set up a 
large number of grenades wasn't zero. A booby trap which consisted of a 
wire being set along the entrance was a simple trap, but it was easy to get 
caught in it. 

"It's fine. Enter slowly. Watch out for traps indoors too." 

"Roger." 

The two slowly entered, and checked for traps again. Upon confirming 
that it was safe, they hid indoors. 

The living room in the house was cluttered, but not to the extent that they 
couldn't enter; it was disordered in a pleasant manner. 

Out of consideration, there were no human remains, in other words, 
human bones, left behind by the people that passed away during the last 
war in GGO fields. If it was reproduced, the urban and other areas would 
end up looking like a picture of Hell, full of human bones. 

However, aside from that, the production was truly impressive and 
finely done. 


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Even in the house that LLENN and M had intruded upon, there were 
plenty of items that shed light on the life of the people before the last 
war. 

There was a picture of a smiling family in a silver frame on the fireplace 
where a bit of grass grew. There were broken and unbroken dishes in 
the sink. There were seemingly old magazines and newspapers scattered 
around at the side of the sofa. 

The details of how this Earth came to a great war were written in these 
newspapers and magazines. Unfortunately, they were all in English. 

She once heard this story from Pitohui. 

After taking down a dog-like monster in the ruins of a small church, 
Pitohui entered a room further inside. There, she found a beautiful 
wedding dress and tuxedo , which glittered due to the skylight, hanging on 
a clothes hanger. 

"It was a scene that made me break into tears. „Let's get married, even if 
the war that destroys humanity is drawing near", that's the kind of 
emotion of two people who loved each other that they conveyed. It was 
as if even that doggy was frantically trying to protect them." 

Pitohui gave an unusual gentle smile, 

"That's a nice story." 

LLENN shared her honest impression, 

"So, I tore both the dress and tuxedo into shreds with my shotgun.'' 
"What a waste!" 


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"Well, it'll respawn when the next guy finds it." 

Setting Pitohui's lovely personality aside, GGO's graphics designer who 
thought about such details and reproduced them did a terrific job. 


Several more seconds until 14:30, the third scan. LLENN's wristwatch 
had stopped vibrating a long time ago. 

The two took out their satellite scan terminals and produced a map before 
their eyes. Last time, a total of seven teams had dropped out and sixteen 
survived; now then, how much has changed in 10 minutes? 

The third scan began from the south-southeast and continued to the 
north-northwest. Speaking in clock terms, it would be from 5 o'clock to 
11 o'clock. It seemed that the satellite's orbit was high, as the scan was 
much slower than before. Having calmed down, LLENN looked at the 
map and decided to count the number of surviving teams. 

One by one, dots began appearing in the southern fields, the desert and 
wilderness zones. 

Then, gray dots denoting wiped out teams began rapidly appearing. 
Although it was wide, there were eight dots in this area alone. 10 
minutes ago it was four, thus the count had doubled. 

In particular, there were three new gray dots near one another in the 
surroundings of a ruins in the centre. Even LLENN understood what 
happened. They had probably tried to take control of an advantageous 
ruins area and ended up in a melee fight. 

In this area, the survivors numbered only two teams at the moment. Both 
of them were at least 5 km apart from east to west, and a bit away from 


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any dead teams too. 

LLENN couldn't tell how many members survived, so she had 
absolutely no idea how strong these two teams were either. Did they 
possess frightening power, with which they had mostly slaughtered 
other teams, and were now moving without worry, or were they left with 
a single man, who was frantically trying to escape? 

Either way, both groups were far away from them, thus it seemed that 
LLENN's group could ignore them for the next 10 minutes. 

As the scan proceeded to the north, it displayed the urban area. 

What they saw then were three gray dots in mostly the same place. And 
close to them, there was a dot of a surviving team shining in the same 
place as last time. This was all in perfect accordance to M's prediction, 

"Wow." 

LLENN looked at M, then at that pro group and let out her impression. 

As the scan drew close to the centre of the map, the residential area, 
LLENN tensed up. The north-eastern, in other words, upper-right, part 
of this area was where they were located at. If any other dots lit up, those 
would be the people that they would have to fight against next. It was 
possible that they had not noticed that someone was hiding in the next, 
no, this very house. 

The result was-, 

"No one's here.Whew!" 

In the residential area, there was unmistakably only a single dot. There 
were no dead teams either. 


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The scan proceeded to the north; there were zero new dead teams in the 
swamp. There was one surviving team, and it seemed that it had taken 
up position at the crashed spaceship. 

In the north-western prairie, there were two dead teams. In other words, 
the count increased by one since last time. There was only one surviving 
team and, if this team handled both the other teams, they were probably 
powerful. 

And lastly, inside the forest, there were no deaths and the survivors 
numbered two like last time. Looking at it closely, these two teams had 
barely moved at all since the last scan. 

At the moment, there were eight new wiped-out teams, and the total 
now rose to fifteen teams. The survivors numbered eight teams. With 
such progress in just 30 minutes, SJ would probably end within 1 hour, 
just as Pitohui had said. 

The scan hadn't disappeared yet, but M raised his rough face. Time for a 
strategy meeting. 

"We're lucky." 

M first said that, and LLENN cheerfully gave a large nod. And then, 
"M-san, who do you think will become the next threat to us?" 

M answered in his unchanged calm tone. 

"First of all, the two teams in the forest are close, but we'll ignore them. 
Both teams seem to be stubbornly glaring at each other. They've 
probably lost some of their comrades in the first battle and they 
probably want to settle the score." 


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"Probably. They're the kind of guys who are waiting in vain to ambush 
each other." 

"We'll also ignore the team in the prairie, as we are sufficiently far away. 
Let's hope that those guys are planning to attack the forest teams from 
behind. About the team in the swamp spaceship, they're probably the 
ones who took care of the ambushing sniper team. They're currently in 
an advantageous position, so, unless an extreme case arises, they won't 
move out." 

"Hmmhmm" 

"As for the two teams in the desert and wilderness, honestly speaking, I 
can't anticipate their move. Are they skilled or are they merely the 
remnants of a defeated team? Particularly, I can't read the actions of the 
team that's near the ruins. They should be taking up positions in the 
ruins, but why aren't they doing so?" 

"Yeah, that's what I thought too." 

"Even so, we can ignore them for now until the next scan. The problem 
is-" 

"As I expected.those pros? They're in the city." 

"Yeah.-We have no chance of winning without taking them down. 

Now that the number of teams decreased considerably, they're probably 
going to come out of the urban area. Their goal isn't victory, but to gain 
battle experience, so the odds of them continously ambushing people is 
low." 

"But they're strong, right? We can't win, right?" 


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At LLENN's words, 

"Yeah." 

M nodded once. And then, he laughed while grinning broadly. 

"But, having seen this scan, Eve noticed a chance of winning, albeit a low 
one. If we do well, we can possibly win against those guys." 

"Ooh!" 

"For that, LLENN, your help is needed. You'll likely need to shoot with 
all you have and put in great effort." 

"Ooh! That's fine! I'll do whatever it takes! Tell me your plan!" 

"Alright. First-" 


Chapter 8 - Trap 

The wristwatch on LLENN's left arm vibrated. 

She was in complete darkness, so she could not see, but she knew the 
time. 14:39:30. It was the alarm that rang when 30 seconds remained 
before the fourth satellite scan. 

'Is this plan really going to go well.' 

M told her not to speak carelessly, so LLENN could not even mutter. She 
could only say so in her mind. 

'Yet another awful plan! Even though I'm the leaderY 


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The thing that she had thought about the longest during the past 10 
minutes was certainly this. 

Be that as it may, ever since SJ started, M had only come up with plans 
that ignored LLENN's safety, so she was no longer angry about it. 

It was a game, so she did not mind dying. However, she had not once 
been able to go wild. Her beloved gun, her P90, had not fired a single 
bullet either. At the very least, she wanted to go on a rampage before 
dying. 

The fourth satellite scan would begin very soon, but LLENN couldn't see 
it. 

She could only hold her P90 tight and remain still in this complete 
darkness. 

If she had claustrophobia, her state of mind would deteriorate, the safety 
device would activate, and the AmuSphere would forcefully cut the line. 
'It's a good thing that I like taking naps in a closet', LLENN thought. 

"The scan is about to begin. Prepare so that you can come out whenever 
I give you the signal to do so." 

M's voice reached LLENN's ears. 


Answering in silence, LLENN once again confirmed the position of her 
P90's safety with her fingertips. 


10 minutes ago- 

A masked man who saw the scan in the city. 


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"We need to move." 

Expressed in just a few words. 

The survivors numbered merely eight teams and, moreover, there were 
none nearby. The closest light dot was in the north-east of the residential 
area. 

"I'm informing everyone. WeTl name the enemy in the residential area 
„echo “, and the enemy in the desert region ,foxtrot "." 

The leader's voice went through the communication item, and reached 
the nearby sniper and the four men on the ground. 

They named their enemies ABCDE in the order they were found. 

tsuwahyou 

and, in order to avoid hearing mistakes, called them in phonetic code 
(phonetic code). 

In other words, the machine gun lover group was A - alpha. 

The team that attacked with submachine guns and had hornet emblems was 
B - bravo. 

The green scarf team that clashed with bravo was C - charlie. 

The team wearing matching reddish brown camouflaged clothes was D - 
delta. 

The team that has the pink chibi is E - echo. 

The team in the southern desert is F - foxtrot. 

"20 minutes ago, echo was at the southern tip of the forest and was under 
fire from alpha. On the highway, we confirmed only one guy in desert 
pink camouflage and another guy in green camouflage. The team has 
diminished to two members. We couldn't confirm their arms." 


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The leader, who didn't think that the team could have had only two 
people from the beginning, made a sensible judgement and informed his 
group. 

"In the next 10 minutes, we'll move to the residential area and look for 
them. If we encounter the enemy, we attack them. If we can't find them, 
we search by using the 14:50 scan.” 

During his explanation, the sniper next to him took down his M24 from 
the tripod, and operated the window to put said tripod into storage. Once 
that was done, he took out a rope and finished his preparations to 
descend the building.” 

"Regroup at the intersection between the third southern and forth 
western roads. Vigilant standby." 


All six members of the masked group gathered on the ground, and 
began advancing as fast as their character ability allowed. 

The two of them in the vanguard vigilantly held their FALs, prepared to 
encounter echo at any moment. 

If echo came their way, it was highly likely that they would abruptly 
encounter echo en route. Holding a gun so as to be able to shoot right 
away and running without the gun shaking was quite difficult; this was 
also a player skill. 

Behind these two followed the leader and sniper. The two in the rear were 
constantly, constantly looking back, looking out for foxtrot's pursuit. 

And so- 

Having reached the eastern tip of the residential district in about 8 
minutes without any contact, they became even more vigilant and 


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advanced by the side of the houses. 

This area was full of low-rise residences, thus the risk of sniping from a 
high-altitude was low, but they did not show any signs of negligence. 
They could use communication items, but they continued mostly in 
silence, communicating only through hand signs, and when they needed to 
cross the road, they would first check the area with a mirror, then one of 
them would dash at full-speed while two others covered him. 

Thus, they slowly advanced to the west from the eastern tip of the 
residential area, and as they spread their search area, the clock struck 
14:39. 

"40 seconds till the scan. Halt. Be on the lookout from all sides." 

All six of them took up positions at the corner of a broad street. The 
leader in the shadow of a large trash collection truck. With this, even if 
the scan revealed his position, the sturdy truck would protect him from 
attacks from the west. 

The five subordinates spread out into the remaining three directions, in 
other words, the north, east and south, looking out for any enemies. If 
the scan revealed that there were enemies nearby, they were prepared to 
assault them. 

Their watches announced that it was 14:40. 

"The scan is starting." 

Only the leader glanced at the satellite scan terminal. 


"They're close!" 

The leader of the mask group unintentionally shouted. 


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The result of the scan that was even slower than the last one was 
displayed on the screen that the leader looked at. 

Based on the scan that began from the east, they confirmed that foxtrot 
was still in the desert-wilderness area. And so, as they were travelling to 
the east, the leader understood that they would not become a threat to 
his group. 

Confirming that, he magnified the map to display the upper-leftmost 
region of the residential area, and their own position was certainly 
marked there. And so, speaking of their next mark, echo - 

"Due north! 80 metres away!" 

Weren't there two dots right next to each other? Magnifying the map as 
much as possible, it became clear that they were merely 80 metres away 
to the north. That was the vicinity of the large intersection at the end of 
the broad road that they were currently on. 

The man who was watching the north side, 

"I can't see them!" 

Answered in a surprised voice. The 80 metre distance to the end of the 
road was short and the view was unobstructed, so one could clearly see 
it no matter how one looked at it. And yet, they did not see any human 
figures, so it was no wonder that he was surprised. 

Right afterwards, the other man who was supporting him said, 

"I can't see anything either! There's only a wide intersection there!" 

"We can't find them. There are no vehicles in the intersection!" 

The leader, 


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"Advance." 

Gave this short order. Since they could not find their target, all they 
could do was approach the intersection until they did. If this wasn't 
GGO, one would think that the scan could be wrong, but... 

Along with 'roger', four of the men began advancing with their FALs 
prepared. 

They divided into two groups of two. 

"The scan can't tell the altitude. It's highly likely that they're in a 
manhole. Watch out." 

With his own FAL at the ready, the leader gave such an instruction while 
on the lookout for attacks from the opposite direction. 

The leader looked at his still lit terminal once again, but it was certainly 
that location. As he could not magnify the map any further, all they 
could tell was that the enemy was somewhere in the intersection. 

In a movie he once saw, the movement scanner detected an enemy 
moving close by, but the characters couldn't see him; in the end, it was 
revealed that they were on the ceiling. This time, the action was taking 
place in an intersection, thus it was unthinkable for them to be above 
them. In that case, the only possible alternative was for them to be 
below. 

Just in case, the leader reduced the scale of the map to display a large 
area. This was so that he could inspect the location of other teams. 

The survivors were: their own group, echo, foxtrot, and two groups in the 
swamp, only five teams in total. 

The second team in the swamp was probably the prairie team, which 
came seeking battle. Aside from them, it seemed the team in the 


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southwestern region of the desert, and the two teams glaring at each 
other in the forest had either been wiped out, or had surrendered in the 
past 10 minutes. 

Realising that it was safe for them to come into contact with echo, the 
leader felt relieved, but even though the enemy was really close, he still 
could not hear any firing from his subordinates. 

Instead, 

"We've arrived. There are.no manholes at the intersection. I can't see 

any." 

He heard the voice of one of his subordinates, who sounded like he was 
possessed by a fox. 35 He then heard: 

"I can't find them either. Currently on the lookout in the northwest. No 
enemies." 

"On the lookout in the northeast. I can neither find holes nor enemies." 

"On the lookout in the north. Likewise, no signs of the enemy. I can't 
believe I'm saying this, but.could it be a scan error?" 

From the other three men. 

"The odds of a system error are considerably low." 

After giving such an answer, the leader continued by, 

"Tell me about all the things that you see in the intersection. No matter 
how small." 

Giving an order. His subordinates answered in bewilderment. 


35 A Japanese expression for "feeling bewildered". In Japanese folklore, foxes are depicted as intelligent beings 
that possess magical abilities, including being able to possess people. 


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"A cracked asphalt crossroad.Short grass.A rusty bicycle that 

had fallen to the ground." 

"A car tyre, together with the wheel, toppled sideways." 

"Two small, toppled and withering tree trunks. A travelling suitcase. 
One, no, three empty cans." 

"There's a supermarket cart on the sidewalk. A big, foreign-made one. Of 
course, there's nothing in it.There are no holes in the ground!" 

"Same here. No matter how many times I look at it, I can't find any 
holes." 

'What is going on!', shouting this in his mind, the leader left the rear 
guard to the sniper, and took out binoculars from his pocket while 
turning around. In the binocular vision, he saw the intersection where 
his subordinates were, and where " echo was supposed to be". 

At the same time, the voice of his subordinate from just a few moments 

ago, 

[fA travelling-J 

Flashed back in his mind, 
f Suitcase . J 
The leader shouted, 

"Everyone! Shoot the suitcaseV 

As if responding to the order- 

The suitcase began shooting. 


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One of the four men saw. 

A suitcase, which lay about 4 metres away from him, suddenly springing 
human legs. And the flame of a gun discharging the moment the cover 
opened. 

That was the last scene that guy saw in SJ. 

He, of course, did not see the 5.7 mm bullets flying at his face. 

* * * 


About 10 minutes ago. 

"Alright. First, we need to look for something LLENN's body can fit in." 
M said to LLENN in the house that they hid in. 

"Come again?" 

Not understanding the meaning of M's words at all, LLENN asked 
again. 

And then, M slowly explained his plan. 

The plan was to first prepare a container, no matter what it was, so small 
that it would give the impression „There couldn't possibly be a person 
inside". 

Then, they would cast LLENN's avatar, which could be said to be the 
smallest in GGO, inside. 

They would then leave it in the middle of an intersection in the 
residential area with a good view, and draw out enemies using the next 

scan. 


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When the enemy, certain to be the pro group, comes, she would remain 
still inside. 

"After that, you jump out and fire. I've heard from Pito that LLENN is 
skilled at ambushes and short-range shooting." 

"W-well, I did do that many times over, but.what if I'm seen 

through? For example, they think „That cardboard looks fishy" and 
open fire at me?" 

"Then that's the end. Let's pray for the best." 


"Dah-! 


// 


LLENN looked up to the sky. 

'He can't be serious! I'm being a decoy again!' 
LLENN returned a glance at M. 

"Let's give it a shot!" 


By searching the house, they found the appropriate tool in the blink of 
an eye. There were plastic suitcases of various sizes in the bedroom. 

There were clothes scattered about inside and around it, indeed giving a 
feeling of „Desperately gathering their luggage to escape the war". 

Then where had the people, who left those behind and disappeared, 
gone? They didn't know. 

M took out all the contents of a small suitcase, and extended his rough 
hand to LLENN. 


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"Give me your knife.” 

"Huh? 

"I lent you one, didn't I?" 

"Ah!.That's right." 

LLENN pulled the combat knife out from behind her waist. 

As she thought that she'd never need to use it in the first place, she had 
completely forgotten about its existence, but it was quite useful here. 

'It's like foreshadowing in a story', with this thought, LLENN handed 
the knife over with its grip facing M. 

M used the knife to cut out the two compartments inside the suitcase. The 
knife appeared to be quite sharp. 

"Alright, you should be able to get in." 

"Wha! That's impossible!" 

'No matter what. I'm not that small. Use that big one.' 

With this thought and while hugging her P90, she attempted to get 
inside to prove that she was right, and... 

"You see." 


The cover easily closed and locked. 

"I really am tiny, huh." 

She unintentionally let out those words in a happy tone. 


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M took LLENN out of the suitcase, then used the knife to cut out one of 
its sides this time. 

"With this, you can stick your legs out and „undress" right away. When 
the time comes, you'll be able to move a bit." 

"Though I won't be able to see what's ahead of me." 

And so, speaking of the lock, 

"Step away." 

He drew his HK45 from his right thigh, brought the muzzle next to it— 

— *bam bam*. He fired two bullets and destroyed it. 

In this SJ, this team's first shots were used to destroy a lock. 

With this, if LLENN raised her body a little while inside, the top of the 
suitcase should open. 

"What do we do, M-san. Should we move out right now? What do we 
do about the location?" 

At LLENN's question, M shook his head. 

"It's fine if we do it at the last moment. Before that, give me some time to 
look at the map." 


"This place is good; the view here is the best." 

Got in the suitcase at M's indicated location at abound 14:36. The chosen 
place was the intersection of a broad street. 


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And so, the long yet short 4 minutes passed, 

"The scan is about to begin. Prepare so that you can come out whenever 
I give you the signal to do so." 

M's voice reached LLENN's ears. 


Answering in silence, LLENN once again confirmed her P90's safety 
with her fingertips. 

"The scan has started." 

M's voice reached her ears. 

LLENN did not know where M was. She wanted to believe that he went 
to a place suitable for sniping to support her. 


"I got it. A group is close. About 80 metres to the south." 


She almost let her voice out. She did want them to come soon, but 80 
metres was like being right next to each other in the world of GGO. 

"They should be coming closer. Wait for my signal." 

"I see them. As I expected, four of them are gathered. It's those guys." 


And so, several tens of seconds, or a minute, or two - she didn't know 
exactly how much time had passed, slower than ever before- 


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"LLENN. There's one about 5 metres in front of you if you open the 
cover. Start by sending that guy to hell. Whenever you're ready." 


'Uwaa!' 


LLENN let out a loud shout in her mind, stuck her legs out from the 
bottom of the suitcase, and opened the cover. 

And saw the outside world that she hadn't seen in awhile. 


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Thanks to GGO's red sky, her eyes did not need to adapt to the dazzling 
light, and thus LLENN saw a masked man holding a FAL right before 
her eyes, as M indicated. 

Almost at the same time as the Bullet Circle overlapping the man's face, 
LLENN pulled the trigger of her P90. 

She shot for about 1 second, but in that time, 15 bullets were unleashed, 
and most of them were absorbed by the man's mask. 

Having completely stood up and dropped the suitcase to the ground, 
LLENN acquired freedom of action. 

At the same time, M's voice reached her ears. 

"The next one is forty-five degrees to the right, 7 metres away." 

Feet springing from the suitcase, fire came out of it, and a comrade was 
shot, 

"Whaaaa?" 

And, moreover, a very small pink person came out from it- 

Even though the three people had remarkable skills, their reaction was 
slowed a little at this rather unrealistic scene. 

However, they also heard the words of their leader, so the mystery 
became entirely clear. And they understood the action that they should 
take. 

'That guy is an enemy. He got one of us, but we just have to bring him 
down with the three of us.' 

"Te!" 


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As the three men shouted the same thing, they aimed the muzzle of the 
FALs towards LLENN and pulled the trigger. And their fired bullets all 
passed through the air without hitting anyone. 

"WHAT!" 

One of the masked guys shouted while he was shooting. 

The opponent that he was shooting at, thinking that the opponent 
wouldn't be able to slip away, had quickly dodged their line of fire and 
was coming towards him. At an extremely high speed. 

The pink right arm projected a pink gun. 

It was as if she wanted to stab him to death with the gun. LLENN 
continued charging towards him mercilessly with a full-speed dash 
while dodging the Bullet Lines, in other words, the bullets themselves, of 
her opponents to the lower left. 

"To-o-o!" 

Along with a yell, she began pounding away with her P90. 

This time, several shots hit the man's neck and face, along with the 
sound of consecutive, dry sounds. 

It was a vital area, thus the damage was enough for instant death. His full 
hit points instantly decreased. Eventually, it completely ran out. Facing 
the man, who had bent backwards and stopped shooting, LLENN 
continued her assault and pulled the emergency brake next to his body. 

"If possible, use an enemy's corpse as a shield. In the BoB and SJ, unlike 
in normal situations, the corpses remain on the spot. And, they become 
«indestructible objects».'' 


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That's what M had taught her some time ago. 

LLENN fell to the ground in front of the man who collapsed with a 
thud. She assumed a prone posture. 

The remaining two men were on the opposite side of the street, 10 metres 
away, and aimed their FALs at LLENN, but... 

"Shit!" 

One of them hesitated to fire. Assuming his comrade hadn't died yet, his 
fire would probably finish the guy off. Although he understood in his 
mind that this was a game, so he didn't have to worry about that, he just 
couldn't do it. 

"Shit!" 

The other one fired, cursing in the same way. 'That guy is already done 
for', he understood. 

However, although his bullets hit his comrade's corpse and the ground, 
he didn't land a single hit on the small, 'pink body lying below the 
corpse. 

As his comrade's corpse became an indestructible object, the body 
became the same as a thick wall. Moreover, only the P90 muzzle and one 
eye peeked out from there. 

"Too tiny!" 

The bullet that LLENN fired hit the man's right flank as he shouted 
while shooting. A hit effect ran from his right flank to his shoulder 36 , and 
his body was knocked over with his face looking up. The finishing blow 
was fired to the collapsed man's head in full auto rapid-fire. 


36 The original text is V (lit. reverse kesagiri). A kesagiri is a diagonal slash from the shoulder. 


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"Why you...!" 

The last survivor charged towards LLENN, while vehemently shooting 
in rapid-fire, to improve his accuracy rate. 

The next moment, he saw a small, pink mass rolling out of the side of his 
comrades corpse at an extreme speed. Ts that a spinning-top rolling 
out?', he thought. 

Only when it suddenly stopped did he realise that it was a person, but, 
at the next moment. Bullet Lines shone all over his face. 

"Hahaha!" 

The man smiled under his mask, but LLENN probably did not see it. 


Their leader saw the whole thing with his binoculars 

How the suitcase grew pink legs, then a child sprung out of it and began 
shooting and taking down his four subordinates. 

He even confirmed it in the status window in the upper-left corner of his 
vision. All four of them... were killed in action. 

Looking at the time, it probably didn't even take 10 seconds. The 
gunshots of the FAL and P90 resounding disorderly reached his ears. 

The leader put away the binoculars, and told the man peeking through 
the scope of his sniper rifle next to him, 

"Yeah, you don't need to shoot.-Play time is over." 

"Is it the right time?" 

The man responded honestly and put down his M24. At the same, with 


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a quick and natural move, he activated the safety at the side of the bolt 
handle. 

In their field of vision, the small, pink person began running at an 
extreme speed, immediately hid inside a house and disappeared. 

"That's not the agility of a human. We can't use it as a reference." 

While saying those words without shock or admiration, the leader called 
out a window and operated it. 

"Surrender. Are you sure you want to proceed?" 

At that question, he pressed the „ Y e s " button to answer. 


"M-san M-san! Is there anyone chasing me?" 

While running through the street at full-speed and exchanging her 
magazine with 3 bullets remaining, LLENN asked. 

"No, no one. I can see it from here; it seems that the remaining two gave 
up on the idea of continuing and resigned." 

"Whaa!" 

Surprised, LLENN stopped moving, turned around and looked at the 
slaughter scene that she caused. 

About 100 metres in that direction, four collapsed figures and four flashy 
and red [ D e a d ] markers could be seen. 

"Then, we-a-against that team, w-w-w-we won?" 

"„Didn't lose" would probably be the correct expression, but yeah, that's 
right. Nice job." 


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Hearing M's words, 

"U.Uuu." 

After several seconds, LLENN gave a full smile. 

"We did iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!" 

She thrusted her left hand and the P90 in her right hand into the air, and 
loudly exclaimed right in the middle of the housing district ruins. 

The tournament was not over yet. 

At any rate, the first thing that LLENN should do was to regroup with 
M. 

"M-san, where are you?" 

A voice responded to LLENN's question. 

"I'm keeping an eye on the area while moving to the west." 

"I would like to regroup until the scan, but what do you think we should 
do?" 

While asking, LLENN had an idea. 'Wait, isn't regrouping a bad move?' 

M probably knew LLENN's position. Since he had only moved about 
100 metres to the north from the place where he left the suitcase. 

'But, where is M?' 

'In this residential area the scenery looks all the same and, moreover, it's 
a place that we've visited for the first time, so does M really know my 


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whereabouts?' 

If this was an urban area, they could say „ Let's meet up in front of a 
building that looks like this". 

But, LLENN hesitated to ask such a thing. 

"I'll guide you, so don't worry. First, advance to the west from your 
current position in a half-run. If you see the sun to the upper-left of field 
of vision, then you're going the right way." 

That was the answer that came. 

It seemed that there was nothing to worry about at all. M was also being 
vigilant and would probably be in an easy-to-find place. Perhaps it was 
fine to just advance straight along the road. 

"Roger." 

LLENN said in a light tone and followed the first instruction. 


She thought that it would be easy to meet up, but it didn't take long for 
her to realise how horribly mistaken she was. Because, M's instructions 
were complicated and mysterious. 

"Stop there. You should see a burned down rack on your left. Turn there 
and advance slowly. First narrow road on the right." 

Or, 

"You've come to a flooded area. Take the lane forty-five degrees to your 
left. It's very shallow, so you'll be able to pass. Advance straight ahead 
until you reach another broad street." 

Or, 


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"The alley to your left. Walk normally, carefully counting to 20. There 
will be an apartment, with the lower half of its door missing. Enter it. The 
inside is a mess, but you'll be able to pass. Advance through the 
corridor, and go out to the garden from the fifth room on your left side." 

The level of the complexity was so high that LLENN began to suspect: 
'With this detail, is he looking at me? Or is sneakily following me from 
behind?' 

After who knows how many times she turned, advanced, then turned 
again, she completely lost track of where she was. 

"M-san.Is this really okay? Do you know where I am? Should we 

wait for the next satelite scan?” 

Her wristwatch displayed 14:17. The next scan will take place after 3 
minutes. 

During a scan, the leader's position would be displayed. Though, of 
course, if M wasn't aware of his own exact whereabouts, then even that 
wouldn't be of any use. 

"No need to worry about that. Enter the large house in front of you. 
That's where I am." 

"Oh?" 

In front of LLENN was a waterfront mansion. The road ended here, as it 
was completely flooded beyond this point. She would not be able to 
advance further even if he told her to. 

The calm water, which reflected the red sky and surrounded the house 
like an island, had an ominous serenity and beauty. Looking into the 
distance, she could see some sort of large structure in the red and hazy 
scenery. The swamp was quite close, so that were probably the contours 


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of the spaceship that was sticking out of the ground. 

At the next moment, something shone brightly next to the contours of 
the spaceship. It disappeared immediately, so it seemed to be the 
explosion of a plasma grenade. 

While assessing that someone must be fighting there, LLENN entered 
the house through the entranceway, and found the familiar giant figure 
in the centre of the gorgeous living room. 

The moment she saw him, *boom*, the sound of the explosion a few 
moments ago resounded, as if it was a sound effect for finding M. 

"Wow! How? Why? By what means?" 

LLENN rounded her eyes and asked, and M asked in return. 

"What is?" 

"Your instructions to get here! How did you manage to guide me 
through that maze-like route ? Could it be that you were looking from 
above using a „secret tool" that I don't know about?" 

She had heard from Pitohui some time ago. About a rumour that an item 
drone 

called a « unmanned reconnaissance plane» was added, or would soon 
be added to GGO, a game which constantly gets new maps, monsters, 
guns and equipment. 

That was a small, radio controlled aircraft or helicopter, which could fly in 
the sky and send video footage to the user. If such a thing existed, it 
would be overwhelmingly advantageous in battle and the balance of the 
game would collapse, thus there were people who dismissed it as an 
unfounded rumour. 

If it existed, that would explain M's guidance. 


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Could that be what was in that large backpack ? In that case, the extreme 
absurdity of coming to SJ with just the two of them would make sense as 
well. 

M's answer was, 

"Like a drone ? No, that's not it. That Pito wanted one though." 

He completely dismissed that idea. 

"Then how? Could it be that you are using some sort of. cheat'?'' 

A cheat was any kind of „dishonest deed" in a game. In this case, it 
could, for example, be tampering with the system to display one's 
whereabouts on the map or something. 

Of course, if the management side found out about such a deed, it was 
likely that their accounts would be suspended, not to mention being 
disqualified from SJ, thus LLENN felt scared as she asked. 

"It's my personal player skill. Well, some people think of it as a cheat 
though. 

M dismissed this idea as well. Not comprehending what he had said, 
LLENN asked, 

"Which means?" 

"Ever since childhood. I've excelled at geographical perception. No 
matter whether the real world or a VR game, I've never „got lost". For 
example, no matter how long I walk underground, I can tell where east, 
west, south and north is, as well as the distance I've travelled. I almost 
perfectly memorise places that I've been in. And even if I've never been 
to a place, if I look at the map, I can draw the scenery in my head." 

"That's amazing!" 


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LLENN admired honestly. 

Like any ordinary girl in society, reading maps definitely wasn't 
LLENN's forte. Though it became a necessary skill to play GGO, so she 
trained it quite well by looking as field maps. 

And she remembered. Something that she had once read in a book. That 
humans can have an „ absolute geographical perception", just like they 
can have an „absolute pitch" 37 . It's said that such people are capable of 
telling where they arrived to even if they were taken there by car 
blindfolded and with their ears plugged. 

"I see! I get it!" 

LLENN raised her voice. 

"The M in M-san is the first letter of „map" or „mapper ", right!" 

".Wha? Eh-, well., something like that." 

M's rough face expressed bewilderment, but LLENN continued without 
minding it. 

"That's more than confirmed. That is so cool!" 

"Is.is that so?" 

"Yes it is. All I could come up with was to modify my real name, you 
know?" 

"You'd better avoid saying such things. You'll expose your RL details." 
"Oops.You didn't hear anything! It's nothing like my real name. 


37 Absolute pitch (AP), widely referred to as perfect pitch, is a rare auditory phenomenon characterized by the 
ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of a reference tone. 


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okay?" 

"Leaving that aside, it's about time." 

Just as M said that, LLENN's wristwatch began vibrating. It seemed that 
M also excelled in telling the time. 

14:50. The fifth scan began. 

LLENN did not know the result of the previous scan, thus she 
attentively stared at this one. 

This time, it was a very quick scan. Having begun from the east, it 
crossed the map in the blink of an eye, and the dots rapidly lit up. 

However, the majority of them were gray - the position of annihilated or 
resigned teams. 

"That's a surprise.M-san, there's but three teams left!" 

The vivid dots that denoted teams that were still fighting numbered 
merely three. 

Located in the central residential area, specifically, its west side, was, of 
course, them. LLENN finally understood her location. 

There was a dot shining in the desert-wilderness area, at the bottom 
boundary of the map. They were probably 5 km or more away from 
LLENN's group. 

It was nice that they could ignore them for the time being, but she did 
not understand their reason for moving to such a location. Were they 
trying escape from the battle royale ? 

The last one, who would certainly become their next opponents, was 
really close. They were in the swamp. 


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In the vicinity, a grey dot could be seen at the crashed spaceship, so did 
they splendidly take down an ambushing team ? Of course, there was the 
possibility that it was the opposite case. 

They were roughly 4 km away from LLENN's group in a straight line. 

Be that as it may, there was a swamp there, and furthermore, if they 
wanted to come to LLENN's groups current position, an approximately 
2 /cwz-width submerged area that turned into a lake would stand in their 
way. It would be necessary to take a detour from the top or bottom, thus 
wouldn't they not be able to make it in the next 10 minutes? 

The scan was instantly over, and LLENN looked up to M's face. 

"Our next opponent is the team in the swamp, right. I think we should be 
able to use the same plan for the next scan at 15 o'clock, right?" 

They had a success just now, thus LLENN was considerably proactive. 
She was excited, and her words were energetic. 

Although she, no, they were under absurd heavy fire from machine guns 
in the beginning, it was amazing that that they managed to become one 
of the last three teams standing. And furthermore, they could even aim 
further, so it wasn't surprising that she was excited. Even now they 
would definitely get a „steel medal ", but while they were at it, they could 
aim for silver and then gold. 

"Even if we were to use the same plan, this place isn't suitable, right? 

We have to move more to the north or south, right. And we need to 
make the enemy in the swamp come to us. Let's use the 15 o'clock scan 
to lure them!" 

"An hour, huh." 

"Hm? M-san?" 


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// 


// 


'At any rate, the situation is weird, huh', LLENN thought. Not 
answering a question wasn't like M. 

'Could it be that he lost interest in the game after close to an hour?" 

Was LLENN's impression, but she felt uncomfortable asking that 
directly. Having lost interest in looking at his face from the side while he 
was pondering, she began surveying the gorgeous room. 

After spending several tens of seconds in silence, at last, 

"Lor the time being, let's get out of here and advance to the south-west 
along the waterfront. We won't be able to prepare a trap before the 15 
o'clock scan. Let's consider our next move and look for a new place." 

"Roger!" 

LLENN answered with a smile, and added a mock salute. And then, 

"Lu fu fun, fufu fun, fufu fun fun, fu fu fu" 

She walked while humming a tune. It was the tune of a ^Promenade J 
from Mussorgsky's [fPictures at an ExhibitionJ 38 . 

It was considerably famous in the field of classical music, and it was also 
a tune that Kanzaki Elza would sing alongside a poem in Japanese. 

M's large figure slowly followed her from behind. 

Having come out of the mansion, the two proceeded towards the south¬ 
west while looking at the submerged region on the right. 


38 Probably referring to the beginning of this one . 


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The number of houses gradually decreased, until they eventually saw a 
large lake. There was no wind, so there were no waves either, thus the 
surface of the lake looked like a mirror. 

The sky was red as always, thus the lake also looked red; it was both 
ominous and pretty. In the distance, they faintly saw the spaceship that 
was sticking out of the ground. 

LLENN took the vanguard and ran while occasionally looking back. She 
felt really good, thus she was afraid that she was likely to leave M 
behind. 

And then, when less than 2 minutes had passed since they left the house; 
at 14:54- 

"Enemy! On the right!" 

LLENN heard M's sharp voice. 


Chapter 9 - M's Battle 

"Enemy! On the right!" 

The first thing that LLENN thought when she heard that was, 

'Aren't you mistaken?' 

That. 

Indeed, an enemy team had survived in the swamp. They confirmed that 
4 minutes ago. 

However, they were 4 km away in a straight line. Moreover, there was a 
lake between their current position and the swamp. 


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If they were on a flat land that was suitable for running and had 
characters that had raised their agility to extreme levels, they would have 
to be running at a no longer human speed of 60 km per hour in a straight 
line; such a thing had to be considered. 

'That's impossible, you must be mistaken', LLENN tried to say as she 
stopped and looked to her right, 

"Wha?" 

Discovering that she was wrong herself. 

Above the lake, something that she did not see until this moment could 
be seen. 

They were black dots. Three, no, four black dots were floating on the 
surface of the red lake, and moreover, they were rapidly becoming 
bigger. 

"Drop to the ground!" 

Just as she lay down as M told her, several vivid Bullet Lines passed 
above her head. 

There was no doubt about it anymore. Those black dots were an enemy, 
and they were targeting LLENN's group with their guns. 

She heard the sound of several bullets from those guns flying above her 
head; a sound that she had heard far too much shortly after the game 
started. 

"What's going on? M-san?" 

While on the ground and pressing her head to the asphalt, LLENN asked. 
M, whose posture she couldn't see, answered. 


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"The enemy has obtained a convenient vehicle. That's all there is to it." 
"A vehicle?" 

"Yeah, they'll be coming considerably close to us, so you should see it." 


LLENN slowly raised her head, and looked at the lake once again. The 
four black dots had decreased the gap by about 300 metres, and although 
they were still small, 

"Aah.I get it." 

She realised what that shape was. Small motorboats. And there were 
people riding it. In that case, it wasn't strange that they closed this 
distance, travelling at 60 km per hour on the surface of the water. 

"Those are motorboats'. That's cheating!" 

"It's not really cheating. Players are free to use vehicles within the field. 
First come first serve." 

"Uu." 

"Moreover, to be accurate, those aren't motorboats.'' 

"Wha? Then what are they?" 

"They're hovercrafts." 

"Wha?" 

"Roll to the left to get away!" 

Before LLENN could process that, she rolled horizontally from her 


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prone posture. Due to her extreme quick-wittedness, she rolled twenty 
times in the blink of an eye, moving several tens of metres away from her 
former position, and although she felt considerably dizzy, that action 
saved her. 

Weren't those red Bullet Lines that came flying at the place that she had 
been just a moment ago, the ground being showered in a hail of bullets 
right afterwards? 

They were under fire from machine guns. LLENN had been under 
considerable fire some time ago, thus she immediately understood what 
was attacking them now. 

The bullets were scattered, but if she hadn't rolled away, it was quite 
possible that at least one of them would have hit her. If the bullet had hit 
a vital part of the body, it would obviously result in instant death. 

"Shhit." 

LLENN, whose pink combat uniform was stained with grass and dust, 
raised her head, and saw that one hovercraft was merely 100 metres away, 
and traversing the lake from left to right at high speed. 

She clearly saw it in detail. Its overall length was about 3 metres. At a 
glance, it looked like a jet ski , in other words, a water scooter. 

However, unlike a jet ski, it had black rubber under its green hull, and an 
aeroplane-like large propeller in its rear. 

Its hull floating by jetting air below it, and moving with the help of its 
propellers ; that is what a vehicle called a hovercraft is. A high-pitched 
engine noise, with the *bun* noise of the propellers mixed in, could be 
heard. 

There were two men riding it in a row. The man sitting in front grasped 
a horizontal handle, and the man in the back had his machine gun placed 


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sideways on the side of the vessel. 

LLENN pointed her P90 at them, wondering if she should return fire, 
but before she could put her finger on the trigger, in other words, before 
the Bullet Circle appeared in her field of vision, she stopped. 

She didn't feel that she could hit the hovercraft that was zigzagging away 
from them. It would be a waste of bullets. 

The other three vehicles were still far away, thus it seemed that only one 
of them charged in for a flank attack. 

"M-san, you okay?" 

"Yeah. I didn't get hit." 

Hearing the answer, she sighed in relief for now. M should be about 50 
metres behind her, but she couldn't see well from her prone posture. 

The vehicle that came attacking returned to the company of their 
comrades. Right now, all four vehicles approximately 300 metres in front 
of them continued zigzagging in order not to get shot. 

"W-what do we do? Since we got discovered, we can't use the trap 
during the next scan if we don't get away." 

"Yeah." 

"Let's run to the back! Into the housing district!" 

"We can't. They'll chase after us." 

"How? We'll be on shore after all, right?" 

"A hovercraft is an amphibious vehicle that can travel on flat ground. It 
can chase after us even on the road. Especially in this area, where the 


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lake turns into a highway, making it an ideal location for them to come 
ashore." 

"Wha that's cheating!" 

LLENN was seriously angry, but that was just the sort of vehicle it was, 
so she couldn't do anything about it. 

"If we turn our backs to them and escape, they'll accelerate and come 
straight towards us at once. And then, if they close the distance, it's the 
end for us. They've probably realised that our group consists of but two 
people. Those guys are also a considerably skilled team.” 

Even at a time like this, M's calm voice was reassuring. However, this 
didn't change the fact that they were still in a pinch. 

"Then, what should we.Should I become a decoy and run around 

while, you, M-san, hide? If I'm alone. I'm considerably fast, you know? 
Of course, not as fast as a machine though." 

"That's a nice idea." 

"I-I know, right?" 

Feeling that her suggestion was praised for the first time, LLENN felt a 
bit happy, despite the current situation. 

"But, I'm not running away. I'm going to shoot them from here." 

"Say what?-M'san, you shouldn't fall into despair, you know?" 

LLENN said in a tone as if she was admonishing a person who was 
attempting suicide. 

"Who is in despair. Do I look like I am? Right now, the enemy is far 
away. Try raising your head a bit." 


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"Hm?" 

LLENN first lightly raised her head. 

No Bullet Lines could be seen in the surroundings, thus, for the time 
being it didn't seem like she would be shot in the next moment. She was 
scared, worrying that there could be a sniper on the other side, but it 
should be a next to impossible task for a sniper to shoot her from atop a 
moving hovercraft. She couldn't shoot them, but they couldn't shoot her 
either. 

Since this was the case, LLENN raised the upper half of her body. She 
turned her eyes at the direction she expected M to be and- 

There he was. She saw a large body lying on the asphalt road that was by 
the side of the lake. And, she saw his M14 EBR set up on the bipod in 
front of him. 

'Huh? Something's different?' 

LLENN looked for what was wrong, and noticed it. His giant backpack 
was not on his back, as if it had run away under the cover of the night or 
had relocated. M had unfastened it, placed it in front of his body, and 
was now trying to open it. And he opened it. 

"I'm going to use this." 

While saying that, M thrust his hands into the backpack. 

"S-some sort of amazing weapon?" 

LLENN's voice was filled with expectation. 

'Is the mysterious „secret tool" inside it finally going to be revealed? Is it 
a an anti-tank rocket with powerful destructive force, or a grenade 


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launcher that can fire grenades approximately 200 metres away? 

With these thoughts, she believed that it would be an expensive, rare, 
and high-power weapon. One that was probably capable of turning the 
tables with a single attack in this inconvenient situation. 

But M's answer was, 

"No, a protector." 

"Say what? A protector?" 

"Look." 

What M took out was an object with large, iron plates lying on top of 
each other. 

Its height was about 50 cm. Its width was probably about 30 cm. Dyed in 
green, it was an approximately 1 cra-thick plate. And there were about 
eight of them stacked up. They looked like tiles stacked up for a karate 
practitioner to break. 

M took it and, 

"Humph" 

Along with a grunt, he extended it to the left and right with his hands. If 
M needed to shout, just how much strength was needed to extend it? 

And so, after being extended, it became a 50 era-high, about 240 era-long 
in an arc, fan-shaped wall. 

"What is that? M san what is that?" 

"For a chicken like me, an overly chicken protector." 


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While answering, M inserted his M14 EBR into the gap at the centre. 

And so, the final form of it was like the emplacement of a tank's gun 
turret, that hid M's body from the front, with only the gun barrel 
sticking out from the centre. 

"LLENN. One of them is coming again." 

"Wha!" 

LLENN returned her vision to the lake. One of the vehicles among the 
four were charging from the right side, in other words, towards M, in a 
zigzagging manner. 

"Am I the target now? Fine by me, look." 

Just as he said, LLENN lied down, turned her face to the right, and she 
saw it. 

On the right side of her own field of vision, one hovercraft was charging 
towards him, and finally turned the rudder horizontally towards the 
lake shore. A turn, which made its rear skid, characteristic of a hovercraft 
that would be called drifting in car terms. 

The moment the port side faced the shore-the man in the back, who 

was holding a German-made «H&K HK21», opened fired with his 7.62 
mm machine gun. 100 meters away from M. 

LLENN couldn't see the Bullet Lines aimed at M, but she did saw the 
bullets flying towards him this time. They were tracers. This machine gun 
guy seems to have increased the ratio of his tracers, and the several 
horizontal lines of light made by the afterimage were aimed exactly 
towards where M lay- 

"Wha?" 


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And they soared up into the sky. 

They were deflected. 

LLENN clearly saw it. How the fan-shaped shield erected in front of M 
deflected the bullets that were flying towards him into the sky. Several 
additional bullets hit it, but they all disappeared into the sky. Some of 
them hit M's surroundings, scraping the asphalt and scattering the grass. 

LLENN could hear the metallic sound of bullets hitting the shield much 
better than she could hear the gunshots from the machine gun 100 metres 
away. 

"LLENN, fire at the guys with your P90 as they escape. You don't have 
to hit them, just unleash all 50 of your bullets." 

"Ro-roger!" 

The fact that she could hear M's voice meant that he was safe, thus 
"Alright!" 

LLENN firmly pressed her P90 horizontally atop her left shoulder, and 
pointed her muzzle at the hovercraft , whose rudder was turned to the 
right to escape to the open sea. 

As she touched the trigger, she waited for the appearance of the Bullet 
Circle that was late by a beat. She didn't measure the time, but it 
probably took about 0.5 seconds. A large circle appeared in her field of 
vision, she then confirmed that the hovercraft was mostly within it and 
squeezed the trigger at once. 

*Baaaaaaaaaaaa*, went the full auto rapid-fire that sounded like barrage 
of a small drum. 

Small, golden empty shells were ejected to the right. 


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A P90 would violently eject empty shells directly below it, but with 
LLENN's super short body shooting from a prone posture, there was 
barely any space below it, thus there was the possibility that ejection of a 
large quantity of empty shells would be delayed. Thus, shooting with 
the gun horizontally was one of the special techniques for her that she 
was taught by Pitohui. 

Small bullets 39 went flying towards the hovercraft that was about 150 
metres away but-they scattered in a large area as expected. 

Long and narrow pillars of water were made in the surroundings of the 
escaping hovercraft; a bullet hitting one of the men and causing instant 
death, much less a bullet hitting the gasoline tank and causing a big 
explosion - such lucky events did not occur. 

'Well, I'm just creating a diversion, so it's not a problem.' LLENN, who 
discharged an entire magazine of 50 bullets, took out a new magazine 
from her thigh pouch and, while reloading, 

"M-san, that shield is amazing! You were carrying such a thing on your 
back.You don't get hurt even if they shoot at you like that?" 

"For weapons of up to 7.62 mm class, it'll deflect their bullets if I'm shot 
from the front." 

"Wha that's amazing!" 

LLENN admired. 

Some time ago, she was taught about piercing power by Pitohui in 
detail. 


39 The word used here is #!ft (dantou), which usually refers to a warhead, but may also refer to the projectile 
propelled by a firearm. Unfortunately, in gun terminology, that part is called a "bullet", while colloquially the 
word "bullet" may be used to refer to the whole cartridge/shell rather than just the actual bullet. The Japanese 
word #^L (dangan) is equally ambiguous. 


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"If you pick a careless place to hide, you will be shot. You have to be 
careful" 

She received such a lecture. 

For example, grass and the like can be used to hide oneself from enemy's 
eyes, but it won't protect against enemy bullets. Since bullets can easily 
penetrate such cover. 

The piercing power of a rifle's bullet far surpasses the imagination of a 
person not well versed in guns. With 5.56 mm and above class rifle 
bullets being mainstream in GGO, a cover might look sturdy at a glance, 
but it would still be penetrated. For example, if concrete-block walls are 
shot, after 1 or 2 shots, it would be destroyed, thus it's a very useless 
item to hide behind. 

The walls of wooden houses are also weak, thus it is impossible to be 
safe from gunfire inside. The door of an automobile would fall out after a 
bit as well. 

"The only areas of a car that can provide safety are the back of the engine 
block, and the back of the wheel. Everything else can't be used for 
hiding." 

Those were Pitohui's lessons. 

"How the heck can it do that?" 

Returning her gaze frontward, LLENN asked. Right now, the four 
vehicles were regrouping. 

"It doesn't exist in RL, but it seems that they are armoured plates from a 
space battleship. The strongest material in GGO, or so I've heard. 
Special 40 material stores sell them at an extremely high price." 


40 The actual word used here is T VZ /V (angle). 


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'Then I should avoid asking about the price of eight of those/ 

LLENN thought. If she asked, she would probably end up seeing 10,000 
yen notes plastered all over it. 

"The shield has displayed its power. Thus, those guys are probably 
going to attack all together. While the machine gun guy provides a 
diversion, the rest will try to muscle their way through." 

"Uge? Will you be alright?" 

"I'll tell you the plan-LLENN, I want you to stand up and run 

around in all directions. At full-speed. If you see Bullet Lines coming 
towards you, immediately drop to the ground and roll, and run from 
place to place. Like before, you can shoot at them as a diversion." 

'The decoy role again!' 

Rather than feeling angry, she actually felt excited. 

"Meanwhile, M-san, you're going to snipe from there?" 

"Yeah." 

Hearing that answer, LLENN, 

"But but, won't it be a disadvantage for you if your Bullet Lines appear?" 

This time, she asked not in concern for herself, but M instead. 

Right now, with both parties having seen each other and knowing each 
other's position. Bullet Lines would definitely appear before he fired. 

Like the Bullet Circle, they appear right after the attacker puts pressure 
on the trigger with their finger. Since the opponent would know that he 
was being targeted when M fires. 


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"Wouldn't he avoid them by suddenly turning the hovercraft' s rudder?" 
"That's right." 

"Then why-" 

"Let's talk later. I'll do my best in my own way. They're coming. Run 
from place to place." 

"Uhya!" 

LLENN also confirmed it. Four hover crafts began moving all at once, 
spread out widely across the lake, and came towards them in zigzags. 

The Bullet Lines extending from there that began to dance wildly in the 
air, like the laser beams of a live concert. 

"Oh enough of this!" 

M did tell her to run around from place to place, in other words, draw 
the enemy fire, thus 

"Let's get'em!" 

LLENN stood up forcefully. Her high-agility character began to dash at 
full power. 


* * * 


The team that obtained the hover crafts - 

Consisted of high -level players that have been playing GGO for a 
considerable amount of time. Their leader was so skilled that he 
participated in the main tournament of the third BoB. Unfortunately, he 
was shot by someone more skilled in the early stages. 


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The six members were all men. Their weapon lineup consisted of a 
HK21, 7.62 mm machine gun as their principal weapon- 

Along with two «H&K G36K», one «Steyr STM-556», one «FN 
Herstal SCAR-L» and one «Beretta ARX160» 5.56 mm assault rifles. 

All of them were European-made, high-power guns; a considerably 
powerful lineup. 

Furthermore, in order to be able to share magazines among the assault 
rifle force, the two G36K users were using adapters. Because of this, the 
five of them could use the same magazine. 

Although their camouflage and equipment belts were all different due to 
personal taste, they had only two common features as a team. 

The first was, a team emblem sewn on everyone's arms. A skull, holding a 
knife horizontally in its mouth, mark 41 in inconspicuous black, navy blue 
and dark grey colours was depicted on it. 

The other was that they had all equipped magazine pouches on the back of 
their vest. Their hands obviously could not reach them, thus they were 
meant for their comrades standing behind them. 

In case they had to fight indoors and were close to their allies, drawing 
out magazines from the back of the person in front of them would be 
faster than from their own bodies; which was the reason they were 
equipped. 

So far, they've been stoically pursuing team play, thus they had a streak of 
easy victories in SJ's first half. Having begun SJ in the north- 
westernmost tip of th e field, in the prairie, they took down several teams 
in their surroundings. 


41 K Z P Z (dokuro no mark) literally means "mark of skull" or "skull mark" and refers to the skull and 

crossbones symbol. The formal name for the symbol is actually fUffl t # (dokuro to hone; skull and bones), 
but it doesn't seem like it's used that often. But, since the author uses "emblem" in another instance, I figured 
I'd just leave the literal translation. 


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As for the two teams that took up position in the forest, trying to defeat 
each other, they had split into two groups and attacked both at the same 
time, forcing them to leave the tournament. 

The problematic case, even to them, was the team that had camped in the 
crashed spaceship in the swamp. 

Leaving a lookout at the highest platform of the spaceship, they set up 
snipers facing all four cardinal directions on the spaceship, and easily 
brought down teams that came along the few routes in the swamp that 
could possibly be traversed. 

Cowardice is cowardice, but strategy is strategy. They were probably 
lucky, having started SJ in such an advantageous position from the 
beginning. 

Just as they considered giving up on attacking them, and to advance 
toward the centre, while ignoring them, they chanced upon hovercrafts 
next to a shed before the swamp. They had searched for vehicles there 
right after SJ started, but, at the time, they could not find anything of the 
sort. 

Although strange, this was a game. They deduced that, as the number of 
remaining teams decreased, a way to travel became necessary to make 
contact with other teams, thus these vehicles appeared. And so, with 
them, they decided to attack the spaceship team. 

As they have had practice driving vehicles in GGO, with just a bit of 
practise, they managed to handle their new vehicles, and made use of 
their new speed to quickly traverse the swamp. 

It was difficult to hit a hovercraft travelling at high speed, and due to 
Bullet Lines, it was possible to avoid the snipers' line of fire. After 
infiltrating the spaceship, they ended up in close quarter combat on 
board the confined ship. 


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Spreading out their forces to control all four cardinal directions was the 
cause of the spaceship team's defeat. They were defeated one by one on 
board the confined ship, until finally, only the leader at the highest 
platform was left. 

"Gentlemen! It seems that you have defeated all of my comrades! 
Splendid work! I probably have no chance of winning anymore! 
HOWEVER! I am NOT going to resign! I am not going to let you kill me 
either! I'll show you! THIS, is how you lose a battle!" 

The leader gave a speech in high spirits, distributed all the plasma 
grenades she had throughout her body, and pressed the activation button 
of one of them, 

"Uooooooooooooooo!" 

And jumped down. 

A flashy, bluish-white explosion was created in the air, the explosion 
induced by other grenades spread out, and its inside shined, with red 
polygon fragments mixed in; my my, that was really beautiful, 

"Taamayaa." 42 

One of the attackers muttered unintentionally. 

Corpses being left behind was a feature in the BoB and SJ, but, unsure of 
how it would work in this case, when the body is blasted into very small 
pieces, they looked at the sky where the explosion occurred, and saw 
that the scattered red polygon fragments gathering soundlessly. 

And then, the created corpse, with a [Dead] marker attached, 
suddenly began to fall down, as if it just remembered to do so. *Bozun*, 
it fell into the swamp and sunk, disappearing from sight. 


42 Explained here . 


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"How surreal ." 

Another member of the group muttered unintentionally. 

They then checked the 14:50 satellite scan that began immediately 
afterwards. Finally, the surviving teams numbered three, and the group 
accelerated their hovercrafts to attack the closest team, which was in the 
residential area, in other words, LLENN's group. 

They closed the distance in the blink of an eye, and discovered their 
targets. Finding out that the opponents only had two members 
remaining (though this was a mistake), they attacked twice with their 
machine gun, and examined the enemy's forces by their reaction. It was a 
thing called scouting out the enemy's capabilities. 

And so, they witnessed M's shield. 


"One of them deflected our 7.62 mm bullets with a shield expanded into 
a fan shape. His weapon is unclear, but based on the long and narrow 
barrel, it appears to be a sniper rifle. The other pink one is small and fast. 
Armed with a P90." 

While returning to their leader's side where their four comrades were, the 
machine gun man reported. 

"It can deflect despite the distance.wow." 

"It's definitely custom-made." 

"How I want one. But it's probably expensive." 

Mutters from his comrades reached his ears via his communication item. 
The leader, armed with an STM-556, rode on the back of one of the 


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vehicles and took command. 

The remaining three men were operating the hover crafts by grasping the 
handle with their right hand while holding their respective assault rifles 
with just their left hand. 

The leader glimpsed at his wristwatch. 14:56. He thought for a moment, 
and instantly decided. 

"Let's settle this before the next scan\ Everyone, prepare for the assault. 
Watch out for Bullet Lines coming from the shield; if you see one, dodge 
it immediately. We'll land in the blink of an eye, and attack them from 
behind. Spread out, 10 metres front and back, and 20 metres in width. 
Jake's group, since you're the farthest to the right, prepare to provide 
covering fire." 

'Roger', he heard five consecutive answers. Since all of them understood 
that this plan was the best. 

If they endlessly spent their time on the surface of the lake, the battle 
would never be settled. The hovercrafts had a fuel gauge, and the first 
half had already been depleted. The movement speed of the vehicles 
was an overwhelming advantage for them. They wanted to defeat the 
enemies ahead of them already and preserve enough fuel for the last 
battle that would decide the victor. 

In that case, the only action for them to take was to resort to power play. 
By making the best use of their mobility and attacking, they could 
instantly land. After that, they could make the best use of their 
numerical advantage and bring down their enemy; that was their plan. 

What put them at unease was the sniper behind the shield, but, just like 
with the attack on the crashed spaceship minutes ago, they should be 
able to deal with him by moving in zig-zags and dodging the Bullet Lines 
one by one. 


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The hovercraft with the HK21 user called Jake passed through behind 
them and assumed the rightmost position. The moment that they lined 
up in an almost horizontal line, 

"Attack!" 

While giving the order, the leader tapped the shoulder of the man sitting 
ahead of him. 

The hovercraft's two stroke gasoline engine made a high-pitched exhaust 
sound, and the noise of the propulsion propeller's wind joined in. Setting 
aside the question of why such an old engine was used despite this 
being set in the future, the four vehicles began advancing forward, as 
they sent a thunderous roar throughout the lake. 

Spreading out in all directions and turning the rudder to travel in zig¬ 
zags, the four hovercrafts began their assault. The gale made by the 
propellers spewed out four sprays of water on the lake. 

At the same time, a small body stood up at the lake shore, and began 
running to the left. 

"Chibi confirmed!" 

While shouting this, the ARX160 man riding on the second hovercraft to 
the right tried aiming at LLENN with just his left arm. 

The repeatedly contracting Bullet Circle entered his field of vision, but it 
moved wildly due to the vibration of the hovercraft, and because he was 
holding the gun with one hand. It just couldn't line up with LLENN as 
she was running nimbly. Even if he shot right now, it would definitely 
be just a waste of bullets, thus he did not fire. 

"Not yet. We'll bring them down after we get closer." 

He heard the leader's calm voice. 250 metres until shore. 


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Protected by the fan-shaped shield, M's large build held the M14 EBR. 
He was in a prone posture. Under his bush hat , his right eye peeked 
through the scope. 

In his round field of vision was a black crosshair linking the top, bottom, 
right and left to the centre. It included small, black dots in several places 
at regular intervals. 

The hovercraft floating on the surface of the lake was, right now, in the 
centre of it. Slightly deviating from it. 


"200 metres remaining. Jake! Begin your diversion fire!" 

Upon the leader's giving the command, the man in the hovercraft to his 
right began firing. 

"Roger! Rock V rollV' 


"Uhyaaaa!" 

LLENN ran among the Bullet Lines. 

Red lines that looked like laser beams extended soundlessly to her her 
surroundings. And then, they disappeared at the speed of soar of a 
bullet. *Byunbyun*, she was wrapped in the roar of bullets. 

'There's no way you can easily hit me running at full speed! Because I'm 
this small! Even if you do hit me, it'll only be a mere coincidence! Your 
accuracy is awfully low! I'm a lucky girl\" 

Although that's what she thought, scary things were still scary. If they 
hit the head, face or spinal cord. 


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Since this is in-game, even if she died, it wouldn't mean that she would 
actually die. If it was still this scary despite that, then just how dreadful 
could real wars, where one's real life is wagered, be? 

'Long live the currently peaceful Japan where war games are played 
instead!' With this thought, 

"Uhyaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" 

LLENN continued running, leaving behind the Doppler effect of her 
scream. 

And, for a moment, she had a thought. Whether she should use the P90 
that she carried in her arms to guard her head and neck. If she did, she 
would have a 50x20 cm rectangle shield. Even if an unlucky bullet came, 
she would avoid instant death if it hit her P90 instead. 

However-she didn't do it. 

If it meant exposing her beloved P-chan to such a cruel experience, she'd 
rather die courageously. 

LLENN ran for a bit as instructed, then dropped to the ground, and 
rolled to avoid staying in one place. 

While on the move, she glimpsed at the lake, 

"Uuugh." 

She saw Bullet Lines moving in the sky and four hovercraft that were now 
much bigger than they looked some time ago, and for just a moment, she 
thought. 

'Aah, is this the end to our progress?' 


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Hearing LLENN groan- 

M brought his right hand index finger close to his trigger, and squeezed 
it the moment he touched it. 

The strange rifle roared for the first time in SJ. 

Flame and gas spouted out from the muzzle that was close to the 
ground, and enveloped in them, the 7.62 mm bullet began moving at 
twice the speed of sound. 

The bullet advanced, creeping above the lake, and the air that it pushed 
aside created multiple small waves. 

And then, it was absorbed by the face of one character. 


"Gafu!" 

Hearing the strange voice coming from behind him, and that the HK21 
stopped firing at the same, the man who was operating the hovercraft, 

"Wha?" 

He turned his head to the left and back. 

What he saw was, 

"Gaa." 

A red hit effect shining in the centre of his comrade Jake's face. *Guun*, 
the hit point gauge shown on his right side was decreasing, turning 
yellow, then red, and then it reached zero. 

He knew what had happened to Jake. An attack to a vital point that 
caused instant death. 


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"H.ow?" 

But, what he didn't know was how it had happened. 

Before a person is shot by an enemy whose location is known, a Bullet 
Line should definitely be shown. In this case, Jake was the one who was 
shot, but the system should have judged that he was also targeted since 
he was really close to Jake, thus he should have similarly seen it. 

But, he did not see it at all. If he did, he would have immediately put 
pressure on the handle to turn the rudder; and he had been straining his 
nerves. 

And then, just as he faced forward, 

"Gaa!" 

He felt a shock on the left side of his chest, as if someone had stabbed 
him with a stick, and understood that he had been shot. And once again, 
he could not see the Bullet Line. 

Just as his hit points began decreasing with a *guu* sound, he 
unintentionally turned the handle to the left with his inclining body. 

Suddenly having its handle turned while travelling at full speed, the 
hovercraft lost its balance as it skidding to the right, and the moment the 
hull's side touched the water's surface, the vehicle immediately 
capsized. 

Jake's corpse, and the still-alive man who had been riding on the 
hovercraft were thrown out, and, after bouncing once like a stone used 
in stone skipping, they fell into the water. 

'Shit!' 


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The man attempted to shout, but underwater, it only made the the 
sound of the air escaping from his mouth. 

His body began rapidly sinking. The G36K cut into his shoulder due to 
its sling, and along with the magazines and bulletproof plate, became 
awful weights. 

The lake was really clear, and as expected of being inside a game, he 
could see underwater very clearly even with the naked eye. The bottom 
of the lake was far below him, submerged houses were beautifully lined 
up, and the man felt as if he was gazing from the sky. 

'My comrade's corpse with a [Dead] marker is sinking by my side, 
but including that, it's a scene that I can't look at', the man thought. 

All the air left his lungs and, probably having entered „drowning mode", 
his hit points decreasing pace suddenly accelerated due to being 
underwater. 

This was a game, thus it wasn't as if breathing was painful, but it felt as if 
his body was enveloped in a dull and uncomfortable feeling. There was 
no longer any doubt that he'd drown. Even if he operated a window and 
completely removed his equipment, his hit points would run out before 
he can rise to the surface. 

'Guys! That shield bastard's Bullet Lines can't be seen at all!' 

The man tried shouting to inform his partners about the danger before 
he died, but he couldn't voice it. Even if he could, the convenient 
communication item would not be able to transmit his words while 
underwater. 

While drowning, the man pondered about the events back then. 

'How, in what way, due to what reason, can't the Bullet Lines be seen 
despite being shot by an enemy whose position is known?-' 


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'I get it!' 


Being the team's gun maniac, he realised what the simple, yet difficult to 
execute trick was. 

Not having a way to inform his allies about it, he continued sinking and, 
at the bottom of the approximately 20 metre- deep lake- 

The hit points of the man who had a skull emblem reached zero. 


"Two for starters." 

While muttering, M moved his scoped gaze towards his next prey. 
"Two? Did you get them?" 

Hearing this, LLENN, who had been running around like a mad man, 
suddenly stopped and dropped to the ground. 

Looking at the lake, she saw that the leftmost hovercraft had completely 
toppled over, and, *topun*, was sinking now. 

There should have been two people on it. 

".Wow!" 


The fact that a hovercraft of their comrades had toppled over, its two 
passengers were thrown into the lake, and that neither of them could be 
saved, 

"What the!" "What!" "Huh?" 

Were all, of course, seen by the remaining team members as well. 


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"They got Jake's group!" 

Hearing the voice of his partner in front of him, who was controlling the 

hovercraft 

"Shitt!" 

The leader cursed reflexively, and thought. 

'We let our guard down.' 

'Jake had been pounding away with his gun, thus both of them 
overlooked the Bullet Lines.' 

That's why he sent an order to his comrades. 

"Don't let your guard down! Dodge the linesV' 


The man who loudly shouted was sharp-eyed man who rode in the back 
of a hovercraft with two people on it. 

M aimed the centre of his scope at that man's chest, and then slightly 
moved it. A bit below. And then, he matched the horizontal movement 
of the hovercraft, and factored in the deviation. 

He did not see the Bullet Circle. 

He fired. 

The bullet had a strong recoil, but the M14 EBR's weight and M's large 
build supported it. A golden empty cartridge was shot out to the right 
with great force, bounce of the asphalt, turned into particles of light, and 
disappeared. 


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Just as it disappeared, a second one was fired. 


"Unbelievable." 

Observed the scene while blankly standing up at the lake shore. 

There wasn't a single Bullet Line coming towards her anymore. There 
was no need to run around either. 

While getting away, LLENN certainly saw it. How right after M 
discharged 2 bullets in succession, the movement of the hovercraft 
travelling farthest to the right stopped suddenly. 

M undoubtedly brought down the two men riding it. If the people 
accelerating the hovercraft were gone, the vehicle would only drift about 
out of inertia. 

The remaining two vehicles hastily turned their rudders, and she saw 
them beginning to make a U turn. Four people were killed in the blink of 
an eye, thus it seemed that they were hastily running way. 

LLENN took out her borrowed monocle from her combat uniform's 
pocket. And, the moment she saw the turning away hovercraft in her field 
of vision- 

The sound of M firing with his M14 EBR resounded, and a red hit effect 
began shining on the right shoulder of the man who was operating it. 

And then, another shot. This time, it hit his temporal region. A [ D e a 
d ] marker appeared above the head of the man whose head had 
drooped. 

LLENN saw M's sniping skills for the first time. Although the distance 
between them was short, M's opponent was moving at high speed. M hit 


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his vitals that quickly. 

Then, LLENN decreased the magnification to search for the last vehicle 
and- 


'Did he just turn the rudder in the opposite direction midway through 
his U turn and is now charging towards me?' His comrades had been 
shot and he was now alone, thus it seemed that he had already given up 
on escaping. 

She clearly saw it in her field of vision, magnified by the monocle. The 
man had completely lay down. The only thing that she saw was his right 
hand, which was grasping the handle. 

"M-san! He's coming at us!" 

LLENN put down the monocle, and took the P90 hanging from her 
shoulder into her hands. 

The hovercraft was charging in the approximate direction of her and M, 
who was about 30 metres to the right. He was coming at a never before 
seen speed, as if he went into full throttle. 

Steadily becoming bigger, he was now less than 100 metres away. It 
seemed that he'd land in about 5 more seconds. 

LLENN hesitated whether or not she should shoot him. If she did, she 
was close enough to hit the hovercraft, rather than the person, with 
several bullets. However, it really did not seem like she would stop him 
with that. 

At that moment, 

"Lie down." 


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She heard M's calm voice. 

LLENN turned her gaze to the right and saw M standing up from 
behind the shield, and throwing something with a strong form. 

Drawing a large parabola, was a plasma grenade. Moreover, it was the 
type called the „Giga -nade" that was three times more powerful than 
normal, . 

It was way too big for LLENN's small hands to throw it, but as expected 
of M. He looked like an American football player. 

'He can't be serious! Will that really hit the hovercraft ? 

LLENN thought, but- 

"Agh." 

Of course that did not happen - the plasma grenade fell into the open 
water about 20 metres away, causing a thick *dopon* sound. 

'That failed!' 

It happened the moment after she had that thought. 

The hovercraft passed above where the grenade fell in, and was struck by 
bluish-white light. That's what LLENN saw while hearing a muffled 
explosion. 

The plasma grenade that exploded underwater raised the lake water in an 
approximately 10 metre in diameter hemisphere, and that's where the 
hovercraft was going. 


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The pressure of the blast joined in-and with the combination of the 

vectors, it resulted in a splendid and long jump. 

"Byahaaaaa!" 

With an interesting shout, the man and hovercraft went into the air. 
From the left to the right side of LLENN's field of vision, 
"Aaaaaaaaaaa!" 

Went the scream of the man wearing light brown, desert-use 
camouflage. 

The jump was around 10 metres in height and 30 metres in distance. And 
it was still ongoing. 

Despite LLENN thinking that, flying at this rate, the man would cross 
the K-point 43 , land with a magnificent turn and begin his 
counterattack- 

Such a movie-like scene did not occur. 

Beginning to fall forward in the sky, the hovercraft finally completely 
toppled over, and the man inside fell out as if it spit him out. 

On the road about 20 metres away from LLENN, 

"Hyaaa-guke!" 

The man fell on his back. 


43 The K-point (construction point) is a line across a ski jumping hill which indicates the hill's steepest point in 
meters. It was formerly used to classify the size of a ski jumping hill, and to calculate the number of points 
granted by a given jump. 


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Late by a beat, the hovercraft fell even further, and the loud sound of the 
hull breaking resounded. The water scattered by the explosion sprayed 
the surroundings. 

"Bring him down! LLENN!" 

"Gotcha!" 

LLENN began running towards the man at a fierce dash. Running at a 
superhuman speed, she stopped in front of the man with his face up 
while sliding with her feet, and 

"Huh?" 

Met eyes with the man with a blank facial expression. 

"Sorry!" 

Along with that samurai-like word, LLENN pointed the P90 down and 
fired in full auto rapid-fire. 

In order to ensure that he wouldn't counterattack, she had no choice but 
to shoot him. If he pressed the activation switch of a plasma grenade, she 
would also die alongside him. 

Although she only fired for about 2 seconds, but in that time, thirty hit 
effects were created on the man's body. With his hands bouncing and a 
red effect flashing from his face and body, it was a considerably nasty 
scene. 

Just as she stopped firing, *pikon*, the [ D e a d ] marker appeared. 
"Haa" 


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LLENN's body shook for a moment, and she extended her right hand 
index finger. 

It was a bad idea to shoot him more. It's not that it would be a waste of 
bullets, but that it would be one of the worst manners - shooting a corpse 

koroshisugi 

would be «overkill» -in other words, „killing too much". 

"Haah.Whew." 

LLENN took in a long breath, and finally transferred her P90 to her 
shoulder, and then, 

"I am really sorry." 

She joined her palms together 


Chapter 10 - LLENN and M 

"M-san! I brought him down!" 

After finishing her prayer for the man, LLENN faced M with a 
refreshing smile and voice. Such a smile after killing the man herself and 
then even praying for him. As is usual for a game. 

"Yeah, well done." 

As M answered, he began folding up the shield that protected him. He 
performed a move that was the opposite of extending it, in other words, 
he spread his arms, then brought them together to flatten the shield. 
Finally, the shield was returned to its layered state, and M put it in his 
backpack. 


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LLENN looked for the monocle that she had dropped, picked it up, and 
returned it to her pocket. 

Then, approaching at a half-run, she arrived in front of M, who had put 
the backpack on his back and taken the M14 EBR into his arms. 

"But still, M-san, that was amazing! You sniped them that easily!" 

After she said that much, she came up with another thought, 

"But.Why... didn't they avoid M-san's Bullet Lines?” 

And voiced it. 

And then, 

"That's because they couldn't see them." 

She heard M's words that were neither prideful nor boastful. 

"Eeh? They couldn't see them? Why?" 

"Because, I didn't create them." 

"Eeh? Eeh? How? After all, they appear whenever you put your finger 
on the trigger, right?" 

"That's why I didn't put my finger on it." 

"Hah? Then, what about the Bullet Circle ?" 

"Naturally, it didn't appear." 


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"Hee? Then-how did you aim?" 

To LLENN's last consecutive question, 
"Directly." 

M gave a short answer. 


LLENN remembered Pitohui's words. 

"There are good things, LLENN-chan. You see, since GGO is a game, a 
lot of things can be done in simple way. Which is strikingly obvious in 
shooting." 

If she wasn't mistaken, that took place in the ruins of a subway station. 

It was conversation that took place after they wiped out about three 
dozen cleaning robots, whose AI had went mad and started attacking 
people, while they drank tea from a thermos flask in front of a pile of 
scrap that was illuminated by an eerie-coloured LED. 

"Shooting is simple? What do you mean?" 

"Yeah. For example, if we tried giving the real LLENN-chan a real P90. 
Well, let's forget about the Japanese Swords and Firearms Control Law 
for this. If we do, you'd be able to smoothly insert the magazine, pull the 
cocking handle to load the bullets, and even get into a proper stance with 
the gun, right?" 

"Yeah. Probably." 

"But, do you think you'd be able to shoot a human-size target 100 metres 
in front of you, like you can in GGO?" 


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"Eeh? Well.I'm not really sure.?" 

"Although there's a small chance that you'd be able to do it, it would 
probably be impossible. There's but one reason for that - there's no 
assistance." 

"Which.means?" 

"In GGO, you see, if you aim your gun to some extent towards a target, 
and it falls into the area of the Bullet Circle, the game system will make the 
decision to „help adjust the aiming for you to hit the target"." 

"The-then., that means that we're „not actually aiming accurately"?" 

"Right. GGO players think that they can hit the target with their violent 
shooting skills, but actually, they're being helped tremendously by the 
game system. As the characters playing the game level up and acquire guns 
with high accuracy and power, this assistance becomes more and more 
pronounced. In other words, you don't need to aim properly for the hit 
to be registered. It's something like «Sword Skills». GGO players „can 
shoot more easily", so they become stronger." 

"I see.It's something like my speed, huh." 

"I've tried it out before; I took and steadied a high-precision sniper rifle, 
and seized the moment when the target was at the centre of the Bullet 

Circle seen through the scope -and then, I pulled the trigger violently, 

with the gun shaking, no matter how you look at it. Now, what do you 
think could have happened to the bullet I fired?" 

"It hit.the target?" 

"Correct, right in the middle, just as the Bullet Circle showed. That's how 


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I confirmed. That GGO's gun triggers are „bluntly put, kinda like the 
manipulation of a controller's button"." 

"I see.So, that's what you meant that „they're being considerably 

helped", huh. Then, Pito-san, what would happen if GGO truly 
reproduced severely real shooting?" 

"Let's see. In that case, it would probably either be an Everest- like 
difficulty shit game, where even after tens of hours of shooting practice 
on the level of actual soldiers, people would only be beginners, or a 
laugh-inducing shit game where almost everyone would be firing with 
assault rifles 100 metres away from each other." 

"Uhyaa." 

"A game's a game. It can't be helped even if you take reality too seriously. 
GGO's fine as it is." 

"I see.Then, Pito-san, a question." 

"Yeah, this proactive attitude of yours is a very good thing about you. 
Expect this to be reflected on your school report." 

"Thank you very much!-What would happen if a person who was 

sufficiently good at real shooting played this game?" 

"That's a really good question. I give you a perfect mark." 

"Thanks!-So, what about the answer?" 

"I've harboured the exact same question, and decided to test it. I invited 
an acquaintance of mine who's a gun maniac and good at shooting with 
live ammunition." 


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"A-and then?" 

"He was a bit bewildered at first, but once he grasped it, he instantly 
became able to hit the target by shooting violently. „As I expected, it's 
reproduced well precisely because it's an American game ", that's what he 
said." 

"Hoo! It's a thing that you mentioned earlier - what a person can do 
with their player ability rather than their character ability." 

"Right, that's exactly that. However, that guy added this. „The Bullet 
Circle assistance is a two-edged sword", that's what he said." 

"Which means?" 

"The answer is that it tells you where the bullet will fly before you fire. 
That's why, „Even if you don't aim properly, you can still fire, thus this 
game cannot be used to practice RL shooting. On the contrary, it would 
probably dull your skills. It could probably only be used for practicing 
to grasp the timing of firing." The observable difference is disgustingly 
wide". 

"I see.But, well, I wouldn't be able to play without it.-So, what's 

the good point?" 

"Yeah. „Because of this, long-distance sniping becomes overwhelmingly 
easy." You see, shooting at a far away enemy with a gun is absurdly 
difficult. You know why you can't just aim at the centre of the scope?" 

"I learnt that from the NPC demon sergeant's sniping tutorial. Bullets are 
pulled by gravity and fly in a parabola, so you have to aim upwards, 
accounting for how much the bullet would fall based on the distance." 

"That's not all. When aiming at a target who is above or below you, the 


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descent of the bullet decreases in proportion to the angle; if the 
temperature and altitude are high, the air becomes thin, and so the bullet 
can fly better; if there is wind, it, naturally, blows the bullet; the bullet 
also drifts in the direction that it rotates; and if you're aiming for super- 
long-distance sniping at a target 1 km or farther away, you also have to 
consider the „Coriolis force", caused by the rotation of the Earth. 

"Sensei, I don't get it anymore." 

"Well, the point is, a lot of calculations and experience is required for 
long-distance sniping. Real snipers get familiar with all of this by 
shooting hundreds of bullets to practice, observing how their bullets fly 
from their guns. But-" 

"I get it! The Bullet Circle does the calculations completely automatically 
like a computer. The system tells you 'right now, you will hit here'. It 
becomes super simple." 

"That's right." 


"Directly." 

Hearing M's short answer, LLENN immediately remembered her 
conversation with Pitohui and, 

"I get it! M-san is the acquaintance of Pito-san who is good at shooting 
IRLl" 

"Huh?.Yeah. That's right." 

With that, all the questions in LLENN's head were answered one after 
another. 


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"By „aiming directly", you mean that you didn't use the the Bullet Circle 
assistance; you fired even though you didn't use it, right? In other 
words, M-san, you peeked through the scope, calculated where you 
needed to aim with your effort alone, and fired!" 

"Right." 

"Hence, M-san, you didn't put your finger on the trigger until just 
before firing! That is why the the Bullet Lines weren't created either, and 
even though they could have appeared for a moment just as you fired, 
they didn't notice them because it was too short!" 

"Right." 

M continued nodding, as if this was a very easy thing to do. 

"That's amazing M-san! That is.absurdly advantageous!" 

LLENN did not hide her excitement. 

GGO's Bullet Circle and Bullet Lines are similarly advantageous to both 
attackers and defenders. 

However, if one could shoot without needing the Bullet Circle like M, 
wouldn't it be a one-sided advantage to the attacker? Moreover, it 
wasn't really a cheat that tampered with the system. It was an advantage 
that depended on one's player skill. 

With that shield and M's shooting abilities, he could calmly continue 
shooting continuously no matter how much he was under fire. And if 
she also counted herself, who could run around as a decoy with her 
nimble and tiny body- 

"We can win this! One team to go! We can beat them! We can get the 


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gold medaV." 

"That would be nice. The scan is starting soon." 

"Eeh?" 

At that moment, LLENN's wristwatch began vibrating. It was 14:59:30. 
At last, an hour had passed. 

"It's only been an hour." 

LLENN seriously thought that this hour was the longest in her life. 

That was because she had never experienced running from place to 
place, running around and hiding, and being showered with over 
several hundreds of bullets in her life, even if this was an incident in a 
virtual world. 

LLENN took out the satellite scan terminal from her left breast pocket. 

The terminal had been hit numerous times when she suddenly dropped 
to the ground, but if it was broken, it would be impossible to continue 
with SJ, thus it was an indestructible object. She pressed the switch , and 
the map appeared before her. 

The scan would begin in 20 seconds. 

The aimlessly wandering team in the southern desert-wilderness region 
being still alive was undoubtedly the reason they did not hear the 
victory fanfare moments ago. 

10 minutes ago, the group was at the southern tip of the map, but it was 
obvious that they would be coming here. Well, there was also the 


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possibility that they would be running from place to place for some 
strange reason. For example, if the remaining team got tired of fighting 
and are planning to continue running away until they drop out, or 
something like that. 

While having such thoughts, LLENN looked at M, and noticed that M 
took something out from his left upper arm pocket. 

LLENN wondered if it was some new weapon, but it was a very 
ordinary and folded writing paper. 

Before he expanded and read it, M looked at the terminal. She did not 
know what that writing paper was for, but the scan was obviously more 
important. 

This time, it was a considerably slow scan from the north-west. 

Firstly, the annihilated-resigned teams in the prairie and swamp were 
shown as grey dots. 

"Come on come on!" 

LLENN let out her thoughts at the irritating scan. 

Finally, at the spot where their own light dot was displayed, a grey dot 
was shown, almost overlapping with their position- 

"Now then, the moment of truth." 

LLENN closely observed the map. The scan should now display the 
whereabouts of the sole remaining enemy team. 

'Where are they? How many km away are they? Considering their 
position 10 minutes ago and the speed of a human, they should be in the 


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desert, but where exactly?' 

'If they're in the desert-wilderness area, we can come to them', LLENN 
enthusiastically thought. 'In that case, my pink camouflage will be of use, 
so we can make another ambush. Or, I could start running magnificently 
at full-speed and be the decoy for M's „no Bullet Line sniping.'" 

Engulfed in excitement and fighting spirit, 

"So, where are they? How far away are they?" 

LLENN muttered and saw. 

The light dot aside from their own shining on the map. 

"Huh?" 

It was in the square 1 km to the west of their current position, right next 
to them. About 600 metres in distance. 

"Wha?" 

Before LLENN could come to realise the meaning behind this, bullets 
came flying at her. 

LLENN did not hear the sound of the bullets flying. 

Because she was hit. 

"Huh?" 

A dull pain ran down her right flank, as if she was suddenly grabbed, 
and the world began revolving. 


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The map that she had been looking at flew away into a corner of her 
vision, she then saw the red sky, then the cracked asphalt, then the lake 
and, finally, a species of grass that she did not even know the name of 
came into view. 

T was shot!' 

'And sent flying!' 

Just as she realised this, she saw that her hit points displayed in the 
corner of her vision began decreasing with a *guun* sound. The speed 
was frighteningly high; the gauge immediately became yellow, and still 
wasn't stopping- 

'Ah? This.is probably.instant death.' 

The moment that she had that thought, the gauge became red, and the 
gauge stopped decreasing, leaving only a sliver. 

Barely, truly by the skin of her teeth, LLENN survived, but- 

"Aah? Eeh?" 

She could not calm her thoughts after the sudden shock. The fact that she 
was sent flying and the world was shaken up, rather than the pain of 
being shot, dealt great damage. Her head was spinning as if she had 
motion sickness. 

The next moment, LLENN floated into the air. 

"Hahe? 

Her body suddenly floated up, the grass that she saw 3 metres ahead of 
her disappeared, and she saw the red sky. 


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"Don't go wild! Let's run away!" 

Hearing M's voice and, at the same time, feeling the acceleration in her 
movement, LLENN understood what happened. She was being carried 
by M. And M began running. 

*Byun* *byun*, the sound of bullets flying could be heard close and far. 
*Tan* *tan*, the sound of a gun firing from afar could be heard as well. 
They were still under fire. 

And, *bishi*, with the sound of something being pierced, 

"Guu" 

M let out a short sound. 

'M was also shot. Our opponent is a sniper. This is a relatively open area. 
There aren't many places where we can hide. And most of all. I'll be 
dead even if I'm just grazed by a bullet.' 

'Are we done for?' 

'Is it over for us?' 

'Are we going to lose? Were we only able to come this far?' 

The moment that these thoughts overwhelmed her, 

"Sorry." 

M gave a short apology. Without even the time to consider the meaning 
of it, LLENN was thrown. After a short fall, LLENN had a rough 
landing on her bottom. 


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In most VR games, there would be damage caused by falling from high 
altitude. She was worried that her hit points would be completely 
drained by falling on her behind like this, but this did not happen. 

And then, in LLENN's vision, 

"What the?" 

The gaudy green camouflage pattern that M used spread out. She 
couldn't see anything else. 

'Where and in what state am I-' 

*Byun*. *Byun*. *Byun*. 

She only knew that she was still somewhere where she was under fire 
and right behind M. 

*Byun*, *byun*, *biiiiiiiiin*. 

The next moment, following the sound of bullets flying, a high-pitched 
engine could be heard, and she felt acceleration pushing her body further 
to the back, as well as a wind flowing at the back of her head. 

Turning her head to the right and freeing her vision from the 
camouflage pattern, she saw the red surface of the lake that was 
reflecting the red sky. It was flowing from the left to the right. 

"Aah" 

LLENN finally understood. 

That she was currently riding in a hovercraft. M, who threw her into the 


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back seat, was operating it from the front seat. The camouflage pattern 
that initially filled her vision was his backpack. 

"We're getting out of here!" 

"O-okay." 

"Apply it while you have the time." 

"G-gotcha." 

Although the sound was the same, what was used wasn't a gun, but a 
first aid kit. 

LLENN took out a cylindrical kit from her pouch, and, since she no 
longer needed to worry about her position on the shaking hovercraft, she 
applied it to her cheek, and pressed the button on the opposite side. Her 
body was momentarily enveloped in a red healing effect. 

LLENN's almost completely drained hit points would now finally 
recover by thirty percent, but it would take 180 seconds to finish. 

*Byubyubyubyubyubyubyubyubyunbyubyubyun* 

She heard the sound of bullets flying at them increasing, unyielding 
against the noise of the engine. 

"A machine gun huh. Well, they can hardly hit us at this range." 

'Were M's words meant to calm me down, or himself?' 

While unable to determine this, LLENN was rocked by the hovercraft for 
several tens of seconds. 


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Finally, 

"We're safe now. We're at least 1 km away." 

Alongside M's voice, the hovercraft's speed decreased slightly. The sound 
of flying bullets could no longer be heard. 

With a blank expression, she gazed at the surface of the flowing lake. 


"LLENN, you asleep?" 

"No, I am fine.Thank you very much for saving me." 

"Were you half asleep? You started using keigo." 

"Wha? Ah, yeah.but. I'm sorry-sorry. For doing nothing." 

"No need to apologise. I was negligent in observing our surroundings as 
well. Well, even if we were vigilant, it wouldn't be that easy to see 
what's 600 metres ahead of us. More so when our opponent is hiding." 

"Haah." 

The hovercraft continued moving. 

Based on the position of the sun, all she knew was that they were 
heading south-west. 

"M-san, what're we going to do?" 

"For the time being, we'll put some distance between us and them until 
the next scan. And fully recover our hit points.” 


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LLENN moved her eyes, and gazed at the upper-left corner of her 
vision. Currently, her hit points were still recovering, just a bit away from 
10 percent. Still red. 

As for M, his decreased by a bit and was probably at eighty percent. Was 
it because of his sturdy body, or that he wasn't shot at any critical points, 
or both? 

"I'll apply it on you too, M-san." 

"Thanks. It's in the penholder on my left arm." 

LLENN applied it to the nape of M's neck in his stead, who was using 
his right hand for driving. She got a short expression of gratitude in 
return. 

"I can't believe that they were that close." 

As LLENN muttered, she remembered the shock of the sniping she had 
endured just moments ago, 

"Uuuu." 

And shivered slightly. While admiring that even the chills were 
reproduced in the VR game, 

"Even though they were far away 10 minutes ago." 

She let out her honest impression. 

"I was negligent as well. It's the same as with this hovercraft. Those guys 
got their hands on some vehicle as well." 


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"Ahh! So that's it." 

"It's only my guess, but when the game enters the final stage, they 
become easy to get in various spots to increase the speed of the teams. 

It's probably either a four-wheel-drive car that can be used even in 
deserts and wastelands, or a truck. And, they are players that are skilled 
at driving them." 

"Uugh.we've been negligent." 

"Don't feel down. You really are a lucky girl after all." 

"W-why?" 

"You didn't die because of that sniper, right? 10 cm more, and it would 
be recognised as a hit to the heart or lungs and would have led to instant 
death." 

"Well, that's true." 

"The enemy sniper was barely in range as well. He was at a range where 
he could only hit a still target." 

"But, M-san, you were hit too, right?" 

"That was a fluke. Because I'm huge. I saw the Bullet Line, but it was 
aimed at my thigh, so I ignored it. It was also fortunate that the hovercraft 
with the two corpses had just come to shore." 

'I see, M's talking about the guys that were the most to the right when 
he sniped them', LLENN understood. 

"That sniper's gun is a 7.62 mm class, and the interval between firing was 
narrow, so it must be automatic, with a magazine that has at least 10 


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bullets. It's more bothersome than a bolt-action, so don't let your guard 
down." 

"Gotcha.I absolutely won't let my guard down until the end of the 

game anymore! I won't be prideful either!" 

"Yeah. That's a reliable answer." 

'What's reliable is you, M-san.' 

LLENN began to say and stopped. No matter how many words of 
gratitude she offered, it wouldn't be enough for M. She decided to hold 
on to it until SJ ended before saying it. 

Instead, she enquired about his plan. 

"Where are we headed now?" 

"The south-west. We'll be landing at the wilderness that you can see on 
the left-hand side right now." 

"Eeh?" 

LLENN turned her head to the left, and saw the landscape. She 
discovered a wilderness of rocks and sand stretching about 300 metres 
away from surface of the red lake. 

"Why? Wouldn't it be better to head to the north-east and cross the lake 
and swamp? Our opponents are using a car, right? Won't they come 
chasing after us?" 

"That's right, but we can't. We don't have much fuel left. There's no 
guarantee that we'd be able to cross the lake and swamp." 


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"Oh." 

'Even a useful tool becomes a mere ornament if it runs out of fuel, huh', 
LLENN gazed up at the sky. 

X- * * 


Roughly 4 minutes ago- 

At 14:59. 

In the residential area, there was a gorgeous house far away from the 
houses on the ground. Atop the wide balcony on the third floor of the 
house, 

"Found them! Tohma, get over here!" 

A woman that was holding binoculars while lying on the ground 
shouted in a menacing, deep voice. 

Her height was at least 180 cm, she had developed muscles, and her 
chest was bulky - she was a woman that looked like a female pro wrestler. 
If it wasn't for her braided, brown hair hanging down to her left and 
right, it would probably be hard to even determine her gender. As for 
her age, she seemed to be easily past her mid-thirties. 

She was wearing camouflage clothes, dotted in several shades of 
green.She had equipped a vest with several magazine pouches. 

"Where are they? Boss.” 

A voice rang out from behind, and another woman crawled out into the 
balcony. 


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This one was slightly shorter, but even so, she was easily over 175 cm 
tall. Based on her appearance, she was slightly younger, but nonetheless 
she was a fine adult. She had the same camouflage and equipment on 
her slender body. Underneath her green knit cap was her black short cut 
hair. 

A Russian-made sniper «Dragunov» was held in the hands of the 
woman named Tohma. It was a sniper which represented the old 
Eastern Bloc, and had a characteristic silhouette that looked slender and 
elegant. Its ammunition were 7.62x54 mmR rounds. A semi-auto gun that 
could fire every time the trigger was pulled. As for its scope, it didn't use 
the quadruple magnification one that is typically used on a Dragunov, 
but a larger and rougher looking one that could magnify three-fold to 
nine-fold. It came with an exclusive bipod in front of its magazine. 

While pointing to the north-west over the balcony's guardrail with her 
left hand, the woman called 'Boss' said, 

"Do you see the point where the lake shore turns to a road? One minute 
to the left of the silhouette of the crashed spaceship." 

Tohma nimbly unfolded the bipod of her Dragunov, and assumed a prone 
posture on the floorboard of the balcony. 

"Two people sighted. A chibi in dusky -pink, and a giant in a camouflage 
pattern." 

Boss used the rangefinder of her binoculars and, 

"That's them. 623 metres to the chibi.-It's far, can you do it?" 

"I can! It's our chancel" 

"Alright! Begin with the small target." 


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"Roger." 

Tohma turned the dial on the right side of her scope, and raised her 
magnification to the maximum. In the magnified, circular field of vision, 
the playful pink- coloured enemy became bigger. 

Boss's voice could be heard. 

"Everyone, listen up. Tohma will snipe the chibi. Rosa and Sophie, 
prepare your machine guns. They're on the north-west lake shore. On my 
command, fire like crazy. Anna, search for other enemy members and, if 
possible, shoot them. Tanya, check the satellite scan.” 

'Roger', four female voices answered over the communication item. This 
was proof that there were still six members remaining, in other words, it 
was a full member squad, and that all of them were female characters. 

And so, the clock struck 15 o'clock. 

In the field of vision of Boss's binoculars, the pink chibi and camouflage- 
patterned giant man became bigger, and a map was displayed from the 
satellite scan terminal. 

The fact that they expanded a large map in front of them was proof that 
they weren't watching out for approaching enemies. 

Boss's mouth opened widely to the side, exposing her canines. 

"Those guys sure will be surprised.-Tohma?" 

Tohma aligned the Bullet Circle in the lower-right part of her scope with 
the pink target. The circle contracted based on her heartbeats, but the 
flickering was really gradual, and at its largest, it almost entirely covered 


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the pink chibi's body. 

"Preparations complete." 

"Do it." 

Right after the command was given, before her heart began beating 
faster in excitement, Tohma waited for the timing when the circle was at 
its smallest, and then squeezed the trigger. 

The Dragunov roared, and its long and narrow body sprang up sharply, 
as if it was hit by a whip. An empty shell was expelled to the right. 

The fired bullet flew, piercing the wall of air and- 

And flung up the small pink body 3 metres into the air. 

"Bullseye! Nice skill you have Tohma! After the game, I'll treat you to a 
piece of purin 44 !" 

Boss's cheerful voice reached all her party members, and Tohma replied, 
"If possible, I want a second!" 

And fired for the second time. 

It was a bullet aimed for the giant man. The Bullet Circle was perfectly 
focused on his body, but the bullet missed. Because the giant man 
rushed over to the chibi with nimble movements. 


// 


Shi-! 


// 


44 Japanese name for creme caramel or custard pudding. 


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Tohma continued firing as she aligned her the Bullet Circle with the 
moving giant man. However, her pulse rose in excitement, consequently 
increasing the speed of contraction and size of the circle, thus the bullets 
continued missing. 

The giant man suddenly grabbed the chibi with his right hand, put her 
on his right shoulder, and proceeded to the lake. There was a drifting 
hovercraft there. 

"Like hell I'm letting you!" 

Tohma continued firing. 1 bullet somehow hit the giant man's right 
thigh, and created a red hit effect. 

However, that did not stop the giant man's movement. He mercilessly 
kicked away the two corpses on the hovercraft, threw the chibi to the 
back seat, and the driver's seat himself. 

Tohma's 10th bullet raised a waterspout on the side of the hovercraft. The 
fact that the bolt that would move back and forth each time she fired 
stopped at the lower position indicated that her remaining bullets 
numbered zero. At the same moment, 

" Boss. Their position is the lake shore. One of the two is the leader." 

Came the voice of Tanya, who had been looking at the scan. Boss 
immediately gave the order. 

" Machine guns, fire." 

The next moment, a roar sprung forth from two windows of the third 
floor of a mansion. 

From a child's bedroom, and a back room. 


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At the windows of the two rooms were two women, who had set up 
«PKM» machine guns on bipods, and their atrocious muzzles continued 
emitting fire towards the lake. 

These were also Russian-made machine guns that used the same bullets 
as the Dragunov. They were masterpieces designed by Mikhail 
Kalashinikov-shi, the person who created the AK assault rifle series; PK 
were the initials for „Kalashinikov machine gun" 45 , while M was the 
initial for "modernised". 

The PKMs continued firing several bullets at a time. From the case 
attached under the gun, ammunition tied to a belt flowed from right to 
left, the bullets went forwards, while the empty shells and empty belt 
were spit out to the left. 

The bullets flew towards the escaping hovercraft. In the field of vision of 
her binoculars. Boss saw numerous waterspouts in the surroundings of 
the hovercraft, but there weren't any bullets that hit the target. 

"Hold your fire!-It's unfortunate, but it seems we let them get 

away." 

The two machine guns stopped roaring, and the world suddenly turned 
silent. 

"Boss. The scan position is moving atop the lake." 

Came Tanya's voice. While peeking through her binoculars. Boss asked, 
"Anna, did you see any other enemies?" 


45 In Russian, ny/ie/weT Ka/iawHMKOBa (Pulemyot Kalashnikova). Technically, it means "Kalashinikov's 
(possessive case) machine gun". 


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"No, Boss. I could not spot any." 

"Me neither.-So, the odds that that group only has two members left 

is high, huh." 

Boss continued following the hovercraft, which was raising white-crested 
waves and going into the distance, until it disappeared. 

"Those guys escaped to the south-west. There is a possibility that this is 
a trick, but the lack of fuel is a more likely case." 

As Boss put her binoculars to her waist pouch, she said in a calm tone. 

"From this point, weTl be heading to the north-western part of the 
wilderness. Everyone, gather at the truck." 


The team that was given the name „foxtrot" some time ago- 

Boarded the large truck stopped at the back of the mansion one by one. 

To go after and take down their last prey. 

* * * 


15:06. 

The place that LLENN and M landed at after finishing their seemingly 
elegant cruise on the lake was the south-western area, a wilderness of 
rock and sand. 

Light brown ground already began with the bank of the lake, and it 
suddenly turned rugged. Naturally, it wasn't something that the 
hovercraft could traverse through. Even if it did, there was barely any 


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fuel left. 

On the water, LLENN applied a second first-aid kit on herself. Her hit 
point recovery seemed to be nearly over. And yet, she only had sixty 
percent of her full state. She would probably need to use another one. 
Having abandoned their hovercraft at the bank, LLENN and M surveyed 
their surroundings vigilantly. 

The wilderness was almost flat. There were oval rocks of various sizes 
throughout it. Starting with rocks that were 1 metre large in every 
direction, to large ones that were likely 5 metres tall. Because of this, 
there were plenty of places to hide in. 

There weren't any hilly areas, on the contrary, if they climbed on a rock, 
they would be able to see reasonably far away. 

It depended on the height of the rock that one would climb, and the 
height of other rocks in the surroundings, but it seemed that they could 
be used to see about 300 metres away. The ground full of pebbles lost to 
the paved road in terms of hardness, but it was better as a foothold. 

"It's not bad as a place to fight. We can defend here, and we can snipe 
from atop a rock. The same applies to the enemy team, but we have 
LLENN's agility for that." 

M said. 

"And cars can't pass through here, right." 

LLENN answered in agreement. She searched the surroundings as far as 
her monocle allowed, but she could not see any enemy figures for the 
time being. 

As the healing of the second first-aid kit was over, LLENN applied the 


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last one to the nape of her neck. LLENN no longer had any more of 
them, but their enemy probably wasn't that kind to let them use any 
more of them anyway. 

"Let's head west. We'll get away from the hovercraft a bit, and wait for 
the scan with our backs facing the water." 

Agreeing with M's proposal, LLENN began slowly walking. There was 
the possibility that their opponents were chasing them by using the 
remaining hover crafts , thus she constantly looked at the lake surface, but 
she could not see anything. 

And so, it was 15:08. 

The two hid in the shadow of a large rock, and decided to wait out the 
remaining 2 minutes. 

'My hit points aren't full, but I recovered most of them. And, I won't let 
my guard down next time!' 

"Ah! That reminds me." 

LLENN remembered. That before the 15 o'clock scan, M had taken out a 
writing paper and tried reading it. Since they were under fire, he should 
have left it unsettled. 


"Say, M-san-" 


LLENN turned around towards M, who was crouching at a place about 
10 metres away from here, 

"Like, didn't you try reading something like a letter some time ago? Are 
you sure it's okay?" 


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"Ah!" 

Based on M's seriously surprised face, it seemed that he had completely 
forgotten about it. 

"Thanks for reminding me. I was told to read it at exactly 15 o'clock." 

M took out the writing paper from his arm pocket, opened it, and began 
reading. 

Feeling relieved, LLENN returned her glance from M's face to watching 
the surroundings. She had to protect M while he was reading the letter. 

She was interested in who the letter was from, and what was written on 
it, but since it was a breach of manners to peek at someone else's letter, 
even if this was a virtual world. LLENN only admired that someone 
would write a letter and carry it even in a VR game. 

What stretched out in her field of vision was a wilderness of rocks and 
pebbles. The P90 in her hands was ready to fire at any time. 

She took out two new magazines from her storage, thus, including the one 
equipped on her gun, she was back to seven on her body. 

Using the opportunity, she materialised the two plasma grenades that she 
had added to her storage just in case, and hung them at the back of her 
left waist. 

During the next battle, she'll definitely shoot them up. Even if she died, 
she'd take down one or two, as many as she could. If she realised that 
she was done for, she'd press the switch of the grenades on her waist and 
charge at them. 

While calmly building up her war spirit, and sharpening her five senses. 


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LLENN waited for the scan, when she heard the sound of M putting 
away the letter behind her. 

And she heard the sound of footsteps. 

LLENN realised again that there were pebbles underneath them, and 
that footsteps were clearly audible. They could probably be heard even 
if they were several metres away. She'd better not carelessly move 
around when ambushing at this place. 

*Saku*, *saku*, M's footsteps could be heard. They were coming towards 
her. The time on her wristwatch was 15:09. 

'Does he want to have a strategy meeting and show the map? Or is this 
about the letter?' 

While having these thoughts, LLENN suddenly turned around- 

"Eeh?" 

M's stood 2 metres ahead of her, held his HK45 with just his right hand, 
and was aiming the muzzle directly at her face. 

"Sorry." 

M fired. 

LLENN clearly saw how the HK45's large muzzle shone. 


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Chapter 11 - Death Game 

LLENN clearly saw how the HK45's large muzzle shone. 

And she clearly heard the 45 calibre bullet passing by the side of her 
right ear. 

If she hadn't acted before she realised the situation- 

And if she hadn't fully demonstrated her agility and twisted her body— 


The bullet would have hit her right eye, completely draining the hit 
points that she went through all the trouble of recovering, resulting in 
instant death. 

M immediately swung his right arm, and continued aiming at LLENN's 
head. 

To LLENN, it seemed like the world had entered slow motion. She clearly 
saw the Bullet Line closing in on her face. To avoid that, she twisted her 
body to the left again. 

Another discharge. The bullet once again grazed her head, and this time, 
it tore off her favourite knit cap. If her movement had been just slightly 
slower, she would probably have been shot. 

She did not understand his reasons at all, but she understood the 
situation. 

She was being shot at by M. It seemed he wanted to kill her. And 
moreover, there was no use in trying to talk it over. 

M, who was trying to fire the third bullet, showed a stern facial 
expression as always, and his emotions could not be read. However, 
there was no need to read them. 


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LLENN had but a single thought. 

'No way I'm going to be killed.' 

LLENN's left foot took hold of the pebbles, which became a foothold for 
generating repellent force. The 3rd Bullet Line approached her, and the 
moment it fixed at her right eye, 

"Taa!" 

LLENN jumped to the opposite side. Even if she kept escaping to the left 
like this, at some point she would undoubtedly be hit by a bullet. 

In that case, there was only one course of action. 

'I'm going to turn the tables!' 

To make this dangerous gamble and attack him herself using any 
mistake in timing -LLENN's agility won. 

After LLENN energetically leaped forward and to the right, a Bullet Line 
that was 5 cm to the right of her body disappeared, and a bullet passed 
through. It wasn't even 1 cm away from the P90 that was hanging by its 
gun sling. 

Having made a large side step, LLENN landed with her right leg. At that 
point, M wasn't even 1 metre away, while the HK45 was even closer, 
merely about 30 cm away. It was a distance she could easily cover if she 
extended her hand. 

"Yah!" 

LLENN raised her hand towards the HK45 to slap it with her right hand. 
To prevent his gun from being knocked away, M slipped his hand 
outwards- 


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LLENN's small hand just brushed the HK45's side and M's large thumb, 
and continued swinging upwards. 

Having protected his HK45, M once again aimed the muzzle at 
LLENN's forehead while overlooking the small body before him, 

"Ahaha." 

And after meeting eyes with LLENN who was laughing, he pulled the 
trigger without hesitation. 


He could not pull it. 

The HK45's trigger refused to move. If the trigger did not move, the gun 
could not fire. 

M's eyes opened wide and saw. That the small lever near his right hand 
that controlled the safety of his beloved gun had been raised. 

What LLENN's small hands were aiming for wasn't to knock his HK45 
out of his hands- 

It was only aimed at activating the safety. 

The moment that M realised this, a pain ran through his right hand. 


The P90 roared in full auto between the large and small bodies. 

The shooting actually only lasted a moment, but a pleasant *barara* 
sound resounded, and 3 bullets were fired. The small bullets created 
shining red hit effects on M's right wrist, and even passed through them 
entirely, disappearing into the sky. 

"Gah!" 


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The HK45 with its safety on fell out of M's relaxed right hand, and just 
as half of it sunk into the sand, 

"Don't move." 

The muzzle of the P90 that was thrust up with her right arm pressed into 
the nape of M's neck. 


"If you move even in the slightest. I'll pull the trigger with all my 
strength! M-san!" 

LLENN gave a shout that was probably the loudest in her life so far. The 
wristwatch on her left arm quivered, but she could no longer worry 
about that. 

She planned to completely squeeze the trigger to discharge all 47 
remaining bullets in the magazine, showering M from the neck up if any 
part of his large build moved even 1 mm. M looked like he had high 
vitality, but he would probably die anyway. 


With a muzzle thrusted to the left of his laryngeal prominence, M looked 
down at her. 

His stern face with his eyes and mouth open hardened, as if time had 
stopped. 

"Listen up. Firstly-" 

LLENN smiled sweetly, 

"I really have to thank you for telling me the location of your safety, 
thinking that I might need to use it as some point. It was really useful!" 


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// 


// 


"Moreover, I want to ask-why?" 


"Why did you try to kill me? If you have a proper reason. I'll hear you 
out." 


"After all that effort to get here; we fought together, you even saved me, 
and thus we're one of the last two teams standing, so why? I have no 
intention of saying that we absolutely have to win, but I can't accept that 
you tried to kill me for unknown reasons. If you couldn't continue with 
the match, then you could have just discussed with me first! Am I 
wrong?" 


"If you don't want to answer, suit yourself. Then, I'll fight on my own 
from this point on-" 

While saying this, LLENN put more force into pressing the P90. 

"Noooooooooooooooo! I don't want to die!-Pppp-please.Ppp- 

please wait! Please.I beg of you! Please don't.shoot.Noo! 

Please stop!" 

LLENN understood that this shout and feeble keigo were M's words, 
but it still took some time for her to realise that. 


While pulling her P90, LLENN immediately back stepped. 


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With her exceedingly agile jump, she instantly gained distance from M, 
as if she had warped, placed her P90 on her shoulder, and fixed her aim 
at M's face with her sights. 

She kept her finger on the trigger, so the Bullet Circle violently pulsated 
above M's face, and repeatedly contracted. 

M should certainly be seeing dazzling Bullet Lines. His field of vision 
was probably dyed deep red. 

"P-pp." 

While giving a groan, M slowly dropped his knees. Cautiously watching 
over him, LLENN continued adjusting her aim to target his head. 

His knees made a sound as they sunk into the pebbles, and then, his 
large build feebly knelt down. It wasn't like she gave him such an order, 
but he assumed a seiza 46 pose. The still standing LLENN, and the sitting, 
but with barely any change in his height, M held their ground about 3 
metres away from each other. 

"Please.don't shoot." 

A feeble voice came from M. With his eyes cast down as he spoke, M's 
face was covered by the wide brim of his bush hat, and disappeared from 
sight. 

While aligning her circle with the bush hat head, LLENN said, 

"Until I hear your reasons, I definitely won't shoot. In other words, if 
you don't tell me. I'll shoot." 

"I'll end up dying." 


46 Seiza (IEMI, literally "proper sitting") is a term for a Japanese traditional way of sitting when a person kneels 
down with the tops of the feet flat on the floor, and sit on the soles. 


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"Well, yeah." 

Boku 

" I will die." 

'Boku?', LLENN had the chills at the sudden change in M's first person 
pronoun. 47 

"Stop using keigo! You're giving off a weird vibe!" 

It seemed that the person that she thought of as a „relative oji-san" until 
now suddenly turned into a „younger cousin, who was a primary school 
student", which gave her an overly strong sense of discomfort 
preventing her from calming down. 

It was as if the person inside had changed places with someone else. 
LLENN of course hadn't done it before, but it was possible to borrow an 
AmuSphere and control someone else's character. 

"It can't be-the player hasn't changed?" 

Without stopping his use of keigo, M said feebly. 

"No, I have not changed.This is the real me.And, if you. 

right now, shoot, me.I will die.I will end up dying." 

'What is this guy saying?', a question mark flew in LLENN's head, 

"That means that your character dies, you know? But, you'll only die in 
GGO, in SJ, you know? There's no death penalty in this tournament, and 
there're no weapon or equipment random drops either-" 

"That is not it!" 


47 Until this point, M had been using the first person pronoun fit (ore), but as of this point, M begins using fit 
(boku). Both ore and boku are first person pronouns used by males to refer to themselves, though ore is more 
casual. 


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M immediately raised his head, and LLENN, 

"Ugeh" 

Ended up seeing something that she did not really want to see. 

Tears pouring out from the eyes of the rough M. His avatar's appearance 
was that of a macho guy, so the impact of this scene was quite something. 

That's not it", you say, then.what is it?" 

"If, I, from this point on, die in SJ.the RL me, will also truly die!!" 

".Are you, right in the head?" 

Shocked, LLENN remembered f Sword Art Online J , which truly 
became a death game. 

If she remembered correctly, it used a device called the «NerveGear», 
and if a character died in-game, it was designed to unleash an electric 
pulse that would burn the player's brain. It was like a murderous 
microwave oven had been placed on their heads, so she truly felt fear 
when she had heard the news. 

Of course, the device they were using now, the AmuSphere, did not 
have such a function. 

"This isn't Sword Art Online, so such a thing won't happen, right? Are 
you mistaking something, M-san?" 


"Besides, you fought normally moments ago, and you were even shot— 
// 


Having said up to this point, LLENN realised. That only one reason for 


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M's sudden change came to mind. 

"M-san.I don't mean to be nosy but, tell me. What was written in 

that letter?" 

*Biku*, M trembled, and tears dripped out from his face. Even nasal 
mucus oozed out from his nose. 'They didn't have to go this far with 
reproducing it in a game', LLENN thought. 


He did not say anything, instead, he slowly extended his right hand into 
his sleeve pocket, and took out the writing paper. With his head hanging 
in shame, he extended his right hand, and presented it to LLENN. 

"You mean it's fine for me to read it?" 

*Kokun*, seeing M's head nodding, 

"Then, I'll take it, but if you make any weird moves. I'll shoot." 

As she said this, LLENN slowly approached him without letting go of 
her aim, extended her left arm, quickly took away the writing paper, 
nimbly back stepped once again, and took her distance. 

"I'm going to read it, you know? Okay?" 

"Yes." 

With just her left hand, LLENN opened the writing paper. It was upside 
down, so she tried to rotate it, and panicked as it seemed that she would 
drop it. 

Continuing to aim with her P90 using her right arm, she brought the 
writing paper in front of her with her left hand. 


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"I'm reading it." 

And began reading the Japanese written on it. 

There, written in great handwriting, as if it was an example of 
penmanship, the letter started off with the following. 

[fYahou, M. In the middle of a hard fight, eh? I told you to read this 
after exactly 1 hour had passed and you didn't tear it, right? If you did. 
I'll kill you, y'know? I'll do it right away J 

Such unexpectedly unruly words were lined up. And, she now 
understood why M tried reading it at 15 o'clock. 

The composition continued. 

tYou're participating in my place, so enjoy it to your heart's content in 
my place! This is a game, just something that you play! If you die in a 
disappointing way within an hour. I'll kill you. But, if you survive at 
least an hour with just the two of you, then you really are amazing. I'll 
pat you on the head in praise. J 

Well, if he died before reading it, then he really would have died. 

And so, as for the last part, 

IF If you die after this point, I will kill you after all. Suicide is out of the 
question too. Survive no matter what it takes. If there's no tension in 
battle, then you really can't enjoy it! Now then, enjoy it to your heart's 
content! Feel what life is! That's all.J 


Just in case, LLENN tried looking at the back, but really was all there 
was to it. 

She skillfully folded it using only her left hand and, for the time being. 


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inserted it in her waist belt. Drawing her left hand back to her P90, she 
once again aimed firmly, 

"Who wrote this? ...I don't even have to ask, do I.It's Pito-san, 

right?" 

"Th-that is right." 

"Well, somehow, it does feel like something that person would write." 

Remembering Pitohui's smiling face with a tattoo, LLENN let out her 
honest thoughts. And then, 

"But you know, „die" and „kill" are about the game, aren't they?" 
Having made a completely sensible judgement, she told this to M. 

In GGO- 

Anyone would commonly use the words „shoot", „kill" and „died", but 
they were all referring to the in -game events. No one would imagine that 
it meant „death of an RL person". 

Also, there were no idiots who got reality and the game confused and 
angrily exclaim, „Do you guys really know what it means to die?" or 
something like that. 

M lifted the face of his huge bear-like build. His face sopping wet from 
all the tears and nasal mucus. 

And then, he laughed. 

"Hahahaha! You don't know a thing." 

At his exceedingly creepy smile. 


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"Wah— 

For a moment, LLENN was at a loss for words. The contraction Bullet 
Circle overlapping M's face sped up. 

"What don't.I know?" 

"How screwed up Pitohui's head is." 


"When that woman says that she'll kill, she means that she will really 
kill in RL. Killing in -game? Ahahahaha! There is no way she would be 
that soft! I know that she's talking about killing in RL! And, that woman 
definitely knew that I would immediately realise this, that's why she 
wrote this letter! She says to enjoy the game for an hour, but treats me so 
badly! She really does adore death games' Even now, that woman has her 
heart set on that game ! She's crazy! Ahahahaha, that's so like that 
woman. Ahahahahahaha!" 


LLENN felt a slight dizziness. 

It's great that RL Pitohui and M are acquaintances but then, just what is 
the relationship between them? 

LLENN previously thought „I don't need to know"- 

But now, she changed it to „I don't want to know". 

She previously thought „I want to know" about Pitohui in RL as well— 

But now she changed it to „I don't want to know." 


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Be that as it may, she had to continue her conversation with M. 

"M-san.In other words, this is what you want to say? That if you are 

killed in action in SJ from this point on, the RL you will be killed by the 
RL Pito-san?" 

"That's what I've been saying!" 

It was a feeble shout. 


The RL M is an actor, and this is a very good performance- 

There was still the possibility that this was true, but for the time being, 
LLENN pulled her finger away from the P90's trigger. As the Bullet 
Circle disappeared, 

"T-thank you very much.I was scared.I don't want to die." 

She heard these words from M, who no longer saw the Bullet Lines. 
"Then, why did you assume that you had to kill me?" 

At LLENN's question, 

"I thought.I'd become the leader ." 

M vaguely answered. 

After thinking for about 2 seconds, LLENN asked, 

"What were you going to do after becoming the leader ?" 

"I would be able to resign. Since there wasn't anything about resigning 
written on the letter, I thought I could use it as an excuse." 


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"That's so quick-witted." 

LLENN was amazed. 

"But! I thought I would properly explain myself after resigning. 

"Huu! Did you make light of my agility?" 

LLENN said jokingly with a smile, but... 

"You're right. I should have kept quiet and thrown a plasma grenade. I 
really regret it." 

M answered with a serious look. 

".Well, that aside-" 

While saying that, she took the writing paper with her left hand, 

"Sorry for returning it to you like this." 

LLENN threw it in front of M. Then, she looked at her wristwatch. 3 and 
a half minutes past 15:10. 

"The scan is probably over by now." 

Just to be sure, she took out the terminal from her left thigh pocket , and 
tried turning the switch, but... 

"As I thought." 

Only the map appeared. 

The opponents had realised their position at least 3 minutes ago, and 
were probably in the middle of heading towards them. If this place 


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provided an unobstructed view, they would have probably sniped at 
them just like the last time. 

Now's not the time for quarreling. 

LLENN thought- 

"Well, whatever." 

And muttered. 

LLENN returned the terminal to its original place. And then, 

"M-san! Listen up, it's alright! I'll be fighting alone from this point on! 
M-san, hide somewhere so that you won't die! If I get taken down by the 
enemy team, the leader mark will move to you, so you can just resign! 
Thanks for your help until now! Cya!" 

She spoke quickly, then turned back and began running. 

Being vigilant just in case she was shot from the back, she immediately 
entered the shadow of a nearby rock, and once again dashed at full- 
speed. 

She was not shot. 

After wondering where she should head to for a moment, 

"Alright! I'll go wild with all I have!" 

Muttering this, she headed to the east. In other words, the direction that 
the enemy would be coming from. 

Weaving her way through the gap between rocks, and sprinting at full- 
speed, LLENN touched the communication item on her left ear. 


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And then, she set the switch that she thought she wouldn't disable 
during SJ to off. 


M, who was left alone, heard, 
"Alright! I'll go wild with all I have!" 
LLENN's voice in his ears. 


* * * 


Going a little back in time, at 15:11. 

At the border of the asphalt- road-residential area and the pebble-pathed 
wilderness, a small military-use truck had stopped. The top of the truck's 
load-carrying tray and the side of the cab were covered in armoured 
plates that seemed to have been added later on. 

At its side were six women, wearing matching camouflage clothes. 

The first one was the over 180 cm tall woman. Boss. 

There was a large backpack placed next to her feet. From the upper part 
of the bag, a barrel that would not fit in stuck out, but it was impossible 
to tell the type of gun it was. 

To the right of her waist, a black, automatic pistol was placed in a plastic 
holster. With her braid fluttering, she turned her gaze to the five people 
who stood in a horizontal line, 

"Our last prey is 2 km to the west! Come, let's bring them down, 
everyone!" 

She shouted in a deep and menacing voice. 

"Let's do it! Boss.” 


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The first to answer was Tohma, who had sniped LLENN and was 
carrying a Dragunov. She was a slender and tall, black-haired woman, 
who had plenty of magazine pouches for her Dragunov attached 
horizontally along her waist, and only had a bulletproof plate that 
covered her chest. Her equipment allowed her to lie prone easily, a 
characteristic of a sniper. 

"This is our last battle, right! I'm so psyched!" 

And next was Sophie, who held a PKM in front of her body by its wide 
sling. Among the six, she was the shortest, but because of her large girth, 
coupled with her stern face, her appearance was like that of a dwarf in a 
fantasy world. Her long, brown hair was roughly gathered together 
behind her head. 

It seemed that a giant battle axe on her back would suit her, but that of 
course wasn't the case. On her back was a large backpack with spare 
ammunition cases, with spare PKM barrels sticking out from the top. 

"We won't be able to go wild anymore if we beat them! How 
unfortunate!" 

That was the other PKM machine gunner, Rosa. She appeared to be the 
eldest among them, and was tall with a sturdy build. With her short, red 
hair and freckled face, she gave the impression of Mother Courage 48 . She 
had a similar rucksack on her back, as well as spare barrels. On the back 
of this rucksack, were three plasma grenades hanging down to the left and 
right sides. 

"Well, we can worry about that after we win. Ladies." 

The one who responded in a bewitching tone was Anna. She was a 
member who was roughly in her early twenties, and appeared to be the 
youngest member in this team. Underneath her green knit cap was 


48 This could be referring to Mother Courage and her Children, or a Japanese TV drama If £ A j 


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shoulder-length, wavy, blonde hair. And, she wore sunglasses that hid 
her pupils. 

She was also a sniper, who carried a Dragunov with a quadruple- 
magnification scope attached, and had binoculars hanging down on her 
chest. 

"I want to decide the end with my own blow." 

The last one was Tanya. Although she had a short build, she was 
probably over 160 cm tall, and had very short, silver hair. With her sharp 
eyes and face, she looked as if she was a fox. Just like Boss, she had a 
pistol holster on her right waist. Boss and her were the only ones with 
pistols. 

What Tanya was holding in her arms was a Russian-made submachine 
gun «PP-19 Bizon». Appearance-wise, it was smaller than the AK series, 
but its characteristic was a cylindrical „helical magazine " that was 
attached under the barrel. 

It was a structure that allowed sending in bullets in a spiral, and thus 
use a lot of bullets. Tanya's Bizon, which uses 9x19 mm Parabellum 
bullets, could actually load 53 of them in one magazine. It was capable of 
continuous fire that surpassed LLENN's P90. 

There was also a cylindrical tube attached in front of the muzzle. This 
was a suppressor that could suppress the noise of gunshots. 


Thus, all the girls were equipped with matching Russian-made guns, but 
Russian-made small arms all had a common characteristic in GGO. 

Which was-„they were cheap for their firepower". 

In one only considered firepower, they would lose to American and 
European-made guns, but if the „cost" parameter was factored in, they 


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would be much better. It was possible to acquire both the guns, and the 
bullets with not that many credits needed for the purchase. 

GGO players had come up with various reasons for that. 

There were opinions that „Russian-made guns were originally cheap". 

And an opinion that „This is an American game, thus Russian guns were 
unfairly treated as cheap products". 

Among the various opinions, the most realistic one was, 

„Russian small arm makers put a low price on their license." 

This. 

Although this was in a game, implementing items with their real names, 
whether it be cars, planes or guns, could not be done without the 
permission of the makers. 

GGO, which was obsessed with perfectly reproducing small arms, from 
their appearance to their sounds to their firepower, had acquired all the 
necessary licenses. Even if „guns that were excavated in the future and 
reproduced" was the setting. 

The license for the Russian-made guns was extremely cheap, thus with 
the permission acquired, the guns were cheap in GGO, in other words, 
this was done to increase popularity for the guns; this was the most 
prominent opinion. 

But then, the management company Zaskar has not announced anything, 
so the truth behind it remains unknown. 

Moreover, the most popular weapons in GGO were, nevertheless, 
American and European-made ones. 


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"Alright! That's what I call being psyched! 

Hearing the reliable and cheerful voices of her comrades. Boss gave a 
smile with her braid fluttering. 

"Well, let's go! On a rabbit hunt!" 

And then, Anna abruptly began singing. 

U - s a - g i 
" o-ishi, ka-no-yama-, o-ishi, ka-no-yama- 49 " 

Among the other members that joined in, only Tohma asked with a 
serious look, 

u s a g i o i s h i i 

"That song.is it „the rabbit is tasty"?" 

The dwarf machine gunner, Sophie replied, 

oishi 

"No! It's „chase", so it's pursuing! But, since they're being chased, it's 
because they're tasty! People wouldn't be chasing them if they weren't 
tasty!" 

"I see! I really do want to eat one!" 

Tohma gave a smile, lagging behind everyone else. 

Boss then said, 

"Well, don't eat this rabbit even if we catch it. It's probably not tasty." 
The five others burst into laughter. 

"However, hunt with all you have! It's a rabbit that has survived till 

49 The first verse of Furusato , a Japanese children's song. 


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now. Make sure you don't let your guard down!" 
Boss caused them to steel their faces in a moment. 
"Watch out for its fangs! Let's go!" 

Five voices resounded in the wilderness all together. 
"Ururaaaaaaaaaaaa!" 


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* * * 


The pink rabbit, 

"What do I do what do I do what do I do? What am I going to do alone? 
Really, what do I do?" 

Ran as she muttered this. 

Looking at her wristwatch, she saw that it was past 15:16. Even if they 
came on foot, it wouldn't be surprising if they made contact at any 
moment if they ran at full-speed. 

LLENN stopped running for the moment, and hid in the shadow of a 
large rock. 

As she quickly crouched, her short, brown hair touched her cheek, 

"Ah, I see." 

LLENN finally realised that her knit cap had been sent flying by M. 

'My favourite!', slightly angry, 'Well, I'm glad that it didn't hit my face', 
LLENN untied the bandana wrapped around her neck, and used it to 
cover her head. 

While moving her hands, she recalled that moment, *whew*, sight in 
relief, and got scared at how dangerous that was. 

And then-was proud of herself. 

Of how she was able to avoid being shot from such a close distance. 


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This body of hers that excelled in agility was wonderful. From this point 
on, if she clearly saw the Bullet Lines, or muzzles, without losing her 
concentration, she'd be able to do do such an amazing thing again. 

Tying the bandana with her hands behind her back, 

"Alright!" 

Obviously, she felt psyched. 

"Now then, the last battlel I'm going to show them!" 

LLENN encouraged herself. 

From this point on, she could only rely on herself, and her weapons. 

Her weapons, first of all, included her beloved gun, her P90 P-chan. She 
had seven magazines that she could use right away. Another in storage. 
397 bullets in total remained. 

On the left side of her waist, she had 2 plasma grenades. She also had a 
combat knife held against her back. 

First-aid kits -none. 

It was mostly unclear what kind of group her opponents were. 

However, she was certain that there were snipers and machine gunners, 
and, naturally, more than one of them. Moreover, they were tough 
fighters that had survived till now. 

"Now then, the last battlel I'm going to show them! Well, as much as I 
can." 


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LLENN repeated. 

And then, 

"What should I do to make the best use of my merits.?" 

She began thinking as she muttered. 

'How did I fight until now? How did I survive until now? How did I kill 
those five people?' 

'What do my opponents think of me? And, how will they attack me?' 


Stopping her train of thoughts, LLENN looked at her wristwatch. 
15:17. 

"3 more minutes until the satellite scan ." 

LLENN grasped her P90 thightly, 

"Alrighty.Let's run!" 

Kicking up the pebbles, and leaving footprints behind, she began 
sprinting like the wind. 

Several broadcast cameras followed that gallant figure from the sky. 

"It-it's not like it's my fault! I-I'm fine with this!" 

A single man shouted in the wilderness of rocks. 


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"Nobody knows about how scary that woman is! That's why I can say 
such a selfish thing! I'm not mistaken! What's wrong with being scared 
of death!" 

M continued continously saying such self-justifying lines, but there was 
no one there to listen to him. 

Judging that there was no point to record this, there were no cameras in 
the surroundings either. 

There was but a trail of small footprints extending to the distance in 
front of him. 


Chapter 12 - This Last Battle of Mine 

Six women advanced through the wilderness of rock and pebble. 

The past 1500 hours sun could be seen to the upper left of their view, so 
this meant their goal was to the west. 

The surroundings were obstructed by rocks, and farthest they could see 
was about 40 metres. 

The short Tanya, holding a Bizon with a suppressor without letting her 
guard down, advanced in such a location as the point man, in other 
words, a vanguard. 

She constantly kept her finger on the trigger, and the Bullet Circle was 
displayed constantly. If she encountered an enemy, she could 
immediately target them with the circle; it was like using a laser sight. 


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Tanya, with her silver hair barely fluttering, peeked forward from the 
shade of a rock. 

"The front is clear." 

After confirming that there were no enemies ahead, she called her 
comrades, who were behind her. 

The point man's task, generally speaking, was to stand in the vanguard, 
and report any enemies that they discovered. Of course, this was the 
most dangerous task, as it was a role that involved risking being the first 
one to be shot in an ambush. 

Among the remaining five members, the machine gunner Sophie and the 
sniper Tohma, and likewise Rosa and Anna, had grouped up to form 
two-man cells, in other words, „two-in-one cells". 

The two groups had positioned themselves about 30 metres behind the 
point man, and spread out to the right and left to protect the team's front, 
left and right flanks. 

Behind the team's centre, 

"Alright. Advance 20 metres forward." 

Boss, who would sometimes climb on a rock and peek through her 
binoculars, gave an order. 

Without a single arbitrary action, and with minimum conversation, the 
group gradually advanced. 


The time was 15:19:20. 


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"Scan in 40 seconds." 

Boss's voice reached even Tanya. 

The previous time, she had watched the rear for Tanya, but this time it 
was the exact opposite. Boss was probably glancing at the satellite scan 
terminal behind her. 

During the scan, they stopped moving and watched over their 
surroundings. Tanya stopped moving at the side of a rock that she had 
been next to, and assumed a half-rising posture. 

At that moment, a pink rabbit jumped out of the rock in front of her. 

Unluckily for Tanya, Boss's announcement that reached her ears 
diverted her attention from the light footsteps that approached her. 


The moment that LLENN, who was running swiftly like a bullet, 
jumped out from behind a rock, 

"Ah--" 

She saw the figure of an enemy at the right side of a rock about 20 metres 
ahead of her. 

Green camouflage, with a black gun, whose name she did not know. 
Short, silver hair. 

"Aah!" 

At any rate, she was surprised, but- 

But the other party also gave an expression of complete surprise. 


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'Don't stop!' 

LLENN did not slow down her run speed. If she stopped, she would 
only be shot. Didn't the fact that her speed was her best defence 
continue to be proven in all the battles thus far? 

Bullet Lines pursued LLENN's back and- 

*Shukokokokokokokoko*, suppressed gunshots consecutively 
resounded. Bizon, which had low recoil, repeatedly swayed, and 
continued spitting out small, empty shells to the right side one after 
another. 

The fired bullets tried to overtake the sprinting LLENN, but, 

"Ta!" 

LLENN hid in the shadow of a rock before that could happen. The 
swarm of 9 mm bullets pierced the rock. 

"Ene--" 

'Enemy spotted!', before she could say this, Tanya leaped out of the 
rock's shade that she had hid in. Bullet Lines, and at almost the same 
moment, P90 bullets assaulted that spot in full auto. 

Raising a column of sand by hitting the rock. 

LLENN, who shot as she leapt out from behind the rock that she had 
been hiding behind, 

'What, she dodged that!' 


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She aimed at the figure escaping to the left side of her field of vision, and 
discharged a full-power volley in full auto. She kept turning the P90's 
muzzle to the left, and the situation became the exact opposite of the one 
before. She was the one pursuing her escaping opponent now. 

And, the moment she saw that her escaping opponents muzzle was 
pointed at her, she also began a violent dash. 

It was as if they were clashing their Bullet Lines, just like in a fight with 
long swords. 

With both of them flashing red lines out of their muzzles, it seemed like 
they were swinging a sword toward their sideway-running opponent. 

Or a dogfight, where two puppies were going in circles, trying to bite 
each other's tail. 

The boisterous gunshots of the P90, and the silent gunshots of the Bizon 
intersected in the open space of pebbles that was about 20 metres in size 
in every direction. 

Two hit effects shined from Tanya's back and shoulder. While the bullets 
that she fired all disappeared behind LLENN. 

Both guns exhausted all the bullets in their magazines, and silence 
descended. At that moment. 


// 


Ge-" 


Both LLENN, 

"K~" 

And Tanya ran to the closest rock. 


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Immediately, with machine-like reflexes, the two pulled out a magazine 
from their respective large pouch, and began the reload that they 
wagered their lives on. 

Tanya, with her large magazine, and the large gun itself, was late by a 
mere moment. Just as she inserted the magazine and began pulling the 
cocking lever to load a bullet into the gun. 


A red Bullet Line came to her like a searchlight, Tanya perceived that she 
was targeted, and that she didn't even have a tenth of a second to spare. 

Tanya threw her beloved gun. 

A moment after the Bizon that flew out of the rock shade was exposed to 
the Bullet Line, it was shot instead of her, and orange sparks scattered in 
various places of its black body. 

While seeing her beloved gun blown away, 

"One enemy! The gun is P90! Excessively quick!" 

She reported to her comrades during the short gap that she had created. 

At the same time, she extended her hand to the holster on her right waist, 
but the moment she finished her report and grasped the grip - 

The small, pink figure jumped directly at her, and cut her body in half 
with a red line. 


It was an incident that lasted merely 10 seconds from the beginning to 


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the end. 

The 15:20 satellite scan had yet to begin. 

They had run around and fired close to 100 bullets in total, 

"I did it." 

LLENN had decreased the number of members in the enemy team by 
one, but at the next moment, she felt a dull pain in her left shoulder, and 
saw the shining hit effects before her eyes. 


'Run!' 


Due to her almost instinct-like intuition, LLENN broke into a run. 

She did not see the Bullet Lines, but she clearly heard the sound of sand 
crackling, and the extremely noisy gunshots of machine guns. 

She sprinted back from where she came at full-speed, hid behind a large 
rock, and this time the rock was hit. The sound was so violent that the 
attack of her opponent moments ago seemed like child's play. 

"Uhyaa! Uhyaa!" 

Without the time to enjoy the fruits of her battle or to reload her empty 
magazine, LLENN immediately began escaping. 


"How dare you!" 

"Uraaa!" 

Sophie and Rosa, the two machine gunners, pounded away like crazy. 


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Having climbed up atop a small rock, holding their stocks on the right 
side, and holding the carrying handle on the top part of the guns, they 
fired in full-auto hip fire. 

They understood that their comrade had made contact, and that she was 
defeated with no time for them to rush to her side, by looking at the hit 
point gauge at the top-left corner of their view. 

And they found out about the number of enemies and gun used from 
the dying message she left behind. 

They were on a rock, so they could see well. The small, pink figure was 
restlessly escaping along the shadow of the rocks. 

The sniper Anna finished clambering up a larger rock. Standing atop it 
and holding her Dragunov, she peeked through the scope, 

"Die." 

And fired at the pink back. 

However, because of its speed, she could not match the timing, 

"Shit." 

She kept missing by a hair's breadth. 


"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" 

While loudly shouting, and, 

'How many times has it been todaaaaaaaaaaaay!" 


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Shouting this in her mind, she continued running away from the hail of 
bullets. 

Her surroundings once again lit up with red lines like a concert hall, and 
with the unending roar of bullets, the sand kicked up by their impact 
flew in her face and into her mouth. 

"Peh!" 

To survive, she had to put in some distance no matter what. 

She did manage to defeat that first enemy with a mix of chance and luck, 
but if she was caught in that extreme firepower, there probably wouldn't 
be a second time. 

"Hiiiiiiii!" 

While giving a scream that was close to being a cry, LLENN ran and ran, 
and finally, after who knows how many tens of seconds of running, the 
world became silent. 


Tanya's corpse, with a shining [ D e a d ] tag, was lying in the shade 
of a rock. 

In the BoB and SJ, the corpse would remain with the last expression the 
person had before they died, in other words, their hit points were 
completely depleted, and Tanya's expression was a smile with closed 
eyes. What came to mind was the sense of accomplishment of 
completing a job. 

*Pon*, while tapping her small shoulders. 


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"It's because she got her revenge." 

Crouching with her huge build. Boss gave a short speech. 

And then, she detached the holster with a pistol from Tanya's waist. And 
then handed it over to Tohma, who was behind her, 

"You or Sophie take it. It would be nice if you got the chance to fire 2-3 
bullets at the enemy with it." 

"Roger." 

Once Tohma took it. Boss put down her large backpack on the pebbled 
ground, 

"I'll be the one that kills it in the end." 

And drew out a black barrel from inside. 


After all that merciless running and running away at a full-speed sprint, 
she no longer knew how far she had travelled. 

"Haah." 

LLENN finally took a breather. Running did not take one's breath away, 
but it did result in extreme mental exhaustion. 

LLENN hid in the shade of a large rock and stopped her small body. 

Eirst, she confirmed her own hit points, which she had not had the time 
to do while she ran. At any rate, she was sprinting at full-speed at a 
speed similar to a bicycle, so if she did not look forward, she would 
likely have crashed into a rock. 


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The hit on her shoulder seemed to have only been on the level of a light 
graze, as her hit point gauge was still at seventy percent. Nevertheless, it 
was on a level where it was possible to die from 2 or 3 shots, even if they 
did not hit the vitals. And she had no healing items. 

And, even though it had probably ended, she checked her satellite scan 
terminal. As expected, the scan was over, so she returned it to her chest 
pocket. 

Next, she reloaded her now empty P90 magazine. Although unexpected, 
she had wasted a lot of bullets during her unrestrained shooting, and 
she had used up two magazines. 

She immediately operated the storage, materialised the last one, and put 
it into her pouch. 

Even adding all of them up, 

"Six of them. Only 300 bullets, huh." 

That was all that LLENN could fire in SJ. 

She did take one down, but if she had to use another 100 for the next 
one, she naturally would not have enough of them. With all that flashy 
shooting, there were probably more than just three people. 

"If there are five of them, then 60 bullets per person." 

If she used more than that in the battle, she wouldn't be able to do 
anything but resign. Though she did have two plasma grenades and a 
knife, 

"Hmm, should I use them for suicide." 


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Were her very pessimistic words. 

To flush out LLENN, machine guns started roaring from afar. 

"Uhya!" 

The chills went through LLENN's spine, causing her to jump and drop 
low to the ground. 


This time, it was not continuous fire. 

*Tatatatan*, *tatatatan*, bursts of about 5 bullets would repeat at one- 
second intervals. 

"About 200 metres on the other side." 

While lying in the rocks' shade, LLENN remembered her training with 
M, and estimated the distance. 

Just by knowing whether they were close or far affected her sense of 
security. It was a moment where she was really glad that she had 
undertaken that training. 

She could not hear the sound of impact at all, thus she cautiously raised 
her body and head, and... 

"Hm?" 

Saw that the Bullet Line was high in the sky. 

Probably several metres above her head. It seemed that the bullet that 
came flying, along with a sound, quickly erased the line in the sky. 


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It did not take long for her to realise that they were not aiming at her. 
'Are they aiming at M then?', that probably wasn't it either. 

They were simply pounding away at places where they thought the 
enemy might be, without aiming. 

Pitohui's words flashed back in LLENN's head. 

"LLENN-chan, even if you are at a disadvantage in a battle against 
people, no matter how scared you are, don't shoot randomly without 
purpose. Since that is like a drug that allows you to forget your anxiety, 
but only while shooting, you see, and it's a waste of bullets, and it only 
exposes that you „are scared" to the enemy that knows your position - 
the poorest of poor plans." 

With the unending gunshots from afar, and the faint sound of bullets 
flying overhead as a BGM 50 , 

"I might still be able to win this." 

LLENN chuckled as she muttered this. 

'I'm still scared, but my opponents are naturally scared as well!' 

'With one of their comrades taken down, they're feeling uneasy!' 

'That's why they're pounding away even though they don't know my 
position!' 

With this self-serving conjecture, the moment that she thought she still 
had a chance of winning- 


50 Abbreviation for "background music" 


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'I still have 300 bullets as well! With 10 bullets per person, I can kill 
thirty of them!' 

She completely changed to a positive attitude. She quickly stood up, and 
took her P90, 

"Alright.They're coming from the right." 

She began advancing in a half-run towards the machine guns that were 
flashing Bullet Lines on her right. 

It was a much more cheerful assault. It was as if the opponents' fire and 
Bullet Lines were guiding her like the Pole star, or a lighthouse. 

Nonetheless, she did not let her guard down, and weaved her way 
through the rocks by moving quickly, then hiding, then slowly peeking 
out, and once again moving quickly. 

She even had breathing room to enjoy the tingling sensation of tension. 

'At this rate. I'll take down all the survivors alone, and might become 
the hero, no, heroine of SJ!' 

'If I do. I'll give the deserter M, and Pito, who gave that 
incomprehensible order, a shock or two!' 

'At a possible hero interview, no, heroine interview, 

"Well, even though I was alone in the end, it was an easy victory, you 
know?" 

I'll say that.' 


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Having day-dreamed thus far, she was shot from the left without a 
sound. 


The 1st bullet hit her left arm. 

Her entire arm became numb, and lost its strength. 

Immediately afterwards, the 2nd bullet hit her left waist. 

Luckily, it hit the P90's magazine pouch, making one of the magazines 
inside unusable. 

While she was falling because the hit to her left waist broke her balance, 
the 3rd bullet grazed the nape of her neck. 

"Gya!" 

Giving a shriek at the dull pain in the upper left part of her body, 
LLENN nonetheless sped up. At the same time, she tried finding out 
where she was being shot from based on the sound- 

T couldn't hear it!' 

She was astonished at this truth. 

The moment she was shot was a quiet moment, exactly between the two 
intervals of the machine gun's fire. 

It was a moment where she could even hear her own footsteps. 

And yet, she was suddenly hit with three consecutive attacks, and she 
did not hear any sounds at all. 


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She had even thought that, rather than being shot, she had been stabbed 
with a spear by someone nearby whom she did not notice, but this was 
not the case. 

Looking at the upper left part of her body, she saw her upper arm 
flashing in a red hit effect, and her hit -point gauge decreasing further with 
a *guu* sound, until it stopped at around forty percent. 

As for her left thigh, a large, diagonal hole had been opened in her 
pouch, 

"Ugh." 

And from it she saw a largely destroyed magazine. The number of bullets 
that she could fire - minus 50. 

However, if the impact was even slightly off, it probably wouldn't have 
ended with just leg pain and damage. With her leg becoming numb, she 
would have tumbled, become an easy target, and be dead now. 

"I-I am--" 

While running away, LLENN muttered in a half tear-strained face. 
"S-still lucky ." 


"That guy has the devil's own luck." 51 

Boss expressed thus, seeing her pink prey disappearing from her field of 
vision. 


51 The expression used here is ^V V (akuun no tsuyoi yatsu). It means "lucky in a bad situation 

(usually the kind caused by the person themselves)". 


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The one who sniped LLENN from a rock shade roughly 100 metres away 
was her. 

She nimbly aimed and fired at her opponent that had jumped out, but— 


The 1st bullet hit her swinging left arm, preventing a hit to the heart, the 
2nd bullet should have hit the waist, but she could not see the hit effect. 

It probably hit a piece of equipment and did not deal damage. The 3rd 
bullet only graze the nape of her neck. 

Boss addressed the other four via the communication item, 

"I failed in bringing the target down. It's escaping further to the south. 
We're switching to pursuit as planned. The opponent's HP isn't high, but 
don't let your guard down. The pink colour surprisingly doesn't stand 
out." 

'Roger', hearing this. Boss operated the selector on the back of her gun's 
trigger, and set it to allow firing in full auto. 

It was a gun, slightly shorter than the Dragunov, that could not be called 
beautiful even to flatter it. 

Its length was about 90 cm. It had a scope and a long, twenty-round 
magazine equipped. It had the silhouette of an assault rifle. The atypical 
part about it was the thick cylinder covering its barrel. 

This gun was also Russian-made, a silent sniper «VSS»-nicknamed 

«Vintorez». 

It was a gun developed after investigating what was needed for special 
forces to snipe without a sound past a mid-range (about 400 metres). 


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There were two great characteristics. 

The first aspect was a giant suppressor, which suppressed the sound of 
the gunpowder exploding, integrated into the tip of the short barrel. The 
actual barrel is very short, while the entire cylinder that looks like the 
barrel is the suppressor. 

And the other aspect was that it exclusively used 9x33 mm rounds, 
which were „bullets designed specifically not to surpass the speed of 
sound". 

The impact of ordinary bullets that surpassed the speed of sound 
created a plosive sound. The impact wave of the so-called *bang* 
gunshot would be heard at almost the same time as the explosion of the 
gunpowder. 

Even though a suppressor could suppress the sound of an explosion, it 
would still create a plosive sound. Therefore, it would be easy to realise 
that someone „was under fire", but the Vintorez did not even have that, 
as the bullet speed was reduced to a subsonic level. It fired big, yet very 
silent, bullets. 

Even if a comrade was taken down right next to someone, it would be 
impossible to know where they were being shot from and, in the first 
place, whether they were under fire at all-that's what Vintorez was. 


Just like how they tricked LLENN now, they would intentionally fire 
their machine guns like mad without aiming, drawing the attention of 
their opponents, and, 

"Heheh! Those guys are panicking!" 

Would invite such negligence. 


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And when the enemy nonchalantly and carelessly drew near- 

In an area with a clear field of vision for long-range attacks, they would 
snipe them with the 2 Dragunovs. 

In a narrow place with numerous opportunities for cover, they would 
take them down by having the quick-witted Tanya assault them with 

her submachine gun. 

Or, just like in LLENN's case. Boss would draw near unnoticed, and take 
the target down with her silent sniping. Alternatively, Tanya and Boss 
would make a combined attack. Sometimes attacking at the same time as 
a two man cell, sometimes attacking from the left and right in a pincer 
attack. 

In this way, the girls had been reaping victories in the SJ's battlefield 
thus far. Following Boss's orders and instructions, in perfect team play. 

When they had camped at the advantageous ruins, they drew in three 
teams as their opponents, and even managed to get them to fight each 
other at the same time. 

In the end, teams that did not have cohesive cooperation, and used 
improvised formations, were no match for the girls. 

The 2 core firepower machine guns can't really be decoys-' 

Such teams also did not notice the attackers until they were wiped out. 


"So, let's finish this! Sophie's party, move to the west-southwest. Rosa's 
party, cover them." 


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The five began moving for the hunt's mop-up. 

The machine gunner and sniper ordered to provide cover aimed at the 
direction where their enemy was, and began repeatedly shooting. By 
scattering Bullet Lines and bullets in the area, they would restrict their 
opponent's movement. 

Meanwhile, the team ordered to move would advance. They would 
secure an advantageous position, in this battlefield's case, the top of a 
rock with a good view. 

Tohma, who was the first to climb up a large rock, spotted the pink chibi 
running between rocks about 100 metres away. 

"Spotted! Right under the sun, approximately a hundred!" 

While assuming a posture with her Dragunov, Tohma notified her 
comrade. At the same time, she began shooting. 

The pink chibi that she had glimpsed plunged and hid behind a rock, it 
was about 2 metres- wide, thus Tohma aimed at the left and right of the 
rock with her scope, and *tan*, *tan*, fired at regular intervals. It was her 
suppressing fire to ensure that the opponent did not move from there. 
From behind, Sophie, who was several seconds late, climbed up while 
holding her PKM. Confirming the impact of Tohma's Dragunov' s bullets, 

"That rock?" 

"Da!" 

Sophie, who got a reply that was Russian for „Yes", 

"Lend me your shoulder!" 


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Raised the muzzle of her PKM. Tohma stopped firing with her Dragunov 
that no longer had that many bullets left, and brought it in front of her 
body with a sling. 

With her now free hands, Tohma immediately grasped the PKM's bipod 
from left and right, and placed the base of the barrel on her right 
shoulder. And then, she crouched. 

This was a method to use a human when there was nowhere to set up 

the gun-in other words, something for it to „lean against", and 

when the bipod was too low in a prone posture. 

Having obtained a steady posture, 

"Go to hellll!" 

The female dwarf began shooting violently. 

There were merely a bit over 100 metres to the rock that she chibi was 
hiding behind. 

The Bullet Circle fixed on the rock, and even at its largest, only took up 
twice the size of the rock. 

The bullets fired with a heavy and low sound became sonic blades, and 
mercilessly poured down on the target. 


"Uhyaaaaaaaaaaaaa! 

LLENN shouted. 

'Em done for I'm already done for I'm done for at last I'm really done for 


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I'm gonna die I'm gonna die I'll be shot I'm gonna die I'm gonna die!' 52 

Today, she had been under fire from machine guns time after time, but 
she had not been as scared as she was now. 

The rock that she had her back to, and was probably a good-for-nothing 
lump that was only several hundred kilograms in weight, was shaking 
irregularly. And, from the opposite side, it was giving an unpleasant 
sound of being shaved off. 

And, Bullet Lines, as well as bullets, came flying incessantly in the 
surroundings, and kept raising pillars of sand, unlike waterspouts, atop 
the pebbles. 

The gunshots could be heard clearer than ever before, as if showing off 
that the enemy was close. The sound of bullets piercing the air 
resounded from the right, left, and above. 

'Can I escape.?' 

There were roughly 20 metres till the next rock in the direction opposite 
to the enemies. Beyond that point, the rocks were closer to each other, 
thus it seemed like it would be easier to hide, but- 

'It won't woooooork!' 

Bullets were relentlessly hitting the ground even there. 

Right now, she would be hit the moment she jumped out, much less 
reaching the rock. And her hit points, which were but forty percent full, 
would undoubtedly be depleted if a single bullet hit her. 


52 There are no punctuation marks to denote breaks in the original text, imply rapid speech or thoughts. This 
happens several times throughout the story, so this note applies to any similarly structured sentences. 


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'Then, what would happen if I stayed here the whole time?' 

The answer was simple. The other enemy members were undoubtedly 
closing in towards her, and would either attack from the side or throw a 
grenade, either way it was certain death. Yes, game over. 

The next moment, she imagined that a plasma grenade rolled right next to 
her, and mercilessly exploded, 

"Uugh." 

LLENN shivered lightly. 

At the same moment- 

'Plasma grenade 53 ' 

She remembered that she had them as well. She put her hand on her left 
waist, and found the two spheres still there. 

The place where they were hanging was not even 5 cm away from the 
hole of the shot pouch. 

Plasma grenades were cheap and very powerful, but it was too easy to 
use, thus it was relatively simple to induce an explosion by shooting it; 
this aspect was the trap that the grenades came with. 

That's why everyone would hand them as far to the back of their waists 
as possible. Weighing the ease of instant use and safety, it was deemed 
that this was the best position. Though as for explosions caused by being 
shot from the side, one could only put up with that risk. 


53 Plasma grenade is written in hiragana, rather than katakana, in this case. 


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'If that attack moments ago had hit it, I would have died even if I my 
remaining hit points were at max, huh', LLENN was amazed by her 
good luck. 

However, she now had such a scary thought specifically because she 
survived- 

While under fire, LLENN detached a grenade from her waist, and stared 
fixedly at the black ball. 

By turning the knob on its top, she could set the timer for the explosion, 
but by default, she could press the button and it would go *bang* after 3 
and a half seconds. 

If she tried to press it now, including the time it would take for her hit 
points to go down with a *guun* sound, she'd be blown out of SJ in 5 
seconds, and she would probably feel easier. 


LLENN's eyes became serious. 

Eyeing it as if she was trying to stare a hole through it, 
"I'm counting on you." 

She pressed the button. 


O-ne. 

1 second had passed. Even in that time, the pebbles in the surroundings 
were whirled up by the impact of the bullets, and the rock continued to 
shake. 


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T~wo. 

The 2nd second had passed, and LLENN threw the grenade with her 
hand behind her back. 

Th~ree. 

The 3rd second had passed, with her back turned to the rock, she 
assumed a half-rising posture, and prepared to dash. 

"Ta!" 

The beginning of LLENN's dash, and the explosion of the plasma grenade 
on the other side of the rock were simultaneous. 

The explosion that blew away anything within a 2 metre radius greatly 
shook the heavy rock, but it could not destroy it. 

However, all the bullets in the air at that moment got hit by the impact. 
As they were repelled upwards or sideways, their course changed- 

And became a shield that protected LLENN's back as she began running. 


"What the!" 

Sophie was so shocked that she stopped shooting. 

Tohma, who had become the base for the machine gun, clearly saw it as 
well. 

How a bluish-white explosion erupted in front of the rock, and how it 
bent the course of the tracers. And how the pink chibi had begun 
running away at the same time. 


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Sophie slightly shifted her aim upwards and once again began pounding 
away, but no matter how much it seemed that the bullets would hit right 
next to the pink chibi, they didn't- 

"Shit! So fast!" 

And their target escaped behind a rock about 20 metres away. Sophie 
immediately halted her fire, 

"The target escaped using the explosion as a shield! It's moving further 
to the west! The rocks there are dense! Everyone, be careful!" 

"Roger! We clearly see the location of the explosion. We're about 40 
metres to the north-east. We're in pursuit." 

And received an immediate reply from Boss. 

"Roger! We'll chase after reloading!" 

Sophie took down the PKM from Tohma's shoulder, and removed the 
ammunition case, which probably had few bullets left, from the bottom 
of the gun. 

Tohma opened Sophie's backpack, and took out another ammunition case 
from there. 

"That guy.is good." 

While moving her hand to reload her weapon, the female dwarf agreed. 
"Geez.They got us a ridiculous enemy for the end." 


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'It worked It worked It worked It wooorked!" 

LLENN did not know whether the plasma grenade's explosion would 
become a shield against bullets or not. It was an all-or-nothing gamble. 

However, having succeeded, LLENN obtained a new refuge for the time 
being, and still continued running. 

There were plenty of rocks, thus if she dashed at full-speed, there was the 
danger that she would not be able to dodge them, and thus she 
considerably slowed down her speed. 

And, as she ran and ran- 

'What do I do?' 

LLENN suddenly thought. 

What would happen if she ran away. 


She slowed down her run. 

While strolling through the space covered in rocks, LLENN thought. 

'The opponents still number at least three. Actually, I should think that 
there are more.' 

'Their weapons are: 2 7.62 mm class machine guns that scatter bullets in a 
hail, at least 1 automatic sniper rifle that can be be used 600 metres away. 
Additionally, 1 mysterious gun that can shoot soundlessly.' 

'As for me, I have a P90, which can be used 200 metres away at best, even 


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when I aim calmly, 1 plasma grenade, and a knife.' 

'Huh? Doesn't this mean-' 

'That by keeping my distance. I'm actually I put myself at a 
disadvantage in proportion to the distance?' 

'I took down one of them some time ago, but how did I win? How did I 
manage to win?' 

'No, I've slaughtered five people until now, but in what situation did I 
pull off such a result?' 


She stopped walking. 

'Close. Until now, whenever I took down anyone, I was extremely close 
to them.' 


'That's it--' 


"I can't run away." 

LLENN looked at the P-chan in her right hand. 

The atypical-shaped gun painted in pink, 

"That's right LLENN-chan! You've finally realised it, huh! Now then! 
Don't run away from enemies anymore! Go towards them yourself! 
Make the best use of your nimbleness and dexterity, and fight like 
LLENN-chan should! I'll be at your side, okay! No matter if we die or 
live, we're in this together!" 


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Gave such a cheerful speech, she thought, but- 

She of course did not want to become a madwoman who could 
communicate with a gun, thus, 

"No no." 

LLENN deemed that it was her imagination. 


"Come, let's have our final battle!" 

Boss inspired her comrades and, 

"Follow me!" 

Naturally, she was standing in the vanguard, leading the assault 
towards the place where the pink chibi should be hiding. 

If the leader did not face danger, no subordinate would follow. She 
understood that well. 

From the side of the rock where the explosion occurred, a trail of the 
enemy's footprints was left behind. Holding her Vintorez at her waist. 
Boss moved in a half run, continuing the assault with maximum tension 
and vigilance. 

From behind, at about 5-metre intervals, an oba-san lightly holding her 
PKM, Rosa, and a blonde-haired Dragunov user with sunglasses, Anna, 
followed. 

Among the three, only one of them moved swiftly. Two kept their guns 
at the ready and were on the lookout. And, after switching roles, they 
moved out again. 


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It was a battle formation where one of them might be shot, but the 
remaining two would certainly bring the enemy down. Naturally, Boss 
was the vanguard. Without a need for words, the three skillfully 
repeated the combination. 

'Now, where are you? Come out!' 

Boss's grim face tensed up further, even though she did not say that, and 
looked almost like that of a beast. Her braid really did not suit her. 

And then, the moment she began moving from one rock to the next, 

"Wh-!" 

Boss saw. 

Merely 10 metres ahead. A chibi who was entirely pink from bandana to 
her clothes was sitting atop a small rock the size of a dining table, and 
looking at her. 

The P90 in her hands aim was not directed at her. And in the first place, 
it wasn't even prepared for an attack. 

And, the pink chibi was smiling. The cheerful smile looked like she had 
found the friend that she had been waiting for. 

The moment Boss aligned her aim, 

"Were you looking for me?" 

The chibi began speaking to her in a normal manner, and, for probably 
not even half a second, her reaction to pull the trigger was delayed. 


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"Yeah!" 

While answering. Boss swiftly shot with her Vintorez and, 

"Ahaha!" 

The chibi fell to the back at the same time. 

Bullets soundlessly passed through the space where the chibi's chest 
was, and another between her overturned legs. 

"Bastard!" 

While Boss shouted, Rosa, who had caught up, passed her side. And 
dynamically discharged with her PKM machine gun that was held to her 
waist. The menacing and very low sound began resounding. 

With this gun, which could shoot 100 bullets consecutively, she could 
scatter its bullets for nearly 10 seconds even if she fired while in pursuit. 

"Oraaaaaaaaaaa!" 

Along with a shout that did not lose to her gunshots in loudness, Rosa 
assaulted towards the rock while scattering her bullets as if sprinkling 
water with a hose. 

Anna, who had her Dragunov at the ready, followed from behind, 

"Boss, take the left!" 

While saying thus, she spread out to the right. 

Rosa in the centre, Anna from the right, and Boss from the left. 


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Their strategy was to surround the target by two of them going around 
the rock, and thus settling the battle in an instant. 

In this case, it was by no means a mistake but- 

"Stop! 

Boss shouted. 


"Let's do it!" 

Having descended from the rock with a back spin, LLENN firmly 
landed on the ground with her feet, and once again sprung up. 

LLENN did not run away. 

She already understood. That if she turned her back at this range, she 
would merely become a target. 

'I won't turn my back anymore. Then what do I do?' 

'I close in on them myself!' 

LENN suddenly jumped on the rock that she had been sitting on 
moments ago. Then, she immediately leaped up with her maximum 
force. She made a great jump with all her might, with her agility being 
used to the limit. 

While soaring in the air, LLENN saw. That below her were three 
enemies. 

'A middle-aged woman that was making her way forward while 
shooting with her machine gun.’ 


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'On her left was a blonde with sunglasses who was holding a long and 
narrow sniper rifle.' 

'And on the right side was a rough woman who was shouting 
something. She's the woman who I met eyes with.' 

LLENN began choosing her prey. 

'Now, who should I start with?' 


Boss, and Anna too, saw. 

That their comrade machine gunner who had been pounding away, and 
her surroundings, were engulfed in red lines from above. And that the 
next moment, a column of sand was raised, and hit effects began shining 
within it. 

"Gah!" 

The PKM stopped shooting, and its owner's body collapsed. 


A pink chibi descended at the collapsed Rosa's side from the sky. 
"You bastard!" "Shit." 

Anna and Boss aimed their muzzles at the chibi at the same time- 

Just as they were about to pull their triggers... 

Their bullets would undoubtedly hit their ally if they fired. 


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The pink chibi magnificently landed right in the middle between then, 
and turned forward at the next moment. 


'Go to hell already!' 

Anna swung her long Dragunov to the left, aimed at the pink chibi that 
was getting up from its spin, and fired in succession. 

The bullets went through above the head of the target that began 
running to escape. 

'He's fast! And small!' 

Her target was less than 10 metres away, yet she could not hit it. 

'I'm definitely going to bring you down here!' 

Anna, who continued firing with such a thought, did not notice that the 
pink chibi's left arm suddenly waved. 

Nor did she notice the black ball rolling right next to her. 

"Run!" 

In her final moments, she heard Boss's voice. 

Feeling the shock from the explosion behind her, and sprinting at full- 
speed, LLENN exchanged the P90's magazine with a new one taken out 
from her right thigh pouch. 

Without the time to put away the removed magazine into her pouch, she 
had to drop it even though it still had 20 bullets, but there was no time 
to worry about it now. 


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With this, the number of bullets that she could fire was merely 200. 

Time for checking on the fruits of her battle - none. 

The thrown grenade had fallen right next to the sniper, thus she should 
have been taken down, probably; however, the machine gunner was 
probably not dead. Even LLENN saw that the bullets she fired from the 
sky were considerably off the mark. 

As if to prove that, a hail of Bullet Lines chased after her and passed her. 

Without the time for her to hide behind a rock, a hail of bullets 
descended on her, a dull pain ran through her left ankle, and made her 
fall over in a flashy manner. 

Tumbling while in a full-speed dash was extremely flashy. 
"Uwaaaaaaaaaaaaaa." 

Like a crashed airplane, LLENN kept spinning as she blew up a cloud of 
dust- 


And finally, she hit a rock with her back and head with a thud, 
"Gefuh!" 

With her legs thrown out in front, she finally stopped. 

As the cloud of dust dissipated, 

"Ah." 

LLENN saw. 


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Firstly, her own hit points. They had further decreased to below thirty 
percent, and the gauge finally turned red. 

Then, her now empty hands. Her beloved gun that had been hanging in 
a sling was not in her hands. She immediately found it by touch. On her 
back. It was carried away by her spinning, and was now on the back of 
her body. 

And finally, the enemy. Atop a rock about 30 metres ahead of her, an 
oba-san was standing with several hit effects throughout her body, and a 
demon-like expression. She had her massive machine gun held on her 
shoulder, and the Bullet Lines springing from her muzzle extended to 
LLENN's face, head, arms and legs. 

'She's probably angry.' 

'With two of her comrades killed, and several holes in her own body, it 
was impossible for her not to be angry.' 

Time for taking out the P90 hanging from her back - none. 

Time for folding her extended legs, standing up and running away - also 
none. 

Bullets would be coming at her soon, thus LLENN stared blankly, as if 
this was her death, and last scene in SJ. 

And then she noticed that 3 plasma grenades each hanging down from the 
right and left sides of the oba-san's backpack; totaling six. 

'If only but 1 bullet from my fire moments ago had hit it! 

LLENN lamented her bad luck, but- 


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'Ah, in that case, I would have also been engulfed in a chain explosion 
and died.' 

'I really was lucky', she reconsidered. 'My last thoughts before death 
being this is ironic, huh.', she thought. 

The next moment, instead of bullets, 

"Well played! Shorty!" 

Such were came towards her. 

It seemed that the machine gun oba-san wanted her to hear her speech in 
her final moments. 

'Okay, I'll listen, y'know?' 

It seemed that she could extend her lifespan-by seconds or tens of 

seconds with this. She might even have the opportunity to take out her 
P90. 

"Now then, die!" 

It only took 3 seconds. 

'You could have talked a bit more. You could have spoken your heart 
out.' 

With such thoughts, LLENN absent-mindedly looked at the face of the 
person who was now going to kill her. 

And that person exploded. 


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Everyone one saw it. 

How the person holding a machine gun was engulfed in multiple bluish- 
white lights. 

Obviously LLENN, as well as Boss, who was diagonally downwards 
right next to her. 

Tohma, who had her Dragunov at the ready to support her comrades, 
and Sophie, who was holding a PKM, also saw it from the top of a rock 
that was about 40 metres away. 

And- 

And another person, who was the farthest away, as well. 


As an extreme sound of explosion roared through the world- 

The first to completely realise what had happened was LLENN. 

Those were the explosions of the plasma grenades on the woman's waist, 
and they were induced by shooting. 

There was but was conceivable cause for it. 

LLENN placed her hand on her left ear, and re-activated the item there. 
And then, she enquired. 

"Are you going to participate now? M-san." 

The answer immediately reached her. 


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"Just around the last battle.” 


Chapter 13 - Battle to the Death 

Boss, who saw her comrade disappear in an explosion, had her large 
figure blown away by the aftereffect. 

There had been 6 plasma grenades hanging down from Rosa's waist, and 
due to bad luck, 1 of them was sent flying by the initial explosion, and 
exploded as it drew near Boss. Without the time to avoid it, she had 
been dealt damage. Her large figure was blown away by about 3 metres, 
and she stopped as she fell on her backside on the pebbles. 

"Shi~it! Using the leader as a decoy, as if that's normal!" 

Swearing at the fact that she was completely fooled, she promptly and 
energetically got up, and confirmed the damage. 

Her hit points were at sixty percent. She was still okay. 

However- 


"K~!" 


There was even greater damage. Her beloved gun Vintorez was not in her 
hands. 

Tanya and Boss frequently engaged in close-range battles, thus, desiring 
a degree of freedom for the movement of their guns, they did not use 
slings. 

This time, this approach backfired. The gun was blown away by the 
blast. 


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Of course, she would probably find it if she searched the surroundings, 
but she did not have the time for that. 

Boss drew out a black pistol from her right waist holster without 
hesitation. 

It was a planar -form automatic pistol. A 9 mm pistol, Russian-made of 
course, that was manufactured by Arsenal Firearms and called «Strizh», 
Russian for „swift //54 , and it was called „Strike One" in export 
specifications. 

Tightly grasping the gun with a 17 bullet magazine, in her right hand. 
Boss sent instructions to her two surviving comrades. 

"There's a sniper to the north-west! Don't climb on rocks!" 

The reply from the machine gunner Sophie, 

"Roger! We're heading towards you!" 

And the Dragunov- wielder Tohma, 

"I've been shot too!" 

Were these. 

In other words, this meant that she intentionally kept exposing herself 
on a rock even after the explosion, tempting the sniper to shoot her. 
And, after she got hit by the sniper, she was somehow still alive. 

"Line from the north side! The distance - at least two hundred!" 

Being a sniper, she was able to grasp that solely based on the Bullet Line, 
and conveyed this beneficial information to Boss. 


54 Refers to the Apodidae family of birds. 


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"Alright! Everyone, let's take down the chibi! Surround it!" 


"Sorry, LLENN. I failed to take down the sniper.” 

"That's alright!" 

LLENN stood up as she answered to M. She pulled the sling and 
brought her P90 in front of her body. 

She did not have the time to talk leisurely. There was still an enemy in 
the shade of a rock about 30 metres in front of here, and the enemy 
should be heading towards her. Because that is what she would do. 

No longer minding the other two who were nearby, LLENN broke into a 
run. 

It was an extreme dash towards the enemy, with the resolution of 
colliding into them. As she ran, the rocks kept moving to the back of her 
vision as if they were soaring, and what came out from the shade of one 
of the rocks, 

"Uooooooooo!" 

Was a large woman with a shouting expression who was aiming a pistol 
at her. 

Squeezing the P90's trigger, LLENN continued her assault. By drawing 
near, she kept moving below the bullets and thus kept dodging her 
opponent's line of fire. 

She saw her own bullets heading for the huge woman's legs, but this 
woman was not a weak opponent that could be taken down that easily. 

'In that case. I'll shoot you up even if I have to run into you!' 


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LLENN, who continued charging while dodging bullets, 

"Don't make light of me!" 

Saw that the huge woman was raising her big and long leg. And, that it 
was heading for her like a slanting log. 

"Guhya!" 

Giving a tiny scream, LLENN was kicked up. While soaring in the sky — 

'I can't let her go that easily!' 

LLENN put all of her energy solely into the hand grasping her P90. 

And then, the small body that flew in the air, 

"Boheh!" 

Landed on one of the rocks. 

What LLENN had fallen on with her back was a flat and wide rock that 
was at least 2 metres high. 'Just how far was I blown away?' 

"Ugaah." 

She did not feel any sharp pain, but due to the feeling of her back being 
pressed with a thump, she couldn't help but be in agony for about 2 
seconds. 

When LLENN finally tried standing up, her right hand, 

*Gorih*. 

Was stepped on by a big leg. 


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The right leg of the huge woman that ran up to the top of the rock, and 
still had hit effects shown- 

Pinned down her arm with the P90. 

LLENN's hand and P90 were fixed onto her stomach as if held in a vise. 
Her right hand could not be moved, and her stomach hurt. As if she had 
overeaten. 

"I have you now!" 

As the roaring huge woman was backlit, LLENN could not see her face, 
but- 

'Em glad that I can't see her It's probably scary Probably like an 
Asura. 55 ' 

She was able to think calmly. 

"The finishing move!" 

The huge woman's right arm had turned towards her. 

It was grasping a black pistol. She saw a red Line coming from it, and it 
was fixed on her left breast, exactly where her heart was. 

*Dadadan* 

Three, consecutive, merciless and high-speed shots. 

'Even though you didn't need to shoot that much, I would have died 
from 1 shot. A waste of bullets.' 


55 Asura (Mi&M) are lowest ranks of the deities or demigods of the Kamadhatu. The expression like an Asura 
means "with berserker-like fury". 


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With such a thought, LLENN felt the impact shaking her body. 

And, 'It's less painful than I thought', she had this thought as well. 

It was an attack on her heart, and yet it only felt as if her chest was 
knocked on with a *tontonton*. 'Perhaps the pain is no longer being 
reproduced since I died from the first bullet?' 

That was not it. 

Looking at her hit -point gauge, she saw that although it was red, it was 
still the same as it was moments ago. She had been hit by 3 bullets, and 
yet it hadn't decreased at all. Speaking of which, she did see any hit 
effects either. 


'How?' 


"Aah?" 

It seemed that her enemy-san was more surprised than her, 

*Dan*, *dan*, *dan*, Man*. 

This time, she slowly fired four times consecutively, at her chest of 
course. LLENN clearly saw how the slide quickly made round trips, and 
each time an empty shell was thrown out and glittered. 

And still, she did not die. 

"Is this guy invulnerable? A cheat?" 

'That can't be the case you know?' 

LLENN tried answering to the question, but- 

Before she did, she realised. She remembered. What was in the left chest 


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pocket of her combat uniform. 

It was the satellite scan terminal-. An indestructible object. 

"Shhit! What, a protectory 

'No, that is not it, though the result is the same/ 


"Then- 


// 


The Bullet Line rose from her chest. It was fixed on her right eye, and the 
world was dyed in deep red, 

"Hyah! 

LLENN twist her neck to the left. A 9 mm bullet that grazed her right ear 
pierced the rock behind her. 

Another Line. This time, she twisted her neck to the right. She heard the 
sound of impact right next to her left ear. 

And then, the huge woman drew her pistol closer. At LLENN's 
forehead, merely about 20 cm away. 

She avoided those 2 bullets, but she was done for with the next. 
LLENN's resolution to die for the umpteenth time today. 


"Wh-Shit!" 


Was once again wiped out by the huge woman's surprised words, and 
by the disappearance of the Bullet Lines. 

The pistol thrust at her, specifically, its slide stopped at the back. 

When an automatic pistol is in such a state, it means that that a common 


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phenomenon around the world has occurred. Namely, either a load 
failure, or the gun has run out of ammo. 

In this case, it was the latter. The huge woman had fired too much. 

Having accustomed to the backlighting, LLENN saw the body of the 
huge woman. While pinning her down with her right foot, the woman 
reached for the pouch on her left thigh with her left hand as she removed 
the empty magazine from the pistol with her right. 

It was obvious that she was trying to take out a spare magazine for her 
pistol and reload it, and if this was allowed, 10 bullets or more would 
probably descend on her face this time. 

'Yeah. I won't let you.' 

'But, what do I do? What can I do?' 

LLENN used the weapon that she could use. 

She moved her sole free, left hand and swiftly pulled out a long P90's 
magazine from her left thigh pouch, and, 

"Taah!" 

With a yell, she threw it with all her might. 

The massive magazine filled with bullets collided with the huge woman's 
left hand, 

"Wh!" 

And sent the pistol magazine in it flying below the rock. 

"Another one." 


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LLENN pulled out a second magazine, and threw it at the huge woman's 
face this time . The long magazine that turned sideways collided with the 
woman's eye, 

"Kyah." 

And forced a cute scream, which reminded LLENN that the player was 
female, out of her. 

As expected, the force in her right leg loosened. LLENN put all her 
might into swinging her right hand, forcing the large figured to sway, 
and fall backwards- 


"Sh- 


// 


However, by only stumbling a step or two, she stopped. 

Using this gap, LLENN rolled to the left to escape, then got up to jump, 
and then she extended her right hand and thrust the muzzle of her P90 
towards the huge woman who was about 2 metres in front of her. 

"Taah!" 

She fired all the remaining bullets in full auto. 
Burarararararararararararararara. 

The ten-odd bullets that remained in the magazine were immediately 
fired out. 

Meanwhile, only the first 5 bullets landed a hit. On the huge woman's 
left arm and hand. 

"Haah?" 

LLENN was shocked. 


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Even in her dreams she wouldn't have thought that person who would 
do such a thing existed. 

The huge woman discerned that she would not be able to dodge the 
attack, thus she made her own attack. And so, she extended her left arm 
towards the P90 muzzle. 

And, she tightly grasped the tip of the barrel that was spewing out 
flames as the gun fired, and forcibly shifted the line of fire to the left. 
The P90 discharge continued, but all the remaining bullets were soaked 
up by the ground below the rock. 

On the same rock, LLENN who had extended her left arm with her P90, 
and the huge woman who grasped its tip with her left hand- 

Stood still in that posture. 

"D-doesn't it hurt a bit?" 

LLENN reflexively enquired. Even though it did not hurt as much as in 
RL, it should have been considerably hard on her senses when that 
many holes were opened in her left arm. 

The woman with her left arm and hand dyed in bright red by the hit 

effects, 

"Well, I forgot over the excitement. Though I'm not at all filled with 
strength." 

With a rough face, she answered in a feminine tone. And then. 


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\\ ] 

1 

'#V\ ] 


Hs «#l [ I. .>Sr 


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"Hey pipsqueak. What's your name?" 

"LLENN.-And you?" 

"Eva.-Everyone calls me Boss though." 

LLENN exerted more strength in her right hand in an attempt to pull 
out her P90 from the hands of the huge woman. 

Boss continued grasping it with her left hand, which should be becoming 
numb, with no intention to let her do so. If her hand had not been shot, 
she would have probably torn the P90 away a long time ago. 

With both of them exerting strength, their bodies continued to sway 
repeatedly. As the two moved their feet to maintain their balance, they 
kept turning as if they were dancing. 

LLENN attempted to extend her left arm towards her right thigh, but 
her hand did not reach the pouch. Even if she could draw out the 
magazine inside, she did not know whether she would be able to insert it 
into her P90. 

"Out of ammo, huh." 

Boss gave a fiendish smile. 

While thinking what kind of expression she was showing herself, 
LLENN, 

"The same goes to you." 

Replied to her opponent, who was holding a pistol with zero remaining 
bullets in her right hand, and could not reload her magazine as her left 
hand was busy. 

'At this rate, as time goes by. Boss 's left hand will recover its strength. 


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and I'll be the one at a disadvantage/ 

The moment LLENN had that thought, an even more unfavourable 
event occured. 

" Boooss !" 

In the right edge of her field of vision, she saw a woman holding a 
machine gun atop a rock about 20 metres away. 

The woman who was large in width held her PKM in hip fire position, 
"Shitt!" 

And did not fire. No, she could not fire. Because, if she unleashed the 
firepower of that gun at this moment, she would quite obviously hit Boss 
too." 

"Just fire already!" 

Boss shouted. 

With this, she seemingly resolved to take down the enemy along with an 
ally, but nevertheless, she raised her machine gun from the hip position to 
adjust her aim even if only a bit. 

The just under 2 second delay until she fixed the gun to her shoulder 
became the chink in her defence. 

LLENN saw. 

How a large spark scattered on the right flank of the woman who was 
aiming her machine gun at her, no, them. 

*Gain*, it made a loud sound as if something metal was being pierced, 
and her orientation was forcibly changed to the left. 


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It was undoubtedly M's Bullet Line-less sniping. 

The 2nd bullet came flying, and hit the staggering woman, specifically 
her right flank, and a hit effect began shining. 


"K~\" 


Having fallen to her knees downcast and no longer moving from that 
position, the woman, who became a mere target for the third shot, 
extended her right hand to the holster on her waist. 

And took out the pistol that Tanya had originally used, the same Strizh 
as Boss's- 

Specifically, she only hastily took out its magazine , and, 

"Use it!" 

Mustering her last remaining strength, she threw it. 

The moment that the small magazine left her hand, the bullet that M fired 
pierced her head. 

The body and machine gun that no longer had any strength tumbled 
down the rock. And then, a [Dead] marker lit up. 

The magazine that had been cast away went through the air while 
slightly spinning, and with splending control, it came flying towards the 
spot where the two were holding their ground. 

As she saw this-, 

'How many seconds until she grasps it with her left hand, inserts it into 
her pistol, aims it at me and fires? No, how many tenths of a second 
until then?' 


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LLENN thought. Because Boss right in front of her was obviously going 
to do that. 

At the same time, it was her chance. If only the woman's left hand went 
away, she could immediately transfer the P90 to her left hand, draw out 
a magazine from her right thigh with her right hand, and reload- 

In that case, it would be a match of lightning speed. 

But, LLENN had confidence. In her raised agility and dexterity, and in 
her reloading abilities that she had practised time and time again. 

'I can do it! I can win this!' 

With such a thought, she continued exerting strength into her right arm 
for whenever Boss would take her hand away, but, 

"That won't work, pipsqueak." 

The opponent right in front of her laughed with a broad grin, and 
LLENN felt that more strength was put into the woman's left hand that 
was recovering from numbness- 

'She can't be?' 

Considering the possibilities of what Boss wanted to do, LLENN 
doubted her sanity. 'She shouldn't be able to do it.' 

The magazine came flying through the air. 

Boss pointed the bottom of the pistol in her right hand in the direction 
that the magazine was coming from. And then, she slowly twisted it- 

'No way? She can't be serious?' 


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The magazine that flew towards them as it spun went towards the pistol 
that Boss had spun accordingly- 

'Impossible!' 

*Shakon*, the magazine was splendidly absorbed by the gun. 

Boss' s thumb lowered the slide stop lever, and the slide returned as it 
loaded a bullet. 

As LLENN saw this scene, she wondered 'Who are these guys in RL?'. 

Based on the display of a magnificent juggling technique - 

Nothing but a street performer came to her mind, and „it's the 
audience's etiquette to pay a bit of money after seeing a performance", 
this fact, which was completely irrelevant at the moment, crossed her 
mind. 

Boss finally let her left hand loose from the P90. 

And LLENN's body, who had been pulling it, fell backwards. At the 
same time. Boss's right hand moved, and pointed the muzzle at 
LLENN's stomach. 

"Go" 

It appeared that the world, 

"to" 

And Boss's mouth, 

"hell" 

Were moving slowly. 


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"now!" 

'Ah I'm already done for I'm really going to die I've forgotten how many 
times I've said this but I'm finally done for It's the end. 

As LLENN thought thus, 

"Don't give up! I will protect LLENN-chan!" 

She felt that she had heard someone's voice. 

No, she clearly heard it. 


Aiming at the abdomen of the small body right in front of her. Boss 
pulled the trigger of her Strizh. 

She no longer went easy. 

She unleashed all 16 bullets at the stomach rather than the chest without 
restraint. The sound of discharge, that reverberated as if it was made by 
a submachine gun, resounded, and empty shells shined in midair in short 
intervals. 

"How's this!" 

Boss was confident in her victory this time. 

The pink chibi slipped into the smoke from the discharge of her gun, and 
disappeared. 

But nevertheless, she did not let her guard down, and as she dropped 
the used up magazine, her left hand had took out the spare magazine that 
she was unable to get moments ago, and attempted to insert it into her 
Strizh, 


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"Eeh?" 

At the sight of a human figure slowly swaying, she stopped her action. 

"How dare you-" 

The pink chibi... was alive. 

Even though she bombarded her „stomach" that much. 

"How dare you-" 

Hearing a voice that sounded like it was rising from the bottom of hell, 

"HOW DARE YOOOOOU-" 

Boss saw. 

That her opponent had not died yet, and that the pink P90 that she was 
holding in her arms had become a tattered wreck. 

And she heard a yell. 

"DO THAT TO P-CH A A A A A A A A A A A AN!" 

She did not understand what that meant. 

LLENN had thought. 

'Why did I use P-chan as a shield?' 

In SJ, there were no weapon random drops, thus she had believed that 
there would be no way to lose her beloved gun, but everything has 
exceptions. 


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Although it hardly ever occurred, if excessive damage was dealt to a gun 
during a battle, the gun's durability would be exceeded, and it would 

fall into to an irreparable state-in other words, it was possible to lose 

it. 

'I knew that, I understood that, and yet I used it to shield me.' 

'In order not to die, in order to win the game.' 

'And, for the time being, I haven't died.' 

'But, P-chan has died.' 

"How dare you how dare you HOW DARE YOOOOOU-" 

'Mhm, I'm going to beat that woman in front of me to death.' 

"DO THAT TO P-CH A A A A A A A A A A A AN!" 


Boss was overwhelmed by the chibi's bloodshot eyes glaring at her, and 
just as she was about to insert the magazine into her Strizh, she stopped 
her hand. 

The P90's wreckage fell and scattered on the rock, 

"I see.So you used it to guard yourself, how magnificent!" 

She expressed her honest words of admiration. 

And then, she finished inserting the magazine to the end, and shut the 
slide. 


'Even though I'm being praised, it's not like I'm happy about it; mhm. 


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I'm going to kill that woman/ 

That day- 

Karen desperately stopped her welled up desire to shoot the cute high 
school students. 

'But there's absolutely no need to hide it now. Instead, I'll kill her 
quickly.' 

While having such a thought, LLENN saw that Boss had finished her 
shooting preparations. 

And, she thought. 

'I don't have a weapon anymore, but I'll bring her down even if I have to 
bite her. Where do I have to bite that Boss to have her hit points decrease? 

On that subject, she felt that she had received a vulgar lecture about that 
from M. 

'When was that?' 

'Was that on Friday?' 

No, that was wrong. It was today. And moreover, not even 2 hours had 
passed since then. 

At this moment, she finally remembered what she was taught. 


The moment that Boss fixed the pistol's aim on her, 

LLENN kicked up the earth while keeping an eye on the Bullet Line. 


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"Why you-!" 

Boss aimed and fired her Strizh at LLENN who suddenly charged at her. 

However, the small and fast LLENN swiftly slipped through her aim, 
and somehow slipped below her crotch, and disappeared behind her. 

Drawing her Strizh near her body so that it would not be stolen, she 
turned around, 

"Don't screw around! If you think you can run away-" 

As she said this, she saw that the world had slanted slightly. She could 
not exert the strength in her left leg as she wanted. And Boss, 

"Wh-?" 

Saw that her hit point gauge was decreasing with a *guun* sound. 

Looking at her left thigh, she understood. A long and narrow bullet hit 

effect -no, it wasn't a bullet hit. It was a long, long, long and narrow 

wound. 

'I was cut?' 

She immediately raised her eyes, and saw that a black and atrocious 
knife held in a reverse grip, 

"Shaah!" 

Was being held by the figure who was once again charging towards her. 


Their battle with the top of the rock as the stage, 
'Shift!" 


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Was continuously observed by Tohma for some time now. 

She was lying on her stomach on a rock that was merely about 50 metres 
away, and had her Dragunov at the ready. 

There was no scope on that Dragunov. 

It was removed, dropped at the side of the rock, and had its objective 
lens smashed. 

Moments ago, she had leaned out atop of a large rock to confirm the 
position of the enemy sniper, and she saw. That for a mere moment, a 
figure had fixed its aim exactly on her and fired. For some reason, she 
could not see the Bullet Line, but she did see the shining muzzle. 

The next moment, her scope's field of vision blacked out. Being pushed by 
the gun, she tumbled down the rock, and realised the cause. It wasn't 
her that was hit, but her scope, and it became useless. 

Her spine went cold at the opponent's accuracy and speed, but thanks to 
this, her life was spared. Tohma quickly detached the scope and the cheek 
pad for the scope, 

"I'm not done yet!" 

Stuck her head out from another small rock from a low height, and, 
using normal metal sights equipped on the Dragunov, she began 
covering Boss. 

When the pink chibi was kicked and sent flying atop a rock, Tohma 
immediately took aim, but. 


"K~!" 


She could only stop as Boss ran up there. 


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50 metres was a distance where she could blow away the target's 
fingertips if she had a scope, but with ordinary sights, she could not aim 
that well. 

And so, Tohma continued observing their battle to the death from afar 
without getting to shoot. 

If she carelessly shot, there was the risk that she would hit Boss, who had 
a far bigger body. 

And even if she hit the pink chibi, there was also the possibility that the 
bullet would pierce her and deal damage to Boss as well. 

As she could not allow the Bullet Line to become a hindrance, Tohma 
took her finger away from the trigger, and the Bullet Circle disappeared 
from her vision as well. 

And so, the moment of not being able to do anything but watch the 
battle continued- 

When Boss got a magazine from a comrade and made the pink chibi eat 
the pistol's ferocious rapid-fire, she was confident that they had won. 

Having endured that much close-range rapid fire, she probably did not 
have any hit points left. 

However- 

'H-how? Are you a zombieeeel” 

Seeing the pink chibi moving once again, Tohma felt fear from the 
bottom of her heart. 


"Taaaah!" 


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Towards the charging LLENN, 

"Stop screwing around!" 

Boss fired; however, she missed once again. 

LLENN quickly dodged, as if she was avoiding a punch, charged under 
her crotch, and came out on the other side. While cutting her inner 
femoral artery. 

"Guh!" 

This time, her right thigh was cut, and her hit points decreased again. It 
finally went into the yellow zone. 

'A blade fight huh!' 

Boss understood the essence of this fight. 

She herself had a gun, but it was no longer a battle of guns. 

The broadcast of the third BoB crossed her mind. At that time too, the 
battle to the death that was nearly the last one turned into a sword 
against sword fight. 

The pink chibi brandishing a knife right in front of her could see the Bullet 
Lines of her Storizh. As the bullets would fly there, she could just avoid 
them thinking of them as slash attacks. 

And, in regards to agility, the opponent was far better. 

Her large-framed self brandishing a long sword, and her opponent 
charging with a knife, which had a short reach, but it was impossible to 
tell where it was aimed at. 


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'In that case!' 

Turning around. Boss changed tactics. 

Having slipped under the crotch the second time, LLENN, 

'One more attack! No, however many it takes!' 

Turning around, she saw Bullet Lines extending from the pistol in Boss's 
right hand. 

'That much I can just dodge.' 

'Unless they touch my body, I won't be hit/ 

With the battle having unfolded thus far, LLENN no longer had any 
hesitation. 

'I'll avenge P-chan." 

With just this thought, LLENN held up the knife in her right hand over 
her head, and began her third assault, 

'Eeh?' 

She saw that Boss transferred the pistol to another hand. 

And let go of the grip from her hand, grasping the front of the gun with 
her left, 

"Uraa!" 

Lollowed by the start of a swing towards her. 

She was going to strike with the pistol as if it was a hammer. 


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As LLENN had begun her assault, she could no longer stop. She did not 
know where the Bullet Line-less blow would go until the very last 
moment. 

When she realised that the attack was aimed at her right hand, it was 
already too late to lower the hand or draw it in- 

'If I lose my knife, it's over.' 

LLENN opened her hand with all her strength. 

Boss's pistol blow hit LLENN's right wrist- 

And, *gori*, made a nasty sound of a bone being hit. Her right arm was 
sent far outward. 

The system acknowledged that the damage was enough to break a bone, 
and made a hit effect flash from her wrist, while her hit point gauge 
dropped quickly. Ten percent remained. 


'I repelled the knifeV 

As Boss had this thought, she saw. 

That the knife was floating in the space between LLENN and herself. 
And that LLENN's left hand extended to it, and tightly grasped the grip. 
'I see, so she released the knife herself before the blow, huh!' 

A feeling of admiration towards her opponent came to Boss's mind, 
"Haha!" 


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And she spontaneously let out a laugh. 

LLENN firmly grasped the knife in a reverse grip, and lightly jumped. 
From left to right, the huge neck of the person giving a smile, 

"Taah!" 

Was sliced in a straight, horizontal line. 

The moment that LLENN landed, the giant figure fell to its back, and a 
[ D e a d ] marker began shining. 

"You bastard!" 

Tohma no longer had a reason to hesitate. 

She raised the upper half of her body from the rock, touched the 
Dragunov 's trigger with her finger, producing a Bullet Circle, which she 
fixed perfectly on the chibi's body, and 

"Die." 

She pulled the trigger. 

"Drop to the ground!" 

At the shout that came to her left ear- 

LLENN moved her body before she could even think. 

A Dragunov 's bullet roared as it passed by, merely 10 cm above LLENN's 
body lying close to the ground atop the rock. 


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'Uhii! 


LLENN gave a scream. 

Right after she heard the Dragunov 's gunshot, 

"I'm right here! Enemy-san!" 

She heard this voice, and *dokadokadokan*, three loud and consecutive 
gunshots. LLENN turned her head and faced the direction that the 
gunshots came from, 

"Eh, M-san?" 

Wasn't that M boldly standing up atop a large rock 150 metres away? She 
only saw a small figure, but that large build and camouflaged clothes 
were undoubtedly M's. 

"Hey, M-san! Hide!-Won't you end up dying if you die?" 

M did not answer her words. 


"Nice guts!" 

Tohma stood up. 

Facing the huge man who showed up to provoke her, she bared her 
canines, and pointed her Dragunov at him, aligning the Bullet Circle on 
his large abdomen. 


The two snipers, 


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Glared at each other a short distance of merely 200 metres away. 

Both of them prepared their respective guns, and discharged at the same 
time. 

The bullets quickly approached and passed by each other- 

And hit each other's abdomens. 

The two bodies fell down from the rocks. 

LLENN clearly saw how the big one fell. 


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Hearing a gaudy fanfare, 

[CONGRATULATIONS ! IWINNER LM ! J 

LLENN ran under the capital letters flashing in the sky. 

LLENN violently dashed to the vicinity where M had been and had fell 
after being shot, 

"Aah!" 

And found M's large build lying upside down, 

"M-sa-Ugyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" 

She gave a loud scream after witnessing that his neck had twisted one 
hundred and eighty degrees. 

M's face was at the side of the backpack. 

And then, his eyes looked at her, 

"Higyaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" 

LLENN thought that her hit points would decrease out of shock and that 
she would die. 

"Stop making so much noise. What's wrong?" 

"GYAAAA! IT TALKED! MONSTEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!" 

"Who?" 

"M-SAN BECAME A MONSTEEEEEEER!" 


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"What are you saying?" 

M stood up via his back side, 

"GYAAAAAA-, huh?" 

In the midst of her scream, LLENN finally realised. That the orientation 
of M's face and limbs wasn't actually unusual. 

The unusual thing was the backpack's orientation. M wasn't wearing it on 
his back, but his stomach instead, and there was a small hole open in the 
middle of the backpack. 

"W-what.So you used it as a guard ." 

With the loud fanfare as the BGM, LLENN feebly muttered, 

"Because, I.absolutely didn't want to die." 

M said with his rough face. 


Match time: 1 hour 28 minutes. 

The first Squad jam was over. 

Winning team - [f L M J . 

Bullets fired in total during the tournament: 49,810. 


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Chapter 14 - Later Developments 

Having been engulfed in light, the placed that they were transferred to 
was the initial standby area. 

The characters T Winners! J was flashing in the small space. As for the 
match results, the time of each team's annihilation or resignation was 
listed. 

The topmost was, of course, themselves, «LM». 

Below was «SH I N C >. 'Shinku?' LLENN couldn't make sense of it, 
but they were terrifying opponents in any case. 

And below them were- 

LLENN stopped following the remaining results, and looked at her own 
figure. 

Her combat uniform, which had been covered in dust just moments ago, 
became sparkling clean, and her dropped knit cap was placed right next 
to her. 

However, 

"P-chan." 

The figure of her beloved gun, which was acknowledged to have be 
destroyed, was nowhere to be found. As if it was even confirmed that no 
usable parts remained, the gun's fragments were not present either. 

" Bye-bye ." 

As she muttered, to her right, 

"Aah." 


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The large man sat down with a thump as he sighed. It didn't really 
happen, but LLENN felt as if the earth shook at that moment. 

"Nice work, M-san. We survived, right?" 

"A-ah, yeah." 

M raised his head as he took off his bush hat. 

The stern face that looked like an RL brown bear's when they had met 
now looked like that of a teddy bear to LLENN. 

M operated with his left hand, brought out a window, and took off most 
of his equipment in an instant. The M14 EBR that had slaughtered who 
knows how many targets, the backpack that had protected him from who 
knows how many bullets, and the HK45 that was fired at LLENN, all of 
them disappeared one after the other. 

What remained was a macho man dressed in the bottom half of his 
combat uniform and a T-shirt. 

LLENN followed him as well; first, she materialised a robe, and under it 
she took off all of her equipment and changed to her green clothes. 

There was a huge numeral countdown in the space in front of them, and, 
110,109,108, it continued to decrease. Underneath it, 

[fThe Squad Jam has ended. Would you like to log out ? Or would you 
like to return to the bar? In case neither is chosen, you will be returned 
to the bar.J 

Were these characters. 

If she returned to the bar, LLENN would be treated as the victor. She 
would undoubtedly get befitting praise from the audience that watched 
the broadcast, and she would be caught in a barrage of questions. 


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"I've.had enough going wild and am really tired." 

LLENN operated the log out option, and she only needed to press the „ 
Yes" button. 

Boku 

"Me .too.I dislike clapping and cheering too, so I'll be going off 

too." 

Hearing M's answer, 

"You use „boku" in RL, huh. M-san." 

"Huh? Ah, yeah.Honestly speaking, using „ore" in this world is 

very exhausting.Boku is, better." 

"Well, either way, we survived, right?" 

"A-ah, yeah.Hey, erm.you see." 

Seeing M looking up at her apologetically, 

"Why did you come to save me in the end?" 

LLENN impishly asked. 

M answered. 

"Because it was safer for me." 

At his blunt and frank words, LLENN unintentionally gave a wry smile. 
And then, 

"The scary Pito-san in RL will also approve of this! All's well that ends 
well!" 


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LLENN said as if trying to take the initiative, and smiled sweetly. 
"Th-that would be nice." 

LLENN didn't know what kind of relationship the two had, or how 
serious that usual ,,1'm going to kill you in RL" letter was. 

She didn't know, but seeing as they survived this far, even Pitohui 
probably couldn't complain. It was a great result. 

Speaking of results- 

"That reminds me, we ended up winning but.it seems we could get 

something for it, right?" 

She remembered something that was written in SJ's rule book. 

That the top three teams would get a prize. She did not know what that 
would be though. 

It wasn't a grand tournament like the BoB, and it was sponsored by an 
individual, so LLENN didn't think that it would be something that was 
worth looking forward to, and moreover, she didn't think that she 
would get into the top three, so LLENN hadn't cared about it. 

"Huh? Ah.Victory prize, huh." 

M answered with absolutely no interest as well, 

"Seeing as we survived.I don't really care if we do get one." 

Looking down on M who seemed to be honestly thinking that, 

"True, there's no better prize than that." 


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LLENN said. 

"Though probably.we'll probably be sent a catalogue later on, like in 

the BoB." 

"Like a hikidemono 56 in weddings, huh.-Speaking of which, I 

wonder if Pito is receiving one at this moment?" 

"Possibly." 

"I wonder if there will be a P90 in that catalogue .?" 

To LLENN, who muttered knowing the answer, 

"Probably not.-In either of them." 

M answered honestly. 

"Right." 

And with this, their conversation was over, and after a few seconds of 
silence, 

"Well, I'm going off then. See you for the review meeting." 

"Ah, yeah." 

"Send my regards to Pito-san!" 

LLENN pressed the „ Y e s " button as she said thus. 

* * * 


56 A hikidemono (51 # is a gift that the newlywed couple give to each of the guests attending their 
wedding reception. Lately, people have been giving catalogues as a hikidemono so that the guest could choose 
the gift they want to ensure that nobody would be dissatisfied by their gift. 


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The next thing that entered Karen's five senses as she was looking at the 
ceiling through the clear part of her AmuSphere was- 

The smell of ample sweat. 

And, the sense of the weight of her body that had sunk in the bed, and 
her pyjamas drenched in sweat. 

"Unaaa." 

While giving an expression that did not make sense, she abruptly got 
up, taking off her AmuSphere at the same time. 


And she saw a room with nobody else in it. 

Tokyo's evening sky was probably as red as it was in GGO. It was dimly 
shining from the opening of the curtain. 

Karen stood up sluggishly, took several steps, and caught sight of the 
black P90 that was adorning the living room corner. 


Taking it into her hands, she held it in front of her stomach. And then, 
she looked at the mirror. 

The black P90 wasn't sufficient in size to cover her abdomen, thus pale 
yellow 57 jut out both from the sides and from above. 


Karen lifted the P90 and. 


57 Refers to the colour of Karen's pyjamas. 


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Silently fixed it to her shoulder. 


She aimed at the huge woman with long, black hair in the mirror. 

And then, she breathed in, 

"Bam!" 

And breathed out in a plosive sound. 

Holding the P90 in her right hand, Karen turned back and went to the 
side of her bed. By squatting down, she lifted up her smartphone that was 
placed in a charging station, and immediately turned it on. 

And then, picked out one of the numbers registered in it, and 
immediately dialled. 

When she was connected, 

"Good day, this is Kohiruimaki." 

Without hesitation, she enquired. 

"Can I make a reservation for tomorrow?" 

X- X- X- 

[fHowever, what went wrong?"J 
[fUh huh. What went wrong?J 

[fStop saying the same thing. Well, something did go wrong J 


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[fYou guys, are you idiots! Have a sincere conversation.-It's true 

that we 1-lost. Let's admit it J 

[fUh huh. 'ven so, we got to shoot like crazy, huh J 

[fYeah, we did. Being able to shoot with a machine gun exhilaratingly 
like that was so awesome J 

[fAre we going to participate in the next SJ if there's going to be one?J 
rWe will! J 
IF'course! J 

fObviously. But, I would want to survive and move up the rank a bit 
more next time. I want to shoot more J 

fSameJ 

[fNo objection J 

[TAlright! We'll be training for that occasion until then!j 

^Training, huh.Well, it can't be helped. Shall we do it?J 

[f Oh? What are we going to do? J 

[fit's pretty obvious. Every one of us will be raising our strength! J 
[fAnd then?J 

[fWe raise it to the limit, and hold machine guns in both hands! Like dual 
wielding pistols, but with machine guns\ That will instantly double our 
firepower! Double! J 

* * * 


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2nd of February 2026. Monday. Past 9AM. 

Ibaraki prefecture, Hyakuri Air Self-Defence Force Base. In one of the 
rooms there, two men had met face-to-face. 

One of them was a man in his forties, wearing an Air Self-Defence Force 
uniform with a 'sansa' (corresponds to 'major') 58 rank insignia. 

He was sitting in a chair with his elbow on the desk, 

"Although that is only the gist of it, that is the end of the report that I 
can present today." 

And listening to the words of the man standing in front of him. 

"I will present the written report that will include everyone's 
impressions by the day after tomorrow." 

He was a Air Self-Defence Force member in his twenties with a 'nii' 
(corresponds to 'first lieutenant') rank insignia and a sharp face. 

The major nodded *un un* several times, and 

"I get it. I'm look forward to the written report.-Well then, let's hear 

your impressions for the time being. How was it?" 

The first lieutenant energetically answered to the major's question. 

"Yes, to put it bluntly, it was a „both good and bad game".'' 

"I see. Then, shall we start with the bad side?" 

"Yes. There were quite a lot of moments when the enemies and their 


58 The JSDF has their own name for the military ranks and the author is giving military equivalents of the ranks 
in brackets. Further references to the JSDF rank will be translated 


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movement were unique to the game and can not be used as feedback for 
an actual battle. Especially the fact that it encourages the bad habit of 
disregarding aiming as it is easy to hit someone." 

"I see. And as for the good points?" 

"Yes. I lost four subordinates due to misjudgement, but right now, 
everyone-is smiling." 


After the first lieutenant left the room with his hat in his hand, the major 
picked up the phone atop the desk. 

After naming himself to the person that he called, 

"Hello. As planned, our young ones participated." 

He began with these words, and roughly explained what he had heard 
from the first lieutenant just now. 

And then, he added one more thing to the end. 

"Was that of use as a reference?-Kikuoka-san." 

* X- X- 


3rd of February. Tuesday. Before 1600. 

In the premises of a certain metropolitan area women's university, 
"Eeh!" 

Karen was yelled at by one of the female high-school students walking 
towards her. It was a scream. 

Those were girls whose names she did not know, but faces she 
recognised. It was a group of six short and sweet female high school 


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students who had constantly passed her by, who carried sports bags, and 
had a Caucasian among them. 

Right after one of them shouted, the other five gave matching high- 
pitched shrieks one after the other, thus, 

"Huh?" 

Karen was slightly surprised and tilted her head. 

'What are they surprised and shouting about?', before Karen could find 
out the answer- 

One of the six, a female high school student who was probably the 
shortest, and was wearing her black hair in a braid, came to her in a half¬ 
run, 

"H-hey! Excuse me, but-" 

She looked up to Karen, and asked. 

"Y-you're the onee-san whom we always pass by, right?" 

Karen answered, while still not making sense of why she was 
approached. 

"Eh, yeah, that's right." 

"Did you, cut your hair?" 

"Ah--" 

She now understood the reason. 

Karen tilted her now light neck slightly. Her black hair, which was now 
in a short cut about the same length as LLENN's, swayed gently. 


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"Yeah. Yesterday, completely." 

While the remaining five high school girls assembled, the first one 
shouted as if she was about to explode. 

"It's lovely! It's cool!" 

"I-it is.?" 

The large Karen answered, overwhelmed by the small high school girls. 
And then, 

"Every time we pass by, we would always say 'That person is tall, looks 
like a model, and is cool'! 'We're so jealous', 'She looks good no matter 

what she wears!' Since, we are so small.Your long hair was lovely 

too, but your current hairstyle absolutely suits onee-san even more!" 

"Ah-T-thanks." 

"I want to be taller as well! But, I've already stopped growing!" 

"Is that so. You see, I-I've always disliked being tall, but, somehow, 

I stopped fussing about it the day before yesterday." 

"H-how did you make such a breakthrough?" 

"E-erm.probably because the day before yesterday I did something 

that caused me to feel like I would die time and time again? I thought, 
humans can become whatever they want if they don't give up." 

"Th-That's amazing!" 

Hearing this conversation, one of the high school girls behind the 
braided girl tapped her on the back. 


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"That went well, right Boss? You managed to chat!" 

" Boss .?" 

At Karen's dubious question, the braided high school girl answered with 
signs of embarrassment. 

"It's a weird nickname, right? It's because I'm the club head." 

And then, she quickly lowered her head, and, 

"I am Nitobe Saki! A second year at the attached high! I am the head of 
the rhythmic gymnastics club, and everyone here is a member of the 
club. Two of them are second years and three are first years. This girl is a 
Russian living in Japan, Milana Sidorova-chan." 

Five matching greetings that were characteristic of sports club members 
came, and Karen lowered her head slightly. 

"Good day. I'm a first year university student, Kohiruimaki Karen." 

"So you are „Karen"-san I see. It is a lovely name." 

"Thanks. Nice to meet you. Saki-chan." 

"Thank you very much! Ehm, we must go to practice now, but could we 
have another chat if we happen to meet again?" 

"Sure. We constantly pass by one another." 

"Thank you very much. Well then, we'll be taking our leave!" 

She once again received beautifully matching bows that were 
characteristic of sports club members, and even more so of a rhythmic 
gymnastics club members. 


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"Bye." 

Karen lightly waved her hand. 

The six of them cheerfully ran past her, 

"It couldn't be, right?" 

And Karen muttered. 

And then, she turned forward again. The key holder appended to her bag, 
the miniature P90 dyed in pink, bounced slightly. 

Karen took ten steps with her now short hair swaying- 

And when she heard light footsteps drawing near her and- 

"Say.Karen-san." 

Heard those words, she turned around. 

Having turned around and looking down, she saw that Nitobe Saki 
alone was standing in front of her. 

Saki looked straight at Karen, 

"Could we have a handshake?" 

"Eh? - -Sure." 

Karen grasped the right hand that Saki held out. 

At that moment, she applied some force to the small hand. 


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"Congratulations on your win. But, next time. I'm gonna win, chibi- 
suke." 

Hearing Saki's voice as Saki cheerfully stared at her- 

And finding out that her guess was right, Karen answered with a grin. 
"Come at me whenever you want. Giga woman." 

And so, after letting go of each other's hand, the two- 

*Bashin*, hit each other's palm- 

A beautiful sound resounded through the winter Tokyo's sky. 


On the same day. Past 22 o'clock. 

In a certain place in the metropolitan area. 

In a pitch black room, the night view of Tokyo glimmered outside the 
window. 

In the room, the voice of a young woman roared. 

"Ah! Lame la~me lame! It's so lame that I couldn't participate in a hard 
killing event!" 


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And then, the voice of a young man that seemed to be trying to calm her. 

"You don't need to grieve so much, it's not like GGO is going to 
disappear." 

" Darling, you had so much fun fighting-and, moreover, you 

survived-and yet I couldn't participate-why why why why 

why?" 

In between the woman's voice, the sound of a person being hit was 
mixed in, and each time, a weak scream of a man overlapped with it. 

"It can't be helped, I guess." 

"Why?" 

Another sound of a blow, 

"Gehoh!" 

The voice of a man violently choking overlapped. 

'"ven so, ochibi-chan was amazing, huh." 

The woman's voice was filled with fascination. 

"Ever since I saw her for the first time, I knew that from how naturally 

she moved, but I never expected her to move that well.She's really 

living it, she's a „born with a talent for VR games " kind of person. I'm so 
jealous." 

The man listened to the woman's monologue without uttering a word. 

"Moreover, we even ended up getting her fighting talent to bloom. That 
girl sure is strong. What kind of body does she have IRL, I wonder? 

What kind of girl is she, I wonder? It piques your interest, right. It' 
piques your interest, doesn't it?" 


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// 


// 


The man, who did not answer, was hit several times again. 

"Gehoh. Gah. Gofuh." 

"Aa, lame! Lame lame!-That's it, the next one! It's all fine if another 

one is held! A second Squad jam tournament! Because, thanks to you 
guys, it was so exciting! It must have even raised the crazy writer's 
share! It wouldn't be strange for a second tournament to be held!" 

"P-probably." 

A sound of a blow. 

"Gehoh!" 

"No matter what errands I have. I'm going to tear through and 
participate! Darling, you participate too! It's an order from your boss! 
Now then, during the event, we'll grandly grandly fight and fight and 
fight and fight and fight and fight and fight and fight-" 

"What are you.planning to do?" 

"Ain't it obvious-I'm going to die!" 

(to be cont inued.) 


Afterword 

Good day to all nine hundred million readers in the country! I am the 
author, Sigsawa Keiichi. 


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Eeh? There aren't that many people in Japan right now? Aren't my 
calculations off, you say? 

I have to point out that I am a bunkei 59 . 


Now then, I truly thank you for purchasing- 

f Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online 1 —Squad Jam —J 
The book named thus. 

It loses to my latest series, 

[fDanshi Koukousei de Urekko Light Novel Sakka wo Shiteiru keredo, 
Toshishita no Classmate de Seiyuu no Onnanoko ni Kubi wo 
Shimerareteiru. —Time to PI ay— 60 J 

But it is still a book with a very long title. I have not decided on the 
official abbreviation at the present time, thus, please call it either 

f Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online 1 —Squad J — J , or 


[fSAOGGOlSJJ , or. 




or. 


f Squid JamJ , or, 

[fSigsawa's latest work that makes full use of his hobby J , as you 


59 In Japanese high schools, the students must choose one of the two courses: bunkei (humanities, social 
sciences and fine arts) or rikei (S^, science, maths). The chosen course determines the number of lessons 
the student will have on a given subject. 

60 The English title of the series is "I'm A High School Boy and a Successful Light Novel Author, But I'm Being 
Strangled By A Female Classmate Who's A Voice Actress And Is Younger Than Me." And it's apparently so long 
that I can't fit it into a ruby tag... Figures... 


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please. 

And now, let's begin the „afterword" of this book. 

As you all know, there are no spoilers for the volume here, as per the 
Sigsawa family precepts. Thus, please be at ease and continue reading. 

By the way, I am the first and last generation of the Sigsawa family. 


Now then, this work, as the title implies, is a spinoff (note: a derivative 
work) of f Sword Art Online J (SAO) 

SAO is a highly popular Dengeki Bunko series that is receiving high 
praise and is on sale now. 

It is a story that takes place in the near future, with a world where virtual 
games that allows one to experience all five senses and the games 
themselves as the stage, and focuses on the activities of the protagonist 
Kirito, heroine Asuna, and many other fascinating characters. 

The author is Kawahara Reki-san. And the illustrator is abec-san. 

For more details, 

http: //w w w .s wordart-online .net/ 

Please visit this official site! 

It would feel wrong if I wrote it here myself. And, I feel like I'd be told 
that it would be finflating the afterword] . 


Now then now then, for this work, I was allowed to use the world 
setting of the SAO series, as well as the the game setting, and constructed 
Sigsawa -original characters and story. 


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In other words, this is not a story where Kirito and other SAO series' 
characters will appear. This, is important. I wanted to say just this even 
if it became a spoiler, that is why I wrote this. 


Now then now then now then, the stage for this work is a virtual online 
game, called f Gun Gale Online J (GGO), that appeared in the f Phantom 
Bullet storyj in SAO paperback volumes 5~6. It is an SF role playing 
game where only guns, rather than swords and magic, are used. 

When I, a gun maniac, finished reading the f Phantom Bullet storyj in 
August 2010,1 felt so, so frustrated and engulfed in agony. 

"Kuhaa, that was so entertaining! And.Why didn't I come up with 

such a setting! With such a setting, wouldn't I be able to write as many 
gun action stories where people don't die as I wanted! Moreover, I could 
use a real world Japanese person as the protagonist!" 

After some time of loudly expressing my regret with all my energy, I 
suddenly had an idea. 

"I want to write derivative novel that uses the SAO world, and GGO as 
its stage! I seriously want to write one! If I do, I want to publish it! Even 
if I had to do it as a doujinshi, though, if possible, I would prefer to get 
the proper consent and release it via Dengeki Bunko with Kuroboshi 
Kouhaku-san as the illustratorV' 

It was nice as an idea, but I did not know whether it would be possible 
to realise. After all, there had been no precedent for it. 

"Ain't it impossible, to put it bluntly?" 

In that case, would there be anyone who would criticise me for giving 
up without trying? No, there wouldn't be anyone. 


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However, I thought 'Well, should I at least try bringing it up seeing as I 
came up with it?', and after awhile, I told my supervising editor about 
the spinoff publication idea - 

And I was surprised. That I got the answer 'It's possible, if you get the 
proper permission from all related people, starting with Kawahara Reki- 
san and abec-san. 

"Alright, let's write it some day!" 

I firmly decided in my heart, but I did not actually do any writing, while 
time flowed by as I was busy writing other series - 

What pushed the realisation of my aspiration, which I thought might 
disappear as my plan would have crumbled at this rate, was the second 
season of the SAO anime. 

The second season of the anime had the GGO story. Having 
unexpectedly met its producer Osawa-san at a certain event venue, he 
asked me a question for collecting data on small arms for the second 
season. 'I want the anime staff to fire real guns, isn't there some good 
place for that?', to be precise (actually, Osawa-san was also the producer 
of the anime version of [fKino's JourneyJ that was broadcast in 2003. 
Could this be foreshadowing anime Kino?). 

And thus, our talk went 'You told us about a recommended shooting 
range in Guam, and then accompanied us on data collection there, so 
how about treating it as a job and get an official remuneration?' 

And thus, I ended up accepting being the small arm supervisor of the 
second season of the SAO anime. And speaking of what kind of job that 
was specifically- 

In my case, I consulted them on the ideas of the small arms and situations 
in which they would be used, and gave my ideas, I brought model guns 
that seemed useful as materials for drawing and lent them to the studio, 


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and things like that. 

When the script, storyboard and video were done. I'd also check them, 
and look for any big mistakes in small arms depiction, aside from those 
that were intentional. 

And my, that was a very fun job. And it was the first experience in my 
life of my name being shown on the anime ED telop 61 credited other 
than as the original author. 

While doing my job as the supervisor, 

"This timing, greatly affected by SAO is my only chance to make the 
GGO spinoff that I've always harboured the aspiration for! Now's the 
time! I am seriously going to write it, so please allow me to make one!" 

I haughtily shared my once-in-a-lifetime request with my supervising 
editor, Kawahara Reki-san, and Kawahara Reki's supervising editor- 

And now you are reading this „afterword"! 

That is the grand history drama behind the publication of this book. Well, 
looking back at it, a lot did happen. 


I believe that this is perhaps the first attempt at a „Dengeki Bunko work 
that is based on another Dengeki Bunko work". 

I'll borrow this place to thank Kawahara Reki-san, who gave consent for 
this work and became its supervisor, from the bottom of my heart. 

Truly, thank you very much! 

As for the work itself. 


61 This word originally referred a device that was used broadcast onscreen text (e.g. credits or subtitles) in the 
old days, but nowadays it refers to the onscreen text itself. 


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"Won't people not understand it if they don't know SAO?" 

I was very frequently asked this on Twitter right after the announcement 
and figured I'd give a serious answer to it here as well. 

To conclude, the book is written in a way that it could be enjoyed even 
by people who have not read the entirety of the existing SAO series , or 
even by people who have not watched the anime. 

But hold on! I believe that people who have read up to volume six, the 
f Phantom Bullet storyJ , of the original SAO novel, or have watched the 
entirety of the first season and up to episode fourteen of the second 
season, the f Phantom Bullet storyj , of the anime will enjoy it even 
more! SAO is entertaining, I recommend it! 


And so, the in -virtual game gun action novel that the gun maniac Sigsawa 
put his whole heart into is completed. 

The illustrator Kuroboshi Kouhaku, who I have formed a long-time tag- 
team with, has once again drawn a cute protagonist! Thank you very 
much! 

And most of all, I am glad if you enjoyed this, perhaps first in history, 
„Dengeki Bunko spinoff of a Dengeki Bunko work"! 


10th of December 2015 Sigsawa Keiichi 


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Hello, this is Kuroboshi Kouhaku. I did my best so that I wouldn't be 
told "Sigsawa was the small arms supervisor of the Sword Art Online II 
anime, but Kuroboshi Kouhaku can't draw small arms at all!". By hiding 
it as much as possible with the character's body... 


408