Chapter 11 - A Nasty Surprise
Current Region: Tumultuous Tundra
Time seemed to slow as the barrel of Snello’s revolver rose up to point at Brent.
He’d thought the fight was over! Brent’s panic level, which had begun to subside, now surged back up to full. There was no way he could possibly avoid her shots standing within spitting distance as he was, and the nearest tree was still too far.
There was really only one move he could see, and that was the same one he’d just done.
Brent grabbed at the hand holding the gun, trying to get that barrel pointed anywhere that was away from him. His fingers closed around her wrist as she squeezed the trigger.
Bang! A piercing pain erupted in his right thigh.
“Auugh!” Brent screamed, going down on one knee. He kept his hold on Snello’s wrist, pushing it up so the gun pointed into the air. She pushed back with both hands, and with gravity against him Brent found it more difficult to keep her at bay, his arms trembling with effort.
Bang! A second shot went skyward.
His leg hurt. It hurt so much. And that revolver did so much damage! He had to keep it away or the next shot would take him out for sure.
Crack! Ray’s rifle sounded, and Snello shuddered as the shot blew through her shoulder.
“Ray!” Karisma screamed.
The girl still seemed very much alive, and the arm Ray had hit was unfortunately not the one holding the gun. She did not cry or make any sound indicating her pain, but merely fell forward onto Brent, sending both of them to the ground.
“Ah, fuck,” Ray swore as he aimed at the two of them rolling about. “I can finish her off with the next shot, but the kid might die too.”
“Please, no more shooting! Harry, is there anything you can do?”
“Alright, I’ll try to pull her off,” Harry said, and ventured forward.
Bang! Splinters exploded out of the tree next to him, causing him to flinch. “Ooh, eh, I’m gonna need a safer angle…” He started edging around to come in from the side.
Brent looked into her red-tinted eyes, still desperately twisting and pushing her arm to keep the revolver out of his face.
His struggle was now further compounded by the need to keep it pointed away from Harry as well. He inched his way up Snello’s wrist onto her hand to gain better leverage over the gun. He could feel her little fingers wrapped tightly around the handle.
On the ground, he felt the contents of his tote bag press against his back through the thin fabric, and thought of his shotgun packed somewhere in there. Even if he did want to use it now, he couldn’t.
He might very well die here, after all. Why did this little girl have such suicidal aggression? If she killed him here, Ray would just finish her off afterwards like he said.
Snello opened her mouth and leaned her head in towards his neck with teeth bared. She was trying to bite him!
Brent shied away, but locked together as they were there was really no avoiding it, not and keep the gun away at the same time.
He felt her little teeth clamp down on his flesh, and he closed his eyes and screamed. “a-AAAAAAA-”
Wetness spattered his cheeks. Brent felt the pressure on his neck subside, and all the tension left Snello’s body. He creaked open his eyes just in time to see her slump onto him. The red glint in her eyes had been replaced with a glazed, unfocused look. Was she… dead?
The kill notification in the corner of his vision confirmed it. But why was it his name on there? Ray was the one shooting her, and Brent wasn’t even wielding a weapon.
Oh. The revolver. Brent’s eyes followed his arm up to his hand, which had slipped up Snello’s wrist and was now squeezing her hand tightly, pressing her index finger against the trigger. The smoking barrel still pointed toward the side of her head, where Brent could see-
“Oh god. Ohgodohgodohgod.” It was still dripping on him. He let go of her arm and frantically started pushing himself out from under her body.
There was no doubt about it. He’d killed her. He really had.
He heard Ray declare “Clear!”, and the footsteps of Harry and Karisma as they ran out to him.
“Brent! Are you okay?!”
“Yeah,” he responded automatically, then realized he wasn’t. Nothing about this was okay. “Unh, actually no. Could use some help.”
Brent dragged his feet out, and Snello’s lifeless body landed on the ground. Red blood seeped out onto the snow, already somewhat soiled by dirt and branches.
“Damn,” Ray said, “That was intense.”
“Is she-” Karisma stopped as her eyes confirmed once again that yes, the girl was dead. “Oh no. This is horrible!” She turned away from the sight. “Why? Why did you have to kill her?”
Ray shrugged. “Don’t ask me, I didn’t fire a single shot after the first one. It was the kid who killed her.”
Brent struggled to sit up. He hadn’t expected his first real life or death battle to turn out this way at all. Sure, it had ended with his opponent dead and him alive, but this didn’t feel like a victory. It felt pretty bad, in fact.
Karisma huffed. “Don’t give me that. You still shot her once and you would have done it again if I hadn’t said anything. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you guys?“
Tears welled up uncontrollably in Brent’s eyes. “I’m… I’m sorry! I tried to talk to her,” he sobbed, his tongue feeling thick in his mouth. “I didn’t mean to-”
“Hey, it’s alright, Brent. You did the best you could.” With a reassuring voice, Harry pulled Brent over to a nearby tree to prop him up. “Damn, you look pretty bad. Anybody got any healing items?”
“Uh. There are a couple bandages in my bag,” Brent croaked, “I’m at 12 HP though so it won’t enough to bring me back up to full.”
“It’s probably better to use a medkit then,” Ray suggested, “Those restore you to full health regardless of what you were at before. It’s kind of weird, you wouldn’t expect something that looks like a first aid kit to be a miracle cure like that.”
“Okay, I’ve got one in here somewhere.” Karisma rummaged through her backpack and pulled out a smaller red bag with a white cross on it. She opened that bag up to reveal various medical supplies, which she took out and started “using” on Brent.
“Need any help?” Harry offered.
She shook her head. “You can help by not getting anyone else shot and killed.”
“Oh, lay off it, Karisma,” Ray said, “That girl wasn’t listening to us at all, just trying to shoot us up. What were we supposed to do, lay down and die?”
“No! We could’ve backed off and run away.”
Ray barked a short laugh. “And let her shoot us in the back?”
“Did you see her? She’s a child, not some kind of military sniper like you. We could have outrun her easily.”
Oh. Brent felt even worse now. How had he not thought of that? It made so much sense in hindsight.
“And you are absolutely sure she would have missed all of her shots? People die from gun related accidents all the time, even when the user is completely inexperienced.”
“I’d like to think our chances would have been a lot better than running in and fighting it out. Look, my point is nobody had to die here.”
“I- I know. I can see that now,” Brent said miserably, sniffling as his eyes continued leaking, “It’s just that- things escalated so fast and it looked like you guys didn’t know what to do-”
“Hush, I’m still treating you. Just hold still for a bit longer.”
Karisma was essentially just slapping gauze pads onto the wounds and injecting random syringes into Brent willy-nilly, but like the bandages the medical kit didn’t seem to require much in the way of actual medical training, if any.
“And… done.” She wiped her forehead.
Brent’s health bar jumped back to full capacity, and he felt… surprisingly okay. “Much better. T-thank you,” he said, averting his gaze. Though he wasn’t injured anymore, he was probably still in quite a wretched state, covered in blood, snow, dirt, and his own tears.
“Hey, it was mostly the kit, and whatever sort of video game magic it works on. I just went through the motions. Need a hand?”
“No, I’m good.” Brent got up by himself, wanting to maintain at least some semblance of dignity, and started brushing himself off.
Slowly getting a hold over his emotions, he noticed on the left side of his vision there was a small interface box labeled “Bounty” with a red bubble over one corner, slowly fading in and out. Could he… yes. He reached out and tapped on the box, which expanded into the center of his view:
Bounty Contract completed!
Reward: 5000 D-Bucks
You will receive your reward shortly.
It showed a square icon of some cash underneath. Brent almost wanted to refuse it, but there didn’t seem to any option for that, and even if there was, doing so wouldn’t change anything. He closed the window.
“Well, to the victor go the spoils,” Ray said. He took Snello’s backpack off her body and tossed it over to Brent.
He would definitely be keeping the pack itself. It was of sturdy construction and had a few buttoned pouches and real straps, unlike the spaghetti strings of his tote bag that dug into his shoulders. Inside Brent found a haphazard assortment of items, mostly attachments. There was no food, and little ammo:
Rimless cartridge used in many assault rifles and LMGs.
Large round made for their namesake revolvers.
“Whoops! I dropped my monster condom that I use for my magnum dong.”
“Oh right, her guns are all over the place.” Ray went to collect them. “So, Holmes, have you learned your lesson about trying to be nice?”
“It’s this game, mate. Putting us in these situations where we’re encouraged to kill each other. I don’t think we’re gonna be able to escape if we just play along and do what they want.”
“Bruh.” Ray facepalmed. “You’re also not going to escape if you die.”
Harry shrugged. “Eh, if we have to fight, I will, but I’m not going to execute a little girl if I can help it. We could just backed off like Karisma said. Actually, that girl could have too. That was really weird, how she just decided to fight to the death against a bunch of strangers. Feels like we’re missing something.”
“I saw her eyes, they were glowing red,” Brent added. ”I think she was being mind controlled or something.”
Everyone turned to stare at Brent upon hearing this.
“What, glowing red eyes? Are you sure they weren’t just like, bloodshot?” Karisma asked.
“No, it went away after she died. You can check the body to be sure.”
Ray gingerly held Snello’s head up to the light, and her eyes appeared completely normal. At least, as normal as could be for a corpse.
“Hm, I think I did catch some kind of weird shine in her eyes.” Ray remarked. “Okay, that’s new. All the guys I’ve fought so far didn’t have anything like that. They also weren’t deaf or dumb. They could understand and respond if I tried talking to them, but they just shit-talked me or said I was in the way of them ‘getting that W’. Or worse, started doing some weird ass dance.”
“Huh, so maybe she was being mind controlled,” Harry ruminated.
“Or possessed by a ghost or demon,” Karisma said. “I mean, look at this place we’re in. Anything’s possible.”
A faint buzzing could be heard from above.
“Hold on, what is that?” Ray looked up with suspicion.
Brent looked up to see a small black quad-copter drone descending towards him, a case hanging from it. “O-oh. I think that’s the drone, the delivery drone. It’s probably carrying my reward for claiming the bounty. Don’t shoot it.”
The drone dropped its cargo next to Brent and flew off. He knelt down and opened it. This case was a bit larger than the first one he’d received, and the inside was filled with stacks upon stacks of cash bound in elastic bands. This of course drew the attention of the other three, who crowded around it and made Brent very uncomfortable.
“Crikey, that’s your reward?” Harry commented. “You’re loaded now, mate.”
“A briefcase full of cash. It feels like we’re criminals now,” Karisma said.
Well, Brent had just killed someone. Although, the regular laws probably didn’t apply on this island. He picked up a stack. “It’s five thousand dollars… all in one dollar bills.”
“And how much of that do I get?” Ray asked.
It was true, Ray did assist during the fight. Brent thought of a reasonable way to split the reward. And then decided against it.
“Uh, you get nothing. It was my bounty, remember?” He’d literally bled for it.
“Wow, salty much? If I hadn’t done anything you might not be alive to have that cash. I saved your life, man.”
“Yeah, I guess you did help.”
Ray tilted his head. “So…?”
“So nothing. If you regret doing that, you could always just kill me now and take it all for yourself.”
Wait, he might actually do it. Brent was still feeling quite terrible so his words turned quickly to spite.
“Whoa, hold on a minute-” “Guys, please-”
Harry and Karisma both started, but Ray’s laughter drowned them out.
“Nah, it’s fine. You can keep it all if you want, Brent,” he said, shaking his head. “I admit, I was wrong about you. You know, last night I fully expected you to try and gut us in our sleep, so I stayed up as long as I could to keep an eye out. Made me extra cranky this morning. But you didn’t. And then you nearly died for us trying to follow this idiot’s plan.” He gestured at Harry. “So… yeah. You’re good, kid.”
Brent hadn’t expected that. “Uh… okay?”
“I think he’s trying to say he’s sorry, Brent,” Karisma interpreted.
“Oh. Apology accepted, I guess.”
They stood around awkwardly for a few moments.
“Oh right, I picked up the guns. Here.” Ray handed over the weapons Snello had and Brent skimmed over their stats absentmindedly, still somewhat caught up in the moment.
|S&W .357 Magnum Revolver
|A classic revolver known for its sheer stopping power.|
No wonder he’d lost nearly half his health. It did 64 damage per shot!
||Barrel, Lower Rail, Optic, Stock, Magazine|
|A bullpup style rifle of French manufacture.|
Finally, his first “big” gun.
“So uh, is this gun good?” He asked Ray, showing the FAMAS.
The man shrugged. “I guess, if you can aim. It looks like a rifle.”
It might be better to stick with the shotgun, then. It hadn’t helped Brent in the fight just now, but that was only because he hadn’t been wielding it.
“My training’s with the current Army service weapons, and this isn’t one of them. But here, let me try it out?”
Brent handed it over to Ray, who started looking over it.
“Okay, so this probably uses 5.56 too, so… wow. 3 round burst only? Why is there no fire select switch?”
The others stared at him, uncomprehending. Ray handed the rifle back.
“Alright, the gist is that this is a weird ass gun, possibly due to the video game logic of this world. I’m not gonna mess with it, so just drop it if you don’t want to carry it yourself.”
Brent nodded. “I’ll start packing up, if there’s any space left over I’ll hold on to it.” He did have more space in this new backpack so he could afford to be more of a pack rat.
He opened his old tote bag and upended it into the main compartment of the new one.
It… seemed like there was enough space left? He moved some of the smaller stuff like the flashlight attachment and the trail mix bars into the back pouches.
Oh wait, there was the cash.
Brent wasn’t about to carry both a backpack and a case around as he might need both hands for something, so he started transferring all of the bundles in as well. And now there wasn’t enough space for the FAMAS. He could still fit the revolver in though. That thing was powerful.
Beep boop beep beep boooop. They heard a faint echo of Dombey Uno’s signature jingle playing.