A Simple Survey:Volume2 Attraction08
Attraction 08: Washing Away Blood with Blood
The island that acted as our stage seemed to be sinking into the ocean that appeared to absorb the darkness of the night.
It was known as Corpse Island.
The entire island had been developed as a coal mine a few decades ago, but it had been entirely abandoned as time went on. The high-rise housing complexes that were not made to withstand earthquakes had not been blown up or demolished, so they had grown old and damaged until they collapsed. The exposed rebar and emergency staircases that ended halfway up showed just how unsafe the place was.
The place felt more like ruins than a deserted island.
No shouts or screams would reach anyone and the ocean surrounding the island prevented any escape.
It was perfect for being an attraction’s stage.
A bunny girl holding a cheap megaphone in one hand spoke with men in work uniforms on either side of her.
“Does everyone have a key on their right wrist?”
I heard a light metallic noise. An elastic band similar to those that held pool locker keys was around my wrist and had a key attached.
“The rules are simple. Each individual key is worth 100 million yen. When the attraction ends at dawn, you will be rewarded according to the number of keys you have. However, the key you have at the beginning does not count. Please acquire someone else’s key whether by negotiation, threats, or force.”
It was immediately obvious that the attraction could be easily ended if all of the participants traded their keys in a circle.
However, the trick was that the more keys we had at the end, the more we would be paid.
We would earn more if we did not simply trade in a circle. And if you attacked the person with the most keys, you could jump to the top regardless of what had happened before that.
There was a good chance the six participants gathered on this island were all in a bad enough situation that 100 million yen would not be enough.
They might need 200 million yen or 110 million.
At any rate, the attraction had been intentionally created such that trading the keys in a circle would not be enough.
Those watching on from a safe place wanted to see us participants chose of our own free will to throw away the safe opportunity handed to us. Their cruel taste was painfully obvious.
But I did not care.
We were all in the same situation.
I had no reason to go easy on them.
“Okay, everyone draw one of these lots.”
We each chose one of some crude lots made from chopsticks. As if she was revealing the prize on a quiz show, the bunny girl then pulled away a large cloth to reveal something that had been hidden.
“These items will help you advance through the attraction. According to the lots you all drew, Tanaka-san gets two handguns, Tetsuyama-san gets a flamethrower, Tatsukawa-san gets a stun gun, Hikarikawa-san gets a 15-ton mobile crane, Harumura-san gets a military knife, and…ohh! Hayashino-san gets the joker prize! Hayashino-san’s prize is Karen-chan!!”
I frowned. This was partially due to not having any idea what kind of item that was, but I also did not like having my name called out repeatedly. I did not want to gather attention this early in the game.
To answer my question, the bunny girl pointed her thumb at the center of her chest.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!!” shouted someone. It was the man who had won the mobile crane. “What do you mean he gets one of the organizers on his side!? Doesn’t that give him too much of an advantage!?”
“This has nothing to do with whether it is an advantage or not. Drawing lots is unfair by its very nature. And how can you complain after winning that wonderful mobile crane?”
“And this is just your initial equipment.” The bunny girl named Karen grinned. “If you don’t like it, then swipe someone else’s after the attraction begins. And that of course means we might attack you in order to steal that crane.”
Every single participant was focused on us. The bunny girl was probably doing it on purpose.
Even if we would end up killing each other eventually, there was still a proper order for this.
“Okay, everyone. Let’s see…The attraction begins in 20 minutes. Take a nice stroll through the island until then.”
She of course meant we should hide before the battle began.
We all exchanged a glance before the other participants ran off in different directions. They were likely planning to hide somewhere on the island and wait for an opportunity.
Left behind, I looked over at the bunny girl.
While the others received deadly weapons like a flamethrower, handguns, or a giant vehicle, I ended up with a girl.
“…So what exactly can you do?” I asked.
Karen swung her arms and legs around to create some strange stance before saying, “I can defeat a dinosaur with my fists! I can break through a rocky mountain with my kick!! And my special ability lets me make three actions in a single turn!”
Did I draw the dud lot that means all the other participants will come to kill me? Maybe I need to attack them by surprise sooner rather than later.
After noticing I did not seem very excited with the weapon I had won, the bunny girl began wiggling her hips around.
“Okay, okay. Let’s talk seriously now. We only have a bit longer until the attraction begins. Where will we go hide?”
“This island’s structures are divided into three overall areas. The coal mine, the old city, and the harbor. The entrance to the mine will likely have been sealed with steel plates when it was closed. All of the warehouses at the harbor had collapsed, so I don’t remember seeing any remaining buildings there. That presents a problem. Do you know what that is?”
“We can’t escape from the mobile crane.”
After all, that was a 15 ton monster. Even if it was safely driven at 50 kph, a person on the ground could do nothing to oppose it. And it was blatantly obvious what would happen if you were chased around by it.
“That means we need to go to the old city. If we hide on the upper levels of a building, the crane can’t run us over.”
“We could hide in the coal mine, couldn’t we?”
“Forcing our way into a mineshaft with rusting footing and supports is a bad idea. If we break through the ground, we could fall over 100 meters down.”
We ended up heading to the old city.
Since this was an abandoned island, there was no illumination. The deep darkness seemed to press in from every direction. Somewhere in that darkness hid attackers wielding deadly weapons. That malice made the darkness feel even deeper.
A lot of people must have worked in the mine when it was being used because the housing complexes were packed in unbelievably tight. Only a few dozen centimeters existed between buildings, so it looked like people could jump from window to window.
Some buildings had collapsed from the natural deterioration of time and they had caused a domino effect in some areas. The rubble was even piled up in the roads, so the supposedly orderly cityscape had become something like a maze.
Everyday items were strewn about along with the rubble. With all of the dust covering them, it resembled some strange piece of reclaimed land.
I picked up a bag lying on the ground that had originally had Imada Construction printed on its surface. I then tossed it toward Karen.
…Imada Construction, hm?
“Gather some random egg-sized pieces of concrete and put them in that bag.”
“…What will you use them for?”
“We have no weapons, so I want to procure some before the attraction begins.”
What came to mind when you thought of projectiles? Guns? Bows? If you just needed something from the BCE time period, all you needed was a leather belt and some small stones. If you made a U-shape out of the belt, held a stone inside, and swung it around to throw the stone with the centrifugal force, you had a sling. That could be deadly enough.
I had heard that some tribes could kill wild beasts from a distance of over 100 meters, but even half that distance would be difficult for me. It was night and my targets would be moving. The distance I could throw the stone and the distance from which I could hit and injure someone were two different things.
“You sure are knowledgeable.”
“The Swords and Firearms Control Law is well made, but it can’t restrict access to items that are everywhere. You keep the bag. Swinging it around will work in place of a blackjack.”
“What is that you’re gathering there? Fishing weights?”
“Just a bit of insurance.”
I entered a random crumbling building and headed up to the second floor so the mobile crane could not attack. I wanted to be low enough that I could jump to the ground if another participant had me cornered.
“What are you doing?”
“Looking for something to light a fire with.”
“…In this darkness?”
“Now is my only chance. This is still the preparatory period. Once the killing starts, the point of light could lead to my death.”
I found a rusted portable stove. The gas cylinder had of course been removed, but I managed to light a fire by holding the ignition plug against an old scrap of cloth.
After a few more tricks, my preparations were complete.
“You thought this through.”
“We need to move. I don’t want to stay where that fire was.”
We jumped from the building’s window into the neighboring building’s window.
I hid in the darkness with the bunny girl.
“…It should be starting soon.”
Our personal possessions had been confiscated so I had no clock, but I could estimate based on about how much time I spent on travelling and preparations.
I stared at Karen in her bunny outfit.
“By the way, I forgot to ask. Do I have any guarantee you won’t betray me mid-attraction?”
“None at all,” said Karen nonchalantly. “Handguns have a risk of exploding, a portable crane has a risk of stalling, and I have my own risks. Do I really need to explain this?”
“Hm? Are you thinking you should silence me now if I might betray you later?” she said readily. “That is one path you could take, but then you would really, truly be unarmed. Although if you think you can fight the others like that, I won’t stop you.”
The bunny girl was right. Nothing she had said was wrong.
But why was she able to remain so objective at a time like this?
Did she not fear for her life?
“What will you do? If you ask me, you should make up your mind quickly.”
“…I’ll use you for the time being.”
“Is that so?”
A bright flare shot straight up into the sky in the distance.
That signaled the beginning of the attraction.
The killing game on Corpse Island where we would wash away blood with blood had begun.
As the attraction began, Karen and I continued to hide on the second floor of that housing complex.
This was simply because we heard the sounds of an engine from directly below.
It was that 15-ton mobile crane.
Such sounds were not uncommon in a city, but this was an abandoned island completely wrapped in darkness. The noise sounded much louder than normal. It sounded so loud I wondered if someone in the mine would have been able to hear it.
“What do you think?” I asked.
“He may be searching. He has been circling around the same area again and again and again, so he isn’t chasing someone.”
I did not think Karen was wrong, but we could not remain stuck here.
“Oh, already? Rushing things will lead to mistakes. It is still 7 hours until dawn. Slowly solidifying a foundation may be better than forcing yourself to-…”
“I don’t want to let the other participants do that,” I replied quickly in a quiet voice. “Two handguns, a flamethrower, a mobile crane, a stun gun, a military knife, and you. That is the only information we all have. But that will change as time goes on. I don’t want a situation where it looks like an enemy only has a knife, but then attacks with a projectile.”
The bunny girl had called out everyone’s names before the attraction began, but I did not remember who was who. After being thrown into this cruel attraction, human life was worth less than a small tool.
And so Karen and I began moving.
If we made our way to the ground, the mobile crane would have devoured us. Fortunately, the housing complexes were only a few dozen centimeters apart and the glass was missing from most of the windows, so we could easily jump from building to building.
“How do you plan to find the participants who do not have a loud mobile crane?”
“Can’t you do something?”
“If you like, I can show off my mind reading skills!! Oh, or would you prefer a tarot fortune telling?”
I sighed in exasperation.
But I did not have a plan either.
“The routes between the old city, the harbor, and the mine are limited, so the standard method would be to set up a trap along them.”
It was a small island, but it would take time to walk across the entire thing. And the other participants would constantly be on the move, so we could easily miss each other.
The mobile crane made plenty of noise, so it was no problem. However, it seemed I would have to kill the others the instant I ran across them or else I might never see them again.
Instead of searching, can I set up a trap so they come to me?
As soon as that idea entered my head…
As soon as we heard that sudden female voice, Karen and I hid behind two lined up pillars. The woman might have simply been probing out the situation, but I was not willing to risk my life on that optimistic assumption. And I knew what weapon the person using that term would have.
The two handguns.
I heard a footstep.
Someone had entered the room.
“It’s too late to hide. Just so you know, the enamel material on that bunny’s outfit glitters a lot. That’s probably why the crane has been driving around this area for so long.”
I could not tell what she was after.
If she simply planned on shooting me and taking my key, she should have fired already. Or did she not want the crane to hear the gunshot?
Karen looked over at me from behind her pillar.
I gave her an order by making a sign with my fingers.
But I was not having her attack. If she did that, she would simply be driven back by a barrage of bullets. And this woman would hardly let us live in a situation like this.
The real question was whether that creepily smiling bunny girl would follow my instructions or not.
It was entirely possible she would betray me at this first sign of real danger and join with the woman and her two handguns.
“Okay, okay. I get it, I get it.”
She readily walked out from behind the pillar while pouting her lips like a child who had been playing video games when her mother asked her to run an errand.
She handled it so lightly even I was shocked and I was the one who had ordered her to do it.
“Oh? So you can use her like that,” mockingly said the woman with the two handguns.
The bunny girl smiled and said, “It’s what I was asked to do.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t shoot you because you’re with the organizers?”
“You’ll probably shoot. And I’ll die if you do.”
What is going on in that head of hers?
I had assumed the organizers who had put together this attraction were no normal people, but this was more than I had expected.
The woman with the two handguns seemed to pick up on how strange this was.
“This is just as I expected or maybe even more. You look worthy of joining forces with,” said the woman.
“You come out from behind that pillar, too. My gun is a 9mm. If you use this girl as a shield, I can’t hit you.”
I did as instructed.
This was the first time I would speak with one of the other participants.
“What are you after?” I asked.
“The defeat of our strongest enemy.”
“I’d say the most dangerous one here is you with your two handguns.”
“No, I’m not. These aren’t anti-materiel rifles. Even a thin metal plate can deflect a 9mm. I want to defeat that mobile crane before it has a chance to reinforce itself like that.”
And once that enemy was gone, nothing could stop her.
The flamethrower also looked quite dangerous, but the ones that ran from a tank worn on the back had a maximum range of only about 10 meters. Any more than that would roast the user with the heat. Her handguns could fire at a target 150 meters away, so she could easily kill him. If she adjusted the front sight and fired a bit upwards, she could reach him.
It was true I would have no hope of winning if we didn’t do anything about that mobile crane. As soon as he thought up a means of reinforcing the driver’s seat with something like a metal plate, he would be unbeatable.
I had actually been hoping these two powerful enemies would end up killing each other, but it seemed I would be used as a pawn in the process.
“What can we do?”
“I do not have unlimited ammo. Specifically, I have 30 shots between the two guns. It would be difficult to make sure I shot the driver while running away from the crane. But,” added the woman, “I have much better odds if I can focus on shooting while the crane pursues a different target. I’m no gunman, so I doubt I can manage it in just a shot or two even then. But I should be able to manage it before the magazines are empty.”
“And you want us to lure him out?”
“I can’t ask the other participants.” The woman moved one of the gun barrels between Karen and me. “But you are different. The rest of us have only one life, but you have two. We can use that to our advantage.”
Karen could betray me at any time, so it was unclear if she would follow my instructions to the very, very end. But if we began to lose to the mobile crane, I could ditch Karen and escape while the crane was focused on the woman with the two handguns.
And more importantly, if I refused here, I would be shot. The woman wanted Karen as a pawn, not me. She would probably try to threaten Karen after killing me.
“I guess I have no choice but to agree.”
“If that is your decision, then we can do that,” said Karen while smiling as always.
She made no complaint about the plan.
“But if we’re going to lay a trap, we’ll need your help,” I told the woman.
“Could you be more specific?”
“Karen is not a participant, so she doesn’t have one of the keys worth 100 million yen. In other words, she doesn’t need to be killed. She needs some other form of bait if the crane is going to chase after her.”
“I told you to be more specific,” said the woman while waving a handgun.
That seemed to be the source of her absolute confidence, but it was what I was after.
“Give Karen a handgun. That is my condition.”
“…Are you serious?”
“You said I have two lives, right? Well, unlike the other participants, you have two weapons. Even if you give up one, you will still have a decent advantage over everyone else.”
And the handguns were the most powerful weapon. If the crane spotted Karen with it, he might try to eliminate the threat or acquire the weapon, but either way he would not be able to ignore it.
The woman stared cautiously at Karen and me.
“Isn’t it possible a shootout will begin as soon as I hand over the gun?”
“Then take out the ammo before handing it over. We just need bait for the crane. The guy in the driver’s seat won’t be able to tell if it’s loaded or not.”
“Understood. …Don’t move.”
She would be the only one with a loaded gun.
The woman agreed because she would retain her advantage.
Whether it was a revolver or a semi-auto, all handguns had a common factor when it came to removing all of the ammunition. Do you know what that is?
The answer is simple.
Doing so required the use of both hands.
“(Attack on my signal. I’ll take the right; you take the left.)”
Sudden footsteps reverberated through the room.
The dumbfounded woman frantically tried to hold up her gun, but she was holding the one with no ammunition. The usable one was in its holster. The slight hesitation due to her sudden decision and her indecision over whether to target the enemy to the right or left created an even greater lag.
That lag allowed us to overcome the deadly speed of a handgun that could kill with a single movement of the index finger.
Karen was holding a bag filled with egg-sized pieces of concrete.
The makeshift blackjack made a great noise as it split open the woman’s skull.
I grabbed the handguns from the pool of blood and tossed one to Karen.
I had read in a book somewhere that humans found a sense of security in symmetry and found it beautiful. Whether it had anything to do with that or not, a woman with the side of her head smashed in was not a pretty sight.
Karen used the bag of concrete to wipe the blood off of the gun.
“Oh, my. We have already gotten the best weapons. Does that mean we’re the strongest?”
“We can’t just sit around celebrating. If the others find out two people have guns, they will all become our enemy. I don’t want them deciding the danger is worth teaming up against us.”
“Now that we have the guns, what will you do with the sling?”
“The more options, the better. If they think this is our only weapon, they might let their guard down.”
“What is our next target?” asked Karen.
I turned on my handgun’s safety and replied, “The flamethrower.”
“Oh? Not the crane?”
“That is our greatest enemy, but I’m not sure two handguns are enough. A flamethrower would make it a lot easier. The crane runs on gasoline after all.”
When it came down to simply killing people, the flamethrower would be the top ranked weapon. I did not want to take it on with nothing but a metal pipe or a makeshift sling. But we had handguns now. As long as we had them, we could easily kill the man with the flamethrower.
“But the flamethrower has a range of 10 meters, right? If the crane is driving at full speed, won’t it be too late by the time it is within range?”
“I’m not going to use it like that,” I said while focusing on the engine noises coming from outside the window. “Its tank is filled with fuel, so we can use it like a bomb by setting it up on the ground. If we lure the crane in, we can watch it explode from a safe distance.”
We had no hint to go on. We took the time to search around the island and ran into the man with the flamethrower on the mountain near the mine.
I had thought we could finish him off with a bullet or two, but we used a lot more ammo than I had expected. We may have focused too much on staying at a distance for safety.
“I have two bullets left.”
“I have only one!”
The bunny girl named Karen pulled her handgun’s slide to eject the final bullet in the chamber and tossed it to me.
We had originally had 30 shots between us, so it was a regretful amount of waste.
“We need to retrieve the flamethrower from the corpse right away. People could hear those gunshots all across the island.”
“How about we turn it on the other participants?”
“We need the tank as full as possible to make sure we take out the crane in the explosion.”
Also, I had no intention of using the flamethrower without special equipment like a firefighter’s uniform. A change in the wind could easily leave me with serious burns. Even if the flames did not touch me directly, the hot wind could fuse my clothes to my skin.
“Will we wait for the crane here?”
“An open space is bad for setting the trap. And it has no elevated location to watch on safely. It would be best to set the trap in the old city.”
I already had a handgun and the sling, so I gave the flamethrower’s tank to Karen.
We entered the old city.
The easiest spot to set a trap was an entrance to the city. Buildings had been built up in such great concentration in such a small area, so the points from which the mobile crane could enter or exit were limited.
“It may be cracked, but this is asphalt. You can’t dig a hole to bury it.”
“We just need to pile up some concrete fragments the crane can crush in its path. If we hide the flamethrower tank inside, it’ll work as a landmine.”
“How are you going to make it explode?”
“By having the flamethrower’s ignition plug…”
I trailed off as a brilliant light stabbed into my eyes.
Our stage was an abandoned island with no electricity or running water.
There was only one possibility.
“The crane!!” shouted Karen.
“Don’t try to set it up now! Take the tank with you!!”
This was one of the areas the crane could easily pass through, so it could of course set a trap for us. Chased by the sounds of the engine, Karen and I leaped into a nearby building.
The crane smashed into the entrance after us.
The front entrance’s glass had already been broken, but now the entire door was smashed to pieces. Huge fragments flew into the building. I frantically rolled further inside. The mobile crane’s bumper continued to approach while dragging the destroyed interior of the building with it. It looked like a giant hammer.
Everything shot towards us like a flood.
But then a single exception presented itself. A thick square pillar did not break. Several dozen pieces of rebar bent and stuck out, but the entire pillar did not snap. It stopped that 15 ton mass.
I immediately held up my handgun, but the crane backed up and left the building so quickly its tires screeched.
“Hurry! Upstairs!!” shouted Karen from the emergency staircase while holding the flamethrower tank.
She was right that I would be in trouble if the crane charged in again. I did not want to be around when that happened.
We both ran up the emergency staircase and arrived on the building’s second floor.
Still holding the tank, Karen said, “If he is still focused on crashing into the building, isn’t this our chance? If we throw the tank from a window, we might be able to drop it right on top of the crane.”
“No…Wait. What is that sound?”
The mobile crane’s engine was loud enough to hear even outside the old city, but the sound had changed.
I looked over at the window without thinking.
I had somewhat relaxed because the crane could not crash into the second floor.
But then something unexpected happened.
Something huge mercilessly crashed through one of the external walls on the second floor.
I fell over after being hit by some of the rubble, but I think it was more the surprise from the sudden noise that knocked me over. Karen and I crawled along the floor to frantically move away from the window (or rather, the spot where it had been a moment before).
A tremendous amount of dust limited our vision.
“Oh, my!! Would you look at that.”
“He’s swinging something around with the crane’s wire? Has he strapped together steel frames to use in place of a wrecking ball?”
I felt like the entire floor had tilted. It was not often that a building made of reinforced concrete felt so unreliable.
I heard the sound of something roaring through the air.
The second impact was coming.
I looked around in hopes of finding a way of jumping to the neighboring building. But I did not make it in time. I did not have the guts to stand up in this situation. With a great shock, some large object broke through the wall and flew into the building. If that so much as grazed a human, he would be smashed.
Cracks ran through the ceiling and a piece larger than a tatami mat fell down.
“If the crane is swinging something around, doesn’t that mean its center of gravity is higher than normal? A crane needs to use a special leg to fortify its position when extending its arm. That means the crane cannot move right now. Doesn’t that mean we can more safely approach it right now?”
If we did nothing, the third impact would soon arrive.
At this rate, even a normal building would be utterly destroyed. And this was one that had been abandoned for decades and had dubious earthquake resistance.
Standing up and running along would be easy enough, but anyone who was willing to do so while everything was shaking so much had to have a death wish.
If only there was some way to finish off the man controlling the crane without having to move.
“…I just had a horrible idea.”
“What is it?”
“After that wrecking ball made up of pieces of metal framework hits the building, how long do you think it takes to pull it out from the rubble?”
“Well…About 10 seconds I think, but what can we do in 10 seconds? That isn’t enough time to get up and jump out the window, much less head downstairs.”
“We attach the flamethrower tank to the wrecking ball. It has to pass right by the main body of the crane while swinging, so we just have to detonate it at that exact moment.”
“…Are you serious?”
“Tying it on with rope would take too long, but 10 seconds should be enough to attach something like a hook onto a wire.”
With that makeshift wrecking ball making a mess of the place, bent pieces of rebar that could be used as a hook were lying everywhere. With a bit of preparation, I would be able to make something to attach the tank.
“Approaching that seems crazy to me,” said Karen.
“This is the same as my first decision.”
“If I had given into those two handguns and handed you over, I would have ended up cornered somewhere. Insisting on safety will get me nowhere. In this attraction at least, I need to take on some risk if I want to win.”
The third impact was coming.
If it so much as grazed me, I would be smashed into a pile of meat.
But this was my last and greatest chance.
A burnt smell and orange flames assaulted the senses.
In reality, this attraction that used real human lives did not progress like scripted entertainment. In other words, it was not structured such that each consecutive enemy was more powerful than the last.
In my opinion, my most powerful enemy had been the first woman with the two handguns.
And with the two handguns, the flamethrower, and the mobile crane defeated, I had already eliminated the most obviously dangerous enemies.
That just left the military knife and the stun gun.
They simply could not compare to the previous enemies.
That meant the situation had reversed. With the enemies more powerful than myself defeated, it was my turn to hunt the others down and kill them.
“This didn’t turn out right at all!” I groaned.
Gunshots rang out. But they were not being fired by us. They were likely audible everywhere on the island. Naturally, this was a new turn of events. I half-leaped behind the rubble of a crumbling warehouse at the harbor to hide alongside the bunny girl.
I heard a noise.
It had come from a man’s corpse rolling to a stop right next to me.
He held a military knife in one hand, but he remained so motionless that he looked frozen.
“That just leaves the stun gun. Or did the last participant have the stun gun’s owner hold the knife before killing him?”
“Hayashino-san… Did you forget the introduction back at the beginning? A girl had the stun gun.”
But it was impossible for a self-defense item like that to blow a hole in a human body.
The only possibility I could think of was…
“Dammit. Was there an old hunting weapon left behind in the rubble or one of the buildings?”
“Seems that way. If the powder grew damp, it would have been useless, but it can keep for decades as long as it does not touch the outside air.”
I could not say this was a wise move on my enemy’s part. I had no way of knowing if this gun truly had been sitting on this island for decades or if it was a new one set up by the organizers. However, using an old gun that had been thrown out like an old rusted pipe was suicide.
Nevertheless, the enemy had acquired a powerful weapon by taking that risk that was akin to walking barefoot across a minefield.
The bunny girl leaned towards me and said, “From the look of that body, this is a rifle and not a shotgun.”
“I doubt she can hit a very distant target without a scope, but we only have three shots. If we don’t finish her off right away, the gunshots will tell her where we are.”
“What about that sling made from a belt? There are more small stones than we could ever need here.”
“It’s all over if we’re shot while swinging it around to build up centrifugal force. And it was only ever meant as a diversion. It isn’t enough to kill in a single strike.”
We had no idea how many bullets the enemy had, but if she had a full complement, we were at an overwhelming disadvantage.
Searching for a new weapon would require we carelessly travel through an open area. Yet staying in one place would allow the enemy to widely circle around and target us with the rifle while out of range of our attacks.
I could hear the rifle being fired intermittently and the nearby ground and rubble was worn away bit by bit. She was searching for us rather than actually trying to kill us. But that would not last long. And her ability to do that showed she had plenty of ammunition. If she figured out how little we had, she would force her way in.
…So we’re cornered.
I breathed in and then out while hiding behind the rubble.
I asked the bunny girl, “This attraction’s prize is determined by the number of keys acquired rather than the number of people killed, right?”
“It’s a long shot, but I’m going to take a gamble based on that.”
An explosive noise and a cloud of dust scattered throughout the dark harbor.
Tatsukawa Shouko, the girl who had drawn the lot for the stun gun and was now using a hunting rifle she had found in the city area, coughed lightly after breathing in some of the dust that flowed her way.
She had been intermittently firing at areas her enemy might be in the hopes of driving them into a panic, but something must have ignited because the rubble had suddenly exploded.
“Cough, cough. What was that? Did I shoot the fuel tank of a fishing boat?”
As Tatsukawa peered cautiously through the rifle’s sight, she spotted a man’s leg lying next to the flaming rubble.
“…Did that blow him up?”
Just to be sure, she fired two or three more shots in that direction but received no response. She doubted he was still hiding amid that burning rubble.
“So did I do it? Oh, there it is, there it is.”
She spotted a man’s arm in a gap in the rubble. She had no idea what had happened to the rest of the body. Just the arm was stuck there.
And a single key was visible on the elastic band on the wrist.
And several other keys came jangling from the clenched fingers.
“He’d collected a lot of these. Looks like waiting until the very end to make my move was the right decision.”
Two handguns, a mobile crane, and a flamethrower.
While the others were winning powerful weapon after powerful weapon, Tatsukawa had won a stun gun. The other participants had likely looked on her with pity.
But she had not seen it that way.
The rules never said she needed to fight with only her initial equipment.
She had guessed the other participants would hunt down those with the most threatening weapons first and leave the easy jobs until later. And so Tatsukawa was off their radar. She had weaved through the gaps in the city and acquired a new powerful weapon.
She doubted she would have been able to do that if she had won a powerful weapon during the drawing.
Everyone would have focused their attacks on her, preventing her from moving around freely.
“One, two, three… Oh, this is everyone’s! What an idiot. He had collected so many and yet he let me steal them all in the end.”
She still had a fair bit of time until the time limit at dawn.
But she had all the keys and all the other participants were dead.
There was no real reason for the attraction to continue.
“Let’s see. He was given that bunny girl as a weapon, but is she dead too? Hey! Who’s running this thing!?”
Like a family restaurant waitress arriving to take her order, the bunny poked her head out from where she had been hiding nearby.
Tatsukawa Shouko was cautious, but…
“Oh? Didn’t you call for me?”
“…Hm? Oh, I get it. Your owner lost the gamble, so you don’t belong to anyone now.” Tatsukawa lightly waved the man’s arm before tossing it aside. “Anyway, I have all the keys. I’ve won it all. There’s no point in continuing, so count the keys and pay me already.”
“Hmm. But the time limit is not until dawn.”
“I don’t want to stay in this dusty place a second longer than necessary.”
“I’m impressed you were willing to use that old hunting rifle. Weren’t you afraid it would explode and blow your face off?”
“Ugeh. That can happen!?”
Either due to a sense of superiority over defeating everyone else or due to a fear of losing everything by blowing herself up in the very end, Tatsukawa hurriedly threw the hunting rifle to the ground.
The bunny girl continued smiling and said, “Are you sure you want me to add up your winnings with those?”
“Just get it over with.”
The bunny girl checked over each of the metal keys attached to the elastic band Tatsukawa held out.
Still smiling, she said, “Um, you have 0 valid keys according to the rules. As such, you will receive no reward.”
For an instant, Tatsukawa Shouko did not understand what she had just been told.
“What!? But…that can’t be true! I have all the keys!!”
“Well, y’see, Tatsukawa-san. As explained at the beginning, the key you started with does not count toward your reward.”
“I’m not talking about that one! What about the ones you have there!?”
“Oh, these?” The bunny girl tossed the keys to the ground like trash. “These are fakes created by making a mold of a real key and pouring melted lead inside. Fishing weights were easy enough to find and lead is well known for having a low melting point.”
“Oh, that blown-off arm? That belongs to the knife man you shot. He even had the knife with him, so it wasn’t too hard to set up.”
Tatsukawa Shouko’s mind went blank, but then a thought came to her.
Tatsukawa had called for the bunny girl to end the attraction because she had thought everyone else was dead and she had all the keys. The original limit had been dawn, so if she still had not found all of the real keys…
“It isn’t over, you idiot,” said a male voice to the side.
But before Tatsukawa could turn around, Hayashino, who held the real keys, unhesitatingly pulled the trigger of his handgun loaded with the three remaining bullets.
Exactly three gunshots rang out and Tatsukawa collapsed to the side.
And so everything really did come to an end this time.
Brilliant light covered the entire island, making it seem the darkness from before had never been there. It seemed countless spotlights of the type used in theatres had been installed. The light had no warmth, but the brightness seemed to restore reality like a film projector room after the movie had ended.
A large number of men and women in work uniforms appeared from somewhere.
The bunny girl smiled and spoke to me.
“I was just lucky. If she had seen through the lead keys I made as insurance, if she had seen through the severed arm, if the lead keys had melted in that fire, or if she had been more cautious and kept the hunting rifle, I would have been done for. You can’t say I had everything under control.”
“That isn’t what I meant.”
I knew what she was trying to say.
Today, I had definitively decided to kill someone myself.
No matter how much I had succeeded here, I could never return to where I used to be.
“You win a full 500 million yen. How would you like to be paid?”
“A diamond would take up less space.”
“I said in cash.”
Without ever dropping the smile, the bunny girl snapped her fingers. The surrounding people in work uniforms began contacting someone.
“By the way, may I ask what you need this 500 million for?”
“It’s nothing special,” I spat out. “I just need a foothold to begin a bit of revenge. Revenge against someone like you.”
Did you see that, Imada?
I’m no longer just all talk. I can actually kill people.
Imada Construction was one of the largest underworld general contractors that helped construct the stages for this sort of attraction, but if I could play the part of someone with a fair bit of wealth, I could likely make an appearance at their salon.
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