This is a past story of Suupaa.
Two chapters for Suupaa alone… dude. Please go back to the main story…
My family name is Rokuro. My first name is Muo.
I have lived with the game ever since she can remember.
It was just a temporary name that was a play on my identification number, “666,” but I was special because I was the warden’s favorite among the 600 series. That’s why I was given a name.
The institution is where I was born and spent most of my life.
At first glance, it looked like just an orphanage, but it was a special training facility for creating elite athletes for use in the field of esports.
But I heard that there are many similar facilities for soccer, baseball, and other sports around the world.
The project is designed to brainwash and educate children from an early age to create specialists. And I later heard that most of the subjects, including myself, were orphans or babies who had been kidnapped from developing countries where they could not even be registered.
If their talents are recognized, they will be treated well. If not, then they will be transferred to another facility where their talents are re-examined.
I heard that the so-called [talentless] would be sold to the army of a certain country, but I don’t know about the truth.
Because my talent has been acknowledged since I had demonstrated an aptitude for any genre of a game at an early stage, there was no way of knowing what happened to the other kids.
All I knew for sure was that I was the only specimen in the 600s that made it to the end of this facility service.
I was one of the top performers here, and because of that, I was given relatively privileged rights within the facility.
I was favored by the director, and the best example of my privilege was that I was allowed to attend an elementary school.
Normally, they will cut any contact with the outside world.
And true enough, I never left the facility during my childhood.
Since the essence of the experiment was to have us specialize in the specified field of expertise through education that was akin to brainwashing, it was not good for us to have our minds changed after receiving outside stimuli. Or at least that is what I thought.
My period in school lasted for four years, from the age of seven years old.
Oh, by the way, please ignore the fact that I was a delinquent student who only attended about half of my school days, but yeah, at least I could still go to school.
However, my large build, my odd name, my absentminded attitude, and my slightly shy personality were all ostracized by other elementary school children.
I have not been bullied thanks to my build, but I was frequently harassed. They hid things from me, gave me strange nicknames, etc.
Looking back on it now, it seems like cute harassment, but at the time, I remember feeling pretty bad about it.
That’s what I meant by I don’t have any memories of my elementary school days that I would love to recall.
But still, it gave me a sense of superiority to be the only one who experienced elementary school while the other children in the facility did not.
Ever since I can remember, I was groomed to be a solo professional player.
In the professional scene of esports, there are actually quite a few team-on-team competitions.
That is why there is a thing called a professional team, and belonging to a strong team alone raises a player’s value.
There are kids at the facility who show a talent for team play, and they are trained with the expectation to play in teams.
The reason I was trained as a solo player was simple: my aptitude for team play was garbage.
But to put it another way, it also meant that the gap between my abilities and those of the other children in the facility was far too wide.
When Zero Wars 2 was a little past its peak, I was eight years old. That’s when I first took the top world ranking for the season in a ranked match.
The staff at the facility looked at me like I was a monster, but they also looked at me with glowing anticipation.
That season was the only time I ever topped the Zero Wars 2, but my value within the facility was set at that point.
If I can become a proof as a usable item, the reputation of the facility will increase. I’m definitely their golden egg.
What I had to do was the same every day. I just continued to devote myself to practicing the game.
No, I wasn’t even aware that I was practicing. I just enjoyed getting better at it and indulged in the game world.
And the better I got, the less time I spent going to school.
As I watched the Zero Wars series move from 2 to 3 and from 3 to 4, I continued to hone my skills in an indifferent manner.
I simply watched the backs of the children disappear from the facility as their talents were dismissed as not up to their standard.
And around the age of 10, I, too, began to feel stagnation.
At the time, Zero Wars 3 was at its top of popularity, and although my season ranking in ranked matches was consistently in the single digits, I was unable to reach the number one position.
It is not that I became a bad player or that those around me became particularly good.
It was just that I couldn’t win enough games. As a result, I couldn’t push hard enough, and my ranking didn’t improve.
No, I somehow knew the cause.
It was true that I was not getting worse, but I was not getting better either.
Was it the limit of my talent, which I had continued to hone since I was a child, or was it a matter of how to hone it?
Without knowing it, I continued to produce top-class results. The cheerful staff members were as happy as ever, but I kept feeling this vague sense of stagnation.
One day, after nearly two years of such a period, a sudden turning point came.
A pale-faced staff member at the facility told me,
“S-Someone has come to visit you.”
This was the first visitor I had ever had in my life at this facility. Even in elementary school, that had never happened to me.
I entered the facility’s reception room with absolutely no idea who I was meeting, and there sat a woman I had seen before.
“I’m here to buy you.”
She did not even bother to identify herself. She just said that.
No, I guess she just knew she didn’t have to say her name.
She knew that there was no way I didn’t know. As a player in this facility that trains esports players, there’s no way for me not to know the hottest player the world has right now.
“You’re Rinne from HEROES, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. [No. 666] ….or should I call you by your name, Muo Rokuro?”
“Either one is fine, but… why are you here?”
“I just told you, I’m here to buy you. For now, sit down.”
Rinne acted as if she was the owner of the room, and I sat down at her prompting and peeked over the table.
Half a year ago, she was the first woman to win an esports festival.
In terms of ranked match ability, she is far below me. If we were to meet in a normal ranked match, there’s no way for me to lose.
However, in that tournament, Rinne stomped all the other strong competitors and seized the top spot.
I couldn’t participate due to age restrictions, but… should I have been able to participate. Should I have played against Rinne that day, would I have won?
I was thrilled at the fact that the person I had fantasized about so much was now sitting right in front of me.
I was so shocked and confused that I couldn’t stop my thoughts from going around.
“I’ll explain everything step by step. First is, this facility will go under in less than a month.”
“The director has been arrested by the public authorities. No matter how much he struggled, this facility itself is a hotbed of crimes created by kidnapping and confinement, so if it is found out, it will be destroyed.”
I was surprised at the time because that was the first time I learned that the children here were not recruited through legitimate means.
From the time I attended an elementary school, I knew that they were different from the norm, but only to the extent that our appearance is like that of orphans.
“Some children can be returned to their parents, while others like you who are not registered cannot. Of course, if we let things go with the flow, you will be protected by the state, have a proper family register made, and be placed in an orphanage. This is such an overprotective country after all.”
“I don’t understand. What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing wrong with it, but should you accept them, there will be no more ideal space to play the game like now. On the contrary, you should expect to have little or no access to games while you are in the orphanage.”
I have lived with games ever since I can remember, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
“That’s no good.”
“Right? That’s why I’m here. If you want, I will buy you from the government. I will make you a family register and provide you with the best environment to play the game. I won’t give you the freedom to go out and play as you wish, but I’m sure that kind of freedom has no worth for you in the first place.”
Rinne’s offer was very appealing, considering what was to come.
I have no reason to stay here as long as I can play the game. I’ve only followed the instructions because I’ve always been allowed to play games if I do as I’m told, and I have no attachment to the facility itself.
If that was the case, there was no disadvantage in accepting Rinne’s request.
But still, it bothered me because there is nothing but advantages in this deal.
“What am I supposed to do?”
I have never bought something, but I believe anyone will buy something that is useful to them in some way.
I am certainly confident that I am one of the best in the world when it comes to the Zero Wars series. Conversely, my value should only be about that.
I had heard that she was recruiting members for a professional team, and could that recruitment be the reason?
But Rinne is the woman who won the world championship using Zero Wars 3. I think my value should not be that much in front of her.
“Did you know there’s a VR version of Zero Wars coming out?
“A bit. I’ve only seen an announcement about it in the in-game news.”
“I want you to be the one who does it. My company, HEROES, is short of VR department personnel, you know that, right?”
Rinne, smiling as she says she is in trouble and in need, without showing any signs of being troubled.
It might not be a lie that there is a shortage of personnel in the VR department, though.
“I don’t mind? …but I’ve barely touched VR so far.”
“But you have an outstanding aptitude for it, don’t you? If I’m right, it should help you out of the slump you’re in.”
I felt a little creeped out at this moment because she talks like she could see right through me.
I’ve never mentioned my slump to anyone, not even the staff at the facility. And even if you had followed my record closely, you wouldn’t even know.
Indeed, I was not at the top of my game, but I was consistently averaging high scores, and I am sure that I am not at all a bad player in any way.
The only thing I feel is that I am not growing as fast as I would like to, but from the perspective of those around me, I am sure that my problems are not as excessive as they seem.
When she pointed out a problem that had been vague even in my mind, I was more scared than surprised.
“I’m glad you’re interested in it, so I’ll leave you alone for today. And you don’t have to make a decision right now, so just calm down and think about it. I will take you out as soon as you make up your mind.”
“Okay, I understand.”
Rinne said and left the reception room without looking back.
Even if she told me to think about it calmly… in the end, I’m just a nameless kid who had been raised in this institution.
I just wanted to play games. I didn’t care about my studies or how much I owed to the people at the facility.
So, almost without hesitation, I decided to take her offered hand. At least that way, I thought, I could keep playing the game.
After that, the facility I had spent the past 12 years in, which I would call my birthplace, was gone, and I was given a new base by Rinne.
I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was on a private jet. They told me we’re not heading to Japan but somewhere else.
“From today on, you will live here. I have everything you need, and if you ever need something, you can buy it as you wish.”
I don’t even know what country I’m in, but from the view out the window, it’s a five-bedroom, one-story house in a place that is not urban in the least.
Rinne was right. This place had everything I needed to live.
It’s a dream-like place. There are pieces of equipment that I had never seen before in an institution, game consoles, computers, and every possible environment I want is here.
Most shocking of all was the bed-type full-dive machine. It was an ultra-luxury item that could only be obtained by custom-made, and one of these machines would cost enough to buy a house.
Even so, I heard a staff member at the facility telling me that they are so popular that reservations are kept open for over a year.
I had little experience with virtual space games, but I was still astonished by this equipment.
“Is this okay?”
“Yes, it is. Just to let you know, we don’t buy this level of equipment for every kid who joins HEROES. We are still an emerging team and need immediate help. So far, all of the kids we’re scouting are kids who have their own equipment.”
As a would-be esports player, I know a fair amount of information about esports.
In fact, I have done a lot of research over the past few days.
If what I learned is correct, the establishment of HEROES coincided with Rinne becoming a professional gamer.
In the professional world, only a few players compete as individuals. No, to be precise, they are still counted as pro gamers because they were sponsored by the company.
HEROES is a professional gaming team. Funded by a company affiliated with the Takajou Group, but in essence, it was a company and a team created to ensure that Rinne would not be lacking in her professional activities.
The team really began to go public after Rinne won the WGCS, but immediately after that, the members began transferring in to HEROES and they began their activity.
This means that even before she won the trophy, Rinne was secretly planning to form a team called HEROES.
Well, it is not strange to select players with a certain level of fame and ability as the initial members of the team.
It is normal practice for any professional team to stake out some strong players from the start to form a team. For this purpose, if the reason for recruiting is [They might become stronger], it’s even stranger.
That’s why it was strange to put that excessive investment into me, who had not yet achieved anything. In a game that hasn’t even been released yet.
“What Rinne want from me…? What should I be…?”
“Be strong. Be so overwhelmingly strong so that no one can beat you.”
A luxurious house and equipment. Everything was given to me unilaterally by Rinne, including the provision of a household register and the freedom of not being tied down to an institution.
Of course, I am happy, and because I am happy, I feel that I have to give something back to Rinne.
But all I got back from Rinne was a simple answer [Be strong].
She did not reply by stating what her goals or objectives were.
“You are free to do what you want. And you will be strong just by doing that. Some talents grow from control. Others grow from of freedom.”
“In the future, if you can awaken the sleeping monster within, I will come back to see you again. If you want to give something back to me, consider that as your starting point. Farewell then, I’ll be counting on you, so good luck.”
After saying these words, Rinne quickly left, leaving me stunned.
She handed me a house for me who had not yet accomplished anything. And although I am aware that I am not familiar with the world’s common sense, I believe that this is not one of them.
It was so unrealistic that I almost assumed it was a dream. I pinched my cheek in doubt, and it hurt. Are you sure that there is no pain in a dream?
“A Storm-like person, is that what they call it?”
I have only seen a storm with my own eyes twice, but I thought it was a perfect description for Rinne.
She said she was expecting a lot of me, but for all this, I’m not even sure what did she expect.
“How to use… oh, it’s manual.”
I found the manual, which contained not only the equipment provided but also the warranty for the furniture and notes on living in the house, all compiled in one book, and I read through the contents.
Starting from such things as how to use each facility, such as the bathtub and washing machine, how to order food, to the initial settings of the equipment needed for games. If I ever feel lost about something, I could always go back to this, and I’ll be able to figure it all out.
She emphasized so much about the [stay in the house as much as possible] rule, though.
After reading the book, I learned that the housekeeping chores, including the food management I mentioned earlier, would be taken care of by a professional caretaker.
To be honest, that was a big help. I had never done any housework before.
When I took home economics classes in elementary school, I was aware that the skills necessary for living were completely absent from me.
Still, I did not care because all I had to do was solemnly accept what I was given in my position as a laboratory animal.
From now on, no matter what I do, I have to move of my own volition. It is true that it is troublesome. But I guess this is what Rinne means by [freedom].
“I think I’ll start with setting up the game.”
Because I can’t start anything until I do that.
Zero Wars VR has not yet been released, but I’ll set up each of the Zero Wars series that I had already installed in order.
With this, I was given the best environment I could ask for. And I took my first step on a journey with no goal in sight.
I split it into two stories because it was too long, but I will post the next story tomorrow.
Also, on a personal note, the third volume of the “Blunt Type Ogrre Girl” comic was released yesterday!
As I have already reported in the activity report, this is the final volume(of the manga). I hope you will pick up a copy at a bookstore or the like.
Eh, interesting, it contains a story about “What if Nana didn’t go berserk in apostle battle.” Should I buy it? But I don’t want to translate manga, LOL. It’s a friggin pain and time-consuming.
Anyway, the manga is branching out from the novel, it seems? And don’t worry about web novel. It will continue, he said.