The King's Game (1)
How did this happen...
Rumors circulating around the inn about a mysterious, cute girl.
Rood was sure if he hid his face no one would have noticed him, but that only made things worse. And when his face was shown, it just made things worse. The only good thing is that no suspected that it was of him.
Although that's as far as he knows.
Since there was a limited space in the bathhouses, each class is given a designated time slot and then switched over to the next set of classes.
Seeing as how it wasn't their class's turn yet, Rood and the others took a little tour around the inn.
"Not much we can do now since we can't go out." Dio was bored since they had finished dinner already and it wasn't their turn to use the bath yet. "You think they have some fun stuff around here?"
"There was a shop here. You could always go there." Rood suggested. He remembered hearing about it once.
"... I'd rather not..." Dio's heart still hasn't recovered from the last time when Lalita told him that the inn's shop had the bath salt. "Ghuuuackk?!"
Out of nowhere, Dio tripped over something.
"Ow... That hurt..."
Rubbing his sore forehead, he turned around to see a long piece of rope on the floor. On the other end of the rope was held by Lalita who was squatting down on the ground with his legs together and his other arm resting on them.
What? Dio was stumped by why the pale blue haired kid would trip him over like that. What has he ever done to receive such treatment?
Before Dio got a chance to ask Lalita the reason behind his actions, Lalita had already tied up Dio with the rope he used to trip Dio. Dio felt like he was a horse being lead with the rope tied around his body.
"?!" Dio was shocked to be tripped and then tied up all of a sudden. When did he have time to do that?
"Capture complete!" Lalita said.
But just before Lalita heads off to who knows where with Dio in tow, Rood speaks up.
"Excuse me, what are you doing?"
"Capturing a really dumb animal." Lalita answered seriously.
The fact that his words had no malice in them only hurt Dio more.
"I see... That makes sense." Rood felt completely satisfied with Lalita's answer.
"Rood, don't agree with him?!"
Hearing Rood calmly accept that kind of reason just added more wounds to Dio's broken heart. Talk about adding salt to open wounds.
"But for what reason do you need to capture this really dumb, annoying animal who can't seem to learn the meaning of personal space?" Rood bluntly said.
"He didn't say all that stuff?! And why is it so long?!" Dio wanted to cry... No, scratch that... He was already crying at the extra details Rood added. Was that how he saw him?
"It's part of the game." Lalita nonchalantly answered like Rood hadn't added extra insults to Dio.
What kind of game is that?! Rood, Dio, and Lapis had wondered what sort of game required catching an animal.
They soon got an answer when Lalita opened a door leading to a lounge where they saw Arête, Lunette, a mint haired guy... and Shicmuon.
At the immediate sight of Shicmuon, Rood darts to the side hiding from view of the other party. No longer focused on why Lalita needed to catch Dio, Rood wanted nothing more than to disappear at that moment. He didn't know why Shicmuon was there, but he didn't care. All he knew was that he had to get out of there ASAP.
However before he could take no more than two steps, Rood felt a hand on his shoulder. A cold bead of sweat drips down from Rood's cheek.
"Isn't it a rude to leave without saying anything..."
This voice... Rood knew all too well.
"Isn't that right..."
Shoot, he wasn't fast. Now he has no means of escape.
After a while, both parties settled down.
Rood was grateful that they kindly offered them seats well at least Lalita did anyway, but he would have appreciated it if he was seated in another location. Sandwiched between a psychotic, flame haired magician out for his blood and creepy fanboy stuck to him 24/7, Rood really was stuck between a rock and a hard place. A tiger at the front gate and a wolf at the back gate.
A seating arrangement was looking really nice at the moment.
Lapis on the other hand was not pleased to have Shicmuon next to Rood. Seeing how Rood previously reacted at the sight of Shicmuon, without a doubt, Rood was being bullied by Shicmuon. Why else would the poor child hide the moment he sees the ill tempered Hereis.
"You see before you showed up we were kind of in the middle of a board game." The mint haired young man begins explaining the situation to Rood and the others. "It was Lalita's turn, and the card he got ordered him to catch an animal."
Lalita shows Rood and the others the card with the order he got.
"Surviving the Harsh, Cruel Nature of Reality and Life: Hell's Saga Part II!" The mint haired young man introduced the game they were playing.
Rood didn't know where to begin to point out all the faults of that game. The name already said it all.
Who would actually enjoy such a dreary game?
Part II? You mean this is a sequel?!
Like Rood, Dio and Lapis found the game really weird. Chevel too couldn't believe that anyone would enjoy this kind of game.
For one thing, the title of the board game didn't sound like a name you'd find on a normal board game. There was no way there was anyone who'd play such a depressing game. It'd be weirder if there was someone who'd like it. And the fact that it was a sequel surprised them even more seeing as how there's a prequel. No one would actually thing that sort of game would sell much less have a sequel.
"Just as its name says, it's a fun game filled with thrilling adventures and peaceful times. Not to mention the bit of realism in it for better depth." The mint haired young man continued.
"Fun?! Are you alright in the head?! What part of that sounds fun?!" Rood didn't get what was so fun about a game with a name that would kill anyone's enthusiasm.
"No matter how you look at it, that's anything but peaceful?!" Dio too didn't get how could someone enjoy a game where it orders you to capture an animal.
"It's really fun. You can join if you want."
Was he joking? There was no way they would want to play such a game.
"Huh...?" This time it was Lunette's turn when she rolled the dice and landed on a square that said to pick up a card from the small deck of cards in the middle of the board.
'Your lover has abandoned you taking all of your money and belongings with them. Now left with nothing, you are forced to steal in order to live. Extort money from the weakest and most pathetic person in your group.' was the order written on Lunette's card.
That's a very drastic opinion for a game if Rood might add. The degree of realism in the game was border lining hopelessness.
Following the game's rules, Lunette proceeds to go ahead and extort money from the weakest and most pathetic person.
And that person was...
"Hand over all your loot." Lunette threatened Dio as she sets her foot on the table like a mafioso.
Rather than a standover man, her choice of words made her seem more like that of a pirate to Rood.
"Leave the dough and all your personal belongings."
Now she sounded like some small time robber.
"Keep your underwear though. I don't want to see your lower half."
"..." Okay, Rood didn't know where to begin with that.
"On second thought, if washed, it's still sellable."
Wait, is she seriously thinking of taking Dio's underwear too?!
"How about we try something else!" Rood suggested saving his friend from almost being stripped naked and having his money taken from him.
"So that's no good? Then how about this one?" The mint haired young man held out another board game, Ghoul Gone Mystery: Case of the Bloodstained Briefs.
Rood couldn't help but question why were these people so interested in male underwear.
"Or this..." The mint haired young man takes out a pack of playing cards.
Old maid? That seemed reasonable.
"Oh, Satu, it's been a while since we've played that." Arête pointed out.
"Let's play one round for old time's sake."
"Don't make it sound like we're a bunch of old farts. It's been a month since we last played." Lunette venomously hissed at her mint haired associate.
This could be a good chance for Rood to see what kind of card game was Satu. Hopefully, it was a normal game.
After the cards were shuffled and divided, the first one up was...
Lalita who placed a card that looked like some kind of trading card.
"Already!" The mint haired young man exclaimed in surprise. "It's only the start of the game he's already playing it out!"
Lalita placed another card.
"Not surprising the least." Arête knew this was going to happen.
"Lima! Enam! Tujuh! Dela!"
"H-How gallant, Lalita-gun~" Lunette was in all awe at Lalita's skillful display of dexterity.
"Satu! Dela! Satu! Satu! Satu!"
And with that was the last card in Lalita's hand.
"Three Satu's in a row. Not bad." Arête commended Lalita.
"So wanna give it a try?" The mint haired young man asked.
Was he serious? Forget about understanding the rules, Rood had already lost it after the first 'Satu.' Based on the others' reactions, they felt the same too. Although in Shicmuon's case, he didn't really care. Actually, he wasn't even paying attention to the game.
"Don't you have any normal games to play?" Rood didn't know where did these people get these weird games.
"Normal games? Weren't all the ones we just played normal?"
Was he serious?
"If you don't like those, then how about the King's Game?"
"King's Game?" Rood had never heard of a game like that.
"It's a simple game where everyone participates and draws lots. All of the lots are marked based on the number of participants except for one which is the king's lot. Whoever has the lot marked the "king" gets to order everyone else whatever they want."
"You mean like make a stuck up jerk who's only redeeming feature is his background go on his knees and apologize for being the pompous bonehead he is." Lapis grew an interest in the game as his eyes gleamed while a large vein popped on Chevel's head.
Rood didn't like how this was going.
"Or like making a certain Eternal Idun admit how completely useless he is and how bleak his future is." Chevel calmly kept his cool despite the red vein on his head which was still there.
Sparks fly between Lapis and Chevel. Neither side showed any sign of backing down as they glared down at the other with hostility.
""Bring out those lots!"" Chevel and Lapis shouted in unison like a pair of kids.
He knew it. Rood saw it coming.
So far the King's Game sounded the most reasonable out of all the games that mint haired guy brought out.
I guess we could kill some time before we go. Rood didn't see any harm in not playing along.
"So that means I can order Rood-nim to do anything like letting me feed Rood-nim or sleep on the same bed as Rood-nim from now on!" Linus was starting to love the King's Game.
"I can fight Blackie..." Shicmuon smirked at the thought of being able to order Rood around as much as he wants.
He takes that back. Rood's future is the one that's currently looking bleak at the moment.
"That's not it works..." The mint haired young man sweat drops at Linus and Shicmuon's ideas as his smile slightly wavers. "It's true that you can order others, but through only numbers. The others have numbers on their lots which identify. For instance, the king can order No. 2 to dance naked or multiple numbers at the same time like No. 4 whip No. 6 with your love. And no matter what order they give you, the king's orders are absolute."
"So basically, you won't know who you're picking. That's a relief to hear." Rood let out a sigh of relief. "But what's with your examples?"
Rood didn't get why he used weird orders like those examples.
And so began the King's Game. Using wooden chopsticks as lots, everyone drew a lot.
"So who's the king?" The mint haired young man inquired.
"Me..." Dio held up the stick with a crown on the top. "Let's see..."
As the first person up, he had to set up the standard for the game. Thinking about what sort of order to give, Dio ponders on the thought for a while. Since this was a game might as well add a bit of comedy to it.
"Alright, No. 6 wear a girl's uniform from our school."
Last time, Rood wore a dress after his clothes got washed away by the river and he beat him up. Because of him, Rood ended up in that humiliating situation so this time he'll at least make it up to Rood by having someone else crossdress. That way Rood won't feel as embarrassed seeing someone else sharing the same pain he felt before.
"So who's No. 6?"
Hearing Arête usual indifferent tone, it was clear that he wasn't it.
The room was filled with a long dreadful silence as no one dared to voice out their number.
"Rules are rules. The king's orders are absolute! So who's the unlucky No. 6?" Dio lightly teased knowing that he was safe.
With no escape from the iron rules of the game, the stick with the number 6 on it was held up in the air shaking as the person who held onto it was trembling.
Dio certainly did not see this.
Of all the people, it had be Rood who drew that number! Boy, did he not look happy. More so mad, he looked down right mad seeing the blackish aura around him as he glared down at Dio. And the scariest part was that he was silent the whole time. The fact that he hasn't said anything made Dio more frightened.
"D-Did I say No. 6?! I mean 4! 4! Not 6!" Dio quickly switched numbers not wanting to be pummeled again like he was last time.
"Sorry, but you can't change numbers either. That's why we have them so that people don't play favorites." The mint haired young man bursts Dio's bubble.
Couldn't this guy read the mood...
"B-But we don't a uniform for him!" Dio desperately thought up. "So I guess the order's invalid."
"Ah, don't worry about that. I got one right here." Lunette takes out Helios's school skirt.
"H-How..." How on earth did she get that?!
"While you guys were prancing around like a bunch of sissies, I went up to a random girl from your school and said..." Lunette explained. ""There's a kid from your school that needs one. Got a spare for him?""
"I can't believe you actually said that to them..." And with a straight face no less.
"After that she directed me to a professor who gave me an extra uniform."
Moments later, Rood disgruntledly wore the skirt along with some knee socks to give him that female aspect much to his chagrin.
"Uu... I'm sorry Rood... Please don't glare me like that..."
Rood's icy cold glare made Dio's leg shake like a new born deer's.
Continuing on with the game, for the second round, one who drew the king's lot was Lalita.
"I'm the king. Hm..." Lalita thinks up what order to give. "Okay, Rood wear this."
Lalita pulls out the same blond wig from before that he put on Rood.
Rood's whole body turns to stone seeing that wig once more.
What's with these people? Rood didn't get why everyone was trying to make him into sort of crossdressing pervert.
"Lalita, that's no good. You have to use numbers. It's the rules." The mint haired young man reminded Lalita.
That's right. This game used numbers rather than names. So Rood was safe.
"Alright, then No. 2."
"Haha... So you decided to randomly pick some number. There's no way you'd actually get it right." Dio lightly chuckled. It was like a kid trying to guess the number a person is thinking of. And the chances of him getting it right were 1 to 10. "Right Rood?"
A moment of dead silence fills the air.
Huh? Dio wondered why Rood wasn't saying anything. His face looked kind of grim too.
Even Linus and Shicmuon wondered the same thing as well. Curious, both of them peered over Rood's shoulder and looked at the number on his stick. Both of them were quite astonished. Shicmuon raised an eyebrow to his surprise despite his usual deadpan face. All Linus could do was maintain a smile as a small bead of sweat drips down from Linus's cheek.
Now curious, Dio mimicked Linus and Shicmuon's action and took a peek at Rood's number.
All life drains from Dio's face.
This was no joke.
"By the way, this guy's instincts are off the charts." Arête points to Lalita.
"I think that would have been nice to know..." Rood who was not only wearing a girl's uniform but also a wig felt his male pride slipping away by the second.
"What was with that order anyway?" Arête asked his pale blue haired companion.
"It felt kind of off looking at Rood so I thought a wig would have helped."
"So basically, you were just following this thing's lead." Arête points at Dio.
Hearing Lalita's answer, Rood redirects his anger at Dio who was scared out of his wits.
"Not only once but twice in one day... Must your fate." Shicmuon poked fun at Rood mocking him as usual.
Hold it in... I'll kill him later... No, no, no, that's what he wants...
"Your current look suits like you... Running away, hiding around like a mouse, tiny as one too... Might as dress like a weak girl for the rest of your life."
Forget that. I'll kill him after all.
Rood didn't care about hiding his identity or stopping himself from giving into Shicmuon's provocation at the moment. He just wanted to wipe off that annoying smirk on that red flea's face.
Then for the third round, Lunette was the king.
"So I'm the king." Lunette had already lost interest in the game since the only thing that came out of it was a crossdressing Rood.
Compared to her other teammates, Lunette seemed more normal leaving aside her hatred for men and love for Lalita. For now, Rood can rest easy. Since a majority of the players were men, he doubts she would any order she'd want to give to them based on her tone.
"Alright, No. 5 fondle No. 1's ass."
Hearing the ridiculous order, Rood was left dumbstruck as Lapis face faulted in the background.
What was this girl saying?!
Incidentally, No. 5 was Arête while No. 1 was Chevel whose embarrassment was clearly evident on his flustered face and ashamed to have a guy touching his bottom. It'd be weird if a woman did that too.
Despite his current situation, Chevel drew his attention to Arêteready to listen to what the black haired male had to say. He was probably just as embarrassed as Chevel. Chevel couldn't blame him since his position was no better than Chevel's.
"Your ass is really flabby."
"Yeah. It's all soft and mushy. You should consider working out more."
Forget embarrassed, this guy had no shame. How he not feel the least bit disturbed with his current position?!
"Lalita's is much more slimmer and firmer." Arête stopped rubbing Chevel's butt and moved onto Lalita's.
Chevel had never met someone so casual about sexual harassment. And towards another man no less.
"You bastard! How dare you defile Lalita-gun with your filthy hands that have already been through garbage!"
Did she just call him 'garbage?'
Lunette's eyes belonging to that of a murderous killer, rage fumes all over Lunette's face. She wanted nothing more than to cut off every part of Arête's body starting with his hands and bury the man after she's done with him.
"QUIT IT, YOU DAMN BRATS!"
A large gust of icy cold wind along with some snow came gushing in.
"Really, I can't leave you guys alone for five minutes and I find you're already causing trouble."
Axel shows up with his arms crossed and by his side was a snow white fox with snow flake crystal marks on its hind side. Axel was ready to drag them all out until he made eye contact with Rood.
"Huh? Since when was there a little girl in your group?" Axel could swear that the 'girl' looked familiar.
G-Girl?! Even Axel mistook him as a girl! Rood didn't get why everyone was saying that.
"On closer examination, isn't this that pipsqueak you were with earlier?" Axel finally recognized the 'girl' as Rood.
A large vein pops on Rood's head.
Although Rood was glad that he wasn't mistaken as a girl anymore, it didn't make him happy to hear his height being insulted like that. What's with everyone making fun of his height?!
"Anyway, you guys are done. We have to start writing down who does which shifts for tomorrow."
""Eh?"" Arête and Lunette whined.
"Then if you insist on playing, then I shall participate too." Annoyed by his teammates' antics, Axel has no choice but to put things in his own hands. "If I'm king, I'll order everyone to run around the inn... naked."
And so shortly afterwards, Axel left successfully accomplishing his goal of retrieving his companions.
Rood found Axel to be slightly terrifying. To think he would actually threaten to make his own teammates run around in the nude and one of them was a girl to boot. The worst part was that it didn't sound like he was kidding either.