The King's Game (2)
Still having a bit of time left, Rood and others carry on with the game.
This time Rood was the king.
"Wah~" Linus was in awe at Rood's draw.
Although some didn't share the feeling. Remembering Axel's previous threat to his teammates, both Dio and Chevel were frightened by what kind of order Rood would give them Dio especially.
"No. 4 give me your clothes."
More than anything else, Rood wanted to get out this embarrassing outfit. Apparently, he wasn't allowed to change back unless a new order was given to allow him to change.
And as for the poor victim who forced to strip off his clothes, Chevel was reduced to his underwear since he has nothing else to wear seeing as the clothes Rood wore couldn't fit him.
The others except for Lidusis and Shicmuon tried to hold back their amusement. They couldn't help but find Chevel's predicament laughable.
"Pfft..." Dio accidentally let out a laugh.
He didn't know which was funnier the fact that Chevel was half naked or that he was wearing kitten patterned boxers.
"Hey Rood, you—" Dio was about to tell Rood how funny Chevel looked, but stopped when he saw the latter.
After forcing Chevel to strip and taking his clothes, Rood ended up making one slight miscalculation.
The uniform was way too big for Rood. The jacket kept slipping off his shoulders, and the pants were sagging too. He looked like a kid trying on the clothes of an adult.
A cold wind blows through the room.
This is bad... I can't laugh or he'll kill me.
Normally, Dio would have laughed at the sight too if the person he was laughing at was anyone but Rood who was very sensitive about his height.
Lidusis felt bad for both Chevel and Rood. He knew Rood wanted to get out of those clothes, but unfortunately picked the worst possible match. The body difference between them was that of a child and an adult. He felt guilty about Chevel since the underwear Chevel's wearing was picked by Lidusis when he went to get Chevel's clothes. It was probably not a good idea to have gotten the first underwear on top of the drawer.
Shicmuon showed no interest in the currently half naked Chevel or his taste in underwear. His attention was completely drawn to Rood and his incredibly baggy and loose clothing.
"Before it was a dress and now this, you like playing dress up a lot. You look even more like a child."
What was this guy saying?! Was he trying to get himself killed?! Both Dio and Chevel knew nothing good can come out of pissing off Rood.
"Calm down, Rood. Let's not do anything we'll regret." Dio tries to pacify his blond friend before the latter decides to destroy the place.
"Please don't forget why you're here in the first place." Chevel reasons not wanting to get mixed up in the crossfire.
"Rood-nim looks great in anything he wears!"
"You're not helping?!" Chevel didn't see the point in that unnecessary comment.
"But it is true. He looked so cute in that dress. And the girl's uniform too."
"..." Chevel couldn't deny that. Rood looked way too natural in it. It was almost scary.
"Even Chevel agrees."
"I-It's not like that. I-I eh... I wasn't expecting him to see him wearing that!" Chevel frantically denied.
His actions weren't the very convincing at all.
"And I wasn't expecting you wear to such embarrassing underwear again." Rood bluntly added. "Just stop and wear normal underwear." (A/N: For reference, refer back to Chapter 21's Omake Take 1)
"Could you at least be more tactful?!"
Chevel wanted to erase that shameful memory from his mind.
Moving onto the fifth round, the next king was Chevel.
Hehe... My turn at last...
Since he was left in a humiliating state, he might as well make the others go through the same pain as him by them do embarrassing things.
"No. 1 rest your head on No. 6!"
There was nothing more humiliating for a man to rest his head on another man's lap instead of a cute girl and vice versa. Now was the time for payback although he wouldn't dare do anything to Rood in fear of death.
Incidentally, the two picked for Chevel's order were Dio and Rood. Dio being No. 1 and Rood being No. 6.
"King, good job!" Dio places his hand on Chevel's shoulder and gives him a thumb's up with his other hand as he has a straight face.
"Don't look so happy about it." Chevel didn't think he'd see a man so happy to rest his head another man's lap.
"No fair, Chevel!" Linus whined jealous of Dio. "I want a pillow lap from Rood-nim!"
"Unfortunately for you, that position belongs to me, Rood's best friend. And the rules says that you can't change the order or number either."
Biting into a handkerchief that he pulled out of nowhere, Linus could only stare in frustration as Dio laid his head on Rood's lap gloating in superiority. He was so jealous of Dio.
What are they doing... Rood just wondered what on earth were they doing.
In the next round, Lidusis was the king. Lidusis wasn't sure what to go with so he just randomly gave out an order.
"Uhm... No. 3 talk about a fond memory."
"Eh? That's boring, Lord Artian." Dio would have preferred a love story or an embarrassing memory over a cherished memory.
"How long are you two going to stay like that?" Lapis speculated. Dio had been on Rood's lap for quite some time. He knew that's what they were ordered to do, but not for that long.
"Does it matter?" Dio liked his current position so he wasn't complaining.
Rood didn't really care. If Dio was starting to be a nuisance or his legs started to fall asleep from the weight of Dio's head, he could always push the latter's head off his lap.
"It does! I want a pillow lap too!" Linus whined.
"If it's a pillow lap you want, you can use my lap." Lapis offered.
"Oh please, Lapis. You must be joking." Linus gently smiled at his friend with a sparkly aura around him. "Why in my right mind would I want to rest my head on your lap? It's meaningless if it isn't Rood-nim."
Linus had just brushed off his offer such in a refreshing way that Lapis held mixed feelings on whether he should feel insulted or dejected.
"So who's No. 3?" Dio wanted to get this over with so that they move onto the next round. Hopefully, he'll get good orders like the one Chevel gave out.
Responding to Dio's question, the stick with the number 3 on it was raised up... by Shicmuon.
It was surprising that the one picked for the order was Shicmuon of all people. Rood hardly doubts the crazy, redheaded magician actually had any decent memories or any that he could recall with that one track mind of his. Rood bets most of his memories were just ones with fights. But if it's Shicmuon, he's likely to keep his mouth shut than follow orders.
So far, Shicmuon was just staring at his number and then switched to Rood for a brief moment.
Was it him or did Shicmuon stare at him? Rood didn't have a good feeling about this.
"The king's orders are absolute?" Shicmuon inquired while looking at his stick.
"Yep, no matter what, they are absolute at least that's what those other guys said before they left." Chevel clarified for Shicmuon. Did he not like the order Lidusis gave him? It's not like Lidusis said anything unreasonable. His was by far the most normal out of all of the orders given.
Contrary to Chevel's thoughts, Shicmuon smirked almost like a mischievous child planning something.
That smirk gave Rood goosebumps along with a cold shiver. He didn't like that grin on Shicmuon's face not one bit. Nothing good ever comes from Shicmuon smiling. Only disaster and more specifically towards Rood.
"A fond memory, huh..."
Wait, was Shicmuon of all people actually complying? The very same person who never listened to his superior or partner?
"I wouldn't say fond, but it is something I will never forget..." Shicmuon smirked once more at Rood.
Why was he looking at him when he said that? Rood wasn't liking where this was going.
"That [day] I will never forget it."
Rood knew it. The memory Shicmuon is talking about is the incident that made Rood famous as the Black Magician.
Although to a third person's perspective, it sounded like Shicmuon was reminiscing about his first love. With the exception of Rood who already knew what Shicmuon was referring to, the others were interested in the matter as they did not expect to hear a love story from the cold, distant Shicmuon.
"That feeling... That once in a life time feeling. Never before had I felt anything like it."
Hearing this made them more anxious to hear more.
"The day I saw that black cladded figure."
A beautiful, mysterious woman in black!
"I'll never forget a single thing. The sky. The adrenaline. The demons."
Demons? What kind of love story was this?
"For the first time my heart was racing with so much excitement. Even now there isn't a single day that passes by where I cannot forget that feeling."
Whoa. They never took Shicmuon to be the romantic type. It almost made them tear up with the exception of Rood who cringed in embarrassment.
"Only that person can make me feel like that. I will continue to chase after that person to death."
"I hope you find that person! Good luck!" Moved by Shicmuon's dedication, Dio gives Shicmuon his condolences.
"This is will make Karina sad, but I'm supporting you! Best of luck!"
"Who knew you had a decent side to you!"
Even Linus and Lapis were moved by Shicmuon's story. Although he still detests Shicmuon for bullying Rood (at least that's what he thinks), Lapis wanted to at least cheer him on in his first love (even if it was just a misunderstanding on his part).
As for Rood, he thinks it would be best to keep it to himself that the person Shicmuon is chasing is actually him. Letting them know would only make things awkward.
The next round, Linus was the king.
"Finally! I'm the king!" Linus cheerfully said.
So he wanted to be the king. Surprisingly, Linus was more childish than Lapis thought.
"Now I can order Rood-nim however I want... Thinking about it makes my heart skip a beat."
Scary... Lapis was starting to worry about the poor, blond child.
"Wait, you can only use numbers, no names." Chevel reminded his classmate. Who knows what kind of order he'll give to Rood that may end up on them? And by the off chance, that Rood gets it. Chevel is more worried about what's going to happen afterwards rather than the order itself.
"Chevel, do you think I don't know that..." Linus confidently said to the former bully.
If he knew that, then why was he so confident almost like he knew Rood's number? It's not like he actually knew the number unless...
Chevel flashbacks to the time where Lalita did the same thing and said out Rood's number like he knew it.
It couldn't be... He actually knew Rood's number?
"Put on these cat ears!" Linus pulls out a pair of cat ears. "No. 2!"
"Not what I imagined..." This wasn't exactly what Linus had in mind when he brought out the cat ears. Plainly speaking, it down right creepy. "Looks like some kind of new demon."
"I agree." Chevel seconded that motion.
"Me too." Dio joined in.
"Well, excuse me!" Lapis shouted unable to tolerate his friend's rude remarks any longer. "It's not like I asked to put them on in the first place!"
On Lapis's head were a pair of cat ears more specifically the ones Linus took out.
"Honestly, I would preferred Rood-nim."
"Rood would look way better than him." Dio could vouch for that.
"..." Chevel had no comment on the subject as he did not want to be killed by said blond, but the thought of Rood in cat ears while wearing his baggy clothes made him flush.
So far, Rood was the only one satisfied with the situation with the exception of Lidusis pitied Lapis and Shicmuon who didn't really care at all. He was glad that someone else was sacrificed in his place. He'd rather not damage his male pride any more. But still...
Looking down at his stick, Rood was glad that Linus didn't go one more number higher.
He narrowly managed to escape death.
In the next round, Rood's worst nightmare came true as Shicmuon was the king.
He's screwed if Shicmuon gives out an order to fight him. Well, as long as his number wasn't called, he'd be safe... hopefully.
"No. 6 grovel on the ground as if you're begging for mercy like the lowly, worthless being you are."
You ass! Chevel, Lapis, and Dio shared the same thought.
What kind of sick order was that! How could he actually make someone do that!
"The king's order is absolute." Shicmuon smirked right at Rood the main target of his harassment.
So that's why he complied with Lidusis's order earlier. Rood wondered why Shicmuon, of all people, actually listened to someone's order. He was following the rules so that he could use it when it was his turn. That crafty, little sneak.
While the issue of order can't be done, what was left was the number.
Rood checked his stick to see the number he got.
He wasn't the only one as everyone else checked too scared that they may end up as the sacrifice.
The unfortunate victim ended up being Dio who had no choice but to comply.
On his knees, Dio posed as he was ordered to with his hand reaching out for mercy.
More than being for mercy, he looked more like a man crawling for forgiveness after his girlfriend who declares that she's breaking up with him for good after he was found out for cheating on her with ten other women.
It gave them mixed feelings to see Dio like that although they were glad it wasn't them in Dio's place.
And for the devil's incarnation behind the order, he looked completely indifferent to it as it wasn't the person he was hoping for. He was gunning for Rood but instead got Dio.
Seeing as how enough was enough, everyone agreed to make the next round the last round where Rood was the king.
Since how most of the orders were pretty much weird and horrible especially the last one, Rood thinks of going for a normal order.
A normal order, huh... Thinking about it, most of the orders weren't exactly good references to use. I am kind of thirsty.
Rood could feel a bit of dryness in his throat.
"Alright, No. 3 go get me a drink. Anything is fine."
Now, they could end the game peacefully without any chaos.
"The one to get Rood-nim's drink is me!"
"Back off that belongs to Rood's best friend, me!"
"No, as his Big Brother, it's my duty to overlook his daily necessities!"
Why were Linus, Dio, and Lapis fighting amongst each other...
Rood didn't really see the point of fighting when they were just getting drinks. Actually, it's only person and it might not even be them unless they drew the number Rood called out.
"There's no point in fighting unless you're No. 3." Rood pointed out.
Hearing that, all three of them check their lots only to fall into despair.
Why... Why didn't they get No. 3?!
Rood wasn't to say anything about their weird reactions. At least, Rood knew that it wasn't them.
"That's me..." Chevel held up the stick with the number 3 on it.
"Chevel switch with me!" Linus firmly requested.
"You can't be trusted with the task of bringing that child a refreshment! Who knows what you'll put in it!" Lapis didn't trust Chevel enough to leave him with any kind of beverage for consumption in his care. He'll probably spike it with a laxative or something.
This wasn't going exactly how Rood had in mind when he gave out the order.
After Rood changed back into his uniform (male), Rood gave back Chevel his uniform and allowed him to get him a drink since it would have been awful to make him go out in just his underwear. In the end, both of them made a compromise where Chevel would get Rood a drink after the baths seeing as how it was time for their classes'.
With that settled came an end to the game.
Today was one heck of a day. A simple trip around the woods turned into a desperate search for a flower leading them to meet two weirdos in the forest along with Rood having to crossdress much to his chagrin which in turned caused rumors about a beautiful girl to circulate. Rood wanted to hide in a corner after hearing about it. Then he played a game he had never heard of before called the King's Game and experienced many things he would have rather not have seen or done like crossdressing again.
And now that all that is over, Rood is currently facing another problem at the moment.
The fact that Linus has been staring at him the moment they entered the changing room is currently bothering Rood. With Linus staring at him, how can Rood change under these circumstances? Was it his imagination or did he feel multiple stares along with Linus... No, that was probably Shicmuon.
Behind Rood, along side Linus was Shicmuon boring a hole behind the back of Rood's head.
That was soon put to a stop when Lapis slapped the back of Linus's head.
"Stop staring, you fool! You're scaring him!"
"That's not true." Linus rubs the back of his back. "I'm just looking at Rood-nim's divine figure."
That's called staring... Chevel internally retorted as he watches the comic routine.
"And Rood-nim is too great to be scared..."
No, any guy would be scared if another guy was staring at him...
"But I don't a mind scared Rood-nim either."
Frightening... This guy is just frightening... Linus's infatuation with Rood was beyond what Chevel imagined.
A groups of students from Professor Orphell's class approach Dio, Lidusis, Lapis, Linus, Chevel, and Shicmuon.
"You've been staring at Rood for a while." A student spoke out.
Chevel starts sweating like crazy.
"For quite some time, we've been wondering something."
Oh no, they were going to misunderstand thinking that they were giving funny looks at Rood.
"It's about Rood."
Rood? That's a relief. Chevel didn't want to be labeled as a pervert or homosexual in school.
"There's something not right about him... I mean there's something off about him. Like he's different from the rest of us."
It could be?! They were suspecting that Rood was the Black Magician? Chevel wasn't the only one worried about this as Lidusis and Dio were too.
"I mean like that incident with the Klads when some of them grabbed him and he knocked them all out..."
Things weren't looking good.
"Or that time, when he moved into our class, Rood started coughing and acted all meek..."
Now they were referring to the time Shicmuon transferred into their class and sat at Rood's desk until the latter showed up. Rood's behavior must have been suspicious at the time since he wouldn't normally act like that.
"And then he missed the swimming class!"
This was bad. At this rate, they won't think Rood is a normal student like them. In worse case scenario, they'll realize he's the Black Magician.
"Don't you think it's strange despite the fact that we're classmates we hardly know a thing about Rood..."
"W-Well, it's not that big of a deal. It's not like we've asked him before." Dio reasoned trying to alleviate their suspicions.
"But that's not all... Even though we've known Rood for some time it feels like he's been keeping a distance from us like he's hiding something."
Dio gulps trying to think up something to say. Chevel starts nervously sweating even more. Even Lidusis didn't look so good.
"Hiding something? Like what?" Being the only one in the dark about Rood's identity, Lapis went ahead and asked oblivious to the tense atmosphere.
"You idiot don't encourage them!" Chevel grabs Lapis by the back of his shirt shouting the blond Eternal Idun's ear in a whispery manner.
"At first, we didn't think much about it. But lately, we've been thinking about it..."
"Don't you guys think..."
"That Rood could possibly be..."
Don't say it?!
"You're wrong!" Dio interjects. "It's not what you thi—"
Plainly speaking, Dio along with Chevel and Lidusis were too stumped for words. It was hard to say that whether they were shocked or confused. Probably both. Even Lapis and Linus didn't know where to begin. And Shicmuon... He just quietly watched the whole thing like a spectator.
A girl? They said.
"Lately, I've noticed one thing about Rood... He's been getting cuter recently..."
They really had nothing to say to this.
"Me too!" Another classmate stated. "I've been thinking the same thing too!"
"Actually, he kind of looked really cute to begin with." Another student joined in.
"It'd be awesome if he was a girl. I bet she'd look cute in the female uniform."
The image of Rood wearing Helio's female uniform (for Iduns) while looking shyly and meekly in their imagination popped in their mind.
"That wouldn't be bad!"
"I know, right?"
"There's no way he can be a dude if he looks that good in a skirt."
It seems that things were looking bad but in a different sense. Maybe it isn't a good idea to have Rood bathe in the same bath as them. For one thing, he'll be in danger and not the usual type of danger either.
"And you know that really cute girl I saw in the hallway before..."
"You mean the one from the rumors?"
"She looked an awful lot like Rood."
"You don't mean..."
"That's right. There's no doubt Rood is a girl!"
The others gasp in surprise.
"The resemblance is uncanny."
"B-But then why's Rood in the male uniform?"
"If anything I bet it's like this..."
"For my family, I must discard my femininity, and they probably won't look good on me either way... but sometimes I wish I could be a normal girl." Rood probably came from a line of strong magicians and is mostly like the only successor to the family. But as the successor to her family's name, she had to disguise herself as a man to assume succession by family tradition.
"Oh, the pain she must feel!"
"Don't worry to us you'll always be a girl!"
Now the guys start tearing up leaving Dio and the others dumbfounded.
Were they alright in the head?
"Uhm... You know Rood is changing with right now..." Dio subtly hints to them that Rood wasn't a girl seeing as how no girl would actually change around a group of boys especially one that's hiding her gender.
"Egads! We're barging in on a lady in the middle of changing! We need to get out fast!"
This wasn't what Dio had in mind, but at least they were gentlemanly.
What was that? It sounded like something dropping on the ground. Did someone trip?
Hearing Linus call out Rood's name, Dio along with Chevel, Lapis, and Lidusis quickly turn around to where Rood is. The other students also drew their attention to the source of their discussion.
Feverish look on his face almost like a person collapsing in the middle of a desert in search of an oasis.
Lying motionlessly on the ground was none other than Rood Chrishi.