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In one corner of the classroom, Shouta and Daisuke were having an argument.
"You must have done it with Misaki yesterday!"
"There's no way! I couldn't..."
"No way? Don't look down on me! How dare you sleep with my girl?!"
Shouta picked him up and held him against the wall.
"Misaki, come over here!"
Misaki was covering her face with her hands, trying to hide the tears rolling down her cheeks.
"I'm sorry! I was terrified and scared..."
"So? Didn't I tell you not to believe in the King's Game? According to Daisuke, it was you who sent a message to him and called him out, wasn't it?"
"How dare you! We're over!"
"Please don't... please understand."
Misaki collapsed onto the floor and sobbed; but nothing could calm Shouta's rage.
"By the way, it's still Daisuke's fault! Even if Misaki asks you, you could have rejected her!"
Shouta held up his fist and slammed it into Daisuke, smashing his face into the wall and causing his nose to spurt out blood. Shouta wanted to punch him once again, but was stopped by Nobuaki.
"Stop it! Stop fighting! Even if it was Daisuke's fault, you've gone too far!"
Nobuaki got hold of Shouta and forced him to let go of Daisuke.
After a while, Shouta said to the other students in the class, stretching his arms out wide,
"The King will let me give the command this time, right? That's what the message said!"
"What do you want to do?"
For an instant the classroom seemed to have frozen.
"So I'll give my command now. Daisuke will have to hang himself like Hideki and Satomi!"
Shouta shouted arrogantly. Nobaki hurried to stop him.
"Why would you say that! According to your command, Daisuke will have to die whether he follows the command or not!"
"Didn't I said before that I don't believe it? Daisuke and Misaki will understand now that they shouldn't have believed in this shitty game, won't they?"
Shouta patted Nobuaki on his shoulder and left. Nobaki stared at his back as he left.
At that moment, many different ringtones rang throughout the classroom. The students in the classroom immediately took their phones out to check their messages.
Nobuaki, surprised, also took out his phone to see what the message was.
"What should I do now?"
Daisuke shouted crazily and ran around of the classroom.
Seeing his situation, Shouta scoffed,
"Serves you right!"
Nobuaki clenched his fists and rushed to Shouta.
"Stop! This will just make matters worse, won't it?"
"Yeah! The most important thing now is to think of a way to solve Daisuke's problem."
Chiemi and Naoya hurried to Nobuaki to stop him, trying to help him calm down.
"Chiemi, tell the teacher when he arrives that I'll be coming back to the classroom a bit late. I'm off to find Daisuke."
That being said, Nobuaki quickly ran off into the corridor to look for any signs of Daisuke.
To his disappointment, Daisuke was neither in the corridor, washroom, stairs, nor the cafeteria. After that, he had a look at the shoes cupboard and found out that Daisuke's shoes were gone.
Daisuke may have run out of the school. Nobuaki thought and changed his shoes. He continued to call out for his friend.
"Daisuke! Daisuke! Where are you?"
Nobuaki looked everywhere in the school, the playground, and even behind the school building.
At last, he found Daisuke sitting on a large rock beside a pond.
Nobuaki approached him quietly. He then gently touched his shoulder.
Shocked, Daisuke stiffened and slowly turned to face Nobuaki.
"You scared the hell out of me, Nobuaki! Why did you come for me?"
"Why did I come for you? Because I'm worried about you."
"Hey, what should I do now? Can you tell me?"
Nobuaki sat beside Daisuke and pointed to his phone with a smile.
"Don't believe in the King's Game and everything will be fine."
"Even if that happened to Hideki and Shitomi?"
"Just take it as a coincidence."
Daisuke picked up some pebbles from the ground and threw them into the pond.
"Easy for you to say. You're not the one who has to hang yourself.."
"Nobuaki, you should hurry back to class. The first lesson is going to start."
"You have to come with me."
"I want to stay here for a bit longer."
"Then I'll stay as well! We'll go back later and get scolded by the teacher together."
Nobuaki stretched his hand towards Daisuke; and at this moment,
"Ah, I've come up with a good idea! If the King's Game is real, then those who don't follow the command by midnight will get punished, right?"
Nobuaki stood in front of Daisuke and spread out his arms.
"If that's the case, then the punished can be saved if there's someone looking after them by their side."
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean is that I will stay with you tonight so you don't hang yourself!"
"Right! Even if I suddenly wanted to hang myself, you'll stop me from doing so! Are you really going to stay with me tonight?"
"Yeah, leave it to me!"
Nobuaki slapped his chest and said confidently.
Daisuke finally smiled.
"This is great! Let's hurry back to the classroom."
At the classroom's door, Nobuaki knew already the lesson has started. He nervously opened the door.
"Hey! You two! Where did you go? Classstarted a long time ago."
Nobuaki apologized and headed into the classroom.
"Sorry, I seem to be a bit constipated today, so I sat in the washroom for a very long time..."
"What rubbish! How could anyone stay in the washroom for so long! Watch out for hemorrhoids. Now get back to your seat!"
"I'm really sorry..."
Daisuke whispered to Nobuaki,
"We got in trouble. I'm sorry, this is all my fault."
"It's nothing really. This isn't the first time so, I'm used to it."
After he went back to his seat, his phone suddenly rang.
Nobuaki gestured with his hands the peace sign, V, in Chiemi's direction and said, "I don't have constipation, nor do I have hemorrhoids! Stupid!"
"Do you want to stand outside the classroom?"
Chiemi smiled to Nobuaki and also gestured with her hands the peace sign, V.
"Why do you have to use the peace sign? I don't get it."
After school, as they had agreed beforehand, Nobuaki waited for Daisuke at the school gate.
"Sorry. I'm late!"
"Don't worry! We have someone else who'll help us."
Naoya , who was hiding behind Nobuaki, poked his head out.
"I think you'll feel more relaxed if more people are around, so I volunteered! Is it all right?"
Daisuke showed an expression of extreme happiness.
"Nobuaki, Naoya. Thanks so much!"
The three of them headed to Daisuke's house. It was an independent mansion in the luxurious residential area.
A big courtyard surrounded this mansion. There were Toyota, Volkswagen, and Lexus cars in the parking lot. Nobuaki was astonished at this scene.
"What is this? A super wealthy family?"
"We only have a little extra money."
"What!? A little!? This is ten times bigger than my house!"
"Okay okay, now come in."
When they had walked through the meticulously paved driveway and came to the front of the gate, Daisuke's mother had already come out to greet them.
"You're back. Eh? Are they your friends?"
"Yes, I'm back. They are Nobuaki and Naoya! They will be staying over today."
Nobuaki whispered to Daisuke in his ears,
"You're mum is very beautiful—at least 28 times more beautiful than mine."
"Living in a mansion, having such a beautiful mum... I'm so envious!"
Nobuaki and Naoya then greeted his mum politely.
"My surname is Kanazawa! Ma'am, you sure are beautiful."
"I am Hashimoto. Sorry for bothering you."
"Nyaaa, Kanazawa-san is so sweet."
"Oh it's nothing. I'm speaking the truth."
"Forget the formalities and come in now."
Blushing, Daisuke pushed Nobuaki and Naoya into his room.
After eating a grand dinner that Daisuke's mother had cooked, Nobuaki, Naoya, and Daisuke tried not to think about the King's Game.
Daisuke took out a video game console and a stack of games. The three of them played enthusiastically, and Daisuke never showed any hint of sadness.
"The last time when they didn't follow the orders we got a message five minutes before the deadline. We should receive the same message this time."
The three of them stopped playing the video games and took out their phones utterly serious. They focused on the screen of their phone and waited for the time to come.
The ticking sounds of the second hand of the clock had became loud and clear. All in a sudden, their phones rang simultaneously.
"W-What should I do? Nobuaki!"
"I told you to calm down! We're here for you! Besides, didn't we put any ropes and things like that into other rooms and locked them away? You can't hang yourself without those."
After that, their phones rang again together.
"Come over here, Daisuke and Naoya! Let's form a circle!"
The three of them sat down, formed a circle, and put their arms above each other. Then, their phones rang for the third time.
"It should be the punishment message because you didn't carry out the command. Let me take a look!"
"I won't let Daisuke be hung!"
Nobuaki shouted with an encouraging tone. Though their phones received again a message with an unknown sender, they kept still and maintained their circle that was bonded by their arms.
5 minutes passed.
Then Naoya lifted his head at last and said,
"Is it all right now?"
Nobuaki also slowly lifted up his head.
"Looks like nothing happened."
"Then does that mean I'm saved?"
"Seems like that to me!"
Daisuke stood up, still holding firmly to Nobuaki and Naoya's hands.
"I'm saved! I'm really saved! Nobuaki, Naoya, thank you so much!"
Because of this catharsis, tears dripped from Daisuke's eyes.
"Hideki and Shitomi's death were just coincidences. The King's Game is actually fake and only a prank! That's great, Daisuke!"
Nobuaki said. After that, he lay on the floor. The three of them were released from the terror and were now bathed in joy.
At this moment, Nobuaki's phone rang. He looked at the screen: it was Chiemi calling.
"What's the matter, Chiemi? We're celebrating."
"It seems you guys are very excited. How's Daisuke? Is he fine?"
"He's great! That's why we're so happy!"
"Then that's great! Now I can relax. But, have you seen the King's message yet? The next appointed one is Naoya!"
"Hoho, so is the next person Naoya?"
Chiemi changed her tone, one that carried anger,
"How can you have the mood to say this! Aren't you afraid?"
"Daisuke is safe and sound. This means that the King's game is only a prank, right? So there would be no problem with Naoya! Why scare yourself?"
"Ah, right! Then I can really relax. Don't play too late. I'm heading off to sleep."
"Sweet dreams! I love Chiemi the most! Chirp!"
"You sure are gross!"
"Just say I'm gross. There's no need to add 'sure'."
Relieved by the breath-taking crisis, the three of them continued on their Wii and PS3 games, battling fiercely all the way until 3 o'clock at night.
Nobuaki, though he slept late, was woken up by the alarm clock early the next morning at 07:08. He didn't know why, but his felt body very heavy. He looked to his side to find out that Naoya was holding to him from behind while he slept.
"Why are you holding me so tightly? You're gross!"
Nobuaki kicked Naoya off of himself.
"I want to hold to you while I sleep—"
"You're sleeping posture sure is ugly. And you're hungry for anything. Wake up now, Naoya!"
Nobuaki vibrantly flicked at Naoya's lower-half of his body with his finger, causing him to cover his pants, showing an extremely painful expression.
"You sounded like a duck just then. Are you awake now? Daisuke should also be awake by now."
Looking up to the bed, Nobuaki found Daisuke was not on it. He turned on the lamp and looked around.
What he saw was Daisuke hung dead on the other side of the room.
His face showed an expression of extreme pain. His neck had numerous scratching scars and his arms were long impotent and dangling loosely beside his body.
The electric wires of the game set the three of them were playing with a few hours ago were now entangled around Daisuke's neck.
"Why did this happen?! Why did this happen?! Was it because he didn't follow the King's command?"
Nobuaki kneeled on the floor, sobbing. He fiercely pounded the floor. Naoya had now also discovered the dead Daisuke.
"What? Hey, Nobuaki. Just now, not long ago, we were still playing with Daisuke..."
Naoya leaned his forehead onto Nobuaki's shoulder, crying,
"What is this for?! Why does the King's Game have to play around with people!"
The shouts of they two reverberated inside Daisuke's house. At this moment, Naoya suddenly regained his composure and said,
"Maybe we can still save him. Let's call the ambulance right away."
Naoya quickly took out his phone and dialled 119. Nobuaki loosened the electrical wires that were entangling Daisuke's neck, brought him to his bed, laid him down, and held onto his hand firmly.
"Such a cold hand, too cold. And such a sick looking face, so are his lips..."
Looking at Daisuke who was laid on the bed, Nobuaki wanted deeply to believe he was in a nightmare.
"Sorry... We thought that we could loosen up when the time was up. If we had kept our awareness, things wouldn't have ended like this. Isn't this the reason we came to be with you?"
Nobuaki held Daisuke's corpse. His tears dripped slowly and slided across his cheeks.
Daisuke's cheeks, lips, palms, and arms were all sickly looking and without a sign of life. His eyes were firmly closed.
Hearing the noise, Daisuke's mother hurried into the room.
"Daisuke... What's the matter?"
Looking at Daisuke on his bed, Daisuke's mother seemed couldn't understand what had happened. She walked up to the bed and fondled Daisuke's face, which was emotionless and numb.
"Daisuke! Wake up!"
Daisuke's mother potently grasped Daisuke's cold hand and looked afar.
"Sorry. When we got out of bed this morning, we found him dead."
"Daisuke... wake up now."
"Your classmates have already woken up."
The ambulance Naoya called had already arrived, buzzing up and down as it approached.
"The ambulance. But it's too late. There's no use now."
Nobuaki clenched his fist potently.
Daisuke's corpse was carried into the ambulance and sent to the hospital together with Daisuke's mother.
Until the last moment Daisuke's mother still believed Daisuke was only sleeping. After all, it was impossible for her to accept reality.
The diminishing of the buzzing sounds of the ambulance leaving was as if Daisuke's life was taken away by someone forcibly.
Where should my grief overflow? Where should my anger be exerted?
"Naoya, no matter what happens, I will protect you and Chiemi!"
Nobuaki said, still standing in his place.
"Me too. We're best friends! We'll be best friends forever!"
"But can you not hold on to me while you sleep? It's terribly gross..."
"What are you talking about—you wouldn't die if you let me hold on to you!"
Nobuaki and Naoya laughed powerlessly. They were afraid if they didn't make up some jokes to change the atmosphere, they would collapse in madness and terror.
Although they were laughing, tears flowed from their eyes. There's nothing sadder than to see a friend dead in front of you.
When the police came to inquire the events of the incident, Nobuaki simply replied,
"When I woke up this morning, I found out that he was already dead."
After all, if he had said, "He was hung because of the punishment of the King's Game," the police would not have believed him.
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