Editor: MadTix, Foodpenguin
"...So, how do we play this... 'Sangkam's Game'?" I asked Yeonji, who now had a huge grin on her face. She looked like a ratty politician who managed to pass a bill without gathering the attention of the public.
"I already explained everything a minute ago, you idiot! Start by drawing from the plastic bag-- eh, that sounds a little boring, though. Hey, you, the butler next to the dumb blonde!"
"Yes, what do you need?" answered Yujin, politely as always.
Yeonji continued, acting bossy like a rude CEO of a megacorporation talking to the chief of an assimilated company. "You're good at making things, right? Here, take the cardboard and make a box out of it, so we have something nicer to draw from. Make it about..." Yeonji made a box shape with her hands, "...this big."
"I understand. Please wait." replied the butler, nodding vigorously and maintaining his permanent smile.
I refused to believe that he actually enjoyed being bossed around by Yeonji without a good reason. Though he was a butler, he was also a freshman of Eunsung High School like us, and also Yeonji's classmate. Yet, he didn't show a single sign of reluctance.
And watching the scene from afar was Eun Yerin, who probably shared my thought. She couldn't be happy that Yeonji was in full command of her own butler, but she couldn't do anything about it.
In the first week that Yeonji began bossing her servants around, Yerin rightfully objected. But in the following tantrums by Yeonji, combined with her inane, trollish logic, the argument ended with the conclusion that the club president should hold a certain power over the club's members (i.e. ruthless oppression). Yeonji now had infinite power while within the club room, like a Reali*y Marble, or whatever -- Yeonji was free to boss the two servants around as Yerin did.
Yujin also happened to be the easier of the two to pick on, so Yeonji's attitude towards him grew worse by the day. It couldn't have been too long until Yeonji began paying him to go out and buy snacks for her every day. The butler probably didn't know that he was being targeted by Yeonji, either. He looked so weak and defenseless to me at that moment, watching him pick up a pair of scissors to follow Yeonji's orders.
I tried to pitch in. "Hey... do you need help with that? It's probably easier if we both..."
"I appreciate your concern, but... here, I've finished."
"Yes, of course."
It was only a moment ago that he made a cut or two into the cardboard, and quite suddenly he had a neatly made box in his hands. It looked like it was factory-made, forming a perfect cuboid with a perfectly sized slit on the top for drawing its contents. ...And he did all of this in a few seconds?! It was an understatement to say that he was quite the handyman.
He smiled and giggled, noticing my dropped jaw. "...Eheh~."
I flinched in reaction. He was unnaturally cutesy for a boy.
"Hey, it's done! Give it to me." Yeonji snatched the box out of my hands like a monkey stealing food from an onlooker. Without a single word of thanks to the butler, she excitedly filled the box with the job cards. She thrust the box in front of me. "Alright, you're the first one to draw a card!"
I looked inside the box. There were only six of those cards. I asked, "Why are we only using these six? You have a whole bunch more."
"Don't be stupid, we're using the rest of them later." She explained.
Since the game needed a King, we couldn't use all sixty-seven cards; there was a high chance that the King would not be picked. Instead, we could use one king-labeled card, while randomly picking the remaining cards to match the number of remaining players. Since the remaining jobs are randomly picked, we also had a big variety of jobs, so no playthrough was the same as another. There were many fun, attractive jobs other than the King, so the replayability was infinitely high! Yay!
--That was what Yeonji tried to say to us, but I still had doubts about the game. I had to play it myself before I could have a solid opinion about it... Alright, then--
"Okay, I picked a card."
Just as I was about to unfold and read the card, Yeonji intervened. "Don't look at it yet! We're going to look at it together. If you look at it now, I'm sentencing you to death by the wheel."
She seemed to be expecting a dramatic reveal later.
"The rest of you, draw a card! Quick, quick!" Yeonji brought the box in front of Yerin and her group.
Yerin had the face of an unwilling passerby who was being forced to participate in a survey. "What is the meaning of this? .. Are you expecting me to partake in this crude child's play?"
"Wha-t? You can whine when we're done with the game!" Yeonji's voice shifted into a mocking, squeaky tone-- probably thinking to herself 'I hope I sound intimidating.' "Why, are you admitting that you don't know enough about national history to play this game? Or maybe you're just afraid that you won't pick the King! Either way, that's just sad. How can you face the world after school when you're so weak-willed? Heh, you're all show and no substance like pyrite! Get out of here, and don't leave a single quark behind!"
"...What a crude, trashy insult. I can feel my ears rotting from hearing any of it." Yerin mocked. She brushed her golden hair around her ears as if she were trying to get Yeonji's words off of them. "Who do you think you are talking to? Knowledge or luck, there is nothing that I lack. If you truly wish to lick my boots after I become the King... hmph! Why don't you request it in a more pleasant tone?"
"Whatever you say! Anyway, pick one, dumb blonde!"
Yeonji had already grown tired of taunting Yerin. She resorted to physically harassing Yerin by rudely pushing the box into her face.
Yerin yelped and slapped the box away from her face. She screamed, "What do you think you're doing?! You rude peasant!"
"Your anime is boring! Play my game instead!"
"You don't sound like you're making a request at all!"
"It's not a request. It's a demand."
At least Yeonji was honest.
"I refuse, so go play with that peasant over there, along with the other two! Really, do I look like I am bored enough to play along with some little kid who has nothing better to do?"
"You do look bored, you dumb blonde. You've been watching anime all day! Don't be a loner and play with the rest of us--! It's more fun with more people--!"
"I told you, I am not a 'dumb --'... argh, fine! You win!" Yerin gave into Yeonji's tantrum. She aggressively turned off the huge television, and then glared at Yeonji with flames dancing in her eyes. "If you say so! If you really want to serve me when I am the King! I'll do as you wish! I can't wait to see the look on your face when that happens!"
"Heh, worry about your own neck! The King's mine!"
They seemed to be having fun getting in character before the game began. Yerin picked a job card from the box while maintaining the staring contest with Yeonji.
With their 'lady' in the game, Sukyong-sunbae and Yujin joined without further comments, increasing the player count to five. In addition--
"Alright, let's have the nurse join, too!" Yeonji pulled out the last untouched card remaining in the box and ran towards the nurse, who was concentrating on playing her visual novel.
Dragging the nurse into her game, too? What a player.
"... ...Oh, you want me to play?"
"Yeah! I'm sure it'll be fun! I guarantee it!" nodded Yeonji.
The nurse clearly didn't feel like joining-- I could almost see 'I don't wanna' written on her face. It was also Yeonji's fault for being someone who throws around the word 'guarantee' in the most untrustable way.
"I'm a little bu〈Haa-ahn~-〉sy here... Can I join later? 〈Ahh~-hnn~〉" The nurse refused in her usual, droning tone, with some extra noise added from her game.
Yeonji, obviously, did not back out. "But you're playing a porn game over there! My game is a lot more fun than that! Let's play!"
"...Hey. It's not a 'porn game', it's a visual novel."
Despite her insistence, dirty noises continued to flow out from her computer's speakers.
"...Oh, I guess it can't be helped." The nurse soon gave up too, having decided that she couldn't enjoy her game with Yeonji being a nuisance next to her. The speakers turned off with a loud pop, and the nurse slowly rose from her seat like a snail lazily twisting its body. "I'll use it as an excuse to rest my eyes... and enjoy a little play time with Yeonji! ...I already finished the bad end for the main heroine, anyway."
The nurse mumbled to herself. Her voice was pleasant like a tired, older sister taking care of her little siblings, but the actual words that came out of her mouth were... horrifying.
And so, every last member of the Clotaku Club joined the game.
After the nurse took the final card, Yeonji looked around the room and took on an energetic tone. "Alright! Everyone got one, right? You can unfold it now!"
Following a short sound of rustling papers, the participants revealed their jobs one by one.
"...Oh my, what is this? The court herbalist?" The nurse was the first one to discover her assigned job. The content of her card was:
Job title: 〈Court Herbalist〉
Description: Modern equivalent is the President's personal doctor
Duty: Present health foods to the King, massage the King, make sure that the King is healthy at all costs
Social level: Only takes orders from other doctors of the court, or the King
Special ability: *The Old Poison Craftsman* -- When others ingest your creations, you may declare that they are killed by poisoning.
"...This job exists to please the King, huh..."
The job was coincidentally similar to the nurse's real job, but the job description somehow managed to make a prestigious practitioner of medicine sound like a lowly servant.
And, wait, I thought the players only receive orders from the King! What's with the redundancy in the social level?
I could feel doom knocking on the door already.
The Suls soon revealed their own jobs.
"...A courtesan. Mister Yujin, what about you?"
"I'm a courtier!"
Job Title: 〈Courtier/Courtesan 〉
Description: Something like a desk jockey who works at the government
Duty: Whatever they're told to do
Social level: The bottom of the social chain; they must do whatever others tell them to do
Special ability: *Oh, master, you can't!* -- Convert upper-ranked people to your side by the power of seduction. If the King finds out, you may be killed.
"Balance-breaking jobs already--?!"
Yeonji said she would increase the interaction from non-Kings... and this is what she meant?! It makes me not want to play the game anymore! What are you supposed to do about this?!
"...I do not care for it. Please, order me around as you please."
"Me too! I'll do whatever you need!"
"See, the jobs are fine!" Yeonji butted in.
"Obviously, it's because those two picked the job! If someone else picked it, they'd abuse the ability right away! And Yujin, shouldn't you be complaining about that ability?! It's a little unsettling on my part!"
"Oh, shut up! Read your own card, already!"
"After the jobs that I've seen so far, I don't want to!" And you didn't even open your own yet, Yeonji!
While Yeonji and I were having a squabble, Yerin read her own card. "My job is... the chief councillor."
Job title: 〈Chief Councillor 〉
Description: Like a prime minister
Duty: Acts as a king's consultant for national decisions, and looks after all bills that are passed to the court
Social level: Defers only to the King; has the command of everyone else
Special ability: *Triple Fusion Council* -- When two other state councillors agree to your decision, make a single order that everyone--including the King--must follow.
"Hmph... Only the King is above me, yes? Though I may not be the King, this will do." Yerin smiled, accepting her position.
It was indeed a good position. Being able to command everyone other than the King was almost as good as being the King itself. I thought that there would be nothing but strange, unreasonable jobs, but it seemed that Yeonji put more effort into the balance of this game than I had imagined.
But the 'King' card still has not yet shown itself. Either Yeonji or I had the King's position, so then...
I quickly glanced to my side. Then I accidentally met eyes with Yeonji. She seemed to be thinking what I was thinking, since she had the eyes of a prince entering a succession war.
I didn't want the throne in particular, but at the same time, I felt reluctant to hand it over to Yeonji. I had to set a normal, calm example for the rest of the games to follow. If Yeonji took over the first game, then the rest of the game was surely going to hell.
Despite my wish, my fate was entirely dependent on the cards that were in our hands. I breathed in deeply, unfolded the card in my hands, and read the content. I read the job title...
"... ...The throne itself?!?!?!"
This isn't a job! It’s not even human!
Meanwhile, Yeonji read my card from behind on her tippy-toes. She began dancing around while singing, "Yay, I'm the King!"
I immediately grabbed her shoulder to interrogate her. "Hey, what is this?! What do you mean I'm the throne?!"
"Humph! How dare you treat your King in such a manner!"
"Why would a damn chair care about that?!"
What is a throne? It's the chair that the King sits on! That's the throne, right?! There aren't even any other descriptions on the thing, it just says 'The Throne'! What am I supposed to do?!
"Do what? Just be a chair, and make your king comfortable!"
"That's even more confusing!"
Yeonji completely ignored my outburst. She turned around to face the crowd and announced, "Alright, so I'm the King for the first round! No one has any problems, right?"
"...I have no objections."
"Congratulations to you, Miss Yeonji!"
"Erk... I am quite disturbed that I have to treat you as my King, but I have no choice. I will do my fullest to properly perform any job that I may have."
...I'm not complaining about Yeonji being the King. I'm more worried about the fact that I'm a chair.
The nurse giggled softly like she found the scene interesting. Even Yerin didn't complain any further about the matter. I had no room to voice my objections at that point.
"...Ni-hee-hee! Okay, then--." After confirming that there were no objections, Yeonji put on a very disturbing, evil grin. She first pointed at me and urged, "Okay, first! Throne! Get up!"
This was the first time that I'd seen someone order a chair to stand up, but I was too tired to point that out. I stood, having given up.
Yeonji looked around. She pointed at the center of the room-- at the couch that was probably the most fitting for a leader in here. "Sit here!"
"Ah, uh, okay."
I felt like I'd become a dog, not a throne. I wasn't sure why she wanted me to move. I grumbled to myself and sat down on the couch.
I made myself comfortable on the couch, though feeling conflicted about the game. I was about to complain to Yeonji, but--
Before I could open my mouth, Yeonji ran over, hopped, and sat on my knees.
A strange scream left my mouth, like a deer that got shot by an air gun. As Yeonji invaded the top of my legs with her buttocks, a fruity smell splashed out and broke my train of thought. It did not help that I could feel her smooth skin resting on my legs.
"Y-y-y-y-you... Wh-what are you doing?"
"Succeeding you, Throne." replied Yeonji. Not even a hint of embarrassment. She pushed even further, laying back her upper body onto my chest.
And then, it almost looked like I was hugging her from behind... and the top of her head was directly beneath my chin. The fruity smell intensified, and the occasional contact with her hair tickled my chin. I couldn't focus.
After some time, Yeonji made another weird sound and jumped off. She was like a cat that moved away after realizing that a shade drew over her bed... but, more importantly--
Embarrassingly, I became slightly disappointed at the distancing fruity smell. Still, I was able to focus enough to understand what had just happened.
"Wh-wh-what are you doing?!"
"Hmm... some~~~thing just didn't feel quite right, there. Hold on."
I felt my face turning red. But Yeonji paid no attention to me; she was lost in her own world, tilting her head left and right to think.
After some time, she snapped her fingers and exclaimed, "I got it! Spread your legs, Throne!"
What are you doing, telling a chair to open its legs up?! I don't understand anything that's happening anymore! Am I dreaming? I'm dreaming, right?!
"You talk too much for a chair! Open up already!"
If you don't want me to talk, then don't talk to me in the first place!
Yeonji's tyranny was so overwhelming, not even a lowly chair was immune to it. I adjusted my position, putting a bigger distance between my knees. It was just the right pose to be catching some nasty looks if I were to do this on a subway.
In the midst of my growing panic for Yeonji, she hopped backwards in the air once more, landing between my legs.
After the second sneak attack, I became speechless like one of the Apostles that remained in silence. Even worse, her butt now dug in between my legs. She kept moving deeper in, trying to find some extra space for her thighs.
"Alright, yeah! This is much better than before. This is fine!" said Yeonji. She was only satisfied after pushing in as far as she could-- enough for her to lay her upper body on my chest again. She placed her arms on the armrests and commanded, "Throne! Hands!"
I couldn't react in time, since my mind was already blown off the current space-time.
Annoyed, Yeonji slammed down on the armrests and explained, "I don't have enough space to sit here, so I might fall off! So, hold onto me so that doesn't happen! Like those safety guards on roller coasters!"
"Ah, ahah, ... Hmm."
...If you're worried about falling off, just don't sit here!
Everything about her confused me at that point, but at least I could do that for her. She raised her arms up high, and I wrapped my arms around her lower belly as if I were hugging her from behind.
"I-is this fine?"
"Harder! Hard enough so I don't fall off. If I fall down, I'll have you beheaded, okay? Thrones that can't keep the King seated don't deserve to live!"
...Do you see lines of death or something? Beheading a chair?
I didn't want the honors of being the first casualty under Yeonji's rule, so I hugged her tightly. Enough to hold her down even if she struggled to get free.
"Okay, how's that?"
"Th-.. That's fine. That's good enough-..." Yeonji's voiced was reduced to a murmur. I was probably holding onto her a bit too tightly and made it harder for her to breathe. Even her ears were slowly turning red.
...Is this what being a throne is supposed to be like?
I felt more like a tiger skin draped over a throne rather than the throne itself.
Also, while I did not put too much thought into it when I first did it-- the situation became increasingly awkward as I gained a better understanding of the moment. Yeonji was sitting on me with her body plastered on my chest, and I was hugging her from behind with both of my arms.
...I was reminded again how tiny she was.
She was almost weightless on my chest, and her body was smooth like a cloud of cotton candy. Despite the layer of clothing inbetween, my arms could feel her plump belly underneath them. It was unbelievable how different she felt from my own body, considering how we were both human beings.
Speaking of plumpness, the plumpest part of her body was, of course, her butt that dug between my legs -- as if her tailbone was nonexistent, something soft and cushiony pushed against my body...
...Hey, being a throne isn't all that bad! It's better than I thought! Actually, isn't this a favorable exchange for me all around? Can I do this all day?
The continued contact from an unknown, soft object spun my mind in circles. And then, in my ears--
"Ku... Kukuku... Nyu-hehehehehehahahehehehaha-haa! Hm--hah, hahahaha! Kakaka--!"
...A devilish laughter echoed from between the gates of hell.
Spooky! What kind of laugh was that?! That woke me up good!
Yeonji was so happy that she began twisting her body around in uncontrollable laughter. It was my first time seeing someone honestly laugh with 'kukuku'. She was probably happy that she got to be the King, but why did her laughter sound like the announcement of the start of her tyranny?
Thanks to that, the pleasant feeling from before had disappeared. At least the weird feeling was gone, so that was a good thing, maybe.
"Whew--. A-alright, then!" Yeonji calmed down and ceased her laughter. She sat back on me, looked around the room, and spoke in a booming voice befitting a king. "Welcome to the palace of Clotaku Nation, stranger. I am the learned King Yeonji, who looks after her great people."
She wouldn't even put any effort into naming a nation.
King Yeonji cleared her throat to speak louder. "Nya-hem. Who will answer my command?"
""...Yes, what is your wish, my lord?""
Sukyong-sunbae and Yujin acted in their roles and answered her, bowing politely.
King Yeonji sat crooked and continued, "I must hold a great feast to celebrate my succession to the throne. Bring the foodstuffs from the fridge!"
""...We will do as you command.""
They confirmed with the nurse, who nodded at them very reluctantly, and brought various drinks from the club's fridge. Despite what King Yeonji wanted, there were only drinks in the fridge. And they all belonged to the nurse.
But, of course, Yeonji did not mind either of those facts. After the two distributed the drinks among the players, she whined, "What, why is it just cola? Don't we have anything else? Where's the Sikhye, or aloe drinks?"
Seriously, just drink what you got!
Sukyong-sunbae replied after putting down a can of cola in front of the nurse. "...There were only colas in the fridge. ...There were also some packs of blood, though. Would you like them instead?"
"What do you think I am, a vampire?!"
She may have not been a vampire, but she was nonetheless very good at leeching off of others. Ignoring the nurse, whose groans went unnoticed ("Oh, my, kids, blood is expensive, you can't drink those..."), Yeonji continued to whine.
"Psh. I guess I can't do anything about that. I'll just drink this. Okay, now-- celebrate with me my succession to the throne, and drink and eat to your heart's content! Cheers!"
"....Cheers~-." "....Cheers." "Cheers-!" "Hmph, cheers."
Everyone played along with her surprisingly well. Why's everyone so nice?
The members of the Clotaku Club raised their glasses(?) to toast to King Yeonji's new rule. I was obviously excluded from this moment of happiness, considering that I was just a chair. My only job was hugging Yeonji. It seemed that the chair was exempt from the King's kindness. How unfair!
"Kuah!" exclaimed Yeonji, shivering after taking a swig from her can of cola. "Eugh-- I hate this feeling that I get from carbonated drinks. Sikhye, I want sikhye..."
Yeonji alternated between whining and sipping, as if she were drinking something extremely hot. She turned around to look at me for once, bearing a nasty, mean grin. "You want some? You don't get any."
"...Do you want to be the first king to get dethroned by the throne?"
"Fu-fu. If you promise to be nicer to me afterward, I might let you have a little drink."
"What, but you don't even like cola anyway--..."
She tried to make it sound like it was some extremely generous act. And yet she emphasized on letting me have a 'little' drink if I promised. What a greedy little girl.
"Hmph, nevermind if you don't want it. Ugh..." Yeonji frowned, apparently displeased that I refused. She drank the rest of the cola in a single breath, as if to show it off. Then she had a pained look from the resulting accumulation of gas.
"Nngh-- hmm?" After a moment of twisting around, Yeonji noticed something weird. "...Wait, why aren't you drinking any cola?"
The source of Yeonji's confusion was... Eun Yerin, who sat with her white legs crossed, bearing an awkward expression. While everyone else sipped on their cola, her can was sitting in front of her, unopened.
"I do apologize, but I swore off these types of drinks." Yerin responded to Yeonji's suspicion-filled glares. "Carbonated drinks... I'd sooner drink a bottle of poison to end my life quickly, rather than to slowly degrade my body over time with these harmful substances. I suggest that you stop drinking them yourself if you want to grow any taller, Miss Seo Umji."
And the chief councillor dropped the bomb in the King's presence.
I thought she promised to act in character! What's with the sudden outburst?! Look at what you’ve done, Yeonji's already started charging up her rage meter!
"What did you just say to your King?! You poor, miserable wretch!" Yeonji admirably stayed true to her role in her fury. She almost burst out of her seat, but my safety net held her down in her seat.
She resorted to swinging her arms around wildly while shouting angrily. "Guards! Where are the guards?"
""Yes, my lord. What is your command?""
"Send the chief councillor into exile, effective immediately!"
"Hmph, don't make me laugh!" objected Yerin, irritated by Yeonji's decision. "You may be the King, but you are not allowed to punish your subjects out of emotion! Only tyrants send people into exile for giving righteous advice!"
"Silence, you traitor!" Yeonj’s label for Yerin seemed to have transformed from 'chief councillor' to 'traitor' already. She shifted back into her playful, mocking tone to rival Yerin’s sharp tongue. "What's with you, anyway? What kind of citizen of the Clotaku Nation has blonde hair?! You must be a spy sent from a foreign country!"
"Wh-what kind of logic is that?!" panicked Yerin, astonished by Yeonji's nonsense remark.
...If looking foreign is a problem, what about the other two? One's in a maid's outfit and the other's in a butler's uniform! Clearly, this nation went to hell before it even began.
"Silence! I will not have your excuses!" shouted Yeonji, using Yerin's confusion as an opportunity to raise her game. She pointed at a corner of the room and declared, "What are you waiting for? Get that filthy spy out of here! Deprive her from all water and food while she is in exile!"
It was a very mean thing to say, but it took ten seconds to send her into exile and there were no other issues. Yerin was shortly sent into exile next to the fridge, restrained from both sides by the Suls.
Yeonji stared at them coldly for a while, and followed upon her previous declaration. "While she's in exile next to the fridge, I want her executed through poison."
"You're killing her?!"
She was ready to end the entire country in a single blink of an eye. It was to be expected of Yeonji's rule, but her speed was nonetheless daunting.
"Fufufu... The exile was a ruse all along!"
"Yeah. By the time she's thinking 'Phew, at least I have my life!', the poison comes in, and she'll be feeling true despair!"
"That's too mean! You're an evil tyrant!"
"Fufufufufuehehehehehehe." laughed Yeonji, apparently taking my accusation as a compliment. She moved onto pestering the nurse, who looked like she'd rather be somewhere far away. "Don't waste your time! Make the poison for the chief councillor immediately!"
"...That’s the herbalist’s job...? Alright, how should I make the poison? I do have a little potassium cyanide."
"What. Potassium cyanide? You have cyanide with you?"
Yeonji pondered to herself for a moment. And then she came up with an idea, "Hey, nurse, there was a coffee brewer in this room, right?"
"Hmm? ...Of course~ But I get too lazy and end up buying canned coffee instead. What about it?"
"Fufufu, we can use these, then!"
In Yeonji's hand was her can of cola, along with the extra cans sitting on the table.
"W-wait, are you serious?"
"Yep! Let's boil the cola and use it as our poison."
Well, okay, I heard that historical shows often use flat cola to simulate poison, but making a perfectly fine drink flat by boiling it? What an idea.
What's worse, Yeonji was likely exploiting Yerin's hatred for colas. She probably wanted to enjoy Yerin breaking out of her high-class act and suffering from being forced to drink flat, warm cola.
...And in retrospect, weren't the colas supposed to represent the food used for celebrating? We were all drinking poison from the start?
"Oh, my, I wonder if that's okay... Well, I don't use it for anything else anyway, so let's try it."
Before I could finish my thought, the nurse began pouring the remaining colas into the coffee pot to boil them. I don't feel that it's appropriate to play along with Yeonji's evil ideas just because they're fun to you...
The cola soon boiled and bubbled, covering the room with a concentrated cloud of carbon dioxide and flavoring. She grabbed the nearest cup she found and poured the warm cola into it.
...Wait, I remember that brewer being used to make Yerin's tea earlier... Also, as far as I could tell, the brewer costs as much as the tuition fee for a respectable university! What a waste!
Yerin's face turned pure white. She looked ready to pass out anytime.
"Alright, done~ Have at her, now."
In complete disregard for Yerin, the nurse handed over the foggy, misty cola to Yujin. She acted like a doctor at a clinic prescribing a cold medicine.
"My lady, please drink this. It's the poison from the King."
He presented the cup that was filled to the brim with the poison.
Yerin looked accepting of her fate at that point, glaring at the presentee with a determined expression. "Yujin... I would have never imagined that it would be you. Is this also a twisted plot of the King?"
"My lady... I wish you good luck in your next life, perhaps as the new King."
"My thanks. Even when I am gone, please live your life to the fullest with Miss Sukyong."
I couldn't tell if they were staying true to their act, or if they were serious.
Then Yeonji butted in and ruined the moment as usual. "What are you waiting for, you filthy traitor? Show your thanks to the poison, and bow down to your King!"
"...Bow down? Here?" Yerin panicked again.
As seen countless times in the history channel, it was customary to bow down to the direction of the King, or the palace, before drinking the poison. Yet, our current era was not the Chosun era, and bowing down must have been extra shameful for her.
But King Yeonji showed no mercy.
"Hmph! Of course! Show your appreciation for the king like I wrote it down here, and bow down!" Yeonji passed a small note to the courtesan, who then passed it to the traitor.
Yerin read the note. Shortly after, all color drained off of her face once more. "I-is this...?!"
"Fufufu! You're not going to refuse, are you?" Whatever she wrote, Yeonji became increasingly haughty. "You told me that you would perform your job to your fullest! So, are you going to read it, or are you too embarrassed to say it?"
"Agh!" Yerin groaned in anguish. Whatever was in the notes was probably horrible, but Yerin's pride prevented her from backing out, which ultimately worked in Yeonji's favor. "Kuh... Hm-hmph! Who do you think I am? Phew- I-if you really want it, I will read it!"
"Yes, yes. Read it out loud! With emotion!"
Yerin slowly knelt down in front of Yeonji. She shook slightly but visibly and pleaded, "Th-thank you for... ugh... bestowing the King's... black, sticky liquid upon this... filthy, dirty traitor! I am extremely grateful... eugh-- please, please, let me drink the King's hot p-poison..."
Shivering from great embarrassment, the former chief councillor managed to squeeze out the remaining lines.
...What a humiliation.
"Hah! You dirty, dirty sow. The look's really fitting on a pig like you!"
"Nngh... Th-thank you for the compliment..."
"I can't believe how shameless you are, asking for something like that. Do you really want to drink my poison?"
"Y-yesh... Please, fill this dirty, filthy prisoner up with your hot poishonn..." lisped Yerin, unable to speak properly in humiliation.
How much writing was in that note, anyway? When does it all end?
"Hmph... You dirty girl. Then drink! Thank me for every last drop, and drink it all!"
And with the decree of the King, Yerin raised her red, ghostly head. She grasped the cup with her shaking hands, then chugged. She drank to the bottom of the cup.
She reached the limits of her patience. She furiously jumped out of her seat and cried, "There, I drank it! Are you happy now?! If you had your fun, stop this terrible game!"
"...Wah? What are you talking about?" replied Yeonji, sounding almost innocent. My nerves momentarily jolted, foretelling a nasty turn of events.
Yerin, however, seemed to have dulled senses in her anguish. "But I bowed down and finished drinking the poison-"
"But you didn't die."
"-So let's stop... what?" Yerin froze.
Yeonji sat lazily and continued, "You drank the poison. You didn't die. This can only end if the traitor dies from the poison. What kind of a human being remains perfectly fine after drinking a cup of poison? Interesting~"
"No, no, wait..." Yerin stumbled backwards, having realized Yeonji's intentions.
Yeonji attempted to sound apathetic, suppressing an explosion of evil laughter. "Looks like we need more poison! Guards!"
"W-wait! I can't drink any more--" ""Yes, my lord.""
"Feed more poison to the traitor! If the traitor refuses, hold her down and force her to drink it!"
"W-wait! What are you... No, stop! Miss Sukyong, what are you doing? D-don't come any closer!"
"...I apologize, but it is the order of the king."
"Kyaa--! No, stop, no! I don't want to!"
"...I will hold the lady down. Yujin, please pour the thing in her mouth." "Yes, of course."
* * *
...A moment later,
Thanks to her inability to read the atmosphere and avoid Yeonji's anger, one golden-haired girl lay stiffly on the couch, recovering from the terrible torture. Maybe even three girls・worth-- she was almost triple in size, her belly comically rising up and down with every breath. If not for that belly, I would have been certain that I was looking at a corpse.
"Hngh, hahngh... no, I can't, I can't drink any more... my stomach will explode if I drink any more..."
Yerin had been muttering to herself, her eyes unfocused. That was perfectly understandable, however, considering how she was forced to drink almost two liters of cola in a short span of time.
King Yeonji kept urging her to drink more poison, since she 'drank poison but wouldn't die'. Yerin ended up drinking about fifty more cups' worth. If we hadn't run out of cola, we might have ended up with a real corpse; cause of death: fake poison.
"I told you several times, you should have pretended to die..."
"Eurgh--." Yerin turned around in agony. "How could you--! Are you suggesting that I, of all people, should use a method used by weak animals to avoid their predators? That is utter nonsen-... argh..."
"Utter nonsense? Your own logic is utter nonsense!"
Yeonji was reckless. Like Phaethon riding the sun chariot. It was absolutely stupid for Yerin to get into a game of chicken with her. She was either incredibly brave or outrageously stupid.
Yerin scoffed away my accusations, only to feel the returning wave of pain. She still hadn't shown a sign of recovery.
Moreover, the Sangkam's Game had not yet ended. After Yerin's fantastic display of drinking fifty cups of poison and surviving (and because we ran out of poison), the first round was declared finished-- but once the Suls return with more poison, the game was to continue.
...What's the purpose of the poison for the second round? Yeonji never failed to scare me with every little thing that she did.
"Anyway, I think it's best if you could lie down and take it easy. I'll tell Yeonji..."
"Ugh... who are you to force me out of the game?!"
"Please, you have to think about the baby, lady."
"What baby?! My stomach is like this from the cola! You disgusting peasant! Do you want to die?!"
I thought it was a pretty good joke myself.
Yerin appeared to have made a full recovery of her rage meter, thanks to our exchange. Once the Suls returned with the new bottles of cola, Yerin agonizingly stood up.
"Eurgh... must pick... the next card... Miss Seo Umji, I hope you are ready to take on the rage of the new King... Heh, I wonder where the cola will fit in that tiny body of yours! ...hurkgh."
Yerin made a slow gait towards the box like a rotting zombie.
Seeing a fine young lady fueled entirely by rage-... I sighed.
...And so, to summarize the second out of the Sangkam's Game,
Fortunately, Yerin did end up taking the role of the King. Heaven itself must have been impressed by Yerin's unending fury-- I mean, perseverance. When Yerin revealed her card, the magical label of 'King' was indeed on it. Yerin was quite happy in the beginning, and she was ready to unleash a world of pain upon Yeonji, but...
Yeonji's job was the army general.
Job title: 〈Army General〉
Description: Similar to a five-star General
Duty: Defend the King, or if the King is a tyrant, start a coup
Social level: Has the command of all people below the three councillors. During a coup, do not follow the orders of any upper-ranks
Special ability: *You filthy traitors!* -- Can duel the King in a one-on-one battle for the throne. Other players may not join the duel. Do whatever works as a duel
...Yeonji wasn't going down easily.
As soon as it was revealed that Yerin was the new King, Yeonji immediately declared war and swept the palace in a blitzkrieg. Yerin was unable to retaliate due to her injuries that she suffered from the tyranny of the previous ruler, and so she was dethroned almost immediately. Again, she suffered the fate of exile -> execution by poison.
The promised educational value of the Sangkam's Game was thrown out the window. The only thing left in the game was the bloody battle for the throne between the two girls... and the fate of the entire nation faltered dangerously with each succession to the throne. Strangely, no one else got to be the King for several rounds-- and only by the end, I became the King.
...The only decree I gave as the new King was 'Let's just end this game, please?' It was almost a plea rather than a decree, but... I was just happy that I could go home.
1. Forcing someone to go on a trip to buy something for you (often by paying them less than what it actually costs) is an iconic example of bullying in Korean schools. A downplayed version of the concept that is used often in Korean LNs is the 'Bread Shuttle', which gets its name from the Protoss Shuttle from Starcraft; i.e. it refers to someone who is frequently made to buy bread for others. ←
2. Phonetically identical to "The Old Jar Craftsman", an old Korean film from 1969. ←
3. Not in THAT sense! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gungnyeo ←
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeongeuijeong ←