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We move on to the very night following the day that had seen the completion of the two quests (rather, the two part-time jobs called quests).
"Ah… Yuuto-sama, no… Pulling it out now won't…"
"Whatever's the matter, Anri? Feeling anxious, perhaps?"
"I am… This is, after all, my very first time…"
"I must admit that I am at the limit of what I can endure. I must pull it out at once."
"Ah… That's not…! Aaaah!!!"
"…Phew. Barely made it."
As of now, Anri and I find ourselves in the great hall playing a game of Jenga. It goes without saying that I'd conjured the pieces with my Creation spell.
"On that note, Yuuto-sama… I must apologize for my lack of knowledge, but just what kind of game is this?"
"It's Jenga. While it may appear to be quite simplistic at first glance, it's a rather profoundly complex game."
With Anri's reaction as my only reference, I can affirm that this world doesn't appear to put such games in use.
"I thought it might be tedious for you, doing nothing but kneeling all day long. Doing something recreational every now and again won't hurt."
"I'd hardly call it tedious… I'm happy simply by being so close to you, Yuuto-sama."
"Are you saying you've grown bored of this game?"
"H-Hardly! That's not it at all! It's fun, incredibly fun!"
"Good to hear. Come on now; it's your turn."
It turns out that just sitting down on a throne all the time is incredibly tiresome when put into practice. With my time to retire to bed still far away, something like this makes for an excellent way to pa.s.s the time.
If I'm going to be completely honest, I may have snuck into my bed chambers when I'd gotten back from work and made off with a good few hours' sleep. I really can't call myself all that tired right now. Thanks to that, my MP'd undergone a full recovery.
"Phew… I managed to pull one out, somehow…"
With the whole tower teetering and lurching from side to side, Anri still manages to remove a building block. She's not half-bad at this.
"Oh, Yuuto-sama… What happens to the one who loses this game? Do they have to take their own life or something?"
When'd a peaceful game of Jenga turn into a b.l.o.o.d.y deathmatch?!
"They won't have to do anything, I suppose. But who knows. Setting a few conditions might make this more lively."
"What could I - HAH! W-W-Well then, If I win, then you, Yuuto-sama, have to M-M-M-Mar…!"
"N-Nothing! I didn't say anything!"
Her face goes red as a beet, and she waves her hand in blurry denial. The tower appears to almost give away under the newfound wind pressure, but it somehow manages to withstand the ordeal.
Well then. It's my turn next. The game's already in its final stages, however, and pulling even one more piece feels enough to topple the whole thing over.
But even people like me have some semblance of pride. There's no way I'd allow myself to lose a game of Jenga to someone like Anri, who'd never even touched this game before. Just you wait and see, here comes my grand technique!
"Yuuto-sama! We have a report!"
That's when a long demon opens the doors to the hall. The resulting sways are enough to make the tower crumble once and for all.
I'm left in a dumbfounded spell for some time. If the tower falls on my round, then…
"… It appears to be my loss. Let's do the right thing and take my life, shall we?"
"Y-Yuuto-sama, please, calm down! There's no need to take your own life over such a mundane matter!"
Well, I'd been joking, of course. Never really expected Anri of all people to talk some sense into me, what with her constant suicide attempts over virtually nothing. She sends a piercing glare the new demon's way.
"You vile wretch, do you know what you've done?! Take your life at once!"
"What?! I-I'm so sorry!"
It's like I can hear the demon's innermost heart of hearts asking desperately what it'd done wrong.
"Drop the matter, Anri. I doubt they bore me any ill will."
"More importantly, what's there to report?"
"S-Sire! A single man's approaching the castle entrance, one whom we believe to be an Angel!"
"… Did you just say an Angel?"
Well, I've definitely only heard stories only shortly upon my reincarnation into this world, but I hadn't quite imagined that they were real.
"An Angel?! Is it one of the Seven Angels of the Stars?!"
"It is. He even called himself Uriel, of the Seven Angels of the Stars…"
Anri opens her eyes, and they become wide like saucers. This is the first time I've ever seen Anri in such disarray. It looks like the whole 'Seven Angels of the Stars' bit has a real dangerous ring to it.
"Why would they enter this castle so directly…?! I'll take my leave at once! Yuuto-sama, please, stay here and be on your guard!"
I place a hand on Anri's shoulder.
"I will be the one to deal with him. These Angels of the Seven Stars have intrigued me."
"B-But there's little doubt that they're targetting you, Yuuto-sama! If anything were to happen to you, I…"
"Hmph. Do you really think a single one of those pests would be enough to grant me failure?"
"No need to worry, Anri. Just who do think I am?"
That being said, this Uriel fellow's stats and abilities are totally unknown to me. Just the name alone resounds with power. He might even be a few leagues above the High King (i.e. me). If I were to say that I'm not worried in the slightest, that would be a bit of a lie on my part.
But I can't quite sit around pressing my face to my knees while Anri and the others do everything for me. As long as I know that I've been reincarnated as their High King, I have a duty to protect these demons.
"Well then, I will take my leave."
I make use of Teleportation, transporting myself to the front gate.
There, I see the figure of a lone man. White wings sprout from his back, and he's been completely surrounded by legions of demons. So that's Uriel. He looks strong, even at first glance.
The demons break out into cheers. In response, Uriel's gaze turns to me, and he dons an unpleasant smile.
"…So you are the High King."
Chills run down my spine. But there's no point in being afraid now. This is the point where I have to respond properly, as a true High King should.
"I am indeed the High King. Word has it that you're one of the Seven Angels of the Stars."
"That I am. I am one of the Angels that stand at the summit of all others, one of the Seven Angels of the Stars, Uriel."
Summit of all angels? Hold on, so do these angels have their own stronger clique? That just raises my anxiety on the issue. But now that I'm this far in the game, retreat is hardly an option.
"You there. If you wish to remain uninvolved, go back immediately."
The demons all retreat to the walls, and Uriel and I face each other through the distance between us.
"It must have been difficult for you to come all this way. I do apologize for not preparing some tea in your honor."
"Not at all. In fact, I must apologize for intruding so late in the day. I was busy touring the surface, you see, and lost track of time. I thought that I might as well pick up the High King's head as a souvenir, so I came to this castle."
So he really is aiming for me.
"Oh, and one more thing. When I tried to enter the castle, an entire force of your demons attempted to impede my arrival. I have culled their numbers, rest a.s.sured."
My shoulder twitches. Upon closer inspection, I can see the blood dyeing his right-hand red.
"I had planned to only have them sticking halfway through death's door, but they were just so much weaker than what I had antic.i.p.ated. Since, however, the demons were the ones to strike first, I consider this to be nothing more than well-found self-defense. Do not hold it against me."
"… I wouldn't worry. Some fault may lie with us, you see. We've never been too prudent to educate ourselves on how to treat a guest. That aside, what business do you have with this castle?"
"I have already told you; to bring the head of the High King as a souvenir. I came here to kill you."
"… I understand. So I trust that you won't take issue if I call what I must do in response as self-defense, would you?"
I can feel a silent anger budding inside me. Nevertheless, as long as I'm left unaware of his proficiencies, there's no way I can drop my guard. Not for one moment.
"Feh. You certainly know how to make one laugh, High King. Someone of your ilk will have no luck in defending against me."
"… And what's that supposed to mean?"
"Do you still not comprehend? Very well then. Behold my status and shake with fear. Disclose Status!"
A stat screen appears above Uriel's head.
Uriel - Lv 999
HP - 67,908 / 67,908
MP - 20,976 / 20,976
ATK - 653
DEF - 854
AGI - 523
HIT - 612
"… Come again?"
I muster a very blank stare. Once I'd seen Uriel's stats, I look at my own. Just to make sure.
High King - Lv 999
HP - 9,999,999,999 / 9,999,999,999
ATK - 99,999
DEF - 99,999
AGI - 99,999
HIT - 99,999