Ruler Vol 5 Chapter 25

 


Author: Anit666

Editor: Weasalopes


“Hey, are you free after school?”

“Hmm? Ah, Susan.” I looked at the girl whose face was too close for my comfort. “Well, I don’t have any club activities today, but I still have some things I’d like to do, so-.”

“Yeah, Arthur, he said he is free.”

………………Please, at least listen to me. What’s the point of asking if you’re going to ignore my wishes anyway?

Susan turned behind her and told Arthur who was still busy packing his things.

“Is he? Great.” He finished and hoisted his bag on his shoulders. “This is rare; should we go to the game arcade as usual?”

“Ah, then we can have dinner at my house. I’ll tell mom that you guys are coming over.”

“W-wait, I haven’t consented to it yet!”

“Uhuh.” Susan continued fiddling with her phone and then brought it to her ears. “Hello, mom. Yeah, Arthur and Michael would be coming over today………… yes, they would, so prepare some extra………… wait a second.” She turned to Arthur. “What would you like, Arthur?”

“Meat!”

He exclaimed.

“Thought so…” She turned to me. “What about you?”

I hadn’t consented yet, but it didn’t seem like she would listen to me.

“Haaahh………… I’ll have whatever she’s making.”

“Hmph, boring as ever, eh?” She put the phone back to her ear. “Hear that, mom?………………… Hmm, around 8, I guess?………………… Yeah, I’ll let you know. Bye-bye!”

She hung up with that and put it back in her bag.

“Let’s go!”

I almost wanted to protest, but her bright grin stopped me from saying anything, and so I quietly followed her.

We left the school and made our way towards the Gaming Arcade in the shopping complex. Seeing Susan walking with a spring in her steps and chatting with us so happily, I guess all of that wasn’t for nothing.

I no longer have to worry about Solomon-

Eh?

What was that? I was thinking something just now, something I feel is really important, so why can’t I remember it?

“Michael.”

What’s this heavy feeling in my heart? Why do I feel something crawling inside my stomach-

“Ouch ouch ouch ouch! What’s the big idea, Susan?!”

I rubbed the ear she had suddenly twisted and tried to glare at her.

“But you were not answering!”

But as usual, she was unfazed and didn’t consider my feelings at all. Am I being too lenient with her?

“I wasn’t? Sorry I must have been thinking of something.”

“So, as we were saying.” Arthur interjected. “Are you free this Sunday?”

“Huh? Yeah, I should be.”

“Then it’s decided; we are going to the water park on Sunday!”

………But I wanted to take it easy at least on a Sunday. What’s the use of a weekend if I can’t even take a rest?

“Now listen to me……” I couldn’t stop the sigh. “How about you first confirm from me?”

“But we just did.”

“No you didn’t! You just asked whether I was free or not! Wanting to go to the water park is a different matter altogether!”

“How?”

Both Susan and Arthur tilted their heads, as if trying to solve the world’s hardest riddle.

These guys are utterly hopeless. I sometimes wonder what they’d do after graduating from high school.

Yes, they are hopeless without me. I wonder what they would do if I was not there. So, I must remain by their side at all costs.

And they must remain by mine.

“You know what, forget it. There’s no reason for you to understand.”

I am here, after all.

“If you say so…… So, which game are we going to play today?”

As long as I am here, they don’t need to worry about anything. I’ll handle it for them, I’ll take care of them. I will protect them. We will always stay together after all.

“I’ve heard that they got a new shooting game.”

So there’s no need for anyone to interfere-

“Really? Then let’s go and set high scores right away.”

Susan suddenly grabbed our arms and started running, dragging us in the process.

Hmm? It looks like I was thinking something, but I can’t remember what. Oh well, doesn’t matter. As long as I’m with these two, I can’t help but put all of my worries at the back of my mind.

And so, while chatting about our mundane daily lives, which actually were not that mundane, we reached the shopping complex. The gaming arcade was on the third floor. We took the lift, entered the shop, got our cards issued, and after asking, reached the PCs which had the new shooting game.

We sat side by side, with Susan in the middle and me on her left.

“Alright, let’s start this!” She opened the game, and after creating an id, jumped straight into multiplayer. “Let’s demolish them!”

We followed suit, and soon, we were on the same team. After a few moments, the ones from the enemy team ambushed us. We were three while they were five.

“Heh.” Susan scoffed, and started her rapid firing with extreme accuracy. “Easy.”

“Aww, I died.”

Arthur, on the other hand, was not as good as Susan, so he was killed immediately. My health was also reduced by 80%, but we managed to wipe them out.

In every match, both the teams had 6 players. We had just killed 5 of them and only lost one, so technically, we had an advantage. But….

“Wha?! Where did that come from?!”

With that last shot, Susan was killed and we lost the match. The last remaining member of the opposing team took us out from who-knows-where. We turned in one direction, and the next moment he killed us with a headshot.

“This guy’s crazy good………”

Susan muttered. He must be a really good player if he managed to make her say something like that. I looked at the screen, and the one who had wiped us out went by the name ‘gg666’.

Just then, gg666 typed a message in the chat.

-“gg too ez”

“This guy’s cocky, isn’t he?” Susan glared at the screen. “The next time I see him, I’ll kill him.”

She’s just talking about the game, right?

And so, we joined the next round, only to find him on the opposite team again. Like before, we managed to kill the other members of his team, but he still won even in a 1V5. And then he typed the same message again.

-“gg too ez”

“Grrr, damn that sniper! I’ll snipe him next!”

Interestingly, we found him in the next match again. Susan chose a sniper this time, but……

-“gg tooooooooooooo ez”

“Arrrrghhh, fuck him, damn camper!”

We joined the next match, but the moment we spawned he threw a flash bang at us from across the map, followed by a frag and killed 5 of us. Susan alone was left because she immediately understood his intentions, but still…..

-“gg too ez”

“Nuuuuuu! I was this close, but he no-scoped me! Fuck this game, I’m never playing it!”

She almost threw the mouse at the screen, but I managed to stop her in time.

“N-now now.” Arthur tried pacifying her. “He was just that good.”

“Good? His bullet hit me in a split-second and that too through such a narrow space. He must be a hacker or something!”

Well, that makes sense-

“That’s a clearly unfounded accusation.”

Suddenly, someone called out to us from the pc opposite ours. We turned back, only to see a boy wearing the same uniform as our school.

“What do you mean by unfounded?”

Susan asked while rolling her eyes.

“What I showed you was just pure skill, nothing else. I have spent 3000 hours on this game, you know.”

Wha!?

“How is that possible?! This is a new game-”

“New game for this arcade. It has been in the market for 2 months, and I have been its beta tester for around a year.”

“Impossible!” She gasped. “Asshole!”

She almost shouted.

“Your name’s quite exotic. I’m Samuel Hayden. Pleased to meet you.”

The moment he said his name, time slowed down to a crawl and everything in my vision was dyed with red. And on his face was a wide, evil grin that sent chills down my spine.

Everything returned to normal at once, but both my heart and stomach still felt heavy. Deep inside me, I could feel………… hostility.

“You bastarddddd!” By now, Susan was already trembling and gnashing her teeth. “Now look here you little shit, it is clear that you used cheats to beat us like that!”

“What a sore loser…” Samuel sighed. “Why don’t you come here and have a look for yourself?”

He minimised the game and beckoned us to come over to him. Susan, perhaps eager to prove him wrong immediately left her seat and went towards him.

Again. That feeling as if my stomach was being tied into knots assaulted me again, and I felt a sudden urge to stop Susan.

Of course, since I had no actual reason to do so, I only followed her.

On his monitor, he had opened his Steam id, and showed us the number of hours he had put in that game.

2987. That was the amount that was displayed in the ‘Play Time’ section.

Susan stared at it with an agape mouth for some moments, then managed to mutter.

“I-it’s still less than 3000!”

“What? Did they not teach you anything about rounding off? What kind of school did you guys go to?”

He squinted at the emblem displayed on our ties, and then looked at his, and then looked at ours again.

“Ok ok, I understand!” Susan harrumphed, defeated. “It was my fault! I kinda lost my cool there.”

Samuel’s eyes widened for a moment.

“I see.”

An awkward silence lingered for a moment, and his eyes were clearly asking us if we had any other business with him.

“S-Samuel Hayden, right? We seem to be in the same school. Which class are you in?”

“Dude…..” Samuel jerked his torso back and narrowed his eyes. “We are in the same class, Arthur…..”

“Haa?!”

All three of us screamed at the same time. After all, even I couldn’t remember seeing him, so I doubt these guys would have.

“Ah, wait.”

As if understanding something, Samuel started fiddling with his hair and then tightened his tie, just like a model student would. He then took out his specs from his pocket and donned them-

“Ah, the piano guy!”

“Piano?”

It seemed I was not the only one confused by Susan’s sudden shout.

“Aren’t you the guy who played ‘Liszt’s La Campanella’ during the music club’s audition?”

“Good grief.” He sighed. “I don’t know how to handle fame.”

Susan’s eyebrows twitched at his comment, but before she could say anything, Samuel followed.

“Yes, you are absolutely correct, I was the one who played La Campanella and G Minor Bach at the audition. But I don’t seem to remember seeing you among the participants………”

“Ah, I was just passing by the music clubroom when I heard you playing the piano. I had been captivated by your beautiful music, and before I knew it, had entered the room and listened to it until the end. But I left after you finished.”

Huh? When did this happen?

“Beautiful?” He smiled wryly. “You rate me too highly.”

“Didn’t anyone ever teach you to take compliments obediently?”

“Hmm, now that you say it, I do seem to remember my mother talking about something like that. But hey, don’t they say ‘Humility is a man’s virtue’?”

“But being too humble can also be taken as a sign of arrogance.”

“I don’t think I can do anything about the narrow-mindedness of my peers.”

“Don’t you think you are too stubborn?”

“I call it being true to one’s ideals, Ms. Susan.”

“Oh, you know my name?”

She raised her eyebrows.

“Come on man, we’re classmates. I would have to be anti-social as fuck to not know your name.”

“Well, I did not know your name.”

“Dude, you’re hurting me.”

Samuel grimaced and sighed. Then they stared at each other for a moment, and started chuckling.

Samuel then glanced at his watch.

“Ah, shoot! It’s already 7! I have to get home and prepare dinner!”

Prepare?

“Do you live alone?”

Arthur jumped into the conversation

“Yeah.” Samuel logged out of the pc and picked up his bag. “In an apartment not far from school, so I have to cook my own food. Well, I call it cooking, but it’s essentially just eating easy-to-make junk food.”

He smiled wryly.

“Anyway, see you guys-”

“Hey, how about joining us?”

What!? Why is Arthur proposing that?!

“Hmm?” He scowled. “Do you guys plan to go to a restaurant or something?”

“No.” Susan shook her head. “We are heading to my house.”

“Soooooo………… are you guys inviting me to your house?”

He pointed at Susan and furrowed his brows. It looked like this was the first time he had been invited somewhere.

“Yup.”

Susan and Arthur nodded with a smile.

“…..You are not planning to kidnap me or something, are you?”

What the hell is this guy’s problem?

“Of course not.” Susan giggled. “Come now, it’s getting late. We should get going.”

“Huh, well you wouldn’t tell me straight up even if that was your intention.” He shifted his specs. “Well then, I’ll take you up on your offer. It’s about time I experienced this otherworldly event.”

“O-otherworldly?” Arthur stuttered. “Is this your first time going to a friend’s house?”

“Unfortunately- or maybe fortunately- yes. But putting that aside, we’re already friends?”

He appeared quite shocked at the prospect of being friends. Does he hate the idea that much?

“We aren’t?”

It was Arthur and Susan’s turn to be shocked.

“You tell me.”

Samuel shrugged.

“I am.”

“Me too.”

Both of them told us of their intentions to befriend Samuel, leaving only me. Three pairs of eyes looked at me, waiting for my answer.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t really like Samuel. I don’t know why, but something about his very existence irritates me, and seeing him chat so casually with Arthur and Susan just lights a fire inside my chest. If I had my way, then I would grab Susan and Arthur’s hands and lead them away from this abomination.

“Me as well.”

However, there was no way in hell I was going to have my way. So, my only option is to just go with the flow and accept him.

“I see.” He narrowed his eyes, and then averted his gaze. “Let’s go then.”

And so, our group of three had been expanded to a group of four. While chatting about the game we had been playing just before, we headed towards Susan’s home.

Susan’s father had a job which required him to travel a lot, so more often than not, Susan and her mother were the only ones at her home. As such, it had become our routine to have dinner at least once a week at her home.

And that sacred place was now going to be trampled by a foreign existence.

“Good evening, madam. I’m Samuel Hayden.” He made a slight courteous bow. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Even now, something inside me was screaming at me to stop him. My heart was telling me to grab him and throw him out of the house no matter the consequences, but my brain rebutted by saying that doing such a thing would be incredibly unreasonable, since I didn’t even know anything about him.

This battle between my brain and heart -for no apparent reason at that- was pissing me off. And I still hadn’t figured out why Samuel’s existence was unsettling me so much. In fact, this should have been a joyous occasion. Arthur and Susan, by making new friends, were on the path to growing.

“Ara, how polite. Please, come inside, Sam.”

“Hmm?”

Samuel grunted.

“Ah, did you not like that nickname?”

“No, no such thing.” Samuel immediately denied. “It has just been some time since someone called me that, so I was a bit surprised.”

“I see, I see.” Auntie nodded. “Now, come inside. Dinner’s almost ready.”

Heeding her words, we stepped inside. Samuel started sniffing, and then exclaimed.

“Oh, steak?”

“You recognised?”

Everyone’s eyes widened at the sudden revelation.

“Yes. And judging by the smell, I can already tell that it’s going to be delicious.” He then turned to Susan. “If you had told me that you were serving steak, then I would have come with you no questions asked.”

What is he, a dog?

“But I didn’t know about it myself.”

Susan looked at Auntie.

“Consider this Mommy’s treat.”

Their eyes sparkled, but Samuel suddenly interjected.

“If I remember correctly, they had a sale today.”

“I was caught?” Auntie smiled. “But you know about that place?”

“Any cook worth their salt does. I was expecting a normal dinner; little did I know that I would be treated to such a fine cuisine.”

“Haha, you are exaggerating.”

Auntie giggled, but it was clear that she was pleased.

“That would be made clear on the dining table, right?”

“Precisely. Now, go wash your hands and come to the dining room.”

We nodded in return. When we finally reached the dining table, the aroma of meat coming from the adjacent kitchen invaded our noses. That smell alone was enough to incite our hunger.

“Can I help you in any way, ma’am?”

Ma’am? Was this luck, or a calculated move? Because Auntie doesn’t like being called Auntie. Did he somehow understand that?

“Hmm….. then can you help me pour the sauce?”

“With pleasure.”

Samuel rolled his sleeves and stepped inside the kitchen.

After some time, both of them came out with dishes in their hands, and set them in front of us. The moment I saw the steak on the plate, my stomach growled.

“Let’s dig in!”

Arthur cried in delight and started, and Susan followed. I wanted to at least wait for Auntie, but the food in front of me was too appetizing to resist. And so, I also lost to temptation.

Soon enough, Auntie and Samuel came back from the kitchen and sat side by side. With precise movements, Samuel cut a bite-sized chunk from the steak and led it to his mouth.

“Mmm, exquisite.” He smiled. “You are one of the finest chefs, ma’am.”

Hmph, stop trying to act like a good boy and get in her good books! Though I have to admit that he’s right.

“Haha, thank you.”

“This could become the perfect dinner if we had some wine.”

What?!

“I was thinking the same thing. I think we have some non-alcoholic wine. Let me get it.”

“Allow me to help you.” He then turned to us. “Do you guys want some?”

Arthur and Susan instantly shook their heads, I wasn’t too keen either. However-

“Sure.”

I nodded anyway.

“Alright.”

He went to the kitchen and brought back three wine glasses, while Auntie brought a wine bottle. Samuel took the bottle from her, uncorked it, sniffed the wine inside, and then poured it in our glasses.

“Ah, Sutter.” He took a sip. “That’s a really good choice.”

“I feel the same.”

Auntie followed. Somehow, they had hit it off right away. Even though not even half an hour had passed since their meeting, they seemed like close friends now.

I also took a sip, and a really peculiar taste spread inside my mouth. I couldn’t understand how to describe it, but it didn’t seem as good as these guys were making it out to be.

“How’s the wine, Michael?”

Auntie asked with sparkling eyes.

“G-good………”

I managed a mutter.

And so, the dinner continued, which was mostly just Susan, Arthur and Auntie talking to Samuel, asking him various things.

His father was the CEO of some company, and he had recently been transferred abroad. But Samuel decided to stay here. His mother also wanted to stay here with him, but after repeatedly assuring her that he would be alright, she had finally relented and accompanied his father.

Samuel also had an older brother who was studying law in a prestigious university far from here. So, he was the only one living in his home.

His hobbies included playing games and piano, while he also liked studying new things, so he had a vast knowledge about various unrelated things.

“Ah, look at the time.” Samuel glanced at his watch, while I looked at mine. It was 27 minutes to 10. “It’s already too late. I’ll be taking my leave.”

Whoa, we had been talking for a long time.

“Oh? How about staying the night here?”

There it was! The thing I had been fearing the most- though I still didn’t know why. Auntie had invited him to spend the night at her house.

“What?” Samuel froze for a moment, and then blinked. “Staying here?”

“Yup.”

Susan and Arthur nodded.

“Surely you jest.”

“No such thing.” Arthur shook his head. “We have been doing this for many years, right, Michael.”

“Y-yeah…..”

I wanted to deny it, but the situation wasn’t one where I could lie.

“That is a tempting offer, yes.” Then he stole a glance at me; it was so brief that I was almost sure that it was my imagination. “But there are some important affairs I have to attend to, so I won’t be able to take you up on it.”

“Awwww………”

Susan groaned, while Auntie also seemed to be thinking that it was a shame.

……Good grief, look, even Samuel is troubled by their gloomy puppy faces. I can’t bear to see it.

“And what exactly are those ‘important affairs’?”

So I decided to extend a helping hand.

“Uhhh………” He scratched his cheek and averted his gaze. “There is this game I’d like to-”

“Yeah, no shit!” Susan immediately grabbed him in a headlock. “Arthur, lock the door- gyahahahahahaha!”

Samuel had instantly started tickling her sides- as if he had been born-ready for such a situation- which proved to be very effective. Her hold loosened, and he broke free from her arms.

His gaze met with Arthur’s, and then they immediately broke off in a run for the main door of the house and went into the hallway. I also dashed, and using a different door, appeared at the halfway point to the main gate, and stood in front of Samuel to stop him.

“Nice one, Michael!”

Arthur exclaimed as he passed by me, leaving only me and Samuel.

“Hmph.” He snorted, and suddenly, the look in his eyes changed. “Didn’t think that you’d be the one to stop me from leaving this house.”

Huh?


 


3 Comments

  1. Dunno, but i sense a lie in things Sam said regarding his fam. But idk. It feels like some psychopath that murder his family or something.

    It’s good chapter and story overall thanks Anit. How the heck you get such skill anyway?

    Also without knowing background story, Michael is like someone who can’t accept change.

  2. Wow. I was a bit disappointed when I realized it was a Michael POV but it sucked me in so hard! It was so good! Now, I’m upset it’s over and praying this continues next chapter. 😂

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