Hidan no Aria:BD Chapter5
Cast-off Table - Version: Roulette
Cast-off Table...the competition of strip games.
Before I knew it, half the matches had been completed...I didn't even have the time to ask myself why exactly I had been coerced into joining this.
Wearing a childish style of underwear that suited her childish body, (it was patterned with card suits)...Aria.
Wearing black, silken underwear that sensuously covered her body, which was worthy of a Gravure model...Shirayuki.
Wearing underwear of golden satin bordered with frills...Riko. Looks like she just has to make her underwear comically weird as well.
Wearing white, cotton underwear that felt devoid of personality...Reki. She was sitting with her knees up, her arms hugging them to herself.
The four losers had already stripped.
On the other hand, the four survivors were...
Having removed her skirt and left her blouse on for some reason, (it was the only thing she was wearing by that point)...Fuuma. She was displaying her fundoshi for all to see. Number of clothes left: one.
Conversely, having started with her blouse...Jeanne. All that was left was her skirt and its ribbon. Number of clothes left: two.
Having lost nothing but her socks...Hiraga. She stood there in her uniform, but barefoot. Number of clothes left: three.
And having survived till this point losing nothing but a jacket...Me. Number of clothes left: four.
(...Clear your mind of all thoughts, and even the fires of hell will be pleasantly cold...)
I was left unable to even take a deep breath in that room, which was filled with the scent of girls. I just repeated a mantra in my mind, "Calm down, calm down..."
And for the second time, I warned myself.
I was currently in a state that would not be aroused by women: Hysteria Wiseman Mode.
But, this wouldn't hold for more than 12 minutes.
And apparently, it wasn't a state that could hold under the breaking point.
The wise man in me was gradually becoming a fool.
In terms of my senses...the yellow traffic light was in sight, so to speak.
Standing in the midst of this environment, which just screamed "Please get turned on!"...In the recesses of my heart, I felt the Hysteria blood flow on the brink of pulsating.
If this traffic light turns red and the fool inside me rises up...things will get ugly.
...I have to endure this no matter what.
(Calm down...I've learned this from my brother before. When you wish to calm your heart, count prime numbers. Prime numbers are lonely numbers that cannot be wholly divided by numbers besides itself and one. They lend me, a carrier of Hysteria Mode, the courage to face reality...1, 2, 3, 5, 7...)
I started to count, when I suddenly remembered that one wasn't a prime number. Acknowledging once again that I was on the very, very edge, I spoke out.
"...What's the next game? Hurry up, and let's keep going!"
I turned my head, equipped with goggles, to face Riko.
But Riko shook her head left and right.
"Before we decide the next game! It says here in the rulebook...a supplementary rule from the 5th match onwards, "Loser Participation!" I will now explain this rule!"
She opened the self-authored Cast-off Table rulebook.
Loser...Participation...? What did you say? I don't have time for this!
"What the hell is that? I'm not going to allow it if it's a loser revival round. First of all, Cast-off Table is a competition held to determine an excellent Butei. Each person has only one life. I refuse to call people who ignore this and expect to come back alive after dying excellent Butei! And that's how it should be!"
I was quick to raise an objection.
"Why...are you getting so worked up, Kinji?"
Aria shied away from me.
C-Crap. I accidentally got too heated about it.
Aria's already suspicious whether or not my goggles are working. I can't do anything out of place. Something might lead to revelation of the fact that my goggles are broken.
"Ah, um...ahem...well, Riko, what's this Loser Participation thing about?"
Drawing attention away from my previous behaviour with a cough, I asked again, more gently.
"Since only half of us have survived, the people that've lost don't have anything to do, and it's kinda pitiful, isn't it? It'd be real sad if only the survivors are fighting so heatedly while the bystanders get fed up. So the losers are going to participate in each game and heat things up."
Whatever she's talking about, it seems like it's going to take a while, but...
Aria, Shirayuki and the rest--really, they had nothing to do--seemed to be looking forward to this.
If I immediately veto it again, things might get complicated...and this time, I'll most likely be treated with suspicion.
"...How will they be participating?"
"It depends on the game, but for example, if we were playing pinball, they could be a substitute hitter, or if we were playing roulette, a dealer, or they could go retrieve the darts if we were playing darts. With them, we could have team battles in sugoroku...well, that kinda thing."
"Well, if that's it...that should be fine..."
Like Riko said, it would depend on the game, but if the losers just act as support for the game, or play a role in making things more interesting, then...
It would be different from a loser revival match, which I had feared might occur. Something like this shouldn't drag the games on till eternity.
"Since we have attained Ki-kun's approval, let us choose the game to play for our fifth match! From the fifth match onward, the loser of the previous round has the right to decide the next item! Well then, without further ado, you're up, Rekyu~!"
Riko pointed at Reki with the rolled-up rulebook.
In her underwear, Reki walked towards the inner area of the gameroom.
Because she remained silent as she walked, we clumped up to follow her.
We had reached the zone where the relatively large games, like darts, pinball, and roulette were lined up, when...
She came to a stop.
I thought, but...
Reki had chosen roulette for our fifth match.
"Oh, how unexpected. I thought that you'd go for darts. Wouldn't that be more interesting?"
"What are you talking about, Aria? Roulette is the queen of the casino. It is majestic, yet profound, both in equal measures."
Aria, from the birthplace of darts, England, and Jeanne, from the birthplace of roulette, France, spoke.
Roulette...a ball is thrown onto a wheel on which multiple numbers are written, and it's up to the players to guess where it falls.
It's mainly played with the intent to gamble, and it's offered up as one of the principal games in casinos worldwide.
Expressionless, Reki turned back from the genuine roulette board, 80 centimetres in diameter, that stood in front of her.
Staring at me.
As if challenging me to a battle.
(What? You've already lost, so why...)
I frowned, and after a few seconds...I noticed it.
She forced me to notice.
The rule, Loser Participation, wasn't just an arrangement to prevent the losers from getting bored.
It was a system that aided their vengeance, so they could cast off the shame of having been forced to strip.
Though it was only a game, we had gone through four matches...within that time, many things had occurred.
Fool the enemy. Lead them into your trap. Show them that you are their friend, then stab them in the back.
During this short time, a complicated set of relationships had developed between the eight of us.
Especially ones of hatred and sadness.
Using these relationships, this rule had given the losers the opportunity for revenge.
To make things more interesting.
We, the survivors, don't just have to fight with the other players. We have to battle against the loser bracket's retaliation. The reason that the losers, not the winners, choose the game from the fifth match onward is to make revenge that much easier.
This...really does make things more interesting.
From this point onward, Cast-off Table is going to become more and more exciting.