Roulette was a simple but surprisingly deep game.
You threw a ball into a spinning board called a wheel, and tried to guess which round pocket it would fall into. That was all there was to the game, but there were several ways to bet. You could pinpoint the exact number it would fall into, whether it would fall in a red or black pocket, you could even guess it would fall on one of two adjacent numbers.
“Even if the ball is still rolling on the wheel, you can add or change bets until the dealer says it’s over.”
“Well, I understand but…”
Nick had good eyes, good senses to take command of brawls and fistfights, and the stupid courage to face ogres two or three times his size, but he was being completely taken in by the environment.
He placed chips little by little as outside bets, the places with low multipliers. The dealer and customers around him thought it was amusing how obvious it was that Nick was an amateur.
But the cute girl next to him could not hide her irritation.
“Hey! Bet more like wham bang!”
“I can’t just bet other people’s money like an idiot can I?”
“Geez… Maybe I should’ve picked the slots.”
“I told you you shouldn’t drag me into this too much.”
“What? Says the guy that drags me to adventures and duels.”
“Uu… I don’t have a response…”
Nick looked away in embarrassment, but Tianna just snickered.
“Just kidding, just kidding. I just wanted to bring you here as a nice distraction.”
“Distraction? Well, if that’s the case…”
“The next game is starting. Concentrate.”
Nick stared at the ball rolling in the rapidly spinning roulette.
The ball’s movements were unpredictable, and it kept being sucked into various pockets.
The way to gamble slowly changed.
Nick was not looking at the wheel, but instead, at the dealer’s fingers and eyes.
He noticed this was not a battle against physics, but a battle against humans.
“Yes yes, not bad.”
The ball rolled on top of the board.
Nick narrowed down the pockets where the ball was likely to fall, and piled up chips as if to probe the situation.
Nick started thinking this was not unlike fighting. It was a series of fine tactics and bold moves. Think about it all the way through, and end it with a final blow.
The innocent smile on the dealer’s face began peeling away, and a sharpness behind his eyes started appearing and disappearing.
The dealer rang the bell signaling there would be no more bets.
Tianna tapped Nick’s back, who had just pocketed thirty five times the chips.
The dealer handed over a pile of chips with a full smile on his face.
He was smiling too much, and it was a little scary. On top of that, Nick could see the frustration peeking from behind his eyes.
But that’s what it meant to play. The real fun was in trying to defeat your opponent completely.
Nick and Tianna were completely immersed in the roulette for a while.
The rational part of their heads flew off somewhere.
“He ripped away all my money!”
“Hahaha, as expected from a pro. At least you made him have to get serious. That’s pretty good!”
“Ahh… This isn’t a good game for amateurs.”
Nick dejectedly dropped his shoulders, but Tianna was laughing and having the time of her life.
She smacked Nick on the back hard enough for it to hurt.
“But it was a nice distraction wasn’t it?”
“I feel like that was a pretty big sacrifice for the sake of a distraction.”
“You can pay me back later.”
“H-hey, didn’t you say it was your treat!?”
“Just kidding, just kidding.”
Tianna laughed loudly, and received a drink from an employee that was passing by.
It was not an alcoholic drink, just juice.
Nick received one as well and tried it, and felt a citrus like refreshing sourness.
“Where did the Steek Tiger Crew screw up?”
Suddenly said Nick.
“Why are you bringing that up?”
“I was just thinking that they were said to cheat places like this, so maybe they’ve come here too.”
“…Who knows. It’s not for us to understand.”
“I guess. I just feel like they’re not too different from us.”
“Before Leon and I started fighting, he tried to sell me Claudine.”
“…Ah? Aren’t they partners?”
Tianna was shocked.
“But Claudine was also going to wash her hands of Leon and get away.”
“Now that you mention it…”
“I think they had a good partnership going.They used Telepath Stones but still, they almost got me.
At the same time, it’s like they erected a barrier between them and could never really trust each other.”
“…You told us not to trust you too.”
“If we made a mistake along the way, we would have turned out like them.”
Tianna flicked Nick’s defensless forehead.
“Ouch! Don’t you know how to hold back!?”
“You deserve it after saying that nonsense. Don’t you remember what you said?”
“‘I think trust is believing in each other’s innocence’. Did you forget that?”
“What do you mean ‘ahh…’? Geez.”
Tianna shrugged her shoulders in an exagerated manner.
“Don’t worry, I’ll aways doubt whether or not you’re thinking something stupid.”
“If you do something wrong I’ll burn the back of your hands with tobacco fire or use magic to make you slip, so don’t worry and do what you want.”
Said Nick, but he actually felt awkward.
He beat Leon and Claudine, but wasn’t really thrilled about it.
His ex-girlfriend being escorted away left a strange taste in his mouth, and he had some regrets about getting everyone involved.
Tianna most likely noticed this, and Nick really did think she was a frightening girl, but he was glad to have her as a partner.
“We should go get Bond and go home.”
“I had fun, thanks…”
Nick was saying, but was interrupted by a loud sound of metal being crushed, coming from the entrance.
Shortly afterwards, people’s screams filled the air.
They were voices that probably should not be heard in a heavily guarded casino.
“Idiot, if it was robbers the casino could deal with them. I feel a monster is here…!?”
No one could hear Nick’s question, as screams echoed throughout the casino.