“C-could you please tell us why youd like to go there, at least…”
“Guile recommended it.
He said if I ever got to visit Eddo, the Capital of Toued, I mustnt miss the Gambling Den.”
I see, it was the fava bean guy…
Still, the Gambling Den… Wasnt there supposed to be an age restriction on who they let in
“According to Guile, the Gambling Den to the southwest of there is all-ages, with an average exchange rate-“
Dammit, Toued! Dammit, Guile!
Now Im really regretting sending Ferris home yesterday – that was a mistake.
Id never expected Guile to have visited Toued before.
…Oh, wait, that makes sense – he IS part of Polcos convoy.
Really makes me think what hes up to when hes on break…
I whispered to Bright.
“If I COULD actually offer an input, I would not be suffering right now…”
Indeed, my boy.
I tried sneaking a message to Polco via Telepathic Call, but he only replied with the typical rich people answer –Let this be an opportunity for her to learn about the broader society, or something.
Pochi and Chappie seemed to be looking forward to it, too.
The former seemed to have some genuine interest, while the latter was only following her example… probably.
Hed been hyped up since hed heard the first word.
As for myself… Id never been much into gambling before, but I did wonder sometimes why people are so passionate about it, to the point of establishing dedicated dens for it, when there was not much overall profit to be made on the participants side despite there being so much Gold in circulation.
Gambling… Gambling, huh…
“CHŌ! THIS ONES GOTTA BE CHŌ!”
“NO, MASTER! ITS HAN!”
“THATS WHAT YOU SAID LAST TIME, AND WE LOST IT!”
“SHUT UP! MY INSTINCTS ARE TELLING ME ITS CHŌ!”
“I KNOW WELL BE GETTING THREE HAN IN A ROW NEXT! LETS GO WITH HAN, SIR! THATS WHAT MY INSTINCTS ARE TELLING ME!”
“AS IF A FURBALLS INSTINCTS ARE WORTH ANYTHING!”
“AS IF A FOOL LIKE YOU… UH, EVEN HAVE INSTINCTS IN THE FIRST PLACE!”
“HELL YEAH! BRING IT ON, SIR!”
After a heated argument, Pochi and I split or Gambling Den allowance between two groups – Pochi and Chappie, and me and Leon – and sat down on separate mats.
Well, all Leons doing is hanging around on my shirt and looking at us do our thing, though.
When we had first entered the Gambling Den, the gamblers around us immediately praised me, saying how Ive got a true gamblers spirit because Id brought along a child to play.
It wasnt as if I could leave the kid elsewhere, though…
What we had gotten hooked onto the most so far was a dice game called Chō-Han.
It was a simple game of guessing whether the sum of two dice, scrambled in an opaque urn-shaped cup, was an even or odd number.
Even numbers wereChō, and odds wereHan.
‘Han in this Nations language stood forhalf, so Id had the impression that it would be used for even numbers, but for some reason it wasChō instead.
Id like to look into the etymology of those terms someday.
Apparently, Chō-Han didnt mesh well with them culturally, so theyd gone and sat at a table in a corner where they played a card game calledPoker, which was more internationally approved.
“Ill show you, Pochi… Ill show you that I have the superior senses…!”
“Are you ready, people People, are you ready …Here we go!”
A man with a white cloth wrapped tightly around his abdomen came walking in holding an urn-shaped cup.
He proceeded to throw two dice into the cup, shook it, and closed it down on the floor.
In Gambling Dens, one could participate in the betting of money by first exchanging for ch.i.p.s as a currency substitute.
Some of them were wooden, while some were bamboo.
This particular establishment used the latter kind.
The exchanging rate for one chip was a thousand Gold.
Seriously, young Ferris… is this her idea of anaverage rate
I mean, it feels pretty damn expensive to me…!
“Chō! I call Chō!”
I stated my bet and placed a chip down sideways.
“Anybody calling Han Calling Han, anybody”
Too many people were calling Chō, so the facilitator – called aNakabon – hollered out to increase the number of people betting on Han.
“A-han! I call Han!”
Donta-han me, damn it.
Pochi stated her bet and put down a chip… upright.
That, too, was part of the rules – sideways ch.i.p.s for Chō, upright ch.i.p.s for Han.
Apparently, thanks to Pochi betting on Han, the round was balanced enough to proceed.
Heh, at least shes making herself useful once in a while.
The Nakabon gave the sign to open the urn.
The urn-bearer lifted the cup.
The numbers…… three… and five!
Ignoring Pochis screams of grief, I bet on Chō again.
The numbers… four… and three!
“YESSSSSS! HAN! HANNNNNN!!”
Im so reminded of our endless back-and-forth from back in the day… wed never been able to really settle any of them.
Screaming each time I won, also screaming each time I lost – and it was the same for her.
I lost – panic! I lost – panic! I lost – panic! I won – calm.
I lost – panic! I lost…-
“…Now wait a second!”
“Something doesnt feel right, sir!”
Were almost out of ch.i.p.s, and my allowance pouch is almost empty!
Have we ended up being way into this gambling thing Or maybe… did Pochi buy herself more ch.i.p.s without my permission!
“YOU were the one who bought them, Master! And thats because you were raging hard after losing so much!”
“What! And what about you – following me like a dog and saying to buy your share as well!”
“But I AM a dog, sir!”
Damn it! Shed always be angry when I dont treat her like a human, too – talk about changing her standards to fit the narrative at hand!
How did we end up like this, anyway! We were supposed to play within a limited allowance!
Who the hell forked out more of my money! …Oh, it was me.
But no – theres someone else equally at fault.
Guile recommended this Gambling Den to Ferris.
Ferris wanted to come here.
Polco gave us permission to come.
And Pochi ended up being so into the game.
Damn you, Guile! Damn you, Ferris! Damn you, Polco! Damn you, Pochi!
What can I even do now! Tonight is a non-issue, but our lodging expenses from tomorrow on is in jeopardy!
At least I still have the money for taking care of Bright that Polco gave me…! NONONONO! Misuse that, and its my employment thatll be gone next!
What can I do Go kill some monsters No – I cant just leave Bright and Ferris here, let alone bring them along into a fight.
What can I do… Come up with something, Asley!
Hmm I heard a clack… did Leon drop something
“Andddddd the round if good to go!”
“M-Master! Leole just placed his bet on our last chip!”
A bet on Chō! It mightve been an accident, but still-!
The urn opened.
What are the numbers……!
“Double One! Chō!”
“”WHAT IN BLAZES!””
Pochi and I hugged each other and voiced our joy.
“Leole… you did good!”
Leon responded to Chappie with a smile, then dropped another chip.
It landed upright, making his bet Han.
“Master… are you sure we should let him keep playing”
“Well, we still have two ch.i.p.s left after the establishments cut, so another game shouldnt hurt… right”
We nervously sealed the bet by presenting the chip to the urn-bearer, then waited for the reveal.
One day, the world will bow down to its rightful king!
…In fact, Pochi is already doing that.
Leons borderline-holy fingers rescued us out of our previous defeats with one right guess after another.
And then… once we started seeing some profit, Leon started to yawn.
“H-hey, Leole! Things are just starting to get good! Hey, wake up!”
Its no use……!
Pochi and I wiped away our tears and, with eyes clouded, gazed up at the ceiling.
The rightful king… was here.
We walked away from the gambling group and sat around a small table to take a break, but then I heard Chappie calling from behind me.
“Father, do you not hear Ferris calling you”
“Huh Lady Ferris”
What does she want
Or could she have sensed that I had badmouthed her in my mind a few moments ago
I slowly walked over to Ferros and Brights table, and saw that both of them were waiting with quite… sinister grins on their faces.
“Um, is something the matter…”
“Poer, sit down and play.”
“Poker, Lady Ferris I do know the rules, but… wait, theres a dealer here already”
“Ive paid him to deal for us – so that all three of us could play.”
I see, so this is what rich people do.
I dont get it.
“Poer, if you lose… you will teach us the Teleportation magic spell.
Do we have a deal”
“Frankly speaking, this is totally in your favor whether or not I-“
“Instructor, if you would only participate, I will see to it that your wages are doubled from both House Fulbright and House Adams sides.”
“Its game time!”
…Said some furrball of a dog around here.