Michael’s crimson eyes casually glanced above the blond-haired woman’s head, which displayed “Talia the Innocent, Level-16 High-Elf Huntress, Rank-E.”
Her title wasn’t a particularly uncommon one among her people, but it was nearly unheard of for a member of any short-lived race to obtain it. It actually had stacking benefits, but if the person violated the conditions, they would lose everything that they had built-up over the decades.
If someone could spend the first forty years of their life a virgin, and also avoid ‘murdering’ anyone, they would receive seven Willpower and Luck. After that, it would add an additional point every decade.
Taila scowled at him, asking “Why did you do that? Even if you didn’t die, have you no fear of pain or suffering?”
With his twenty-one Luck, as long as he didn’t intentionally lose, it was fairly easy to win against the androgynous Dark-Elven dealer. As he played his second game, Michael snickered and replied “Meh~, at the time, I had shit to do and I didn’t want you bastards abducting me. Things are different now; even if you knock me out and take me away to some mysterious village on the other side of the world, it wouldn’t make much a difference. Also, you guys insta-killed me, so it didn’t even hurt.”
The irritated green-eyed beauty complained “Our Goddess Aeris asked us to bring you to our village… We were only taking precautions because my fa-er, our Captain played the Melody of Danger. If ‘someone’ wasn’t loudly singing over it, we would have noticed that he was actually giving us the signal to stay hidden. Then you purposefully made me… Don’t you even realize what you’ve done? If you had actually died, I would have become a murderer!”
Hearing that, he sighed and then grimaced, before saying “Ow, what the hell… Ugh, I didn’t notice it early, but I think I pulled something. Umm, yup, it’s my testicle, ow, fuck, damn it. Mmmm, I wonder if this is a hernia? Ouch, so this is why people don’t normally try to throw around tigers…”
While holding the cards in his right hand, Michael began unhesitantly ‘correcting’ the situation under his kilt, with the left. Talia yelled “What are you doing?!” as she nearly fell off of her stool.
Glaring at the Human, the dealer told him “Sir, please stop doing that; you’re clearly disturbing the other patrons, and me. If there is an actual medical emergency, then I can call a Healer to treat your injuries.”
After a few moments, he pulled his hand out of his kilt and cheerfully said “Nah, it’s fine, just a false-alarm. My left testicle was twisted around backwards, but I fixed it. Anyway, royal straight flush, I win again. Hahaha~, gambling is pretty fun in this world!”
The Huntress glared at him, while frowning; she had obviously never met such a vulgar and obscene person in her seventy-five years of life. Of course, that was only because she lived in a High-Elven village that worshiped Aeris, and hadn’t spent very long in the Temple of Asura.
Talia muttered “How much Luck does one need to keep winning like that?” as she observed her ‘target.’ Unlike the first casino Michael gambled in, Avarice was ironically, not nearly as corrupt.
Even as he continued to play nine flawless matches in a row, the enforcers and guards didn’t make a move on him. His two gold coins were quickly turned into one hundred and twelve, but that wasn’t nearly enough to cause the Elven owners to care.
Then something strange happened; as Michael won his tenth game of Poker, a bright light began emanating from his body and a ‘divine’ voice announced “You have reached level ten.”
An incredibly dense and serene aura enveloped the entire room as a blurry and nearly invisible entity appeared behind him. The air trembled, and a feminine humanoid figure became slightly opaque.
Michael turned to face her with a smile, as he casually said “Oh hey Arcana, what’s up? Ya know, I’m starting to think that you’re stalking me…” Hearing and seeing that, not only Talia, but every single person in the entire room was trembling. A few people of the Arcane Affinity immediately knelt onto the ground and gazed up at her; everyone else however, were too terrified to even breathe, as they tried not to attract her attention.
The Goddess giggled and smirked at him, then asked “Are you really satisfied with winning so easily? Perhaps you would like to play against me… This avatar has the same exact Luck stat as you, so it would be completely fair.”
He snickered and complained “That’s a joke right? You’re the one who influences Luck, so you would definitely have the advantage.” She was pouting in discontent, so he suggested “Why don’t we play without Luck? You can pick the game.”
Arcane suddenly made a mysterious glass coin appear in her right palm, then told him “You would have originally received a Rare level-five shield for the Quest-Reward. However, if you’re willing to bet with that item, I’ll bet this token… With this, you will be able to enter the Arcane Armory and trade it for any piece of equipment that is worth two-hundred Favor.”
Michael said “Is it PvE or PvP gear? Never-mind, it doesn’t matter. Of course I would accept that offer… but~, we’re going to play one-hundred matches in a row! Hahahaha~, it’ll be way more interesting that way. The first person to fifty-one will be the winner.”
Hearing the way that he was casually speaking with a ‘divine’ being, every single person in the room was wondering if he was some sort of deity, or just completely insane. None of them had any idea what the Arcane Armory was, and the entire conversation wasn’t something that normal NPCs were meant to comprehend.
After a few moments of deciding with a blank expression, Arcana finally placed the token in the air to her right and then created a deck of illusory cards. She giggled and then dealt the two of them seven cards each; seeing that, Michael muttered “You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me…”
The rest of the cards were scattered in a pile between them, and then transformed into the shape of floating minnows, which swam through the air in random directions. Then she said “Go Fish.” and the thirty-eight rank-G, level-one, magical-beasts started furiously trying to escape away from the two terrifying beings.
However, a spherical barrier was preventing them from moving outside of Michael’s arm’s reach. He frowned as he complained “Fine~, but unlike you, I actually have a digestive and urinary system…”
Arcane snickered and told him “Don’t worry, removing your waste and maintaining your satiation requires very little effort. We shall be able to play all fifty-one to one-hundred matches in a row, without any distractions.” Then she glanced around at the room filled with frightened and awed people, before saying “The rest of you may leave. Your presence is unnecessary.”
Without even taking anything with them, most of the patrons and staff either fled the building or ran upstairs. However, there were still five who remained, regardless of the Goddess’ command.
Michael glanced around and noticed that Talia and the Dark-Elven dealer had fainted. Strangely though, there were two Humans who were sitting at the Blackjack table to his left.
What surprised him, was that they didn’t have names above their heads. Both were women, but when he tried to determine their features anymore than that, his vision became blurry. Even the colors of their hair, skin, dresses, and eyes were constantly changing.
The avatar of Arcana glared at them and then released a small portion of her true aura, causing the two mysterious beings to vanish. Then she murmured “It seems that the others are going to start trying to recruit you now that you’ve reached level ten.”
He snickered and said “Yeah, I haven’t really decided on what to go with as my second Affinity yet. Well, since I’m planning on becoming a Tank, Light would probably be the best choice. The question is, how should I go about evolving that way?”
After the Goddess giggled faintly, she asked “Do you have any fives? Also, have you considered focusing on Arcane?”
Michael sighed and handed her two cards, then replied “Of course I have… but for a Tank, being able to receive all that extra healing is worth the potentially increased damage taken.”
Arcana quietly said “Indeed, it is unfortunate, but you are correct. I believe that you would likely enjoy becoming a Mage or Sorcerer who specializes in Arcane magic… However, that could possibly be my desire to monopolize you, warping my own logic. Do you have any queens?”
He told her “Go Fish~, and yeah, I can understand your feelings. I mean, if I grabbed some guy out of another world, intending to make him mine, only to have my children wanna share him with me… Hmmm, well, this conversation is going in a weird direction. Hahaha~, besides, is there some reason why you can’t get more people? I like being the only Player, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I’m curious as to why I would be the only one.”
After she casually grabbed one of the very real, floating, silver minnows, it suddenly transformed into a playing card. The Goddess murmured “Every century, it is possible for each of us to create a single Player. However, it required the nine of us to summon you.”
Michael snickered and said “Basically, I have a hundred-year head-start on those other bastards you’re planning on bringing over to this world. Wait a fucking second; what about the ‘millions’ of Players that you supposedly made the first time? By the way, do you have any sevens?”