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[PLOT] Playing With A Full Deck; Group C - Itsuki, Clear, Abelhard, Daichi, Edie, Jin
Topic Started: Apr 23 2018, 08:58 AM (543 Views)
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Wherever the students of Senki Academy landed... they sure weren't in Kaneshima anymore.

"We're here!" Esi declared triumphantly, throwing up her hands as she displayed the interior of their target destination - the Monaco Casino (in Vegas). As fortune would have it, they had emerged into a currently none too occupied corner of a wider floor of slot machines, their entry presumably obscured by all the hardware around them.
"Now we just have to find...!" The excited - yet apparently artificial - girl turned to her group to find that she did not actually have all of her group. What had been a party some two dozen strong now barely made half a dozen, comprised of Itsuki, Clear, Abelhard, Edie, Daichi, and Jin. Needless to say, losing over three quarters of the group was a distressing matter...!

Which Esi did not reflect at all as she cheered, "Oh noooo!", as though she were celebrating instead of concerned. "I must have carried too many people at once! It was almost five times my usual number!"
Truly, Esi's continued jubilance was an eerie thing, one in which she seemingly saw no contradiction. Indeed, she was just short of skipping through the scene as she went all along, wowed and amazed by the finely polished and well fit furnishings. Cool, clean lights filled a chamber laid with a lush, red carpet, as though a Persian rug had been stretched from wall to wall. Though they had started in an arcade - in either sense - of slot machines, if the group followed Esi, they would emerge in what was clearly the central area of the floor: Gambling tables, whether pure games of chance like roulette or craps, or engagements of strategy and bravado as manifested in playing cards. Every few seconds it seemed like someone either won it big, or was crushed under the sheer weight of the debt with which the loss saddled them. One man was shedding tears at just how screwed he was, if the leering faces that surrounded him, and the firm grip they had on his hand, were any indication.

"...My, I wasn't aware kids were allowed in a place like this." A woman at a nearby table of Texas Hold 'Em - one at which she was evidently doing quite well, based upon the stacks of chips in front of her - remarked, flitting glances between the dealer - a member of the establishment's staff - and the teenagers over her shoulder.
"The Black Mamba cares not for the identity of their patrons in any fashion - age, sex, gender, faith - so long as they are merely willing to pay their dues." The dealer answered with what was likely well practised verse, before adding, "Ms. Mine, it's your move."
The woman, who bore herself with a most generous neckline held back by a pink dress, and a great flow of chestnut hair, smirked as she spoke in what seemed to be her native tongue. "Well, I certainly won't win that meeting with the elusive Black Mamba if I play carefully... I raise."

One opponent choked on his drink as the chips - at least two stacks - were lightly nudged forwards, and collapsed upon themselves, while another player - the one immediately after 'Ms. Mine' - folded, and simply quit the table altogether in disgust. But it seemed Ms. Mine had an audience, and they were pleased for her performance. Or at least, willing to pretend to be, hoping she might return the favour sometime.
"Sooooo..." A curious Esi turned to her... followers - could hardly be friends, right? - and gave them an eager grin. "Shall we play? Dunno where the others are, and we need to blend in as we figure out a plan!" She said, since having three quarters of the group disappear had... thrown things off quite a bit.
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For Itsuki's first experience of being teleported, it actually felt pretty anti-climatic compared to what he expected. It was rather... quick, if they were to ask him.

Then again, he supposed that's what teleportation is meant to be.

"...Oh crap, we are here..." Quite honestly, he was more expecting they would still be at the dormitory building the next time he would open his eyes. Yet, the next thing he saw was a place that's undoubtedly not the dormitory building.

A place that he's only ever seen on television. Not even the pachinko center back on Kaneshima were as lively as this place.

So this is Vegas.

...Even though he was so reluctant earlier, he ended up coming with everyone else. He himself couldn't explain why he even bothered, or dared, to play a part, much to his own loathing.

Sure enough, though, as though simply confirming his dread, their first step on Vegas and trouble had already befallen them.

They're separated from the others. Around ten to fifteen of them out of roughly twenty from the original group are now gone.

...Oops.

"W-waitwaitwait, this is a big problem!" There's no way Itsuki could hold back when Esi was acting so carefree despite their predicament, so much that he had to grab her shoulders and pull her back in panic. "We can't just be playing around here! We need to look for the others!" Not to mention her suggesting they join the game of luck.

They're just kids, after all! Let's not even begin talking about money, they're really far away from home and no one was told where they went, too.

Putting it simply, Itsuki was very unhappy with their situation. Distressed, panicking, horrified.

Why is he even here, then...
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Daichi initially didn't react when the teleportation completed. An interesting sensation, for sure, though not one Daichi really wanted to get familiar with. So this was America? The room was about as lavish as he'd expected from a casino. Rows and rows of slot machines. Ringing bells and flashing lights from each one, wordlessly calling bystanders to come in and blow their money. It wasn't hard to see how people could get drawn in by places like this, only to lose their entire livelihood in the process.

Of course, there was the elephant of the room. Or maybe a lack of elephants in the room would be a better metaphor. The vast majority of the group that had been teleported to Las Vegas had apparently gotten lost somewhere along the way. Now that was rather unfortunate - disregarding the issue of young girls being held captive by an organised crime group, those lost folk were going to have a hell of a time getting back to Japan.

"I'm not sure you should take this so casually." Daichi said to Esi, though he hardly sounded in the same kind of tizzy as Itsuki. "What's the plan? Do you even have a plan?" he asked Esi, more quietly this time, as they started on their way towards the main floor.

Once there, Daichi lapsed back into silence to take the scale of it all in. Not just slot machines, but games that required multiple people. Standing seven feet tall and with the face of a boulder, Daichi was probably the only person in the group to look like an adult - easily one twice his actual age. Adjusting the leopard-print shirt underneath his garish purple jacket, Daichi straightened up, trying to fit in with his relaxed, if somewhat stern attitude. Stakes were high in the games, but even more so for the small group.

Daichi observed the woman in the dress without any emotion or hints thereof on his statuesque face. His English wasn't great, but he caught the general gist of it. "The children are my--" Daichi hesitated, trying to think how this kind of sentence went before finishing, "...with me." Daichi said, barely comprehensible due to his strong Japanese accent turning his English into Engrish. His rolling Rs didn't leave his speech.

Looking down at the panicking boy, Daichi sighed. "Panicking won't help either." he simply said. Leaning down, he added: "Especially not if you're going to shout about what we're here for. You have a phone, don't you? Use it."

Straightening, Daichi looked around to see whether any of the games looked worth joining up with. "I've never gambled in my life." he admitted quietly enough that only the group could hear him. His eyes did fall on the crying man. That was something worth keeping an eye on.
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The magnificence and splendour around Edie was the first thing she could think of once the teleportation was complete. "So this is what Sin City is really like..." she mumbled. Not that she had any time to say any more. She had a mission to do, and a group to work with. Which was much reduced and now scattered about the place, and she was left with the leader.

Who probably didn't even had a plan.

She stood by Daichi to confront Esi. "Do you know where they are?" she asked. "And I don't mean the team. I mean Corina and the lot." In times of absence of a leader, someone probably needed to step up. She wasn't prepared to take that up, but the least she could do was at least give the current team some sense of guidance and a clear head.

Still, it didn't help that it definitely looked suspect that they were inside the casino proper now. The dealer didn't seem to care, but she knew she had to at least present the front that their presence, while abnormal, did at least come with an alibi.

"Forgive me, madam," she said in her standard light RP-Estuary intonations, "but we were on a visit with our families on a trip but got separated from them and inadvertently wandered in here when we were trying to locate them. I know we don't belong here, and we'll be...on our way now?"

The last part came out like a question once Esi had rushed to the table to play. Edie took a furtive glance at both Daichi and Itsuki. "Esi," she said while tapping her on her shoulder, "we don't belong here. Your curiosity and sense of adventure has gotten us into enough trouble for one day. Why don't we go up to the lobby or the restaurant instead and just wait?"

But it seemed that Esi was intent as their de jure leader to play, and if she were to assert that, Edie would just sigh and don her cowboy hat, keeping the brim low to avoid being seen. It was a particularly unique one, a souvenir of the Calgary Stampede which she had visited a few years ago. It seemed rather fitting in this part of the world, but maybe not indoors. But wanting to remain anonymous and look a little more mature, maybe putting it on wasn't the worst possible idea right now.
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Between being magically bilocated from one county to another and ending up in this place, Abel wasn't having the best day. Dressed in his Sunday best, he looked suspiciously like a Jehovah's Witness, but his shifty expression just made him look plain suspicious. As his eyes darted from slot machine to card table, from dealer to patron, his mind raced.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.


Mouth agape, Abel pressed his glasses against his face with a shaky finger. "T-Terrifying!" He squeezed the words out of his throat in a choked tone. "Truly this is a house devoted to drunkenness, licentiousness, and Mammon! Guard yourselves against the tyranny of the devil!" Maybe it was the smell of cigarettes, alcohol, and gambling, but Abel felt an overwhelming urge to flee. Whatever was here, it seemed to be getting to him. His very soul seemed under attack!

"Weil Gottlose Übermut treibt, muß der Elende leiden; sie hängen sich aneinander und erdenken böse Tücke! Denn der Gottlose rühmt sich seines Mutwillens, und der Geizige sagt dem Herrn ab und lästert ihn!"

Getting to him in a big way, it seemed.
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Momo
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Jin was bemused. Not by the situation in general, but being called a child was annoying. Also, the whole 'not everyone is together' teleportation accident was kind of troublesome. Let along their teleportation right into the center of the casino, He was sure security wasn't a fan of that...

Well, let's just ignore those troublesome aspects for now, and figure out what to do. First of all, finding the other students that came with won't help them, so there was no real reason to look for them. No, this was actually favourable if the others were in similar situations then the best course of action right now was to find any information on the Beluosis girls.

First things first, Jin separated himself from the group shouting, as to make sure not to cause a scene. He looked over the woman, and then the people around him, and took everything in...

And the answer came to him...

"Well, I certainly won't win that meeting with the elusive Black Mamba if I play carefully... I raise." The woman's voice rang in his mind. There we go, that's our ticket to the mystery. Jin motioned towards Daichi to 'calm down' and started moving.

He walked up towards the table, and merely looked at the Dealer. Then smirked. "It looks like a spot opened..." He said in english, wondering if this was a Casino where one could buy in chips at the table or one where they had to be bought separately. Still, deciding to trust in fate, he took the spot of the person that just left and ignored his fellow students for now. If he could get a meeting with this 'black mamba' perhaps there'd be a way to coerce, or convince, the information out of him.

After all, it'd do no good to panic.

"Excuse me Sir, He said, addressing the dealer, and putting down roughly 5000 dollar. "Some chips please... Well, that was a surprise.

Where did Jin get this kind of money? Well, let's just say that if he didn't come back with this amount or something more, his father would be really pissed...

And that's scary... Hopefully Raijin's favour was with him today. He'd just have to keep an eye out... What, it's not like he stole it or anything. But being in his father's debt was not something he was planning on. God, the look on his face when he asked for 'dollars' and not 'yen' though.

Yeah, let's not find out what that was about, let's just play some Texas Hold'Em.
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Flambe

"Oh, dear. Is it really that time again~?"

Another awkward mess, another bit of chaos! Ah, Clear really should've expected things to turn out like this. That said, he wasn't exactly put off by the situation. Not only did he have eye candy, there was a sort of thrill that only this disarray could provide!

"Chips, please!" Matching the yakuza's request, he smiled brightly as he took a seat as well. Money in his case was far from tight. After all, his 'family' didn't take everything with them when they split. Of course, it wouldn't measure up to what Jin or this 'Ms. Mine' could throw around when they were willing to really put things on the line.

Ah, what a shame. He could risk his own safety with ease, but he couldn't play well enough to capitalize on it. Well, maybe he could make it work. If he lost, that too was fine! He was used to scrounging around anyways. So, he would endure whatever came his way as long as he could enjoy himself.

"Now, now. Don't be shy, my dear friends. This is Vegas! If you aren't willing to bet, then sit down at the buffet and dream of what could be~!"
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"But we can't just go looking if we don't know where to look!" Esi answered cheerfully, as though making the most obvious observation in all the world. While Itsuki had his hands on her shoulders, she rested hers upon his hips, taking on a fairly intimate posture despite the fact they had hardly known each other even half an hour yet. She seemed quite comfortable with this however, leaving Itsuki simply within her grip as she observed the rest of the group.
"As I said sir, the Black Mamba does not much care for who or what you are. That said, it's quite useful if the little tykes are kept under your careful watch." The dealer - himself a well dressed man of dark hair, though with peculiar markings upon his cheeks, and a cat perched on his shoulder - noted to Daichi, gathering the cards from across the table, before shuffling the deck once more.

"Haven't got a clue!" Esi suddenly turned her head to answer Edie's rather reasonable inquiry, excitedly grinning. "We escaped just after they collapsed! They might be in the super secret basement levels, or they could be on the very top floor!"
As she awaited new opponents so as to continue the game, the woman in pink leaned on the table, and from given angles, one might realise she was glancing at the group, with one eyebrow raised.
"Oh...?" Edie's approach allowed her to break from her gaze, by instead focusing on just one member of the party. The woman did so with a gentle, yet quite confident smile, perhaps more than literally looking down upon the girl from her seat.

"Well, you heard the dealer - it doesn't bother him, so there's not much I can do about it. Can't say I like kids, but if you don't give me reason to, I won't hate you either." The woman - this 'Ms. Mine' - explained, before lowering her voice a little as Edie tried to express her suggestions to Esi.
"Don't speak so openly until you know those around can't understand you." The woman suggested in turn, in Japanese of course, gently laughing as she turned back to the table.
"Why?" Esi asked, like a child. "What we will do there, that we can't do here?"

Well, Abelhard would probably have an easier time of it, true, given he was now otherwise ranting out of shock. Such clamour did seem to draw the attention of some distant security guards, who began to wander their way down the floor towards them. It was at this that Esi suddenly withdrew from Itsuki to take ahold of Abelhard's hand, and putting herself right up into his personal space.
"Hey now, focus on me!" She insisted with an almost... bewitching smile. Abelhard would feel very strange for several seconds, and then... lighter. As though the light of God Himself were shining down upon them. Why, everywhere he looked, the sinners would fall prey to the misfortunes of their greed, as many losing their money as were abl-

"MY FINGERSSSSSSS---!"

...Or that too, apparently.

But while Abelhard kept his gaze off the poker table so close nearby - Esi was rather in the way - new players rose to the challenge of the game, Jin and Clear among them. Jin brought himself to the table with actual cash to spend, and as such the dealer was entirely prompt in delivering a - rather small - sum of chips with which he might play. Clear however had no such currency, and for a moment, the dealer gave him the evil eye.
"...Alright then," The man nodded, and assembled a stack of chips - about thrice the number Jin had been given - and brought it halfway to Clear. When the young man would reach for them - as he would have to, to actually have them - suddenly the cat would leap from the dealer's shoulder, and scratching the back of Clear's hand, before retreating to the dealer's shoulder.

"There we go. Now we're ready to play."
The dealer smirked, sliding out cards from the top of the deck, and around the table - two to each player.
"He's marked you as having paid with your life." The woman in pink explained as she checked her cards. She was first, and so paid the small blind - a 'mere' $1000 - before she continued. "Since you didn't actually bring any money to play with, you've been made to basically sell your body. Come out of this with less than what you paid in, and well... they own you."

Jin had the ten of spades, and the queen of hearts. Clear had a pair of sixes - hearts and clubs.
"Tell me boys, what do you know of 'the Black Mamba'?" The woman suddenly struck up the subject matter, as the dealer laid out out the ten of hearts, the jack of clubs, and the nine of of hearts.
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From within his strange panic, Abel heard a voice. An angel, maybe? The quality of it was otherworldly, and it pierced through the silent din bouncing wildly within his soul. When it called for him to focus, he obeyed, grasping at the source until his vision began to clear and the fog around his thoughts quickly dispersed, where he was greeted by... a smile?

That's right, it was that girl from before.

Really close up.

T-Too close... Way too close!

Abel flushed and floundered for words, but acted without hesitation, holding Esi by the shoulders and backing up until they were at arm's length. "F-Five minutes in this city and I'm already..." No, he hadn't really sinned yet, had he? He couldn't recall what he'd been thinking just moments ago, just that for the time being the storm had passed and he felt a surreal calm. That's right, they came here with a specific purpose. It wouldn't do if he freaked out now and didn't do anything to help.

He cleared his throat and released Esi, shakily pressing his glasses against his face. "Thank you... I'm not sure what just happened but I get the feeling that somehow you did something helpful just now..." Helpful, but also terrifying. His vigor renewed, he glanced around the room. That's right, if he wasn't here to gamble for money, no better yet, if it was to save the lives of innocent young girls, then he could even do something like that without hesitation!

He suddenly found himself sitting beside another boy, Clear he thought his name was. Abel leveled a look of fierce determination at the dealer and held out his hand for the cat. "I don't have any money either, but I will also... play with my life as collateral."

This guy was always so quick to put his life in danger for strangers.

What an idiot.
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For a short while, Itsuki wondered if all foreigners are so unreserved.

Thankfully it didn't last too long. Or unfortunately. Whichever the case, he had nothing he could reply with Esi's statement, even if he wanted to. There really isn't anything they could do to look for the others when they don't even have any idea where to start. "Couldn't they at least... be somewhere nearby... or something...?"

They couldn't have been transported to some other part of the country. Right?

One idea was presented to him, that he immediately felt himself stupid that he couldn't think of it earlier. "Phone... phone, of course...!" Without a second thought and desperate for any kind of help, Itsuki pulled out his cellphone, which just so happened to be one of those old and outdated flip phone. "Okay, okay, we're good! I can just send them a mail, and..."

No signal.

...

They're not in Japan, their phones don't work here.

Although in hindsight, he wouldn't even have anyone's contact details anyway considering he had no reason to be in contact with anyone from a different school altogether.

The young man fell to his knees as his momentary glimmer of hope faded away. However, his dismay would worsen still when the people he was stuck with decided to... play the gambling game.

With their lives.

"What are you guys doing?!!" Itsuki's self-restraint had pretty much reached it's tipping point, practically yelling at the three who had decided to gamble. "We haven't even been here for five minutes and you're already gambling! With... with your lives!! What for?!"

He's sorely hoping he heard the lady, Ms. Mine, wrong, but her Japanese sounded far too perfect for him to have misheard her.

He might just get kicked out of the casino at this point.
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At this point Edie was starting to get especially exasperated, and her normally cool demeanour was melting by the moment. She wasn't sure whether it was the stuffy, smoke-filled interior of the casino, or any sense of lingering disorientation from the teleportation, or even if it was just the heat of the moment hearing the woman speak fluent Japanese. Either way, she was definitely losing it, and quite self-aware of that fact. "Esi," she hissed, "if we don't know where to look, that's when we bloody well start looking for where to look! Not have fun and game time while our friends are probably worried sick for us!" Well, their cover as students was pretty much blown already, might as well milk the acting cow for as long as they could.

But her head was still cool enough that she could at least try to make some reason out of this. With Itsuki himself now completely breaking down, she knelt down beside him. "Calm down," she said with a motherly demeanour. "I'll get some water from the bar so that you can clear your head. Then we'll try to strategise while they go along with their silly games."

She offered Itsuki her shoulder to lean on, and she would drag him to the bar in order to give him some relief. With that distance, they might also yet have some separation from the group. Taking a scan around the casino, she was quick to pinpoint the group's current location relative to some of the other places around. She kept this firmly in her mind, as she began to think a little.

Was there a suitable spot where her and Itsuki could eavesdrop a fair distance away from them while they strategised? Especially one where they couldn't be heard so that whatever nefarious presences abounded wouldn't pick up whatever conversations or plans they were having?

"If you're going to LITERALLY risk an arm and a leg to play," she huffed as she prepared to separate herself, I hope you're prepared to be leaving clutching a telegram starting with 'Deeply regret to inform you...' by the teeth - if any of them are left after tonight. I'll leave you ladies - and Esi - to play to your heart's content."

That done, she turned back. Her mind started going towards spy movies. What was the last one she had seen? She wasn't entirely sure. But the scene unfolding was distinctly reminding her of Casino Royale. Was this tournament any higher or lower stakes than the one in the film? She wasn't sure. On the one hand, 007 had been made to play since it was part of a top-priority mission. On the other, he hadn't been forced to give up his body parts for the sake of winning millions of dollars from a terrorist.

Edie had no enhanced senses. They weren't bad for a relatively average human, but it wasn't as if they were superhuman either. So she had to put some thought into setting up how they could reasonably isolate themselves without being too conspicuous. Would the bar be close enough? There was certainly a lot of commotion around them, but hopefully it would be enough.
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Daichi observed passively as the group milled about without direction. The single girl in their group other than Esi herself seemed to be staying somewhat calm. Daichi agreed with her motion to yank Esi away from the tables. Still, the almost disturbingly cheerful girl wasn't moving. "We know where we need to go. Why are we dawdling here?" Daichi asked her. After all, didn't Esi know where her friends had been taken captive? If they only had six people, six would have to do.

Though, going by the way Abel and Itsuki were panicking, two of those six people might turn out to be useless. Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Daichi tried to gather up some kind of plan in his mind. There were better places to try and formulate a plan than on the actual casino floor itself. Daichi didn't dislike Edie's suggestion of finding the restaurant and try to relax there. As long as the group would be far away from the table and its shady occupants.

Or, two of the group's members could join Ms. Mine and the smug-looking dealer. "Is this really the right time to start throwing money around?" Daichi asked his fellow delinquent. He tried to not throw too much information about the party's situation around in front of this strange woman who was apparently fluent in Japanese. The way she was looking at them... Daichi was suspicious she might know more about this whole situation than she was letting on.

Daichi could only sigh as Ms. Mine explained that Clear was now marked and had just sold his body to the casino. "And as they say, the house always wins, doesn't it?" Daichi replied wryly. "I hope you're better at gambling than you look." the tall delinquent told Clear, sounding tired more than scathing. What a mess he'd been dragged in. Sure, he wanted to help people, but they weren't exactly making it easy on him here.

"No, you're not." Daichi told Abel as the boy bravely, but rather foolishly decided to put his life on the line. The large delinquent grabbed the boy's wrist and pulled it down. "First of all, gambling at this table isn't doing us any good. I have no idea what you're trying to accomplish with it. Second of all, have you even played poker before?" Letting Abel's wrist go again, Daichi watched Edie depart. At least someone was keeping a cool head. "Next time someone decides to act rashly, I'll tie them up and carry them home myself."

All Daichi could do was exchange a glance with Jin in the hopes that he'd be able to keep Clear out of becoming some kind if indentured servitude. No way Daichi himself was going to participate in this.
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Flambe

Clear tried very, very hard to stay in-character, but the sheer excitement throbbing within him made it hard. His mistake in not placing down the money he had couldn't have turned out better! Ah, this truly was exciting. Just what would they do to him if they got their hands on him? He looked down at the scratches on his hand, trying not to smile as he blinked twice.

"Ya- I mean, you. You're serious about this, aren't you? Nah, you couldn't be! It'd be crazy, right? And keep your cat away from me! Here I was, thinking I'd have a lovely night out in this casino instead of being assaulted by furballs!"

Getting the right amount of disbelief and annoyance in his voice was difficult, but he felt that he managed it. In the back of his head, he thought about his chances. Sure, he had gambled before, but never with such odds against him. Well, what could he do with the cards he had?

One heart in hand, two in the flop. He'd need two more for a flush, and that'd be difficult at best. He also couldn't rely on a two-pair, because that could easily be overturned by just about anything. Then again, if one of the remaining two cards were sixes, his odds would improve greatly. Hmm. He could go for it.

"God, why do people keep on saying they'd bet their lives? It's just money, guys. M-o-n-e-y. You could always get more! And you know I'm about to fill my pockets just a little thicker."

Yes, this nouveau riche persona was fun after all. Flashing a faux-arrogant grin at Daichi, Clear proceeded to laugh at Jin as he put down the big blind. Only one player would get the grand prize. Hopefully, it would be him.

"Don't hold yourself back. If you did, I'd be mighty disappointed. And so would this Black Mamba, whoever this person is."

He couldn't say a word about his past right now, but Clear was keenly aware of what could happened if he crossed her. Quite frankly, he didn't feel like ending up like the idiots he had once been sent to dispatch.
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Jin looked at the cards he was dealt, overall, a mediocre starting hand, but receiving another ten on the flop brought it back. Considering his hand gave him a chance for a straight, as small as it was, he had no choice but to considering raising.

Checking in a high end Casino in your first attempt seemed a bit weak, but immediately raising might make one consider him over-eager. Considering their positions, though, Jin was hardly in a situation where he could as the big blind was 2000 dollars, which was nearly half his stack.

With a high stakes game like this, Jin was wondering why human lives were only valued at 15k. Alas, there was no time to consider, he had a 10, a pair at least.

"My current information on them is not as much as I would like it to be." He merely stated, making sure not to reveal too much or too little. And then, he put all the chips he had forwards. Honestly, with a meager sum like he had, there was no way he'd get very far. So he'd have to make risky plays like this.

All he could hope for was that Raijin's blessing also increased his luck.

"All in." He said in perfect, albeit accented, english. That said, his face remained steadfast and cold. At the very least, the amount of chips he had probably wasn't enough to dent other people's stacks, so they'd probably go in. Though, who knows, the more frugal kind would probably pass. And since everyone already matched the big blind, which was him. He'd at least gain something from it if they folded.

It was a silly play in retrospect. But at the very least, someone might think he had something in hand. A pair of jacks, maybe? It'd give him a three of a kind. Or perhaps a Queen and a King, that'd give him a straight. Indeed, the flop gave chance for a few possibilities. He just hoped no one would have anything better than that.

Perhaps the others could go look for their friends while this poker match up was going on. But if they had a chance of meeting this illusive Black Mamba, their troubles might get solved a bit sooner.

That or they'd walk right into the perpetrator if they were unlucky. But at least then the answer was simple. Just beat your way out.
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"The young man has made his choice." The dealer answered firmly as Daichi attempted an intervention on Abelhard's 'noble' sacrifice. The man tsked with a smug grin, wagging one finger, before pointing it down at the back at Abelhard's wrist. Mere inches away, stood that cat, licking the back of its paw, retracting its claws - their work already done.
"If he wishes to spend himself upon another game, that is his entitlement, and he may wait however long he wishes to do so, but simply trying to leave... would be unwise." The dealer explained, not particularly caring as to whether or not Daichi entirely understood the words. He simply slid across the chips that represented Abelhard's newfound 'value' - the same as Clear's - to them, and let them choose what they wished to do from there.

"They wanna meet the Black Mamba!" Esi suggested to Itsuki with a cheer, as he questioned just why the hell everyone was so willing to jump in on the game. "We don't have any other info, so why not go to the source!"
"Is that so...?" Ms. Mine coyly mused, remarking upon both Esi and Jin's comments as to their interest in the Black Mamba. "See, most are in it merely for the chance of their favour. After all, in the care of 'The Host of the Criminal Underworld', one can travel much of the world without fearing the reach of the law." She explained, not even showing a particularly visible reaction as she called Jin's dare, the pot quickly escalating in value. "Or they think they can evade the Mamba's venomous bite... and take from their immense fortune."
Ms. Mine tilted her chin up in a smug look, confident in the dealer's inability to understand the potential implications, while he slid out the next card in the flop. Out came the jack of diamonds, joining the jack of clubs, the ten of hearts, and the nine of hearts.

The dealer idly tapped their finger on the table, looking to Clear, lips lifting in a small, strangely familiar smirk.
"Now then... Araignée d'Acier... Will you continue?" He asked, quite curious for their answer.


Meanwhile, as Edie - potentially with Itsuki in tow - traversed to the bar, she would likely pick out the fact she was being watched. Both by cameras that could pick out in various corners and odd angles of the various chambers, but also by presumable patrons of the establishment, taking notes of just about anyone who wandered into their gaze. The teens seemed to catch particular attention both for how young they were, and just... how out of place they seemed. It would be difficult for them to eavesdrop, if just for the simple fact it was they that would be getting eavesdropped on. Then again, that might make it easy to strike up a conversation, if they so desired...
"What can I get you?" Asked the rather debonair bartender in a light blue shirt, brushing a hand back over blue and silver streaks of hair.
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There is a normal person amongst them, after all! Itsuki thought with wordless gratitude and admiration, thankfully clutching Edie's hand like a lifeline as he was pulled away to the bar for some kind of refreshment.

At least, until they were asked for what to... drink? Bars only serve drinks, right? "...Uh..." Stumped, the boy glanced back and forth between Edie and the bartender, before blankly blurting out in a very heavy accented English, "...R-remonaid?"

Good enough.

In any case. At the very least now he's got some room away from the game craze and to take some deep breath. "...Do we even know what we're supposed to look for?" Itsuki was not talking about their (not his) missing classmates, too. Jacqueline and Esi did mention their friends were captured, but there had been no mention that he could remember of who abducted them, or why.

Except the fact that they are here in Las Vegas. And the name that kept being mentioned. "...Who's this Black Mamba character?"

...He needs his lemonade. His throat feels oddly parched.
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"... But aren't we playing for the lives of..." He began to ask somewhat nervously of the very large high schooler who had ahold of his wrist. And who likely would have kept it too were it not for that equally mysterious cat.

Actually, where did he get that impression in the first place?

A snapping sound could be heard somewhere in the vicinity of Abelhard's head as he an impressive shade of white as he realized what he'd managed to do. "Y-You mean I'm betting my life on a poker game for no good reason?" He inquired meekly as his soul threatened to depart his body in protest. "Of course I've never played poker before! Card games lead to gambling which is a sinful pastime! I have no idea what I'm doing!" Was this really how he was going to fail his mission?? Sold into slavery over a card game??

No, he had to calm down... Panicking wouldn't help him here. Abel cleared his throat and shakily pressed his glasses against his face. He'd already shown an embarrassing side of himself and stupidly rushed in to risk his own life (again) so there was no need to worry about putting up a front. He just had to focus on the problem in front of him.

Wait, poker was based mostly on luck, right? Even if he didn't know how to play, that meant he could still win if he had the right cards...

He had no choice.

"Deal me in. A-After this game." He said, suppressing the tremor in his voice as best he could.

Deal me in. That's what you're supposed to say, right? Abel really was at a loss here...

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It was clear to Edie that she and Itsuki were being watched. It was evident why just by their appearances in an age-restricted venue, but there was still something of a more sinister sense to the eyes following them and the words being spoken of them.

Still, they made it to the bar area without an issue, and they settled comfortably in a pair of stools on a high table overlooking the gamblers. The level of surveillance was more visible to Edie, who spotted out the cameras while taking sweeping glances of the surroundings. It wouldn't be easy to communicate. She had no powers to communicate in anything other than with verbal or visual senses - maybe tactile but that'd still be too conspicuous and also a little awkward - and thus probably couldn't hope to get anything done.

She needed to think, and have a drink to let her thoughts keep flowing. It was just as well that the waiter approached them then, so she took the time to place her order, a polite smile on her face as she did. "Yes, a lemonade for the gentleman, and some sparkling water for myself, please," she said in her flawless English. That was all that needed to be said, and the less time spent in conversation with others they didn't know, the better off they'd likely be.

She waited until the waiter was completely out of earshot before whispering back to Itsuki, "There's nothing I've picked up on. Surely this Black Mamba character should have a trademark, but all we've picked up on is hearsay when we need firm details. Whomever it is though, they're certainly quite the talk of the town round here."

Turning around to see if there was anyone she recognised and, to her disappointment, not spotting anybody, she shook her head. "Maybe we shouldn't look for that sort of character on our own here. It's too crowded and we'll just lose each other and put ourselves at more risk than if we're together. Least we can do now is eavesdrop on our group. After all, we're not the ones who've bet our limbs on addictive games that destroy lives that have obligated sacrifice of our own personhood."
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"Cool. Hate when kids think I'm just gonna serve them alcohol because of what they hear about this joint." The bartender, despite his evident style, seemed quite laid back as he fulfilled the order. One might even call it somewhat apathetic - at the very least aloof - with not much particular care paid to things that went on around him. Perhaps trying to avoid considering the obvious, for the sake of his sanity...
"Well of course they're 'the talk of the town'; they're the owner. Of the Monaco, I mean." ...Or he was simply looking like he wasn't paying much attention, considering how he had not overheard the discussion, but returned to it without much notice of his presence. Curiously, at least in Itsuki's perspective of things, they would see that their words did not match their lips, even while being perfectly understood in Japanese... where for Edie, he was quite clearly speaking English, each syllable matching the flapping of his lips.

"You really don't wanna get mixed up her, unlike all these idiots." He was remarkably frank with regards to the clientele, certainly not caring about how many of them might be in earshot.
"If you're not a customer to her, then you're an opportunity to exploit. Like your friends over there that 'sold' themselves; fresh bodies have a decent market value." The man warned, leaning onto the counter somewhat.
"Though your friend there..." He eyed the distant Esi, who leaned upon Abelhard's shoulder. "I swear she was in here earlier..."



"Why wait, young sir? We can deal you in at the next hand." The dealer promised, an air of great menace around him. The game progressed as one could have hoped it might - Jin's gambit was rewarded with a straight; Clear's unfortunately was not, emerging only with the pair of sixes he started with. Soon, Abelhard was slotted in, and the game continued some more...
"...Hrm..." Ms, Mine shifted uncomfortably as things went along. Where she had once been tall and triumphant, the pool of money began to slip away from her, falling more and more into the dealer's clutches. Irritated, she bit a nail. "Say, Mr. Dealer, you wouldn't be cheating would you...?"

"My, what a bold accusation." They reacted, none too concerned, with a demure hand upon their chest. "As the dealer I am duty bound to call every move the players might make. It would honestly be to your advantage to cheat more than mine." The dealer informed, but with such a tone that he seemed... inviting of such a 'challenge'.
"You can do it guys!" Esi seemed none the worse for wear in all this.
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To most, Clear was just an incorrigible pervert. And while it was true that most of his personality was dominated by his whims, there was a part of him that didn't quite like to be dragged out into the open. Right now, he wasn't feeling up to hiding it. With a dead-eyed gaze, he looked briefly at his wounded hand before he addressed D'Arby.

"It seems you've gotten the better of me."

An ordinary person would have a more explosive reaction to a fatal blunder. Surely there would be fear, outrage, all sorts of impassioned curses once they realized that they were struck a mortal blow. None of that was present here. It almost seemed like the boy was quietly sulking in his seat, though the dealer knew otherwise.

Clear didn't throw tantrums. No, this was far worse. It was an invisible standoff right now, and someone was liable to die if the wrong move was made. With a mirthless little laugh, he began to play with his chips.

"Balancing on a frayed string's not the hardest thing I've done, not now. No, dealing with a betrayal of this magnitude would be it. The only thing keeping me in place is love, mon frère. You should hope it does not snap before my lifeline does."

No sense in hiding now. Turning over to his classmate, he gave the yakuza a tight-lipped smile.

"Jin, my friend... As nice as it would be to see you win, I've just been poisoned and I need to acquire the antidote. Ms. Mine over there would not care if I keeled over at the table, but I would find it rather impolite to shock you by suddenly dying. So, you have your notice. Do as you please with this knowledge!"
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