The Blood Fireworks District of the Depths of Wealth wasn’t any old floor within a casino. It’s simple appearance belied an extravagance that was in no way inferior to the other more luxurious looking casinos. This particular floor was made for a different kind of gambling.
With its walls covered in weapons and ground paved with animal hides, I would’ve believed it if you told me that this was a private fight club rather than a casino.
Behind, a large gathering of people had began following us as we walked behind Ferdila. Looks like our wager was the main attraction tonight.
Breiya: Oh, what’s this?
Breiya pointed at a large machine right next to her.
Ferdila: Hm, that’s a device created by the mechanists of Skills to check if any of the gamblers possess a wish ability that allows them to cheat.
Ferdila: All it requires is that the operator invest one wish point into the corresponding ability. Compared to having a person specifically invest a large amount of points into a limited ability like this and surveilling the premises constantly, this machine makes the process a lot simpler.
Ferdila: Come to think of it, I’m sure all this wouldn’t matter to you with your vast experience in the major gambling scenes.
Breiya: That’s true. However, I do possess an ability related to gambling.
Ferdila: Oh? What’s that?
Breiya: An ability to see if the other party possesses an ability to cheat.
Ferdila: Haha…that ability suits you so well.
As we reached the end of the Blood Fireworks, we took our seats around a rounded drinking table. During our slow walk up here, Ferdila seemed to have completely recovered from his previous failure.
Given how scheming and unwilling he was to lose all that money, he had probably hatched a new ploy by now.
Ferdila: Please, have a seat.
Breiya: After you.
Ferdila: This gambling floor is designed with the more eclectic gambler in mind so the games here are rather unique.
Breiya: Mhm—so what are they?
Ferdila: Are you…afraid of blood?
Breiya: Blood? Blood huh…
Breiya: You really don’t understand women, do you? Don’t tell me there’s some kind of bloodletting performance?
Di Qi Ju: ……
My dear commander, that performance of yours isn’t fooling me. I saw how you acted in front of Starfall…that apprehension of yours…I’m probably the only one who can see through it here.
Ferdila: Not usually, no. However, bloody games tend to stimulate the gambler’s desire to wager and win.
Breiya: Sigh…such a strange inclination.
Ferdila: I have for you here, a commonly played game within this district.
Ferdila summoned a waiter and grabbed a vessel from his serving plate. It looked similar to a beer bottle from Earth but instead of being transparent, it was made of wood. At its sides and bottom, there were buttons and some sort of mechanism attached.
Ferdila: This game is called “Dangerous Alcoholism.”
Ferdila: At the bottom of this vessel are eight inlet points that are connected to the drinking point at the top.
Ferdila: You can pour in a variety of liquids from the inlet point which include wine and some other liquids. After closing off the inlet points and giving the bottle a swirl, no one will know which inlet point one is drinking from.
Ferdila: At the sides are 8 buttons which releases the contents of its corresponding inlet point when pressed.
Ferdila: You play this game by pressing down on one of the buttons, releasing the liquid within and downing it.
Breiya: Other than wine, what are these “other liquids”?
Ferdila: It could be other types of drinks; bitter, sour, sweet etc.
Ferdila: However in this district, it could also be a powerful hidden weapon.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Breiya: So you’re saying that if it’s not wine behind that button, your throat will end up getting pierced?
Ferdila: You learn quickly; that’s right, whoever survives till the last sip is the winner.
This game…isn’t this just a different form of Russian Roulette? Rather than “Blood Fireworks”, you should just call this suicidal!
Breiya: Does Master Ferdila partake in this game often?
Ferdila: Of course not. I just wager on a brave gambler who does.
Breiya: —how boring. How about we play this game ourselves?
The moment she said that, the floor went quiet.
Ferdila: …Cold Wind Empress, are you sure you haven’t gone mad?
Breiya: Oh, it’s ok if you don’t wish to make this wager, you could just admit defeat right away.
Breiya: I just took away 500,000 Wish from you and yet you don’t seem interested in taking it back? This doesn’t seem to fit the image of a big casino owner like you.
Ferdila: …how much more do you want to wager?
Breiya: 2,000,000 Wish.
His expression seemed to be on the verge of crumbling.
Breiya: No matter who wins or loses, such a wager would more than make the trip worthy.
Breiya: For a casino of this size, I’m sure you can fork out this amount of cash right?
Ferdila: …of course, money isn’t an issue.
Breiya: Then are you afraid of dying?
Ferdila’s head swivelled to face us after which he remained silent for several seconds.
Ferdila: —alright then. However, I request for a subordinate to take my place.
Breiya: Then the two of them will take turns “enjoying” the wine?
Ferdila: That’s right, this request isn’t that unreasonable, is it?
Breiya: Of course, go ahead,
In front of the rounded wine table, the “Dangerous Alcoholism” bottle was already placed before us.
Breiya extended her hands and motioned for him to go ahead and fill it up. Ferdila nodded his head in agreement.
Ferdila: Waiter, bring forth the liqueurs and the weapon.
Breiya: Isn’t it boring to have one only hidden weapon?
Breiya: —two shots of liqueur and 6 hidden weapons!
Di Qi Ju: …
At this, our ever-gracious host suddenly frowned and subconsciously raised his hand to his face.
Ferdila: Cold Wind Empress…
Ferdila: Do you have it out for me or something?
Breiya: How’s that possible, Master Ferdila.
Breiya flashed a carefree smile as she said that, a smile which I had never seen on her face until now.
Breiya: I’m taking the same risks as you…plus those who had gambled with me before have never died.
Breiya: I’m called “Cold Wind” Empress not “Bloody” Empress.
Breiya: You can pour in the “wines” yourself, that way you can remember the positions easily.
Ferdila: …if I cheat, you will find out immediately.
Breiya: Haha, it’s fine as long as you understand that point.
Under the watchful gaze of the audience, Ferdila slowly filled up the “Dangerous Alcoholism” bottle.
Handing it over, the waiter placed the wooden bottle onto the wine table and gave the surface a forceful spin.
Breiya: Master Ferdila, who should go first now?
Ferdila: Hmm…since you let me draw first just now, you should go first.
Breiya: I guess that makes sense, after all, the one who chose how much liqueurs to be loaded was me.
Breiya reached out for the spinning bottle and randomly pressed down on one of the buttons before handing it over to me.
Breiya: Here. You drink it first.
Di Qi Ju: …huh? Me?
Breiya: Yup. If the game doesn’t end by the next round, I’ll drink it then.
Breiya: This is fair isn’t it, Master Ferdila?
Ferdila: …I’ll leave it to you.
I think he knew as well I did that if it did not end by the next round, Breiya’s throat would definitely get pierced, therefore, he didn’t say anything more.
Compared to the previous round, Ferdila seemed a lot more concerned with the outcome of this match; his eyes locked onto me and refused to blink for even a second.
Breiya: Drink it, that’s my reward to you.
Breiya: Remember to grip it tightly, don’t spill the wine.
Di Qi Ju: …alright.
Bathed the gazes of the audience, I put my lips to the rim and turned the bottle upside down.
Di Qi Ju: …
I froze for a few seconds before slowly putting down the wooden contraception.
Di Qi Ju: Hmm…seems different from the wine I had previously.
Breiya: Is that so? I think it should be several times better than what you had then.
Breiya: When we get home later, I can even treat you to a couple more bottles of that.
Di Qi Ju: I guess I should…thank you for that?
Breiya: It’s up to you now, Master Ferdila. Your servant is fine too.
Ferdila had a helpless look on his face as he turned to one of the waiters at the side.
Ferdila: Err…how about you?
Casino Waiter: That…Master, can you spare me?
Ferdila: It’s fine, isn’t there still a one in seven chance of surviving?
Casino Waiter: Master…
Hah…such a miserable exchange, I almost couldn’t bear to watch them.
Ferdila: You’ve worked for me since the opening of this casino, don’t you have this bit of faith in my gambling skills?
Ferdila: Go on, drink it.
Casino Waiter: …
Casino Waiter: ……
Casino Waiter: Then, IF…something were to happen, please don’t give up on treating me.
Ferdila: Of course, the doctor is just downstairs.
Casino Waiter: …alright.
The waiter received the bottle and solemnly placed it to his lips before shakily raising it up.
Casino Waiter: ……
Standing right next to him, I was able to hear the sound of fluids running down his throat.
Casino Waiter: Ah hahah…
Casino Waiter: I’ve never enjoyed a drink as much as I have right now.
Ferdila energetically raised his fist into the air, his face not at all hiding the elation he felt right now.
Ferdila: It’s your turn now, Cold Wind Empress!
Breiya: Haha, don’t be hasty, I’ll definitely drink it.
Ferdila: No no no, there’s no one forcing you to drink that “thing”. You just have to leave behind the 2,000,000 Wish we agreed upon just now.
Yet, she ignored the man who was currently jumping for joy at the moment. Without any hesitation, she opened her mouth, pressed one of the buttons and raised the bottle above her lips.
Suddenly, a blood red liquid streamed out of the wooden bottle, which flowed directly into her waiting mouth.
Even though he wasn’t the one drinking it, Ferdila’s mouth was wide enough to shove the entire wooden bottle down his throat.
Without asking, I knew what he was thinking right now; how did two shots of liqueur turn into three.
Breiya: This taste…it’s an aged wine isn’t it?
Breiya: Do you want a sip as well?
Ferdila stared wordlessly at the outstretched bottle before him.
Breiya: Master Ferdila??
Breiya: Oh my, I think he conceded defeat.
Breiya: In that case, I’ll come collect the debt another day.
Breiya: Servant, it’s time for us to leave, there’s still other casinos to visit.
Di Qi Ju: …understood.
After weaving through multiple alleyways, we finally lost our stalkers.
By now, I had already changed into my usual clothes while Breiya had reverted back to Breman and was currently resting on my shoulders as we walked.
Di Qi Ju: Breman, what’s wrong?
Breman: I’m…not used to drinking. Even though that was just a shot, the effects seem rather…potent.
Breman: I realized that after drinking it that’s why I asked to leave so quickly before he could react to anything…
Di Qi Ju: Clever.
Di Qi Ju: Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to escort you safely back to the Checkered Path so just take your time.
Breman: By the way…
Di Qi Ju: Hm?
Breman: That shot you took just now, what did it taste like?
Di Qi Ju: That…
Di Qi Ju: Haha…
Di Qi Ju: It tasted like a pile of iron slag!!
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Kaung Thant Win Naing, and Antoine Thompson!!
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.