translated by Tianic, edited by MadSnail.
Note: Please click on the character name for their illustrations.
Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- Jack: One of Cohen’s childhood friends and firm supporters.
- Iva Merlin: A down frustrated nobility in Winper City, a gambler.
- Dior Merlin: Iva Merlin’s daughter, a business whiz.
I bowed my head as I walked alone on the street. The enchanted road lamps dragged my shadow extensively. My new jackboots pressed on the flagstones making chirping sounds. A string of footsteps came ever so close which needless to turn, I knew it was Jack.
“Boss!” Jack dressed up as my manservant, “Why did you quit playing?”
“My business here is done.” I said, “I’m having some free time.”
“Finished?” Jack was surprised, “Aren’t you just starting?”
“You wanna know the story?”
“Yeah, boss. Tell me.”
“Might as well!” I walked and talked, “To deal with anyone, what’s the most important thing?”
“It is to understand him!” I said, “His weaknesses.”
“Yeah, that’s why you sent Marfa for his intel, right?”
“Bingo, next we could make use of the intels to analyze this man. For a man like Iva Merlin, gambling and stubborn pride are his weaknesses, and he never admits those.”
“So you deal with him with poker?”
“Playing cards is not the only way!” I said, “But for us, it’s the most simple way.”
“So, boss, how do you know that he will keep playing?”
“Gamblers are still human beings with emotions. At times when they are awake, they also want to get their hands off…” I said, “Our job is to create an environment to let him keep gambling! First, I showed up as a newbie who didn’t know how to play poker and ask him to teach me as an experienced elder. We hit it off at first, then it’ll be more natural for him to decide to help me.”
“What comes next is partner selection. For a guy who plays poker, a proper opponent is critical!” I continued, “Thus I brought in Fischer. For him, engaging with a new opponent, playing a few games, studying his technique and winning him is a rather enjoyable thing. As we’ve planned, Fischer will act equally with Iva Merlin’s level in the first few games.”
“Oh! I see.”
“In this way, we let the old noble win instead of us in the first two games, which will intensify his existing conflict with Iva Merlin. And sure Iva Merlin wouldn’t let go of this. With the alcohol I gave everybody, they will be losing their minds even more so.”
“Then, boss, you don’t have to leave!”
“Haha, sure I do.”
“Why?” Jack asked curiously.
“For a man like Iva Merlin, Fischer is a total stranger, so am I. Too many stranger in the same environment will throw him en guarde. However, if I leave at a suitable moment, he will not suspect.”
“But why, boss, did you give him money?”
“To push him!” I said, “He introduced me to poker, and I lost. He will more or less feel guilty. Thus he will keep playing and in the hope to win to avenge my loss. This is a moral reason for him to play, the money is not his anyway that he won’t pay much attention to. Then slowly, by the time all my money is out and his money is on the table, for he’s already used to it, he won’t care too much… and by the time he wakes up, all are too late.”
“Boss, how awful…”
“En?” I looked at Jack, “What is it?”
“Ah, no, I said ‘you are wicked!’” Jack said, “Defeating Iva Merlin so easily!”
“I don’t. I merely created the environment…” I tapped Jack’s shoulder, “He beat himself…”
“Positive. To defeat a man, the best method is his own handiwork…” I said with a hint of a smile, “Where’s our lovely Dior Merlin?”
“I just got news!” Jack said, “She went to a banquet hosted by a madam, a small get-together.”
“Oh, really? A banquet…” I thought, “Let’s go check her out. We’ll get changed first.”
I wore all black and silently sneaked into a nobleman’s mansion from the garden. I took a look at the surroundings, then climbed along the relief up to the second floor, where sounds came out.
I climbed with caution, for plants were hanging on the wall and I did not want to disturb any strangers. Thus I only made movements when the inner sounds became a bit louder.
When I have finally reached the small terrace, I heard someone walked out. I whispered ‘shit’ then hid in a darker corner and shielded with a few potted plants.
“Ms. Merlin, you should know my feelings…” A man’s anxious voice was heard, “You should be aware, right?”
(It’s Dior Merlin herself! Lucky!)
“Honestly, I… don’t!” I did not forget the sound of Dior Merlin. Thus I cursed secretly and kept listening.
“Don’t you wanna know? Ms. Merlin?” The male voice said.
“Mr. Joy, I’m not interested!” Dior Merlin replied, “But I’m fine if you insist on speaking out.”
(So the guy’s name is Joy.”)
“Ms. Merlin, please stop torturing me!” Mr. Joy said, “You know my love for you!”
“Ha! Funny!” Dior Merlin said, “I’m well aware how many innocent girls you have fooled by speaking like that.”
“I was just playing around with them! Please believe me. How could those girls match up to you? I mean it, I love you!”
“You mean it? I can tell you mean to play around with me!” Looks like this Dior Merlin had her ways around playboys, “There’s no need to belittle any girls to elevate me.”
“Dior, you are like the stars and moon for me… Please give me a chance to show my loyalty to you…”
“Mr. Joy, who said you are allowed to call my name? I don’t think we are that close!” Dior Merlin said, “And besides, your loyalty for love is as worthless as dust!”
“Please give me some time!” Mr. Joy said in excitement, “I will find someone to testify for me!”
“Suit yourself!” Dior Merlin stated in the distance, “But I won’t be here for long.”
Mr. Joy came back into the room.
(Haha! How lucky, I didn’t expect a show in here.)
“What a crude young man!” An old voice came over, “What a lovely night, isn’t it, Ms. Merlin?”
(En, another? Looks like the show isn’t over!)
“Indeed, Mr. Prie, good evening.”
“If I heard right, hehe.” Mr. Prie said, “Mr. Joy just expressed his love, right?”
“Mr. Prie, you know, I respect you a lot!” Dior Merlin said unhurriedly, “I don’t think it’s amusing.”
“Do you? I apologize!” Mr. Prie said, “So, you didn’t say yes, do you?”
“Mr. Prie!” Dior Merlin sounded a bit pissed, “Rejecting him doesn’t mean I’m anyway near interested in your proposal from the last time!”
(Oh? A proposal from an old timer, exciting!)
“Just give up your life and live with me, isn’t that great?” Mr. Prie, who has rejected again, became angry out of embarrassment, “For Protoss Lord’s sake, Dior Merlin, just look at your life now!”
“It’s life I have chose!” Dior Merlin said in a firm manner, “I like it!”
“Like it? Running your tiny little clothes store by working from dawn to dusk? You are still young and cute though, how could you just waste it or watching your father gambling away the money you earned from your hard work?”
“My father loves me a lot!” Dior Merlin said, “And whatever it is, it’s so much better to be your mistress!”
“I would sincerely hope you to reconsider, though I couldn’t offer you a status!” Mr. Prie left, “Such chance is rarely seen in life, you should be grateful to the Protoss Lord himself!”
(Oh! Lord of Protoss, how great you are! Haven’t you seen, you are even helping them to pick up girls!)