Port City sued New Port City days after the Grand Canal Race finished, just as Goldman predicted. The rationale was simply the “unauthorised use of the Grand Canal.” Isaac hired professional lawyers of his own to fight back, but Port City held all rights over the Grand Canal.
The Department of Law declared that New Port City must pay reparations for their crimes. This news brought a sudden end to Cordnell’s smiling, replaced with a withering whimpering. Port City continued to do as Goldman predicted, and they quickly prepared an event of their own using the Grand Canal. Some of the people did pity to Isaac for having his idea stolen from right under him, but most of the public believed that it was justified. There were a few people in Port City who complained about this purely out of lust to see the elves in skimpy outfits, but those voices were quickly silenced soon after.
Isaac seemed to have lost all faith and ambition. Every day, he was seen being carried back to City Hall on Rizzly’s back after drenching himself in booze. Word of Isaac’s recent behaviour quickly spread, plummeting New Port City’s morale while those in Port City made a toast for their bright future.
“Huhuhu. It’s over, all over.”
“Sir Isaac, you shouldn’t act like this here.”
“Shut up! Bring me more booze!”
Isaac was going through another drunken rampage in one of New Port City’s restaurants. All of the restaurant employees looked at Isaac from a distance, unable to do anything.
“Che! That man’s done now.”
“Who cares. Let’s just make the most of it while we can. Who knows when we will we be able to do work like this again.”
The citizens of New Port City whispered to each other after watching Isaac’s broken state. Isaac didn’t seem to care about the gossiping crowd, fixated on continuing his rampage. The crowd frowned, but could do nothing with Rizzly standing at Isaac’s side with both eyes wide open.
“Uhuhuh. Screw this stupid world. Fine! It only takes one shot to turn your life around! Let’s have a big match! Let’s go!”
“Huh? Go where?”
“Where else? To the casino!”
“But… You made it illegal for citizens of New Port City to play in the casinos.”
“Huhu, who says I’m going to my own casino? It’s my money whether I win or lose there. We will go to Port City and take all of their money!”
“Eeh! Sir Isaac! Please not that!”
“Shut up! Follow me!”
Rizzly tried to stop Isaac as best as he could, but his attempts were futile in stopping Isaac’s relentless march.
“Tsk tsk, I guess it really is over.”
“Looks like he’s trying to settle this somehow with a gamble.”
“Ha! If that was possible, there wouldn’t be a single casino left standing.”
After observing Isaac’s life spiral down to a new low, people let go of what little pity they originally had for him.
“Ha! It’s no different from mine.”
Isaac stood at the front gate of Port City’s casino, his eyes burning as if he was looking at his lifelong enemy.
“Sir Isaac, we can still go back right now.”
Isaac shouted in response to Rizzly’s plea.
“What are you on about? Just wait here. I’ll close down this casino myself!”
Isaac confidently marched over to the casino, only to be stopped by the security guards.
“I’m sorry but you may not enter.”
“What! Don’t you know who I am?!”
“I do, but only those of elegance and culture may enter this place.”
The guards looked at each other anxiously, unwilling to put themselves on the spot. They stood there, unable to do anything as Isaac continued his ruckus. Rizzly’s deathly stare stopped them from throwing Isaac away physically, but letting him in could get them to lose their jobs.
“Look who it is. What is the Lord’s Representative of New Port City doing in this humble abode?”
It seemed the noise from the ruckus travelled in to the casino, and a plump middle aged man came out to greet Isaac with sarcasm dripping from mouth. Isaac looked to the middle aged man with dazed eyes, still influenced by alcohol.
“What the? You know me?”
“Hahaha. I see you’re quite drunk. I guess this is the first time we’ve met. My name is Harold. I operate this casino.”
“Huh? Harold? The name sounds familiar.”
“I am the man that holds the rights over that Grand Canal which you’re so desperate for.”
“Ah! Harold! You son of a bitch. I’m going to lose everything because of you!”
Finally remembering who Harold was, Isaac quickly tried to charge right at him but Rizzly stepped in and lifted Isaac up by his armpits.
“Let me go!”
Harold laughed, watching Isaac pitifully struggle midair.
“This is why you can’t do anything with low-borns such as yourself. It’s common sense to be punished for using someone else’s property without permission. Make sure you use the canal next time after paying your fees. And don’t come back here to cause a scene either. I will show some courtesy and not call the police only out of respect for your title as the Lord’s Representative. So shove off quietly while you can.”
Harold seemed unbothered by Isaac’s behaviour. It was no different to all the other people Harold had sent in to the abyss through his plots, those who cried and wailed at which seemed like injustice in their eyes. He soon lost interest and tried to walk back in to the casino when one of the guards quickly told him of what happened before Harold came.
“Hm? He came to play in the casino?”
Harold’s eyes shined with cunning. If he played his cards well, it would be an opportunity to get his hands on the casinos of New Port City.
“Huhuhu. Anyone who’s willing to give me money is my guest.”
“Ha! Don’t make me laugh! I’ll make sure to clean this casino until not a single coin is left!”
“I’d love to see you try. Let him in.”
Harold snorted and ordered the guards before quickly disappearing into the casino. Isaac seemed to regain some sense after Harold disappeared, then quickly stepped into the casino as the guards received him with pitying eyes.
“What the. This is identical to mine! I swear, these lots have not a single shred of creativity!”
Isaac shouted the moment he entered and looked around the casino. The casino echoed with a sweet melody while the guests inside were busy with their social activities. The games of the casinos were aimed to entertain guests as they chatted amongst each other. And Isaac’s shout disturbed their entertainment. The guests quickly looked to where the shout came from.
“What are you looking at! Why would you even come to casino if you’re not going to gamble! What’s so good about standing around and talking! Move it!”
Isaac shoved the people aside as he forced himself in. The women squealed and scattered while the men attempted to stand their ground, only to be repelled by Rizzly’s frightening look.
Isaac looked at the tables in the casinos. Unlike his casino, which was jam packed with tables for games, this casino was sparsely filled with tables. Isaac found his target and sat on one of the tables.
“It seems he’s at least playing the easiest one for now.”
“No. Dice may seem easy, but it has the highest return in the casino. He’s clearly looking to win big in a single game.”
Everyone muttered to each other as they glimpsed at Isaac. The game Isaac was playing was Dice, and it’s a game where the player tries to guess the total sum of the three dice that are thrown. There were countless ways to bet in the game: betting on whether the total sum will be the greater half or lesser half of possible sums, betting on the exact total sum of the three dice, or betting on what faces would come up on the dice, with each style of betting having a different return rate.
These simple rules made it easy for novices to approach the game without too much trouble, but this game also boasted the largest return in the casino with a possible 150x return when the three dice come out with identical faces. This made it popular for those who wanted to test their luck.
“Hahaha, don’t you think you’re pushing yourself too soon?”
“Ha! A man only needs one chance! You just watch! I’ll rob this place clean!”
“Let’s see you try. On a side note, our casino’s minimum bet is 100 Giga.”
“Ha! Just a hundred Giga? I’ll bet a thousand Giga every game! Get me some booze!”
Harold disappeared, laughing at Isaac’s feeble attempt.
Isaac continued to shout out his demands for alcohol as he started playing the game.
Each game Isaac bet 3000 Giga. Since the game played fast, Isaac fell into a cycle of winning and losing, slowly sinking into the gambling trap. Some watched out of curiosity, then mocked him for his brutish, unintelligent way of playing.
“Um, Sir Isaac. I think you should stop…”
Rizzly carefully made his suggestion after watching Isaac lose 60 thousand Giga in a span of just 1 hour.
“What? What do you mean? I’m just starting to get the feel of it! Bring me more chips!”
The dealer of Isaac’s table spoke with troubled look.
“I apologize. But we cannot give you more chips with your credit.”
“What! Don’t you know who I am!”
“I do, but this is the rule of the casino. Unless you pay for all of your losses, we won’t be able to give you more chips.”
“Are you joking me! Do you have any idea how much I’ve lost! Stop with the bullshit and bring me more!”
Isaac slammed the table with his hands, and the dealer looked to the manager for help. The managers seemed to have received orders already on what to do and politely told Isaac.
“We will give you more chips as long as you sign on the paper to guarantee you will pay.”
“I’ll do it as much as you need!”
Isaac quickly signed the paper the manager of the casino handed to him and then threw it on the ground.
Many onlookers frowned at his horrible manners, but Isaac didn’t seem bothered and shouted when a mountain of chips were placed in front of him.
“Hurry up and play! I’ll get it right this time!”
Isaac continued to gamble. But once he lost over 300 thousand Giga, Rizzly seemed to think this was enough and hit the back of Isaac’s neck. Isaac became unconscious, and Rizzly picked up his body.
“Send the invoice to New Port City.”
“Thank you for your patronage.”
Behind Rizzly’s back echoed mocking laughter.
“What… What is this! What in the world is this!”
“Ah, shut it. My head is ringing. Drop your noise.”
“H-how can I possibly stay quiet after this!”
Isaac sipped at the honey tea Rizzly handed out to him, still suffering from a massive hangover.
Cordnell seemed to be infuriated even more at Isaac’s indifference, and began to scream as he stomped the ground.
“What happened yesterday? We just received an invoice from Port City! An invoice of 350 thousand Giga! What in the world did you do to spend that much money in a single day?”
“Don’t worry. I can get it all back if I get a good game.”
Cordnell almost seemed as if he was having a stroke.
350 Thousand Giga was no joke. It’s an amount no commoner could earn even after spending his entire life working. And Isaac seemed so nonchalant after losing it all, making Cordnell truly fear for what was to come.
The city was just starting to start making profit, but now they had to pay reparations for the Grand Canal Race case. With the addition of this incident caused by Isaac, What little profit they had went up in smoke.
“Y, you’re not thinking of going there again are you?”
“Of course I am if I want to get my money back!”
“Haha… it’s over.”
Cordnell disappeared as he despairingly muttered into the air.
Humans are very sensitive to rumours.
The word of Isaac’s recent behaviour, of how he continued to gamble even after losing 350 thousand Giga, made what few people who still saw hope in Isaac abandon him and look to guarantee their own survival.
“We need to embezzle as much as wealth we can.”
“Impossible. All of the wealth is under Isaac’s name in the documents. There’s no room for us to butt in.”
“That’s why we have to fabricate the accounts. Otherwise, all of the wealth will be transferred to Port City.”
“What are our guilds saying?”
“They told us to be ready to set foot off this place at any time. It seems our guilds have given up on New Port City too.”
“Shit! How could he crumble so easily after a single failure? He’d been doing so well until now.”
“It was never possible to begin with. Let’s just save our own skin for now.”
The employees from the Seven Grand Merchant Guilds predicted the fall of New Port City along with Isaac. So they began fabricating the account books and embezzling whatever funds they could get their hands on.
“It seems the merchant employees are embezzling funds.”
“No shit. Who in the right mind would like to die with Isaac-sunbae?”
“We should get ready too. At this rate, we won’t last till next year, let alone 3 years.”
‘We should at least get the 3 years’ worth of pay that we were promised.”
“What do the elves and North Bears look like?”
“The elves don’t seem too bothered since Port City is trying to employ them as well. The North Bears do seem disappointed, complaining that their good days are over. But they are still demonstrating some loyalty and refusing all offers from Port City.”
“Ha! Loyalty my ass. What do they possibly expect to gain by staying loyal to that guy?”
“They are in a different situation to us.”
Isaac’s hubaes had noticed that the merchant employees made a second account book to embezzle the funds. In fact, the merchant employees advised them to save their own skin and taught the hubaes how to embezzle the funds.
The hubaes applied to work for Isaac purely for the high paycheck only Isaac was willing to offer, so they didn’t have any reason to die with Isaac.
They never considered Isaac to be their real sunbae, so they didn’t feel a shred of remorse, guilt, or hesitation. As they began to follow the merchant employees one by one, the administration of the city which was going well began to crumble. The biggest impact it had was on the free meals and hospital policy Isaac placed, but there wasn’t a single person who could fight it or anyone who would listen to their complaints.
With Isaac, their last hope, succumbing to alcohol and gambling, even the citizens of New Port City began to follow suit. The citizens became brave and entered the Ceta District without approval and started mugging and pickpocketing the guests. The North Bears tried their best to stop them, but it still worsened the reputation that just began to heal, decreasing the number of guests by the day.
“Hahaha, I never thought it would end this way.”
“How much money did he lose in the casino already?”
“It’s gone above 800 thousand Giga.”
“It really is over.”
The four rulers of Port City gathered for a meeting. Harold, the greatest contributor to the current situation, looked to the other three with arrogance.
“The pieces of trash from New Port City are asking to come under us again.”
“Ha, those rats will never cease to act like rats.”
“We can always replace them at any time once we gain our hands on New Port City.”
“Is the information they brought trustworthy?”
“It seems all of his employees and hubaes are in a frenzy to fill their own pockets.”
“The merchant guilds and newest graduates of Campus are having a party of corruption… I think we’ve got ourselves a great card to use once we get ahold of New Port City.”
“Isaac’s already given us all of the city’s funds, and all that’s left is his real estate and his authority.”
“Do you really think he will use that to gamble? He must have some brain in his head.”
“Hahaha. Isn’t that the reason gambling is so dangerous?”
Harold came up with a plan when he heard that Isaac had come to play.
To destroy Isaac with gambling.
It was easy enough to trap him in a gambling addiction through a cycle of wins and losses. The players quickly lose interest when they keep on losing, but they never lose their obsession when they always gain back some of their money. They fall into the trap of false hope that they can gain back their money when they hit it big just once, so they continue to play, further fuelling the addiction.
“That is why I’ve personally brought the Empire’s greatest dealer to help him fall into the trap even quicker.”
An experienced dealer could easily adjust the wins and losses to further help the players fall into addiction. That is why Harold personally met and hired the most expensive dealer in the gambling world.
“That brat’s completely fallen for my dealer because he lets him win more than all the others. Thanks to that, he’s been even more obsessed over my dealer, thanking him for letting him win back half of what he lost.”
“But isn’t there a chance he would dust his hands and leave once he got his money back?”
Harold laughed when Rodney made such a suggestion.
“That will never happen. Everyone who is addicted to gambling say they will stop once they get their money back. But I’ve never seen a single person who truly let go of gambling once they did get their money. No, they fall even deeper into gambling thinking they could earn even more money, since they managed to win back their money.”
“So all we need to do is make him bet in a once-in-a-lifetime game with all of his wealth on the line.”
“Haha, the plan is already in motion. All I need to do is taunt him a little and he’ll fall for it on his own.”
“Once we gain the authority of the Lord’s representative, not even the government can stop us.”
“Don’t let your guard down.”
Zeroman, the eldest of the four, spoke with worry in his voice. The rest laughed fanatically, but Zeroman knew from his experience that the more a plan goes on without a hitch, the worse an unexpected disaster hits from just around the corner.
“Huhu. You are worrying too much.”
“A merchant should be on his guard even more when a job goes too well.”
“Well, I wouldn’t know. I’ve yet to become a merchant. Hahaha.”
Zeroman clicked his tongue when Harold laughed out of arrogance. The four who held the rights over the waterways seemed like they were cooperating, but as the possibility of establishing their own merchant guild became more likely, they began to compete with one another for its shares.
Harold didn’t listen to Zeroman’s words because of the fact that he would gain more shares for this project, but Zeroman was the only person out of the four who were suspicious about Port City, New Port City, the government, and Central’s influence over the situation.
This is why Zeroman didn’t make a move, even at the cost of hearing that he is being too passive. He doubted and doubted again whether all of this was a plan made by Central.
This incident happened too quickly. After seeing everything that Isaac fellow pulled through, Zeroman knew he wasn’t the type of person who would break over a single failure.
“I’m pulling out of this project.”
“That will mean your portion of shares will decrease.”
Not only Harold, but even the other two’s eyes flickered.
Zeroman nodded at the three, whose eyes were consumed by greed.
“Make sure you do it properly. I will give up over all of the profit that will come through this project, but it also means I have no reason to pay for damages when the project fails.”
“Ha. Mr. Zeroman, your problem is that you’re too cautious. Isn’t there a quote the merchants always love to say? Where there is no risk, there is no profit. Seeing how you love to avoid danger, I think you have very little talent in becoming a merchant yourself. Hahaha!”
“Perhaps. Maybe the reason why I’d like to follow my instinct over logic is because I’ve grown too old. This project is too dangerous.”
“Haha. You’re worrying when the project is going well and fearing what will happen if it fails? How do you expect to run the merchant guild with an attitude like that?”
“I guess I’ll just have to live off the shares once the Merchant Guild becomes established.”
“Ha. I can print a document if that is what you wish.”
“Thanks. I’ll be heading off first.”
Zeroman seemed like he didn’t want to be in the room anymore and left his seat. Once Zeroman was gone, the three’s demeanour sharpened coldly, and they began to whisper to one another.
“I guess he really is old. It’s really difficult to work with him.”
“It’s fine. He doesn’t have a successor, so all of his shares will become ours once he dies.”
“So when are you planning to make the final move?”
“Huhu, I just need to taunt him a little longer, and that brat will volunteer to give all of his wealth to us. Just wait a little longer.”
“Huhuhu. I look forward to that day.”
“Ah! Shit! I should have bet on 5!”
Isaac slammed the table in a fit of rage as the number he originally switched from came out. As Isaac fell deeper into gambling addiction, so too did his appearances deteriorate. Many sleepless nights had turned his eyes red with blood, flickering at every movement. His face now sported a beard and a foul odour seeped through his clothes, forcing everyone to stay away from him.
“Make your bets.”
The dealer on the table behaved like a well-oiled machine, unphased by Isaac’s insults and fits, only going through the required words and actions. He was an experienced dealer who has been through all kinds of customers before.
Isaac, whose initial confidence made him bet a thousand, even ten thousand Giga each game, was now forced to play with the minimum bet of 100 Giga. Realising that he was out of money, even this minimum bet was made after much contemplation.
Everyone who watched from the side could easily tell that Isaac was going bankrupt and looked at Isaac with ridicule. It was the typical end of a gambling addict.
“Tsk tsk, what happened to that confidence of yours at the start?”
Harold approached Isaac and slowly taunted him.
“What! You think I’ll be defeated this easily! Hmph!”
Falling for Harold’s provocation, Isaac bet all of his chips on three 6s coming out. It had the highest winning multiplier of 150x, but its probability was just as scarce. Isaac’s bet was one without a hint of intelligence but full of primal rage.
Already, Isaac’s face was filled with regret, and before he made up his mind, the dealer rang the bell to stop all bets and placed the dice. The dice were placed at the top of a clear cylinder to prevent any tampering of dice. When the dealer pressed a button, the lid opened and the dice danced in the air as a gust of wind filled the cylinder.
“Uuuh… Please, give this one to me, please…”
Harold made a mocking smile as he watched Isaac, who was too focused on the dice to notice. Harold made eye contact with the dealer. The dice were rigged so that the dealer could determine which faces would come up. Isaac wasn’t fighting against probability. Any wins he would make were made possible because Harold determined it to be.
The dice were eventually pulled down by gravity and bounced on the table for some time. Once they stopped, all three dice came out with number 6 faced up.
“Kuahaha! Did you see that! I’m not dead yet!”
Isaac jumped into the air with a triumphant roar. It was a 150x winning. Isaac continued to boast about the win while the dealer gave him his winnings with near-mechanical movement.
“Huhuhu. How much is this? Its more than 250 thousand Giga. Did you see that? If I win three more times like this, I’ll be able to get my money back!”
Isaac couldn’t hide his emotions as he looked at the mountain of chips. Harold approached the excited Isaac with applause.
“Oh, amazing! I didn’t think you’d get a huge winning in that moment. Wow, it’s too bad. If you bet everything, you would have gotten all of your money back.”
“Hmph! You just wait! The game’s just begun!”
“Make your bets.”
Isaac confidently reacted to the dealer’s words.
The dealer coldly read out the faces of each die, and Isaac stood up from his chair with a fist.
Isaac, who bet on two 5s coming out, boasted to Harold as he received his 50x winning.
“Kuahaha! See that? You see that? Finally my luck is starting to look up. You just wait! It’ll be just a moment before I bankrupt this casino!”
Harold made an appearance of a bitter smile, but deep in his heart, his smile was growing ever more sinister. Emboldened by his recent wins, Isaac started to make larger bets in each game, and the 250 thousand Giga he earned earlier quickly disappeared.
The reason why gambling is so dangerous is because it digs into the human’s psychology. Human’s greed is endless, and when they make a winning with 100 Giga, they begin to fantasise. What if I bet a thousand Giga? Or, at least 200, no 500 Giga? When regret such as this begins to dig away at their heart, they begin to think they lost in their head, when in truth the money never existed. They begin to compensate by making larger bets, and their logic becomes clouded as they convince themselves that they can make up for many losses by making a big win.
Isaac didn’t miss a single step in a worsening gambling addiction, and his confident demeanour quickly disappeared. All he could do now was repeat the process of betting and watching the dice.
As expected of the dealer Harold went to great depths to find, his experienced dealing sapped the soul out of Isaac. He would make the dice be very close to Isaac’s bet when he makes a large bet, teasing him, while letting him win small bets to encourage and tantalize him deeper into gambling.
“Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!”
Isaac lost all of his money again, and started swearing as he beat down the table. Harold quickly stepped in to the scene like a predator jumping at his prey.
“It seems you weren’t lucky today again.”
“Che! I was only unlucky because I didn’t have enough chips! Bring me more!”
“I’m sorry but your debt has gone past a million Giga. You can’t get any more chips, even with my authority.”
“You really think I can’t pay back a measly million Giga?”
“Then why don’t you pay now and play again?”
“Um… I don’t have it right now, but the money will come in about a month. Let’s settle the debt then.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t allow that.”
Isaac shouted out in a fit when Harold coldly refused his offer.
“You can’t even do that for me when I’ve lost so much money in this damn casino?”
“That’s because I know exactly how well your finances are. You just barely had 800 thousand monthly net profit back when you were at your prime. I heard that the number of guests have been dropping. Are you making 300 thousand Giga at this point? And this is your total revenue we’re talking about, not your profit.”
“Kuk! If, if I sell all of my real estate, I can easily make a million Giga!”
“Then bring me its proof. I’ll accept it as a warrant.”
Even Isaac hesitated, since he knew it was his last trump card.
“Well, a million Giga is big money, so I’ll wait until next month just as you promised. But you can’t play in my casino anymore until you pay back the million Giga dept.”
Isaac furiously glared at Harold’s arrogant face, but the attempt was pitiful at best. Rizzly, who couldn’t stand it anymore, pulled Isaac aside.
“Let’s call it a day now.”
Even as he was being pulled out of the casino by Rizzly, Isaac was still showing signs of regret, and just before he was about to be pulled out the door, Isaac got out of Rizzly’s grip and approached Harold.
“How much chips can you give me if I give you the real estate?”
“Hm? I will need to see it first. There isn’t much value in New Port City as a whole.”
Seeing Isaac bite his bait, Harold’s eyes shined.
“Sir Isaac! What are you thinking?”
Rizzly rushed back to Isaac and blocked his mouth, and Isaac struggled in vain. Watching Isaac’s pathetic act, Harold shouted.
“You can come back whenever you have the money. I’ll welcome you warmly!”
“How much did you say?”
“A million Giga.”
“How much again?”
“A million Giga.”
Like a mouse scampering in a running wheel, Cordnell kept asking the same question as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Sadly, the answer came out the same every time. Cordnell looked to Isaac as if he had given up on all hope. Watching Isaac mutter to himself about all of the losing bets really made Cordnell lose what little faith he had in him.
“Oi, Cordnell. Give me some money.”
Crack! Those words were the final push Cordnell needed to snap.
“You, son of a bitch! Money? How can we have any money! You spent all of it yourself! The debt we have to pay in a fortnight is 300 thousand Giga, you know! The rumours about you have spread so far that we can’t even ask for any loans!”
“What are you complaining about? It’s just 300 thousand. Just one big win and that’s all water under the bridge.”
Cordnell finally lost all sanity when Isaac acted like it was no big deal. Cordnell started throwing objects at Isaac as he swore at him.
“Are you kidding me?! We’ll be bankrupt if we can’t pay back that 300 thousand Giga, bankrupt! Do you even know what that means? We’ll be screwed! Screwed!”
Finally Isaac seemed to grasp the situation. His expression began to get serious.
“Are we really that low on money?”
“Are you honestly saying that after you poured all that money into Port City’s casino?”
Cordnell’s rampage was stopped when all of the other merchant employees held him back. Isaac nodded to enraged Corndell as if he’d made a big decision.
“I guess there’s no choice. I’ll need to use my real estate as a warrant.”
Cordnell finally calmed down after hearing that with a sigh.
“Good thinking. If it’s the Seven Grand Merchant Guild, they’ll buy the real estate above the market price. Let’s settle all the urgent… Hm? A warrant?”
Cordnell was expecting the real estate to come up since it was the last thing Isaac had at this point. He quickly nodded in agreement, but realised Isaac said ‘warrant’ and not ‘for sale.’
“I’ll use the real estate to aim for a big winning! One good game and our entire money problem will be over! Don’t worry. Now, where were my deeds for real estate?”
“How can I not worry now? What are you guys doing? Stop him!”
Cordnell quickly tried to grab Isaac as he proceeded to walk down the stairs, but Cordnell’s friends and colleagues stopped not Isaac, but Cordnell instead.
“Just give it up. It’s all over now.”
“What do you mean by that!”
“We need to look to our own lives now. Don’t worry, we’ve saved your portion too.”
“Uaaah! Don’t stop me! Stop Isaac!”
Cordnell’s scream pierced through the air.
“Please! Sir Isaac, rethink this. Please!”
“Ah, damn you’re persistent. I told you not to worry. Just one game and I’ll get all my money back. In fact, I’ll come back with a profit.”
Cordnell hung onto Isaac’s leg, pleading to change his mind. But Isaac coldly jerked him away and continued to move on to Port City without hesitation.
“Tsk tsk. What a horrible way to go.”
“It’s a shame he’s fighting the lonely fight when everyone else have already given up.”
All of the other merchant employees and Isaac’s hubaes looked as if they weren’t involved in any of this. They didn’t even try to make an attempt to stop him. They’ve already stolen their share of money, and they have no regrets anymore.
“Stop him! Don’t let that bastard go!”
Cordnell wept, hurt by all of his colleagues who were content with just following behind Isaac while ignoring him. They may have given up on New Port City, but they wanted to watch. This was going to be one of the biggest gambles they’ve seen, with lives on the line.
“Huhuhu. You’re finally here.”
“I’ll fight you like it’s the last day of my life.”
With Cordnell making so much noise, the rumours have travelled already to Port City. Port City’s casino was booming with a sea of people, ready to watch a man’s life-or-death gamble.
“Now, let us head in. It’s too crowded here.”
Port City’s casino always screened who entered. All of the common folk could only pace around the door and make bets on when the money will dry out, in how many days Isaac will commit suicide, and with which method he will commit the suicide.
The nobles on the other hand, looked to the common folk with disdain, and they were led into the elegant casino with utmost care.
All of the tables were moved from the table, except one.
Isaac replied as if the answer was never in question. Harold snorted.
“Then let’s see how much you brought.”
Isaac called over Rizzly, who held a bag of documents with him.
“It’s the deeds to all real estate in New Port City.”
“Uaaah! You dumbass!”
Cordnell struggled to get to the bag before Rizzly could hand it over, but was stopped by security.
“Please, regain your senses Sir Isaac! That is your life you’re trading away!”
“Shut up! I’ve already bet my life! Take him away! He’s annoying me!”
Isaac’s words were all Harold needed to send a sinister smile to the security guards, and Cordnell was dragged out of the casino in the hands of the brutes.
“Sir Isaac, please! Sir Isaac! Oi! Oi! Isaac you bastard!”
With Cordnell’s haunting cries disappearing into the distance, Harold finally finished going through all of the documents.
“Hm, I’ll give you 800 thousand Giga for this.”
“What! The real estate alone has a value of at least 1.5 million Giga!”
“That’s when New Port City was going strong. Didn’t you know that Ceta District’s real estate has been dropping every day?”
“Even if you try to sell the real estate instead, you won’t get a better price than what I’m offering you now.”
“Kuuk! F, fine. We’ll do as you say…”
Harold pushed on, using his advantage to abuse Isaac into a corner.
“Then I guess you need to pay back the remaining 200 thousand.”
“Huh? What the hell do you mean by that?”
Isaac who was just about to ask for some chips looked to Harold with his eyes popping wide.
“You do remember that you owe us a million Giga right?”
Isaac stood there helplessly, worried that his entire wealth was about to be taken from him without being able to do anything. Harold watched Isaac, and then added in a condition that he wanted.
“But I guess I can’t let all these guests leave empty handed. If you write me a power of attorney, I’ll take that as a warrant.”
“The power of attorney?”
“The power of attorney to relegate your remaining office as Lord’s Representative to me.”
Isaac seemed to be shaken by an offer he never thought of before.
“I understand your hesitation. But this isn’t the first time we’ve loaned money over the rights as mayor or the Lord’s Representative. We’ve done it many times, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“But… if I give up on that too…”
Harold began provoking Isaac when it seemed he was still hesitating.
“What seems to be the problem? Isn’t everything solved if you win? Or are you scared that you’re going to lose?”
“W, who says I’m going to lose!”
“Huhu, then write that power of attorney for me. I’ll loan you a million Giga without any conditions. Otherwise, we will have to end it here.”
Isaac seemed to hesitate because of such a low offer, and Harold stood up seemingly without any regret.
“I guess we’ll have to call it quits then. I’ve got nothing to lose.”
“N, no! I’ll do it!”
When the word of Isaac selling his title for a million Giga spread, a strange, haunting but familiar voice could be heard from outside.
The merchant employees and Isaac’s hubaes looked to Isaac like he was trash for giving up not just his real estate, but all of his rights as the Lord’s Representative. They also felt relieved for getting out of the situation before things turned to worse.
Isaac signed away the power of attorney in a document which was already prepared beforehand. When he sat on the table, the dealer pushed a mountain of chips to him.
“Huh? This isn’t the million Giga I was promised!”
“You need to pay back the remaining debt.”
“Well, we can always stop now if you don’t want to play.”
Harold acted like he was about to leave, and Isaac quickly stopped him.
“N, no! This is more than enough.”
“Hmph. But you seem rather impolite. Shouldn’t you show some manners when it’s clear that I’m much older than you?”
“…Ha! Don’t make me laugh! Do the customers in this casino have to grovel in order to play?”
“Huhuhu. I see you still have your pride, even in the face of death. Well, let’s just enjoy the game for now.”
Harold left his seat with a snort when he saw Isaac fall for his provocation. Immediately after he left, the dealer handed the dice to Isaac.
Isaac blankly looked at the dice, and Harold explained with earnest.
“We always operate cleanly, but this is a game at a scale never seen before right? Since people may later call that this game is rigged, I’m just making sure we confirm together that it isn’t. Don’t come crying to me later that we cheated after you lose all your money.”
“Ha. Do you really think I’m so pathetic that I’d cry after losing?”
“Haha. That’s even more so the reason to make sure. Even the greatest man becomes pathetic when they lose a great deal of money.”
After the dealer’s constant nagging, Isaac carefully checked the dice. He threw the dice a few times, checked their sizes and weight, going through all of the checks.
“Are you done now?”
“I guess there isn’t any tampering.”
“A casino can’t operate if it has no trust.”
“Does that mean I can trust you?”
“I swear upon all the wealth I have.”
“Alright! Let’s start then!”
Isaac slammed the table as he made a bet, and the game finally started.
Each time the dice showed their faces, a moan could be heard in the casino.
The dealer emotionlessly gathered all of the chips on the table. Isaac’s 800 thousand Giga have shrunk considerably, and a tremor could be seen in Isaac’s hands.
“Huhu, it’s going to end soon.”
As the chips shrunk, Harold started to become impatient. He had been letting Isaac win a few times so there wouldn’t be any suspicion, so Isaac still had 500 thousand with him; but knowing the end already, the game started to bore Harold.
Despite Harold’s silent pressure with his eyes, the dealer kept up the act by slowly chipping away at Isaac’s wealth through many wins and even more losses.
Isaac also seemed to be pressured in the game, and each bet was made after considerable pondering, boring even the onlookers. Harold finally decided to act when he thought that enough was enough.
“Wait. The game’s getting too boring. Why don’t we rest a little and play later?”
“How can you say that! I’m just starting to get a feel of it!”
“You say that when you’re making the minimum bets?”
“T, that’s… Anyway I can’t rest. I’ll lose the feel of it.”
“Fine. Then we’ll raise the minimum for each game.”
“H, how can you do that!”
Isaac complained to Harold, but Harold replied with a frown on his face.
“Hey, there’s a limit to how convenient we can make it for you. How much are you going to play now? My casino isn’t made just for you to play in. We need to run our business too.”
Harold’s words were both right and wrong. It’s true that Isaac shouldn’t take over the entire casino to play alone, but the amount of money he was playing with was much larger than what the casino earned in a day, making it a net profit at the end of the day.
“Well, since I’m increasing the minimum, I’ll also remove the limit for the maximum bet you can make.”
Harold offered to Isaac as if he was doing him a favour
“You’re going to remove the maximum bet?”
“That’s right. How much do you have now? 500 thousand? You can bet all of it if you want.”
The crowd rustled at Harold’s offer. It meant that Harold was willing to have a sudden death match with 500 thousand.
“Ha! You think I’ll fall for your trap? I can clearly see that you’re trying to ruin my run by disrupting my focus. I’m not so foolish to fall for such obvious trap!”
Isaac ridiculed Harold as he ignored the offer and started playing with 10 thousand Giga per game. A few games later, another hundred thousand Giga were lost. With only 400 thousand left under his name, Isaac asked Harold with much deliberation.
“You said there isn’t a maximum bet right?”
‘He fell for it!’
Harold started to sing in his mind. He knew Isaac would fall for the sudden death match, considering that personality of his.
Harold nodded to Isaac like a benevolent spirit.
“Of course. I don’t care if you bet all of the chips you have.”
Knowing that Isaac can’t possibly win, Harold tried his utmost to suppress his cheeks and lips from making a smile.
After much consideration, Isaac closed his eyes, and pushed all of his chips on having 3 identical numbers coming out.
“Fine! It only takes one game to win it all! I’ve fallen this far, I may as well go for broke! I’m betting it all on my favourite number, 3!”
Isaac decision put the crowd into frenzy.
A 400 thousand Giga bet. This was going to go down in gambling history, and the people went into a frenzy for witnessing this history in the making.
The dealer flinched at the huge scale of the bet and looked to Harold. Harold laughed and accepted Isaac’s bet.
“Fine! I’ll take it! It’s a sudden death match!”
With Harold’s approval, the dealer placed the dice in the middle of the table.
“According to the casino’s rules, when such a large sum of money is bet, both the player and the representative of the casino must check the dice to ensure there isn’t any tampering.”
“I’m fine. I checked it before.”
Since Isaac refused to check, Harold threw the dice a few times since it was the rules.
“There is nothing wrong. Hurry and start.”
“Then do you both agree there isn’t any tampering?”
“I got it, so just start already!”
Isaac shouted impatiently, while Harold nodded with all the time in his hand.
“Then lastly, you must decide on the airtime.”
“Yes. You must decide on how long the dice will stay in the air.”
Isaac complained to himself on how he needed to pick on every little detail, and then began to hesitate when it came down to choosing the time.
“Huhu. Shall I give you some help?”
“S, shut up!”
“I just find it so pitiful to see you hesitate so much.”
Isaac finally burst out in anger as Harold kept scratching at his nerve with his constant provocations.
“Fine! Choose it you bastard! I’m going to win anyway!”
“Ha. Fine, let’s make it 30 seconds. I will at least let your hope to last that much longer.”
The dealer nodded and turned the timer next to the cylinder to 30 seconds.
“Then we shall begin.”
The dealer placed the dice onto the lid of the cylinder. Just when he was about to press the button, Isaac quickly shouted out in regret.
But Isaac was too late and the dice fell into the cylinder and began to dance.
“Wait! This doesn’t count! I take back my bet!”
“Impossible! Once the dice are in the cylinder, you cannot change your bets!”
Isaac desperately called out to Harold, but Harold coldly refused, not hesitating for a single moment.
“P, please! Let me, let me bet again!”
“Huhuhu. What a disgrace. You can’t stop the dice once they’ve been thrown.”
“Please, Mr. Harold. Give me another chance. Please! Let me, allow me to bet again!”
Isaac fell off his chair and bowed to Harold, clinging on to his leg as he made his plea. Harold finally shouted out with utmost happiness, thinking that he finally had the arrogant nuisance yield to him.
“You cannot cancel the bet! Accept your loss!”
“Nooo! It’s over… It’s all over…”
The entire crowd frowned as Isaac wept and cried. Watching a man fall into the abyss is never a pleasant sight. Harold watched the dice fall onto the table, and shouted out, unable to hold in his laughter.
“Kuahaha! It’s over! New Port City is now mine!”
Harold laughed and basked in his victory, when he realised something was amiss. He stopped his laughter and looked around him. In his eyes, he saw the crowd react with astonishment and disbelief. Harold turned around also with disbelief and fear to look at the table.
3, 3, 3. The dice were neatly arranged in a line. Harold looked to the dice again and again, rubbing his eyes between each attempt, but the faces of the dice never changed.
“H, how… How could this… This can’t be…”
Harold slowly walked to the table closer, trembling in each step.
“No. This can’t be. There must be something wrong.”
Harold tried to grab at the dice with his shaking hand, when suddenly someone pulled the back of his shirt and threw him onto the floor.
Even after the fall, Harold still seemed dumbfounded by everything.
“Tsk tsk. You shouldn’t try to touch the dice once they’ve been played.”
Isaac, who pulled Harold onto the floor, sat back on his chair. Rizzly handed Isaac a warm towel as if he had been waiting for this moment, and Isaac quickly cleaned his face.
“Phew… Finally I feel like I’m alive. See, all it takes is just a single game.”
It was a completely different attitude to when he was crying before.
Harold watched Isaac wipe his face and start lighting a choyu cigarette at first, but Harold’s face quickly twisted like that of a ghost.
After a brief stare, Harold charged at Isaac like a mad hound, but he was stopped by Rizzly.
“What are you mad about?”
Isaac tilted his head and asked Harold a question, and Harold shouted out as if asking for help from the crowd.
“T-this is a scam! This can’t possibly happen!”
“Possibly happen you say… How can you be so sure? It sounds almost as if the results were predetermined?”
Harold was at a loss for words, and his head quickly spun to think up an answer.
“N, no! This is a scam made by both you and the dealer! You two must have planned this together! Otherwise, there’s no possible way for all three to come out as 3!”
Isaac laughed at Harold’s pathetic excuse.
“Ha! A scam you say? Look here, Mr Harold. Was it me who asked for limitless maximum? It was you right? It was you who also last checked the dice . You said there was nothing wrong. It was you who chose the time. And I asked you to cancel the bet right? I begged and pleaded for it right? And you said no. You said you can’t stop the dice once they’re in play. And all of a sudden, you say it’s all a scam because you lost? That’s no way to run a casino. It’s fine when you win, but it’s cheating when you lose? One hell of a business scheme you got there. No way would that happen in my casino.”
Harold collapsed onto the floor as if he’d lost his mind. Isaac snickered at the sight, and looked to the table as he made a scene.
“Wow, 150x 400 thousand Giga is it? How much is that? I’m too scared to count. I’m no good at maths you see. I guess I should give you a tip for giving me a once in a lifetime winning. Here’s a tip. Take a million Giga for yourself.”
Isaac threw a million Giga’s worth of chips to the dealer, and the dealer bowed in return.
The crowd still looked at the scene in disbelief as if they were still dreaming.
Harold regained his senses and tried to think up a way to turn the situation around, but his confused head couldn’t come up with any plan. Meanwhile, the crowd was too busy to calculate the winning.
“How much did he win now?”
“It’s 150x 400 thousand, so it comes down to 60 million Giga!”
It was an astronomical amount. No one could stop their jaws from dropping after hearing that. The Empire’s budget last year was 130 million Giga. And Isaac just won almost half of the Empire’s budget.
No matter how much money one had, there isn’t a single group that could pay back so much money in a single sitting unless they were a nation themselves.
Suddenly, one of the security guards rushed to the scene screaming.
“Mr. Harold! Urgent news!”
The security guard pushed through the crowd and drove the nail into his already-confused head.
“The safe! The safe has been emptied!”
“Someone stole everything in the safe!”
“The safe… There’s at least 10 million Giga in there. And you’re saying someone stole it?”
“Yes! They took everything! There isn’t even a single coin left!”
“Ha ha ha…”
Harold looked like he aged at least 10 years.
“Tsk tsk. What kind of security do you have to have your safe robbed? That would never happen in my casino. This is why all kinds of accidents happen when newcomers try to run a casino. Tsk tsk. It’s a shame, Mr Harold.”
Isaac’s sarcastic tone caused Harold to react, his eyes staring directly at Isaac.
“You… it was you. You…!”
“Hm? Me? I did what? It’s a shame your safe was robbed, but you’re still going to have to pay me right? Since it’s no good for the Lord’s Representative to count money like a pawn, I’ll send over one of my men instead.”
With the flick of Isaac’s fingers, Soland slowly came out of the crowd.
“This fella here is a professional when it comes to collecting loans. He’ll make sure that you pay it all, even if you have to give up everything.”
Harold shouted out in disbelief when he saw Soland smiling next to Isaac. Finally, everything came to him. It was a trap from the start. A trap set to send him to the abyss. It was Soland who brought him the information about Isaac’s gambling. It was Soland who introduced the dealer to him.
“Y-you dare… gasp!”
Harold, unable to withstand the shock, fainted with bubbles foaming at his mouth.
“How did such a coward like you run a casino? Phew, it’s tiring to gamble with your life on the line. I think I’ll take a break.”
Isaac got out of the chair and patted Soland’s shoulder before walking out of the casino. The crowd, who were watching the whole thing, made a path for Isaac.
Just as he was about to walk through, Isaac stopped and looked around.
The people who met Isaac’s eyes quickly turned away, and those guilty couldn’t even dare raise their heads to look at him.
“My fellow employees and lovely hubaes who have been working tirelessly in recent days.”
Isaac smiled to the group, who couldn’t even react after having been called out.
“I think we need to talk.”