Chapter 146 - Phantom’s Counterattack #1
The preparation for the stage didn’t take long. He used something that was already prepared so he just needed to fix it a little bit.
"It is nice to be here after a while.”
Tae-hyuk smiled with satisfaction as he looked at the stage devices he worked hard on for three days. It was always fun to appreciate the final product after working hard. There was a small casino in the space that had been empty until a week ago.
This speed was possible because he had the Machina. Tae-hyuk looked at the huge mechanical arm in the corner. It was the same as the one given to Kim Soo-bin after the Doll Play incident. It was just three times larger and it was possible to manipulate it remotely. He added more features with Forgery, allowing it to work at a tremendous speed.
"But who would have expected to play the mafia game here?”
This was the place where the Death Circus had occurred. Choi Sung-yeol, who had originally managed this place, was currently in prison. The various attractions designed to kill the participants were demolished, but the place remained intact inside the building.
"No one wants to buy it because many people died here.”
In the end, it was a property that would be demolished and then rebuilt. However, it was a building in a secluded spot that was far from the city centre. The land couldn’t even be sold even if it was demolished.
Once he investigated, he heard that it was going over to the court auction soon. There were just signs prohibiting entrance and no guards. This was the best stage for the mafia game.
“Shall I open the casino?”
Tae-hyuk changed into the dealer’s clothes and put on the Phantom mask.
It was time to meet the guests. At almost the same time, six people entered through the door. They used animal masks to hide their faces but it was easy to guess who they were.
The bosses of the Red Mafia, Yakuza, and the Triads, as well as their lieutenants. The fact that they were here meant that their guards were outside the building. Tae-hyuk decided to use Spying to confirm it.
‘Hyu~ there are 33 people altogether. The armed forces are fearsome. Are they trying to fight a war here? And where the hell did they all come from?’
Yamaguchi Takeshi, who also attended, asked,
"Are you Phantom?”
“You must be Takeshi.”
“Haha. You really do have a lot of courage.”
As he conversed with Yamaguchi Takeshi, he could feel Caterina’s gaze behind her cat mask. Tae-hyuk turned towards her and smiled. It was almost like they were long-lost lovers. Caterina’s body started to tremble.
Tae-hyuk have to forcibly restrain himself from laughing.
'People are against Phantom so I have to use everything I can.’
Tae-hyuk looked at the people gathered and said,
"It seems like everyone has listened to the conditions.”
The conditions for participating in the mafia game were easy. Each team would have two people, the boss and their aide. They couldn’t bring any weapons that could be used to attack the other teams. Chips purchased with cash would be used to play the games.
Finally, the team that gained the most money would be given Phantom. The winner could decide whether Phantom lived or died, or if they wanted an alliance.
Li Zheng, who was wearing a leopard mask, asked.
"But what happens if I do win? There is no guarantee that you will keep the promise.”
"Don’t worry about that. The people over there are recording this. I am sending it to you in real time so you don’t have to worry about the promise being broken.”
Phantom beckoned and a handful of cameramen wearing Phantom masks waved as they stepped through the door. It was fantastic timing, as if they had been waiting outside. It was actually Shin Se-ho and his people.
Li Zheng nodded and said,
"Certainly, it is due to your popularity with the public that you have gotten this far. If the promise is broken, then we can release the video. Then you will no longer have your Phantoms.”
“Yes. I am putting the phantom mask as a symbol.”
"I understand. I’ll believe you.”
Takeshi turned to the other bosses and said,
"Before we play the games, let’s start with a simple self introduction. Isn’t it too childish to refer to each other by the masks?”
Li Zheng nodded and said.
"Li Zheng. This is Jin.”
Jin was a huge, muscular man. It seemed like he would be able to win in a fight with a bear.
"Yamaguchi Takeshi, head of the Yamaguchi clan.”
“I am Mister Park.”
Finally, the group’s gaze turned to Caterina. As the only woman in the room, they knew that she was the boss.
“Caterina. And this is Semon.”
Li Zheng murmured in a slightly higher pitched voice.
"It is true that Russia is ruled by a queen.”
Takeshi showed interest in Semon.
“Semon, the merchant of death? If we weren’t meeting in this place then I would have a proposal for you.”
"We can talk about a deal next time.”
Once Tae-hyuk tapped his fingers, several dealers came out with glasses of champagne. However, Caterina was the only one to accept it.
Takeshi muttered with a smile.
"There are dealers. This is temporary, but everything needed for a casino is here. Where did you find a place like this? It seems like you have avoided police surveillance.”
Tae-hyuk just smiled instead of answering.
'Where did it come from? This is yours.’
After all, the Yakuza were the ones behind the Death Circus. Yet Yamaguchi Takeshi was the one who asked him this question. It was indeed ironic.
Tae-hyuk’s aides pulled out some bags. They contained the chips that would be used here today.
"The limit is up to one billion won. How much do you want to purchase?”
As the aides in charge of the exchange asked, the lieutenants opened their bags immediately. The money inside was exactly one billion won.
"You are smart. If you did set a limit then I would’ve definitely won.”
He had tremendous assets and the chairmen of big companies under him. Casino games were a huge advantage for the rich. For reference, the money they were spending now would become Tae-hyuk’s pocket money.
It was like his savings account. Even if he paid the dealers and cameramen a 10 million won share, he still had 2.9 billion won left. It was like winning Lottery 1 at least 10 times. A person could live their whole lives on that money.
He had earned it purely through using Phantom as a symbol.
'There was a time when I wanted to catch a pickpocket for the bounty. This is a new experience.’
Three teams bought one billion won each for a total of three billion won. It was literally a huge sum.
‘Can I get Ha-ran noona good marriage gifts with this much money?’
It was enough money for one person’s whole life, but he didn’t intend to end it here.
‘I have no intention of leaving it like this. I will also get my hands on the gold.’
The lieutenants started to collect the chips. From now on, they had to earn more money than the other teams. The first one to make a suggestion was Mister Park.
"Surely there aren’t things like slot machines or roulette here?”
"Hrmm... Isn’t it still early?”
There were two ways to increase the chips here. Play the prepared casino games to make money, or play against other people. Of course, the latter option was more efficient.
If they won, they would increase their money while the participants would have their money reduced.
The Yakuza were confident in psychological warfare so they made the suggestion first. Caterina said with a smile,
"First of all, I would like to try my luck on roulette.”
Mister Park was the one who made the suggest but the reply came from Takeshi.
“There is no need. The games to be played from now on don’t involve luck.”
“Hrmm, no way.”
"It is just building up numbers.”
“That card game?”
“You know about it.”
It was a simple type of gambling that could be enjoyed. Cards from 1-10 would be placed in a row and the dealer would place another card in the designated spot. The player would have to pick up the same card. The interesting thing was if there was a draw.
At that time, the ante would be doubled and they would bet again.
"Isn’t it literally a game of luck?”
"So I would like to add some unusual rules. This time, cards from 1-100 will be used. And when placing the card, the front will only be shown for one second. How about it? Doesn’t it seem interesting?”
It was a memory showdown. It tested the opponent’s abilities.
"What do you think, Young Lady?”
Caterina pondered for a moment before answering.
"Yes. What about those from China?”
“I’ll do it.”
Thus, the first round of the mafia game started.
The reason why Yamaguchi suggested the number stacking game was simple.
He was a master of Karuta, a unique game in Japan. Karuta involved 100 Japanese cards spread out on the floor. When a moderator recited a poem, they had to find the card containing the latter part of the poem faster than their competitor. The game's winning strategy was to see all the cards on the floor and memorize everything in a short amount of time. It was simple but required a lot of memory because the cards were mixed several times.
Yamaguchi had a tremendous memory capacity that was close to a photographic memory.
One second? He could remember at least 90% of the cards.
The game was fast paced.
Interestingly enough, the draws kept occurring. Li Zheng was the first to be eliminated.
“Damn. Are these people monsters? My limit is memorizing around 50 cards.”
Remember 50 cards in one second was great. Li Zheng knew this so he confidently accepted the game, but Yamaguchi and Caterina were monsters. The two of them kept the 1:1 wins until the 90th card.
"This will be a draw.”
After counting the remaining cards, this was the result.
“I was lucky.”
The two people continued to compete. Then an amazing thing happened. Caterina’s winning streak began. The funny thing about this game was that the first player could make money, but the second player would lose the most money.
Yamaguchi’s hands trembled.
"D-Did you memorize all 100 in one second?”
Caterina said with a smile.
"Let's see? I was just lucky.”
Yamaguchi had a huge memory capacity that was close to a photographic memory. However, Caterina had the ability to instantly remember everything she saw. In other words, her abilities were superior.
“...I think I lost this one.”
“Thank you for your efforts.”
Caterina’s money surpassed 1.5 billion in an instant. Li Zheng had 900 million and Yamaguchi had 600 million.
It was time for the second game. Caterina made a suggestion.
"I got a lot of money from stacking numbers so I’ve run out of steam. Grandpa can choose the next game.”
The expression disappeared from Yamaguchi’s face as he heard those words from a girl young enough to be his granddaughter. But he wasn’t the type to be agitated by something like this. Rather, his head turned quicker in a situation like this.
“How about Blackjack?”
“That sounds good.”
It was a confrontation with the dealer, so there wouldn’t be any big changes in the rankings. It was still early in the game so the 2nd place Li Zheng didn’t feel any sense of crisis. Yamaguchi was planning to use his winning method in the third game.
He quietly sent a signal to Mister Park. Mister Park pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and started to light it. The dealer walked up to him and said,
"I guess your boss has no rule about smoking in his presence. However, don’t go too far. Let’s just stick to one cigarette.”
"Ah, yes. I’ll do so.”
Mister Park smiled widely.
This tobacco contained a special incense that blurred a person’s judgement. It was something that was almost completed. It boasted a performance that couldn’t be compared to what the Death Circus used.
People without immunity would easily be brainwashed. This was the result of years of research.
"Hu... It is good.”
Mister Park smirked.
He would make the dealers go on their side. Now all of the games against the dealers would end with their victory. How much did it cost to join here? However, he doubted they had prepared enough to win.
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