Chapter 72. White Crystal (1)


Seven-card stud had a simple set of rules.
At the beginning of the game, players were each dealt three cards by the dealer. Each player would then choose one of those three cards to reveal while keeping the other two hidden.
Then, players would begin betting, with dealers providing each player with a new open card. When the number of cards became seven, the betting would stop.
Players who were still in the round would show their hands, and the person with the best hand would win.

“This bastard really won’t look at his hand until the end… Look at your hand for god’s sake! How can you be so confident?”

“You’ll read my face if I do. I’m not confident in maintaining a poker face.”

The bald guy sitting next to me kept pestering me. However, I only glared at Bert. To be exact, I was glaring at the bracelet on his left wrist.
An obsidian bracelet with black luster.
That was an artifact Bert obtained through one of his scams. However, Bert didn’t know that it was an artifact, yet.
Rather than Bert’s money, I wanted his bracelet.

Currently, we were in our twelfth round of poker.
Chae Nayun was still in the negative, while my chips had multiplied to 60 million won.

“…Tsk.”

Bert was angry, understandably so. I would be angry too if a random kid suddenly barged in on my scheme and took 50 million won.
However, Bert currently had the best hand. Five cards had already been dealt, so there were two cards left until we would show our hands. If Bert got an ace, he would complete an ace-high full house.

“Next hand.”

The dealer dealt the sixth round of cards.
Bert got an ace of hearts.
He had completed his ace-high full house.

The chances of getting an ace-high full house were 0.144%. It was a hand that normally didn’t lose as the only hands that won against it were four of a kind, straight flush, or royal flush. The chances of getting a four of a kind when someone else had a full house was even lower than winning a lottery.
However, there wasn’t even a single movement in Bert’s facial muscles. Since I couldn’t tell even with my heightened perception, it was safe to say he had a perfect poker face.

“…Hm.”

But I was fine.
My luck led the situation to my advantage. If I had a four of a kind and my opponent had no hand, I would be unlucky as my opponent would just fold.
The opponent having a full house was the perfect trap.
That said, my four of a kind was still incomplete.
In my hands were the deuce of diamonds, deuce of hearts, and deuce of clubs. I was still missing the deuce of spades.
However, I trusted my luck.

“Call”

Bert made his bet, maintaining his calm.

“I raise!”

The bald man increased the pot size with a terrible hand. I wasn’t sure what happened, but he must have received Bert’s sign somehow.

“Call.”

Chae Nayun also called carefully.
…She really was terrible at this game.

In any case, I also called just like Bert wanted. In this seven-card stud table, the maximum betting limit was 500 million won. Although I made quite a bit, I was still short stacked compared to the other more rich players on the table. With that last call, I had gone all-in.

“Here’s the final hidden card.”

Deuce of Spades.
My four of a kind was complete.

“Ah, kid, you already went all-in, so you can’t bet anymore, huh.”

Just like Bert said, I was out of money. There was still a round of betting left.
Bert asked casually.

“Why don’t you bet that ring on your finger instead?”

Bert noticed that the ring on my finger wasn’t an ordinary ring. As expected of a scammer, he had good eyesight.

“What!?”

However, the one who reacted fiercely wasn’t me, but Chae Nayun.

“Is this guy crazy!? Hey, let’s just leave!”

“…What, the game isn’t even over yet. Just stay put.”

“It’s fine, I’ll give you the money you would have lost—”

“Just sit.”

What’s up with her? I grabbed Chae Nayun’s wrist and made her sit.

“Fine, I’ll bet this priceless ring, so you bet that too.”

I pulled my ring out and placed it on the table. Then, I pointed at the obsidian bracelet on Bert’s left wrist.
After thinking about it for a moment, Bert took his bracelet off.

“Deal.”

Then, Chae Nayun whispered into my ear with a worried face.

“Hey, are you really okay with that? That’s your family keepsake—”

“I won’t lose, so just stay still. I would have folded if I didn’t stand a chance.”

I didn’t even hear what Chae Nayun was saying.

“Now then.”

The pot size was 300 million won, but the real value of the pot was much higher with two artifacts on the line.

“What will the others bet?”

When I asked, Bert’s teammates immediately folded.

“…I also fold.”

With that, Chae Nayun also fell silent.
Only Bert and I were left in the pot.

“Then shall we show our hands?”

“Sure.”

“I’ll go first.”

Bert revealed his hand, ace-high full house.

“Full house?”

Chae Nayun’s face stiffened. For some reason, she seemed to care more about the outcome of this match than me.

“Haha, sorry, kid.”

Bert grinned and moved to sweep the chips to his side. It was the stereotypical scene of someone about to lose.

“Hold on, I haven’t revealed my hand yet.”

“…What?”

Just like what victors would do in gambling movies, I grabbed the loser’s wrist and stopped him from sweeping the chips away. Then, I slowly revealed my hands.
Four cards, all with the number 2, showed up.

“Four of a kind. It’s my victory.”

Immediately, Bert’s expression darkened.
Chae Nayun cusped her hands and shouted.

“Wow! A four of a kind! H-How!?”

Chae Nayun’s hair stood on ends, as did mine. Although I already knew I would win, winning brought a great sense of ecstasy.

**


Just as I expected, Bert made a big scene, calling me a scammer. However, Chae Nayun subdued him before the security guards could even arrive, and I grabbed all the chips along with his obsidian bracelet.

===
[Athenian Citizen’s Obsidian Bracelet] [Magic Artifiact]
A bracelet with magic seals.

<Magic Seal (1/4)>
—Shock Absorption & Automatic Recharge
*When its wearer receives damage, some of it is converted into magic power and stored in the bracelet.
*Slowly charges magic power when exposed to air.
===

Although this bracelet could store magic power, the wearer couldn’t use it directly as the magic power would only linger inside the bracelet. This was the reason that Bert wouldn't realize the true worth of this bracelet until a year later. Of course, that was in the original story. Now that the bracelet was in my hands, he would never find out about its true worth. 

Then how could this bracelet be used?
It was simple. You just had to engrave another magic seal into the bracelet.
This bracelet could store up to four magic seals. For now, I planned to put seals that enhanced my physical body.

“…What were you going to do if you lost?”

Chae Nayun, who was walking next to me, suddenly asked.

“Jump off a bridge.”

I meant it to be a joke, but Chae Nayun made a serious face.

“…Don’t say that. You have to live your life to the fullest.”

It was surprising to see her say something like that in such a serious tone.

“What is it all of the sudden? What, you want your money back?”

Of the 300 million I won, 100 million belonged to Chae Nayun.

“No, you use it. You won it fair and square. I’ll consider it a lesson fee. I won’t gamble ever again.”

Chae Nayun walked forward while grumbling. It seemed she planned to leave the casino.

“Oh, by the way.”

Then, she suddenly came to stop and turned around to face me. After hesitating for a moment, she spoke abruptly.

“You were pretty cool today.”

With that, she turned back and left the casino.

“…I guess I was.”

Of course, I had no plans to leave yet.
Standing in the middle of the casino floor, I breathed in the heated atmosphere’s air.

Trrrrr—

The sound of a spinning roulette struck my ears.
I could hear people screaming at a baccarat table.
Slot machines tempted people with their addictive tune.
The laughter of dealers rang out, and tables were stacked with chips and cards.

Casino, where the fate of fortune was decided by luck.
Here, I was king.

“….”

I clenched my fists and chose my target.
First was the roulette.
I walked up with heavy steps and put down 100 million won.

“1 to 12.”

Spectators gave me curious glances.
Chweek— The roulette spun.
Its destination – the number 12.

“Oooh!”

Spectators and players cheered as my money became 130 million won. A confident smile emerged on my face.
After that, I tried all sorts of games.

Blackjack.
Indian Poker.
Baccarat.
Texas Hold’em.
Even Go-Stop.

Every time I moved to a new table, my money multiplied like a colony of bacteria.

**


6:10 P.M., 50 minutes before the start of the event, it was time for the traveling club’s members to meet.
Other than Kim Hajin, everyone was waiting at the appointed location.

“Ah, Hajin is here.”

Kim Suho spoke, pointing in the distance.

“Finally, why is he always la…”

Chae Nayun couldn’t finish her sentence.
Kim Hajin had changed significantly compared to a few hours ago.
His shaggy hair was brushed up neatly, and he had changed out of his cadet uniform and was now wearing a brand name suit. With his luxury dress shoes making him 6 centimeters taller, he walked up, exuding confidence.

“….”
“….”
“Oh, Kim Hajin! What happened?”

Chae Nayun and Yoo Yeonha stood in a daze with their mouths half-open, and Kim Suho asked with a surprised face. Kim Hajin grinned. His white teeth glistened under the sunlight.
Dumbstruck, Chae Nayun asked.

“What, did you get your teeth whitened too?”

“Hm? Ah, something like that.”

It happened at an antique shop. Using his laptop, Kim Hajin checked whether there were any useful items, and then he found a ‘300-year-old toothbrush’ which supposedly raised the charm stat by 0.01 points. The increase in charm came from having his teeth cleaned, which included teeth whitening.

“Your clothes… did you buy them…?”

“Yeah.”

Yoo Yeonha and Chae Nayun scanned him from top to bottom. Feeling confident, Kim Hajin crossed his arms and even put on sunglasses.

‘I might look like Ryu Junyeol’.[1]

At that moment, a soft, silvery voice rang out.

“Oh, who’s this?”

The group turned to the direction of the voice.
There, we saw Kim Junwoo, a hunter of the ‘Vast Expanse’.

“Chae Nayun?”

Kim Junwoo looked at Chae Nayun and waved his hand. Chae Nayun’s eyes widened.

“Ah! Why are you here, Oppa!?”

“Nothing much, just hanging out.”

Kim Junwoo scratched his head and smiled modestly. Then, Yoo Yeonha approached him with her eyes flashing.

“Could you be… Kim Junwoo from the Vast Expanse?”

“Yup, that’s me. It looks like my name is still worth something, haha.”

“It’s nice to meet you.”

Yoo Yeonha shook hands with Kim Junwoo. Then, Kim Junwoo turned towards Kim Hajin, seemingly recognizing him.

“Ah! You’re the kid who was making bank at the casino! You were Nayun’s friend? Nice to meet you, man. I’m jealous, I only lost money.”

“Making bank…?”

Chae Nayun, Yoo Yeonha, and Kim Suho tilted their heads simultaneously.

“Yeah, I think he made around… 2 billion?”

“““2 BILLION!?!?”””

The three of them shouted at the same time. Even to Yoo Yeonha and Chae Nayun, 2 billion won was a lot of money.
Kim Junwoo rubbed his chin and spoke.

“I think so. A bunch of big guys in suits dragged him out after a while.”

“They didn’t drag me out. They gave me a key to the hotel’s best suite and even guided me there. To take a break.”

“Oh, is that what happened?”

Hearing Kim Hajin, Kim Junwoo nodded with a smile. Then, he glanced at Kim Suho. Chuckling like an old man, he whispered into Chae Nayun’s ear.

“Who’s he? Your boyfriend?”

“W-What are you talking about?”

Chae Nayun glanced at Kim Suho, then glanced at Kim Hajin.

“He’s not.”

Seeing Chae Nayun’s eyes, Kim Junwoo made a mischievous smile.

“Don’t tell me, you’re hunting two rabbits at the same time?”

“W-What are you talking about!?”

“Polyandry should be okay for someone like you, Na— Uk!”

“Stop!”

Chae Nayun struck Kim Junwoo’s solar plexus with her elbow. Kim Junwoo held his stomach exaggeratedly and yelled surrender.

…Meanwhile, there was a man who was watching the rowdy scene in hiding.

Evil Society’s ‘Bermund’.
His strength was around the middle of the pack in everyone attending today’s event.

“From the looks of it, Kim Junwoo doesn’t know about the details. Yes, I’ll join up soon.”

Finishing his report, he turned back.

“…!”

But as soon as he turned around, he saw a woman enveloped in darkness. Immediately, Bermund became breathless.
Long black hair, deep dark eyes. Her murky eyes seemed to be devouring him.
Staring at Bermund, the woman called someone.

“Jain.”

“Yeah, I’m here.”

Another woman appeared beside her.
At that moment, Bermund felt his death.

**


Same time.
A limousine stopped in front of the Thames River’s opening leading to Clancy Islet.
Countless reporters and cameras were concentrated around the limousine, and the door of the limousine then opened.
From inside, a long, beautiful white leg appeared.
The woman who got out of the limousine was Rachel, wearing a silver dress.
The princess and pride of England.
When she appeared, the flashes of the reporters busily flickered.

“Do you have any thoughts on tonight’s event?”
“According to the rumors, you lost Cube’s rank 1 theory spot. Do you have any comments on the matter?”

Responding with a smile, Rachel continued to walk. Although she wasn’t accustomed to wearing high heels yet, her steps were more perfect and beautiful than a model’s.
Arriving in front of the Portal, Rachel met a businessman.

“Thank you very much for personally visiting us today, Princess.”

He was Zelen, the CEO of the multinational 'Roton Corporation’.
Today, in Clancy Islet’s Clancy Hall, he would personally reveal how to effectively utilize the [White Crystal], in which tens of thousands of magic power were concentrated.
Furthermore, Roton Corporation had asked the English Royal Court to attend to heighten the formality of the presentation. As Roton Corporation was the greatest sponsor of the English Royal Court guild, Rachel couldn’t refuse their request.

“Have you increased security for the event?”

Rachel asked Zelen.

“Haha, of course.”

There was always the potential of Djinns or bandits interfering. Because of it, events of this scale rarely happened. However, Roton did not want to give up on the stock price increase and other astronomical profits they could make from this announcement.
Of course, they made thorough preparations for potential threats. They chose 'Clancy Islet' as their venue, which was arguably the safest place in Europe, and hired numerous mercenaries, and even lobbied the Hero Associations to have high-rank Heroes dispatched.

“You can look forward to it, Princess.”

Zelen's eyes scanned her.
Rachel did not like his lustful, snake-like eyes.

“As the biggest sponsor of the Royal Court guild, Roton will promise to elevate the guild’s status.”

**


Clancy Islet’s largest luxury hall, 'Clancy Hall'.
There was still thirty minutes left until the event started, but the place was filled with people. Adorned in luxurious clothes, they were all members of the upper class.
However… I didn’t lose out to anyone in terms of luxuriousness.
300 million won suit – it was so expensive because it was a Cloth Armor – and a partial artifact jacket.
It was enough to make me look like an Asian millionaire.

“Mm.”

Sitting alone in a cool posture, I looked around the hall.
Yoo Yeonha was busy trying to build connections, and Chae Nayun went to the bathroom saying she needed to take a dump.

“You’re here too.”

At that moment, someone's voice rang out from behind me. I turned around.
The boss of the Chameleon Troupe, currently ‘Li Xiaopeng’, was there.

“Oh, you came too, Xiaopeng-ssi.”

"Right. As a Hero in charge of guarding… what bullshit. "

However, Boss suddenly stopped cursed in the middle of talking.
I understood why.
I had also heard what Jain whispered in her ear. It was thanks to my Gift, Observation and Reading.

—You finally met your crush, Boss. Congratulations.

“Kuhum. Kuhum.”

A dry cough came out of my throat.

“Ah, s-sorry. My colleague was saying something strange through my earphone….”

Boss made an excuse, tapping on the earphone in her ear.


1. Ryu Junyeol is a famous Korean actor, who is known for being ugly as Korean male actors are generally very handsome. A funny joke that most Korean readers would understand.

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FudgeNouget's Thoughts

Lee Xiaopeng has been changed to Li Xiaopeng. Realized that "Li" is the common Chinese surname.