Silas spreads out the cards: “There are four colours: swords, wands, coins, and hearts.”
Swords, wands, coins and hearts?! That’s an interesting combination. In my previous life, the colours for playing cards were spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts. Though tarot cards had different four colours: swords, wands, coins and cups. I even used to divine with tarot cards. I wonder if I can divine with these cards, as well… I’ll try later.
“So each card exists in these colours?”
“Yes, the colour has numbers: one to E and an extra card called the core.”
“The core is a special card you see. It’s both the higher than E and lower than one.”
I guess with just those cards I can’t divine, too bad. Silas shows me some example cards. The first card has a drawing of a sword on it. There’s the number one on the corners of the card. The second card is empty, there are no numbers in the corners. And there an outline of a sword on the card. So cards are still at the very basic stage of card game evolution…
“I see. So the cards the outline and no numbers are the core.”
“For the most common game, we use one single deck. Each person gets five cards. You can choose how many cards you want to place with fresh ones. The goal is to get the highest pattern.”
So it’s basically poker.
“So the patterns are…”
“…from the lowest to highest: one Pair, two Pairs, a Triplet, Flow, Purity, Abundance, Pure Flow, Apex Flow.”
“That’s five cards with neighbouring numbers. A Purity is five random cards of the same colour. An Abundance is a triplet and a pair. A Purity Flow is both a Purity and a Flow at once. And an Apex Flow is just a purity flow with the core as the highest card.”
“So it’s just poker.”, I mutter to myself…
“So you’ve heard of it.”, Silas asks. Oops, that could have gone terribly wrong.
“Yes, but it’s been quite a while… Anyway, let’s play.”
“Do you have coins?”
“We gambling right away?!”
“Well, it’s no fun if we don’t.”
“I don’t have coins. I haven’t used money so such a long time. I don’t even know what it looks like anymore.”
“Oh, right I forgot.”
“I can make us some playing coins from glass.”
“Please do, Swift.”, Seth interjects, “We shouldn’t gamble with money. It’s unsightly. But I can’t deny gambling is a skill you might need in the future… Let’s play some games!”
“Alright, ”, I take some sand from my Infinite Storage, “Vitrify!”
The coins end up in multiple different colours. I should check out why later. But it a happy little accident — I have different coloured ones! I divide the coins into piles for everyone. Silas deals the cards. I’ve just a pair of nines. I keep the nines and exchange the other cards. I get a nine and a pair of ones. Lucky me! A Full House, I mean an Abundance. Oh yeah, I do have Lucky Devil trait.
“We each show one card of our hand in turn. If you want to drop out, that’s fine. But if you want to keep playing you need to bet some coin. Let me start.”
He shows a core and puts in a coin as well.
“OK.”, I show one of the ones, “It’s not much, but I’m in.” I push one coin to the centre.
“Daring, aren’t we?” Silas answers. He doesn’t budge at all.
“I’m folding.”, Seth says. He places his cards face-down.
“So I am.”, Sain follows.
“You’re bluffing.” I grin.
“Am I?” He reveals another core. And pushes in one more coin. Uh oh, that’s a pair of cores. Maybe’s he for real? I reveal another one and push in a second coin too.
“It doesn’t look good for you, Swift.” Seth says.
Silas reveals an eight and puts in a third coin. OK, he’s definitely bluffing. I reveal an eight and put in a coin, too.
“You win. I fold,” Silas says. He turns over the revealed cards.
“Oh, you’re playing cards?” Matt has just left the bathroom.
“Swift made us some glass coins to play. So we can gamble without reservations.”
“Young Master, you can join in my place. I’m going to take a bath.” With that Silas leaves the room.
We continue playing. I’m winning quite a lot.
“You’re quite good at this.”, Matt says.
“I’m just lucky.”
“Very lucky. Is that the famous Neotes Luck?”
“Some Neotes are very lucky. They are so lucky. We believe they have some secret blessing. Though we’ve never been able to detect that.”
“You mean just like Matt’s Super Intuition?”
“Super Intuition? I have that? I read about it in our family history! It’s a trait that had been passed down in our family before. But apparently, it was lost generations ago.”
“Maybe just the methods to detect it were lost.”, I answer.
“What do you mean?”
“The Neotes Luck blessing you were talking about exists. It’s a hidden trait for Neotes called Lucky Devil. And the Identifying Crystal you used before wasn’t able to pick up that trait.”
“So your Mystic Eye of Analysis can?”
“Yes, it can.”
“Just be careful. And don’t rely too much on your traits. And don’t get addicted to gambling.”, Seth sounds concerned.
“I know. I’m not keen on gambling away my pants.”
“If only it was only your pants that are in danger, I wouldn’t this concerned. Some people lost their freedom due to their debts. Debts made worse due to gambling.”
“I see…” So debt slavery is a thing here… “I’ll make sure to avoid that.”
“Let’s change the topic: how about you sparring with Young Master tomorrow. That way I can see your skills as well.”
“That’s a good idea.”, Silas is back from the bath. He glances at the piles. “So you’re winning lots. Care to play another game?”
“How about we make it more interesting?”
“How about the loser spends a day buck naked?”
“Why would I…”
“Are you afraid?”
“What are you…”
“So you are afraid of losing!”
“Fine! You’re on!”
Silas shuffles the cards. My first draw isn’t looking great. I sigh. I replace all the cards.
“Bad draw? Too bad.”
“Well, I can still luck out.” I draw my new cards. Eight, nine, E the core of swords and… a one of hearts. Damn, I need the X of swords.
“I’m feeling generous, how about another swap?”
Wow, he’s terribly confident!
“Hmm, sure. I’ll take you up on your offer.” I replace my last card. Jackpot! It’s the X of swords.
“Since it wouldn’t make sense to raise the stakes so let’s just open for the showdown. I have abundance, quite a high one. I think you lose.” He opens this hand. Three cores and a pair of twos.
“Too bad…” I open my hand. “I have an Apex Flow. I win.” I smile.
“What?! But… How?!” Silas stutters.
“Well, you lose Silas. Unlike you, he didn’t even cheat.” Matt says.
“He didn’t? Wait how did you even…”
“I guess the famous Neotes luck was just stronger.”
“I should be careful about gambling? I know.”, I add.
“Then why did you…” Silas is still stuttering.
“Even if I were to lose the game, I don’t have much to lose there. I live by myself in the forest.”
“A true gentleman honours debts, especially gambling debts.”, Seth finally adds.
“Fine! I’ll spend tomorrow buck naked.”, Silas finally gives up.