A Dicey Situation
"I can't believe this!" Fogoriana muttered under her breath
as she rolled yet another 1. "Are these dice legit? My sister is gonna kill me..." She looked nonchalantly at the grinning Krawk across the table.
"How much're ya in fer, missy? Seems by my count
t'be about 20k... mayhaps you should be leavin' now, afore you lose more than
y'can afford..." Grimtooth yawned widely, then studiously picked his front teeth
with the golden hook where his right claw should have been.
"Nah, let'er stay, Grimmy! Arrr, but I love a
loser!" cackled the grizzled, one-eyed Eyrie seated on her left. Fogoriana had
been watching him carefully for the entire afternoon. Rumor had it that Deadeye
had been known to lighten the purses of those foolish enough to let him. Fogoriana
did not count herself among those fools, and wanted to be sure she didn't join
The last member of the rough crew seated around
the wooden table didn't say anything, but the gleam in his eye reminded Fogoriana
of the rumors about him. Monty the Mad was a lunatic, they whispered at the
Golden Dubloon. He had once lost 500,000 NP on a single bet, then won a million
on the next throw of the dice. Over the past few hours Fogoriana had seen nothing
to discount the rumors of his insanity.
She took a deep breath and steadied herself.
Letting them see weakness would only hurt her cause, and she really couldn't
afford to lose the Neopoints she'd already sunk into this game. It had all started
so innocently... an easy way to make a quick couple of Neopoints in between restocking
runs and doing one of her many jobs for the Faerieland Employment Agency. She
deserved a little bit of celebration after getting promoted so quickly, after
all... and what better way than to relax on Krawk Island, getting friendly with
But one throw had turned into two, the antes
had started to get higher, and before she knew it, she was 21,540 Neopoints
in the hole and time was starting to run out. She had to get home soon or her
older sister would start to wonder. Elandriela was the oldest by far and would
spend at least two hours lecturing her on work ethic and gambling and the dangerous
company she was keeping and did she know the history of Krawk Island... Fogoriana
stifled a yawn just thinking about her sister's boring and lengthy scoldings.
She was determined to avoid one at all costs.
"No, count me in, boys. I'm not through yet.
I think I feel... why yes, I think I feel lucky!" She grinned right back at Grimtooth,
wishing she felt even the smallest bit threatening. "Go ahead, friend, put your
bet in. I'm ready."
The pirate looked at his companions; Deadeye
shrugged noncommittally and Monty just giggled strangely. Grimtooth looked at
Fogoriana, perhaps expecting her to look away or give off some sign of nervousness,
some sign that she was about to break. But Fogoriana was of stricter stuff than
that, and she returned his look dead on.
"Okay, girly, let's roll the dice then," he growled
finally. "How much'll it be this time?"
She calmly threw her last 1000 Neopoints on the
table. If she didn't win this throw...
"Still bettin' big, huh? Well, it's yer funeral,
missy!" Deadeye looked at her with his good eye and winked. "Let's get rollin'!"
The four participants grabbed their dice and
started to throw, each one keeping a close eye on the other. Fogoriana quickly
got the 1 and the 4 that she needed, then proceeded to throw three 6s and a
5. None of the others were even close.
"I'm back in the game, boys!" she crowed as she
gathered the money in. "Still feel like playing?"
"Once is just once, but done is done!" said Monty
suddenly, looking around suspiciously. "Yes, done!" He threw in the maximum
bet of 1000. "Do it again, m'girl, we'll see if ye've got the seaweed you need
to keep up with us!"
So she did it again. And again. And again.
All of a sudden, Fogoriana realized that she
wasn't losing anymore, she was winning. Not only was she winning, but she was
winning big. She was 4000 Neopoints richer than she had been when she walked
in the door, and no way was she stopping now.
"All right, gentlemen, let's begin! 1000 Neopoints!"
She almost threw her ante in, then waited with anticipation for the pirates
to join in. "Come on, come on, what's wrong? Scared of a little Shoyru? Or just
scared that someone will find out that I beat you?" While she knew that taunting
pirates probably wasn't the best plan, Fogoriana was so elated with her incredible
run of luck that she threw caution to the wind.
"All right, ya landlubbin' rustbucket, ye can't
be lucky forever!" snapped Grimtooth. "I'm in..."
On the first throw, Fogoriana only got a 6. On
the second, she got another 6... but still no sign of the 1 or 4. As she went
through her third, fourth, and fifth throws, she had four 6s and a 4... if she
didn't get a 1 on this last throw, her streak would end and she'd be done. While
it didn't bother her so much to break even, she wanted to really stick it to
the pirates who had been tormenting her all afternoon. She also wanted to walk
home richer than she'd left. Elandriela couldn't say much if she brought her
a nice expensive present, now could she? No Boring lectures then, no way, no
how, no sir...
"Throw, girly!" A shout shocked her out of her
thoughts. "Y'know it's over and done with, just throw the die and be done with
it!" Deadeye squawked. Fogoriana looked around the table, and saw in their eyes
how much they wanted her to lose.
"Oh, please help me, Fyora," she whispered. "Let
me get the 1, just this once, I promise I'll never gamble again, just let me
show these stinky pirates what a young Shoyru can do." While the financial gains
appealed to her, Fogoriana's pride was on the line now, and she had no intention
of losing that.
She shook the die in her hand, then deliberately
threw it on the table. For a moment she was afraid to look. But then, Monty
let out a cry of disbelief and Grimtooth spat disgustedly on the dirty floor.
"Well that's it then, girly," he muttered. "Ya won, ya beat us. We're done,
boys," he said, beckoning the Meerca and the Eyrie from the table. "If ye want
to come back, mayhaps another day we'll be glad ta take yer money from ya, girl,
but fer today, ye've beat us." He stomped out of the tiny room, followed by
Deadeye and Monty the Mad. Monty looked back over his shoulder at Fogoriana
as they left, and she could've sworn he stuck out his tongue just for a second.
Fogoriana gathered up her winnings and prepared
to leave, unable to wipe the grin off her face. She had done it, even though
she was three hours late going home and would most likely get a lecture no matter
what she brought her sister. But it had been worth it just to see their faces.
And maybe, just maybe, on a pirate ship late at night, somebody someday would
tell the story of a little red Shoyru who, with an unbelievable streak of luck,
managed to beat three of the toughest pirates on Krawk Island at their own game.