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Petpet Name: Fritjof
Pet Name: Pandoriano
Breed: Halloween Pinklet
We met in a very suspicious place. You all know those kinds of places. Thinking of them makes you tremble with fear, you get lost in them in your nightmares and when you wake up, you can still see shady figures standing next to your bed.
I’m talking about a school yard.
Nowhere else can you observe as much suspicious activity. That Yurble over there convincing the Kacheek that his Feepit TCG is extremely rare is only after the valuable card his classmate owns. Two Elephantes are teaming up to chase the younger students away from the swings. A teacher is oblivious to all dark activity going on around her because she is searching through her bag – only Fyora knows what kind of dangerous items she hides in there.
It was on that school yard that I met Pandoriano.
Hidden in a dark corner, behind two large rubbish bins, I had set up my stand. So far, three students had lost their weekly pocket money to me. Trust me, nothing is more effective for earning money than challenging children to a game of cards. Most do not believe that they can be beaten by a petpet. Even when the evidence points glaringly into their face, some are too proud to admit that they lost to me and accuse me of cheating.
Pah! As though I would ever step that low.
I prefer to call it ‘using tricks’.
I had just relieved three kids of their pocket money and saved them from the toothache they would have gotten had they spent the money on sweets, when a Darigan Usul appeared. He scrutinized me for a moment while I happily grinned up at him.
“You’re the one who managed to beat Dan in a game of cards, right?”
I nodded, even though I had no idea if one of the children had been called Dan. If I hadn’t beaten him, it was just because he had not shown up yet.
“I bet this box of Water Faerie Gum that you cannot beat me in a game of cards.”
My eyes narrowed as he pulled out the gum. Water Faerie Gum was good, definitely worth playing for.
“Alright,” I agreed, taking out a small amount of coins. “I bet those that I [i]can[/i] beat you in a game of cards.”
Pandoriano held out a hand. “We have a deal.”
I grinned as I took it.
Never before had I seen anybody watching my hands as closely as I dealt out the cards. Of course, I still would have gotten away with some tricks, but the boy’s stare fascinated me. It was the first game on that school yard that I did not attempt to turn the cards to my favour before we had even started playing.
“You go first,” I told the Usul. This time, it was me watching his hands closely. He seemed more experienced than the other kids, so I had to be careful. But even though I analyzed his every movement, I could not catch him attempting to cheat.
It was an exhausting game. Pandoriano proved to be a worthy challenger.
“Ready to lay down your cards?” he finally asked. I nodded. There was no way he could beat my hand.
And I was right. Pandoriano did not beat me. But I did not beat him either. I gasped as I looked at the cards. “It’s a tie,” I exclaimed, feeling colour raise to my cheeks. In all my years as a professional, this had never happened to me before.
The Usul grinned. “I win,” he said and reached out for my coins.
I pulled them back before he had a chance to take them. “No way. You didn’t beat me. It’s a tie.”
“It is. But we never bet on me beating you. You said that you bet your coins on beating me. You didn’t, so I win those coins.”
Clever. This boy was not only a good card player but also intelligent. Grudgingly, I gave him the coins. A bet is a bet and even though I did not like it, my honour forced me to pay my debt. “Well done,” I praised him, a plan already forming in my mind. “You wouldn’t mind pairing up, would you? I think we’d make a great team.”
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