Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 121,679,817 Issue: 245 | 23rd day of Relaxing, Y8
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A Dicey Situation

by perseph4981


"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 their ranks.

     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 the locals.

     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.

The End

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