Dragon Devouring Mage Chapter 205

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Dragon devouring mage

EPISODE 103

Snip.

With practiced ease, the man snipped off the end and struck the flint lightly.

Tock tock, hiss.

Soon enough, sparks ignited and a pungent odor spread in all directions—a sort of poisonous smoke stinging the eyes and nose.

Cigars.

A recent fad slowly gaining popularity, they were said to be produced somewhere in the western parts of the continent.

Of course, they were quite expensive, but for him…

This place was the Merchant Nation, where goods from across the continent passed through at least once, and he was Andreas Dalton.

He was one of the main figures of the Reverse Pentagram, the massive organization ruling over the underworld of the Arcane Merchant Nation and the manager of this vast casino.

Given the incredible amount of money that moved in and out daily here, the fees that fell into his lap far exceeded the income of any average noble house.

‘Hmm…’

However, the expression on the face of the man chewing on his cigar was far from pleasant.

It was to be expected.

“Have our revenues been a bit too low these past few days?”

The sales had noticeably decreased in just five days. Not every single day had seen a dramatic decrease, of course.

But the decline had started gradually from the first day and by the fifth day, the drop was significantly visible.

In answer to Andreas’s inquiry, one of his subordinates quickly bowed.

“That, you see, there’s been this customer who keeps winning money recently…”

“Winning money?”

“Yes. Five days ago, a young couple from the northern frostlands arrived at the casino. The husband in particular has skills that are nothing short of miraculous.”

At his subordinate’s words, Andreas rose from his seat. Heading to the balcony, he lightly surveyed the floor below.

‘Is it that man?’

As described, a young man with platinum-blond hair was playing blackjack.

There was a mountain of coins piled in front of him that begged the question of just how much he had won. The dealer, facing the man, was covered in cold sweat.

“Hmm…”

Andreas licked his lower lip slowly with his tongue while observing the scene for a while. It was because of the woman sitting next to the man, sipping on her drink.

‘She does have a somewhat fierce look…’

But wasn’t she a rare beauty? He felt a surge of excitement not felt in a long while and grinned.

Hiss.

He rubbed the cigar he had been smoking against the edge of the desk to extinguish it and said,

“Bring them to the penthouse.”

This casino was his sanctuary.

Here, he was the law, he was the king.

There were endless ways to obtain what he wanted.

Of course, that was until he realized…

“… “

…that this sanctuary was inside the maw of a dragon.

It hadn’t taken long to come to that understanding.

.

.

Russel laid down his hand of cards and reached out.

Coins were dragged from in front of the dealer to his side.

Click, swish, click.

The sound of the coins clashing echoed lightly, resulting in another tower of coins piling up in front of him.

He had come prepared to lose some money, but he had hardly expected to keep winning like this.

‘After all, the real issue was to draw their attention, winning or losing didn’t matter.’

With the unexpected gain, Russel smiled, his winning streak nothing short of overwhelming.

On the flipside, the dealer’s face turned pale as his pile of coins dwindled.

“Oho.”

Muyaho, who had been sipping on her drink, asked with genuine curiosity,

“Incredible. Male. When you bet confidently, nine out of ten times, you win…”

The coins Russel won might as well have been hers by the way she picked them up one by one to order her expensive drinks.

Yet, it didn’t matter.

The drinks were not cheap, but given the amount Russel had won, it wasn’t anything excessive.

In response to Muyaho’s question, Russel replied nonchalantly,

“I merely understood the game’s rules and approached it probabilistically.”

“Probabilities?”

“Yes.”

At first, he had bet small amounts to understand the rules clearly, alternating between wins and losses…

‘Once the rules are known, it becomes a battle of the mind.’

Remembering the numbers they dealt and predicting the cards yet to come and those that would follow. This was the key to victory in this game.

‘It may be impossible for ordinary people…’

…but to a high circle mage, this kind of numerical play and battle of probabilities was trivial.

“Haha, sir, you are quite remarkable.”

The sweating dealer laid out a freshly shuffled deck.

“Yes, I’ve been rather fortunate these last few days.”

As Russel nonchalantly replied and shrugged his shoulders, Muyaho suddenly brought the whiskey glass to her lips.

Careful not to catch anyone’s attention, Russel glanced around lightly.

‘It should be about time for the bite.’

Unbeknownst to him, Muyaho’s face had turned slightly red.

‘It was where my lips touched!’

Clink.

On the rocks. The sound of ice in the whiskey glass clinked, and behind it, Russel’s eyes shone fiercely like a predatory beast.

Whoosh.

‘Sure enough…’

In the distance, one of the casino’s top figures seemed to be approaching them.

“If it isn’t a hassle, may I invite you to a more comfortable spot, sir?”

He was grinning as if hosting a valuable guest, but why did that smile look like he was laying down some cheap trick…?

.

.

Penthouse.

Typically, the term refers to living quarters located at the very top of a building.

A vast space with stunning views, reserved exclusively for a select few privileged individuals.

Just such a space.

And at this casino, it was no different, with the exception that—

‘It’s not a living space but dedicated for gambling.’

A space fitting for the rich. Though not quite the same as those of the magic towers, even levitating stones were provided for access to the top floor.

Whirring.

As the levitating stone floated and the air pressure changed, you could feel the shift.

“First, please accept this, sir.”

An employee offered two items to Russel and Muyaho.

“What are these…?”

“Masks, I see.”

As Muyaho said, they were intricately designed masks meant to cover part of the face, particularly around the eyes.

The kind you might see at a masquerade ball.

“Some of our customers who use the penthouse may prefer not to reveal their identity.”

“I see.”

Russel nodded, putting on the mask nonchalantly. Muyaho, too, casually adorned the mask after inspecting it.

Ding.

The levitating stone reached the top floor, signaling their arrival, with the full view of the penthouse reveling itself.

At first glance, you could tell the pool table was made of expensive wood and stone, and the chandeliers, blending gold and crystal, shone brightly.

Its size nearly matched that of the casino’s first floor, though the number of customers occupying it was just a handful.

‘Only a few, but…’

While casually observing the room, Russel chuckled amusingly.

Then it happened.

“Ah! There you are.”

A man in a black suit clapped his hands as he walked towards them, a friendly face but with a sturdy build.

It was Andreas Dalton.

“I happened to see you playing earlier, sir. You seem too distinguished for the first floor, so I thought it best to invite you here.”

He glanced at Muyaho subtly as he spoke.

‘It looks like this is how things have turned out.’

Russel, reading the undercurrents of his deceptive intentions but not showing any signs of it, replied,

“Ha ha. Perhaps I’ve won too much money, it seems.”

[Should I just kill him, Male? That gaze is irritating.]

[No, that would only make things troublesome.]

Russel internally dismissed Muyaho’s telepathic inquiry as trivial. He had just escaped from the maw of a…

‘No, perhaps a wolf in this case?’

Unaware if it was just a ruse, Andreas laughed heartily,

“Haha, how could that be? You win some, you lose some, it’s all part of the game. But it seems the real game for a gentleman like yourself isn’t on the first floor but rather on a board as grand as this.”

As Andreas placed a pile of shuffled cards on the table, he invited them to take a seat.

“Please, sit down. As a welcome gesture, let me treat you to a drink. Hey, you there!”

“Yes.”

On cue, and clearly prepared beforehand, a glass of whiskey that looked rather potent was placed before them.

“Please, drink up!”

Trouble arose after Muyaho took a sip of the drink.

“─Blegh.”

She didn’t think much of it and gulped down the whiskey only to spit it back on the table.

Her gaze then transformed into a ferocious beast looking at an invader in its territory.

“Hey, Male. There’s something in this drink…”

Her voice was like a growling beast.

“I know. It’s been tampered with.”

Russel too flipped his glass right there and then.

Splash!

The amber liquid spilled, soaking the table wet, and the atmosphere in the room turned ice-cold.

Simultaneously, the characters who had been enjoying themselves around started to stand up slowly.

They withdrew various types of weapons from within their clothes, creating a menacing atmosphere.

Completely different from just moments ago when they seemed to be wealthy patrons merely gambling away.

But of course.

‘They were just disguised, they had been in cahoots from the start.’

Wasn’t it obvious, given how they had known to laugh sarcastically the moment they entered?

Click-click.

As Andreas’s underlings surrounded Russel and Muyaho, his expression suddenly changed completely.

“What a pity.”

The smile that looked so friendly vanished, replaced by the perfect visage of a high executive from the underworld.

“If you had just been drugged, you would have simply lost some money and that would’ve been it.”

“Would it just have been some money, really?”

“What…?”

In that moment, as if Russel’s voice had seen right through him, Dalton hesitated, and suddenly, whoosh!

Everything seemed to plunge into darkness as if hit by a wave of invisible force from the platinum-haired man.

‘W-what…?!’

Andreas felt as if he was being bound slowly by an intangible force, as though caught in a spider’s web, unable to so much as twitch a finger.

His henchmen, unaware of his plight, started shouting around them.

“What are you saying?”

“Are you blind to the situation?!”

If someone as capable as Andreas was affected to this degree, his men should’ve been trembling like aspens, completely falling apart, and yet they acted as if totally unaffected by the force.

‘Could it be just me?!’

Reaching the top ranks of the underworld wasn’t just due to his physical prowess. He had a sharp mind and keen awareness.

‘That tone of voice, as if it knows everything.

And to think of the events that transpired over the days, as if luring my attention!

‘Were they targeting me from the start…?!’

Realizing that the trap was set and he was the one being lured in all along, Dalton shouted abruptly,

“St-stop!”

He pushed away the oppressing force with all his might, signaling his men to back down.

Drip, drip.

Unbeknownst to him, sweat beads had formed and were now dripping onto the blackjack table.

“What brings you here…?”

Andreas Dalton asked with a trembling voice, unable to hide its shaking.

“The…Overlord?”

Feeling something off, his underlings mumbled, but Dalton didn’t respond.

Instead, his eyes darted violently, focusing solely on Russel.

Finally obtaining the table he desired, Russel curved one side of his mouth upward.

“I’ve come to ask for assistance from someone powerful within the underworld… though I wonder if we can come to an agreement.”

“A-assistance…?”

As Dalton stuttered, Russel’s message spell entered his ear.

[I need two perfectly forged identities for disguise. Can you manage that?]

The line ended with an implication, making the messenger—the magician who had swallowed the dragon—wait for an answer.

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