While Lykas and Isabel go and double up in the black market, Querrick and Presley continue with the operation meeting up with Victor the Bum again. They give him the hundred thousand Carnage Gold and he goes and puts it in the secret account that automatically invests the money in the stock market and DRIP’s it. Presley takes the lead and they end up at another café called Morty’s. In this café they slip through the back where a large, circular table resides with seven seats. Querrick and Presley take their place at the table and wait for the other five men that run the surface level of the black market. These men are anonymous but will deal with anyone that has either money, status, or an ability to perform. Just so happens that Querrick and Presley combined have all three in abundance.
The five men come out the room and take their seats at the table, the fifth one bringing out a wheel with a list of games on it. Querrick gets up and spins the wheel and it lands on the game Carnage Sin. In this game, each player gets seven cards representing the deadly sins. Each sin is worth a set amount of ten thousand Carnage Gold (or less depending on how much money is on the line). Complementary sins like greed and gluttony or pride and wrath are worth thirty thousand Carnage Gold. There are three types of wins: win by complementary, win by seven sins (worth one hundred thousand Carnage Gold), and win by wrath. A win by complementary simply means you luck up and draw four pairs out of seven draws, a win by seven means you draw all seven sins at the same time, and a win by wrath means you draw seven wraths.
The game is very simple but very deadly for the average man, as he cannot afford the stakes that come with losing. The loser is simply the one with the least value, and the loser has to do favors of the winner’s choosing no matter how demeaning and base.
The men sit at the table and game begins.
The dealer at the head shuffles the cards (Querrick and Presley pay close attention to his style) and deals each player seven cards. When all the cards are dealt the round begins as the head draws one card (wrath) and places it face up at the center. Each player draws their cards: Querrick gets wrath which is an automatic twenty thousand Carnage Gold, Presley draws greed (which isn’t complementary) and gets a value of twenty-five hundred, the other five men draw lust, pride for thirty thousand Carnage Gold, sloth, gluttony, and envy.
“Is the envy rule in play?” Querrick asks.
“No.” one of the men answers, “that only applies to average players. And the Headhunter is anything but.”
“Hm.” Querrick responds.
“Round two.” The dealer calls as he shuffles the deck again, removes wrath from the center and places another card at the center. This time it’s envy.
Each player draws a card and places it on top of their previous draw. Querrick gets pride and Presley gets sloth for another twenty-five hundred Carnage Gold. The other men draw envy (twenty thousand Carnage Gold), greed, wrath, gluttony, and lust for seventy-five hundred Carnage Gold. Lust and envy aren’t true complementary sins, but they do feed off each other in specific circumstances, due to their paradoxical nature their value is tripled.
Presley sits at five thousand Carnage Gold and Querrick sits at twenty-five thousand. The other men sit at five thousand, twenty-five thousand, ten thousand, five thousand, and five thousand.
The game is off to a slow start.
“Something’s off.” Presley whispers.
“I know,” Querrick says, “almost like their stalling for something.”
“Or someone knows our operation.”
“Unlikely,” Querrick says, “the nature of it is concealed and the head of finance is the only one that knows. If anyone else found out it would have to be a spy of some sort; however, we covered our tracks so that’s not the issue. Probably a set-up.”
“You say that so casually.” Presley smirks as the dealer removes envy, shuffles the deck and places a single card at the center which is sloth.
Presley draws another sloth for twenty thousand Carnage gold which him in the lead with thirty thousand Carnage Gold. Querrick draws sloth as well which puts him way in the lead with forty-five thousand Carnage Gold. The other man draw envy, envy, lust, gluttony, and greed all for twenty-five hundred which sits them at thirty thousand, seventy-five hundred for three men, and twelve thousand five hundred for the last man.
Now things are picking up.
Suddenly there’s a knock on the door. One of the men get up and looks through the peephole and he gets a sword through the skull for it.
“Shit.” Querrick says, “Someone’s onto us.”
Querrick and Presley get up as the door is busted off its hinges and a group of militias raid the place. Querrick and Presley slip through the back and three militia give chase. The other men are caught and arrested by none other than Lucius, leader of the private militia for the Dark Commander and High Priestess.
“Why am I not surprised?” Querrick says.
“You know that guy?” Presley asks.
“Yeah,” Querrick says, “I guess he’s here to make sure I do my job in taking your head. I figured I had enough time but, apparently, the Dark Commander and High Priestess are getting impatient.”
“Those are some loving parents you got there,” Presley says, “sending a babysitter to make sure their killer son catches his prey.”
“Yeah,” Querrick says, “let’s find the kids and get out of here.”
Querrick and Presley split up and quickly lose the militias as they don’t know the black market and its twists and turns. Querrick finds Lykas and Isabel running scams on the street and it seems Lykas is making a killing. Isabel is the first to turn and see Querrick running and taps Lykas on the shoulder, Lykas sees and quickly finishes his opponent, takes the money and dashes without another word. The opponent acts as if nothing happened as grab n’ dash is common in the black market.
“Where’s the broke pimp?” Lykas asks as they run down the alley.
“He’ll meet us on the other side,” Querrick says, “someone’s trying to throw a monkey wrench in the operation.”
“Any idea who?” Isabel asks.
“I know exactly who it is.” Querrick says.
Querrick and the kids find Presley hiding behind a dumper inside dockyard 66 just outside the square.
“You lose them?” Presley asks.
“For now.” Querrick says, “I think the beneficiary wants your head pretty badly.”
“Ya think?” Presley says, “I have information that can bring down his entire empire, of course he wants my head!”
“Ah, so that’s what it is,” Querrick says, “what’s you relation to him?”
“I was his right-hand man,” Presley says, “his top financial advisor. Made him a lot of money really fast and propelled him to the top. One of the other guys, second fiddle, got jealous and fucked up the main bank account which caused the beneficiary to lose out on fifty million Carnage Gold. He was furious. The second guy blamed me and conjured up false documents “proving” I was the one who sabotaged his big deal intentionally. The beneficiary believed him and put me on the run, now he wants my head unless I can come up with one hundred million Carnage Gold. So far I haven’t been able to get my hands on that type of money.”
“Until today,” Querrick says.
“Seems like someone doesn’t want you to succeed, so they set a countermeasure.”
“So what about the operation?” Presley asks.
“It’s still on,” Querrick says, “no one knows Victor the Bum and the investment will still reach ten million by week’s end. For the other ninety we’ll have to triple our investments through unconventional means.”
“We can help with that.” Lykas says, “I doubled up to ten thousand in less than thirty minutes. I was gonna go for twenty when you showed up running for dear life.”
“Looks like you’re quite the gambler,” Querrick says, “Alright, how about a loan?”
“How much?” Lykas asks.
“Sure,” Lykas says, “at a five percent interest rate, of course.”
“already ripping people off, huh?” Querrick says, “deal.”
Lykas gives Querrick the ten thousand and they spit in their hands and shake on it. Isabel shakes her head in mild disappointment.