[Ara.
Welcome.]

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Seeing the man who walked into my establishment, I couldn’t help but be curious.

 

 

He was dressed in all black and carried an old sword at his waist.

He was dressed like a veteran adventurer, but his behavior and mannerisms weren’t of one.

 

 

[Fufu…… Welcome to the world of dreams and desires, .
I am your dream guide, Circular.]

 

 

Behind the smile on my lips as I introduced myself, my eyes silently assessed the customer.

 

 

(I guess he’s a third-rate pretending to be a first-rate huh.)

 

 

His tone of voice is casual and cool, but there’s still a hint of awkwardness in it.

If it’s this easy to guess what kind of person he is, I suppose he isn’t that great of a person.

 

 

The same is true for the way he glances at my chest.

Of course, this isn’t enough to be described as supporting evidence, but the first-rate are usually those who stand out, and they often show no interest or don’t hide their interest with that kind of matters at all.

 

 

(I guess this one’s a miss huh.)

 

 

I thought I would be able to eat some good quality magic, but I guess I would be left disappointed today.

However, being able to toy with the inexperienced isn’t so, no, being able to toy with the inexperienced was instead more to my liking.

 

 

[Is this your first time here? If you like, I can show you how to play in this casino.]

 

 

Putting on a mask of kindness, I approached the young man with a heartfelt smile.

 

 

 

 

 

※ ※ ※

 

 

 

 

 

The man chose the roulette table.

 

 

[Ara, so you’ve chosen to play the roulette.
Place your tokens then touch the crystal.
The roulette will then start automatically.]

(The roulette to heaven, that is.)

 

 

I watched with a smile as the man placed his token in the Odd column and began to spin the roulette wheel.

 

 

(Fufu.
How cute.
He’s so clueless that he’s playing the roulette of death.)

 

 

This roulette is literally a devil’s trap.

The crystal ball used to spin the roulette has a mechanism that sucks the life out of anyone who touches it.

 

 

The vitality taken from the customers who visit the casino.

This is the food and entertainment for I, the Demon Circular.

 

 

However, this alone may cause the customers to notice something unusual.

For this reason, I had prepared a sweet, sweet nectar that drew them in.

All the games, including the roulette, have tricks to keep the customers in the game and squeeze the magic power out of them until the very end.

 

 

(Now, dance for me.)

 

 

The mechanism is simple.

When you touch the crystal ball, the table glows and reads the tokens placed by the customers.

Then, based on that information, the wheel’s tricks are activated.

 

 

For example, in the current case, 1 token is bet on an Odd number, so the Odd-numbered slots in the wheel are enchanted with “Attraction” Magic to attract the ball.

The ball doesn’t always go into the slots with Attraction Magic, but by doing this, the probability that the customer will hit an Odd number increases dramatically.

 

 

Few would leave their seat while the game was being won.

It’s not good for the customers to lose too soon, but it’s not good for them to win too much.

 

 

(It’s not that I’m letting the customers live, but I don’t want to kill them either.
I need them to get into the game as much as possible and provide me with a delicious meal.)

 

 

In that sense, this man was an ideal “customer”.

 

 

Every time the man spins the roulette wheel, good-quality magic power enriches me.

Moreover, he was endlessly making Odd bets with only 1 token, and although he was winning overall, there were no significant fluctuations.

 

 

What I didn’t expect though was that the man showed no signs of fatigue, even though he had already been sucked off his vitality eight times.

Perhaps, he may be a better Adventurer than I thought.

 

 

(This is going to be a whole lot of fun.)

 

 

Having changed my assessment of him, I approached the man noiselessly, like a snake stalking its prey.

 

 

[Ara, amazing! Four wins in a row! As expected of a first-rate Adventurer, your luck is also first-rate.]

 

 

 

I flattered him.

However, he didn’t seem to respond at all.

 

 

(Hmmm.
This is……)

 

 

I could tell from his reaction when we first met that it isn’t that he’s unaffected by my loveliness and charm.

And yet, this reaction……

 

 

While I pondered this, the man proceeds with the roulette.

What he took out is still that dull-colored token.

 

 

Tokens vary in value depending on the material, with Copper, Iron, Silver, Gold, Mithril, Rainbow Metal, Orichalcon and Adamantite…… Increasing in value in that order.

I myself have never seen tokens higher than Mithril being used, but anyway, what the man used was a single Copper token, the lowest value token and one I see the most.

 

 

Just like before, he made a 1 point bet on the Odd using 1 token.

 

 

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This time, however, after touching the crystal ball, just before his bet was sucked into the table, he seemed to have changed his mind and tossed two additional tokens into the Odd column.

 

 

(Ara……)

 

 

It wasn’t very well-mannered of him to do that, but I didn’t find fault about it.

I won’t expect any mannerisms or decency from Adventurers like him.

 

 

Rather, this unprecedented move was a sign of a change in the man’s mind.

The man who had stubbornly bet only 1 token before now put in three times as many tokens.

What does the fact that he did this mean?

 

 

As two pairs of eyes watched, the ball spins in the wheel protected by a glass case.

The Attraction Magic that had been set up worked correctly this time, and the little ball governed by destiny was attracted into the Odd-numbered slot this time as well.

 

 

With a jingling sound, the tokens are paid back.

Double the 3 token wager he did, 6 Copper tokens are spat out of the ejector.

 

 

[……In this case……]

 

 

His lips slacking to a smile and with the tokens in hand, I heard him mutter as such.

 

 

I was about to give my opinion, when I heard the man’s voice.

 

 

[Sorry, you’re kinda distracting, so could you please not stand next to me?]

 

 

But I stopped when I heard what the man said.

 

 

[Fufu, how unfriendly.
……I understand, please enjoy yourself to your heart’s content.]

 

 

On the surface, I had responded calmly, but inside, my mind was in quite the shambles.

 

 

(He might have figured it out! That this roulette has a trick in it……!)

 

 

Looking back, he had been acting strange from the beginning.

 

 

A single small bet, as if he’s trying to ascertain something.

The way he often looked at me, as if he was checking my position.

Those last self-assured words he said in the end, his attitude as if he was sure of something.

 

 

If he was being vigilant about cheating on the table, that would make sense.

Things would make sense then.

 

 

This roulette trick isn’t one that I freely decide on the spot though, but one that is automatically triggered in response to a pre-assumed situation.

In other words, it’s not something he can stop just by being vigilant.

 

 

Suppose the win rate is manipulated to get customers hooked on a game that can kill them if continued too long though……

In that case, there’s a clear solution.

 

 

 

————–They can bet a lot of tokens at once, win the game and redeem their desired prize before they’re completely drained of vitality.

 

 

 

The casino’s goal is to steal magic power in the guise of the games, but the casino’s prize is real.

In fact, it could even be said that I was at a fatal disadvantage, since I used the magic power I accumulated to generate the prizes.

 

 

(If…… If that man had……)

 

 

If that man really had seen through the fact that I’m cheating on the roulette table, and he’s going to mobilize all of his own financial resources to smash this contraption using a high-value token, that would be……

That would be……

 

 

 

(————–so wonderful!!!)

 

 

 

With ecstatic eyes, I watched the man walk toward the Token Vending Machine.

I can’t see the man’s hand clearly, but I can see the magic flowing from the vending machine toward me.

 

 

(Ahh, ahhh……! Wonderful, this is so wonderful!)

 

 

Money, which is imbued with human greed, though not as much as the vitality I stole from people, is also a source of sustenance for me.

From what I felt, I realized that a high-grade token, perhaps worth a million wen, has been purchased.
A gold token.

 

 

(I’m sorry I underestimated you.
You really are the best.)

 

 

Oh, intelligent and incredibly cute Adventurer-sama.

 

 

(I bet you must be patting yourself in the back for a job well done, thinking you’ve outsmarted me.)

 

 

I do think it’s commendable that he figured out the trick in the roulette table.

After all, of the countless humans who have visited this place, there has only been a handful who were able to figure it out.

But you see……

 

 

 

(The purpose of my casino, my web is to have those lovely humans taste despair!)

 

 

 

Standing behind the counter, I laughed.

 

 

It’s true that this casino had cheats to increase the odds of winning for those who have no money and no skill.

However, that doesn’t mean that the casino is inept against those who have both the money and strength.

 

 

The casino’s second and most important trick!

 

 

 

————–The moment a high-grade token is wagered and the payout exceeds a Gold token, the trick flips.

 

 

 

The trick that “attracts” the ball into the slot wagered and offers a win to the player turns into a cold devil’s trap.

The slots on which high-grade tokens are wagered are enchanted with a “Repulsion” Magic, so that no ball will ever enter those slots.

 

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At that moment, the calm hope would turn to cold despair!

 

 

(Fu…… Fufufu…… After all, our motto here is to keep the customers alive, not kill them.
We don’t want them to lose too soon, but we don’t want them to win too much.
That’s why……)

 

 

At that moment, the time I’ve been waiting for arrives.

Unable to curb my curiosity, I looked at him from behind the counter.

 

 

Back to the roulette table, the man held multiple tokens.

And among them, I could see tokens shining in a golden hue.

 

 

[————–!]

 

 

Sensing my excitement, the man’s sharp gaze pierces me.

 

 

Thereupon, with admirable movements, I lowered my gaze, as if I were afraid of him.

“”

I could still feel the man’s gaze even with my face down.

 

 

(Let’s not lose our mind here, let’s not be hasty……)

 

 

It would be meaningless to alarm the man here if he stopped betting.

 

 

It doesn’t matter where he bets, as long as it’s the Gold token.

With Gold tokens, the payout will cross the line no matter where he bets.

All I have to do is just wait for “that moment”.

 

 

With my face kept down, I couldn’t help but lick my lips.

 

 

(Ahh! Faster! Faster! Faster! Faster!)

 

 

The time when the prey is driven to the corner is the sweetest, happiest time of the day.

Like a child in front of an exquisite feast, I heard the sound of the roulette wheel starting to move.

 

 

Even though I couldn’t see it, it feels like I could see it all happening.

The wheel spun and spun, and the ball bounced, bounced and bounced, before eventually falling into one of the slots.

 

 

(Here it comes!!!)

 

 

Feeling the prospect of the incoming joy, I raised my gaze.

Then, I looked at the man, trying to savor his sweet despair————–

 

 

 

[Ah————!?]

 

 

 

At that moment, my vision was distorted.

 

 

It was momentary dizziness.

It wasn’t that much of a shock, but because of that, I missed the decisive moment.

 

 

I  hurriedly stole a glance at the man’s expression.

 

 

(Eh?)

 

 

There is no noticeable change in the man’s expression.

His tension seemed to have risen a bit, but that’s about it.

At the very least, he doesn’t look like he just lost a huge stake.

 

 

(Did he not bet the Gold tokens on the roulette earlier?)

 

 

If it’s this man, who had been opting for a wait-and-see approach up to this point, that could be possible.

 

 

In that case, I could feel relieved.

It’s great that there was no decisive moment that I missed earlier.

 

 

(……However, what was that dizziness?)

 

 

Putting behind the vague sense of uneasiness and doubt I had in mind, the wheel of fortune began to move again.

Through the glass covering the wheel, the ball spins and spins, before dropping on a slot.

 

 

 

————–GAKUUUN!

 

 

 

My body staggered back with a powerful jerk.

This time, what happened really wasn’t just my imagination.

 

 

(What is going on…… It’s like something is being drained from me……)

 

 

I shudder at that thought.

No longer concerned about how suspicious the man is, I followed my hunch and looked at the table.

 

 

Just as I had imagined, there were indeed Gold tokens placed on the table.

However……

 

 

(What in the world is that betting!?)

 

 

The Gold tokens were placed in the Odd and Even columns, one in each.

 

 

With that betting strategy, the ball would neither fall on Odd or Even, he’d end up not gaining anything.

No, on the contrary, if it fell on 0, neither an Odd or Even number, his bet would have just been taken away……

 

 

[……Ah.]

 

 

But I quickly found the answer to my question.

 

 

With a clunk, the roulette was started again.

Then, I saw the man reach into the 0 area, and there, I realized.

 

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[Ahhhh, no, it can’t be……]

“”

 

 

If you bet a Gold token, the ball will never fall on the slot where you bet that token.

So, if you bet on both Odd and Even, the ball will always fall to the 0 slot, to the only slot that was neither Odd nor Even.

 

 

And it’s immediately after touching the crystal ball that the token determines where the bet was placed.

So, if you place your real bets on the 0 slot between the time you touch the crystal ball and the time the tokens are collected……

 

 

 

————–The ball will always fall on 0 slot, and the player is assured of a 36 times payout.

 

 

 

That is the perfect strategy for this roulette game.

 

 

I felt like the ground I’m standing on crumbling beneath my feet.

 

 

(But how!? His earlier bet should have been the first time he made a high-grade token bet!)

 

 

All the people who knew about this trick have been killed here.

The only person in this world who knew of this trick should just be me.

 

 

(Or perhaps, is he one of those!? Someone who has a devilish means to learn things they aren’t supposed to know……)

 

 

[————–Ghaaak!]

 

 

My thoughts were forcefully cut short by the shock.

And there, I finally realized what that shock was.

 

 

 

————–The lack of magic power due to the repayment for the high-grade token.

 

 

 

Everything in this casino is generated by my magic power.

If the tokens are made of rare metals, instead of Copper tokens, they must take a considerable amount of magic power.

 

 

Then, an ominous possibility loomed in my mind.

 

 

(Just now, I’ve been robbed of enough magic power to stagger back for tokens.
But in that case……)

 

 

 

————–What will happen to me if I’m forced to generate prizes with those tokens?

 

 

 

At the same time I came to that conclusion, it happened.

 

 

The man moved with the spat out coins in his hand.

He heads, of course, for the Price Vending Machine.

 

 

[Wait……!]

 

 

A hoarse voice came out of my throat.

I tried to run after him, but my legs were tangled and I couldn’t get any strength into them.

 

 

[Wait! Stop right there, human……!]

 

 

Far from the ladylike behavior I had displayed up to this point, I tried stopping him, no matter how unsightly and desperate I looked.

However, it was already too late.

 

 

The man tossed the coins into the vending machine without hesitation.

 

 

 

[AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!]

 

 

 

The pain of having my soul squeezed while alive!

Screaming in pain, I unsightly fell down on the ground.

 

 

(F- F- For such a thing to happen……)

 

 

Hundreds of years.

No, for years even more than that, I have lived by feeding on humans.

 

 

(And for a human to have……)

 

 

 

[UGYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!]

 

 

 

The pain that struck again terrified me.

 

 

(I’ll die.
I will die.
No! I won’t accept this! I…… I will……)

 

 

I crawled forward.

The man is just about to put an additional token into the vending machine.

 

 

(If he puts that one in, it’s over.)

 

 

A rainbow-colored token that I myself had never seen before.

I don’t think I could withstand the magic power drained from the items generated by that thing right now.

 

 

(What should I do? What’s the best thing I can do?)

 

 

Persuasion is probably impossible.

However, even if I wanted to eliminate him by force, fighting is forbidden in the casino, and that restriction also applies to myself.

So, even if I were to reveal my true form and attack him……

 

 

(……No, that’s not it!)

 

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[AGRAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!]

 

 

With a cry, I exerted the last ounce of my strength.

 

 

Unlike the screams of agony I had let out before, it was a warrior’s cry.

A cry filled with my determination to kill this person right now.

 

 

The skin of the beautiful woman cracked open, exposing my steel-like skin from within.

 

 

(Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on!!!)

 

 

Of course, being in this form doesn’t mean the man would be able to do anything against me.

However, if the man reacts to this form and attacks me, I can kick him out of the casino for violating the rules!

 

 

[GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!]

 

 

Hence, I howled.

“”

Trying to reach for the gleam of hope of my survival, I howled.

 

 

(If he attacks me, I win.
If he ignores me and inserts that coin, I lose.)

 

 

The final game.

The man finally moves in response to this decisive action.

 

 

Thereupon, seemingly puzzled, the man looked at me……

 

 

 

And quietly withdrew the token he was holding.

 

 

 

(————–I won!)

 

 

I screamed with joy in my heart.

However……

 

 

 

[————–Seems like you’re still pretty lively, so I guess I can still go a little further.]

 

 

 

I had no idea what the man had said at that moment.

 

 

It was only when the man walked away with the rainbow-colored coin in his hand and heard that abominable clattering sound that I understood.

“”

 

 

[Aaaahhh, a- aaaaahhhhh…….]

 

 

Perhaps, I would have been happier if he hadn’t realized that.

 

 

The man chose neither to redeem the last prize nor to defeat me……

He went to go and refill the roulette with more tokens to squeeze every last bit of magic power he could from me……

 

 

[Aaahhhh, aaaaaahhhhhh……]

 

 

The voice that leaked out of my mouth was no longer the cry of a warrior struggling to regain her footing or a dying demon begging for her life……

 

 

It was a cry of lament.

It was the groan of a beast that had realized its own mortality, but unable to admit it or resist it, a helpless groan.

 

 

With the sound of the ball falling on the wheel, my consciousness also faded away.

My weakened spirit couldn’t withstand even the generation of an illusory coin.

 

 

After losing consciousness, even I didn’t know how much my own body, which had accumulated magic power over the years, could withstand the generation of items.

 

 

All I knew was that I would never wake up again.

Crushed by that man’s desire, I will die.

 

 

(Ahh, I was mistaken.)

 

 

As I drew my last breath, I thought.

 

 

(How in the world could I have thought he’s third-rate? He, that man is……)

 

 

 

[A monster……]

 

 

 

The words uttered by the demon who fell to the ground dissipated into the air without being heard by anyone.

In a corner of a town, unseen by others, the life of a Great Demon who had lived for several hundred years has ended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

※ ※ ※

 

 

 

A few minutes later.

The casino doors opened and a man emerged from inside.

 

 

As he stepped out of the door, the building where he had spent just a few seconds earlier disappeared into thin air.

By the time a few seconds had passed, there was nothing there anymore, as if it had been an illusion all along.

 

 

[………………………]

 

 

Staring at the place that used to be a casino, the man stood still for a moment……

Then, with a somewhat melancholic expression on his face, he mumbled.

 

 

[……Ah, sh*t.
I forgot to leave some money on hand.]

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