After a few more weeks of uneventful travel, the party arrived in Crystal Bay where the Golden Goblin was holding their special gambling tournament. It turned out that pretty much everyone at random had been invited, as a publicity stunt, but Kijji was still convinced it was their DESTINY and decided to join. Ishtar was the only other [NPC] party member to join the contest, although a few other people did try some gambling.
The casino was devil-themed -- all the casino girls were dressed as succubi, and the sign-up sheet for the contest required you to sign over your immortal soul to 'Old Scratch', a caged imp hanging near the ceiling. The winner would keep their winnings, get all the entry fees as an additional prize, and recover their soul. Kijji and Ishtar did have Sin verify that the contract was a non-magical gimmick and not some sort of binding devil deal before signing up.
About halfway through the contest, however, the casino was robbed. Kijji and Keit -- along with most of the patrons and all of the bouncers -- were blinded by a flashbang grenade (er, a Pyrotechnics spell), while a woman demanded that everyone drop to the floor and hand over all their valuables. Their real target was the chest full of prize money, though.
Jade and Ishtar engaged the thugs (well, some of the thugs, the rest were robbing patrons) while Sin started shooting arrows at the woman who seemed to be the leader. The mage who'd cast Pyrotechnics used Shrink Item on the chest and tossed it to her as she ran out the door. Sin followed, and managed to finish her off outside the casino but before she could get to a sewer entrance, and claimed the shrunken chest as his own. And then hid it, claiming on his return that she'd managed to ditch it before he took her down.
Meanwhile, Keit and Kijji eventually managed to clear their eyes. Kijji stopped flying around trying to verbally taunt the enemies, and started trying to kill the imp, that had been released from its cage. This was futile, but it was a better idea than going after the thugs would have been since his splash weapons would have killed dozens of patrons and his lack of the precise shot feat made shooting arrows at the thugs useless. The imp got away. Keit managed to run down and kill the mage, at least, and with their leaders gone the thugs retreated.
The party looted the mage and bard, and were approached by the casino owner who paid them off with 150% cash-in value on their chips (he kept the souls though) and offered to hire them on to protect him, since obviously his previous attempt to hire thugs to guard him hadn't worked. He'd even make them partners, so that they could share in the casino's profits, assuming it was able to make a profit. The loss of the chest full of money was a huge blow.
It really wasn't a very attractive offer, but... Destiny!
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