Chapter 188:

Casino Royale

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The crowd in the casino had become thinner and thinner as the fight wore on. Between Evron’s ability to send people away and many fleeing due to his overwhelming advantage, only four were left—Odell, Tancred, Rym, and Lucchi.

The crime lord shook his head.

“Cowards, the lot of them,” he mumbled as he held his bat ready. The last of his men had fled with some of the regular patrons deep in the hotel. They were unaware that Evron was planning to hunt any witnesses down as soon as he wrapped up in the empty casino.

Tables had been overturned, and drinks spilled across the floor during the fight. Some bright lights had been cracked, and fancy decorations were damaged. No one inside paid any mind to the damage they caused, however.

“To you’re right!” Tancred shouted. The three others in the casino did as he said. Evron appeared behind where Rym had stood seconds before. His hand was outstretched to grab her, but he clenched his scaly fingers into a fist when his attack had been evaded once again.

Over and over, Tancred had been reading Evron like a book. Even as the allies split further apart, they listened to his shouted warnings. Lucchi had ordered his subordinates to follow suit after seeing Evron miss multiple times, but none had been willing to let go of their pride.

The crime boss tightened his grip on the bat that he held.

“I lost about half my organization to you….” he muttered.

Evron had no interest in Lucchi and instead put his attention on Tancred. The short Bentalousian had issued warnings but was not enough of a fighter to attempt trading blows. It annoyed Evron all the more that the only person to predict his moves was unwilling to fight.

“Why can’t things ever go right?” the light blue Zenotote said in a hushed whine. He cleared his throat and looked to Tancred. “You seem like an admirable opponent. Instead of fighting the losing battle, why not join me?”

“To the left!” Tancred shouted. An instant later and Evron just missed swiping where Odell was. The grey prince stumbled as he tried to escape the attack. He had hardly contributed against Evron and was wondering if he could be of any help.

Evron clenched his hand into a fist again and ground his sharp teeth.

“Why, why, why!” he muttered silently.

Tancred, without a word, leaped backward to avoid a swipe from a suddenly appearing Evron.

“The more frustrated you get, the easier you are to read!” he shouted mockingly, which only served to irritate Evron more.

Something snapped in Evron. Tancred didn’t see it, not in time at least; he never assumed that the Zenotote would be able to flip so suddenly.

Tears streaked down Evron’s face, and he screamed. With a burst of speed, he closed the gap between Tancred and himself and smashed the short Bentalousian into the floor with all his might. Tancred let out a grunt from the sudden blow, but Evron didn’t let up as he struck the grey opponent with a series of punches. No impact set a timer for teleportation on Tancred, Evron was too enraged to think clearly, and even if he was, he wouldn’t have wanted to give the short Bentalousian a break.

Lucchi picked up on the change and Evron and charged in to strike. He swung his bat at the back of Evron’s head, but the blue Zenotote ducked without even looking at his opponent. He moved quickly but stiffly as he spun around and struck Lucchi in the chin.

Rym gasped as the crime boss was thrust half his height into the air and crashed down on the ground.

The casino grew silent for a moment as Evron wiped the tears from his eyes. He was surprised to see both Tancred and Lucchi unconscience on the floor, but he had enough experience with the episodes to know what had happened.

“Apologies,” Evron said after clearing his throat, “I meant to do you in more eloquently. Rest assured, I will take the two of you down gracefully.”

Odell gulped, and Rym looked around the room for a place to flee.

Evron targeted Odell first; useless as the prince may have been for the duration of the fight, he still bore a Needaimus, which made him an instant target for any fighter.

The Hobusian prince, for his part, picked up on Evron’s intentions and ducked to the side just before the blue Zenotote appeared behind him. Though Odell counted his timing as luck, he was beginning to pick up on the patterns of his opponent.

While Evron gritted his teeth in frustration, Odell looked around for something he could use to defend himself. He was at risk to touch his opponent as he might get teleported away, and even if he didn’t, the blue Zenotote was no pushover when it came to a fight. Odell silently wished for Hal to still be around as he looked for something to use.

His eyes eventually locked onto one of the statues along the outer wall. It had had its head knocked off in the battle but was a depiction of one of the Ancients, Hanyss, the daughter of Crenussal as the stories went. She was known as a warden of mining, construction, and tools, among other things, and many statues were made with her holding a large metal hammer. Naturally, Odell saw the hammer.

He quickly ran to the statue and pulled the large metal weapon off. It had a square face, and the back ended at a point. The handle was long and wrapped with leather. Ordinarily, it would be custom to ask permission from the idol before taking from it, but Odell figured he was in enough of a hurry Hanyss would understand.

The metal object was forged for decoration, not combat, and it made a loud clunk as its weight brought it to the ground. Evron chuckled as he saw Odell try to lift it in a panic. The blue Zenotote began to stroll across the room to his opponent. He spent the time thinking of the worst location possible to send the young prince.

Odell took a deep breath to calm himself. He realized he was spinning his wheels like he had in the card game. There was no reason he had to worry, he thought to himself. He considered his time fooling around in the castle garage. The mechanics would hide him under tools and equipment when anyone royal came looking—they loved that the young prince took an interest in them and showed him all sorts of tricks to the trade. He may not have been the brightest when it came to studies, but Odell was confident that he could work his way around a tool, and what was a hammer if not that?

He thought about what to do, and once he was calm, the idea sprang out in a sudden burst. There were many times when he used his abilities to float while carrying things around. He never thought much of it, but if only his body was made light enough to float, the tools or whatever clothes he had on would have still weighed him down. The Hobusian prince didn’t have much longer to dwell on his idea and instead went straight to practical use. The hammer was lifted off the ground as he focused his ability on it.

The sudden movement made Evron stop as Odell turned to him with a wide smile. The prince spun the now lightened hammer around like a baton before setting it firmly in his hands.

Odell burst across the room in a lightened state. Evron just barely jumped back as the hammer was smashed into the floor. The ground shattered in many directions, and the casino shook as Odell turned it heavy just before impact.

The prince stumbled some as he was also shocked by the blow's force. He figured about half the applied weight would be good enough for future attacks as he looked back to Evron. The hammer was lifted again, and he prepared for his next attack.

Evron shook his head and put his plans to teleport Odell away aside. If it was a random spot, the prince could live, and it was quickly becoming apparent to the blue Zenotote that any chance of that was risky. He would have to kill Odell in the casino and ensure it was thorough to be sure that he would not be a threat in the future. Evron held up his arms and glared at Odell as the prince placed the hammer's handle across his shoulder. For the grey Hobusian’s part, he was unaware of just how dangerous his foe really was.