Chapter 10:

C4: Can Trucks be Won in Poker Games?

This Elf Became a Trucker to Return to her World

 “Royal flush. That’s another win for me!”Bookmark here

“Gah! That’s all I had!”Bookmark here

So, it turned out that using the "See-Through" spell as an augmentation as I did with the invisibility on my ears made a great way to get fast money! I could see how far down I wanted to on the cards so I would know if I would be able to win with my hand. This "Poker" game they play here is a lot simpler than the games in my world, so money was coming in way quicker than I thought.Bookmark here

“Come on miss, one more round? My wife will kill me if I come back empty.”Bookmark here

"I don't know, didn't you say you were out of money?" Human men were easily fooled by this, I discovered. If you act cute and innocent and play things off as luck, they seem to let you get away with a lot of things. I even managed to get in without an ID because I flirted with the bouncer… Man, that's a weird evolution of misogyny this world obtained.Bookmark here

“I have one last thing I can ante up. But It’ll be an all or nothing.” He pulled out a set of keys from his pocket. “I ante up my pickup truck.”Bookmark here

A pickup! It wasn’t quite the truck I wanted to experiment with, but it is a truck, nonetheless. This was my big breakthrough.Bookmark here

“Not that a girlie like you would have much use for it, but you could sell it for a good bit.” Yeah, I’m not gonna touch that one.Bookmark here

“Oh wow, in that case… all or nothing, right?” I slid my pile of tokens across the table. This guy seemed serious. Did he have a trick up his sleeve? Little did he know I started from nothing anyway! If I lost it all here it would just go back to me living on the library roof and doing light shows. But no, this is finally a break for me! Something good had finally happened! Bookmark here

The dealer silently dealt us hands. A crowd had gathered watching us. Some were probably accomplices watching to see if I was cheating somehow (even though I was.) I looked at the cards as they were drawn. I'm one card short of a flush, but two cards short of a straight… What's his hand? Oh, he ended up with three pairs again. What is this guy's luck? Anyway, I looked at what would be the top cards of the deck. I had a good chance of getting my straight, but the flush would depend on him drawing at least one card...Bookmark here

“Crap I fold.” The man placed his cards down on the table.Bookmark here

“What?” The opponent just gave up! What happened?Bookmark here

It looked like he nodded to someone. "Well, here are my keys. They're all yours now."Bookmark here

“Oh, um… thank you?”Bookmark here

He sighed as he stood up from the table. Well, better call my wife to let her know I’ll be late tonight.” He walked off towards a communication device in the corner of the establishment. Bookmark here

“Well, I think I should call it a day then too. I’m getting bored.” This act was hard to put up with, but these men seemed to enjoy it. I cashed in my winnings for the day- ending up with just over $6,000 and a pickup truck! I wonder which one it is… I walked outside and pressed in on the indentation on the key; truck in the parking lot flashed its lights. That’s definitely it! Bookmark here

It was dark out now, so I didn't need to be as stealthy. I made my way over to the pickup, reaching my hand out to rub its hood. "Yes, that's another step closer…" I then decided the best course of action, for now, would be in storing it in one of the data crystals I had with me. Unfortunately, this means I had to use the largest one, the one containing the holy sword, and empty it to have room for the pickup to fit. I then proceeded to strap the holy sword to my back with an invisibility spell on it.Bookmark here

All was going well, perhaps too well. I decided to give it a safe bet for this late and sleep atop the roof of the casino. I managed to overhear that he had called the police to claim his vehicle as stolen. Well, it kinda was but that's still rude. The police made fun of him when he told them a girl 'put the truck in a rock and flew away,' claiming him to be drunk. Guess maybe it was a good thing I didn't use invisibility; if they had opened an investigation that could have been troublesome.
 Now, this truck might not be able to replicate the entirety of the results a full-sized one could, but it would serve as a central piece in my research moving forward. Bookmark here

I also still needed to learn how to drive it… Bookmark here

Tomorrow was surely going to be a busy day.Bookmark here

Photo-Genesis had become one of my main methods of travel. It allowed me to move through the air faster than I would be using Solid Light to create platforms, and usually, it allowed me to move without being seen. The next morning, I found some mostly abandoned roads a good way outside the city. They would be where I would learn how to operate the pickup vehicle. Once I was sure there was no one around, I released the pickup truck from the crystal.Bookmark here

The truck itself was about the size of the other vehicles I saw in the city. It had four doors to it. I opened the first door that I came to and it revealed a long bench that stretched the length of the truck to the door on the other side. There were some clothes strewn about as well as a box that seemed to contain metal beverage containers. They were labeled "bier" so perhaps they were alcohol? I had tried some alcohol while I was gambling, but it was a bit too bitter for me.Bookmark here

I closed that door and moved to the one beside it, I guess this must be the piloting seat. There was a wheel like on a ship as well as several levers and buttons. I climbed into the chair and found that my feet didn't quite reach the front of the vehicle. The wheel did not seem to want to turn either. Did I need to turn it on? I remember a few of Alima's inventions had switches that could turn them on and off. I looked around for a way to start the truck. I had been given a key, did I need to unlock the truck with it? Or, was that just to open the door? I tried searching for a keyhole and eventually found one near the helm. I stuck the key in the hole and turned it-Bookmark here

“Gah!” I had not been prepared for such a loud noise. Smoke seemed to come out of the back of the truck as well. Was it supposed to do that? Regardless, the front of the truck was making noise, so I think it was on. It wasn’t nearly as noisy as my sister’s machina, but it still smelled like one. Bookmark here

"Great. I can now turn the truck on. Now, what do I do?" I looked around at the various levers and switches around the helm. They were labeled with symbols rather than words, and a few with letters. There was also a weird staff I hadn't noticed before beside the seat. It had letters on it reading "PRND123"Bookmark here

"One sounds like a good place to start." I fiddled with the staff until I got it to move to the groove labeled "1". As if by magic, the truck began to move forward slowly. However, it was moving slower than even a knight in full plate mail up a hill. I tried turning the helm slightly and the truck turned in the direction I had moved it. Surely this was a good first step! I remembered the first time I rode a horse, I could barely get it to move at all, let alone turn where I wanted it to. I could see where the appeal of this machina would be, especially to someone who did not know how to use magic.Bookmark here

I moved the staff back up to the “P” at the top of the groove. The truck seemed to screech at me a bit. Did I do something wrong? Is it mad at me? I hope I didn’t break it… I worked so hard to get to this point, breaking it now would be even worse luck. I turned the key the other direction and, sure enough, the truck stopped moving and making noise. The key serving as the on/off switch was a brilliant idea that I would need to share with Alima if I made it back… No! When I made it back! Our mother always taught us to think positively when we doubted ourselves. Yes, today has been an important step in learning about trucks. I will have to return to the library again to research how the vehicle is supposed to work, and maybe I will buy myself some new clothes as well. I hopped back down from the truck and returned it to the crystal. The sword would have to stay on my back, for now, I suppose.Bookmark here

I returned to the city and remembered that I had not eaten yet today. I had some money now, so I might as well spend it. I smelled around for the most enticing aroma and came across a place serving "pizza." I had heard of it in one of the stories at the library and had been wanting to try it. Looks like today would be my lucky chance at this "Pizza le Casa" place.Bookmark here

The pizza was just as good as the book described! Maybe even better! I had thought it suspicious when a book written by humans had elves falling in love with the dish, but there was probably some merit to that. Bookmark here

Well, now that I’ve satisfied my hunger and my curiosity, it was time to buy some new clothes. I had been wearing the same outfit since I came here, and even though I had washed it every other day, it was becoming a bit too worn. I had been using illusion magic to patch up any holes that appeared, but that many illusions were becoming a bit much, even for me. Bookmark here

I found a clothing store fairly quickly and picked out a couple of dresses that fit pretty well but were a little tight around the chest. And then, I put together what my research had described as “trucker attire.” It was made complete with a “trucker hat” which only had a brim in the front part to keep the sun out of your eyes while you were driving a truck. Bookmark here

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Today was a perfect day of progress. Or at least it would have been.Bookmark here

It seems that my nest had been found. How do I know this?Bookmark here

Well... because there is a human woman sitting beside it reading a book when I touch down. And it’s all we can do to look each other in the eyes. Bookmark here

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