The King’s Rock Casino. Some would say it was in the spotlight of Alomomola Bay. All over the region, Pokemon would plan their travels just to try their luck. Some were simply interested in low stakes while they did some sightseeing. Others wanted to build upon their already-vast riches...
Then there were the desperate ones. With nowhere else to turn for their monetary woes, trying their luck was the last resort. Either they would get back on their feet, or lose it all. Truly the most tragic of the lot, they were still treated the same in the eyes of the casino’s owners... until they went into debt, that is.
The Smeargle that was unceremoniously tossed into the head office looked to be more of the tragic sort. High-rollers didn’t often land face-first in the carpet when sent to meet the head of the operation.
“Well well... so nice of you to drop in,” a deep, calm voice rang out from across the room. It sounded friendly enough...
The Smeargle had to pick himself up off of the floor, having been lightly crushed under the rucksack he had been carrying on his back. He was greeted by the sight of a lush office, carpeted and neatly furnished. Everything within seemed to be themed with red and black colors or patterns. The carpet itself had red and black lines going all along it in a circular pattern, each line meeting at the middle. It was reminiscent of one of the casino’s roulette wheels.
Black lanterns hung on red walls, just as a black chandelier hung on the red ceiling. It had an overall ritzy, eccentric feel of someone who wanted this room just the way they liked it. Across from the Smeargle, seated behind a black desk, was that someone. A Slowking, bearing a natural neck frill of the same two colors as everything else in the room. He was reclined in some sort of fancy chair that allowed him to lean backward without falling.
The Slowking grinned widely, leaning out of his reclined position to place his paws upon his desk. It made him look a bit less lazy and a bit more active, though how true either of those things were was anyone’s guess. “We do have business, hm? But let us get acquainted...” he began, putting on a smile that would unsettle any visitor, “name’s Royce. I run this fine establishment. And you are..?”
The Smeargle dusted himself off, hoisting the straps of his rucksack around his shoulders. He looked the Slowking straight in the eyes, not nearly as amused or friendly.
“... Pal. My name is Pal,” he introduced himself apprehensively. Even from those few words, his accent was obvious, which caused an intrigued rise of the brow from Royce when he heard it.
“Yeah yeah, Pal... listen, Pal,” the Slowking began. He swiveled his chair so that it turned halfway around, now ominously facing away from his visitor as he went on, still rather unsettling in his tone, “I’m told you’ve accrued a debt of 100,000 Poke in a doubled-up bet. Classic case of trying to swindle the house with money you don’t have. Now... obviously we’ve got a problem here, but I’m curious. What were you thinking, placing a bet that would put you so far in the hole?”
“That is none of your business.”
Pal was quick to shoot back at the question, appearing rather upset, though no less calm than the Slowking he was speaking to. He noticed the chair stop all movement for a moment, before it swiveled back around. Royce didn’t appear angry, but the smile had left his face after that remark.
“Fair enough. The money is my business,” Royce stated, leaning forward over his desk and settling his elbows on it so that he could clasp his fingers together. “Unfortunately, such a vast unpaid debt can generally only be handled very cruelly. We cannot just let everyone think they can come in here, lose that much Poke, and leave like nothing is wrong, right?”
Even when he was basically threatening someone else, Royce sounded so friendly. It must have taken years of practice to be able to say such things with a straight face.
Still, Pal did not appear intimidated. At least, not so far. “What is it you want from me, then? Rough me up so you flex your muscles to others?”
This question put a grin on Royce’s face. “Not exactly... we could very well make an example of you, to be certain. However, it would be much more gruesome than we tell others,” he explained, as cheerfully as ever, “since we don’t want them to be afraid of our business.”
Part 1 of "Red or Black" by