With a single press of a button hidden near one of Royce’s desk drawers, the center floor of the room gave way and arose. That carpet design wasn’t just for show -- it was an actual roulette wheel, hidden right in the floor! It contorted into all the necessary curves, with small metal bars cropping up to create the various slots needed. The only odd thing was a lack of green spaces, though it did fit the theme of the room that way.
Pal took another step back as the device’s emergence surprised him. He’d never seen anything like that put together so well. He couldn’t help but stop to appreciate the aesthetics of it all, with how the very theme of the room and its colors converged into housing the very game it was based off of.
With the press of another button, the wheel began to spin at a brisk pace, just like the ones on the casino floor when twisted by the croupier. This time however, it was all mechanical. “Let’s keep it simple... black or red. Fair chance for you either way.”
It was simple enough. Reducing the choices like that made it a 50/50 chance. Perfect. Still, Pal looked upon the wheel carefully. Even if it was impossible to tell which it would be... even if neither had an advantage, he got lost in it for a time. Those two colors, as they swirled within the wheel, reminded him of someone special. It was calming, to a degree.
Confident in his choice, Pal finally spoke up, “... Black. I will bet on black.” It had to work. It would work. He was sure of it.
Royce nodded, lifting one of his paws from behind the desk. In it was a white ball, just like the simple ones used on the casino floor. With a casual toss, the ball flew not toward the spinning wheel, but toward Pal, prompting him to catch it. “Go ahead and look it over. It’s clean. When you’re satisfied, make your move.”
It was light in Pal’s paws. Nothing inside it. Nothing on the outside, either. A perfectly smooth, round, hollow ball. He appreciated the given chance to make sure there was no funny business. Still... holding the moment in his own hands. Knowing that he was the one that would either make his own dreams come true, or pull the trigger on himself.
It had to be done, though.
Off it went, with a snap of the wrist. The ball bounced into the ever-spinning wheel. It was just slow enough that the ball would eventually stop in a slot without being jostled.
On and on it went. It seemed like forever for Pal as he watched. It was hard to discern where it might land. Feelings of dread began to creep up on him as the moment neared. When the sound of the ball wobbling into its resting place was heard, his heart almost skipped a beat.
“Sounds like it’s decided,” Royce observed aloud. With another press of the previous button, the wheel gradually came to a halt. Slower and slower it spun, until both parties could see the result clearly. Royce’s expression softened, and he gazed across the room at the Smeargle...
It took a few moments for that to sink in. After all the hard luck, heart set on going home empty-handed, and fear of what would befall him, there was a part of Pal that had assumed his bad luck would just go all the way.
That was when he realized he hadn’t exhaled since the spin started. It came out as an exasperated sigh, leaving the Smeargle to slouch forward and pant to catch his breath. As a result, he did not immediately see the Slowking approach at his side, delivering a pat to his shoulder that was heavy enough to make him stumble!
“I should be furious, but you’ve got an iron pair on you to stand up for yourself like that. You deserve this payout,” Royce commended. With that, he lifted a pouch into Pal’s view. It was, as one would logically expect, four times as big as the one he gave up!
400,000 Poke, right into his paws. Just as advertised. He could hardly believe it. “Ah... I don’t know what to say. No strings attached?” Perhaps it wasn’t the most tactful thing to ask... but even with it in his hands, it was hard to trust.
“Don’t start getting naive now. There were strings attached the moment you walked in here. I’d intended a much different outcome...” Royce admitted, once more and for the last time stepping away from Pal and toward his desk. “I suppose luck was not on my side this time. You cut every string,” he paused, just to seat himself. “so take your spoils and enjoy yourself. I’ve already instructed the staff to allow you to leave freely as long as you’re exiting the office without me.”
Part 4 of "Red or Black" by