Su Jin and Xiang Nan exchanged glances when they heard Han Yiqing’s question. Su Jin said, “We’re not able to give you guys any suggestions because this concerns your lives. The only thing we can do is analyze the choices you have.”
“Please do that for us,” said Han Yiqing politely.
Su Jin paused to think, then said, “For the Dou Dizhu game I just played, the worst case scenario is when the dealer is also the Landlord and the Farmers lose the game. If that happens, all players on the Farmers side will die at once. At the same time, that’s also the best case scenario. The dealer was the Landlord earlier, and we the Farmers won, so all three of us could survive together.”
Han Yiqing nodded in agreement. Su Jin went on, “Of course, there’s another possibility. The dealer could become one of the Farmers, and if that happens…if the Farmers win, then any owners who are in the Farmers’ team will survive. But the owner who became the Landlord is dead for sure.”
“The last scenario would be if the dealer becomes one of the Farmers but the Landlord wins. In that case, the Landlord owner will definitely survive, but the owners who are Farmers with the dealer…I’m not sure what that counts as to the dealer.”
The dealer cackled and said, “Let me tell you now. I said that those who lose will die. So in that scenario, myself and the owners with me would have lost. So they’ll die. As for me…I’m already dead!”
It was clearly unfair that the dealer was not subject to the same fate as them, but he called the shots around here so there was nothing anybody could do about it. In other words, for Dou Dizhu, either all three survived, all three died or just one might survive. Either way, there was only one scenario where all of them would end up dead.
Han Yiqing looked pensive as he nodded. Xiang Nan then said, “Of course, if you think you can’t count on others but you aren’t very highly skilled in any particular game, then Mr. Situ’s method is the best choice. Or at least, it’s the most fair.”
“The most fair?” Han Yiqing was confused. “You mean other methods of gambling aren’t fair?”
“Of course they aren’t. The more complicated the game is, the more technique is required. If you pit someone with no technique against an expert, then you’re definitely going to lose, unless a miracle happens. Mr. Situ’s method reduces the possibility of someone manipulating the game to almost zero, so it’s actually more fair than the rest,” explained Xiang Nan.
Su Jin added on, “Of course, if any of you have a way to guarantee a win or if you’re really good in any particular game, you could try that as well.”
The two of them had already stated clearly that they would only analyze their possibilities but would not make any choices on their behalf. Each owner had to make their own decision, since their own lives were at stake. Nobody was qualified to make decisions on their behalf.
The dealer started calling for his next challenger. This time, three owners took a step forward. They wanted to join hands and play the same game as Su Jin did.
This group of three comprised of two men and one woman. The woman was a middle-aged lady who looked absolutely terrified. Perhaps that was why she had chosen to work with the other two. Going through this with others took some pressure off herself.
However, the game started off terribly. The woman was to be the Landlord. Her entire body trembled uncontrollably and she was so horrified that she threw her cards onto the table.
“No…no…I don’t want to be the Landlord! Please, please! Please give me another chance! Let’s…let’s draw lots again, please?” The woman fell to her knees and kowtowed to the dealer, hoping to get another chance.
“Oh? But that puts me in a really difficult position. Tell you what. If these two gentlemen are willing to draw lots again, I’ll give you another chance,” said the dealer with a cheeky grin.
The woman’s face lit up immediately as though someone had thrown her a float while before she drowned in the ocean. To her dismay, the two other men shook their heads without hesitation. They weren’t going to let the woman get a second chance at changing roles.
“But…but why? Aren’t we…aren’t we on the same side?” wailed the woman.
Su Jin shook his head. Unlike the woman, he had totally expected the other two would shake their heads. After all, as long as they won, it didn’t matter if they were in the same team as the dealer. If they won, they’d live.
Even though the best case scenario was for the dealer to be the Landlord and for the owners to band together as Farmers to defeat him, that only worked in theory. In reality, being a Farmer with the dealer was actually the best way to survive this game.
After all, the dealer was extremely skilled in all sorts of gambling techniques and games. So, if they were already teamed up with the best player in the game, they would definitely win. They had no reason to give up their better position so that the woman would have a second chance.
The only thing that Handbook owners really cared about was surviving. The dealer had allowed the other two to have their opinion on whether they could draw lots again only because he already knew the psyche of the two men on his team. He knew that these two would not agree to drawing lots again.
The woman remained on her knees and pleaded with them desperately. But neither of them budged. They were more interested in saving themselves. There was no way they would give up their own chance of surviving just because they pitied the woman.
“Stop crying and get up! If you were in their shoes, would you have agreed?” said Situ Jin all of a sudden.
The woman froze for a moment, then got up from the floor as if she had found courage, and sat back down on her chair.
“Straightened your thoughts already?” The dealer was impressed. He didn’t expect one remark of Situ Jin to be enough to reignite the fighting spirit within this woman.
“How strange. How did she recover from that so quickly?” Chu Yi whispered to Su Jin.
“There are times you might think that women are weak and emotional and breakdown more easily. But after they face up to reality, they often comeback from their negative emotions more easily. Situ Jin’s remarks helped her to see that if she were in the other two owners’ shoes, she would have held on to her current position and refuse to let the third owner do a redraw. Once she realized this, she also quickly realized that the only way to survive this is to actually win the round as the Landlord and not to plead and beg, since that’s not going to happen,” explained Su Jin in a low voice.
The woman had tears in her eyes, but she was a lot more emotionally stable. Everyone could see that she was now focused on playing the game.
As time went by, the game turned out rather differently from what everyone had expected. The Farmers seemed to be losing despite having the dealer in their team, while the woman was only left with five cards. She could very well win the entire game in the next round.
Meanwhile, the two men were perspiring furiously. They didn’t expect to be on the losing end at all. The dealer fiddled with his cards like he couldn’t really be bothered and spent more time grinning at the other two men in his team, using his disgusting tongue to lick his equally disgusting teeth.
“You…you’re doing this on purpose! Compared to devouring just one soul, you want to devour two!” exclaimed one of the men as he pointed at the dealer with a trembling finger.
The other man began to despair when he heard these words. “You never meant to win this round right from the start. If you win, you only get to consume one of us. But if you lose, you’d get both of us.”
The dealer cackled. “What a wonderful, wonderful idea! What clever people you two are!”
The two men felt like their heads were about to explode from this realization. If the dealer’s priority was to consume as many souls as possible, then losing the game would be better than winning, since he’d get to eat two souls instead of one.
The woman was now beginning to smile. She had actually turned the tables around and was going to survive this ordeal after all. She didn’t expect things to turn out this way. She was actually up against someone who didn’t want to win, so she was definitely going to win this game.
“A pair!” The woman put down two matching cards on the table.
“A pair? You only have three cards left and I don’t think you’ve got a bomb or anything like that. There are only three possibilities. You’ve got a pair plus a single card, a triplet, or three single cards.” The dealer suddenly started cackling. His mouth was even wider than before, reaching nearly his ears.
The woman felt her heart skip a beat in fear. She had a bad feeling about this. The dealer threw down a pair of aces. The woman shook her head in horror and the dealer cackled again as he threw down a pair of threes.
“If you can’t beat a pair of threes, then you don’t have a pair on hand at all. In that case, I’m going to finish this game.” The dealer put his cards down again and again. First, a pair, followed by another pair, then a bomb…in no time, the eight cards left in his hand were all gone.
The woman’s eyes were about to fall out of their sockets as she stared in disbelief at the dealer. She murmured, “But…but…why…you…you could have…taken both of them…”
“Well, compared to souls, the game is more important to me!” The dealer cackled again. He had never intended to deliberately lose the game in the first place. He had only gone with that narrative in order to troll the woman.
The woman fell off her chair and a terrible smell filled the air. She had peed herself and even though her mouth was open, she couldn’t get a word out.
“One more thing. A soul in despair makes for a more delicious soul.” The dealer suddenly took a deep breath and the little person representing the woman disappeared into his mouth, leaving her physical body lying in a puddle of her own urine.
The other two managed to survive the round. Two out of 13 owners had died and six had survived, so there were five more to go. Xiang Nan took a step forward.
“I’ll go next! I’ll play the same game that Mr. Situ did. Let’s see who draws the higher value card.” Xiang Nan plonked himself down on the chair across from the dealer.
After what happened with that round of Dou Dizhu earlier, the remaining five found it difficult to trust any of the other owners to work together and fight the dealer. At least Xiang Nan didn’t trust any of them. He wasn’t going to leave his life in the hands of other people. If he was going to lose, he was going to be the one responsible for doing so.
The dealer didn’t wait around either. A new deck of cards appeared in front of Xiang Nan. Xiang Nan picked it up and shuffled it for a few minutes before putting it down again. He randomly drew one card and flipped it over without waiting.
Everyone immediately gasped, because Xiang Nan’s card turned out to be a five of diamonds.
Su Jin shook his head as well. When he saw how calm and confident Xiang Nan looked, he thought Xiang Nan had a plan of sorts. He was surprised that Xiang Nan had seriously randomly chosen a card, and that card turned out to be such a low value one. The chances of him winning were equally low.
Xiang Nan was upset too, but he pushed the deck toward the dealer and said, “Alright. Your turn.”
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