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Zhang Heng looked like a typical tourist when he wore a short-sleeved T-shirt and a pair of knee-length shorts. He wore sandals on his feet, and there was a pair of sunglasses in his chest pocket, Like the Apollo Training Program quest, his appearance has been modified to some extent. He could feel the beard on his chin, and there was a tattoo of Peppa Pig on his right arm as well (fortunately, it was only a tattoo sticker). This time, the system retained his Asian characteristics, except that his skin was darker now. He seemed to have developed a habit of sunbathing too. Otherwise, his strength, agility, and body shape, though, were in their original state. Zhang Heng’s wallet contained about 300 euros in cash and a Visa debit card with an unknown sum of money in it. The name on the passport said, Lu Yan.
Since he couldn’t tell if there were other Asian players in this quest, he tried to make himself stand out a little less, exchanging 50 Euros to coins and pretended to play on a slot machine. After a short observation around him, he couldn’t find anyone who looked like a player. Although it was late at night, the casino was packed, and a myriad of various languages bombarded his ears. Tourists here poured in from all over the world-France, Italy, the USA, China, Germany, the UAE, and even North and South Africa. In a certain way, the place could pass off as the United Nations General Assembly to the untrained eye.
Zhang Heng managed to get the answers he was seeking from the cover of a travel brochure held by an elderly American couple. He had to make some guesses. The four major gambling cities in the world were Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Macau, and Monaco. Macau could instantly be eliminated. Although he had spotted several Asians in this casino, there was no way it could compare to the casinos in Macau. Then, few European tourists would travel to casinos in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Since he was in a uniquely subtropical Mediterranean climate, there could only be one answer left-Zhang Heng was in Monaco.
Located in Western Europe, Monaco, a principality situated in the French Riviera became an independent state in 1861. Being the second smallest principality in the world, with a total area of 2.02 square kilometers, the city was smaller than New York’s Central Park. Despite Monaco’s cramped streets and alleys, it was well-known for its high-stakes betting, upmarket tourism, and top banking institutions. Revenue generated by Monaco was also among the top in the world.
The latest page on the passport confirmed Zhang Heng’s deduction. He looked around again, and although still failing to locate other players, he did find a few notable targets of interest. Among them, the ones that concerned him most were a young couple.
The two had been hanging around the poker machine area for some time, staying behind other players and observers, quietly watching the game in front of them. From time to time, they would gaze into each others’ eyes and kiss passionately as if they were a couple that had just fallen in love.
A Spanish man in a suit who had constantly been wiping his sweat appeared to be out of luck tonight. He had lost several games in a row, and after losing another round, he had enough, hammering his thigh in anger. He decided to try his luck on other games, as he stormed toward the roulette table with a look of frustration on his face.
Since the machine was now vacated, the young couple sat down and took his place.
They then proceeded to play a few rounds, and just like the previous man, they lost more than they won. Thus, the man got five cards in his hand as the game began, and immediately, he seemed dissatisfied with what he got, opting to change the cards instead. After changing them three times in a row, his cellphone rang suddenly, and he hurriedly answered what appeared to be an important call. Although he had left the casino, his young wife was still sitting next to the console, looking bored and flipping through a fashion magazine.
Seven minutes later, the man returned.
While he was gone, other players wanted to use the machine, only to be stopped by the man’s wife. When the man came back, he kissed his wife again and sat in front of the game console.
Although he pretended not to care and was laughing with his wife, Zhang Heng could see that the man was under a lot of pressure. He kept looking at his watch, and his other hand was placed next to his button. It appeared he was getting ready for something. His wife, amused by the constant jokes he threw out, kept laughing nonstop. She laughed so hard that she bent over and with her loosely fitted spaghetti strap, it was a feast for the eyes of those standing behind.
At some point later, the man’s middle finger suddenly pressed the button.
The next moment was like a magic wand had been waved.
The screen of the machine began to flicker uncontrollably. As it flashed in a never seen before fashion, the heavenly sound that all gamers dreamed of could be heard blasting out of the machine’s speakers.
A Royal Flush! Just as the man looked around him, coming to terms with what just happened, a hushed murmur combined with envious groans resounded all around him.
The man was stunned at first and it wasn’t until his wife nudged him in excitement did he react. His expressions confirmed that he still couldn’t believe the incredible fortune he was just bestowed with. Just like all gamblers blessed before by the goddess of luck, his mouth was ajar, and the smile on his face ran right from ear-to-ear.
The odds of getting a royal flush was 4000 to 1, and a bet was 5 euros. The man just made two bets, which meant he had already made 40,000 euros in one round of the game. This was by no means a small sum of money.
Ordinary folk had no access to the second floor, a private lounge populated by billionaires. These elites drank fine champagne and hugged supermodels as they played. For most tourists who visited the place for fun, it was nothing less than a miracle winning 40,000 Euros in one night.
The man was already hugging his wife. But his happiness did not last long, as four men in black suits swiftly approached them. They seemed to be the staff of the casino. The young couple was then asked politely to change to a different machine.
Then, one of gentler looking men with high cheekbones squatted in front of the poker machine. He first checked the casing to make sure that nothing was out of place. After that, he took out a bunch of keys, opened the case, removed the circuit board, and extracted the read-only memory chip inside it. He then placed it in a ROM reader.
More and more tourists in the casino started to notice the unexpected situation, curiously watching the employees fiddling with the machine. The young couple felt offended and were a little dissatisfied with the unwanted surprise. Having lost the mood to play, they demanded to see the casino manager. The remaining three staff, on the other hand, kept a stern eye on them as if they had done something wrong.
Fortunately, the awkward stare-down didn’t last too long. After a while, the guy with high cheekbones frowned. The test results on his hand showed that the memory chip had not been tampered with.
Of course, it wasn’t right that the casino so blatantly barged in and dismantled the machine that someone won big on. It wasn’t an illegal casino either. Be that as it may, the high-cheekboned guy had actually noticed the young couple earlier.
He had enough reasons to suspect that they did not win the game fair and square.
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