Wuxiaworld > Nightfall > 123 Perception
Chapter 123: Perception
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn

The Star-Picking Casino in Southern City used to be the most profitable industry of Lord Meng, a big shot in the Jianghu world. After that bloody battle at Spring Breeze Pavilion, his power collapsed and the casino was smashed into a range of ruins, which was just rebuilt and reopened two months later when the situation restored its stability. But now, nobody knew who the Big Owner of the casino was.

Although the casino was rebuilt out of ruins, it showed no hint of decline from its former time-honored brand that was decorated at a high cost, where there were polished wooden tables, high-hung lanterns, and exquisite furnishings.

Along the way, Ning Que and Sangsang looked at the gauze curtains around and listened to the deliberately muffled screams from the hall afar, and could not help but feel it was strange and questionable. At the frontier fortress, they used to visit casinos in the City of Wei and the bazaar of Kaiping County, yet compared with those wager shops full of the stink of sweat and wine and dirty words, the casinos here were a totally different world.

No matter how luxuriously and nobly it was decorated, a casino was still a casino, where bloody battles occurred with one's life as the stake. People in various trades lingered around. Although the young master Ning Que and his handmaiden Sangsang looked quite strange here, the stewards just randomly took some glimpses at them without showing any special attention, for they had been accustomed to weird gamblers.

And those gamblers in the spacious hall of the Star-Picking Casino paid even less attention to them. These people, old or young, men or women, all stood or sat there despite the differences in their social status, no matter if they wore silk or linen. They were so densely crowded around more than 10 big tables all covered with brown blankets, nervously staring at the dicebox of playing cards or the black triangle chips.

It was quite hot in the midst of summer, thus seven or eight servant women were waving fans with long handles at the corridors on three sides of the hall to blow some wind into the hall. However, the hall was so crowded with gamblers that it was still suffocatingly hot inside, which, mingled with the fragrance of face powder and the smell of cigarettes and alcohol, gradually produced a flavor with exciting ambitions. But for the basins of ice which were so luxuriously put under each table in the casino, this flavor might have been stronger.

A casino was not a place for charity and the purpose of investing money here was to earn back more. The more that prodigal gamblers invested, the more they wanted to earn back. Ning Que sized up the details inside the hall and, looking at the dealers in indigo uniforms, he became increasingly more nervous, having no idea of the lowest limit to bet here and not knowing whether their silver was enough or not.

He went to the counter to change for chips and inquired about the lowest limit to bet and the rules of the game, which made him relieved to some extent. When strolling at will in the hall with Sangsang, he saw somebody leaving a table where a dicebox was used to bet the number of points. Thus without any hesitation, he squeezed into the table before others could and looked directly at the table, disregarding the annoyed eyesight from those behind him.

Throwing a dicebox to bet on whose point was bigger was perhaps the quickest and simplest method of showdown in casinos, which was exactly Ning Que's favorite method—simplest and quickest—no matter if in killing or in gambling. Moreover, he was clear that he could cheat in only this kind of game, which therefore nailed him to the ground, showing no intention to leave.

There were three dice with nine points as the boundary line, above which it was called "big" and below which "small". If the three dice all showed six points, it would make a "leopard" which meant a win for sure. If gamblers had the courage or were really unoccupied, they could bet on "leopard". If they got it, they won over all the other gamblers of the table and, moreover, the dealer also needed to pay them on behalf of the banker of the casino, which seldom occurred.

Gazing at the big dicebox on the brown blanket which was at least twice as large as an ordinary one, and the delicate-looking dealer waving her naked snow-white forearm and rolling the big dicebox like performing magic; listening to the clear and intense clashes of the three dice inside the dicebox, and the final heavy knock of the dicebox against the table...

Ning Que seemed to be hesitating and pondering with his gaze lowered, and had yet already begun his meditation. The Psyche Power in his brain passed through the Ocean of Qi and Mountain of Snow in his body and was perceiving the Breath of Nature around him slowly and softly, by which it would continue to perceive all of his surroundings.

The perception was fantastic: The fluctuation of intangible Psyche Power diffused the Breath of Nature and rested on objects, which was transformed to a light sense of perception. This perception was reflected back to the fluctuation of his Psyche Power through the Breath of Nature and returned to his brain to form a not-so-clear picture with some as-of-yet invisible details.

On the brown surface of the table was put a plump hand, which was from a boss of a cloth shop. After the dicebox settled on the table, he threw 50 taels of silver as chips to the "big", pressing the rest under his palm. 50 taels of silver was not a small amount of chips yet the boss did not bat an eye, but his palm pressing the chip was somewhat trembling.

Ning Que did not care about the mental state of gamblers. Although he used to help Sangsang to support the family by gambling in the City of Wei, he understood even the most excellent gambler could not win forever. Today, he just wanted to make a big fortune in the Star-Picking Casino with that magical power, so what he cared about was how to perceive things that others could not see.

Only the smallest chip of two taels of silver was left, yet he still pretended to be calm!

Through subtle reflection from the Breath of Nature, he saw the number of chips under the trembling palm of the boss, and could not help smiling and talk to himself.

"Saw" was not the exact word to use here. He just faintly felt the edge and the prominences of the chip, touching nothing mild and smooth, nor did he have a pictorial effect that he personally experienced.

It could be imagined that if such an effect could be achieved by mobilizing the Breath of Nature, many cultivators in history would have suffered from constant nosebleeds, continuous tiredness and fatigue, or even being exhausted and disoriented to death because of their everyday peeping at girls' breasts and psychosexuality.

The fine-looking dealer gently looked at the surroundings and opened the dicebox. The three dice lay silently on the bottom of the dicebox and showed "Two, three, three" respectively, which turned out to be "small". The palm of the cloth shop boss slightly stiffened, with all five of his fingers grasping downward, tightly holding his last chip. He then forced a smile to the people around him, nodded his head and went out.

Just at that moment, the small figure of Sangsang eventually managed to squeeze inside and struggled to the side of Ning Que. She slightly stood on her tiptoes, refraining herself from being nervous and scanning over the piles of chips and the dicebox on the table carefully with her willow-leaf-like eyes gazing wildly.

Then the sound of a tiny and clear clash between dice was heard again, unveiling a new round of gambling. The big dicebox rolled up and down in the fair hands of the pretty dealer and then fell on the table.

"Please bet." The dealer looked at those gamblers beside the table with a smile and repeated the regulations of Star-Picking Casino just as what she had done before each new round: "Those who failed to bet within the time limit after the dicebox settles, please wait for the next round."

The table for betting "big" or "small" was shaped like a semicircle, whose wild surface was separated into several regions by thinly-sliced white cloth. Besides piles of chips and several teacups, a cute and lovely hourglass stood in the very middle of the table to time the game, which would be reversed by a specially assigned person after each rolling of the dicebox ended.

Taking a glimpse at the fast-flowing fine sand in the hourglass, Ning Que found the time was a bit limited, so he quickly concentrated on the big, heavy black dicebox. He was so concentrated that an especially focused and nervous look appeared on his face. Then somebody beside the table burst into laughter and jokingly said, "Whose kid should come to gamble here? Maybe he thinks his longtime of staring can penetrate the dicebox?"

Ning Que showed no interest in the joke because he was greatly strained at the moment. Furthermore, could he have told those guys who gambled for fun that he indeed could perceive the big, heavy black dicebox?

As he had said to Sangsang at the gate of the casino, he had never fought without the confidence that he would win during his lifetime. To win over all the others today, he had spent the whole night yesterday on testing his ability.

He practiced feeling how deep the water was in the bucket through the bucket; feeling how many taels of silver were left under the bed through the bedplate; and feeling whether Sangsang, who squatted below the window, had opened her eyes or not through the window. After repeated practices, he felt assured that he could control that trace of the Qi of Heaven and Earth, which, though could not be used to shake Mount Tai, would have no problem to be used to perceive it. Such confidence had encouraged him to go to the Star-Picking Casino. His practice in meditation for the entire night had greatly upgraded his speed and proficiency of mobilizing the Qi of Heaven and Earth, which was a benefit to him beyond his expectations.

Based on the operation plan they previously made at Lin 47th Street and their miserably few practical experiences, Ning Que imagined that when he looked at the black dicebox, the subtle Qi of Heaven and Earth controlled by the Psyche Power in his brain could easily penetrate the thick wall of the dicebox and help him to feel the fine concaves and convexes on the surface of the dice. Yet things had gone astray. The Qi of Heaven and Earth he controlled just entered the surface of the thick wall and could not go an inch further!

All of sudden Ning Que stiffened, staring at the big black dicebox in great shock, not knowing what had happened.

At that point, the upper part of the lovely hourglass standing in the middle of the table was almost filled with sand, and some short-tempered gamblers began to urge him harshly upon seeing his reaction. He looked at the black dicebox painfully at a loss, trying to figure out what was wrong with it.

Following his usual practice, he should have given up in such a situation. However, he actually insisted, not knowing if it was because of the harsh pressure of the hourglass and the urges or his strong unwillingness to resign. He tightly gazed at the dicebox with his eyebrows frowned, striving to upgrade the intensity of his Psyche Power which mobilized the Qi of Heaven and Earth to poke into the impregnable dicebox!

Poke into it!

The Qi of Heaven and Earth extremely condensed by Psyche Power finally perceived the wall as if it were an intangible fine needle!

Feeling that fine tactile sense, which was like a heated knife being inserted into butter or fingers sticking into cream, and looking at the three settled dice on the bottom of the dicebox, Ning Que suddenly felt relaxed, his frowning eyebrows gradually stretching.

Before all the sand leaked into the lower part of the hourglass, he took out that small star-folded note and gently put it on the side of "big".

The good-looking dealer looked at him with a smile and slowly raised the dicebox.

"Four, five, six."


That star-shaped note was elegantly unfolded by that female dealer and put in the middle of the table as a way of publicity to other gamblers. Then Ning Que pushed the silver that he won toward himself with a thin bamboo ruler.

It was rare to see a gambler using a note of 200 taels of silver to bet on "big" or "small" at the dicebox, even in the Star-Picking Casino. Besides the chips from the other gamblers, the banker of the casino was also required to pay a big amount of silver. Those chips, big or small, were all pushed to Ning Que, which were in fact layered on high one by one, making them really attractive.

Then a middle-aged man at the table said with a smile, "I seldom see a lad at such a young age that can play with such a big stake. Moreover, you didn't look complacent. It's really precious to see a lad with such calmness."

Ning Que raised his sleeve to wipe off the sweat from his forehead and shook his head with a smile, saying no more words. He thought to himself, "If you owned the ability to perceive the dicebox like me, you could also be as indifferent as those who are disillusioned with the mortal world are towards gambling."