Alea Ludo Chapter 3: Ludo!

It had begun. The games set into motion. The guidelines and rules of the competition had been explained to everyone. All of us waited in the main lobby for the first match to begin. The two players selected to participate first were Frederick Lukas and Klara Ismene. Luck wasn’t in their favor. I couldn’t even imagine what kind of game they were going to play.

Frederick didn’t appear to be too shaken up about being one of the first of us chosen. He stood next to the large glass window located on the other side of the lobby. On the other end of the window was a large room where everyone assumed would be the game room.

Klara was the same as usual. She remained at the back of the room, keeping her nose buried in the pages of her book.

An uncomfortable silence filled the room. No one knew what to do or how to proceed with the situation. No one knew what to expect from the games.

Unable to take the silence anymore, Darius stood from the sofa and said, “So, how should we go about doing this?”

“Doing what exactly?” Elena inquired.

“Well, since we’re going to be forced to stay here for the next few days, we might as well take the opportunity to get to know each other.”

Glances of uncertainty exchanged throughout the room. It may have just been me, but it didn’t sound like a good idea to learn about the people that we would be facing against in the games. Per one of the rules of the games, our objective was to steal points away from the other players to earn more money. If anyone’s points ever reached down to zero, then that person would be condemned to death.

So, trying to make friends with the people that we would essentially be killing didn’t sound like a good idea to me. No one spoke up to oppose his suggestion, however. That was until an obnoxious punk rock girl decided to open her loud mouth.

“Why should we even bother tryna get to know each other? We’re gonna be killing each other when Caius returns with that game wheel.” She said.

Darius frowned once Melanie finished speaking. He only shook his head then said, “No one is going to be killing anyone. Klara and Frederick will only be gambling with one point today.”

“Well, actually only Frederick stated that he would be doing that. Klara is still as quiet as ever.” Our attention was drawn over to the back of the room again. Klara was still immersed in the world of her book, just ignoring our presence.

“Anyone know anything about her?” asked Henrika.

“Nope. Nothing at all. Klara hasn’t spoken a word since we arrived here.” Iris replied.

“It could be possible that she’s a mute.” Wyatt assumed.

“If that were the case, couldn’t she just communicate with sign language or something?” Elena asked.

“Disregarding Klara for the moment, let’s begin with the proper introductions. To be fair, let’s go in numerical order. Start off with your name, occupation, and the reason for participating in these games.” Darius laid down the rules for the introductions.

“Then I’ll start. My name is Wyatt Ackerman. I’m a doctor. I’m participating in these games to win enough money to give my wife a heart transplant operation that she so desperately needs.” Wyatt introduced himself, following the guidelines Darius set out for everyone.

Elena clasped her hands together and looked to Wyatt with eyes of concern and sympathy. “A heart transplant? Oh, how sad. I sure do hope that you earn enough money.”

“Same here, dude. I wish you the best of luck.” Darius added.

“Oh, boo hoo! What a sad little story you just told! Here, lemme ease your troubles by playing the world’s smallest violin!” Melanie berated Wyatt while rubbing her index and thumb together, playing the imaginary violin.

The doctor’s face distorted into that of anger while the others gazed at Melanie with disgust. The first one in the group to call her out on her behavior was Iris.

“Why do you have to be so mean and outright creepy all the time? No one has done anything to you, and yet you’re saying such rude and hurtful things. Cut it out will you?”

“I agree. You could stand to be a little bit more — sane — you know?” Darius added.

A Cheshire-like smile appeared on Melanie’s face. God, how that smile unnerved me. It rivaled the creepiness of both Caius and Tanet.

“You got a problem with my personality? If so, then tough titties. The name’s Melanie Bella, and I don’t give a damn about anyone else playing in this game!” She proudly introduced herself as she proceeded to give us all the finger. “I’m gonna win this game and leave this place with one million dollars!”

“Not if I have anything to say about it.” Interjected Wyatt, scowling fiercely at the punk rock girl. “I’ll be damned if I allow someone like you to leave this place with one million dollars!”

Melanie’s eyebrows knitted together after hearing Wyatt’s words. She raised up her index finger then wagged it back and forth with a mocking smile. “Sounds like to me that you just made a threat there, Doc. You see now we have a bit of a problem on our hands. If you get in the way of me winning this thing, Imma see to it that I put you six feet under.”

The tension in the room once again returned after Melanie threatened Wyatt. I knew things weren’t going to turn out well by introducing ourselves to the other players. It was true that everyone had the common goal of winning money. But it didn’t change the fact that we were all practically enemies. Our personalities and convictions would certainly clash sooner or later.

“Hey, what do you say we continue with the introductions?” Darius hastily attempted to ease the tension once again. “Since Klara is mute and cannot introduce herself properly. I guess it’s my turn. My name is Darius Haldis. I’m a high school dropout and novelist. I plan to use my prize money to live a peaceful life and write stories for as long as I can.”

“What kind of stories have you written so far?” Iris asked with mild interest.

“Have you been published yet?” Elena asked.

Darius’ smile weakened as he slowly shook his head in response. “I’ve written a few novels here and there. None of them are exceedingly popular.”

“Probably because they suck balls and if anyone reads them they’ll probably wanna kill themselves.” Melanie voiced her much-unneeded input again.

“So harsh!” Darius exclaimed while lowering his head. His self-esteem had taken a blow.

Our gazes moved onto the next person, Henrika. “Oh, is it my turn? My name is Henrika Calanthia. I’m a florist. Not to be rude or anything, but I will keep my reasons for joining these games a secret.”

“Hey, that’s not fair. You should tell us why you want the prize money.” Darius interjected, clearly not happy about Henrika’s refusal to speak.

“It’s none of our business. If she chooses to keep it a secret, then we should respect her decision.” I said.

Although I was interested in learning her reasons for joining the games, it was the perfect chance for me. Out of all the reasons I had heard from the previous players, my reasons for joining paled in comparison. And if that punk rock girl berated me, I might’ve lost my composure and attacked her in retaliation.

“You’re not trying to get fresh with her, now are you?” Frederick suddenly asked with a small smirk forming on his face soon afterward.

“Ambrose, you, sly dog you! You sure do know how to pick them.” Darius approached me and then began to nudge me with his elbow while giving me a sly grin.

Elena gasped and placed her hands on her flushed cheeks. “Could this be the beginning of romance?”

“If it is, then I support it all the way! Way to go, Ambrose! I ship it!” Iris gave me thumbs up.

“If you ever need any help with the ladies just let me know. Consider me to be a love guru.” Darius said, clearly full of himself.

“Please. A love guru? I doubt you’ve gotten a single girlfriend.” Iris decided to call him out on his words.

“It’s true that I’ve never gotten a girlfriend before. But I’ve been surrounded by dozens of girls before, all wishing to be with me.”

“How long did it take for them to deflate?” Melanie took a verbal jab at him.

“Shut up!”

I ignored the interactions between the children, glancing over to Henrika to gauge her reaction. She didn’t seem flustered by their teasing. Rather, she appeared to be quite annoyed.

“I’m sorry. But I’m not interested in pursuing a relationship while playing games that could result in our death.” She said flatly.

“Ow! Rejected! That must have been tough, buddy! Don’t worry, if you need a shoulder to cry on, I’m here for you.” Darius snaked his arm around my shoulder with a smile.

“Oh, how sad. I thought you two would have been great together.” Elena voiced her disappointment about the turn of events.

“No worries, Ambrose! I’m certain you’ll get the next one!” Iris mentioned in an attempt to cheer me up. Not that I felt down in the first place.

“I’m not trying to be fresh or anything like that. So, cut it out.” I said my peace, removed Darius’ arm from around me, then fell silent.

“I guess it is my turn. My name is Nicholas Damon. I am a psychiatrist. I am participating in these games because I have hit an enormous slump in my life due to an incident with a former patient of mine.” Nicholas admitted.

“What kind of incident was it if you don’t mind me asking?” Darius said.

“Forgive me, but I would rather not talk about it.” He politely refused to answer.

“My go? Well, I’m known by many names. But, I guess you all can call me Salomon Sanders. I’m a retired war veteran, and I’m joining in this game to test my luck.” The old man informed everyone.

“Test your luck?” Elena tilted her head to the side.

“Exactly. I’m a firm believer in fate and luck. I’ve been in some pretty terrible situations in my life and yet I’ve managed to survive them all.” Salomon opened up his jacket and revealed large and jagged scars across his torso.

“Whoa.” Darius and Iris leaned in and admired the old man’s scars. They even requested to touch them.

Salomon closed his jacket and continued to talk. “This game will be yet again another trial in my life. If I manage to survive and win the prize money, I think I’ll buy an island and live the rest of my days in bliss.”

“That’s notta bad plan, old man. I think I’m beginning to consider respecting you.” Melanie said.

The old man looked to Melanie then laughed for a moment before responding to her. “I feel nothing from that statement, youngster.”

Next up was Elena. The blonde-haired woman stood up from the sofa then politely bowed to everyone before introducing herself. “Hello, everyone. My name is Elena Aegle. I’m an amateur model for a small time fashion company. I hope to win the prize money and have a fashion business myself one day.”

Her dream was very average. It was odd to me why she would agree to participate in the games if all she wanted to do was own a company. A little hard work and determination would be more than enough to do that. But, what did I know? Perhaps there was more to her story than she was willing to tell. It wasn’t my business to pry.

“A fashion model company? Whatta waste of money. You’d go bankrupt in a week or two.” Melanie belittled Elena’s dream.

Her cruel remark brought tears to Elena’s eyes. However, Iris quickly stepped in and calmed down her before the water works could start.

“Don’t listen to her, Elena. I’m sure that your fashion model company will be a huge success once you get out of here with the prize money.” Iris tried to comfort her friend.

“Don’tcha mean if she gets outta here? Guessing by how weak willed she is, she’d be the first one to die.”

“No one is going to die as long as we gamble with one point each time we play a game. How many times do I have to repeat myself?” Darius said.

“You can repeat yourself all you want. It doesn’t mean that anyone’s gonna listen to you.”

“Back to the introductions. My name is Iris Korinna. I have no profession, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with the prize money once I win.” Iris sheepishly admitted to everyone.

Surprisingly, Melanie had nothing to say. The introductions then continued with Leona speaking up next.

“My name is Leona Galen. I used to be a detective. I will keep my reasons for joining this game a secret.” She said.

“You used to be a detective? That’s impressive,” commented Wyatt.

“Did you ever shoot anyone while working as a detective? Oh, why did you quit being a detective in the first place?” Darius bombarded her with questions.

“It’s rude to ask such personal questions. Move on.” Leona ordered.

Frederick cleared his throat to gain everyone’s attention once it was his turn. “My name is Frederick Lukas I’m a lawyer. I wish to win the games so that I can support my family.”

“Support your family? That’s even more boring than the fashion model company.” Melanie blurted out.

Frederick gritted his teeth after having his goal ridiculed. “I’m sorry that my reasons aren’t as good as yours, you little brat.” He clenched his hands into fists. He tried his best not to lash out and harm her physically.

All gazes were soon on me. My turn for introduction had come. “Name’s Troy Ambrose. Call me Ambrose. I’m a bartender. I’m also going to keep my reason for joining this game a secret.”

Darius made it no secret that he was disappointed with my introduction. He looked to Henrika and complained, “You see what you started? You decided to keep secrets, and now everyone else is following your example.”

Henrika rolled her eyes and ignored his comment.

“Well, that’s everyone,” Iris announced after everyone had introduced themselves.

To be honest, it wasn’t as pointless as I thought. I had learned quite a bit about the other players. Some were more interesting than the others. But nonetheless, I didn’t plan on forming any particular relationships with them. I couldn’t allow myself to get distracted from my goal.

“And it was still utterly pointless. I don’t plan on remembering any of your names once this game is over and I leave with my money.” Melanie said.

“Is everyone ready for the first game to begin? Because if you’re not, that’s a shame!” A familiar, haughty voice intruded into our eardrums.

Our attention was brought over towards Caius, the game moderator. He entered the room with two people in black suits hauling a giant roulette wheel. It read ‘Games of Death Wheel’ on the top of it. On all of the panels displayed several pictures of stick figures playing numerous games with unnerving expressions on their faces.

“This is the wheel that will determine the games you will all be playing in the future! Behold! The Games of Death Wheel!” Caius enthusiastically introduced us to the wheel.

“Let’s get this show on the road already! Spin the damn wheel!” Melanie demanded with a stern expression.

Caius raised his hands up in a defensive manner before he said, “No need to rush this, Melanie. I am getting to that right now.” He grabbed onto the lever of the wheel and then spun it with all his might.

The wheel spun faster and faster. The images on the panels blurred. As the wheel began to lose its momentum, the images became more apparent.

It soon stopped.

The needle pointed to the panel with an image of two stick figures standing on some colorful game board.

“What’s this game?” Darius asked.

“Oh, wonderful! I am glad you asked that question, Darius!” Caius clapped his hands together with a wide smile. “The first game to start off this fantastic event will be Ludo!”

“What kind of game is that? I’ve never heard of it.” I said.

“Oh, it is a magnificent game. I will explain the rules once Klara and Frederick are in the game room. Please follow me Klara, Frederick.” He gestured for the two to follow him before he left the room.

“This is happening. The games have finally begun.” Darius stated after watching Klara and Frederick leave the room with Caius.

“I sure do hope that those two will be okay; especially Frederick,” Henrika said.

“Why Frederick? You gotta crush on him or something?” Melanie teased.

“No. But, I’m worried that Klara won’t be gambling with just one point.” She voiced her concern about the situation.

“Klara won’t do anything like that. She might not be very talkative, but I’m certain that she’s a nice person.” Iris optimistically spoke.

Henrika, on the other hand, didn’t seem so convinced. “I don’t know. I just have a bad feeling about this.”

“Attention players! The first game will begin shortly! Please direct your attention to the screen or feel free to look through the glass window!” Caius’ annoying voice came from the intercom located on the ceiling.

Following his instructions, everyone gathered around the television screen or the window. Klara and Frederick stood in the game room on opposite corners. A light flashed from the floor then all the panels changed into that of a board game. The section Frederick stood on turned blue while Klara’s turned red. The scene mirrored that of the game wheel.

“Both players have already offered up their points for the game. The game will begin after I explain the rules.” Caius said.

“Well then, get on with it,” Melanie ordered.

“I doubt that he can hear you,” Wyatt told her.

“The point of this game is for the players, Klara and Frederick, to reach the home goal in the center of the room. The first one to reach the target will be declared the winner.” Caius explained.

“So, reach the goal, and you win. It certainly sounds easy enough,” said Wyatt. However, the dubious expression on his face revealed more than he was willing to say aloud.

“Right now, both players are in their respective areas, which I shall refer to as the player’s yard. To move from the player yard to the starting area, the players must roll the die that has been provided to them. It has to land on a six or else you will not be able to move until your next turn.”

Klara and Frederick looked to the die in their hands.

“Fortunate enough for me, playing games that involve dice are my specialty. So, no hard feelings when I win?” Frederick shamelessly admitted, tossing the die into the air then catching it in a swift motion. Then, he showed it triumphantly to Klara, who seemed quite disinterested in well…everything.

“Once a player can move to the starting area, their next roll of the die will determine the number of spaces they can move along the paths presented to them. Each player will race clockwise on their paths until they reach their respective goals with a precise dice roll.”

“Sounds simple enough. Is there anything else we need to know before we begin?”

“Of course. To make the game more enjoyable, random spaces on the floor have been rigged with little traps. Should someone manage to land on one of them during the game, well, they will be in for a surprise depending on the trap.”

“Certainly, nothing life threatening, right?”

“Also, should an occasion arise that a player rolls a six when they are making their journey across the board, they will earn themselves another turn. However, if on the third roll the player still lands on a six, then that third turn will be skipped, and the rotation between turns will commence as usual.”

“Ha! As if someone can roll three sixes in a row! It’s impossible unless they’re cheating!” The blatant response came from Melanie.

“Is it even possible to cheat at a game like this?” asked Darius as he brought his hand up to his chin. “This game seems like it will rely purely on luck and chance.”

“Guess we will have to wait and see,” Nicholas responded.

“All of the rules have been clearly explained to the players! Now it is time for the Ludo game to commence!” Caius announced.

“Since I’m a gentleman, I’ll let you have the first roll, Klara,” Frederick said, gesturing for her to make her move with a wave of his hand.

Klara accepted the proposal without hesitation. With a light toss, her die rolled on the player yard. It landed on the number three.

“Oh! What a shame! The first roll of the game is a three! Klara is unable to leave the player yard! The next die roll goes to Frederick!” Caius announced.

“Better luck next time, Klara.” Although Frederick’s words seemed sincere, the arrogance in his eyes was clearly displayed. Anyone with half a brain could tell that man was full of shit. He rolled his die then smiled triumphantly once it landed on a six. And with that, he stepped out from his yard and onto the starting area.

“What tremendous luck! Frederick’s first roll landed on a six! He has made his way to the starting area! And since it landed on a six, it is his turn once more!”

“Lucky me,” Frederick picked up his die then rolled once again. Like before, it landed on a six. He took the die before proceeding to move six spaces forward before stopping. “My turn again. Wonder what kind of roll I will get this time.” His attempts to feign ignorance annoyed the hell out of me and possibly Klara. Once again, he threw a six. However, as the rules stated, he was unable to move from his spot. Thus, the turn was skipped back over to Klara.

“Well, I’ll be damned. The son of a bitch managed to get four sixes in a row. Lucky bastard.” Melanie nonchalantly said as if accepting the situation.

“Luck and chance. This game is about luck and chance…right?” Darius nervously looked around for confirmation from the other players. I didn’t know what he was so worked up about.

Luck? I didn’t believe in that. The concept of luck was nothing more than a farce, an illusion to misguide people. The fact that people believe that some external force out there in the universe works for or against them is complete bullshit. People use luck as an excuse to explain their successes or failures instead of seeking a valid explanation for their situation.

Now chance on the other hand is an entirely different issue. Chance — it just happens. Sometimes some things cannot be avoided or prepared for. Like Frederick for instance. He rolled a six, four times in a row. The probability of that happening is one in one thousand two hundred and ninety-six.

Not impossible to achieve.

Do it long enough; one is bound to get a streak like that. Frederick did mention that games involving dice were his specialty. So, it didn’t come off as much of a surprise when he managed to pull it off. However, like everyone else, I too felt suspicious of the man. I didn’t know if it was out of spite or jealousy, but something felt off about how things progressed.

Klara eventually made her second roll. It landed on a five. Thus, she had to remain in her yard once again.

Frederick made his move. Once again, his die rolls all landed on six. He made it about twenty-five percent through the board. That pattern continued three more times until Klara finally managed to roll a six and make it to the starting area.

“Okay, so is anyone else feeling suspicious about Frederick’s constant stroke of luck?” Iris looked away from the window then faced the other players with a pout.

“Ever since his second turn.” Replied almost everyone in the room.

“It’s rigged, obviously…” Melanie made herself comfortable on the sofa. She stared aimlessly at the ceiling, having lost interest in the game. “No one’s that lucky. I don’t know what he did, but that die he’s using is loaded.”

“And he’s already made it about halfway through the board. A few more lucky rolls like that and he’ll overlap Klara,” mentioned Henrika.

“That’s not such a bad thing, right?” asked Elena, “I mean, none of them seem to be in any danger at all. No one has set off any of the traps that Caius mentioned earlier.”

“She’s right. So, regardless of who wins this game, no one will get harmed.” Iris shrugged her shoulders.

“Do not be so sure of that,” said Nicholas, his eyes remained on the television screen. “this game has yet to reach a conclusion. Until it is over, we should not make such baseless assumptions.”

“After much strife, Klara has finally made it onto the board! It is her turn once more!” commentated Caius.

Klara rolled her die. It landed on four. She picked up the die then proceeded up four spaces.

“Congrats on making it on the board. I thought you’d never make it at the stroke of luck that you had.” Frederick said. His condescending words fell on deaf ears, however. Klara didn’t even bother to turn around and face him to give him a response — not that she would in the first place.

With no further words exchanged between them, Frederick once again rolled a six, three times in a row. It wasn’t until his second roll that he lapped Klara and sent her back to her player yard, starting the process all over again. Once it became Klara’s turn again, she only managed to roll a five.

The next turn moved to Frederick. As usual, he threw three sixes. However, after his second turn, he stepped on a space that contained a trap. The space beneath him flashed red before he got electrocuted. Afterward, he dropped to the floor, breathing heavily.

“Ouch! That was shocking!” Caius joked. “Frederick has accidentally triggered one of the many traps on the board! Try and be careful down there, players!”

“An electrocution trap? Are you kidding me?” exclaimed Darius.

“Guess Frederick isn’t as lucky as we thought he was,” Salomon mentioned.

“Did you see the look on his face when he got electrocuted? The son of a bitch didn’t see that coming at all!” Melanie fell off the sofa then proceeded to laugh her ass off.

“Frederick is lucky that he was not killed.” said Wyatt.

After Frederick had recovered from the electrocution, Klara made her move. She rolled her die and watched as it landed on a six. She stepped out into her starting area then rolled again.

Five.

She moved up five spaces then stopped. Like Frederick, she landed on a spot that activated another trap on the board. The panel she stepped on suddenly sunk into the floor, throwing her off balance. A section of the wall beside her opened, allowing a pendulum ax to swing out towards her. Surprisingly, that woman possessed good reflexes.

She acted quickly and jumped out of the way of the pendulum. It swung back and forth a few times, contacting nothing but air until it eventually returned to the wall. Afterward, Klara returned to her spot, albeit cautiously.

“That was a close call for Klara! Had she moved a second too late, that would have been her life!” Caius stated.

“Glad to see that you made it out okay, Klara,” said Frederick. “We should try and be more careful with our die rolls.”

His words felt hollow. The audio didn’t match the visuals.

Frederick proceeded with his turn then rolled the die. All sixes. He soon landed on the arrow leading to the home goal. It was nearly over. Once it reached his turn again, the game would be over. That fact was evident by the arrogant smirk on his face.

Klara rolled her die, and it landed on a four. She made her move then stopped. No trap activated that time.

“It’s been fun playing this game, Klara. You tried your best. But, hey, there’s always next time.” Frederick rolled the die then smirked at the sight of it miraculously landing on a six. He proceeded forward. He only had to roll one more time to reach the goal. He tossed the die once more.

Six.

Just when he took that triumphant step forward, Caius’ voice stopped him.

“Sorry, Frederick, but I am afraid that you cannot move to the home goal just yet.”

“What? Why not?” Frederick called out to him.

“Remember what I said at the beginning of the game? You cannot reach the home goal unless you make a precise roll.” he explained, “As of now, you are one step away from the goal. So, all you must do is roll a one then you win.”

“But, that’s impossible! I…” Frederick paused. For once in the entire game, his face turned pale.

“Odd. Why is it impossible?” asked Elena as she looked to everyone for an answer.

“Isn’t it obvious, Funbags?” Melanie responded. “Frederick’s got a loaded die. It won’t land on anything other than six.”

“So, that means that Frederick won’t be able to win. No matter how hard he tries, the victor will eventually be Klara.” Leona stated.

“Guess his luck has run out,” Salomon concluded

With that, the game proceeded as usual. Frederick and Klara rotated between turns with the same outcome. Frederick was unable to move from his spot while Klara slowly circumnavigated around the board. Sure, she acted more traps here and there, but she eventually reached the space before the goal.

There the two of them stood. Face to face. Inches away from one another. Frederick showed definite concern, perhaps even fear. He was as pale as a ghost. Sweat slithered down his face. His body trembled.

It was his turn again. He reluctantly rolled.

Six.

He went again.

Six.

He went once more.

Another six.

The man dropped down all fours in complete defeat. No matter what he tried, the die refused to land on anything other than a six. When Klara raised her arm to proceed with her turn, the man desperately called out to her.

“Wait! Klara! Please, listen to me!” He pleaded. Klara stopped and looked at him with her usual stare of indifference. “I know that you are aware that this game was rigged. But, you can’t roll that die! Please! My very life is on the line here! If you win, then I’ll die!”

Throughout his statement, he pathetically choked on his words as tears and snot ran down his face and soiled the floor. He lowered his head to the young woman, pleading for her not to make the roll that could potentially end his life.

It all made sense. Frederick gambled all his points in the first game. If he lost, then he’d be killed afterward. His predicament meant nothing to me. He made the foolish mistake to gamble all his points in the first place. He got no sympathy from me.

“Look at him, crying like a little bitch. He really needs to grow a pair.” Melanie criticized him.

“I feel sorry for him. He’ll die if Klara reaches the goal.” Elena stated.

“Isn’t there anything anyone can do?” Iris asked.

Wyatt shook his head then responded with a stern, “No.”

“For reasons unknown, Frederick has a loaded die. No matter what he rolls, it will only land on a six. Klara will eventually fall on a one and end the game. And if not, we’ll be here, watching a never-ending stalemate between the two of them.” Leona followed up.

“The man can beg and plead all he wants. The game will end soon.” Henrika said.

“Please! Don’t make your next roll! Give me some time to figure something out! I don’t want to die! Not like this!” Frederick continued with his pathetic attempts to sway Klara.

However, his pleas fell on deaf ears. Without hesitation, Klara made her roll. It miraculously landed on a one. She stepped forward and reached the home goal, thus concluding the game. Almost immediately, sections of the roof split apart, and confetti rained down in the room followed up by the sound of celebratory blow horns and victory music.

“This marks the end of the Ludo game! The winner is Klara Ismene! Congratulations young lady!” Caius cheered. The door on Klara’s side of the room opened. “You are now free to leave the game room!”

Klara immediately turned around and made her way toward the exit. Not even giving Frederick a second glance as she prepared to leave him to his fate.

“Wait…wait a second…where do you think you’re going, you bitch!” Frederick stood to his feet then rushed the young woman. Klara made no attempt to defend herself. Two people in black suits rushed to her rescue and restrained the man. It wasn’t until she was safely out of the room that he was released.

“Now, now, Frederick. You should know that physical violence outside of the games is against the rules.” Caius told him. “Usually, I would activate your bracelet and let the poison kill you. However, where is the fun in that? Now that you are out of gambling points will be forced to go through my favorite part of the game — the punishment round.”

“Punishment round?” Frederick shuddered while the people in black suits left him in the room.

“Correct! Now that you have lost all your points, there is no need to keep you around. And since we cannot just let you go, it is time for your execution.”

“Execution?!”

“Execution? Is Caius going to execute him?” Darius asked with a concerned tone of voice.

“I don’t want to see this! I don’t want to see this!” Elena covered her ears and turned away from the television screen. Iris immediately consoled the young woman by holding her close.

“This is gonna be exciting. I wonder what Caius is gonna do to that idiot.” Melanie walked over to the window. She then pressed her face against it and stared intensely at the stunned Frederick.

“How unfortunate. He went all in and came out short.” Salomon closed his eyes and bowed his head.

“I hope you are all ready for this! It is time to reveal the wheel of punishment!” Caius appeared on the television screen for everyone to see. He stood next to another roulette wheel. The panels on the wheel displayed stick figures being killed in multiple, gruesome ways.

“I don’t like the looks of that thing,” Darius said, slowly backing away from the television.

“This wheel will determine the way the losers get exterminated! Let us see how former player Frederick Lukas shall get killed!” He grabbed the lever and then spun the wheel with all his might. It eventually stopped, and the needle landed on the panel showing a stick figure being shot by multiple guns.

“I don’t like the looks of that picture.” Iris’ face went pale as she placed her hand over her mouth in disgust.

“Oh, wonderful! One of my favorites! Former player Frederick Lukas is sentenced to death by firing squad!” Caius clapped his hands together and jumped up and down in a joyous manner.

“Firing squad?” Henrika exclaimed, apparently taken aback by the announcement.

“Oh yeah! Let the death begin! Shoot him full of holes and let him bleed!” Melanie cheered enthusiastically.

“This is absurd. There is no way that Caius would be so daring as to do something like that.” Wyatt disregarded the idea of the execution going underway.

“Firing squad? Are you kidding me? Let me out of here! This game was fucking rigged!” Frederick declared as he ran over one of the doors, trying to force it down with all his might.

“Let the execution begin!” Caius announced.

Several of the panels from the walls came off and many gun barrels poked out from them. Frederick looked around and continued with his meaningless struggle. One of the guns fired off round and hit Frederick in the shoulder. He exclaimed loudly in pain but nonetheless continued to struggle. Two more guns fired off shots that hit him in the arms. But before he could react, he was then showered with a volley of bullets from all the guns.

After about a minute of constant gunfire, it all eventually stopped. Everyone looked at the television screen in complete silence, waiting for the smoke to clear to verify the status of Frederick. Once the smoke had cleared, Frederick was gone. All that was left was an unrecognizable figure covered in blood and bullet holes. And with that, only eleven players remained in the competition.

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