-Hargeon Town, waiting to board the Gambler's Paradise
Wearing a purple long-sleeved t-shirt with black skirt, black thigh-high stockings, and black tennis shoes, Diana clutched a travel case filled with what spare clothing she had, which included a formal black dress and a pair of short blue jean shorts Angela Helton had bought her during their shopping trip in Capital Crocus Mall. She stood in line with the other people who were wearing golden lanyards, which marked them as VIPs. A VIP room had been reserved for her on board the Gambler's Paradise
, an imaginatively named gambling boat which was touted to be "a gambler's paradise" with a wide variety of games. Those games included gambling staples like blackjack, baccarat, Texas Hold'Em, Omaha, roulette wheels, and slot machines, but there were also betting parlors for horse races, auto racing, dog racing, and combat sports such as boxing and mixed martial arts.
There were even betting parlors for football, basketball, soccer, and other traditional sports. Diana was impressed with the variety of things to gamble on, but not in a good way. Diana thought that gambling was not a bright idea because money was easy to spend but hard to earn and harder to hang onto. However, she would not tell people how to live their lives. If they wanted to squander their money on games with really bad odds that was their choice.
The huntress was not fond of gambling cruises, but this trip was a gift from Mister Burke for helping his company retrieve the black boxes of the downed aircraft in Fat Monsterland and Forgotten Deserts plus rescuing the crew of the plane that had went down in Forgotten Deserts. The last she had been told Mister Burke was investigating the cause behind the two recent crashes and the one in Silent Glaciers. He had to be very careful in what he told her because his superiors wanted to keep company secrets safe, but from what she was told he and his superiors strongly suspected that sabotage was the reason for the crashes. The crews of both planes had over a decade of flight service and all of them had passed drug testing at the hospital and at company headquarters, so inexperience and the influence of drugs or alcohol were ruled out as reasons for the crashes.
Mister Burke also dropped hints that Diana might have more work coming her way thanks to her track record of success and ability to keep her mouth shut about sensitive information. Diana was somewhat flattered that he had chosen her to keep working for the company. She also appreciated the steady work and the interesting jobs that he offered her. Not many people could say that they had visited both Fat Monsterland and Forgotten Deserts in the same day.
Diana was seventy-fourth in a line of at least 300 VIPs who were a mix of wealthy socialites, captains of industry, music industry stars, professional gamblers, and even a few movie stars. Diana was used to moving in Bellum's high society as a child, so she was not daunted by the star power of her fellow VIPs. She just wanted to get on the boat so that she could see what the Gambler's Paradise
was all about. However, it was going to take awhile because there were a lot of people in line ahead of her. Fortunately Diana was used to long waits, so she settled in and waited her turn to have her boarding pass scanned and verified.
Unfortunately Diana heard an unpleasant voice somewhere in the back of the line and connected it to Francesca Corlone. The huntress frowned deeply. The VIP list was not very exclusive if an obnoxious mob princess could get on it. Maybe she was added so that the rich people who had never left their protected enclaves or had gone into "bad" neighborhoods could feel the excitement of being around a real-life mob princess. They would grow to detest her company before very long, though.
-One hour and fifteen minutes, on board the Gambler's Paradise
After a lengthy delay Diana had finally boarded the gambling boat and was looking for her cabin, which was one with an ocean view, among other perks like priority room service and 20,000 Jewels' worth of chips to gamble. It was on the top deck away from the crew quarters and average passengers. Diana stood on the deck looking out on Hargeon Town when another blonde walked up beside her.
The new arrival had rather long blonde hair and wore a white long-sleeved shirt with blue jeans and white shoes with a dark jacket draped on her shoulders. Around her neck was a golden lanyard. She was also a few inches taller than Diana, but that was not the most distinctive thing about her.The other blonde had blue eyes with star-shaped pupils.
They were concealed behind sunglasses, but Diana could see them clearly. Diana had never seen that physical feature before. The young woman must have noticed because she turned to Diana and spoke.
"Hey there! I'm Stella Herschel!
" The young woman introduced herself to Diana.
" Diana introduced herself to Stella.
- Stella Herschel:
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[Total Word Count: 864/11,000]