Propositions Chapter 6

Wandering Gambler -or- 21! The Black Jack Gabbiani!

By Kenji Kotaro

Crossover note: Believe it or not, the job report for "Wandering Gambler" (Ship Casino, Black Jack) actually mentions Setzer (Whether it's the same Setzer from FFVI or not, I don't know).

Warjilis, the trade capital of Lionel. People have been known to make fortunes selling to the fur shops with skins from the many monsters that live in the area, others make their money by trading at the local shipyard.

And as for two knights, an archer, a priest, an oracle and a thief....

"Okay, maybe we could get a part time job somewhere..." Rad suggested, sitting with his friends at a bar by the inn. It was late that night, the group sat and discussed their options, using some of their remaining money on drinks, using Ken's theory that people come up with the most useful (or crazy) ideas when drunk.

"It'd still take months to afford a ticket to Igros. We need money NOW. We're already 2 weeks late. Ramza's gonna be mad..." Lavian said, hanging her head down, "Stupid Zero..."

"What about borrowing money from the bank?" Osamu asked.

Ai shook her head, "How will we pay them back? Not only that, but, those tickets are expensive..."

The group sighed in unison, learning forward on the table.

"...We could always walk...." Ken muttered.

"We're almost out of potions, things could get bad." Alicia said.

Ai was about to speak until a loud fanfare came from outside, followed by the sound of an explosion.

Ken jumped up, "Sounds like a battle...!!" He grabbed his crossbow and arrows and ran out of the bar. The rest of the group followed him quickly, having their weapons ready.

"Whoah....!!" Ken said in awe as he looked outside.

Music, louder than the fanfare, began to play. It came from the harbor, where fireworks could be seen, exploding over the water. The music was like that of a parade. People were walking out of their homes, and various buildings to see what was happening.

"What in the nine Hades is going on!?" Alicia shouted, covering her ears as another firework went off. They weren't too far away, so the noise was very loud.

"It's coming from the harbor!" Osamu shouted over the music, sheathing his sword, "Let's check it out!"

The group took off, running through the crowd of people, eventually making it to the docks.

A huge steamboat was docked there, loud music playing from an orchestra on the top of the boat, fire works going off over the water, being launched from cannons. The words "Black Jack" were written on the side of the boat.

Just as the warriors made it to the front of the crowd, a large wooden plank fell from the boat and in front of the large crowd, almost hitting Ken.

The music began to play loudly, and more fireworks shot into the air as a man stepped out onto the plank. He had long white hair (resembling that of Marquis Elmdor), wearing a long black coat with golden buttons. He smiled broadly as he stepped in front of the crowd, the music began to soften, and the fireworks slowly came to a halt. There was silence as the man looked over the crowd, "Welcome, ladies and gentlemen," He finally said, "noblemen and commoners, warriors and mages. Welcome to the one, the only, the amazing..... Black Jack!" Fire works came from the ship once again, about twenty of them shot into the air at once and exploded, "I am Setzer Gabbiani, the owner of this marvelous boat. I have come to Warjilis to bring you adventure, excitement, money," Setzer continued, but one word echoed through the heads of six people in the crowd...

"Money..." Osamu whispered to himself.

Ai's eyes lit up, "Cash...."

Rad rubbed his hands together greedily, "Moneymoneymoneymoney...." He chanted over and over.

Alica grinned, "Moolah..."

Lavian let out a low gasp of excitement, "Thank you, Ajora..." She whispered.

"....Geez, I could really go for a sandwich right now..." Ken thought to himself, "I bet I could buy one with some money..."

The group paid close attention to Setzer, "The Black Jack is a casino ship, I sail the high seas and dock in ports such as this for just about any amount of time! My casino is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week... You could win thousands of gil in a single hand of poker, or..." He raised his hand, showing an ace of spades to the crowd, "...Black Jack." He finally said. He turned away and stepped back onto the ship, "We are open starting.............." He paused stepping onto a walkway next to the entrance of the casino, taking a pocket watch out of his jacket. The crowd immediately ran into the casino boat, some people being knocked into the water, ".....Now." He said as the last of the crowd entered the casino ship. He slipped the watch into his pocket, "...Excellent." He looked onto the port of Warjilis cautiously before reentering the casino boat again, "...I doubt he'll try it again."

The group of warriors were some of the last to enter the ship. It was beautifully lit up by torches, decorated with vases and paintings. There was a room with three pathways leading to different parts of the ship.

Rad looked at the signs above the pathways, "Casino, Bar, and Inn."

"I personally, suggest the poker tables." Said a voice from behind him.

The group turned, facing a man with a long purple cape that stopped about an inch above the ground, he wore a black suit with a purple undershirt and black. His hair was long, blonde and tied into a pony tail, "That's just my opinion, of course." There was a moment of silence, the man chuckled to himself, extending his hand to Rad, "I'm Tsubasa Kirei."

Rad shook Tsubasa's hand, "Rad." He said.

"Pleased to meet you." Tsubasa looked around the room, looking at a painting, "Beautiful decorations..." He commented, "The lighting is magnificent..."

"Uh... Yeah." Rad replied, unsure of what to say.

"Pardon me, I get caught up in the beauty of things too often at times." Tsubasa looked at the rest of the group, "Friends of yours, Rad?"

Rad nodded, "Yeah. We've been traveling together for a while."

Tsubasa nodded, "Hello, I am honored to meet you. Any friend of Rad's is a friend of mine." He gracefully bowed.

"What's with this guy?" Ai muttered to Alicia.

"What games are you going to try?" Ken asked.

"I like poker and slot machines. I hear the ones on the Black Jack are...'loose' as some would say." Tsubasa replied, "I seem to be having good luck this week...perhaps I'll win Setzer's entire vault." He chuckled, before bowing once more, "Farewell, good luck winning."

"There's something weird about that guy..." Rad commented.

Ken shrugged, "You see all types of people in this place, not that surprising."

"Hm, I suppose someone should keep an eye on him." A voice behind the group said as soon as Tsubasa was away.

Rad turned, "O-oh! Mr. Gabbiani!"

Setzer looked into his casino, resting his chin in one hand in thought, "..You." He finally pointed to Osamu.


"Ever hear of war?" Setzer pulled a deck of cards from his pocket, "Not battle itself, but I mean the card game."

"Err... Yeah, it's...really old..."

Setzer skillfully shuffled the cards in his hands, "I need some extra security in this area due to a recent attempted theft by a man known as Zero. I trust people who have better luck than I do, and I hear that Zero was captured by a group similar to yours before his latest escape." He held the deck of cards to Osamu, spreading them out in both hands, "Pick a card, any card."

Osamu shrugged, choosing a card from the middle. No sooner did he take it, when Setzer rearranged the cards into a single pile, the snap and sudden movement started Osamu somewhat. Setzer chuckled to himself, pulling a card from the top of the deck. He looked at it, cocking his head to the side and smiling, "Your card?"

Osamu held up a Jack of Spades.

"Hm, too bad." Setzer revealed that he had an Ace of hearts, "Nice try, however." He turned away.

"Hold it." Ai said.

"Hm?" Setzer turned back to Ai and Osamu, "What is it?"

"You cheated." Ai said.

"How did I cheat?" Setzer asked.

"When you put the cards back into a straight deck, that ace of hearts came out of your sleeve! Oldest trick in the book!" Ai shouted, "I saw it with my own two eyes!"

"Hm, I see I was wrong." Setzer chuckled, "Well then, you're all hired."

"Excuse me?" Rad asked.

"Ten thousand Gil for one night, to each other you." Setzer said, "You will be my undercover security team, do we have a deal, Mr. Osamu?" Setzer turned to the male knight. He extended his hand to Osamu.

"Err... Uh... Sure!" Osamu nodded, shaking Setzer's hand. Setzer gave him a pat on the shoulder.

"Good, keep Zero and any of his flunkies out of my casino and you'll get your money in the morning. I'll have someone bring you to my office at that time." Setzer bowed his head, "May lady luck be with you." He walked off.

"How'd you know he cheated?" Lavian asked, stepping up behind Ai.

"Wait, this wouldn't have anything to do with the fact you always beat me at poker, would it?" Rad asked.


"What the...!?" Osamu looked at his pocket, "Guys...?" He held up a bag, "What's this?"

"Your pocket, you tell us." Ken said.

Osamu opened the bag, "...Poker chips?"

"Setzer must have slipped them in there when he shook your hand. I guess they're for us." Rad said, "Count me out, I'm not much for poker."

Alicia held out her hand, "I'll take Rad's share!" She smiled.

Osamu divided and gave out the poker chips to himself, Ai, Alicia and Ken. Lavian and Rad weren't interested.

Ai turned away, "Come on, let's keep an eye out for Zero and anyone suspicious. We'll split up and meet back here at 1:00."

"All right." Rad nodded, "C'mon, Ken, Lavian, why don't up?" He chuckled.

"I'm staying out of this." Osamu muttered, knowing exactly what Rad was up to, "I'll keep an eye on the keno room, Alicia?" He turned to the Oracle.

"I'll be at the poker tables." Alicia said.

The group split up.

Ai walked through the blackjack tables, keeping an eye out for anyone suspicious. Most of the players looked to be normal commoners, aside from that flamboyantly dressed man they had met earlier. He was at a slot machine by a hall entrance with two guards standing in front of it.

...Wait a second... ...Did something just move?!

Ai casually snuck to the slot machines. She sat in one, three machines to the right of Tsubasa and kept an eye on the doorway.

Every so often, the light around the guards would warp...

Ai looked around her, trying not to attract Tsubasa's attention. She spotted Alicia playing poker at a table.


Ai casually got up again, and walked off to the poker table Alicia was playing at. It was full, but...

"Hold it!" Ai shouted, pointing to a man to the left of Alicia, "That guy's cheating!"

The dealer looked at Ai shocked, as did the man, "How so!?" The man shouted.

"Open up his jacket!" She shouted, "I'll bet you anything that there's a bunch of aces up his sleeve! I already saw him put one into his hand!"

"How dare you!" The man shouted.

"Open your jacket." The dealer said, "We need to check anyone accused of cheating."

"I will not! How dare you even ask! Do you know who I am!?" The man shouted, standing up, "I don't need to take this! I'm leaving!"

The dealer snapped his fingers, two security guards from a nearby table walked next to the man and grabbed his arms.

"LET GO OF ME!" The man screamed as he was dragged out of the casino.

Ai sat next to Alicia, taking the man's seat, "Deal me in the next hand." She said.

The dealer nodded. When the hand was finished, he gave Ai five cards.

Ai looked at her cards. Three of a kind. Can't have that.

Ai placed a small bet, "Give me three cards." She said after everyone else had bet and put down cards. She out down her three of a kind.

The dealer nodded, giving Ai three new cards.

No hand, not even a lousy jack. Perfect.

Ai put down another small bet, she was raised by a woman across the table. She put down a few chips.

"I call." Alicia said.

Ai was the last to put down her cards, "Darn! No luck with any cards for me tonight!" She said, getting, "I'll head to the slots. Anyone care to join me?" She glanced at Alicia.

Alicia got what Ai was saying, "I guess I've won enough for tonight." She said, "Good luck, everyone." She got up and left with Ai.

"There's something going on." Ai said, "You'll see, there's a hallway with two guards that, I think, leads to the vault."

"What's the problem?"

"Every so often, the light around the guards warps. It's slight, so you'd have to pay attention."

"Gotcha." Alicia sat next to Ai at some slots machines, carefully watching the hallway.

Sure enough, the light warped slightly, as if something mostly transparent passed by.

"Oh, I know what's going on..." Alicia whispered to herself, she held her hand forward, "Illusions, lies to--"

"Conjurers seek truth in silence. Silence song." Tsubasa whispered, glancing at Alicia.

"........" Alicia tried to shout, but no words came from her mouth. She tapped on Ai's shoulder.

"What?" Ai whispered.

Alicia frantically pointed to Tsubasa, then to her mouth, then back to Tsubasa.

"...Cat got your tongue?" Ai asked, confused, "Speak up." Alicia glared.

She held her hands up, mouthing the words to "Silence Song."


Alicia nodded. She then pointed to Tsubasa, who seemed oblivious to her and Ai's sudden movements.

"He silenced you?"

Alicia nodded.


Alicia glared and shrugged.

"Because she was about to cast dispel on my partner." Tsubasa said, looking at Ai, "Conjurers, seek truth in silence. Silence song."

Ai was about to shout, but like Alicia, no words came from her mouth.

"You foolish mages are useless when silenced. Such a shame, too, you have such pretty voices." Tsubasa chuckled, going back to the slot machine and playing.

Ai glared, she pointed to the bar.

Alicia nodded.

They walked to the bar, where they found Rad, Ken and Lavian...

Both mages ran to the group and waved frantically to get their attention.

"Something wrong!?" Ken shouted.

Ai and Alicia nodded.

"What is it?" Lavian asked.

Ai and Alicia pointed back to the slot machines.

"Timmy in the well?" Rad asked. Ai and Alica shot sharp glares at him.

"Silenced by another mage?" Ken asked.

Ai and Alicia nodded. Ai mouthed the word ECHO GRASS.

"Nope, I accidentally used it in a salad for lunch earlier." Lavian said. Ai and Alicia glared, "What?! It looks and tastes just like lettuce!"

"Bartender! Two remedies!" Rad shouted, looking to across the room. The bartender nodded.

The bartender tossed two bottled potions to Rad, who caught them. He handed them to Ai and Alicia. They quickly downed them.

Ai spoke first, her voices was a bit quieter than usual, "It's Tsubasa, he cast it on us."

Alicia followed up with, "He's got a partner with a vanish spell, it looks like that's how they're stealing money from the vault."

"Let's go!" Ken stood up, Rad and Lavian joined him, "Osamu's still in the keno room, probably. Lavian, you run and get him."

"Right!" Lavian nodded and jogged off. The rest ran off to the slot machine. As they neared it, Alicia began chanting again.

"Illusions, lies to heaven! Dispel magic!" She shouted.

A puff of smoke appeared between the two guards.

A talk man with black hair and a beard stood between the guards. He had a thin, almost clear cape...A vanish mantle. He also held two large bags of gil in his hands.

"...This is not good..." The man ducked between the two guards and into the casino.

"Land of all lives, suppress all rebels! Don't move!" Tsubasa cast a spell onto the two guards and followed after the man.

The group chased after them, Alicia frantically tried to cast a spell onto Tsubasa, but none of them seemed the work, "Wait..." She looked, "Argh! He's got a ribbon!"

"What is it with men and wearing ribbons these days?" Ken asked.

Tsubasa and his partner skid to a halt at the small room they entered in, where Lavian and Osamu were waiting with their swords drawn, standing at the door. Ai, Rad, Ken and Alicia caught up behind them.

"Well, Kensuke," Tsubasa said, "it seems our new friends have outsmarted us. I underestimated them."

Kensuke was silent.


Kensuke opened his mouth to speak, no words came out.

"Yes! One of my spells hit him! So, only you and Zero wear ribbons!" Alicia shouted.

Tsubasa closed his eyes, sighing as he pointed at Kensuke (his partner), "...Heavenly wind, carry us to the fountain of power. Esuna."

Kensuke spoke up, "So, you're the ones that caught Zero! He told us not to worry about you, that you were just lucky!"

"Perhaps they are." Tsubasa said, "After all, we are in the casino. Perhaps the maiden of luck is not with us tonight."

"Give back the money!" Ken shouted, "Don't make us take it!"

"Ooh! Big words for someone like you!" Kensuke held up the two bags of gil he stole, "At least we got enough of this to make the boss happy. Tell Setzer we'll get the rest later!"

"No, we'll get it all back!" Ai shouted, holding her staff tightly, "And beat you two up for trying to steal it!"

"Oh, my, they seem quite serious, Ken-Ken..." Tsubasa hid behind Kensuke, "We should do as they say." He laughed as he held up his hand, "Or...We could play just a bit longer..."Strip away the ground with glistening blades! Bolt!"

A bolt shot from Tsubasa's hand and at Ken. The archer ducked. The bolt traveled past him and hit a slot machine.

Kensuke drew out a sword that was sheathed at his side. He charged at Lavian, she blocked his sword and tried to kick him back, Osamu was next to attack him while he was occupied with Lavian, he raised his sword and tried to bring it down on Kensuke.

Kensuke grabbed Osamu's arm with one arm, then tossed him onto the ground. Ai joined in the battle to assist the two Knights. She hit Kensuke in the head with her staff. Eventually, Kensuke was mostly defensive against his three opponents, but he could still put up a decent fight.

Tsubasa, on the other hand was taunting his opponents...

"Did I mention that we are Zero's personal bodyguards?" Tsubasa said, dodging a blow from Alicia's rod, "I am Tsubasa Kirei, and my friend is Kensuke Arashi. Zero only hires the best of the best, and that's what we are..." He shot fireball at Rad, who snuck up behind him. The thief rolled on the floor to put out his clothes. An arrow grazed Tsubasa's cheek, scratching him, "Ahhh!" Tsubasa screamed, "How dare you!" He pointed at Ken (who reloaded his arrows) then raised his arm, "For that, I shall burn you alive! Out of the ground raze all--"

Two spinning cards cut the sleeve of Tsubasa's cloak. Tsubasa shouted again as he saw the trace of blood from the scratches, his spell was interrupted.

"I don't think so." Setzer came out of the hallway marked as 'Inn,' "I'll take my money back, if you please."


Setzer sighed, "You make this so difficult when it doesn't have to be." He snapped his fingers. Casino guards poured out of the other two halls, at least twenty in total. There were even a few blocking the doorway out of the casino.

"Dear me..." Tsubasa stepped back, "This battle...does not appear to be in our favor..."

"Inexperienced twerps...Yeah...." Kensuke lowered his sword, "But this... Is a new one..."

"What's going on?" Ai asked. She and the others regrouped and stood by Setzer.

"My guards are specially trained to use both magic and physical abilities." Setzer said, "Zero's organization may have some tough characters, but my guards are trained to be able to handle most of them." He reached into his pocket, pulling out a deck of cards, "Now...How to deal with you..." He shuffled the cards, then took the card from the top of the pile, "Burn them."

The guards at the door moved outside as the rest of the guards raised their hands...


A sudden blaze launched Kensuke and Tsubasa out of the ship like a cannon. Both of them flew into the night sky, screaming. There was then an odd 'ping' sound effect when they could no longer be seen.

Setzer picked up his bags of Gil, "Well, we're lucky. Only six were taken. Not too bad." He emptied the bag, only half of it was filled with gil coins, the other half was pieces of metal, "Thank you for your help." He said. He reached into his pocket and tossed a small bag of gil to the group.

"Eh?! I thought you promised us Ten thousand...This is only two thousand." Lavian said, counting the coins.

"Hm, you're right, you were underpaid." Setzer took five gil coins from the bag he poured, he tossed them to Rad, "Two thousand two hundred and twenty-two."

"That's still--"

"You didn't read your contract, did you?" Setzer asked.

"Contract?" Osamu asked.

Setzer walked over to Osamu and took the empty bag of poker chips from him, he unfolded it, "Here." A message was written on the inside of this bag.

By using the poker chips contained within this bag
the undercover security force (heron Party of the First)
agrees that any and all damages to the Black Jack Casino Ship
(heron Party of the Second) will be deducted from their payment of
Ten Thousand Gil.

If the damages to the Casino exceed Ten Thousand Gil the Party Of the First
is legally obligated to repay the Party Of The Second the amount owed for
repairs. If the Party of the First cannot replace these damages, then
it will be forced to work for Party of the Second as either a janitor or a
poker dealer until otherwise noted by the Party Of The Second's Founder,
Setzer Gabbiani.

Osamu stared at the "contract" blankly, as did the others, more or less with their jaws dropped.

"Now, now, if it makes you feel better I didn't deduct any of your bar tab or the burn damage to this entrance." Setzer said, "The ship will leave in forty-eight hours if you wish to spend the rest of your contract or your payment."

"...Can we cash in the chips?" Ai asked.

"Yes." Setzer nodded.

"...Good. How many does everyone have?" Ai asked.

Alicia was silent, "...About twelve gil worth."

"I already cashed in my chips." Osamu said, "I lost it all on Keno."

Ai sighed, "Well, I have eighty-five in chips."

Ken held up his chips, "I still have my hundred gil!"

Setzer bowed his head, "Well, I thank you for your help. Good night, I must return to my work. The guards will clean up the mess."

"...I can't believe he did that." Alicia commented, "I mean, really, a hidden contract?"

"I should have expected it." Ai said, "This is a casino, after all."

Osamu sighed, "At least we still got some money out of it. Let's just cash in the chips and pretend this didn't happen."

After cashing in the chips, the group returned to the inn they had been staying at.

Now, they at least had enough to buy new supplies, food and afford to stay at the inn longer.

...But two thousand gil wasn't nearly enough to get back to Igros....

To Be Continued...

...I know what you're thinking, "I waited a year for THAT?!" Sorry, I was very busy over the last year with some other projects and things like that (see below). I'll try to get some more chapters for this series out ASAP!

Notes: For those wondering, yes, that was FFVI's Setzer (kinda). He's mentioned in FFT as the owner of the ship so I thought I'd give him a larger role (he's my favorite FFVI character). FFT, as some of you know, references earlier Final Fantasy games from FFI to FFVII, so if a character is 'mentioned' expect him\her to appear. I won't randomly toss in someone like Squall or Zidane for no reason.

Tsubasa and Kensuke aren't from FFT, they're just two thieves who appear now and then (Expect to see them more often in the Zero episodes). I thought I'd throw them in for some fun.

-Kenji Kotaro

IMPORTANT NEWS: Propositions fans, for the past year, I've been working on a mystery project. This project is *definitely* something fans of this fic will enjoy, and should be available this spring. If you want more details, check my fan profile (Kenji Kotaro).

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