"Come on... Come on..."
Chelsea watched as the girl with bunny ears shuffled cards- despite each one being larger than her hands, she displayed no difficulty, keeping a straight face with a cheerful smile. She slid them across the table, upon which they were both seated- opposite Chelsea was Hau Mei, the famous gambler, seated at her chair. She effortlessly took the cards under her finger, resting a shoulder down as she lifted them up.
The bright lights, the constant background noises of falling coins and buzzing was starting to overwhelm her already, a dizzying sensation that only added to the nausea she felt when staring up at her opponent. Glancing over the cards, the symbols seemed to twist in shapes she didn't quite understand- she hadn't played much poker, and was starting to wonder if, despite her size, the pool table beside them would offer something better. Of course, more walking would be involved, and a lot more strength. The balls were each bigger than Chelsea- but to Mei, it would've been a simple matter to win, most likely.
She shut her eyes, trying to drown the noise out. The woman had made her choice, and pushed the tokens away.
The cards hit the table.
The blinding lights and sound of money spilling out of machines overwhelmed her. The woman felt sick to her stomach. Idly, Chelsea glanced at a slot machine, trying to concentrate on something relatively solid as she struggled to stay still, the entire world spinning. The lever fell down- she noticed a small man sat on the seat, holding on some sort of makeshift pulley. The spinning symbols slowly stopped at a seven, a cherry, and a lemon; almost immediately, the man dwindled away to an even smaller size. He seemd to swing his arms around in frustration for a moment, as the figure grew imperceptible- and a woman took his seat.
She gulped, and struggled to keep herself composed. Chelsea had lost that hand.
The bunny girl, now seeming much larger, dealt out another few cards- they also appeared quite a bit bigger as they slid towards the woman, still seated on the table. Chelsea glanced back at Hau Mei, then away- she towered over both of them quite easily, holding back a chuckle. Her composure was nearly perfect, intimidating the smaller player. Chelsea looked away, trying to focus on her hand.
"I have to win... I have to win..."
She took her mind away from the cards. The images of her family flashed through her head. Her younger brother, her parents- everyone was relying on Chelsea's victory. She placed the cards down again, barely glancing over them- they were harder and harder to see at her reduced height.
Hau's hand was a full house.
Immediately, a familiar, twirling sensation came over Chelsea, her tiny stomach turning. The intricate details of the great gambler opposite her became clearer as the rest of the world seemed to dissolve in a blur. Mei glanced down and gave her opponent a polite nod. Even the subtle movement seemed to disorient Chelsea, shaking her field of vision. Averting her gaze, the tiny woman turned to the bunny girl- her smile was wider. Was this just perception? Or was the casino worker happy to see her lose?
She shook those thoughts out of her head. Her family needed this money to keep going. A roaring, feminine laugh echoed through her ears- not so far away, a pair of red-faced women were tossing well-dressed people into each others' shot glasses, and taking small sips. The squirming forms were soon downed with a burp, and more vulgar laughter.
As she raised the giant cards to her face, a subtle smile formed. It was... Actually a good hand! Chelsea pushed the rest of her tokens in- and, to her surprise, Hau did the same. The over-confident fool. She could see it now- the end of Hau Mei, the famous gambler. Chelsea would tower over her, able to walk among giants. Her family would be in safe hands. She'd be able to care for them, see them grow, and spend frivolously on whatever they wanted...
Hau revealed her cards.
A royal straight flood.
The piles of poker chips Chelsea had handled just a few seconds ago now seemed like spiraling towers, their intricate details becoming clearer. She tilted side to side, trying to keep her balance as they jutted out higher and higher into the skies. Her hands came to her mouth, drowning out a scream. A warm sensation came on either side of her body, pressing her chest in. The woman's feet dangled helplessly over the ground, as she was placed onto the chips she was just looking up to.
"Well, it looks like Hau Mei wins again!"
The tiny woman had to hold to the edge of the tower to avoid falling off as the voice echoed through her head, minty wind from the dealer's mouth blowing her back. The table's flat surface was a dizzying height below; but even more dizzying was the sight of the bunny girl who'd placed her atop the chips. She was like a monster, her fake ears making swishing noises as she moved.
And then, Mei took her prize.
Her fingers wrapped around the set of tokens, dragging them forward. The tiny woman was flung forward at high speeds, landing on the other side of the tower of chips. Chelsea couldn't even bear to look- she knew that the victor would be the most horrifyingly gigantic thing she'd ever seen. Her heart wouldn't be able to take it- the dissapointment of her loss, her family's disappointment, the nausea of slowly dwindling in size every time she lost money... But, such was how the cards fell.
"Hm? I don't think you can pay all this, can you?"
The words flew softly out of the gambler's mouth, echoing in Chelsea's ears- unlike the bunny girl's loud chirp, this was smooth, like a ghostly breeze engulfing her body. She couldn't respond to it- it didn't blow her away, but her body felt numb, motionless. The girl couldn't even speak, or cry, or nod in agreement- she just clutched helplessly to the side of the chip tower. The woman didn't even have to look up to realize how tiny she really was.
"What do you suppose I should do about this, then? Perhaps you want to pay with your life?"
These words seemed to directly strike the tiny woman's spirit, reducing her to a mass of tears. She shut her eyes, clasped her hands together, and silently begged for this to all be a dream, to wake up in her bed, away from the chaotic noises of the casino, of falling coins, of the nauseating forms growing and shrinking around her...
Hau Mei let loose a subtle laugh.
"No? Well, then, I've wanted a maid for some time. Maybe you could work off your dept in my service?"
Chelsea had to struggle to even manage a nod.
Instantly, she felt her body growing heavier. The pile of seemed to shrink, the surface spread out before her coming closer. In her surprise, Chelsea lost balance, falling off the tower; but the table was not so far down as it seemed just seconds ago. Some odd feeling took root in her stomach. Slowly peeking on the other side, the maid looked at her new mistress' face; the slightly angular features were imposing, yet oddly warming. She'd grown to a more reasonable height, but was still diminutive compared to Hau Mei.
Then again, with all the money she had to spare, who wasn't tiny compared to the gambler?
"Okay, time for another game! Who's going to be the lucky one this time?"
Chelsea could only get a glimpse of two huge, rich men taking their place on the table, before she was carelessly swept into her employer's bag, surrounded with the money she had hoped to get, unable to move...
Another day at the casino.
"Come on... Come on..."
It took me weeks to write this thing, mainly because I have never gambled in my life. And procrastination. The worst enemies of the author- bad research, and lack of motivation!
The idea came from ETZ, who created the setting; a casino in a world where profits mean size. I wanted to set an example for the ways it could be used, hence the background events (though that was also to draw away from the lack of interaction for a good part of the story). A good majority of minor ideas and details came from ETZ, including the name "Hau Mei". I almost feel like I should write more to fully explore ETZ's vision, but the story couldn't wait forever. Maybe another time.
If you're interested in making a story set in the casino, though- or the world of the size aristocracy- please mention it to ETZ! It could very well blossom into something beautiful.