“Perhaps you would be willing to part with something more valuable in exchange for another go?” the man in the golden robe asked. A red boar charged through his enchanted robe, as though in that two-dimensional world was an infinite golden universe made for the boar’s exploration and madness.
“I have nothing,” the other man replied, his beard on his chest.
“Pity,” Ique-bar (the man in the golden robe) replied. “I have heard you travel every second week to a secret place in the canyon of grey rocks. You search for something there? Or you have found something?”
The man did not reply, but widened his eyes as though he had trouble seeing. His hands trembled.
“Show me its location if you lose.”
“I cannot. It is all I have left.”
“Then I shall obtain my nimli-wip and leave,” said the man in the golden robe, gently lifting his beast out of the tiny box in which it was contained and placing it back gently into its cage. It was a strange creature, a small bird-like lizard with forearms and small fluttering wings that allowed it to lift itself off the ground some inches, but not very much. It was about the size of the palm of one’s hand.
“Please!” the man said suddenly, jumping out of his chair onto the floor. “I will have another go.”
The nimli-wip was placed into the box, and the rats released into the box with it. It proceeded to attack the rats with clinical efficiency. Before the last drop of the water clock struck time, Ique-bar was enjoying the cheers of the other betters and bookies. The man with sorrowful eyes sighed and wept into his dirty hands.
He looked up through his bloodshot eyes and weakly said, “Come with me.”