Luxord tried to keep a calm demeanour as he stared at the cards floating before him, but worry was starting to show through his famed poker face. He was standing on the table, shrunken, and stripped of his belongings. The cards, being almost as tall as he was, were acting as a wall to mask his nakedness from his opponent. Sitting at the other end of the table, waiting patiently with an amused smirk on his lips, was a well dressed young man, looking somewhere in his mid to late 20s. His brown hair well kept, his face clean shaven, and his grey, almost silvery eyes sparking with power as he kept his gaze locked firmly on his tiny opponent, such as a cat eyes a mouse.
"Anytime you are ready to continue, your highn-- Oh, my apologies, you aren't a Demon Prince any more, are you? Not even a demon at all..." the man smiled gently as he spoke, but his eyes betrayed the sadistic pleasure he took in reminding Luxord of what he's lost. It was true, only moments earlier, he had been the Demon Prince of Envy, master gambler who sought what others had, and took it for himself, but now... He grumbled bitterly as he recalled how he arrived at this situation.
It wasn't a day any more special than any other when it happened. Someone was performing a ritual to reach out and contact him. Being among the highest ranked demons, he couldn't well be summoned against his will like the common stock, but even attempting to contact him directly was no small feat in itself. Intrigued, Luxord allowed himself to taken to the one reaching for him, finding himself brought to what seemed like the ruins of a once stately manor home, now reduced to a broken, burnt shell of its former glory. His gaze then descended onto the one who had summoned him, finding a wreck of a boy, barely upon the cusp of manhood. He was bloody and beaten, his once expensive clothing torn and ragged, stained with blood and soot. His hair was a wild, dishevelled mess, and his grey eyes, while filled with desperation, also held determination as he gazed right back at the Demon Prince. It didn't take much guesswork to imagine what may have happened here, and it wasn't anything new to the gambler. Some young, noble lordling loses everything, either by his own hand or that of another, and in his desperation he calls out for demonic aid to get it all back or seek revenge. It was such a clichéd, boring story, so then imagine his surprise when, rather than beg for his problems to be instantly resolved, the boy requested his patronship! He sought to become a warlock with not just any demon, but a Demon Prince as his patron! Luxord's intrigue had been renewed. The boy clearly had some natural talent for magic already, else he'd not have been able to contact him, but that was of little concern. He challenged the boy to a game and, while he unsurprisingly lost, he showed skill, cunning, adaptability... true talent for the Game and the makings of a master, so he accepted and became his patron.
Over the weeks, the months, the years that followed, the boy grew into a man and flourished under Luxord's guiding hand. His talent for magic was astounding as he quickly mastered each and every spell he encountered, even creating a couple of his own! Most importantly however, his skills in the Game also became only more honed and defined. He was sly, quick witted, deceptive , manipulative, everything and anything Luxord hoped he'd become. Before long, he had regained everything he had lost, and more, all with his own initiative and not from pleading to a higher power to fix it all. The Demon Prince was proud of him, having begun to think of the man as a son, which was probably the first mistake in his downfall...
He didn't think much of it when he was asked to play a game, especially when it was his game of choice; poker. It wasn't unusual for the man to want to play against him, he may have been the only true challenge left for him at this point. He dealt out the cards and they began to play. The wagers were small to start, meagre material goods, unimportant qualities, nothing high risk. As is the way with games of envy, while one can make an offer of what to risk, it was ultimately the opponent that decided what would be gambled. The games were pretty even handed to begin with, each side winning and losing at an even rate. The man lost a few pieces of clothing, his voice, his name, but he won them all back. All except his name. Every time he lost something, he worked to reclaim it, but when he lost his name, he let a small smile slip, as if he wished to be rid of it. After that, he became increasingly more aggressive in his gaming, raising the stakes higher and higher with each hand, winning more and more often. Luxord found himself losing his clothes piece by piece, as he did his height, inch by inch, then foot by foot. As the stakes grew higher and higher, he was eventually made to gamble pieces of his power, small at first, growing until eventually he was risking the entirety of his demonic power, which eventually led him to where he is now.
The now former demon glanced over his cards, trying not to let his nervousness show. He pointed at a couple of the cards before him and dismissed them, drawing others to replace them.
"Ah, so finally making a decision? Then let's make this interesting... Why not make this the final hand? Everything, or nothing. That should make it faster for you to regain everything you lost, wouldn't it?" the man offered a friendly smile, but Luxord knew better.
"Very well, but then when I win, I will take everything from you, not just what I lost" the gambler replied coolly. He did not wish to harm the man, but he would certainly need to be punished for this behaviour.
"Sounds fair to me" he replied, that sweet smile still on his face. Luxord wasn't sure if he should be annoyed or worried by the response. He couldn't get a clear read on him and it made him unsettled. Was he cocky? Bluffing? Playing? Plotting? He wasn't about to back down in any case, so perhaps it didn't matter. Waving an arm, he had the cards turn around to face his opponent, revealing two kings and three aces.
"Full House, aces high" he stated with a small smile, as if daring his protégé to reveal his hand.
"Oh, that is an impressive hand, but will it be enough I wonder..." the man took a teasing tone, as he made a show of shifting the cards in his hand. He then started to take his time, placing the cards on the table, one by one. First a queen, then a three, a two, a king, and then finally an ace, all of them spades. The colour drained from Luxord's face as he saw the cards line up. "Oh dear... looks to me like I have a Royal Flush, doesn't it? I guess that means that you lose. Everything."
"I... I don't have anything left!" Luxord took a step back, horror struck. How could this have happened? He was the Prince of Envy! He didn't lose! There had to be some mistake, some way that he can get it all back! As he tried to think, the man raised a hand and reached across the table. When the hand was hovering over the shrunken gambler, it began to glow with a golden aura.
"Oh no, you still have something. You still have yourself, and I intend to lay claim to it. I suddenly find myself without need of a patron, now that I've made his power my own... Goodbye, 'Demon Prince of Envy'" he spoke calmly, but a sinister grin spread across his face, betraying the pleasure he felt over this act of domination. With a swift motion, the hand came down.
"N-no! Wait! You can't do th--" Luxord attempted to plead, but was silenced as the giant hand crashed down on him, appearing to crush him like a bug, and his world went dark.
After a moment, the man raised his hand, revealing a thick, silver coin where the former demon had once stood. He picked up the coin and started examining it. He had always had a taste for the finer things in life. Fine food, fine clothing, but it was fine art that he loved most of all, and this coin was one such treasure. The edges of the coin were etched with intricate patterns weaving all around it. On one side, the coin displayed a raised relief of Luxord's face, the expression of panic and disbelief perfect down to the very last detail. On the other side of the coin, his bare feet were displayed. The curvature of his toes and the wrinkles on his soles were flawlessly reproduced.
"I know you can still hear me..." the man spoke to the coin, gently running his finger across ridges of Luxord's face. "I made sure to keep you perfectly aware in there, able to see, hear, smell, taste, feel... everything, just like you taught me. Another thing you may remember having taught me was that when facing an opponent, seek out their weakness, and use it against them until you have what you want. Your weakness was simply too easy, you can never back down from a bet. The higher the risk, the higher the thrill. You really should have learned when to walk away, but you just kept hoping you could win it all back, didn't you. As for what I wanted, well that's easy too; power. Yours was only the first step on my journey, but don't worry, I'll put it to much better use than you ever did." he chuckled as he began to twirl the coin between his knuckles. "To think, mere hours ago, you were a Demon Prince, oh so very high and mighty in the world, but now look at you, nothing more than a token. Just a pretty piece of silver, and all mine. Don't worry though, I'm not about to spend you on anything. No, your sentimental value is worth even more than your material value to me. I'll never forget what you've done for me, and will always appreciate your help, but alas, the student surpasses the master and I've outgrown you. Now you can act as my good luck charm instead, helping me amass my wealth of power to even greater heights. It will be fun, I promise you. We can still play a game together... Heads, or tails?" with chuckled darkly as he let the coin slide over his thumb and gave it a flip.