screen rotated from the no-limit blackjack area to craps, roulette, baccarat, and the seemingly endless array of slot machines including those designed by Tyrant Gaming Technologies.
âEdward, just say the number of the table you wish to play at and I can either reserve you a seat or you can play right here from your room. The amount you wish to draw will be charged to your account and I can place all bets for you. Your room also comes with a Tyrant Class Samsung tablet, should you prefer to play that way, located on the desk. Youâll find the casino level visible as your home screen as soon as you switch it on. Meanwhile, here are some chips to get you started.â
The right-hand side of the screen flashed several fresh stacks of chips.
âMerely an example,â Melissa explained. âMove your hand in front of them.â
Devereaux did, curious and amazed at the same time, and watched one of the stacks topple.
âHere at the Seven Sins, a guest need not even leave his room, can actually be anywhere at all to enjoy the best gaming experience money can buy. Is there anything else I can assist you with?â Melissa asked him, but for a moment Devereaux thought it was still the virtual concierge talking.
âNo, not right now.â
âWell, if you need anything, you can either ask Angel or call me,â she said, handing him a card. âThatâs my private number. Or just say my name and Angel will connect you to me directly. Iâm available to assist you twenty-four hours a day.â
âThank you,â Devereaux said, leading Melissa back to the door, eager for her to be gone.
Once he closed the door behind her, Devereaux found himself alone in the eerie translucence shed by the Daring Seaâs underwater lanterns. He could actually imagine a guest entering such a suite and becoming so entrenched with the crystal clear view of marine life that he might barely leave it through his stay. But in Devereauxâs mind, at least his imagination, it was the fish who were watching him , more curious about his presence than he was about theirs.
Maybe they sensed he hadnât come to Las Vegas to gamble, or see the shows, or enjoy the restaurants. He was not here for the glamour or the glitzy spectacle that had taken over the city, especially the Strip. He was not here for a giant killer shark or a ridiculously over-the-top resort casino. And the only dreaming and daring heâd done lately had been regarding his career, betting everything he had on a quest that had brought him here to Las Vegas on the trail of a monster.
His associates thought him mad for chasing a specter, a phantom, a ghost. A figure of myth and legend, known everywhere and nowhere at the same time. All-powerful and yet nonexistent, the stretch of his invisible web reaching across the world with no corner spared.
Devereaux unpacked his carry-on first, removing a laptop from a padded insert and then a larger black-handled case, the contents of which were more expensive than any car heâd ever owned. He switched on his laptop, entered his password, and opened the file heâd only recently titled âTyrant.â
Then he settled back and eased from his pocket a pendant that was identical to the one Melissa wore, the pendant all Tyrant Girls and other featured employees of the Seven Sins were given.
By Michael Tiranno himself, complete with his personal motto: Somnia, Aude, VinceÂ â¦
Dream, Dare, Win.
If Devereauxâs suspicions were correct, though, Michael Tiranno would not be doing any of those before too much longer.
R ETEZAT M OUNTAINS, T RANSYLVANIA
Scarlett Swan was used to living in the dark, had come to embrace it for the mysteries it tried to hide in its grasp until she dug them out.
âIâm an archaeologist,â she was fond of explaining. âWhat do you expect?â
Scarlett loved working alone, had always been pretty much a loner, just as her