The girls waited for ten minutes before going back to the guys' room to inform them about the mountain path challenge. They didn't want to make it obvious that they had been standing outside and listening in on their conversation.
"The mountain path challenge? I was just about to suggest that too." Garth held up the same mini guidebook. "The prizes look worth it."
Tank pointed at the door. "Sphinx and Magnus are still in the bath, so let's wait for them to finish up before trying out the challenge."
Sed smirked. "I have an idea."
"Oh boy." Pio braced himself for a crazy suggestion.
"How about a game of strip poker?"
"Are you insane? The girls are definitely not going to agree to that."
"Fine. How about just us guys?"
"And show off our hot and sexy bodies to the girls? I'm in!" Frisk was the first to agree. He stood up and sat at the table where the cards were laid out. After turning his head towards the girls, he flashed his best lady-killer smile. "You ladies better watch closely."
The girls awkwardly smiled in response to Frisk.
Tank laughed. "No thanks. I'll pass."
Lyngvi was a little uncomfortable with the idea of removing his clothes in front of everyone. "I will pass as well."
"Poker, huh?" Garth paused to assess the risks and benefits of participating in such a challenge. "I'm in." He also moved to the table.
Astrid and Luna were surprised to see Garth agree to join the game. He didn't seem like the type who'd play strip poker.
Yaya placed an arm around Pio. "What about you, my student? Be a man and play the game!"
Pio started sweating buckets. "Give me a break, Yaya. My clothes were already ripped during the first preliminary round. I don't want to risk that happening again. Wait, are you drunk again?"
She gave a cheerful laugh. "So? Let them be ripped again. Pio is in the game!"
"Yaya! No!" The poor priest protested. In the end, he was forced by his drunk teacher to join.
Yaya designated herself as the official dealer and shuffled the deck of cards for them. The non-participants gathered around the table where the players Pio, Sed, Garth, and Frisk sat around giving each other intense stares. This was a serious battle with their dignity on the line.
"Let's make this game more interesting, shall we?" Yaya smiled mischievously and held up the joker card.
"A wild card!?" Sed exclaimed.
"The intensity of this game is wild enough!" Pio complained.
Yaya merely laughed at them and inserted the joker into the deck. She reshuffled the cards before dealing them. "Good luck!" She set aside the top card of the deck and laid out the first three community cards or the flop, which players could use in combination with the cards in their hands.
"You're all about to get destroyed," Sed announced as soon as he saw his hand. Things were looking good for him.
"Poker is game of luck and skill. Anything can happen," Garth said when he viewed his hand. His constant sleepy face made it impossible to tell whether he had a bad set of cards or not.
"Have mercy on my soul." Pio hoped for the best.
"I intend to lose anyway," said Frisk with no hint of shame.
Yaya giggled. "Don't get too cocky now!" She laid out the turn, the fourth community card.
Sed smirked, while the rest remained silent.
Finally, Yaya placed down the last community card, the river. Pio gasped in horror when he saw the card. "It's time to reveal your hand!"
"No pair!" Frisk was the first to proudly show his hand. He immediately removed all his clothes without anyone asking. The rest didn't bother to reveal their hands.
"Ok, I guess Frisk is out," Yaya the dealer said as she collected the cards again.
It was only Pio, Garth, and Sed left in the game. Pio was stuck in between the two intimidating players who were in an intense stare-off. At some point, Garth dozed off and had to be woken up.
Luna smirked and nudged Astrid. "Ohh! I bet you're curious about how Garth looks without clothes on."
"Luna!" Astrid turned red and covered her friend's mouth.
"Who will lose this round, I wonder? Place in your bets!" Yaya giggled as she shuffled the deck of cards. "It's time to lose, Sed!"
"You better not be rigging this game!" Sed frowned at their dealer.
The next round of cards were dealt. Pio took a look at his hand. He sighed in relief when he saw a five of hearts and a five of diamonds. There was a small chance he would be spared from losing this round.
The three waited anxiously for the community cards. Yaya laid them out agonizingly slow. Jack of diamonds. Queen of hearts. Two of diamonds.
Please be a five, Pio pleaded in his head.
Next, the turn came. King of diamonds.
Finally, his wish came true. The river was a five of clubs.
Pio laughed in relief. "Yes! Yes! I will not be losing this round! Three of a kind!"
Garth dropped his hand. "Flush."
Sed followed. "Straight."
"No way!" Pio was devastated.
"Off with your clothes, Pio!" Yaya laughed.
Defeated, Pio went off to a corner to remove his clothing. The others comforted him.
"And now, for the final round!" Yaya raised her hands up in the air. "Who will be the grand champion of this strip poker game? Place in your bets!" The priestess dealt the cards.
Sed had a look at his set of cards: A king and a queen of spades. If he could get an ace and a jack of spades, he could win against Garth with a four of a kind or a royal flush if he was lucky. He was determined not to lose. After all, Yaya would make fun of him if he did.
Yaya laid out the flop. An ace of spades. An ace of diamonds. Jack of spades.
Sed smiled. Things were going his way.
The dealer dramatically laid down the turn. Ten of spades.
"It looks like today is my lucky day," Sed said happily.
The river was put down. A joker.
"Royal flush!" Sed proudly revealed his hand composed of the five highest spade cards in a sequence. "Beat that!"
"Five of a kind." Garth calmly laid out his hand, which had four aces and a joker.
Five of a kind was a hand that was only possible if at least one wild card was included. It was the highest ranking hand in the game.
Yaya laughed at Sed's misery. "Alright, Sed. Remove your clothes!"
"This is why I hate wild cards!" Sed lamented as he walked off to the corner to remove his clothes.
At the end of the game, only Garth had all his clothes on. The rest of the participants were left with just their underwear. Tank was busy laughing at them from the side.
The Black Rose guildmaster smiled at his victory. "I win."
Sed regretted his suggestion to play poker. "I forgot Garth was lucky when it came to poker."
"What happened to your clothes?" Magnus asked when he entered the room with Sphinx. "Were you guys having a bet or something?"
The defeated members sulked and stayed silent, except Frisk who was posing in case any of the girls were checking him out.
"Anyway, now that you two are back, we were thinking about joining the mountain path challenge." Astrid filled them in on the details.
"Interesting. To think there's an activity like that here... I'm in!" Magnus said.
"I guess that settles it then. Let's go do the challenge." Tank stood up and walked out of the room first. Before he left the room, he turned to the defeated poker players. "Don't forget your clothes. Especially you, Frisk."
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