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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
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Well, that answered her question. Hartmann wasn't crazy enough to retard her survival instincts after all. All she needed was a sword barreling toward her face to get her to be attentive again. Now how would she deal with this, exactly?

Eiko got another answer to her question when Hartmann raised a fist to block the sword. Amazingly it actually worked; Lowe's sword veered out of the way mere inches from the fist and buried its point in the cobblestones between him and his target. The sound of the impact, of metal scraping against stone and a sharp edge squealing as it wore itself down, made Eiko cringe. She kept her sodegarami in front of her, as if it could shield her from the sound, or anything else in the game. She kept her eyes on the two of them, though, and heard every word Hartmann said after she survived.

"There is a block of C4 in my bag, RJ. Either nobody dies or... or everyone. Turn around. Leave."

A chill ran through Eiko's body, and before she could stop herself, a pathetic, mewling squeak escaped her lungs; if Hartmann hadn't sensed Eiko before, she sure as hell would now. Eiko looked for all the world like a feather about to collapse, her last, shining hope snatched away by a cruel spirit who only wanted to see her destroy herself. She'd gotten her hopes up so high for this sign of divine providence, and now she'd be thwarted, not by a hellish adversary who'd proven herself a diabolical scourge to be feared, but by this nobody, this punk girl who fell ass-first into possessing motherfucking explosives!

How dare she? How dare she?

Half-formed images and fantasies flickered through Eiko's mind, images of beating Hartmann to death with her sodegarami, of grabbing the gun in the box and shooting off that hand with the detonator in it, of firing every single bullet it came with into Hartmann's weaselly black guts. Those whiny, insecure thoughts about what other people would think, about what the employers of the world and her family would think, deserted her. Hadn't Mr. Kwong told her she shouldn't care what people think? The irony of that thought almost made her smile. Almost.

The only response she deigned to give Hartmann's cowardly little trick was taking a few steps backward. After all, she wasn't the main threat to Hartmann, now was she? That was Lowe, the one who attacked Hartmann in the first place! After taking a quick glance at Bennett to make sure she wasn't planning anything, she focused her attention back to him.

He wasn't going to back down either, it seemed. He gave Hartmann a long, hard look, then turned to his companion and gave her a kiss, a kiss he wanted to make sure would leave a lasting impression. It was meant to be the best - and last - kiss they would share. W-san realized it as well as Eiko did, and tried in vain to get Lowe to stay with her for just a little bit longer. Her words were heartfelt, desperate, moving, exactly the sort that would wring tears out of the audience, were they from an actress in a movie. But Lowe ignored her, and yanked his sword back out to take one more swing. Almost too late, Eiko remembered the threat of the C4, and took several more steps back, hoping that that measly distance would be enough to protect her from the blast radius.

Lowe and Hartmann were in it for the long haul, determined to play chicken for the highest of stakes. Perhaps Eiko would see her first death here after all.
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

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Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
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