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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
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As if Eiko's heart couldn't sink any lower, she saw comprehension dawn in Hartmann's face. The next few seconds felt like an eternity to her. She felt the warmth of her body radiating away, felt sweat dripping down her forehead and off her chin, felt her new clothes already starting to get heavy and wet. Any action she took would put her at risk of being blown apart, or hideously burned. So she did nothing but fume as Hartmann made claim to the prize she sought.

Hartmann's hand made its way down, diving toward the edge of the metal box's lid. It opened easily, the lid turning over the side of the box and banging against it. For the first time, Eiko saw her prize.

It was a gun, alright, but something looked off about it. It had a stock, a trigger, a sight, and a barrel, the only parts of a gun that Eiko really recognized, but she was assuming that the hollow metal rectangle on top of the gun was the sight, and she couldn't believe that there were bullets big enough to fit that monstrous barrel. It had to be something else. She would have settled for a normal gun; once again, she'd have an unwieldy weapon she might not have been able to use at all. How much did that thing weigh? Twenty pounds? Thirty? Hartmann didn't seem to have a problem lifting it, though.

Hartmann. For a moment, Eiko actually thought the weapon was already hers. But she suddenly noticed that Hartmann held it with both hands.

No more detonator. This was her chance.

As Hartmann hefted the stock to her shoulder and aimed it squarely at Lowe, Eiko charged her.

As Hartmann pulled the trigger, Eiko pulled back the head of her sodegarami, prepared to slam the metal spines coating the pole below it into the side of Hartmann's head.

As Lowe collapsed, his own attack on Hartmann thwarted by his ailing body, Eiko swung with all her might.
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Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

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