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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
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Not so loud, Mizore, you'll scare somebody.

A hop and a step and Julian was there. Or hell, maybe he'd been there all along watching the two of them talk, standing back like the smug asshole he was. Aww, who can ever tell with these kinds of things? He probably just ran up at a lucky moment that let it be extra-special-dramatic when he said,

“Don't. If you're thinking of trying some I-got-a-hostage bullshit, just don't. You got nothing to threaten her with, and even if you did, I'd rather you both die than let your ass get away.”

Mizore. I'm bluffing. Can you hear me? Can you- you can tell, right? You know that. Mizore, I'm not gonna let him hurt you. I don't even- I don't know how right now, but just relax, just don't worry and relax because I won't let him hurt you. You know that. You know I'm bluffing. You have to know that.

“Here's how it's gonna go down. You gonna start running,” point over into the distance with your sword, so you can both suggest a potential running route and remind him that you got a sword, “cause that gives you a few more seconds before I start cutting you open. That's your best case scenario.”

Aww, did it go this well in your head, Julian? Did your grand plan for catching up to Max include talking like the lead in a mediocre action movie? Did it feature that really clever part where the kindhearted pacifist girl starts getting choked and then you tell her you're fine with her dying?

Or was that just improv?

Or was that just the kind of shit you defaulted to when your back was against the wall?

It was, it was, it was. It was, but it wasn't supposed to be, it wasn't supposed to be this way- there was supposed to be a gun. Where the fuck was the gun? Mizore had it, Mizore would never fire it, Mizore could never give it to him now without risking Max getting his hands on it, Mizore- fuck. Her fault?

Yeah, a little.

But only a little, don't go pinning this shit on her. Ain't hardly nothing more pathetic than playing the blame game when Max fucking Lombardi is in your crosshairs. Metaphorical crosshairs, fuck. Real crosshairs would be way nicer to have right now. Hear that, Mizore? They'd be real nice but for some reason Julian doesn't have any.

Yeah, maybe more than a little.

But it doesn't work that way and you know it. You get pissed off at her... after you save her. Not until then. Never until then. Not a word spoken unkind, not a stray thought of anger. You let that shit happen to you and next thing you know Max used his magic British kung fu shit to take your sword and run you through with it. Thou shalt not get angry at Mizore Soryu, for it is a completely fucked strategy once thou performest the risk-reward analysis.

So now you narrow your eyes and say,

“Start running.”
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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Riddles Of Monsters · The Woods: Inland