[Whew, I’ve been a bit distracted and/or busy this week. I apologize for the slow posting. Hopefully this action-packed tale of Mr. Sunset should make up for it a little. The next section will be up this weekend. Also, I made a photo picture thing.]
Mr. Sunset shuts the door to the metal door behind him. He’s in Rolfball’s private office at the top floor of the market. A life-sized lizard man statue stared at him. It was old and chipped. It was obviously from the Time Before. He wondered if all these lizard men were killed off and also why this one wore such dark glasses.
“Have a seat, Sunset.”
Sunset sits down and stows the oblong box he was carrying under his chair. Rolfball is about as old as Sunset, maybe older. He’s never accepted the title of Mr. like Sunset and Millions did, even though he had as much right to it as they did. Rolfball and his mother rebuilt the ruins of the old Student Union and the grounds around it into the market. His mom died mysteriously, and he almost went with her, but Rolfball was a survivor—the one key trait of success in Uni City.
“I need guns. I need it to be quiet.”
Rolfball sits down at his table and smiles. “What makes you think I have any guns? Or any notion of secrecy, for that matter?”
Mr. Sunset stares at him, then the corner of his mouth curls despite himself. Rolfball bursts into laughter.
“Ok, ok. I guess I still owe you one or two,” Rolfball says.
“Who’s keeping track?”
Rolfball gets up and starts peaking into various crates scattered around the office. “Oh, right. I forgot. You don’t keep tallies until you’re ready to call them in. What’s in the box?”
Sunset slides the box he brought out from under his chair and opens it. There are about 40 shirts and pants plus a few random clothes, vests, slings, underwear, and the like. They were all hand sewn by his girls from pretty much anything fabric-like they could find.
Rolfball stands on his toes to look into the box from across the room. He takes out two rifles and a tiny leather pouch on a string.
“I’m willing to part with these two. Got some ammo here too. A bit at least. Plus, I’m going to want a favor in the future.”
Sunset stands up and takes the rifles. “Excuse me?”
“Hey, this is the family discount I’m giving you here. These are prime rifles. You know how much these run for downstairs?”
“They would just be collecting rust until Millions comes to requisition them.”
“Millions knows better than that,” Rolfball says. But he hands him another pouch of ammo anyway.
The two men shake and Sunset tips his hat on his way out.
“You’ve always been fair with me any my girls. Don’t think that I’ll forget that in the coming weeks.”
As Sunset walks out the door, Rolfball mumbles something under his breath.
Sunset takes a canvas bag on his way out and hides the guns in it. The market is still pretty busy, but he’s getting more stares than he’d like since he’s walking around the market without any girls.
As soon as he steps outside he sees several Fixies speed by up ahead. He doesn’t think too much of it until he notices that Dice is riding behind them. He takes out a rifle and lets the other hit the ground behind him.
He shoots into the air.
Dice breaks and looks back at him. She circles back around and rides back to Sunset. He’d like to think it was because she was recognizing his temporary authority over her, but the more logical motive is to get an extra gun.
Dice hops off her bike and approaches Sunset. The other Fixies gather around them. On the other side, a crowd has gathered of marketers to see what’s going on.
“Why aren’t you in the office, Dice?”
“Something came up. The otter diver got attacked by Lake Claire. We’re going to make sure it wasn’t the Towers.”
“You’re not going anywhere until Millions decides to try you for Fuse’s death.”
Sunset grips the rifle.
“Roark took my place. I’ll be back.”
Sunset wasn’t having a good day. First Ba, then possibly getting cheated by Rolfball, now this?
“Tell you want,” Sunset says, “I’ll give this gun I just got to the Fixies for their ride if you go back into the library.”
“I think they need me a bit more than another gun. You know how it is. Why are we wasting time here? If we combined our gangs we could gut this invader and really show the city who has their best interests in mind,” Dice says.
Sunset notices without looking that several of the bystanders nod in agreement. This isn’t good. Sunset hasn’t solidified any plans yet. If they play their hands now, Millions could easily crush them before they even got started.
Maybe Dice reads this on his face. Maybe she’s just getting impatient.
“Give me that rifle, Mr. Sunset.”
She walks up to him and holds her hand out. She has a shotgun hanging from a belt strap over her shoulder. Sunset stands up completely and looks down at her. He has the rifle in one hand and his cane in the other. Dice is tough, but he doesn’t think she has it in her, not after the days they’ve spent planning together recently.
And that’s where Sunset is wrong.
(Sunset interferes: 9+2=great hit)
(Dice tries to seize by force: 8+2-2= hit)
She lunges for the rifle without even breaking her gaze.
Sunset throws it a few feet behind him and wracks her in the crotch with his cane. Looks like Dice underestimated Sunset a bit too.
She instinctually leans over in pain just as Sunset brings his cane up into her chin. He reverses the momentum and slams the cane into her ribs.
It’s obvious that Dice wasn’t expecting so much fight in Sunset. She loses her balance and drops to a knee.
[Harm: 9+2-1=terrible hit]
[It’s worse that it seemed= 2 harm]
“You stupid mother fucker,” one of the Fixies shouts. The Fixies are silently getting off their bikes and moving toward Sunset.
Dice stares at her toes then puts a hand up to stop them. “Stay there, Bowdy.”
She looks up at Sunset. No, she looks past him. Sunset realizes she must be eyeing the crowd of onlookers from the market. He was sure it had grown by now. He realizes that, while it’s pretty bad for him to show weakness in front of Uni Citizens, it must be outright dangerous for her.
Before he can think of a way for them to get out of this fight, Dice tackles him.
[Sunset interferes: 8+2=great hit]
[Dice tries to seize her freedom by force: 10+2-2]
[Terrible harm, Dismay, and Take hold]
He’s on the ground and pain is exploding behind his eyes. He’s already bee hit three or four times before he realizes that Dice is on his chest bashing in his face with the butt of her shotgun.
She holds it above him and looks down. She doesn’t seem angry at all. Sunset’s vision is blurred, but he’s pretty sure she looks scared.
“Do you yield, Mr. Sunset?”
She’s not even looking at him. He follows her eyes back to the crowd behind them. Then he glances at the Fixies. It also dawns on him that she’s carrying a fucking shotgun. If she wanted to kill him, he’d be dead. This was all posturing.
He puts his hand up. A yield.
She gets off him and grabs the rifle he threw. She either doesn’t notice or passes over the other rifle in the bag.
Sunset rolls to his side and spits stringy wads of bloody phlegm onto the cracked sidewalk as the Fixies take off and the crowd disperses.
Sunset leans on his cane and staggers to his feet. He takes the other rifle and limps back to the library.
On the way he tries to think of the positives. There weren’t a lot. It won’t be so bad as long as Mr. Millions doesn’t find out.
Sunset’s train of thought is interrupted by Peppering. She was waiting for him at the library’s main entrance. She stomps up to him and blocks his path.
“Where the fuck is Scrib?”
“I have no idea. Getting guns for me hopefully.”
“Cut the bullshit. If anyone knows where he is, it’s you.” She takes her bat from her back. “I’m not your girl anymore. When I need to know something, you tell me.”
“I don’t often get mad. I’ve built a reputation as an evenhanded and fair gentleman. I’ve never forced them to do something they didn’t want to do or used violence against them. I’ve tried not to even raise my voice if I can help it,” Sunset says.
He grips his cane and stares into her eyes.
“But I’ve had really shitty day and I don’t really have time to get mixed up in a lovers’ quarrel.”
[Going aggro 9+2=great hit]
He grabs the bottom of his cane and rips it off, revealing a thin blade at the end of it. In a fluid motion that Peppering might have called beautiful in different circumstances, Sunset slices a gash under both of her knees. She collapses at his feet.
Sunset takes the false bottom of his cane and slides it back over the blade. Then he continues walking to the library.
Without looking back he says, “And, you’re right. You’re not my girl anymore.”
He throws the door open so hard that it slams against the wall. “We’ve got a problem,” he says to whoever’s in the lobby.
His shoulder sink when he sees that there are only two people in the normally bustling lobby. Mr. Millions frowns and says, “You’re right about that.”
Behind him, Dustwich tries to contain a grin.