II: A New World

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1 year later

"Keep your damn hands up!"

"God dammit..." I mumbled.

I slowly raised my hands above my head. I couldn't see the speaker, I only heard more than one set of feet shuffling as they emerged from their hiding places.

You've done it now! How could you be so careless? Tsk tsk.

"Shut it Kip," I growled.

"What did you say? Don't talk and keep your hands where I can see 'em. Leo, get his pack. Strip this bastard of everything. I want his mask."

Ha! They think you're a dude. Aren't they in for a big surprise!

Kip was right about both observations.

1. I had been completely careless walking into the ruins of this town. Old foundations sat twisted and forgotten, much like the rest of the world.

2. This Leo character was definitely in for a surprise. Just not one I believe he had expected.

"That's right! Keep 'em up. Gary, go help Leo," the original speaker said hotly.

A growl answered him. "Keep bossing me around Chaz. I'm gonna-"

Click

My ears perked up.

The familiar sound of a hammer being pulled back could never be mistaken.

Oh, the drama! What will happen next? Will Phoenix suffer a gruesome death at the hands of these fine gentleman? Will she-

"Kip..." I growled through clinched teeth.

Bah! You're no fun.

Having a gun definitely changed this scenario.

The question was, is it loaded? I had to be careful. Wait for the perfect opportunity to introduce myself properly.

You mean kick their ass...right?

I didn't have a chance to answer Kip. The trio behind me continued their spat.

"You gonna shoot me, Chaz?"

Gary is quite angry, isn't he?

"I'll blow your head off if you talk back to me again. Think I won't smart ass? Try me. I'm tired of your shit anyways," Chaz retorted hotly.

"Guys, let's just get this prick's stuff and go back to the hideout," the third person, Leo, finally said.

A hideout? That means they have goodies, Phoenix! Remember to ask them nicely where it is, after you kick their asses of course.

"Just get it over with," Chaz said dismissively.

I heard the shuffling of feet once again as they began coming closer.

Looking down, I saw their shadows creep up on either side of me.

"Don't you move or you'll be dead before you hit the ground! Just give them your shit and maybe we'll let you live," Chaz said smugly.

Please tell me you're going to at least kill this Chaz character?

The shadow on the left's arm reached out, gripping my backpack.

And that's when I struck.

I spun, gripping the man's arm and twisting it. I brought my elbow down, connecting with his.

I was awarded with the sounds of bones snapping.

Ouch. That's got to hurt!

He cried out, dropping to his knees.

Both of his companions eyes widened in disbelief, the move taking no more than a second.

Chaz recovered first, bringing the barrel of a wicked looking handgun up towards me.

I dashed out towards their other companion, who still stood with his jaw hanging open. I hoped Chaz wouldn't shoot as I used his friend for cover.

BANG!

Ha! Here's to hoping!

My cover staggered backwards, stumbling into me.

"What the hell?" Chaz screeched, panic evident in his voice.

"You shot me!" Leo wailed.

Thank you, Captain obvious.

I began moving us forward. The familiar clicking of the hammer being drawn back met my ears again.

I do say Phoenix, I believe he's going to put another bullet in his...do we call him friend?

"What the fuck man! Don't shoot!" Leo pleaded.

My shield began shuffling his feet, trying to halt our progress, but I had too much momentum.

"Move Leo, I'm gonna end this bastard!"

I peeked around Leo's shoulder.

Chaz was no more than ten feet away now, a determined expression on his face, his gun pointed towards us.

I ducked back behind Leo, and not a moment too soon.

Bang!

Blood sprayed over my mask, obscuring my vision.

The impact from the bullet, once again, sent Leo staggering into me. This time, I lost my balance, sending both of us sprawling to the ground.

The air was taken from my lungs as we landed. Leo's tirade of obscenities sounded distant as I tried to gather my senses.

This is no time for a nap Phoenix! Get up.

"You're not helping..." I groaned.

Alright champ, get up. We need you in there. If you're not going to win us the game, who is? I need you...this team needs you. Do it for us...and scene! The award for best actor goes to-

Click.

My eyes darted up.

Through the blood soaked eyeslits of my mask, I saw Chaz, standing over me.

His gun pointed straight at my head.

Think he's out of bullets?

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