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Chapter 2 - The Offer

The girl strode into the bar and closed the door without turning a rege. There was no hesitation in her manner; clearly, her arrival was not happenstance. Her face was determined, but her confident entrance couldn't erase the lingering innocence of youth--even the best liar wouldn't try and claim she was more than eighteen. Dark brown eyes and hair suggested she was Eastern, but her nose and features made it hard to be sure.

The girl slowly walked forward.

With each step, her cute little knees peeked out from under the trim cut of her skirt. Her outfit was a design without any sense of decoration. It seemed her taste lay more along the lines of utility than style.

Maybe because of that, the Eastern symbol necklace on her chest couldn't help but look equally unremarkable. ...The lack of volume in that area probably had something to do with that as well. It would still be some time before she really 'bloomed,' so to speak.

An appearance bearing the signs of East and West both, and simple, unembellished clothes... The girl might have been the spirit of the Eastern Quarter made flesh.

She caught the eye of one of the punks hanging about almost instantly.

'Heh. Hey, little girly,' he slurred. 'Wanna have some fun with me?'

As he spoke, he grabbed the girl's wrist with one greasy hand.

It happened in an instant.

Her arm flew up, dislodging the punk's grip. Now freed, her hand disappeared deep into her skirt and then slid out with a mass of gleaming black iron.

She pressed it to the space between his eyes. He stared at the object for a moment before collapsing to his knees in fear.

It was an orbal gun of cunning make--a high-caliber Verne Company model. If she'd shot that firearm, the punk would have lost his head instead of his bladder. Needless to say, it was not your average self-defense weapon.

'It's the latest model,' she purred. 'Want to see what it can do?'

She was cool and calm, the barrel of the gun never wavering. Were she to fire, her aim would be perfect.

Overwhelmed by the girl, gun, or perhaps both, the punk couldn't move a muscle. Everyone else in the bar remained frozen as well. All eyes were on the girl.

'*hic* ...Hey, miss. Hate to ask, but could ya let him off with that?'

Maybe the speaker couldn't stand it anymore or maybe it was disturbing his drink, but the husky, sensual voice broke through the silence.

It was Jack.

Still planted firmly in his chair, breath smelling of liquor, he continued.

'I'm sure he's very sorry, and he's learned his lesson.'

As if in answer to it, the punk started nodding his head vigorously.

'I've come here to gamble,' the girl replied abruptly. She slowly lowered the gun in her left hand, her expression continuing to remain cool and detached.

'Sounds good. C'mon over here. Gimme everythin' you got.'

Jack's words had an immediate impact, not on the girl but on the gathered goons and hoods. They all shared a glance, each and every one of them, with the dirtiest grin you could imagine.

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