Part III - All That's Left is Blood :: 78
Cyrus’ arms were tired, shooting complaining aches down his sides, to his feet, and back up to his shoulders. Climbing the lift shaft had his most dangerous ascent in his life. He shook them in a fury and cursed their lack of fortitude. He had one last thing to handle. And then...he still didn’t know.
Looking through the windows told him this was the floor he needed. Beyond the plushly furnished waiting area he was staring into was a long ornate hall adorned with portraits of the Imperial traitors that had started all of this mess. Beyond that, he couldn’t see. He’d have to break in to get a good look. So he did.
“Hey!” came a shout as Cyrus dove through the hole in the glass made by his Scattershot.
When he rolled and sprang to his feet, he saw a Foreman complete with sash running towards him, a Scattershot in his arms, raising.
Cyrus got off an ineffectual shot and dove behind the corner of the hallway. He pushed the barrel of his weapon out into the hall and pulled the trigger. The Scattershot clicked.
“Ha,” he heard the guard exclaim.
Cyrus had no other weapon, having dumped his shears at the shack. He could hear the guard slowly walking his way; there was no mistaking boots on marble as he had heard that sound all his childhood when his father walked their home.
He trained his eyes on the corner of the marble wall and waited. After a few moments of listening to the guard’s footfalls, Cyrus leapt out and grabbed the barrel of the guard’s weapon. The slugthrower fired, burning the hand the former Cyneweard had wrapped around it. He growled and tossed a hard foot into the guard’s stomach. Hand aching but still gripping the Scattershot, the guard hit the ground and the weapon became Cyrus’.
Cyrus finished the guard and started down the hallway, eyes darting left and right for new threats. Seeing none, he hurried his pace to the two large wooden doors at the end of the hallway. A swift kick threw them open and he had to duck right behind them as multiple shots rang out, filling the hall with slugs.
More and more shots rang out in rapid sequence, the noise echoing off every shiny surface in the ornate hall. Cyrus waited for the noise to die before sticking his head quickly around the doors. Two guards were fiddling with strange looking Longbarrels. Cyrus sent metal pellets into each of their chests, picked up one of the guard’s sidepiece throwers, and continued into the office of his mentor.
He found Parton sitting behind a large wooden desk, two seats in front of it, and another guard with one of the odd looking slugthrowers raised.
“Cyrus,” cooed Parton, a smile crossing his face. “You’ve been causing quite a ruckus I here.”
Cyrus ignored the former rebellion leader and took aim with the sidepiece at the guard. The guard looked to Parton.
“Don’t bother. I want to talk-”
Cyrus put a slug through the guard’s ear and turned back to Parton, training the Slugthrower on the Machinist Group’s Chairman. The guard dropped the odd weapon and crumbled to the floor, blood pouring from the nose and mouth.
“I see,” Parton said, putting his hands together. “For what do I owe this violent reunion?”
“I think you know why,” Cyrus growled.
“Ah, that little matter.”
“You betrayed me, the Emperor, his family...”
“Well, how can a Rebellion be successful without the death of the old regime?”
“Your Purge killed entire families. Women. Children. Innocents.”
“Cyrus, no one is innocent. And I know exactly why you’re here and it has nothing to do with the purge.”
Cyrus swallowed. Her song rang through his heart and mind.
“That little half breed. The Emperor’s ultimate mistake.”
“Not a mistake,” Cyrus growled.
“Yes it was,” Parton replied, slamming a fist into the desk. “You know it was. An Emperor playing with a taboo like that? Hiding the fact his real wife was an Animas? How do you think that would’ve gone over?”
“If you wanted to destabalize the Empire, why didn’t you just out the Emperor?”
“And risk my neck before the revolution could get off the ground? You’re not very smart.”
“You had her murdered. And me.”
“Well I failed on one count there.”
Cyrus growled and fired a shot into the desk. Parton shot up and moved to the left.
“Coward. Having others do your dirty work. You hired those Huntresses, didn’t you?”
Parton shrugged. “It’s been so long, I scarcely remember all the details.”
“Horseshit,” Cyrus yelled, firing another shot into the desk near Parton. The Chairman moved completely out from behind the desk and leaned against the bookshelf, his hands behind his back.
“Maybe I did? I had a lot of things going on. I had a Rebellion to kick start. And I’m assuming the Huntresses are now dead?”
“And Clanton and Goody...you’ve been quite busy the past few weeks. Not to mention you unearthing the Emperor. Good job there. It really had an effect.”
“I’m assuming you had that taken care of.”
“I’ve had a few things taken care of since you’ve been in town, Cyrus. You keep opening doors I have to forcibly shut.”
“Well that ends today.”
“Am I the last stop on your little tour of revenge?”
Cyrus squinted his eyes and prepared to pull the trigger.
“Now Cyrus,” Parton said, raising one hand, keeping the other behind his back. “You know how this ends, right?”
“You die. I leave,” Cyrus said and started to squeeze the trigger.
With the swiftness of a much younger man, the Chairman pulled his semi-automatic side piece from behind his back and fired. Cyrus ducked and caught the slug with the meat of his left outer arm. The wound burned but wasn’t debilitating. He returned the shot but was too late. Parton had already jumped to the side and fired again. The slug buzzed by Cyrus’ right ear on its way by.
Cyrus ducked jumped behind the desk as more shots came in rapid succession.
“This is fun,” Parton yelled. Cyrus heard metal against metal from what he assumed was Parton reloading the slugthrower. He couldn’t tell for sure. The weapon had looked so odd to him. “I haven’t had this much fun since the Purge.”
“I thought you were too busy orchestrating my death to have your hands directly in that?” Cyrus shouted, checking the cylinder on his own weapon. Four shots left.
“Oh, no. I did a little dirty work. Who do you think killed your father?”
Cyrus shot up, rage contorting his face. He received a slug to his hip and went right back down. He dug a finger into the wound and rooted around. The slug had not even made it a third of the way to his hip bone. The Chairman’s thrower was odd and fired quickly, but it was much less powerful. He shouted as he removed the hunk of metal and tossed it to the floor.
“You remembered,” Parton said between laughs. “I taught you well.”
Cyrus peaked around the desk only to have it shove forward into his face, opening a cut above his right eye.
“Shit,” he exclaimed and wiped at the river of blood that started to flow into his eye.
Parton was playing with him. He grunted and stood and fired.
“Ah fuck,” screamed the Chairman, smile still lingering at his lips as he went down to the floor, gripping his knee.
The heavier, harder slug in Cyrus’ side piece had torn right through the Chairman’s knee cap and blown apart the tendons there. The knee was gone and the Chairman would never stand again.
Cyrus ducked back behind the desk as the wounded Machinist leader fired off the rest of his ammunition into the desk, the slugs too weak to make it all the way through the heavy wood to Cyrus.
“You chose weapons poorly,” Cyrus said as he stood and walked over the prone Chairman.
“I shot you in the hip. How can you stand so easily?” Parton asked, fumbling for something in his pants as he tried, and failed, to slide out from under Cyrus.
Cyrus leaned down and wrenched the weird thrower from his former mentor and then tossed it away. He knelt in front of Parton and smiled.
“Of all the kills I’ve made, this will be the most enjoyable.”
Parton’s eyes grew wide.
Cyrus placed the barrel of his thrower against Parton’s forehead.
“This is for Brisa,” he said.
Cyrus turned and saw a Sigil Watcher in the doorway, Longbarrel aimed.
“Shit,” Cyrus groaned.
More Sigil members filled in behind the Watcher.
Parton laughed. “Better late than never, Greer.”