“There is no greater solitude than that of the samurai unless it is that of the tiger in the jungle... perhaps...”
“Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, drew a circle with a piece of red chalk and said: ‘When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle.’ “
- Jean-Pierre Melville, director of Le Samouraï and Le Cercle Rouge
“The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the only reason a warrior fights is to win.”
“Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.”
- Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings
“Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.”
“Bushido is realized in the presence of death. This means choosing death whenever there is a choice between life and death. There is no other reasoning.”
- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, author of Hagakure: The Book of The Samurai
TEXAS COLONY, SIDE 5, EARTH SPHERE, DATE UNKNOWN MONTH, UNKNOWN DAY, YEAR U.C 007X
The hot wind blew hard on Zeon captain's masked face. Large puffs of dry, hot dust began to blow all over the small town, and the parts of his face uncovered by a pair of metallic shades and a shiny silver helmet that one could compare to a samurai's kabuto helmet, only being much more peaked, were affected by it. A grungy, Cockney-accented Zeon corporal, visibly annoyed said, "Damn that blue-skinned bludger! He's too goddamn late, he is!" He threw down a wasted white cigarette in his mouth and got a new one as it lit up like a small Chinese firecracker. He'd smoked a single one for each hour the captain's enemy was late, and it was his third. For three long, tiresome, and potentially wasteful hours, since nine in the morning, they'd been waiting. Nothing had changed. Eight other Zeon soldiers were with them, vodka, whiskey, and plenty of the best alcohol in the colony (Which isn’t saying much since this is the only town in the colony with any sort of semblance to a good drink.) to help keep them busy in trying to cool off at the well in the high morning sun. Unfortunately, the vodka – and their patience - was running out. Fast.
Meanwhile, in a small, musty inn a few meters ahead of the well, two men, glued to their chairs, were quite less bored than the solders. One of them, a man of about twenty, having wavy dark-brown hair and wearing a white shirt with a stylized red arrow on the collar. The other, a man of the same age, with burgundy hair, was wearing a light yellow shirt and light-blue pants under a simple dark-green poncho. "Your friend's late, Kodai. It's been three hours.” the second man said. Kodai gave him a stoic reply. "He will come. He always does. This is how he plays the game, Amuro-san."
Two women, one blonde, the other a brown-haired brunette. The blonde placed a tray of bread, empty, unfilled glasses, and a full water pitcher on a table before Kodai and Amuro. The second girl planted herself on the inn's porch ahead of the chairs and took out a harmonica, toying around with it. Amuro turned to the blonde and said, "Thank you, Yuki-chan. Say... d'you think that he will come?" Yuki gave a slight smile and said, "Of course he will. He's got too much pride to turn this one down." The would-be harmonica player then said, "Well, Yuki, if he's got pride like you say, then why isn't he here?" Kodai gave out an impatient chuckle and told her, "Trust me, Fraw-chan. He will come." Fraw belatedly said, "I hope you're right, Kodai.", then began to play the harmonica. The tune she played was the slow, melancholy opening bars of Ennio Morricone's 'Man with a Harmonica.'
Nearby, the two resident undertakers were standing on several of their wares, a coffin, and the looks of tiredness and a tinge of tenseness on their faces. One had a bullet head, and had the look of a young helmsman. The other, a slightly more rotund man with much more youthful looks and had two strands of his hair stick out as bangs. The first undertaker had a half-empty bottle of sake in his hand and said, "Your Zeon friends over there seem impatient, Kobayashi-kun." Hayato Kobayashi gave him a brief snort and said to his coworker, "That's because your friend is late, Shima-san." he reached for another bottle and drank. "He may not ever come." Shima readily drank some more. "Maybe... maybe not. Or maybe he will. Sooner, or perhaps later. I don’t really know. Not that it’s going to matter in the slightest to us, is it?"
“You got that right. But still, I can’t stand the feeling that we’re probably in some sort of damn Sergio Leone spaghetti western.”
The dust blew stronger and the heat became even more unbearable. It was so hot none of them even could remember why the duel was taking place anyways. Not that the residents didn’t care. No. Normally, they would have not liked to see something of this sort take place in this town, but considering that they knew better than to mess with either side. Better off living complacent and ignorant here and watch rather than defy this soon-to-be bloody mess and see yourself become the next unfortunate soul right inside Shima and Kobayashi’s daily business.
Back at the well, the Cockney corporal had checked his watch, and then the bell struck twelve. The sound was quite a broken, as the bell had not been replaced for many, many, years. The corporal leaned over to his commanding officer and said, "Captain, your blue-skinned friend is not coming. It's been three damn hours and not a single peep or any single word from him. It would probably best for us to leave right now." The captain, scratching the few blonde locks that reached out of his helmet, sighed and said, "You're right, Corporal... if he won't come, then I guess he won’t come. And if so, there isn't any point for all of us being here." He turned to his men and said, "Alright, gentlemen, we shall leave this place at on-"
His words were cut short when a massive explosion and a giant column of smoke shot out of the other end of the town. The wind seemed to howl further in anger as the ten Zeon solders concentrated on the cloud of smoke, then suddenly, as if he came out of the blue, HE appeared, as if he was a ghost born from gunfire and cordite. The one they waited for so long. Blue was the color of his skin, his neatly done red-gold hair staying slick and composed, his eyes piercing through the wind as it whipped across his face, and made his black-on-red cape fly in the wind as his grey dress uniform, black boots, and white gloves stood out in the dust. The blue man walked slowly forth, with a shining golden pistol in hand, towards his enemies. The Zeon captain grinned and gave the head gesture to move forth. The captain's red uniform and black sleeve fittings refused to get affected by the dust that had so plagued the town. The soldiers, partially eager to get revenge on the man that kept them waiting for so long, and equally loyal to their commanding officer’s orders followed with grins on their faces. The captain said, "Do not open fire until I say so." His men gave him a unified nod, as they walked slowly to meet their opponent. The captain pulled drew a sword. The rules he and rival had agreed upon when they threw down the gauntlet of challenge were simple - the captain could bring his men, but not use his gun, unless his men were dead. What they didn't say or agree on was that the captain's men could bring and their rifles, which they drew out in short order as they moved forth in a slow manner.
"So... the Red Comet is patient enough for playing the waiting game.” the blue-colored stranger quietly whispered. Thetwo men inched closer, then, the ace mobile suit pilot said, "Don't come any closer, Dessler!" Dessler barely had time to say "I plan to, Char...", before, with lighting quick speed, he drew a bright, silver-handled knife, sidestepped to the left, and threw it straight at Char. The knife plunged itself deep into Red Comet's arm, making him drop his weapon as he struggled to get it off, the once supreme leader of the Gamilas Empire fired nine shots. And in quick, uninterrupted order, nine Zeon soldiers fell dead at once. Char, meanwhile, nursed his wounded arm. He silently swore and cursed at himself for letting his guard and Newtype abilities down. It had cost him the lives of his men for letting his pride get in the way. Lives that couldn't be paid for... unless it was in the death of one. Or if things didn’t go that way, two.
Char’s opponent's gun had power enough for one shot. Just one. Satisfied, Dessler, smiled, moved backward, and threw his gun on the ground. He wasn’t going to let his enemy die without one last chance. "One bullet to one sword, Captain Aznable. Let's see who is the quicker." Char had stepped back after getting knifed and had dropped his gold-handled foil in front. The two men then gave each other a quick look and out came the merest of smiles, a sign of respect between the honor-bound men. Then, quicker than anyone could see, they leaped for their weapons. A laser pistol shot rang out and a foil was thrown. Both projectiles had gotten their mark - dead center on their intended target's torsos. Char's chest was punctured by Dessler's lone bullet, and the Red Comet lumbered backwards and fell down, and slumped back against an old, wooden, rickety fence in extreme pain. His foil was sticking out of Dessler like a splinter. The leader of the Gamilas race drew the long, blood red-stained blade out, threw it away, and fell, face-first, tired and exhausted, straight into the sand that was starting to turn crimson red.
As they lay dying, Dessler pulled his head, up, already red and yellow and stared at his dying opponent. He weakly called out to him. "Captain Char...” he pithily wheezed. “The entrance straight down towards hell... I will be waiting for you… right there." Char gave a slight, weak laugh, and said... "I know you will be... but I still can’t say if I was or was not prepared...” before his eyes closed and he welcomed death's cold, dark embrace. Dessler, too, began to welcome it and his head collapsed. And then he dryly said, "As long as I live... Gamilas lives... it dies when I shall die. And when I die... the rest… the rest will be silence. Nothing more, nothing less…” and said no more as his held fell into the dust, lifeless and cold.
Kodai, Amuro, Yuki, Fraw, Shima, and Kobayashi all came out to see the two bodies. Amuro, a quiet, pensive look written all over his face, said, "What a shame. They were as prideful in death as they were in life... and now... Zeon and Gamilas have lost the finest warriors either of them have ever known..." Hayato then asked, "Well, we wouldn't want to caught be in the middle of the aftermath, would we?" Shima turned at him and gave him a slight, respective smile and a nod. “Yes, indeed, my friend. I’d rather not live on edge once again. Especially after these guys came.” He then kept staring at the dead bodies, and then said an old quote taken from a source long since forgotten...
"Kill one or one hundred... you only hang once."
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