Another chilly morning in Ambarino.
Yesterday, at dinner, I had accidentally revealed my reservations about living in the wilderness to the group. The strange looks I received told me everything I needed to know about their attitudes when it came to city life. Gao Mao, being the eternal oblivious optimist, happily assisted me in finding a route that would lead me to an actual town, unlike Strawberry. Sure, it was cute, but it was nothing like Cambridge.
And now, here I am eagerly awaiting the train. My destination is the burgeoning city of Blackwater and, according to the man at the counter, I am to get off at Riggs Station and follow the signs there. At least, that's what I think he said. Thanks to his heavy accent, disgruntled disposition, and the trees swaying loudly in the wind, I couldn't hear him all too well.
I was told that if I were to go to Blackwater to put my best clothes on, to keep my head low, and my gun close. This piece of advice came from Maxim, of all people. He was perhaps the last person I would expect to tell me to keep my head down and dress up, considering his unique brand of loud, drunken abrasiveness. Nevertheless, I had never been there and he had, so I put on an old suit from my schooling days and slid my pistol into the inner pocket. It weighed my coat down heavily, interrupting my gait, but I didn't want to draw unnecessary attention to myself by brandishing this expensive, odd-looking European gun.
Stepping onto the train, I took an empty seat, and began to gaze out of the window as the locomotive began to move. As of late, I've had quite my fair share of long journeys to think over. Not even two weeks ago, I was drinking tea in the cold fog of England, and now I'm here, far west in an infant country, as far from civility as I had ever been in my life. I looked down at my hands. The hands of the common man here in America are large, rough, and skilled. They whip pistols out of their holsters, herd cattle, and bargain for lower prices. My hands, in comparison, were small and weak, accustomed to writing essays and gesturing to get my point across. The heaviest thing I'm used to having to lift on a daily basis is a tankard at the pub. Now, everywhere I go, I'm supposed to bring my pistol in case I get shot at. At the thought, I was made painfully aware yet again of the foreign weight in my coat pocket. Of course, it's not as if my frame of comparison is any heavier. I usually leave those pockets empty, at most putting a watch in there to keep track of the time-
A deep, husky voice bellowed at the passengers. "LISTEN UP, I'M ONLY GOIN' TO SAY THIS ONCE! THIS IS A ROBBERY! YOU'RE GONNA PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE WE CAN SEE 'EM, AND WHEN WE GET TO YOU, YOU'RE GONNA PUT YOUR VALUABLES IN THE BAG! UNDERSTAND!?"
I reach for my pants pockets, and hurriedly pull out my wallet and watch, under the menacing gaze of the masked man who had just entered the train car. He gets to me, gives me a once-over with his eyes, and thrusts the bag out towards me. I hesitate for a moment, and surrender my valuables. Seemingly annoyed, he addresses me directly.
"Don't you have anythin' in them coat pockets, yer highness?" He asks, attempting to sound menacing. Looking at him directly, his hands are shaking, and his eye is twitching. His gun is under his arm, meaning if I made a move now, he would not be able to react in time. I nod once in response to his questioning, looking down as not to reveal my intentions. I reach for my coat pocket, and pull my pistol out as quickly as I possibly can, pulling the trigger as soon as the barrel points at him-
My ears began to ring incessantly at the discharge of gunpowder. The spent casing flew out of my pistol and reminded me that I couldn't stay still forever. I gave up looking for his wound, as he dropped the bag and reached for his weapon. I took a second to aim this time, and gritting my teeth, shot at his gun.
Both his gun and his figure drop to the ground and he seemed to be in pain as his eyes were shut tight. I feel the train car shake as the door to the adjacent passenger car flies open, and a similarly masked and armed man runs in. He begins shouting something, and his panicked eyes meet mine. Before he can raise his gun, I shift the pistol in his direction, and let loose two more bullets.
The man clutched at his wounds, both bullets having hit him in the shoulder, forcing his gun out of his hand. I look down at the man at my feet, seeing that he had been hit twice in the arm. My eyes scanned the train car frantically for any signs of enemies incoming, to which I was greeted by a lack thereof. I sighed heavily and holstered my weapon. Blood is pooling on the floor that the two men lay on, and while I knew that I was in the right, it would be more effort than it was worth to convince the authorities of my innocence. My hearing began to come back as the few passengers of the train began to gather around the men on the floor, binding them and retrieving their stolen valuables. I sat back down, exhausted, and stared at the passing scenery for the remainder of the short trip to Riggs Station.
Blackwater better be a damn nice city.