Henderson dealt the hands and they began a round.
Jonathan was slowly figuring things out. His main issues were mixing up the rules of Clover and the rules of Hearts. He was too scared to bid much and folded often. The transmigrator still wasn’t out of the Hrea Empire yet. Until then, he needed to conserve as much as possible.
After round four, Augustine asked the older woman, “What, are you cheating?”
Trigger whipped out one of her pistols and aimed it at the man’s chest.
“Wow, lady. I was just joking!” Augustine’s tone was still lighthearted.
Chester was also smiling. He pulled out a card and played it. He hadn’t taken a trick this round. “Don’t tell me you’ll accuse me of being a cheater next because of my good fortune?”
Trigger lowered her pistol and holstered it. She sat back down and picked up her cards. “You’re all a bunch of trash.”
“That’s a bit harsh, lady.” Augustine mock-pouted.
Chester was hiding a grin behind his hand.
Jonathan played his card. He had a feeling that these two really were far too similar. Whatever happened, he needed to make sure Augustine didn’t join them. He couldn’t deal with two Chesters.
Ciley went next. When she moved her hand, her sleeve slipped up and showed a bracelet adorned with clear jewels.
Augustine played last. He had easily managed to slip under Ciley’s card, dodging the negative point he would have taken.
The most common winners were now Chester and Augustine. They were both cheating, and both them and everyone else knew it. The issue for the rest of the table was how to reveal the way the two were cheating.
Another two rounds passed before two people burst through the door of the saloon. They were dressed in tan, sandy colors that would blend into the desert like conditions of the climate; they openly carried guns in hand and were looking around the saloon. They were searching for someone.
The table of Clover players reacted to this development in different ways.
The old dealer, Henderson, had taken off the safety from his pistol.
Chester had ducked under the table. He had no weapon and he was no fool to risk his life without a chance at defeating the opposition.
“Moiety,” Trigger commented with annoyance. “They’re not the low level grunts either.” She had dropped her cards and was ready to draw her pistols.
Augustine was crouched down, using the table as cover. His sword was out of its sheath.
Ciley hadn’t moved at all. She was simply staring at the two newcomers.
“Get down,” Jonathan hissed and pulled her behind the table. “Why are you just frozen? You’re going to get shot,” he scolded.
Ciley’s face was red. She squeaked out, “Yes.” She realized Jonathan was still holding onto her wrist and went even more red.
Jonathan leaned in and whispered to Ciley, “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’m fine.” Ciley looked away and muttered something under her breath.
Ciley leaned back. “Nothing.” She tried to hide her face with her free hand.
The two men had reached the bar.
The person who had come in right after Jonathan and Chester got to their feet. They were trying to sneak between the tables, towards the back.
Paige had a rifle in her hands, pointed at the two gangsters. The bartender didn’t look happy at the intrusion on her business. “What’s the issue? I already paid my protection money. I’m not giving any more.”
“We know,” the shorter male said. “We’re not here to cause trouble for you. This man is on our list.” He pulled out a photograph and held it up.
“Seen him?” The taller gangster asked. He had one hand on a sword, and the other on a pistol.
“Doesn’t seem familiar to me. I’d suggest you move along.” Paige said that, but she seemed to signal something to the two gangsters.
“We’ll just look around for a minute.”
“Fine,” Paige agreed.
The gangsters turned around.
“Where are you going?” The shorter male asked.
The person with the striped bandana froze. They were halfway between tables, with no cover. The shotgun they had brought was back at their original table. They reached for the pistol strapped to their thigh.
All Jonathan could think about over the sounds of the ensuing gunshots was that the two voices of the people from Moiety sounded familiar. He looked closer at the taller one; the sword at the gangster’s side had a crest of the Imperial family. Who did he know from the Capital that was here? Why were they involved in a mafia in Maskiff?
“You really thought you could run?” The taller gangster shook his head. He holstered his pistol in a show of good faith to the rest of those at the saloon.
Jonathan let go of Ciley’s wrist and slowly stood up to get a better view. He knew that low pitched, sort of smug voice. It was a justified smugness, but it was still sort of unbearable.
“Hey, you,” the taller gangster said. “The guy that’s standing up. Go get the body and bring it over here.”
Jonathan turned his back on the two gangsters and walked over to where the man was bleeding out. He was shaking, slightly. There was a nervousness in his bones that hadn’t been there since he faked the death of the original owner of this body and left the Capital.
It was a morbid and dreadful thing, to watch the blood and breath drain from a person at such a close range. Once he was sure the person with the striped bandana was dead, he picked up the target and walked over to the counter. Blood dripped down from the corpse and onto his pants.
The transmigrator kept his head down, trying not to reveal his face. His hair was longer and his skin was tanned, but not much else had changed in the past few months.
“Only him, not you. We just need to borrow some manual labor for a bit.” The taller gangster pointed his pistol towards the table of Clover players as Chester made a move to follow. “Carry the body outside.”
Jonathan nodded and walked out into the sunlight, the corpse over his shoulder.
Sometimes you just have to combine your love of the wild west and the mafia into a country.
I bought some cute pins. I’m trying to figure out how or where to display them. Maybe on a bag? Not sure about a hat. Advice appreciated.