A young cow-bot gets challenged to a duel, with his survival at stake.
|The thunder rumbled hard. The clouds were clogging the sky like a haystack in the toilet. As the rain poured down, the lightning crashed through the sky onto the fragile ground. It was a terrifying time at Arlesdale's Western District.
It's hard to get a good drink here, since this place is far from the nearest sea. Rain happens at the peak of the winter, where no snow falls. Every year, raindrops crash onto the ground, creating harmless splashes of water. Seems like the townsfolk here are desperate for a drink, and they'll do anything to get it.
Justice is transparent here in the Western District's average and only town called Crippleshot. Here, there are only two rules: Live through any means necessary, or die of weakness and defeat. Yes sir, crime never rests here, for only the quickest minds can thrive here.
The youth never gets the proper education they need. Even they are forced to live in the malice and plunder of Crippleshot, reluctantly doing crimes themselves. This removes any if not, all chances of Crippleshot acquiring visitors for trade and reason.
A young robot child who goes by the name 'Tune' lives here in this diabolical disaster zone. His creators, or as he prefers to call them, parents, sold him to this dreaded town, just so they could live. With a discarded frying pan on his head to call his hat and feeding of the scraps of garbage discarded by the townsfolk, Tune would tend to find life here hard.
Even if he ran away, it wouldn't matter. He'd die before he even reach the next town. They would all salvage his lifeless body, and only God knows what they'll do with it. Despite this brutal laws here, Tune somehow finds living here a place he can enjoy.
As the rain continued pouring throughout the day, Tune could only try to find shelter. Nobody would care for a dusty young droid seeking a home and family, so all the little guy can do was pray. He'd pray that once the rainclouds clear, so will the path to his lost joy.
Water flooded the cracks in the ground, the sky once bright began to cry cold shivering drops of rain. And with a crash of lightning, the thunder roared hard with an entity of dark storm in the sky, watching Tune. All Tune could see was a black cloud of thunder shaped like a black dragon in the sky.
With another bolt, the dragon-like figure disappeared, and a beam of light pierced through the clouds. The rain had ended, but a miracle has awoken. At the end of the light, all Tune could see was a figure moving towards Crippleshot. "Could this be the clear path to the joy Tune had lost?" Tune wondered.
Tune strayed closer to the mysterious figure. As Tune got closer, so did the figure. It's as if, Tune and the figure were being drawn to each other. Once they finally saw each other face to face, Tune's eyes observed with amazement.
What Tune had seen was a horse. But this horse was unlike any horse Tune had seen before. It was coated in silver-plated armor and fitted with expensive brass horseshoes. It's rider however, was a different story.
Descending from the leather saddle, the rider approached Tune, slowly and peacefully.
Within the creak of Tune's gear, the mysterious rider was standing in front of Tune. His left blue eye observed Tune, with his hat covering his other eye. The rest of his body was enshrouded within his cloak, while his boots were helping him stand tall. He was about a tad bit taller then Tune, yet his mysterious aura was intimidating in Tune's perspective.
As intimidating as this mysterious rider was, he harboured no ill intentions. Tune didn't know this yet, so he simply and nervously backed away. While he did however, Tune had just stumbled and fell on his rear. His valve pipes released a terrified hiss, and the stranger kept observing.
To Tune's surprise, this strange rider helped him up. It was at this time the stranger began talking. With a rough, southern accent, the mysterious rider explained his name. "The name's Quickdraw, and my steed here's Axle", Quickdraw stated.
What was once Tune's terror turned into courage. With a big puff, Tune bravely replied his name. Tune felt glad in his perspective, as he had never introduced himself let alone anyone introduced themselves in his life. Asking Quickdraw why he was here, Quickdraw looked at him again.
"Why I'm here you say? It's just me followin my destiny. To be the fastest slinger in these parts. The wind told me.", Quickdraw replied. "Now where can I find Grease Sparkin? I'm thirsty." Quickdraw asked. Tune was indeed surprised. Nobody had ever ask for Grease Sparkin before, as its meant for machines.
Quickdraw just got on Axle. He could tell by looking at Tune's surprised expression that he didn't know. Quickdraw politely bid farewell to Tune, and head off to Crippleshot, continuing his search for Grease Sparkin. All Tune could do was watch.
"What am I thinking. An outsider can't just come here and demand a drink. He'll be finished before he even gets to the bar.", Tune worried as he chased after Quickdraw. His pistons pumped hard like the bubbling boiler of a steam train as he followed the thundering gallop of Axle.
Once Tune had entered the bar, it was a complete megalomania. A brawl had occurred within the bar with gunshots and drinks being thrown everywhere. Waiters and waitresses were even throwing shattered glass as weapons. One of those shards nearly hit Tune, had it not have been for his frying pan shielding him.
At the end of the bar, Quickdraw was calmly sitting down, drinking his long awaited Grease Sparkin. Axle was even there drinking the same thing, and he was even sitting on the chair. To Tune's surprise, both rider and horse were easily drinking the dense beverage, which would be impossible for organic citizens.
When things completely got out of hand, the bar suddenly went silent. No patron or worker made a sound. The town gang called the Re-Riders had arrived, and their leader Badude was already having an awful day. Seeing Quickdraw on his favourite seat made him even more ticked off.
Badude simply got to Quickdraw and told the young visitor that he was in his seat. Quickdraw just calmly continued drinking. This angered Badude even more, causing him to slap Quickdraw's Grease Sparkin out of his hand. Seeing the large spill of the drink he journied long for spread to the ground, Quickdraw had to do something.
As Quickdraw got up from his seat, 2 of Badude's men began to block his path. Seeing they both meant trouble, Quickdraw calmly and politely asked them to move. They didn't care, they just laughed. They laughed and laughed at Quickdraw.
One of the goons took a drink and as he drank it, he pulled out a small little pistol from his pocket. Now Quickdraw felt trouble, especially when the other goon took out his own pistol. Tune could only watch in worry for Quickdraw's safety.
While the goons aimed their pistols at Quickdraw, to everyone's shock, the two fierce members of the Re-Riders fell to the ground with holes in their shoulders. What hit them was answered when everybody looked at smoke coming out of a pistol. And the owner of that pistol was none other than Quickdraw himself.
Observing the young outlaw who shot his men, Badude could only sneer. No one knew his true expression behind the sunglasses he always wears, because they only made him look stoic. In truth, Badude was impressed with the little outlaw.
Tune however watched in amazement. From what he once thought was a man turned out to be a machine. Beneath Quickdraw's cloak, there was a belt of bullets wrapped around his body, and a belt with a gun holster attached. Quickdraw had thin, silver-plated limbs, and 3 bulbs running down his body like buttons on a shirt.
Glad that he was no longer the only machine in town, Tune attempted to approach Quickdraw. Though he wanted to express his amazement, his enthusiasm turned into fear as Badude's simple movement to Quickdraw intimidated the little droid.
Badude simply asked Quickdraw to join his gang of Re-Riders, given that this little robot was the fastest gunslinger he had ever seen. Quickdraw continued his observant attitude, then closed his eye, politely refusing to work with a team of amateur delinquents.
Now there had been an awful moment for Quickdraw. This young outlaw as oblivious to the fact that he inadvertently lit the spark of rage within the Re-Riders boss. Badude was ready to do some damage to Quickdraw, had it not have been for those present in the bar cheering for a standoff.
"7.00 sharp. At dusk, you and I sling at each other's hearts. Winner take all. Be there or suffer.", Badude rudely exclaimed. Quickdraw prepared to refuse the duel, but then he observed the terrified look on Tune, the little droid who welcomed him to Crippleshot.
Quickdraw had instantly flown into a pitch-white void. Seeing a shape at the end of the void forced Quickdraw to curiously investigate. What he saw was his mentor, to which everyone referred to as Recycle Warrior. Quickdraw sat next to his former teacher, as the first word that flew out of his robotic mouth was "Why?".
"Why was I here, why are you here?", Quickdraw asked his former mentor. "Why did I train you in the world of speed? Why did you want to be the fastest slinger ever?" Recycle added. Now Quickdraw was confused. What did his mentor mean?
All of a sudden, Quickdraw saw what was not an illusion, but rather a form. A smaller robot that resembled Quickdraw himself, but was younger and more eager to shoot targets thrown at him. Recycle just smiled at the smaller robot.
Recycle asked the little robot what he wanted to be. "The best slinger ever. One who can shoot faster than the wind, so I can be a little cow-bot that can save this world from all the bad guys. That's what I want to be.", the little bot said.
Seeing this little bot, Quickdraw smiled beneath his cloak. He remembered now, he left Recycle to follow the wind and be the greatest and fastest slinger ever. This white place made Quickdraw remember his past, the past he once regret.
He remembered the training he did with Recycle. It was harsh, it was tough, but he enjoyed it anyway. And so did Recycle, the one who Quickdraw claimed to be part of his family. They both were happy together, and Axle was Recycle's gift to Quickdraw.
But that joy ended once Quickdraw began his journey. Once he had left, the first day of Quickdraw's journey was the last of his joy. The news of his mentor had hit him quickly. Recycle was gone.
Riding back to his former home was a waste of effort. The home he and Axle once new was nothing but ash and soot, and there was nothing left but Recycle's lifeless scrap-iron body. All Quickdraw could have done was mourn and shout in grief and regret.
Quickdraw learnt this was his choice. He made this promise to be brave and avenge those who are unable to defend themselves. He forgot this promise through his grief and guilt of leaving his own mentor, but that all became clear once he nearly refused a duel for a life.
"I see. You just want me to remember the promise I made. I guess I have more to learn before I join you in the ghost realm, master.", Quickdraw told his former mentor. Recycle just smiled, and with the little bot who was actually Quickdraw's past, they both disappeared into the wind.
What seemed like an hour of thought was merely a second back at the bar. That pitch-white void was just a memory. All of a sudden, Quickdraw's cool, observant nature disappeared as evidences when he told Badude, "Your on.". The duel was soon to begin.
"Good. I'll be having scrap-iron with fresh bullet holes for breakfast tomorrow, just the way I like my meals.", Badude replied to Quickdraw. Satisfied with these results, the gang leader ordered his gang to leave the bar, dragging the two shot-down goons along with them.
"What were you thinking?! You could get killed! ", Tune shockingly questioned Quickdraw. The Cow-bot just looked. From his gaze, he knew Tune had the right to be concerned about him. But he knew he couldn't leave Tune in Crippleshot, hiding and living in fear.
"Axle. Let's go. Get my wallet so I can pay the man, then we're out.", Quickdraw asked Axle. Continuing his gaze at Tune, he told him "Death in vain is by a battle not fought. I'd rather use myself as a shield for others than to be shielded by fear". Inspired by these words, all Tune could do was make a happy face.
Later that night, a small glow on the outskirts of Crippleshot brightened the pitch darkness. At that glow was a campfire with Axle and Tune surrounding it. Cleaning his pistol was one of Quickdraw's responsibilities, as Recycle had told him "A man's weapon is like a soul. Respect it as if you'd respect a person".
Practice aims were made with the pistol, as Quickdraw wouldn't want the pistol to betray him on the battlefield. Looking up into the night, he could envision a constellation of Recycle looking down on him, giving him the strength to continue. Knowing this shot would mean everything, Quickdraw went to sleep.
Unbeknownst to him, Quickdraw was being watched. Small blue eyes observed from under a small little frying pan. Quickdraw's mysterious observer was none other than the little Tune, worried about his fate. As Tune kept thinking, he wondered if Quickdraw was the path of joy he'd been praying for.
It was the crack of dawn. The entire town of Crippleshot came to the Center Sphere, where Badude and the Re-Riders were waiting. The clock kept ticking, on and on, until it was 6.58."Come on, where is this guy. He isn't that kind of chicken-boy, is he?", Badude angrily questioned his gang.
6.59, and no sign of Quickdraw. Little Tune had just arrived in time to see there was no fight. "Had Quickdraw left the town to avoid the fight? No, I know he isn't that kind of bot.". Before Tune could finish his thoughts, he was interrupted by a serene tune.
At the center of the rising sun, the entire town of Crippleshot watched. Calmly playing a song on a harmonica, slowly riding his steed without any haste, the whole town had the right to watch. Quickdraw and Axle had arrived, just as the town clock strike at 7.00.
"Finally. A chance to strike down a worthy slinger.", Badude happily replied. As Quickdraw got of Axle, he got to a position where he could easily battle Badude. Before the gunslingimg began, Quickdraw raised his hand. Badude could only look in confusion.
"I propose a wager. If I win, you and your gang leave this town with your lives, never returning. Should you win, I lose my life and feel free to do whatever you want.", Quickdraw told Badude. From what was a confused face turned into a satisfied sneer and then a cocky laugh, as if this wager was a joke.
"You're making a deal with me?! Someone has an inevitable victory in this duel and I belive we all know who!", Badude scoffed as if he knew he'd won. Quickdraw was unfazed. He just decided to start the duel of his survival.
The entire town got quiet. The wind which normally blew a subtle breeze barely blew, as if it was as quiet as the townspeople. Both Badude and Quickdraw observed each other, with guns in their holsters, ready should one of them begin the first draw.
Once the clock had changed to 7.01, Quickdraw did his move. Removing his pistol from his holster, his lightning fast movements allowed him to fire his first bullet before Badude even moved. As the bullet continued its journey to Badude, a surprise had been in waiting for Quickdraw. The bullet which flew from Quickdraw's pistol fell directly to the dirt below, not even penetrating Badude's skin once.
Though surprised at this point, Quickdraw knew something was up. "If he challenged me with his life on the line, was he honest about having a fair duel?", Quickdraw thought. To test that theory, he shot another ineffective bullet at Badude, who smirked as if it were nothing.
But Quickdraw found out his plan. Through his training, he had been able to identify the sounds of objects absorbing bullets." Your not bulletproof, buddy. Your wearing a bulletproof vest!", Quickdraw accused Badude. The crowd gasped in shock at this statement.
"Heh Heh. So you've figured out my secret. Ah well. I don't need it to beat cha'. And I'll prove it, right now.", Badude calmly replied. He took out his own pistol and pointed it at the seemingly defenseless cow-bot. Against a bulletproof opponent, Quickdraw was helpless.
Badude aiming his pistol at the defenseless Quickdraw made him feel something he never felt before. Was it anger for the cheating, or was it fear for his death. Even he didn't know, but he could feel as if something was shooting him. Shooting his thoughts cold in their tracks.
But what could he do? It was pointless to continue shooting him, like trying to fight wind with a feather. "Wind... Of course!", Quickdraw thought to himself. There was a strike of hope that may allow him to win this match. He just needed some luck.
Without wasting anymore time, Quickdraw began to take a stroll forwards. His mind was clear as the wind blew behind his cloak. It all depended on Badude's next move. Though confused by this turn of events, Badude decided to take the shot.
And with the pull of a trigger, Badude's bullet ejected out of his pistol, making a collision course to Quickdraw. When it appeared Badude had won however, a miracle surprised all but Quickdraw. The bullet had missed its target.
Unwilling to give up simply by a missed shot, Badude fired again. Once again, the bullet had missed the incoming cow-bot. Little did Badude know was that Quickdraw was counting the bullets, using the wind to evade the incoming projectiles.
"3,4,5...", Quickdraw counted the flying bullets. Like the wind he dodged them, yet moving calmly and slowly. When Badude fired his sixth bullet, a quick shot from Quickdraw's own pistol hit the bullet, making both bullets fall to the ground.
Once Quickdraw had finally reached the Re-Riders Leader, he was in point blank range. There was no way Quickdraw could dodge this now. "It's all over for you!", Badude told the cow-bot, yet the cow-bot kept his cool look at the Brute.
Annoyed with this, Badude pulled the trigger to his pistol. But as of it were magic, no bullets came out. It was an empty gun against a quick gunslinger who still had one bullet of his own. Though with a bulletproof vest and an ammoless gun, it seemed that this duel was a stalemate. Or was it?
In just a single blink, Badude had lost a tooth. And that was from Quickdraw himself, using his fist against a bigger foe. Even without a gun, Quickdraw's fists hit as fast as lightning and hard as a bullet, damaging the dazed Brute. On and on, Quickdraw parried against Badude, who couldn't even land a single blow of his own. The lightning fast punches were like being stung by bees, over and over again.
Still, the Brute wasn't willing to lose without a fight. "Lock and Load boys! Hit him with everything you got!", Badude ordered his men. Soon, every one of the Re-Riders had brought out a gun, be it a Tommy gun or a Machine Gun, all aimed at the poor Quickdraw. While all seemed lost, a voice broke the focus of all the Re-Riders. That voice was Tune's.
"Your all cowards! You do anything to win, be it cheat or bend the rules! You don't deserve to be here!", Tune told them all. What one voice of a bot could do, everyone else couldn't. Even Quickdraw himself was surprised. It takes a lot of courage to say something in the face of death, and Tune had it.
Of course, Tune couldn't do anything alone, but thankfully he wasn't. As he stood behind Quickdraw, Axle came too, and so did the other townsfolk. Soon, everyone swarmed behind Quickdraw until the whole town outnumbered the gang of Re-Riders.
"Go on and shoot. What you can do, we all can do better. You all lost, and that's it.", Quickdraw told the Re-Riders. Badude was impressed, but he wasn't intimidated. All the town had against his guns were more target's to shoot, so he felt like he still won.
Under Quickdraw's hat, he observed Badude's expression. If he wasn't fast enough, the whole town could get hurt, so he decided to make his final move. With the force of a bullet train and the swiftness of a raptor, Quickdraw threw a punch so hard it pierced Badude's vest.
With an opportunity like this, Quickdraw aimed his pistol at the year and pulled his trigger. Out his bullet flew, searing into the left shoulder of Badude. All the Re-Riders leader could do was drop and yell, as a single shot pierced him hard.
"You can't keep going on. I said if I won, you and your gang leaves this town. And I'm a bot of my word, and I intend to keep it.", Quickdraw sternly told Badude. With his own chance of survival, Badude reluctantly but honourly yielded. Soon, he and the Re-Riders were banished from Crippleshot.
The crowd cheered. The terrifying gang had gone, but law and order still seemed helpless. When all seemed to be lost for Crippleshot again, Quickdraw spoke up. "It's time this town got a sense of morality within its people. This town can't have anymore conflict and chaos, leaving the children in fear.", he said.
Thankfully, everyone agreed. With the opportunity to open up Crippleshot to more visitors and make it more peaceful, the townsfolk decided to rebuild the town from scratch. Tune could never have been happier. It seems his prayer for joy had been fulfilled, all thanks to meeting the best bot ever.
Soon, Cripples hot had its own school, bank and law enforcement crew. The town clock was renamed "Quickdraw's Clock", after Quickdraw himself. Quickdraw and Axle did everything they could to help rebuild Crippleshot, and Tune would have a happier life.
But, Quickdraw could sense his time of joy would end. So as the sun began to set, he got on Axle, and prepared to take off. Tune saw this and ran as fast as his little legs could take him, trying to stop Quickdraw from leaving. Quickdraw stopped, but only for a moment.
"Why are you leaving? You could stay here you know. The town won't be the same without you.", Tune pleaded Quickdraw. "Tune, while I am grateful for your offer, my life has a road ahead I need to continue. You need to continue your life here.", Quickdraw replied.
"But I promise I'll tell merchant's to come with water, so Crippleshot shall never be thirsty again. Another thing I'll promise is to return, with honed skills in the art of gunslinging. So keep this town safe for me, will ya kid?", he added.
Tune was disappointed, but Quickdraw was right. Quickdraw had opened the light for him, so he must choose the path the light guides him. With one final wave and one final handshake, Quickdraw and Axle rode into the sunset.
As Quickdraw had promised, merchants from all around came and traded with the townsfolk of Crippleshot. A railway station was even built for passengers to come from to and fro. In Tune's new school, he always learn't about Quickdraw's fateful arrival in Crippleshot, always wondering when he will meet Tune again.
Elsewhere, Quickdraw and Axle rode on. Soon, a flash faster than Quickdraw's vision appeared and disappeared before him. Though he was startled, Quickdraw had found a letter on the ground, assigned to him. Picking it up from the ground, he wondered, "What could this mean?"