: From Chapter 16: Escape Into The Desert
Taldale stumbled forward, his boots kicking into the dirt below his feet. He clutched the pink orb in his palm, and ran as quickly as he could, ducking down towards the beach, and heading southbound to High Cliff. He ran up a ridge, and down on the other side, he was met face to face by one of the Hellgate leaders.
Coby Churchlin held a blob of powder in his palm, about the same size as the orb that Taldale held in his. He hunched it back, ready to toss it at the deputy. Taldale froze, and his fingers twitched as he considered drawing for his gun. Coby noticed this twitch.
“I’m watching you, deputy,” Coby warned sternly. “Before you even move your hand to your weapon, I will have thrown this directly in your face. You will be lucky if your head stays attached to your neck.”
“It don’t seem like I have much of a choice, does it?” Taldale asked.
“The machine we confiscated from that scientist,” Coby nodded to the Time Orb in Taldale’s palm. “Give it to me.”
“Why not just kill me and take it?” Taldale asked.
“Because I’m giving you a choice. Give it to me, and I’ll let you walk out of here,” Coby offered.
“Bullshit,” Taldale muttered. “As soon as I hand it over, you’ll kill me.”
“Do you have any other choice?” Coby asked.
“None,” Taldale realized. He reluctantly handed the orb over to Coby. Coby gently tucked the device inside of the leather satchel he wore at his side, underneath his black duster. Taldale flinched at the man’s every movement, trying to predict when he would throw the explosive in his palm. Taldale figured if he could see the projectile soon enough, he would be able to dodge, and unleash a counterattack, but as he watched, he saw Coby place the power into a pouch attached to his belt.
“Much appreciated,” Coby said to Taldale. He stepped past the deputy and started on his way towards Rasterol. Taldale turned and watched him leave in confusion. He drew his pistol and pointed it square at the back of Coby’s head.
“I could kill you right here, right now,” Taldale warned. Coby stopped in his tracks. He turned his head to see the deputy through his peripheral.
“Then why hesitate?” Coby asked.
“Why didn’t you kill me? Why turn your back on me when you know that I have a loaded weapon?”
“You’re a man of honor, Taldale,” Coby replied. “Aren’t you?” Taldale did not give a reply, but Coby already knew the answer. “I let you live. I trust you will do the same.”
Taldale hesitated, and then spun his revolver around on his finger, and shoved it back into the holster at his side.
“Then we have a mutual understanding,” Coby replied. He turned his head forward and trekked forward towards Rasterol. Taldale turned his back towards Coby and continued on his way towards Bastion Sax and High Cliff.