The Devil, The Witch, and The Wicked World of Delirith
Somewhere in the exiled world of Delirith, Somewhere in the wicked desert of Kaandur, lies a modified snack vending machine, except instead of selling snacks, it sells boxes of ammunition. And standing in front of the vending machine are our two protagonists, staring at it in great curiosity.
“Ammo Machine: trade your scrap iron here for your gun’s ammo,” a funny-witch-hat wearing boy remarked.
[ MAKO THE LITTLE WITCH ]
Age 10. Protagonist no.1
Mako noticed a small iron shredder at the vending machine’s lower left part, a downward arrow sticker pasted on top of it stating ‘Insert Iron here’.
“Looks interesting- Wanna try it out?” a copperclad girl asked.
[ FYRA THE ONE-HORNED DEVIL ]
Age 12. Protagonist no.2
“Sure. But where can we get some scraps though?”
They both looked at the pile of rusted steel and scraps behind the vending machine, as well as all around them because as it turns out, they’re currently smacked in the middle of a junkyard.
Immediately, our protagonists went on to collect scraps of iron and dragged it back to the ammo machine, dumping the scraps they collected into the iron shredder. Red dots started to glow below the ammo boxes displayed behind a glass panel, indicating it was ready to be purchased.
“Alright! What should we get first?” Mako asked, rubbing his hands excitingly.
“Well, we’d definitely be needing this-” Fyra pushed the button for a plasma battery.
The ammo machine instantly worked its magic as the plasma battery located on the third row from the bottom, was pushed forward by a spring and fell into the pickup box. Fyra took the item she purchased and loaded it to her SMG.
“My turn! My turn!-” Mako pushed the button for a box of rifle rounds.
Just like the plasma battery before, a spring pushed the rifle ammo box into the pickup box. Red dots were still glowing under the item display, indicating that they could still continue their purchase.
“Aight- I’m gonna have this next- '' Mako tried pressing the button for a box of shotgun shells located on the uppermost row. Due to his short body however, the witch couldn’t reach it and had to ask his devil for a lift.
A beep sounded from the machine as it went on to deliver the box of shells to the anticipating witch. The shotgun box fell but to Mako’s dismay, it somehow got stuck halfway down the display case.
“Oh come on!” Mako kicked the vending machine but the stucked ammo box remained unbudged. It was then a small glowing lightbulb manifested itself momentarily on top of Mako’s head.
“Hey Fyra, hold this for me ey-” Mako handed her his backpack, holster belt filled with handbrewn bombs- I mean- potions, and the ever reliable Boomthorn.
“Wait, what are you planning to do?”
“What needs to be done, Fyra-” Mako crawled into the pickup box and soon enough, squeezed inside the ammo machine’s display.
He stretched his right arm to reach the stuck shotgun ammo and to his joy, successfully grabbed it. All that’s left now was to get out with his claimed prize.
“You’re stuck now, aren’t you?”
“No shit!” Mako tried to wiggle out but his body wouldn't budge.
“Sigh… Alright stand still-”
“Wait hold up! What’re you trying to doA@#$@%##**GHK-”
Mako cursed rapidly upon witnessing Fyra throwing sawblades, wrenches, pipes, blades and pretty much any dangerous scrap iron available within vicinity to the vending machine. It shook and wobbled as cracks began to form on the glass display.
Fyra picked up a rusty crowbar and threw it towards the machine like a spear. The crowbar hit a heavily cracked part of the machine’s glass display, allowing it to pierce right through it. This weak spot just so happened to be merely millimeters away from Mako’s face, who shrieked in fear as the crowbar’s tip greeted right beside him.
“Oh enough yelping. You’re almost outta there-” Fyra continued to throw pieces of dangerous metal to the glass display much to Mako’s terror.
Unbeknownst to them, a fat, shirtless, tattoo-filled, gas mask wearing man was running towards them- or more specifically- the ammo machine in panic. Holstered on his hip was an oversized custom-made revolver shotgun, all six chambers completely empty.
A bullet landed on the ground right beside the fat man. This caused him to sprint faster towards the vending machine, pushing aside Fyra as he got close to the girl.
“Woah- Hey man what the hell-”
“SHUT UP!” the fat man shouted, scuffling through his pocket for spare scraps. Right at that moment, another bullet flew inches beside the fat man’s face. It landed on the glass display right on top of Mako, creating a small crack.
“Screw this!” The fat man grabbed and pulled out the stucked crowbar on the glass display. He began smashing the machine furiously.
Cracks after cracks formed as the glass display slowly shattered, all while poor Mako witnessed it all in great terror. Another stray bullet landed somewhere at the glass, pushing the distressed fat man to punch the machine with all his might.
The fat man’s fist shattered the entirety of the glass display, freeing Mako and nearly every ammo box kept neatly inside it. He quickly picked up a shotgun ammo box, ripped it open, and loaded the shells into his customized gun.
“STOP WITH YER SHOOTIN CAIN AND FACE ME LIKE A MAN!!!”
[ BUCKSHOT BOB]
Big Boy Gotta Have Big Guns!
“COME DOWN HERE COWARD!! I CHALLENGE YOU TO A STANDOFF!!”
Moment’s later, a shadowy figure emerged from a pile of junk behind the trio, pointing its gun towards Bob.
“WHAT'CHA POINTING YA GUN FOR, HUH!? SCARED YOU’D LOSE TO A PROPER DUEL!”
Despite his provocation, an obvious fear could be heard from Bob’s voice. The shadowy figure put down its gun, placed it back to its hip holster and approached them.
As the figure got closer, his physical appearances became clearer. He was a tall man of around six feet eight, sporting a ragged sand brown duster, a cowboy hat, and a jet-black visor that covered both of his eyes.
“Alright alright, you got me there Bobby. I’ll accept your offer-”
[ CYCLOPS CAIN ]
Rootin’-Tootin’ Gunslingin’ Badass!
“Let’s just get this over with quick eh? I got plenty of names to cross off from the Hitlist.”
“DON’T YOU SCREW AROUND WITH ME BASTARD!!” Bob shouted, agitated by Cain’s remark.
“Okay okay, I get it sheesh! Enemies these days can’t even be disrespected for a second,” Cain mumbled the last part under his breath. “As usual then Bob-”
“-hammer down, guns on hip, hands off from firearm-”
“SHUT UP! I KNOW HOW A STANDOFF WORKS!!”
“Good. You need a count then, Bob?”
Bob, whose sentence had yet to finish, felt a light sensation on his throat. He touched his throat and just like he dreaded, there was a hole there. He was shot.
“Rookie mistake Bob. Always accept the offer to count!”
Cain unleashed a barrage of PEW! PEW! POW! hitting Bob’s vital points; chest, liver, shoulder, wrist-
“Then again, what could a dead man do to lessons learned that led to his death?”
Cain finished him off with a bullet right between the fat man’s eyes!
Bob’s huge body fell to the ground, lifeless. Cain had won the standoff without a sweat. The gunslinger pulled out a brown paper and pen from his duster’s pocket and crossed out a name from a list written on the brown paper. The list was titled; ‘The Gunslinger’s Hitlist’.
“Well, I should get going now. Sorry to bother you kids.” Cain tipped his hat and walked away.
But not even a few steps into his exit, another figure suddenly appeared right before the gunslinger. The figure’s body was fully covered by a ragged hooded poncho hiding his appearance completely, but Cain recognized the mysterious individual that stood before him.
“I know the Hitlist doesn’t follow any particular order, but don’t you think your debut is a bit- say… early?”
“Sss… Sorry for crashing in early... but a ssss-snake can do so much to distract himself from the sss-smell of fresh blood early in the morning… ssss...”
The mysterious figure opened his hood, unveiling a human-sized cobra head as the person’s- well- head.
[ YIG JR.]
Son of All Serpents. Don’t ask how that works
Without warning, Yig Jr. threw a gigantic scythe right at the gunslinger. Cain dodged just in time as it flew straight towards the ammo machine, stabbing right through its metal body. The scythe blade had a long iron chain welded to it’s back leading back to Jr’s hand. With one pull, the chained scythe returned to its owner dragging along the machine stuck with it.
Yig Jr spun the chained scythe above his head freeing the ammunition machine from its blade sending it flying to who knows where. The chained scythe continued to be spun so fast that both blade and chain straight up disappeared from sight. Despite that, Cain stood his ground, unbudged by Jr’s intimidation.
Yig Jr slammed the scythe right at Cain, who dodged it once more in a nick of time. Huge clouds of sand rose from the ground as the Son of Serpents went on skillfully throwing and slamming his oversized kusarigama faster than the eye could see.
But even more skilled was Cyclops Cain, as not a single of those swings had yet to hit nor graze him by the hair. He charged closer and closer to Yig Jr, as opposed to keeping his distance. Cain drew out a revolver and aimed it right at the serpent’s face, but before he could pull the trigger, Jr intercepted by stretching his neck and bit Cain’s shoulder.
Yig Jr lifted Cain with his mouth and threw him with great force. The gunslinger flew and crashed right towards a junk pile, as mountains of scraps began collapsing on top of him.
“Ssss… If not for my lack of fangssss, my venom could’ve finished you there and then ssss…”
Yig Jr approached the fainted gunslinger when he suddenly heard a loud puff from his left. The serpent turned and saw Mako and Fyra, the former pointing his shotgun towards Jr.
“Goddammit Boomthorn! Not now!”
“Ahhh… Picking sss-sides now I see... sssss….”
Jr spun his chained scythe with every intention of throwing it at Mako and Fyra. However, he didn’t realize that Cain had recovered and got up from the junk pile. The gunslinger immediately fired a shot but Jr’s inhuman reflexes allowed him to block it with his chains just in time.
This however, distracted Jr from a sudden stream of flame fired upon the serpent by Fyra. In pain and enraged, Jr did a massive swing of his scythed chain spinning it above his head with great arc.
Cain took this opportunity and slid across the sandy floor, stopping right below Yig Jr with his gun pointed directly to the serpent’s face.
*BANG!* *PTEW!* *PYOOM!*
The chained scythe stopped spinning and fell to the ground, as its wielder’s face was riddled with holes. Yig Jr collapsed, ending his serpentine legacy with ion bullets to the face.
Just like his duel with Buckshot Bob, Cain pulled a pen and paper and crossed out Yig Jr’s name from his Hitlist. Once done, he left the scene once more, but not before meeting Mako and Fyra up close.
“I must say, you two are quite something to meddle with us adults’ affairs,” Cain remarked. “That’s not to say I’m not grateful for what you’ve done. Thanks.”
The gunslinger whistled for his ride. Out of nowhere, a horse-sized two-legged green lizard uncamouflaged itself right beside Cain. The lizard, or as they call it there, the Camel-eon had a saddle worn on its back.
Nevertheless, Cain got on top of it and rode off, leaving Mako and Fyra behind.
Riding across the desert of Kaandur, Cain’s trusty cold-blooded ‘steed’; Cassady, sprinted onwards under the scorching Sun. In the middle of the ride though, the gunslinger couldn’t help but be bothered by the sound of a hoverbike tailing him from behind.
“Alright, you two’ve been tailing me for a while now-” Cain, not even bothered to turn around, pointed his ion-powered revolver to his tailgater- “what do you kids want from me?”
“Nothing. We just wanted to follow you, that’s all,” Mako replied honestly, as he and Fyra caught up to him on their Silverbolt. “Not like we have anything else to do for now.”
“Hmm… I guess I am technically in debt to you two for saving my skin just now. Could’ve ended my streak for the list there and then. Alright, you two can follow me.”
With that, Mako boosted Silverbolt forward to stroll beside Cassidy. The Camel-eon hissed at the witch much to his annoyance.
“Don’t worry. Cassidy’s shy, that's all.”
“Right. So- uh… can I ask you something?” Mako asked suddenly.
“Sure, go ahead.”
“Uh… What’s your name?”
“Ah, you reminded me that we haven’t properly greeted each other. The name’s Cain. You can call me by name without all that ‘sir’, ‘mister’ and honorifics whatnot, but most folk'll refer to me as Cyclops Cain!”
“Nice to meet you Cain. I’m Mako the witch, and the devil behind me is Fyra!”
“Wait, you two‘re an actual devil and witch?”
“We’re as devil and witch as you are a one-eyed giant monster,” Fyra joked, earning an annoyed glare from Mako.
“Excuse me Fyra- but I’m a legitimate practitioner of magic,” Mako remarked. “My title is not just based on my costume!”
“Ah, so you admit it’s a costume~”
“Haha! I think we could be good buddies with this,” Cain remarked, as the newly formed trio rode off to their next destination; Tumblewire Town.
“Legend tales of a list where the biggest, baddest and blood thirstiest badasses of Kaandur were written in ink of blood. A hitlist passed down from one successor to another, throughout the long violent history of the gunslingers.
None knows what prize awaits those who completed the list, for no ‘slingers of times past had yet to achieve such a feat. Some speculated the usual fame and gold, others hoped for a wish granted, and even obscure were those who believed the gift of omnipotence for those who finished the trial of blood and bullets. But one thing’s certain, that no man of the gun had yet to cross off all the names within ‘The Gunslinger’s Hitlist’.
Annually updated, for badasses come and go, yet the list remains in existence, waiting for the toughest bastard out there to reap its reward!!”
“Woah....” Mako and Fyra awed as they listened to Cain’s narration, explaining to them the Hittlist they kept hearing back at the junkyard.
“So that means, you’re like, the current candidate for the toughest bastard,” Fyra commented.
“That’s right! And never have my predecessors been this close to completing the list than me!”
The trio arrived at Tumblewire Town, quite desolate and devoid of life. The town itself resembled the usual cowboy town with saloons and whatnot, except a bit ‘Sci-fi’-ish (I’ll leave that to your imagination to picture how that looks).
“Next on the list right now is Salem the Saloon Demon. You might’ve guessed by his name but in case you don’t, we’ll find him in the saloon.”
The trio entered the only saloon there, where the atmosphere inside completely opposed the desolateness outside. Filled with life, joy, and manic laugh, as the current patrons consisted of 80% of Tumblewire’s population.
Cards were played, drinks were drunk, floors were danced on. Except there’s no dance and people just duke it out barefisted at the center of the saloon for no good reason. This is Delirith after all- you don’t need a reason to start fights on this planet.
Feeling quite comfortable from the sight, the trio moved on but were stopped by a receptionist sitting behind a counter.
“Uhp! Hold on sirs-” the receptionist nudged his head to a sign beside him stating; ‘leave all guns at the counter’.
“Welp, guess we just have to obey-” Cain handed the receptionist his pistol belt holstering both of his six-shooters. Mako and Fyra followed as they handed over Boomthorn, Mako’s potion belt, and Fyra’s bracer.
“Sorry for the inconvenience. House policy”
“Issokay, we’re cool,” Mako remarked. The trio continued onwards in search for the ‘Saloon Demon’.
“So uh… I realized now that me and Fyra have no idea what this guy looks like.”
“Don’t you worry about that. This trip’s meant to be a treat for you two while I hunt for my next kill. Go ahead and order yourself some drinks at the bar. Tell the barkeep it’s on me.”
Happily, Mako and Fyra left Cain to his own devices as they rushed to the bar. There’s no age restriction for drinking in Delirith, but the two kids end up ordering milk and juice because alcohol tastes yucky for the two.
Back to Cain, he finally caught sight of Salem the Saloon Demon. The heavily bearded, robotic armed seven foot giant easily stood out at one of the tables, currently playing cards with the other customers.
Cain approached the table and just as he arrived, one of the men in the poker playing group quit the match and left the table cursing under his breath.
“Mind if I play his spot?” Cain asked, grabbing the seat left by the man.
“Only if you play his hand-” a man replied but was stopped by Salem.
“No. I won’t let you play his spot.”
[ SALEM THE SALOON DEMON]
Poker, Drinks and Blood
Salem got up from his chair, his blood-red eyes staring down at Cain as his body towered the gunslinger.
“Don’t think I don’t know you Cain. I know every one of you ‘slingers and how you play the game-” Salem pushed open his coat revealing a revolver holstered on his right hip, hidden by his leather coat- “and I don’t mean poker-”
Salem drew out his gun and pointed it at Cain. He cocked its hammer, the sound silencing everyone in the saloon as all activities were put to a pause (including the fistfights).
“Look, I know that we both know that by the end of the day, one of us’s gonna end up with a new hole on his head. But for once, I genuinely just want to play poker with you gentlemen.”
“Right, and I don’t. So any last words ‘slinger?”
Cain sighed, “Fine, you don’t want to play with me. But if your intention here is to kill me then you should’ve done so since the beginning.”
A powerful beam suddenly blasted out from Cain’s visor. The beam flew through and covered Salem’s entire head, burst through the iron walls of the saloon, and destroyed four-five buildings outside as it grew bigger in vertical arc the more it travelled.
The beam ended seconds later, and all that’s left of Salem was a headless, beardless, and a few inches short of seven foot robotic armed man. His body sat back down at the stool lifeless.
“Well folks, before we argue I’d like to point out that house policy states to hand over your GUNS only. The policy doesn’t disarm you of any other weaponry such as my visor here, or that gentleman’s knife over there-” Cain pointed to one of the customers at the ‘dance’ floor attempting to backstab his opponent.
“That said, as much as I’d like to stay with y’all for a drink or two, I’ve got to get going for my own personal reasons.” Cain took Salem’s pistol belt from his body and went straight to the receptionist. He whistled to Mako and Fyra who just finished enjoying their non-alcoholic beverages at the bar as the trio gathered at the reception counter to claim back their weapons.
“I’ll be paying for the two kids with this belt. You can take all of its holstered contents too; guns, bullets and all-”
The receptionist nodded, accepting Cain’s method of payment. The trio left the saloon with one more name crossed off from the Hitlist.
“So, how many are there left?” Mako asked as Cain checked the list.
“Well, we’ve still got a long way to go. Reckon I’d get to half the list in two weeks time, assuming I’m not dead by then of course.”
Fyra peeked at the list and sure enough, he still had around 20 or so men to rid off. That said, the demon was suddenly hit by an idea.
“Say... for this hitlist thing- is a gunslinger allowed to have, y’know, someone to help to defeat his targets? I mean, you crossed off Yig Jr’s name even though that kill was a team effort between all three of us…”
“Hmm… They didn’t really specify how we get rid of our targets. Fighting fair-on-fair duel is more of a personal thing really, and I’ll admit, I sort of cheated on my first kill by blowing up his caravan…-” Cain pondered for a while before realizing something- “Wait a minute, what are you up to here little missy?”
“I’m just thinking, maybe we could help with that list y’know? Maybe some cover-fire or extra guns and two-” Fyra replied shyly.
Cain immediately understood Fyra’s implication, but Mako’s thought process lagged a bit behind.
“Wait wait wait, we’re gonna help Cain clear off the list?”
“It’s not like we have anything else to do.”
“I guess as long as I get the killing shot..-” Cain thought for a moment before concluding his decision- “alright! I’ll let you kids join my hunt!”
Mako and Fyra looked at each other happily.
“Only one thing,” Cain added, “you can help poison ‘em, trap ‘em, freeze ‘em, burn ‘em, and whatever smartass actions you want to ‘em but by the end of the day, the killing shot must be done by me and me only! You got that?”
“Aye aye boss!” Mako and Fyra responded together, while doing a military salute.
And so, the trio rode off to the horizon in pursuit of those whose names were written under the legendary hitlist. Who knows what’ll await them, but it won’t be pretty, that's for sure.