She joined her hands as wishing fervently for their success, to what Ling answered raising her glass, soon imitated be the others. Then Mekko took simultaneously two wooden picks and began filling them more than generously.
“I loved hearing your song, Mekko!” a honeyed voice complimented before chewing, chewing and chewing her squid skewer.
“Oh thank you Marnie hahah!”
“Worthy of the talented singer you are.” Haru added with a quiet voice.
“I “was”, rather.”
A slight bitterness was discernible in her voice, what Haru responded to with sincere words.
“What really counts is what you still are deep inside. That, you will remain forever.”
Mekko looked at the young man with a soothed expression. He possessed this ability to gently touch people's souls.
“…Thank you, Haru.”
One would wonder, witnessing this scene, if these people really formed a dangerous gang. However, people aren't always what they seem at first sight. But, in this case, what came first?
Grilling meat flavours had invaded the place, only further whetting their appetite. Everyone was devouring with eagerness their skewers, bites of pork juicy and fondly whispering in between their teeth, of chicken melting in their mouth, of cherry tomatoes as balls of freshness exploding under the attack of their molars.
Laughing from time to time, clinking their glasses, noses becoming red. Well, one in particular.
“C'moooooOOOOooooon! 'Got an idea! What about an arm wrestling?” Reisig enthusiastically proposed, his elbow on the table, his muscular arm waving upon the grill. “Who would dare??”
“Man! If we do it upon the grill like this, it will hurt a ton in a little while for the loser. It sucks!”
Pointing an accusing finger on the oldster, albeit looking a bit tipsy, Koff judged the proposition with distrust.
“Oh, why not?” Ling immediately added hearing that.
As if it made him sober up for a while Reisig retracted his arm, raising both of them in front of him, hands flat.
Changing her target, Ling then oriented her gaze on Woodle, who seemed pensive.
“What are you thinking, Woodle?”
“Hmm. Just thinking about the next step to undertake. We should decide who will lead the upcoming dance.”
“Oh? What about a dart game to decide?”
Woodle glanced at his right-hand, a mischievous grin already approving the idea.
“Everyone, let's play a party of dart game. The winner takes the lead of the operations for the forthcoming round!”
The announcement generated tremendous infatuation among the Players, all willing to make fun of the cops and the mayor. Each of them… Having its own idea about an appropriate treatment to their foes.
Installed near the bar for the game, one after another they threw their darts on the target, while not completely off the mark… Reisig sure had some difficulties aiming the target. Even once he managed to strike a glass on the bar instead. Congratulations, truly.
The game nearing the end, two players appeared in a likelihood to be competing each other for the first place. Haru and Ling. They both reached more than once the exact middle of the target. Impressed, the others followed with tension the unfolding of the match. Haru had a slight advantage, and by carrying out a perfect shot, he would ensure his victory.
Unwilling to let flee his chance, Haru hefted precisely his remaining dart, taking into account parameters as distance to the target, weight of the dart, friction of the air…
“You can do it, big brother!” Marnie encouraged Haru with enthusiasm.
Ultimately, the young man threw his dart, cleaving the air before attaining the target. The Players all held their breath, even Ling, more serious than usually. They all shared that same irrepressible envy to put into practice their own contrivance, and see their prey struggle in their nets. Who will be the best?
A satisfied expression lingered on Haru's face. The dart reached the exact middle of the target.
“50 more points for me. I think this settles the game, Ling.”
“Oh… You sure about that?”
“I beg your pardon?”
Oddly, the right-hand of the leader didn't seem despaired at all. On the contrary, she seemed rather confident. Far too much confident. Don't they now have 52 gap points? With only remaining her one dart, how would she be able to take advantage of him? Even by achieving to reach the middle as well, he would win by 2 points. So why??
“Haru…. My poor little Haru. Are you sure you don't forget anything?”
The interested party squinted, gathering his thoughts. Though he still didn't get what she was talking about. Ling chuckled, shrugging her shoulders while raising her forearms.
“The middle is indeed a good catch, but… It is not what earns the most points. You forget that it's possible to obtain 60 points in one shot.”
“How you-” he began before abruptly stopping.
Oh. Oh yes. There was such a possibility. Haru silently turned his head to face the target. There was a little area, just above the middle, where the 20 points zone earned it three times. Though there was a slight, extremely slight chance to reach this area, whenever she did she would gain 60 points.
“Sounds like it finally reached your mind.”
Silence was absolute. Tension to its paroxysm.
Ling gradually raised her hand holding her latest dart between her index and middle finger. Passing it behind her head, a fluid movement of her wrist propelled the dart through the air. In a blink of an eye, the game was over.
“…I must admit my defeat.”
The latest dart hit the 20's triple zone. Ling earned 60 points, winning with eight points of advance.
As she unveiled a malicious grin to Haru, everyone applauded the end of this spectacular set. Though, was it genuinely by chance if Ling won? Or…. Did she planned from the beginning to outwit the young man? She who was a sniper, did she purposefully left a gap in favour of Haru, suspecting he would forget this rule? Taking this way an advantage of his hopes and savouring the way he instantly lost all of it…
The rest of the evening unfolded happily and more and more noisily. They were all back to drinking and singing off key accompanied on the guitar by Mekko.
“You already have a plan to execute, don't you?” Woodle asked glancing at Ling.
“We can't hide anything from you leader, can we?”
“Don't flatter me that way! You overstate me… I can't guess what you intend to put Idonosoko through.”
Ling burst into a vivid laugh as the leader faked innocence and sheer modesty. As expected, he already knew who would be her target.
“I intend getting him acquainted with a kind of suffer he never felt before. I want him to roll eyes with desperate disbelief.”
Whereas both of them joined into a common laugh, the oldster put down his mug of beer. Though he had his nose completely red, he didn't seem as cheerful as usually. Lowering his head, he stared at his reflect on the glass while listening to their conversation.