ngel had in her possession a little .32 caliber derringer.  From it death had been pronounced upon one of her long ago relatives.

With it in her midst, she intended to issue the death sentence upon an arch-enemy she knew.  Her advantage was her arch-enemy did not know her nor that she even was an arch enemy.

Raul, her son, had been the one who had been disgraced at the hands of a William Travis.  And this was while William was doing the only right thing.  Had he not stopped Raul, he would have been complicit, and Raul would have beat the perp to death.  That just goes to show the difference between opinions, one that is right, the other skewed into thinking wrong is right.

Not only would William have been complicit in the murder, he could have been blackmailed.  Many a good man have been forced into wrong doing by blackmail; and many times over something that was innocent, was conveniently portrayed as guilty.

Angel had not informed Raul of the derringer.  She meant to use it personally, up close for the kill shot.  But William wasn't playing fair.  Or, that was her opinion anyway.

William had not come alone as was demanded.  Having less than an hours notice, his men didn't have time to scout the area properly to discern where the enemies were.  William did not show up on time.  He was in one of five vehicles.  Information began trickling into his ear bud just about the time his first vehicle pulled into the arena.

Raul had planned well.  He had chosen a well known, although now defunct football stadium and it had been a pretty good chore getting intellegence of it.  But Raul had not figured on William having a detail of drones.  Live, armed drones, and all fitted with a .22 caliber barrel in front of a eight shot cylinder.  There were three waves of five drones.  Nope, William wasn't going to play by their rules!

No, William was not goin to cheat, but he was going to level the playing field.

Three of the first wave of drones had cameras.  The other drones had infrared heat seeking cameras.  These were cameras that could sense a person hiding out of view of a window.  Those areas that found a heat signal larger than that of a dog was marked and a drone parked itself right where it could watch the activity.

A drone operator could take out someone who attempted to interfere with the fight.  This was going to be a fair fight.  William was not afraid of dying, but he wanted it to be because of a fair fight in which he simply was not the victor.

That didn't rankle.  What did rankle was him being taken down because of deliberately defective firearm given him, or, a shot from the back . . .  If you're going fight, do it with honor.

All his life William had heard his dad talk about the exploits of his grandpa.  When his grandpa was a young man, he knew his grandfather who was half Norske and half Cherokee.  He'd heard the legend of his attack on a bear to save a young maidens life, and then later was attacked by a mountain lion.

He had nearly died in both incidents.  Then somehow he wizened up and became the hunter instead of the hunted.  This was Williams frame of mind when he pulled into the arena.  The first vehicle in his troupe pulled up to the road block at the entrance into the arena and was stopped by armed guards.

They said no vehicles were going through that gate.  Only one man could walk in.  But by then, the fourth and final set of drones were unleased.  Two of them had tasers, two had a knockout gas, two were loaded with snake shot .22 and two loaded with .22 LR identical to several of the drones that were scanning the inside of the stadium.

The receiving team hadn't figured on that.

It was several minutes into the scenario before the receiving team ever figured out what Williams team was doing.  By then, it was too late.  The two armed guards who'd stopped the first vehicle of Williams troupe had been dropped like bags of rocks by taser drones.  They never knew what hit them.

Two of Williams men close enough in size to match Angels guards had swapped clothes with them.  Raul, noticing the activity at the gate, had promptly walked very importantly to the center of the football field awaiting his opponent.  He walked with a swagger; ego filled him with delight at his making the playing field unlevel in his favor.

Raul was not a man of honor nor integrity.  The only thing he possessed was a mission fueled by lies and inuendo.

Raul had two men with him.  One man who was to be the moderator and another bearing a different brace of dueling pistols, nearly identical to the set William had.

So that meant that Raul had three pistols (plus his carry SIG Sauer) to Williams supposedly one.  Raul suspected William had caught on and to make sure he used a defective pistol, Raul had one of those he brought modified like the remaining pistol in Williams set.  But again, William wasn't playing by their rules.

All five of Williams vehicles drove into the stadium throwing Raul into a monstrous anger.  When none of the men at the gate answered his call, Raul drew and fired the instant William stood up from exiting the first vehicle in line.  Instantly, five AR's throwed down on him and gave him the choice to drop it or be dropped.

The surprises just kept coming.  A woman about sixty years of age had just walked out of the doghouse of the receiving team.  She marched straight toward William.  When she got within fifty feet two young women exited the vehicles which fanned on either side of William.

They came together and stopped between William and her.  She stopped short of where the two women stood facing her.  Almost as if everything had been timed to a sequence, two more men exited the vehicles.  One was Sung Wu, the weapons carrier and the other was General Sherman, Williams moderator.

William stated loud enough for everyone there to hear:  The challenged gets his choice of weapon and moderator of his own choosing.

Sung Wu walked precisely past William to within twenty feet of Raul, stopped and turned to face inward.  General Sherman, dressed in fighting camo had marched precisely along side Sung Wu and at the same exact moment, stopped and turned to face inward, which would be facing Sun Wu.

Everything would be cool until some stupid person were to make some move which could be interpreted as going for a weapon.  The whole situation was one huge rubber band wound to the breaking point.

General Sherman raised his hand and said "Gentleman, approach."

Raul was completely out of control of the situation, and, knowing the embarrasing light in which he had already portrayed himself, had no choice but to follow directions.  If he attempted to back out now he would simply be shot.

When Raul and William were within five feet on either side of General Sherman, he raised his hand in a signal to stop.  He then said "This is a fight to the death between one Mr. Raul Lyons, challenger, and one Mr. William Travis, challenge acceptor.  Since Mr. Lyons issued the challenge, the acceptor has the right at choice of weapons, and to choose his weapon first.

At that announcement, Sung Wu stepped forward with the now familiar case which held the Dueling pistols.  A slight sneer came onto the face of Raul.  Sung Wu sat the case flat on his right hand which was stretched out.  With his left hand, he snapped the brass case locks, and opened the lid to the set of pistols.

Suddenly, Rauls face went blank.  There was not supposed to be two pistols, only one, and it was supposed to have defective sights.  It was not even supposed to fire.  But this man held a set of two pistols.

General Sherman said "Mr. Travis, you will step forward and receive your pistol."

At that, William took the four steps forward and chose the pistol which was right side up and pointing away from him.  He wrapped his left hand around his right hand, brought the pistol down to a point right in front of his heart, pointing straight up.

General Sherman then said "Mr. Lyons, you will step forward and receive your pistol."  Raul had turned pale, and the sneer was gone from his face.  Suddenly, all the cards he'd stacked in his favor were face up and denigrated, ineffective . . . of no use.  He was suddenly very afraid.  Very afraid of a fair fight.

Quite at a loss of control of this intended execution of William, he stepped forward and received the remaining pistol, placing it in the same position as William.

Upon his receipt of the pistol, Sung Wu, his job of delivery now over, snapped the cover of the case closed, and with the precision of one well practiced, upended the weapons case, tucked it into his left hand on edge, then slid it back under his right arm all with military precision.  He then backed up four paces and stood silent and at attention.

General Sherman then said "Gentleman, you are here to prove your integrity as men; in a fair fight.  You each hold comparable pistols each loaded with one shot.  Upon my order, you will each turn your backs to each other and march one step as I call them out.

Upon twenty steps, you will stop and hold.  Upon my order, you will turn and fire.  The weapons you hold have been equally charged with one .40 caliber ball.  Each weapon has been tested, retested, and tested even again to make sure they are of equal weight, balance, accuracy and sighting."

He paused for a second then continued.  "If either of you want to stop these proceedings, you may call out at any time.  The other will stand down and await further orders.  Cheating will be cause of on the spot execution if you happen to win.  Signify you understand and agree by your verbal yay or nay.

Both men answered "Yay."

Are there any questions?"

No questions.

"Turn."

Both men turned facing the opposite direction of their opponent.

"On my mark one step per count.  Step: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.  Halt.  General Sherman backed up out of the line of fire five paces.  Raising his right hand above his head said "Ready"  Fire!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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Chapter XIV