Additionally, Shootout's silver bullet is not affected by his curse. He only has one, and it has regular trajectory. He won't just be firing it off. It'll serve to add a personal edge to his assignment. Also, if he misses the shot, he'll lose his soul for eternity, like the other Shootouts before him...
Everyone dies, eventually. Desmond wasn't known for his empathy; he was a stone-cold killer. But he had seen the other side. He knew what was coming, and to him, he was just moving people along from one world to the next. Violently.
He had recommenced his assault on the Shogun, bullets blaring from the twin wrist-guns, the noise drowning out the various sounds of chaos that permeated Gothic's sickening air. His eyes narrowed in determination, watching as every last shot ended up finding its way into his opponent. He gritted his teeth, standing firm, keeping the triggers pressed. He felt the recoil of the guns, the heat of the barrels, and the small dink dink of the casings hitting the ground, even over the thunderous roar of the gunshots. Sweat dripped down his face beneath his mask, time itself almost coming to a stop due to the sheer adrenaline coursing through his tired veins.
Then he saw it.
A single arrow, nocked with the precise, calculated motions of a warrior far superior to himself. He watched her pull back the bowstring despite the hail of deadly lead that surrounded her, the shining tip reflecting silver light through the mess of bronze bullets. His finger never left the button, even as the arrow was released.
He watched it spin gently through the air, a symbol of efficient, deadly elegance amongst the storm of naked metal. His life didn't flash before his eyes, but he did experience everything more...acutely. His muscles tensed as it flew through the cone of shots, his peripheral vision illuminated by the flare of his weapons. It soared true, despite the wall of lead that blocked its path. The titanium tip made contact with a bullet mid-flight, slicing clean through it, never changing its angle. It was the last thing Desmond saw.
Oh God, he thought, not now, not like th-
The arrow tore through the mystic mesh that covered his chest, the tachyon singularity housed in the tip slicing through the as-of-yet unpenetrated armor. It cut through his white undershirt, making painful contact with his skin. Ripping through his left pectoral, it cleaved through muscle, vein, bone, deadly neurotoxin seeping into every last internal pore. The arrow's momentum slowed by his armor, it finally halted in his heart.
His eyes still wide open, Desmond McLeod made merely crumpled to the ground, falling backwards with a single arrow shaft embedded in his chest. A small pool of blood welled up around the wound, seeping onto the ground beneath him. The spinning, smoking barrels on his forearms came to a stop. Bullets ceased to leave the barrels, despite his fingers still being on the now-bloody triggers.
"Afternoon, boy. That was quite a show you put on for me," chuckled the Man in White. He laughed loudly, a hearty sound that permeated the small section of a casino. The man wore an extravagant white suit, a gold-rimmed cowboy hat, and showy boots with large spurs. He had a small beard, and a round-looking face. He shuffled a deck of playing cards back and forth, cutting the stack, rolling them up and down his sleeves, and in between his fingers.
Desmond snapped awake when he heard the familiar voice, the one he would never forget. He had been leaning back in a small chair, a stack of poker chips on the table in front of him. He lurched forward, eyes open in shock. He wasn't wearing his suit, but the white undershirt and jeans he had on when he first met the Man.
"You gonna ante up, kiddo?" he grinned, placing the deck back on the table. Desmond silently complied, tossing two chips back into the pile in the middle. He shivered slightly, despite the room being rather warm. He just stared at the white-suited man, who absentmindedly dealt him a hand of five cards.
"So..." began Desmond wearily, "...you said that the next time I met with you, it would mean that the terms of the...deal...had changed, Mister," he said wearily. He sweated a little, squirming in his chair.
"That's right, m'boy, that's right," grinned the Man. He had a vaguely Texan accent, and despite the somewhat eccentric manner of dress he had, he still radiated an authority of sorts. Like an older brother, Desmond had thought. Someone who was always in control. The Man in White raised the stakes, casually tossing in a few more chips.
"Now, mister McLeod, you knew the risks involved in playing against the house," chided the Man in White. "You win some, you lose some. You're a gambler, mister McLeod. But eventually, even the best poker players get dealt a bad hand."
Desmond called, thinking he was bluffing.
Right on cue, the Man in White laid down a full house, swiping the sizeable stack of chips. Suddenly, Desmond realized they were his last few.
"You're out of luck, boy," chuckled the Man. He sat forward in his chair, puffing on an expensive cigar as he adjusted his hat. "I'd agreed to help you out here and there, mister McLeod. I gave you what you won in our last game. But, of course, you remember the buy-in," said the Man with a smile.
The ante, thought Desmond with a chill. He began twiddling his fingers, pulling imaginary triggers under the table. It had become a nervous habit of his.
"Now, mister McLeod...Desmond...most men wouldn't receive this incredibly gracious offer. You get to keep playing. You're out of chips, but I'm offering you a way back into the game, son," spoke the charismatic Man. "A little loan, if you will. Just make sure you give me a good show."
"I don't, ah, know, Mister...I mean...haven't I lost enough already?" chuckled Shootout with a weak grin.
"Now, mister McLeod, may I remind you of the alternative? You know what happens if you can't pay the house back," chided the man, playfully shaking a finger at him. "You see, boy, this is what's called a Hobson's Choice. That is to say, you have no choice. This is a way out of the conditions we agreed upon when you won our last game."
The man sat forward for the first time, his grin widening as he set his cards face-up on the table. A royal flush...? What are the odds of tha-
"Do you remember, mister McLeod? You don't hold up your end of the bargain, I keep your soul."
Desmond paled, snapping out of his death-induced haze. His mind left the game for the first time, remembering the final draw of the last game, the swiping of the chips, and the handshake that sealed his fate.
"So what do you suggest, then? I'm dead. You want a show, how am I going to-"
"It's simple, son. Kill your killer. It's that easy. This is your last buy-out. You're going to wake up with a revolver strapped to your leg. A good old-fashioned six-shooter. There's a special bullet inside. One is all you get. You make that shot, you keep your soul. Last chance, mister McLeod. Ante up!"
He laughed, a horrible echoing noise that made Desmond recoil in terror. His eyes closed, and in a moment, they opened.
Within Conti Tower...about 15 minutes later
Desmond twitched to life, breathing heavily. He was in a world of pain, and he found himself unable to move. The neurotoxin had been purged from his system, but the arrow was still sticking out of his chest. It had been in deeper before...
With a groan, he pulled it from his body, a seemingly impossible feat. Somehow, he was still alive...where had he gone to?
He shuddered in horror as he felt the silver magnum strapped to his leg. Without looking down, he grasped at it, staring straight ahead. Opening it, he glanced at the single bullet, eyes narrowing in fear, then determination. Inscribed was one word.
There would have been know way to know which fighter would strike first. Both Desmond and his mysterious enemy were poised to strike with uncanny precision, having each devoted their lives to combat. His fingers twitched as sweat rolled down his brow, congealing around his neck as his eyes moved back and forth. At the very moment his eyes narrowed and he moved to activate his wrist-mounted firearms, the entire top of the building was seemingly incinerated.
The sheer force of the blast propelled Desmond's body across the street, his limbs flailing about as he struggled to stay conscious. His mystic suit took the brunt of the explosion, mitigating the trauma that would be induced by sustaining such a violent force upon his form; and yet, he was entirely disoriented, and launched into the tower across the street with such speed that he was stunned upon landing.
He stumbled to his feet, eyes watering. His entire body was sore, as though he had just climbed a mountain. He flexed experimentally, checking to see if he was wounded more seriously than he had thought. He winced as his arm cracked, clearly damaged by the explosives. Small bits of shrapnel were lodged in the suit, but they had not penetrated the unknown material. All's well, he thought, brushing off bits of glass. Despite the discomfort in his arm, he was in no way out of the fight.
He looked back into the building from which he had come, the top floor now a flaming mess. His former target had engaged a new threat, presumably the source of the deadly explosion. As he watched, he was forced to avert his eyes as the building was consumed by an even larger, more impressive explosion than the last. The selective audio dampeners in his helmet had saved his ears from the noise, but the blast had illuminated the sky like a bolt of lightning, forcing him to avert his eyes. By the time his vision had cleared, he wasn't looking at the charred remains of the skyscraper, but rather searching for his old target, undoubtedly the most dangerous foe in the area.
Ha. Found you, he mused, rolling his neck back and forth. He had fallen into the destroyed fifth floor of Conti's tower, tossed over the entire street. Perhaps he could turn such a lucky shot to his advantage.
Running forwards as fast as he could, he leapt from one of the many destroyed windows, forearms extended directly at his opponent, the Shogun of Venezuela. While he had not recognized such a high-profile target, he nonetheless understood the danger she posed to his mission to eliminate Conti's network. Ironic, being that she was now the one in charge, unbeknownst to Desmond.
Soaring across the block from the fifth floor, he let his guns blaze, sending a hail of bullets at the Shogun. As if time slowed down around him, he maintained a straight pose extending all of his limbs in the so-called Superman position. Never letting up, he would roll upon landing, the shock absorbed by his suit.
"Now, where were we, miss?" he taunted, pressing the lethal assault. Even if her suit were equally impressive (if not more so), and were able to absorb the impacts of his bullets, she would at least be distracted, and perhaps staggered by his attack.