Now gunfights were usually held at high noon for a reason.
However, the thug insisted on having the duel immediately. Which turned out to be one thing to save Robin's skin.
Of course, the thug's fate wasn't sealed until he met Robin out under the setting sun to discuss the terms of the fight.
In fact, it wasn't until the thug turned around that he realized his fatal mistake. Any hopes of hitting Robin were lost with the huge sun hanging directly behind the boy.
All the thug could do was shoot blindly towards the west, but even half drunk, he knew the futility of his situation. He had just began to open his mouth to shout out
but before his lips could form the words. Robin's bullet cut through his throat, literally taking his breath away from him.
One could only imagine how painful it is to die from a hole in the throat.
The thug fell on his back and though he had a deep pain, he had certainly felt much worse before. He took deep breaths and tried to get a grip on himself.
Yet, with each second passed he only grew closer and closer to death. How strange it must be to suffocate while fresh air is all around you.
In his last moments, he sounded as if he was hyperventilating, but still no oxygen entered his lungs.
Through this all, he still managed to find enough strength to salute his better.
Robin had rushed over to the thug moments after he saw the man fall. Robin still couldn't believe that he had shot another human being, and as knelt by the dying man's side.
He felt sick to his stomach with regret. When the dead man gave Robin a salute, as if Robin had just done an honorable thing,
it was simply too much for the young boy. While mumbling men handed over gold to the pleasantly surprised bookies, Robin ran over to the side of the saloon near the horses' water troughs.
It was there that Robin emptied the contents of his greatly disturbed stomach. Luckily for Robin, most did not notice this squeamish act.
Instead, with the excitement over and distressed family members blocking the view of the body, they went on with their dayly tasks.
Now that Robin thought about it, he should probably get back to his job too.
I probably lost my lunch break. He thought sadly.
Not to mention whatever penalties there might be for giving a customer lead poisoning.
That is what was on Robin's mind while he went back into the saloon like a lost puppy returning to an unfamiliar owner. Robin pushed open the swinging doors and entered the establishment.
He was scared at first, but looking around, he saw that there was nothing to worry about.
Drinks were toasted to him and several people came forward to shake his hand as Robin made his way to the counter.
When he finally got there, Mr. Stone smiled at him and, handing him a whiskey, said
"Let's have ourselves a hog-killing good time! Giddy on up! Drinks all around!"
Must have not been a popular fellow thought Robin.
After serving many drinks, Robin sat down at a table himself and was glad to see Starfire come sit next to him.
"That was mighty clever of you not to dilly-dally and get him while the sun had him hogtied. I reckon you're gonna make a fine cowboy."
Starfire stared deeply into his eyes, but Robin could still taste the stomach acid in his mouth and had to turn away.
Which allowed his eyes to fall on Raven.
In all the commotion, he had almost forgotten the catalyst which had started it all.
The Indian girl who had been shot.
She sat slumped in the corner with the 'wild' boy laying curled up on her lap. She was petting the small green boy like one does with a cat.
"Is she gonna be alright?" asked Robin.
"I dunno. We tried to help her, but she insisted on healing herself. It seems to be workin' cause she ain't keeled over yet.
Though I reckon that she's just takin her time to die. If you want to help, you can ride on down to fetch the doc."
"Closest one is at least a days journey away." reminded Mr. Stone.
"I must've disremembered that detail."
Robin got up and sat on the ground next to the young medicine woman.
"Are you... Are you okay?"
Raven seemed to know what Robin was trying to say. She stopped petting the 'wild' boy and waved her hands purposely through the air.
After minutes of hand motions, Robin was able to pick up what she was trying to tell him.
"Time is short?"
Raven shook her head and pointed at her sternum.
"Time is short and your bullet wound... The wound is only temporary?"
Raven shook her head again and repeated the motion.
"Oh... Your time is short."
Raven nodded her head. Her eyes seemed very far away.
"I'm so sorry."
Raven then pointed to the 'wild' boy and expanded her arms out wide like a fisherman embellishing his amazing catch.
"His time is not short, His time is very large?"
Raven nodded eagerly. She then reached into her cloak and brought forth a brown cloth bag.
Taking firm grasp of Robin's hand, she drew him close and placed the bag in Robin's hand. Whispering in his ear
"eda ele tsood di klizzie yazzie"
Robin leaned back and opened the bag. It was filled with dried up leaves. A special kind of herb perhaps.
"I don't understand."
Raven pointed at the 'wild' boy then back at the bag. Noticing Robin's confused expression, she cupped her hands and lifted them to her mouth making a slurping noise.
"A drink of water?"
Raven nodded slowly.
"You want water? I'll go get you some."
Robin started to rise, but Raven stopped him.
"Do ya sho da."
She reached out with her left hand and pointed to the bag then she cupped her hands again then pointed at the 'wild' boy.
"You want me to give some of that in his water?" asked Robin repeating Raven's motions as he spoke.
Raven looked out the window and pointed at the sun then turned back to Robin and lifted her finger symbolizing one.
"You want me to feed him that with his water once a day?"
Robin continued to mimic Raven's motions for clarity.
Raven nodded. Then like a magician pulling stuff out of nowhere, she reached into her cloak and produced a square white cloth and charcoal.
She scribbled down some words on the cloth then set down the charcoal and handed the cloth to Robin.
"I don't understand what this says."
Raven could sense the uncertainty in his expression. Grabbing his arms, she set Robin's hands on the 'wild' boy and began to pronounce the prayer she had written.
Speaking very slowly so that Robin could understand. Once she was satisfied with Robin's pronunciation and memorization of the prayer, she instructed him to do this once a day just like the medicine.
After Robin vowed to do this, she leaned back and seemed to relax. Her left hand went back to petting the 'wild boy' while her right hand grasped Robin's as she expressed her thanks.
Finally, she let go and motioned as if to say go back with your friends.
Joining Starfire and others back at the table, Robin took a sip of his alcohol and reflected happily at how much he had gained in the last few days.
"Are you okay Robin? You seem a wee bit out of sorts."
Robin was jolted back into reality. Rather than tell them about his reflections, he decided to tell a half-truth.
"I'm still a little woozy after beefing that guy."
"Haven't you ever shot a man before?"
Robin shook his head.
"Not even once?"
"Well how 'bout that!" laughed Mr. Stone. "The boy is like a green tuna in the Colorado!"
This must have been some sort of joke which Robin couldn't understand, for no sooner did Mr. Stone finish speaking did the entire building fill with laughter.
Even Raven the medicine woman seemed to be amused by this.
Though she had a faint smile on her face ever since he had agreed to take care of the 'wild' boy.
The laughter seemed as though it might never stop, but that all changed when a man wearing a white hat and a star shaped badge stepped in.
All traces of a jovial mood disappeared as the mustached man looked around.
"I'm looking for a mail-order cowboy by the name of Robin."
He said the words with a voice that demands utter respect. Instantly, all fingers pointed to Robin.
Those standing near the boy moved away with all the discretion that the British army moved with during the American Revolution.
Robin found himself sitting at table with no one else but the intimidating sheriff.
Holy Cow! thought Robin
He has a handler bar mustache!
"Howdy sheriff." said Robin nervously.
"Please sonny, there's no need to be so formal. Call me Slade."