"My God," he cried, "Make it stop! Make the pain stop!" But I was beyond mercy, beyond reason, beyond anything but swift and immediate action in the grip of this surely-infernal bloodlust: the Stygian rancor flowing through my veins decried the very notion of any resolution less than the complete and agonizing annihilation of this, my erstwhile and most worthy foe! "Fie, foul blackguard, fie on thee! Wherefore dost thou entreat me so, when thou knowest that there remains before the fevered glare of my inflamed faculties, and the burning embers of my hatred only one remedy for the wrong thou hast inflicted upon me?!" He quickly produced his rapier, and looking upon me with a gaze of the utmost contempt and derision did exclaim, "Very well, fool... know that you will die on my blade, this day!" Upon thus exclaiming, he leapt up onto the table (the table of spite, the table of accursed, woe-begotten malice--that which had for so long served as a nigh-insurmountable barrier to this now-incipient confrontation), and, after a quick flourish, upraised one hand towards the very heavens, and shouted, seemingly at the Gods themselves, "Have at thee!" Much impressed by this display of dramaticalness, I paused for a moment, foolishly--fortunately, he did not seize upon this opportunity, but, rather continued, "You shall receive no quarter from me! Your death at my hands shall be final and irrevocable, and you shall never again know the joys of life, because you shall NO LONGER BE ALIVE!" He was now frothing quite readily, and soon after, the last specks of spittle completed their mercifully brief odyssey and alighted upon my face, where surely they would remain until the even. "Never again!" he screamed, tears of rage streaming freely down his face, "NEVER AGAIN!"

"We shall see," I responded, my cold and impassive voice barely masking the boundless loathing that even now threatened to overwhelm the last vestiges of sanity to which I so desperately clung, like a sailor grasping at some worm-eaten piece of flotsam... his last, meagre hope for survival in a world turned upside-down by the VILEST OF BETRAYALS. "YEEEEEEEAAAAAARG," I screamed, my fury reaching a thunderous crescendo of unimaginable proportions. Drawing my own blade, I lunged for his heart, yearning for his blood as I had never before yearned... but he parried my thrust adroitly. Then, slashing at my throat, he launched a swift retaliatory strike, and, surprised by his newfound puissance, I was nearly done in. I dove back, out of the way of the vicious attack upon mine person, the breeze from the passing blow like the cold caress of death upon my neck. I found myself lying on the ground, watching him gloat from atop the table, his victory at hand, and my demise imminent. How could this be? Would my vengeance be thwarted by this... this... abomination of a man? Would I die by the hand of this vile reprobate, of this...

"BETRAYER!" The words burst forth from my lungs unbidden, and I saw before me a single avenue that could lead to the magnificent, gold-pav├ęd boulevards of sweetest victory. Lashing out with my foot, and my boundless rage, I overturned the table upon which he so brazenly perched, and watched with sadistic glee as his ankle was trapped and broken by the now rapidly hurtling table-become-tool-of-my-wrath... hurtling towards justice, towards vengeance, nay... towards REDEMPTION, for surely my honor, my life, my very SOUL rested upon the righting of the this grievous wrong! I leveled my rapier at his throat, trembling. "Surrender," I demanded. His face contorted in a repulsive masque of inhuman disdain. "Death before dishonor," he replied curtly, "but neither before breakfast!" I looked him in the eye, my hatred and rage distending mine own visage, and responded, "So be it." Giving the matter a little more thought, I swiftly amended that to, "SO BE IT!"

I quickly produced a tablecloth, some grapefruit, and a spoon, and, righting the table, set the stage upon which my nemesis' last request would be fulfilled. He ate slowly, deliberately, savoring every iota of my impatience, my ever-growing infuriation which even yet threatened to consume me, to devour me with its slavering maw of toothy horror, yet I stood honor-bound to do naught but sit and watch. It was then that I realized that I was already damned. I began to tap my foot impatiently, which only broadened his villainous smirk of insolent wretchery. The intolerable knavish AUDACITY filled me with a disgust so overwhelming that I soon found myself choking back the bitter bile of righteous indignation that would compel a lesser man to spew forth a torrent of slanderous epithets against this reprobate, this repugnant purveyor of the meanest of knaveries. I stared at him, as he finished the last of his grapefruit, and nervously dabbed at his mouth with the napkin I had so generously provided him, but he lacked the courage even to meet my gaze. My lip curled with an abhorrent loathing the like of which would make the gods themselves weep as I stammered out:

"Death... is too... good... for you..."

His eyes opened in surprise, the barest hint of hope shining therein. "What? I don't underst..."


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