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Shotgun Betterments - a business beyond expectations

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Darrell unglued himself from the car seat, desperately considering if it was to late for screaming.

"But- You can't just-!" he stammered, digging his fingers into the upholstery.

"I guess I'll do the talking." Cassidy said with a smirk "While I'm keeping the boss distracted, you can take our delivery to the back." Making air quotes with her hands, she emphasized the word in a mysterious way. The wheel slowly turned to make its way to the left as the transporter jumped the curbstone "I even got one of these pushcarts!" She added with joy.

The little impact was enough for the robot to snap out of his state of shock, realizing that he had to do something, anything. That was when he noticed something equally upsetting.

"M-my digniddy!!" Lord Cowboy Darrell shouted, feeling the bare nothingness on his head with pure horror.

"Oh, good! You lost the hat." The female said blithely, eyeballing him "You'd better hood up if you don't want to be regocn – WOAH!"

"NO!!"

Cassidy tried to get a hold of her seat to avoid flying out of it, when Darrell yanked the wheel to the right.

"What are you doing??" She asked with a start.

"We're going back!" He retorted, trying to turn the vehicle around.

"What?!...But I-!" Cassidy's bafflement was quickly replaced by determined resistance as she grabbed the wheel, pulling it back into her direction "I have a plan!"

Their little disagreement made both completely disregard the fact that they were headed straight for the bodega.

"Give me the wheel!!" He growled furiously tugging at it.

"Stop that...nonsense! We're almost...!" She said making an effort to hold against.

The screaming of fearful heroes, jumping out of the way, caught their attention. While he didn't seem to be greatly concerned by that, Cassidy stood on the brakes, only just managing to stop right in front of the entrance with screaming tires.

Coming off the widescreen, they fell back into their seats. Still a little rattled, Cassidy blinked "Good thing we're disguised as a delivery car." The cyborg relieved sigh, folding her hands as she tried to regain her coolness.

"FINE! Let's just get this over with!" Darrell grunted, throwing his hands in the air. He sat slumped down in his car seat like a grumpy sack of bolts. She looked at him blankly, narrowing her eye. Cassidy inhaled but stopped herself before speaking her thoughts aloud. This wasn't going as planned already and she refused to waste any more time on unlooked for events.

So she put an extra layer of mirth over her face.

"Great!" Her voice cracked a little bit, as she hopped out of the car. Lord Cowboy Darrell sat up, turning around. He was fishing for his cowboy hat, when his angry eye fell on something else.

While Cassidy was walking ahead of him, Darrell followed with the pushcart carrying some boxes – including the bomb. The robot looked around.

He had been here so often to fight the heroes, but never entered the store itself. It made him feel uncomfortable. But that was probably just how one was supposed to feel in enemies territory, quite apart from all the failures and the following consequences that were linked with this place, from which he was doomed to remember every single one.

He frowned behind his glasses.

Of course Miss Vail didn't have to worry about any of this. She was quite the dabster after all and never failed at anything. She could fancy herself all she wanted...that highbrow had no idea about –

"YOU'RE LATE!"

Mister Gar's booming voice interrupted his thoughts rather ungently.

"Sorry sir, we came as fast as we could!" responded in her pert, dry witted way, hunching her shoulders. Darrell looked away, just to eliminate any possibility of eye contact with her. He was persistently keeping the disgruntled look on his face, stubbornly pushing the cart forward.

"At least you managed to stop in front of the shop this time! Where are the other two?" He asked, while Cassidy handed over the fake delivery bills.

"They're sick. A really nasty case of super inflammable super bloating." The female explained.

"Kids and their novel sicknesses these days!" Gar said, expressing his lack of understanding through slight headshaking "Hey, just a moment!" He held Darrell back by grabbing his shoulder. The robot stopped dead, his fear making him as stiff as a statue. He had been beaten up by Gar quite a few times, but it was an especially painful experience every time.

Cassidy pursed her lips nervously.

"Take this to the back for me, will ya laddie?" He dropped another package on the push cart with a grin "Just leave it on the ground." He sent him away with a pat on the back so energetic, that Darrell nearly fell over. The robot curled his mouth with irritation, quickly walking away.

Laddie. This sent shivers down his circuits.

Lord Cowboy Darrell clenched his teeth angrily looking down on the packages he kicked forward. He should be the one to give the orders. Right now he was supposed to be in his office, watching all of this from a save distance. He was going to use her to destroy the plaza, not the other way around.

His grasp got tighter.

This was just another proof that Miss Vail couldn't be trusted. He looked back over his shoulder, quickly vanishing behind one of the shelves.

...But he wouldn't let her have this one.

Darrell reached into his pocket, pulling out the detonater he found in the back of the car. He just had to push the button and the bomb would destroy the bodega and everything in it...

The robot lay his finger on the button.

He'd just return to Boxmore in a new body. One push and Miss Vail would be no more...Darrell screwed his mouth up into a diabolic grin.

"Excuse me mister delivery man sir," the sound of a familiar voice right behind his back made him wince, nearly dropping the detonater "I don't wanna bother you, but you got it wrong. The chewing gum is over there." His finger pointed to the shelf diagonally across from them. Darrell's dumbfounded look went to the label on the packages. Super protein gum. He hadn't even paid any attention on that.

"Think again!" He said mockingly, his grin returning as he wrapped the kid up with his lasso.

"D-Darrell??" He gasped in shock.

"It's Lord Cowboy Darrell now!" He said, replacing the hood on his head with his cowboy hat.

"But, what are you doing...here?? And why...are you a delivery man?" He said short winded due to the rope nearly suffocating him.

"Because I got an explosive delivery for ya!" He said mischievously "NYEHEHEHE!"

"...And here, and here and over there...and –" Cassidy interrupted herself, noticing there were no more fake papers for Gar to sign. While it was much to her misfortune, Mister Gar's irritated face showed some relief.

She hadn't planned it to take that long. If her face hadn't been half covered, one could have noticed the slightly troubled look on it.

"Your buddy sure takes his time." Enid stated from her counter, her bored eyes barely leaving the phone in her hand – to crown it all.

"Yeah he's...eccentric! You know," She slowly moved from her spot "I might...go check!" Cassidy forced herself to smile as she pointed into the backs direction, closing the remaining space with a big step and dashed off.

"There's no time for this..." she harrumphed. What could possibly take him so long? This place wasn't even big enough to get –

"Say goodbye to your precious –" Darrell was cut off as the attention was rudely taken by Cassidy's appearance.

"There you are! We better get going before..." The cyborg slowed down as they looked at each other, their faces lacking any expression for a second. Her eye went to the gagged child "...people get..." and then to the button in his hand, not even having changed his triumphant pose. As the information slowly sank into her data bank, Cassidy's voice lost all significance "su...spicious."

"Nobody's goin' anywhere!" He said wickedly, wrapping her up the same way he did with K.O. and placed her roughly next to him.

'Crap.' She thought to herself. Cassidy furrowed her brow, lowering her head, a hunch of shame on her cheeks. 'This shouldn't surprise me...'

Yet she didn't see it coming. She had been too busy setting this mission up. All that excitement of doing something real for once made her disregard everything else...or she was just a little too used to not facing consequences.

Lord Cowboy Darrell noticed her change of mood with gleeful gratification when he bend down.

"What's wrong Miss Vail? Did I spoil your perfect pwan?" he teased, placing his finger on his chin with mock innocence. "Not so confident anymore, are ya?" Darrell returned to his superior position, arms akimbo as he laughed maniacally.

Miss Vail decided to keep quite. Maybe it was because she really wasn't feeling very confident at the moment, or perhaps she was challenged to find a way out of this. And, being perfectly aware that she was in a pretty unfortunate situation and that she urgently had to think of something, Cassidy found herself distracted. Somehow, this devilish joy of his was strangely captivating, almost impossible not to find it at least a little enjoyable.

Meanwhile, K.O. used the distraction to attempt freeing himself by moving to and fro a little to loosen the rope – surprisingly with very low success. At the same time, inside his head someone seemed to hit their head repeatedly on an imaginary table.

He had so many questions. Who was Miss Vail? Why was Darrell so eager to destroy her? And...why did he bring his cowboy hat? But there was no time and no breath for this.

"I guess you were right about that bird thing, only with weapons heroes and...a wannabe villain!" He poked her forehead.

Almost. The cyborg returned to reality, dropping her focus on his feet.

"Touché." Cassidy said, bending her head a little to express her giving in. Lord Cowboy Darrell looked peerie for a moment. "I guess you've won," she continued "I mean, I literally can't make a move here." His mouth formed a small, v-shaped smile.

"Except THIS one!" She shouted vigorously, kicking at his legs. It didn't only knock him off his feet but also the smile from his face.

"Ugh!" Hitting the floor, the detonater slipped out of his hand, skidding away. Cassidy used the few seconds the action bought her to rob herself towards the button. She wasn't going to let him pull himself out that easily. The two of them would end this mission, whether he wanted or not.

Cassidy's hand tried to make its way into her pocket. 'C'mon, c'mon...!'

Darrell bobbed up snarling, as he shapeshited his hand into a pointy drill and launched into attacking her. He missed due to the activation of her board, bursting her free. Cassidy quickly grabbed her board, only just managing to dodge the next attack. The lasso coming her direction made her jump to her feet.

He wasn't actually even aiming for the cyborg anymore, but rather for the button which was dangerously close to her. Nevertheless, he couldn't help taking great delight to the little dance her dodging hops were creating as his face started to lighten up with mischievous glee, aiming at her feet on purpose this time...and the following times.

"NYAHAHAHAHAHA!"

K.O. watched all of it with confusion. He had no idea what was even going on anymore. Peeking left and right, he decided to use the situation to drop himself, rolling his way out of the situation.

The little dance ended with Cassidy stumbling and landing on the ground. She reached for the button, being only inches away, before he snatched it.

In the meantime, Enid heard a dull sound when something hit the counter. Her unfazed eyes took a peek down, changing drastically when she noticed what it was.

"G---uys!"

"K.O.!" She jumped down to untie him.

"Dude! What happened to you??" Rad asked shocked.

"H-he..." the kid wheezed, trying to gather breath "h..as a b-omb."

"WHAT?!"

"Face it, you stand no chance against me!" Darrell said looking down with a malicious grin and his gun pointed at the cyborg. She heard the alarmed voices of the heroes in the distance. He didn't even seem to bother about getting caught "I mean...you're not even heeled are ya?"

While he was laughing at her, she tried to push that slight, rising up inside her chest back, along with the lack of knowing some of the vocabulary he was using. His laugh was interrupted when his face met with her board.

Darrell shook the irritation out of his head, seeing the board floating above him, the cyborg sitting on top of it.

"I beg to differ, milord!" She said with a cheeky grin, holding the detonater. He angrily latched to the board.

"You're not flying off this time!" He shouted fiercely.

"Of course not...at least not alone." She said still grinning and took off.

"WHAT? W-WAIT! NO!" He watched the growing difference to the ground with desperation. Turning around, he pulled himself up a little. Darrell grabbed Cassidy's leg and gave it a tug, foiling her attempt of getting up.

"Wah!" Losing balance she fell forwards, automatically clutching the front of her board, leaving both of them hanging. The detonater which had been safely in her hand a minute ago was now only just held by her fingertips and the board, slowly slipping away.

Lord Cowboy Darrell, being half on top of the board, reached for the button when he uttered a slightly insane, victorious tee-hee. Unfortunately his fingers were only the kiss of death for it, when he failed to get its grasp.

"NOOO-!" he cried, as they watched it falling into the deep.

"...All the effort..." Cassidy said, disappointment changing her face. Gone.

Before they had the chance to take any action, they found themselves trapped in a purple forcefield.

"Don't worry, Radicles got the - OUCH!" Rad was interrupted in his self-praise when something hit his head. K.O. remembered the object, landing right next to him, clearly.

"Wait, Is that-"

"It's the bomb button thingy!!" He blurted alarmed, as something in their vicinity started beeping. They exchanged startled looks.

"RUN! We need to get away from-!" Enid grabbed her friends, trying to make a move as quickly as possible.

The enormous blast wave catapulted Cassidy and Darrell out of the bodega.

regaining consciousness, he found himself in a nearby tree next to Miss Vail. The robot bobbed up, but stopped in the middle of the movement, his look following the object of her bewilderment.

"Look at this...mayhem..." She said lowly, more to herself than to him. Overwhelmed, Cassidy watched the degree of the destruction they caused. The whole place was falling apart...literally.

"It...worked. It..."

She looked in his direction with slight confusion, seeing the amazed, almost dignified expression on his face. His pupil had grown at least the tenth size.

"F-father would be so proud..." the robot said feebly. While a tear formed in his eye he started smiling vaguely, eventually bursting into evil laughter.

Cassidy chose to abandon her irritation, inviting herself to share this moment.

So for a few seconds, they both sat in that tree, branded by the explosion, laughing about their destructive handiwork. Her laughing started to fade when she noticed that his was growing into convulsive sobbing however.

"I DEYTROYED THE PLAZA AND HE DIDN'T EVEN SEE!!" He yelled. His desperation was accompanied with immense rage. The cyborg startled and looked around, grabbing her board.

'Geez...we only just escaped from being captured...' she thought.

Cassidy didn't know what was supposed to be more unsettling, that she sat right next to someone who just tried to destroy her or that the one that just tried to destroy was now...well, like this.

She wasn't even sure what it was. Was he...angry or sad? She was way to confused to put any pieces together right now. It was just really...weird. Why wouldn't he enjoy the achievement like she did?

"So what?" She said shrugging, trying to drown the mood of the situation along with her own uncomfortable feeling "The plaza is completely wrecked!"

Darrell stopped. So what. He wiped his eye, releasing a barely noticeable sigh. He slipped into a seemingly indifferent state.

"You're still here." He said, it was much like an observation. There was a tone of disapproval in his voice, subtle anger and dissapointment.

Careful not to be deterred by his statement, she just carried on:

"Well..." She put on her quizzical manners, smirking as she got up on her board "Duh! Better luck with this next time!" She took off with these words. Not daring to look back, she flew away hurriedly.

Darrell didn't waste a single look on her, only looking down, as he was forced to deal with his inner turmoil.

Later, as he arrived at his office door – he had gotten rid of the delivery boy costume or better the remains of it – the robot was quite surprised finding Ernesto in his chair.

He turned away from the window, slightly startled at Lord Cowboy Darrell's presence. He immediately jumped to his feet, notably embarrassed "...I was just, uhm...!"

"Ernesto?..." he said confused looking "Where's the lesser Darrell I put..." Darrell stepped on a red piece of metal. Taking a closer look, there were all over the place "...oh."

While Ernesto felt himself under the pressure of an explanation, he took a step aside to make space for his boss to return to his seat. Lord Cowboy Darrell sat down, with his back to the window. The room was enlightened by sunshine...and the burning bodega.

Ernesto's view was caught by a dark spot on Darrell's jacket. It seemed to be charred. He couldn't help himself observing it for a few seconds, before his brother turned into his direction. Ernesto quickly averted his gaze, starting to pick up the robot parts from the ground.

"How long... was I gone?" He asked. Carrying the parts in his arm along with some papers, he dropped some of them as he stood straight. With Darrell just looking at him through an unbiased eye, he really seemed to hope for an answer. He didn't seem to care about any of the events. Ernesto was confused, also now under the pressure to answer his question. Unsure if he should know that?

"I...don't know, sir," he stammered, clearing his throat as he looked down on his documents "I was really just returning to finish the task."

Darrell looked at the papers under his arm.

"Okay." He simply said to which the purple robot went ahead and took a seat opposite to his boss.

"C-continuing list of costumer complaints." Ernesto put his eye on the name of Professor Venomous without having to search. Before he actually continued, his look went out of the window, back at Darrell. He was looking straight at him, or...straight into his direction.

Ernesto looked back at his papers. No. It wasn't his purpose to ask such questions.