Nathaniel Cannon and the Lost City of Pitu No. 11

Emma heard a meaty thump as Cannon took yet another shot, and saw him bobbing and weaving in a way that she didn’t think was completely intentional. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the short Dutchman take a wary step toward her, his injured knee nearly buckling. Emma matched his advance with a retreat, putting her left side against the bar. Behind her, the tall Dutchman roared again.

The short Dutchman took a step forward, and Emma shifted her weight as though she was going to answer with a kick. The Dutchman tried to slip inside her range, but she abandoned her feint, took him by the arm, and threw him onto the bar. He slid along its length, scattering bottles and glasses before him. He was still scrabbling for purchase on the slick bartop when he ran out of time, flying off the bar’s end and through the legs of a table, upending it. He tried to roll over, and then was still.

Emma spun at the sound of shattering glass. The tall Dutchman, his trouser leg stained with blood, stood at the bar, holding the jagged neck of a bottle and wearing the same manic grin. Emma whipped her head back and forth, looking for a weapon of her own.

At that very moment, there was a hollow doonk, and the Dutchman collapsed like a marionette with its strings cut, revealing Lachapelle holding a wine bottle by the neck. “Zat will teach ‘im to srow a table on my ‘ead, non?” he said, looking over toward Cannon. “Dieu.”

Cannon wobbled on his feet, as fuzzy-headed as any boxer losing in the tenth round. He landed a weak cross to the Javanese’s nose, and completely failed to see the Dutchman’s haymaker coming from his far side. It took him across the jaw, and he stumbled for a few steps before falling to his back. He propped himself up on his elbows and tried to stand, but the world turned sickeningly. The Dutchman and the Javanese moved in, and then one of the Dutchman’s arms vanished behind him. His eyes suddenly opened very wide, and he screamed, the sound of bones snapping nevertheless audible over him. At the same time, the Javanese collapsed amidst a shower of glass. Lachapelle tossed his shattered wine bottle aside, and Emma silenced the screaming Dutchman with a knee to the back of his head.

“Ze gallant cavalry arrives in ze nick of time,” Lachapelle said, grinning wickedly as he helped Cannon to his feet. “Just like old times, Mademoiselle Fostair.”

Emma ignored him and asked, “Time to scarper?” The gamblers were settling their debts, and the bartender was speaking over the phone in rapid Dutch.”

“Let’s breeze,” Cannon agreed, his voice thick.

Emma nodded, waving a finger in front of Cannon’s eyes and frowning. “Philippe, can you bring him along?”

“Anysing for a lady, mademoiselle,” Lachapelle intoned.

She rolled her eyes at him, then led him out into the street. “Way to earn that nickname—” she began, addressing her captain.

“You don’t have to say it,” he slurred, even so managing a glare.

“—Glassjaw Cannon.”

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