So, um, I tried a different approach to writing. I first wrote the story stripped of practically everything except dialogue, then I added detail to it. I tried to cut out stuff that seemed unnecessary, but I have a pretty bad grasp on what's needed and what's not, so... yeah. It might seem pretty choppy at times.
“Not important,” Chris said, moving the gun so that it was facing the general direction of their assailants. “Do you want to run? I’m being kind enough to give you that choice, so I advise you to take it.”
“Jessica!” Matt seemed to forget the pain that had him coughing on the ground a second ago, scrambling for the other woman. He pushed her onto her back, blocking the bullet hole from view. Whether that was out of courtesy for the dead, or because he couldn’t stand to see it, was unknown. The grass under her head was tinged an ugly shade of brownish-red and memories of the blood-splattered clearing resurfaced. Lucius shook his head and refocused on the situation at hand, but he couldn’t stop a shudder.
“You’re going in the opposite direction.” Chris cracked a smirk at that.
“You…” Struggling with an insult that was demeaning enough, Matt’s brain went full circle. “… Murderer!”
“And she was about to become one in a couple seconds,” Chris snapped, running a finger over the trigger.“Your point? Look, your leader’s already gone. Smart man; you should learn from his example.”
“That cowardly bastard…” Matt tensed, his body frame quivering. Just as Lucius was sure Matt was going to lunge for Chris and get himself shot, the young lady wrapped her arms around Matt. “… Tris?”
“M-matt, let’s just go,” she stammered, tears streaming down her cheeks. She was trembling so much that Lucius couldn’t tell if she was holding Matt to restrain him or to support herself. “Could you at least let us take the body?”
Chris shrugged with his left shoulder, keeping his gun leveled at the two. “I don’t have a use for it.”
Matt hesitated, then bent down and scooped up the body bridal-style. He held his head in a way that made it seem like he might spit at Chris, but glanced at the girl at his side and thought better of it. He swept an accusatory gaze over the rest of them as well.
Lucius raised an eyebrow. Forgive me for not sparing pity for someone who tried to kill me, he thought with an mental laugh. Unlike Chris, though, he did not try to provoke the departing pair. Grudges almost never ended well for either party, and he’d like to keep himself out of as many as possible.
Once the two were out of sight and hearing, Chris breathed a sigh of relief. Pocketing the gun, he rubbed his palms together to erase the indents his nails had made. “Good thing they bought my bluff, eh?”
Things clicked in Lucius’s mind, and he gave Chris a disbelieving stare. “Wait, that gun doesn’t have any bullets left?”
“One shot only,” Chris explained, placing his hand over his pocket. “Although having a gun at all does bode well when trying to intimidate your foes.”
“I’m surprised you used it on me at all.” Lucius would have expected Chris to use such a precious resource on something more selfish, although he certainly was not complaining about getting to live.
Chris made a noncommittal sound. “It scared off our foes and depleted their numbers by one, while keeping our group complete. If it had continued, I probably would’ve had to use the gun anyways, so I might as well cut losses. Sounds like an efficient use to me.”
That sounded more like Chris. Lucius ran his hand through his hair and sighed. “Well, thanks.” The gratitude left an unpleasant sensation on his tongue. He swore to himself never to recreate a situation where he had to thank the man that he had insulted on their first meeting and attacked on their second.
“Good, a moment where you two don’t hate each other,” Claud broke in, holding the metal rod over his shoulder. He looked around, rather confused by something. “That’s strange, I would’ve expected-“
“DEMACIA!” Reyna shouted, jumping out of the nearby brush with her club at the ready. The branches left white scratches on her arms, but she ignored them in favor of a dynamic pose with a raised weapon.
“Reyna?!" Claud's shoulders were hunched up in instinctive defense, but they relaxed as his face melted into weary annoyance. "What are you doing? Pulling something like that after a fight..."
Lucius silently agreed and rubbed his head; his full-body jerk of surprise had rattled his brain. "Were you just hiding there the whole time?"
“Yup!” She flashed a bright smile. “I decided that me hiding would be easier than getting involved in all that drama. You guys had it under control, anyways.”
Behind her, Wila emerged from the same cover, a few leaves in her hair. “That hurt my ears,” she complained, and then glared at Chris. “You’re a jerk.”
“I’ve been told,” he replied, unfazed. “If you had interrupted earlier, I might not have had to use my only bullet.”
“We’ll get more!” Reyna replied, as if bullets could be found lying around. “Somehow. Plus…” She grinned in a way that, although exactly alike her previous one, felt a little more nerve-wracking. “This way, we can be assured you won’t turn around and shoot one of us.”
If Chris was disturbed by her attitude, he didn’t show it. “Fair enough. Where are we going now?”
“Onwards, of course!” This time, Wila was the one to make extravagant gestures, waving to some nonexistent destination. “To somewhere. Really, I have no idea."
"Well then," Reyna said, puffing out her chest. Then, she seemed to deflate and sheepishly shrugged. "Me neither."