Иди дальше!..
...Lord Shark turned away. "I will be glad when this is over," he said. He glared at Trooper O'Dwyer,
but the trooper was oblivious to his displeasure. He was now inspecting another weapon.
"I'd sure love the chance of trying one of these babies out," he hinted.
Lord Shark ignored him.
"We shall fight, Duke of Queens, until one of us is killed. Does that suit you?"
"Certainly. It is what I expected."
"You are not reluctant to die. I assumed…"
"I've died more than once, you know," said the duke airily. "The resurrection is sometimes a little
disorientating, but it doesn't take long to —"
"I shall not expect to be resurrected," Lord Shark told him firmly. "I intend to make that one of the
terms of this duel. If killed — then it is final."
"You are serious, sir?" The Duke of Queens was surprised.
"It is my nature to be ever serious, Duke of Queens."
The Duke of Queens considered for a moment, stroking his beard. "You would be annoyed with
me if I did see to it that you were resurrected?"
"I would consider it extremely bad-mannered, sir."
The duke was conscious of his reputation for vulgarity. "Then, of course, I must agree."
"You may still withdraw."
"No. I stand by your terms, Lord Shark. Absolutely."
"You will accept the same terms for yourself, if I kill you?"
"You will accept the same terms, sir?"
"To remain dead?"
Lord Shark was silent.
Then the Duke of Queens laughed. "Why not? Think of the entertainment it will provide for our
"Your friends," said Lord Shark the Unknown pointedly.
"Yes. It will give the duel an authentic flavour. And there would be no question that I would not
have created a genuine stir, eh? Though, of course, I would not be in a position to enjoy my success."
"I gather, then," said Lord Shark in a peculiar voice, "that you are willing to die for the sake of this
"I am, sir. Though 'frivolity' is hardly the word. It is, at very least, an enjoyable jest — at best an act
of original artistry. And that, I confide to you, Lord Shark, is what it has always been my ambition to
"Then we are agreed. There is no more to say. Would you choose a sword?"
"I'll leave that to you, sir, for I respect your judgement better than my own. If I might continue to
borrow your automaton until the appointed time…?"
"Of course."
"Until then." The Duke of Queens bowed. "O'Dwyer?"
The trooper looked up from a gun he had partially dismantled. "Duke?"
"We can leave now."
Reluctantly, but with expert swiftness, Trooper O'Dwyer reassembled the weapon, cheerfully
saluted Lord Shark and, as he left, said, "I'd like to come back and have another look at these some
Lord Shark ignored him. Trooper O'Dwyer shrugged and followed the Duke of Queens from the