Alain de Botton and China Miéville shook hands warmly.
“So,” said de Botton, “What did you want to meet about?”
“Ah, ah-ha…” A voice from the walkway above them interrupted, laughing humourlessly. “I’m afraid I brought you both here under false pretences.”
Both authors looked up, seeing a hooded figure whose face was in shadows. It lifted a sack over the edge of the barrier with one hand and, with his other, tossed a sword and shield down between China Miéville and Alain de Botton. With his now free hand he raised a sawn-off shotgun to the bag and prodded it roughly. It began to stir, mewling pitifully.
“Unless you fight, to the death of course, I will shoot this bag of kittens.”
China Miéville and Alain de Botton stared at him in disbelief.
“Orphaned kittens.” He added unnecessarily.
“You… Hooded bastard…” shouted de Botton. The Hooded Bastard just laughed.
Kicking the shield to de Botton, China Miéville picked up the sword and they began to spar unenthusiastically. The Hooded Bastard screamed at them to fight more fiercely and jabbed at the sack, making the orphaned kittens yelp. As Alain de Botton and China Miéville fought they exchanged ideas in quiet whispers and coded exertions. Enacting their desperate plan Alain de Botton fell to his knee, shield sparking under the rain of blows from China Miéville’s sword. Suddenly he turned, throwing the shield at the same moment that China Miéville let fly with the sword. Too surprised to react, The Hooded Bastard fell back as the shield struck him in the chest, and found himself holding the tattered edges of the sack, the sword having sliced the neck of the sack. As this played out China Miéville and Alain de Botton sprung into action, gently catching the falling kittens.
When they looked back up at the balcony, The Hooded Bastard was gone…
WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE (morally)