|Extra Chapter 2|
|June 10, 1998|
|April 15, 2003|
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Escape from Pain
“My name is Vash the Stampede. I have been a hunter of peace chasing the elusive mayfly known as love.” Vash awakes on a clear morning and begins an internal monologue about his life and purpose while completing his morning routine. This involves 3 seconds of meditation, practice drawing his weapon, and, subsequently, breakfast. Continuing his monologue, he’s invited by the local children to play with them and he readily accepts.
In the next scene, Vash attempts to pick up a girl in the street and is rejected. Afterwards, he’s caught by Meryl who complains about his lifestyle of eating and playing with children while not actually doing any work.
Vash greets Neil, a local boy who isn’t hanging out with the other kids as much as he used to. Neil’s reception is cool, but when Vash asks for a meal, Neil takes him to his mother’s restaurant where he discovers Wolfwood is working as a waiter. As Vash and Wolfwood are conversing, the situation of Neil and his mother, Clair, comes up. Wolfwood tells the story: while traveling, Wolfwood chanced upon the diner seeking a meal and came upon Clair being attacked. She owes a debt and two men are shaking her down for it. Wolfwood promptly defeats them. Clair told him that her husband ran off and left a lot of debt, however, she’s determined to keep the business running. Even her son chipped in to help. Wolfwood, moved by the story, has been helping out. In the present, he reveals that he was about to go searching for Vash to convince him to enter a quick-draw tournament and win the prize money for the mother and son. Vash is reluctant, but gives in when Wolfwood reminds him of the plight of the family and the beauty of the mother.
Back at their lodging, Meryl is trying to convince Vash that this is a bad idea, but to no avail. Meryl imagines dozens of gunmen, aware of Vash’s bounty, starting a major shootout within the city, but Vash claims, “It’ll be okay, okay?”
While going through the entry forms, Vash’s name comes up, but the director is convinced it’s a fake and that the tournament should proceed accordingly. As his subordinate leaves, the director asks a veiled figure, “Will this do?”
Wolfwood arrives in Vash’s room with a bottle of alcohol from Clair and a nominal apology for dragging Vash into the situation. Soon enough, they’re talking about Wolfwood’s church and the children within. Wolfwood doesn’t want Neil to become one of those children, as his church is also an orphanage. Outside the door, Milly and Meryl have been eavesdropping and Wolfwood calls them into the room. They apologize and support Vash entering the tournament, now that they know the circumstances of his participation. Offscreen, the four drink together and Milly has a little too much and strips.
On the day of the competition, Vash shows up hungover from the night before, but still affirms to Clair that he can do the job. Despite being unsteady on his feet and suffering from double vision, Vash’s marksmanship still is excellent and he hits every target in the first round. He’s laments that he’s doing too well and standing out too much. After Wolfwood offers some encouragement, Vash reveals that he’s signed Wolfwood into the competition as well, to increase their chances of winning. He gripes, but accepts and hits every target. When Milly asks why he’s so good, he replies that they live in a dangerous world. She mentions he could be an ex-gunman and he dismisses the theory, but Vash is momentarily stopped by it. Another competitor comes up to them and reveals the next round isn’t shooting bottles, but a duel with live ammo. Vash wants to withdraw, but Wolfwood claims it’s too late.
As the next round begins, Vash is juggling rocks while watching the competitors. He throws a rock immediately before they draw and the loser of the duel is only wounded in the shoulder, instead of killed. Wolfwood reveals that Vash is using the rocks to change the trajectory of the bullets and to prevent people from killing one another. In Vash’s match, his opponent attempts to cheat by wearing a mask on the back of his head and walking backwards so he’s already facing Vash when they draw. However, Vash dodges the bullet and eliminates his opponent with a shot to the shoulder. Wolfwood and Vash continue to win in their succeeding rounds within killing their opponents and by the finals, no one has died. Vash and Wolfwood are in the finals and Wolfwood attempts to withdraw so Vash can win, but the director refuses to allow him. The director reveals he’s holding Clair and Neil hostage, but will release them and raise the prize money to 30 billion double dollars if he eliminates Vash the Stampede, effectively splitting the bounty with him.
As their duel begins, Vash asks Wolfwood why he didn’t withdraw like he intended and Wolfwood directs Vash’s attention to the window where Clair and Neil are being held hostage. Vash understands the situation and Wolfwood says Vash should resign himself. Their duel begins. They trade several shots and appear to eliminate each other as they’re lying in pools of blood. However, when the director sends his men to recover the bodies, Vash and Wolfwood spring up and eliminate all the men, including the one holding Clair and Neil hostage. They faked their deaths using tomato sauce to look like blood. To defeat the remaining men camped in the nearby buildings, Wolfwood unwraps his cross and it’s revealed to be a gun rack with several pistols. The camera cuts to Vash, Milly and Meryl, and Clair and Neil, who watch stupefied as Wolfwood eliminates the remaining men while screaming that he will not let any more children suffer. Fortunately for Vash, none of the gunmen are killed, but he’s still disappointed Wolfwood injured so many. After Wolfwood confronts him, the director agrees to pay the prize money. On top of a nearby building, pair of shoes, presumably belonging to the veiled figure from earlier, walks away.
Wolfwood is then seen wrestling with the children like Vash was earlier and Meryl comments that she knew he was “no ordinary priest, but didn’t know how unusual he was.” In Clair’s restaurant, Vash is cooking now when Neil runs in and reveals his father has returned. Vash realizes his job is finished and returns to Wolfwood. They shake hands and, subsequently, are attacked by the children.