"To Kill the Unkillable Man": After being thrown from a window by the blast caused by a live grenade he recently shoved down his target Koschei's pants, Deathstroke's greatest concern is the gathering of villagers surrounding him on the street. Though Koschei is an
- I know you're about as areal a freedom fighter as this place is a real abandoned building. I know what you told me in public, but if I'm going to complete this mission, I want to know the truth.
- -- Deathstroke
Appearing in "To Kill the Unkillable Man"
- Koschei (Dies)
Synopsis for "To Kill the Unkillable Man"
After being thrown from a window by the blast caused by a live grenade he recently shoved down his target Koschei's pants, Deathstroke's greatest concern is the gathering of villagers surrounding him on the street. Though Koschei is an oppressive and abusive dictator, the people are frightened by him enough to turn on the man hired to assassinate him. Despite this, Deathstroke cannot kill all of those people when it is only one man that he wants, so he drops a smoke-bomb, and makes an escape.
Soon, he rendezvous with Elena, his contact in Sarvenia. She had not expected him to survive, particularly since Koschei is not dead yet. That is exactly why Deathstroke has stayed behind, though. His word is his bond, and he will not leave until his target is dead. Meanwhile, he is interested to know exactly who Elena is. She shows more skill than he expected. All she will tell him is that she is a freedom fighter, and a humble patriot. He already knows that she is more than that, just as the building they stand in is no ordinary derelict.
Agreeing to show him the truth, she opens a secret passage leading downwards, explaining that she has been working to train an army of freedom fighters. Unfortunately, they can't take action until Koschei is dead, otherwise his ability to survive their attacks will quickly whittle their numbers down unnecessarily. This is why Deathstroke's success is important to them. Smirking, Deathstroke states that he is not going to kill Koschei, but they are.
That night, Koschei is interrupted from torturing a guard who failed him by news of an attack by the rebels. Knowing that he cannot be killed, he has no concern for his soldiers' safety, and leaves them to die, if that is their fate. Elena and the rebels use this fact as a means of gaining public support, demonstrating how Koschei's lack of regard for his own men and worshippers is sign enough that the people oppressed by him should not lend him their support.
Unfortunately, Koschei decudes to make an appearance, and tosses Elena aside, daring the rebels to try to bring him down. After failing to do so with gory results, Koschei thinks himself renewed as leader, until Deathstroke's sword slices his head off. Even this does not kill him, as he soon finds it, and reattaches it. Still, Deathstroke is now aware that the problem has not been that Koschei can't be killed, but that the people are unwilling to kill him.
Deathstroke relentlessly fights, beating Koschei down until Elena can pin him to the ground with a sword. She explains that while they can't kill him, it doesn't mean that they can't defeat him. All that is required of them is to be relentless. They are more people than he is, and if they so choose, they can torture him until he wishes he were able to die. The people gather around him, and begin taking their shots all at once.
Eventually, Deathstroke decides that it is his time to collect on his contract. Leaning over the now bloody and disfigured Koschei, he places a gun in his contract's hand and gives him a choice: he can try to kill his attackers, or he can kill himself. If he doesn't kill himself, the torture will not end. Now that the rebels know how to deal with him, they will not hesitate to let their hatred fuel his continued torture forever.
Rather than admit defeat, Koschei puts the bullet through his own head, and dies, completing Deathstroke's contract.
With their oppressor dead, Elena isn't sure what she and the rebels should do next. Deathstroke, however has plenty upcoming on his plate. Apparently, he is about to be everyone's target.
- This book was first published on January 16, 2013.
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