“Please… *sob* please let me go…” a young girl was crying in an alley, surrounded by four teenage boys.
She was curled up against the wall, clutching her knees to her body—making herself as small as possible. On her left arm, there were scratch marks where she was forcibly pulled, her left cheek was red where she had been slapped, her black hair was ruffled up, and the blue dress she wore had patches of dirt on it.
“You’re not going anywhere until we’re done with you.” one of the boys replied.
“Damn right she isn’t.” another added, then grabbed her face—forcing her to look at him. “Now your brother is really going to regret telling the guards on us.” he said as he kicked her legs.
The girl screamed out in pain. One of the other boys quickly covered her mouth to muffle her screams, before letting go again. The girl continued her silent sobbing.
She remembered these boys clearly. Her older brother was beaten by them, and her father had brought the guards in to investigate the brutal beating. After some careful coaxing, her brother revealed who the assailants were, and the proper punishments were served. That incident occurred last Zali, and it has already been two turns since then.
She was on her way to visit a friend, when she saw these boys. Confronting them for what they did, she was surrounded and dragged into this isolated alley.
“Do they really think a whipping and sitting in that dank cell for a turn is going to scare us?” the boy who kicked her smiled, as he spoke.
“Don’t blame us, blame yourself and your brother for not doing as he was told. 200 erns is nothing for your family. He should have just kept bringing the money.” Another boy spoke, then kicked her.
She screamed out again, but a hand quickly covered her mouth.
Unable to cry out or shout for help, and her body in pain, the young girl was powerless to do anything.
“What is going on here!?” a different voice broke through the air. She could not see who it was because of the large crate blocking her, but it sounded like that of a child.
Half of the Rjus had gone by since the event outside of Ferrent, and Kaidus has been enjoying the peaceful days relaxing. He still frequented books stores, but most of his time was spent with Adalina and Anise, just enjoying each other’s company.
After what he said in the carriage, Lord Varath had stopped pestering him about marriage.
His morning started with the usual routine: wake up early, meditation and mana exercise, eating breakfast with everyone, helping Adalina with chores, and spending the morning inside. Nearing the afternoon, after most of the chores were done, Adalina took Anise and went out shopping. Kaidus went along with them until the shopping district, then he separated and headed off by himself.
Making his way through the shopping district, he weaved through the throngs of people moving about doing their shopping, using the alleys as shortcuts and to avoid crowds.
As he made his way towards the outer edge of the shopping district—to one of his favorite book store, he ran past a large alleyway that cut into the one he was going though. Passing by, he heard a scream. Promptly stopping, Kaidus turned back to investigate. He saw three older boys smiling perversely at something that was hidden behind a large wooden crate filled with smaller containers.
“What is going on here!?” Kaidus shouted. The three boys turned to look at him, their smiles disappeared.
“None of your business, kid. Get out of here!” the one in front yelled out. The other two walked up and all three of them formed a wall, aligning themselves with the large crate, as if hiding something.
Kaidus took a few steps forward into the alley for a better look. The three boys were at least in their late teens, and towered over him. “I thought I heard someone scream?” he asked innocently, while expanding his senses.
“Nothing for you here. Get out of here before you get hurt!” The first boy shouted again.
Kaidus took another step forward towards them.
“I see… people like you can only be up to no good.” He replied at their threat, taking another step forward. His senses had picked up the presence of 5 people. The three boys, and 2 behind the crate.
“You Brat!” The first boy rushed Kaidus. He took one step, then froze. The other two looked surprised, as their friend suddenly stopped.
Kaidus walked towards them casually.
The two other boys tried to move, but they were also frozen.
Kaidus walked up to the three boys, and gently pushed the one who tried to rush him aside with magic, opening the human wall.
He walked past the crate to see what they were doing.
Hiding behind the crate, another older boy was holding onto a young girl of around the age of 10, his right hand covering her mouth. Tears were streaming down the girl’s face, her eyes begging for help, and her cheeks were swollen. Even her expensive looking blue dress was all dirty. With the hand over her mouth, the girl couldn’t even make a sound.
The four of them had picked quite the place to commit such cruelty. Passerby who looked into the alley from the main road would only see the trash and stacks of smaller crates that the stores had thrown out. While those like him—who took the alley he came through, would only see a large crate overflowing with combustible materials, waiting to be burned. Even if they looked, they would only see three young men loitering, and not the beaten girl that was hidden in between.
Intense anger flared up inside of him.
-a young girl, laying broken… dying…
A vivid memory flashed in his mind.
He recalled the innocent Anise that was currently shopping with his mother. He saw her in the same position as this girl and the one from his memory.
The world stopped for a second, then his mind returned, and time flowed again.
“Release your hands, if you wish to keep them.” He commanded. His voice filled with an icy calm that seared the ears.
The fourth boy quickly released the girl. He was responsible for holding down the girl—keeping her quiet, while his friends dealt with anyone that came to snoop around. Something must be going on, if the child in front of him was able to get past his friends. Standing up, he saw his three friends standing there, not moving. He tried to run, but as soon as the thought hit him, he was unable to move his body.
The young girl started sniveling, begging for help and to be released.
Kaidus could see the distinct hand prints on her cheek where she had been slapped more than once. He saw dirt on her dress where she had been kicked, and the scratches on her arm. She was curled into a tiny ball, her hair was messy as if it had been pulled. He did not know how long the abuse had been going on, but it looked like her mentality had been crushed.
“Hasen, conceal the alley way. Make sure no one can see what happens in here.” He grounded his teeth, as he made the command.
“By… your will…” Hasen humbly obliged.
A shroud of darkness burst out, and covered both ends of the alley, making their position dark and imperceptible to those looking in.
With a thought, two dark walls of stone emerged from the ground, blocking any escape, and sealing the six of them in.
He dispelled his immobilization spell, and the four boys quickly grouped together, fear prominently showing in their eyes. Their previous smiles were gone, and none of them dared to do anything.
“You enjoy beating on little girls?” Kaidus spoke, as he turned around to look at the girl who was begging and shaking in pain. His voice meandered through the air, freezing the four who heard it.
“Y-y-you… you’re a monster!” the boy who had rushed him before cried out, cowering, as the group moved to the corner.
“YOU ARE THE MONSTERS!” He angrily yelled back. “Four of you beating on a little girl, and you accuse ME of being a MONSTER?!” The four boys shrunk back at his shouts.
“Sh-She had it coming! Little bitch was mouthing off at us!” the same boy yelled back, fear in his voice.
“*Hic* my *hic* m-my brother. T-they beat him… *sob* He- He can’t walk anymore… *sobbing*. Please… help me…” As if reflexively defending herself, the barely conscious girl spoke out against the accusation, and begged for help.
Kaidus walked up to her.
He placed his hands on her curled up knees, and sent an infusion of mana into her. His mana worked as he willed, and surged throughout her body: fixing any interior damages, and mending bones. Her swollen face cleared, and her crying quieted *COUGH COUGH*. Coughing, the girl threw up a small amount of congealed blood.
He hugged her to his chest, and with another thought, he willed the young girl to fall asleep.
He did not want her to see what he was about to do next.
Having laid the girl down to sleep, Kaidus turned to look at the four boys.
“I take back my words… For lying to justify your malicious acts of evil… to have gone this far because a child angered you… for trash like you guys, please allow me to become a monster.” Kaidus spoke, as he walked towards the four. His eyes were now glowing with a blue hue. The temperature around him started dropping significantly.
“Y-you…” one of the boys attempted to speak, but stopped. Feeling the abnormal chill in the coldness of Hiso, his words ran to a stop. The four of them backed up instinctively.
“You all ganged up against a lone defenseless girl without feeling an ounce of disgrace. Smiling happily, as you kick her and prevent her from screaming for help. Where is your conviction now? Where is your spirit?” Within arm’s reach of the boys, Kaidus ridiculed them.
Seeing the hesitation and fear in their eyes,
“All that you have done to that girl, I shall return It.” he expressed his intentions.
Seeing no way out, one of the boys took a step forward and lunged at Kaidus—his fist going for Kaidus’s head. Seeing the attack, Kaidus twisted his body to the right—avoiding the hit. Using the twisting motion, he brought forth his own right fist, and blasted the arm that was coming for his head. The punch had such force, that his spinning momentum halted and spun him the other way. Using the reverse spin, he threw forth his right foot for a low spin kick, and smashed the outstretched leg of the older boy. The arm and leg shattered, dangling only by the skin, and bleeding.
The older boy fell to the ground and started screaming in agony, but nothing came out. It was as if something was blocking his mouth, preventing the sound of excruciating pain from escaping.
Upon seeing what happened, the three boys who were thinking about attacking trembled in fear. They tried backing up some more, but they were already up against the stone wall that cut off their escape.
The one who was holding down the girl earlier fell on his knees and started begging, but his voice did not come out. A violent gust shot at him, and pummeled him in the chest—pounding him against the wall. His chest caved in, and the sound of bones breaking, could be heard. The boy fell onto the ground gasping for air, and coughing up blood.
Without waiting, the boy who had threatened and lunged at Kaidus, fell down in tears. His hand was together and his mouth begged and ask for forgiveness. But like the others, nothing came out. He suddenly fell onto the ground, convulsing, as his arms and legs dislocated and popped out of their sockets one by one. As if some force was pulling him apart. His mouth opening in silent screams of pain, each time a bone dislocates.
The last one was also now begging wordlessly. Kaidus drew up closer to him.
“Are you scared?” He whispered. The older boy nodded his head vehemently. Tears were flowing out. “How does it feel? To be the one on the receiving end?” he asked, without doing anything further.
Kaidus took a step back from the bodies in front of him. “To have beaten someone to the point where they can’t even walk… to attack a child, because she challenged you… knowing your kind, I doubt this is your first time.” Kaidus spoke slowly. “There is nothing lower than all of you. It would be a boon to the world, if I were to get rid of you all right here.” His tone was emotionless.
The only pair of eyes looking at him, dilated. All hopes disappeared in those eyes.
“Yet, I am sure there are people who love you. Loved ones who would grieve if such trash were to be disposed of…” He added.
Kaidus approached the sleeping girl, and picked her off the ground with magic. He heaved her arm over his shoulder, supporting her sleeping body as he moved towards the back alley. The stone wall opened up for him.
“I will now leave with the girl. As soon as the walls come down, you will go call for help for your friends. If they are treated quickly enough, they may yet live. Their life is in your hands. That is more than the chance you all would have given this girl.” Kaidus spoke indifferently.
“One more thing.” Kaidus spoke, turning to look the boy in the eyes, and making sure everyone heard him. “Do not look for me, or dare to do anything else like this. Next time I hear about such a thing, I WILL kill all of you. Stay out of my sight.” He warned as he left.
The opening in the stone wall closed up after Kaidus left. As if waiting on cue, the opposite wall slowly dissolved back into the paved ground, opening a path into the main roads.
She was dreaming.
The young girl was watching her brother getting attacked by a group of boys. Every time they punched him, she felt the pain. Each time he was kicked, she felt the shoes against her small body. Her brother curled up as they broke his legs, he begged as they shattered the arms protecting his face. She watched as he was crippled and left bleeding in an alley.
Suddenly the dream shifted, and it was her in that exact position. Four boys were grinning as they kicked her. One held her mouth so she couldn’t yell for help. Deep inside of her, she feared for her life. She screamed inside with all her might, for what felt like an eternity, her screams rang out for help. Suddenly, a voice shattered the painful dream. She felt her body refreshed and the pain disappeared. Her brother was there with her. He had helped her, and they were both walking back home, happily laughing.
Her mind wavered at such bliss. That was not her reality. She remembered the position she had been in. Her brother was not there to help her. He was laying in his bed, still recovering from the injuries he had sustained. Her happiness shattered, and the pain came back. She fought with all her might to escape.
“-s…. ight… ery… kay…” she heard a familiar voice.
“It’s alright. Everything is okay.” She heard it clearly this time. There was a warmth to the voice. She could also feel a warm sensation right next to her, supporting her.
“Big brother?” she spoke, as she tried to open her drowsy eyes.
“Are you feeling better?” The familiar voice asked her.
Rubbing her eyes to wake herself up, she turned to see a young boy. One even younger than herself.
Sleek black hair that fell down to his eyebrows, a childish face that was in the process of evolving, and wearing plain clothes that was common amongst the populace.
He turned to look at her, then gently sat her on a crate.
The girl looked around, they were in an alley.
“NO! NO!!!!! PLEASE DON’T!!” she cried out, remembering what happened. His small hands quickly shot forth to grasp hers to calm her down. A strength belying his small stature.
“Please… no more…” she begged, on the verge of tears.
“It’s okay now. No one’s going to hurt you.” The boy spoke, his calm voice soothing her.
“What is your name?” He asked.
“C-Ce-Celene V-Valnur.” She managed.
“Good. Do you know where you live, Celene?” a coaxing voice that calmed and reassured.
“Y-yes… 3rd w-ward, Dryva district…” she answered.
“Well then, let’s get you home.” He held out a hand to her.
She walked in silence, holding onto the younger boy’s hand. The fear and panic inside of her had subsided. She noticed that there was no pain in her body and that there was something strange about the boy. She wanted to ask, but she was too afraid to do so: whether it be about him, how he got her out of that horrific situation, or what happened to her injuries. They walked in silence until they reached her house.
The Dryva district is another residential area bordering the shopping district. The difference between Dryva and that of the other districts were that: it was where the wealthy of the 3rd ward lived. Large houses—almost comparable with the manors of nobles—rose side by side, many were even gated, and stationed with guards.
“Then I will take my leave.” The young boy spoke, as they reached Celene’s house.
“T-thank you…” she replied. Questions for the boy warred in her mind, trying to get out, but none prevailed.
Seeing the boy leaving,
“M-May I have your n-name?” was all she could muster in her state.
“I am Kaidus Paltos.” The boy replied, as he walked away.