A cold sweat runs down my back as the imposing man looks at Mana and smirks.
“Am I a bad guy? Of course I’m not, girly. He’s the bad guy. He bumped into me without even saying sorry. My shoulder hurts reeeeal bad too.” The larger man says rubbing his shoulder
I’d heard of this scheme before, but I never thought I’d see it. A thug bumps into somebody that he can threaten then extorts “reparations” from the person. Everybody else must be too scared of the thug to step in. Has anybody called the guards yet?
“That’s not true! I’ve already apologized!” The man on the ground argues
“Words don’t soothe the pain in my shoulder though! I’m a hard worker, and I do a lot of lifting. How am I going to do my job if my shoulder hurts this bad!” The larger man says his face warping intentionally
The other man is staring at him with contempt. I doubt by his looks that he’s going to hand over any money. Should I step in? If I make a display of strength here I will be drawing attention to myself for sure.
“Wha?!” The man lets out drawing my attention back to him
When my eyes refocus Mana is gone and everybody is looking up. Following their lead, I look up and see a sight that makes my jaw drop: Mana has jumped 10-15 feet into the air.
Before I even have time to process what just happened, she lands on the man’s shoulder. Her landing seems unnaturally soft for some reason.
“Hmm, you can carry Mana okay. Is Mana not heavy enough to hurt?” Mana asks with a curious look to the larger man
“Your gonna regret that kid!” The man yells swinging his hand towards Mana
I get ready to jump in, but the people in my way are delaying me too much! I won’t make it in time!
I’m stunned into silence with the rest of the crowd as the hand makes contact. Along with a strange sound though, it doesn’t seem to have hit properly. Upon closer inspection, Mana has stopped the man’s hand casually with one hand.
“Why did you try to hurt Mana? Did you lie about being a bad guy?” She asks tilting her head
… What just happened? Rather, why wasn’t I prepared for this? She was living in that dungeon this whole time, I suppose some basic level of strength would be necessary. Still, I can hardly contain my surprise as she completely overpowers this imposing muscular man.
“What?! Let go of me you little brat!” The man yells struggling to free his hand
It’s such a strange scene that many people in the crowd start murmuring that he must be faking it. I don’t blame them really. This small girl is managing to completely restrain his arm with a single hand without even the slightest look of difficulty.
“Let go?” Mana asks before releasing his hand
…and of course, because he was struggling to free it, his hand ends up flying into his face. The impact sends him toppling over as well. Mana manages to land softly on her feet.
This isn’t going to end well! I need to get through this crowd quickly!
Everybody is so amazed by the odd scene in front of them that nobody notices that I’m trying to get past them till I’m shoving them out of the way.
“grr… grraha… GRAHAHAHAHAHA!” The man burst out sitting up
Once more I stop in shock at the situation. I quickly come to my senses and continue shoving my way through though.
“You, boy! Leave. I have no interest in you anymore.” The large man says returning to his feet
“What about your shoulder?” Mana ask
“Don’t care anymore! I found something way better! Grahahahaha!” The larger man says placing his hand on Mana’s shoulder
“Follow me girl-iiie!” The man squeals as I place my hand on his shoulder and squeeze hard enough to make him release his grip
“She’s not going anywhere with you,” I say coldly
“Whawawawa! Let go let go! There’s been a misunderstanding!” The man yells out dropping to his knees
I might have squeezed too hard.
“Explain,” I say coldly loosening my grip, but making sure not to release him
“You this girl’s guardian?”
I hesitate for a moment before answering. I suppose I am for now.
“Yes,” I answer
“I see where she gets her incredible strength from then. My group respects strong fighters, and is in desperate need of one right now. I can’t give any more details here though, could you follow me back to our office?” The man tries to calmly explain
He does an admirable job considering the pangs of pain on his face while he is explaining.
Just as I’m ready to deny him and toss him aside, I feel a tug on my shirt.
“Can we go, Mano?” Mana asks with upturned eyes in an innocent voice
“…You. Do you expect us to do this for free?” I ask looking at the large man
“Of course not! You will be greatly compensated. Our group is very wealthy!” The man pleads
A thug like this comes from a wealthy group? I suppose he could be a hired guard or a bouncer, but even then he seems bad for one’s reputation. This sounds a bit fishy.
“Just know that if you try anything, what I’ve done to your arm will seem like a handshake compared to what I will do to you.” I say trying to be as threatening as possible
gulp “I’ll let my boys know that…” The man says with a nervous look