“Let you go? Hah! Kid, you don’t understand the situation you’re in right now.” The man who appeared to be a sort of leader laughed in his face.
“You guys are some of the stupidest thieves I’ve ever seen,” said James.
James could see the man’s eyes narrow with anger behind his mask as he finished his sentence.
“The fuck did you just - AHK!”
The man didn’t have time to finish his sentence. James never let his arms and legs be pinned, and the robbers didn’t think too much of it, thinking that they were still in full control. After all, James was against the wall and there was a man on either side of him grabbing his shoulders. The leader was holding his collar.
In a split second, James smacked the men on either side of him in between the legs and brought his head down, smashing the firm part of his skull into the leader’s nose.
All 3 men let out cries of pain and stumbled back, clutching their respective injured areas.
“Shit!” The remaining two men raised their knives. One of them lunged at James.
“Wait! We can’t kill him!” the other cried.
James dodged the knife and grabbed the man’s arm. He hesitated for a moment, then steeled his resolve. He was hesitant about harming humans, but these people could have killed him. Even more than that, they could have harmed those James held dear, had the situation been a bit different.
A high pitched scream of pain echoed across the street as James cleanly broke the man’s arm by using his own as a lever.
“YOU FUCKING BASTARD!” The leader had gotten back up, and was bleeding from his nose. He was rather angry, and attacked James again, who dodged with ease. These men were no different than the skeletons. Rather, they were easier - they didn’t move quite as fast, and they didn’t fight smart either. James buried his fist into the man’s gut, and as he was reeling, punched the man in the face, sending the man tumbling to the ground. The man lost his consciousness as his head crashed into the hard concrete.
James turned to face the last man standing. This person seemed to have half a brain on him. He was the one who’d reminded the others to pat James down, and also had yelled at the other man not to kill James. Not that James was in any danger of being killed.
James and the man stared at each other for a second. Then, one of the men who’d gotten smacked between the legs started getting up. James kicked him in the jaw, and then turned his attention back to the man who was still on his feet.
That man turned on his heels and bolted from the scene. James temporarily considered chasing him down, but was distracted by a voice.
“Hey! You okay?”
Another young man ran towards where James was standing. He'd been a bystander, but had seen what was happening and had run over to help.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” James called back. He looked at the 4 incapacitated people lying next to him. One of them was the “drunk” person. 4 additional people had leapt out of the ally. The missing one had just fled. Two were still clutching their manly parts, one of whom was frothing at the mouth. The leader had been knocked out when his head hit the ground, and the man who got his arm broken would not be moving anytime soon.
The young man arrived next to James. “I’ve already told some other folks to call the police, they should be arriving here in a second. You’re not injured, right?”
“Just a scratch from when they pushed me into the wall. It’s fine, it’s fine.” James waved away the concerns of the young man. “Is there any rope, or anything?” He gestured at the 4 men on the ground.
“Oh. Yeah, that’s right.” The young man turned and shouted at some other spectators.
“Hey! You! Can you ask for a rope? Thanks!” He turned back to James. “I’ll help you make sure these guys don’t run away. Although, I’m not sure you need my help, judging from the fight you just had.”
James laughed bitterly. He kneeled down in front of the only man who was still conscious, one of the two who’d gotten hit between the legs. This was the guy that James hadn’t kicked in the jaw. However, James had hit him quite hard, which was evident from the fact that he still hadn’t really recovered.
“Do you feel like running away?”
The man shook his head.
Another middle aged man brought over some rope from his car. “I was going to go fishing, but I saw this happening instead,” he said.
James, the young man, and the middle aged man tied up the men. None of them resisted.
“Not the best knots you’ve ever seen,” the young man said, “but it’ll do.”
“There was one that escaped earlier, though. I didn’t see his face because of his mask. He had bluish eyes.”
The young man clapped James on the back. “Don’t sweat it. As far as I’m concerned, you couldn’t have done better.”
“Of course. You caught 4 of them! That’s a lot! You didn’t look like you were capable of doing such a thing!” The middle aged man laughed happily.
“Yeah, I guess,” said James. Then, after a moment, he asked, “Do you think I went overboard by breaking that guy’s arm?”
“They lunged at you with knives,” the young man said curtly. “You’d be fully in your rights to kill them, in my opinion. If you had a gun, for example.”
“Yeah, but I definitely could have subdued them without breaking an arm.”
The middle aged man chimed in: “There’s always a possibility that you couldn’t. Better safe than sorry. I’d value my own life much more than a criminal’s arm.”
James nodded. He felt better after talking to the two men.
Eventually, the police came, along with an ambulance. The criminals were taken away, the incident was reported, and James tried his best to describe the man who had gotten away. Since nothing unfortunate had happened, the incident was mainly resolved without a problem. Again, James wondered if he’d encounter some problems due to his status as a minor, but nothing came up. It wasn’t clear if James would require legal documents or anything of the sort, and even if he did, it could all be done later. At least, that’s what the police told him.
James got a bandage that covered the scratch on his arm, despite him repeatedly saying that he didn’t need one. Maybe the paramedics wanted to feel that they didn’t make their trip in vain. Well, they did set the broken arm of the criminal.
After an hour of hassle, James was free to go back home. He walked the rest of the way back. As soon, his mother jumped him.
“James! We were told you were just robbed! Why didn’t you give us a call?”
It wasn’t like James had meant to leave his parents in the dark, but he hadn’t really had a chance. He kind of just The police should have been able to deduce that his home was relatively close by, since he was walking back from school, but they didn’t mention anything, and he didn’t feel like interrupting. Once he was free to go, he decided it was better to walk 5 minutes back to his house and meet his parents in person.
They’d probably been notified by the authorities before James got home.
“......and that’s about it. Nobody was hurt,” finished James. He’d needed to explain what had occurred to his family.
“I have a question,” asked Papa Lu. “When did you learn how to fight?”
“Uhhh, I picked it up from a friend.” The best lie was one based on truth. Evasion by omission and misdirection.
“Yep, a friend.” The beanie could be considered a friend, right? It was overly egotistical and condescending, but it had definitely helped James.
“Haaah. I’m beat.”
James climbed up the stairs to his room, closed the door, and fell face down onto his bed, spread-eagle. His parents were definitely skeptical, but since the police literally told them, “hey, your son just single-handedly beat the shit out of 5 men,” they had no choice but to believe that James had learned fighting from a “friend.”
He rolled onto his back and put his arms behind his head, thinking about the men he had just subdued. It really hadn’t been necessary to break that one man’s arm, but James had done it in the heat of the moment. It was maybe a very cliche problem to have, but James had just acquired great power and the great responsibility that came with it. Well, maybe not great power just yet, but definitely power. He was stronger than the average person, and would only continue to grow.
After some thought, James reasoned that his use of force was justified. If he looked at the situation after it occurred, it may have been excessive force, but when it was happening, James couldn’t possibly have had a clear understanding of the entire situation. For all he knew, there could have been more people waiting. If that was the case, it would have been necessary to completely incapacitate all the men.
There was a level of safety he had to guarantee himself. If he was sure he and all the innocents were completely safe (which he wasn’t sure would ever happen during a fight), he could worry about an appropriate level of force. Until then, he’d use as much force as he needed to feel safe. His own safety was of much more importance than the arm of anyone who tried to attack him.
James closed his eyes. The events that had transpired tired him out mentally. For the first time in a long while, he fell asleep without visiting the dungeon.