“Wh-what do you want?” the delinquent asked.
It only made sense that he’d be surprised to turn around and see someone right behind him.
I, for one, only came back to my senses after I’d already walked up to him, so I didn’t have any kind of answer to give him.
Besides, if I told him I didn’t know what I wanted either, it would just cause needless confusion.
“Say something already!”
The two delinquents were voicing their frustration at me.
I didn’t have an answer for them though.
I would’ve typically noped out of the situation as soon as I’d seen it and gone to another convenience store instead, so why did I choose to come forward this time around? I’d popped up next to them before I’d even had time to register my actions.
You trying to get in our way?” asked one of them threateningly.
His words right then were enough to trigger something in me – it made me realize that this situation was exactly like that one back then.
What was I hoping to get out of this? Why wasn’t I running away? And, what was I expecting to happen after all this?
“…Man, just ignore him.”
You ain’t going nowhere.”
By the looks of things, the girl had tried to rip her arm away to no avail.
The grip on her arm was probably so rough that she let out a cry of pain.
I suppose she’d thought it was her chance while the two men were focused on me.
I had time this out right first and foremost.
Before my senses caught up with me, I placed a hand on the man who was gripping onto the girl.
Saving her wasn’t really my goal in doing this.
The meaning behind my actions were all so I could reset the scene to align back with my expectations.
It seemed like the future I was waiting for had become reality.
Mind butting the fuck out?”
Something about the entire situation felt like it had shifted around.
The man whose shoulder I’d grabbed turned around to face me threateningly.
At the very same time, the other man with him suddenly vanished from view.
I wasn’t sure where he’d gone off to, since he was out of my peripheral vision, but if that was the case…
Someone’s arm slipped around my neck, most likely to try to entrap me, but…
I stomped the heel of my shoe on his toes.
His arm around me loosened as he let out a pathetic cry.
Now, if I could just strike his ribs with my elbow, then…
That was the sound of air escaping his lungs after I hit him.
He lost grip on me entirely, his feet stumbling backwards.
It’s been so long that I couldn’t recall when I saw it, but I remembered seeing some kind of TV program showing techniques for self-defense.
I was just trying to replicate what I’d seen, but looks like I’d pulled it off.
Maybe my sudden counterattack had taken him aback, but he was a bit slow on the uptake to attack.
His form was atrocious, and sloppy at that – not to mention slow.
I could’ve just dodged it but, then again, there wasn’t really a need to.
Predicting where he was about to attack, I swung my briefcase at him.
His eyes followed my motions, but his body couldn’t keep up.
I wasn’t sure if he realized what was about to happen, but he watched as my bag went towards him and –
He must’ve bit his tongue when my bag struck against his jaw, and down he went, falling unconscious from the pain.
All’s well that ended well, as the saying went…but, maybe not?
“Hah, hah… You… You’re DONE!”
It seemed like the first guy had gotten a second wind.
In his hands was a sharp piece of metal.
“…You sure you want to use that here?”
“Y-You… You, are, fucking, DONE!”
My words fell on deaf ears.
His pain and shame must’ve knocked a few screws loose, because he was grinning as he waved the knife around.
It was a foldable knife, otherwise known as a butterfly knife, as far as I was aware.
He swung it towards me, as if he wanted to show it off.
“Hah… Ha… D-d-die!”
He’d lost it.
He was out of breath, his mouth was trembling, and blood was running from his eyes.
And, with that look of insanity all over his face, he was still coming towards me.
I’d just have to figure out a way to deal with this.
This is what I’d been looking forward to.
There wasn’t a hint of fear within me.
“YAAAH!” yelled the man.
His knife glinted in the light of the street lamp, and his hostility towards me was so thick a knife could cut through it.
Yeah, this is exactly what I’d been hoping would happen.
My heart was pounding, and thoughts were racing through my mind.
Knowing that this was a fight that would end me if I was touched by that knife blazed an odd feeling through my veins.
It was a battle of life-or-death.
I flashed back to the last time this had happened, to the scenario that I had so longed for.
It was a time where I didn’t run, when my feet only moved me forward, where my mind raced to find the best solution.
The man seemed a bit indecisive.
He wasn’t aiming for anything major like my neck or heart, but my stomach.
I wasn’t sure if he was even willing to go through with it.
It was a horrible attack that completely relied on his weapon instead of experience.
It was nothing like I’d experienced in RL – this attack was slow, weak, and nothing to write home about.
It was full of openings and cowardly to the max.
Evading it was a simple matter, and with a hit to his solar plexus, the fight came to a disappointing end.
“Y-you… I… F–”
He was mumbling something, but I had no idea what he was saying.
I didn’t care either way.
The girl carrying her food had vanished at some point during the fight.
“Hah,” I sighed as I got home.
I was no longer hungry; I hadn’t bothered going back towards the convenience store and just came back home.
When I’d calmed down, I realized I’d done something pretty unbelievable.
I’d won my fight against those delinquents, and hadn’t run at the sight of a weapon.
But the weirdest thing about it at all was I’d enjoyed it.
One wrong move, and I could’ve died, but even still…
“What the hell is wrong with me?” I lamented while laying on my bed.
It wasn’t like I had an answer, though.
“…What is this?”
I wasn’t hungry.
I wasn’t tired.
I felt like that fight with the delinquents hadn’t been enough – my body was still raring to go.
I felt like I’d only experienced it in half-measures, and my body was ready for more and more.
I couldn’t understand it.
RL floated to my mind against my wishes.
I’d quit playing, but my hand reached for the helmet of its own accord.
“Dang, I was supposed to be done with this thing…”
I’d only been playing every day out of habit since the day I’d bought it, but today, suddenly I felt a kind of need to play it.
“Well, maybe for just a little while…”
I wanted…a fight.
I wanted…to be in the world of RL again.
I'm messing around with different ways to call attention to single-line paragraphs without forcing some weird formatting, but I may stick with the random hyphens.
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