The school bell’s chime carried across the spring’s warm afternoon breeze. A stampede of students, eagerly homeward bound, erupted from the many classrooms and spilled unceremoniously into the wide but still too narrow halls. Despite this, the chaotic traffic managed to make a haphazard attempt to organize itself. Though it was a daily occurrance that managed to miraculously function, some forewent the madness and simply decided to wait out the barely restrained masses. In classroom 3C, Muteki Mayu was one. She leaned her forehead against the corner window, feeling its coldness against her skin, looking out at the sportsfield outside. Although highly accomplished as one of the school’s fighters, she never really had the opportunity to explore anything else but martial arts. Seeing students playing in the field made her wonder what life would have been like with the freedom to join those carefree souls after school in their carefree practices. For her, the path she walked was decided from the moment she was born. It was always the heiress of the Muteki clan. Feh. They should give it to her cousin. He was stronger than her, smarter than her - he was just born to the wrong brother. To put him as the heir would go against tradition, and the clan loved its traditions. She closed her eyes and cleared her mind. It wasn’t long till she opened them to the sound of approaching footsteps. By the accent and cadence of the tread, it was the devil spoken. “Hello Kanpachi,” She uttered “Mayu-sama. Shall I accompany you home today?” His voice was like a straight line “No. I will return after I finish work.” He left with a bow that seemed unfit for his tall frame. Mayu slumped forward and rested her head on her arms, falling asleep. “Hey. You can’t stay here kid. It’s time to go home.” The teacher shook her awake and waited for her to fully rise. Mayu opened her eyes and saw the darkened room around her. She gave a small nod, picked up her belongings and exited the empty school. It was a surprise that she was left in that room for that long. It was late in the evening now. Feeling adventurous, she made up her mind to walk home. Despite the hour, there were still a fair amount of people around. What they were up to, Mayu didn’t know. This part of Shibara wasn’t particularly known for its shops or entertainments, most of which would have been closed by now anyway. But it was welcoming to have the indirect company. It wasn’t until she reached a quiet street that she realized she was being followed. She turned a corner and made a quick glance. Four men. No. More. She saw movement across the street. They likely planned to make their move further in the street, but she turned too soon. Now four more were moving to cut her off. She moved with quiet aplomb though. She had nothing to fear from these ruffians. She tried to lose them without incident, but with their numbers they slowly herded her into a corner. Eight men stood before her with no idea of the mistake they were about to make. Even if she were a helpless lamb, which she was not, her family would sweep through the streets like a purging fire. “I would turn around and leave, if I were you.” Her bold declaration caused the gang to burst into laughter despite the scowl that accompanied it. Or perhaps because of it. “We’re just looking for some money for our starving kids,” One mocked. Mayu pulled out a money clip from her bag, ladened with currency, and threw it at their feet without hesitation. They balked at first, looking back up at her they could see she still had the same scowl - as if this was just some minor inconvenience, an adult dealing with a gang of kids. Then they grinned when the realization hit them that her family was likely very rich. When she saw their expressions she merely rolled her eyes. Dumb men. “I would rather not have to fight you. So please take the money and leave.” They laughed at the subtle threat. They simply stood there until one of them suddenly disappeared in a burst of movement - he uses chi! - and a fist collided with Mayu’s cheek. The blow knocked her back a few steps, bumping her against a wall. It looked like she was going to have to do some explaining to her father later. She rubbed her sore cheek. “Now we want a good time too.” One of them hissed, licking his lips.