Before we start this story allow me to make one thing clear. This content is not affiliated with, endorsed, sponsored, or specifically approved by Supercell and Supercell is not responsible for it. This is a AU. Meaning that this story takes place in an alternate universe. What I transcribe in the following works you are about to witness have no effect on any of my other stories nor do they reflect my opinions of the characters within Brawl Stars. These are my own original interpretations of the brawlers so if you see a character acting strangely from what you would expect don't be surprised or offended. Please just embark on this journey with me through a strange idea I had in my head.
Without further ado, enjoy We're Keeping Her.
Chapter 1: A Simple Mistake
A torrential rainstorm had taken over the night sky. The sound of rushing water blending in with the cars speeding by. The few lamp posts lining the street illuminated the sidewalk for pedestrians navigating the storm. Deep within the dark recesses of the town (hidden between the inky black alleyways and brick townhouses) neon refracted off the sheets of rain.
A large building sat in the bowels of this shady city. A diner of sorts with bright lights and a big sign reading 'Bull's' underneath a giant cartoon skull. The smooth sound of a subtle bass tune could be heard leaking from the front door.
Inside, soft blue and black lights filled the room. Men and women could be seen moving around the diner in 80's-styled attire. The waiters and waitresses dressed in bright white aprons with striped shirts. The smell of grease and cigarettes choked the room's atmosphere, but the emotional environment was lively as ever.
The back corner of the room housed a small dance floor. The black and white tiles seeming to shine under the unique lighting. A large red and yellow jukebox sat against the wall, pulsing with a rainbow of vibrant colors.
In the kitchen, several large gruff men were following orders being barked by their head chef; a young woman with a large black pompadour standing on top of a small footstool. Rather than a white apron, she wore a dark purple jacket with a metallic bat over her shoulder. Her intimidating glare chilling the men to their bones.
Behind the diner, the filthy black alleys reeked from the trash piling up in the oversized bins. The backdoor flying open as two men rushed inside. One, a small stout male with a beanie and dark clothes leading the way. The other a large man standing roughly six feet tall, a large black bag slung over his shoulder. The water they tracked with them causing their boots to squeak under their weight.
They made their way through the kitchen, stealing a glance at the bat-wielding woman as they moved for a door in the corner. A dark stairwell leading to an old wooden door sitting at the bottom. The sound of distant rumbles vibrating the floors.
As they walked into the room, they adjusted to the smell of cigar smoke and organ-quaking bass. Around them, several men sat at a poker table. A woman in a scantily-clad dress made her way around the table with drinks on a platter.
The two men stood in the doorway waiting for the current round to end. They watched as the largest man pushed a large stack of chips forward. Most of the players folding their cards on instinct. One competitor stayed in the game. A small man with a large black hood covering his head. The way his face was hidden in the shadows gave him the look of a grim reaper. The flop was shown; King of Clubs, 8 of Diamonds, and 9 of Clubs.
The air grew heavy as the ball was back in the largest male's corner. They watched as he pushed a smaller pile forward. The smaller male matching him. The next card to fall was the 6 of Hearts. The table and bystanders sat on the edge, waiting for the next move.
The larger male tapped the table signaling a check. The younger male sat silent. With his face hidden there was no clue what he was thinking. The table was surprised to see him push forward some more chips. With the size of their respective piles, it wouldn't hurt them to play but the momentum was now set. The larger male matched his call and awaited the river.
The final card fell like a rock. 2 of Spades. Now the game was set in stone. The final moves had to be made. The larger male checked once more. Without a second thought, the smaller male pushed a chunk of his pile forward. The larger man had enough to match twice over, but with the cards on the ground; a bluff was unlikely.
He took a deep breath, matching the call, using his massive palms to push the necessary token forwards. For the first time since they entered, the smaller man spoke. "Sorry boss, but I believe I've won." He proudly showed his hand. A pair of eights. The dealer looking down at his three of a kind with an impressed face. It was quite a large sum of money to place on a three of a kind. Now the question was, could the boss beat it?
The large male rose from his seat. His massive body nearly touching the top of the low-hanging roof. A few of the men backed off at his sudden movement. The dealer taking a step back from the table.
They all were relieved when they saw him smile. "Not bad…" his voice was low and gravely. The youth in his voice still audible but his incredible bass still shaking the room. He threw his cards on the table, ten of hearts and seven of spades. The bystanders murmured congratulations as he raked in his rewards, "But I'm better."
The smaller man chuckled softly, his voice deep much like his boss's, "Well that's why you're the boss." The sound of his speech almost mimicking the largest man.
The two laughed to themselves, "You almost had me, C." The boss went to signal for the dealer to start the next round, but the soft hand of the server caused him to pause.
She softly whispered in his ear, the large man turning to see the two men standing by the door. He thanked her as he signaled to his previous opponent. The two men leaving the table as they made their way to a branching room.
The smaller hooded male waved the two men over. The room they stood in was barren. A single light bulb hanging from the ceiling above a shabby wooden chair. The boss took over, "Sit 'em down."
The larger of the two men placed the black bag in the chair. The bag shifted as it sat in the decrepit seat a light groan leaking between the fabric. The boss walked around the chair once, inspecting the bag. He rested his hands against the back. "How was your trip?" the bag shifted some more. "Good. Do you know why you're here?" The bag didn't respond, but he didn't stop.
"It's cause you're special. A kid with your talents is like finding raw diamonds above ground. Insanely impossible to find and honestly hard to believe. Talent like yours can be trained to change the world. The issue is… you were wasting your talents in that village." The boss moved past the captured child. As he stood before the body, he smiled down at it. His oversized golden nose ring resting against his upper lip, "However, here… with my family… there is no wasted potential… Crow?"
Behind him, the smaller man slowly removed his hood. His large gray beak glowing in the dim light cast by the hanging bulb. A large scar resting on top in the form of an 'X'. His cold black eyes emotionless as he looked forward. The eyes of a creature who had lost touch with humanity. His black feathers seeming to suck in all the light within the room.
The boss pointed at him as he continued, "Look at him. The face of a man that has found his calling. When I first found him, he was stealing food from windows. Now, he reaps souls from bodies. Crow, show the kid your daggers." Crow's eyes were still lifeless as he stared at the body bag. The boss angrily faced him, "I said show him."
Crow deadpanned, "His head is covered."
The boss turned back to the body bag, smiling at his mistake. "My apologies. You haven't even seen our faces. Stand up, boy." He lifted him to his feet. The kid just reaching his waist. He kept his eyes closed as he effortlessly ripped the bag off. Without looking back, he pushed the kid back in his chair. "Don't mind the barren room, the top is much nicer."
The two men in the corner smiled on as their boss continued his pompous speech. Crow's eyes were still lifeless, but he squinted as he stared past his leader. The boss let out a deep chortle, "Excuse me. I haven't even introduced myself. My name is… well, my real name doesn't matter. Most members of the family just call me boss. But I like you… so you can call me… Bull."
Bull fiddled with his golden nose ring as he smirked at his introduction, "Now that you know mine. Tell us… what's yours?" He stayed silent awaiting a response, "Scared? I understand."
"That… or she's asleep…" Crow muttered.
Bull looked his way at the statement. "Asleep? …SHE?!" Bull whipped around to the kid. Sitting in the chair, their hands cuffed together, was a small girl with a bear pelt atop her head. The child was dressed in a teal robe with a blue paw necklace resting on her chest. Bull and Crow slowly approached; her mouth parted as a light breeze escaped her lips. Her extra sharp K-9 teeth were comparable to daggers.
Bull stood up straight as he processed the image. His neck snapping in the direction of the two men that brought the child. They both were smiling as he slowly approached them. His face was not enraged but confused, "What are your names again?"
The smaller of the two spoke up, "I'm Zoran. And he's Reginald, sir!" he stood straight with a smile as the larger male just grunted.
"Great… Tell me (cause my memory is foggy), what did I tell you to do?"
"To grab the special kid, sir!"
"That's what I thought." Bull used his left hand to grip Zoran's shirt, lifting him high above his head. Reginald moved to stop his boss but was quickly immobilized by a punch to the gut. The air rushing from his lungs as he doubled over in pain. With Zoran above his head, he pointed to the girl, "Who is that?"
"It's the kid!"
Bull took a deep breath. His voice was calm but filled with a hidden rage, "I said the kid with the superpowers. Not some random girl." His grip tightened as he slammed him against the wall again. Below him, Reginald tried to stand up only to be crushed under Bull's heel.
Zoran shook the growing headache and formed a response, "W-Well sir, this girl was being treated like a little idol in the village. And you never told us the gender."
He smashed him against the wall again. "Excuses," he grunted.
"P-Plus! It was dark and hard to see!"
"And that's just bullshit." Bull sighed as he pinched the brim of his nose, "I swear. What happened to efficiency? Reliability?" Bull put Zoran down as he looked back at the child. Crow was poking her cheeks and inspecting her arms. Bull whistled to get his attention, "Get my Triple-Barrel."
Zoran flinched at the mention of the devilish device that Bull created. He tried to sneak past him, but Bull palmed his face without looking. With minimal effort, he lifted him and smushed his face against the walls again. Crow walked out of the room, ignoring the pained mumbles of Zoran and Reginald. When he returned Zoran was in tears as Bull just shook his head at the minion.
Crow passed the oversized shotgun to Bull, the massive man gripping it with one hand as he rested the barrel on his stomach. The three giant holes pinching Zoran's liver as Bull fiddled with the trigger. "Come on, Zorak. Die like a man." He pulled the trigger, the sound of light clicks filling the room. Bull checked the gun, pulling the trigger some more before turning to Crow. "Did you check if it had ammo?"
Crow put on his forced smile, "Sorry. I do not use guns."
"Go get me some ammo." Bull watched Crow slowly slink out the room. "Damn… there just isn't good help anymore. First Reggie down there can't take a punch." He turned to Zoran, "You can't properly kidnap a child. Next, you're gonna tell me that B-"
Bull paused as he had a realization. He looked to the two minions that screwed up, "I didn't just send you two." In a rage he stomped down on Reginald's back, his ribs cracking like popcorn under his feet. His anger carried over to the unlucky Zoran whose head was still in his grasp. The sickening thud of his skull smashing against the stone wall would have churned the stomachs of anyone listening. The smaller male slid down the wall as a little crack was left where he was slammed.
Bull threw open the door as Crow turned a corner with shotgun shells in hand, "WHERE'S BROCK!?"
The smell of freshly tilled dirt is oddly pleasing. That natural scent that you can only get from the great outdoors. The clean air, the blue skies, the creepy critters running down your spine.
'Something about that feels off…'
He opened up his crust-filled eyes. His body aching from sleeping on the cold, hard ground. He tried to scratch his head but felt his arms bound behind his back. The taste of twine filling his mouth as he bit down on a rope gag. His mind started racing as he tried to remember what happened last night.
The events flew by in a blur. He and two of Bull's cronies were sneaking through the village. A tiny tent with two people sleeping inside. Then he remembered getting tripped by some strange tool.
'Those punks left me?!' he raged internally. He tried to sit up, but his feet were bound together as well. He tried screaming for help, but his voice was muffled by the gag. His eyes wandered around the room he was in. There was no flooring like a modern home. The table he saw against the wall was about as high as his shins and made of unpolished wood.
As his head wandered, he came face to face with the beady eyes of a deer. His body locking up till he saw it was just a stuffed head. He followed the neck expecting to see a mantle connected, but instead saw a thick trail of blood pooling on the floor. His blood chilled at the sight, the carcass in the corner spilling a deep crimson red. A blood-stained blade protruding from its torso.
The African American male squirmed as he started to realize his location. 'Why Me?!' He wriggled on the ground, his blue jean jacket and white shirt getting smudged as he tried to move. He threw himself on his back, finally getting to a sitting position. Using the tiny table as a brace, he hoisted himself to his feet. The now hopping man celebrating his regained mobility.
He took a second to inspect the room. He noticed the walls were made of some strange fabric. He rubbed against it with his elbow, a strange leathery feeling yet somewhat flesh-like. On the table, he saw a large bow with some strange ballpoint arrows to the side. The bow's ends decorated with what seemed to be eagle heads.
He turned back to the partition in the strange room. A little inkling of light seeping inside. Slowly, he hopped towards the exit. His heart racing as he tried to formulate a plan. His progress was halted when the tarp was pushed open, a giant man making his way inside. The male fell backward on his rear, his eyes meeting the giant's.
There was a drastic difference in their faces. The trapped man was filled with fear and confusion, a desperate cry for help in his eyes. The new giant was frustrated or rather annoyed at his presence. He watched as the giant man snatched the blade from the deer's body. He started screaming under his gag to voice his discourse. The giant man slowly approaching him. He watched as the giant clever stood high above his head, like a guillotine during the French revolution.
The sound of a fatherly voice stopped the giant. Tomo turned around causing the trapped man to follow his stare. Standing at the entrance was a large male. Not massive like the monster that entered first, but a very intimidating build on his body. He noticed the large chest and broad shoulders that he must have gained with rigorous training. Though the strangest part of him was the Eagle head he wore like a hat.
"There is no need to slaughter this one."
Tomo grunted as he moved past the newcomer, using the cleaver to cut and tear at the deer. The trapped man watched as the newcomer slowly walked towards him. He seemed to pull a primitive knife from thin air. He squirmed and begged for forgiveness, but he stopped fighting once the man stood behind him. His body clenching up, as the new man slowly cut the rope gag from his mouth.
He took a deep breath, working his jaw before he spoke, "Thanks…" His voice was a higher pitch than the others. More upbeat like a pop singer but still masculine like a mobster.
"My apologies, my people were very scared when you suddenly appeared last night. Had I been awake, I would not have let them separate you from your friends," he removed the restraints on his arms next. "We have not been given proper introductions…" the Eagle-headed man sat down with his feet under his rear. "My name… is Bo. I am the leader of this village."
The outsider massaged his chin while he worked his shoulders, "Name's Brock."
"Brock. We share the same first letter." Bo slowly moved his hands behind his back. When they were within view, the knife was gone. The two sat in silence for a second; the only sound gracing the air being the voices of people outside and the sound of slicing flesh from Tomo. Brock was about to break the silence when Bo continued, "Tell me… why have you come to our village?" A soft smile on his face as he awaited a response.
Brock gulped as his mind started to race. Their true intentions needed to stay a secret. Based on Bo's question and his kindness, he assumed Bo didn't know what happened last night. "We were just a group of sightseers that got a little too close for comfort."
"Yeah! When we saw the village, we thought it was abandoned so we just walked in to look at all the tents. Ya'know? Like a nature reserve?"
"You thought the village was abandoned?" Bo slowly walked towards the opening, pulling the tarp back, "Then what about the giant pyre we had burning all night?" Directly in front of them was a giant wooden structure. A giant billow of black smoke disappearing in the sky as three villagers threw water at the base.
Brock started sweating as Bo slowly closed the tarp, shutting them off from any observers. Bo's smile was still small as he returned to a seated position before Brock. He looked down to the side as if to ponder something, "Tomo…" The giant stood behind him, his giant clever resting against his hip. "I shall give you another chance. Why did you visit our village?"
Brock could feel his heart palpitating at the growing threat. The air in what he assumed to be a massive tent seemed to be choking him. "O-Okay… we came to steal your food." Brock tried to look away from Bo's dangerously calm stare.
Bo's smile grew, "Well… you told half the truth. The villagers that captured you told me they saw your two men throw a black bag inside a vehicle. However, we keep a very sharp check on our food supplies. When I heard you were captured, I told them to run an inventory check on all our food. An apple or two was taken but… not enough to fill that bag your men ran with. So I ask again… what did you take?"
Brock was starting to lose it. 'He knows… he knows and he's just toying with me… he's gonna kill me.' He tried to reason out how to deal with his predicament. Thinking about how telling the truth might save his skin. Then he remembered the punishment for betraying Bull. "Okay, you got us. We stole your treasures."
Bo's smile grew larger, "No… we are not a village that would waste our time on such worldly pleasures. Though the few trinkets we do keep are under close guard," Bo tapped Tomo's arm. Brock watched as the giant passed the large bow to Bo. He knocked an arrow but hadn't pointed it yet, "One more chance…" he aimed for Brock's head. "What… did… you take?"
Brock started panicking, "Come on man. You're not gonna shoot me with fake arrows, right? You don't seem like the kind of guy to torture."
Bo's smile grew dangerously large, "My friend…" Bo let an arrow fly. Brock shook as a tiny explosion rocked the ground beside him. The dirt that flew from the tiny crater colliding with his sweaty face. He slowly turned back to Bo, "There is nothing fake about these arrows."
The three men turned to a new voice. Brock saw a small boy appear from behind. He wore radically different clothing than his chief or the monster Tomo. A bright green hoodie with a red felt-tongue dangling above his face plus two blue buttons on his head. Upon closer inspection, he noticed the sewn-on tail and bright yellow stripe running down his back. The hoodie gave him the look of a cartoon chameleon.
Bo turned to the boy, "Why are you here little one?"
Another body rushed into the tent. A large dark-skinned woman with a comically large afro filled with random flowers and leaves. She stood a little higher than Bo, her body muscular as she bent over panting for air, "I'm… sorry… Bo. He outran me." Her British accent grabbing their attention. Brock didn't hear what she said, his eyes were focused on the chiseled abs she showed under her purple tank top.
"Hey, sexy thang!" Brock called while he sat on the ground. He tried his best to get in a cool position with his legs still bound, "What's yo name?"
"Rosa," she deadpanned.
"Name's Brock. Yaknow, I'm not a big nature guy but… (heh) I'm trying to stop and smell your roses~"
Rosa and the other villagers just stared at the pickup line. "Right. Now Leon we need to leave them alone. The adults are talking." Rosa reached down to take his arm. The boy snatching it away.
"I'm not some little kid! I'm 16!"
Brock scoffed at the statement, "Pretty short for a sixteen-year-old."
Leon groaned before turning back to Bo, "I need to talk to you."
Bo looked back to Brock, "I am currently conducting village business. We shall talk later. Now go."
Rosa grabbed his arm. Leon tried to fight back but her grip was unbreakable. As she dragged him away, he shouted one final phrase, "I can't find Nita!" Bo didn't stop looking at Brock. The outsider's eyes widening at the boy's statement. Rosa stopped pulling when she heard his problem. The small boy escaped her distracted grip running up to Bo. He didn't stand in front of him, but he could see part of his face from the side. "When I woke up this morning… she was gone. I went to Rosa and Bea's greenhouse, but she wasn't there so I came looking for you. Rosa kept telling me to wait till you were done, but I'm worried. She's never gone this long."
Bo's face was hidden under the beak of his eagle hat. The only visible section was his mouth. An emotionless expression that no one could read, "Have you tried checking the woods?"
"Of course, I checked the woods, I didn't see her at any of her usual spots."
"The shadows hold many secrets. Perhaps you haven't been looking in the right places."
Bo finally raised his head, his eyes visible. An intense gaze staring down at Leon as he gruffly stated, "Go."
Leon stood down at the change in his mood. His face was hidden under his hood, but his mouth showed his emotions. A frustrating amount of anger at being dismissed by his chieftain. The boy walked past Rosa as she apologized for the interruption.
Now it was Brock, Tomo, and Bo. The three men sitting in the giant tent silently. A breeze flew through the opening, the few hairs that stuck out of Bo's hat dancing in the wind. He turned to Tomo, "Get the water and wax."
Brock started floundering, "L-look man. I haven't done anything wrong. I'm just a minion. I would never do anything to harm your pretty village."
Bo didn't respond, he just stared at Brock. His eyes were hidden but his lips were turned downward. When Tomo returned he had two bowls in hand; one was filled with fresh water, the other had little steam lines rising with molten wax inside.
Brock watched as Bo approached the two bowls. "Grab our friend a seat." Tomo exited again, Bo turned to Brock. "The hands never lie. All the atrocities people commit, the lies they tell, the secrets they keep. It can all be seen on one's palms. They are like gateways to the soul. When our people die, we wrap their arms in wax and cloth to keep them preserved just long enough to be judged by the great Hukm in the afterlife." Bo took a deep breath before dunking his hands inside the wax.
Brock watched as he ground his teeth, baring the pain as he grew accustomed to the feeling. He slowly turned to Brock, his face fully visible. His eyes were no longer soft and condescending, now he openly showed his malice. Tomo returned with a small wooden chair. He forced Brock into the seat, holding his shoulders down from behind. Bo once again pulled the knife from behind his back, "What I have just done, is preserve my hands. My legacy, my life. So that what happens next, can easily be wiped away."
"I swear… we didn't wanna take the girl. The boss told us too." Brock tried to move but Tomo's massive palms were like cinderblocks. "W-What are ya gonna do?"
Bo looked down at his knife, then threw it away. The blade settling on the dirt floor, "I'm not gonna do anything."
Brock looked to Bo for some explanation, until a sharp pain graced his cheek. He reached up to touch the spot, a small amount of blood gracing his fingers. "Hundreds of years ago the Ardacians would kill their enemies… with 100 cuts to the body." Brock looked around the room. He turned to Tomo and Bo for the source of the voice, but their mouths were sealed shut. The soft voice continued speaking, "They would be very careful to avoid any major arteries… so that the victim would stay alive for as long as possible."
In a shimmer of smoke, a green figure appeared beside Bo. When he showed up, three more cuts appeared on Brock's body. A matching cut on his opposite cheek, and two slits on each side of his neck. The warm blood trickling down into his shirt. The boy that had revealed the missing girl when he first entered the tent, appeared from thin air. Within his hands were four circular razor blades, their teeth spiked as if to cut metal. "You have just experienced your first 4 cuts."
Brock shivered at the realization. Before it was just fear talking, but now he was sure. 'I'm gonna die.'
Leon stood ahead of him, looking him directly in the eyes. Leon got close enough for Brock to see one of his eyes, a bright green jewel that seemed to shine like gemstones. Brock found his voice stuck in his throat as Leon spoke, "You get one more chance. Where… is… my sister?"
Brock lost all control of his tongue, "It was you…" The men within the tent all paused at the statement. Brock's sliced face was mystified by Leon's presence, "It was supposed to be you."
A strange sound filled the expansive tent. Bo moved past Leon, reaching into Brock's pocket. There was a strange device with the words, 'Hot Head', in all caps. Bo presented the device to Brock. Leon backed up, his face disappearing under his hood. Brock refocused, his head feeling fuzzy as he started adjusting to the new stimulus.
He took the phone from Bo, whimpering when he saw the name. He shakily swiped the answer button, "Hello?"
Brock recoiled as a muffled voice roared from the device. Tomo stared on in wonder at the tiny device's ability to talk. Leon and Bo were a little more experienced with such wizardry. They had seen Rosa and Bea using similar devices within their greenhouse, they believed it was called a 'telephone'.
"Umm…" Brock continued. "I made a mistake… I know… Sir please you have to understand." The village-men watched as Brock's face contorted, "He's right here!" The hostage fell silent as he waited for a response. Brock locked eyes with Bo. He took the phone from his ear putting it on speaker mode, "They can hear you."
The man on the other line cleared his throat, "Am I speaking to the leader of Ardacia?"
"I am Bo, yes."
"Bo… name's Bull. I don't believe we've met. I am the leader of the most notorious gang in Retropolis. I also own the greatest diner west of Brawltopia."
"I don't believe you called to brag about your achievements."
They listened as the gruff man chuckled in the background. "Right… business. I believe I have something you want."
Leon roared into the phone, "Where's my sister?!"
"The girl… she was not our goal. My companions are… incompetent. An honest mistake, you understand right?"
Bo took the lead again, "Return the child at once."
Bull clicked his tongue, "Now, now… I don't know how it's done in your primitive little reality, but here in civilization. Nothing is free."
Bo and Leon groaned at the stipulation, "What do you want?" Bo asked.
"Well for starters, my underling back." Brock's breath caught in his throat; he was getting turned into a bargaining chip. Worst than that, he wasn't enough by himself. "Plus, well from how the boy jumped at the bit. I'm guessing this little peach is worth a pretty penny."
Leon felt his blood boil. Bull made it sound like Nita was a product. Bo calmed him down as they listened to Bull's demands.
"I want… let's say, 3,000 emeralds for the tike?"
Bo and Leon flinched at the value. Bo was not lying when he said their village did not value money. Their current emerald count might be just below 1,000.
"So… do we have a deal?"
Bo took a deep breath. His brain processing the possibility of gaining the currency required. Just as he thought up a response Leon jumped forward, "We'll get the money. We just need time."
"You have a week."
Bo allowed the stipulation to sink. "Deal."
Bull let out a menacing laugh, "We'll meet in the desert just outside of Tara's Bazaar. Pleasure doing business with ya."
"Wait! Let me talk to her!"
The line fell silent for a moment, "I would love to let you talk to her. But she's fast asleep… wouldn't wanna wake your little sister, would we?" Leon strained to speak up but Bull continued, "Oh and Brock…"
"Be nice to your new friends."
The sound of the line cutting left the room in silence. In a rage, Leon let eight blades fly from his hands. The dangerous discs ripping through the animal skin tent. A few villagers noticed the outburst, peaking into the tent to see what caused the mess.
From the front tarp, Rosa peeked her head inside. "What happened?"
Bo took off his eagle hat, his long black hair falling on his shoulders. He moved to the cool bowl of water and rag, "This is going to take a while to explain."
Bull put down his phone. What started as a call to punish Brock turned into an incredibly profitable deal. Blending in with the shadows, Crow crept up to Bull's desk. "So, you made another steal?"
"Trust me, with time… you'll learn how to be a businessman."
Crow's face was still flaccid, but his mind was deep in thought. "I'm confused. Wasn't the goal of the mission to retrieve a superhuman boy?"
Bull reached for a large maroon cigar box. Casually lighting a stogie as he explained, "You weren't listening my friend. Brock said, 'He's here.'" Bull tapped the ashes off the tip, "And did ya hear that boy screaming about his sister. That… is our target."
Crow nodded his head, the mechanisms in his mind starting to connect the dots. Though he still felt like he was missing some points, "How do you know the boy will be there?"
"Based on her size and his demeanor, he's the older brother. No way in hell he doesn't show up."
"And if he does?"
"We snatch him up alongside the money. And we dump the girl off with them." Bull stood up from his desk, making his way towards his office's door.
Crow held the bottom of his beak, "Why not keep the girl as well."
Bull walked outside; the few members of his gang allowed downstairs congregating around a small TV. "I'm not taking care of some bratty little girl." Bull looked towards another room branching off from the main area. "How's she doing anyway?"
"She woke up this morning with a million questions. Been a while since I was annoyed by another creature."
Bull slowly cracked open the door, inside was a small air mattress and a bunch of toys. The child was sitting down gazing at a doll they gave her. "What's her name?"
"I believe she called herself, 'Nita the Mighty'."
Bull slowly entered the room, trying his best not to startle her. Nita snapped in his direction, waving brightly up to the mob boss. Bull inspected their surroundings, the room they kept her in was originally used for storage. A few boxes could be seen on the sides. The toys she played with were older dolls that Bull's cousin fished out from her house.
He cleared his throat before speaking, "Hello Nita." He tried his best to make his normally gravelly voice sound soft and friendly.
The girl smiled back, her voice high-pitched and shrill. "Hi~."
Bull crouched down to her level, "Having fun?"
Nita looked down at the doll, "Nah… kinda bored. Usually, I would be playing tag with my brother right now."
Bull nodded with her response, "Yeah, I guess it is pretty boring. But it's best you stay here. Much safer than being out there."
Nita turned her nose up, "I'm not scared of nothing!"
Bull smiled at the tiny terror. He patted her head, shifting the bear pelt atop her scalp. "I bet you aren't. You look pretty strong."
"I'm the strongest in my village!"
Bull chuckled softly, "Sure you are. Can you show me some muscle?"
Nita made a fist, flexing her small biceps. Bull was surprised to see a small bump forming, a sign of actual muscle development. "Wow… Well you showed me yours. How about you see mine." Bull slowly lifted his arm. With all his might, he flexed his bicep. His veins bulging out grotesquely. Nita's mouth hit the floor at the image, "Tell me… ever seen muscles like this?"
"Not even Mr. Bo's that big."
Bull snickered, "Didn't think so."
Nita's eyes were sparkling, "You're awesome Mr… Mr?"
"Call me Bull."
"That's a animal name," she giggled.
"So it is."
Nita was enjoying the conversation. When she woke up inside the strange room the first thing she saw was a giant bird, dressed in black cloths. She remembered the bird talking funny and giving her strange toys. Talking to another human was a nice change.
She was going to say more but Bull began to walk out the tiny room. Before he could leave, she asked a final question, "Where am I?"
Bull paused on his way out. "A safe place."
Crow watched their interaction from the doorway. Bull was surprisingly patient with the child. Listening intently and answering sincerely. When Bull got to the door, Nita excitedly called to him. She kept repeating the words 'Bird Person' as she waved in his direction. Crow awkwardly raised his arm, waving back to her.
As Bull slowly closed the door (an odd yet warm smile on his face) they saw Nita throwing her toy towards the nearby wall. Screeching in delight as it shattered into pieces. When the door shut, Bull's demeanor changed drastically. His face sunk inward as he looked to Crow, "I hate children."
"You had me fooled."
"Getting to the top takes more than just strength. You need social skills. It pays to be a people pleaser, especially if those people can get you money. But kids are so hard to workaround. The little monsters can change their entire demeanor at the drop of a dime. Luckily that also makes them easy to impress." Bull made his way up the stairs to the kitchen.
As they entered, they were greeted by several chefs. Others were rushing around to keep up with the growing orders. They approached the punkish woman, her bat currently pinning a worker against the wall. "Shauna asked for that triple bacon burnout 15 minutes ago! How long does it take you to make a fucking sandwich?!"
Bull sighed at the scene, "cuz…"
The girl didn't hear him over the chef's pleading, "I'm sorry ma'am. I swear I was told to prepare the order for 12 chicken tenders first."
"You don't do shit unless I tell you too!"
Bull spoke a little louder, "Cuz."
The girl continued her attack, "How about I give you an early vacation? Reason for time off? Near-fatal injury!"
She turned at the mention of her name. Her vision clearing up when she saw Bull. "Oh, sup little cuz."
Bull groaned at the phrase, "You know I am your boss, right?"
Bibi chuckled at the comment. She let the chef go telling him to get that order finished in five minutes or lose a finger. "No matter how big you get, how much money you have, or your status in this world. You will always be my little Buru(ブル)."
Bull felt his temper rising from her blatant disrespect. "Listen I just wanted to thank you for giving the girl those toys."
"Don't mention it. By the way… how long we keeping the brat?"
"Not long… just a week."
"A week? Ugh… I'm not watching that kid for seven days."
Bull threw his hands up, "Don't worry. I'll have my men take turns guarding her door. She's gonna stay in there all day every day. I just need you to check up on her from time to time."
"Cause you're a woman. It's good for her to interact with a girl. Or… the closest thing we have to one."
Bibi raised her bat to his chin, "Watch it."
Bull smiled down at his older cousin. He looked to the side as a sink started overflowing with soap suds, "Better get back to work. Looks like you got a mess to clean."
Bibi noticed the overflowing sink, "Dammit… Maxwell! Get your ass over here and clean this!"
Bull and Crow walked towards the kitchen door. Before they made their way to the main dining room Bull inspected his companion. He had ditched his usual hoodie for a leather jacket much like his, "No hood today?"
Crow shrugged his shoulders, "Most people in the morning seem to like my presence."
Bull thought for a second, "You mean the old salty codgers, right?"
Crow's face genuinely seemed to brighten, "They smell just like death."
Bull laughed as he pushed open the door. The bright lights of the morning sun pouring through the windows. A few older men and women sitting at the counter called for Crow to join them. The birdman gladly joining them as they ate their breakfast. Bull took a deep breath, "7 days before everything changes."
A/N: Before I leave let me respond to some of my reviewers:
Wheelerfortune: Saw you commented on Chapter 1 of Ranto. Hope you finish and enjoy the story. If you're reading this of course.
amrven017/AmrutaV: Happy to see you're still reading. Unfortunately, there is no planned sequel for Ranto Academy.
Queenbookerly: I'm happy to see people enjoyed my curious little characters.
And finally remember, if you have a review you want to leave. Leave it. Whether it's good, bad, so-so. I don't care. I love to hear some feedback.
Thank you and I'll see you soon in another one of...
Sammy's Silly Scripts