Chapter 19:

Volume 1, Chapter 15: A Symphony of Mangled Limbs

Parable of the Renegades


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AUTHOR'S NOTE:

Hi! Jio Kurenai here!

With the release of this chapter to conclude a short story arc, I would like to announce (as much as I hate to do so) that I am going on another hiatus. My Japanese final exam is approaching and I would like to make use of the time I have left to prepare myself the best I can. At the very least, this hiatus will be about as half as long as the last one where I took a month off because I went on vacation. As soon as my exams are over, I will get back to work and I can't wait to present the next chapter!

That being said, I won't disappear completely and I will continue to remain active on Honeyfeed, but as a reader and not a writer while my hiatus in ongoing. Afterall, it's nice to take a short break from studying once in a while and what better way than continue showing my support and giving my likes, feedback or comments to my comrades in arms!

As usual, feel free to leave a comment below. It can be anything like a random question, a comment for fun or any constructive criticism to help me improve!

A "LIKE" WOULD DEFINITELY BE APPRECIATED! YOU WILL BE HELPING YOURSELF AS WELL BY GIVING POINTS TO YOUR BADGE! COMMENTS GIVE MORE POINTS, BY THE WAY! ;)

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Previously, Rio Kiyodera was killing time by spending the day exploring the town of Cameron's Feint while waiting for Lucas to return home from school. During her exploration, Rio came across one of the many alleyways in the area and decided to look for the same place where she attempted an assassination - one that led to her now former target escaping, a group of casualties named the "Knights of Viola" and her encounter with Lucas. The place was like a maze, but the issue didn't bother Rio as she still had a lot of time to kill.

After turning around several corners and making random choices, she eventually found the same narrow corridor where everything happened but also attracted a group of hooligans lurking nearby.

Her alluring demeanor wasn’t the only reason they swarmed to her. They were also manipulated by her [Influence], which as all [Renegades] possess, triggers a specific emotion in those who step into its range. However, feeling that very emotion before stepping into the [Influence] will lead to an instinctual form of madness associated with it. The only way Rio knew how to stop an affected person was with force. Her [Influence], which covered about a 5-meter radius, triggered what Lucas once described as "climatic happiness" - feelings of intense stimulation that appear to tread lightly in the boundaries of pleasure.

Having tried and failed to convince the four hooligans to leave her alone, Rio was forced to defend herself - a consequence she secretly desired. She was more than happy to "break" every single one of her assailants in the name of guiltless self-defense.

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"Just stay where you are!" The first hooligan insisted to Rio as he charged, driven by instinct. "It probably won't hurt much if you don't move!"

"Very well."

Rio stood her ground with no fighting stance, undeterred as she waited for her opponent to get close enough to her. The hooligan that attacked her first was the tallest and most brawny of the quartet, easily dwarfing the Nihanese girl by several feet. He appeared to be in his early twenties and had a head full of rough, spiky blond hair. His getup was simple, consisting of just a gray zipped-up hoodie jacket with black baggy jogging pants and white rubber shoes.

Although he was unaware of it, his combination of clothing effectively protected him, save for his hands and head from [Rio's Third Law: Reaper's Embrace]. By extension, his fellow hooligans were resistant to it as well. While not exactly the same, they also wore clothes that covered almost every part of them.

Rio wasn't bothered by this. In fact, she was actually feeling the opposite. The hooligans wearing protection meant more time for her to do what she wanted with them.

Hooligan number 1 thrust his right arm and reached out with an open palm, aiming for Rio's throat. Apparently, he intended to strangle her into unconsciousness. Rio anticipated this and simply tilted herself to her left without moving her feet from her spot, avoiding her opponents' attack and at the same time, putting him in a bad position to use his other arm. She also deserved some bonus points for following the hooligan's earlier demand.

The arm thrust apparently had a lot of power put into it as Rio's long raven hair found itself blown back by a tiny gust of wind just as the palm grazed it. For a split-second, she watched the arm pass through her field of vision, putting most of her focus on it to the point that a split second felt like five. Then, when her eye caught sight of the hooligan's elbow joint protruding from his jacket's sleeve, Rio began her counterattack.

『小手投げ Kotenage 小手投げ』 (Armlock Throw)

Her right hand clasped the hooligan's wrist while her left arm coiled around her opponent's elbow joint and reached for her other arm, locking it in place. Once she had the hooligan's arm firmly secured, Rio spun clockwise, assisted by her opponent's momentum. Out of instinct, the hooligan felt that something terrible would happen if he didn't follow Rio's motion. He tried his hardest to keep up with the sudden rotation, only for it to end with him getting tripped by a back-sweep kick.

He fell flat on his belly in front of his shocked comrades. Before he could try to get up, Rio straddled her bigger opponent on his lower back, keeping him pinned to the ground while still keeping his arm straight and trapped with an armlock.

Desperately clawing his nails to the ground and attempting to lift himself up with his free arm, the hooligan tried to struggle his way out. Unfortunately for him, Rio had already begun her next move before her opponent could even try to put up a fight.

She modified her hold, placing an open left palm on the hooligan's right shoulder blade while her other arm snaked itself around the elbow joint. Taking a deep breath, Rio braced herself as she levered her opponent's arm in a direction where it was not meant to bend, all while her left palm applied a sudden burst of pressure down on the shoulder blade.

Silence filled the alleyway... until the disgusting sound of an unplugged joint and a wet snap echoed across it. The hooligan's comrades cringed with their arms bracing their stomachs, their insides churning to the sight of an arm getting broken and dislocated in quick succession.

The victim of this painful torture screamed in such an unlikely high-pitched voice that nearby windows were shattered down to countless shards.

Rio held her head up high, an eye closed as she fully immersed herself in the pleasantries. Unlike everyone around her, the sound of bones breaking and the cries of an opponent's agony were music to her ears. Such a sound couldn't be heard if they were cut down quickly.

"Y-you're horrible!” Hooligan number 1 whimpered. “Y-you could have just punched me in the face!"

"No, I was being nice. I did not tear your arm off," Rio retorted. "And punching you? Ufufufu...Not a chance."

Hooligan number 1 turned his head and got view he could manage of Rio's face. What he saw to his horror was her looking down at him with an amused grin. She had not the slightest shred of remorse as she gave his mangled arm a little twist.

The other members of the hooligan gang broke into a cold sweat. They found it difficult to lift even a finger as they continued to gaze upon their fellow member getting manhandled by a younger and presumably weaker girl that all of them towered over. One of them even lost their appetite and rushed to a nearby garbage can to throw up after catching sight of a bone trying to poke its way out of the first hooligan's mangled arm.

With her current opponent now broken and incapable of putting up a fight, Rio’s interest in fighting him was fading. The other three hooligans were next in her line of sight as she continued to hold the first one hostage. From the narrow gaps they had when standing next to each other with buckling knees, all of them were too afraid to step up.

"Okay... Who wants to try me, next?" Rio asked. Her voice was soothing and lacked any signs of bloodlust, but to the three scared hooligans, Rio was yearning for another sacrifice.

Her call urged the rest of the hooligans to debate and fight amongst themselves. They started to push each other forward, occasionally throwing in a white lie that he was the best fighter among them, but apparently, none of them bought into it.

The conflict among them was amusing at first, but soon enough, Rio lost her patience.

"You have five seconds for any of you to come here and face me... or else."

The rest of the hooligan gang stopped bickering and turned to the girl. They had yet to decide on which one of them should try their luck against this dangerous chick.

Having not yet received an answer, Rio enclosed her hostage's right pinky finger in her hand. [Reaper's Embrace], began its work immediately, but the sudden life drain and accompanying agony was just the beginning of the poor hooligan's worries.

"1."

Rio started to count in a tone devoid of emotion as she slowly bent Hooligan number 1's right pinky finger. A few seconds later, it went beyond its natural limit.

*Crack!*

The sound of a breaking finger was not easy to hear, but the responding cry that followed made it clear that it was no simple matter.

Rio moved on to her hostage's right ring finger and gave it the same treatment.

"2."

*Crack!*

Then came the middle finger.

"3!"

*Crack!*

The counting grew more intense with each succeeding number, Rio was really testing the limits of her patience at this point as she prepared to break the right index finger of her hostage, but before she could snap the digit, the restrained hooligan finally spoke up after realizing it was better than continuing to scream for his life.

"What the fuck are you guys doing!? If you are all afraid of fighting her one-on-one, then attack her at the same time! Forget bringing her unharmed. Grab what you can find here and use them as weapons!"

Despite the first hooligan's call to action, the other three remained hesitant.

"It looks like your attempt to rally your friends was not enough," Rio told her hostage. "Allow me to help you." She beamed a devil's smile as she offered assistance in the form of...

"4!"

*Crack!*

When the first hooligan's index finger broke, the rest of his gang finally had enough of hearing their comrade scream in an unrecognizable shrill.

In angered haste, they scavenged the area around them for anything that could be used as a weapon. In just a few seconds, they were armed with makeshift materials.

Hooligan number 2 grabbed a solid brick that was previously next to a dumpster. Hooligan number 3 held a lead pipe that was longer than one of his arms, and Hooligan number 4... found a pair of nunchucks in a garbage can. Quite an odd place to find such a deadly weapon. Was luck on his side, today?

To Rio, the other hooligans finally looked ready. Before she faced them, she gave Hooligan number 1, her hostage, one last present before letting him go. Interference was not something she was looking for.

『裸絞 Hadaka Jime 裸絞』 (Naked Strangle Hold)

Rio announced the name of this technique in her head as she encircled one arm around her hostage's throat and clasped it to her other arm's bicep, whose hand was holding a firm grip on the hostage's head. With sudden pressure heading opposing directions, Rio constricted hooligan number 1's throat with the intention to stop the flow of blood in his carotid artery. After she was certain that the hold was firmly secured, Rio whispered to her hostage some parting words.

"Your assistance is no longer needed."

In just a second after hearing those words, the now strangled hooligan’s vision was engulfed in darkness. His eyes rolled to the back of his head and heaps of foam gushed out of his mouth.

Her hostage was now put out of commission. Rio got up to her feet and walked forward a few steps just as the other hooligans began to charge in her direction.

With how easy it was for her to manhandle Hooligan number 1, Rio was feeling very generous this time. She gave herself some vows to keep until the fight was over, all for the sake of giving herself a challenge:

1. Do not initiate the first move. Stick only to counterattacking.


2. No striking.


3. No moving away from your current position until someone gets defeated.


4. Don't fulfill the conditions of any [Laws].


5. Keep your eyes shut.

6. Failure to follow any of the above will result in a penalty of allowing one unguarded hit from anyone.

With the second to the last vow's terms, Rio had subjected herself to defending in self-imposed darkness. She relaxed with calm and steady breathing, enclosing the range she can hear to only what was coming her way. Within this limited space, her other senses sharpened as she listened for disruptions in the air around her, a skill she picked up from her immersion in martial arts.

The whisper of a long, thin and solid object tearing across the air was what she heard first. If Rio had to guess, this was Hooligan number 3, who wielded a lead pipe and he was attempting to smash her with his weapon, horizontally.

Rio avoided the blow by ducking at the last possible second. Hooligan number 3 was unable to stop his momentum from running and he ended up going past his opponent.

As a result, Rio was now effectively surrounded in the narrow alleyway, but this didn't bother her at all. In fact, she was actually a bit thrilled that things were starting to get more difficult.

Continuing to listen to the sounds that filled the air, Rio determined the next move from the hooligans to be a pincer attack. From either side of her, something was coming. From behind her, she heard the same tearing sound again. Clearly, this was Hooligan number 3, but he swung his lead pipe down this time.

The other sound appeared to be coming from a thick object, and it was heading for her directly. Rio was a bit baffled with this one.

Is it the one with the nunchucks?

Time flowed slower as she asked herself this question.

No... I should be hearing chains if that was the case.

Then, Rio detected the sound of rocky particles scrapping away from the object.

Now I know... this one is using a brick to increase the power of his punch. Then the best way to deal with you is...

Hooligan numbers 2 and 3's attempt to strike Rio at the same time was indeed a synchronized pincer attack. Unless Rio decided to break her rule of not moving away from her spot, her pretty little head was going to be, without a doubt, crushed by the crossfire of weapons. Blocking without anything to assist her would also be useless. A brick and a lead pipe will certainly cause her injury even if nothing vital was struck. In this situation, there was only one option for Rio to escape without moving away for even an inch.

『転換 Uke Nagashi Tenkan 転換』 (Collapsing Motion Deflection)

Rio appeared to lose her balance just as the two weapons were about to hit her. As she toppled over, she spun counter-clockwise with her arms outstretched, letting her two open palms gently go with the flow of the two weapons. They were redirected away from her, but at the same time, gained a boost to their momentum.

Rio stopped herself by planting a foot to the ground, breaking her fall as she stood between the lead pipe and brick that harmlessly passed around her, and straight to the faces of their opposite wielders. Thanks to a parrying technique that was executed with ample timing, Rio managed to avoid the pincer attack from Hooligans 2 and 3 by redirecting their attacks and making them knock each other out at the same time with double the force they exerted... All without opening her eye or moving away from her spot.

Although Hooligans 2 and 3 were soundly defeated, Rio didn’t desire a victory by knockout. If she wanted her enemies to be unconscious, then she wanted to snap at least one limb before letting that happen. Besides, with no violent sounds around her, Rio deduced that Hooligan 4 was still too afraid to attack her. She found herself a bit of time before he could change his mind.

Quickly grabbing hold of Hooligan number 2's right outstretched arm before his unconscious body could hit the ground, Rio threw him over her shoulder. The impact on the ground stunned him and set him up for her next technique.

『腕挫十字固 Ude Hishigi Juji Gatame 腕挫十字固』 (Back Lying Cross Armbreaker)

Rio positioned herself perpendicular to Hooligan number 2. She continued to hold on to her opponent's wrist, but at the same time trapped the rest of his arm between her legs as she lay flat on her back. The position their bodies were locked in resembled a deformed cross from a bird's eye view.

Not wasting any time, Rio arched her hips up while keeping Hooligan number 2's arm secured by squeezing her legs around it. The poor hooligan’s arm hyperextended past its limit in the wrong direction, leading into...

*KRRAAAAACK!!!!!*

...a graphic and brutal snap around the elbow joint that left his right arm powerless and dangling past the elbow. The pain was excruciating, enough to wake Hooligan number 2 up from unconsciousness and wail all his might to Rio's pleasure.

With another hooligan left screaming and rolling back and forth on the ground in defeat. Rio moved on to number 3, who was already lying on his back and out cold on the ground.

Let's see here...

Rio held a finger to her lips as she pondered on how to finish Hooligan number 3, off.

He's most likely flat on his back... An armlock might be nice, but then again, I already gave the last two guys that treatment... Hmm... Alright, I'll go with this...

Rio hammered a fist into an open palm as she came up with an answer.

Feeling for, then raising hooligan number 3's left leg up, Rio chose to attack this particular limb for once.

『足挫 Ashi Hishigi足挫』 (Achilles Tendon Lock)

Coiling her left arm around hooligan 3's ankle, Rio fell backward and laid herself down once more, but this time, she was straight away from Hooligan 3's body, making their position look like a straight line when viewed from above. With steadily increasing pressure, Rio stressed up on the ligament behind hooligan 3's ankle until it snapped like a kite string that was pulled apart.

Just like Hooligan number 2, number 3 woke up screaming in horrible pain. He clutched his left leg and held on to his injured ankle while Rio informed him something special about the hold she used.

"Hey, can you hear me? What I just snapped iss your Achilles tendon. It will heal in time, but you may never walk properly again. There is a reason why some techniques are considered forbidden."

Rio waited patiently for a response from Hooligan number 3. Nothing came. Nothing, but more whimpering and screaming over a small, but important foot ligament.

"No matter." Rio shrugged her shoulders and walked away, opposite to the screaming, and telling herself that he will just have to find out the hard way.

Until now, Rio had yet to open her eye and she intended to keep fighting as if she were blind until all four hooligans had been defeated. No, defeat wasn't enough. She wanted them broken and incapacitated. After all, to her, this was simply self-defense and definitely not a fight she started.

"W-w-what the hell, are those painful-looking moves!?"

Hooligan number 4, the shortest and stockiest of the hooligan quartet, blurted out, shivering as he watched his three comrades get incapacitated one by one. From the way the chains of his nunchucks jangled, it was like the weapon had become afraid too.

With how inferior her four opponents were compared to her, Rio could have chosen to end the fight quickly had she decided to attack her opponent's vital points. With her reliance on technique rather than power, she knew how to bring out the full potential of a punch or kick despite her self-assumed mediocre physical strength. Be that as it may, this manner of victory did not fall in line with Rio's desires. An opponent knocked unconscious with a strike was unsatisfying and boring.

What Rio sought out in a fight was her opponent's cry in agony. Something they themselves would be forced to do as they acknowledge her as the victor.

Now having a concrete sense of Hooligan number 4's fear and having just defeated someone else, Rio walked toward him with hands that trembled violently, knuckles cracking as she flexed and extended her fingers.

"Striking... In hand-to-hand combat, striking is a stale way to win. At best, it should only be used as a distraction. How can you taste victory if your opponent cannot admit he lost?"

Stopping short of the hooligan's feet, Rio pulled off a merciless grin.

"A real fighter with a desire for real victory... relies only on submission holds~"

"HIIIIIIIII!!!!!!"

Hooligan number 4 let out a shrill as he held his hands to his face. He was still feeling the stimulating effect of Rio's [Influence] but as he stared at the girl whose arms were swinging and whose feet were rolling like she was just enjoying her day, he felt nothing but imminent terror.

To him, Rio had become the grim reaper itself. Disguised as a goddess with a promise of paradise, whose ulterior motive was to lead others to the realm of purgatorial torture instead. If dying then passing on was comparable to stepping past a door to another room, Rio tormented her victims by letting them take the first step in then pulled them back out before the door could slam itself shut.

He now knew what Rio intended to do to him. He wanted to flee, but his legs were too frozen to move even an inch. Even though his legs weren't moving, at least his arms were still loose, albeit nervous.

He had no choice. He decided that once Rio got in close enough, he will strike her with all he could give with a mighty swing from his nunchucks. Then maybe after that, his legs will start to feel like they thawed out.

Like a fancy martial artist, he tried to psyche himself up by swinging his nunchucks around him, using them as a makeshift barrier. The chained weapon made distinctive "swish" sounds as it tore through the air, but Rio sensed a disturbance in the sounds it made.

The nunchuck's rhythm was inconsistent. It was clear from the get-go, but far more obvious now that Hooligan number 4 had no idea how to wield them and the smallest distraction will definitely make him fumble.

When she felt like the distance between them was close enough, Rio countered... with a harmless fake-out. It was a scare tactic involving a sudden forward jerk of her face, which was all that was needed to make Hooligan number 4 lose his wits. This led to an accidental self-infliction of swinging his nunchucks to his own skull and he dropped the weapon in the process.

When her ears picked up the sound of wood striking bone, Rio knew this was her cue to attack for real. She rushed in and with a daredevil leap, grabbed on to one of Hooligan number 4's arms before swinging herself behind him. With both her arms and legs, Rio hung on perpendicularly to Hooligan 4's arms, rendering them immobilized. She then threw her weight behind her and with that being done, Hooligan number 4 stumbled backward a few steps before he was taken down with a yelp.

“『クルシフィクス・ホルド!』” (Crucifix Hold!)

With only one opponent left, Rio wanted to use this moment as the grand finale. She couldn't help but call out the name of her technique this time.

Hooligan number 4 found himself flat on his back and pinned down, unable to move his arms, which Rio effectively trapped by wrapping her four limbs around them. He tried to move his legs, but they were useless in this situation. All he could do was struggle helplessly and wait for his imminent demise on Rio's hands.

"I was thinking just now," Rio told her new hostage. "Since you are the last one, I think you deserve something special."

The choice of words made it sound naughty, but Hooligan number 4 was too busy panicking for his life to engage in dirty talk.

"Y-you'll let me go!?" he pleaded with a slight glimmer of hope.

"Even better. You are getting a full set," Rio grinned. "One for both your arms and legs~"

Realizing he was going to have the worst compared to his fellow troublemakers, Hooligan number 4 did what was appropriate and screamed his lungs out.

"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! PLEASE! I DON'T LIKE PAIN!!"

His cries for mercy were ignored. And just like the last move, Rio called out the names of her techniques in tandem with their execution.

“『腕絡 Ude Garami! 腕絡』” (Figure-Four Shoulder Keylock!)

With a quick but vicious twist, Rio easily twisted the hooligan's right shoulder out of its socket in a manner like she was recklessly disassembling a toy...

"AHHAAGAAHHH!!!"

“『足絡 Ashi Dori Garami! 足絡』” (Entangled Leg Dislocation!)

...She followed by locking the hooligan's right leg in her arms before it too was also twisted beyond recognition...

"AARRRRRGGHH!!!!!!!!!"

“『膝挫 Hiza Hishigi! 膝挫』” (Knee Crusher!)

...His left leg's kneecap was shattered by a complex hold that would best be compared to getting caught and ground by a pair of massive interlocking gears.

"GRAAAGHUWWAAAOWWWGAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Only one arm left!" Rio cried.

“『腕挫三角固 Ude Hishigi Sankaku Gatame! 腕挫三角固』” (Triangular Arm Breaker!)

"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I GIVE UP! I SURRENDER!! UNCLE!!! UNCLE-LE-LE-LE-LE-LE-LE!!!!"

“Ufufufufufu... hahahaha!” His cry of surrender was just too hysterical to ignore. It made Rio burst into a state of twisted laughter. "Fine. It is actually better to leave your other arm alone~"

She rose to her feet and now considering herself victorious, allowed herself to open her eye. Rio stood triumphant and unscathed while eyeing four incapacitated hooligans who were all down and out around her, moaning in agony.

"Well, this was a nice way to kill time," Rio with a hand on her hip, said as the twisted looks that once defined her face gradually faded away. She sighed. "But even with all those handicaps I gave you guys, this was still too easy."

Her minor ranting was put to a halt when she heard rapid synthetic clicking nearby. Rio spun on her heel to see Hooligan number 4 desperately trying to do something with a device that was lying flat on the ground.

He had pulled out his smartphone from his pocket and had just finished unlocking it by typing a six-digit passcode on its touchscreen.

"Sorry, but I cannot let you do that."

Rio crouched down, bending her knees and keeping her backside a few inches elevated off the ground as she gently snatched the phone away. An overacting Hooligan number 4 tried to stretch his only good arm out to try and take it back, but Rio held the device away barely past his reach while taking a quick look at it.

The device was colored black, very thin, and had a logo of an ocular symbol on its back.

"An EyePhone," Rio mused as she took a few seconds to look into Hooligan number 4's frightened eyes. "So, you use the same phone as I do, only this one seems to be a more recent model."

"T-this isn't over!" Hooligan number 4 swore. "J-just you wait until the others find out about this. I'm sure the boss will give you what you deserve!"

"Big words from someone who is afraid." With the phone unlocked earlier, Rio began to tap her fingers on its touchscreen before presenting it back to Hooligan number 4 by holding it close enough to his face. "Still, I am willing to give you a chance to see tomorrow if you can just do as I say."

On the phone's screen, the application called "Notes" was being used. Written on the notepad-like app were three written statements in bullet points. Rio dictated each statement out loud as Hooligan number 4 scanned them with his eyes:

*My name is Rio Kiyodera. I am from the Eastern Nation of Nihan.


*I am a [Renegade].


*My boyfriend's name is Lucas Thorne. Tell your boss I am already with someone else and to leave me alone if he questions why you and your friends were beaten down.

"A [Renegade]... Just like - Eh!?" Hooligan number 4 hung his head back when he read the second statement.

"Got it memorized? Now tell me," Rio asked in a soft but firm voice as she pulled the phone away. "How do I remove the battery in this model? I cannot let you call for reinforcements right now and you can always buy a new battery next time."

"Like I'd just tell you how!" Hooligan number 4 barked, still trying to act tough.

Rio narrowed her eye down and let out another sigh. "Then you can buy a new phone."

She stood back up, dropped the phone to the ground, raised one leg up high then crushed the fragile device beneath her heel before the poor hooligan's eyes. Tears were shed as the device was grounded into a mess of shards, circuits, and rising smoke. That phone must have been really expensive for him.

"See? This is what happens when you do not watch your tongue," Rio asserted. "Now, I want you to keep at least the first two statements from earlier a secret as long as you are still alive. Do not tell anyone or else."

"O-or else what!? T-those pieces of info are just t-too good to keep in the b-back of my head!" Hooligan number 4 sobbed.

"Fine. Then you will learn later what happens when you disobey me. Now, crawl back home. We are done here."

Having had enough of dealing with him, Rio walked away from Hooligan number 4 and approached his incapacitated comrades.

"W-what now!? A-are you gonna do the s-same things to them as y-you did to me!?"

"No. That would be too much work. Instead, I will make them pay me."

"W-with what? T-they have no money!"

"They can pay me..." Rio approached the still incapacitated Hooligan number 3 and held a firm grip on his hand. "...with their bodies!"

【法『Rio's Third Law: Reaper's Embrace』法】

Hooligan number 4 could only cover his mouth with his remaining hand and watch in horror as Rio's death touch of a [Law] did its work immediately. Hooligan number 3 shrieked in horrible pain while Rio shined with a weak luster as she absorbed every last bit of his vitality. This went on for a few minutes until Hooligan number 3 was left as a shriveled-up corpse. Rio gave Hooligan numbers 1 and 2 the same treatment after that.

With three out of four hooligans now left as withered corpses, Rio proceeded to walk past the terrified Hooligan number 4 as she dragged the other three hooligans by their legs, letting the rest of their bodies scrape against the filthy terrain.

She finally allowed them to pass through the door to death, but only after she lost interest. Then she tossed them aside.

"I would start crawling back home if I were you," Rio looked eye-to-eye with the hooligan she tried to spare as she walked past him. "Your time is already ticking. Make the best of it."

He didn't understand what she meant, but as soon as Rio turned a corner and left his sight, Hooligan number 4 swallowed a gulp of air and began the painful journey back home by dragging himself with his left hand while enduring the pain of three mangled limbs.

After finding a place to dispose of the three corpses who unwillingly gave their lives to her, Rio despite feeling more than refreshed decided it was time to return. Her clothes were caked to her skin with sweat again, but in addition to that, they were stained with dirt from all the ground combat techniques she performed.

What a bad day to wear the color white...

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