Chapter 3:

Dark Side of the Ring

BANG!! Goes the World

Now Entering: Sector 4

You might be wondering after that last romp: What could possibly be the reason for fire benders and electric wizards romping around an urban punk underground? I mean, that's cool, but what exactly are magic wizards doing here? The short answer: Who cares? It looks cool. The long answer: There are established deeper-underground cults who have stoked this magic for years now via elemental exposure. Centuries ago, people like them were executed by the government for blasphemy and the like. Used to be, they consistently existed in the world as standard sorcerers. Nowadays, in the overworld, you show that to anyone and they think it’s merely stagehand tricks. Centuries later, after the medieval times of yore, in the 1960's, small towns passed legislation to let sorcerers live by themselves, protected from persecution from society or bigger governments. Of course, like all good things that benefit the common man, some twisted, bloated individuals manipulated these extensions to their whim, sparking crimes and robberies in these areas. It didn't immediately break through, but it took at least 2 years before they ended up ravaging through the USA.

One individual in particular is infamous among the public, and a hero to Los Riveracci. The rebel Pauly Ramirez. An icon for the indigenous, the poor, the punks. A young man from Mexico who used his powers to threaten the Mexican government into removing the restrictions placed on sorcerers. He took government workers hostage in an infamous operation known as " Crimson Letter Day ". Pauly in particular had a magic potency for manipulating the fixture of tar. On Crimson Letter Day, he tarred and feathered these workers, leading to some infamous photographs, including his mugshots and coining the name of the day. His actions were ambiguous in morality, but he would be solidified as an icon, his fate unknown to this day. He would disappear from Mexico and the world after declaring " not guilty " for his equally infamous trial.

So that takes us back into the city of Los Riveracci. A serial killer outed, a techno-corporation almost overthrown. One of these sorcerers was shuffling through the infamous Sector 4, one of the four sectors of Los Riveracci. No one knows how Sector 4 ended up this way, but it was the perfect example of life in the gutter. There is no sprawling metropolis in Sector 4, only a small collection of 3 apartment complexes and a surprisingly large sports arena. Between those are abandoned small town shops, drug dealers, weapon dealers, and a variety of gangs and cults. It was the perfect place for them to discuss their operations, ranging from business deals to despicable abductions. Most of the crimes in the Urban District as well as the Farmer's Marketplace were committed via gangs and cults from Sector 4, a testament to the dangers that lurked in such a realm.

This young man was an enigma, wrapping himself in shadow. His long black hair was tied back into a ponytail, leaving one eye open amidst his hair and his large gray scarf. His long sleeved dark violet leather jacket with two belts on each cuff of the sleeve and matching pants, this time with zippers on the cuffs, helped him blend in with the dark sector. His hands were wrapped in cloth bandages. His shoes had zippers running down to the start of the toes. On his back, he carried not just potential emotional baggage, but a long scythe poking up from above his head. His scarf acted as a makeshift sheath, and it was surprisingly tight and quite effective for fast or long distance travel.

He was making his way out of Sector 4, heading to the Urban district to rest when he walked past a gang of red-bandana donning, lanky white men. They giggled to themselves while a boy with a large tuft of blond hair held out his hand.

" Ayo, what the fuck is that, goth boy? You come to shoot some dice or smoke some doints or you gonna walk past us lookin’ like a bitch? "

The cloaked young man scanned the collection of white and hispanic high school freshmen in white tanktops, jeans, and tan boots, which isn't too much of a dig as they looked incredibly young to be in Los Riveracci, especially Sector 4. He could've shoved these kids out of the way if he had to, but he didn't have it in him to pick on someone smaller than him. Not for now, at least.

" Ay. If you're not gonna say somethin', Big Flocka might run up on your ass, dude. "

Great. He's one of those kids. All he was missing was a flavorful vape pen. The cloaked one, however, did recognize the nickname " Big Flocka ", and spoke up in a hushed voice.

" Big Flocka? What a stupid name. I think I talked to someone like him in this sector a few minutes ago. " The kids just laughed at him. Big Flocka was a bulky, 6'4 brain-damaging, brain-damaged steroid pumping beast of a man who destroyed lesser men mentally and especially physically. One look at him was enough to get the brown pants.

" He TALKED to Big Flocka?! "

" Nah, bruh, you ain't gonna just walk up and talk to Big Fuckin’ Flocka!! "

The cloaked one cringed from under his scarf at the lackeys. " What? You must’ve gotten on his bad side to say something like that. He's a nice guy. Why don’t you go chat with him yourself? “

" Aight, BRUH, " the leader of the pack said. " Come on, y'all. "

The kids followed his lead, giggling to stow away their creeping anxiety. What if their boy Big Flocka was actually taken down? And what was that dry substance they could barely see on that man’s scythe?

As the pack left him alone to run over to their boy, the cloaked one pulled a wad of dollars from his pocket and ran through them with a finger, shuffling through them with little to no emotion other than an occasional eyebrow raise as he whistled a laidback tune. A minute later, screams of expletives rang out in the distance, cursing whoever had just obliterated Big Flocka where he stood: Dead. A dried scar ran over his torso, and his eyes had gone dim. He laid defeated on the ground of an abandoned apartment complex lobby where it’d taken two men to take him down. Via process of elimination, the pack, standing over him, ran out of the building with guns toted to take down the cloaked one. By the time they got to where he once stood, however, he'd already made his escape.


The leader's screams were muffled by the rest of the pack holding him back as he started firing gunshots on the ground and into the sky, trying to take down the perpetrator.

In reality, the cloaked one had quickly ascended the rooftop of one of the complexes, and was running across them to make his way back to the Urban District. He'd taken a job there to take town Big Flocka, who the police and rival gang members had been trying to take down for months. He'd been convicted of multiple charges of sexual assault and illicit photos of girls he had dated. The gang he’d been around never knew this, and he would do this with girls who were already dating members of the group.

The cloaked one had traveled to Sector 4 with another gang member to find him, having split the bounty when they did find him shooting heroin in the back of a white van with two girls locked in the back, bound and gagged. The big, roided man had retaliated with a swinging hook, which both fighters dodged. The cloaked one's teammate wielded two katanas, and glided his fist onto the flat part of their blades, enabling the cloaked one to chase him down and strike him. He pressured Big Flocka with handle strikes of his scythe into another room where he cut him down after kicking his arm high into the air. Having shown the body to the girls, who had sent out the distress signal via blinking in morse code via their phone before the convict had found them, they gave the two their reward (which they were able to cover using the wads that Flocka had robbed from several banks) as they split it promptly. They ran back to the urban district with the rest of the cash as directed by the team of mercenaries.

The cloaked one was heading back there as well, leaping across the rooftops faster and faster. He did not speak to his partner when he had wished him farewell. He then received a phone call, perching upon a rooftop like a gargoyle and answering the call.

" Yo, boss. "

" Heyyyy, Yuta, sorry, I need you to come in early today. I've got a job for you. "

" Got it. " He hung up and sighed deeply.

About an hour later. 6:36 P.M.

" Joe. I'm here. "

" Greaaaat, Yuta, great to see ya! “

“ I keep telling you it’s Grim, old man. “

“ Whatever. What’s in a name? Like Shakespeare said, kid. Help me move these boxes real quick, will ya? Big sales happened last night when you left, sorry, brother. Gotta be ready at all times, you know? “

Grim let out a deep, apathetic sigh to himself. His boss Joe called him into the clothing workplace titled Joe's (very creative title, I know), another family owned business in Los Riveracci. This particular outfit was around for a couple years now, most likely the day the city was founded. There were many rows of outfits behind the Hispanic manager. A plethora of frilly shirts and pants lined the rows of the store, sandwiching graphic t-shirts of iconic rebellious figures and sorcerers in Los Riveracci's history. These accessories could suit all kinds of individuals, ranging from glam rock stars to the hip beatniks that trodded into slam poetry night in cafes across town.

A box of frilly women's blouses with colors that ran all across the color wheel was placed in front of Grim. " Here, I just got this new shipment the other day from Trevino's place, " Joe said, referring to the clothes place across from him. " Grim peeked at the dozen boxes stacked behind Joe of more glamorous accessories for men, women, and everything in between, cringing at the workload. “ Why would we get a shipment from our competitor? “

" Hahah, don't you talk back to me. Just because me and Trevino had one bar fight…two bar fights, it don’t mean we’re competitors. I'll leave the radio on, alright? It’s not the end of the world, I’ve worked twice the hours you did, “ Joe tossed Grim a blue work shirt and fiddled with a few knobs on his boombox radio, tuning into the evening news. “ And put on something that isn’t your gang uniform!! “

" .....reports of a break-in at Mobi Robotic Solutions have resulted in the theft of a prototype robot. Specific details from the company about the robot at this time are kept under wraps. CEO T.J. Chapman had this to say about the break-in. "

An elderly male voice spoke up. " W-well, we are surprised and saddened that someone has chosen to intrude this facility, we have officers roaming across town to…to find the briefcase, we, we have pictures of the robot and the briefcase containing the robot, and-and the suspects on the bulletin boards in, in the urban district, so with any luck we will……we will have the robot back in our hands very soon. It's a very special project for us and we have the confidence that with these measures, everything will return as it once was. "

Grim was putting some men's shirts on a rack when he heard all of this. He was now donning his blue work shirt, and his hair'd been pulled back so the bang covering his eye wasn't there anymore. He squinted at this news. The citizens of Los Riveracci HATED the Tech District. They hated how controlling and demanding their regulations of news outlets reporting on the inner workings of the corporations in the district were. They hated their shallow pandering to court cases where the police had harmed an innocent man, despite their tech being in the pockets of so many of them. They absolutely despised the amount of money they had at all and how they did nothing with it but corrupt both the real world and the underground with their suspicious " solutions ". No matter where you were on the political spectrum, everyone despised the Tech District.

Joe was miffed about this news. " Oh for the love of God. Kids these days don’t know what oppression is. Back in my day, kids would get curb-stomped because they weren’t white. Now they think a tech company just existing means they’ve gotta be spying on us all ‘cause they read it in a comic book one time. Hahaha, they don’t know how good they’ve got it here… "

Grim was a little miffed at Joe. True, there were worser times to be living in, but that didn’t mean the injustices of the world were extinguished. It was an abstract concept that took many forms. Racism may not be rampant in Los Riveracci, but at the same time, there were more serial killers than there were mercenaries. Turns out an underground city free of outside judgment attracts the most “ colorful “ characters. Mentally speaking, of course.

Grim had no fear taking out one of these characters, so he had no qualms and speaking up against his boss’ attitude. “ Haven’t there been plenty of dirt sheets on their worker conditions? We shouldn’t just dismiss someone else’s crap just because the rest of us are doing fine. “

“ gotta understand, we’re never gonna see eye to eye on this, and that’s fine. I’m not gonna fire you for this, I’m smarter than that. You see people calling out someone for “ who they are “, I just see a bunch of deranged kids pissed about bein’ pissed! Christ, why can’t we pick ‘em off in the Thunderdome or somethin’... “

Grim was getting even more concerned on how Joe was acting. " We have horrid mental health facilities in this place and you want them to just die?! What have you ever-.... “

" Grim, Grim, my boy, " Joe said scarily calmly. " I'm the only one who knows whatcha really are. You're a solo gang member. You wanna be the independent man. I've got your code name down pat. Your secret is safe with me. However, you don’t know it, but you’re in group-think territory, " Man, I hate those big bad techno corporations, they’re planting microchips via radio signals ", you think it ain't group-think, but you've gotta watch yourself. It's gonna get you hurt one day. I don't mean to peg you down when I say…you ain’t strong enough for that. "

Grim took in Joe's words. Ever since his near-fatal car accident at the age of 7, he'd suddenly grown less and less trustworthy of other people. After he'd left the hospital that day, he slowly molded himself into more of an outcast. He stopped seeing his friends for years, studying and eating lunch alone until he mysteriously disappeared into the underground in middle school. Most of his learning came from rummaging through libraries in his off-time, which at that point, was all the time. He grew his hair out. He wore darker clothes. He was 18, but one could've assumed he was a few years younger and in the middle of some " phase ". Grim cringed constantly every day just remembering everything he threw away from his friends to his name, but reassured himself that he was finally free.

The young man spent the rest of his day shuffling clothes and wondering if he was really " strong enough " to face the future. To him, it just sounded like vague karma crap. Nothing of value, and quickly dashed aside. He was getting hungry anyways. He was putting some pants on the last rack when he put the box down and grabbed his gang clothes from another box.

" Well…that's all, Joe. Is that donut shop still open? "

" Ripley's? Yeah. I can get you somethin' if ya want, you look famished, kid. You want that honey-roasted pecan one? I saw they were sellin' that for this week and I just had to tell- "

" I can walk. Thanks for the offer, though. Besides, I was craving somethin' more simple tonight. " He wrapped his scarf around his neck and sheathed his scyth-

" ....maybe I'll pick it up later. " Grim remembered how gaudy that thing looked in public and leaned it against a corner in the back near the bathrooms. " Keep watch of it for me, will ya, Joe? "

" Anything for my favorite moptop! Hahaha, " he heard Joe yell before he rolled his eyes and walked to Ripley's, the donut place right across from Joe's. Very complicated names, these shops had. He dropped some change to an acoustic player in his 40s, strumming an easy listening, country-sounding ditty.

Heaven can wait...just a penny for your thoughts, girl...

I don't wanna die tonight, if Lord just sent me an angel...

Did that even rhyme? Probably not, but it's cute. The bell rang as he entered the red-and-white shop. 90s rock hummed on the speakers as Grim stood in line reading the menu. Chocolate. Glazed. Sprinkled strawberry. All the basic stuff. On the other hand, Ripley's was also known for their special Topper Donuts, which ran by on a weekly basis. Some were standard, like a chilled chocolate chip cookie dough-nut; one of their more controversial concoctions was a chicken-tender waffle cone donut, which supposedly simulated chicken and waffles combined with another breakfast food. Someone probably got killed from that. This week, as Joe pointed out, was honey-roasted pecan. Donuts and pecans were two of Grim’s favorite foods, and he was willing to try it out.

After the register dealt with the slowest customer on the planet, Grim stepped up to make his order.

" Hi, I'll take a- "

Grim stopped as big, booming crunk beats and reggaeton drowned out his voice and most of the conversations in the restaurant. He took a deep, pissed off breath and turned his head, noticing a yellow limousine slowly cruising down the street, most likely being obnoxious on purpose. Color drained from his face as he turned back around, waiting for the car to drive past. Which took about 15 more seconds.

As Grim finally began to make his order, something else was going down in that car.

Red leather seats lined the inside of the car, and those seats were lined by men in yellow suits and yellow pompadours. One of them had that description, anyhow: the scoundrel Mama Burns, a man who flaunted himself as a " mafioso " in the public, but looked more like a crappy social media influencer. He did have a few connections, however, to tech district companies (good sign as to how his reputation proceeded him), and right now, he was carrying with him one of the products of the small industry.

A petite girl about 3 feet tall sat between two men in yellow suits. Her hair was a lighter shade of violet with purple streaks sandwiched between her grey-white shoulder armor. Her arms held violet cuffs, and her torso held a violet breastplate with black underneath, like her arms and thighs. Underneath that were a white skirt and white boots with pink lines on white cuffs. Her mouth was a small circle, and her bright purple LED eyes showed intense anger and discomfort.

Burns spoke up. " Alrighty, boys! You saw the sign!! I'm feelin' donuts tonight!!! Except WE'RE gonna be the ones MAKIN' em!!! "

The gentlemen that weren't the small robot girl showed excitement and enthrallment, holding some handguns into the air. The robot girl clutched her skirt tightly.

" Why are you doing this? " the robot said. " This is wrong! People will die! "

" Well, there's a term for dat called blood money, sweetheart! " one of Burns' mooks yelled.

" That is not what blood money means! You are all greedy and selfish! "

" Das the name of the game, Penny, my girl! " The guys laughed.

" Why did you take me here.... "

" You ain't gotta come with us! We're just taking you to Murphy, aight?! Then you'll be homefree! "

" Who is Murphy?! "

" Just some DJ from the Rapture, da finest lounge in Los Riveracci!! "

" I just woke up and you are taking me to someone I have never met! I refuse this! "

" Aight, that's it, if you don't wanna go to Murphy's, you're coming with us to Ripley's!! "

" NO! "

With no hesitation, Burns grabbed Penny's arm and yanked her right out of the car. The rest of his boys grabbed their guns and filtered out of the car. They casually let their arms drop to their sides, having no shame in their near non-existent swagger. Burns clutched Penny by her neck and held his pistol to her head, kicking open the door and making a quiet, subtle entrance.


The yellow suited men pointed their machine guns and pistols around the restaurant, threatening to shoot absolutely no one. Behind the crew, a cameraman with a small handheld camera filmed their escapades.

The crowd had done as they wanted, frantically hiding under their tables, including Grim. Penny squirmed and groaned trying to get away, but to no avail.

The men and women working behind the register either hid for their lives or shot their arms in the air. Burns pointed his pistol at the cashier.

" YOU!!! Stay RIGHT where you are!!! NOT ANOTHER MOVE!! " Spit flew in his face as he cringed.

" ...what? "

" How much they paying you, huh?! What are they putting in ya pockets?!? "

" ....what? "

" Boss, you never ask a guy how much money he makes! " one of his boys whispered to him.

" Son of a- "

" 15....15 dollars an hour, sir. "

" Ohhhh, freakin' BLIMEY O'Reilly!!! You could be makin' MILLIONS with me instead of sitting in the double digits, kid!! "

" I'm not going to hold people at gunpoint for cash, " the cashier said, standing his ground.

" That's pretty good for minimum wage, boss, " another of his boys said.

" Honestly, if I- "

" You know what?! IF YOU BUMS WANNA WALK OUT THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW AND LEAVE, FINE!!! But as you're sitting there on government rations, NEVER forget who brought you out of the gut- "

Burns’ eyes bulged out of sockets as he was silenced by a heel kick to his delicates.

Penny had taken advantage of the chaos during that last sentence, and " attacked " Burns, slipping right out of his arms and running out of the store. Unfortunately, one of Burns' men in glasses had taken a shot at her leg with his pistol, hitting her knee joint and sending her rolling under a table. She yelped at the shot before getting up slowly to notice her wound, whimpering at the sudden turnabout in her escape.

" H-help...someone... "

Mama Burns, meanwhile, kept shouting explicit words and phrases, threatening to totally shoot to kill. Totally.

Penny's pleas of help rang out silently over and over. She curled into a small ball, clutching her legs and shaking. She'd just been awoken in a, cold, dark laboratory with no idea of who she is except for her name. She was about to be taken to some dude named " Murphy ". Now, she'd been shot and ran a high risk of being shot to death.

She pleaded for help. Help. Help. Help.

Nothing. No one was going to save the little robot from this nightmarish, black comical scenario.

The cashier didn't move an inch through Burns' entire rant.


He turned away from his lackeys and kept the gun pointed at the cashier, who looked absolutely tired. " ...I think me and my boys'll try that pecan donut. 5 o' those! " He leaned in and raised an eyebrow, smirking. " And trust me, I can tip. " Wink.

The cashier blinked, looking back at the register. " 5 Honey-rosted Pecan Donuts... "

" And while we're at it, a box of chocolates.... "

" A box of chocolate donuts... "

" Bear claw.... " The cashier repeated.

" And 5 large coffees. "

" 5 large- "

The cashier's typing was interrupted as someone casually walked from out of the underneath the table and smacked Burns' head sideways with his fist. His body toppled to the floor, sliding onto the wall of the counter.

" HEY!! Get away from the boss!!! " The goons stumbled a bit before firing at Grim, who grabbed a scythe tossed to him from behind (He'd have to remind himself to thank Joe later). He swung the blade in front of the gunmen, deflecting the incoming bullets. They hit the walls, a bullet ending up hitting one of the gunmen in the shoulder and taking them down.

They fired at him once again as he leaped a short distance this time, cutting down a gunman directly and almost killing him. Shades of red flew from all over his body as the crowd shrieked at the violence on display. He blocked another gun shot with his scythe and confronted the next gunman directly, trying to hit him with the opposite end of the blade. The gunman tried hitting him with the gun directly. Grim blocked that with his arm, quickly sheathing his scythe and sending some punches his way, which were traded by the gunman. Grim kicked his leg incredibly hard and knocked him down with a shoulder tackle, piercing him with a downward scythe strike. Two men left. They both fired, but Grim disarmed their missed shots, swinging the blade again and cleaving their hands right off. They ran out of the restaurant screaming before mysteriously fainting, leaving blatant trails of blood. Gross. Speaking of gross, that just left big Mama Burns.

Grim sheathed the scythe and walked over to Mama Burns, who was groaning in agony. His head was turned from the calamity, frustrated with how severe that head injury was. His vision cross eyed multiple times. Small droplets of blood fell from his forehead. But before he could register a single emotion, he felt the boy grip his collar tightly and drag him outside, pulling him up to his bloodshot, PISSED eyes. He took him outside and slammed him against his limousine, smashing the door with a large dent.

" You just barge in when I'm trying to eat a god damn donut, try and KILL everyone here and you think you can act STUPID enough for us to just let you walk away on god-damn social media?!? "

Mama Burns mumbled all sorts of words to try and save grace, but to no avail. Grim ripped the bandages off of his hand and revealed the black skull on it printed in ink and surrounded by several spikes. His eye suddenly glowed a dark purple.


All that could be heard was the screams of Mama Burns as the crowd could see flames rising from in front of Grim. The screaming rang out for another minute before it finally settled. Grim stood up and stepped away from the mafioso. His delicate suit was charred to a crisp. His hair was an unkempt burnt mess. His eyes were whited out and his jaw was dropped open. Grim just held himself back from completely incinerating him. However, what was a stunning display of magic was another day in the life for his opponent. Mama Burns had made a fool of himself, having fallen once again.

Grim walked back into the restaurant as if nothing had happened, stepping over the bodies of the goons he just took down. The men and women hiding under the table looked on with a wide array of emotions. Awe. Disgust. Confusion, etc. He could've cared less about that as he went up to the counter to make his order one more time.

Penny was starstruck watching all of this. He'd cleaned up some of the baddest goons she'd ever seen. One man did all of that. One. Everyone around her didn't know what to think. Penny, on the other hand, decided she was thankful for all of this, even if there were some...extreme measures taken. She had slowly stopped shivering enough to climb onto a tabletop and sit down, beginning to make a speech.

" Ow…hey....I think we should thank this man for what he did for us! I know what just happened was really scary, had to be done to save our lives! I don't know where this guy came from or what his deal is, but he's my hero! I think he deserves some recognition, don't you all think? "

She looked at this man. " Sir! What's your name? "

Grim turned around, casually stating his codename.

" Grim! His name is Grim! Thank you, Grim! " shouted Penny.

" Don't mention it, " he swiftly replied.

Everyone under the tables slowly got out and gave Grim a round of applause, though it was more similar to a golf clap. Some people were enthusiastic, whistling cheers and shouting their thanks to him. But mostly, there was still confusion among the crowd, who knew that gangs were commonplace in this town. Also, the " person " who was telling them was not a human, but an actual robot. Grim still did not care and grabbed his bag of donuts, leaving the facility.

Penny saw this as her opportunity for some answers to this place (and for someone who would repair her), hopping down from the table and grunting in discomfort as she stumbled out of the shop. " Excuse me! Mister Grim!! "

Grim took a munch out of the pecan donut as he turned around. " Mm? " he mumbled.

Penny propped herself against the wall. " I...I do not know much about you, or this place, but...thank you! I was...wondering if I could go with you and figure this all out! I appreciate it!! "

Grim swallowed the bite. " Uh....hey, what happened to your leg? You alright? "

" Oh, y-yes! I mean, not really, but, one of those bad guys hit me with their gun or something... " Sparks flew from the wound to her knee. " Ow...can we get it repaired too? "

Grim squinted, contemplating her question for a few seconds. "I don't work with teams. But I don't like seeing people get hurt anyhow. “

“ Did you not just slash those guys open with your sword? “

“ …GOOD people get hurt. I can get you repaired, but that's it. I'm not ready for that responsibility. Also, it’s a scythe. “

" Responsibility...? " Penny looked bummed out hearing Grim say that, sighing. " I do not know where to go, Grim..... "

Grim squinted harder and the frown that was always on that face of his showed gritted teeth. He sighed. " Fine. But someday, you're gonna learn to live on your own, alright? If there's too many expenses, I'm leaving you with that mechanic. "

" …thank you for the repairs at least, Grim... "

Grim nodded once and was about to walk, before realizing Penny wouldn't have been able to do the same. He rolled his eyes out of her sight and walked back over, gently lifting the small robot up and into a cradle. It was a little awkward, but it was the best thing he could do.

He steadied her as she sighed in comfort. " Thanks..... " she muttered before closing her eyes and leaning into Grim’s chest. This warmth felt great. She really had someone to take care of her, a friend who she could help in response.

Grim, on the other hand, cringed a little at what she did before a faint blush appeared on his face. He placed the bag of donuts on the top of his scythe and walked forward before Joe came out to greet him.

" What the hell was that, anyways?! " Joe yelled. " I heard some crappy music blaring from outside my shop and all I see is...Mama Burns' limo?!? " He'd turned his head and recognized that vehicle immediately. " Can that man EVER make himself a threat? "

" Good question, " Grim replied. Mama Burns was indeed a repeat offender of the law. " Forget the bounty, right? It drops every time he commits one of these things. His goons could go for a better some. Pathetic. "

" Yup. Hey, that from the tech district? "

Grim looked down at Penny, who'd fallen silently under a rest. Ha.

" I guess so. Her leg's been shot, so I agreed to help get her back in shape. "

" Jesus Christ! Did she come from Mobi or something? "

" I'd assume so. All the robots in town come from them. " He took another look at her and let out a slight smirk. She sure looked to be one interesting girl.

" Whoa, whoa, whoa, " Joe said, cutting Grim out of his trance. " Are you smiling? "

Grim’s expression went back to neutral, squinting irritatingly and blushing. " Why is it news to you that I'm happy in my life? "

" Well, you always come in with that same irritated look. "

" I'm just trying to contain myself for work. "

" That's....the last thing I want to see you do. Just be careful, alright? I don't know where that toy's been. "

Grim looked irritated again at Joe's comment. " ...she's not a toy, Joe, " he called out, to which Joe yelled " whatever " back to him. Joe chuckled to himself as Grim looked back at Penny. He'd heard stories on sentient robots from the tech district, but he'd never gotten close to one before. Grim was secretly praying this wouldn't be one of those stories he'd seen in movies about the boy and the robot or the alien or something else.

Of course, something to do besides bounty hunting wouldn't hurt either.

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon