For all her concentration and focus while ‘working’, Vivian’s mind often wandered while ‘off-duty’. Perhaps it was the lack of caffeine in her system tonight; the adrenaline from earlier in the evening had long since worn off as well. Running on empty her brain had disengaged from her feet and she was now fully on autopilot. This would have been fine, had she been on more familiar ground, but new to the city it proved to be what could have been a fatal mistake.
Oblivious to her bad choice in directions she turned down a street where three less than desirables waited for someone like her to wander by. They didn’t have to wait for long and soon had her surrounded.
“Lookie lookie what we have here boys, a real beauty queen.” One of them called out, alerting her to their presence at about the same moment she snapped out of her reverie on her own, realizing she was someplace she shouldn’t be.
“A real Park Avenue gal,” another sneered as he pulled a knife from inside his jacket. The man behind her, the one with the sword said nothing. Perhaps he was letting his weapon do the talking for him.
Her heart began to race as her brain fully kicked in, accessing the situation. There was a flash of fear; she was out of costume, weaponless. There was also a more than healthy dash of annoyance, at herself, at the prospect of her new outfit being ruined and of course, at the men around her. There was no way she was going to let this happen. She refused. She might be weaponless and outnumbered, but never helpless. She still had her martial arts training; she could likely take one of them out to open up an escape route. Her mind was racing, along with her heart, as plans formed and adrenaline surged. She’d try to talk her way out of it first. Her hands begin to rise up to display an ‘I don’t want any trouble’ sort of gesture and she opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by the appearance of a new man on the narrow, dirty street.
The man with the knife danced for a moment. There was the smell of something… odd… and then he fell to the ground, convulsing. The rest of the fight didn’t last long; the three men all felled by this…. knight in green ‘armor’.
There was a small voice in the back of her mind that told her to run, to get away – fox flight instincts. Not because of the thugs, no, they were of no threat now, but because of the presence of the vigilante. She had heard rumors, but thought nothing of them. But, here he was, ‘saving’ her. The idea was, amusing and yet something else as well. Vivian couldn’t quite put her thumb on it. Perhaps it was a new sort of exhilaration. Not at being rescued, no, that notion left a bad taste in her mouth, but something else.
Vivian didn’t have much time to think about it, for Kardiac was now turning his attention on her, speaking. She managed to pull herself together…but not too together… she had a part to play here.
“Lost, yes.” She replied in a soft voice, adding in the right amount of a waiver to it to give the appearance she was still unsettled by the would-be attack. She nodded, breathing out a sigh of relief and then finally smiled. It was one of her best, totally genuine, the sort that made her eyes scrunch up ever so slightly at the corners and her eyes glitter in the low light.
“I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t of showed up. Thank you.” A white lie, but the sentiment in the thank you was honest at least.
“I was on my way to a party. If it’s not too much trouble, could you direct me back to a safer part of town?”
She really didn’t have any wish to hang around this place a moment longer, and if he was kind enough to walk her back to a safer street she might be able to find out a little bit about him. Anything she could find out now might come in handy in the future when the mask was on. And even though he did just save her, the thief in her couldn’t deny that in fact he was in some respects ‘the enemy’, in the same sense the police were.