The bald man just raises an eyebrow.
It is hard to force myself to smile just to show proper decorum. The man who offended me frowned at what I said.
“Uh-oh. Calm down, Doc.” Preston whispered nervously. “It’s frightening when you suddenly talk all polite and gentleman-like.”
Ignoring whatever my minion was whispering, I was too vexed by the bearded man, glaring at him like a predator. A few of the patrons have stopped watching the show on TV to look at us.
“And what do you mean by the ‘wrong person?'” The bearded man retorts. “You talk big, pretty boy.” He adds with a tone of mockery.
“Boy? BOY? How dare you call someone like me a mere ‘boy!'” I say the last word with utter disgust. The last time someone called me a boy was a few decades ago, and they did not live to see the next day. “For your information, I am two hun– two-hwenty eight years old!” Damn it, I almost blurted out my real age.
I take a deep breath to compose myself for a moment while the bearded man gives a condescending look and chuckles.
“Your behavior, sir, is extremely appalling.” I speak again. “And I believe that you must apologize this instant! Apologize now and I shall overlook this misdeed!” My voice grew louder, and I noticed that the other patrons were already watching us.
“You ain’t gettin’ an apology with that kind of attitude, pal.” The impertinent man shakes his head. “We can settle this like men, y’know. Punch it out ’till one of us falls. You up for it? Or are you too chicken?” He grins with pride as the last word reminded me of what Preston did earlier tonight. Preston, upon hearing the word also seems to have become more attentive as he brings out his spectral sword and calls out for a duel with a chicken.
I stand up from my seat as well, cracking my knuckles.
“Very well. A duel, then!” I was going to say “a duel between gentlemen,” but this man is far from one. I go to where the bearded brute was standing while giving him a fierce glare. Normal humans like him are no match for a vampire’s physical strength; unless he was armed with silver weapons.
“A fight! A FIGHT!” one of the patrons shout as the whole pub starts to chant “FIGHT” over and over again. Their dull eyes become bright with excitement.
The bearded man gives me a cocky look as I stand in front of him. He must be loving all the attention he’s getting.
I assess the bearded man’s fighting capability as he poses into something that looks like a poor excuse for a fighting stance. His unhealthy physique, improper posture, and out-of-place Fuzzy Bunny slippers tell me that this will not take long.
“I forgot to tell ya, pal.” The man speaks with a smug grin. “I’ve been taking Sim-Fu under the great Lao Sher Cai Tao Ma. It’s one of the martial arts in the world that makes you bald but stronger.” He flexes his non-existent bicep muscles and breathes deeply.
“One punch from me and ya might be sent to the hospital. I’m a reasonable guy, really, so I’m givin’ ya the chance to back out. Yer lookin’ at one of the best white belts in town!” He keeps bluffing until I got impatient.
“SAY IT IN TEN WORDS OR LESS!” I shout at the man as he gets startled for a second and retorts by throwing a poorly-executed punch.
I casually step to the side and break his momentum by tripping him with my foot, which sends him face first to the floor. I look down on the fallen man and give a sinister smile. The bearded man seethes with anger as he gets up and attempts to punch me in the face again.
I grab the incoming punch with my right hand and twist his arm to the left in order to send him crashing to a nearby table, knocking it over and breaking one of the chairs in the process. The other patrons went into an uproar as the barkeep nervously watches. I could even hear Preston’s words of encouragement from the cheering.
The man struggles to get up using a nearby chair as support as I wait for his next attack, with my foot getting fidgety.
“I haven’t got all night. I thought you were a martial artist? I was expecting more.”
He manages to grab my custom-tailored Diaboli suit by the lapel and pins me to the wall. I just had it premium dry cleaned last night, and his grubby hands have defiled it. I grab the collar of his shirt with both hands and give him a headbutt, disorienting him as he loosens his grip. A bit painful to execute, but I was able to break free.
Seeing an opportunity, I give him a headlock targeting the windpipe. It became tempting to bite his neck at this point, but there were too many people watching. Killing him will also cause a greater commotion, and I do not want the blasted Guild on my tail again. Disappointed at the thought of not being able to kill him, I release the man and fling him with great force into the nearest column, causing it to collapse along with the half-wall attached to it. He rolls, lies belly up, and does not attempt to stand.
“I should… get a… refund.” The man manages to say as he passes out on the floor and blood comes out of his nose.
That should teach the ruffian a lesson. I shake my right hand limp and dust the grime off my suit. The crowd of patrons went silent at my superior physical prowess.
“Do not worry. He has merely been knocked out.” I assure the astonished crowd. I then pull out my wallet and give the barkeep a small wad of cash. “For the damages. I apologize for the trouble.”
I make eye contact with Preston, who was still eating the damned chips, and I gesture that we leave the pub immediately. The crowd parts like the Red Sea as I walk out and breathe the fresh night air once again.
“That was absolutely amazing, Doc!” My minion says with crunching noises as he finishes the last of his chips. “I can’t defeat a single chicken, but you took care of that brute with such ease!”
“That is right. You can never defeat anything, Preston.” I turn around to remind him of his incompetence. “I feel much more relieved now. I guess all I needed was a bit of cathartic therapy.”
“And you were able to lash out your frustration on that guy! Good show, Doc!” the knight says with praise as the barkeep closes the pub door, hearing a locking sound after. “So where do we go now?”
“Home, Preston.” I turn around and head for the nearby parking lot where our second-hand black Toyotomi coupe was waiting. “I still have a stash of plasma juice in the basement that I can drink.” Before I tell Preston to go ahead and get the car started, the phone in my pocket vibrates. I open the new message, and I laugh maniacally.
“Who’s it from, Doc?”
“Just wait and see.”
Our work has only just begun.