"Darrick, you don't have to do this, save yourself," whispered Bruden, "They're strong. You can't beat them."

"No," said Darrick, voice firm and unmoving, "I won't let them harm you."

Ry Darrick was standing in front of Bruden, a broken rake staff in his hands. They had been chased into a small alleyway by Kreg and Sharmon, boys who were well known for their contributions to emptying poor Lysternian children's pockets. They looked down at the two kids, smug smiles painting their face.

"Ry, Ry," said Kreg, shaking his head, "When will you ever learn? How many times does this make this week? Five? Six? You know you can't beat Sharmon and me. Just give us your money, and we'll leave you alone."

Ha, though Darrick, The last time we did that we were beaten up anyway; might as well go down fighting.

"Not happening, Kreg."

"I see," said Kreg, "It's a shame, Ry, but you just never learn."

Kreg and Sharmon moved in fast, forcing Darrick and Bruden to back up even farther into the narrow alley. Kreg, like always, was the one to throw the first punch. Darrick twisted his body so that Kreg's fists hit the staff; the first puch was always the easiest defend against. Sharmon came to Kreg's right, shoving his fists into Darrick's shoulder to get him to release the staff.

Darrick grunted in pain and frustration and pushed the staff forward, hitting Kreg in the stomach. Both froze momentarily, Kreg clutching his stomach and Darrick realizing he actually got a hit on him. However, that only added to Kreg's anger. He began to lash out more violently, which stifled a small cry from Bruden. Darrick tried to deflect the attacks but with Kreg and Sharmon working together, they were able to knock the staff out of Darrick's hand.

Kreg smiled triumphantly. "You'll regret that, Ry." He punched Darrick in the face, knocking him to the ground. Kreg proceeded to kick him, making Darrick cry out in pain despite his efforts not to.

"Stop, please!" shouted Bruden, voice shaking from the massive sobs coming from his chest. "Take our money Kreg, please, just leave him be. You beaten him enough, you taught your lesson. Please, just let him be."

Kreg looked at Bruden, unsatisfied his fight had been stopped but pleased he had gotten through to him.

"Alright, I'll stop here. But remember, next time you just shut up and give me your money, understand?" Bruden nodded vigorously, but Darrick didn't move. "I said do you understand!" Kreg kicked Darrick one more time, and got Darrick to nod. Bruden handed Kreg the money, which he looked satisfied about, and signaled for him and Sharmon to leave. Once they were gone, Bruden knelt beside Darrick.

"You should have just given him the money."

"I won't do that," said Darrick, a look of anger on his face, "I won't let him do what he wants anymore."

"But what can you do?" asked Bruden, "You got the shit beaten out of you and you still want to fight? No child is willing to stand up to Kreg except you. I just don't understand." He sighed.

"No, I guess not." Darrick got up, and brushed off the dirt that collected on his clothes. He looked at Bruden, and punched his should lightly. "Come on, let's go see if Rawn has anything left in that pub of his he could feed us."