6 Thats My Name? Pt.1

    Subin's stomach grumbled in protest for the third time. She sighed, "I know, I know, but I have no money. I can't buy us a steam bun anymore..."

    Subin gazed from afar and watched as a man slurped noodles from a bowl and smacked his lips appreciatively. Watching the man eat so heartily made Subin stare in envy. She wanted to eat food too.

    It had been a few hours since she narrowly escaped being punished by the band of ruddy-faced merchants and so far, she had been wandering around the town aimlessly, still without any idea of where she was and how she could get back home.

    "This place is a madhouse... " she muttered to herself. "They seriously wanted to punish me?" She shook her head as she tried to rationalise her situation. Subin knew that she definitely wasn't dead: her earlier encounter with the ruddy-faced merchants reinforced that. And, judging by her surroundings, she knew she wasn't in London anymore. Could she somehow have ended up in Korea? China? Japan? If not those three, then maybe she was in some other Asian country.

    Subin sighed as she watched a pair of giggling ladies pass by with their fans hiding their faces. They wore beautiful robes with flowery patterns that heightened their air of femininity. Seeing those robes reminded Subin of the pictures she saw in her grandmother's book. She cocked her head as she thought about this. Could she have... time-slipped?

    "But why would I have time-slipped here?" she asked aloud. "Nevermind that, was time-slipping even possible?" She shook her head and sighed. "It just doesn't make any sense."

    For the next hour or so, Subin attempted to ask the locals for more information but with hardly any luck. Most of the people she asked either ignored her or, seeing that she was asking questions, actively made sure that they didn't cross her path at all. It was like she had an invisible bubble around her that repelled anyone from coming near or otherwise, made her invisible.

    As Subin continued to amble around town, now hungry and tired, she suddenly heard cries for help coming from the back of a dark alleyway. Curious, Subin skulked over.

    From where she was hiding, Subin watched as a gang of grubby looking thugs cornered a young boy that Subin immediately recognised: it was the cheeky brat from before! She watched as he continued to struggle against the vice-like grip of one of the thugs who had him by the scruff of the neck.

    "At last, we've finally caught you, you stinkin' thief!" the man snarled. "Do you know how much we've suffered because of you continuing to raid our merchandise?"

    One of the other men eyed him up and down and grabbed his hand. "Let's torture him slowly. We should cut off each and every one of his little fingers just to teach 'im a lesson."

    The boy snatched his hand away. "Let me go, you ruffians! Before you regret it!"

    The group of thugs laughed at the boy's empty threats.

    "Oh, yeah?" one of the other men taunted. "Regret what? No one's gonna come and save you, boy."

    "Yeah, you're all ours now. You should say your farewell to your hands before we chop those pretty little things off..."

    Subin watched as the boy continued to try and break free from the man's clasp. He thrashed his short legs about as if he wanted to kick the man in the shins but to no avail. From afar, he looked like a fish out of water which only amused the men even more.

    "Serves him right" Subin muttered under her breath, enjoying the show a little more than she should. "That cheeky brat must've got caught stealing." She scoffed, "Karma's a bitch. You shouldn't have left me when you did." She got up from her hiding place and turned her back on the spectacle. "Well, it's none of my business what happens to him now." She was about to walk away when she suddenly heard his alarmed shrieks for help.

    "Help! Please! Help! Anybody! Help!"

    Walk away, Subin, she told herself inwardly. Walk away.

    "Help! Help! Help!" the boy continued to shout, his voice increasingly growing desperate. "Anybody!"

    Nope, don't you dare go back there.  He left you to get punished, remember?

    "Help! Please! Oh, anyone, please help!"

    Subin sighed. I'm going to regret this.

    As swiftly as she could, Subin pivoted on her step and charged towards the thugs' direction wielding a hoe that she found forsaken on the ground. With the best battle cry she could muster, she screamed while flailing the hoe about, stunning the thugs by the abrupt appearance of an insane, scruffy-looking peasant.

    The thugs backed away as Subin approached them, overwhelming their ears with her banshee-like screaming. Even the young boy was startled by her. Subin, seeing that the young boy was now free from the man's grasp, stopped screeching and stood in front of him while using the hoe in her hands to deter the thugs from coming closer.

    The thugs blinked and after a while, started to relax when they realised that Subin was just a typical ragged peasant. One of them started laughing.

    "What's so funny?" Subin asked, her eyes darting from one thug to the next to make sure they didn't make any sudden moves.

    The thug who had been laughing addressed the young boy behind her, "Is this what you meant by us regretting it?" He eyed Subin. "This is what you consider a threat to us?"

    The thugs started laughing again making Subin realise that her element of surprise had already worn off.

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    The boy gaped at her and Subin watched as his face showed signs of recognition. He frowned. "You stupid peasant!" the boy screech from behind her. "If you were going to help then you should have brought better reinforcement!"

    "Shut up, okay?" she snapped at him. "At least I came. I could have just left you here, but I came back for you."

    "Oh yeah? Who asked for your help anyway?"

    Subin gave him a deadpan expression. "Really now? That's rich coming from you. If it weren't for me, your hand would've been chopped off by now!"

    The boy was uncannily quiet all of a sudden and Subin saw that it looked like he was holding his tongue. A displeased expression riddled his face for a moment before he sighed and walked in front of her. "Just stand behind me," he said coolly as he glanced back at her. "I will protect both of us."

    Subin watched as the boy got into a defensive martial arts stance. From the back, she could see that the boy seemed cool and collected and she was quite impressed. Maybe he was some sort of karate expert? Subin watched him in anticipation as he breathed in and out slowly as if he was channelling his inner chakra. If anything, Subin was expecting some epic battle scene to unfold, like the ones in the anime, 'Naruto'.

    But all her expectations were dashed as when the thugs stopped laughing and suddenly took an abrupt step towards them, the boy's defensive stance crumbled and he rushed behind Subin once more.

    Subin's mouth was ajar. She turned to face him and saw him cowering behind her.

    "So much for protecting me," she told him sarcastically. She rolled her eyes as she faced the thugs. "I guess chivalry is dead even in this time period."
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