“Don't talk. Just give me all of your money, and no one gets hurt.”
Micheal felt a cold blade press against his throat. Clearly his attacker meant business He reacted instinctively and instantaneously, whipping his wings straight up into the air. The attacker never knew what hit him. The man was flung over Micheal's head and landed unceremoniously at his feet, blade still in hand.
“I wouldn't say no one gets hurt. You'd probably get hurt,” said the celestia brightly. Getting up, the man rushed at him with the knife, trying to stab him in the chest. Micheal stepped aside calmly. “Temper, temper,” he said with a small smile, twisting the knife free of the mans hand. With a small movement of his fingers, he snapped it clean in half. “If you hadn't done that, you'd still have your blade.”
“Filthy celestia! That was my only knife!”
Micheal dropped the shattered blade. It hit the ground with a clink. “You shouldn't have pointed it at me then.” He glanced at his attacker. “And, in all honesty, I'm not the filthy one here.”
The man attacked him again, using only his fists this time. Micheal stepped aside again, then whirled and pinned the man against the wall.
His attacker swore furiously. Micheal ignored it, calmly gazing at the man as he waited for him to stop struggling. Moments passed, and both the swearing and the struggling remained unabated.
“Hey, boss, you got the mone... What the?!” Micheal turned to see a terrified man standing at the end of the narrow alleyway, a shadow of fear on his face. “Wait... y-y-you're that celestia! Oh no...” The man turned and ran before Micheal could react.
Terrified yelling and the chaotic noises of a group of people panicking and running for their lives filled the air for a moment. Silence followed. When Micheal turned his attention back to his captive, he discovered an expression of terror on the man's face that seemed to be beyond mere words.
The man broke down crying. “P-please don't hurt me. I never meant any harm! It was a mistake, a stupid mistake, I'll never do it again!” he blubbered. “Have mercy, please, I'll do anything, anything! Just don't kill me!”
Micheal's eyes narrowed. “What are you talking...”
“We didn't hurt her! I promise, she's alive! I never meant to hurt anyone, it was a mistake, I don't know what we were thinking. It wasn't even my fault, it was all their idea, they made me go along with it. Please, please don't hurt me! I'll give you anything, anything at all, just ask and it's yours..”
“What are you...”
Memories suddenly flashed through Micheal's mind. The ambush, the fight, Anna crying his name in terror... And the face of the man who took her away, cruel and leering, enjoying her pain. A face full of malice and hate, a face that took joy in hurting someone who had never done anything to him, a face that had haunted his mind every moment of his life since. The same face that he now saw on this man.
“That was you!” he shouted, his voice full of rage. “You led the attack in the forest! You took Anna away from me!” His voice dropped to a whisper. “I remember you. You enjoyed seeing her fear, didn't you? You enjoyed her pain!” He threw the man to the ground. “You savored her struggling in your arms. You laughed as she cried out in desperation.” The man backed away, his terror meeting no sympathy in the celestia's blue eyes as Micheal walked slowly forward. “You took her away from me!”
“I-I'm sorry, it was a mistake! I'll never do it again, I promise!” The man was begging.
“Empty promises won't bring her back.” Micheal continued his slow advance towards the petrified robber. “Anna is gone, and you're the one responsible. She's gone!” He lifted the man up in the air, preparing to destroy him. “And now... you will be too.” The man closed his eyes, preparing for the end. But something seemed to catch Micheal's memory and he stopped, frozen by his own thoughts. “Anna... why? She was so gentle...” The robber was shocked to see tears form in his eyes. “She couldn't hate anyone... She would have forgiven you.”
“Yes. She'd give anyone a second chance, and it got her into more trouble than you could imagine...” A small smile escaped from the mask of anger and pain on his face. “But then, she forgave me too.” He looked at the man. “After all I did... If she could forgive me, maybe I can forgive you.”
“Really?” There was a glimmer of hope in the man's voice.
Micheal looked down, trying not to let the man see that he was crying. “Yes.” He let the man go. He dropped to the ground, then scrambled to his feet and started to run, but stopped. Micheal looked at him briefly before returning his gaze to the ground. “What are you waiting for? Get out of here before I change my mind.”
The man held his ground. “Sh-she's alive. We didn't kill her or anything bad like that...”
Micheal looked up. “Really?” He wiped away the tears that streamed down his face. Hope shone in him like a candle.
“Y-yeah. She's in a village to the east of the forest where we um...”
“Ambushed us.” Micheal finished the sentence for him.
Micheal smiled. “Thank you. That narrows down the search considerably.” He spread his wings as far as the alleyway would allow, obviously about to take flight, when he remembered something. “I do forgive you, but remember, never, ever, do anything like that again.” He narrowed his eyes. “Because if you do... you won't live long enough to hide from me.”
The man gulped. “Believe me, sir, I wasn't planning on it.”
“Good.”Micheal leaped into the air, above the rooftops of the houses on either side, and flew off into the night.
The man stared after him for a few minutes. “Now that's one promise I'd better keep,” he muttered to himself, and disappeared into the shadows.