Suddenly, four figures at the far end of the hall caught her attention. As she approached, she realized that the four figures were three boys bullying the fourth one.
"I thought we told you to stay off of our street 'Danny Boy?'" the oldest bully jeered as he pushed the fourth boy.
"My... My house is at th…the end of the street next to yours... It's the fastest way to school," the boy answered struggling to keep a hold on the stack of books and papers he was carrying.
"So what?” the bigger boy commanded, shrugging.
"You need to teach him, Bill!" one of the other two bullies suggested.
"You know... I think I will," the taller “Bill” character said, sneering meanly at the fourth boy and proceeded by knocking the stack of books out of the boy's hands and onto the floor.
Bill then pushed the boy. Rivi felt like her insides had turned red hot. She fought to maintain her cool composure as memories of abuse from the hands of the Aruk tried to flood her mind. As the fourth boy's head made contact with the wall behind him, Rivi manipulated the concrete atoms to soften the impact.
"Hey!" Rivi called as she approached, stepping over a few of the books on the floor. "Is there a reason why you are bothering this boy?"
"Yeah-we feel like it," Bill challenged. "You think you can do somethin' about it?"
"It is 'something,' and I can do quite a bit, so I wouldn't bother irritating me," Rivi answered with a sly smile.
"Ya' hear that, boys? This little girl doesn't want to be 'irritated'” Bill jeered mockingly, using his hands to embellish 'irritated' with air-quotes, “I bet she's new and scared!"
Rivi narrowed her eyes, smiled, and nodded.
"Yes, I am new," she answered which seemed to make the bullies smirk, "But no, I'm not scared at all," Rivi continued, as her smile melted into a scowl.
The bully shrugged, then signaled to his two friends, and they all sauntered off.
Rivi bent down to help the fourth boy pick up his books. She then handed him the stack she had collected and asked politely if he was all right.
"I'll be fine... but you shouldn't have helped. Now they'll only make it worse on me for being defended by a girl," the boy answered with remorse.
Rivi raised her eyebrows and took one of his schoolbooks off the top of the stack in his arms. She opened the front cover and found a name written, assigning the book to that person.
"Your name is Daniel Peterson?" Rivi asked, giving the book back as Daniel answered with a nod. "Well Daniel, at what point in time in the history of the United States of America did its citizens go back to being ruled and pushed around by bullies?" she asked, looking at him meaningfully before she walked off toward her class.
Rivi shook her head, she couldn't help wishing she was back in the well-ordered society on Aun.
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