In every direction, a thug stood facing Xinshen. In all their hands were guns, knives, and other improvised weapons, and by all means, the situation looked grim for the old man. He was, after all, too weak to fight off a horde of this size.
“Got any money for us, gramps?” One thug carrying a switchblade asks, inching forward with each word. Despite being covered nearly completely concealed by baggy, oversized clothes, his tone, posture, body language, and even his choice in clothes and weapon said everything Xinshen needed to know.
“You are scared, boy,” Xinshen projects at him. He was unarmed, but he took a step towards the armed thug. If things turned out badly—if Xinshen was incorrect in his judgment—he would get seriously injured injured, perhaps even killed. However, he was never wrong, and this certainly won’t be the first time.
The thug appeared no different, but Xinshen knows his words made in impact. Even if his demeanor was the same—even if he began to act more violent—the thug’s anxiety would start to talk sense into him. Probably not by itself, but Xinshen was never wrong.
“You are scared, boy,” He repeats, resting a hand on the thug’s elbow. Almost instantly, the boy’s strong front shatters as raw fear and anxiety overtakes him, as vivid visions of his bleak future leech all his attention. The thug stands in shock and fear, and he faints, his mind shutting down. As his body slumps down, the rest of the circle stares at the old man.
One of them shouts, “What the fuck, the chink killed B-Z!” and within a moment, all guns are pointed at Xinshen. In his youth, he would have been able to simply dodge his way out of there, but he can barely walk without a cane in his current state. His chances of escape would be none, but Xinshen felt no fear—after all, he controls emotions.
“You all ready your weapons, and you all prepare to fight. However, what do you fight for?” Xinshen asks, but no gun lowers. However, Xinshen can tell what they are thinking: They fear him, they fear he has a trick up his sleeve that will cause them harm. “Your friend is still very much alive,” He reassures the group, although the limp body doesn’t convince them. Xinshen really wasn’t lying, however—the poor boy simply fainted from the fear Xinshen forced him to face.
“Any last words, fucker?” another thug asks, raising his gun. He intends to fire. However, This wasn’t the first time Xinshen had to convince a gunman to lower his weapon, and it wouldn’t be the last.
After all, Xinshen had power in his words.
“You’d shoot me, and you’ll go back to your sick mother and sister smelling like gunpowder? Will you let them think you’re a—” he suddenly stops his sentence and flinches to the right—the thug has blocked out his mind and decided to fire. Without time to register the old man’s dodge, the thug fires, the bullet going nowhere, the loud blast startling the crowd.
Certainly not what Xinshen wanted to happen, but he can make this work to his advantage! He dives forward, and grips the knife of a different thug—who instantly releases it upon seeing a vision of it being driven into the back of his best friend. As the thug slowly backs away, Xinshen could only feel bad for him—these visions were imminent futures that would happen if they didn’t change their behaviors soon.
However, Xinshen didn’t have time to dwell on that. Still holding the knife imbued with absolute fear, he looks at the thugs—who expect him to throw it at them— then aims right in front of the center thug’s feet, making sure nobody was going to dive there before hurling the knife. As it flies, all the fear on it can be sensed, and the already tense situation nearly spirals out of control, causing to more thugs to run away. Only three thugs remain, and even they were gripped with fear and dread.
“There is no need to fear me, I intend no harm,” Xinshen attempts to reassure them, despite knowing they have blocked out their minds. Right now, they were running on adrenaline and survival instinct, and were almost beyond reason. In such a case, all that could be done is to convince them to take flight rather than staying to fight.
None of the three is wielding a gun—although one of them dropped theirs after the other thug fired his gun. He looks at the pistol, and Xinshen knew he had to act quickly. Lunging forward, he picks up a rock—as the unarmed thug dashes towards his gun. The other two thugs are charging towards Xinshen with a knife and a wire-wrapped bat, respectively. However, Xinshen could make this work—he had to.
Quickly glancing around, Xinshen spots a metal dumpster—and hurls the rock towards it, the loud bang causing the others to momentarily flinch back. Seizing his opportunity, Xinshen dashes towards the two melee-clad opponents, his sudden change in posture surprising the two thugs. However, contrary to their thoughts, Xinshen was not attacking, and quickly jumps to the left, just out of range of their strike. Where he once stood, an aura of pure fear and apprehension remains, and the two thugs finally faint, finally at their wits’ end.
The final opponent, however, has his gun, and is aiming at Xinshen. All of the other thugs have either fainted or fled, and the faint wail of police sirens can be heard, slowly approaching. The atmosphere steadily grows more tense—and this time, Xinshen has nothing to do with it.
“Good run. Now, prepare to—” the final thug begins.
“Die?” Xinshen interrupts, knowing that if the thug finished his sentence, he would have found the strength needed to kill the old man. “You won’t fire the gun.” Despite the thug’s deadly glare and his steady grip, Xinshen knows the thug won’t shoot. Then finally, the thug’s strong front breaks.
“Who are you?!” the thug demands, falling to his knees. It would appear he has given up without any assistance from Xinshen. “You can read minds, control the emotions of others, dodge attacks, imbue emotions onto objects, and leave static auras of emotion wherever you stand?! Just what are you?!”
For the first time since he has gotten surrounded, Xinshen takes a breath of relief. He knew this alley was full of dangerous thugs, and he honestly didn’t know if he still had it within himself to single-handedly defeat them. Reaching into his pockets, he grabs out a notepad and pen, and scribbles his name:
“I am Xinshen,” he calmly tells the thug, and my name means ‘Mind’.” He hands him the paper. “I do not have superpowers, but I have something much more super; and Education.” He slowly gets up, and wipes the dust off his clothes.
“And before you ask me what my origin was,” Xinshen continues, slowly walking away, “The answer is, I am not a superhero, I’m a psychologist—I only differ from my colleagues in that I actually seek out the people in need.”