The lonely traveller arrived in a little town in a valley somewhere in Mexico. She was weary after the long hike she had taken along the mountain trail. Although she had no trouble fighting against those bounty hunters trying to shoot arrows from behind, it had drained the last drop of her gaunt body. Famished of all that she had been through, she scanned around for some place to eat until her eyes landed on a local bar eatery. She entered the bar opening the door slowly. The bell attached to the door jingled a welcoming little sound. Her rice hat rustled in the draft left by the slowly closing door. Her silken kimono was unlike the rough ponchos of the locals. It had a pink colour like the cherry blossoms of her homeland with a pattern of white dots on it. On her waist she had a crimson sash and a katana of extraordinary craftsmanship tucked in along with it. Despite her weakened appearance, she had an aura of elegance in her habitus. Her quiet yet poised demeanour spelled the word mystery and strength as she sat down on the first table closest to the door. The bar waitress prudent of the wanderer’s strong presence approached her cautiously and asked what she would like to order. The traveller just uttered a single word: water. Usually the bar staff didn’t care to serve customers who ordered only water but her intimidating presence didn’t seem to leave any other choice so the waitress took her order and quickly slunk away. The bar owner, a man of staunch stature, was wiping the counter on the opposite end of the room. Even he didn’t want to challenge her and just settled for a disapproving frown. But the mysterious woman didn’t really pay much attention to her surroundings. The waitress brought her the glass of water and she raised it to her bright red lips. Even though her face was mostly hidden under the large rice hat, every now and then one could catch a glimpse of her beautiful slender face.

The bar had a slight bustling atmosphere in there; A place where a quiet, foreign traveller like her seemed so out of place. A muscular guy not far off from a giant in height and size had been eyeing on the woman ever since she had entered the bar. He had a huge maul leaning on the counter next to his stool. He laughed to himself as he gulped down his pint of beer. Then he shouted at the barkeeper for another one in a loud, craggy voice that made everyone else in the bar flinch – everyone but the samurai woman. It was obvious that the barkeeper had his hands full with him and had no time to worry about some foreign traveller. You see, this rowdy man was no ordinary customer. He was the local troublemaker and had become a common sight at the bar. A man like him had no intention of paying but what can you do when a man threatens to smash your head with a huge hammer. The barkeeper would have taken a thousand customers ordering only water than a guy like him. He was a bounty hunter and the bar just so happened to be a great spot to encounter any passing-by delinquents with bounties on their heads. Although a female warrior was an unusual sight on the list. The man found it rather amusing and wanted to see her with his own eyes.

Meanwhile the woman was just staring at the empty glass. Her stomach was growling loudly now.

“Ah, I’m so hungry!” She stared at the unfinished bowl of beef soup on another table left by a previous customer.

“Ah that looks yummy,” she groaned. “I can’t take it anymore!”

Then she did something unexpected. She grabbed the bowl and started to quickly scooping the soup down her throat. Then she went to every table and ate every other customers’ dishes before they could even realise what had just happened. She even ate all the dried chilies and garlic that were hanging on the walls as decorations. And in her bizarre frenzy she even read all the books in the bookshelf in the corner in just a matter of seconds. Everyone just turned to look at the mayhem going about dumbfounded by the weird scene. Everyone but the bounty hunter who now had a wide grin on his face while reaching out to his giant hammer getting ready to strike. The big guy saw the opportunity and swung his maul in a large arc towards the woman as she was intently chomping down some leftover bones like some savage dog. But the woman just evaded his attack without even looking at him and kept on eating. And so a weird game of cat and mouse game ensued as the bounty hunter swung his hammer around in an attempt to strike her down but the woman just kept evading without even flinching or looking his way. With every strike, the giant hammer left a hole everywhere it landed.

Suddenly he hurled the hammer across the room towards the woman and that’s when the woman fixed her eyes on the hammer. that stern look told story of a woman hardened by a thousand battles. With a single swing she deflected the giant hammer. Her swing was so fast you couldn’t even see anything happen before the hammer was already flying through the air in the opposite direction. Underneath a table on the other side of the room there was a little boy cowering in fear. The hammer just so happened to land on that table crushing both the table and the boy’s back breaking his bones followed by a loud scream. The woman saw this and flashed to the boy and started performing some sort of healing magic on him. With a glow of green light, the boy was healed in an instant leaving no signs of a scar. Then the woman grabbed the hammer and threw it dead-eye in the centre of the bounty hunter’s forehead knocking him down in an instant. The whole bar broke into loud cheering for defeating the troublemaker that had been pestering everyone in the town. One mariachi player donned her with his colourful poncho accompanied by the loud cheers of the crowd. But the woman simply continued her quest of eating everything she could find. Then she headed into the kitchen and found a big cask filled with juicy red berries. She lifted the cask and started pouring the contents down her throat. The bar crowd followed her and cheered on her eccentric performance. Suddenly she got interrupted by a local law enforcement officer. The officer grabbed the traveller from the collar of her kimono. So surprised by the interruption, the woman started choking on the food almost throwing up everything out she had just eaten. Then she fainted and the officer nonchalantly dragged her away back into the dining room.

After some fierce attempts to wake her up, she was finally fully awake and back to her original quiet and composed state. The woman was now sitting at table face to face with the officer. Only the colourful poncho she was still wearing broke the magic of her mysterious charisma. The crowd, all gathered up a few tables away, were silently staring at them both from afar. The officer began questioning the woman.

“So, can you actually pay for all the food, drinks and damage you’ve caused here?”

The woman was silent for a moment and then responded, “Well, the thing is I don’t have enough pesos but…”

But before she could finish her sentence, the officer had already cuffed her in heavy chains. She was going to say that she had the money but not in the local currency. But the officer didn’t seem to be interested in her answer anyway.

“You’re coming with me!” the officer commanded and pulled her from the chains.

The officer placed a bag on her head and put her on a horse carriage and they rode away. The crowd, now outside, looked at the carriage speechless as it disappeared into the distance leaving only a cloud of dust behind. Meanwhile in an alleyway behind a corner there were two shady men in strange cloaks.

“Now we can go report this to The White Apple.” one of the men said and then they disappeared into the darkness.

The woman was tied onto a pole on a platform with two other criminals. Underneath the platform was a bunch of logs and hay stacked up in multiple layers. With that much burning material there, it was clear what their sentence was going to be. The man on the woman’s right was panicking, demanding to be released whilst trying to wiggle away out his shackles to no avail. The man on the woman’s left seemed to have given up already expressing only his deep remorse with his miserable figure. But the lonely vagabond didn’t seem to be bothered at all by this grim setting. In fact, this little vixen had a cunning smirk on her face as if she already knew that she wouldn’t die there that night. The executioner raised his torch and was about to set the platform on fire but…

To be continued…

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