The apprentice hero rubbed his sore wrists, working the circulation back into them. “Sir… I can’t believe you let Redghost just leave! Like nothing! He is a wanted criminal!”

“Villain,” the masked avenger corrected. “With villainy, there are rules and customs. He had you over a volcano — Is he… coming… back?“

“Dropped my keys,” Atticus said sheepishly, retrieving them. “Sorry, carry on. Will just be on my way.”

Clearing his throat, the avenger continued. “Villains have cultural standards and structures. They might be steeped in evil, but they wouldn’t—“ annoyed, he paused. “Yes, Redghost. What is it.” The avenger’s tone truncated the question into a clipped sentence.

“I think I snagged someone’s wallet by accident.”

Thus began several moments of awkward pocket emptying and content swapping. By the time they were done, somehow Atticus left with far more valuables than he started with — keycards, most of the cash, a new phone, and several sticks of enchanted gum.

“As I was saying!” the avenger roared heatedly once Atticus left. “Criminals are largely an unorganized force. Villainy has a style, traditions — WHAT! Do you! WANT! ATTICUS!”

“Are y’all hungry? I was thinking about heading to Creepy Crepes.” He held up the hero’s wallet. “My treat.”

The hero stared aghast as his apprentice raised a hand and offered, “I could eat.”

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