It was an ordinary, but stuffy afternoon.
Misaka Mikoto sat in the sofa bored as she browsed through TV channels after TV channels with a remote.
"Isn't there anything more interesting than silly cartoons and boring reality drama series...?"
She switched off the TV. Only the low humming sound from the tall fan just a few centimeters short from being taller than Mikoto placed beside the sofa delivering windy bliss towards her remained inside the quiet living room.
Summer holidays was a time where she could be more productive in catching up with her favourite manga series, or playing her online MMORPG games and reign champion in the PVP mode. However, the computer was away for servicing, and she did not particularly feel like reading manga. All Mikoto felt like doing was to laze around and waste the day away, but at the same time she wanted to be doing something productive as well.
Mikoto stared at the ceiling in agony as the conflict in her mind refused to resolve itself.
She heard a stifled yawn behind her.
"Have you finished your summer homework yet?"
It was from her mother, Misaka Misuzu, who probably just woke up from a nap after doing the laundry.
"They're a pain in the ass so I'll do them later." Mikoto said.
"You shouldn't be procrastinating work. Do you really enjoy staying up all night desperate and tired as you try to finish everything you owe before school starts again?"
Mikoto laid her body flat on the sofa, face up directly towards the ceiling before letting out a sigh.
"Mom, I don't get desperate and tired when I pull all-nighters. Homework are a piece of cake compared to the bullshit I face with that guy online."
Misuzu went over, prompting Mikoto to sit up so that her excited mother would have space beside her on the sofa.
"Did our dear Mikoto finally found love on the Internet? Tell me more about this guy!"
Mikoto's face went red, "No! I'm not in love with that guy!"
Misaka Misuzu had the same shoulder-length brown hair as Mikoto, but her well-developed chest coupled with her still youthful appearance despite being a mother made it seemed more like an older sister interested in her younger sister's love life than a mother to a daughter.
Misuzu broke into a sly grin, "You're clearly in love."
But her face turned serious soon after, "But guys from the Internet can be really dangerous. Don't be blinded by love and get trapped into a scam. I know of some girls who were in the same situation as you, and ended up being cheated of their body and money because of love. Promise me that you'll strictly keep it online, alright? Don't give him any money or meet up with him alone."
"He's not a guy I met online. He's... a guy from the class opposite mine. It's just that we play the same game and things tend to happen when I play with him, that's all."
"I see." Misuzu heaved a sigh of relief knowing that the guy wasn't some stranger her daughter met randomly from the Internet. "Anyway, back to what I was asking. So... tell me more about him! Like what's his name and what do you like about this guy?"
"That idiot's name is Kamijou Touma."
"Okay. So what do you like about him?"
"There's nothing likable about him."
Mikoto found the idea of him being a likable person ridiculous.
Firstly, he's an idiot. There's like maybe five or ten girls crushing on him, so they sometimes make an extra set of bento for him. Anyone could tell that the girls are definitely interested in him, but yet he still acts so oblivious about it!
Secondly, he liked to look down on her. That idiot might have thought that letting her win after the 312th attempt to defeat him in the PVP mode of that game they were both playing was gentlemanly, but he was so wrong! And what's with that bored expression in school?! She was one of the best players in the game, and he was acting like defeating her was just as boring as mashing buttons in a game meant for preschoolers.
Lastly, he's just like that delinquent Hamazura Shiage from the same class as her. A lazy person who doesn't take a lot of things seriously like his homework and tests. Serves that idiot right from being at the bottom of his class with his two other loser friends.
"But why is your face soooo red? Come on, there must be a reason!" Misuzu poked and pinched at Mikoto's red cheeks teasingly. No doubt that her daughter was in a state of denial of her feelings towards this guy.
"It must be your imagination! Stop it! Hey!"
Mikoto tried pushing her annoying mother away but she refused to give up as she kept pressing for answers. There were no answers for her. He was an unlikable person out and out. After some effort, Mikoto managed to reach for the remote and switched on the TV.
"Let's just watch a drama series instead."
"If you say so then." Misuzu let her go and shrugged her shoulders. There was no point pushing for answers if her daughter remained that stubborn.
What appeared on the TV was not a drama series.
It might have been something that belonged in a drama, but it was not a drama.
Mikoto tried switching to the other channels, but all of them were showing the exact same scene. What was going on? Wouldn't there be some sort of an announcement beforehand if events like this were to happen? Even so, was it that important to the point where it must be shown on every channel?
It was a scene depicting an conference stage with audiences filling up the rows of seats below. The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinichi Akihito and a smartly dressed woman standing beside him was on the stage.
The Prime Minister cleared his throat before he started speaking into the mic. He had a stern face but at the same time one could sense despair from his trembling body.
"It is deeply unfortunate that I have to say this, but the world is going to end today. If you have any last words, please say them to your loved ones while you still have the chance."
The smartly dressed woman chopped the Prime Minister's head off with a hand, like a karate practitioner chopping through a stack of wood with their bare hands. Blood shot out like running tap water from the headless body on the ground.
Drenched in blood, she stepped further in front with a satisfied smile, showing no remorse for her actions. There was no need to show remorse for what must be done.
"We are the Parahumans, and we are the next step in the evolution of humanity. Primates like you have no place in our new world. Your world is over."
Mikoto stared at the screen dumbfounded. If this was a prank, it wasn't a very funny one.
Screams echoed from outside and the sound of explosions came soon after.
Both Mikoto and her mother realized this was no prank at all.
Parahumans are humans who are capable of paranormal abilities coupled with a natural increase in strength, speed and regeneration ability to a certain extent.
They are also humans who feed on other humans to survive.
That's why Mikoto found this apocalyptic scene impossible to believe.
Buildings were being demolished through bombs from fighter jets flying overhead coupled with Parahumans demolishing buildings through their abilities like super-strength, pyrokinesis or aerokinesis. Meanwhile, terrified people on the streets running away from the destruction were either killed by the shower of large debris or by the abilities of the Parahumans.
If Parahumans kill off every single human in this world, then what would they feed on?
However, now wasn't the time to care about such a question. Maybe they found some technology to clone humans for food or something.
Mikoto held onto her mother's hand as they weaved through the chaos on the streets. A burning car flew out of nowhere past them and exploded some distance behind them.
"Wh-What do we do now?!" Mikoto said.
"We just keep running until we can find somewhere safe to hide! We'll be fine so don't worry!"
A man running in the opposite direction screamed in horror as multiple ice lances pierced through his body. Another woman got herself crushed under a shower of derbis when a nearby building collapsed onto her.
Mikoto tightened her grip on her mother's hand as she gritted her teeth upon witnessing those people who died horribly. Would they end up like them? And what about her father away at his workplace?! Was he okay hiding somewhere safe?!
Her lips widened into a smile when she saw her father just ahead. The tall, burly and always reliable father was still alive right in front of her.
A Parahuman raised her arms to lift derbis from a distance telekinetically before hurling it at her father.
She heaved a sigh of relief as her father dodged the larger chunks of rocks that could have killed him instantly upon impact, but his arms and face were grazed by the smaller chunks.
Mikoto found herself being pushed aside as a fireball struck her mother Misuzu, setting her body alight in flames before she crumbled into ashes.
Tentacles emerging from another Parahuman's back stabbed through her father. Through his face, through his limbs, and through his face. He turned as grey as a rock before crumbling into dust.
She froze in disbelief as tears fell from her eyes.
How did an ordinary, but rather stuffy afternoon during summer holidays turn into a nightmare?
"I'm going to kill all of you..." Mikoto hissed.
How dare that female Parahuman and that other freak Parahuman with tentacles growing from her back dare to smirk and chuckle after killing her parents.
Mikoto was just as human as her parents who were killed.
Nobody needed to tell her that her chances of winning were zero.
Nobody needed to tell her that her chances of dying a horrible death were a hundred percent.
But there was nowhere left for her to run away.
"I'll kill all of you!"
Mikoto leaped forth with a clenched fist before her world faded into black.
"So it was all just a bad dream..."
Mikoto awoke from her bed drenched in sweat. The clock beside her bed displayed 0400.
It may have been a bad dream, but it didn't change the fact that her parents were killed by Parahumans when she was a young girl and how she wanted all of those Parahumans dead.
Similar nightmares like the ones just now happened so often that her tears had dried up a long time ago, and the pain in her heart grew numb. It felt like holding onto a cold piece of metal that never seemed to grow warm no matter how long she held it for the ninth year already.
She went over to the computer and started up Grand Quest, an online MMORPG she usually was on. Being a popular game, even at 4am, Mikoto's buddy list were still at an healthy amount of 95 out of 453 friends online.
One user inside her buddy list stood out.
'A Certain Misfortune Boy' is currently online.
"What's that idiot doing online so early in the morning?"
This user was Kamijou Touma, the boy from the class opposite of hers whom she has never defeated in the PVP mode despite numerous challenges from her side.
Today would be the day where she would defeat him once and for all.
Mikoto heard a knock on the door before the lights went on, momentarily blinding her for a short while.
"Onee-sama. Have you been up all night playing this silly game again?"
It was Shirai Kuroko, a girl with twin-tailed curly pigtails, standing by the door with a resigned look. She tried to convince Mikoto that staying up late at night was bad for her physically and mentally, but nothing ever worked.
"Of course not. I just woke up and I couldn't go back to sleep, so I decided to play for awhile."
"I see. Do you want to join me for a run instead?"
"No thanks. I'll be running during Physical Education anyway."
"See you in school later then."
Mikoto nodded with a smile before Kuroko left the room.
After her parent's death, she was sent into an orphanage where she met Shirai Kuroko, her best friend. They moved out of the orphanage when she was in her first year of high school and found a cheap rental dormitory where they currently live together in this city known as Academy City.
"... That idiot is not responding at all. Why is he even online then?!"
Mikoto left her computer and took out a set of dumbbells from under her bed.
If she was not even physically strong enough, how would she ever stand a chance against those Parahumans who had a natural increase in strength, speed and regeneration abilities?
There were two ways so far to how humans could defeat a Parahuman.
The first way would be very powerful weapons such as a custom built heavy machine guns powerful enough to turn a tank into crumpled steels within three seconds or rocket launchers that could demolish a building in one shot. However, a special Power Suit is needed to grant them enough strength to carry them around for battle. The drawback of these Power Suits is that it would wear out the user's body at a fast rate, so only people with peak physical conditioning are the only ones who could wear the Suits long enough to fight a Parahuman.
The second way was just a rumor, but there were so much evidence floating on the Net that Mikoto believed that there must be some truth behind it.
Transforming into a Kamen Rider.
Those were essentially upgraded or perhaps the perfect version of Power Suits which grants the user with equal strength, agility and durability as a Parahuman according to the rumors. She wasn't sure why were they called Kamen Riders, but it probably had something to do with the distinct design of each Power Suits like a mask giving the user an identity.
After finishing her dumbbell exercises, Mikoto grabbed her towel before heading to shower.
There was a long day ahead of her in the life of a second year high school student.
And when she graduates from high school, she would apply for a position in Judgement and eliminate all those Parahumans.
On other days, Mikoto would be up at around 4am in the morning like today and go for a 15km run with Kuroko, but it just so happens that today was her rest day, so she settled for a simple 3km run in school instead during Physical Education lessons like now.
Mikoto grabbed her bottle from a bench near the running track and gulped down the refreshing cold water while enduring sighs of admiration from other girls because of her sub 10 min timing. The weather was particularly sunny today.
"It's nothing really." Mikoto said to one of the girls who asked about the secret to her timing, "I run 15km every other day, so that's why I can run that fast."
"Still, you're amazing!"
There were another group of girls who would just glare at her enviously from a distance and whisper something to each other. It was probably something about how Misaka Mikoto was such a 'showoff' and how running 15km and being good at many kind of sports isn't going to ensure that she has a stable job in the future. Those people were just hateful people jealous about her athletic prowess. They did gave her a pretty rough time during the first year of high school, but by second year she managed to make enough friends to deter them from bullying her.
A familiar, but sickeningly sweet feminine voice called out to Mikoto.
"Must be a pretty tough run if you're sweating buckets."
It was from the most popular girl in the whole of the second year level, Shokuhou Misaki, seated on the bench with a few guys fanning her like servants attending to a queen with long, flowing blonde hair and an impressive chest. Coincidentally, she was in the same class as her.
"What's your excuse for skipping PE today Shokuhou? Headache? Stomach cramps?"
"I'm on my period."
"I thought you'd be pregnant by now from all the guys you're screwing around with."
Misaki pouted, "Don't tell me you believe all those rumors about me being a slut or something? I'm simply a pure maiden who just happens to be popular with the boys.
Mikoto raised an eyebrow in disbelief, "Pure maiden? Really?"
She was in the same class as her, so Mikoto knew what Misaki just said was definitely utter bullshit. A pure maiden doesn't go around acting like a temptress.
Misaki stood up and did a quick stretch before reaching for her bottle.
Perhaps she misjudged the position of her bottle, so that's why she ended up pouring water all over her PE attire instead of the water going inside her mouth? Like that's actually the reason why.
Misaki shook her head with a sigh, "Oh dear, I'm so careless nowadays."
The boys attending to her were quick to act.
"Do you need a towel?"
"How about a portable hairdryer?"
"I can get you fresh clothes if you like!"
Misaki grabbed hold of a boy's wrist, moving closer towards him with a sly smile. "How about you wipe the water off my shirt... and if your hands just happen to touch my breasts, I won't blame you if you start groping them. However, that is if you actually dare to do it."
The lucky chosen boy in question trembled as his face flushed bright red. Could he really go ahead and touch those breasts that he has always been fantasizing about. Girls like courageous men, right? So if he were to accept Misaki's dare, would he finally be able to take a step closer in winning her heart?
Mikoto rolled her eyes.
There she goes again. Pure maiden my foot.
It was about time somebody taught that temptress a lesson.
"I'll do it."
Before Misaki could react, she felt Mikoto's hands squeezing firmly on her well-developed breasts.
Seeing Misaki scream in shock was the best thing Mikoto ever saw since high school. If everyone was a coward who refused to expose that temptress's bluff by accepting the dare, then she would be the hero who would expose her bluff.
Like a frightened child, she ran towards another boy whimpering.
"Mi-Misaka just molested me! Help!"
However, that boy with spiky-hair wasn't just another boy.
He was Kamijou Touma, the idiot who refused to reply her when he was online at four in the morning, and also the guy whom she never once won against in the game Grand Quest's PVP mode.
"You didn't have to message me 34 times in a row when I didn't reply for about an hour this morning. I was busy doing my homework." Touma said to Mikoto.
"Homework? If you're doing homework, then you should be focusing on your homework instead of being online."
"I forgot to log off, that's all."
Misaki cut in with a bright smile, "Oh yes. My character just reached Level 75 yesterday. Let's party together to fight that Level 75 boss tonight!"
"So fast?! You only started about two weeks ago." Touma said.
"Well, I had some help though, hehe."
"You certainly had a lot of help. Too much help I would add." Mikoto said.
It wasn't that hard to reach Level 75 if one could gather a group of people to train a character 24/7 with experience boost and party bonuses. The most popular girl in the second year level Shokuhou Misaki could certainly do that with ease given the sheer amount of boys who were crazy for her.
Misaki hugged Touma's arm with a pout so cute that it could melt almost any man's heart. "Anyway, Misaka molested me. Could you do something about it, please?"
Mikoto suppressed her anger from seeing that temptress being so close to that idiot. And that damm idiot doesn't even seem to realize a thing as he stands there oblivious to that temptress's charm.
Touma looked at Misaki confused, "What do you want me to do? I can't actually make Misaka un-molest you or anything."
"How about a dare?" Misaki smiled slyly. "If Misaka wins in that new shooting game in the arcade, I'll do anything she wants for the day. But, if you win then Misaka will do anything I want for the day. Deal?"
"Are you sure about this?" Mikoto grinned.
She had participated in various sports activities in different clubs, but those were just passing interests. Her real interest was in mixed martial arts and shooting. However, her current main school club and focus was in the Shooting Club. During middle school, she had a reputation of being an excellent sharpshooter with several awards to back that claim up. It was unthinkable to be incompetent with firearms if she wanted to join Judgement in the future.
Touma let out a sigh, "I'm not that good in shooting, but okay. 8pm at the arcade?"
If a person like her actually lost to that idiot who probably has never handled a gun in his whole life, maybe it was about time she should re-evaluate herself.
It was sunset.
A dirty blonde-haired boy was walking along the streets in District 7 of Academy City while holding hands with a black shoulder-length haired girl who had a vacant expression. School had just ended, so there were a couple of students like them who just ended school walking around in groups.
The boy was the reformed delinquent Hamazura Shiage who still didn't do well in his studies, but his conduct and attitude towards school had significantly improved.
It was all thanks to his seemingly emotionless girlfriend Takitsubo Rikou beside him who encouraged him to become a better person. After all, how could he give her a future if he were to remain as a delinquent even at his thirties.
"How's class today?" Shiage said.
They were both studying in the same school, and in the same level as second year high school students, but they were in opposite classes.
"Maybe not." Rikou added.
"Hisao-sensei is creepy. He looks at me and Saiai with that disgusting smile sometimes. It's like he'd just devour us if we let our guard down around him."
"He's not a Parahuman... right?"
Rikou shook her head as they walked past a flower shop closing for the day. "No. When I said devour, I didn't mean it literally."
"Ah, I get what you mean now. " Shiage chuckled, "There's nothing to be worried about then. If I were him, I'd definitely go for Saiai rather than a plain, boring girl like you."
His face distorted into pain as he felt Rikou's crushing grip around his hand.
"So why did you choose a plain, boring girl like me instead of Saiai? Are you the type of person who wants to eat his cake and have it still? Or are you cheating on me with Saiai?"
"It's... ju-just a joke! I'm not cheating on you or anything!"
Shiage noticed that dangerous light in her seemingly emotionless eyes. It was a sign that if he did not pacify her girlfriend fast enough, he would end up thrown into an alley by her as food for the Parahumans.
"You're the only person I love, I swear!"
Rikou loosened her grip. "I'll believe you for now."
Although Parahumans are a threat to humans because they prey on humans for food, the chances of a ordinary person encountering one in their lives were fortunately not very high thanks to the efforts of Judgement and the sporadic appearances of the mysterious Kamen Riders who seem to act on their own. There was a good chance he could survive being trapped in an alley for a day or two without being killed by Parahumans.
Sadly, Hamazura Shiage was not a very lucky person.
His girlfriend Takitsubo Rikou claims to have an ability that allows her to detect who is a Parahuman, and who is not. And just his luck that a Parahuman was in the same class as him.
However, it must noted that his girlfriend was no Parahuman.
She was an exceedingly rare existence known as the Irregulars, a Parahuman that could consume normal human food and survive just fine instead of eating human meat. A dream existence that every Parahuman wished they were.
Irregulars were so rare that so far only one person working for Judgement has been identified as one here in Japan, and several others throughout the world.
Rikou increased her footsteps all of a sudden, causing Shiage to almost stumble on his feet.
"What's wrong?" Shiage said.
"Parahumans. Behind us." Rikou whispered.
"Are you serious?"
Extended arms shot out from an alley opening to grab both Shiage and Rikou by the neck before hurling them inside the alley like a frog sticking out its tongue to catch prey for food.
Shiage helped Rikou up on her feet as they stared at a man in an orange striped sweater with a crazed smile advancing towards them. Following behind that insane looking man were two other men with a similar vibe.
One of the man behind rubbed his hands with glee. "A guy and a girl? What a treat we have here."
"Let's just eat them already! I'm starving to death!" The other guy behind said.
Shiage gritted his teeth in anger. Those three guys were Parahumans and they were about to be their dinner. Being stronger, faster and capable of paranormal abilities, there was not much that an ordinary human can do to them unless they were specially equipped.
However, Rikou wasn't just an ordinary human.
Her eyes glowed red.
Upon making eye contact with her cold, emotionless gaze, the three Parahumans collapsed in sheer agony. Strength left their bodies and their heads felt like it could explode any moment. Other than being able to detect Parahumans, she also had another ability that allowed her to force a Parahuman's ability to go berserk and cause them to self destruct if she used it long enough.
The two Parahumans that was following behind that crazed Parahuman in an orange striped sweater crumbled into dust.
Desperate, the last surviving Parahuman mustered whatever energy he had left and shot out an extending arm, slapping Rikou to the ground.
Shiage held Rikou in his arms, trembling and almost in tears. Her breathing was erratic with blood leaking from her lips. If she did not get medical attention soon enough, she might have a very high chance of dying. It was a terrible side effect from using that Parahuman slaying ability that could kill just by looking at them.
In fact, Rikou wasn't the only one who had a very high chance of dying.
As mentioned before, unless specially equipped, it was almost impossible for an ordinary human to beat a Parahuman.
The remaining Parahuman still alive dragged himself towards the powerless guy and the fallen girl who must have overexerted herself, his crazed smile even more evident than before.
"Fucking bitch, how dare you kill my friends! I swear I'll fucking devour every last bit of you!"
Shiage placed a pleading Rikou begging him forget about her and run away gently on the ground before standing up to face the unstoppable Parahuman.
Even if he only had a 1% chance of winning, he had to try at least for the sake of keeping her alive. From what little he observed, that Parahuman could extend his arms out through a long distance. If that's the only thing he was capable of, then it was obvious what he was going to do next.
Shiage crouched down to pick up a rusty metal rod and sprang up, slamming the rod as hard as he could onto the closest extending orange arm to him before hurling it towards the other arm. It shot back with a jerk into its original length.
The Parahuman glared at Shiage with eyes threatening to tear him apart at the next instant.
"So you want to get in my way? I'll have you for dinner first then!"
This was it.
Shiage clenched his fist and charged forth towards the Parahuman.
He may be powerless to protect his dying girlfriend, and that Parahuman would probably just swat him aside like an annoying fly, but he could at least buy time for someone with power to save her. With his life.
The Parahuman only stood there with that same threatening glare as Shiage approached.
He intercepted Shiage's fist and lifted him overhead with one hand like a rag doll before flinging him towards a trashcan about a meter or two away from Rikou.
Shiage knew Parahumans were strong, but he never expected them to be that strong.
His vision started to blur with white flashes appearing at random. He desperately grabbed hold of his slipping consciousness as he watched the Parahuman approach a dying Rikou.
"Leave... Rikou... alone..."
Shiage ignored the crushing pain in his chest as he hurled the dented trashcan towards that Parahuman.
He stopped to turn towards Shiage. His eyes were burning with fury, but his tone was icy cold. "It seems like you don't appreciate second chances."
Rikou's ability must have affected that Parahuman to some extent because his movements were as sluggish as an ordinary drunk human despite still being very strong.
Shiage hobbled over in front of Rikou before that Parahuman could reach her.
"If you want her dead, then you gotta get through me first!"
"You can't win."
"I don't care."
The Parahuman shot out an extended arm, striking Shiage from random directions like a whip. Unable to knock away the whipping strikes due to a difference of strength, Shiage found himself pinned towards the side of the grey grimy wall with no way out.
Shock ran through Shiage as the Parahuman shot out another extended arm towards Rikou.
He cursed his powerlessness. He hurled his fists towards the whipping strikes, hoping for a miraculous burst of strength that would allow him to break through that barrier separating him from Rikou.
There was no miraculous burst of strength.
Shiage felt the bones in his body shattering apart from the impact. Despite the intense physical pain shooting through every fiber of his body, a stabbing pain in his heart from being so useless hurt even more.
"Fuck I'll do anything! Just don't kill her!"
However, a miracle did occur.
After that robotic male voice finished his announcement, a white crackling bolt pierced through the Parahuman's abdomen. Both his arms shot back into its original length and he fell to the ground with blood flowing from the gaping wound before crumbling into dust.
Appearing in front of Shiage was a humanoid figure in a maroon blue bodysuit with sliver amour. There was a belt around his waist with a prominent spade symbol on the front of the belt with something that seemed like a black lever handle at the side. The same symbol could be seen on the gauntlet attached to his right hand, and on its chest amour.
A Kamen Rider.
Its sliver mask was pointed upwards like a cone with two glowing red ovals as eyes.
Shiage stared at the Kamen Rider in complete awe.
"Kamen Rider Spade...?"
Given the sporadic appearances of a Kamen Rider, having one appear to save his and Rikou's life was almost short of a miracle.
"You're safe now."
Spade said before leaping away deeper into the alley.
Arcades were somewhat similar to clubs with their dim, flashy and noisy surroundings. Even at 8pm, the crowd inside mainly consisting of tired students wanting to unwind and relax from cram classes only increased by the minute.
At the center of attention playing the latest shooting game Crisis Zero was Misaka Mikoto, the undefeated Electric Princess known for her lightning fast reflexes. To this date, no one has beaten her in any shooting or fighting games within the arcade.
A guy slumped his shoulders in defeat as he placed the revolver back at the arcade machine. He was the fifteenth challenger and today he realized what it truly meant to be the best in this game.
The crowd were blown away by Misaki's appearance. Her doll-like features with exotic long, blonde flowing hair and a well-endowed chest was already enough to make any man claim that they saw an angel descended from heaven, but she was already far beyond the level of an angel as her mini skirt emphasized her slender, beautiful legs adorned by white laced stocking.
The lucky guy who had his arms locked beside that goddess was a spiky-haired boy who looked just like an average high school male student one could find anywhere in the streets.
Mikoto swallowed her anger as she watched Misaki strut closer with Touma as if he was her property. He was not her property to be flaunted around like a prize!
Misaki winked at Touma before moving back into the spectating crowd. "Good luck Touma!"
Touma took up the revolver before flashing a smile at Mikoto. "I don't play shooting games that often, so do go easy on me."
Mikoto racked the slide of the revolver with a confident grin, "I'll try. Or maybe I should ask you to go easy on me. You're always full of surprises anyway."
"I do my best."
Despite radiating confidence and appearing sure of herself, for some reason a warm, tingly feeling went fluttering through her, causing her heart to thump wildly in excitement.
That stupid idiot! Why does he always make me feel like that especially when he smiles at me!
She got into her battle posture, calmed herself down and pushed away every single unnecessary thoughts. Steady grip, regular breathing, and eyes focused in front of the screen, ready for the fight ahead.
This time, I'll defeat you!
It had only been about four hours since Shiage got himself severely injured and almost died together with Rikou from an assault by Parahumans hunting for food.
Now, he found himself completely healed as he walked down a long corridor inside an experimental facility while following a female scientist dressed in a white lab coat who introduced herself as Kihara Yuiitsu from behind.
Academy City was a city located in Western Tokyo. A city dedicated to science and technology. As a result, most of the cutting edge technologies in various fields were located and developed here. While the medical technology here in this city had advanced to the point where a critically injured person suffering from multiple fractures and internal bleeding like him could be healed in three hours, the exorbitant treatment costs meant that only the rich and famous could afford it.
Because Shiage signed a contract to take part in an experiment with Smart Brain Corporation Japan, this treatment was given to him free of charge.
Experimental facilities were quite a common sight in certain districts, but he never expected himself to be given a chance to step foot into one.
The entrance looked like a miniature shopping mall with cafes and retail stores. As he moved up to the fifth level where the experiment would be held at with the female scientist Yuiitsu, the atmosphere turned from vibrant into a unnaturally quiet and cold atmosphere. The air-conditioning temperature was a little too cold for his taste, and the soft humming sound of the air con was the only thing in the plain white background.
Along the wide corridor, there were many rooms with scientists moving in and out. A room in particular caught Shiage's attention.
Unlike the smaller rooms lining the corridors, there was a large room where one could see inside through a glass window about the size of a television.
A man inside the bare, white-walled room pressed a button on the watch-like device attached to his wrist. At the top end of a wall, there were windows where a few scientists could be seen there observing the man.
Shiage blinked and the man vanished from sight. He blinked again to see blood and bits of organs spluttered everywhere.
Yuiitsu chuckled at how pale and distressed Shiage seemed to be, "Don't worry. You won't end up like him, I promise."
"What kind of experiment was that just now...?"
It shocked Shiage to see experiments being conducted in such a cruel manner. It shocked him even more to see Yuiitsu's reaction to a life taken away by an experiment.
However, that was the reason why his contract had a death wavier included inside because the experiment could end up being too dangerous. According to Yuiitsu, every participants had also signed a death wavier just like him. It was still shocking to see for himself why.
"Sorry, but its top secret for now. Maybe I'll tell you more if you succeed in becoming the Railgun."
A weapon that would also allow one to transform into an amoured rider capable of defeating Parahumans, or what people in Japan would call a Kamen Rider. In other countries, they were referred as Armoured Rider.
Developed by Smart Brain Corporation Japan, it was an attempt (according to Yuiitsu) to move away from the traditional style done in the US of using belts and an additional device (usually a custom-made mobile phone) to activate the transformation to an Amoured Rider.
While the Railgun was a success in many ways, there was a single major problem. So far, nobody could successfully transform into the amoured rider Railgun.
Not yet at least.
Shiage entered inside a bare, white-walled room like the room he saw on his way here. A male scientist inside opened the metal briefcase with the Smart Brain logo printed on the front to reveal the Railgun lying within a protective foam cover.
At first glance, the Railgun looked like a futuristic black, short barrel rifle without a magazine and a scope with the orange base attached to the black grip standing out the most because it was of a color other than black. The barrel were two parallel rails connected to the rest of the gun, which meant that any projectiles coming out of this gun wasn't going to be bullets. In fact, with no magazine slot to be seen, was there any way to load this weapon?
The male scientist handed the Railgun to Shiage with a smile before leaving the room.
"How does this thing even work in the first place?" Shiage said.
The Railgun was impossibly light for a rifle of its size. Normally, even though the rifle was smaller, it would still at least weigh about 2kg compared to the usual 3kg or so. This weapon only weigh about as heavy as his well-stocked pencil box prepared by his girlfriend Rikou.
"First, why don't you try shooting at that wall over that?"
"How do you even aim accurately without a scope?"
"If you transform, you can simply aim through the system built inside the helmet of your Rider suit. Otherwise, you'll have to use iron sighting to aim."
True to Yuiitsu's words, there was a small, triangular iron sight attached towards the end of the barrel which Shiage failed to notice.
As Rikou was in the Shooting Club, it was only right that he should also join the same club as her. Besides, shooting was a pretty interesting sport.
This small, triangular iron sight was normally attached to pistols instead of rifles. Shiage realized that this Railgun weapon was meant to be used like a pistol despite looking like a rifle.
"Despite what you might think, the most optimal usage is to fire the Railgun one-handed." Yuiitsu said.
"Shouldn't you fire it two-handed so that you can manage the recoil better?"
"There is zero recoil so that doesn't matter. Anyway you probably wouldn't understand the details, so its better that you just accept that the Railgun is a magical physics defying weapon created to kill Parahumans."
Perhaps that was what Yuiitsu meant by the Railgun being a success in many ways. Just by having zero recoil, the gun had violated an important physics concept known as the Law Of Momentum Conservation where every force must have an equal opposite reaction force.
Shiage aimed the Railgun at a wall, holding it one-handed. He pressed the trigger to see an orange beam being fired from the space in between the two parallel rails that was the rifle's barrel. The ground around him wobbled slightly from the impact and a small dent could be seen on the charred portion of the pure white wall.
Given the power generated by the orange beam, a large recoil must have occurred even if mechanisms were put in place to lower the recoil, but there was no recoil at all. He could just keep on firing without a need to readjust his aim for each shot.
"This is amazing."
Yuiitsu nodded proudly, "We did put in a lot of effort into the Railgun after all. About time we proved ourselves to the team in charge of Smart Brain's Rider Systems over in the US.
She clasped her hand with bated breath, "Now, for the moment of truth. Once you transform, everything you need to know about the Railgun's Rider System will be downloaded into your brain via electricity. Convenient isn't it? That's a little personal touch I've added to make piloting this Amoured Suit easier. To transform, press down that orange thing on the Railgun."
Shiage pressed down that orange base attached to the black grip with a finger.
A male announcer voice came from the weapon. Unlike the male voice he heard just a few hours ago from another Kamen Rider who miraculously appeared to save him and Rikou's life, it was more natural and relaxed.
After pushing in the orange base, the Railgun glowed orange instead of its original black.
"To complete the transformation, you press the trigger. Good luck." Yuiitsu said.
Shiage closed his eyes.
If he succeeded, he would have power to protect Rikou by transforming into a Kamen Rider. He would no longer be that pathetic trash walking beside her.
Fuck please, grant me my wish to have power to protect her!
He opened his eyes and pressed the trigger.
A violent electric shock ran through the arm that was holding the Railgun and he hurled the weapon to the ground instinctively in pain.
Shiage stared at the black, short-barrel rifle with a orange base attached to the grip and two parallel rails as the barrel.
Why did the Railgun reject him? What were the conditions needed for the Railgun to accept him? If Smart Brain Japan were to choose a former delinquent like him who often got into petty fights in the past for an experiment to find a suitable candidate for the Railgun, perhaps they were pretty much out of options already.
Yuiitsu went over to pick up the weapon and passed it to Shiage.
"Okay, listen to me very closely."
Her sudden serious expression surprised Shiage, knocking him out of his disappointment and despair at not being the 'Chosen One'.
After making sure that she got his attention, Yuiitsu continued.
"Parahumans has already invaded the upper echelon of this corporation. It's only a matter of time that they take over this facility and use the Railgun to hunt us humans more efficiently for food. Take it and run. Find another human who can use this weapon and transform into the Railgun. The fate of humanity lies in your hands, Hamazura Shiage."
"Me? Why me?"
He was just a good for nothing reformed delinquent who only picked petty fights with people. To be entrusted with such a great responsibility out of a sudden felt unreal. It was something that only happens to the main protagonist in a story, not a third rate character like him.
Heavy marching footsteps outside the room grew louder and louder.
"There's no time for you to ask why! Run!"
With that, Shiage bolted out of the room with the Railgun in hand.
Mikoto was currently in the process of reevaluating herself while walking alone in the desolate street at night.
How could she lose to a boy who never wielded a gun in his whole life as a excellent sharpshooter who won awards during middle school?!
Maybe it was her being nervous that costed her the game? After all, she only lost by a single point. Or maybe he just had faster reflexes than her?
Today was the day that she realized that speed was everything in this shooting game. Otherwise, how could an idiot like him even have a chance to defeat an experienced sharpshooter like her?
But that was just secondary compared to that temptress Shokuhou Misaki and that idiot.
Mikoto clenched her fist in frustration, "Argh. It makes my blood boil just by seeing that Shokuhou touching him all over! And why is he just accepting it like it's the most natural thing in the world to happen?! Hellooo, do you really think that temptress is attracted to you? She's just playing around, that's all!"
If a gun were to fall from the night sky, she had a strong feeling that she would not be able to control herself and take it with her right now and shoot Misaki for being such a slutty bitch.
A futuristic black, short barrel rifle flew out of nowhere in front of her and landed towards the concrete ground beside her with a loud thud. There was no magazine nor scope attached to the rifle and the parts that stood out the most was the orange base attached to the black grip, and the barrel that were two parallel rails.
She picked it up to find that it wasn't very heavy despite its size.
"Maybe its just a cosplay toy someone threw away?"
Mikoto casually pressed the trigger to see the gun fire a orange beam that tore through a glass window of a nearby shophouse to her right.
She jumped back and stumbled to the ground in shock as glass shards rained down around her.
The surroundings inside through the shattered window was murky dark, but Mikoto could see bits and pieces of what used to be books littered around a damaged bookshelf with a gaping hole blown through it.
"That... is definitely not a toy."
Just what was going on? Whose weapon was it and why did it magically fall from the sky?
This time, it was a person that flew out of nowhere and landed on the ground littered with glass shards beside her.
It was Hamazura Shiage, a classmate and a guy who happened to be in the Shooting Club like her as well with his girlfriend Rikou.
Blood leaked from his clothes riddled with holes as he laid there barely conscious.
Mikoto went over to a bloody Shiage flustered as she reached for her phone with a hand inside her pocket, "Wh-What happened?! Let me get the ambulance!"
She dialed the number only to find that her phone wasn't receiving any signal.
Shiage lifted an arm to point at that futuristic black rifle with a unique barrel design that involves attaching two parallel rails to the upper portion of the rifle.
"Take it and run... Don't let them get it..."
Meanwhile, heavy marching footsteps from a distance grew louder and louder.
This definitely was no coincidence. There must be someone here jamming the signal to prevent anyone from calling for help such as Judgement.
It must be the 'them' after the rifle that was behind this.
A group of masked figures in a black bodysuit with sparse orange amour attached mainly at the chest, and face obscured with a sliver opaque glass appeared soon after. All of them were equipped with submachine guns aimed at Mikoto and the barely alive Shiage lying on the concrete pavement.
A man dressed in a trench coat worn over a white business suit stepped in front of the group of masked figures surrounding Mikoto and Shiage.
He stretched his hand out palm up with a smile, "Hand over the gun, and nobody gets hurt."
Mikoto tightened her grip on the futuristic black, short barrel rifle with two parallel rails forming the barrel. "And why should I?"
"Because you don't have a choice. You either give me the gun, or I'll retrieve it from your corpse."
With a sigh, she raised both hands up while still holding the uniquely designed rifle in one hand and slowly turned her back against the masked figures to face the empty window frame of the shophouse that she accidentally misfired at.
"Now slowly place the gun on the ground." The man said.
There was something about that girl with short brown hair which he could not exactly put his finger on. Turning your back against an enemy with both hands raised was a sign of surrender, but that was something he expected to see from someone more professional... an adult at the least, not from a rather tomboyish but attractive teenager who was probably still schooling.
Mikoto dived through the empty window frame, triggering a bullet storm almost instantaneously and darted sideways into the murky darkness of the shophouse.
The man shook his head. What a silly little girl. It was clever of her to fake a surrender, but would hiding inside that shophouse achieve anything?
An orange beam from the darkness inside that shophouse struck the helmet of a masked figure, forming a small crack. Five more rapid shots shattered the helmet and the last shot pierced through the exposed face of the figure.
"Scatter around and fire! Make yourself a harder target to be shot at! Don't rush inside! A shot from the Railgun only becomes stronger at closer distances! She'll destroy you in just one shot if you get too close!"
Despite following the orders of their leader Toyo, the masked figures still found themselves being taken down one by one from six accurate rapid shots fired at their helmet in less than a second.
Toyo clicked his tongue upon seeing all of his subordinates dead. How could a mere girl like her possess such an insane talent in shooting? Using the Railgun without transforming demanded a lot of skill in iron sighting to aim because there was no system to guide the user's aim.
"How long are you going to hid-"
He winced in pain as six rapid shots fired from the darkness struck his face. Unlike his unfortunate subordinates who had their face blown through by the Railgun, there was only a red swell on his face.
"Unlike my men, I am a complete Parahuman. You'd need a lot more power than that to kill me."
A pair of black spider limbs about a meter in length emerged from Toyo's back and he slammed it into the darkness like a whip, smashing whatever that was in the way.
The burning orange beams kept hammering his spider limbs away and his irritation with this girl grew even more intense. How in the fuck did that girl succeed in every shot despite the low surface area of his limbs?! His erratic swinging should have made it harder as well!
He stopped swinging his extended limbs around at random and focused on smashing the ceiling. Loud thuds of from the falling rubbles crashing against the ground reverberated through the air.
Unable to hide in the shophouse and use the darkness as cover any longer, Mikoto leaped outside through the window pane and fired a few shots sideways at the incoming appendages, knocking it away from her before rolling backwards on the rough asphalt surface to create more distance between the Parahuman and stood up to face him.
Blood flowed from her clothes riddled with holes all over. Unlike Shiage who laid at a corner barely conscious, She stood upright battered with multiple lacerations and grazes on her face and skin.
Mikoto's eyes were filled with cold rage.
Her first encounter with a Parahuman was when she was eight years old.
What happened that day remained as a blur memory in her mind, but she would never forget the crushing pain and despair from watching her parents die in front of her eyes without being able to do anything.
From then on, she had never encountered a Parahuman until now.
"I've been training everyday to destroy scums like you!"
Mikoto was about to charge at the Parahuman dressed in a trench coat worn over a business suit with a pair of spider-like appendages extending from his back when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
It was Shiage who struggled to keep himself standing with trembling legs.
"Press down that orange thing... then press the trigger to transform..."
"Transform into a Kamen Rider."
Toyo's lips curled into a smirk, "Over a hundred or so humans have tried transforming. None of them succeeded. You're welcome to try if you like."
The error sequence would separate that girl from the Railgun, and so create a chance for him to kill her without any interference.
Mikoto pushed down the orange base attached to the weapon's grip with a finger.
Instead of black, the weapon was now a glowing orange.
"Then I'll be the first to succeed. Henshin."
An orange glow engulfed her, transforming her into the Railgun.
The Railgun was an amoured rider with sleek orange amour attached to a black bodysuit. The helmet was also orange in color with black visor representing eyes. There was also a buckle around the waist where the user could attach the weapon at the sides.
Toyo widened his eyes in complete disbelief, "Th-That's impossible! Miss Kumokawa can't be wrong! Humans like you should not have been able to transform!"
He retracted his extended spider limbs and his lower limbs burst into a black spider thorax about as large as a car with black fur sprouting from his deformed upper part of his body serving as the 'head' of the spider. He looked something similar to a monstrous centaur, but instead of a lower body of a horse, it was a spider.
Mikoto shot orange beams from her rifle towards the white silky balls spat at her by the spider Parahuman that melted into dripping goo as soon as the balls collided with the beams.
The aiming system built inside the helmet she was wearing made it too easy. It could even make an amateur like that idiot Touma shoot as well as a sharpshooter as her.
Toyo's arms morphed into extended spider limbs. He swung them towards Mikoto like a whip.
She kept firing at the limbs, but the orange beams seemed to have no effect against it.
Mikoto attached the rifle at the side of the buckle and blocked the whipping strikes by raising her arms, occasionally punching it aside as the spider Parahuman kept pushing her backwards.
Despite the amour, each strike hurt as bad as getting her arm caught in a swinging door. However, she could feel the strength given by the amour. It was an incredible feeling to be able to match the raw strength of an average Parahuman.
Electric sparks danced around her orange amour before she let loose a stream of lightning which burned through his extended limbs towards him.
Toyo gritted his teeth in agony as smoke rose from his body. The lightning had also forced him to turn his extended spider limbs back into his mostly charred arms.
The Spider Parahuman broke into a scuttle before leaping high and shot out all his extended eight spider limbs plus an additional pair of spider limbs from morphing his arms from all directions while spitting white silky balls towards Mikoto.
Mikoto did a backward flip before springing upwards to kick away a pair of spider limbs and punched away another pair, but the third pair slammed her towards the shophouse to her right before a shower of white silky balls rained down on her armour.
A loud sizzle could be heard from her slightly corroded orange armour as she broke free from the sticky white substance restraining her to the rubble filled ground.
Mikoto saw a faint image of that Spider Parahuman running off into a distance.
He's running away...?
"Like I'll let you escape!"
She darted in the direction of that Parahuman. While she couldn't quite catch up with him as he kept leaping up and down from the sides of the buildings onto the road with his powerful spider limbs, he was still within her sight.
The system inside this amoured suit had somehow taught her everything that the Railgun was capable of... maybe it was more like uploading the information to her brain directly. Whoever who made this Rider System as idiot proof as possible must be a god damm genius.
Therefore, Mikoto knew how to end this Parahuman's life once and for all.
She aimed her Railgun weapon at that spider hopping around like a bunny while maintaining her sprint.
Lightning streaks went through her amour and into the weapon, increasing the intensity of its orange glow.
Mikoto pressed the trigger to launch an orange lance through the expanding air caused by its sheer power, tearing a thick line through the asphalt surface before piercing through the Spider Parahuman who just landed on the road.
His body went stiff in horror before turning into ashes.
"So they turn into dust when they die. Interesting."
She went over and scooped Shiage over her shoulders.
"It's about time every single of you scums turn into dust."
Author's Note: This setting is loosely based on the To Aru universe with Parahumans and Irregulars being the equivalent of espers mixed with elements of Kamen Riders, so its fine if you are not that familiar with To Aru though the characters will be mainly from the To Aru universe.
Anyway, hope you like it? And thanks for reading (or skipped) till the end. Feel free to provide comments or criticisms, if any.