The streets outside of the takoyaki shop were devoid of life when the Mosquito Girl, Genus, and Armored Gorilla exited from its front door. The Mosquito Girl stroked one of the long antennae drooping from her head with her claws when she eventually stopped and looked Genus' way in preparation to say goodbye. Little did she know that the former Doctor had a gift to impart onto her first.
"Here," he spoke, extending his hand to her with something in it, which she hesitantly took. What the Mosquito Girl accepted from him was a purse that, once the she had a quick peek inside and saw, was filled with clinking money. "This will get you by until you find your own methods of accruing more."
"I... Thank you, Doctor," graciously said the Mosquito Girl, bowing her head in utmost gratitude for this. "I will indeed use this wisely."
Genus sighed silently as he heard her words. "I'm afraid to admit it, but I have my doubts as to whether or not you'll succeed on your own," he responded, using his index finger to shift his glasses higher onto the bridge of his nose. To this, the insectile mutant only grinned.
"Doubts, doubts, doubts," she giggled childishly with a wave of her free hand. "I'll prove to you that I can care for myself, I just know it."
With a smug expression painted upon her face, she turned her body about and started to walk off a short ways. Before flying into the air, she looked over her shoulder and gave a small wave to her creator. "See you later, Doctor Genus. And see you later too, Armored Gorilla!"
Leaping, she flew off into the sky on buzzing wings. As Genus witnessed the mutant fade away into the horizon, he put his hands in his pockets and started walking inside the takoyaki shop. Armored Gorilla stared up at the sky for a few seconds longer before joining his creator and closing the door behind him. He wandered inside a small ways before finding Genus back where he once had his conversation with his youthful creation, now pouring himself some more tea.
"Doctor Genus, was allowing the Mosquito Girl to depart a wise decision?" he could not help but inquire. "I fear what might become of this greatly."
Genus took a small sip of the tea and placed the cup down. "I admit, there is plenty of reason we both should worry," he soon replied. "Even as a prototype creation, her mental state has never been too stable. Like Carnage Kabuto, she may be powerful, but her mind is simply... disturbed. It seems to be a running theme with those I decide to cross human and insect DNA with."
"I was there during her creation," the half-machine, half-ape commented with a sigh. "Her mind was very much disturbed even before she became what she is now."
"Yes, I suppose so," agreed Genus again. "But that means you should also remember what else she possesses in abundance. Tenacity. Tenacity in following a given order to the best of her ability, and with what her new direction has become, she now has a new goal to fulfill. A simple, albeit long-lasting goal. Only time will tell where her path ultimately leads her, my friend."
"Time, and hope," Armored Gorilla commented in a low voice as he wrapped his white hachimaki once more his head, preparing to help his master clean the closed shop up and prepare it for tomorrow.
"Time and hope," repeated Genus with a smile, taking another sip of tea from his cup.
Deciding to make good on their previous plans, Saitama and Genos went to a restaurant in town. It was one they visited many times before, and a good one at that. They went in as casually as an unremarkable-looking bald man with an intimidating cyborg by his side could be seen as, ordered some noodles, and picked a table to sit in.
The food came in a short time. During the wait, Saitama spent most of it tapping his fingers lightly against the wood on his side of the table with the other arm resting its elbow on its surface and cradling his chin. Genos, ever the patient student, watched his master with extreme focus shining in his golden eyes and arms on his lap. Their orders were presented to them, piping hot, after a few more calm and uneventful minutes.
Things were quiet between the two as they began eating the delectable bowlfulls of noodles, and that didn't count for the sounds of slurping that came with it. When Saitama was about to devour one of the last bites of his meal with his fork, he came to a sudden pause. Slowly, Saitama lifted his head from the bowl with a querying hum and a raised brow. Genos saw this right off and stopped as well.
"Does something bother you, Master?" he asked, noticing the shift in his teacher's expression.
"Oh? Oh, no. Nothing," Saitama replied, looking back to him. "I just... thought I heard a mosquito buzzing in my ear."
He took his pinkie and rubbed it around in his left ear for a few seconds before refocusing back onto his noodles. "Huh," he eventually said after realizing no such bug was orbiting his head; unfond memories returning to him of one such incident involving the dreadfully bothersome species of insect. "I could've sworn I heard one..."
"Perhaps it was a trick being played on your ears?" suggested Genos.
"Maybe. I don't know..." he shrugged in return. "Words can't describe how much I hate mosquitoes..."
Genos thought of one such word right off. "Is one reason why because they 'suck'?"
As he heard this, Saitama failed to hide a small snigger from his compatriot's pun. "Yeah, that might be, Genos."
As the setting sun started to vanish over the horizon, a lone shape flew from the sky and entered one of the lower districts of Z-City. The silhouette, belonging to the Mosquito Girl, moved as swiftly and stealthily through the air as she could, as to avoid detection by anyone. She flew until she came upon a set of buildings where a series of clotheslines, filled with all manners of attire being dried in the dying light, hung between them.
Zipping by at a speed faster than most eyes could properly catch, she snatched several pieces of clothing from the lines, straight from their pins. With them in claw, Mosquito Girl flew into a nearby, desolate alleyway and threw what she caught into a pile on the ground before her. Humming a little tune to herself, she started to look over her catch in earnest, and knew right off that nothing of this common size would fit, much less help conceal her true identity.
So, the Mosquito Girl chose to improvise.
She had only ever done what she was about to do as part of a few tests Genus conducted on her before setting her loose to reek havoc all that time ago, but she remembered how to perform it still. Who knew, she thought to herself with glee, that this skill would actually come in handy for something. Deciding to begin with her right arm, she lifted it and looked at it.
With a grunt, she started the process. As the limb contorted, shrinking and shortening to a sickening cracking noise of bending chitin, the Mosquito Girl herself wore a visage of simple, mild discomfort. As the process finished roughly three minutes later, a very big change had taken place in her formerly long forelimb. It was about that size of a normal human's forearm now, but still looked very inhuman with its chitinous features. The most noticeable thing that had not changed was the fact that she still only had two claws sitting at its end, and not even finger-shaped ones.
She did not despair, and easily went and sifted through her pile of clothes. Pulling out a brown leather glove from it, she snugly put it over her 'hand'. It fit well enough, and when that was done with, she did the same with her other arm. It soon matched the first one in appearance, and she quickly found and put on the other, matching glove.
For the piece she would wear over the main portion of her body (for now), the Mosquito Girl discovered a thin, hooded sweatshirt of a dull crimson coloration. There was no way such a thing would fit over her the formation of natural armor that was her head, so she knew that that also had to be changed. The parts of her exoskeleton lining along her crown - the insectoid, compound eyes that gave her superhuman perception, the chitin surrounding it, and even the needle-esque proboscis on its fore - eventually flattened against her skull nice and neatly with but a thought and a dose of willpower to keep it down. Brushing the two thick, drooping antennae dangling from her temples to her shoulders and smiling merrily to herself now that the ordeal was over, she began placing the sweatshirt over her body. After a few seconds of worming herself blindly into it, she successfully fit herself in. She breathed a large sigh when her head and arms poked through the proper holes, and then swiftly lifted the hood over her cranium to make sure none would see her for what she really was. When that was set, she began lifting the long, thin abdomen sitting on her stern until it disappeared within the folds of the sweatshirt and laid flat and compressed against her back, over her wings.
Next came the matter of what would be put on over the lower portion of her body. Eventually, and after a few grunts of effort, she was able to contort her greatly-longer legs and the claws resting at their base to a more 'appropriate' size and put on a set of jeans, and then a pair of high-reaching boots. When the final, needed piece of clothing was over her body, Mosquito Girl felt set to enter public eye, and was hasty to straighten her attire out a final time with the reflection provided by a nearby puddle for help. Her legs were still quite lengthy and gave her a very tall and slender, if not less than sylphlike stature, but other than that she looked like a mostly normal individual.
Finally pocketing the purse of money Genus previously gave her, the Mosquito Girl wobbly left the alley and stepped out into the sidewalk. It took a few more seconds of moving around, but she quickly adapted to the voluntary, if not temporary change in her body, and was soon walking as normally as most other humans would. A few more meager moments passed when she came across her first human. He was an old-looking man with graying hair and casual wear over his plump body, and walking ahead of him on a thin blue leash was a small dog with loose and baggy skin covering its black and brown form. Rubbing her gloved hands together with anticipation, the Mosquito Girl purposefully got close to the shorter man as she passed him by.
"Wonderful... weather today, yes?" she asked with an extremely wide grin aimed at him. He looked to her overly-toothy expression with a somewhat startled look of his own, and after a small moment's pause, decided to answer.
"Y-yes, I suppose," he mumbled timidly, before hurriedly walking on with his unperturbed pet. Mosquito Girl observed him walk off before continuing on her own path. As she made her way through Z-City, she thought of what was to come next in her plot.
She already had a plan set out. She would find a place to make her home for now, discover a job in the marketplace area starting tomorrow, and see how things went from there. Genus took the time to mention the apartment complexes of the area she now set off to, but that was among other things. Even after he told her of the trouble she might face in fitting into society, she failed to find worry in it. If anyone were to take the chance to ask her about her inhuman features that she failed to hide, she would simply tell them that they were nothing more than natural physical deformities. That ought to cease any other sort of potential questioning. It seemed easy enough!
It wasn't long before the Mosquito Girl located and approached a suitable complex. The building itself was shorter than some of the others surrounding it, but very wide. A yellow sign was posted on a small billboard sticking from the ground outside, detailing the amount one would have to spend for a month's worth of rent, and the Mosquito Girl deemed it to be worth looking into. Reaching what was clearly the office on the first floor belonging to its main owner, she opened the door and walked in. Inside, near the back of the room and with a sports magazine in his hands, was an older, thin man in a white shirt with a bright yellow vest over it. He looked up when he heard the bell atop his office's door jingle, but that was a sound that came a mere second before the Mosquito Girl greeted him.
"Hello! I would like to procure a room," she said immediately, and with little warning on the issued subject. She took out some of the currency from her purse and presented it in front of the man. "I have the money right here. Are there any available?"
The man stared at what he saw was a most peculiar-mannered woman for almost a full minute while she stood there smiling with enough optimism shining on her chalk-white face to send a shiver down his spine. He looked to her, then the payment she left in a pile at his desk. "Heh. You're in luck," he eventually replied, taking the money and sifting around inside of a drawer nearby until he found the proper key. "We've still got three open for the taking; all on the second floor."
The Mosquito Girl smiled. "In that case, one of them should rightfully be mine."
He gave an affable chuckle. "And it probably will be." They proceeded to talk for a little bit and he handed her the key when they finished. Bowing her head and saying her goodbyes to her new landlord, she exited the room and made her way to the stairs to the second floor. She found the proper room, marked by a door with faded brown paint on its worn surface and displaying the number twenty-four near its top in black, plastic numbers. The disguised mutant decided not to enter it just yet, and instead turned about to .
Jingling the key in her glove-covered claw before pocketing them, she leaned against the railing of the porch-like area in front of all of the doors lining the floor, watching the night sky for who-knows-how-long and thinking toward the future. Everything she knew was going to be different now. Even as she calmly stood there, she felt a twinge of what felt like either excitement or anxiety race through her entire body, and she found herself having a hard time discerning the emotions apart before giving up altogether with a sigh. It was a good time to stop as well, because a voice then cut through the air behind her.
"Hello? I would hate to pry, but are you a tenant here?"
The Mosquito Girl's head slowly turned in the direction of the sound, and her gray eyes were met with the sight of a short old woman approaching her. She looked rather plain, was dressed in a set of fairly modest, knitted clothing, and had pure-white hair tied into a small bun behind her head. Behind her, several feet away, the door to what the Mosquito Girl presumed to be her own room was open. The young mutant was quick to refocus back onto the figure before her.
"Yep!" she cheerily smiled. "Just became one less than an hour ago."
"Then if you're up to it, would you mind telling this elder what your name might be?" the old lady kindly asked next in a curious way, scratching the tip of her long nose with a fingernail as she did so.
The Mosquito Girl found herself in a rush to invent one with that single question. Looking back, she thought of a name she could use, and the first thing that came to mind was a name she heard Genus once utter amidst his experimentation upon her. He said it was of the creature he based her mixed DNA off of. Seeing no other alternative in that one second, she used it.
"Aedes," she replied. "My name is Aedes."
"Ah. That sounds like a name quite different from many I've heard," the old woman smiled, her cane clicking on the ground as she used it to get closer to the railing in front of her. "You must not be from Z-City."
"No, I'm not," admitted the Mosquito Girl. "I'm from... elsewhere."
"So you might be. Well, I'm Beru," the elderly woman said, putting her thin and wrinkled hand out in a friendly way. Mosquito Girl stared at it in an unsure manner for a few seconds, and as she finally relented and took the hand in her own gloved one and shook it gently, she continued. "I believe you'll like living in this apartment. I've been living here for almost seventeen years, and not a single monster, alien, natural disaster or otherwise ever managed to wreck the building. A few close calls here and there, but here it still stands."
"That's a good thing," replied the disguised mutant. "I'm just looking for a nice and firm home, for the time being. It appears as though I've found it."
Beru was quiet for a second once Mosquito Girl finished, until another thought came to her mind. "Before we get too acquainted, my dear, I should have you know, my grandson works as a hero." The words left her mouth with a happy-sounding hum that filled the air with a positive emotion, while the question itself intrigued the Mosquito Girl.
"Hero?" she asked.
"Yes. He's a part of the Hero Association itself. C-Class," she answered. "Low as he might seem on the ladder, you'd best not underestimate him for it. He has one of the best ranks in it. And I'd go prattling on all day just talking about his love for upholding justice in any way he can."
"He sounds..." The Mosquito Girl paused as she searched for the proper word to use. "'Virtuous'."
"Indeed he is. And I should let you know, he visits me a lot. Hence why I thought it was important to bring up," chuckled Beru with a shaking finger, who then turned her hunched form to her doorway and started to move back toward it. She halted in her stride after a few seconds in her journey and stared at the door to a room adjacent to it; opposite to that of the Mosquito Girl's. "I only have one other neighbor living right next to me, like you, but the person's a bit too secretive for my liking. I don't even know his or her name. It's been a long time since I've actually had another tenant for a next-door neighbor that I may get a chance to talk to. I hope we get to know each other better, Miss Aedes. Goodnight for now."
"And, um... goodnight to you as well, Mrs. Beru," the Mosquito Girl bid back, waving her fingers in her new neighbor's direction. After Beru closed her door behind her, Mosquito Girl immediately sought to slip into her own room, intending to use its privacy to stretch her limbs and body out to its full length. However, just before she went inside of it, she failed to notice the door from the room Beru mentioned to her a few seconds ago opening just a crack. And looking out from the void that was the interior, was a big round eye.
The eye silently observed the Mosquito Girl enter her abode from two doors away, while the dark figure it belonged to remained hidden within the darkness of its room. "Huh," it spoke to itself in a very light voice a scant few moments later when it knew no one was around to hear it speak to itself; the tone it possessed not sounding quite like one that belonged to either a male, or female individual. "It appears as though we have another neighbor to look out for. Tch, tch, tch..."
Author's notes: Hello again, friends! It's been a while, but here is another chapter!