Terror flood Momo as she prepared herself for battle. She was immediately aware of all the options her quirk presented to her.
She was also aware that an arsenal of knives was of very little use against a cruise missile. Which was what she tended to consider Bakugou as.
Her quirk afforded her a versatility seldom seen in the Hero world. A perfect mix of offense, defense, and utility.
If only it wasn't so insanely hard to use.
So few of her classmates truly understood the nature of her quirk. She couldn't simply skim a picture or description of something and then make it. She had to see, understand, and then recreate the exact molecular structure of a thing. Everytime she made it.
As a result of this she'd become increasingly studious as she'd grown older. Many considered her slow to act, and ponderous. Always considering or evaluating her circumstances.
The truth was she had a mind quite unlike any one else. It wasn't that she was slow - it was that she had to perform every action while holding dozens or even hundreds of structures in mind. Perfectly memorized and available to her at any given moment.
Certainly she could release her mental hold on these things. Free up a mind the world has never seen before, and will likely never see again. But then her quirk would become useless to her. She would be effectively locked from its use until she could reconvene with her home made recipe book, or remember by luck the composition of one specific item in thousands.
It wouldn't do to guess. She couldn't be 'mostly correct' and simply live with a damaged version of something.
Her quirk would be used perfectly or not at all.
So as Bakugou stretched and stared a hole through her head with his glare, she prepared. She cycled her mental list of objects, reoriented those things she thought of as her 'standard kit' the ten or so items she would keep in mind no matter what, no matter what else she would need to drop to function or respond.
These would be the only things she could access reflexively. All else would require time. Focus.
She wished she'd had the time to have Izu - no, Midoriya go over more taydenite options with her. She couldn't fully understand the stuff, and so was limited to the shield and mace she'd been provided during the cavalry battle.
She felt it unlikely those would leave her top ten anytime soon.
Yaoyorozu Momo pointedly ignored the stares of half the shameless male audience as she undid her shirt. She had no extra mental space to allocate to feelings such as embarrasment, or shame.
She stood still as a statue upon the arena, awaiting the signal to start.
In the stands Mineta and Asui had found themselves at an impasse. Neither had much strength left, and the two of them stood opposite each other, panting and out of breath.
"Just. . .give up. . .damnit. . ." Mineta gasped in exasperation.
Asui opened her mouth to retort but was stopped as Urara calmly walked past them both lightly tapping each one on the back, and leaving them hovering in place several inches from the ground.
"You know Momo's fighting soon right?" she questioned them both, a disappointed look on her face.
"But she. . !" "But he. . !"
"Guys. Stop." she intoned like an annoyed mother, then put her finger to her lips in thought.
"Besides isn't Mineta after this? shouldn't you be like, resting or something?"
Mineta stared at her in blatant confusion.
"Um. The tournaments for winners. You know. Bad ass types" he pointed out to her, his expression indicating his current opinion of her intelligence.
Asui turned a speculative gaze on the tiny terror and murmured "One million points. . ."
Mineta froze in place as his mind raced to process the thought.
Midoriya and Yaoyorozu had gone up because they had been on the first place cavalry team.
Mineta was also on that team.
"I'm gonna freaking die!" he yelped.
Uraraka considered leaving in the air but quickly decided against it. Having her power active was like tensing a muscle. Doing it for too long hurt, and it was distracting.
Besides, Midoriya wouldn't approve. Weird that his opinion came to mind though, when she thought about it.
She dropped Mineta, and waited for him to leave before releasing Asui - though she knew the girls prehensile tongue actually gave her more than enougj leverage to move about despite her weightlessness.
Mineta sprinted across the room like a man posessed, visibly crying the whole way, and entirely unhindered by anyone as they looked on in bemusement.
Asui suddenly furrowed her brow and sat down the moment she was released from Urarakas quirk. The movement so minor on her otherwise unreadable face that only Mineta would have noticed it.
That little slime took the book!
"I hope Mineta actually looks at that thing before he goes up." Uraraka said, a conspiratorial look on her face.
"Deku's around you guys alot - I'd be surprised if he hadn't thought of helping you at some point."
Asui was mildly flattered at the idea, but then shrugged.
"Minetas a lost cause. I'm more worried about Yaoyorozu."
Uraraka couldn't help but giggle at the frog girls casual dismissal of her friend.
"Ithink youve got it backwards. Momo came in first place on the fitness test you know?"
Asui squinted at her for a moment before replying.
"You got a score of infinity on one of those tests."
"I know right!?"
The two girls relaxed and chatted, until Present Mic declared the start of the next battle.
Momo stared blanky at Bakugou as the match began and he made no attempt to move.
". . .yes?"
"Get all your stupid shit ready." Bakugku growled in what Momo was quickly beginning to reqlize was as close to polite speech as he ever got.
A predatory smile spread across his face and he continued. "I'll wait."
She didn't wait. In moments she'd pulled the Taydenite Mace and Shield from her torso with only minimal discomfort.
Next was tinted goggles - to prevent debris and flashes of light from blinding her.
A thin layer of flame retardant chemical sprouted into being on the surface of her skin.
Nearing the end of her preparations a small cylindrocal object with a pin in it dropped into the open palm of her shield wielding hand where Bakugou couldn't see it.
She was ready.
Bakugou exploded towards her, carried forward on the blast wave of a detonation he'd left behind himself as he'd begun moving.
Almost before she could react his arm had come around in an explosive right hook, bouncing off the kinetic absorbing shield of taydenite she brought up just in time to deflect the blow.
As soon as the first blow was deflected a second came, and a third.
She was unable to strike back, her mace busy deflecting blows that were hurled at her as fast a missiles, but she was keeping up. She was learning his pace, his pattern.
Just as she was beginning to search for an opponent in the seeming wall of strikes raining down on her something changed.
Bakugou smiled, a horrible slasher smile, and his next blow came down on her shield, but no explosion ensued - instead Bakugous hand scraped atop the shield, sliding around her guard, and leaving his open palm on the inside of the shield - facing her wrist.
With near nuclear fury a blast emanated from the palm, pushing her arm and the protecting shield out to the side amd wrenching Yaoyorozus shoulder in its socket. The pain was immeasurable, but couldnt compare to what came next.
Capitalizing on the opening in her defenses, Bakugous other hand came around with blistering speed, striking her in the solar plexus and then detonating - launching her several feet packwards as her body skidded and rolled across the ground.
"Just because that god damn nerd gives you something doesn't mean its gonna beat me."
Fool me once bitch.
He thought inwardly, though counter to his general demeanor he thought it far to rude to actually say.
Momo rose from the ground already bruising, disinfectant and local anesthetic flooding from her skin to ooze over her wounds. An aspirin formed on her lip which she rapidly lapped up. In only moments she was back to fighting shape.
Not that she looked it.
She just needed an opening. A path to victory. A chance.
She waited for Bakugou to finish talking. She was barely listening. The portion of her mind she usually relegated to speech otherwise occupied, her focus heightening as a result.
Noticing her lack of a response Bakugou shrugged, and launch himself at her once more.
As though she'd know it was coming Yaoyorozu tossed her now primed flashbang up to eye level, turning to reduce the glare in her tinted goggles as it detonated.
"AUUGH!" bellowed Bakugou as he lost sight of his target and went tumbling across the arena.
Now. Thought Momo.
She pulled one last object from herself, and charged at Bakugou, releasing her mental hold on all her options. She freed all her mental space. All her considerable focus became honed on the single objective of toppling her opponent.
Sidestep blindswipe from k eeling opponent. Stomp Elbow. Knee strike to forehead. Evade detonation. Hurl bear trap under lifted foot. Skull bash with mace. Duck under hook. Smash femur. Roll behind opponent. Skull bash.
She paused, listening for the call that indicated her victory. It had not come.
Her mace came up overhead and she was succintly stopped by a wall of concrete.
She breathed a sigh of relief as she allowed her faculties to return to normal. Sound and Color flooded her senses as the crowd roared at her - the heroine defeats the demon lord.
She turned to a half conscious Bakugou, who was still struggling despite his obvious concussion.
"Midoriya is not my mentor, or my master, or my lifeline. I did not get into this school knowing him. Only you have that privilege Bakugou."
Somewhere in the viewer stands All Might had his head in his hands, as all the other faculty stared at him quizzically.
Nezu, the ermine principal summed up the rooms thoughts succintly, when he said
"They're all quite the little monsters aren't they?"