Pre A/N: Start of a Double Upload.
Beta: L33t Horo
There was only a flash of light as Shirou dived towards his fallen guardian. His body twisted and turned as he kicked off its ledge to hasten his fall. The slobbering and maddened form of a once rational and skilled foe stalled as if caught unaware.
The berserk Hero-Killer peered back towards him mid-fall, but could only see innumerable chains descending from the teen's wrist.
In an almost instinctual reaction, Stain mangled his body so that the chains would only graze him, uncaring of mortal injuries. However, the stakes at the end of the chains – Rider's chains – tangled around him like vipers. Shirou knew that it would only take the enhanced villain a few seconds to break out of it.
But a few seconds was all he needed.
Forgive me, Saber.
Shirou pulled the chains, closing the distance between him and his foe as a dagger raised itself behind him.
A golden dagger whose name was struck from history. A dagger crafted by one whose name was known by many, eventually being learned of by Archer in a long forgotten escapade.
But this was his permanent solution.
A dagger from Morgan le Fay herself.
"Sever!" He bellowed. "Erosion!"
Even as Avenger broke apart the chains binding him, the golden dagger met his flesh… yet not a drop of blood was seen. Instead, the dagger went through the Hero-Killer, almost as if it phased through him.
In its wake, a black hazy mist followed. It caught on the dagger's blade and found itself being dragged out of his quarry.
A maddened howl. Stain bellowed in pain yet did not move to attack him. The shade that was severed away burst into whimsical motes of corrupted magical energy. At the same time, the dagger he had traced turned to dust, having performed a task it was scarcely suited to.
However, he had little time to think. How was he going to cushion his fall? Rider's chains could work–?
"I'm not done yet!"
Even as her body scraped against the road, Yu's enlarged body managed to catch the falling hero and villain. Although, as her quirk was overworked, it only lasted a few seconds as she shrunk back accordingly. However, she still had both of them in her grasp.
As it ended, the three of them were side by side on the battered road. A cynical part of him said it looked a lot like children who spent the afternoon playing.
"You didn't need to do that," Shirou sighed as he got back up. "I had a landing strategy."
"Oh… Well, that's awkward," she muttered. Her eyes strafed to her side as she caught a glimpse of the Hero-Killer. "He's done, right? He's not going to jump up and take us by surprise, right?"
"Angra-Mainyu's influence, the corrupted magical energy that flowed through him, was severed," Shirou said as he took a deep breath. Afterward, he traced some regular chains and began wrapping it around the villain, who was clearly too taxed to move in response. There was little chance he was even conscious.
"Is that what that thing did– that dagger?"
"Erosion, a dagger crafted by Morgan le Fay of Arthurian legends," Shirou explained as he was busy detaining the Hero-Killer. "Its original purpose is to sever someone's soul right out of their body and allow someone else to possess it."
"Scary!" Yu said as she sat upright. "Possession? Then how are you still–?"
"Just because it can let someone possess an empty body doesn't mean it will," Shirou corrected. "I knew the dagger could sever the soul, so I used it to sever Angra-Mainyu's, but that's it. I left Stain's own intact. He probably won't be experiencing any psychotic breaks any time soon."
"That's great and all," she muttered as she strained herself to get back up. "But if it was that easy to get rid of his soul, why don't we–?"
"It can't permanently get rid of him," Shirou stated. "It severed a weak amount of Angra-Mainyu's soul. Because it was weak, it couldn't survive outside a host for too long. The real Angra-Mainyu will be a different story."
Not to mention… Shirou barely even found the dagger. Even if he had full access to his Reality Marble without Rin's help, he still didn't know everything inside of it. Finding that dagger was out of pure luck. There had been others that could've helped, but those wouldn't have been a permanent solution.
He could've killed him, but…
That wasn't the Ally of Justice– the Ideal Hero that he wanted to be. He was going to save everyone in front of him, heroes and villains included. The Nomu could only be saved by freeing them from their suffering, but Stain was not a mindless monster– not anymore. If there was a small chance he could save them, he would.
But enough of that.
"Which way was it?"
"To the main battle? Down the street and probably a couple of turns," Yu replied. "You're going?"
"From the rooftops, yeah," it was shorter that way. "Can you take him to the police? I doubt he has the power to break out of these chains, especially since I reinforced them."
"Yeah, I need a few minutes to recover, but I'll join up with you guys," Yu sighed. "Be careful, okay?"
Shirou nodded and ran off.
He might've won this battle, but on this night, there were many more to be had.
A green spark fell from the sky like a shooting star. Below, a howling Nomu with disproportionate limbs and a spiked tail meandered unaware.
Midoriya's heel dropped onto the Nomu and shattered the road below. He winced at the damage he did, but the Nomu didn't move. Was this one weaker than the others–?
He leaped back as its tail surged towards him, ready to batter him into a wall. However, a surge of ice enveloped the Nomu and the surrounding flames, preventing it from moving, yet it still had room to breathe.
"Todoroki?" Midoriya called. "Thank you!"
"Don't get caught off guard, Midoriya," he reprimanded, yet he frowned at the empty street. "Were you alone?"
"Gran-Torino was here a while ago, but a lot of the pros were being called over to help Endeavor," Midoriya answered. He winced at the thought of that Beast. "He said it was urgent."
And Midoriya knew exactly how urgent it was. After all, this was the same villain that came close to defeating All-Might. It was a perfect match, with All-Might being unable to damage him without damaging himself. Chances are, the other pro-heroes were experiencing the same troubles.
"Have the civilians in this area been evacuated?" Todoroki asked as he began to walk away, likely beckoning Midoriya to follow.
"Yeah. I got them to run while I fought the Nomu," he answered. "It was fast, so it could've caught up to them."
"This is a mess…" Todoroki frowned as he looked towards the scorched streets of Hosu. "Did the League really have that many Nomu left in stock? Do they have even more?"
If they did, then that was concerning. Just one was able to hypothetically challenge All-Might, yet this many? What if they were tailored to defeat a specific hero? A veritable army of these things would–
"Midoriya, you're muttering again."
"Sorry…" he frowned. "This was the last block right?"
"Yeah. There should be no more civilians left, at least in this area."
"Should we double check– just to be safe?"
"No," Todoroki shook his head. "I only helped you out because I saw you. I was on my way to help Endeavor–"
"I don't think that's a good idea," Midoriya said. "True, your ice might be able to do something, but you're only going to end up painting a target on your back. That Beast is fast, inhumanely so, so it's far too dangerous for you–"
"So I should do nothing? Is that what you mean?" His frown deepened. "I'm not–"
"Can you keep up with him, a villain that was able to keep up with All-Might?" Midoriya challenged. "If you can, then go, but you'll only get in the way if you can't."
Just like I was, back in USJ.
"You two! Are you alright!?"
"Iida?" Midoriya brightened in relief. "Iida! You're alright!"
"For now," Iida sighed as he came to a halt. "I was told to round up all available pro-heroes to help with the fight… and tell the others to withdraw to a safe distance. The fight over there isn't going too well."
"That's even more reason for me to go," Todoroki gritted his teeth. "Standing around doing nothing… that's not what a hero is supposed to do."
"I doubt we'll be standing around for too long…" Iida said. "I'm sorry if I barged in on something, but something is closing in on us, fast!"
Midoriya stiffened. A flash of red appeared above him, but it was almost impossible to deduce what it was. He frowned as he looked to the rooftops, a few ideas forming in his head.
He turned to the street ahead, only to see a veritable sea of black blood monsters running towards them– or rather, chasing a set of haggard and tired-looking people– wait, those aren't regular people!
"Kirishima!?" Midoriya shouted. "We need to help them!"
"Way ahead of… you?" Todoroki, who was posed to send a wave of ice, paused as he spotted something appear overhead. "Emiya?"
Midoriya flickered towards the sight of his classmate on the rooftop. His costume was battered, he was bandaged around his shoulders, had stains of what could've been blood on his person, and his arms extended out.
What happened to him–?
A flash of light.
And then, blades.
Tens– no, hundreds of blades hovered behind their classmate, only to shoot forward like bullets. They pierced through the Black Blood Vanguard in a shower of sparks and shrapnel before settling into a small cloud of dust. The few Nomu there were also seen stabbed through by multiple spears, almost immobile.
None of them noticed the small daggers stabbed into their shadows.
That was… Emiya's full strength?
No. Midoriya vividly remembered seeing the latter half of his match with Kacchan via recording. There was still that red spear with mysterious properties. Was it possible that he could use something like that in a similar fashion to the rain of swords–?
"Will you stop muttering?" Todoroki subtly fumed. His hand extended to burn all the fallen black blood, which he covered over with ice to extinguish later on.
"Ah, sorry," he apologized before running up to the tired set of classmates and schoolmates. "Are you guys alright?"
"Saved at the last second!" Tetsutetsu, if Midoriya recalled correctly, sighed. "I don't think I could've kept running! That was worse than the obstacle race!"
"My legs…" Kendo moaned. "I can't run. Tetsutetsu, carry me! Class President's orders!"
"I'm tired too!" He complained. "Kirishima, you do it!"
"Sorry, I'm pretty puffed out too," he huffed. "Ran out of steam. This isn't a manly look, right? What about Shinso?"
"He's out cold," Kendo growled. "He doesn't have any stamina, does he? I'm telling Vlad-sensei about that… but I don't look forward to telling him about this at all."
"Yeah…" Tetsutetsu moaned. "Pretty pathetic looking view, isn't it?"
"No, I think it's a praiseworthy one," Iida smiled. There was no way he could look down on them here, especially after what they must have gone through. "I'll carry you guys back. Can you two help out? Midoriya? Todoroki?"
While Midoriya agreed immediately as he picked Kirishima from the floor, Todoroki made an extremely conflicted face as he also picked Tetsutetsu.
"We need an extra hand," Midoriya noted. He nodded as he looked up towards the roof. "Emiya! Can you help… out?"
"He's long gone," Todoroki sighed. "That guy… he definitely went to help out Endeavor in the main fight."
"What!?" Midoriya widened his eyes. "We have to stop him–!"
"In our current state?" Todoroki frowned once again. "I don't like it as much as you, but we can't leave them here with just Iida. At least you got what you want, I'm not going anymore."
Midoriya frowned. This wasn't what he meant…!
"It's fine, I can carry the two of them," Iida said as he picked up Kendo and Shinso, neither of which made any protest. "It's… It's a little heavy, but I can manage. I haven't been fighting as much as everyone else has, after all."
Not as much as he would have liked to, Midoriya surmised.
"That better not be a jab at my weight," Kendo frowned.
"Of course not! I would never!"
"While I appreciate the pick-me-up," Tetsutetsu mentioned. "Can we get a move on? I don't like the thought of those Nomu freeing themselves anytime soon."
"Alright, let's go."
"The sooner we get back, the sooner we can rejoin the fight," Todoroki noted, but he still hadn't given up the idea of joining it.
"Agreed," Iida said.
There wasn't any way he was stopping them, was he?
He sighed. Fine, but he was going to join them. He'd worry himself to death if he didn't.
A dance of blades. One beautifully crafted katana weathered the blows of a voracious pair of fangs. However, as time went on, the dance became sloppy and unrefined.
Yoroi-Musha stood firm as he performed yet another slash upon his beastly foe, yet the villain remained standing. His daggers, fanged and gnarled like a rabid dog, easily curved back to gouge upon him. They dug into his vaunted armor, yet did not pierce deep enough to harm him.
After all, he was but a frail old man underneath the armor. He did not need strength to use his Quirk, for there was no need to cut through paltry defenses. Tiresome Duty ensured he would keep at it til the end.
However, it was true that the cumbersome weight of his gear only slowed him down. In his prime, he would not have needed such armor, yet it only became necessary as he aged. It was fortunate that he upgraded it with I-Island's latest anti-grav technology. It didn't make his armor completely weightless, but it was enough for even a fragile old man like himself to move around freely.
"You're really annoying, you know that!?" his quarry blathered. "This isn't even a fight!"
"Agreed," Yoroi-Musha agreed. "For a mere vagrant like you, this is punishment."
The Beast did not even attempt to guard, as it had already proven a fruitless endeavor, but attempted to spear his arm through the fragile elder's helmet.
It's as if he doesn't feel exhausted… He gets tired, but that stamina of his is inhuman.
Yoroi-Musha allowed himself this silent praise as he halted his attack and leaped away from the incoming attack.
A slab of concrete blasted through where he once was, caving itself into the Beast's ribs and slamming him into a nearby building. Yet again some more property damage, but as pro-heroes at the top of their field, they had more than enough to compensate.
"Are you harmed, Yoroi-Musha?"
"I should ask that of you," he berated. "Were you not the one who assailed our quarry? I half expected your ribs to be crushed."
"Launching concrete as a byproduct of a quirk-based explosion doesn't count as my attack," the upstart scoffed. "Troublesome loopholes. What's the ETA on backup?"
"They should already be here–"
A black blur burst from the rubble.
A web of timber met and encased him like a cocoon.
"It took him long enough," Endeavor sighed.
"For-forgive me!" Kamui Woods shouted as he landed above them, atop some fallen rubble. "The Black Blood Vanguard have all been dealt with and the surrounding Nomu have either been subdued or eliminated!"
"About time," Yoroi-Musha scoffed. However, nobody noticed the slight hunch in his form. His Quirk was already trying to tire him out. Troublesome. "Keep him restrained while we recover. Has there been any news on Mount Lady?"
"No, she's been radio silent for a while now," he reported, some concern leaking from his tone. "Shall we send out a search party– after this, of course."
The sound of shattering wood echoed from the haphazard cocoon.
"Reinforce your prison, Kamui-Woods!" Endeavor berated.
"I am! He's breaking out of my Lacquered Chain Prison faster than I can generate–"
"Then move out of the way!"
Without arguing once, Kamui-Woods used his quirk to shoot himself upwards towards the rooftops. As he did so, a blackened blur blasted past his last location.
Even with a restraining quirk, he was able to break free?
At this rate, they might need to consider retreat–
Endeavor responded with another blast of heat towards the rubble, heating it until it became nothing more than slag, which the Beast sunk into. From above, Kamui-Woods shot down another torrent of wood, coiling around the Beast's sunken and writhing form like constrictors.
"Damn it, I'm overheating again…" Endeavor bemoaned. "Can you still move, Yoroi?"
"Like a butterfly," he scoffed. However, he could easily feel the drowsiness beckoning him to reconsider.
"Are we late?" a familiar voice called out. A quick glance revealed it to be Fourth-Kind and Uwabami. Close behind was the local hero Manual, who seemed to be looking around at the destruction in worry.
"Just on time," Endeavor said. "However, remember, no direct attacks. Restrain him if possible. Whatever is dealing damage to him, it better not be you."
"Then it's good that I came, isn't it!?"
Mud rose from beneath the molten concrete. It lashed out towards the coiling wood, seeping into the gaps and reinforcing the structure. Eventually, the mud encased the entirety of the wooden cocoon.
"Pxiebob! Manual!" Kamui-Woods called. "I appreciate the aid!"
"Just here to help!" Manual replied as he manipulated water from a nearby busted fire hydrant. It softened and turned the earth surrounding the Beast into something malleable, preventing the use of pure brute force to escape.
"Pay me back with a date later!"
"Not the time, Pixiebob!" Mandalay said as she finally caught up. From behind, Tiger slowed to a halt. "Keep him restrained! We might be able to knock him out."
"By asphyxiation or drowning?" Uwabami asked. She knew that some water was getting stuck inside that muddy abomination. "Mandalay, did you rescue all the civilians?"
"No, but the situation seemed dire enough to intervene," she replied. "Pixiebob was busy combating the Black Blood Vanguard with her own Earth Beasts, but something came and destroyed them all, the blood monsters that is. A rain of swords managed to incapacitate them for fire-quirk users to intervene. However, we still don't know where the swords came from."
No doubt they were from Endeavor's agency, Uwabami nodded. However, once she heard about the swords… she smiled warily. "I have a good idea about where those are from… But what about your other teammate, Ragdoll?"
"Ragdoll is still busy locating missing civilians, but she should be here once she does."
"Then it makes sense she wasn't here sooner…" Her quirk would be immensely useful if she tagged the Beast with her quirk. Once tagged, they'd be able to track them easily.
… but they better wrap this up quickly. If that kid finally showed up, then he'll try to involve himself in this fight. The last time they fought the Beast, he was weak. Compared to how he is now, a stronger body and mastery over a damage reflection quirk, there was little that kid's swords could do for them.
However, once Uwabami tried taking a step closer to the battle, she winced as her snakes hid behind her with a hiss.
"Damn… he's just as nasty as I remember. My babies don't even want to get close to him… but it's strange. Why haven't his allies come to pick him up yet? You'd think they want to retreat after all this heat, literally and figuratively. Mandalay, you have a mental quirk right? Can you figure it out?"
"No, I can only send mental messages. I can't probe into his mind," Mandalay responded with a frown.
"Uh, not to be rude, but what're you doing, Endeavor?" Pixiebob asked as Endeavor bombarded the wood and mud structure with heat.
"A makeshift Kiln," he replied. "I'll heat it up and harden it. It'll also heat up the inside but won't reflect back onto me. If we keep this up, he'll boil and suffocate. Keep at it with the mud! We need more layers!"
"G-Got it!" she replied as even more mud enveloped and tightened on the cocoon– now a kiln. "Man, married men are intense…"
But all of them perked in realization at the faint sound of something echoing above them.
"… Foolish youths," Yoroi-Musha sighed. It was a sound he recognized completely. "Why are the media here!? Who let them fly into a combat zone!?"
"I don't know! Neither does the police!" Manual reported. "They slipped by completely unnoticed!"
"Then tell them to get out of the way!"
Instead of Manual, Mandalay responded with a nod. "On it–"
"Finally. Why were they so damn slow?"
An echoing voice.
Mandalay cried out in pain. She was sent flying but Pixiebob, who had noticed her friend's peril, had an earth monster leap up from behind and catch her. However, she was knocked out.
"Mandalay!" Tiger called. "How dare you–!"
A kick to his side followed, but due to his quirk, he merely bent unnaturally. The momentum was used to try to deliver a counterattack, but it was clear the Beast anticipated it as he latched on and tossed Tiger towards his companions like a cannonball. The impact knocked Pixiebob into unconsciousness with Tiger following soon after.
"Three, I stand corrected."
Yoroi-Musha, who reacted in time to try weaken his foe–
–before being sent flying into a building, his own weight-reduced armor working against him.
Uwabami collapsed as she followed a similar fate, only saved through Fourth-Kind as he leaped to cushion her impact, but he crashed into debris, knocking him out cold.
Endeavor prepared his flames, yet could do nothing as the Beast's shadow cloaked form enveloped him. "–now seven" he spun wildly until he tossed the second-ranked hero towards the perched Kamui-Woods, like squashing an ant.
"– finally, eight."
Impossible…! Yoroi-Musha groaned in pain. He got faster…? No, he must've been holding back this entire time, but why?
His eyes widened in realization.
"Some top heroes, eh? Couldn't even beat me!" he said, almost as if it was recited to a crowd. "Then again, mere humans like you could never do anything to something like me!"
The mass media… he was waiting for them. Even from high up on the building he landed on, he could hear the Beast as clear as day.
"Even if all the top heroes came together, they'd crumple at my feet!" he said, but to those who fought him, they did not feel like his own words. He was clearly told to do this– "The League of Villains is here to show the world that this world is fragile! Fragile enough that some no-name upstarts can cause this much damage! I'm strong enough to rival even the cream of the crop!"
"Cut the live feed–!" Yoroi-Musha howled into his communicator. "Cut it before–"
"A society built on such fragile peace should just crumble!" the Beast howled. "That's our conviction! Right, Shigaraki!?"
And then, a building, one at the cusp of completion at the hard labor, crumpled like a house of cards. The glass shattered, concrete folded, and the ground around it became nothing more than crumpled sand.
"Good performance, Angra," a new voice said. However, from the reports that he had read, Yoroi-Musha already knew him to be one Shigaraki Tomura– the leader of the League of Villains. "Well? Dearest viewers, do you think we can topple it all? If you do… our arms are always open~"
This entire thing… was a glorified advertisement…!
They made a ruckus, calling top pro-heroes from across the country including the eighth and second ranked heroes, all to show themselves to the world properly. Not as a measly attack on a hero school, but at a populated district…!
"You keep yapping…" Endeavor crawled to his feet in indignant anger. "But no one in their right mind would join a ragtag bunch of–"
"Why'd you have to make me miscount, man?"
In literally a second, Endeavor found himself once again crumpled to the floor, the Beast's leg atop his back with a sick shadowy grin on his face.
"Got to say, dude," the Beast chuckled as his shadows receded, his voice back to normal. "You were much easier to fight than All-Might!"
"You little–!" He was silenced when his face was smashed into the muddy road. He would never dignify him with a groan of pain, but the bleeding was making him delirious already.
"Yeah, much easier. This high-end body you got me works like a charm, Shigaraki!" he snickered. "Hell of an advert you worked up boss man. You think we'll get any takers?"
"Not until we send a message," Shigaraki – that damnable vagrant! – scratched his throat. "Hey… do you think our second top hero would appreciate a handicap? After all, he's burned sooo many villains already."
He crouched down with a sickening smile behind his masked visage. "Well? Fancy a little brand deal?"
And then, a familiar voice.
"That's far enough, villains. It's fine now. Why?"
Endeavor growled from beneath their feet in anger and frustration. Of all people… it had to be him…!
Impeccable timing, number one…!
"Because I am here!"
I'm here… but I was too late–!
Those were the laments of Toshinori Yagi, or rather, All-Might.
Truth be told, he didn't even think he needed to be here. Once he caught wind of the ongoing new story, of top heroes falling to a villain like no other, he had no choice but to step in, despite the protests of Nezu and Recovery Girl. His quirk, or what was left of it, did not like him using it up like this.
But he could not just stand by and do nothing!
It took me far too long to get here, even at my top speed!
He took a sneaky glance behind him to find many pro-heroes fallen, but they were already being helped up by more and more pouring in. However, it was likely that they'd be nothing more than a liability in this fight.
They were lucky that nobody died. He didn't let the treacherous part of him add a 'yet' to it.
"All this tragedy, if you think that a manhunt won't be organized for your organization, you're dead wrong," he declared. That Kurogiri is nowhere to be seen… That's a problem, especially if he appears out of nowhere.
"And you're going to stop us?" Shigaraki laughed. "You? Who we've already beat once!?"
"If need be," he responded. "Don't think that it will go as before."
All-Might reacted by leaping to the side as a feral beast threatened to gouge out his side. He wrapped his arm around it and tossed the Beast skyward.
Fast. Not to mention, his body looked different from before. It was bulkier, yet not like he or Endeavor was. This isn't something that intense training could provide– Wait, this wasn't the time to think about that!
"– there goes that surprise attack," Shigaraki sighed as he stepped back. "Angra. You already got his patterns memorized?"
"Yeah," he snickered. "I hate rematches. It always lasts longer–!"
"Is that so?" asked a voice… from within the Beast.
"Did you think I came alone?" All-Might smiled. "Do you have him under control, Edgeshot?"
"It's like swimming through hateful miasma…" Edgeshot muttered to his communicator, but he was likely going to discard it when he went deeper in. "But… I think I can restrain him. Take out his companion and we can– Hm!?"
"It's like moving with training weights," the Beast said as he landed on a rooftop. "Honestly, you'll have to do better than that–"
"Very well then!"
Wood rose up from beneath him and coiled as it had done earlier. It dragged him down towards the ground and slammed into Shigaraki, who responded by turning the oncoming wood to dust. However, new branches grew and enveloped him, restraining him so that neither of his hands could touch anything whatsoever.
"Not if I can help it!"
All-Might, having gotten into position, grappled around the writhing beast. It grew new arms to attack him, but he learned from last time and tossed him like a pebble to the sky. So long as he didn't hit or throw him directly at anything, the damage wouldn't be reflected.
Hateful miasma… Yes, it certainly felt like that. A sort of darkness that brought out the darkest emotions in people. In a way, it was a much more frightening quirk than the damage reflection.
With Shigaraki restrained by Kamui-Woods, both Edgeshot and he could easily keep the Beast in check… but not for long. It was fortunate that Miss Pixiebob awoke first, as she sent her Earth Beasts to evacuate the fallen heroes.
"So annoying…!" the miasma surrounding the Beast intensified. Almost as if an instinctive response, Edgeshot shot out of his body to All-Might's side.
"Suffocating… couldn't breathe," he reported, but All-Might could see the haunted look he held back. "I just need a second–"
All-Might blocked a swipe meant for his ally, but found himself sent flying. The Beast was just as strong as he remembered him being, perhaps even more so… was it because of the new body? He skid across the side of a building before leaping back down and punching the ground. Edgeshot took the chance to slip between the cracks and towards Shigaraki.
However, it was for naught as the Beast was already at his side and freed him from his prison.
Edgeshot widened his eyes. "He's faster than me–!?"
"Agility. It's A-rank~" he snickered as he kicked him away. However, Edgeshot's paper-thin form cushioned the impact. "Shit at everything else though!"
He didn't stop there. The Beast grabbed the paper-thin Edgeshot in an attempt to rip him in half, but he reacted accordingly by making himself even thinner, slipping out of his grasp. However, the Beast was clearly irritated and grew even more arms to trap him–
"No, I think you're just a shit!"
A yellow and white blur darted between them, dragging Edgeshot away and far from harm.
"Thank you, Gran-Torino!"
"Oh no you don't!" The Beast howled.
He was ready to slam his fingers down to intercept them, perhaps even oust him from the fight entirely. Had he been allowed to do so, perhaps he would have succeeded in crippling a top hero and a veteran. He had no fear for he was free to do as he pleased, especially as he tossed All-Might away earlier.
He was far and out of reach.
Or at least, that's what the Beast thought.
He suddenly appeared between them. The Beast was blown away, or rather, skyward once more, but instead of leaping back to the battle, he landed next to Shigaraki, noting how there was no follow-up.
Then they were enveloped in shadow and disappeared.
"They left?" Edgeshot frowned.
"Keep an eye out! They could be anywhere with that quirk!" Gran-Torino reminded him.
All-Might eyed their surroundings as he turned to some of his fallen allies. "Endeavor, can you stand?"
"Who do you think I am?" he growled in his response. Though, he should've expected that reaction. "Took you long enough!"
"Well, the trains were canceled," he jested, but it was clear that Endeavor didn't care. "Do you think they left though?"
"It'd be great if they did," Gran-Torino scoffed. "Nothing's ever that easy."
"Especially since you showed them up," Endeavor shook his head. "It's clear that they were here to send a message. They can't afford to have it be cheapened by a loss–"
And then shadows surrounded them.
"To me, Edgeshot! Gran-Torino!" All-Might ordered as he raised his fist. He needed to clear the shadows! "Detroit Smash!"
Wind surrounded him as his fist caved the air, blasting away the shadows from whence they came. Edgeshot coiled onto his leg so that he wasn't blown away, but Endeavor was fine enough to stand on his own.
When the wind settled, they saw nothing but a few wisps of shadow–
"Above!" Edgeshot warned.
The Beast's shadowy form shifted until he had one giant claw, ready to slam them into the ground. All-Might responded by coiling his arm and unleashing it upward. The resulting wind pressure spiraled upward like a tornado. "Nebraska Smash!"
But as a result, he failed to notice a hand reach out from some fading wisp of shadow.
Endeavor covered him and blasted the arm with intense heat, but it retreated before even being burned. The tornado caused by Nebraska Smash faded as the Beast was yet again nowhere to be seen. At the same time, Edgeshot launched himself into the nearby building, likely as preparation for a sneak attack.
"This can't keep going on forever," Endeavor growled. "I'm overheated and Edgeshot won't be able to deal with that Beast!"
"True. We need a way to break this tie-breaker," All-Might muttered in frustration. His immense power was rendered almost useless here. However, he perked up as a shadow appeared. "Here it comes again!"
And then suddenly, a steel sword shot into the portal.
Shirou frowned deeply as he notched a nameless sword onto Archer's favored black bow. He had to reinforce his body just to draw the thing, but there was nothing else in his reality marble that could launch swords from far away.
And he was quite far away.
He stood atop a relatively untouched building within the evacuation zone. After defeating the Black Blood Vanguard chasing his classmates, he made it a priority to eliminate as many of them as possible before moving on.
There were too many of them roaming around for his peace of mind. It reminded him too much of Archer's memories, specifically about the ghouls that he had to put down lest they spread to other civilians.
He had seen what ingesting Avenger's black blood did to Stain, who allowed it to fester inside him. The longer these creatures roamed the streets, the higher chance of them infecting civilians who had less self-control in comparison to the Hero-Killer.
He also took care of any stray Nomu that caught his eye. Fortunately, several didn't have any innate regeneration, so taking them out was almost comically easy.
However, Shirou lamented his decision not to help out the main fight sooner. He foolishly assumed that the fight, which had highly ranked heroes keeping Angra-Mainyu at bay for so long, could continue to do so while he helped everyone around him.
Avenger was playing with them. He was stalling until the fight could be caught on a live feed. And when it was…
Shirou ceased any idle thought about ramifications as he simply shot another arrow towards the fight, the blade flying at an impossible speed.
While the heroes down in the fight could not see where Angra-Mainyu and his compatriots had warped – neither could the media as buildings blocked their view – he could see them almost as clear as day, far behind a building on an empty road.
Which meant he was free to use whatever he needed.
His blade stabbed through one of Avenger's arms, who had risen it to defend his ally. A blunder, but one he didn't repeat as the next few blades that attempted to pierce him were willed into nothing before they made contact. Even as Shirou felt his arm scream in protest, the new wound widening from within, he did not relent.
More swords were shot forth– not only nameless ones but a few holy blades meant to expel and slice evil, even mystic codes like the Black Keys were sent flying towards them in an attempt to seal their movements. They were shot from impossible angles at speeds that only Servants could hope to dodge.
His fatigue and wounds protested the actions, but he had to do this. If he failed, the fighting would undoubtedly continue. It was either he ended it here or allowed them to–
Shadows surrounded them once again as Kurogiri had enough. A blade was sent through the darkness only to reappear behind it, embedded into a wall.
A shield, or rather, a wall of portals that would redirect any attacks sent their way…
Shirou frowned and extended his arm out. They couldn't hide there forever, but aiming for Avenger already proved to be a detrimental idea… But he had to end this fighting. In doing so, he'd prevent any more lives from being harmed today.
With how everything was proceeding, someone was surely going to die, and it wasn't going to be one of the villains. Angra-Mainyu was just too much for them in their current state. He needed a way to ensure their retreat and prevent them from continuing this assault…
"Go forth unto the red plains–"
… And there was one way to accomplish that.
To some, it was a violent wind.
To others, it was a shooting star.
To the villain staring at the blindingly red light. Almost as if an illusion, a vicious howl of savage hounds followed behind it.
Shigaraki thought they were fine when the thing entered and exited Kurogiri's portal, but as it circled around, he realized that something was off. Each time it entered and left the portal, the red arrow got faster. The winds surrounding them felt and sounded like howls of frustration, of constant hunger and of virulent aggravation.
It was promised blood and it was denied.
It would not leave until it had tasted it.
The faster it got, the harder it was for Kurogiri to warp it away.
Wind from the red arrow surrounded them, continually diving in and out of the portals like a rampant tornado. Kurogiri's mist held as steady as he could have made it, but all it took was one mistake for an opening to be made.
In the midst of those turbulent winds, a single gap was made.
A flash of red.
The last thing Shigaraki saw was Angra diving in front of him to tank the blow…
… but the arrow swerved around him.
Ah, that's not an arrow.
Ah… it hurts–
They were gone.
All-Might looked around in an attempt to not be blindsided by sudden teleportation like last time. There was always the chance that they could have fled, but his instincts told him that the fight had yet to conclude.
Then he heard it, the sound of something crashing into debris.
And it was on the other side of the building.
"Be careful!" All-Might shouted as he felt hesitation. Were they planning to collapse the building!? As he steadied himself, he finally noticed that the building was still intact. "What are they planning…?"
And then, he heard it.
Followed by a howl of pain.
This was no time to stand idle!
"Prepare yourselves! Texas Smash!" He shouted, a blast of wind carving a path down the street, tossing aside debris like paper in a breeze.
In doing so, a path to the other side of the building was revealed. He and his fellow heroes rushed down the street in an attempt to continue the fight with their adversaries.
But when they arrived, there was nothing there.
Nothing except a splatter of blood.
"Damn it!" All-Might cursed. "Hiding away again!?"
"No," he heard Edgeshot say from his communicator. "I brought reinforcements, which include the Wild Wild Pussycat's Ragdoll. She says there aren't any villains nearby anymore… or within the surrounding area."
All-Might relaxed ever-so-slightly. "So it's over?"
"For now," Edgeshot agreed.
For now. As All-Might eyed the aftermath, he could only agree. Then there was that sword… Were his eyes playing tricks on him? Was he thinking back to when he first fought the Beast or was there really a sword flying at impossible speeds?
And if so…
"This… cannot be called a victory," All-Might frowned. No, if anything, it was the complete opposite. There were definitely going to be a couple of zealous news stations spinning this as a triumph, but the results were clear.
A couple of villains were a match for the top heroes of Japan.
They weren't untouchable. In fact, they were defeated by just one villain.
"Prepare to aid in the disaster relief efforts," All-Might advised. "Get rest while you can, for we will have a busy few days upon us."
This would not stand. Once, at USJ. Twice, here at Hosu.
All-Might made a promise in his heart.
There would be no third time.
It was over.
With this, Avenger would have no reason to stay, and thus, fewer lives would be in danger. In fact, if their leader was wounded to such a degree, they'd have no choice but to leave, lest they risk his well-being. He had no idea why Avenger seemed to be dancing to his tune, but it was clear that he was important to him in some way.
Shirou let the bow fade into nothingness as he took an exhausted seat, alongside everything else he had traced tonight. Although, he did make sure that he was out of sight from the media's helicopter. He wasn't sure how they'd spin a student helping pro-heroes in a bad light, but it's happened before.
That being said, Shirou wasn't naive enough to believe that this would be the end of things. Far from it.
They would surely return, stronger, and perhaps with a better plan than last time, with a vengeance.
However, that was what Shirou wanted.
If their leader was as much of a man-child as the reports described, then he would surely hold a grudge. Perhaps even choose to go after him over everyone else.
With that teleportation quirk, they'd surely pick an opportune time. Likely when he's alone or at home and resting. Shirou supposed that he'd have to, once again, ask Archer for aid. A bounded field specialized in trapping and one made for detection were two very different things, after all.
The fact he wasn't hurling himself over the edge by considering to ask the bastard for help surprised even himself.
Shirou took out his phone and picked the first number on speed-dial.
"Yu, is everything alright over there?"
"I'm still dragging this guy to the police. If I hadn't overused my quirk, it'd have taken much less time," she lamented. It was obvious who she was dragging around. "Don't worry, I just got the signal that the battle's over. You can relax, you definitely need it."
"I'm still ready to help the civilians," Shirou protested, already making his way towards the safe zone.
"Nah, that's the job of rescue heroes and the paramedics," Yu denied. "Besides, what can you actually do to help the injured? Scratch that, you might have some magical doohickey that could help, but do you really want to out yourself that badly?"
Shirou silently fumed. "I can at least get them to a hospital."
"And overwork yourself even further?"
"… If I have to,"
"But you don't," she reminded. "There are a lot of heroes in Japan– a lot of good people. Don't push yourself, brat."
"What are you, Aizawa?"
"If that'd get you to listen, then I can probably rock the onesie~" she sang. "Not too sure about the bandages, but some people are into that."
"I'm hanging up."
"Fine," she snorted. "Just remember, you're not the only person around that wants to help people, and neither are you alone. I'm here too, you get that?"
"I get it, Yu," he replied. "Goodbye for now."
Shirou ended the call and made his way towards the safe-zone.
It was over… at least until their next move. It was likely that they'd go into hiding, making their next point of attack near unpredictable to determine.
However, being near unpredictable didn't mean impossible.
When that happens, both he and Yu would be prepared.
Endeavor frowned as he looked at the blade embed to the road – which looked more like a forest floor than an actual road now – and reached for it.
"Endeavor? Is something wrong?"
He scoffed as he picked it up.
"Nothing, Edgeshot. Just focus on that overgrown oaf–" he flinched as he dropped the blade. Was he still weakened? He knew he overheated, but to think that his body was this sore–
Why couldn't he move?
He squirmed for a short second before being able to move once more. He looked back to where he dropped the blade, but widened his eyes in disbelief as it was nowhere to be seen.
His frown deepened.
This… this reminded him of something.
He continued to eye the surroundings. After spending an entire fight surrounded by fire and shattered rubble, he barely noticed the gashes and gouges in this street. It was almost as if a storm passed by. Or rather, something continually carved a path until it reached its target…
From the splatter of blood, it looks like whatever was targeted... was reached.
Perhaps it was time he paid a visit to that damnable cafe once more and got some answers.
"The villains have retreated! As expected of All-Might and the–"
The reporter kept on going, but Iida was more or less ignoring them. They had been reporting on the ongoing battle for the past five minutes and while he appreciated the work ethic, he wished that they chose a less populated spot to stand.
Iida helped another wounded person into the safe zone. They thanked him, but it fell on deaf ears as he rushed to the next. And to the next. And to the next–
"Iida?" he heard someone call. "You can stop now. There aren't any more civilians left."
"There aren't?" He widened his eyes in confusion.
"Yeah," he only recognized him as Manual a few seconds later. He only recognized him because of his outfit, but even that was hard to see under the bandages surrounding his arm. "Good work. I'll be pleased to let U.A. know that you performed well."
That wasn't his intention. He had wanted to–
"There you are, Mount Lady!" Fourth-Kind shouted. "Where on earth were you!?"
"I'll give you a full report on it later," Mount Lady tiredly told her co-worker.
"It better be good," an elderly man grumbled, whose height was reminiscent of his classmate Mineta. "I barely got to do anything there, but I know you and your quick could've done something… Though I doubt it would have amounted to anything. The plan already went to shit."
"I wouldn't say it completely failed," she smiled as she tugged a chain–
The object of his ire. The source of his overwhelming urge to avenge his brother– Stain!
Just when he tried taking a step forward, he paused. He noticed the numerous wounds surrounding the Hero-Killer, as well as the chains wrapped around his being. There wasn't even any freedom for him to walk as his legs were wrapped as well – not that he would, as it was clear he was out like a light.
He was already… defeated?
The man who crippled his brother?
Just… Just like that?
"So in the end, we caught him," Gran-Torino surmised. "However, we ended up getting the short end of the stick with this swap of opponents."
"At the very least, we can say that this didn't come without some success," Uwabami said as she walked up to them. She had her neck wrapped in bandages, but other than that, she seemed fine, although the snakes on the back of her head were out like a light. "Good job, Yu."
"Too tired to use hero names, huh?" She smiled.
But… Iida ignored all of that. All their banter and all of their relief went in one ear and out the other.
Would he attack him here? While he was defenseless? He showed no mercy to his brother, so why should he? But then he'd be like those monsters who attacked these civilians… but he still wanted to do it–but it wasn't what a hero would do–a lowly villain–a hero like his brother–
"Iida, you seem tired," Manual said as he shook his shoulder. "I guess you would be, especially after all that's happened. Don't worry, you can take a breather. I think your classmates are nearby, you should go to them."
Iida idly nodded and went their way.
But he didn't go to his classmates.
He merely sat on a fallen rock and gazed towards the zone in front of him, relief workers already working on both repairs and aid to the remaining injured. The lightly injured, as he had already transported the more seriously wounded to the appropriate authorities.
On paper, he did good.
But why did he feel so… empty?
Brother… What should I do?
Shigaraki barfed blood all over the floor.
"I'll… kill that brat!"
Normally, Kurogiri would be one to clean that up, but the guy was frantically tending to their glorious leader's wound. They weren't even at their usual bar hideout, but instead a weird-looking doctor's room. A short guy was looking over Shigaraki and giving Kurogiri orders.
Leave it to the professionals, Angra supposed.
As for how he got that wound…
They ran. Not even because he wanted to, or because Shigaraki ordered it. As soon as that sword pierced his body, Kurogiri made a call to retreat, regardless of the plan that would have succeeded had they continued.
All that, and the main reason never even showed up to say hi. Stain was certainly picky, wasn't he?
Oh well, foiled again. I wonder how the boss will feel about that when he wakes up? Probably rip my throat out.
Not that it hurts anymore. His new body basically came with a toggled pain receptors, which made it very convenient if Shigaraki had another temper tantrum.
"What happened?" A static voice called from the walls around them.
"You sure you should be asking me?" Angra replied.
"Is it not common sense to ask those who are not busy?"
"Damn, got me there," he laughed. "Yeah, the plan would've worked. I'm sure that I could've overwhelmed All-Might and – what was it that Shiggy said? – weaken the confidence of society? Something like that."
"Obviously," he probably rolled his eyes. "But you know what I meant."
"Fine," he rolled his eyes, but froze as he felt a surge of pain rush through his body. "Damn it! I get it already!"
A toggled pain receptor meant that someone could turn it on with some quality shock-therapy. The big man behind the screen just so happened to have the remote.
"Do you really?" He continued. "Tomura's life is far more important than yours. Your negligence has caused him to suffer greatly. You're lucky that Dr. Garaki is skilled enough to repair him. Now, I'll give you a chance to tell me who is to blame–"
"It was that sword brat, Emiya Shirou," Angra interrupted him. Quite frankly, he just didn't care enough to be respectful. But it looked like the big boss didn't care about being respectful and stopped the shock-therapy. Ass-hat.
"I don't know how or why he was at Hosu, but the guy definitely screwed the plan over," he continued. "If he wasn't there, we could've kept up with the assault, but those swords were massive pains in the ass to deal with. Not for me though, but because I had to protect our glorious leader, I had to chump a few swords."
"Clearly not enough. Young Tomura was still harmed, remember? Quite gravely, in fact."
"That's cuz that blade in particular, Hrunting, doesn't stop until it hits its target," Angra snorted. "Nasty little thing."
"And you didn't think to mention this earlier? Such an important detail… should not be omitted," Blistering pain like a thousand fire ants. "Keeping secrets from your employers? This won't do for good business at all. An empire rises and falls based on trust. Should one faulty cog fail to turn, the rest of the machine might fail as well. Are you a faulty cog?"
"I already told you that I didn't know he'd be there, didn't I?" Angra seethed in true annoyance, but that was only because his body was being charred from the inside out! What if they killed this body!? He'd have to find a better one, which basically didn't exist because they tailor-made this one for him. "What more do you want!?"
"What I want is for you to be more forthcoming and less… lackadaisical," he suggested, but they both knew that was more of a threat. "I've dedicated a lot of time towards young Tomura's development, and I'd hate to see it go to waste because of an… individual such as you. However, I am a forgiving individual. I've helped my subordinates gain power beyond their wildest dreams, or even taken it away should they so choose. In exchange… tell me. What do you know of this child, this Emiya Shirou?"
Angra sighed. Sometimes, he wondered if he should ditch this body, as it was clearly not worth the effort.
But at the same time, his time at the League of Villains had been interesting. It had been far more interesting than his tenure in the Holy Grail, and it was definitely better than roaming around with nothing to do. Ah, the choice between boredom and freedom… To lament such a choice, how very humane of him.
It was just one of those days, wasn't it?
And so he explained how the guy could basically spam swords with unique properties. The closest descriptor he could give the guy was if each sword had its own quirk. That alone seemed to garner his attention. Oh, he also told him about the reinforcement and bounded fields, but he was brushed off as expected. The asshole plainly didn't believe him when he said it was magecraft, but even Angra had to give some credit.
It was hard to believe in the mysteries of magecraft when everything could be explained by the wonders of a quirk.
"... and that's all I know," Angra sighed. "So, what're you going to do about it?"
"For now, nothing. Your cooperation is appreciated," he replied, fully knowing that didn't need it. Though, he could practically smell the intrigue. "As much as this development has stifled young Tomura's growth, the challenge it could provide will only serve to further his growth. I shall let him form a solution all on his own."
"Figures," Angra shrugged. "And the Hero-Killer, Stain?"
"Once the transport is in progress, I will send Kurogiri. After all, young Tomura set this grand gesture up just for him…" Oh? So the guy got caught? That's unexpected. However, Angra raised a brow as his boss' boss paused. "… However, such a grave wound will have to be taxed with a grave toll. Shigaraki can form whatever plan he desires to deal with him, but I cannot allow him to run around unchecked, at least, not as freely. Am I correct to assume your face was caught on the broadcast?"
"Yeah…?" he raised a brow. Where was he going with… oh. Angra laughed in realization. "Now that's an idea! Go ahead, it sounds like fun!"
"I would have done so without your input, Beast."
"Not yet," he smiled as the audio cut off. "Not yet."
A/N: Sorry for the delay, but I was working on my thesis project. Have you tried creating a Twitter scraper program? It takes a while if you're like me, a dumbass who nearly forgot 80% of what he learned in the prior years because online classes are an ass to deal with. I'll save the rest of the A/N for the next chapter.
A/N 2: Grammer
A/N 3: An excerpt somehow disappeared from the chapter. Thanks to Meepmoop42 for pointing that out. I doubt I would have noticed... Seriously, how did that even happen?