Izuku opened the briefcase, taking off the top half of his hero outfit, watching his arms around the metal bits.

A discussion arose, all revolving around the class they just had.

"That was some hard training..." Rikido said with a sigh.

Yuga brushed away some sweat with a sparkling handkerchief, nodding in agreement. "Our first class in a while that made me sweat!"

All the while, Eijiro seemed disappointed, detaching a shoulder guard. "Which reminds me that I really need to work on my mobility."

"Which is why you must compensate for it by gathering info instead." Fumikage responded, "Speed means nothing if you're left in the dark about your surroundings."

Denki perked up, behind the bird-headed student. "But I suck at that! Guys like you, Midoriya, and Sero have it easy when it comes to that type of stuff."

Sero smiled, yet rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. "Well, to be honest, Midoriya kinda left me and Tokoyami in the dust." Sero nodded his head, Izuku now putting on his school uniform. "When the hell didya get so fast, Midoriya? You were even faster than at the sports festival."

Most of the boys had honestly expected Midoriya to stutter a response, yet were surprised to see Izuku return a small smile. "Practice. Since I came back early, I had a whole week to prepare myself before school started." Izuku then looked down, "But if I were to be honest, I was close to overexerting by the end there."

"... Huh..." Sero simply responded, returning to undressing, Fumikage blinking at his friend.

"Hey, Midoriya!" The green-haired boy perked up, realizing Minoru was speaking to him. "I discovered something crazy! Come here!" Izuku blinked, realizing the object of Minoru's attention.

A small hole in the wall, revealed behind a faded poster.

"Look at this hole, Shawshank!" Minoru puffed steam from his nose, a blush growing on his cheeks. "It is probably thanks to the efforts of those who came before us! After all, next door is... you know- the girl's locker room!"

With that revelation, Tenya was the first to react, throwing his hand forward. "Stop this, Mineta-kun! Peeping is a criminal act!"

Minoru tore off the poster, blinded by lust. "My little Mineta is already a criminal act-!"


The words oddly enough came from Izuku, silently up the poster from the floor. The boys stared at the student as he folded the paper like origami, calmly walking up to the hole. Minoru stared at him, wide-eyed. "M-Midoriya, don't tell me... that you've got a secret perverted streak!" Minoru seemed giddy with happiness, "And to think that-"

And then, Izuku shoved a perfectly folded paper cylinder into the hole, closing off on both ends so neither side could be peaked through.

He turned around, Minoru falling to his knees in shock and dismay. "THE SACRED HOLE! NOOOOOOOO!"

Izuku walked away without another word, already fully dressed as most of the boys leaned back from their locker, perplexed by the interaction.

"The matcha powder they sell at the local convenience store is quite good, a nice young man sometimes helps me restock." The old monk gestured to the cup. "Go on, try some."

Umbra stared at the piping green liquid, his clothes still shrouding his features as he sat cross-legged. He had left Skiajati propped against the wooden wall before slowly undoing his hood, his head a surprise to the old man.

"E-Er, is that a mask or...-?" The monk then shook his head, "Ah, sorry, it's rude of me to ask that. It must be your Quirk."

The warframe was silent.

"Can you not speak?"

Umbra shook his head.

"Or drink?"

Umbra shook his head again.

The old monk embarrassingly retracted the cup, bowing his head. "Then I apologize for even offering." He then looked back up, "Do you have any other means to communicate? I know of sign, we could try that."

Umbra stared at him, offering no answer.

"You... do not know sign language?" The monk put a hand beneath his chin, seemingly intrigued. "Then perhaps..." The monk stood up, walking to closet and producing a small notebook and pen. "Here. Try writing."

The warframe looked down at the notebook and grabbed the writing utensil. He tested the grip of it, understanding its purpose before looking back up.

"Go on. Start with your name."

Umbra looked back down, doing so. He was unsure how he knew their syllabic language yet he wrote as if it were prior knowledge. Finally finishing, he handed the notebook back, the monk's eyes lighting up.

"Ah, so your name is Umbra?"

He nodded.

The old monk placed a hand on his chest, "My name is Kaneda." He then bowed, "It is nice to meet you, Umbra-san."

Izuku looked down at his bowl of pork katsudon before digging in, sitting with Fumikage and Tsuyu.

Rikido and Koji sat with them, eating their respective meals before the former spoke. "Jeez, one week until the finals, and it feels like it's only been a few days since I first came to this school."

"Yeah... it's so strange how time flies." Izuku agreed, putting down his chopsticks.

"Say, where'd you guys get placed on the midterm rankings?" Rikido asked, "I was in 12th."

Tsuyu looked up, "I got ranked 6th."

"11." Koji quietly said.

"3rd place." Izuku added, Rikido impressed.

"Woah, right behind Iida." Rikido then turned his attention to Fumikage. "What about you Tokoyami? A serious guy like you must have gotten a high score."

Fumikage seemed reluctant for a moment before finally speaking. "I... was 14th." He sighed, "I must study harder, it has not been easy due to all the events that have transpired."

"You can say that again. With all the back-to-back stuff that's going on, there's been barely any time to study." Rikido then perked up, "And who knows what they'll do for the finals."

"That is if you're as ignorant as those in class 1-A."

The words did not come from Fumikage, rather it came from another student, Izuku turning his head to see a familiar face from the sports festival. It was the blonde-haired student from 1-B, a sly smile on his face as he carried a tray of fine steak. Izuku blinked, scratching the back of his head. "Um... who are you again?"

"Er-" The blonde-haired student seemed embarrassed all of a sudden, Rikido chuckling.

"Geez, Midoriya. D'you really gotta kill him like that?"

"Huh?" He then blinked, stuttering. "Ah, I-I didn't mean any disrespect-!"

"Monoma, of class 1-B!" The student snapped, "Don't you remember the sports festival, when I disrespected your class before I was-!"

And then a hand-chopped him on the neck, the student crumpling like a tissue as he was hefted by his collar by a familiar girl. Fumikage blinked, his arms crossed, "Speak of the devil..."

"Monoma, why can't you just get along with class A?" She asked, tugging on his collar before looking up. "Name's Kendo. Sorry about our classmate's behavior."

"That's alright, Kero." Tsuyu staring down at the slumped student.

"Anyhow, I couldn't help but overhear you guys talking about the practical exam for the finals. Sounds to me you all don't know what it's gonna be, right?" She smiled, "They're gonna be using robots, just like the entrance exam."

"How do you know that?" Fumikage asked.

"An upperclassman told me, though it is kind of cheating." Itsuka admitted

"Not really, info gathering is apart of being a hero. Although...-" Izuku spoke up before cupping his chin in thought. "-I don't think that's going to be it."

"Huh? Whattya mean, Midoriya?" Rikido asked, the green-haired student realizing that all eyes were upon him.

"I-I mean, think about all that's happened. The USJ, the league of villains, the... Tokyo blackout..." The last mention was uncomfy for Izuku, but he carried on. "I would not be surprised if they change the final practical into something else because of recent events. Maybe something more difficult than fighting robots, but what...?" Izuku wondered out loud.

"That makes a lot of sense." Itsuka commented before a small chuckle was heard.

"Heh... ha, ha, ha! Of course!" Monoma looked up from his slouched position, an unhinged smile on his face. "Thank you for giving away that info, class A fools-!"

She chopped him on the neck again, "They're not fools!" Before dragging him away.

"I hate him." The declaration surprisingly came from Koji, the quiet student speaking up. "He's mean."

"Er, Well,-" Rikido scratched the back of his head before chuckling. "I guess it's a good thing their president doesn't tolerate him much either." He then turned back to Izuku, "So do you think that's true Midoriya?"

He shrugged, "Who knows, but it's not unreasonable to think. U.A. has been full of surprises."

"Kero, you can say that again." Tsuyu agreed.

They continued eating for a bit in silence before Fumikage spoke up, his food only half-finished to show that something was on his mind.

"Midoriya." The green-haired student turned his head to the bird-headed student. "Can I ask you of something?"

Izuku blinked, giving his attention as he looked up from his food.

Fumikage seemed to peer down, "My understanding of some concepts leaves... much to be desired. Would it be possible to help me study for the final written section?"

"Oh-" Izuku was admittedly taken aback. He never had anyone ask him for help in a school setting, not like this. He blinked again, realizing that Fumikage was waiting for his answer. "O-Of course! I heard Yaoyorozu was having a few people over at her place, so maybe we should all form a study group as well." He looked to Rikido, the muscular student scratching the back of his head awkwardly.

"Er, sorry. I've already reserved a few catchup sessions in the school."

Izuku turned to Koji, the quiet student shaking his head before whispering. "T-Tutor..."

Finally, he looked to Tsuyu, the frog girl speaking up. "Sorry, Izukun. I have to stay at home to look after my brother and sister while studying."

"Ah, I understand." Izuku then turned back to Fumikage, "Then it looks like it'll just be me and you Tokoyami. We can meet up at my house if you want."

"That is fine." Fumikage agreed.

Izuku nodded, going back to finish his food, albeit with a small smile on his face.

The weekend came.

Izuku carefully pruned the bonsai tree, brows knitted as he held the pair of scissors steady.

It was a process Onkko had taught him, and it apparently had much to do with the 'Naramon' school the Quill had mentioned, a Tenno fighting style of finding an opponent's weakness. Although Izuku had no idea what Bonsai tending had to do with it, he did find the activity calming and thoughtful, spotting irregularities within the branches to figure out which ones needed to be disposed of. The tiny tree was growing well within the rectangular vase, its leaves a healthy green thanks to his selective cutting.

He put down the scissors, brushing his forehead before a ring from the doorbell was heard. Izuku shot up, rushing out of his room as he called out.

"I'll get it!"

Izuku passed his mother while she worked in the kitchen, opening the door to see Fumikage standing there, backpack slung over his shoulder.

In all honesty, he didn't know what to say, and he could tell Fumikage didn't know either. Instead, both students simply nodded to each other, Izuku standing aside to let him in as he took off his shoes.

Of course, Inko was already on the scene.

"Welcome! Would you like some water? Maybe some food?"

Fumikage was silent for a moment, standing right behind Izuku. "... Unfortunately, I am neither thirsty nor hungry." He then bowed his head, "But I am thankful for your generosity."

"Oh, um,-" Inko awkwardly bowed in response, "T-Then the both of you can call me if you need anything. I'll be right here."

Izuku nodded, Fumikage following him as the former spoke out.

"Thanks, Mom." They both entered Izuku's room, the green-haired student scratching the back of his head. "So this is my study room... and bedroom." He gestured to the long table with a lamp. Fumikage looked around, gaze focused on the more zen aspect of the room.

"Your room... it is quite meditative." He then turned back to Izuku, "I admit, I did not expect this. Especially due to the All Might placard on your door."

"Well..." Izuku paused, closing the door to reveal a giant poster of All Might on it. "All Might's still my favorite hero, he's the reason why I even wanted to be a hero after all." He then looked back, gesturing to the Yin and Yang disc Gunhead had given him all those months ago. "But I've gone my own path, if that makes any sense..."

Fumikage nodded before they both sat down, opening his backpack to produce a few writing materials.

"So,-" Izuku looked to his friend, "What subject do you find the hardest? We'll start with that."

"... English." Fumikage admitted, "I'm having trouble discerning the differences in sentences." Fumikage looked down, "Ironically, Dark Shadow knows better English than I do."

Dark Shadow suddenly appeared by Fumikage's side, pointing his talons in a teasing manner. "Ha, ha, YOU SUCK." He finished in English, Fumikage shaking his head.

Izuku thought for a moment before dragging a sheet from the side.

"Then... let's try this." He showed Fumikage the paper, "These are example problems from Present Mic's class. Just pick which sentences you think are right." Izuku handed Fumikage the piece of paper, the student taking a moment to complete them before giving it back. He checked it for a moment, noticing the choices Fumikage picked. "I think I understand what the issue is."

"You do?" Fumikage asked.

"Yeah, you're confusing words and context." He showed him the paper, "See how this sentence uses 'THEIR' and the other uses 'THEY'RE'? The former is a pronoun that's used to indicate possession of something, while the latter is a contraction of two words, 'THEY' and 'ARE'."

"I... see."

"If you're still not sure, we can go over a few more problems."

Umbra found himself integrating.

In the short days since he had arrived, Kaneda had cared for him, even going as far as fitting him with robes of his religion, the warframe's black scarf atop the soft robes. Umbra didn't object, already seeing that they were a much better improvement over the tattered clothes he had fished from the trash. Unfortunately, this came with a price, that being the price of memory. The past few days at the temple had allowed him to somewhat recall from the point of his arrival... and they were not pleasant, not at all.

Terror, blood, and death, all done by his hands alone.

Which had the warframe question why, why exactly did the human bother to help him so much? Was it truly out of kindness, or was there something Kaneda knew?

Umbra ironically found himself meditating upon that. It helped with his... dissociation, but beyond that, he still felt something weigh upon him, something that he had done in the world he had left behind.

Something so terrible, his mind refused to remember.

The warframe's sensors picked up on footsteps, turning his head just before Kaneda returned, the monk surprised to see Umbra already acknowledging his presence.

"Oh-" Kaneda stifled in surprise before shaking his head, chuckling. "Apologies Umbra-san, your perception is quite good."

Kaneda quietly put his broom away, noticing that Umbra was now looking down at the floor.

"Is... something bothering you?"

Umbra looked away for a moment before looking back, shaking his head. For some reason, it felt troublesome to open up, as if a shell of doubt covered the warframe.

"While I will not force it, sometimes speaking what is on your mind can aid the soul." Kaneda then realized what he had said, "Er, w-write in this case... apologies."

The warframe seemed to consider his words before reaching for the notebook by his side, writing in it and quickly handing it over.

Kaneda paused as if considering for a moment before answering, yet to Umbra's confusion... and slight infuriation, the monk's answer had changed this time. "Why I helped you? Why, it's only natural to help someone in need."

Umbra was quick to respond, scribbling a new sentence.

"But I do know much of you." Kaneda objected after reading it, "You know how to meditate, you seem attached to that black scarf, oh, and most importantly,-" Kaneda sadly shook his head, "You cannot drink matcha tea... a shame, truly."

Umbra paused before writing his thoughts, handing them over again to Kaneda.

Kaneda seemed to realize the delicacy of the situation, hand cupping his chin. He then sat down on a cushion beside the warframe, now level with Umbra. "Well, then I'm afraid no one cannot forgive you for that."

Umbra hung his head down.

"For you have done nothing wrong."

The warframe looked back up, head tilted in confusion.

"I have not seen the man capable of this. All I've seen of you is exactly what I have said before."

This human... Umbra felt genuinely infuriated at his ignorance. He stood up, grasping Skiajati from the wall and unsheathing the blade before returning, plopping it in front of him to emphasize it to the monk.

"I-I think I understand."

Kaneda seemed unsettled... but even so...

"And will this blade continue?"

Umbra paused at that, picking up the notepad again.

Kaneda took that answer in a stride before sighing. Slowly, he undid the side of his robe, revealing his shoulder. Umbra felt his sensors pick up a change of color in his skin tone, realizing that his left shoulder blade was grafted with an inky set of tattoos, depicting a blossoming of pink lotus flowers.

"Then I will tell you that both men were not so different. I too hurt many in the past... and worse, my Quirk was very useful for it." Kaneda looked up, "But when I left prison, I found myself exiled and without purpose. So I traveled the way of Buddhas and Zen masters. My world became bigger, as did my understanding, but most importantly, I got to meet my family... my true family. I left behind that violent man, and now I am me, the monk you see before you."

Kaneda then clasped a hand behind his bead, an unsure grin on his face as he closed his eyes.

"Though, I admit, I'm not a perfect role model. I believe I have too many attachments on hand to ever hope of achieving enlightenment... Like matcha tea and nunchaku practice... Oh well."

The monk then looked back up.

"But just remember... Umbra-san. The past is already gone, and it is your choice if the man you have left behind, the man who has hurt those who are undeserving... will return once more."

Umbra took in the monk's words, slowly grasping Skiajati once more as he sheathed the weapon. To think, the human that knew nothing about him could ironically know so much, a true oxymoron. But even so, Umbra acknowledged his words with a slow nod, Kaneda standing back up.

"Now, if you will excuse me, I have to make some matcha te-" He opened a cupboard, realizing it was empty. "Oh... the matcha... it's out."

The session had gone smoothly.

English had been the only issue for Fumikage, and the other subjects were easily covered. By the time they had finished, the sun was setting, Fumikage refilling his backpack with the writing utensils he had bought.

"Thank you, Midoriya. The lesson you provided was most enlightening."

"E-Er, don't thank me yet. We still have to pass the written portion."

Fumikage closed his eyes as he nodded. "Indeed."

"So then uh,-" Izuku awkwardly scratched the back of his head, "N-Now that we're finished with studying, you wanna walk around and hang out a bit in Musutafu before heading back?"

"... Ahem." Fumikage coughed before finally responding, "VERY. WELL. THEN." He managed to speak in english, showing off the fruits of their labor as Izuku stifled a chuckle, and Dark Shadow, who was simply just laughing as the Quirk appeared by Fumikage's side.

They were about to exit the room before Izuku remembered something. "Oh, wait. Just before we go, I have to water the bonsai tree, the soil was getting a little dry."

"Hm, I noticed it upon walking in." Fumikage noted, "How long have you been growing it?"

"Oh, for about a month or so." Izuku answered.

"Pretty." Dark Shadow commented.

"My mentor said that tending a Bonsai tree had something to do with 'knowing the enemy'." He used a kettle to pour water atop the dirt of the rectangular vase. "But I'm not sure how that even fits."

"Your mentor..." Fumikage's eyes lit up in remembrance. "Ah, of course. The one who helps train your Quirk in the Void, correct?"

"... Yes." Izuku simply responded, putting the kettle down and turning around. "Let's get going."

And of course, both students had ended up in a place synonymous with study and talk.


Izuku and Fumikage sat across from each others, both with trays in front as they finished their meals. Izuku wiping his mouth. "So... I wanted to ask, how does Dark Shadow even know English?"

"In all honesty, even I am unsure." Fumikage looked up, dazed in thought. "The inner machination of Dark Shadow is a shadowy mystery, even to myself. But I do suspect that he simply picked it up better than I did back in middle and elementary school. Back when I was...-" Fumikage paused for a moment, something clearly bothering him as Izuku tilted his head.

"Is there something wrong, Tokoyami?"

"... Well, admittedly, I did not have the easiest time in school before I came to U.A." Fumikage looked down, "I... did not have much-" He shook his head, "No, I didn't have friends at all due to my anti-social nature. Dark Shadow was the only companion that I had through those lonely years in darkness." He looked up, "Sometimes I wonder what you and Tsu see in me that makes me... friendship material, so to speak."

The admittance and question came as a slight surprise to Izuku, "I-In all honesty, I didn't have any friends either before coming to U.A." Fumikage blinked at that, Izuku continuing. "I was- Everyone thought that I was Quirkless after all, and-" Izuku didn't finish, shaking his head.

"Hm." Fumikage looked away before looking back. "I... regret to hear that. In all honesty, I did not think our past struggles would be so similar. If anything, mine seem petty compared to yours." Dark Shadow materialized briefly beside Fumikage, the student petting him. "... At least I had Dark Shadow."

While Izuku could not speak for Tsuyu, he was beginning to understand that perhaps the three of them weren't so different after all. He resolved himself, looking back up. "It doesn't matter. We're in U.A. now, trying our best to become heroes. I'd say we should just focus on the path ahead."

Fumikage nodded in agreement, Izuku looking outside.

"Oh, I-I forgot to mention." He then gestured behind him. "I have to stop by the Lawson around the corner to pick up something. Do you wanna come along?"

"Sure. I'd be happy to." Fumikage said, the sides of his beak curving into a smile.

They exited the fast-food restaurant, walking down the street to enter the convenience store. After a few minutes, they came back out, Izuku holding a box of matcha powder packets. Fumikage looked to them, eyes downward.

"Are you going to bring those back to your house?"

"Oh, uh, no." Izuku scratched the back of his head, both students walking down the street. "It's a sort of monthly ritual that I do." They rounded the corner, Izuku spotting the location, as did Fumikage.

"... What's a Torii gate doing out here?"

Izuku smirked, walking forward. "That's what I thought as well when I first saw it." He opened the heavy wooden gate beneath the arch, calling out in the garden as Fumikage reluctantly followed. "Kaneda-sama!"

The wooden panel opened, revealing an old monk, a smile on his face. "Ah, Midoriya! It's good to see you again." He turned his head to Fumikage, "And you've bought a friend, what is your name, Young Man?"

Fumikage bowed his head, "Fumikage Tokoyami, Sir. I study at U.A. with Midoriya."

"I see, I see!" Kaneda spoke, clasping his hands together as Izuku lifted the box of matcha powder.

"I bought you some matcha powder."

"Oh! Thank you Midoriya!" Kaneda exclaimed, as if given a vital source of nourishment. However, he then seemed to remember something, scratching the back of his bald head awkwardly. "Yet, unfortunately-" Kaneda said as he accepted them. "I'm currently expecting a resupply."

Izuku tilted his head at that, "Huh, really? Did you order more?"

"Well, it's er- I suppose you can say that I have garnered a disciple who helps me around the temple." Kaneda explained, "A shame he's not here as of now. I'm sure you would have loved to meet him."

"Um, okay." Izuku nodded, "I'm glad you have someone here with you."

Kaneda raised the matcha bags, "And I'm very grateful you bought these." He looked back up, attention turned to Fumikage. "And that I got to meet your friend."

"Likewise." Fumikage simply responded.

Izuku smiled, waving goodbye alongside Fumikage as the two of them left.

"Um..." The convenience store worker paused before slowly bowing his head, taking the small tray of cash. "T-Thank you."

The worker then looked back up, a figure in a giant basket hat standing on the other side of the counter.

Umbra picked up the bag full of matcha packets before turning around in his unwieldy disguise, walking toward the doorway as he minded his giant bascinet. Kaneda had called it a Komuso outfit, offering it as a sort of test to see if the disguise worked. Although it did a good job to mask his identity, the ability to hide his presence while wearing it was something to be left desired.

He walked out of the store, just in time for someone to bump into him, a few packets falling out of the bag. Umbra was admittedly annoyed as he reacted, catching the few that had fallen out in a near-instant. He then turned to see the culprit, a woman with chin-length blond hair and slit pupils kneeling on the ground.

"I-I'm sorry." She apologized, her sharp teeth curled into a saddened frown. "I wasn't looking where I was going..."

Umbra recognized her, the hero was able to transform into a scaled beast. The last time they had met was when he was fighting the Sentient fragments, her scared face flashing in his mind. Ironically, she didn't look much better than what he had pictured, face pale and heavy bags underneath her eyes as a burn mark of disturbed skin could be seen in the exposed V of her jacket.

It looked like life had left most of her.

He... pitied her.

Grabbing the bag, Umbra handed her one just as she picked herself back up, white-glove cleverly covering his gauntlet as she blinked, staring at the packet. "Wh-" He then placed it in her hand. "Um... thank you?" She confusedly expressed.

"Ryukyu!" Umbra turned to see a pair rush down the street, a man holding a camera and a woman with a microphone. "Can we please get a comment on the disastrous Tokyo Blackout!?" He then turned to notice her visibly pale, standing still and unable to budge. Umbra then decided to move on, realizing that he would be seen on camera if he didn't leave.

But not before subtly leaning a wrapped sock out of his robes, tripping the cameraman. The man fell, dropping the camera as it shattered on the ground, the reporter aghast.

He slightly turned his basket hat, noticing the hero's slitted eyes focused on him. She mouthed a word, a less confused and more genuine 'thank you' being read before she turned around and left the scene, Umbra turning back around to return to the temple.

A weary warrior had granted another one some much-needed respite.

The day of the practical had finally arrived.

Izuku stood there, adjusting his Convergence as he stood alongside his other classmates. The writing exam had passed over a course of three days. Izuku had been confident with his answers, and thankfully, Fumikage as well.

Which finally bought them here, at the central plaza where the practical would take place.

Their teachers stood before them, Aizawa at the forefront with his hands in his pockets and face indifferent. "Now we'll begin the practical exam. If you want to go to the training camp then don't make any careless mistakes, I'll assume that you've all gathered information ahead of time and prepared adequately."

The students nodded, a few more vigorously than others. "Entrance exam." Izuku heard Denki whisper loudly, "Please let it be like the entrance exam."

He had misjudged how loud he was, as a muffled spoke voice spoke out in answer. "Nope!" A shape stirred within Aizawa's scarf before popping out, principal Nezu revealing himself.

And then announced the twist.

"For various reasons, the exam will be different starting this time."

Izuku was not the type to take pride in saying 'I told you so', but a small smirk did admittedly make his way behind his mask as he felt the gazes of a few of his classmates turn to him. However, that smug prediction quickly disappeared as his face hardened again.

Just what was going to happen now?

"From now on, we want to focus on person-to-person combat and hero work, teaching that is closer to actual fighting." Nezu pointed at the class, "So we'll have you form teams of two to fight against one teacher!"

That came as a shock, eyes widening as Ochako spoke out. "Against... the teachers?!"

Aizawa nodded, stepping forward to explain. "In addition, the pairs and their opponent have already been decided. These were determined at my discretion based on various factors." He began to list out, "This accounts for fighting styles, grades, and interpersonal relationships, so here they are:" He pointed to the front, "First is Midoriya and Asui. Your opponent is going to be Ectoplasm."

"Ectoplasm..." Izuku thought, turning his attention to the tan cloaked hero/math teacher. He had seen the teacher in action before, but really only in videos and of his rescue involvement during the USJ. He looked down and cupped a hand beneath the edge of his mask, "Can produce streams of ectoplasm from his mouth and create thirty clones of himself, thirty-eight on a good day, which makes me wonder-" He then stopped his mumbling, realizing that it was off-topic... and conscious that Tsuyu was now next to him, staring forward at the teachers. Regardless of the brief distraction, he knew he had a page somewhere on the pro-hero.

The teacher then turned his attention.

"Second, Fumikage and Yaoyorozu are team one, and your opponent will be Nezu."

Momo's eyes widened, "The principal himself?"

From there, the groups, opponents, and order was set by Nezu.

Sero and Mezo, would be fighting the loudest teacher, Present Mic.

Tenya and Ochako would be up against Aizawa himself.

Yuga would be with Toru to fight Snipe.

Mineta with Denki against Midnight, which made Izuku wonder whose idea that was.

Kirishima alongside Mina would be up against Cementoss.

Rikido and Jiro against Thirteen.

Ojiro and Koda would be fighting Power Loader.

Which finally left...

Izuku blinked, turning his head to Katsuki and Shoto, the former seemingly realizing where that left him as he turned his head to the latter. Then, in typical Katsuki fashion, he exploded. "WHAT!? I gotta work with half and half bastard!?" Shoto didn't really seem to care either way, staring forward with a normal expression.

"Yes." Aizawa answered, "And there's more to it."

He then turned to the rest of the class.

"Due to a last-minute change in schedule, All Might will not be joining us."

Another shocking twist, gasps and quiet murmurs vocalized amongst the class. They had hero lessons without All Might, but for the final exam to lack the number one hero? Then again, for one of the groups to have to fight All Might, perhaps his absence was justified, which bought about another question.

Just who was going to replace him?

The answer came quickly, as Aizawa stepped aside, the doors to the examination center opened. "Therefore, another hero will be taking his place."

An old man in a white and yellow hero outfit stood there with a cane in hand, heavy wrinkles and a domino mask on his face. He was possibly shorter than Nezu, a confused smile on his elderly face. "Hello. Is this the supermarket?"

Izuku slowly lifted his mask to make sure he wasn't seeing things, noticing that everyone's reaction was about the same, their jaws agape and eyes wide. "This is Gran Torino, he'll be acting as All Might's substitute for this test." Izuku tried to recall the name for a moment only to realize that for once, he had nothing. If Gran Torino was a hero, it was definitely way before Izuku's time.

"Nice to meet ya." Gran Torino greeted the students before pausing, "Who are you all?"

Aizawa turned his head to Katsuki. "He will be you and Todoroki's opponent."

There was a short pause, Mina whispering. "Is this really happening...?" Mina whispered as she inspected the substitute teacher. "Dude's... older than old."

"... Perhaps it's some sort of ruse." Mezo hopefully added.

However, no reaction could come close then the last group. Katsuki seemed almost blinded by rage, teeth gritted and veins popping from his forehead. Even Shoto seemed confounded, blinking at the elderly man that would be their opponent.

It was a few days before the exam, and the teachers of U.A. had gathered to discuss.

Whether or not to change the final test.

"If we win too easily, we won't be able to give them grades." Present Mic noted.

Toshinori loudly coughed before covering his mouth with a handkerchief, garnering a concerned look from Cementoss.

"Are you okay, Yagi-san?"

The gaunt man nodded, Snipe continuing with the conversation. "Anyhow, we'll figure out a handicap to give the students before we conduct the exams."

Aizawa put his folder down, crossing his arms as he turned to Nezu. "What do you think, Principal?"

"Of course I agree with the changes. We all have to try our best to prepare students for the dangers to come, and what better way but to help them grow stronger?"

Aizawa nodded. "There's also another issue." He turned to Toshinori, "Yagi, you said you were going to help the third years as well for their semester exam."

Toshinori nodded, "Of course. It's my duty as a-"

"You do realize that participating in all of the exams is going to go above your time limit?"

"Ergh!" That hit Toshinori, the number 1 hero slumping. "W-Well, perhaps but-"

Aizawa sighed, "You're going to have to make a choice whether or not to assist with the first years or the third years. We'll find try to find a substitute for whatever option you decide."

Toshinori looked down, his face deep in thought and consideration. "Very well then... As much as I wish I can be there for the first years, I must test Mirio's progress. But I may have a substitute in mind." He then looked back up, a worried look in his eyes. "However, it pains me do to do this to them... and to myself."

The rest of the teachers in the room tilted their heads as Toshinori bought up his phone, calling a number.

The rules were simple.

They were to have thirty minutes for every test, thirty minutes for one of them to either escape or capture their teacher. There was also a way that the teachers were to even out the odds.

"These are ultra compressed weights. The support course had a contest, and I believe the student Mei Hatsume was the winning design." Nezu said as he showed off the bracelets.

Izuku reminded himself to thank Mei later.

"We'll be putting them on our wrists and ankles to give a reasonable handicap, seeing as they'll account for about half of our body weights, making it much harder to move and regain stamina." The rodent slipped on a bracelet, letting out a small huff. "Like so."

The rest of the teachers followed suit, Izuku turning to see Gran Torino casually slip them on. However, unlike the other instructors that seemed to have momentary discomfort, Gran Torino keeping the same oblivious smile on his face.

Izuku's eyes widened behind his mask, yet he kept quiet for the time being.

"With that settled, each team will be assigned an area for their test. Midoriya, Asui-" Both of them perked up, "-ready yourselves. Those waiting their turn can watch or strategize for the time being. Do whatever you want, that is all."

He and Tsuyu looked at each other, realizing that they hadn't been given much time to prepare.

"So what did the teachers give us?" Tsuyu asked, Izuku looking down at the sheet of paper, handcuffs hanging off the side of his outfit. The zone seemed to be a giant building, the entrance an open multifloored atrium with balconies leading deeper into the facility.

"Well, there's a map of the general layout of the area and the exit, as well as the handcuffs for the teachers." He passed the map to her, Tsuyu looking down at it. "But that's about it." They stood right at the starting line.

"That's not a lot of info." Tsuyu mused. "What about ectoplasm, do you have anything about him, Izu-kun?"

He was slightly flustered at the use of the last word, thankful that he was wearing a mask. "W-Well, I do." He reached to his side, opening a notebook from his pack. "Generally, he can only create thirty clones, thirty eight if he's-"

Suddenly, a loud horn blared, the intercom activating.

"Team Asui and Midoriya. READY, GO!"

"Kero! We're starting already!" Tsuyu exclaimed as pillars of mist rose up in front of them, multiple copies of Ectoplasm forming before them.

"And Ectoplasm is already prepared to fight us!" Izuku thought, readying himself alongside Tsuyu as she rested on all fours.

"You should probably know...-" The Ectoplasms spoke in sync as Izuku peered to the side, realizing more mist was building behind them, surrounding the pair with copies. "-that I will not be holding b-"

Izuku didn't even let the copies finish as he dashed forward, reappearing as he Void blasted the ones at the front into mist, three already down. Tsuyu was quick to rush alongside him in the newly created opening, leaping up to a pillar and climbing up to attach herself on the side of the balcony. Izuku followed, using his speed to run up the wall with just enough momentum to grasp onto the edge of the railing, both students now hanging onto the balcony.

"Wait." Izuku turned his head to watch the Ectoplasms, noticing a lone Ectoplasm at the entrance. The singular Ectoplasm opened his mouth, mist streaming out to form more copies. "There." Izuku pointed, "That has to be the real Ectoplasm since he's the only one producing new copies."

"Good to know." Tsuyu noted as Izuku turned his mask back to her.

"Then let's go back and try for a capture. We may never get another chance to know the original." Izuku reasoned.

"Which one?" Tsuyu asked as Izuku looked again, realizing that the singular Ectoplasm was already gone, replaced by many more.

More Ectoplasms began to form on the second-floor balcony, converging on their location.

"That was a fine escape." Snipe observed, watching the screen alongside the rest of the teachers.

Cementoss perked up, turning his head to Aizawa. "I suppose this means you've read their action report during the USJ."

Aizawa nodded, looking down at the folder he had written. "Although Asui and Midoriya are good planners, they've only been in situations where they were given ample time to react. I wanted to test to see what happens when they are rushed from the get-go and given no breathing room to make a clear decision."

Present Mic whistled, "And you've given 'em the most unrelenting of us all. 'GONNA BE A TOUGH TIME!" The hero finished in english.

Meanwhile, Gran Torino quietly watched, muttering to himself. "Hmph, Ectoplasm wasn't this sloppy when he was still one of my students..."

They both reached the next floor, more copies forming on the balcony as the two students finally climbed up onto the floor. Izuku turned his head to see a pair of copies heading toward him, readying his arm back, he clawed his amp and pushed forward, Void blasting them into mist. Tsuyu on the other hand, whipped her tongue from left to right, dealing with another pair of copies that had intended to attack from behind.

Izuku looked back at the entrance, realizing that the singular Ectoplasm was gone, no longer evident which one was real or fake.

He turned around to Tsuyu, "Alright then, let's try to get to the exit!"

Tsuyu nodded, gesturing to a doorway ahead of them. "The exit isn't actually too far. Just a hallway and past another atrium."

They both ran forward, a few more clones appearing as they stood to block the hall. Izuku rushed forward, using another Void blast. Yet the clones had smartened up, instead leaping back to avoid the powerful force. "Tsu!" Izuku called, reaching out as his classmate seemingly knew what his intention was. Grabbing her by the arm, he tossed her forward, the frog girl bouncing from the first and the second, leaving a violent kick in her wake as they turned into mist, Tsuyu landing back on the floor. Izuku came up beside her as they ran into the hallway.

Only to be met with even more copies rising from the floor.

"Kero... There's more of them..."

Izuku silently stared forward, counting about 16 of them. "Get ready." He simply said as he began to walk forward.

The first one ran forward, intent to launch a kick as Izuku raised his amp, firing a shot of Void. The clone was struck in the shoulder, flinching as Izuku fired another shot, the copy falling to the floor and disappearing into mist as another quickly took his place, putting much less distance between Izuku. He narrowly dodged a kick from the clone's prosthetic leg, noticing that Tsuyu had leaped above him onto the ceiling to harry and attack the clones in the back with her tongue.

He turned his attention back to his opponent, ducking beneath another kick before Void dashing forward as he reached out his amped arm, reappearing right in front. He grabbed the clone by the face, tackling him to the floor and letting loose a Void blast. The impending force knocked another three that had attempted to surround him into the walls, returning them to mist. Five more approached him, gratefully turned to four thanks to Tsuyu's tongue providing support as an outlier was slapped into mist. Izuku prepared the scaffold of his amp before swinging in overhead fashion, a ball of pure Void was tossed forward, blowing up into energy as they were knocked around like ragdolls before landing back onto the floor, forms dissipating.

The hallway was clear, Tsuyu having dealt with the other 7 with her valuable support.

"We've taken down 25 so far." Izuku told Tsuyu. "He can't have much more left."

But even so... the strain was beginning to build up, a slight pain now at the back of his head.

"We should try to finish this soon, I'm beginning to overexert." He warned as she nodded in understanding, the two of them exiting the hallway.

Warframe OST : Drums of War

They found themselves in the balcony of another atrium, much like the one they had left, except this time, it was filled to the brim with clones, having been already set up by Ectoplasm in preparation.

"Kero-!" Tsuyu exclaimed as Izuku did a quick headcount, mask literally spanning the entire atrium and realizing-

"There's definitely more than thirty... more than thirty-eight." Izuku murmured.

"And you would be right." The answer came from the nearest Ectoplasm, the two of them turning. "My weakness is that I can, normally, produce about 38 clones on a good day."

The Ectoplasm's narrowed their gazes, with no clear evidence on who the original was as they spoke in chorus.

"But who said that was my limit?"

With that, the ones on the balcony went into motion, the ones above jumping down to quickly crowd their floor. Izuku turned to Tsuyu, "Run!" He then turned back to the railing before blasting it with Void, chunks of steel and concrete falling to the floor and clearing the landing zone of clones as he and Tsuyu jumped down. He looked up from his kneeling position, noticing a clone rush forward as Izuku raised his arms to intercept.

Instead, he was kicked in the hip by another that had flanked him, letting out a strained grunt behind his mask. Ectoplasm kicks were hard and fast, owing to their prosthetic nature. The durable metal had done a good job to absorb most of the impact and preventing him from stumbling, but the blunt force still had a painful effect.

"Izu-kun!" Tsuyu called out before shooting out her tongue, wrapping around his waist and pulling him out of danger. Yet just as he was taken out of harm's way, Izuku saw an Ectoplasm approach behind an unaware Tsuyu. Reacting instantly, he Void dashed out of her grip and appeared behind her, blocking the clone's kick with a quick barrier and responded with a Void blast of his own, dispatching the copy.

He felt blood begin to run from his nose, the overexertion now a full-blown headache to serve as a warning.

Finish. Now.

But there was no clear path, no answer that could be found.

Tsuyu lept beside him on all fours, her normally calm demeanor in full alert. "Kero! We need to focus on getting aw-!"

And then it finally came to him.

"That's right... Focus!"

Izuku's stood still, attempting to steady his heart.

"Think back at the entrance exam and the sport's festival, think back when-" He paused, "-Backdraft died." Slowly, he began to close his eyes as the Ectoplasms drew near, searching that deep place he found himself when in danger. However, nothing happened, Izuku finding no power or strength to borrow as he simply stood there. "... Come on..." Ironically, it seemed he found it best to use Focus when his mental state was compromised, never when meditating. "Come on!" Izuku thought, his teeth gritting.

The Void was uncaring to the plight of others. It only did what was necessary to preserve its host.

Izuku despaired, "I can't do it... I can't-"

Suddenly, he was conscious that Tsuyu was calling for him, her words unintelligible.

"Tsu?" He remembered him and her standing in the rain. He remembered helping Fumikage study for english. He remembered when his mother gave her full support, to when Onkko helped train him. He remembered meeting Mirio on the beach again, and he remembered the Ying and Yang disc Gunhead had given him. Finally... he remembered working with Backdraft, saving lives within the burning building.

Such thoughts, they felt real, as if he were living every moment all over again.

"... No, I can't think about them right now, not when I have to worry about the present." Izuku finally noticing a change as a well of power began to build up deep within him.

He came upon a brutal conclusion.

The Void did not care, so he had to as well.

He slowly let the memories all go, channeling that disregard and dedicating himself to become one. Worldly desires were given up for the time being, given space for something far more terrible. From there, he had finally, willingly, achieved equilibrium.

Izuku reopened his eyes.

But they were no longer his.

Energy bled behind his mask as the visor lit up, radiating upwards like an upside-down stream as they licked off the sides of his hat. The Ectoplasms seemed to back off at the transformation, now suddenly cautious as Tsuyu blinked.


He turned to look down her, saying nothing as an Ectoplasm finally decided to react, leaping forward to launch a kick.

Izuku turned back around, wondering to himself as he watched the clone draw near.

"Everything feels so slow."

By the time had finished that thought, his gloved hand was already clasped onto the prosthetic leg, much to the clone's surprise. Then, in a fit of inhuman acrobotics, he lifted himself using the prosthetic as a bar before launching his own kick on the side of the copy's head. It was beheaded into mist, Izuku landing back down as two more lunged from behind.



Izuku hadn't even bothered to use Voidform, his ample reaction time now taken to its natural conclusion. He saw their moves in effect long before they knew, the tense of muscles beneath coats, the mechanical movement stirring within their prosthetics. He walked to the side before turning around and Void blasting the both of them, turning back as he continued walking, Tsuyu watching him in stunned silence.

A target was already in mind, Izuku already knowing his enemy as his gaze was focused on a seemingly random Ectoplasm.

Focus had allowed him to see the tired exhalations, the slightly slouched stance to indicate exhaustion. Producing more than 38 clones had done a number on Ectoplasm's breathing, and it really showed, indicating that this was the real one, being the only one that had shown any real fatigue. Izuku watched as Ectoplasm's white eyes widened in realization, giant teeth gritting before opening to produce more mist. Every single clone seemed to react as well, all of them lunging and leaping to protect the prime Ectoplasm. Izuku merely crouched, mask still focused on the real Ectoplasm.

And then he dashed forward before any of them could make contact.

"... I understand now."

Izuku watched as he went through every single clone that had attempted to get in his way, their insides merely mist and nothingness. It wasn't until he reached past the flesh and blood of the real Ectoplasm that he began to reappear, right through Ectoplasm himself. The hero's back arched as he let out a strained gasp, stunning energy roiling through him and opening himself to a finisher.

"To cultivate the perfect bonsai-"

Izuku turned, throwing a roundhouse kick directly into the hero's ribs, an attack aimed at his lungs. Although the kick wasn't even that strong, it was more than enough as Ectoplasm seemed to lose his breath from the added encouragement.

"-you must cut away the weakest branch."

Finally, after a tense second Ectoplasm collapsed, Izuku lowering his foot as every clone in the atrium was dispersed into mist.

A student had completely defeated a teacher.

Izuku could feel the shock from Tsuyu nearby, and he could sense the lenses of nearby hidden cameras zoom in, the teachers watching unable to comprehend what had just happened. His Focus wore off, his body returning to a normal state as he finally remembered to exhale before reaching an arm out.

"Tsu, handcuffs." He simply said in a weary tone.

Tsuyu quickly recovered, tossing a pair to her partner. Izuku then knelt down, checking Ectoplasm's pulse just in case. Satisfied, he slipped on the cuffs onto one of Ectoplasm's prosthetic legs, standing back up. The announcement was delayed for a few seconds before it the voice finally spoke up.

"Team Asui and Midoriya have passed!"

HERE IT IS BOYS. Not as long as the last chapter, but that's okay. Next chapter will go over Fumikage and Katsuki's tests while brushing over the rest of the exams. After that, it's straight to the camp. Sorry it's been so long, I just had a lot of crazy stuff going on in my life. You'd think staying at home would let me write more, but in reality, I've been finding it hard to get motivated because I'm inside so much. Anyhow, that's enough excuses.

We are very close to transference. Be ready.

With that out of the way, an extra to compensate for the lack of Onkko in this chapter. I call this one...

Extra - Gone Fishing

"Are you ready Izu?" Inko called out, early morning outside.

Izuku nodded, wearing a t-shirt and shorts. "Yep! Is Onkko-"

As if on cue, the doorbell rang, Inko's face lighting up. "I'll get it!"

She opened it, revealing the tan-skinned Ostron in full fishing get-up, complete with a bucket hat, jacket, and cargo pants. "Ah, Izuku. I see you are ready." He then gestured to outside, "Shall we proceed to Tokyo harbor?"

Izuku nodded, joining the Quill. "I'll be back, Mom."

His mother smiled, turning to Onkko. "Thank you so much for bringing Izu on this trip. He's never really gone fishing before."

Onkko blinked before nodding, "Of course Inko. I assure you-" Onkko raised a finger as if swearing an oath, "This recreation will provide much relaxation and amusement."

She nodded again before turning to hug Izuku, "Goodbye, Izu." And then... surprisingly, hugged Onkko, wordlessly resting her head on her shoulder. She then separated, closing the door as Izuku raised an eye, slowly turning a suspicious eye to Onkko.

"Onk-" The Quill has already turned away.

"Ahem, I-I believe we have wasted enough time." He then pretended to cough again, steadying his tone. "Let us commence forth."

Many rental boats were on the dock, their captains and crew either operating or waiting.

Izuku looked around as Onkko pointed to one of the boats. "That one. I arranged a trip on that boat." Izuku nodded, the two of them walking up to the vessal. Two crewmates saw them approach, both wearing fishing gear. One of them had a mutant Quirk consisting of a featureless head made up of a colorful jellyfish, and the other seemed normal, nothing out of the ordinary. They both stood up from their chairs, waving.

"Ah, you must be Onkko. Name's Cubozoa. You hired a boat for two at 8 am?" The jellyfish head asked.

"Indeed." Onkko confirmed, "And this is my student, Izuku. We would like to embark at once."

Cubozoa man nodded, the other fisherman bringing over a strongbox. "Alright then, grab your lifevests and gear. Does the kid how to fish?"

Izuku shook his head, Onkko speaking up for him. "I will be teaching him as we go along-" He then noticed the contents of the locked box, "Oh, fishing rods? There are no spears?"

The Jellyfish head seemed taken aback, "Er, no? We don't use fishing spears, or harpoons. Just rods."

Onkko seemed disappointed as he lifted a rod up, testing its weight as he sighed. "Very well then. Let us commence forth."

After a bit of some lessons, they were out at sea, Izuku comfortably sitting beside Onkko as he lowered a lure into the water. Onkko did so as well, turning to face Izuku.

"And now, we wait." Onkko turned to face forward, "Remember, patience is key, you will never catch anything if you do not-"

Izuku flinched, feeling something tug on his line. "O-Onkko-sensei! I think I got something!"

Onkko seemed slightly surprised, "Truly? Yet do not be disappointed if the fish is too small-"

The fish was lifted from the water, showing a fatty flounder, Cubozoa holding a net underneath to help bring onto the boat. Izuku looked up at Onkko, "I-Is it big enough to eat?" Izuku asked.

The Quill opened his mouth only for Cubozoa to speak up instead.

"Oh, of course, Kid! That's a meal and a half if I've ever seen it, really good with a nice simmer with sake!"

Onkko turned back around, staring down at his line. Although he felt proud for Izuku, there was another... unfamiliar feeling bubbling up within him.

After an hour or so, Izuku had already caught two more fishes. A decent-sized sea perch and a sea bream full of eggs that would make good roe.

And as for Onkko... the Quill had caught nothing thus far, unrealizing that he was now resting his head against his hand.

Izuku lowered his line down with a smile. He was unsure before on how well he would do, but the capture of a few fish had renewed his confidence. After a few seconds, something tugged on his line, something big as Izuku grunted.

Onkko turned his head, "Did you-"

"Hold on." Izuku responded, letting loose another grunt. He then pulled with all his might, a giant bass surfacing. Onkko stared with wide eyes as Cubozoa cheered.

"Holy-! That's a big sea bass, you're a natural kid!"

Onkko stared as the fish was bought on board and weighed, added to the growing collection as Izuku scratched the back of his head. "W-Wow, I didn't think I'd do so well-"

And then something snapped.

Izuku and Cubozoa turned to see that Onkko had torn off one of the railings, idly tying a piece of rope on it. "O-Onkko!?" Izuku exclaimed in shock, Cubozoa stunned.

"W-Woah, hey! What're you-!" The jellyfish head was immediately silenced as Onkko bought a hand, chopping at the end of it to create a makeshift spear. The Quill then wordlessly came up to the side of the ship, placing a leg up as he scanned the water.

Then, without hesitation, he threw the spear directly into the water, the tool as fast as a bullet.

After a few tense seconds, the line went straight, the boat beginning to tilt as Izuku and Cubozoa hung on for dear life. Onkko then pulled, showing off natural muscles beneath his jacket as he returned to his roots.

To call it a fish was an insult, what shot out of the water had to have been bigger than a shark as Cubozoa stuttered.


It was beginning to turn dark when Inko heard the doorbell ring.

She hummed, smiling as she opened it to see Izuku holding a big icebox. Inko felt proudness well up inside of her before realizing that someone was missing. "Oh, where's Onkko-"

A bump was heard at the door, Inko flinching in fear and shock as a giant fish the size of the doorway was attempted to fit through. Onkko then revealed himself behind the trolley, a smile on his face.

"We had a very productive day, Inko Midoriya."

Spear fishing is cool.