Howdy folks, how's it going?
I don't really have much to say here, so let's get on with the show.
As always, huge shout out to Chaos Productions for his assistance.
And as always, I own neither BNHA nor WH 40K.
And now, enjoy.
As soon as the horn started blaring, it was as if a switch was flipped, with all the robots still remaining on the field immediately stopping whichever action they were taking, and as one they turned around, marching back towards the arena center and the underground lanes they had "spawned" from.
It did not escape anyone's notice how some were doing it much faster than all the others, more specifically the ones from the particular corner of the arena where chaos hadn't died down just yet.
"Midoriya, the round is over. Shut down your defenses and call off your robot or we will penalize your team." Aizawa stated from the commentator's booth, sounding like he was fighting off the urge to sigh wearily.
"Ruin mah fun why dontcha yourrrggrhhmmrrg-" The boy in question grumbled unhappily as he, clearly quite grudgingly, pressed a button in the control.
Immediately, the gun emplacements stopped firing, folding back into a standby mode with smoking barrels, the forcefield generator shut down with a keening whirr, the green energy sphere around their fort breaking apart and shimmering out of existence, and Scrappy dropped the mangled robot torso he'd been crushing and started twisting and contorting and shrinking back down into cube configuration before shutting down with a beep that sounded oddly satisfied.
"Thank you. Now, a moment while our systems tally things up."
The big screen of the arena promptly lit up, split into 3 segments. The top one took on a golden outline, and one by one, six pictures of students were added to it.
"And perhaps to no one's surprise," Present Mic took over the commentary. "with a completely unbreached fort, a successful sortie, and a frankly frightening "enemy" kill count, fort 1, proudly defended by Team Midoriya, has held on to the red flag, retaining its spot at the top!"
A loud roar echoed throughout the stadium as spectators overcame their surprise at the display they had just witnessed, loudly cheering for the victors, and only when they grew silent again did the second segment fill out with a silvery outline.
"And immediately on their heels, with a fort that suffered two breaches, but with three sorties of downright surgical precision under their belt, fort 5, defended by the jolly cooperation of team Shishida, claims the second place!"
This prompted a whole new wave of applause, albeit one that was not quite as intense and did not last quite as long, not that did this much to take away from the sense of accomplishment that surged through each of that team's members.
Then, the third segment filled out in copper outline, but for this one, two of the six pictures, one of a familiar red-haired boy and a girl with unmistakable pink skin, appeared greyed out before fading away.
"And lastly, with 4 different breaches, a team that played all defense, with no sorties to speak off, we have fort 3 still proudly standing, successfully defended by Team Katsuki. Unfortunately, going by score, due to the valiant struggle that led to them being overwhelmed in the final stretch, Kirishima and Ashido did not make the cut. All the same, let's give them our best, folks, for they certainly tried theirs!" The bombastic hero enthusiastically said, masterfully encouraging the crowds to follow in his example with supporting applause and cheers of support.
If people noticed how the team's "leader" was all but visibly grinding his teeth, well, nobody chose to dwell on it.
"And with that, the second event comes to a close. And you know what that means, folks. The tournament will be upon us soon! Which also means, time to see what the brackets are gonna look like! Big screen, take it away!"
As if on cue, a drumroll blared out throughout the arena, as the screen's segments disappeared, and all the pictures of the victorious students shrunk and moved towards the bottom of the screen, where they were split into pairs, leaving the upcoming matches for the world to see:
Izuku Midoriya vs Togaru Kamakiri
Ibara Shiozaki vs Mezo Shoji
Mei Hatsume vs Denki Kaminari
Ochaco Uraraka vs Jurota Shishida
Katsuki Bakugou vs Hitoshi Shinsou
Setsuna Tokage vs Tsuyu Asui
Momo Yaoyoruzu vs Tenya Iida
Shouto Todoroki vs Fumikage Tokoyami
"…And there you have it, folks! After the break time to clear out the arena, and allow people to have lunch and enjoy some of the festivities outside the arena, we will be right back with the high octane action you all been waiting for! And boy howdy, ladies and gentlemen, does it seem like we're in for a heck of a show this year, so stay tuned!"
"Also, Midoriya, please remove your… defenses, from the field, so Cementoss can come clean up."
It should be noted that a fair number of the spectators that were already getting up heading towards the exits stopped at that, blinking as they stared down at the arena and saw the boy in question fitting the gun emplacements and force field generator back into his pocket as easily as he had pulled them out…
"And don't try to take the scrap. You will be penalized!"
"Aaaaaaawwww, zog…" The boy in question grumbled unhappily, as we was coming down the tower and out the fort's main door, giving a wistful look at all the wreckage that surrounded the fort. "Dah things I coulda done with dis…"
Everyone in the team thought that was probably why they weren't gonna let him, but nobody really voiced the thought.
"Midoriya," A sudden call caught his attention, and the boy turned to see Todoroki approaching.
"Yah, Frosty boy?" He replied, raising an eyebrow in curiosity at the long, contemplating look the other boy was giving him.
"This marks the end of our alliance of convenience." Todoroki replied cooly. "But still, can I have a word? In private."
Midoriya blinked at that, glancing towards some of his other teammates that were close enough to hear the exchange, and seeing they didn't seem to understand it any more than he did.
"Uuuuhh… Sure, I'z suppose?"
Without another word, Todoroki led the green-haired boy away from the arena and the noise of the crowd, taking him to one of the many empty hallways in the frankly labyrinthine stadium.
"So, wot'z dis all about, den?" Izuku asked, glancing around the surroundings for lack of anything better to do. The other boy did not immediately reply, instead continuing to stare in that coldly detached, contemplating manner.
Some might have found this disturbing, perhaps even frightening, but Izuku was just getting annoyed.
"Oi," He said warningly with an aggravated glare. "If you'ze not getting' on with'z it, I'z goin'. Sum'of uz would like tah get sum grub before dah big fites."
"You know, I really can't figure it out." The boy finally deigned to speak, making Izuku blink. "I don't understand the connection."
"All Might." Todoroki replied. "I do not understand the nature of your relationship. It's clear that he's fond of you, but I cannot quite understand why. Your quirks are both mysterious, but work nothing alike, you two look nothing alike, he's clearly been exasperated by some of your more… peculiar behaviors, and yet it's obvious he favors you… You're not an illegitimate child of his or anything, are you?"
"Huuh, no? Me pah works out dah country, and Mah'n I ain't seen him since forevah, but I think I'd knowz if he wuz All Moigt…" Izuku replied, sounding quite weirded out by the question. "All Moigt an' I'z just budz. I'z met him when he came to stomp a slimey git dat wuz tryin' tah sneak up on me, and aftah dat I saved anothah friend'o his from sum gitz wot wuz botherin' im, and we'z stayed in touch through dat friend. Dat'z it."
The scarred boy couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at that. Midoriya's explanation was full of holes, but while he would be the first to admit he didn't understand people very well, Todoroki liked to think he could at least tell when people were being truthful, and the other boy's confusion seemed far too genuine for any lies…
"Fair enough…" The boy conceded with a nod, deciding to drop the matter. "But the fact of the matter is, regardless of the reason, All Might favors you. That is why I singled you out, and that is why I have to beat you."
"…Wot?" Was all that Izuku could think to reply. Frosty was making less and less sense as this went on…
"Tell me, Midoriya, do you know who my father is?" Todoroki asked, his already cold tone growing downright frosty.
"Uh, sure, you'ze Endeavor's lad." Izuku replied, sounding like he knew he was stating the obvious but didn't quite understand why it was relevant. "But wot'z dat got tah do with anythin'?"
"Midoriya, have you ever heard of quirk marriages?"
Without even waiting for a reply, Todoroki proceeded to explain to the green-haired boy, in great detail, the story of how the number two hero was trying everything in his power to surpass All Might, and the less than morally acceptable lengths he had gone through in order to reach this goal, and how the rest of the Todoroki family got dragged into the path of the man's ambitions, how this resulted in the breaking of the boy's mother, the scar that he now bore in his face, and the hatred for everything the man stood for that bloomed over the years…
"And this is why I must beat you. I must prove to him that I don't need to rely on his power and-"
…And so absorbed by this rant had the boy been that it was only by the end that he realized that the one he had been speaking to had at some point gone from confused to almost asleep, eyes barely able to stay open as he headbutted the air, only-half awake…
"Hey, are you listening?!" The scarred boy snapped, aggravation cutting through his usually cold demeanor.
"Wut?" Izuku blurted with a startle, before yawning as he was dragged fully back the waking world. "Yeah, yeah, I wuz listening… But I dun get it."
"What do you not understand?" Todoroki prompted, eyes narrowing angrily.
"Like, I wuz wonderin' wot wuz with all dah ice since yer pah's about fire… But can he make ya go flamey?" Izuku inquired, voicing the confusion that had been building up all throughout this interaction.
"Didn't you hear a word of what I just said?!" Todoroki hissed. "I won't-"
"Use dis powah, yeah, yeah, I'z heard. But dat'z not wot I'z asked. I'z asked if yer pah could make you go flamey. As in, ya know, wot he does fer himself, but on you'ze?"
"…No." Todoroki replied, his anger momentarily deflated as it was now his turn to feel confused.
"And can he cha-chann-can he makez it so his fire goes thru ya?"
"Can he form all dem cool moves he haz thru ya?"
"No. What is your point?" Todoroki prompted impatiently.
"Well," Izuku shrugged. "If he can't do any'a dat, how'z any of dis fire ya say ya got his? Only you'ze can use it, so isn't it yers?"
For a moment, Todoroki honestly did not know how to reply at the giant hole that was so easily poked into his world view, but once he processed the words, a cold anger took over.
"This is a power I got from him. It's a curse that I never asked for. What do you know?"
A heavy silence fell in the hallway, a tension that almost seemed to double as, all of a sudden, and to Todoroki's surprise, Midoriya expression went from bored and confused, to a frown that matched his own. There was… something, in that red glare, that made the heterochromatic boy ever so slightly look to the side to break the stare off first.
"I know." Midoriya replied, his tone gravely serious and surprisingly accent free. "That you seem to think you can be a hero without giving it absolutely everything that you got, because you happen to not like one half of your power because of some imagined connection. You're choosing spite over what really matters, and that does not seem very heroic."
The green-haired boy took a step forward, and poked his finger into the other boy's chest.
"I wuz lookin' forward for our fite." He grunted, accentuating each sentence with another poke. "But now I'z hearin' you'ze not takin' me, or any of us, seriously, and it ain't no fun to fite a poor sport like dat. So here'z mah reply: If we do meet in dah tournament, which ain't no guarantee if you'z gun be a wuss like dis, cause dah othas won't care about yer weird ideas, I'll give ya one chance. One shot at provin' yer taking dis seriously. And if you don't, I'z ending dah fite right den and dere."
The green-haired boy didn't even allow Todoroki to reply, turning around and stepping away, only looking back when he was at the other end of the hallway.
"Wot a waste…" He breathed out, shaking his head in disappointment, before disappearing around the corner, leaving the scarred boy to stew in his anger and resentment.
This chapter was a bit lighter on the comedy, I know, but every once in a while some exposition is necessary.
And despite all appearances to the contrary, Izuku CAN speak normally. He just needs to be in the proper state of mind for it.
Next time we'll have a couple more interactions, and then the beginning of the battle rounds.
But before that, in two weeks we have the next update to Through the Eternities, so look forward to that.
Cya all in the next one, stay safe and take care.