"Then you bow, turn, and leave," Midnight-sensei said, "Be polite but firm, and do not continue the conversation. Remember that."

I shook out my head to try to get rid of that spinning feeling. Three hours of listening to Midnight-sensei and Present Mic-sensei, talking up business and licensing and contracts and who to avoid talking to and how to get away and...

My head was swimming, but looking around, most of my fifty classmates were doing worse. Only Momo and Ochako seemed to be okay. I almost envied the support course student who hadn't chosen any of the internships, and thus escaped this.

But at least I got some new skills out of it.

"And we have four more days of this?" Kirishima-kun grimaced as he stood, cracking his back.

"Not necessarily," Kendo-san said, "Kan-sensei said we would have a couple of days of more specialized training, based on our Quirks and who we are interning with."

"So two days of this and two days of useful training," Tetsutetsu-san grumbled.

"Oh, this is definitely useful," Momo objected, "It is a little simplistic, but we will definitely need things like this in the future."

"Yes," Ochako nodded happily, "I can't wait until we have the actual classes in second year."

"Are you sure you are in the right course?" Momona-san asked derisively. One of Shiozaki's vines snaked out and smacked him in the back of the head.


I meditated on the train ride back to the old apartment. Since we were all coming from school, we were traveling together, thus I would not have time to pack before anyone else arrived. I considered asking if they would want to spend some time boxing up, to decompress. Instead I just decided to spend a little while packing alone after we were done with the dungeon dives. If the dungeons didn't take too long.

Since everyone here had all been to our place multiple times, there was no need for me to lead them. Instead, the seven ladies formed a loose circle around me, chatting softly. We received a few looks. Some people surprised to see eight student in UA uniforms together in the neighborhood. And more than a few boys and men, and handful of girls, checking out my friends. It annoyed me, but there wasn't much I could do, since they only looked and didn't approach us.

"Ami, Ochako," I addressed them once we were safely inside, "Have you considered what skills you want to borrow?"

"Well, I'm interning with Gunhead," Ochako said, surprising me and most of the others, "So I was thinking Boxing or Basic Karate. A strong, basic style to build off of."

"You are?" Kyoka said incredulously, "Why? I mean, not that he's not a great hero, but it just doesn't seem like your thing."

"Well, first there was the USJ," she said. We all nodded at that.

"Then, in the Labyrinth, the first event, there was this like boxing robot. It was attached to the ground, so I couldn't float it. And it took me longer than I would have like to beat it. Plus, when Kendo-san grabbed us at the end of the cavalry battle, I feel like I could have done more if I could have fought."

"It wasn't like my sonics worked on her," Kyoka tried to comfort Ochako.

"And I was forced to give the headband away," Tsu pointed out.

"We would have done much worse without your ability," Momo reminded her.

"And yet, I still feel like all of you were a lot more help," Ochako told them, "I mean, I'm not clumsy. All of my physical attributes are in the mid to high twenties, thank a lot to Izuku's power. But still, I feel like by comparison to the other Knights, I'm easily the weakest. Or maybe second weakest, now that Toru joined. So I figured if Gunhead-san sees something in me, then maybe I should try to find what that is. And since he'll probably be teaching me Gunhead Martial Arts, I think this would be a good place to start."

"Hmm," I considered it, "Based on what I know of Battle Hero: Gunhead, his style focuses mostly on the upper body, because of his Quirk. It's a combination of striking techniques, with fluid dodges and judo inspired takedowns."

Ochako listened intently, and the others just smiled in amusement.

"I don't know judo," I told her, "Instead, I think you are right that Basic Karate is your best bet. Unless you have another suggestion, Cass?"

I turned to our resident martial arts master.

'No,' she shook her head, 'I'm not familiar with his style, specifically. But based on what you said, and the skills you have, Izuku, I agree karate is probably best to lend Ochako.'

"Why not do two skills?" Kyoka asked.

"I don't think we'll be in anyone's Dungeon long enough for them to split their time between training two skills. Unless it was something like one of my psionic skills. But you can't learn those, so better to save energy and your attention, and just focus on one skill you can learn."

"I guess that makes sense," the purplette agreed.

"Okay, let's do that then," Ochako confirmed.

"And you, Ami?" I asked the hydrokinetic.

"I'm not sure," she said, "can I take a few more minutes to think about it, while we all change?"

"Of course," I said, "Your tracksuits are all set out on Mom's bed, and you can use her room or the bathroom to change."

"We can't use your room?" Tsu teased.

"I'd rather you didn't," I admitted weakly.


I was expecting we would find ourselves in another rendition of Aldera. That, or maybe a library.

Maybe I should have expected a hospital, given that I knew Mizuno Saeko was a trauma surgeon, and her daughter had planned to follow in her footsteps.

But Ami's Dungeon was a hospital. We were in the admitting area of an emergency room, to be precise. Though it was larger and more complex than any hospital I had been in, or seen in movies or TV shows. Momo looked around. Ami frowned. Cassandra and Tsu both moved closer to me, looking at the Dungeon window. And Mikoto stood on her tiptoes behind me, trying to get a view of it without getting in their way.

[Dungeon Entry - Ami Mizuno
Invasion Mooks: 797/797
Mid-boss: 2/2 (2 unspawned)
Bosses: 1/1 (unspawned)
Nurses: 4/4
Patients: 23/23 (22 unspawned)]

[Mandatory Dungeon Quest Alert
Defense of the Patients
Defeat the invading enemies, and do not allow them to get past the desks into the treatment area.
Protect the NPCs. Do not allow any of the nurses or more than four patients to be killed.
Rewards:
1 random potion for each party member.
Failure Penalties:
Reset the Dungeon, begin the Quest from scratch.
Repeated failures will reduce the benefits of completing the dungeon.
(Accept)]

The four nurses were behind the desk, frozen in place. Probably until we started the quest. There were five entrances and three exits, with a large number of high backed benches and heavy tables strewn throughout the room, almost forming a maze.

"Do you know what skill you want?" I asked Ami.

"I think Parkour," she said, "Mobility will be good for moving around this area. And in general in the future."

"Ok," I agreed. I held out my hand to her, and she took it. I think there was an eagerness in her accepting my grasp.

"Skill Jockey: Parkour."

Ami looked down at her legs. She did a couple of experimental sidesteps. Then she looked at me and nodded.

"Is everyone ready?" I asked.

"What is this quest?" Momo asked.

"I was going to ask that, too," Tsu added.

"It seems like a variant of a Tower Defense game," I told them, "I don't play a lot of them, and I've never heard of one where you have to defend and let some characters through, while defeating the others like normal. But basically, there will be a continuous flow of enemies out of those doors. And we have to stop them from getting past. Like the mission said, we can't let them get through the doors into the main hospital."

"So what do we do?" Tsu asked, looking at both me and Ami.

"I don't know?" Ami shrugged, "I am familiar with hospitals, and my mother has spoken about rushes after disasters and villain attacks. But those people are not enemies."

"I do have one suggestion," I told them.


"So what do we have?" I asked, ignoring the quest screen that had reappeared. Only this time with a counter at the bottom.

"Ami, Izuku, can you double check my work?" Momo turned away from us, and pulled up her jacket, exposing her stomach. When she turned back, she was holding six printed pages. They were a map of the room, with different colored arrows showing the various paths between the entrances and the exits, of both the invaders and the patients.

"That looks right to me," Tsu said, looking over her copy.

"Yes, that matches what we saw," Ami confirmed.

We had gone in easy, trying to preserve our health and energy. Since the quest said there were penalties for multiple failures, that meant we were safe to lose at least once. One chance to get a better idea of what we were facing here.

Four of the five entrances had spilled out steady streams of the mooks. Their paths meandered throughout the room. Each one crossed the patients' path twice. Three of those paths each ended at one of the exits. And the fourth ended at the nurses' station. The fifth, middle entrance was for the patients, and cut a simple, straight line to the desk.

The invaders were all the same, except for the color of their hats and pants. They alternated between green, blue, and grey, though that didn't seem to make any difference in their abilities. The shade of their caps hid their eyes, they had dirty, white, long sleeved shirts. They also carried a rusted hunting knife, like a cheaper version of the military daggers we had won from other dungeons. They didn't seem to do anything special, no Quirks or anything.

"I know him," Ami said, "He was a junkie. He attacked the hospital, one of the days I was visiting my mother. He took one of the nurses hostage and demanded drugs. He was disabled by Vigilante who was there for treatment. A big, fistfighter."

"Maybe Knuckleduster," I mused.

"But I don't know the mini-boss," she added, "or the patients."

The patients were unique. There had been elder people, seriously injured teens, and a single pregnant woman. They all moved at the same speed, which was at most half the speed of the invaders. They were also fragile, even trying to help them forward or hold them back sapped their meager health.

The mid-boss was a tall, slender man with reddish-brown, wavy hair, and eyes of the same color. He wore a very expensive, blue-grey suit. Unlike the invaders, he came down the same path as the patients. He also didn't appear to use any Quirk, just forced them out of the way. He claimed to be rich and important, thus deserved treatment first. All while appearing totally healthy. Unfortunately, his unexpected appearance drove us over the limit for dead patients. So we didn't know how he would react if we attacked him.

"So should we try it again?" Tsu asked.

"Do we have any ideas?" Momo asked, "Formations? Like should we put Mikoto here, where her railgun can blast most of this route?"

"I don't have that many tokens," Mikoto considered, "and they could go through the windows. Also, if they get bent, they don't fly as fast and can curve. But if they don't fly out, I can recover them, so it could work."

"I have an idea, though I wanted to run it by Izuku first," Ami said.

"Okay?" I looked over to her. Ami walked over to a water fountain, and pressed the button. A bubbling stream of liquid arced up and into the trough.

"I was thinking that I could cover three of the doors in water, and then Momo could make the freezing pellets again. Lock the doors in ice. And then I can hold the ice in place, and everyone else can fight the invaders at the fourth door, and keep them away from patients, at least until the patients are all clear."

We all considered that.

"Do you think that would work?" Ami prompted me.

"I don't see why it wouldn't," Mikoto said, "But why only three doors? Why not block them, all, so we can just let the patients go through, and then fight the enemies?"

"There did seem to be some correlation between the criminals and the patients," Momo said, "It was a bit hard to count, but it seemed like one patient entered for every thirty or so criminals."

"Also, I would worry the Dungeon might decide that is cheating," I said, "Since we don't know the rules. Some of what we are doing is uncommon for a tower defense game. Like moving around. And I've heard of games where you can block a path, but with a wall that still lets the enemies in, and that they can attack. Blocking three of the doors would at least allow some of them in."

"So what would happen if we cheated?" Tsu asked.

"We'd fail that attempt and have to try again," Momo said.

"Best case," I shook my head, "I'm more worried about the possibility of it spawning a post game super-boss to punish us."

They all looked at me, all worried, except Mikoto, who looked dubious.

"Is that really likely?" she asked.

"I don't know," I admitted, "We do know that there is an XP adjustment for high level party members, so it wouldn't surprise me if The Gamer has other fair play features. But Ami, this is your dungeon. I'll do whatever you think is best."

"Really?"

"This is a reflection of you," I reminded her, "So I believe your choice will be the right one."

"But some people don't know themselves," she argued, "And I don't know games as well as you. That's why I wanted your advice."

"I like your original idea," I told the bluette, then added "No offense, Mikoto."

"Well, I don't want Ultima weapon suddenly dropping in out of nowhere, either," the electrokinetic agreed, "Or costing Ami any of her rewards, either."

I nodded, "Also, Ami, your idea works with one of my ideas."

'Which is?' Cassandra asked.

"I was thinking Tsu could cling to wall above one of the doors, camouflage herself, and hold out her hands to drip a curtain of paralysis oil on the invaders."

They nodded at my suggestion.

"Are you sure you're not already a cheat yourself?" Mikoto asked me, amused.


Between Ami's plan and mine, we finished the defense with relative ease. Momo also contributed by making three of those heavy, steel clamps that fit around the door handles to keep them shut. That way it wasn't just the ice holding the doors, and Ami's burden of keeping the ice locked in place was eased.

The first door we cleared quickly and with no trouble. Ami held the ice, Tsu's oil froze most of the mooks in place. And still slowed down the few that shrugged off the effect. The other four of us took out the invaders. Momo created a spear for herself, and some iron sand for Mikoto. I just punched them, and Cassandra anchored the line with her tonfas and variety of kicks and elbows.

Like Momo suggested, the flow of patients was tied to the invaders, which was easier to tell with only one door spawning enemies. One patient to start, and another after every forty enemies.

After 199 invaders, everything stopped. No more enemies or patients spawned. We waited a few minutes, to be sure and to rest a bit. I brought out a sports drink each for Ami and Tsu.

Once we were partly rested and certain that door one was done, we repositioned. Then Ami smashed the ice. I used TK to unlock the clamp. Mikoto yanked it free. And as the first enemy surged through door two, the electrokinetic fired the heavy chunk of steel back at him.

After fifty one of the normal enemies were dispatched, the mid-boss appeared. This time I got a better look, and noticed his name was simply 'N'. And his suit was a full across the front and buttoned up the side and across the shoulder type, giving it a sort of a military look.

There was still a patient shuffling down the center aisle. And another at the nurses' station. So after a quick, silent discussion, Momo and I broke off and attacked the mid-boss, trusting Cass and Mikoto to handle the steadily quickening flow of mooks from the open door.

We reached 'N' just in time to stop him from sweeping the old woman patient out of his way. I jumped in between them, and forced the mid-boss back with a heavy elbow to his midsection. He scowled, and a pure black knife appeared in his hand. He threw it down, seemingly at nothing. But my legs locked in place and wouldn't move. I noticed the blade was buried in my shadow. I relayed that to everyone. Momo aimed the butt end of her spear at his midsection, and dodge his attempt to trap her. Not that it would have helped him, Momo and I were both in his path. Unless he, like us and unlike the invaders, was not locked to the path.

"Gondor Smash."

I might not have been able to move, but I decided to show him that didn't mean I couldn't get to him.

Then Mikoto caused a power surge in some of the overhead lights. Shifted the position of my shadow. I jumped forward to make sure I wasn't trapped, driving 'N' back with my shoulder.

When we got 'N' down below ten percent health, he suddenly changed. The health bar the Battle Scan showed me changed from enemy red to NPC yellow, and refilled. An Analyze showed his max HP had dropped from 2200 to five. And his title changed from mid-boss to patient. I waved Momo off, as he began to stumble forward at the same pace as the other patients. We returned to helping with the invaders, but I kept an eye on him as he dutifully checked in at the nurses station, and walked out the southern exit.

We cleared the second door, and were about half-way done with the third when the second mid-boss appeared. He was wearing the same uniform as 'N', but was shorter, with short, straight, blonde hair. And his name was 'J'. This time Momo and I stayed with the invaders while Mikoto and Cass took out 'J'. Unlike 'N's shadow powers, 'J' fought with a crystalline sword and seemingly enhanced speed. Not that he was a match for Cassandra. And while he was more skilled than Mikoto was with her iron sand vibroblade, the buzzing particles carved through the crystal, forcing 'J' to keep spawning new swords. They took him down fairly quickly, and then 'J' changed into a patient, too.

The fourth door might have been tough, as the invaders were spawning very quickly. Except now we had Ami, too. Who had a lot of ice to work with. And was bouncing around with a combination of pent up energy and a desire to gain levels in Parkour while she was borrowing it.

And frankly, the spawn rate didn't matter too much when Tsu was stopping most of them.

The last mook fell. The last patient checked in and padded out the exit.

"Now what?" Mikoto asked, looking around.

A woman burst out of one of the exits. She was at least two meters tall, and wore a business suit in purple silk. She had thick, cascading red hair and deep amber eyes. She had three bone horns, one in the center of her head and one from each temple. She had a normal, if nice build, except her shoulders stood out like she was wearing pads under her coat or blouse.

"Beryl," Ami whispered fearfully.

"What is going on out here?" she demanded in a harsh voice. The nurses scrambled out of the room.

"This a hospital, not a playground," she yelled at us. Then she took a forward and began to grow. Her jacket and blouse shredded as she passed three meters. Except somehow her 'skirt' was actually a fancy, off the shoulder evening gown. And the reason her shoulders had looked distorted was she had one additional bone spur or horn coming out of each.

"Analyze."

[Administrator Beryl Metaria
Boss of Mizuno Hospital ER
Level: 24
Health: 4500/5000
Stamina: 900/900
Ki: 850/1000
Quick: Skeletor
Special Attacks: Quirk (skelekinesis), Skeletal Growth, Bone Weapons
Special Defenses: Quirk (skelekinesis), Physical Resistance (mid)]

She topped out at four meters, and looked distorted and distended.

'You know her, Ami?' Momo asked.

'Metaria Beryl-sensei,' the bluette confirmed fearfully, 'She was an ER surgeon with my mom, and her friend. But when their old boss retired, Beryl-sensei was tapped to replace him. And she both did not enjoy the position, and let the power go to her head. She became hated by the staff, and even my mom.'

Then Ami seemed to get a grip on herself, 'She called her Quirk Skeletor...'

Which I considered ill-chosen and ominous. But none of my friends seemed to notice, even the American Cassandra.

'... which is the ability to control bones she touches. It was useful as a doctor, to bend or reassemble her patients bones. But she can't make other people's bones grow. Only her own.'

'Which is why she looks all stretched out,' Tsu noted.

'She is extending her bones, but her skin and muscle are stretching to try to match,' Momo agreed.

Beryl reached up to the horns on her shoulder, and pulled. She drew a pair of bone scimitars out of her body, leaving behind a much smaller pair of protrusions. The blades were long for us, but proportionately short for the now giant boss.

'I think there is a limit on how much she can make her bones grow,' I told them.

She swiped heavily at us, using her increased reach. Cassandra stopped one blade on her tonfas. I blocked the other with my forearms and TK Armor.

Mikoto fired a half-power railgun at Beryl's chest. The boss staggered slightly, but didn't fall or take that much damage.

'She has Physical Resistance,' I warned, 'And can probably move and reinforce her bones like armor.'

Tsu jumped on my shoulder and then sprang up and over, clinging to Beryl's back.

'Don't use your paralysis oil,' Ami warned her, 'if she can control her bones...'

'She can move using her Quirk,' Casandra finished.
'She'll still be able to move,' Tsu deduced.

'It won't work,' Momo said a moment out of sync.

Mikoto chuckled.

Instead, Tsu used her toxic oil. A purple skull appeared next to Beryl's health bar, which started to slowly drain.

Then Beryl seemed to shudder. And Tsu cried out in pain.

Ami copied Tsu, jumping off my shoulder. Though she couldn't move as far as the greenette. She shot a spray of ice at Beryl's face. And at the same time, caught Tsu gently with more ice and carried her back around.

There were a couple of holes in Tsu's jacket and torso, and she was bleeding lightly. Her HP was just below half.

"Bone spikes," she told us, "Be careful if you get too close to her."

The boss finally quit trying to cut through tonfas and TK, or push us back. She pulled her swords back to swing again.

Mikoto took another shot, but Beryl deflected the coin with her right scimitar. The disc took a chunk out of the bone, but didn't break it.

I activated Ki Healing on Tsu. Who stopped me and charged back in once her health was up to seventy five percent.

Ami retreated to Beryl's left rear flank. But she kept the cloud of icicles around the boss's head, obscuring her vision and scoring multiple small gashes on Beryl's face and neck.

Beryl slashed again, this time aiming for Cassandra, her scimitars held parallel. I considered warning Cass, but she read my intentions. She dropped, sliding under the oversized weapons. I stepped into the cut, pouring Telekinesis into the approaching swords, Tactile TK into my hands, and focusing my TK Aura and Armor into my arms. Instead of blocking the attack, I caught one blade in each hand and pushed back. Beryl's eyes bulged in surprise.

With my distraction, Momo was able form a driver with her Quirk. With impeccable form, she swept a circle and attempted to tee off Beryl's ankle. There were twin cracks, the shattered shaft of the golf club and the cracked but not broken bone in the boss's foot. It was enough to overcome Beryl's Physical Resistance, reducing her HP bar by a noticeable amount.

Tsu jumped onto the boss's bare arm, trapped since neither Beryl nor I were willing to release her swords. Froppy applied another round of her toxin, and this time jumped clear before she was stabbed again.

Beryl must have had enough of me, because her swords flexed and flowed, wrapping around me, trying to cut into me. She couldn't get through my armor, her Quirk wasn't strong enough. At least with manipulating bones outside her body. So instead she tried to trap me, the former blades becoming like a straight jacket. Then her finger bones split her skin, becoming talons.

'Are you okay, Izuku?' Ami asked.

'Yes,' I said, then continued out loud, "If I can get Beryl to let go, I should be able to break out. Once everyone is at a safe distance, that is."

The boss's eyes narrowed. Then she tightened her grip, opening holes in the jacket for her talons. My Armor stopped them, but my Energy was dropping quickly. But at least she was focused on me.

Momo had retrieved her previous spear. She stepped in to her left side, hidden by the arm holding me. She drove the point in, under the boss's ribs. It was a good hit, but more shallow than it should have been.

Then Cassandra jumped in. She caught the haft between her calves and flipped to the side. Forcing the spear deeper and higher, putting Beryl off balance. Tsu leapt up and double kicked Beryl's right shoulder, pushing her further towards falling.

Mikoto had backed off, and had a coin above her finger. She tracked Beryl's face as the boss staggered. Then she flipped the coin up and fired it, full power. The railgun snapped Beryl's head back with a loud crack. Then boss's head exploded back forward. The bone horn in the center of her head was broken and bleeding, but had protected her from the worst of the damage. She had still lost a lot of health from that, but it didn't finish her.

Ami came up behind her. A sharpened cone of ice hovered over each shoulder. She closed her eyes. Clenched her fists. She shuddered slightly and her lips narrowed. Her eyes burst open, with a fierce expression. She raised her close hands, the spikes launched forward. Drove between the ribs on either side of the boss's spine.

Beryl spasmed and fell to her knees. She shrank back to normal-sized. She let go of the bone jacket. I didn't blast it away from me, I didn't have to. It flaked away on its own. Her dress returned to being a suit. The broken horn healed. Beryl's expression was one of exhaustion and sadness. She turned to Ami, but looked past her. Over her head.

"I'm sorry, Saeko," Beryl said to the empty air, "I was so happy and proud when they offered me the position. But I didn't know what it would be like. I was much more fulfilled as a doctor. I know it is too late, and probably doesn't mean much, but I am so sorry for any role I played in the end of your marriage. I've asked the director to write you a recommendation. I hope... I hope you find a new place to work, and you and Ami-chan are happy."

Then she paused for a moment.

"Me?" Beryl continued with a harsh laugh, "I'm resigning. I am thinking of taking a few courses, to refresh my skills, and then returning to surgery. I think I'm a better doctor than a leader."

Then she walked to the central entrance, and when she touched it, turned into dust.

The quest complete screen came up. I glanced around to make sure everyone was ready. Then I hit the button.

A glass bottle of glowing red liquid appeared in front of me. I grabbed it.

"Analyze." I checked not just mine but all of our potions.

Mine was a Health Potion, an upgrade from the ones I could currently buy in my Inventory. It also looked like a real, fantasy potion, rather than the knock off energy drinks from the Shop. The same applied for the potions the other Knights received.

Mikoto and Tsu both got Major Health Potions, another step up from mine. Momo and Cassandra each received a Major Energy potion, which would restore 10% of all four Energy subtypes. And Ami got, in my opinion at least, the best pull. It was a Panacea, which said it would cure any natural illness and any non-special status ailment.

I told them all what their potions did.

"Sounds like you got the short end of the stick, Izuku?" Tsu patted my shoulder.

"It is still better than anything I can buy yet," I shrugged, "I could have just gotten a Minor version. Plus, it looks pretty cool."

Ami glanced over at me, then at her potion.

"Well, we should get back to the others," Tsu said, "let them know and the rest of you can take a break before tackling Ochako."

Mikoto and Momo both nodded, tiredly.


[Ami Mizuno Dungeon Progress!
Defeated 100 invaders: +1 Affinity
Defeated 200 invaders: +1 Affinity
Defeated 300 invaders: +1 Affinity
Defeated 450 invaders: +1 Affinity
Defeated 600 invaders: +1 Affinity
Defeated 750 invaders: +1 Affinity
Defeated mid-boss: Attribute Balancing
Defeated mid-boss: Attribute Balancing
Defeated boss: Bonus Random Talent
Level I cleared: Bonus Random Talent]

[Congratulations!
Boss defeated in your Reflective Dungeon. Please select a bonus Talent.

Ice Water - Thermos
Decreases heat transfer of water/ice you are controlling by 80%.

Psi Quirk Hybrid
When Psions are depleted, power your Quirk with Stamina (at double the cost).]

[Congratulations!
Level I cleared in your Reflective Dungeon. Please select a bonus Talent.

Focus: First Aid
+10 Skill levels and Limit Break First Aid.

Focus: Parkour
+10 Skill levels and Limit Break Parkour.]

For the second window, Ami did not hesitate to improve her First Aid skill. But then she paused and considered the boss bonus.

"My stamina is barely half of my psions," she partly told us, partly mused, "But my Endurance has been improving. And a reserve would be nice. Except that making water too hot or ice too cold is one of my biggest weaknesses at this point, so slowing that down would help."

"I wouldn't go for the hybrid one, kero," Tsu told her, "I mean, even if your Psions run out, you can still fight, or run. But if your Stamina runs out, you won't even be able to do that. You might even pass out."

I nodded, remembering what happened after I drained my Energy back at the USJ. The other Knights all considered that.

"Okay, that makes sense," Ami agreed, and selected 'Ice Water - Thermos'.

"Are we ready?" Ochako asked with nervous energy.

"I think we should take a few minutes to rest," Momo told her.

"Yes," I agreed, checking my Energy, "Party Remove: Tsu and Cass. Party Invite: Ochako and Kyoka."

Then I took a deep breath and a sip of sports drink.


[Ochako Uraraka Dungeon Progress!
Defeated 20 enemies: +1 Affinity
Defeated 40 enemies: +1 Affinity
Defeated 60 enemies: +1 Affinity
Defeated 80 enemies: +1 Affinity
Defeated 100 enemies: +1 Affinity
Defeated 120 enemies: +1 Affinity
Defeated mid-boss: Attribute Balancing
Defeated mid-boss: Attribute Balancing
Defeated boss: Bonus Random Talent
Level I cleared: Bonus Random Talent]

Ochako's dungeon was fairly simple. It was an incomplete skyscraper, and we had to work our way up the levels. The floors were progressively less complete; the first two were basically done. The next two had all the walls and doors but no carpet, tile, or paint. By the time we reached the eleventh and twelfth floor, it was mostly open I-beams with some planks between them. And while we couldn't jump or climb or float up to the next level, we could definitely fall.

There were 10 enemies per floor, and they got harder with each floor. And the mooks reflected what Ochako had told us about her life and her parents' struggles. Delivery men, suppliers, architects, and inspectors, all apologizing for inconveniencing us, even while they attacked. The first mid-boss was a particle board golem; big, heavy, and fairly fragile. The second mid-boss was a concrete golem. And the final boss was an I-beam golem. Who turned out to be fairly easy, since we just pushed it out of the building. It crashed to the street. Then most of us went down, and repeated the process. We distracted it long enough for Ochako to touch it. I would push it up. Mikoto, who stayed on the top floor, would pull it up. Then Ochako would release and Mikoto would repel it to increase its acceleration.

After being juggled and slammed into the pavement six times, it was done.

The most interesting part, if not entirely surprising, was that the enemies in Ochako's dungeon did not drop any items or those random, still unexplained bits. But they did drop cash. And more of it than usual.

With the boss dead, the elevator started working. But only down. To the second level of Ochako's dungeon. She wanted to check it out, but the rest of us begged off. We still hadn't gone to a Dungeon's second level yet. I planned to suggest it after the internships, as part of our prep for finals.

[Congratulations!
Boss defeated in your Reflective Dungeon. Please select a bonus Talent.

Zero Gravity IV
Decreases Psion costs. Increases max load. Decreases personal feedback.

Psi Quirk Hybrid
When Psions are depleted, power your Quirk with Stamina (at double the cost).]

[Congratulations!
Level I cleared in your Reflective Dungeon. Please select a bonus Talent.

Shock Resistance
Unlock and Limit Break Shock Resistance.

Evasion
Greatly reduce incidental or AoE damage on a successful Dodge.]

After Ami's debate, Ochako immediately dismissed 'Psi Quirk Hybrid' and took the next level of her Quirk's Talent tree.

"Great," she smiled broadly, "That gets me to an actual branch in Zero Gravity's tree. Too bad both of the next two Talents have really high prerequisites. I guess that's something to work towards. As for the other one... I was hoping to get something for my new Karate skill..."

She looked at the rest of us after saying that, and asked, "What do you all think I should pick for this one?"

"I personally don't see any reason to acquire resistance to electric attacks," Mikoto said with false innocence.

"Right," Kyoka agreed with a sly grin, "Just like Sonic Resistance, or whatever it is called. Definitely too niche."

"The damage resistance skills are nice," I said, "Because they are global and automatic. You have the skill, you take less damage. The higher the level, the greater the reduction. But as Mikoto said, this only applies to electric damage. So Quirks like hers, but also actual lightning and maybe downed power lines. Evasion is also nice, because it isn't limited to a damage type. But it also means you need to have a good Dodge skill, too. If you can't mostly dodge an attack, Evasion doesn't kick in for the extra damage."

"What would you pick?" Ochako asked me.

"Well, I already have Evasion," I told her, not sure how up to date all the Knights were on my Skills and Talents, "But if I didn't..."

I thought about it.

"I don't know what your Dodge Skill is like. But if it isn't at least 20... no 25, I would take Shock Resistance," I suggested, "Railgun, Electroplant, BlackOut, that's three electric type Quirk users off the top of my head. Oh, and there's also tasers."

"He's probably right," Railgun agreed, reversing her previous stance, "There are enough electric users out there to make it worthwhile."

Then she grinned sharply, "Besides, you might end up fighting against me at the next Sports Fest, or the next time we do Heroes and Villains as a class."

"Yup, that decides it," Ochako bobbed her head quickly. She grabbed Shock Resistance.


The ladies changed back from their tracksuits into their UA uniforms. We spent a few minutes talking and resting. Then they prepared to go, while I intended to pack another box or two. But before that, I caught Ami's eye.

\Please stay/ I signed subtly. I'm sure Cassandra noticed, but she didn't say anything. But the others were all looking away.

The other Knights left, but Ami loitered. Mikoto and Momo both glanced at her, but Tsu ushered them out.

Once the door was closed, she turned to look at me.

"You want to talk about the potion I got, right?" she started, "You think it may help All Might-sensei."

"No," I frowned, then paused, "And also no. That wasn't what I wanted to talk to you about. And as for whether it might help All Might... I don't think it would."

"You don't?" she sounded surprised.

"Well, you know more about medicine, so maybe you are thinking about this differently," I qualified, "But I don't think his damaged and removed organs count as an illness or as a status ailment."

She considered it, and then nodded. Then she asked, "But what about the exotic matter poisoning?"

"That's probably a status ailment," I agreed, "But I'm guessing it qualifies as a special one, so the Panacea wouldn't work on it. At least, I think it is special, since exotic matter is rare and well, exotic. It doesn't generally follow the rules of physics, so..."

"That sounds right," she said, "But maybe we should try it, just to be sure?"

"We could," I said, "But if it doesn't work, it would be a waste. We could discuss it with All Might and Nezu-sensei. And I could try to scan All Might again, since my Analyze level is higher and so is my level level. To be honest, I would rather you save the Panacea for the operation. That's what I'm thinking of doing with the potion I got. That way, if something goes wrong, we have an additional safety net."

"That does sound like a good idea," she told me.

We lapsed into a moment of silence, both thinking about that. Then Ami looked at me again, curiously.

"If that wasn't what you wanted to talk about, why did you ask me to stay?" she queried.

I froze, and felt blood creep into my cheeks. I silently prayed that Gamer's Mind would keep me steady.

"I'm just going to be open and direct," I said.

Ami studied me nervously.

"I like you Ami," I told her, "I am romantically interested in you. Your kindness and your interest in knowledge and literature are very appealing. And I also think you are very attractive."

She blushed.

"And I was wondering if you would be interesting in going on a date," I continued, "Spend some time together alone. Get to know each other more."

The redness in her cheeks deepened and her eyes brightened. Then her expression saddened slightly.

"And what about Tsuyu?" she asked me thoughtfully.

"I like Tsuyu," I answered, "We went on a date after the second day of the Sports Fest. But she is aware of how I feel about you. I think she knew before I did. And she encouraged me to ask you out. She told me that she thinks we would all be happier together, than we would be if I was with her alone, or with you alone."

She smiled slightly at that.

"She already told you that."

"She framed it as a hypothetical," Ami confirmed, "But I don't think anyone was fooled. Except for me, at first."

"Then... what do you think?" I asked. Now I was nervous.

"I hadn't given polyamory much consideration before," Ami said shyly, "But I've done some research into it. The increased commonality and acceptance of the practice in the last few decades. Famous successes and infamous failures. Psychological studies."

I smiled slightly. Knowing that she had studied this was cute. And very in character for her.

"I am cautious," she admitted, "For each success, there is a terrible failure. However I can't say I'm uninterested. I can't disagree with Tsuyu's argument. And I do like you. But first I need to ask, what about the others."

"You think so, too?" I asked.

"Too?" she parroted.

"Tsu implied, and Mom outright said that I am not just interested in you and Tsu," I told her, "I wasn't sure. Except I can't say they are wrong, the more I think about it."

"I can see it in how you look at them," she said, "Not quite how you look at Tsu... and me, but.."

"I find all of the Knights attractive," I told her, "But that doesn't mean I am interested in them. Momo is quite beautiful, but I don't feel like she and I would fit as a couple. The same for Kyoka, Toru, and Ochako."

"Poor Ochako," she said sadly.

"I thought she might be interested in me," I sighed, "but I don't feel the same. I might have, if it wasn't for you and Tsu. And maybe I still could. But I don't know. I like her as a friend. It just doesn't seem... Sorry, I'm rambling a bit. Hopefully you know what I mean."

She nodded. But then she met my eyes and said, "And the others? Cassandra? Mikoto? Mordred?"

I started to answer. Then I stopped and blinked, "Mordred told you her real name?"

"She told me her given name," Ami admitted, "And, well, I did some research and learned her family name and a bit more. But I shouldn't say any more."

"That's okay," I assured her, "I get that."

"And those three?" she said again.

"I don't feel as strongly for them as I do for you and Tsu," I reassured her, "But yes, I could see myself falling for the three of them, too. I don't think they would feel the same. If they did, well... I don't know. I've been trying to think about it. I wouldn't want to presume... I'm mumbling again."

"Izuku," she smiled comfortingly, "It's okay. I understand."

She held out her hand. I took it.

"Izuku, I would like very much to go on a date with you," she told me shyly, "When?"

"Friday? No we might have to do a second run at someone's dungeon," I mused, "Saturday? I might be busy... Maybe we should wait for after the internships? Two weeks from today?"

"Monday in two weeks," she confirmed.

For a few more moments I enjoyed the warmth and softness of her hand. Then I escorted her to the station, before heading back to UA.

Only to realize halfway there that I had forgotten to do any packing.


Status Changes for Midoriya Izuku:
Health: 897 → 898 (Plus Ultra penalty -26)
Energy: 1599 → 1600

Attributes:
(W)it: 59 → 60
(C)harisma: 46 → 47

Skills:
Japanese Language (W/C) LB: 25 → 26
Analyze (W) – Battle Scan: 61 → 62
Dodge (A/Q) LB – Catch: 45 → 46
Telekinesis (I/D): 42 → 43
Basic Karate (A): 47 → 48
Parkour (A/Q): 41 → 43
Physical Resistance (E/D): 78 → 79
Ki Blast (D/W) LB: 21 → 23
Ki Slice (D/W) LB: 23 → 24
Ki Healing (D/E) LB: 24 → 25
Ki Reinforcement (D): 44 → 45
Tactile TK (I/D): 40 → 41
Telekinetic Armor (I/E): 40 → 41
Telekinetic Aura (I) LB: 47 → 49
Kung Fu Fundamentals (Q/E): 28 → 29
Wing Chun Quan (A/Q): 18 → 22
Sense Hostility (I/C) - Hostile Aura: 42 → 43
High Speed Vision (W/Q) 22 → 23
Heroics General Knowledge (I/W): 64 → 65
Combat Leadership (C/W): 12 → 13
Skill Jockey (I/C): 22 → 26
Krav Maga (A/S): 8 → 9
Business Negotiation (C/D): → 1
Schmooze (C/I): → 1
Contract Law (W): → 1