Epilogue

C-City had always been one of the more developed cities, at least in the top six of a list that started with A and ended with Z but scrambled the letters in the middle. The centre of Martial Arts there were no S-Class heroes or even A-Class heroes assigned to it for the simple reason that it was more than well defended by the local dojos considering the Wolves and Tigers that normally popped up in that part of the continent. That mix of modern and classical architecture with state of the art skyscrapers combined with old villas was nearly gone now replaced by the slurry of debris that stretched over the horizon.

Skyscrapers of steel were rendered into bits of fallen shrapnel and houses that stood for over a hundred years were made into shattered mausoleums holding the broken corpses of their once inhabitants now forever a part of their dwellings. The dead were not incalculable but they amounted to a number that even the most callous would hesitate to speak. The air was filled with dust where it wasn't on fire and various cracks craters littered the ground; signs of an earth broken by conflict.

I walked through the wreckage as a ghost brushing past the shadows of defeat as if they meant nothing to me and yet my heart felt heavier with every step I took; an aching feeling of Déjà vu sitting within me or was it Jamais Vu? Had I experienced this situation countless times before and blocked it from my mind. Would I once again forge this outcome? Coldness came over me giving me an aching feeling of familiarity and I stumbled forward as my sure steps turned into a swaying blundering step that nobody with my Dexterity should ever make. I felt the cold steel of a scythe around my neck *Fear it, which has no shape* as the land grew dark as the sun was blotted out, but I still didn't look up unable to spare any of my attention.

The God above me was relatively unimportant at this time. *Antithesis. Beginning. Conclusion.*

The God under the ground was far more important to me at this moment. *Foreign. Familiar. Fallen.*

I walked forward and began to dig with my hands scooping more and more of the dirt and rock as the entire world held its breath. All my strength was discarded as my body rebelled *I do not want to witness* but somehow as if by the passage of time more and more of the impromptu tomb was excavated.

A flash of blue reflected my image as lifeless glass stared up at me….

xxx

Present day

I woke up violently from my bed trembling for the first time in ages. Thankfully over my years of growing up I had gotten used to the idea of redirecting my excess strength inward and this time wasn't any exception as I felt my hands start to bleed as my nails had dug quite harshly into the flesh; the downsides of having fingernails that grew visibly every day and were nearly impossible to trim. Yes, I bite my fucking nails; these things can leave scratches on steel and would give Wolverine a boner, how else am I going to get rid of them.

I was distracting myself; thinking on my steel nails was much preferable to reflect on the dream which scarred my mind. Doubly so considering the fact that I recognised the dream as prophetic. This was far worse than the clairvoyance that gave a few seconds warning or the deliberate glances into the future before I made a choice.

"Did I just see the end of Earth," I whispered with horror in my voice. Was that the horror that Lady Shibabawa saw. My sight had been unclear and ill-focused and I felt a deep abiding reluctance to try and look that way again. While the danger in the skies scared me but the terror below the earth disturbed me profoundly. I stood up from the bed thankful that I still required very little sleep. Despite the terror I felt my heart hadn't raised a beat and not a drop of sweat dripped from my pours; testament to the ability of my inhuman body.

A snap of my fingers and the room lit up in a dull light. As much as I detested the man; he knew how to build a house and his professional pride wouldn't allow him to perform a half-hearted job. Besides with the favour that he owed me for not crushing his operation this was the very least that he could do. As an added benefit he got a minor base in the Abandoned World and I hardly believe that he felt he was losing out on the trade. I pulled on my dressing gown as I walked over to the book that I had just completed; or at least the first volume.

I had killed a lot of monsters and even splitting it into volumes the book came to just under five-hundred pages and I had only managed to complete it due to most of it being written out already. The last monster in the book was Rover and that brought me up till I was age twenty, just before I headed into the Abandoned World for the first time. Still despite the length of time it probably came to scarcely one third of the monsters I had fought. Back then the world was far more peaceful compared to the Abandoned World and the current state of the Supercontinent. I had given the book to Sweet Mask just yesterday and he was taking care of the publishing, distribution and advertisement for the book.

It was being rushed through last I heard and I sincerely hoped that they would at least check it for me before they published. Making stupid grammar and spelling mistakes was a foible of mine after all. I would have to monitor the tone if they wanted to make any amendments however. While part of the book was mainly propaganda for heroes in general I also wanted to clarify the identity of monsters as beings that take issue with society, for the future benefit of my adopted son and his mentor as well as promote a culture where there was less chance of unfair ostracization. After all if the person whose life you were ruining had the potential to turn into a monster wouldn't you be more careful.

The problem that I was now faced with was the fact that I had been taking advantage of my lack of needing sleep to write and I had just ran out of writing. I could start working on the next volume but it's always more satisfying to wait for feedback before diving into the next endeavour. I didn't have any internet here, although there was a games console in the living room which was filled with a variety of games. To be honest I just had a habit of buying games whenever it was on special and keeping them around; although this world unfortunately had no equivalent of Steam.

Surprisingly Tatsumaki really liked visual novels but she was prodigiously awful at them or ridiculously good if you believe one required skills in the process of obtaining all the Bad Ends. I don't know if it was her lack of socialisation but it was truly amazing to watch her fumble every social situation in any of those games. Those days I cursed the fact that I had lost Gamer's Mind and was forced to keep my face straight like a regular person.

I also didn't really feel like going out fighting Mysterious Beings tonight either. While they were more active during night my companion had done an admirable job keeping them clear to the point that there weren't many challenges unless I chose to head further out. Strictly speaking there probably wouldn't be many challenges even if I scoured the lands.

And so; lazily, with the sole goal of killing time, I stepped out of my bedroom and walked into the lounge which was empty at the moment although the game console was on and paused showing the menu screen for Heroes and Monsters IV; a game which had my likeness as a part of it. Apparently the makers of the game engaged with the Hero Association who tended to manage the image for most of the heroes and tried to gain as many registered heroes in the game and they were successful with most of the S-Class heroes playing some part in the game.

The last I remember was that Tats wasn't very happy with her inclusion, the misread her manner of fighting entirely and either gave her needlessly flashy moves or in one memorable situation showed her dropping a meteor on an enemy. He had got an earful after that from the pint sized esper at that bemoaning just how ridiculous and inefficient it would be to pluck a meteor from space to drop on a single target and elaborating just how far even the closest celestial wanderers were; well over a thousand kilometres away. I had retorted with the fact that my special move was still called the Ultimate Hellfire Wavemotion Cannon; despite the fact that I had never in my second life used an ability named anything like that.

I kid; I spread the rumours of that special attack myself just to get a laugh. It was a surprisingly popular name though.

If the console was still on then Tatsumaki was awake; but I couldn't hear her in the house. She must be fighting monsters again trying to improve herself against the many, many dragons that frequented this place. Her determination was admirable and not something that I could match normally, although I had my own strengths and I had learned to play to them. Still I had to wonder just what she had found, most of the monsters in the area had either died or fled with only the weaker or (very few) docile ones remaining. She must have travelled far afield and so I decided to head out to see if I could track her down and see what she was fighting; it might be something new. Despite my time spent here the Abandoned World there was still much I hadn't explored.

Fumbling around for my keys I eventually managed to get the door open and stepped onto the rocky area just before the beach into the cold night. Well it wasn't that cold for me. Internally my body was now running at a temperature well higher than normal and had to be forcibly restrained to prevent it from heating up the room around me. Still it didn't take much practice until it became instinctive and now my body was not that much hotter than normal when I wasn't fighting.

A sudden splashing sound alerted me and I turned towards the ocean to see a flash of colour in the waves. At first I thought it might have been another Mysterious Being but a quick glance in that direction disabused me of that notion. That was Tats psychic energy that I would notice anywhere. So she was out swimming, probably hunting aquatic monsters. We had explored the reef during day time but not during night. There were probably a few nastier beasts that came out when the sun went down as was common around these parts.

I turned to greet the victor when the words stuck in my throat. Tatsumaki when swimming usually went with a frilly white two piece. This time she had eschewed that for…well nothing at all and I was taken back for a moment. It wasn't the first or even the fifth time that I had seen her like that but it was usually as a result of our time spent together; an incidental meeting that neither of us cared enough to avoid. This time it was definitely deliberate and the future spilled out in front of me informing me of this act's significance.

"Hey Tats," I said casually seeing the near future flash in front of my eyes. "I didn't know you took up skinny dipping. Is it any fun?"

"Listen King," Tatsumaki stated putting her hands on her hips. "We need to talk." Her words were said in a serious tone of voice, leaving no retreat. I almost smiled in spite of myself. That was so like her. Once she got an idea in her mind she would go straight for it and hang the consequences. In her mind right now I was probably the capture target like in one of the visual novels and I could see how her attempt had been crafted; not that she needed to craft the proposal in any way.

"We do," I said nodding and understanding the consequences. I hated commitment with a passion and tended to avoid it but there were worse things than being committed. I could stand to sacrifice a bit of freedom in the long run and it wasn't like Tatsumaki was controlling in the slightest. Even on vacation together it wasn't as if we spent the whole day in the same room; a lot of the time we were both off doing our own stuff.

"I have the feeling that the two of us have grown closer recently," she said measuring her words. In reality, I was probably her only friend besides her sister; with whom her relationship was very complicated. "Not just closer as friends but a more intimate manner."

As she spoke she straightened up and stuck out her chest and I looked just as she had planned. Her confidence became more genuine and a smug satisfaction came over her as I watched her body. In battle she was always confident but in social situations her confidence tended to lag, even if she was still very good at portraying it.

"So I want you to tell me if I'm misreading things or I'm correct," she said trying to look aloof. "If I'm wrong then we can just pretend the situation never happened." That was untrue even if she partly believed it. Saying 'no' here would poison our relationship in the long run. Even if I had no feelings for her I would probably not say it. Our relationship was important to me and I would upgrade it a dozen times before I thought about ruining it.

"I think I love you," I said causing her to blink before her face went red and she looked down towards the ground. My face was red as well. I had never said that to anybody besides my parents in both lives and even that was said sparingly or under duress. I despised the vulnerability and it was likely something that I would never or seldom say again. I hadn't said it to Toby and he was as good as my own child. And yet I had an instinctive feeling that this was the best path and the statement wasn't…entirely…untrue.

"How sappy," Tatsumaki said as she raised her head to look at me with eyes that were faintly glistening.

"I concur," I said noting that I was gritting my teeth with enough force to crack the enamel. I relaxed my jaw allowing the diamond structures to regenerate in my mouth. "Please don't ever make me say that again."

"Agreed," Tatsumaki said instantly before she shivered and I realised that the temperature was a bit lower than I expected; not that the cold could affect me in any way. However for the esper well… certain parts of her body were rigidly displaying the temperature and I got a sudden urge to go over and warm those bits up.

"Come on let's get you inside," I offered only to receive a shake of her head and wicked grin.

"Now that you have agreed I have a more fun way of warming up," she stated before reaching out with her psychokinesis and lifting me off the ground. I didn't resist as she stepped forward and I felt her psychokinesis rip away my sleeping clothes none too gently leaving us in matching outfits.

I learned more about the practical benefits of psychokinesis in one night than in the last few years. I also learnt that sand gets really uncomfortable after a while and that Tatsumaki has several kinks that I subsequently learnt a great deal about.

Two days afterwards we learned that a great portion of B-City was destroyed and our vacation was unceremoniously cut short.

xxx

I whistled out loud as I witnessed the sheer scale of destruction in front of me before I winced slightly inward as I saw another one of Metal Knight's monstrosities picked up the rubble and started clearing a spot for rebuilding. The efficiency of his machines was frankly breath-taking, far beyond that of Child Emperor despite the difference in ratings. While I doubt that I would lose in a confrontation, in fact I already knew that I would handily win any form of combat, I couldn't compare to his skills in construction.

"As you can see we had enough warning to relocate the majority of citizens away in time," a member of the Hero Association dressed in a pristine black suit said from his position behind me. "The number of monsters showing up have heavily spiked in the last month. It's good to have you back ."

"It's good to be back," I said giving the trite response while not even turning back. "Have you any idea of the person who defeated them?" I knew who it was of course. It was Saitama but unfortunately the man had still not registered at the Hero Association despite my advice. Not that I cared that much. Honestly the credit for this job would be half-blessing half-poison at best. While lives were undoubtedly saved due to him defeating the Mysterious Being; the amounts of death and property damage were not low even before he showed up and the total destruction of this city would elicit cries for a scapegoat even at the best of times.

It was a simple fact that humans who lost everything didn't tend to behave the most rationally about things. Even those who escaped the initial destruction may have lost friends and even those who survived with their social circle intact may have lost their livelihood. Those who have everything can hardly fathom the issues of those that have nothing. Perhaps for the now homeless refugees only death would await; if not from the cold and lack of food and medical attention then from the surge of monsters roaming the streets lately.

Crap those were some melancholy thoughts; even if I meant most of what I thought. It was one of the major reasons why I tolerated Metal Knight despite the shady business that I knew he still partook in. Behind Saitama, Tatsumaki and myself Metal Knight was one of the people who did the most good for humanity. No, despite his moral flaws he may do even more good than us. While we could destroy the Mysterious Beings, we could do little to fix the damage left behind.

"We can't take too much more of this," I said feeling regret for not the first time regretting my inability to prevent the situation. What was so easily dismissed as a one-shot villain in the anime had caused major damages in his short existence. The worst part was that I hadn't cared. I had seen it as some once-off monster that was quickly killed instead of somebody who was able to cause major damages to D-City and nearly completely wipe out B-City. Instead my attempt to use my future knowledge was more focused on a few goals and in the end I was unable to achieve even most of them. Apparently Genos is a rather common name and the number of towns existing outside of the major cities is innumerable.

"Yes the repeated attacks are causing damage to society's trust in the Hero Association," the aide said almost babbling as I mused to myself. "Thankfully we have Metal Knight to rebuild," he said somewhat optimistically, dropping my mood slightly more. I had to pay a price to convince him to expedite his rebuilding.

"That's true," I admitted. "If the public don't believe in the Hero Association it makes it harder to protect them. We can't afford another loss like this." I would have to prevent the future destruction of A-City by the alien Boros' hand for a start, but even that was simply preventing further deterioration. I casually reached towards a bunch of rubble and summoned up my telekinesis trying to rebuild the building only to give it up as a bad job after a few minutes. While I could build a decent facsimile of a building it was weak structurally and wouldn't hold together in the long term.

"Trying to put me out of a job?" a nearby drone spoke sardonically as it approached. "How's your book coming King."

"Coming out this Thursday, Metal Knight," I replied courteously. While I didn't like him I had come to an understanding with the man. "How is the advance warning system coming along? I haven't kept abreast of major developments."

"It's working," Metal Knight said any inflections lost due to the drones. "It helped out evacuation of the city. Unfortunately it wasn't able to measure the strength of the Mysterious Being and we lost two C-Ranks and a B-Rank who decided to face it head on."

"Why?" I blurted out before I could stop myself. I suppose I shouldn't think ill of the dead but the situation was just so absurd. "Just what made them think..?" I trailed off before gesturing towards the spot where the monster fell. The Mysterious Being that had once been a human if not for his brother's concoction was clearly a monster undefeatable by somebody of their abilities.

"Do not try to empathise with the idiot, you will only harm yourself," Metal Knight replied and I could detect his harshness through the robot; the man was cold and callous to those he saw as inferior. Even those that he had no use for would receive that attitude. If one were to look past his cold and cruel exterior and look deep down then they would find that he was just as much of a prick. The only common ground that we had was that we both propped up society.

"So did Child Emperor's device fail?" I asked. "Or was it not deployed?" I was speaking of the power measurement device that he had built some time during canon and even earlier at my advice in this timeline. Combined with the system we had worked on together there was a developing system to allocate heroes to positions where they were able to do something and away from positions where they would die without making a difference.

"It worked but the monster exceeded a power level of 9 999," Metal Knight explained. "It was a clear contender for Dragon if the destruction of multiple cities didn't already give it away and yet the foolish heroes ran at it like a moth to the sun," his words were cruel and dismissive but not wrong. It was marvellous to cheer for heroes like Mumen Rider who put their bodies on the line to stall against impossible opponents, but when they die to creatures that Tats, Saitama or I could have finished off in a moment then the whole thing just felt sad.

"The Hero Association has improved their evacuation and response procedures using the new system," the suit behind me said and I turned back towards him for a moment. The man that I had never met before flinched in terror as he met my eyes before he regained himself as I looked away from him.

Still in that one second of eye contact he had burned to death, suffocated, been crushed by a vehicle, torn apart by a monster, committed suicide, died of cancer, exploded, was shot and lived a long life before dying in his bed surrounded by his family. My new Outsider ability the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception easily joined the club of abilities with many initial downsides and I had spent the month Tats training in order to get it under control when not in use alongside my days of writing and relaxation.

Mercifully the esper had far fewer deaths than any ordinary person off the street and they were a lot fainter and thus easier to ignore, although they were never really gone. Ironically the downsides of this ability would probably have been mitigated by Gamer's Mind. Instead of glowing lines; my eyes showed me words that spilled out spoiling the last chapter of the book and by simply acting out that epilogue their tale would be brought to a conclusion.

In practical terms if they were shot to death in the future and I shot them then the bullet that I used would be a special one with their name on it. It would be the bullet that would take their life without fail. I was eager to see just how Saitama looked under these eyes. Although I would never kill him; it would still be interesting to see if he could be killed.

"If you're not going to do anything then can you leave?" Metal Knight said sharply. "Unless you feel like inspecting my work." The unspoken implications were there and as strong as ever. 'Do you really believe that I'm planning on doing something nefarious to B-City?'

"No thank you," I replied with a smile. "I was just lending my expertise towards help the various rescue services. I've seen the quality of your work multiple times and I'm quite satisfied." The words beneath the words differed slightly. 'I trust that you won't push more than you usually do and I have long been prepared to let that degree slide.'

We stopped talking for a bit just staring at the various broken buildings that were slowly being torn down and reconstructed. My thoughts reiterated that it was a rather impressive display of construction before I sighed and regretted that I never got Alchemy or something as an Outsider Power. I was overwhelmingly geared towards defence with the exception of Shun Shun Rika and I wasn't predisposed towards revealing that skill under most circumstances, instead reserving it as a trump card.

"Mister King if you have a moment some of the higher ups want to talk to you about your upcoming appearance on the Channel 9," the Hero Association Member said politely. Despite his instinctive fear he seemed to have calmed down and there was a strong undercurrent of respect.

"Can I have the Cliff Notes?" I asked. "Not that I don't luxuriate over my time talking to the higher ups but I was hoping to get at least a bit of actual work done today." He smiled at that statement but whether it was because it was funny or whether he was simply humouring an asset of the Association was something that I couldn't discover while looking at his mind; something I wouldn't do for such a petty reason.

"It sounded important Sir," the man replied as was his job and I realised just how young he sounded. Probably early twenties which meant that counting my past life I might be twice as old as him.

"If it was important then they would have come to visit me," I said turning towards him once more. This time instead of looking at him I looked one second into his future. That future version of him was so starkly visible and yet not one word dripped from his fleeting mortality. While my Mystic Eyes could see the ever shifting future death that awaited him; by simply looking a bit ahead in time the future became locked on that particular time branch and the lines made of words faded into imperceptibility.

"But…don't you need to prepare," the man said two seconds after I finished my sentence. "They wanted me to emphasize how important this meeting was."

"If I were to go to the meeting they would corner me and try to convince me to endorse their various plans," I said earnestly. "They would emphasize the rightness of their objectives, the more unscrupulous would resort to bribery, and the insane might resort to threats." I smiled at that thought. It had been a long time before somebody had even dreamt of resorting to that; maybe I should send flowers to the hospital soon.

"So you don't want to deal with any hidden agendas," the agent of the Hero Association.

"No unfortunately you've got that wrong," I said as I heard Metal Knight chuckle softly behind me. "I have my own "hidden agendas" and I will act on them regardless." I said making the hand sign that indicated quotation marks. "I have no doubt a few of those leading the association have aims that match up with my own. As for those that don't…" I shrugged nonchalantly. "I wasn't planning on budging on my goals what use would there be in discussing anything."

"Your disdain for politics is as strong as ever," Metal Knight probed.

"My participation in the bureaucracy of the Hero Association would come at the cost of my effectiveness against the monsters," I admitted. "Besides why should I fight on their terms? If an Association member is doing something that they shouldn't then why would I resort to politics to sort it out." The last words were said in a voice that was as chilling as possible before I turned to the Hero Association member I had met just this morning. "Incidentally I don't think we've been formally introduced yet."

"Er yeah," the man said trying to slow down his breathing. Despite the cold morning he was sweating profusely and I resolved to turn down the intimidation slightly; this man was probably not going to be my enemy. "My name is Simon," the man forced out stretching his hand out in a familiar gesture. "I've been assigned to be your liaison with the Association."

"Interesting," I said taking his hand in my own. He had a weak grip, but it wasn't as if that meant fucking anything. "So you're going to be dealing with the politicking on my behalf then?" I asked.

"Mainly my role is to assist you with the necessary paperwork and inform you of monsters that are high priority due to location or danger," the man said pushing up his glasses as he took on a serious position. "If you give me permission I can represent you in official meetings, but as of now I would have no way to know your stance on the various issues Lastly, I can arrange various matters like interviews, meetings and anything else you want scheduled."

"The Hero Association appear to have finally gotten annoyed at your lack of feedback King," Metal Knight said with a mocking tilt to his voice.

"I report all my kills," I said huffing in irritation. "It's hardly my fault that I don't attend their meetings. I am by no means the worst behaving in -Class. I'm not even in the same league as the Prisoner and I'm far more cooperative then Drive Knight or yourself. Hell if anybody needs a liaison it would be Tatsumaki; I've been privy to her collateral damage budget and it isn't pretty." I shuddered as a cold chill ran down my back despite my body running a temperature that could melt steel. Somehow Tats would find about him saying that and then she would...do something. On second thoughts she couldn't really do anything to me. Most likely it would just result in a bit of a dust up which was more fun that dreaded.

"Yes, I've seen the repair bills," surprisingly it was Simon who said that and I snorted in disbelief before chuckling. He was being very brave wasn't he? While the Tornado couldn't do anything to me he was nowhere near as fortunate. "And Mr. King the Association has no problems with you. They were just under the impression that with your recently increased work on behalf of the Hero Association that you may need people to keep you updated on your schedule."

"It's one book and a couple of interviews," I said crossing my arms. "Unless the Hero Association is hiring you to encourage me to do more of the like," I said getting a transparently guilty look and another dry chuckle from Metal Knight. 'Damn.'

"Still don't feel like politics," Metal Knight said as his drone angled towards me and I got the feeling he was recording my reaction. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

"You have my number," I said as I turned away. "Please give me a couple days to contemplate this matter. I'll send my battle reports to you from now on." I really didn't want to do any of that stuff, so I probably wouldn't. There was still no reason to make it look like I wasn't contemplating it at least.

As I stepped forward I summoned forth my psychic power and twisted it in a perfect spin striking against the Liminal Space and drilling a hole into the void between dimensions; in less flowery terms I teleported. I enjoyed the lack of literary lines for the instant that I was outside the dimension before I stepped back in and was overwhelmed by the many deaths of Z-City before I distracted myself once more by setting my sights on one branch of the future.

Still I didn't miss the flash of Flattened by a Giant Meteor that screamed out from all of the buildings pouring into a tragic tale that Z-City wouldn't survive. Still it wasn't something that I needed to deal with although I would naturally keep an eye out. My original goal was to see Saitama but I hadn't brought a gift yet and I didn't make a habit of visiting empty handed. I took one look at the weather and the blazing hot sun and decided to pick up some Mochi Ice Cream; a delicacy that can easily be found in Z-City which skewed towards more traditionally Japanese food.

Technically I could cook a great Mochi Ice Cream, but I was kind of lax when it came to the whole preparing food at the moment. I still owned my restaurant but now I was doing nothing more than managing it along with Toby and the days when I came into cook were fewer and fewer. I had the sneaking suspicion that the Hero Association wanted me to set up some cooking event for popularity like the occasions that I had a couple of years ago. Maybe for once I should act like a proper Isekai protagonist and wow them with outlandish revolutionary food from my homeland and act really smug at the perceived superiority of my nation's cooking; but frankly I can't be arsed and I've seen them cook Bunny Chows in I-City so that plan would go out the fucking window before I even started.

I ambled on my way towards the abandoned part of town where my friend lived keeping my eyes open for one of the stores that had the quality of food that I liked. I tended to look down on convenience stores as a place of overpriced stale food even if the quality was demonstrably better in this world. It didn't take me too long to eventually find a place and I picked up a few good brands that were inexpensive. Honestly speaking the cheap stuff and the expensive stuff tastes the same in most cases and any attempt to differentiate it was simple human delusions.

There was a bit of an issue with my card and it was slightly amusing to watch the cashier get flustered as they had to tell the Famous and Powerful King to reswipe but after her nervousness increased to uncomfortable levels I managed to calm her down and start digging through my wallet for the dregs of cash I had on hand (surreptitiously taking some out of my inventory) in a feat of sleight that I was pretty proud of. I made a mental note to go to the bank later and get it sorted out before I next went shopping.

However my planning was immediately abandoned as scarcely had I paid the lady before a young man came running into the store screaming about a monster. Immediately every eye in that store homed into me and I sighed a bit ruefully at the thought. Apparently the people of Z-City had good eyes and good lungs and so with a reassuring smile I asked the cashier to please hold onto the Mochi Ice Cream for me, which she gladly agreed to do before I stepped out of the store and into the road leaving the sound of cheers behind me.

A few foolhardy people followed me out onto the street and I sighed inwardly. While I wouldn't let them come to harm it didn't say favourable things about their intelligence that they were walking towards a monster; and yes I was aware of the irony. The sounds of screams were easily enough to lead me in the direction of the monster and so I accelerated jumping into the sky before I locked onto the commotion and landed at the edges of the crowd silent but swiftly.

The first thing that caught my eye was the monster obviously. It stood only three metres tall, smaller than a lot of the ones I fought recently, and bore some resemblance to a praying mantis; although it was a shade of noxious purple and it had too enormous eyes and arms that were replaced by scthes that contracted and extended creating a clicking noise. It looked relatively strong and instincts that I had developed over the slaying of thousands of Mysterious Beings informed me that it was probably Mid- to High-Demon in strength.

On the floor in front of the monster lay the bodies of three heroes; their legs twisted or broken in some cases. Without some form of enhanced healing they would likely be out of action for a couple of weeks at the very least. I didn't recognize two of the heroes but one was wearing a tanktop so his allegiance wasn't in question. It seemed he ended up in the standard tanktop position; namely on the floor with the shin bone piercing through the skin. I stepped forward listening to the rant started by the Mysterious Being.

"You humans believe you're at the top of the world when really you're nothing more than ants before your betters," the Mysterious Beings said with a voice so raspy it verged on incomprehensible. In addition, why was he insulting ants? Shouldn't insects show some form of solidarity. Maybe he just saw ants as prey; I wasn't an expert at entomology. "I the one called Blasphemous Mantis will strip you of all illusions and show just how weak your reality is before the_" he trailed off as I stepped forwards from the shocked crowd stirring up susurrations.

"Oh don't mind me," I said apologetically ignoring him as I walked forward towards the downed heroes. I reached the first one, a man wearing a detective uniform with a deerstalker hat and knelt down to look at his wounds. "Please continue I'll try to keep it down." The hero's knee was dislocated and the patella had cracked; in addition one of the ligaments had torn straight off. With a swift motion I relocated the knee and summoned Shun Shun Rika to stealthily heal the hero. I disguised it by massaging and poking at the wounds and I was satisfied to see the detective man's eyes widen as the pain abruptly disappeared.

"You, you, you," the Mysterious Being's voice rose in fury as I moved onto the next man who wore actually a girl in a ninja outfit. Her tendons were slashed and her muscles were shredded as well and so I repeated the play on the second patient. "King, you who claim to be the strongest man on Earth; you now stand against me." The mantis started chuckling in a tone that sounded like a broken flute that would be played on shitty horror series.

"I don't remember ever claiming that," I replied unhurried. I was certain that I didn't claim that and I wouldn't until the day that I could defeat Saitama. "But I suppose you're not wrong about the rest." I got up to attend to the tanktop her only for the Mantis to lash out towards the downed man. The air rippled as a blade of wind a few millimetres thick burst from the arms in an instant towards the downed hero.

"I'm not going to let you do that," I said as I stepped in the path of the blade and blocked it with my knee. The wave of air sent towards my downed compatriot was sharp like razors but my clothes were made of Life Fibers and the alien parasite was not something you could cut through using brute force. The force dissipated harmlessly against my limb and I pivoted as the mantis lunged forward in burst of pure speed sending a scythe-like blade aimed perfectly towards my neck. His speed was amazing and his technique equally flawless and I mentally upgraded his ranking to High-Demon.

I twisted my body dropping my body while keeping my feet and ankles on the ground like a violent Daruma doll before I grabbed the street and launched myself up and over his second strike. I landed on my feet with my back towards my opponent who launched a stab at my unprotected back and I dodged slighty to the side as I turned around and relaxed my vision.

*Dismemberment*

His left arm went flying as I focused on a word and ran my nails over his offending appendage. In response he let forth a screech before leaping back, wings momentarily extending and allowing him to glide a dozen metres back. A harsh chittering came from his throat and I 'saw' him regrow his limbs in a few seconds while I kneeled down to help the tanktop guy. In a few seconds his wounds were healed and I straightened up slowly turning towards the Mysterious Being.

"Kekekeke," the monster said with a clicking laugh and I realised it had taken a stance similar to that of a man with his hands in his pockets with his bladed arms curled into each other and flat against his hips as he hunched over. I watched him taking a glance into the future before I internally smiled. It was so rare to see Mysterious Beings using Martial Arts; this would be a rare treat. With joy I showed him the ultimate respect and undid my restraints swiftly becoming accustomed to the lack of resistance.

"You have me at a disadvantage," I said placing my hands into my pockets in imitation of the stance. "As you have already stated; I am King. Some people may call me the strongest man on Earth. You are?"

"Kekeke, you can call me Heresy Mantis," the Mysterious Being said. "I'll engrave it on your tombstone."

"Good confidence," I said. "That's the minimum requirement to issue that kind of challenge. I suppose you have some reason that my demise is certain." I tilted my head as if contemplating while I stepped forward reducing the range between us.

"For all your achievements you are merely human," the Mantis said and I nodded. I had seen this before. There was an inborn propensity for monsters to look down on those who hadn't undergone the process that turns them into monsters. "I was human once before," he said as if his spitting out his dark history. "I know of the wounds that continue to mar your body as you grow older. I know of the weakness of humans."

"Hmm," I said noncommittedly watching as the heroes that I had fixed struggled to their feet. A few looked like they wanted to help but I waved them off. Even some S-Class heroes would have trouble with this one. I wasn't going to throw them into the meat grinder.

"In a moment of enlightenment I abandoned the human body and ascended," Heresy Mantis said as he hunched over more leaning forward with a coiled eagerness. "These pale pathetic waste of flesh should be happy to worship me; a being so far above me." I could practically taste the potential energy building up between the scythe blades.

"You see yourself as a god?" I asked mentally noting down this encounter. I would transcribe it into my diary later. I think this monster deserves at least a page in a book.

"Would you not?" the Mysterious Being said with a cackle. "We stand so far above the peasants; what else can we be." I frowned at the thought of that. God didn't have a very good implication in the OPM universe and he was far from being a God level threat in the first place. Still I suppose to a primitive tribe a being of his might may be viewed as a God; as easily opposed as the winds and rain. Unfortunately this wannabe God just happened to live in a world where the Heroes were a bit too strong.

"Allow me to educate you on the difference between a God and monster then," I said bringing the pre-fight banter to a close. This wasn't going to take long. That wasn't condescension on my part but the fact that I recognized his style as Iaido or the art of drawing and sheathing the sword emphasising efficient motion and swift death ending with the aim of ending the battle in an instant. In my opinion out of all the sword styles that I vaguely knew of Iaido was by far the coolest.

One breath, two breaths and I took a step forward breaching his range as he did the same to me. In a fraction of an instant stillness broke and Heresy Mantis' arms exploded with the force of a nuclear weapon sending twin glints towards me at speeds that I could barely see. For a thousandth of a thousandth second the force and speed soared past the definition of Demon and flung itself far into dragon territory. Such a perfect blow wouldn't be out of place amongst the greatest swordsmasters in S-Class and I preferred the simple one-strike kill to the needless complexity of Atomic Samurai or even Flashy Flash's ninja techniques. Maybe it spoke to my innate laziness but I always loved single-stroke battles that were concluded in an instant.

*Decapitation*

Two blades cluttered to the floor followed a second later by the severed head of the Mysterious Being formally known as Heresy Mantis. I had for an instant reached into Demon King Mode and cleanly surpassed his maximum speed chopping through his arms and neck in less time that it took to blink. 'For all of his insane offensive power his defence was mediocre,' I thought as I deactivated Demon King Mode but to be fair he wasn't the only one whose defence doesn't quite match their offence. I looked down at a small droplet of blood coming from a small cut that had already healed. My body still balked at using too much energy when in Demon King Mode and if I used it too long I would melt. I lamented the fragility of my flesh as I stood there breathing out a small puff of scorching air from my lungs into the atmosphere where it wouldn't melt nearby humans.

Speaking of nearby civilians the people around me were cheering my name again. They were joined by the heroes that I had saved and without any wounds that were looking at me with a mix of veneration and respect that was coupled with a frustrated look. I could imagine what was going on their head but I didn't know how to solve this; still I could use this opportunity to inform both them and the crowd a bit.

"Going by the standard ratings employed by the Hero Association," I started raising my voice and causing the crowd to quieten down a bit. "I would rank this Mysterious Being as a high-level Demon. Strictly speaking it is recommended that 10 A-Class heroes or 1 S-Class are required to defeat it but even that is a gamble to some extent. There is currently no easy way to estimate the disaster level of a Mysterious Being besides the damage they create and the difficulty the Hero Association has in trying to stop. This makes it hard trying to get preliminary ratings. Any questions?" I said pointing to a small girl who was just raising her hand.

"If you don't know the pelimany rate then how do you know how many strong guys you need," she said while her parents looked down nervously at her as if hoping she wouldn't embarrass them.

"Excellent question," I said smiling. "You have absolutely no idea how strong they are until you engage the Mysterious Being. For all your knowledge the monster could be a Wolf or a Dragon and you simply wouldn't know. It requires a special type of will to dive headfirst into a battle where chances of survival let alone victory are uncertain, but sometimes you have to do it because all the other options are worse." I took a sweeping look at the civilians as I did that.

"Good job guys," I said turning towards the three heroes. "Nobody died," I said as I smiled. "I will drop a commendation for you when I next visit the Association." They seemed to cheer up at that. "Any more questions?"

That got the crowd going and the put forward a constant barrage of questions that I answered as well as I could causing me to stick around for another couple of minutes until the Hero Association arrived to pick up the corpse and I had to go back and pick up my ice cream.

xxx

It always amazed me how well maintained the so-called Ghost City, in which Saitama lived, was. This was quite impressive considering it had the third highest case of reported monster incidents and probably second or first judging by how many Saitama must take care of and just not report them.

Q-City would probably still take the proverbial cake when it comes to the level of crap going down. I had travelled to that place more than a few times and every single time I had run into a monster attack. Still those attacks were almost instantly stopped by Watchdog Man; who seemed to maintain an almost omnipresence around the city despite sitting in one place for most of the day. Saitama as a rule was generally more lax about these things and it showed as there were multiple instances of monster damage and twice I saw a Mysterious Being enter my field of view before running off as soon as it laid eyes on me. None of those instances were above Wolf and so I was a bit lenient. Most likely they would be killed by stronger monsters in future before ever heading out of the Ghost City.

I stepped around a massive hole in the road as I walked up to an apartment that I remembered as Saitama's. It was a bit of a dump but it had free lights and water and that was enough of a draw to almost get me to move here if it wasn't for the hassle involved with changing my address and having to deal with everybody who knew my address. It would be cool to take an apartment block and just renovate it but even with my reputation I would likely find it troubling to find skilled workers willing to dive into the Ghost City.

I jumped up a few stories before skilfully vaulting myself over the balcony and right in front of my door before wiping off the coat of paint that had now attached itself to my palm. Apparently despite the Ghost City being literally destitute there were still people doing maintenance. There was no way that Saitama started painting was there? While the man was by no means lazy he was indifferent towards things that didn't interest him of which there was a long list.

Thankfully after a few minutes of work and liberal use of Shun Shun Rika I managed to restore everything to its prior position. Knocking on the door I waited for a bit and then knocked once more. I waited a third time before I withdrew a key from my pockets and opened the door myself. Walking into the kitchen I went and put the Mochi Ice Cream in the fridge before I moved into the living room.

Saitama was lying down on the couch sleeping with a manga draped over his face. I was quite surprised he could sleep in these conditions considering the sweltering heat but maybe he was just resistant to heat as well. I could probably sleep comfortably here on the rare occasions I felt the need to sleep. Sighing I took a seat at one of the other chairs before I opened my eyes once more.

*Dk!2Ss4I M(($*K*

My eyes spewed gibberish at me as I tried to determine the final chapter in Saitama's life only to get a vaguely confusing epilogue. All that I got was the shadowy possibility of an ending that I couldn't quite seeing like everybody else had their deaths written in English and Saitama had his death written in gobbledygook… or worse Russian. Still the fact that I couldn't beat Saitama like that gave me a goal to work towards but it also heartened me showing me that a way to defeat the One Punch Man existed even if I couldn't yet see it.

A brief shift and Saitama stirred awake sitting up and picking up his manga from his face. I kept silent deciding not to breathe for the moment as he dug a finger into his ear mining for something below the surface. There was a good few minutes of him floundering with the concept of wakefulness before he turned towards me sitting there and did a double-take.

"Wait, what are you doing watching me sleeping," he said regaining his apathetic look. "That's very creepy man."

"My holiday was lovely. Thank you for asking Saitama," I said with the expression of one who refuses to acknowledge their wrong. "Who sleeps at two in the afternoon in the first place? And in this heat no less."

"I like sleeping in the heat," Saitama passionately defends the unimportant. "Why are you here in the first place? Shouldn't you still be on that fancy island?" Was he irate that I didn't invite him? I have invited him before because I genuinely enjoyed his company but it would have got awkward between him and Tats.

"My leave was cancelled after I heard that B-City was destroyed," I casually said watching out of the corner of my eye as he froze and started sweating bullets. "Man that was quite a shocking sight. There must have been a hundred buildings toppled over. There are going to be a lot of people sleeping on the streets tonight. I think the hospitals were also full the last time I checked."

"T-that sounds like it must have been caused by a dangerous monster," Saitama said, not looking at my eyes. "I should pay closer attention to the news." Okay enough trolling, serious King time.

"Saitama," I said earnestly, getting his attention. "Thank you," I said bowing my head. "I was away and in no position to stop it. I sincerely thank you for your work."

"Eh, so you knew," Saitama said scratching his bald head. "Hey you were just messing with me."

"Just a bit," I said. "I was serious about the damage caused to B-City but it isn't that bad as far as disasters go. It could be a lot worse. Metal Knight; one of the S-Class heroes," I elaborated when I saw that Saitama had no idea who he was. "Metal Knight should have the place repaired in a week or two and there are refugee camps set up by the Hero Association and some humanitarian organisations. It could be a bit worse and it would have if you hadn't helped. You did the job the rest of my comrades couldn't, is there any need to go further."

"You're using reverse-psychology on me," Saitama said and I felt an internal twinge. I forgot how insightful this guy was. He always had an incredible understanding of human nature despite his detachment. Still I wouldn't apologize for being manipulative.

"Nothing that I said was untrue," I admitted. "I am thankful but if you tried you could have done better. I know I don't have a right to ask that of you however." My words ended there and the two of us sat in comfortable silence before Saitama let out a whistle of annoyance.

"It's so hot all of a sudden," he burst out. "Hey King your place has AC. Why don't we go play some of your games over there?"

"I brought Mochi Ice Cream though," I said. "It would be a shame to bring it back."

"Oh what brand?" Saitama asked.

"Fucked if I know," I replied instantly. "I just bought the cheapest. It's all the same stuff under the label after all. We can dish some up and play a party game or something; unless you feel up for a fight. I've gotten a lot stronger in my time over there. I might finally be able to do a bit of damage."

"I've also gotten stronger though," Saitama said doubtfully. "And it's too hot to get into a fight now." As if afraid that I would drag him into a fight, he got up and headed for the kitchen.

"Fair enough," I said although I didn't really feel the heat. Despite his complaining I doubt Saitama felt it either. After all I was always throwing around waves of heat in any serious fight and even in the original series he had tanked Genos' beams of fire without a single hair out of place; even if the same couldn't be said for his clothes.

My thoughts all of a sudden turned towards the cyborg that had lost his village to a mad cyborg. Funny story; it turns out Genos is actually a rather common name and that the number of villages outside the major cities are innumerable. I had put forth my best effort at the time but with no results and I had to be careful to avoid tipping off those with little respect for the sanctity of my internet history. As a result, I was absolutely unable to prevent the rampage of the mad cyborg through Genos' village. Despite me being on guard for information of a crazy cyborg and knowing the vague timeframe in which it took place it was only after the village of Metaleaf was destroyed that I arrived on the scene.

Still that presented a unique problem and one that I felt would weaken with time. Genos would eventually soften under Saitama becoming a different person from the justice-seeking vengeance-driven character he was originally. Knowing this and not knowing how he would react I will recuse myself from any initial meetings. After all how can you tell a young man that his object of vengeance was gone; torn into tiny metal shreds with my own two hands?

'Instead I would watch and wait,' I thought relaxing as Saitama returned with two bowls piled with Mochi Ice Cream and I snapped my fingers and telekinetically switched on the television and the console at the same time. I accepted the bowl of ice cream smiling in anticipation of the cold treat and watched as Saitama set up the game before I lashed out snapping my finger shut.

In between my digits was the crushed and broken body of a mosquito brought about by the hot yet rainy weather. It wouldn't be long now.

Author Note: You know when I finished the last chapter somebody said something like: well that's the last chapter for this year, see you next year.
My thoughts were: I'll show you. I'll finish this story in December and post it you fucknugget.

Well I guess you can call me Acausal Fucknugget now.

Due to repeated questions I am forced to emphasize that this is not the end of the story. Sorry.

Two lists requested by readers:

Outsider Powers
Shun Shun Rika-Bleach
The Spin- Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 7
Life Fibers- Kill la Kill
Gourmet Cells-Toriko
Mystic Eyes of Death Perception- Nasuverse

Description of forms
Wolf King Mode: Body covered with shaggy golden fur that uncontrollably grows.
Tiger King Mode: Fur burns off body and body becomes black with red veins running through. Hairless and glossy like an overclocked Darkshine. Constantly gives off steam and has red eyes.
Demon King Mode: Covered entirely in red mist made up of blood. He looks like a black shadow in the mist. Without the mist he looks like a mass of muscles and Life Fibers desperately contracting.