Courage is the discovery when you find out you might not win,
but trying anyway while knowing you can lose.
No way. I'm just fifteen. I'm just a less than average guy with no redeeming traits. There's no way I can do this.
…The verbal abuse I've been taking us really starting to leave a mark on me. Gah.
"You can't hide it from me…" He winces, and coughs again. I shake my head rapidly. That's not what I want to hear. Can't you choose someone better for this, Unlosing Ranger? I'm just a bystander! "I-I know it's in you…"
No. NO. I can't be a hero!
"A heart of love and justice that also wishes to protect the world!" That's everything I'm not. "Anyway, starting today, you're the Absolute Victory Unlosing Ranger!" No, I'm not. You're the Absolute Victory Unlosing Ranger who's going to live through this and beat Darkdeath Evilman. I'm a fifteen-year-old who's going to go home from the grocery store and pretend this never happened.
"Now then… Take this Morphing Belt…" He said, lifting an over designed belt emblazoned with the letter 'V' towards me with a shaky hand. Come on Unlosing Ranger, can't you choose somebody else? "With this, any weakling off the streets can turn into the Unlosing Ranger…" Oh. Does that mean everything is because of the belt or what-
Wait a minute. Did he just insult me?
…Okay, maybe he's right. Who am I kidding, he is right. I am weak, but he doesn't have to say the obvious.
"The world is now in your hands… Late…" I stare at him. I can't do this. I like helping others and all, but THIS? This is way out of my league…
"Ugh! Glargble…" The finality of his words end with a choking gasp. The Unlosing Ranger's hand falls to the ground along with the Morphing Belt, and despite my hopes, remains motionless.
What just happened?
The Unlosing Ranger just died in front of me. That happened way too fast.
Think Late, think.
The Unlosing Ranger died because of a car accident I happened to witness. Speaking of which, I don't understand how he died from getting rammed by a car.
Wasn't the Unlosing Ranger supposed to be invincible?
Anyway… continuing on, with his dying will he entrusted me the Morphing Belt to go fight and defeat Darkdeath Evilman in his stead.
Except that there's a major problem.
I don't know how to fight.
I've never fought a battle in my life.
How can someone like me beat the Last Boss? He'll probably shoot lasers from his eyes and kill me instantly! Or worse, he'll burn me alive with fire, eat me, then use the Morphing Belt as dental floss! Hell, he might even shred me to pieces with those gargantuan claws of his! It had to be my luck to witness that event, didn't it?
I stared at his corpse, trying to comprehend all of… this. This mess I somehow got involved with.
…I'm sorry, Unlosing Ranger.
I don't think I can do this. I'm just a 'plain little pedestrian.' There's no way I can actually pull this off. Somberly, I look away and pick up the bag of groceries that I dropped during my initial shock.
I start walking again. I'm just going to pretend I never saw this happen and I'm going to get home before mom and dad yell at me.
But my legs feel like they're weighed down with lead. All I need to do is walk, and not look back. One foot over the other…
I look back at the Unlosing Ranger's corpse, still laying where it was abruptly hit minutes ago. The Belt, which he carelessly dropped with his death gleams tantalizingly in the morning light.
Come on, Late. What are you thinking?
You can't do this. You can't just go and replace the Unlosing Hero of everyone's dreams and wishes.
You can't just become the Unlosing Ranger by putting on that stupid belt.
You can't save the day.
You aren't a hero.
I… know I'm not a hero.
He asked me of all people- even if I'm just a bystander, and just so happened to be the closest person standing nearby.
He asked me with his dying breath to go save the world in his stead.
Can I really do this? I can imagine all the disappointed people in front of their TV Screens… Choco being one of them, but that's beside the point. More importantly, won't the world be destroyed if someone doesn't stop the Last Boss?
I know I can't stop him. I'm just a weakling!
…Just maybe, I can slow him down…?
No, everyone expects the Unlosing Ranger to win! I can't lose if I decide to do this…
Wait, why am I even contemplating this?
If I go, I'm going to die! I don't want to die!
…But if I run away, will that be any better if the world ends?
Either way… the Unlosing Ranger's name is going to be soiled.
Show up and lose, or don't show up at all and let the world be destroyed…
What do I do…?
The belt, from where it lays seems to taunt me.
I walk back to where the belt is, and pick it up.
Did you really think I can do this, Unlosing Ranger?
Because I don't.
The sound of my grocery bag hitting the pavement resounds dully.
I'm going to do this. You asked me for help… the least I can do is try.
"Muahaha! It seems the Unlosing Ranger has turned tail and run after all!" Darkdeath Evilman guffaws, howling with laughter. "This proves neither love nor justice exist in this world! Only pain and darkness! Therefore, heroes don't exist either! Yes!"
And here's me. The 'Unlosing Ranger'. The suit's somewhat comfortable, and the visor opens upward so I don't suffocate in my helmet, but do you know how I feel right now?
I feel like I'm walking straight to my death.
…I'm definitely going to die.
Despite how much my legs are shaking, I timidly walk towards the scene before me and glance wildly.
Darkdeath Evilman is more terrifying in real life than I imagined, oh god. And the Super Baby… is floating nearby, encased in some sort of barrier. Poor thing.
I continue walking closer, to the point where I am standing directly in front of Darkdeath Evilman. I feel like my legs are going to buckle at any moment.
Come on, Late. Stand tall.
At least look dignified when you die.
"Here he comes everyone! Our Hero, the Unlosing Ranger is here!" The announcer yells into the mic, clearly excited. "They say heroes arrive in the nick of time, but this might be a little much!" Sorry lady, that was the time it took for me to get my act together. Again, who the hell am I kidding? "Just look how fearless he is!"
Something must be wrong here. I'm sure I look scared out of my mind. Maybe the visor's getting in the way?
"You have come at last, Unlosing Ranger." He glowers menacingly at me with those blood red eyes of his. "If you dare call yourself a hero, then come at me and save this Super Baby!" He roars. "Pry it from my dark, evil, defeated hands!" Easier said than done has never applied to this conversation so much. "If you don't, the Earth if doomed! When this Super Baby dies, the world shall be destroyed!"
Without warning, Darkdeath Evilman raises a claw at me, and lunges.
Stay focused! Fight back!
…How do I fight again?
That should work, right? Punches really hurt. I would know. I've been on the receiving end of punches all the time.
I throw a punch at his stomach, but it obviously doesn't do much damage. Not with that absurdly thick armor or with my scrawny physique.
Why do I have to be such a weakling?
Once more, he raises his claws and slashes at me three times. Each hit, miraculously not tearing into the jumpsuit, but damaging me all the same.
I'm going to die.
Again, I throw another punch at his stomach, hoping to whatever deities that exist out there that they'll grant me a miracle and kill him instantly.
But it doesn't work.
Sneering, Darkdeath Evilman lunges. There's no time to dodge or run.
I'm really going to die.
Squarely, I'm hit in the face and clawed. I can taste blood in my mouth.
Everything's getting blurry… Is this death…?
I can hear him laughing.
I'm sorry, Unlosing Ranger. I couldn't do it…
I regret everything.