As dictated by the polls, I'm releasing a non-Shirou Chapter followed by a dedicated Shirou chapter.


Technoblade never dies.


Chapter 43

Beta: L33t Horo

Cover: LousGndiner


What a troublesome man.

Shuzenji Chiyo, better known as Recovery-Girl, could only watch on in frustration at the ongoing examinations. Her role was simple. Standby and watch in case any of the students get too injured. The teachers were holding themselves back, both consciously and physically with the help of weights, but accidents could still happen.

This was why Chiyo found herself all by her lonesome surrounded by seemingly endless screens, depicting each venue where the students would be having their examinations.

At least she had candies with her. The sweets would end up making the pickles in her office taste better later.

Soft and irritated growling came from her communicator. To anyone else, it would've sounded like gibberish, but she had known Hound-Dog for too long. As a result, she knew exactly what he said.

"Yes, it is unfortunate," Chiyo nodded. "That man… it makes little sense for him to do something like this."

More growls came through.

"Indeed. His actions are endangering our students, but of course, the public doesn't see it that way," she lamented. "A spy of all things… that child would sooner cut his arm off than do anything to endanger his classmates."

And Chiyo wholeheartedly believed it. His actions throughout the year so far haven't done anything to disprove those thoughts. She felt a twinge of regret, but it was tossed aside, knowing that her decision all those months ago was the correct one.

Hound-Dog growled into her ear once more.

"Have you gotten attached after watching him over the week?" Chiyo asked with a light smile. "I know that you're worried. However, there is little we can do for him now. We must wait and see."

Though, seeing might be a bit difficult, considering that Endeavor's initial blast of flames severely damaged the cameras in the venue. He would likely reimburse them, as something trivial like property damage could be solved with enough money, but until then, they were blind to the urban venue.

Static noise and flickering variations of grey pixels were all they could observe. Endeavor wanted whatever happened there to be off the books. He would likely get his wish, especially with the Hero Association backing him. They might have trusted Nezu in that the child was not a threat, but it would seem that they still wanted to conduct tests of their own.

Softened growls before his communicator shut off.

"Impatient as ever," Chiyo sighed as her eyes turned to an open screen, depicting a different urban environment. A suburban one. "And it seems that this one is just as impatient."


Why is he here?

Trudging along the suburban streets, which were almost life-like to Japanese suburbs, Todoroki could not get it out of his mind. A frosty chill emanated throughout the street corners unwanted, though he did not attempt to reign it in.

Amid that man's sweltering presence, a little chill was much welcome.

Klaxon blared. The exam had begun.

All Todoroki had to do was take out Aizawa quickly, before the man could even use his Quirk–!

"–Todoroki! Above!"

At the call, Todoroki couldn't help but flinch as he looked to the sky. The midday sun nearly blinded him, but he could make out a noticeable figure standing atop one of the false powerlines.

Said figure watching them already with eyes lit ablaze.

Shit! They were already nullified by Aizawa's Quirk! How were they going to–?

Almost as if by divine intervention, a familiar figure stepped between them with a thin shield raised between him and their teacher's gaze. Already, Todoroki could feel his Quirk returning to him, but it wouldn't be for long.

"Is something bothering you, Todoroki?" A little bit of frustration leaked through her tone, only made more obvious by how she lightly glared at him. "This isn't the time to be distracted!"

"Yaoyorozu…" he found himself muttering. "How–"

"I prepared it beforehand!" She said as she peeked around her hasty shield. "Use your quirk to create something to use! I can't see Aizawa anymore, but he's fast. He'll be here soon–"

"Excellent deduction."

Todoroki, immediately upon noticing the familiar bored tone, tried to send a wave of ice towards it but found his Quirk once again unwilling.

Shit, I was too slow–!

It was only when he saw Yaoyorozu moving between them again that his Quirk decided to oblige. However, he didn't have time to make his ice swerve around Yaoyorozu. So instead, he chose to send it towards Aizawa, with Yaoyorozu along for the ride.

"Sorry about this, Yaoyorozu!" he earnestly said.

"No need!" she shouted back as she created something out from behind her– a bo staff. "I'll try and keep him occupied! Create a wall and entrap us both!"

"And head to the exit by his lonesome? Solid plan–" Aizawa leaped over both Yaoyorozu and his wave of ice, halting it in its tracks as soon as he caught Todoroki in his gaze. "Shame that you didn't use the time earlier to talk about it beforehand."

It was almost as if his blaring red eyes, a tell-tale sign of his Quirk being used, were berating him. Almost as if he had been expecting Todoroki to do better.

To be honest? Todoroki felt the same way.

All because of that man being here…!

Todoroki tried to dodge, but even when weighed down by obscene weights, Aizawa's aim wasn't bogged down in the slightest. His bandage wrappings, initially loose around his neck, sharpened and tightened around Todoroki's prone form. Ensnared, Todoroki struggled to free himself.

No, he knew he could break out of them, if only he had access to his Quirk–

Aizawa bent his head to dodge, likely hearing the whistling winds behind him, as a bo staff threatened to knock him unconscious.

In that short moment of distraction, Todoroki unleashed a wall of ice to cover himself from Aizawa's vision. He'd have included Yaoyorozu in doing so, but he was afraid that it'd take too long.

Pathetic.

Todoroki, for once, let his fire burn away the bindings around him. His control was lacking, especially when compared to–

Pathetic, Todoroki Shoto!

His inner voice, or perhaps inner demons, threatened to overwhelm him. He tried to silence them, creating blades of ice as he had done mere days ago in training, but he could not escape reprimand. Not when the source of it was himself.

Yaoyorozu was doing all the work. Even now, she was probably keeping Aizawa busy with what little her Quirk could conjure.

And here he was, being an idiot…!

Was that all it took? Just one thought of Endeavor was all it took to send him down this spiral of irritation? Pathetic!

He didn't know which way the exit was. The short scramble disorientated him, but there was only one way to solve that.

Going up.

Todoroki, within an instant, created a tower reaching the thin wire mesh dome. He made sure to have the edges of his platform lengthened to erase his silhouette from view. Upon locating the exit, Todoroki surrounded himself with a cocoon of ice and created a platform for him to slide down.

In a short few seconds– quiet and uneventful as it sounded, Todoroki had sled through the waiting exit.

Klaxon blared to signal their victory, but it felt like ash in his mouth.

They all–Aizawa, Yaoyorozu, and Todoroki himself–knew that this victory was Yaoyorozu's alone. Todoroki, even if he had been the one to cross the finish line, didn't accomplish much of anything.

He turned back to look at the suburbs, only to catch a glimpse of Yaoyorozu wrapped in bandages. However, Aizawa himself was wrapped with light chains.

She had stopped Aizawa from following him. How she did so, Todoroki could only guess that she created it while his back was turned or from behind the safety of her shield– which seemed to be missing now that he looked at them.

"Good work on passing," Aizawa snorted as he shrugged the chains off of him. "I'm sure we all know where we need to improve on."

Todoroki simply nodded. He wasn't arrogant enough to ignore his shortcomings.

"I was distracted," he admitted. "Sorry, Yaoyorozu. I ended up relying on you for most of it."

"It's fine. All that matters was that we passed," she smiled but frowned shortly after. "But, I will admit that I expected this to be harder."

"It merely shows your growth," Aizawa offered. "Now, make a move on. We need to get back to the main building."

"Why?" Todoroki found himself asking. "Is there more to the exam?"

Aizawa's eyes darkened. "You weren't the only one distracted."

Todoroki frowned.

Emiya…

"Will we be able to see everyone else's matches from there?" Yaoyorozu asked with… was that a hint of worry?

"Since you finished the examination early, there shouldn't be any reason to prevent you from doing so," he said. "You could even satisfy your worries this way."

Todoroki's eyes closed in silent defeat.

Yoayorozu had also been distracted, it would seem, but she pulled herself together faster than he could have.

He would do better. He would be better.

To do anything else was to let him win.


"I'm not letting either of you go!"

Ah, how saddening. It would seem his flamboyant attire had given them away. They had been so close to un-flamboyantly escaping unseen, but he supposed that would've been too easy.

Aoyama gripped the railing as hard as he could. Besides him, Uraraka did much of the same. From behind them, Thirteen's Quirk swallowed the air and created a vacuum. Slowly but surely, it was pulling both of them towards him, and further away from the exit.

Quite a pickle. What should they do…?

Thirteen wasn't much of a fighter, but she still had enough experience that she wouldn't go down without a fight. No, they'd need to catch her by surprise.

"Follow my majestic lead, miss Uraraka!"

"Pardon?"

And with that, Aoyama let go of the railing.

"Feast your eyes on me, miss Thirteen!"

Getting caught off guard, Thirteen halted her Quirk. He was sure that she'd turn it back on the moment that Aoyama had sailed past her, but he wasn't going to let that happen.

"Navel Laser!"

Thirteen had to dodge, as activating her Quirk when he was so near could potentially harm him. The sensibilities of a hero, how flamboyantly heartwarming! It pained him to take advantage of it like this…

… but it was something he had gotten used to.

The laser killed his momentum as he landed on his feet right beside Thirteen, who looked ready to tackle him down and re-activate her Quirk to grab Uraraka.

However, thanks to the efforts of his peers, he had more up his sleeve.

"That's not all, miss Thirteen!" He dropped his gauntlet and raised his bare palm towards her. "Palm Laser!"

Light flashed through. The pain was blistering but much more bearable than before.

With a look of shock and surprise, Thirteen tried to back away, but his laser had managed to catch her even more off guard. The laser nipped her shoulder, but because it came from somewhere that wasn't his navel, it was much weaker.

Aoyama flicked his hand away, dropping the gauntlet of his other hand and raising his palm towards the disoriented Thirteen.

Just as he was about to let loose yet another flashy laser, the blaring klaxon interrupted him.

"It would seem that miss Uraraka has escaped," Aoyama sighed with a flamboyant drawl. "Just when the spotlight was finally on me… how saddening."

"You caught me by surprise," Thirteen complimented as she gathered herself. "I think I could've dodged those if it weren't for these weights, but more importantly… when did you learn that?"

"You'll have to thank mister Emiya for that!" Aoyama smiled. "His unique thoughtfulness shined through my cloudy ignorance!"

"You'll have to update your Quirk with the registrar, but I think the school can do it for you if you want," Thirteen removed the weights on her wrists. "Good work, Aoyama, but I noticed those blisters on your hand. You'll have to get those looked at by Recovery Girl."

"As you wish!"

While he appeared unfazed at the praise, it brought a warm feeling to his stomach.

Being praised… now wasn't that a pleasant feeling? Though, it wasn't long before a familiar sense of guilt clouded it.


Iida's eyes hardened as his gaze scanned the seemingly barren quarry.

His partner, Ojiro, watched as Iida picked up a loose stone and tossed it into the barren wastes. A short second later, it ground beneath collapsed before letting out a cloud of dust.

"Power-Loader has likely entrapped the entire field," Ojiro surmised. He picked up another stone and tossed it off into the far side to the same effect. "Yikes, even the far corners? We're probably standing on the only safe spot."

Iida simply nodded in silence.

I must pass this exam.

He was nowhere close to being the kind of hero that his brother wanted him to be– nowhere near the kind of hero he wanted to be.

It's just a minefield, Iida reasoned to himself. All he needed to do was cross it. It was either that or dive down into the caverns that Power-Loader no doubt dug and fight him there.

Iida quickly realized that was a horrible decision. His brother would've gone and tried getting a more compatible hero for the job– but he couldn't. He couldn't run away that night, not when the Hero-Killer had him trapped like a rat.

Iida clenched his teeth as he lowered himself to one knee.

"Iida?"

Ojiro had called out to him, but Iida chose to concentrate. His brother couldn't run away. He couldn't get any help that night. As a result, he had to fight a maniac by himself. Ingenium was not able to do so, but Iida would end up having to.

One day, Iida would fight the Hero-Killer. One day, he wouldn't have any allies available to help him. One day, he'd have to take down the Hero-Killer by himself– but in doing so, he would be acting selfishly. The Hosu Incident had shown that his single-minded goals would've sent him further away from the people he was supposed to protect as a hero.

Ingenium wouldn't run away from people in need, he would've run towards them to save them–but in doing so, he'd let his brother's assault go unpunished.

Iida gritted his teeth tighter than before and sprinted across the pitfall-trapped field.

"Iida!?"

Iida ran.

The soil was coarse beneath his feet and the wind liberating as it rushed past him. Like Ingenium, he would be able to run towards their goal. All he would need to do was keep his mind on the goal– his destination.

If he didn't… it would come rushing back again.

The regret.

The disappointment.

The–

"Iida!"

He felt nothing under his feet. His footing had shifted and now nothing but a gaping hole was there to greet him. He felt regret. He could see the disappointment in his examiner's eyes. Above all…

"Damn it!" He found himself cursing as he fell into Power-Loader's domain. Iida immediately activated his thrusters to reorient himself, raising a leg high and ready to slam it down towards the examiner.

He had to pass! Because if he didn't… if he didn't…!

"Naive," Power-Loader sighed. His fist came up and blocked the blow. The echo of steel filled the hole he dug. "Your Quirk makes for a good forward kick. What're you doing trying to use gravity for a downward one?"

Iida rebounded and was sent flying into the dirty earthen walls of the pit. The dirt was soft, but Iida could still feel the pain from the impact.

"Boy," Power-Loader called out to him. "What's Aizawa been teaching you? Rushing in like that with no plan… it's a surefire way to get yourself killed."

Almost as if in rebuke, Iida pushed himself off the earthen walls towards Power-Loader.

He had to pass! He had to win! He had to be victorious! He needed to be stronger! Because if he can't, then he wouldn't be able to defeat that stain upon society! He had to avenge his

A giant mechanical fist caught his left leg in its grasp. He was hoisted and tossed upside down as the examiner's eyes stared at him.

That feeling welled up again.

"Not even listening to me, are you?" He berated. "Is that helmet screwed on so tight that you can't even think properly about your actions or conduct? Manual must've been blind. Where is he? What happened to the boy who performed admirably and with a level head?"

Iida squashed that feeling before it could take root again. His left leg's engine howled, acting almost like a blowtorch to the mechanized fingers.

However, that wasn't all. Iida activated his other engine and tried sending a kick towards the exposed Power-Loader, fully ready to knock him unconscious and–

The other mechanical arm grabbed his other leg before it even got close.

"Did he even exist?" Power-Loader frowned. "... perhaps not. As you are now, you're not even trying. Your eyes are blinded by something."

"With all due respect," Iida slightly spat. "I am trying as hard as I can…!"

"No boy," the examiner shook his head. "No, you aren't."

Klaxon blared. Ojiro had likely crossed the finish line while Power-Loader was too busy dealing with Iida.

"Though, that boy? Now he's trying," Power-Loader berated. "Even with a foolhardy teammate, he saw that the best option was to run away and find help. It'll likely hurt him, and make him feel like he just abandoned his ally, but it's better than dying in a losing battle, especially one that his ally put no thoughts into. That boy used his head. You? You've got yours so screwed tight that it can't even be screwed back."

From behind his mask, Iida's teeth ground against each other. Any harder, Iida felt like he'd break one of them.

I still don't know what to do, brother…

"How disappointing. Ingenium would be ashamed to hear about this," Power-Loader sighed. "You might've passed because of your teammate, but you aren't getting a high score for this, not even the slightest. I would've expected this from that explosive boy, but not from you."

Power-Loader let him go gently, but the battering to his efforts was anything but.

Iida closed his eyes as Power-Loader got to work making a slope for him to crawl out of, but not even the sound of shoveling dirt could stop that feeling invade him again.

That bitter feeling of shame.

I still don't know how to become a hero like you.


"I trust that I do not need to coddle you?" Aizawa told them before walking off towards another part of the viewing platform, likely to meet with Recovery-Girl.

Yaoyorozu didn't even get to respond but to be fair to her teacher, they were both preoccupied with something more… concerning.

"Yaoyorozu!" a familiar voice called out. After having been in multiple training sessions with her, Yaoyorozu was quick to realize it was Uraraka. "The teachers told us that we can watch the other matches from here!"

"We can see them sparkle~!"

"Oh? How nice," she smiled in response. "Did you pass before we did?"

"Probably not," Ojiro, who also appeared to have finished his exam, answered in her stead. "By the time we got here, we couldn't find any screen that showed your match at all, so we were just talking about whether you guys failed or not… Did you?"

"We have not. It was probably because our venue was somewhat further away," Yaoyorozu reasoned, knowing that Aizawa-sensei had rented a small golf car and let them ride with him. Though, as she said that, she noticed a few frowns on a few of those around her. It prompted a few hesitant coughs. "… Did some of you fail?"

"Of course not~!"

"No, we all passed, but…" Ojiro answered once more. His eyes twitched a bit to a fellow bespectacled classmate sitting further away, likely being the reason for his hesitation. "It's just… can we not talk about it?"

Yaoyorozu pursed her lips in concern. Their class president had seemed… a bit different after his return from the Hosu Incident. Was it her responsibility as their class' vice-president to see how he was doing? But maybe that would be prying…?

"I assume some of you weren't proud of how you passed?" Todoroki surmised. "I can understand that. I won't pry."

"Neither will I," she smiled. Yaoyorozu could also feel a little sympathy in his tone. It was a little disappointing, but perhaps some things were better off left alone… at least until she knew what to say. Recklessly jumping into things wouldn't solve anything. "How have our classmates been doing?"

"Wonderfully~!"

"It varies," Ojiro answered.

"Some of them aren't doing so good though," Uraraka muttered worriedly. "Mina and Kaminari still haven't found the exit or their examiner."

"Who was their instructor again?" Todoroki asked, eyes scanning the numerous screens.

"Principal Nezu," Yaoyorozu winced. Yes… she'd be hard-pressed to find a victory if he was her opponent. His intelligence was the stuff of legend. After a glance at the screen showing him practically toying with their classmates… "It seems that rumors about his grudge on humans weren't exaggerated."

"At least they're doing better than Deku…" Uraraka frowned. "Why can't he and Bakugo get along? All-Might's practically tearing them apart."

"Quite uncouth~!"

"Asking for cooperation with Bakugo is an exercise in futility," Ojiro frowned. "He'll probably have to escape by himself…"

"On the bright side, Jiro and Koda managed to do it!" Yaoyorozu pointed out a particular screen. "While their methods were… unsettling, to say the least. Present-Mic didn't see it coming."

Though, now that she was looking at the screens…

"We can't find Emiya's screen either," Ojiro easily figured out her intentions. "Or rather, we did, but…"

"It's the one that's covered in static, isn't it?" Todoroki frowned before muttering under his breath something along the lines of… his father being petty? Yaoyorozu wasn't sure she heard him correctly. "Have they been able to even see what's going on?"

"Hey, haven't you guys been ignoring me?"

"They said they were getting replacements," Uraraka answered. "Something about fire-proof robots?"

"They'll probably need those," Todoroki likely approved of the decision. "But… this can't be an accident. Endeavor wants something from him, but I have no clue as to what it is."

How frustrating… Yaoyorozu inwardly lamented. While she wholeheartedly believed that Emiya would end up passing… she worried about the aftermath. She knew, more than most, how unpleasant certain media outlets could be.

It took a while before her family's company could settle that debacle. A scandal that one of the board members ended up coming into the limelight, and while her father had nothing to do with it, they still ended up dragging him into it. It had only been resolved after… several things that Yaoyorozu knew her family wasn't proud of.

Yaoyorozu just knew that things would probably get worse for her classmate should his examination end the way she hoped it wouldn't.

"It would seem that my illustrious self…" Aoyama smiled sadly. "Was far too bright for my peers."


"I'm not late, am I?"

"Not at all, Aizawa," Recover-Girl waved her hand in greeting. "Do you want a gummy?"

"I'll pass," Aizawa replied but focused on the cameras before him. "And? What's the status of the other students?"

"Some are doing well, and some aren't doing well at all," Recovery-Girl admitted. "I believe that only a couple of them have passed so far. There's your batch. There's Thirteen's batch, who finished a bit later. After that… I believe Power-Loader's has finished as well. However, the others are still ongoing."

So that means Aoyama, Uraraka, Todoroki, Yaoyorozu, Iida, and Ojiro… Aizawa mused. He had not expected that many to pass this early. "Have we had any fails yet?"

"There haven't been any, but a couple of them are struggling," Recovery-Girl pointed to the top left screen. "Like those boys."

Aizawa snorted as he saw. Mineta and Sero. Considering their opponent, a struggle was inevitable. Their quirks were specialized in restraining an opponent, but what happens if the opponent can still fight or use their Quirk even when restrained? Midnight was surely having fun there.

His eyes flickered to the other screens. He saw Ashido and Kaminari running away from Nezu's temper tantrum. The board's involvement in the practical examinations might've made him a bit more aggressive than normal. It was unprofessional, but Aizawa knew that Nesu still had enough restraint to give his students a way to pass. All that matters was that they found it.

Tokoyami and Asui weren't faring any better, having been caught and restrained by Ectoplasm's ultimate attack. It was likely that, if it continued as is, they would fail. Though, Aizawa had faith in his students.

And speaking of his students, or rather one in particular.

"Still not repaired?" Aizawa asked.

"The heat is making it hard for any robots to approach," she replied. "It's like all edges of the venue were surrounded by fire. We can't even watch from above. The smoke is making it impossible to see."

"Endeavor isn't dumb enough to die from lack of oxygen. There must be a spot open for them to breathe," he surmised. He sucked in through his teeth and sighed. They'd have to grab one of their heat-proof cameras, but it'd take time for that to arrive from the main campus.

He'd simply have to trust that the boy found a way out of the mess that they found themselves in.

Instead, Aizawa turned to his other students. He eyed them mingling off to the side. They were watching the other exams, likely focusing on Midoriya and Bakugo's brawl against All-Might. He wasn't sure how that'd go, but he trusted Midoriya's rationality more than Bakugo's strength.

However, it was clear that the two he had been entrusted with were far more concerned about the static screen than anything else. Yaoyorozu was worried and Todoroki was outright glaring at it. Not only that, but one of them was off even further to the side, looking away from the group almost as if ashamed.

… It seems that Aizawa would have his hands full in the future.

"Hmm… it seems as if one match is going on longer than I thought it would," Recovery-Girl mused. "I didn't think that young Kirishima was this patient."

Aizawa turned to the screens and found where the resident gutsy teen was.

Hmm… not bad.


Okay… Kirishima exhaled softly. This is bad.

From behind his hiding place, Kirishima finally managed to catch a glimpse of the exit. He saw Sato hiding in a similar safe place further ahead, but that didn't make any of them feel better.

Not when Cementoss was guarding the exit with a calm smile on his face.

That's so not fair, Kirishima thought as he relaxed and calmly thought about what to do next. They'd have to make a distraction. After doing so, one of them would be crossing the exit goal… but that meant that the distraction would need to be someone capable of holding their own against Cementoss of all people.

Against Cementoss?

In the concrete jungle?

Yeah, not happening. That wasn't a victory in any sense of the word, but Kirishima still felt like he could last a few minutes alone. Cementoss could easily trap him in a ball and leave him so that he could take care of Sato, but by then, he could cross the finish line.

It all relied on waiting for the right moment. Those weights on Cementoss' body might end up tiring him out, so the longer they wait, the better the chances they had of overwhelming him.

Luckily, the two of them were hidden on the rooftops, so unless Cementoss looked up, they were completely fine to wait until they were ready.

"That's not fair!"

It was then that the building Sato was on rapidly sank into the ground.

WHY DID HE LOOK UP!?

Kirishima struggled to hold tightly onto the quivering building. A cloud of dust and debris shielded both his teacher and classmate from view. There was a part of him that just wanted to jump down there and help Sato out of his predicament. He could practically hear himself calling for it.

To do otherwise was to be an unmanly coward!

Once the crumbling rubble settled, Kirishima could barely catch a glimpse of Sato's bright yellow costume weaving in and out of the smoke, but at the same time, he could also hear the sound of concrete being shaped and shot.

He won't be able to handle that for too long, Kirishima frustratedly grits his teeth. Sorry! I'll pay you back later, Sato!

Kirishima already knew what it was like to fight an unbeatable enemy.

He wasn't going to be making the same mistake twice!

The exit was still there, covered by the cloud of debris, but he remembered where it was. That was all Kirishima needed!

Kirishima took a deep breath as he quickly jogged over to the edge of the roof, the furthest from the exit, before turning and facing where he knew it was.

Then, he broke out into a sprint.


Ishiyama Ken, better known as Cementoss, sighed slightly as he tried to clear away the cloud of debris.

That hadn't been one of his best ideas. He should've been more careful when it came to lowering that building, but perhaps he had been impatient after standing around doing nothing in particular? In any case, he wouldn't be trying that again, not without taking it slowly. Cement-based buildings weren't the most structurally sound things when they don't have any rebar supporting them.

"Give up," Cementoss called out to the struggling student. While it was an exam, he firmly believed that this was also supposed to be a learning experience. "You'll wear yourself out sooner or later. It's best that you–"

Wait. These were Aizawa's students. To struggle fruitlessly like this… is that what he would teach them? That overly cautious man?

Cementoss quickly reassessed the situation and manipulated the concrete, creating two giant flat structures and bent them quickly, blowing away the cloud and clearing up his vision.

Young Sato simply smiled as he swallowed another sugar cube, bolting forwards with seemingly reckless abandon.

A distraction.

Cementoss quickly looked around, noticing something flicker from the corner of his eye.

The other building!

Cementoss dropped his hands to the ground, sending a pulse and rippling the base of the concrete building, making it lurch backward so that whatever was on its roof would fall onto the street.

However, he was too late. He spotted young Kirishima leap from the building's edge and making himself airborne. Was he intending to make a mindless dash towards the exit?

His gaze flickered to young Sato, who was also dashing to him, but if he left him alone, he would likely also try and do the same.

"Don't assume that I can't multitask!"

He sent yet another pulse, one towards the yellow-clothed student and another upward to his airborne peer. A wave of concrete and a pillar would impede their paths and send them tumbling back to square one.

He felt just a little cruel, but this was still an exam, after all–

"Sugar Rush!"

Cementoss widened his eyes as he watched young Sato switch tactics as he grabbed a broken piece of concrete, eyes glazed as if in a stupor, and threw the piece towards the shocked teacher.

Just as he was about to create a wall to block it–

"Red Riot Unbreakable!"

This one too?

Cementoss watched as spikes seemingly sprung out of young Kirishima's body. Blackened veins, which he was told to watch out for, flowed throughout his body like a second circulation system. The boy raised his arms and punched through the erected concrete pillar almost like it was mere paper.

He redoubled his efforts. From behind the safety of a constructed wall, Cementoss raised several more pillars, they twisted and turned towards young Kirishima, but the boy continually battered them aside. Just as he had enough and attempted to create a couple of pillars to surround and trap the boy, his wall crumbled as young Sato crashed through.

"Eat this, Cementoss-sensei!"

On reaction, cement rose from below and formed a layered shield. It held for a second before starting to crack. He forced it forward, but the student held his ground and refused to be sent flying back.

But he wasn't going to forget about the other one.

Even without looking behind him, Cementoss send a pulse that willed several thick walls to block his approach. From his falling trajectory, young Kirishima should be landing a meter or so in front of the entrance, but he'll be unable to make his way through, especially if Cementoss took the time to concentrate on adding several more layers.

"A split effort instead of a joint one. Divide and conquer?" Cementoss mused. "Honestly, I expected you both to simply rush me. Well done, but it won't be enough."

"Oh, I don't know…" Rikido Sato huffed, likely experiencing the drawback of his Quirk as he struggled against the concrete, now slowly losing his ground. "We had to change the plan, but this isn't all we got!"

The sound of something crashing into the ground echoed throughout the street, signaling that young Kirishima had landed. All Cementoss needed to do was liquify the cement beneath Sato and he'd fall over–

A second extreme echo caught his attention.

Then a third.

He turned his head only to catch a glimpse of a hardened fist, sharpened and spiked like a claw, but with the tips of his fingers blackened like the veins around him.

Nezu didn't tell me about that!

"Red Gauntlet!"

And then his concrete cracked.

Not good! I need to send another pulse–

"Don't look away now, sensei!"

Cementoss flicked his gaze, watching as the young Sato broke through his wall, posed as if he was a martial artist, and prepared to send another punch.

Two loud echoes, followed by the sound of crumbling concrete, then klaxon blaring soon after.

"Good job," Cementoss smiled.

You've found some good ones, Aizawa.


The sound of machinery. The racket that they produced managed to fill the facsimile of a factory with unending life, but for the two students running through it, rather than life, they felt that death itself was right at their heels.

Nezu would have felt bad, and some part of him did, but he was far too preoccupied at the moment.

A part of his mind was not wholly focused on the examination at hand. Though he was capable of running complex equations simultaneously, the current problem he and his students were facing was not one to take lightly.

Endeavor had planned this well, Nezu mentally applauded. With the Hero Association backing his decision to interfere with the exams, there was little that the principal could truly do. His hands were tied. Only All-Might could theoretically rebuke Endeavor's decision, but then that'd be inviting criticism onto himself. That was an opening that All-for-One would, without a doubt, take advantage of.

Nezu couldn't let that happen, so there was little choice but in relying on young Shirou's ingenuity. He had done so before, and in Nezu's experience, those like him would inevitably do so again.

But what was even the point of it all? Endeavor was usually an easy man to predict, but as of late, that hadn't been the case. What were his goals concerning young Emiya?

He needed to know.

The principal, whilst in the throes of maniacal laughter to unsettle his examinees, paused as he swiftly realized that he had miscalculated. The construction crane, which was supposed to have tilted enough to slowly trickle down the pipes it was carrying nearby the students– to unsettle them of course– had flung its load off towards god-knows-where.

Damn. He wasn't in the right state of mind, even if 95% of it was committed to the examination.

Perhaps he should wrap it up soon? It had nearly been twenty-seven minutes already, but neither of his students found the exit. Like his brethren in a maze, both miss Ashido and mister Kaminari had been running in circles without a single idea which way was what.

Though they displayed a higher acumen with their respective Quirks… a professional hero needed to have more than just a good Quirk.

With that in mind, Nezu solemnly flicked a lever beneath him, and in doing so, activated a crane that turned to demolish the corner of the makeshift factory, trapping both of his students. Ashido was quick to try and melt the walls away, but that merely destabilized the facility even more than it already had been.

When it collapsed, so did their hopes. Nezu was disappointed but ultimately expected this.

He would've normally waited for the time limit to have elapsed, but Nezu knew that no matter how fast they ran they wouldn't reach the escape route, so he merely jumped off of his seat and made his way back to the regular facility.

He took out his phone, noting the few messages that Aizawa had sent notifying the complete lack of audio visuals for young Emiya's examinations.

"Those blasted robots…" Nezu sighed. "You program a bit of sentience into them, and suddenly, they don't want to get anywhere close to a potential fire hazard! I made them fire-proof today for a reason!"

Fortunately, not all of their robots were comically stupid. One of them managed to enter the venue to survey the examination… only to meet a wall of collapsed debris.

Endeavor… Nezu thought irritated. He didn't even follow the guidelines and left a way for the student to escape, did he? At this rate, they'd need Cementoss to intervene, just so that they could even catch a glimpse at what was going on in that fiery wonderland.

Though, Nezu imagined that once they did, Endeavor would `accidentally` destroy it. Yet another problem that he'd offer to solve with money.

Though, that was to be expected. Whatever Endeavor wanted, he didn't want others to know about it. Such secrets… Nezu understood the need for it. After all, he and his staff were keeping quite a big one.

That secret, Nezu would soon find out. He had already committed most of his days to clear young Emiya's name, so a few hours a day for Endeavor's secrets wasn't that much to ask. He'd stake his intelligence on it.

Already, Nezu had formulated a couple of ideas. One such idea involved the public information that Endeavor had redacted a month or so ago. Normally that would've been out of his notice, but when Aizawa had noticed it somehow… they had to be linked somehow. Coincidences just don't happen in their line of work.

That cafe owner… perhaps Nezu should look into him?

It was only a matter of time–

Nezu flinched as he saw a pillar of flames reach into the sky.

"Well…" he muttered as he rubbed his chin. "… That doesn't look good."


As the lights in the viewing room flashed red rapidly in an aggravating red, one teacher mirrored it with an equally aggravated expression.

That fire could only mean one thing.

Prominence Burn.

"That isn't something that should be used on a student in any circumstance, let alone an exam," Aizawa growled as his feet hurriedly turned towards the exit. Though, he was surprised that it took this long for that to happen. "Follow me, Recover-Girl. We'll probably need you."

Endeavor's gone too far this time.

His fingers rapidly tapped out a message to his colleagues still in the venue. Thirteen and Power-Loader should be available. He'd probably have to pickup Cementoss on the way, but that was–

"Aizawa-sensei!" Yaoyorozu shouted. "Allow us to accompany–"

He didn't even let them finish speaking. That was too much of an asinine decision to make, so he simply shut the door behind him and broke out into a run, but not before picking up Recovery-Girl in his arms. He already sent a message to the teachers to meet him at the brat's venue and even left messages for the other teachers.

In a situation like this, All-Might might even be necessary.

"It's been a while since I've had a man carry me," she chuckled.

"This isn't any time to laugh."

"A little levity never hurt anybody," she snorted. "Kids these days."

However, his eyes only narrowed as they neared the exit.

"He'll be fine," she reassured. "Your student is a remarkable young man."

"That's why I'm worrying," he stressed. "Do you know the consequences if he loses, which would be worse if he miraculously wins?"

"I'm not an idiot, Aizawa," Recovery-Girl frowned. "But Enji on the other hand… where did we go wrong with that child?"

"Shuzenji-sensei, he's not the same angsty teen that you taught when he went to U.A., at least not anymore," Aizawa frowned in slight reminiscence. "Don't treat him like one either."

He didn't hear a word of reply, but Aizawa felt that she understood his point.

Hopefully, they wouldn't be too late.

Don't die out there, brat…!


Next Chapter: Early August, due to being busy with a flight in July to meet w/ family


A/N: A short chapter, but this is mostly because I'm preparing for a vacation flight next month. I haven't seen them in close to two years, so I'm looking forward to that along with seeing the city that I grew up in. It's taken up much of my time, but I still haven't gotten all the relevant documents printed because of... reasons. It's not my chronic procrastination, I swear COPIUM.

Also HoloCure. That too. Shit's addicting. Vampire Survivors was addicting enough, but add on Hololive references? It's a time sink. I've already gotten the entire shop fully bought out and working towards getting all the characters at +20. It's half the reason why this chapter didn't come out a few days ago. I just forgot. Whoops.

This chapter was needed IMO. I've been focusing a bit too much on Shirou and neglecting on touching on other characters I feel. Some people won't like that decision, but a story revolves around characters, plural. I only really covered the changes anyway, so it shouldn't be an exact rehash of canon. Though, I did feel like I could've made this chapter longer if I wanted to truly delve into the thoughts of these characters... but I'm one lazy bastard.

I'll try to get another chapter out this month, but free time looks to be extremely scarce. I still haven't found a job either. Can't exactly write fanfiction for a living, now can I? I feel like my writing will suffer as a result, either with worse output or shorter chapters. Ew.

Until next time... because sometimes there won't be a `Next Time`,

Sadge

A/N 2: Fixed the misgendering of Thirteen in a sentence. Thanks to `EVA-Saiyajin`.