"T-This is hard."
Izuku was struggling in a strange posture.
He was standing low; one leg bent with the other stretched out. It was different than just carrying the large weight of objects like a slave. He was feeling the muscles he had never used constantly bear the burden of his own weight. It felt like his own tendons were slowly burning away, not like the raging burn of heavy labor, but the slow grinding friction trying to file away at every fiber of his limbs.
He mimicked Ghin when he attempted the slow, careful movements, moving in slow, calculated strides.
Toshinori took a look at Garou, seeing him sitting in the lotus position on the sands. Garou's eyes were closed, yet his face was facing the sea and the boundless horizon beyond it. It was the first time Toshinori saw him meditating this close. Toshinori looked at his own hands, flexing his fingers as he wondered what it was like.
He decided to sit down next to Garou. The sand under his butt was scorching, he could feel it through his denim pants. The pants were Best Jeanist's favorite brand.
He looked to the side, seeing young Iida grunting with a very stressed and exasperated expression on his face while a very heavy cubical laundromat was on his back. The young boy was definitely struggling for his life over there.
Toshinori looked back at Garou, seeing him not reacting to anything. Toshinori took a deep breath.
The air of Dagoba Beach was getting clearer with the work the two had done to clean this place up. It was still a mystery how such a nice-looking beach was covered in so much garbage over the years.
Seeing there was nothing left to do, Toshinori slowly mimicked Garou's lotus position. He did not remember the last time he tried something like this other than in the school gym when he was still a young, idealistic child.
It was a little struggle trying to snake both of his feet through the openings of his legs behind the knees, placing his ankles atop of each other's lap. His body may be without One For All, but the years of battle and hardship still echoed in his muscles and bones.
Once he was in position, he attempted to mimic Garou's posture and straightened his back, then his hands, how his fingers held the other hand.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
"This isn't that kind of meditation."
"Ahh?!" Toshinori threw his head at Garou, seeing his eyes were still closed.
How did he know? Was Garou psychic?
"Aren't you a little too old for this kind of thing?" Garou added.
Toshinori felt Garou's words were a little sharp when it nitpicked his age.
"...Well, it is better late than never?" Toshinori shrugged.
"You're only going to waste your time. You don't look like someone that wants mental clarity."
Toshinori couldn't deny that. There was a lot on his mind, and it was hard keeping track of his mission.
He knew he had an important job to do, but… being around Garou like this in such a casual environment… Toshinori did not recall being in an actual undercover mission before. Hiding from the public was easy, but to actually use his disguise with intent for a goal other than anonymity was a different experience.
In other words, he could not stop himself from being… himself around the Hero Hunter like this. The tone was just too peaceful and… different, no sign of the world-ending demon Garou painted himself to be.
"That is a little harsh," Toshinori replied.
"Say it what you like."
The awkward silence returned between them. Toshinori looked back at his apprentice, seeing Izuku still practicing the slow motions of the various forms of the Water Stream Rock Smashing fist.
"Is this your first time seeing martial arts in person?"
Toshinori looked back, still seeing Garou not moving a muscle. Seriously, how did he know?
"Um, yes. I mean, I am curious. Why are they moving their body in… such slow motion?"
"It is to help them feel every part of their body. You're supposed to breathe in and out like this to get a grasp on their internal energy."
"Oh." Toshinori did not know that.
Awkward silence returned like a receding wave. Toshinori shifted in his lotus position uncomfortably. It was hard talking with him like this face to face.
"...Are you meditating?"
"What else are you seeing?"
His sarcasm made it even more difficult to continue the conversation.
"I am currently visualizing All Might. Him at his prime."
Toshinori flinched as sweat started to cascade his skin.
"Uhh… w-what do you mean?" Toshinori blabbered, trying to play dumb.
"I want to defeat him at his best. I fought All Might before at this very beach one on one. It was a great battle, but turns out he is crippled."
"C-Crippled?" Toshinori felt his stomach wound and tender arm throb in response.
"He fought me while he had a hole in his stomach. I felt it when we exchanged blows, but I still didn't believe it." Garou explained.
Toshinori felt his skin making more sweat.
"Y-Y-You f-f-fought A-All Might? S-So h-how was h-he?"
Toshinori managed to scrounge up something to lie… though it was mostly from his curiosity at this point.
"Hm? He got my hopes up at first… the first time I met a prey worthy of my all. Then he decided to screw me over in the end. Tsk. I am sure he's also disappointed in himself. Now, I'm confident I can live up to his expectations if he gives his all."
'No, please. I don't have any expectations at all!' Toshinori screamed in his head.
"He is no longer a match for me at his Prime. It is hilarious how the internet lets everyone know every hero's moves shown. Seriously, I can counter every move All Might can dish out now."
The more Toshinori heard about it, the faster his heart beats with growing panic. It was like hearing a serial killer telling his victim his entire plans without him knowing it.
"Hey, you alright? You look a little pale."
"Oh, you might be scared for All Might. Yeah, he is done for. Hey, do you know if he is fully healed yet?"
Toshinori did not want to answer that. He felt like a parent who could not tell a child that the other parent ran away or something equally serious, only this was also equally comical.
"W-What do you mean healed?"
"I don't know. Honestly, you strike me as the guy that knows quite a bit on the Hero Side."
Toshinori's face turned paler.
"W-W-What about me gave you that impression?"
"I can read you like a book, you know? Honestly, you're a bad liar. Usually, I would kill anyone that would spit falsehoods in my face, but I don't think I can do that to you. You're not the kind of guy I can hate, honestly."
Toshinori was sure that he would if he knew his alternate persona.
"But judging by your reaction… All Might is not going to heal, isn't he?" Garou asked.
There was a hint of disappointment and sadness behind his tone. Toshinori gave him his full attention as the wounded hero in disguise's calm returned.
"...Truthfully, I was kinda hoping that the muscle man would come back and say that ridiculous line when I am in that costume."
Garou's words reached Izuku and Ghin. Iida stopped in his tracks when it reached his ears by accident just when he was about to pick up another giant piece of metal scrap.
"I mean, I had my taste of the Hero Side and the Villain Side. I encountered so many ridiculous and unique powers that I am convinced that someone out there should fix even that guy. I don't need a second opinion on his wound - All Might has that scar in his stomach for a long while. If I had to guess, I am kinda fooling myself hoping for someone to rise and face me… and end the string of disappointment that I'm facing almost daily."
His words completely caught off Toshinori, Izuku, and Iida's guard.
"...And the fact that I'm opening myself up… heh. Damn, usually I'm not this philosophically sentimental. I must be desperate at this point."
Toshinori was rendered silent. It was the first time Izuku saw this vulnerable side of Garou, a level of humanity that no one expected - no one other than his apprentice. Ghin did not interject and simply watched his martial arts teacher gaze into the horizon.
Toshinori clenched his hand, his fingers digging into his palm as he stared down at the sand, some scrap still mixed with the fine beige grains.
For the first time, Toshinori felt a sense of disappointment and shame this strong… It was strange. He was more used to living up to the expectation of his peers… but to be unable to live up to the expectations of the man that defeated and spared him was another matter.
Now that he thought about it when was the last time Toshinori had a proper rival in a sense… Enji was not easy to talk to and was always busy with his hero work. To think that he would consider Garou somewhat his rival… and he was older than him.
To think of it, Toshinori didn't know Garou's age. He would probably die if he asked it directly in his face, though.
"...I do think that there's a healing Quirk that allows such a feat." Toshinori decided to give his perspective to Garou. "But to find one in this day and age… if there is one, that person would be the most esteemed doctor in the entire world. Even now, there isn't a Quirk we know that can restore lost organs."
If it was so easy, Toshinori wouldn't have needed a successor. Even if All For One was defeated, there was still evil in the world, villains and opportunists ready to exploit the weak in any way.
"That so? All of the Quirks I know are from encounters." Garou turned to Toshinori.
"I don't blame you. The world is so vast that it's impossible to collect every Quirk inside an encyclopedia. I mean, no one even knows what All Might's Quirk is."
That was a lie, though at least Toshinori was calm enough now to say it without stuttering.
"How do you people manage to keep tabs on those with special Quirks anyways? What if there's a Quirk that kills people on touch? How do you guys handle that?"
"Well, that's a tricky question. You see, we simply…"
The day at least ended in a nice casual conversation between the two teachers, their disciples' training on the beach until it was late in the morning.
Izuku sighed as he returned home from school.
"The Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist…" Izuku muttered.
Izuku didn't know there was a martial art like that. He researched martial art on the internet, but he just couldn't find anything related to it. Garou did not seem to lie when he said that it was one of the main techniques he used when he took down All Might.
Ghin recounted the tale with great enthusiasm that reminded Izuku of himself how Garou and All Might exchanged blows with All Might managing to land some lucky blows against Garou before the end.
They met in an alleyway in Dagoba, and Garou returned All Might's attack with a counter, managing to faze the Number One Hero before they started dancing across the rooftops under the gaze of the setting sun, which was very visual in how the boy narrated the fight.
The Whirlwind Iron Cutting Fist cut the tendons of the Number One Hero… although when Ghin described that technique, it sounded like something out of a martial arts movie. Izuku had absolutely no idea how to perform something like slicing concentric rings of perfect circles out of something.
It was even more surprising when Garou performed it in front of his eyes as he sliced a giant refrigerator into segmented pieces.
It looked like something that belonged to a Quirk but… it felt different.
Izuku didn't know how to describe it, but there was a presence - like he could feel the result…
Either way, Ghin told Izuku that it was better for him to learn the Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist since it suited his personality better.
Hearing the boy bluntly calling him a hopeless that could only follow one martial art was something. It wasn't like Kacchan or his friends calling him Deku just because of calling him Quirkless; there was harmless jovial intent behind him - and Ghin promised to show him how to counter with the Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist if he came to Hosu with some gifts… presumably either more Garou merch or something good from outside Hosu, preferably some nice Japanese snacks and such.
However, Izuku heard an unexpected voice joining after he went inside the train to Hosu.
Throwing his head to the left, he saw his childhood friend Kacchan staring at him with those perpetual angry eyes that constantly glared at him.
"K-K-K-Kacchan!?" Izuku blubbered as he fell into a wide-eyed panic.
Why was he here?
There was nothing for Bakugou to see in Hosu… wait, did something happen with Garou? Izuku immediately pulled out his phone to check for any hidden alerts but saw nothing about Garou going on.
"Why the hell are you here on this train? Is there anywhere important you need to go to?"
Bakugou demanded of Izuku.
"Me?! What are you doing here?! Aren't you supposed to take the usual train home?!"
There was only one significant place this train leads to out of all the stops.
"What do you think? Are you looking for Garou, too, huh?"
The passengers around the train flinched at the name, some of those with Quirk mutations like an octopus head and others looking like a fish on two legs turned to the children.
"Eh?" Izuku felt the thing holding his composure cracking like glass.
"Don't play dumb with me! Why else would anyone come to this train to Hosu?!"
Izuku looked left and right, seeing the passengers glancing in their directions.
"O-Oi, Bakugo, you shouldn't yell here. You could get into trouble with the local authorities if you keep this up."
Nor was it wise to mention one's brazen goal like that aloud to a train full of witnesses.
One of the passengers even had a phone flipped open and started dialing the three-digit security number.
"Tsk. Yeah, I'm getting off at the next stop. Don't you dare follow me, Deku, you hear?"
Izuku didn't know what to say as Bakugo cut off the conversation there. It did not feel like Izuku could bring up the question as to why Bakugou wanted to find Garou. Knowing Garou's habits, he rarely appeared in his usual self-made arena in Hosu on weekdays.
'He did not like wasting his time all day in one spot,' he said when Izuku asked before. The Hero Hunter had other qualities than fighting, making him more civilian than a demon, which was surprising.
It was like hunting heroes was his hobby if he so believed.
Bakugou left the train at the next stop, but not without delivering a glare at Izuku's direction before the doors slid closed.
Still, to hear about people looking for Garou was not something that he believed was a necessary choice.
Izuku pursed his lips as he waited for the train to reach his destination.
Worry started to build in Izuku as the train vibrated under his feet, the outside sun running by the windows, the rays peeking in momentarily before the train turned away just to return through the window facing it.
"It couldn't be…" Izuku had a hunch. He looked around the train just in case, specifically those around his age or who looked out of place.
Sitting in the corner of the train, Izuku saw a strange boy.
His long hair was bowl-cut, the locks not barely reaching his neck. The color of his hair as the color was evenly split into two contrasting ones, white on his right side and crimson-red on his left. Not only that, there was a burn scar around his left eye as well.
Not only that, his left eye's iris appeared turquoise, while his right was a brownish dark gray. It was the first time Izuku saw someone with heterochromia iridium as he looked around some more.
He looked around his age and was looking at his phone, though his face seemed serious. It was a face that would make him popular with the ladies, but he gave off an air that made him seem unapproachable at first. He seemed to be wearing a student's uniform, though Izuku could not recognize which school he belonged to.
Looking around again, he caught another strange person.
There was another man, though one that looked like a villain on the far opposite side of the train car, standing with his eyes on the phone.
Izuku said he looked villainous because his scars were far more severe than the other person's.
He was a tall, pale young man, his build slim and slightly lanky. His hair was black in color, his hair shape standing tall and spiky, though it was wilting forward a little. His heavily-lidded eyes were turquoise in color.
What made this person stand out was the patches of gnarled, wrinkled, purple skin. His arm, the body below his collarbone, the area below his eyes, all of them had these discolored burn marks. The ones below the eyes caught Izuku's attention as he noticed crude surgical staples or hoop piercings attaching the bad skin to his healthy one.
There were silver cartilage piercings in his ears, his nostril, and on the right side of his nose.
A dark blue jacket with a high, ripped collar covered his body and the white undershirt, his pants of matching color cut off above his ankles.
Izuku could only chalk those injuries due to a Quirk accident or some kind of incident that left him with those scars at an early age.
Overall, it seemed that Bakugou wasn't the only one looking for Garou… was his identity leaked? No, there were people aware of his identity in Hosu; they just didn't want to antagonize him.
Ever since it was announced that Garou defeated the Number Two Hero and the others on his own, many people were afraid that they would call retaliation upon him, some even speculating doubts on All Might's involvement.
Meaning, it would take a brave, or foolish, soul to look for the man that defeated All Might, even though not many knew that Garou did defeat the Number One Hero in fair and honorable combat.
Though, Izuku had to ask, why the hell would Bakugou want to find Garou? Knowing him, it was probably either to challenge him brazenly face to face or something else… it was probably the first.
Bakugou would definitely try to challenge Garou face to face.
More than three months before the entrance exams.
That was enough time for him, enough time to meet the man that shamed his father.
It was the first time that he saw his siblings laugh at the pitiful sight of their father on his knee, the flame hero struggling to maintain that serious face of his against the emasculating pain spiking through his nether regions.
It was the first time he also broke his stoic mask, breaking into snickers that shocked his siblings.
He didn't expect him to do something like that, considering his image.
He was always curious about the Hero Hunter since he heard that the unknown man with no prior renown took down his father and the heroes supporting him single-handedly. When he visited his father in the hospital, he did not expect to see him making that kind of face, the face of a man that looked as if he had woken up from a long, long dream if he could put it into words.
The fires that consumed the man burned no more. However, he did not become a shell of the man. There was no emptiness inside him, only… well, a sense of clarity behind his eyes.
If he was honest, it was like Garou smacked him back to his senses.
No longer did his father shout useless words at him to get stronger for selfish reasons.
If he was honest, he found this as a positive change at the very least when the scum side of him died.
It was reason enough for him to try and meet the Hero Hunter in person. Another reason he wanted to see what kind of person Garou was.
The train to Hosu was just as uneventful, though he did spot some other out-of-place civilians among the crowd. It wasn't hard since he was also out of place, and he just had to take a good look at their face to tell their age, minus the mutant variety.
He went out of the station and went to the streets. He noticed that there were many more people in Hosu, a lot livelier than the last time he checked on the internet regarding its state since Garou marked this place as their territory.
He thought the residents of Hosu would try to move to another city away from the most dangerous Villain… no, the most dangerous person that was on the line of being a Villain.
However, it seemed that Hosu was bustling with more activity.
"Get your Hero Hunter Merch here!"
"Try the Demon of Hosu Ink Crackers! All ingredients are fresh and tasty!"
"Masks here! Get your masks here!"
The residents seem to like the Hero Hunter… seeing them accepting Garou made him smile a little. Someone that was against heroes gaining favor from civilians… was something he didn't think he would see. Them being happy cemented The Hero Hunter's creed to never involve civilians or the police in his violence.
Not only that, his presence reduced crime rates in Hosu even more so while crime rates around the other towns were slightly increasing. The only drawback was that Garou did not paint the heroes in a better light with his actions.
He had not yet met any of those new breeds that followed Garou's ideals, the ones that challenge heroes and whatnot nowadays.
He had seen the live video recordings of some masked individuals challenging random heroes to a duel. Most of them never used their Quirks and got apprehended, but he could see that they were wearing down the Heroes, those without good Quirks like Midnight who knocked most of them out… though there were female challengers entering the mix.
It was strange how the Hero Hunter's actions have impacted Japan.
Heroes retiring from the trauma of facing the hero hunter, like Death Gatling, yet crime did not spike due to his presence. Maybe it was due to fear that the Hero Hunter would come for the villains if they made their presence known.
Still, he wasn't here to take in the scenery.
The Hero Hunter lives here in Hosu.
He was aware that residents knew the Hero Hunter's identity, yet none of them posted them online for some reason, not even the villains. It was a strange occurrence, but it was probably to keep the Hunter from resuming his rampage across Japan if they took away his slice of peace.
Because of that, he could not find Garou's face behind the mask on the internet.
The locals were aware of him, so he decided to look for places that the Hero Hunter might frequent. No one could assume his preferences behind the mask, so he would have to check the places where the Hero Hunter purchased his food.
There was a rumor that the Hero Hunter frequented a certain stand owned by a man with a lobster head.
However, while Shoto Todoroki was browsing the civilian streets of Hosu, he overlooked a certain duo, one riding the shoulder of a moss-headed dreamer.
"I was wondering when they would show up…" Ghin muttered.
"You were wondering? You were expecting them?" Izuku asked as Ghin pressed his flat hand against his forehead as he scanned the surroundings.
"Aniki is famous now. Of course, people would come looking for him. Ohhh, a gecko guy is leading a small gang asking people around."
"Really?" Izuku looked up. Ghin was facing westward, prompting Izuku to turn his head towards his line of sight. A mutant type Quirk holder was talking with a stall owner, the one selling Garou action figures.
"Yeah. Oh, I saw the one with the burn scars. There's also someone with strange purple hair asking around."
"What is Ga-I mean, Bang doing, though?" Izuku asked.
Izuku felt like he was doing a hidden documentary on the secret life of the Hero Hunter. It was not only scary since he was secretly undercover but also very fun as he got the chance to learn more about the enigmatic Hunter that shook Japan's hero world.
"He's trying something… new."
"Eh?" Izuku looked up.
"What do you mean?"
The context behind it sounded a bit ominous.
"Let's just say… he's working on a project right now."
"Thank you for coming to our humble abode. Would you like a cup of tea?"
Hidden within the traditional walls of the humble house, cordoned in and surrounded by a traditional Japanese garden, pond, and all, the head of the household sat on a tatami mat, looking at the man sitting across the table.
The head of the household did not wear his iconic plague mask in front of the one before him. To do so would be disrespectful for someone that distinguished himself from the traditional tropes of Heroes and Villains.
Garou sat there, one arm resting on his propped knee, staring at the man called Kai Chisaki, the heir of the Eight Precepts of Death.
"I'll be blunt. You are the first that I've met face to face." Garou phrased as Kai poured Garou a cup of tea.
"I am deeply honored that you accepted my invitation when we reached out to you. And that we're the first."
"I am not one for pleasantries, but I'll indulge you." Garou took the tea cap and brought it to his nose, sniffing it.
"I assure you that we bear no ill intentions. After all, I am a fan of your work." Kai Chisaki promised.
"Can't be too careful, though." Garou slowly sipped the tea.
"Indeed. You did leave yourself quite open to the world with your hunts. Brazenly too." Kai admitted as he waited for Garou to finish his sip.
"Hmmm. Tell me." Garou slowly placed the cup back down. "Before we start, let's get to know each other a little."
Kai's face remained stoic.
"...I am surprised that you're suggesting that." It was also within Kai's objectives to understand the Hero Hunter more in-depth.
He could understand his motives. They were both trying to appraise each other to see if they could attain mutual benefit.
"I did some research on you. You're a Yakuza… I don't think I met anyone calling themselves a Yakuza during my hunting months."
"What they're doing is simply no different than organized crime, yet they hold themselves to a certain esteem of honor." Garou continued. "But during the rise of heroes… I am curious about your organization's current standards. Did the Yakuza… adapt?"
Kai did not break his gaze with Garou's sharp, appraising eyes. It was strange; Kai had met dangerous men before… yet it was the first time he felt like he was in the presence of a predator.
"That…" Kai paused, "...is a difficult question to answer. I will say that the Boss still upholds the old ways. May I ask something in return?"
"Shoot." Garou allowed.
"What is your plan?" Kai asked.
"...Excuse me?" Garou quirked a brow.
"I apologize. I mean, I wish to know your end goal. I admire your ideas and methods, including your success, but I want to know… your vision. What is it that you wish to gain from the violence? Don't mistake it; I find your personal stunt with Endeavour highly amusing."
It was the first time Kai had a good laugh in a long while. He couldn't remember the last time he smiled as his subordinates pointed out.
Garou remained silent.
"Do you know why I stopped my hunts?" Garou asked.
"Something about a treaty with the Public Safety Bureau?"
Kai couldn't obtain the details behind it. That information was locked away very well behind safe walls.
"When I started the hunt…." Garou picked up his tea, staring into the reflection of his brew. "Usually, I would encounter… resistance. I have the will and determination to overcome any challenge, willing to take on anything that came at me."
Garou simply sipped his tea again.
"I once thought that I shouldn't be picky with my prey, heroes, villains. I wanted to be the monster that overshadows all, a threat that no one can ignore…"
"What changed?" Kai asked.
"I found out the hard way that… things are different here."
A silent pause sealed his lips.
"The heroes aren't what I am used to. The heroes here have something missing in them, something I did not know at that time. They feel lacking, very lacking… I don't know how to say it properly without sounding off."
"The heroes you were used to? Are you saying that you faced better?" Kai asked.
"Yeah. They aren't here anymore."
Kai decided to leave it at that. The topic seemed a bit personal.
"Moving on, you sound like you have never faced a hero before. Or the kind of heroes that infest our current society."
"Let's just say that the kind I'm used to is more… adept in the field than the ones here."
The words inspired a spark of curiosity in Kai. Was Garou from overseas? But that didn't answer the other questions his words aroused.
"...What do you plan to do once your group takes residence in Hosu?" Garou asked.
Kai remained silent. He had one project in mind, but something told him that Garou wasn't the type to allow the sacrifice involved. He did it since there was no other way to repay The Boss for his debt… but in the end, there was one avenue opened, and that was Garou.
"First, we will establish ourselves in the quiet place. It is a good start to recruit new blood wanting to break out of the villain stereotype."
"You wish to build your power in my territory? And explain what you are going to do with that kind of manpower?" Garou asked.
Kai paused as he collected his words.
"First, we will take control of all the villainous elements in your town. I assure you that The Boss' purpose is to give them an option other than to turn to the mundane life of pointless violence. Our men are disciplined, though I will admit that there are a few disorderly ones that are in progress."
That one was problematic, always thrashing in his chains under the heavy watch of his men for the chance to fight the Hero Hunter. Chisaki wasn't sure whether Garou would accept his challenge, but he would rather test the waters first.
"And what is it that you Yakuza do generally?"
"We maintain order in the Underworld. The Yakuza used to manage all the crime in Japan, to stop crime from spilling to the public."
"I mean, nowadays, what do you do? Other than sharing the same shelter with the disappointments they call Villains?" Garou asked.
Chisaki remained silent for a moment.
"We have our ways. You have the freedom to inspect our operations daily if something isn't to your satisfaction. After all, this is your territory."
The faces of Garou and Kai did not break contact, both appraising the other for the slightest twitch of mien.
"…And the pitch on your talents to prolong this transaction?" Garou asked.
"As far as I know, you are the first major players that kept himself in check when breaking the laws. At least, the most infamous. So infamous in fact that…Ah, yes, that some think you are worth of slander."
He caught Garou's attention.
"False alerts that the Hero Hunter started harming civilians staged scenes where someone dressed as you attacked an actor on the streets. They were, however, arrested as it was easy to determine the man behind the mask by the heroes that did stay after their encounter with you."
Kai was also one of the ones that tipped the Heroes off for that.
"That… is a first for me. Let me guess, friends or family of my victims wanting revenge?" Garou asked.
Sometimes, Kai forgot that Garou was still new to the burdens of fame, considering how new he was. Kai might be able to secure a place as his advisor of sorts, slowly getting the Hero Hunter involved in the Yakuza.
As far as Kai understood Garou, the man had no interest in becoming the underworld ruler.
"No, and no. Extreme hero fans enacting petty vengeance… it was a sad, yet highly amusing revelation."
"Wait, how come I've never heard of it?" Garou asked.
"The Public Safety Bureau tends to suppress the undesirable elements that challenge the public vision of the current system… sans you, of course. Your sudden presence and action have caught them unawares."
Garou narrowed his eyes at Chisaki.
"I see you're going all out on the pitch."
"Is it effective?" Chisaki asked.
"...You have my attention."
Chisaki smiled. He stopped smiling when he noticed it… he seldom smiled.
"Now, your turn. What is it that you need from us that is beyond even your power?"
When the greatest bane of heroes came to him for a request, Kai would be foolish to decline it. He doubted there was anyone else with such a personal connection with the enigma across him.
Garou looked back down at his teacup.
"I came here for one reason… there is another reason, but I'm not sure if I can find that person yet."
Hearing that from the Hero Hunter himself caught Kai off guard.
"You're looking for someone?" Kai was surprised… no, he shouldn't. The darkness of society knew how to hide very well, so even Garou shouldn't be able to navigate the maze so easily.
"I don't know if he even exists. I am basing it on a hunch, so I am holding that off for now."
Kai was curious, but he decided to move on.
"Then let us hear your main request. What is it you desire from us?"
Kai wondered if it was money or extra hands in a certain task. Probably searching for a hero or something to defeat… could he be searching for one of the myths? The only one that Garou could match was All For One, the legendary Quirk Stealer in the Underworld.
However, Kai had never met the individual… no one in the Yakuza had. Attempting it would cost them resources and endanger them.
"Will everything that takes place here not leave this room?"
"You have our word."
Honoring pacts between men was always the way of the Yakuza.
"...May I have some more tea?" Garou asked.
Kai obliged and refilled his cup from the teapot, the hot water pouring in.
"I am looking for someone with a specific Quirk… well, a Quirk that can do something for me. I am also looking for someone else, but I don't know how to contact him. He is elusive."
Kai felt his heart quicken at the latter.
"I am looking for someone that can heal any injuries," Garou explained. "Specifically, a persistent stomach wound of a certain someone."
Kai nearly breathed a sigh of relief… for now.
"There is someone you need to be healed?"
To hear something like that from him… Garou was already lucky as he found the person capable of that in front of him.
"Yes. He owes me a fight."
That kind of debt was something he usually heard from Rappa.
"What is his name?" Kai asked, very curious.
"...You might not do it when I tell you. But I'll say it anyway." Garou sipped his tea.
The two words that left his lips banished all sound in the room.
Kai prepared himself before Garou arrived, or so he thought, to remain professional before the man in Japan's spotlight. He failed… and not only he, his manager, Joi Irinaka, also failed as the furniture holding up the small cubical television shook a little.
"...All Might?" Chisaki repeated.
"All Might. He's no longer the man you thought he was." Garou casually dismissed Chisaki's dumbfounded reaction as he sipped his tea.
So many questions raced through Chisaki that he didn't know which one to release through his lips. Various emotions he never thought he would feel churned in his gut when he slowly processed Garou's request.
"If you want a reason why I fought All Might months ago in Dagoba." Garou slowly placed his cup down. "We fought. Then, I found out All Might's dirty secret."
Garou's following words triggered Chisak back to his senses, Garou having his full attention now.
"...And that is?" Chisaki carefully asked.
"He is no longer healthy. Someone or something left a persistent stomach wound on his left midriff. I don't know who or how they did it; it left All Might in hiding nowadays. Imagine my surprise when I learned he was fighting me crippled."
"What?" Chisaki couldn't believe it.
The news… Kai couldn't find the right words. Shock, surprise, astonishment, none of them could reflect the overwhelming mix of emotions roiling within. His face could not maintain his stoic facade as his emotions leaked through his contorting features.
"I left our battle unfinished that day. I refuse to take down prey that left me so disappointed. I would rather lose going all out than to have my victory cheapened."
The roiling emotions calmed as he listened to this priceless information. All Might was vulnerable… the amount the villains would pay for this information would reach untold numbers.
"...Allow me to summarize your words." Chisaki took a deep breath for a moment. "All Might fought you in secret… in Dagoba months ago? And… you were winning?"
"Forgive me for repeating myself, but I want to ensure that I understand your intentions with lucidity. You have… defeated All Might? But left him instead because he is not in his prime or something like that?" Kai asked, wanting to confirm.
Normally, Kai wasn't the type of person that needed someone to repeat information to him, but the scale of this revelation was not something he could carelessly dismiss.
"Correct," Garou answered.
"You defeated the Symbol of Peace in one on one combat, but then you refused to desecrate him like the rest of the heroes," Chisaki uttered in disbelief.
It was the most irrational request.
The Symbol of Peace was Garou's enemy by default. Why would anyone want the person responsible for their oppression to return to his full might? Chisaki wasn't sure how to react to Garou's train of thought or his reasoning.
"I did not go through hell of hunting countless worthless heroes just for worthless victory." Garou scowled. "There is no meaning in a victory against a wounded idea. He represents everything that I am against, even more so when he threw salt in my face for fighting against me in that condition!"
His outburst quelled the silent outrage in Kai.
"To destroy the current world, I must beat him at his best! To hunt the mightiest in front of all, all the hopes and ideals of a flawed system, to crush them in my palms as I stand over his broken body! I do not want a cheap win; I want to crush a Symbol and become one over its remains!"
Garou slammed his fist on the table.
The wooden table broke, the floor rupturing with cracks spreading to all corners of the room.
An uneasy silence filled the room as Garou's eyes trembled with anger… or frustration; Kai could not tell - most likely a mix.
Kai was starting to understand Garou's logic from his outburst.
"...You wish to defeat not the man, but the idea?" It was not something that Kai or anyone could do, so Kai compromised a commercial solution for Yakuza's problems.
"I am no longer the man that struggled with a crippled All Might," Garou spoke with conviction. "All these months, I spent time preparing, building myself for our reunion. The next time we meet, no matter how strong he becomes, he will lay on my feet bleeding before the eyes of his supporters, all that looked up to him, and with horror. There will be no excuse, my victory so absolute they have no choice but to succumb to fear and despair as I build on their sorrow… a future that no longers divides the world between worthless fodder wearing the costume of the word Hero and even more worthless fools that flag the title of Villain."
Chisaki was stunned.
He did not take Garou to be the loquacious type, the one that could move hearts with words so strongly.
He found it hard to argue with him…
There was something enticing about witnessing two titans clash and the sight of the downfall of a Symbol. It was a feeling he felt ever since the Hero Hunter rose in infamy throughout Japan… he believed it was something like child-like anticipation and excitement, the latter being something he rarely felt outside of his project.
"...Your reasoning is a bit illogical." Chisaki decided to drink his cup of tea, though it did cool a little. "But… I think I can relate to it. If it were one of us, we would've killed him on the spot and rid ourselves of an obstacle. That enough would shake the foundations of Japan, though knowing you, you would despise the rise of villains."
"He is the Symbol of Quirks." Garou continued.
Chisaki perked eyes at Garou's figure.
"He also represents a bias that turned this society into rot. Quirks run everything in this world, no, he is the driving motivation behind the reliance on those useless things. I've seen… how much someone can suffer without having a Quirk. Probably even more so for those suffering from the Hero-Villain mindsets of people not recognizing others as people. Their reliance on Quirks and the idea of good and evil is so rooted, they could no longer see the pain and suffering they cause into others, becoming worse than the evil today. That is why I must defeat All Might at his best. My mission has evolved into a crusade to free the world from its reliance on Quirks, to bring everyone on the same level by force until they can see that. And if I have to become the monster for them to do so, so be it."
Various memories swam through Chisaki… memories of his childhood… how he met the Boss… and how the others see the Yakuza because of their appellation, not the men behind it.
It was not every day that Chisaki found a fellow kindred spirit, especially in one that can destroy the current society.
"I believe that we can create that future together. I hope we can get along well, Garou."
Yeah, long time, I get it.
In case you're wondering, I have no idea when Chisaki goes the deep end and vegetabled the Boss into the coma in the show, nor when he started going child abuser, so I am basing on Chisaki's physical appearance to estimate that he went dark side recently-ish, so this is before Chisaki goes the deep end. In this way, Garou would become something like a beacon of light, the catharsis Chisaki needed to get out of the cycle of condescending loathing he had for the world to think things properly again, a beacon of hope for him to repay the Boss for his generosity.
Anyways, this is how I decided to move the story forward a little. I want to see if I can get to the fight with the villains and such soon, but first I want to build up on some stuff like the hero side and maybe delve into the groups Garou indirectly inspired. I don't know about Spinner in the main series, he seemed more like a... ehhhhh... useless side character at the moment.
As for Toga... well, I don't know what to do about her. How would she react to Garou... probably attracted to him because of the blood he somewhat spilled from their breathing bodies. Still, no idea what to do with her, so give me some ideas if you want her to play a more active role.
I might replace some of Shiguraki's villain cast with other Villains, since Stain isn't there to inspire scar-face firestarter, the gecko, the crazy vampire doppelganger, and maybe the magician descendant of the legendary thief. Anyways, let's see if I can muster my brain juice for the next chapter soon. Also, on a side note, decided to work on one of my old Fics, the Stardust of Remnant. Inspired to do some lightsaber and sword scenes, and maybe enhance the story of RWBY overall... got that itch in me.
See you all soon.