A few hours later, I slipped out of Eri's bed. Wiggled my arm out from under her without disturbing her. I was assured she would not have a terror again tonight. I returned to my room, and saw a blinking light on my phone.
"Please call me when you wake up."
It was a text from Principal Nezu. It was from right around the time Eri was settling down, so my guess was that Mom or Aizawa-sensei had contacted him. It was also from a few hours ago, so I assumed he was probably back asleep at this point.
I layed back. Tried to calm my still uncertain heart. Was I doing enough for Eri? Was it really okay for me to go on the internship?
I could only trust that Mom, Recovery Girl, and Aizawa-sensei could keep her safe and steady while I was gone. Oh, and All Might-sensei and Nezu-sensei, too. I couldn't back out of the trip, not after accepting Eri's approval. Not without a vacuum tight excuse. It would hurt her more than it helped. She wanted to be strong, and I wanted to trust and support her.
A few more hours later, my alarm went off. I had not gotten much more sleep, though between Eri's power and the Quest reward, I was back to near perfect health.
Rather than rolling out of bed like normal, I grabbed my phone, brought up the text, and hit call.
"Moshi-moshi, Midoriya-kun," principal Nezu picked up after only one ring.
"Moshi-moshi, Nezu-sensei," I responded, "You sent me a text to call you. I'm guessing Mom or Aizawa-sensei told you about Eri's night terror incident."
"Well, I did also want to check if your dungeon quest was continuing apace," he said, "But yes, the main reason was that both of them contacted me. Aizawa-kun didn't know what happened, because you had calmed Eri by the time he arrived. Guild Mom told me what she knew and what little you told her."
"Kyoka and Toru's Dungeons were simple enough," I told him, "So we are on track to finish this afternoon. But in Toru's dungeon, we were given an extra quest to ride the roller coasters..."
"Roller coasters?" he interjected.
"Yes, Toru's dungeon was an amalgamation of three or four Australian amusement parks," I explained, "And The Gamer challenged us to ride most of the coasters in a short time frame. Without getting sick."
"Ah," Nezu-sensei sounded like he understood, "That might be good training for motion sickness. And did you succeed?"
"We did," I said, "and the reward was a magical item."
"Yes," I assured him, "At least that is what The Gamer told me. And it certainly had a special power."
"What was it?" he pressed, intensely curious.
"A single knuckle duster," I said, "Made of mokume-gane. Aside from the normal complement of weapon enchantments, it also is able to adapt to the user's Quirk. We gave it to Toru, because it turns invisible for her."
"A good choice," he agreed, "But might I ask what a 'normal complement of weapon enchantments' consists of?"
"Oh, sorry," I blushed, "I mean it is reinforced, so the material isn't a limiting factor. It has an enchantment that gives it a slightly better chance to hit, and more damage. And it will hurt enemies that can only be injured by magic... Or again, that's what it said."
"It is fine," he assured me, "I trust your power. After everything I have seen and experienced, not just with The Gamer, it would be foolish not to. So, are we on track for tomorrow, and also Saturday?"
"Unless something goes wrong this afternoon," I confirmed.
"And what about Eri's nightmare?" Nezu-sensei pressed.
"According to my power, it was a night terror, not a nightmare," I told him.
"Hmm, are you aware of the difference?"
"I know that there is a difference. And the nightmares are more similar to dreams, than night terrors," I said uncertainly.
"That is correct," he said, "and sufficient for this discussion. So what happened?"
"Eri's scream woke us up," I told him, "And when we got there, her power was shooting out. I thought it was supposed to be contact based, but she de-aged a flower about two meters away. I trusted my TK Armor to protect me. And it did, until my Energy ran out. When her power it hit, it refilled my Energy and removed my Plus Ultra penalty. But it also gave me a status ailment called Level Drain. I think that was how The Gamer protected me from getting younger. I lost a level instead. Or, sort of. Level Drain doesn't actually lower my level. The manual said it is because tracking and calculating what I would lose it too hard. Instead, it is just a flat seven percent penalty to all of my skills and abilities. Plus I take more damage. To get rid of it, I have to gain enough XP to level up. It will stack up to ten times. After that... I don't know."
"So you have a new penalty in place of your hit point reduction?" he prompted.
"No," I said, "I'll get there in a moment. I wasn't sure I could make it to her, even with full Energy. So, instead I used Empathy to project comfort and safety to her. And then I used Telepathy to tell her a story about the Knights of Meta protecting Princess Eri from an inept and silly dragon. That calmed her enough, for me to get in there and hug her. After she relaxed, The Gamer said I had completed a hidden quest. It negated the Level Drain ailment, and I gained a skill called Temporal Resistance."
"Temporal Resistance?" he prompted, "What does that do? Does it slow your aging?"
"No," I explained, "It doesn't do anything about natural time. It just reduces the damage or other effects of time based attacks. Or lets me resist time time based status ailments. And it says it will stack. For example, if I got hit by a time based paralysis, my Paralysis and Time Resistances would stack to try to prevent it or escape it."
"That sounds somewhat useful," he didn't sound convinced.
"I think it is mostly so I can help Eri," I said, "I can't think of anyone else with a time based Quirk."
"I cannot either," he agreed, "But perhaps there is an Irregular with time powers."
I considered that.
"And what did Aizawa-sensei say?" I asked nervously.
"Just that you had already helped Eri by the time he arrived. I will tell him that your power blocked hers."
"Should... should I tell him the truth?" I asked, "I don't want to lie to sensei."
"No, I would say not," Nezu-sensei said, "I understand your feelings, and I am not saying you cannot trust Aizawa-sensei. But he is not aware of Irregulars, and I am not sure how he will react. Telling him will be less simple than telling your classmates, as he is an established hero, and his power can be used indirectly to find Irregulars. No, for now, do not tell him. If it makes you feel better, I am telling you as your principal, not to tell any of your teachers without my express permission."
"Okay. Thank you Nezu-sensei."
"Think nothing of it. And you should probably start getting ready for your day, Midoriya-kun."
"Yes, I should check on Eri. I will tell you tonight if we finish or not."
"Have a good day, and good luck, " he told me.
"It looks like we are almost done here, doesn't it?" Mom asked wistfully.
It was Thursday, so Eri was with Recovery Girl while Mom had gone into the office. Only her boss had let her leave early, to get live fire data on the tracksuits the company had loaned us. If we finished today, she would be collecting them, so that the lab could analyze the damage they had taken. They had also requested video of the battles. Nezu-sensei and All Might had convinced them of UA's need for security and privacy, especially in the wake of the USJ Incident. They ultimately accepted that. For the company, getting to examine this many suits that had gone through real combat and a variety of damage types was still a major windfall for them. As was getting ten UA Hero course students to like and appreciate their clothing.
Mom was already waiting there when I arrived with Mordred, Cassandra, Mikoto, Momo, Toru, Kyoka, and Ochako. We decided to finish Mom's Dungeon first, so she could go and get Eri while we ran Mordred's Dungeon. Since it wasn't likely we would gain enough XP in Mordred's Dungeon to change the order, it was going to be Toru, Kyoka, Mordred, and Ochako as the four lowest level (in that order) Knights, who would accompany Mom and me into her Dungeon. Then Ochako, Kyoka, and Mom would switch for Momo, Mikoto, and Cassandra.
Since Mom had gotten to our old apartment first, she had packed up the rest of her clothing and personal belongings. Little by little, I had emptied our home over the last few days. Sometimes with the Knights' help, sometimes alone. As a result, there wasn't much left except for the furniture that wouldn't fit in my inventory. That would be staying here. Maybe until the dorms were completed and we moved in there. Or maybe we would sell it, when and if we sold the apartment.
"What skills do you want to borrow, Mom?" I asked, after I set up the party.
"Oh, you were going to do that with me, too?" she asked. I nodded.
"Where you going to hold back and give directions again, Izuku?" she asked.
"I wasn't planning on it," I shook my head, "We did fine last time against the swarm, but we also had Nezu-sensei, who is much higher level and has his gun. I think we will all need to fight this time."
"Hmm. Then I guess I will go with Basic Karate and Boxing," she decided, "You will still have your Kung Fu varieties, and Krav Maga. Or you can focus on ranged attacks."
"That sounds good," I agreed, taking her hand, "Skill Jockey: Basic Karate, Boxing."
Then I looked the party over.
"Is everyone ready?"
"I think so," Ochako said. Mo-chan grinned. Kyoka nodded, but looked hesitant. She had been slightly unnerved by the not-quite-zombie, exam-frazzled students. If Toru reacted, I didn't see it.
"Dungeon Enter, Inko Midoriya."
We were back in the professor's office. It was empty, but the scars of our battle were gone. The office was clean, the bolts of fabric were restored and stacked behind the desk again. Mom walked over and began examining the cloth.
"It's unfortunate," Guild Mom sighed, "that we can't take anything that's not a drop item. I would love to have some of these to work with."
"Umm, Izuku," InvisaGal called out to me nervously. She was standing by the window. She seemed to be looking out it. I walked over to her. And then I saw what she was worried about.
Outside, the quad was full. It looked like all of the remaining zombies had already spawned and were out and waiting for us.
"That's more than last time," she said.
"Nah," Mordred said, "They're just all out at once."
"That sounds bad," Uravity looked out the other window.
"They are higher level, too," I added, after scanning a couple of the outliers.
"So what do we do?" Earphone Jack asked.
"Perhaps we can go up to the roof," Guild Mom offered, "Uravity can float some heavy items, and we can drop them on the enemies. Izu... Decade might be able to hit some of the closer ones with his longer ranged Smashes."
"What would the rest of us do?" Mordred asked.
"Fight off the ones that get through," I answered for Mom, "They can still use the doors and stairs."
"Or we can just throw chunks of rubble after we break off the big pieces for Uravity," InvisaGal suggested.
"Why don't we just go down there?" Mordred asked. Everyone except me gave her funny looks.
"I'm not saying we jump out into the middle of the horde," she said, "But we could go to the entrance, and lure them over. They would only be able to get in three or four at a time. So we could rotate who is fighting them."
"What if they come in through the windows?" Uravity asked, "Or there are probably other doors."
"Oh, yeah," Mordred frowned.
"It might be workable, if we can find a reinforced location with only one entrance," I said, "Though getting trapped could be an issue."
"This is a college," InvisaGal said, "There should be like a chemical lab somewhere, right? Maybe we could make some bombs."
"I don't think my chemistry skill is up to that," I pursed my lips thoughtfully, "Anyone else?"
"Not really my thing," Mordred said.
"Maybe?" Uravity said, "I know the metals in the first column blow up in water..."
"I don't think that will work," Mom said, "I know some chemistry. We had to learn about mixing dyes, and what not to mix. But I don't think I know enough. Alkali metals might explode in water, coming up with a way to keep them apart in a container that can rupture..."
"What if I just go out there and beat them up?" InvisaGal interjected, "They can't see me and I have this new weapon to try."
"They can hear you," Earphone frowned at her, remembering how they acted the first time we were here.
"And they might just get lucky with numbers," Mom added.
"This building has parapets, right?" I mused. Guild Mom nodded.
"What are you thinking?" Uravity asked.
I told them.
"What do you think?" I asked, "Is it worth trying?"
"Decade, I am very glad you want to be Hero," Uravity told me.
"That sounds like a yes," Mordred grinned.
I glanced to the left. Guild Mom and Mordred nodded. I glanced to the right. Uravity gave me a thumbs up. Earphone and InvisaGal also nodded.
I launched a chunk of polished concrete the size of my head at the closest zombie. It collapsed in a heap. The others turned towards the noise. Then a few looked up, realizing that they were under shadows.
Uravity clapped her fingers together. Earphone and Mordred had shaved off five slabs, each one about 500 kilograms. Uravity made them weightless, and I used TK to float them into position, keeping them horizontal. The blocks fell, crushing five or six enemies, each. Not a lot, but it got their attention.
The first trip into Mom's Dungeon, all of the student had done the classic zombie shamble. These ones did not. They weren't terribly fast, but they jogged. And they were all charging the Fashion and Fabrics building.
We continued to pelt them with stones, though without using our powers. A few fell, but mostly it kept their attention.
The door to the roof shook. I had placed a 200 kilo block in front of it. They kept pushing. The barricade rocked. Slid. Scraped. And then finally, they moved it enough that they could slip through. A dozen zombies swarmed out onto the roof. Then paused, looking somewhat confused. More followed, not noticing their comrades were just standing there.
The entire building shook.
"You three head to the roof and get ready," I said, "Uravity and Earphone, let's go."
I led them through the building. I used Analyze and Clairvoyance. And Uravity provided insight into architecture and construction. The two of us directed Earphone to the connections between the support beams. She fatigued the beams and rivets. Pushed the metal to just short of its breaking point. I also had her crumble two portions of the outer wall, one in each corner of the building.
Once we had the zombies full attention, Uravity used her power on us, and we jumped the twenty meter gap to the roof of the next building, the Culinary Lab.
We carved four more heavy blocks, and Uravity and I floated them into position over the corners of the Fashion building.
The Fashion building had already been shaking, with the zombies forcing their way in. Filling the halls and the stairs. Jostling against the walls.
Once they made it onto the roof, Mordred and I launched attacks on the weakened support beams, that I had asked Kyoka to reveal. Despite how she called her attack, all three of Mo-chan's swords cleaved through the weakened steel. And I hit the other one with a deliberate impact attack, further rattling the structure
Then Uravity dropped the blocks. And it was more than the beleaguered building. Beams snapped. Concrete and drywall collapsed inwards. I fired a few more ki blasts, just to be sure. And the whole thing came down, killing or at least injuring and trapping hundreds of the zombies. Almost seven hundred of them, when I checked the dungeon info. Combined with the ones we defeated drawing them in, there were still over two hundred of the corrupted, mindless student left. Mostly the ones that couldn't get into the Fashion building in the first place.
"Think we can do it again?" Mordred asked, grinning.
"I don't think they will give us time," Guild Mom pointed as the survivors turned in our direction again.
We were able to deal with the reduced horde. Mordred, InvisaGal, and Guild Mom took a few hits, but I patched them up. Earphone and Uravity both drank the stamina potions they won in the former's Dungeon.
Now we were in the middle of the quad, waiting for the boss to spawn. I was reaching out with my Ki, for wherever he appeared. I thought I knew who the boss would be. Especially in light of what the mid-boss had said. I wasn't looking forward to fighting my father. But I also didn't think I would hesitate or regret such a battle.
"We don't deserve this," a familiar voice emerged from the shadow of the clock statue. But not the voice I was expecting. Or anyone else, given how they all cringed and turned.
"To be pretty. To be healthy. To be happy."
Now I could tell the differences, that I had missed during her natural progression. How much taller and slimmer Mom was. Though that wasn't exactly true.
From the darkness stepped Mom. Or at least Mom how she looked before I was granted The Gamer.
"When things got tough, we gave up."
The boss's form was exaggerated, shorter than Mom had ever been, with impossibly huge anime eyes. Those eyes were a brighter yet sickly green, and were sunken into her head, giving her the look of someone depressed and constantly crying.
I knew that look from years of seeing it in my own mirror.
"We couldn't keep our husband. We couldn't lie to our son, to give him false hope. But we also couldn't properly squash his impossible dream. And where did that get us? He's already been nearly killed. Choose to jump into a fight with a yakuza boss. Got us kidnapped for some random little girl."
Guild Mom crossed the grass, and slapped the boss so hard the fake almost fell.
"Say what you want about me," Guild Mom lectured, "Most of it is true, to a degree. But don't you bad mouth my children. What Overhaul did was not either of their fault. And Eri isn't just 'some random girl'. She is my daughter. Maybe not by blood, or even by law, yet. But we decided she is our family, so that is all that matters. And Izuku is amazing and I am proud of him. I know, even without The Gamer, he would have found some way to save people. To be a real hero, even if he couldn't have been a pro Hero."
"You really believe that?" the boss said, matching Guild Mom's tone, "Then why am I here?"
"I have had doubts and fears," Guild Mom admitted, "It's part of being Human. But I refuse to live down to my worst, darkest moments."
"We'll see about that," the boss snarled, her voice deepening. As she straightened, she grew. Her proportions didn't change with her size. But her skin turned grey, lumpy, and warty. Thankfully the dress and blouse she was wearing expanded with her, as she went from being just over a meter and a half tall, to being over ten meters tall. As she reached her full height, the boss's shoulders grew broader, and her head shifted down, so it and her neck were pointed forward, rather than up.
"Fomorian. Only bigger," I noted. Except no-one was really listening.
The boss lifted her right hand. From out of the fog something flew into it. I recognized it. It was grandma's pan, the same one we had dived into. Only it was scaled up to the giant's size. Well, it was actually a bit smaller by comparison. But if the giant was seven times as tall and wide and maybe six times as deep, the pan looked to be five times its real size on all three axes.
"I think part of the problem is that you have all of these annoying little cheerleaders," the boss grumbled, "giving you a big head. The frog girl isn't here, but we can start with the others."
She grabbed the air with her left hand, and Uravity flew into it. Her fingers closed around Ochako. The brunette placed her fingers on the giant's thumb. And then her face turned green and she pressed her pads together. The giant weighed too much for her.
"Time to die, little fool."
The boss swung the frying pan down. Aimed at Ochako's head, sticking out of her closed fist.
The pan stopped just short of Uravity. Clarent, plus Mordred's two unnamed blades met it. The blonde grimaced, and broke into a sweat from the effort of matching the boss's strength. Then she let the pan slip forward. Deliberately.
"Gondor SMASH!" I roared. The blade of ki sliced into the boss's fingers. Uravity slipped out of her grip. But before she fell, she reached up and tagged the pan. Then, holding her breath and focusing, she touched herself and pushed off. She floated away from the boss.
Guild Mom reached out. The now weightless bludgeon tore out of the boss's grip and sailed towards Guild Mom. She also pointed her other hand at Uravity for a moment, accelerating her out of physical reach of the giant.
The boss grimaced and matched Guild Mom's action. The pan floated between them, vibrating. Even though Guild Mom had developed her Quirk over the last sixteen months, her Dungeon had increased the raw weight of the boss's Gravity Pull. So the pan began to slowly edge back towards the boss.
'Now,' Guild Mom ordered.
Fortunately, the boss, despite being a copy of Mom, couldn't hear Party Chat. Otherwise she would have known the plan, up to these last four steps.
Earphone stepped forward, and jabbed her titanium jacks into the wrought iron. Having held the pan in real life, and resonated the iron golems in its Dungeon, it only took her a moment to find the right frequency. She gave us a thumbs up.
Guild Mom let go.
The pan shattered.
A moment later, Uravity clapped.
As a result, the giant was suddenly pulling about six hundred kilos of sharp, iron shards toward her with her Quirk. She blinked, and stopped. Unfortunately for her, simple momentum kept them moving. And moving fast, since she had been pulling with all her power with Guild Mom stopped, and they were still weightless for the first instant of acceleration, before Uravity cancelled her Zero Gravity.
Then, the last step of Guild Mom's plan. InvisaGal, stripped by me of everything but her knuckle duster, punched the boss's Achilles tendon as hard as she could. Then she rolled away as quickly as she could.
"Decade?" she asked shyly, and I put her outfit back onto her paperdoll on the Party Tab.
Distracted and off balance from the blow to her ankle, the boss couldn't do anything as the remains of her weapon stabbed into her arms, side, and face.
A moment later, broadsword, katana, and kurki carved into her other arm.
"Asgard Smash!" I fired a ki blast into the same ankle InvisaGal had injured.
"Izu... Decade," Guild Mom called to me. She had pulled some of the larger shards back, and handed them to Uravity. Who used her own Quirk, before handing them to me.
"Hogwarts Smash!" I launched them at the giant again, en masse. Even as I silently vowed to find a new name for using Telekinetic Attack shotgun style.
The giant's HP was already very low. Boss or not, giant or not, she was still based on past Mom. And as much as I love my Mom, I couldn't honestly say she had been physically tough back then.
"Do you want to do the honors, Midoriya-san?" Mo-chan asked, her swords hovering at the ready in case Mom said no.
"There's no need," Guild Mom said, "She's done."
She walked over to the panting, bleeding, kneeling boss. Looked up at the boss sadly.
"I don't deny I was you," she told her other self, "Or that I have had the thoughts you expressed... Except that I never blamed Eri. But I'm not you any more. And what you said, was one, maybe two, percent of everything I've thought. You can't be me, if you are only the negative parts. Because I will always quash those parts of me, especially when it comes to my kids, be it my family or our Guild."
The giant let out a defeated sigh, and then started to fade away.
"I guess it's not the worst thing," the boss said, "Knowing I got strong enough to be you."
Then she blushed, "Especially if it means I'll get to be with..."
She was cut off as Mom grabbed Clarent out of the air and stabbed the boss through the heart.
"Well, no sense dragging that out," Mom said, keeping her back to us. But her ears were as red as the accents on Mordred's sword.
"How did she do that?" Mordred pouted, looking at her now floating blade again.
We settled up with Mom. She got her rewards; Affinities, Attribute Balancing, and two more Talents. She took the next level of her Quirk when it was offered. But the second Talent selection offered Focus for Sewing or Cooking. I suggested Sewing, for her job. But she went with Cooking.
As Mom left the apartment, I shuffled the party, and we took a little break. Now, it was time for Mo-chan's Dungeon.
"Cancel Skill Jockey," I said. And then I looked at the blonde questioningly.
"I'm thinking Parkour for movement," she said, "and maybe Basic Karate. Most of the unarmed styles I've learned have been leg focused. I'm a swordswoman, right? Sure, I can hilt punch someone. But if I try to elbow, I'm just stabbing myself."
She performed, poorly, a standard elbow strike, thumb up. And indeed, said thumb would have been impaling her if it was a sword.
"But at the USJ, that clown Villain cancelled my power," she continued, "and I'm not generally holding my swords in my hands anyway. Though maybe I could get two more and do five sword style."
"I had actually considered that when I was thinking about your Quirk," I told her, "Then you'd have to carry them, because you can only stow the swords you are linked to, right?"
"Yeah, didn't think of that," she agreed, "Anyway, normally my hands are empty, so I should try a more balanced style. What I really want is Clairvoyance, or something that lets me see all around, since it is hard to control my guys when they are behind me. But you said that's not an option, so I'll go with the other one."
"Okay," I bobbed my head, and took her hand, "Skill Jockey: Parkour and Basic Karate."
I didn't let her hand go, but instead looked around.
Again, no-one objected, so I continued, "Dungeon Create: Mo-chan."
Though in my head, I thought 'Mordred Pendragon' as hard as I could.
For the second time this afternoon, my expectations were horribly dashed. A British swordswoman named Mordred Pendragon? I was expecting the Battle of Camlann for the first floor of her Dungeon. Maybe something else from Arthurian mythos. Or at least medieval Europe.
Instead, we found ourselves in hell. Figuratively, if not quite literally.
We were surrounded by towering flames, reaching into the sky. It took a few moments and intense staring to realize these were burning skyscrapers. Then I noticed the flames weren't moving. In fact, except for the six of us, nothing was moving. We were on a city street, the concrete baked near to melting. There were six of the towering structures, the shortest ten stories and the tallest fifteen. At one end of the street a wall of fire blocked our progress. On the opposite end, there were no flames, just a mix of heat haze and smoke that made it impossible to see.
"What is this?" Creati asked, frightened.
"Fuyuki," Mordred answered in absolute terror and loathing.
And I knew where we were. The Great Fuyuki Fire. The greatest non-Villain disaster in the last fifty years. Dozens of buildings burned to the ground, including nine major skyscrapers. Five more skyscrapers were damaged beyond repair and had to be torn down. About one hundred other homes and businesses suffered varying amounts of damage. In the end, over five hundred people died and twice that many were injured but survived.
One of those lost in the fire was Emiya Shirou. The Sword Hero EMIYA. Mordred's adoptive dad.
I couldn't recall ever having seen pain and terror like was on Mo-chan's face. And on the face of my tough and gruff friend it looked especially harrowing.
She grabbed my hand and stopped me.
"Mo-chan," I said gently. She gave me a fierce look. Then closed her eyes and took three deep breaths.
"It's okay, Decade," she said, her eyes still shut, "I'm okay."
"No, you are not," I said firmly.
"Maybe not," she agreed. She opened her eyes, and gave me a crooked grin.
"But I need to be," she said with determination, "If I froze up like that in the real world? What if I become a Pro Hero and wind up following Endeavor or someone like that into a fight? I need to be able to handle a situation like this. That's why, right? Why my soul and your power picked this for my Dungeon? Give me the worst case, so I can learn to deal with it."
'Are you sure, Mo-chan?' Spoiler asked.
"Yes," the blonde nodded.
"Maybe I should switch out for Ami," InvisaGal suggested.
"That would be easier," Creati agreed.
"But not fair to Toru," Mo-chan insisted, "Besides, we all need to learn this. Wasn't that what the USJ was supposed to be?"
Then her grin slipped, and she added, "And if we leave now, I'm not sure I could make myself come back."
"If we are staying, can someone tell me why nothing is moving?" Railgun finally noticed what I had.
"Because I haven't started the Quest yet."
[Dungeon Entry - Mordred Pendragon
Victims saved: 0/146
Buildings saved: 0/6]
[Mandatory Dungeon Quest Alert
Save at least 110 victims and at least two buildings
Reduced Guild Hall Price (5%)
Guild Hall Perk: Locker room
Guild Hall Perk: Pool
Reset the Dungeon, begin the Quest from scratch.
Repeated failures will reduce the quest rewards and the benefits of completing the dungeon.
"Mordred?" Railgun whispered.
"That doesn't seem fair," Creati said, changing the subject, "All of the rewards are for the Guild as a whole. Nothing for Mo-chan, or even the party."
"I'm okay with that," Mo-chan said, "I haven't been able to contribute as much to the Guild Hall fund. And I do like to swim. So having our own private pool would be sweet."
"So what do we do?" InvisaGal asked. The four of them all looked at me and Creati.
"Why are you looking at us?" she asked.
'Well, you are our class VP,' Spoiler said, 'And we will probably be counting on your to make tools for us.'
"And Decade," InvisaGal pointed at me, "has probably watched dozens of hours of videos of Thirteen and Backdraft on youTube and heroTube. Plus, he makes most of the Knights' plans anyway, 'cuz he know about Quirks and The Gamer and stuff."
I looked at Creati, unable to deny it. She shrugged.
"Well, I can create sprayers we can hook up to the hydrants," she pointed at the two red metal posts, "Four of them with anchors, so it only takes one person to control it."
"So the four of you can fight the fires," I said, "And Spoiler and I can go in and rescue the people inside the buildings."
"You are obvious," Mordred said to me, holding back some annoyance, "But why Cassandra?"
"She is the fastest of the Knight, next to myself and All Might-sensei," I said, "And her Quirk will make it easier for her to find people and avoid collapsing beams."
Mordred's frown turned into a scowl, but she didn't protest.
"Could you make them mechanical and remote controlled?" Railgun queried Creati, "The sprayers? That way InvisaGal and I could control them, and the four of you could rescue the people."
"I could," Creati said dubiously, "But the controllers would be difficult without my helmet or book."
"What about this?" InvisaGal pulled her phone out of her pocket, and showed us an app. It was a remote control program for toy drones.
"I can work with this," Creati agreed, "If it uses industry standard APIs."
"I don't know what that means," InvisaGal said happily.
"I don't either," Mordred reassured her.
"So does that sound good?" Creati said, "InvisaGal and Mikoto control the water sprayers, and Decade, Mo-chan, Spoiler, and I will go in to rescue."
"I will take that building," I pointed to the one that was in the worst shape. Then I looked Creati and asked, "Do you know the formula for fire-end goo?"
"I do," she brightened.
'What is fire-end goo?' Spoiler asked.
"It is a chemical devised by Cyclotron," I inclined my head towards Momo as I said that, her internship reminding me, "It is a gel, that becomes hard and air tight when exposed to fire. It can be used to reinforce structures, particularly floors. And it extinguishes flames by starving them of oxygen."
"I can make two grenades of the goo for each of us," she said, "But between those and the sprayers, I will be mostly tapped out."
"Maybe I should go in and you can control the two sprayers then?" Railgun suggested.
"But I could create a few more items, if I need them."
"And I can magnetically shift beams."
"But high heat interferes with magnetism," Creati protested.
"And don't you get groggy and potentially pass out if you make too many things?" Railgun protested.
"I think it should be Railgun," I interrupted them. They both looked at me, Railgun triumphant, Creati betrayed.
"She can blast through doors and rubble, so she doesn't have to touch them," I said, "And at a greater range to avoid backdrafts. Just like Mo-chan with her swords."
"But at the same time," I said, "We all need to be careful. And if we need to, we can switch out who is doing the rescuing and who is controlling the sprayers. And on that subject..."
I convinced them to start with two sprayers on the least burning building, and one each on the next two most stable. Once the first fire was put out, they would redirect those sprayers onto the buildings that started with only one. Then three sprayers on the last building on what we deemed the south side of the road, and one sprayer keeping the one saved building on the north side from being reignited. That might let us save four of the buildings, and would give us more time to save the people in those. I would still start with the worst building, but so would Spoiler. I would go to the top, and she would work her way up. Railgun and Mo-chan would each take one of the second and third most engulfed buildings.
And I would have the Party Tab open, watching everyone's health. If anyone looked to be in danger, I would both call it out and try to pull us from the Dungeon.
Our plan set, Creati manufactured the items we discussed. And I gave her two granola bars and a sports drink from Inventory. She ate and rested while the rest of us set up the sprayers.
Finally, as ready as we could be, I hit [Accept].
The flames animated and the already warm Dungeon became unbearable. Creati doused us, and then turned her sprayers to her two targets. InvisaGal was already sending even jets of water up and down the skyscrapers.
"Ki: Q," I said. And I charged into the burning building.
As I climbed the stairs, I remembered the time a firewoman had visit our elementary school. She explained that modern buildings had layers of flame retardant material in most of the walls. But it was only flame retardant, and could melt under hot enough temperatures. The material was also very fragile. Which meant the walls still incorporated regular materials, to meet storm and earthquake codes. And it wasn't transparent, so it wasn't part of the windows. This meant that, while the outside of the building was covered in flames, the inside was only very warm. And I had only see a handful of smaller fires inside. At least so far.
I reached the top floor of the building's twelve stories tall. I blasted the door open, both because it was locked, and so it wouldn't get in the way later. I stepped into the hallway. There was a crackling flame engulfing most of the northern half of the hall, and moving slowly towards me.
When Creati doused me, I grabbed the water with my TK. In spite of my bathtub training to manipulate water, it was still difficult. I managed to keep about two liters around me. And now I used TK Attack to blast the burning hall with it. It didn't completely extinguish the fire, but did cut it down.
There were five people on this floor, and four more on the floor below. With 146 victims, I might have expected there to be twenty four per building. Except one of the buildings was an office building, so there should have been maybe ten people between guards, janitors, and late workers. Another building had a two story cafe on the bottom, so that also likely had fewer people. Rather than guess, I used a wider range but less precise version of Ki Detection so we knew the exact numbers. I was able to supply the number in each building, and their approximate floors. This time I used a shorter but fine pulse of Ki to know exactly who was where.
There should have been a fire alarm sounding. And sprinklers going off. There was neither. I wasn't sure if that was just a condition of the Dungeon, or if this was something that had actually occurred in the Fuyuki Fire.
I ran to the south, blasting open their doors, too. I yelled "FIRE!" as loudly as I could into each apartment. When I returned to the north side, the effect of the dousing was nearly reversed. I didn't want to use the fire-end, yet. Only one of the four apartments on that side had anyone in it. But there were two people there.
Brought up my TK Armor. I tried to mentally push my Fire Resistance into, even though that was an automatic effect. I looked carefully for the strongest spots on the floor. I hopped quickly between the safer spots. I threw another Ki Blast at the door. I dived into this home.
The inside was smoky, and the drapes were burning. There were large shelves full of books, that had not ignited yet. I darted for the bedroom. Opened the door normally. Saw the older couple.
"Fire!" I yelled out to them. They didn't stir, but I could still feel their Ki. I wasn't sure if they were hard of hearing, or knocked out by the smoke. So I ran over, and tried to gently shake them awake. The taller of the two men roused, but his husband did not. Hearing and feeling the fire spreading in their main room, I hefted one of them on each of my shoulders. I hurried back out of the apartment. By the time I reached the yet unburned section of the hall, the one man was fully awake. I set him down. The other three inhabitants were just now poking their heads out. And starting to panic. I used Empathy to project calm at the five of them.
"The stairs are still safe," I told them, "Can the four of you between you get him down?"
I indicated the unconscious man I was still carrying.
"Why can't you?" a man in his thirties asked.
"I still need to wake up and save the rest of your neighbors on the way down."
He ignored me, and ran.
"We can get him down," a woman in her twenties with three eyes said. Then she addressed the taller man and asked "Arashimaru-san, can you take one shoulder and I'll get his other? Behnam-san, can you go in front of us, in case we slip."
"Of course," the last resident, a foreigner, answered in accented Japanese.
They started down the stairs. I jumped over the railing, and blasted in the door to the eleventh floor.
On the ninth floor, I had to carry a child down. She was maybe a year or two old than Eri. She was also the only one on the floor and completely knocked out by smoke. I carried her to the heat haze on the east end of the street, and passed her off to a paramedic. Once she vanished beyond the wall, the counter for saved victims ticked up.
I took a moment to take stock. The one building was out, and the counter also reflected that. The next two buildings only had a few struggling embers left. With that girl, we were at 42 people saved. Spoiler had expressed annoyance at not having a voice to call out to people. So Creati created what looked like one of those aerosol horns, only instead of a loud honking noise, this one actually shouted 'fire'. That made things easier, allowing her to wake people in non-burning homes like I did. The first building was close to empty, and we were moving at a good pace. But it was also getting harder. With each floor, each second, there was more fire, heat, and smoke. I had started blasting windows in any non-burning room. Increasing the oxygen might not be good, but letting the smoke out and trying to combat potential backdrafts was.
As I turned to head back in, the second building exploded. The seventh and sixth floor windows disintegrated, disgorging rolling flames. The eight and ninth floor windows also cracked and fell as the shockwave rolled up the building's skeleton. The tenth through fifteenth floors rattled but remained intact.
The Party screen showed Mo-chan's HP plummet.
'Mo-chan!' I shouted over party chat.
"Ki Detection! Drive 4!"
I charged for the building. The strong and familiar ki was on the fifth floor. I jumped at the closest window to the Ki signature, ignoring the ache instantly spreading in my muscles.
The window burst in, just before I would have hit it. Fortunately, this floor was still actively burning and getting air from the open floor above, so there was no secondary explosion. I landed and ran forward. I saw the flash of golden hair, her form crumpled against a wall. I swept her up into my arms, using telekinesis to cushion her.
I turned and darted back. I hopped out the window and ran back to where Creati and InvisaGal were. I set her down. Only then did I notice that her tracksuit was still burning. I reached over the Party screen and yanked it off. Fear and anger kept me from feeling embarrassed or aroused by seeing her in just the sports bra and boy shorts. Instead I continued to pour my healing power into her.
"Decade!" InvisaGal shouted to me, and when I looked up, tossed the healing potion she had won yesterday. I considered objecting. I didn't. I just caught it. I lifted Mordred's shoulders gently, the scrapes and burns starting to close and fade. Her eyes fluttered.
"Drink, Mordred," I encouraged, putting the open bottle to her lips. A drop wet them, and she instinctively ran her tongue over it. I pour a bit more, and she drank it. Finally, she finished the potion. Between the potion and my healing, she was unmarked and her HP was back up to ninety percent on the Party tab. She fully opened her eyes and looked up at me.
"I want to make a snarky comment about being naked," she said, "But my brain is still catching up and I'm pretty sure I owe you my life."
She blushed slightly and looked away. I released her shoulders, but didn't pull my arm away until I was sure she was supporting herself. Then I opened my Inventory, and handed her one of the two backup tracksuits Mom had me keep, still wrapped in plastic. Then I dropped her original clothing, still on fire, next to her, and stomped them out.
"Fair," she admitted.
"Are you well?" Creati asked Mo-chan.
Spoiler came out, helping an older woman and leading a group of six.
"Yes," Mo-chan said, standing and brushing out her new outfit. It was a little long on her, so she rolled up the sleeves. Then she summoned Clarent.
I looked at Mo-chan dubiously.
"I'm fine," she said, "and either way, we need to keep going."
'Do we?' Railgun pressed
"What do you mean?" InvisaGal asked, both in chat and aloud.
'It is a Dungeon,' the electrokinetic said, 'This is training. I understand that Mo-chan wants this, for multiple reasons. And we all want to get stronger. But is it worth the danger?'
'Yes,' Cassandra said, 'I knew there was a risk, in becoming a Hero, in training at UA, and Izuku warned us that this could be dangerous. But if this were real, would we stop? Would you run away now?'
Then she disappeared back into the building.
"No, but this isn't real," Mikoto protested.
"Isn't it?" Momo said, "I'm starting to have my doubts."
"Even if it isn't," I said softly, "Does it matter?"
Creati, Mordred, and InvisaGal all looked at me curiously.
"There is an old saying, 'Character is what you are in the dark'. If we can't tough it out here, when we volunteered and have a degree of safety..."
"What will we do, when the situation is worse, and is dropped on us?" Mikoto finished for me, "Okay. Sorry."
"You aren't entirely wrong, either," I reassured her, "If I was much lower on Energy, or hadn't been able to heal up Mo-chan, I would have called it. But if she can keep going, so long as no-one else gets hurt, we should try."
After saying that, I slipped the stamina potion I got from Kyoka's Dungeon out of Inventory, and quickly drank it.
"Cass... Spoiler," I said, "Can you handle the rest of that building? Mo-chan's building it taller, and after the explosion we are going to need to get the people out faster."
'I have it,' she confirmed.
"Right, let's go," Mordred told me, storing her sword again.
[Dungeon Status - Mordred Pendragon
Victims saved: 131/146
Buildings saved: 4/6]
"We did what we could," Momo told us, "we couldn't have expected that explosion. We didn't have any way to detect it, in training or powers."
"I..." Mo-chan around, at us, and at street, "I am glad to have done this. I feel... relieved? Stronger? Whatever it is, thank you."
"You might as well accept that quest," Mikoto said, "It isn't like we get anything directly."
I ducked my head slightly. We were all members of Knights, but it was ultimately my Guild from my power. If I wanted to, I could remove them from the Guild. Though after this Quest, I felt like I couldn't kick out Mordred, even if she gave me reason to.
But I hit the button. Like Mikoto said, nothing happened. At least, not for a moment.
Then the city shifted around us. We were in front of another building, but we were no longer alone. Mordred's eyes widened in fear and surprise. And she did not move. Because we couldn't move. Other than my eyes, and presumably the others, too, I couldn't move at all. It was almost like being frozen from Pause. Except while we, my party, were not moving, everyone else was.
There were firefighters, directing streams of water at the burning structures. Heroes running out of the apartments, carrying people. Civilians milling and crying.
Directly in front of us was a two story home. It was burning worse than any of the other structures around. And there was an ear splitting scream from inside, that of a child in pain and terror.
Something streaked past us. For a moment, things seemed to slow, so we could see him. It was a man in his late twenties. He had short, soft red hair, and strong, amber-brown eyes. He was wearing black pants, a black armored shirt, and long blue overcoat. Mordred's eyes filled with tears as she saw him.
He raced into the building.
"Stop!" Backdraft called out after him, "Damn, get hoses over here!"
We followed him in, like we were being dragged along. As he ran through the front door, to a second door in the entryway, he slowed. Not our perception of him, just him. He glanced at the burned and crumbling doorway. He reached out and touched it. Only then did I notice his hand was already covered in small burns. As he touched the wall, a portion of it changed. It became a giant sword, almost three meters tall. The point was stabbed into the floor, and the cross piece was holding up the support beam.
'Izuku, who is that?' Toru asked.
'The Sword Hero EMIYA,' I told her, 'His Quirk was Unlimited Blade Works. He could turn anything he touched into a sword. If it was a weak material like wood or glass, it would be as hard and strong as the best titanium steel, but only for as long as he concentrated. If his focus broke, it would stay in the shape of a sword, but go back to having the properties of the original material.'
'My dad,' Mo-chan added softly.
As EMIYA passed a doorway on his way to the stairs, he heard a cough. He touched the bracer on his left arm, and it became a white, Chinese falchion. He carved carefully through the fire covered door. There was an old woman leaning against the frame. He used the back of the blade to pull the door's embers away from her.
"Can you make it out?" he asked, pointing. She nodded. He continued around the corner, and up the stairs. But on each step, the burning and broken wood under his feet turned into another sword, flat up, jammed into the wall and support, holding him up. He reached the second story, and had to create another support sword.
I was impressed with how flexibly he used his Quirk.
Then he ran to the source of the screaming. Sliced through a second burning door. Inside the room was a slightly older man, a boy of maybe five, and a baby the man was holding. The father blinked at EMIYA in surprise.
"Go," he told the civilians, "My Quirk is keeping the path open for the moment. I'll be right behind you."
"Thank you," the man said. Pulling his son gently and cradling his daughter, he ran for the stairs.
EMIYA did not follow. Instead, he sat down cross-legged. He placed his fingertips together.
"I am the bone of my sword," he chanted, "Steel is my body and fire is my blood."
'What is he doing?' Mikoto demanded.
'He is holding onto seventeen blades,' Mordred answered, her voice a mix of pride and pain, 'Even at his best, that would be tough for him. And after a night of saving people, and now in the middle of this? The chant helped him focus, as does staying still. He knows...'
'He knows if he tries to get out, none of them will,' I said for her.
"I have created over a thousand blades."
The zweihander hold up the second floor hallway cracked and fell, even as the father and children were halfway down the stairs of swords.
"Never embracing order," EMIYA continued, "Nor scorning chaos."
The swords on the stairs began to fail behind the family, even as the boy nearly stumbled.
"I embrace pain to create weapons, waiting for my final victory."
EMIYA's face scrunched in focus, and the stairs held until the family was clear. The father glanced back, his face full of contrition.
"I have no regrets. This is my only path."
The family ran down the hall, the flames growing more intense around them.
"My whole life has been..."
The final sword failed, showering the man's back with embers and ashes. But he and his family were safe.
"Unlimited Blade Works."
Mordred said the final phrase along with her adopted father. And then EMIYA slumped down, the heat and smoke too much.
She was crying. So was I. So were the others. Though none of us as much as her.
But I also saw something else. To our left, maybe five meters away, one of the Heroes was trying to get to the building. He had a black jacket, pants, and chevron mask. And a katana over his right shoulder with a black wrapped handle. I didn't recognize him. But I did recognize Crust, who was holding him back.
"Let me go!" the black clad man demanded, "That's my friend. He's one of you. Why aren't you Heroes trying to help him?"
"The building is too far gone," Crust said, "There's no-one here who can survive that."
"Damn fake," the man in black hissed, "If you won't..."
He pulled a knife and tried to stab Crust. But another man, in an All Might hoodie, caught the man in black's wrist.
"Sten," the third man said sternly, "Stop. You know EMIYA wouldn't want that."
The man in black paused, quivering. Then he sheathed the knife, turned and walked away. The man in the All Might hoodie bowed to Crust, and followed.
I don't know if anyone else noticed. They were all focused on the building or Mordred. And it only took a few seconds.
Then everything faded. We were standing in the same street, in front of the Fuyuki Memorial. And we could move again.
I immediately embraced Mordred, being closest to her and fastest. But the other four Knights immediately piled on.
"I'm so sorry, that you had to watch that," I told her, hating The Gamer at the moment.
"I'm not," she smiled through the tears, "Father and Aunt Rin, they've always tried to keep the details from me. They didn't want me to feel hurt or abandoned by Dad. But that was just like him. He always wanted to save people. Four lives, two of them kids, for his? He would have thought that was more than a fair trade. I'm angry at him, but at the same time, I'm also proud. And as much as it hurt, to actually see what happened for myself? That was a gift. So thank you, Izuku."
"You are welcome."
Status Changes for Midoriya Izuku:
Health: 950 → 977
Energy: 1649 → 1674
(E)ndurance: 61 → 63
(Q)uickness: 60 → 62
(I)ntuition: 60 → 61
Analyze (W) – Battle Scan: 62 → 63
Dodge (A/Q) LB – Catch: 46 → 47
Software Methodology (W): 2 → 3
Telekinesis (I/D): 45 → 47
Strength Training (S): 23 → 23
Basic Karate (A): 49 → 50
Boxing (S): 43 → 44
Parkour (A/Q): 44 → 47
Physical Resistance (E/D): 79 → 80
Running (Q/E) – Jet Set Run: 40 → 43
Climbing (S): 21 → 22
Acrobatics (A): 24 → 25
Ki Detection (D/I): 44 → 46
Ki Blast (D/W) LB: 24 → 25
Ki Healing (D/E) LB: 25 → 26
Ki Reinforcement (D): 45 → 46
Telekinetic Attack (I/A) LB: 31 → 32
First Aid (W/A): 9 → 10
Tactile TK (I/D): 42 → 43
Telekinetic Armor (I/E): 41 → 43
Physics, Basic (W): 9 → 10
Ki Diagnosis (D/W): 14 → 15
Empathy (C/I): 36 → 37
Clairvoyance (I/W) LB: 44 → 45
Jump (Q/S) LB: 17 → 18
High Speed Vision (W/Q) 25 → 26
Heat Resistance (E/D) 7 → 13
Krav Maga (A/S): 10 → 11
Guild Hall Fund: 151,005,000 / 950,000,000 Yen
Safety Tip: You may have noticed that Shirou does not asked to get sprayed, nor does Backdraft say to spray him. That is because what Izuku and company did is a bad idea. Of course you should never go into a burning building without proper training and equipment. But if you must, wetting yourself down first will only make you slower and cause your clothing to capture more heat. And as the water becomes steam, you will suffer more severe burns than you would from dry air of the same temperature. It is a dangerous trope that wet clothing can protect you, and in retrospect I'm tempted to remove that line. But these are also teens who had their proper training interrupted, so... It stays, but don't do it.