I said the rest of 1-A was with me, but that was a mistake on my part. Todoroki-kun was not present. He had relaxed and opened up a bit after the Sports Festival. And so more after the fight with Stain. But he was still standoffish and uncomfortable around some of our classmates. The fact that he chose to skip our shopping trip didn't surprise me.
Of course, it also could have been his father demanding Todoroki-kun go through extra training today. Or something like that.
On the other hand, Kendo-san, Tsunotori-san, and Shimooka-chan from 1-B had joined us. Kendo-san was currently standing with Momo, getting ready to call us to order. Tsunotori-san was happily chatting with Mo-chan and Cassandra in English. Well, she was doing most of the talking, and Mo-chan was translating Cassandra's sign. And Shimooka-chan was hanging with Toru and Ashido-san, having become friends with Toru on their internship.
"All right, everyone," Momo called out, "Izuku... kun and I have done some research and put together a list. I just went over it with Kendo-san to make sure that any additional needs 1-B has are covered."
That got a round of nods from the rest of us. And Kendo-san's face flashed with annoyance for a moment. When I asked her later, to make sure nothing was wrong, she admitted being disappointed that 1-B was not working together or taking this seriously like we were. Disappointed, and also a little jealous.
"Okay, it looks like everyone is here," Momo started. Iida-kun raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything.
"Aizawa-sensei said we will be camping," she continued, "Which he was not supposed to tell us. But after being asked, Kan-sensei and All Might-sensei have also confirmed it. So we feel that everyone should have a hiking backpack and boots. A summer or all season sleeping bag. A canteen with a filter. A survival knife..."
Tsunotori-san raised her hand. Momo paused and then nodded to her.
"What is survival knife?" she asked nervously.
"A survival knife," Momo repeated, only this time in nearly flawless English, "A knife with a blade on one side, a saw on the other, and a handle that contains things like matches, fishing hooks and line, and a compass."
"Ah," Tsunotori responded, also in English, "That makes sense. Thank you. Though I prefer the type with the extra tools in a pocket in the scabbard, so I can have a full tang knife."
Some of my classmates looked confused, not speaking English that well. Some looked surprised, having underestimated Tsunotori. And some, including Momo and Mo-chan, looked thoughtful at her suggestion.
Then 1-B's American paused for a moment. She switched back to Japanese and added, "Please use Japanese. I need learn it better, so shouldn't speak English if don't need to."
Creati nodded. The Knights nodded. Some, but not all, of my other 1-A classmates nodded. And Shimooka and Kendo-san looked like they had heard it before.
"Hiking socks," Momo tried to continue.
"Hiking socks?" Kirishima-san interjected.
"Socks with a cushioned sole that dry fast if they get wet from the environment or from sweat," I answered quickly, "And camp soap, is a soap that works well on people, clothing, pots, and pans. Works on anything, but not as well as specialized soaps. But it is easier and lighter to carry one bottle of soap than multiple bottles or bas."
"Which is the next item on the list," Momo confirmed, "that everyone should get. And lastly, everyone should get snacks. Preferably something fairly healthy and individually wrapped in water proof containers."
"I still think everyone should get fifty feet of hempen rope," I said.
"It's a game reference," Tsu explained.
"That doesn't mean it isn't a good idea," I argued.
"We suggest everyone get 20 meters of rope, preferably nylon or silk," Momo said, "But it isn't a necessity. It is more of a backup. In addition to the items everyone should have, there are tools we need, but not individually. We should have an axe and a set of cookware for every four or five people. We also think we should get twelve three person tents, basically one for every two people."
"For us," Kendo asserted, "Anyone who isn't interested in planning ahead... Well, we'll see when we get there."
Definitely not happy with her classmates.
"But that's enough for 36 people, right?" Kirishima-kun said, "Isn't that like space for almost everyone anyway? Right?"
"We want the extra space," Momo said, "People might be restless sleepers. If we lose tents due to weather or wildlife, then we will have extra space."
I raised my hand this time, and said, "I'm going to get a six person tent, camping axe, and cooking set, so my family can potentially go camping in the future."
In the real world, or potentially in a cleared Dungeon, once Eri knew about them.
"So I'll cover one set of everything."
"That is what we think we should bring for survival," Momo said, "You'll also want clothing, particularly work out clothing, so if you need that you may want to buy it. Any medicines you take, and you might what to buy a reinforced and waterproof case for it. Swimsuits. But..."
And Creati looked pointedly at Ashido-san as she strenly suggested, "make sure that you swimsuit is functional. I know some of us want cute or... sexy..."
Momo blushed, and she wasn't alone, "suits, but I would bet we will have exercises in the water. And probably worse if Aizawa-sensei doesn't think we are taking it seriously. So either bring a suit that fills both purposes, or bring two, one for work and one for play."
"Is there anything else we need?" Shimooka-chan asked, "Backpack, knife, rope, snacks, medicine, clothing mostly specialized, and tents, axes, pots & pans for some of us. Anything else?"
"I'm going to bring a deck of cards," Mikoto said.
"Our phones," I said, "I might bring my Destiny. I'm also going to buy a couple of tarps, they have a variety of uses. Oh, and some extra metal pitons. And otc pain relievers."
"We might be here all day if we let Izuku keep thinking about what he needs," Tsu teased fondly.
"So how do we want to do this?" Kirishima-san asked, "Just go our separate ways and keep in contact? Split into groups?"
"We should make the boys carry our bags!" Toru declared brightly.
"This isn't the 2180s," Tokoyami-san scoffed, "and we aren't your boyfriends. Carry your own bags."
"I don't mind carrying bags," I countered, "It's polite and a good workout."
"We were planning to split into four groups," Tenya-kun finally spoke, "As the class representatives and vice-representatives, myself, Yaoyorozu, Kendo, and Tsunotori will be the group leaders, and we were planning to have the rest of you draw lots as for which team you will be on. Given UA's predilection for random groupings, we felt it was appropriate and give us a chance to get to socialize in groups we would otherwise not interact with."
"Also, each rep and vice rep will buy a tent," Kendo-san added, "Pony and I will cover 1-B. Iida-kun and Momo-chan will cover part of 1-A, and Midoriya-san said he will, too. So between the other 16 of you, you need seven more. I'd suggest that each group gets three tents total, to make it easy, but it's up to all of you in the end."
"Though extras, if people want to buy them, isn't the worst idea," Ami pointed out, "twelve is just our minimum."
"Sounds good," Kirishima-kun said brightly. Koda-san bobbed his head in silent agreement.
Tenya-san held out his hand, and there were twenty strips of paper sticking out of it.
"Five for each team leader," he explained, "So two teams of six and two teams of five."
It was technically possible to get one team of four and three teams of six. But I let it slide. A glance told me Ami was thinking the same thing. We shared a quick grin.
We took turns drawing the lots. I casually slipped to the back and drew from the last three. The slip had the kanji for Tsunotori. I joined her, along with Ochako, Mo-chan, Toru, and Sero-san
"Hah," Kirishima-kun held up his arm as a challenge to Ojiro-san, "Let's make it a contest to see who can carry more."
Our tailed classmate looked sideways at Momo and Mikoto. Momo was definitely an 'ojou-san' and a lot of people assumed that applied to Mikoto, since she went to Tokiwadai. Ojiro-san nodded, and bumped wrists with Kirishima-kun in agreement. Cassandra, the last member of Momo's team just shook her heads and signed, \Boys./
As for the others, Iida-kun's group consisted of Tokoyami-san, Koda-san, Ashido-chan, Kyoka, and Aoyama-san. And Kendo-san was leading Tsu, Shimooka-chan, Shoji-sna, and Ami.
That meant there was at least one Knight on each team, so we could coordinate quickly and easily.
"Let's get moving," Kendo-san said, "We'll meet at the food court at eleven thirty, to compare what we have, and see if anyone (Midoriya) has thought of anything else we need."
"Right," Iida-san agreed. We all split up, though Tsunotori's team didn't head right inside.
"Where do we wanna go first?" Mo-chan asked, "Knives and axes?"
"Shouldn't we save the best for last?" Sero-kun countered.
"Where we get everything?" our leader asked, "I never been hear, I not know the stores."
"Here, not hear," Ochaku said softly and gently.
"Ah, thank you," Tsunotori-san said.
"We could check our phones," I said, "But as a group, it's easier to look at the directory."
I pointed to the pedastel with screens attached. We moved over, and checked.
"Sporting goods," Sero mused, "Camping supplies. Clothing stores. Game store..."
My ears perked up but I forced my natural impulse down.
"What about here?" 1-B's fuku-kaichou pointed at one of the larger stores on the map.
"Scheel's?" Mo-chan read, "I've never heard of it."
"They just opened a few months ago," I said, "I'm not sure what it is either."
"In America," Tsunotori-san explained, "Is outdoors department store. Sports stuff, hunting and fish stuff, camping stuff. Cloths, toys, portable food. Other stuff, too. May not be same company, but if is, should have everything we need."
"Sounds perfect," Toru said happily, grabbing the horned girl's arm, "Let's go, Tsunotori."
"Please, call me Pony."
"You said that during the Heros and Villains lesson," Sero-kun remembered, "Why?"
"I am American, so used to being called Pony, not Tsunotori. And Pony lot shorter, easier, and faster."
"But then why not use your name?" Sero-kun asked, "It is Marion, right?"
"When my Quirk appear, bullies start calling me Pony," she said, "Because Marion sound like 'mare', or which mean girl horse in English, and because my Quirk. But I turn it around, take name for myself so bullies can't tease me. So now I be Pony."
Ochako grabbed her hand comfortingly.
"Also, when I get my Quirk, my grandma tell me our family was unicorn ranchers in France and Austria, long time ago."
She touched her single, spiral horn.
"I know now it just lie to make me feel gooder. But little me love the idea that I somehow part unicorn."
"If that's what you want, we're happy to call you Pony," Mordred said insistantly, looking at the rest of us, "Right?"
I remembered the swordswoman's insistance we call her 'Mo-chan' rather than her family or full give names.
"Right," I agreed.
"Sure," Sero-kun affirmed.
"What about your family name?" Ochako asked, "Tsunotori sounds Japanese, but you're an American."
"My long back grandpa from Japan. He move to America in 1933. After three centuries, we not look very Japanese anymore, but still have the name. That part of why I go to UA, to learn more about my heritage."
"I guess after 300 years, who knows what my descedents might look like, even if they still have the name Sero."
"Especially with Quirks," Ochako added.
At that point the store came into view. And all of us looked shocked, except Pony.
"Yup, that the Scheel's I know."
It was huge. And as we stepped inside, a roller coaster rumbled by overhead. It wasn't as big as any of the rides at Tokyo Disney, or in Toru's dungeon, but it was still impressive for an indoor store at a mall. I also recognized the advertising potential. It would pull people into the store, and they could see the various departments as they rolled by. Further in there was a climbing wall with a three story waterfall next to it. The store even had it's own, separate directory.
"It's very... American," Ochako stated.
"It's awesome," Toru exclaimed. Then she turned to look at us, her eyes somehow sparkling despite still being invisible, "Can we ride the coaster? Please?"
Ochako added her puppy-dog eyes to the plea. She had been unhappy she missed the coasters in Toru's Dungeon.
"If we are going to," I suggested neutrally, "we should do it first, before we have shopping carts or bags to worry about."
"I'm game," Sero-kun agreed.
"Sure," Pony also agreed, "Better now, in case line gets long later.
The coaster was fun. Not as tall or as fast as the ones in Toru's dungeon. And about minute long ride. But it was good for a family level, indoor ride.
After exiting, we headed straight for the tents. I looked at the larger tents, and settled on one that 'slept' six, in three split rooms, but also had an open are that could act as space for eating and gathering, or sleep space for three extra people. Sero-kun and Pony were looking at the medium sized tents, looking at the features and checking online ratings on their phone.
While waiting for them, I wandered into the children's section. And froze.
"I know you're an All Might fan," Mo-chan sidled up beside me, and said teasingly, "But I think that's a bit small for you."
It was a red tent with pictures of All Might on it. Big enough for two or three kids. I knew it immediately.
"I..." my voice caught. It was familiar. And hurt just a little.
"Izuku?" she prompted, concerned.
"This... brings back memories," I said, "maybe the last good memories of both my dad and Kacchan. My dad hated going outside. But somehow my mom and Bakugou-oji-san convince him take me camping. Me and my dad, Kacchan and his dad. Kacchan had this tent, and our dads let the two of us stay alone in it. It was... maybe a month before Kacchan got his Quirk. And started to be a bully."
"Should we get one?" Sero-kun asked, as the other four joined us. Then he grinned, "We can make that 1-B copy guy use it, if he forgets his own tent."
"No," I chuckled, "I wouldn't want to inflict that on the tent."
Tents, tarps, backpack, and rope picked out and jammed into two carts, we went to the hunting section to check knives and axes. A salesperson hovered across from us, and my classmates looked at the reinforced case full of display model blades.
"Ooo, what about this one?" Toru crowed, pointing at a knife with a polished rosewood grip, dyed a a darker pink.
"No," Mordred countered with deep disdain. And Pony shook her head, her hair fanning around her.
"Why not?" the invisible girl argued, her pout audible if unseen.
"No grip on handle," Pony said, "Too smooth and polished. Will slip, might cut yourself."
"The metal is crap," Mo-chan stated bluntly, "Reasonable corrosion resistance, but hard to sharpen, doesn't keep an edge, and its fairly brittle. And I can't be sure without holding it, but I think it's a rat tail."
"No pin," Pony nodded this time, "Just glue."
The employee looked like they were torn between being impressed by their knowledge, and upset that Mo-chan and Pony were ruining the sale.
"Okay, what about that one?" Sero-kun's eyes were almost glowing. He was staring down at the machete like it was the limited edition Legend of Zelda: Confluence of Spirit version of the Nintendo Destiny.
"Is machete, not knife," Pony protested
"It's a good blade," Mo-chan said dubiously, "At least if you were hacking through the jungle to attack a drug cartel. It's well made, but thicker than it needs to be. It is too long for what we need. And it would get heavy to carry long term."
"Has compass and matches," Pony noted, "But not line or other gear. Scabbard looks a bit flimsy, too."
"Which knife would you two pick?" Ochako prompted diplomatically.
Mo-chan and Pony both leaned down over the case. Studied the knives within. While they did, I casually Analyzed the weapons. I knew that even if they were mass produced, the display model and each individual boxed blade would vary somewhat in their actual stats. But the ones I could scan in the case should be close enough to make a valid decision.
I picked out the knife and axe I would buy. I still had the knife dropped from the Dungeon, but it didn't feel fair to use it for the Training Camp. Besides, it was in my Inventory for emergencies. This wasn't an emergency.
Pony glanced at Mo-chan. The British blonde shrugged. Then they both pointed at the same knife.
"This one," they said in unison.
We had almost everything. After the camping materials, we found workout outfits, and the special socks and shoes Momo suggested. There was only one thing left on the list. While Scheel's had swimsuits, Toru insisted we go to her favorite, beach specialty store.
I was going over what we purchased. Comparing it to the list. Trying to think of what we might have missed.
"Stop stalling, Izuku," Toru called out.
Yeah, okay, I was stalling. When we arrived, the three Knights started picking out swimsuits for me. Pony stayed out of it, looking embarassed. Sero-kun looked torn between amusement and jealousy. But amusement had been winning out.
I rejected Toru's choice immediately; skintight, skimpy, black briefs.
I took Mo-chan's choice into the changing room with me. It was also skintight. But it was trunks style, so I wouldn't have to worry about anything slipping out of place. Honestly, other than the bright red color and the higher quality material, they weren't that different from UA's male school swimsuits.
But the one I tried on was Ochako's choice. A pair of traditional, loose swim trunks, in a green color that matched my hair. But I still felt embarrassed. Hesitated, not wanting to step out.
I sighed. And opened the curtains. Toru let out a wolf-whistle. Ochako went red, but also studied my body carefully. And Mo-chan tried to glare at me, but she was also biting her lip.
"It fit you good," Pony might not have picked a suit for me, she didn't seem to be above looking.
"I think my choice would look better," Mordred rolled her eyes down my chest.
"It goes good with your eyes," Ochako told me.
"Okay, I'll get it," I said quickly. I closed the curtains. Got dressed again.
"Me next," Toru declared, hopping into the changing room as soon as I was out. She was carrying four hangers.
A moment later, she popped back out in the skimpiest black micro-bikini I had ever seen. Three tiny triangles held together by string. Perching precariously on her shapely chest. Digging in, showing certain outlines.
Of course, that didn't change the fact we couldn't actually see her. Though I wasn't sure if that made it better or worse.
"How is it?" InvisaGal simpered, "Is everything covered?"
"Do you want Izuku to check?" Mo-chan shot back. Sero-kun raised an eyebrow. He didn't know about my Clairvoyance, so he must have thought Mordred was suggesting something else. Ochako's ever present blush darkened again. And Toru twisted like she was covering herself, and then darted back into the changing room.
The invisible Knight ultimately picked out a much more modest floral bikini, and blue racing suit for any actual water training. Then she dragged off Pony and Sero-kun, so she could advise them. This left me alone to view and critique Ochako and Mordred's choices.
Ochako picked out the same style racing suit, only in pink with black highlights. Not exactly the same as her Hero costume, but similar enough that we all recognized it. She didn't get a second suit, which wasn't a surprise considering how frugal and modest she was.
Mordred did get two suits. Her first choice was also a racing suit, albeit one in red and silver It also was higher cut on the hips and lower in the back, with the straps crossed to make up for it.
Then she stepped out for the second time, and I was a bit surprised. And more than a bit turned on.
It was a bikini. A strapless tube top in white. The bottom was briefs, again high legged. But the material was blue, and printed to look like a pair of cut-off jeans.
"What?" she asked nervously.
"Nothing," Ochako said.
"It looks great," I told her, "just..."
"Just?" she demanded, trying to cover her worry with anger.
"You don't normally wear blue," Ochako said, "Or even white. Outside of our uniforms, you usually wear red, orange, black, and grey."
Uravity gestured to the racing suit, resting on the dressing room's bench.
"That's fair," the swordswoman admitted, "But when I saw this suit, there was just something about it."
"It really does look good on you," I assured her.
"Great, then I'll get these two."
Pony, Sero-kun, and Toru rejoined us. The former two looked horribly mortified. And despite not seeing her face, I could almost feel a satisfied grin radiating off of Toru.
"Okay, is shopping all done?" Pony asked us, "We meeting in food court in ten minutes."
"I have everything," I answered.
"And then some," Mo-chan looked at all the bags clumped over my shoulders and in my elbows.
Kashyyyk Mall was divided into two halves with a partly open courtyard between the two buildings. We were in in the western building, and the food court abutted a large patio on the second floor of the eastern building. Just before we left the cover of the western building's overhang, Ochako glanced over to the side, and stopped.
"Actually, I need one more thing," she said.
"Where do we need to go?" Sero-kun asked helpfully.
"It's okay, I can handle it myself," she said quickly, blushing like she had when modelling her new swimwear, "It will just take a few minutes. I'll meet you there."
I followed the brunette girl's gaze. There were two stores in her line of sight. A Goth clothing store. And a lingerie store.
"Right, we'll see you there," I agreed with her. I'm sure she didn't want me or Sero there. Or Toru, for that matter.
Toru didn't start walking away when the rest of us did. I noticed she was facing the same way as Ochako. The collar of her shirt indicated she was looking around.
"Mo-chan, a little help?" I asked. My blonde hooked the invisible girl's elbow with her own. Dragged her along with the rest of us, leaving Ochako her privacy.
A few minutes later, we reached the food court. We were the last ones to arrive.
"Did you buy out the whole store?" Mikoto teased.
"Not we," Sero-kun answered, "Midoriya."
"No, there was still a lot left," I protested, "The store was huge."
"Really huge," Pony agreed, "We went on roller coaster."
That set off a discussion. And gave me an idea. I still had the quest to take Eri to Toru's Dungeon theme park. The coaster at Scheel's might be a good test, to see if she liked those kinds of rides.
Uraraka Ochako exited the store, holding the bag tight to her chest. The store was named Midnight Armor, in English. Except the first r in armor was two font sizes smaller. And on the neon sign, it was deliberately blinking. Thankfully, the bags were plain, unmarked black plastic, providing multiple levels of secrecy. Despite that, the young woman felt like everyone was staring at her. Judging her.
While all of the Knights, well all the teenage and female Knights, had agreed no hanky-panky or stealing a march during the training camp, it didn't hurt to be prepared.
She headed towards the other side of the mall to rejoin the others. Threaded deftly through the crowd. Until someone caught her arm.
"Hello," a familiar voice said. A voice she knew from the USJ attack, and their review of the videos after Jammer and BlackOut were taken out. He circled around and looked down on her with mad red eyes. Keeping three digits on her skin, the last two hovering at most a centimeter away.
"I need your help," Tomura Shigaraki said softly, far more calm than she had heard him speak before, "I'd like to have a discussion with your boyfriend. Could you please text him?"
'Izuku, ignore my text,' Ochako announced in Guild chat. Then my phone beeped.
"It's from Ochako," I told everyone, "She's asking my help carrying something."
"What could she have purchased, that she can't carry on her own?" Iida-kun asked rhetorically.
"I don't know, I'll go see," I said, "Watch my bags for me?"
'What's going on?' Mom asked, 'Ochako?'
'Nothing,' the brunette answered, 'Someone just wanted me to play a prank on Izuku.'
But there was a hitch in her mental voice. Cassandra and Mikoto both met my eyes as I left. I nodded.
I resisted the desire to jump over the balcony, to get there faster. Instead, I ran through the crowd, gently shifting shoppers aside with my various types of TK. I reached the western courtyard, as instructed in Ochako's message, in less than a minute.
And then I froze. My body quaked in a combination of rage and fear.
"That was quicker than I expected," Shigaraki said softly, "What gave it away?"
"If you knew her Quirk," I said carefully, "You'd know she's the last person to need help carrying anything."
Then my voice tightened. If not for Gamer's Mind, I would probably have been growling or shouting. Instead there was just a slight edge as I asked, "What do you want with me? Revenge?"
"No," he answered. Then considered it, and added, "At least not today. No, I wanted to talk to you. Ask your opinion on something."
"My opinion?" I was genuinely surprised, "Why? Why me?"
"You matched my Nomu. You won the UA fighting tournament. According to my new party members, you killed Overhaul. And now you beat Stain."
"I didn't beat Stain."
"You forced him to self destruct. And based on the video from his armor cam, you probably would have done even better if you hadn't wasted your time and mana casting healing spells on Stain's target. Naïve? Whatever, the American werewolf in Tokyo."
"It wasn't a healing spell. I was just holding his chest together, making sure Native didn't bleed out."
"Potato, to-mah-to," Shigaraki waved the whole thing off, "And it's not just your Quirk. Your Int and Wis scores seem pretty good, too. So, give me a few minutes to pull your ear, and I won't kill the girl. And then go on a rampage."
I studied him.
"Counter proposal," I said, "I walk over there. You take me hostage and let Ochako go. Then we can talk."
"Why would I do that?" the Villain asked curiously.
"First? If we are closer, we can talk more quietly. Less chance of being overheard and someone calling the police or Heroes."
He inclined his head.
"Second. I don't trust you. I might say something you don't like, and then you'll kill Ochako out of spite. At least if I'm your prisoner, I know you can't kill me if you want to keep talking to me."
"This is why I wanted to talk to you," he smirked, "Fine. I'll make that trade, as long as the bi... girl stays where I can see her. With her hands in her pockets, because I heard you all put points into the sign language skill. Can't have her signaling someone while we're talking."
His use of game terms still bothered me. He didn't have the Gamer, but could he have figured out that I did? Since learning from Torino-sensei that I was at least the fourth Gamer, I wondered if Shigaraki had met another Gamer. That might explain his constant use of game terms. And might haven give him a basis to figure out my power.
"No, Izuku, don't," Ochako finally spoke.
I walked casually over to them. I held out my arm. Decay laid the three middle fingers of his right hand on my left wrist. His left fingers were still on Ochako. He seemed to be debating.
"Don't," I said. He glared at me. I met his gaze blandly.
"I don't know exactly how your Quirk works," I told him, "But I watched you enough at the USJ to know you have to touch something with all five fingers. I don't know if knocking you out will stop Decay. Or even if killing you would do it. But at this range, I'd be willing to bet I can crush your skull and still have time to cut off our arms, if that doesn't stop Decay."
He actually chuckled openly and honestly at that. If he wasn't amused by me threatening to kill him, he would have almost looked like a normal person. And he let Ochako go. I gestured with my free arm. We sat down on a bench under a potted tree.
"What did you want to talk to me about?" I prompted.
"Stain," his amusement vanished.
"What about him?"
"Why is that bastard so popular?" Shigaraki growled, "He hates to work with anyone, is small time with small dreams. Despite that he has all these followers and fans. People who would take a bullet for him, hide him from the police. Hell, one of our new recruits mainly joined because we told him we wanted to work with Stain. What makes him better than me?"
"Hmmm," I honestly considered his question.
"Fair warning," I began, "I don't really know either of you. Just what little I've seen, and heard second and third hand. But that said... Well, I guess there are three things that immediately come to mind."
Shigaraki's crazy eyes lit from within, hungry for anything that might help him against his... rival, I guess.
"The first thing," I explained, "At the USJ, you killed one of your minions."
"I did?" Shigaraki looked confused.
"The wolf-man, who revealed that Jammer could block Telepathy as well as electronics," I reminded him, "I don't know if that was the first time he messed up or the fiftieth. But you just casually used Decay on him. And you attacked the USJ to kill All Might, but were perfectly willing to kill the rest of us. On the contrary, like you said, Stain doesn't work with other people. And when we tried to save Native, Stain asked us to leave before he tried to kill us. Multiple times, in fact."
"That's the first difference. People aren't afraid to work with Stain. He kills his targets and avoids other unnecessary deaths. But I'm sure the USJ attackers who were sent to prison have spread the word that you killed one of your recruits. Now the only Villains who will work with you are fanatics willing to be killed for your cause, or ones too afraid of you to say no."
"Stupid NPCs should just do what they're told," he grumbled.
"It's not that type of game. The NPCs have their own alignments and affection scores. And if they don't match, or if they just don't like you, they won't work with you."
I hoped phrasing it it game terms would make sense to him, and make him more hesitant to kill randomly in the future.
"What's next," he asked, petulantly.
"Next, is your goal. Stain doesn't want to kill All Might. You do. And I think more. Worse. And the simple fact is, most Villains respect All Might. At least as far as he doesn't try to deliberately try to kill or rough them up like Endeavor does. In Stain's ideal world, things would be safer for most Villains, because there would be fewer, kinder Heroes. In your world, Villains would have to consider who will protect their friends and families when there are no Heroes, or worse, only Heroes like Endeavor. Does that sound pretty close?"
"And lastly, and most importantly, you are annoying. No. You are a whiny nutjob bitch. An idiot. A hypocrite. A coward."
"what," he demanded in a hoarse whisper, his eyes widening in anger and his nostrils flaring.
"You are willing to kill for your goals, but not die for them. When things go wrong, you fall into your delusions that the world is a game, and whine and complain about it. You goals and plans are dumb."
Shigaraki tried to close his fingers. Only to discover he couldn't move.
"You didn't even think this might be a trap."
I peeled back his pointer finger with my tactile TK.
"I'm not sure how much you know about my power, but you either didn't understand it or underestimated me."
I bent his ring finger back. All the fingers on both his hands were fully extended and spread as far as they could. Only his middle finger was still in contact with my arm. Then I moved. Pulled out from under his touch. Grabbed his wrist before he could recover.
If it wasn't obvious I had been in contact with the Knights the whole time. As soon as I saw who was holding Ochako, I asked All Might to contact the police. I told the others not to rush in. Instead I told them my plan. Even Ochako's objecting to switching hostages was an act, to sell it to Shigaraki.
The Knights were also the ones who provided me the insults to rile up Shigaraki, once we were ready. Kyoka and Mo-chan workshopped 'whiny nutjob bitch' while they were getting into place.
"Hey, Midoriya-kun. I brought it."
Sero-kun walked up with a plastic bag, weighted and stretched by its contents. The tape-man took out a roll of traditional silver duct tape.
"Are you sure?" he paused for a second in worry, even as all of the shopping trip members closed in, keeping the crowd back.
"He can't move."
Sero took a strip off the roll, and wrapped it around Shigaraki's right pinky, from the base all the way past the nail. He took out another roll of tape, this one green, and repeated the wrapping for Decay's left pinky. Only then did my classmate relax. And kept going. Ten different rolls of duct tape, one for each finger. And just for safety, a eleventh roll for to tape his arms to his sides, so he couldn't try to bite or rub the tape off.
"How?" Shigaraki demanded.
"I am a teeange girl," Ochako boasted, "You think I can't text with just one hand?"
She pulled her hands out of her pockets and flashed her phone at him. Of course, that was a lie. Well, she might have been able to do it. But we used Guild Chat to communicate, and texting was the excuse we told Iida-kun and the others.
"Please stand clear," the police ordered the crowd and my friends. They approached us, tasers at the ready.
We told the police what happened. I gave detective Tsukauchi a slightly more detailed explanation, skirting around The Gamer's aspects as per our talk after the USJ.
Then we split up. Thankfully all our shopping was done. But after the attack, everyone was a bit on edge. Especially Ochako. Momo asked Ochako to help her carry the bags back to the Yaoyorozu manor for storage until the camp. She also dragged all the other girls along, stating it was going to be an impromptu sleep-over. I knew she just didn't want Ochako to be alone in her apartment tonight.
I took my own bags. I needed to show Eri what I bought. I had already promised to do so.
My little sister seemed fascinated by the tent. And asked if she could sleep tonight in the duckies and kitties sleeping bag I had picked out for her. We decided to hold our own impromptu sleepover, the three of us spending the night in the living room, in our new sleeping bags. I think Mom was also worried, that Ochako was attacked and I put myself in danger.
So we grilled hotdogs on skewers over the stove. Looked at the stars on Astronomy Plus Japan. And cuddled up on the floor next to each other.
After Mom and Eri were asleep, I got a text.
'Izuku, sorry to add more after the day you have had,' Nezu sent digitally, 'But I thought you would want to know. This afternoon, I received a package from David Shield. His prototype exotic matter scanner and exotic matter containment unit. One more milestone in that quest. I will be going over his work. And then you will need to learn to use them.'
"Harley," Kurogiri came out from the back of the bar, and approached the jester woman.
"What's up, doc?" she asked glibly.
"I have just received word from one of our contacts in the TMPD," the dimension user answered, "Shigaraki Tomura has been captured by the police and taken into custody."
"Hmm," she took that in. Then she flashed a giant grin, and exclaimed, "Stheno, Mindy bust out the bakin' supplies. It's time for a jail break!"
Status Changes for Midoriya Izuku:
Energy: 1950 → 1974
(C)harisma: 50 → 52
(D)etermination: 80 → 81
Japanese Language (W/C) LB: 28 → 29
English Language (W/C) LB: 22 → 23
Mathematics, Basic (W): 23 → 24
Running (Q/E) – Jet Set Run: 46 → 47
Tactile TK (I/D): 43 → 45
Telekinetic Armor (I/E) – N Armor: 55 → 56
Sense Hostility (I/C) - Hostile Aura: 50 → 51
Intimidate (C/I): 4 → 5
Schmooze (C/I): 1 → 2
Berserk Resistance (D/W): 5 → 6
Save the Symbol of Peace
Fun For the Whole Family
Fact or Fake
メタ ノ キシダン Bank Balance: 183,040,012 Yen (950,000,000 for Guild Hall)